Beck reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out a single car key. “This is to one of the fleet cars. It’s in parking spot twenty-three, the one right by the door into the garage off our stairwell. Just bring it back Monday, okay?”
I let myself into the garage once I arrive at Beck and Tasha’s house, and I’m surprised to see Tasha’s car parked in her spot. She wasn’t supposed to be home yet. Bile rises in my throat, sour and acrid as I swallow it back down. If I don’t do this now, I won’t be able to. I’ll chicken out. I’m going to tell her that not only did I sleep with her dad, that I’m pregnant.
I kick off my shoes in the mud room, hang up the keys on the little hook beside the door, and set off to find Tasha. This has been like a second home to me since childhood; I wander through it as I look for her. She’s not on the main level or up in her bedroom. I’m about to go outside when I hear the faint thump of music from the basement. Taking the back stairs, I go down to the recreation room with its pool table and other games. I find her curled up on the oversized black leather couch.
I plan to tell her, all the potential combinations of possibly right or wrong words spinning through my mind. “Hey, Tasha.”
She’s surrounded by tissues; the end table is littered with them. Tasha is crying now as hard as I was earlier, and my heart sinks. Beck must have told her. She has to know. I go to her, not knowing what else to do, and my eyes burn with my own tears. I hate that I’ve betrayed her trust and caused her this pain.
“Do you remember a little over a month ago, Lia?” she asks.
I nod, kneeling in front of the couch. The words are on the tip of my tongue. I can admit to breaking my promise, even if it breaks her heart. It’ll take time, but I will fight to keep her friendship through this. “I remember.” The words gag me to speak.
“Chris and I hooked up that weekend. Like we planned. But the condom broke,” she squeaks out. “I thought it would be okay. He pulled out right away. I’m pregnant!” Tasha is shaking with the force of her sobs, and launches herself into my arms. Distraught, I pet her hair and comfort her as best as I can. I can’t tell her what’s going on with me and Beck, not with her like this.
I murmur that we’ll figure things out, whispering all the things her father had said to me, just an hour before, to calm me down. She’s so scared about Beck being pissed when he finds out. I have no doubt that he will at least be disappointed, but I hope he won’t take it out on her.
It’s unintentionally funny how things have worked out for Tasha and me. Life is fucking sick.
I’m going to be a father. “I’m going to be a father, again.” I repeat the words to my truck’s rearview mirror, still disbelieving them. It’s not that I think Lia is lying, or even that she did this purposely, I just can’t believe we’re having a baby. My baby is growing inside her. If that isn’t a sign that we should be together, I don’t know what is.
Despite traffic being minimal, I can’t get home fast enough. I have to talk to Lia more, figure out when we can get her into a doctor for a checkup… Is she on vitamins? I need to get her some prenatal vitamins, just in case. I’m going to make sure she and the baby are taken care of as well as they can be. They deserve no less from me.
I swerve into the right lane and quickly take the exit, glad no police are around to ticket me for reckless driving. The fine would be worth it right now, though. She’s going to have my baby! Images flood my mind of her getting round with the baby as it grows, and how I’ll be able to feel the little one moving inside her in a few months. It’s such a magical time, and even though it’s been more than twenty years since I last went through this, I remember.
I remember the first time Tasha kicked hard enough for me to feel through Carrie’s stomach. The first time I held my baby…
Will we have a girl? A boy? Twins? So many questions flood my mind, and I’m practically vibrating with my excitement as I pull into the pharmacy and park my truck. I always wanted more than one child, and while this is not how I expected that to occur, I’m on cloud nine. The engine is still purring to a stop when I jump out and slam the door. I couldn’t hide the skip in my step if I tried, so I let the buoyancy I feel carry me to the store and down to the reproductive health aisle.