Brynne Ross Matthews?” The nurse looks across the waiting room until Michelangelo and I stand up. “Dr. Jones will see you now,” she says with a smile as she holds the door open for us. “So a newly engaged couple and already trying to have a baby. How sweet! If every couple in the nation were like this, we’d have the strongest population in the world!”
I tune her out as she leads us down the hallways. I didn’t know a fertility doctor’s office would be so big.
“Your middle name is Ross?” Michelangelo whispers.
I nod. “Did you miss that last night when we were signing the engagement papers?”
“I was paying more attention to my beautiful fiancée,” he retorts. “And the fact that all the military personnel was there to attend our first engagement party.”
“My parents were two of the most respected military personnel in the world, and I’m their only child. Everyone who knew my parents wanted to attend out of respect for them.”
“Here we are, room 2222,” the nurse says in her chipper voice. “Good luck!” She winks and walks back down the hallway.
I walk into the room first and sit down on the big chair that looks like a cushioned torture device.
“Brynne, what really happened between you and Dean?” Michelangelo asks. “You’ve never been so cold to me before.”
I look down at my faded jeans and tuck my hands beneath my legs. “I’m not going to talk to you about that here. That’s something we’ll talk about later. In a more private place. But just know that he was a terrible man. He didn’t deserve me. He was a demon.”
I shake my head. A knock sounds on the door and saves me from having to answer that question. No one knows what happened to Dean. No one except me.
Michelangelo opens the door and Dr. Jones walks in. She looks exactly like her brother, same thick, blonde hair, same clear lapis eyes, and the same confidence that automatically attracts people to them.
“So Ashely and Abel talked you into carrying their child?” she asks.
“Go ahead, get straight to business, Hannah,” Michelangelo says with a smile.
She shrugs. “We all know the real reason we’re here. I don’t see the point in beating around the bush.”
I smile. She makes me feel better about this whole thing. “So what exactly is going to happen today?”
Dr. Jones lifts up my shirt and pulls my jeans down a bit. “I’m going to take a very long needle, similar to what I’d check the amniotic fluid with, and inject you with Ashley and Abel’s DNA. Then you’ll go home and rest for a few hours, and we’ll do a pregnancy test in a few weeks. After that, you’ll be good to go see a regular prenatal nurse.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to, you know, just shoot her up?” Michelangelo asks, his face turning red.
She smiles. “Under normal circumstances, I believe you’d be the one ‘shooting her up.’ But for this kind of thing, I’m going to use a more direct approach. There’s a better chance of a pregnancy occurring and lasting through this method.”
He walks back across the room and stands next to my chair. “Well this isn’t awkward at all,” he says softly, looking at the white cabinets and posters for child products and prenatal vitamins.
“If it’s that weird for you, you’re welcome to wait outside,” I tell him, unable to take my eyes off the six-inch needle being prepped in front of me.
“That might be alright,” he says at first, then he looks down at my clenched hands and white face. “But you’re absolutely terrified of needles, aren’t you?”
I clench my jaw and nod slowly.
“Then I’ll stay right here. And you can squeeze my hand as hard as you want. I mean, she’s got the stuff for me to make a splint if you break my hand.”
A small smile slips through and I close my eyes tightly. I can hear Dr. Jones’ footsteps as she walks back across the room as Michelangelo grabs my hand.
“Now just hold very still. It’ll hurt more if you tense up or move.”
Eyes still closed tightly, Michelangelo’s hand clenched in mine, she slowly sticks the needle through my skin. I clench my jaw and grind my teeth to keep from screaming. That’s the worst shot I’ve ever had to get. As Dr. Jones extracts the needle, I suddenly feel faint. Hearing Michelangelo call my name is the last thing I hear before I black out.