Beach Baby
By Amelia Brooks
Date: December 4, 2017
Ch. 22

Two hours later, I’m sipping a decaf mocha latte at a small table in the softly lit Caribou Coffee on the corner of Piedmont and Fifth. Now that I’ve had a little bit of time to digest the information, and despite all the crazy plans and ideas that keep running through my mind, there are two things that I know for sure: I’m keeping the baby and I’m going to take very good care of my pregnant self. Hence, the decaffeinated coffee even though all I feel like doing is laying my head on the table in the middle of this busy coffee shop and continuing my afternoon nap. I’m so tired lately.
Only moments after I’ve sat down, Janna breezes into the shop. Her long brunette hair is pulled back into a low, sophisticated ponytail and her cream pants and black tank top set off her trim, tan body to perfection. I give a little wave, and she smiles and waves back as she goes to the counter to place her order.
When she comes over to the table with her caramel macchiato in hand, she hangs her Coach bag on her chair and sits down, focusing her full attention on me.
“Tenley, you are looking drop dead gorgeous as always.”
I subconsciously touch my slightly-rumpled-from-a-nap highlighted blonde hair.
“Thanks, girl, you are too sweet. You, of course, look stunning.”
She tucks her head at the compliment. She’s always been humble about her obvious beauty.
“So, it’s been months since we talked. I heard about you and Daniel . . . .”
My lip curls down at the mention of his name. Ugh. I am so glad to be rid of him and his slouchy, musician slacker ways. I honestly have no idea why I even dated him as long as I did.
“Yes, but I’m glad it’s over, seriously. He was so not right for me.”
“I agree, Ten. You deserve so much better.”
A wide smile spreads across my face as I think about the “so much better” I now have.
“Thanks, Janna. Actually, I’m seeing someone else now anyway.”
Her eyes convey her surprise. “You are?”
“Yes, I met him at a medical conference almost two months ago, right after the whole Daniel debacle. He’s amazing and perfect and everything I have ever wanted in a man.”
“Tell me all about him!”
I fill her in on meeting Jack, his trip to Atlanta, and our daily phone conversations.
“I’m so happy for you! Does he really want you to pick up and move to Portland?” she asked before taking a sip of her macchiato.
“Yes, he really does, and I’m sort of considering it now.”
“You are? He sounds great, but it’s so soon.”
“I know, Janna, but I’m about to tell you something that I haven’t told anyone else and I’m swearing you to secrecy.” Janna waited with bated breath, leaning in closer to share in my confidence.
“Janna, I’m pregnant. It happened in Mexico and I just found out today,” I say in a near whisper. She looks like I just told her that her hair is on fire.
“What are you going to do?” She whispers back because you never know who might be listening, after all. Atlanta is full of people who know people that know you.
“I--I think I’m going to move to Portland. I don’t want to tell Jack about the baby just yet, it’s too soon in our relationship. But, I want to spend some more time with him and really give us a chance, you know? Then, when the time is right, I can tell him that I’m pregnant.”
As I tell her my possible plan, I know it is the only thing that makes sense for me to do, given my current situation. My parents only know a little about my relationship with Jack, and they would be less than pleased about my unplanned pregnancy. We are a very traditional family from the South; so really, heading to Portland away from prying eyes is truly my best option.
“Wow, that’s a huge life change, Tenley. Are you sure?
“Yes, I’m sure. I’ll put a few feelers out for a job and try to be moved by next month. I’m also going to have to hire my replacement at Dad’s office.”
“Sounds like you’re about to be really busy. I’ll help you as much as I can, you know that.” Janna patted my hand from across the table, looking as if she was glad that she wasn’t me.

Later that night, I call Jack to tentatively talk over my plans with him, leaving out the whole pregnancy part.
“Hey, sweetheart, I’m so happy to hear your voice,” he says after I say hello. A smile spreads across my face at his words. When I talk to him, I just feel happy.
“So, I want to talk to you about something,” I start.
“Anything, babe.”
“I’ve been thinking for a while about moving to Portland, you know, and today, I decided that it’s what I want to do.”
“I’m thrilled to hear you say that, Tenley. You already know how I feel, but I didn’t want to pressure you into making a decision.”
“Oh, I know, and this is completely my decision. I want to be closer to you, and I’m going to start putting my resume out there. As soon as I can get a couple of interviews lined up, I’ll go ahead and make the move.”
“Actually, Tenley, I was going to tell you that Portland Medical, where I work, is hiring an Information and Records Manager. I think with your experience and my recommendation, the job would definitely be yours.”
“Well, the timing is perfect. When did you find out about it?”
Yesterday, but I wasn’t sure about saying anything to you because I didn’t want you to think that I was pushing you to move.”
“Thanks, Jack, I appreciate your not pushing me, I really do. This really must be meant to be with the job opening up and everything, you know?”
“Tenley, job or not, I already know you and I are meant to be.”
His words make me feel warm and tingly all over. This man has no idea how much I love him.
“I love you so much, you know that right?” I ask him, but my words can’t do justice to how deeply I feel.
“I love you too, beautiful. I’ll send you the email address that you will need to send your resume to, and I’ll type up a letter of recommendation for you tonight.”
“I guess I need to start looking for an apartment too.”
“Why? I have plenty of room; just live with me.”
“Jack, as tempting as that idea is, we still have only known each other a very short amount of time, and I think we should still take what few things we can, slowly,” I explain.
“Well, at least stay with me until you find an apartment. We have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Okay, now that’s something I will agree with you about.”
We spend another hour on the phone, filling each other in on the day and conversing about random little things that two people who are in love and don’t want to stop talking to each other and hang up the phone talk about.
Finally, with bleary eyes, I let him go, my head barely hitting the soft white pillow before I am fast asleep.

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