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By:Jana Aston

I center the envelope on the table in front of me. “Why didn’t I?” I ask, looking up at Boyd.

“My mother,” he answers with a grimace. “She had it buried. She knew with our father’s death that no one else knew about you. She didn’t count on a paper trail that would come back to haunt her.”

I blow the air out of my lungs. “I’m a mess, Boyd. I’m pregnant,” I blurt out and continue in a rush. “I’m pregnant. I’m just like my mother. I’m repeating the cycle! I’m gonna have a baby just like me. And half this baby’s family will pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Boyd leans back in the booth and tilts his head. “Are you pregnant with a married senatorial candidate’s baby?”

“No. Don’t be ridiculous. Luke’s the only affair I’ve had. The baby is Luke’s.”

“Luke’s married?”


Boyd shakes his head. “Do we need to have a come-to-Jesus moment, little sister? How are you anything like our father and your mother?” Boyd asks, leaning his elbows on the table top.

“Because it wasn’t planned, Boyd. Luke doesn’t want a baby. And his family hates me.”

“Is that what Luke said?” Boyd scowls. “Is that what he said when you told him?”

“Well, no. He knew before I did.” Boyd’s eyebrows rise at this. “And technically he’s the one who told me.”

“And then he offered to set up a trust fund for the baby’s eighteenth birthday and kicked you out?”

“No! Then I left before he had the chance.”


“I just, I feel like a burden. He didn’t ask for this.”

“Neither did you, Sophie. But you got in this together and you haven’t even given him the courtesy of discussing it like the adults you both are.”

Hmm. He has a point.

“You don’t need Luke, Sophie. If he’s not interested in participating in this baby’s life, you’ve got plenty of options in that envelope right in front of you, and you’re graduating in a couple of months. You don’t need anyone to take care of you. And no one is running you off except for you. Talk to Luke.”

Chapter 34

The cab drops me off outside the main entrance at Baldwin Memorial. The electronic doors whoosh open before me and I pause for a moment on the sidewalk. This is it. I need to talk to Luke and find out exactly what he's thinking. I'm having a baby, his baby. It wasn't in my plans, but it's happening all the same.

I take a deep breath. The sky is clear today, the air crisp with the promise of spring around the corner. It occurs to me how much is about to change. Graduation is in May, I'll be moving off campus, and sometime this fall I'll be a mother. I falter for a second on that thought. I'm going to be a mother—not someday, but this year—and the idea terrifies me.

I will be leaving a hospital, maybe this one, with a newborn baby thrust into my arms. I know I won't be a terrible mother, but what if I'm not a good one? What if I'm just passable at it? What if it doesn't come naturally to me and I make questionable parenting choices? What if I have to do this all alone?

The doors whoosh again and I take in a gulp of fresh air and walk inside. I bypass the welcome desk and head straight for the elevators, intent on my destination. The energy inside the hospital is so different from outside. It's sterile, sure, but palpable. It occurs to me as I hit the call button that I don't know for certain that Luke is here. I'm usually in class on Friday afternoons. Luke is here most of the time, as far as I can tell.

I exit the elevator on Luke's floor and make my way to his office, the smell of antiseptic stinging my nose.


The doctor from my stay here a couple of weeks ago approaches. "Sophie," she repeats. "I'm Dr. Kallam. I treated you when you were here," she says, searching my face for recognition. "Are you here to see me or Luke?"

Oh, right, she wanted to see me for a followup.

"Yes, I remember you, Dr. Kallam. I'm here to see Luke, but I guess I need to make an appointment with you? I have no idea what I'm doing," I find myself confessing, touching my stomach. Am I already messing this up? "I…" I pause. "Is it okay?" I look at Dr. Kallam for reassurance. "I'm not supposed to be doing anything special yet, am I?"

Dr. Kallam smiles at me. She's a beautiful woman, about Luke's age. I feel a twinge of annoyance that Luke is surrounded by so many attractive women at work, all more competent than me in this baby business.

"It's still early, Sophie. I'd like you to start a prenatal vitamin, cut out any alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of rest. That's enough for now and you'll need to start regular appointments with your primary OBGYN."