Her heart pounded and she felt the suffocation of a world closing in on her. She could see the lips moving and hear the sound but she could not make sense of it. It was as though what she was hearing was in a foreign language and the voice speaking was a distorted garble coming from a distant place.
“Miss Page, are you alright?”, the doctor asked gently as the petite young woman stared at him, shocked. “This is good news that should be celebrated with your partner. Would you like to know the gender?”
Tiffany shook her head emphatically, trying to block out the words that have enveloped her mind. Those words she was still too disoriented to utter, “Tiffany Page, you are pregnant! You are going to have a baby!” This news was totally unexpected as she had only visited the doctor because she felt discomfort from what she suspected was urinary tract infection.
Blinking back tears, her voice choking, Tiffany finally stuttered, “H-h-how could I be pregnant doctor?”,. “I just started a new relationship and have not been intimate yet, ... I can't possibly be pregnant.”.
The doctor smiled down at her from his perch on the edge of the large wooden desk. He adjusted his stethoscope before replying calmly, “That may very well be Miss Page, but what about your past relationship? It is possible that you became pregnant before you met your current partner”
“Oh my God, ….Doug!”, Tiffany gasped, her heart sinking in dismay. Two months ago, Tiffany walked out of her relationship with Douglas Andrews, a handsome businessman she met at a Marketing Conference in New York. The romance was intense, as Tiffany was drawn into the captivating charm of this charismatic man who did not spare any expenses in wining and dining her. When she introduced him to her parents last Fall, they were ecstatic that finally, their daughter was settling down and marriage may soon be in the air. Tiffany convinced herself that Douglas was the man she would spend the rest of her life with.
Eight months later, Tiffany's world was shattered when she left her office early to surprise her fiance at his apartment, and caught him in bed making mad passionate love with another woman. Tiffany later discovered that the bastard was cheating the whole time he was with her! Tiffany's pain was amplified by the fact that the other woman in bed with her man that day was her best friend, Brittany Standbridge. Hurt and angry, Tiffany stopped speaking to her friend, despite Brittany's many apologetic phone messages and pleas for forgiveness. As far as Tiffany was concerned, they may both play house together, and leave her out of it! She absolutely would have nothing to do with that lying cheat ever again!
Tiffany swallowed hard before speaking, her mouth had become suddenly dry. “Doctor, please run the test again and tell me I'm not pregnant.”
Doctor Barnes placed a reassuring hand on Tiffany's shoulders and smiled. “You may not like what you're hearing now, but the fact is, you are eight weeks pregnant and you need to tell the father of your child as well as your current partner.”
Tiffany recoiled from the doctor's hand, as one would from an unpleasant touch. The doctor does not understand my predicament, no one does, she thought in anguish. “Doctor, I don't care what you think, I won't tell that cheating skunk of a father about his child, and I can't possibly tell Roger about this pregnancy. What would he think of me? Couldn't you do something doctor?”, the young woman asked desperately. Although she had never thought about an abortion, facing Roger with news of an unplanned pregnancy for someone else was not an easy option either.
Dr. Barnes adjusted his glasses on his nose before saying, “take my advice and tell your child's father. He deserves to be a part of this. As for your current partner, Roger, is it?, you shouldn't wait for someone else to tell him about your pregnancy.”
Over the days following the shocking news of her pregnancy, Tiffany was in emotional turmoil as the anger at being pregnant for a cheat alternated with an intense fear of facing her new love, Roger with the news. She was determined not to call Douglas about his baby. That bastard does not deserve to know, no matter what Doctor Barnes said! she thought bitterly.
Tiffany felt foolish and dirty. Here she was, a thirty year old woman who was behaving no better than a schoolgirl who was hiding an unwanted pregnancy from her parents. Tiffany realized with embarrassment that she had not actually called her parents with the news yet. “Damn it! I'm no better than a tramp. How could I be so stupid?”, she berated herself as she sat in front of her bathroom mirror, the make up kit lying open on the counter, forgotten.
Tiffany's heart was not into her office. As the owner of her own public relations company, Tiffany was free to take days if she chose. She desperately wanted to just curl up in bed and sleep and never wake up. Tiffany did not want to face anyone now, least of all, Roger. Whenever Roger called, she avoided any mention of her pregnancy.
When Roger Baines walked into Tiffany's life a month ago, it was like magic. It was about four weeks after her bitter breakup with Doug and Tiffany was still hurting from the betrayal of her ex boyfriend and her ex best friend. The last person she wanted to speak to that day was a new guy who wanted to start a relationship with her. But something about the warm smile that spread across the ruggedly handsome face of this tall, broad shouldered man melted her heart and Tiffany could not help returning his smile.
“So, what is troubling this angel today? Is it something that I could fix over coffee?”, he smiled, his grey/blue eyes twinkling as he came closer to where Tiffany was sitting alone at a corner table in the cafe. Tiffany laughed despite her sullen mood, “I doubt you can do anything about what I'm going through, not with coffee anyway.”
“Why not?”, Roger asked warmly, “I can tell that something is bothering you and if you would allow me, I would mend that broken heart of yours and dry your tears.”
“Is that what you say to every woman you meet?”, Tiffany smiled.
“No. I only say that to a girl sitting alone in a cafe, at lunch time, even though the room is full”, he grinned. “By the way, I'm Roger Baines, at your service.”
Tiffany smiled, and was surprised at how easy it was to relax in the company of this man who had managed, in just a few minutes to let her forget the reason she was so gloomy moments before.
“Tiffany...Tiffany Page”, she said.
From that fateful lunch time meeting at the Cafe, Tiffany and Roger became almost inseparable. Tiffany found herself looking forward to his phone calls, flowers, and invitations on dates. Even her colleagues at work noticed the change that came over Tiffany and soon the compliments came. “You go boss. You're looking good. Who is he?”, “Something sure is working with you, I'll like to meet that lucky guy!”, “Wow, Tiffany, you are glowing today. Who's your secret?” Tiffany was giddy and light headed. She caught herself thinking of Roger and the moments they shared and smiled as she gazed on the latest text message from him. Her mood was upbeat and chirpy and it became quite obvious to everyone, and to Tiffany herself that she was deeply in love with Roger Baines.
Tiffany's fear grew with each passing day and as she drove to work, the strong reds, browns and orange of Fall did not soothe her trepidation. Normally, Fall was Tiffany's favorite time of year as the change in the leaves signaled the coming of winter. Tiffany remembered how as a child she and her two sisters would enjoy romping in the leaves, much to their father's exasperation, since he had raked the leaves into heaps for collection into bags for disposal. As an adult, Tiffany still loved the Fall leaves and would go to the park just to admire the many colors and feel the leaves crackling with each step as she walked on the colorfully covered ground.
Pregnant, and scared, Tiffany did not notice the trees waving in the breeze with their remaining leaves as she drove. Tiffany was anxious to go home, back to bed. When the phone rang later at the office while she reviewed an advertisement prepared by the Copy writing Department, Tiffany absently answered, “Public Relations Solutions, This is Tiffany Page...”
Tiffany's heart sank, and her throat became suddenly dry. It was Roger, and she knew immediately that something was bothering him.
“Tiffany, we need to talk, and I will not take “no” for an answer. Meet me at the park in an hour.”
Tiffany hesitated, unsure how to respond. When Roger spoke like this, Tiffany knew better than to give him an excuse. She might as well meet with him and get it over with.
“Tiffany, do you hear what I just said?”, Roger asked again. Tiffany noticed an icy edge to his tone that sent a shiver down her spine.
“Yes. I'll meet you in an hour.”
When Tiffany arrived at the park to the bench where she and Roger had previously spent many pleasant hours, she became apprehensive when she saw Roger's tall figure pacing impatiently by the bench.
“Roger, I came as soon as I could...”, Tiffany began, but stopped suddenly as she saw Roger's expression.
“Why do you keep putting me off? What are you hiding?", he asked, pained.
Tiffany was stunned. She had not expected the intensity of her boyfriend's tone and as she looked into his face, her heart beat rapidly as she saw the pained look in Roger's eyes. Oh God, he thinks I'm avoiding him!, she thought crestfallen. Roger stepped closer to Tiffany and towered over her petite frame. Tiffany took an involuntary step backward and almost tripped. Roger reached out to hold her gently and together they sat on the bench.
“I notice how quickly you change the subject every time I mention us going out together. You even sound evasive on the phone whenever I called. Is it something I did?”, Roger asked earnestly as he held Tiffany's hands gently in his own.
Tiffany was relieved, "No darling", she said, "it's nothing you did, it's just that I have been busy lately and...things are happening too fast, that's all." Tiffany hated to lie to Roger like this but she was still too afraid to tell him about her pregnancy. She hoped that Roger would not press her any further and accept what she was telling him. Roger however persisted, "No. Something is bothering you and it's as though you are keeping something from me. What is it?"
"Roger...please, don't do this. I needed some space so I think we should just take things a little slower.", Tiffany said desperately. Why did I just say that? her brain screamed.
Roger looked at Tiffany for a long moment, saying nothing as he slowly withdrew his hand from hers. The look of disappointment in his eyes tugged at Tiffany's heart but she said nothing. "I don't know what is coming over you Tiffany, but just know that I love you and that's the only reason I am giving you this space.", Roger said.
Tiffany's regret grew as the days passed since her rendezvous with Roger in the park. She should not have so callously brushed her love aside just to delay the inevitable. She realized that if she did not call Roger quickly and confess her love for him and tell him the truth, she would lose him forever. With a lump in her throat and her heart pounding with a mix of excitement and fear, Tiffany picked up the phone. The moment Roger answered, Tiffany felt relief that he was still at home, "Please don't hang up. We need to talk. I have something to tell you".
Two hours later, Roger arrived at Tiffany's apartment and both lovers fell into a passionate embrace. "I missed you!" both said almost in unison. They laughed at that awkward moment before Roger said, "Tiffany, when you called you said you had something to tell me." Tiffany backed away from Roger's embrace and sat on her couch. Roger came closer and sat beside her, "It's OK baby, you can tell me.", he whispered.
Tiffany's chest and shoulders heaved and before she could stop herself, the tears came out in a flood. All the pain, the anguish of self blame and hate, the shame of being pregnant for a cheater who had betrayed her with her former best friend, and her fear of revelation were washed away by her tears. But Roger was stunned and said nothing. He slowly eased Tiffany from his soothing embrace as she was sobbing on his shoulders, and looked into her tear stained face.
"You are pregnant! Is this what you were hiding all along?", he finally asked.
Tiffany sobbed, "Darling, I really wanted to tell you but I was afraid. Please believe that."
"I wanted to believe that but do you blame me if I find that hard to believe? What else are you not telling me? That you got pregnant while we were together?, Roger said in a hurt tone.
Tiffany was stunned at her lover's accusation, and for a moment she could not speak.
Roger asked again, hurt more clearly in his voice, "Tell me that you didn't get pregnant while we were seeing each other! Who is he?"
Tiffany stood up suddenly, her anger suddenly on the surface, "How dare you Roger Baines! How dare you think that I could have gotten pregnant while we were together? What kind of slut do you think I am?", she yelled.
"Baby....Baby", Roger protested but Tiffany was fuming.
"Get out! Get the hell out of my apartment!", Tiffany strode to the door and threw it open, "Just get out!"
Roger tried again to say something, to placate the obviously upset Tiffany but she did not want to hear from him. Roger left the apartment and Tiffany slammed the door behind him.
Tiffany had not wanted things to go this way and she realized that this pregnancy was complicating things with her love Roger. It was moments later that Tiffany stood at the door and sobbed.
Everything seem dark and gloomy since the argument with Roger, and Tiffany's depression increased with each passing day. Not wanting to get out of bed and face the world is her constant mood. At work, Tiffany continued her daily routine in auto pilot, not caring that her coworkers were noticing how forlorn she was. "I wished I did not tell Roger about this." she thought as she looked at the phone, willing it to ring.
The ringing telephone jolted Tiffany and she quickly grabbed it hoping it was Roger. The pleasant voice on the other end was unmistakable.
"Roger?", she gasped.
"Tiffany, we really need to talk this over. We must meet." he said.
"Where do you want us to meet?"
"Let's go to the cafe. Can we meet in an hour?"
"Certainly, lets do that." Tiffany replied, her relief clear in her lightened mood.
Roger's call felt good and Tiffany's excitement rose as the hour approached. She went to the ladies room and freshened up, her thoughts a mix of excitement and dread about what Roger had to say in less than half an hour's time. As she made her way to the cafe, which was in walking distance from her office, Tiffany thought of the words she would say to Roger when they meet.
Roger stroked Tiffany's curly, brown hair and spoke soothingly, “You know I would mend that broken heart of yours and dry your tears.”
Tiffany looked up with tear stained eyes, and smiled. Her full, kissable lips, with minimal make up, widening as her smile grew, revealing a pair of dimples on her chocolate brown face.
“I was afraid you would reject me...I didn't want to lose you Roger..”, Tiffany cried.
Roger laughed, “Tiffany Page, on the day I met you I vowed to myself that nothing would tear us apart. Not even this.”
Tiffany could not believe how lucky she was to have a man like Roger, and she realized with a tinge of regret that she had not trusted their love enough to tell Roger her secret. Roger's grey/blue eyes twinkled as he cupped Tiffany's face and brought his lips closer to her trembling lips and kissed her passionately.
“I love you Tiffany Page”, Roger breathed.
“I love you Roger Baines”, Tiffany replied breathlessly.
“So, let's go get some coffee.”, Roger smiled warmly.
“You know, I can't have coffee because I'm pregnant.”, Tiffany smiled.
Roger gently lifted Tiffany to her feet and playfully rubbed her stomach, which had not started to show yet. Tiffany laughed, really laughed for the first time in days as she walked beside the man whom she vowed silently to love unconditionally and never keep secrets from again.