In New York City, there’s one thing you can depend on. Expect. It’s not the mail, or the kindness of your fellow man.
It’s rush-hour traffic. Never fails. It’s what I’m sitting in right now.
Bumper to bumper.
I tried calling Delores three times to fill her in on my covert operation, but she didn’t answer. Cell phones aren’t allowed in the lab. I also haven’t seen Drew since he walked out of my office, and that’s a good thing. I really don’t want to talk to him until I know what I’m dealing with.
When you’re alone in a practically unmoving vehicle, there’s really not much to do.
Can you guess what I’m thinking about? Even the strongest dam is going to crack eventually.
Scarlett O’hara has left the building.
Did you ever hear the story about Delores’s father? It’s a doozy.
When we were young, Amelia told Delores that her daddy just couldn’t live with them. She kept it simple—kind. But when she was older, Delores got the full story.
Amelia grew up in California. Can’t you just picture it? Amelia the surfer chick—young and tan, lean and laid back.
When she was seventeen, she met a guy at the Santa Monica Pier—dark hair, chiseled arms, and eyes the color of jade. his name was Joey Martino. They had an instant “connection,” and like Juliet before her, Amelia fell fast and hard.
Then it came time for Joey to move on, and he asked Amelia to come with him. her mother told her if she walked out the door, she wouldn’t be allowed to walk back in.
Amelia hugged her little sister good-bye and hopped on the back of Joey’s harley. About six weeks later, they were passing through Greenville, Ohio.
And Amelia realized she was pregnant.
Joey took the news well, and Amelia was thrilled. Now they’d be a real family.
But the next morning, all she woke up next to was a note. It read: It was fun.
Amelia never saw him again.
Some kids need to get burned a few times before they stop playing with matches. But Amelia was never that kind of kid. One lesson was all she needed. From then on, she only dated a certain type of man—humble, simple—not smooth or flashy or arrogant. Guys who were nothing like Joey.
Who were nothing like Drew.
It’s why she doesn’t like him.
No—that’s not quite right. It’s why Amelia doesn’t trust him.
She took me aside that first Christmas, when she and my mother came up to visit. She told me to go slow, to watch myself with Drew.
Because she’d seen his kind before.
Anyway—story time’s over, kids.
Bob’s office is nice—a homey-looking brownstone with a real, live parking lot. Those are hard to come by in the city, in case you didn’t know. It’s a busy lot, shared with the building next door. Cars come and go and jockey for spaces.
I kill the engine and grip the steering wheel. And take a deep breath.
I can do this.
I mean, really—it’s only the next eighteen years of my life, right?
I get out of the car and stare at the small sign in the window of the building.
ROBERTA ChANG GYNECOLOGY AND OBSTETRICS As I try to get my feet to move, two large hands come from behind me and cover my eyes. A familiar voice whispers in my ear, “Guess who?”
I turn around, bursting at the seams. Living with someone, particularly during the college years, creates a bond born of shared experiences and precious memories.
Daniel Walker is a mammoth-sized guy. he and Arnold Schwarzenegger could totally be brothers. But don’t let that fool you. he’s like one of those Werther’s candies—hard on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.
he’s affectionate. Giving. Compassionate.
During our junior year, a mouse decided to move into our ramshackle house. All of us voted to kill it—except Daniel. he constructed a trap with string, cardboard, and a stick that would have made the Little Rascals proud.
And he actually caught the little bugger. We kept him. In a cage, kind of like a mascot. We named him Bud after our favorite beer.
Daniel pulls me into a bear hug, picks me up, and spins me around. Then he sets me on my feet and kisses my cheek. “It’s so good to see you, Kate. You look great!”
I’m smiling so hard, my face hurts. “Thanks, Daniel. You too.
You haven’t changed a bit. how’s everything going?”
“Can’t complain. Things are good—busy. I’m still interviewing at hospitals.”
Daniel’s an anesthesiologist. Whenever they can, he and Bob work together. Like me and Drew.
he goes on. “But Bobbie’s practice is booming, so I’m the gofer boy for now.” he holds up a bag of Chinese takeout.
When the smell hits my stomach, it twists, letting me know it is not pleased. I swallow hard.
he throws a heavy arm over my shoulders and we chat for a several minutes. About their move , about Delores and Billy. I tell him about Drew and how I want the four of us to get together for dinner.
And then there’s a loud screech of rubber tires.
We both turn and watch the taillights of a speeding car disappear out of the parking lot.
Daniel shakes his head. “And I thought Philadelphia drivers were bad.”
I chuckle. “Oh, no—New Yorkers have the monopoly on bad driving. And crazy baseball fans. Don’t wear your Philly’s jersey here; it could end in bloodshed.”
Daniel laughs and we head into the building.
Well, it’s official.
Life as I know it is over.
I’m pregnant. Knocked up. The bun is in the oven and that bad boy is baking. I wasn’t really surprised. Just hoping I was wrong.
According to Bobbie, my antibiotics were the culprit. They lower the effectiveness of birth control pills.
So you see what I was saying about those pamphlets? Read ’em. Learn ’em. Live ’em.
It’s too soon to do an ultrasound, so I have to come back in two weeks. And every day I also have to take prenatal vitamins that are big enough to choke a large elephant.
I park my car in the garage, but I don’t go up to the apartment.
One of the best parts of living in the city is that there’s always someplace that’s open, somewhere to walk to with people around.
I head out onto the sidewalk and walk a few blocks, trying to clear my head. Trying to figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do now.
If you’re wondering why I don’t sound happy, it’s because I’m not. You have to understand—I was never that girl. I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my parents’ cash register. When the other kids wanted to go to Toys“R”Us? I wanted to go to Staples.