What to Expect in Your First Trimester (A Short Story)
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What to Expect in Your First Trimester (A Short Story)

Part 2 of 3

What to Expect in Your First Trimester (A Short Story)
The Bump

(Read part one here)

Tears began to blur her vision. She wiped at her eyes, smudging the mascara and eyeliner she just put on that morning. She avoided her own gaze in the reflection off her phone, knowing her blue eyes were probably glowing against the red of her eyes. She probably already looked blotchy and red from the crying that threatened to come. She put in her headphones and put “Closer” by the Chainsmokers on. She tried to smile, listening to the steady beat of the song.

Elijah said it was their song, because it came on just after the first time they made love. They were always safe. He was her first time, so to her, he knew what he was doing. Caroline just placed all her trust and herself in his hands. And it had only been one time. Just once.

Elijah rented a hotel room for their last night before he left for college all the way in New York City. Everything had been perfect up until that moment.

“Babe?” Elijah had said, looking down as he went to remove the condom. “I think the condom broke.”

Caroline had shot up from the bed, almost knocking her head into Elijah’s in the process. “What? What do you mean it broke? How?” She felt her heart threaten to beat out of her chest, and she had climbed out of bed to go use the bathroom, dodging the clothes that had been thrown askew in the heat of the moment. She had slammed the door behind her. She wanted to throw up. She had turned on the shower, thinking that maybe she could wash it away.

“Honey, calm down, it’ll be okay.”

“No, I can’t calm down! Elijah you don’t understand, my parents are going to kill me if I get pregnant!” Carrie yelled over the sound of the shower running.

“Carrie, you aren’t going to get pregnant. You’re on the pill aren’t you?”

Caroline froze just as she was about to get into the shower. She hadn’t told Elijah she wasn’t on the pill. He had said he wouldn’t have sex with her until she did. He’d had one too many close calls. She hesitated, watching the water run down the drain. She tried to control her breathing as she shut it off, and walked back out into the room.

“Yeah, you’re right.” Elijah stood there, and she couldn’t help but smile at how cute he looked when he was confused. His dark skin looked soft in the lighting, and she had to stand on tip toes to reach his lips. “Everything is fine,” she said, burying her face in his chest. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s fine, Carrie.” He had kissed the top of her head, before lifting her up and falling back with her onto the bed. She had giggled as he kissed her. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

She wanted to kick herself in the head for being so stupid to think that she could get away with this. Like she would be the exception. And now she was forced to face the consequences. This never would have happened to Susan.

Susan was the good child. She hadn’t dated until she turned twenty-one. The age of a mature woman, her mother always said, and she married her first boyfriend. She stayed away from alcohol and drugs, never once spoke an ill word about someone else. She was the golden child. And Caroline? She was the mistake. She was the unwanted one. She was the outcome of her father's infidelity. And her mother hated her for it.

Their father, Damien, had met Caroline’s mother on a business trip in Los Angles. She was a young woman, working as an intern for one of the companies that Damien’s company was working to possibly get a merger with. Damien described her as, electric. He was drawn to her- he couldn’t explain it. He loved his wife Amelia, with all his heart, but there was something about this woman that he couldn’t explain. The business trip was supposed to only last two weeks. But two weeks turned into two months. And somewhere in-between, Hailey became pregnant. It wasn’t until Damien left that she told him. She was desperate for him to come back, to do something to help her. Damien was scared. He didn’t want his wife to find out about the affair, but he knew he was ruining this girl’s life. He led her on, with promises of leaving Amelia, trying to put things off until he could figure out a plan. Finally, Hailey got fed up and drove to St. Louis.

She knocked on their front door, and Susan answered. She was only six at the time. She didn’t understand why this lady who was pregnant was asking for her father. She retrieved him, but Amelia got to the door first. Damien watched his whole world crash down around him. Hailey became so distraught, seeing his wife, his child. He had lied to her about everything. Amelia listened on, looking between her husband and this woman, completely in shock. Damien tried to deny everything, but it made all too much sense to Amelia. She wasn’t stupid. She knew that this was who her husband had been having his late night chats with, his reason for being home so late. She had been expecting this. But they weren’t expecting Hailey to go into labor.

Damien rushed her to the hospital, while Amelia stayed behind to begin packing her and Susan’s things. She called her mother, saying that Susan was just dying to see her Nana and Papa. She didn’t want to tell her mother that her husband had done just what she said he would.

Caroline was born twelve hours later. Hailey did her best to try and get Damien to stay, but he knew he couldn’t. He promised to pay for child support, to make sure they were both taken care of. Hailey told him to just cut out the middle man and take the child himself. She wanted nothing to do with her. So Damien agreed.

Amelia tried to file for divorce, but Damien talked her out of it. He told her that she would get nothing- the prenup they signed would make sure of that. They worked things out, eventually. But having a living reminder of your husband’s failure to remain faithful really took a toll on the marriage. Things never really were the same after that.

The bus pulled up, and Caroline waited until everyone got off before she finally climbed on, avoiding the curious stare of the bus driver as she swiped her card and headed for a seat. She found one where she could be alone. She set her purse on her lap, and once more caught sight of the pamphlets. Caroline chewed on her lip for a moment, before googling abortion clinics in Missouri. Her heart immediately leapt into her throat. She needed at least one parent’s permission, and with her father out of town, and her true mother unknown to her, that left only her step-mother. She quickly moved from state to state, trying to find one that would allow her to go without parental permission. No states near her would allow it. She grew more and more desperate, her eyes searching further and further for a state, any state, that would allow her to do this quickly and quietly. And then finally, her eyes found it: Ohio.

She could get an abortion in Ohio, as long as she had permission from a sibling age twenty-one or over. She sent a text to her sister, asking if she could stop over for a bit— it was an emergency.

Susan responded quickly, saying yes, she would love to see her, not asking any questions just yet. Caroline almost burst into tears, thanking her sister. She wiped quickly at her eyes, trying not to mess up her makeup any further.

Despite being only half-sisters, Susan had always loved Caroline as if she were her own. They did everything together, when they could. Susan always took the blame for things that Caroline had done, because she knew her punishment would be much less than the one that Caroline would be dealt. Caroline could only hope that her sister would bail her out this one last time.

“Caroline, honey! What’s wrong? You don’t look well,” Susan said as she ushered her little sister inside, seating her on the couch. She went into the small kitchen. pouring out two cups of tea in the tiny cups she and her husband Matthew had gotten on their trip to Japan two years ago. Caroline took the tea gratefully. She took a small sip, trying not to burn her mouth. Susan sat down beside her, watching her sister carefully.

Susan always looked so different from Caroline. Susan inherited her mother’s oval face, with a sharp chin and pronounced cheekbones. Her eyes were wide and dark, a beautiful brown that Caroline always envied. She was tall, thin, but she hid her curves beneath her overly large sweaters and thick dresses. Her hair was a deep, chocolate-brown. She was gorgeous, but she would never know it. Caroline looked nothing like her, with her bright, red hair and blue eyes that were more almond-shaped. Her face was rounder, with her father’s upturned nose, and she guessed her mother’s thin lips. She was short and thin but not like Susan. Caroline stuffed her bra until just recently, and even then, sometimes she added a little extra padding here and there. “Before I tell you anything, you have to swear on your life that you won’t tell Mom.” Caroline began. She set the cup of tea on the table and daring to look her sister in the eyes.

“Caroline, you know I can’t promise you that,” Susan said, reaching out to hold her sister’s hand. “Especially if you’re in danger.”

“I’m not in danger, Susan,” Caroline pulled her hand away and stood, trying to catch her breath. She wondered if she thought wrong to try to come here, to try to trust Susan with something as big as this. “I’m just—”

“Did something happen between you and Elijah? Did you break up?”

“No, no we didn’t break up, Suze. It’s just...”

“Just what? Did he cheat on you?”

“Will you shut up for one second?” Caroline whipped around, seething. Susan’s jaw immediately dropped, but Caroline beat her before she could get a word in. “I’m pregnant, Susan!” Caroline could feel her body shake with every single word. “I’m pregnant and I’m scared and I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” She collapsed into a mess on the floor, sobbing. Susan stared at her for a moment in stunned silence.

Her little sister, pregnant, out of wedlock. Her mother would do more than just kill Caroline if she ever found out. Susan got up slowly, walking over to her sister and holding her close, shushing her, rubbing her back, trying to get her to calm down. Caroline’s crying began to subside, and Susan got her some tissues to dry her eyes. She said nothing about the pound of makeup her sister wore. “What are you going to tell mom?”

“Nothing, if I can help it.” Caroline sniffled, balling up the tissue in her hand.

“Carrie, Mom’s going to find out eventually. You can’t just run away. What are you going to do? Go live with Elijah?”

“No, I know I can’t but–“

“Can he even support you? Or your child?”

“I don’t even want to tell him!” Caroline felt her throat closeup at the thought, and she once more felt Susan wrap her arms around her. “What if he leaves me, Suze? What am I going to do?”

“It’s okay, sweetie, I’m here.” Susan cooed. She brushedaway stray tears with her thumbs. “You’re going to be okay. But you have to tell Mom and Dad what’s going on.”

“No! No they’re gonna kill me!” Caroline’s voice shot up, and she pulled her face away from her sister’s hands. They’ll kick me out of the house and then what am I supposed to do?”

“You can come stay with me. Matt and I would love to have you with us.”

“Don’t lie to me like that. You know I can’t.” Caroline said. She stood up, leaving Susan sitting on the floor. Every way she tried to turn was a dead end. She knew her only way out. “I only have one option, Susan. I can’t keep this thing.”

“So what, are you going to give it up for adoption? What are you going to do in the mean time? If Mom and Dad find out they’re not going to let you give it up.” Susan said. She watched as the little red head turned around, hands at her sides.

“They can’t if I don’t have anything to give up.” Caroline said. Susan’s jaw immediately dropped, and she stood up, anger and disgust flashing across her face.

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am serious. I can’t keep this baby. I can’t take care of it. I’m seventeen, Susan. I can’t get an abortion here, not without parental consent.” Caroline said. She paced around the room, glancing at all the pictures of Matt and Susan in all the different places they traveled to in their three years of marriage: Tailand, England, France. Caroline had always wanted to see Prague. She sighed, finally turning around to face her sister. “But in Ohio, as long as I have a sibling twenty-one or over, I can get it! I need you, please. I can’t do this alone. I need a ride there and—”

“You want me to help you kill your baby?” Susan stood, hand over her heart as she gaped at her little sister.

“Susan, please. I just need a ride and permission.” Caroline kept her voice steady as much of a struggle as it was.

“I still need to consent to this! And you know what, Caroline? I’m not doing it. I’m not helping you do this.” Susan said, crossing her arms over her chest. She stared down at her sister, ready for her to fight and scream and kick. But she didn’t.

“Fine.” Caroline said. She grabbed her purse and made her way to the door.

“Where are you going?” Susan asked, following her and making a grab for her arm. “You can’t—”

“I did my research, Suze. I can get an abortion in New York without anyone’s permission but my own.” Caroline said. Her tone dropped low as she looked up at her sister. “I can just tell Elijah I’m coming to visit him. Do it while he’s in classes.”

“And where do you think you’re going to get the money to get there? Do you even know how much an abortion costs?” Susan shot back.She towered over her little sister, but Caroline refused to back down.

“I’ll figure it out when I get there. I’ve been saving up money. I have enough for a bus ticket at least.”

Susan laughed haughtily. “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”

“No Susan, I think I do.” Caroline said. “I’m not keeping this baby. I’m seventeen, I want to go to college, and have a real job, and travel, and do all the things that you’ve gotten to do! She motioned to everything that her sister had, everything she wanted. “I want to get the hell out of Missouri! You’ve seen how mom looks at me, how she treats me. She hates me, Susan. You really think I want to bring up a kid in a household where its grandmother hates both it and its mother? Look at how I turned out, I’m a fucking basket case, seventeen and pregnant with no real job, no place to go.” She waved at her stomach, a small laugh escaping her. “I’d be a horrible mother. Hell, I am a horrible mother. I’m getting rid of the one thing that could love me unconditionally.” A tear rolled down her cheek, but she quickly wiped it away. “I’m getting this abortion, Susan. Whether you help me or not.” Caroline said. She went to open the door, but a hand on her shoulder stopped her.

“Wait,” Susan said. Caroline turned around to face her, ready for another lecture or something to try and get Caroline to change her mind. Susan’s eyes were closed, her jaw clenched. “I can’t give you a definitive answer now, okay? I need to talk to Matt. Maybe we can find something to help you out, at least get you there. But I would really like for you to think about this, okay? Just give it two weeks, we should have the money by then if you still want to do this. But I think you really should talk to Elijah.” Susan said. “He’s a big part of this too.”

Caroline nodded. “Alright. Two weeks. I’ll go home and call Elijah. At least let him know what’s going on.” Caroline said. She hugged her sister before she left. Susan watched her go, and closed the door behind her. Now she just had to wait for Matt to get home, and figure out what the heck she was going to tell him.

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