Chapter Three: Confirmations
I sat waiting in my car in the parking lot of the clinic that was situated just outside of town. I was trying to wait patiently, but every little sound I heard or every time a vehicle would pass by, I thought I would jump right out of my skin. When there came a knock on my window, I jumped out of my seat as I opened the door and climbed out.
“Thank you for coming with me.” I tell her.
“Are you kidding? When you need me, I wouldn't be anywhere else.” she hugs me tightly. “So are you ready for this?”
“Come on. I'll stay with you the entire time.”
“Thank you.” I tell her as we slowly walk towards the front door of the clinic.
As I reach out to open the door so that we can enter the building, Jessi's phone starts to ring. She pulls it out of her purse, glances at the Caller ID, and rolls her eyes.
“Is that my cousin?” I question her.
“Worse.” she sighed as she clicked it on. “Yeah? I told you I was studying. What, are you checking up on me? I'm over eighteen. I have the right to do things without your permission. I'll be home later, all right? I'm not sure when. It all depends on how long it takes for me to get done. Bye.”
“Overprotective family unit, I take it?” I question as she turns her phone off and puts it back into her purse.
“They won't disturb us anymore.” she told me as we finally walk into the clinic.
I scanned the front room anxiously. It was filled with all teenage girls; some pregnant, some cradling a child. It was just so overwhelming that I felt the need to just run right out of there and never look back.
“Can I help you two?” a lady with a clipboard approached us. “Did you have an appointment?”
“No.” Jessi tells her. “We just need a pregnancy test performed. You don't need an appointment for that, right?”
“Of course not.” the lady smiled at us. “Pregnancy tests are performed down the hall. Go into the last room on the right, and ask for Allison.”
“Thank you,” Jessi told her and pulled me down the hall. “You looked like you wanted to run back there.”
“I think I still do.”
“You have to do this. You need to have a definitive test.” I nodded as she led me into a room at the end of the hall and we spotted a girl sitting behind a desk covered in medical papers. “Are you Allison?”
“Yes I am.” she smiled as she looked up at us. “Are you both here for a pregnancy test? Or just one of you?”
“It's just me.” I finally speak up.
“I'm here for moral support.” Jessi tells her.
“Well, there's nothing to be scared of. Everything that happens here is completely confidential.” Allison looks at me. “Right now, I need you to go into the bathroom across the hall and give a urine sample.”
“All right.” I take the package with the plastic cup and go into the bathroom.
A half hour later, I'm sitting in a cushioned chair in an office as Jessi sits in the other cushioned chair right beside me. We're clutching each others' hands as we wait for the doctor to come back in with the results.
“Ok.” the lady from the front building-Sue-came in followed by Allie; she said we could call her that. “The results are back, and they do indicate that you are, in fact, pregnant.”
“I figured I was. I guess I just needed someone to tell me so that it would feel real.” I told them as Jessi held me.
“It's going to be ok.” Jessi assured me. “I'm here for you.”
“And we'll be here for you as well if you let us.” Allison told me as she handed me a thick book. “We give these to all the girls here. It helps you plan for your pregnancy and the baby's future.”
“We want to help you pursue your dreams and goals despite the fact that you're pregnant.” Sue told me. “No matter what you decide to do, we're here to help.”
I tried to listen to them both give me reassurances and information for the next hour as my mind wandered to my family and Johnny. Telling Johnny would be hard enough, but telling my family would be even harder. My brothers were supposed to look up to me as a role model, but what kind of role model am I now that my future was uncertain? And when my aunt and uncle found out-I didn't even want to think about it. My Uncle Emilio always said that it was up to me to break the bad cycle that my mom had caused with my family. I was the one that was supposed to go on to college, get my degree and make something of myself. What would he say when he found out that I was pregnant? I didn't even want to think about it.
A couple hours later, Jessi and I are sitting on a bench at the park where we spent most of our childhood. We watch all the little kids running around carefree as their parents chased after them warning them to be careful. I couldn't help but think that could be me in a few years. Jessi wrapped her arm around me as I lay my head on her shoulder.
“It's going to be ok.” she told me. “And I will be here for you one hundred percent.”
“What about when your family finds out?” I ask her softly.
“Screw my family.” she stated. “We have been friends since before pre-school. If they don't like it, then they can all go to hell.”
“What's going on?” we hear a voice behind us and I turn around to see Cristian standing over us. “Is everything ok?”
“Sure.” Jessi tells him.
“Then explain to me why I'm getting phone calls from your family asking when you'll be done studying and when you're going to be home?”
“She was with me.” I interrupt them. “I had an appointment.”
“And you couldn't go to this appointment by yourself?”
“She needed moral support.” Jessi told him.
“Because I had to find out if I was really pregnant or not after taking a home test.” I blurted out, fed up with all the questions. “Are you happy now?”
“It was just confirmed.” I wiped away my newly-formed tears. “I'd appreciate it if you didn't say anything to your parents until I have a chance to tell my brothers and my mom when she's actually sober.”
“Sure. Your secret is safe with me.”
“I'd better go.” I gathered my things and glanced at Jessi. “I'll call you later.”
I came to as I hear voices murmuring all around me. I tried to focus on what they were saying as it all came back to me. I had arrived home during one of mom's 'episodes'. She found some pregnancy and parenting books that Jessi had gotten for me and figured it out. She confronted me as soon as I opened the door and we got into a big blowout. It was all still a little hazy, but I know that things were thrown until I blacked out. Where was I now? Did my brothers manage to get me to my bedroom? Was the baby ok?
“Is she awake yet?” I hear Ernesto as a door opens.
“Not yet.” Julio answers him back.
“I called Alec. He's on his way.”
“Did you tell him-”
“No. I think she should tell him.”
“We still need to find Elija.”
“What's going on with Elija?” I finally ask as I slowly open my eyes.
I look around and see a pristine white room. I'm in a hospital bed with IV's connected to my arms and a monitor of some kind wrapped around my belly. My brothers Ernesto and Julio are sitting in the chairs on either side of the bed as they looked at me in concerned relief.
“Are you ok, sis?” Julio asks.
“I think so.” I slowly sit up. “Where's Elija?”
“We don't know.” Ernesto told me. “He hid when all the yelling started. We weren't able to find him before we got you out of the house and brought you here.”
“You have to go back and find him.” I stated firmly. “Check the crawl space in our room. It leads to the attic. He always goes there when she starts in on one of her rants.”
Suddenly from out in the hall, we heard a lot of commotion and raised voices. We recognized one of the voices as Alec. Ernesto rushes out and returns a few moments later with him. Alec, upon seeing me in the bed, rushes to me and hugs me tightly.
“Are you ok?” he pulled back and looked me in the eyes.
“Fine. Just a little sore.” I tell him.
“Oh. Sorry.” he pulled back and took inventory of everything. “Sis, what is that around your stomach?”
“I-” I look to Julio and Ernesto and they take the hint and leave the room.
“Is that what I think it is?”
“You-You should probably sit.” I point to the chair next to the bed.
“All right.” he sits down. “I'm sitting. Now what's going on?”
“Alec,” I look over at him. “I-I'm pregnant.”
“Oh.” he takes my hand. “How far along are you?”
“Almost two months.” I say softly as I feel the tears burning at my eyes. “I'm sorry.”
“It's ok.” he sat beside me on the bed and held me. “I'm assuming this is why mom got upset at you?”
“Yeah. I don't remember it all.”
“I do.” Julio came in. “Ernesto went to go find Elija.”
“What happened?” Alec demanded.
“I got home and she was already in one of her moods. I guess she found Lora's pregnancy books and figured it out. She started yelling at us asking if we knew. Then Lora got home and started in on her. They started screaming at each other. Then mom started throwing things at her stomach saying that she would get rid of it for her.”
“I-I don't remember that happening.” I say. “She really said that?”
“She said that if you didn't get rid of it, then you had to leave. She didn't want a slut living in her house.”
“She's one to talk.” I mumble. “At what point did I black out?”
“When she tried to throw a chair at you. You were on the floor at that time. You backed into the door and hit your head on the door knob. After you blacked out, Ernesto shoved mom out of the way and we got you out to your car and brought you here.”
“What about the baby?” Alec asked.
“They ran tests when she was brought in, and they're watching the fetal monitor that's on her stomach.”
“If you're ok for now, I'm going to go find the doctor.”
“I'm ok.” I assure him as he steps out of the room and Julio moved closer to the bed.
“So are you ok?” he asks me.
“Yeah.” I glance at him. “I'm sorry you had to find out this way. I was going to tell all of you tonight. I guess it was stupid to leave those books lying around.”
“We don't think any less of you. And just because you're going to have a baby, doesn't mean that you're going to end up like mom.”
“I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the baby yet.” I reveal. “I mean, abortion is out of the question. I would never destroy a life because of a mistake that I did. But I'm not really sure if I want to keep it either. I mean, I'm a teenager. I don't have the resources to take care of a baby by myself.”
“I understand.” Julio sat down beside the bed. “I'll be here for you, sis. No matter what.”
“Thank you.” I manage to smile at him as his cell phone goes off.
“It's Jessica.” he tells me as he hands the phone to me. “She's probably looking for you anyway.”
“Jessi?” I click it on.
“Lora! Thank god! Are you all right?”
“Not really.” I sniffle. “Something happened. I'm in the hospital.”
“Oh my god. I'm on my way. And Cristian's with me, so he's probably going to be coming with me as well.”
“Ok. I'll see you both soon.” I hang up and hand the phone back to Julio as the door opened and Alec came in with a doctor.
“Lora, I'm Dr. White. I was the one that examined you when you came in.”
“Am I ok? And the baby?” I ask, close to tears again.
“We ran all the necessary tests and they all came back showing that the baby is ok at this point. But we would like to keep you overnight and run all the tests again in the morning and see how it is in the morning.”
“Ok.” I say softly.
“We're going to keep the fetal monitor on just in case. So for now, just stay relaxed and get some sleep.”
“I'll try.” I tell him as he leaves the room.
It was quiet in the room for awhile until the door burst open and Jessi came in followed by Cristian. Jessi rushed to the bed and embraced me gently.
“I can't believe she did this to you. Are you ok?”
“I'm all right.” I tell her. “It was stupid of me to leave those books lying around.”
“I should've just kept them with me until you were able to tell them all.”
“And let your family think that they're yours if they found them? They already don't like that you're dating my cousin. They would've killed him over this.”
“I would've taken one for the team.” Cristian assured me and I smiled at him.
“This was no one's fault except mom's.” Julio stated as the door burst open again and Elija ran into the room followed by Ernesto.
“You were right. I found him in the crawl space.” Ernesto said as Elija climbed onto the bed beside me.
“Are you ok?” Elija hugged me.
“I'm ok.” I smile at him.
“I got scared when mom started yelling. Then she was throwing things.”
“Everything is going to be fine.” Alec stated firmly. “First thing in the morning, I'm filing for temporary custody of all of you.”
“Your place isn't big enough for all of us.” I look over at him.
“His place is bigger than mom's house.” Ernesto stated. “We could make it work.”
“I need to get custody granted to me first.” Alec told them as a nurse came into them.
“All right. Visiting hours are over now. I allowed it because you were all so worried, but you all have to leave so that Lora can get her rest.”
“I'm staying.” Alec stated as he looked at our brothers. “You three can go to my place for the night. Just don't mess it up.”
“Come on, Squirt.” Ernesto took his hand as Alec handed him the key. “We'll be safe tonight.”
“You can take my car.” I tell them. “Just be careful with it.”
“I should get back home, too.” Jessi stood up.
“Cristian, don't say a word to your parents.” Alec told him. “We'll tell them in a few days after everything calms down a little bit.”
“They won't hear it from me.” he promised as he leaned down to give me a hug. “Get some rest.”
“I will.” I watched them all leave and Alec sat down in the chair by my bed again.
“Come on. Get some sleep.” he turned out the light. “We'll deal with everything in the morning.”
“I'll try.” I sigh as I adjusted the bed and closed my eyes.
All I could think about, though, was what would happen in the morning. Would my mother pull all her old tricks and convince the judge that we should stay with her? I hope against all hope that Alec manages to get custody of us. I've wanted it to happen for years. It's just too bad that it takes my mother attacking me to make it happen. I finally drifted off, thinking about all the plans that I would have to start making. It was enough to stress me out, which is the one thing that I didn't need. Hopefully, the morning would bring good news for me and my brothers. That was the thought that I fell asleep to, thinking about how great it would be to stay with my big brother.