Quarterback's Unwanted Baby(7)

By: Nicki Jackson


“Gerard?”

He didn’t even flinch. With his lips parted, he breathed softly in the way she knew all too well. His biceps bulging, his back adorned with muscles as his naked torso lay uncovered.

She touched her fingers to his shoulder, and still he didn’t move. “Gerard?” she said agitatedly, almost a sob, and his eyes finally opened. He shifted back, groaning, rubbing his eye.

“Hi…” Smiling devilishly, he grabbed her arm and dragged her closer.

She didn’t budge. “I can’t.”

“Of course you can.” He pulled her hand underneath the sheets. His morning boner was hard and pulsating. She snatched her hand away.

“Please get up. I need to talk to you.”

The urgency in her voice made all remnants of sleep and arousal vanish from his mind. He sat up and paused as she lowered her eyes. She was pale, and her eyes were wide and frightened.

“What happened?” Adrenaline rushed through his bloodstream. “Hart, what happened?” he repeated when she didn’t say anything.

She met his eyes, her head spinning in wild circles that started at being pregnant and ended at being pregnant.

Gerard clutched her shoulders and shook her lightly. “You’re scaring the crap out of me. Are you all right?”

Her tears broke free, and she sniffled. “Gerard… I…” But she couldn’t say the words. Her beloved medical school that would drain her physically and emotionally. His football career. All hung in the air waiting for her words and her decision and her plans.

“Dammit.” He grabbed the bottle of water off his bedside table and handed it to her. When she made no attempt to take it, he lifted the bottle to her mouth. “Drink it, just have a sip. Tell me what’s wrong.” He clasped her hands and then took her chin, lifting it up.

“I don’t know how to say this.”

“You know you can tell me anything, babe.”

“I was… my period is late.”

Gerard froze, then exhaled sharply. “That’s all right. It has been late before. And you freak out for no reason. That’s normal. You’re on birth control anyway.”

She shook her head, miserable. “Gerard, I took three pregnancy tests this morning.”

Gerard’s eyes widened, and his heart plummeted to the ground. “And?”

She shook her head. “Gerard, they were positive.”

“Jesus Christ.” Gerard let go of her hand and shot out of bed, pushing his hands through his hair as he paced the width of the room. “Fucking Jesus.”

Hartford burst into tears. Something wasn’t right. She had come here to be held and be told that it was okay. But he wasn’t even touching her. He’s in shock. Give him time to deal with it. You had time to deal with it, didn’t you?

She sniffled and clutched the edge of the bed, feeling like an alien body was inside her lower belly. It was just this nervous knot of tension. Of course she didn’t feel anything, but she felt it there, because it was real and it was alive.

Gerard stopped pacing, and his hands rested on top of his head while his heart raced. He stared at the tall girl he’d loved for four years, at the obvious dejection that was in her body, her shoulders slumped. Her face was twisted in panic; she looked like anyone but Hartford.

He stalked closer instinctively and yanked her head to his stomach, crushing her into him. “It’s going to be okay. We’ll figure something out.”

Hartford’s heart melted, and the tension in her navel unraveled instantly. She wound her arms around his waist as the tears flowed, and she sobbed brokenly against his bare stomach. “Gerard…”

He released her after long minutes and kneeled on the floor at her feet. “How did it happen? How could you even…”

The panic was evident on his face as he trailed off. “I called my doctor. She asked if I had been taking any meds during the last three weeks, and I had. I had a sore throat and I had been prescribed some meds, and—”

“Shit. Shit.” He hissed louder and Hartford jumped at the sound. But he was there, and that was all that mattered.

Gerard slowly pulled away. The reality of what had happened, the consequences and repercussions, the strangling responsibility of the thing, was making him very claustrophobic. Up until that very moment, he’d still been half-asleep and half-coherent, and it was only now that it all was sinking in. His eyes wide, he gaped at Hartford as she sat there, watching him weirdly.

Hartford froze as he mumbled something and stepped away, turning toward the door and walking out of the bedroom. She waited, her heart beating erratically, feeling lonely and helpless. She hated the feeling; it wasn’t her. But she was emotionally tattered in that moment. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She was twenty-one years old; she wasn’t supposed to be pregnant and having babies. She had her whole life ahead of her. She had at least seven to eight long years of education to look forward to… and a career. Children? She hadn’t even thought they would be a part of her life until she was in her thirties.