Beach Baby
By Amelia Brooks
Date: November 27, 2017
Ch. 11

For a brief moment, the whole room spins around me. Even though I had already suspected what the doctor had just confirmed, hearing the words out loud really brought the point home.
“I’m six weeks pregnant,” I repeat, still having an incredibly hard time believing the life altering news. I absently place my hand on my stomach. It’s mind blowing to believe that I have a life growing inside of me.
Dr. Jenkins studies my chart as she answers. “Yes, Tenley, you certainly are, and according to my calculations, your baby’s due date will be November sixteenth. Do you have any other questions or concerns?”
My mind is totally overtaken by the monumental news that I’ve just received. I can’t, for the life of me, think of formatting an actual question. I shake my head in silence.
“All right, then. We’ll see you again at your twelve week mark for your first ultrasound. Lucinda, at the front desk, will schedule the scan for you on your way out.” She gives me a reassuring smile, and I force myself to smile back. I don’t want my personal problems to get in the way of my ability to be polite. After all, it’s not her fault I’m pregnant.
I gather up my purse and stuff my cell phone that has just beeped to let me know that I have a new text message, into my jeans pocket. My main concern right now is just getting out of this doctor’s office as fast as humanly possible. I stop by the desk, make my appointment, and high tail it out of the air conditioning into the humid heat that’s already pushing the temperature towards ninety, despite the fact that May has barely started.
I’m pretty sure that I’m in some sort of numbing shock as I fumble to get into the driver’s seat of my Honda Accord. I can’t figure out what exactly it is that I’m supposed to do, or where I’m supposed to be going right now. The beep of my smartphone, reminding me of the text message I have yet to check, brings me back to a semi state of reality.
I pull the phone out of the pocket of my jeans, and check the message. It’s from Jack and it reads, “Just thinking about you, Ten. I love you.”
I can’t answer him back right now --I’m still reeling from the news that I’ve just received. I rest my forehead on the steering wheel, hoping to make some sense out of my life at the moment. Six weeks ago, after breaking it off with my cheating boyfriend, I had met the man of my dreams on a resort in Mexico. We started a whirlwind romance that we were still trying to make work, despite the fact that I live in Atlanta and he is a doctor, living in Portland. The cross country relationship has so far worked okay enough; probably because we are both crazy, head over heels, in love with each other. Jack Kelly is “the one” for me and I have known it for six weeks now.
Thinking back over our wonderfully romantic week in paradise, I remember the blissful afternoon that has now left me pregnant with Jack’s child. It had happened in the ocean right off of a secluded beach. It was a romantic little side romp during our jet ski expedition, and the one time during the whole entire trip that we hadn’t used protection. I rest my head against the back of my seat and put my hands over my face. I’m angry with myself for getting too caught up in the moment to think about the consequences. Especially since, six weeks later, there are now major consequences.
There is one question that keeps continually coming to the forefront of my mind, pushing ahead of all other thoughts. Should I tell Jack about the baby? After all, it is his child. But, I’ve only known him for a little over six weeks, and our relationship is still so new and vulnerable. I know I will tell him at some point, but the thought scares me. As of this very moment, the only thing that I know for sure is that I can’t sit in my car in the middle of the doctor’s office parking lot for the rest of the day.
My hand is still shaking, and it takes a second for me to get the key in the ignition. The music blasts when the car comes to life, and the loud song helps to deter the deluge threatening to take over my brain. When I’m finally pulling out of the lot, I decide to head to my apartment instead of back to work. As the office manager for my father, a plastic surgeon, I can do that. The other girls up front know that I was going to the doctor, so not coming back in isn’t really that big of a deal. I’m thinking I might just want to spend the day on my couch with movies and junk food.
As I drive to my Midtown apartment, I reminisce about Jack’s visit to see me a couple of weekends ago. We had an absolute blast together --we caught a Braves game, ate onion rings and cheeseburgers at the Varsity, heard a great band playing live in the Highlands as we shared a bottle of wine, and made sure to spend plenty of time lying in each other’s arms in my apartment. Thinking about all of the great times we had together makes me miss him that much more.
Now, in light of my current circumstances, I know that something is going to have to give. The sporadic visits and phone conversations are not going to be enough. It’s my turn to head to Portland, which I’m planning on doing in two weeks, but it seems as if a more permanent relocation option is in my near future. Jack has been asking me to move to Portland since our week in Mexico, his asking based on the claim that he knows that we’re meant to be together, and that he would have immediately moved to Atlanta if he wasn’t in a contract with the hospital in Portland.
I need to talk to someone about all of this, including my most recent shell shock. But who? I’m definitely not going to tell Jack about the pregnancy yet. As I ride the elevator up to my ninth floor apartment, I scroll through my address book looking for inspiration. I find it quickly as I remember my favorite confidant. Pressing the “call” button, I hear the recipient answer within seconds.
“Hello?” The sweet voice inquires.
“Hey Janna! It’s Tenley.”
“Tenley! How are you doing? It’s been forever!”
“I know, it’s been way too long. Listen, I would love to have coffee and catch up on life. Are you free today?”
“I have a nail appointment in twenty, but after that I’d love to meet up. How about Caribou’s on Piedmont at four?”
“Perfect, Janna. I’ll see you then.”
We hang up, and I smile as I toss my phone and keys into the basket on my kitchen counter. Slipping out of my wedge sandals and laying down on the couch, I decide to take a little nap before the coffee date with one of my oldest and dearest friends.
Janna and I had met in grade school and maintain one of those amazing friendships where no matter how long we go without talking, we can pick up like we have never left off and tell each other anything. Janna was the perfect person with which to talk through my major issues.

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