General Fiction posted July 14, 2014 Chapters:  ...61 62 -63- 64... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Sarah learns she's probably pregnant and Paul's father dies.

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

It Can't Be So!

by Fridayauthor

Sarah and step daughter Karen are visiting Sarah's sister. They have been reminiscing about their childhood when Sarah becomes ill, greatly disturbing Suzie.
     Suzie turned to Karen, unable to hide a look of panic on her face. “Please go outside for a little while, Hon. I have to talk to your mother.”
     Karen sensed the dramatic change in Suzie. “No! I mean, please let me stay! Are you going to say something really serious is wrong with Sarah?”
     “Let her stay,” I said with a smile as I turned to Karen. “I bet Suzie thinks I might be pregnant but she doesn’t know I can’t have babies and never could. I have an upset stomach, that’s all.”
     My sister looked from one of us to the other. The continued look on her face frightened me. She pushed me down on the sofa. She glanced toward Karen but addressed me.
     “Does Karen know about Doug?”
     I smiled. “You’d be shocked how few secrets Karen and I have. What about him?”
     My sister turned to Karen. “He wasn’t as nice a man as your father; not even in the same league.”
     “He was a bastard and I told her that. What does he have to do with me being sick?”
     Suzie began to cry, upsetting both of us. “He lied to you. He had a vasectomy because he was too damn selfish to ever have children! He joked to Ben about it when those two guys were still talking to each other.”
     “I had tests, Suzie! The doctors said I couldn’t get pregnant . . . ever!”
     “Are you sure?”
     “Of course I’m sure! Do you think I wouldn’t know something that important? The doctors said I’d have difficulty giving birth because of my size and structure but I insisted I wanted to go ahead anyway. I didn’t think Doug would agree but he said he did. When I couldn’t get pregnant, I had tests and they kept coming back that I couldn’t conceive. I can’t get pregnant!”
     “Who told you the test results? I’ll bet it was your son of a bitch of a husband!”
     I felt panic rise up as I tried to remember; had I actually spoken to the doctor personally? I was on an army base. My mind was a blank slate and it showed on my face. I could feel perspiration building.
     “God, Sarah, I’m so sorry. I never thought you’d want to get pregnant now! You’re forty!”
     “Suzie! I can’t be! God, I can’t be!”  I could barely catch my breath. I rushed to the bathroom once again.
     When I returned, Suzie held Karen for dear life. Both were crying. “Tell us the last time you had a period,” she asked. We all knew the answer.
     Ben barged in the door all smiles, before he encountered three females bawling their eyes out.
     “What’s happening?” he asked.
     “Oh shut up!” Suzie yelled, then went to his arms and cried against his chest. She managed to blubber how she’d screwed up her sister’s life and more colorfully described what a bastard my husband had been.
     “Why did you ever bring him into this house?” she sobbed. Before poor Ben could mount a response the telephone rang. As soon as Ben answered it, I knew it was my husband! I melted like butter in the sun.
     “Hi, filthy rich guy,” Ben said, using his usual greeting. “How are you doing?  Yeah, It’s your dirt-poor brother-in-law.” Ben made a move to hand me the phone but I shook my head violently. I couldn’t speak to him. Not now. Not yet. Ben didn’t know what to do but Suzie took the phone from her husband while wiping her tears with her sleeve.
     “She’s in the bathroom. How are you doing?” After listening a moment, a strange look passed over her face. “Oh! I’ll get her.” She held the phone away and her eyes pleading that I take the call. I kept shaking my head and she kept holding out the phone.
     It took me several more moments before I spoke to my husband. “Is everything all right?” I managed to get out.
     “Not really,” Paul answered. “I just received a wire from my mother in Paris, France. My father passed away this morning.”
     “Oh God, Paul. I’m sorry.”
     “I have to go. She insists.” That surprised me. He and his father hadn’t exchanged a word in decades.
     “Of course,” I said, trying to think of the right thing to say. I was shaking like a leaf. “Do you want me . . .”
     “You don’t have to. She didn’t even remember I remarried.”
     “What about the children?” I asked.

     “My mother wants to see Timmy. A command performance; heir to the throne, so to speak. I’ll leave it up to you to ask Karen if she wants to make the trip.”
     “When will you be leaving?”
     “Tonight if I can. Thatcher is arranging everything.”
     I tried to catch my breath. “Give me a moment to talk to Karen.” I put down the phone to explain the situation to my daughter but she’d understood from my side of the conversation.
     She looked down at my stomach. “I have to stay here, with you.” She said without hesitation.
     Paul could hear her response over the phone. “That’s just as well,” he said. “I wouldn’t be going myself if mother didn’t insist. I’ll leave directly from here.”
     “When will you be back?” I asked.
     “Thursday or Friday. I’m not sure when the service is scheduled or how long she’ll want me to stay. I’m sorry.”
     “Don’t be. He’s your father even if you didn’t get along.” After the I-love-yous and a brief chat between father and daughter, the conversation ended. I sank to the sofa in frustration.
     Karen gave me a quizzical look. “You didn’t tell him.”
     “Something this important has to be discussed in person. It’s a shock to all of us. Honey, I need time to think. My mind’s like a tornado whirling around.”
     “You’re not just kidding,” Suzie said, holding her head. She turned to Karen. “Hon, I love you, but you really shouldn’t be here. This is grownup stuff we need to discuss.”
     “But I want to hear!”
     “I know you do,” I said, “and I want you to stay.” I hugged my daughter. “Karen, you have to promise with all your heart to just listen. This is so very important.”
     “Don’t try to understand what’s said. I don’t want you to misinterpret,” Suzie said. “We’re not sure ourselves.”
     Karen nodded and moved to the far corner of the room, next to Ben who remained totally bewildered by the situation he’d walked into.
     “What are you going to do?” my sister asked me, almost pleading.
     “I don’t know! I haven’t had time to think!”
     “Sarah! You know what the doctor told you and that was twenty years ago!”
     “That was when I wanted a baby and couldn’t have one!”
     “You’re over forty, Sarah. That alone can be a problem.”
     I was shocked. “Suzie, you’re not saying I should. . .”
     “Sarah, it’s not illegal now. . .”
     “You can’t kill it!” Karen, cried from across the room.
     “No, no,” I answered. “None of us believe in that!”
     “I’m not telling you what to do,” Suzie continued, “but please, consider everything. Think this through. Think of the consequences. You have a family and responsibilities to them.”
     The look on Karen’s face was sheer panic. “Are you going to die?”
     Suzie was quick to console her. “No, Karen. Of course not.”
     “Promise me you won’t die!” Karen wailed.
     I went to her and put my arms around her. “Karen honey, I have no intention of dying. I’m having far too much fun, and I love you all too much.”
     “Promise me. . .”
      “I swore I’d never lie to you and I won’t. I can’t promise something I have no control over. I promise you I’ll do anything and everything I can because I don’t want to leave you. You know that.”
     We went back to the sofa and Karen crawled to my lap. “I don’t want you to die.”
     “Honey, I don’t either and I truly believe I’ll be fine.”
     “The baby won’t die either?”
     “Not by my decision,” I answered.
     Suzie sighed aloud at my answer. “Karen, this is very serious conversation. This stuff is life-changing.”
     “But Daddy . . . you don’t know what he’ll say!”
     “No, I don’t know. It will be a shock to him too.”
     “Don’t tell him!” I looked at her quizzically. She bit her lip. “Until later, like when you’re showing.”
     “Karen you don’t mean that.”
     “You can’t tell him now; until he gets home.”
     “That’s right,” I answered. “You can’t tell anyone. Not even Timmy. I have to talk to your father first. I owe it to my husband.”
     Suzie began to cry. “Sarah, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to speak out of turn. This is your decision alone. But God, I’d die too, if having this baby harms you! It would be my fault, for not telling you what Doug did. Think how horrible I’d feel.” Ben came over to console his wife. We were a sorry group.
     Karen reached out and took the recently opened bottle of beer from my hand, went to the kitchen and poured it down the sink. Suzie, still crying, nodded her approval.
     “Good girl.” She lifted her beer and drained it.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a step mom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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