What if? The alternate version of Never Alone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 38 (v.1) - Chapter 38

Submitted: April 16, 2011

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Comments: 5

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Submitted: April 16, 2011

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"Do you have a bag packed?" Mamma asked as we were sitting in the car after my bi-weekly doctor's appointment.

I was just about eight months pregnant, now and it was the hottest July, I think I'd ever lived through.

But maybe it just felt that way to me.

Hot or not, I was so glad that it was summer. I'd never been more ready for school to let out for the year, than I had been last month.

It wasn't just the way I was treated by most people. I was basically used to that, now. But it was so uncomfortable to go and sit in those desks for so long. I didn't even fit anymore - I had to sit sideways. Which was uncomfortable in itself, but it also made my neck hurt, having to constantly look and write sideways.

And then, of course, I had to run to the bathroom practically every five minutes. It didn't matter that I tried not to drink anything until after lunch.

I was just thankful that I wasn't throwing up anymore. It was hard enough to just stand up from a chair. I would have had to call someone to get me off of the floor.

But I was determined to finish the year as normally as I could. And I did. It was a good thing that it didn't go much longer because I knew I wouldn't have made it for even another week.

School didn't really end for me, like everyone else, though. I was allowed to start on next year's work, so that I'd have a head start. I knew I'd probably fall behind pretty quickly, so I worked like a maniac to get as much done, as possible.

That was my goal now - to graduate high school and to do it on time.

The biggest benefit of being away from school was that I didn't have to see Josh anymore.

I still thought Morgan was insane for expecting what she did, but I tried anyway.

I might have been able to get somewhere if I hadn't been seeing him all the time. Because every time I did, he would do something that would make me hate him even more. After a while, I just gave up.

I didn't say anything to Morgan, but I quit trying. It was just too hard.

I knew she was right, though. I could feel how much my hatred for him affected my attitude towards everything else. I was moody and I snapped at people alot. But I couldn't let it go.

Maybe I'd be able to try again after a while, but for now, I just let myself wallow in self-pity and hate everything about him.

I looked at Mamma, next to me. She was staring straight ahead.

"Yeah." I answered. My overnight bag was packed and ready to go, stashed next to my bed.

She nodded once without looking at me and started the car.

I looked out my window, disappointed. She rarely ever said more than two words to me anymore. And even then, it was only when necessary, like to tell me it was time to leave for my doctor's appointment this morning.

I sighed and wondered if things would ever get better. Even a little.

"Lizzie," Mamma said making me look back at her hopefully. "You know..." She looked at me with watery eyes. "That your dad and I...we still love you more than anything, right?"

I nodded as my own tears clouded my vision. "I know."

"Why, Baby?" She asked, making me almost wish she'd go back to not speaking to me. "Why this?"

I dropped my eyes as I cried. "I'm so sorry, Mamma." I said. "I didn't think. I wish..." I tried to decide what to say.

"I know." She said.

I looked up at her.

"I know, better than most people what you're feeling, right now." Mamma said. "I just get to feel this side of it, now."

I wiped my eyes and couldn't say anything.

"This is what you meant, before, isn't it?" She asked. "Your mistake?"

I nodded and wondered if she was making the connection that I broke up with Josh at the same time I'd learned I was pregnant.

She closed her eyes briefly before she looked at me again. "I meant what I said. We all make mistakes. You just made a big one."

I nodded.

"The same one I did."

I wished it was that simple. I wished this baby was the result of love.

"But I'm glad that you didn't do everything I did." She said.

I watched her curiously.

"You didn't run away." She said. "Even though this hurts, if you left...that would be unbearable."

I felt so ashamed that I'd even thought of leaving. Anna was absolutely right.

"Lizzie, there is nothing you could do to ever make us stop loving you."

I quickly got my seat belt off and leaned over to hug her.

I cried and apologized again and again while she held me. It felt like an eternity since she'd last hugged me.

"Ok," Mamma said, pulling back to look at me. "No more apologies. It's my fault too."

"No, Mamma." I said. "It's not."

She gave me a look that said not to argue. "We all did some things wrong, Lizzie. I know you made your own choices, but your Dad and I should have done some things differently."

"Do you think we can get back to how things were?" I asked instead of arguing like I wanted to. I hated how strained and broken my once-happy family was, all because of me.

Mamma looked at me seriously. "It'll take some time." She said. "And I don't think things can ever be the same, but we'll be ok."

I nodded, hopefully.

"We'll get passed this and adjust." She added. "And if you have a problem from now on, you come to me. No matter what. Ok?"

"Ok." I agreed.

I knew this was probably the time I should tell her about Josh, but I couldn't just yet. I couldn't stand the thought of hurting her again so soon. Besides, I had to tell Daddy too, and I'd rather only have to say it once.

"Alright." She said, taking a deep breath. "Your dad's probably wondering where we are."

I nodded, sat back, and re-fastened my seat belt.

I couldn't stop yawning on the way home. I'd gotten used to never sleeping well anymore - I hadn't since Josh. I just wasn't able to relax very easily. Even when I was finally able to get to sleep, it was rarely very restful. I'd wake up alot and have nightmares sometimes.

Now that I was so big, I was limited on possible comfortable positions. I'd always slept on my stomach and that, obviously, wasn't an option any longer. Usually when I was able to find a good spot, I'd only have about an hour before the baby would decide it wasn't comfortable or I'd have to go to the bathroom.

The nice thing about it being summer was that I was able to sleep in most days. Today, though, I'd had to get up early for the doctor.

When Mamma parked the car at home, I headed to the house practically fantasizing about my pillow.

I stopped when I got inside and saw Louis, sitting on the couch, holding onto his arm. He was filthy and I could just see a hint of blood under the old t-shirt he was clutching.

"What happened?" I asked going over to him.

He glanced nervously at Daddy. "Sam let me ride his dirt bike and I kind of..." He grimaced.

"I didn't want to call an ambulance since I knew you'd be back soon." Daddy said to Mamma, behind me. "I think he's ok, but he's gonna need stitches. Of course it would have to happen on a Saturday, after all the doctor's offices are closed. We're gonna have to go to the emergency room. Louis, go get in the car."

Louis grinned at me, apparently proud of his new 'battle scar', before he went outside.

Mamma started to follow him and Daddy hesitated, glancing at me.

"Come on, Lizzie." He said.

The prospect of going to sit in the hospital for hours, when I was dead tired, didn't exactly sound thrilling.

"But, I was gonna-"

"Get in the car." He said, not letting me argue. I didn't know if Daddy didn't trust me in the house by myself for an indefinite period of time because I was so far along in my pregnancy or just because I'd destroyed whatever trust he had in me.

"Mike, she's tired." Mamma tried. "She doesn't need to come."

Daddy looked about ready to lose his temper, something that never used to happen. Thanks to me, he seemed to have trouble with that alot lately.

"It's ok, Mamma." I said quickly, not wanting them to argue over me. "I'm not that tired." I had to fight a yawn as I said it. I avoided looking at either of them as I went back outside and sat next to Louis.

It was a good thing Louis wasn't bleeding to death, with as long as it took them to call him back to see a doctor.

Mamma and Daddy went with him. I guess Daddy figured I couldn't get into too much trouble in a hospital, so he didn't push for me to come with them. I was glad he didn't. I didn't think I'd be able handle watching that.

The plastic chairs became little torture devices, hours ago. I was only still sitting in them because my family had been. But now that they were gone, I decided to walk around the hospital. Anything sounded better than staying there to stare at the walls some more.

I didn't know my way around, so I picked random halls to go down. After a little while, I found myself in what must be the ICU. The first few windows I looked in showed unconscious people, hooked up to various beeping machines and feeding tubes.

I didn't know them, but I wanted to cry for them. And to think, I'd been feeling sorry for myself!

I froze when I reached a window about halfway down the hall. I just stared, open-mouthed, for a long time, at the person, lying on the other side.

"Do you know him?" Someone said from beside me.

"I..." I looked at the nurse. "I did, yeah."

"Sad, isn't it?" She said. "He was barely 17."

"Sad." I mumbled, stunned. I didn't know what to feel, looking in that window at an unconscious and almost unrecognizable Josh. The part of his face that wasn't hidden under bandages was swollen and badly bruised. There were casts on his leg and both his arms, and he was hooked up to every machine imaginable.

"What happened?" I breathed.

"Car accident." She said. "He was driving drunk last night."

I looked at her with wide eyes. He'd driven with me plenty of times after he'd been drinking. He always said he was fine.

She shook her head, sadly, looking at him.

"They never think it'll happen to them." She sighed. "Now, he'll be lucky if he ever wakes up. Even if he does, he'll never have brain function higher than that of a two year old."

My first thought was that he deserved it. That I was glad. But then I felt guilty for thinking that. I hated him and didn't wish anything good for him, but I couldn't wish this on anyone. Not even him.

"It's just a good thing he didn't hurt anyone else." The nurse said. "He hit a tree. If he'd had another person in the car, they would have been killed instantly."

And then I knew what to feel - lucky. Unbelievably lucky.

"Do you wanna go see him?" She asked.

I shook my head, unable to look away. "No."

The nurse left me and went in the room to check the machines.

"How's that for lucky?" I mumbled, thinking about his father.

"Excuse me?" I jumped when the man next to me spoke.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." I looked over to see Josh's dad. I never met him, but I'd seen his picture.

He watched me sternly and glanced at my stomach, not hiding his disdain at all.

I raised my chin and almost told him not to look so superior since this was his grandchild. But I didn't want him to know. I didn't want him thinking he had any right or obligation to my baby, so I kept my mouth shut.

"I just meant, it's really...unlucky, what happened." I said, wanting to hear what he thought about his 'lucky' son now.

He raised his eyebrow, looking just like Josh. "You believe in luck?" He asked.

"I don't know..." I said, vaguely.

"There's no such thing as luck, my dear. Only consequences." He said. "My son was driving drunk, and this is his consequence." He swept away, into the room.

I stared at the spot where he'd been standing in absolute shock and horror. It was all for nothing! Josh's dad didn't believe in luck. And he sounded much too practical to ever leave anything about his company in his teenage son's control. Everything Josh ever told me was a lie! Daddy's job was never in danger. I'd given him everything, all for nothing!

I couldn't feel my legs and I had to grasp the wall to keep from tipping over as I gasped for air.

I thought I'd been stupid, before. Now I felt completely idiotic.

"Are you alright?" The nurse came rushing back over and tried to steady me.

I couldn't answer. I couldn't think about anything but how incredibly moronic I'd been.

And suddenly, I couldn't focus on anything but the sharp pain shooting across my abdomen. I cried out as I bent over, holding my stomach.

The nurse yelled something to one of the other nurses, but I couldn't pay attention to anything but the pain.

After a few seconds they shoved me into a wheelchair and steered me down the hall.

"Honey, is there someone here with you?" She finally got my attention.

"My family." I gasped when I could speak. "I can't..." I tried. "It's too early!" I couldn't be having this baby, now. I was only eight months. I wasn't ready! And after what I just learned, I really wasn't ready.

"Babies don't really like to listen to when the doctor says they should come." The nurse said, wheeling me into an elevator.

The pain would subside only briefly before it hit again and again. I'd never had a contraction before but I'd been told what they were supposed to be like and something just felt...wrong. And why was it so fast? Shouldn't they be coming at ten minute intervals? Or five at least?

I barely had a minute to rest between them.

I gave the nurse my parent's names and told them where they were when I wasn't doubled over, holding my stomach.

Everything was happening so fast. I couldn't focus long enough to hear what everyone was saying. They rushed me into a room, ripped off my clothes, and put me in a hospital gown.

I thought labor was supposed to last for hours. Why was everything moving so fast?

"Lizzie," The doctor said. "This baby is coming right now, we don't have time to give you pain medication. You're gonna have to start pushing in a minute."

I shook my head, terrified. "I can't." I whimpered. "It's too soon. My mom's not here."

"She's coming." He said. "And so is your baby. It can't wait."

I didn't want to have this baby anymore. And especially not now. I looked away and cried.

The nurse came over to talk to me. "I know you're scared right now." She said. "But think about your baby."

I was. I didn't want a baby. It was one thing knowing I'd acted so stupidly and gotten pregnant when I thought it was accomplishing something. It was completely different to know it was all for nothing.

"Lizzie, you have to help us." The doctor tried.

I shook my head again and they said something about getting instruments ready.

The door opened and Mamma came in, all in scrubs.

"Mamma!" I cried, trying to hug her.

She took my hands instead and looked at me. "Lizzie, you have to start pushing." She said.

"I can't." I said.

"Yes, you can." She said. "You have to."

I closed my eyes for a second before I took a deep breath and shook my head again.

"I'm your mother and I'm telling you to do this. Now."

I tried to do what the doctor said, but I just couldn't find the will to really give it as much energy as I know I needed to. I didn't want a baby and after finding out what I just did, I didn't even want to live anymore. I didn't want to bring home Josh's baby and see it every day. It shouldn't even be here. I didn't want to be reminded of how utterly stupid I'd been and how much I'd ruined everything. Girls died giving birth, right? I wanted that to be me. It would be so much easier than to have to live with myself after this.

"Lizzie." The doctor called to me, but it was sort of slurred. I tried to focus on him, but things just got more and more fuzzy. My head felt so heavy and after another minute, I just gave in and let myself fall into the darkness.


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