Chapter 10: Weird

Taylor fixed a late dinner, and was cleaning up when I ventured upstairs. I changed into a nightgown and dug through the bags of books I had purchased to find the one I wanted.

I folded down the blankets on the bed and sat down, crossing my legs Indian style.

I opened “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and began reading.

Taylor finally came upstairs and flopped down next to me on the bed.

“How are you feeling now?” He asked gently.

“Umm… weird.”

“Weird?” He frowned.

“Well… It’s… it’s kind of a weird knowing that… I’m growing little people in side of me… I think I really need to get used to that.”

“I know. I get that.” He nodded. “It’s really going to be weird when the babies start kicking and everything, right?”

I chewed my lip. “Hopefully I’ll be used to the idea by then.”

“How’s the book?” He asked with a grin.

“Quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in my life. It’s so… old fashioned and mushy. I want actual information, something that’s going to help me, not make me feel all warm and fuzzy.”

Taylor grinned. “Okay. Want another book to read then?”

“No, no. I… I think I’m going to go to bed. I’m exhausted.” I replied. “You can’t stop grinning can you?”

He chuckled. “No, actually. I can’t. I’m really really happy. I’m thrilled.”

“I am too…” I answered. “I know it probably seems like I’m not right now, but I know how much I want this—how much we both want this—and I think that once I get over the initial shock, I’m going to be so happy.”

“Good. I’m very glad to hear that you’re happy.” He sat up and leaned toward me, pressing a kiss to my forehead. “I’ll join you in a minute.” He promised, pushing himself up from the bed.

I watched him walk into the bathroom with a smile on my face.

When he was out of sight, I carefully placed one hand over my stomach and frowned. How had I not noticed the changes before? I was definitely showing, it didn’t make sense even if I was trying to gain weight. All of the weight was in my stomach, not anywhere else.

For three months I had been pregnant and I hadn’t even known. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t known. Anyone else would have known right away that something was up. But for so long, I thought this would never happen, I was just in denial all those months. My body still hadn’t returned to normal, I was expecting weird things.

“Emma? Honey? Are you okay?” Taylor asked, coming back into he room with a frown on his face.

I looked up at him and nodded. “Yeah, fine… just trying to feel… not so weird.”

He smiled and climbed into bed next to me.

I lay next to him and waited for him to arrange his arms around me the way he did every night.

Instead, he lightly brushed my hair back in the darkness.

“You know,” I said suddenly. “I was just thinking… I’ve been pregnant for three months… so that means, it must have happened on our honeymoon, right?”

I could practically hear the smile in his voice. “Yeah… yeah, that’s right. I didn’t even think about that.”

I nodded, “I think that makes this even more special… that’s corny isn’t it?”

“No, not at all.” He answered earnestly. He lightly touched my stomach, moving his hand back and forth.

“See? Weird.” I prompted.

He chuckled. “No, I just… I don’t know, maybe I didn’t quite believe it myself but now… it’s definitely real. I can’t believe I never noticed either. I mean, there’s definitely something there… you’re normally so skinny… too skinny and now…”

“Gee, thanks Tay.” I replied sarcastically.

“No, no. I didn’t mean it like that!” He said quickly.

I smiled. “No, I know what you meant…. I was so freaked out today when I put on a pair of pants and I couldn’t get them done up… I… I guess I’m going to need all new clothes.” I mused.

“Right. We could do that tomorrow, before we tell our families the news,” He offered, his arms moving around me gently.

“I hate shopping for clothes.” I bit my lip to keep from laughing, he was tickling me.

Taylor laughed. “You’re the weirdest girl I know.”

I sighed, too tired to even respond to his joke.

“You’re tired. Get some sleep. You’ve had a long day, and tomorrow will probably be stressful too. My mom is probably going to cry.”

“Oh, no.” I gasped. “Does she not want us to have kids or something?”

“Are you kidding?” He laughed. “She’ll be thrilled about a grandchild. I think she’ll cry from joy.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Good… I mean, not about the crying part but… well, you know.”

“I know.” He leaned over and gently kissed my nose. “Get some rest, sweetie.”

“Okay.” I nodded.

“Good night.”

“Night.” I mumbled, already feeling the pull of sleep drag me in.

“Sleep well,” was the last thing I heard before falling into a deep slumber.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I was seeing our wedding day in third person. I was standing in the middle of the small church Taylor and I had married in, surrounded by the same guests that attended out wedding. The wedding party was the same, and I could clearly pick out Taylor and myself standing at the alter before a priest.

I knew the dress I had on, and I recognized the loving expression Taylor had on his face. I knew he loved me unconditionally and he was very happy as he smiled down upon me, even though my face was covered by a veil.

I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. But it wasn’t so much that something wasn’t right. It was more of a feeling that something was definitely wrong.

I wanted to walk closer to the ceremony, but I was frozen in the center of the aisle.

The bride and groom ahead of me said their vows, I recognized both my voice and Taylor’s.

At last the priest announced us husband and wife and that he could kiss me.

Taylor grinned down at me and lifted my veil. However, when the face came into view, it wasn’t me.

A perfectly-set cascade of blonde curls came bouncing from the veil and Taylor leaned toward her. He lightly stroked her face and leaned down to kiss her.

The room full of people erupted in cheers. I wanted to scream, I wanted to yell at them all, and tell them that this was wrong. It wasn’t me up there. Taylor was supposed to be marrying me, not someone else. It was all wrong.

I couldn’t move, and I had no voice to shout with. I was frozen, as I watched the couple turn toward me with huge smiles on their faces.

I gasped silently. No!

The priest announced the bride and groom as Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Hanson, and they both came toward me.

The face that went with the blonde curls came into view and I knew immediately who it was.

Mandy.

~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~

I woke with a start and gasped loudly, shoving myself into a sitting position in bed. I gasped frantically for breath, keeling over with my hand on my chest.

It was a dream. It was all just a dream. Taylor never married Mandy.

I touched the rings on the third finger of my left hand. My wedding band and my engagement ring were still there. He was still my husband, not hers.

I felt two arms slip around my shoulders. “Emma, what’s wrong?” Taylor asked groggily.

I jumped, wrenching from his arms.

“No, no. It’s just me.” He soothed quickly. “It’s okay…”

“It… it was just a dream.” I said out loud.

“What was, sweetie? Are you okay?”

I nodded, swallowing thickly. My mouth was painfully dry.

“Did you have another nightmare?”

I nodded, feeling tears spring to my eyes. “Yes.” I breathed, hoarsely.

“Let me get you some water, Em.” I felt the blankets move as he tried to get out of bed.

“No!” I gripped his arm tightly. “Stay! Please?!”

“Of course…” He said quickly. He pulled me into his arms, stoking my hair. “Shh… shh… it’s okay. Just a dream.”

I sobbed softly. “It was so real!”

“I know it was, sweetie. But it’s over now…” He said. His voice was so smooth, it was like music. It had an instant calming effect on me.

I nodded.

“Everything is going to be okay. I’m here, and nothing will ever happen to you. I love you, more than anything else in the world.”

This was really all I needed to hear. I began to calm slowly.

Very gently, he began rocking me back and forth. And before long, I was asleep again, tucked safely and tightly into his arms.

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