Rhonda placed the pee stick gingerly on the sink counter, staring warily at the evidence that had appeared moments ago. She took a deep breath and tried not to cry.
She lifted her gaze from the sink to the mirror. So this is what a pregnant woman looks like, she thought. She leaned in and peered more closely, trying to find something different, that glow that people keep talking about. She didn’t really see anything particularly different.
She took off her robe and stared down at her belly. She definitely wasn’t showing yet, that’s for sure. But then again, it’s not like she had the tight, svelte figure she’d had in college anymore.
Sighing, she turned on the shower faucet and grimaced as the frigid water hit her arm. It was January, and she knew it would take several minutes for the hot water to make its way up three floors into the bathroom. She shut the shower door and let the water run while she ran a comb through her hair.
Funny, she’d always wanted children. When Rob had proposed to her back in college, he had told her that he’d wanted kids, too. “As many as we can make, babe,” he’d said as they lay in his dorm room, naked and sweaty and tangled.
God, he was so desirable then. And she was so young.
Steam rose from the shower and began to fog the mirror. Rhonda stepped into the shower and adjusted the temperature as the warm water pummeled the top of her head. She stood there for a minute, doing nothing but letting the water run down her face in rivulets, washing away the tears that she could no longer hold back.
She lathered up her bath sponge and started scrubbing her body, covering her neck, her breasts, her belly, and every other part of her where hands and mouth had been. She didn’t want to wash him away. She traced the path that his mouth had taken, feeling that familiar heat building up deep in her core. She would need that heat to sustain her now.
More tears came now, this time in frustration. This wasn’t supposed to happen, she thought. I thought I couldn’t have kids. I thought I was safe.
She and Rob had come to the realization several years ago that they had only married to appease their parents. They thought they had loved each other; turns out they’d just had good intentions. Divorce, however, was out of the question. Rob was going to run for a Senate seat, and Rhonda’s position as a development director for a big charity was contingent on her social standing. No, it was better in the long run, they decided, to stay together.
And then she’d met Charlie. Beautiful, sweet, young Charlie, with long blonde hair and washboard abs. He was a playboy — oh, she was well aware of that fact! — but he made her feel like she was the only woman in the world for him. In public, they acted cool and casual; in private, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
She picked up her razor and began to shave her legs. In long, deliberate strokes, she pulled the blade up her calf, careful to reach the more difficult curves behind her knee.
Maybe this is good, she thought. Maybe this is exactly what I need to get away from Rob, from my life, from everything. It could be a fresh start.
But Charlie? To say he was a free spirit was putting it lightly. A self-proclaimed starving artist, Charlie never held down a job for longer than six months. Sometimes his only meal for the day would be a $5 burrito from the Mexican place down the street; he preferred to spend his money in bars every night. Not exactly the ideal father figure.
She flinched as her razor nicked her thigh. Blood welled up and was quickly diluted by the water. Shaking her head, she rinsed the razor and put it away.
What would Rob say? What would he do?
Oh God, what would he do?
She spent one more minute in the warm shower, rinsing all proof of Charlie’s touch and her grief down the drain.
Well, not ALL proof. She touched her belly.
Turning the faucet off, she stepped out of the shower and rubbed herself briskly with a towel. Even though the steam had warmed the bathroom, it was still cold in the house, and the water on her body was making her shiver.
Or maybe she was shivering because she knew what she had to do.
Slowly, deliberately, she rubbed her naked body with moisturizer, that scented stuff that Rob liked so much. She dabbed a couple of drops of perfume behind her ears for good measure. The smell made her gag.
It must be the hormones, she told herself.
She picked up the pregnancy test and looked at it one more time before throwing it into the trash. She closed up the trash bag and set it aside for the housekeeper to throw out later. She knew Rob wouldn’t be rooting around in the trash, not if he didn’t suspect anything.
Donning her robe, she stepped out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. He was in bed, she knew, but probably not asleep.
She had to do it now. While she still had the courage.
Rob looked up from the book he was reading. They hadn’t called each other that since college.
“I…um…” she opened her robe and let it slide off her body slowly.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise, but he did not protest as Rhonda crawled on top of him and began to undress him.
Love is more than good intentions.
You can find Katri’s answer to my prompt here before the end of the week.