Finding Elvis Ch. 05byWine_Maker©
Chapter Five: When it rains
I was still in shock when Gretchen leaned over, took me into her arms and held me. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I never thought... I never thought this would really happen. It was just supposed to be a joke."
My thoughts ran around the inside of my head, like a dog chasing its own tail; going nowhere, but getting there really fast. I covered my eyes with my hands and pulled myself together. I needed to think, clearly and logically. Leaping up and trying to run away from this would be worse than useless, and panicking would solve absolutely nothing.
I took a deep breath. "I know," I said simply. "Neither of us thought this would happen to us, but it did." I fought down the frustration. "Frankly, neither of us thought, period. I knew that guy who bumped into you was probably trying to steal something, but it didn't dawn on me that it might be the license. I should have come back to help you. I should have been more concerned about that bump, and more suspicious of him, even if I didn't think he had a reason to be up to something, much less run. God! Who puts two doors going into a bathroom of all places?"
With another deep breath, I uncovered my eyes and looked at the woman holding me. Her eyes dripped tears slowly onto my shoulder. Forcing myself to relax my taut muscles, I wrapped my arms around her and held her. "This isn't the end of the world. Shocking, surprising, yes, but fate sometimes plays tricks on those of us who think we're clever. That's us, by the way. You should have known better than to play this game. I should have known better than to let you, but I allowed my desire, for your body, and for you, to overrule my brain. This is my fault as much as it is yours." I frowned to myself. Why had I made a distinction between Gretchen and Gretchen's body? I filed that tidbit away for the moment.
Gretchen rested her forehead on my shoulder, missing my subtle distinction. "What do we do now, Hawk?"
I kissed the top of her head. "We pick ourselves up, and we sort ourselves out. I guess that conversation in Vegas was a bit prophetic: now that we're here, married, we both already know that we'll try to make this work. Right?"
There was a flutter in my stomach as she looked back up at me. I didn't know if I wanted her to back out or not. I was afraid she would say 'yes,' and maybe even more afraid she'd say 'no.' I really didn't want to examine those feelings right now. I had said I would try, so dammit I would try. If she said 'no,' then...
Gretchen raised her head and nodded. "I don't quit. You're right, this isn't a disaster. I mean, it's not like one of us is pregnant or anything."
"Right," I laughed. "That would be a little much, all things..." A vision of that split condom on the bed in Vegas flashed through my mind. A moment's consideration and I dismissed the odds.
My hesitation was short, but not short enough. Gretchen's eyes widened. "You don't think..."
I cut her off with a wave of my hand. "No," I said firmly. "I don't think so. Ted always used condoms. He's a thoughtful gentleman."
"Oh, Hawk," Gretchen said, pulling back and giving me a serious look from across the seat, "condoms are good, but they aren't a one hundred percent barrier. You're on the pill, too, right? You use spermicide? Condoms sometimes break or leak."
"Well, no. I react funny to the pill, and it never seemed like something I'd have to consider, until just recently," I admitted. "I tried taking them to regulate my period for a while and gave it up. And spermicide tastes nasty, doesn't it? I wouldn't do that to my sexual partners. I don't even remember having sex the night before I met you, and that's the only time I've even seen a broken condom. Even if it was in me, the odds of getting pregnant are..."
"One per customer," Gretchen said as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. "That was what, six days ago? That might be long enough for an over the counter pregnancy test."
"I don't need a test," I objected. "You and I have more important things we need to be doing."
"No," Gretchen said firmly. "More pressing, perhaps, but never more important than life. I'm invoking spousal privilege. We get this checked, and we get it checked now, not later."
"Spousal what?" I asked suspiciously. "What the hell is that?"
"Well," she began reasonably, "we've already established we're married. If one of us has something important going on, the other has a right to know about it. Besides," she added with a twinkle in her eye, "since you're the one that might be pregnant, that obviously makes you my wife. So as the husband, the head of our little family, I get to..."
"Oh, no you don't!" I half yelled. "You are not getting over on me so easily. You aren't my husband and you aren't in charge of this relationship! I do not concede 'alpha' status to you. You can be the wife and I'll be the husband."
She pulled out a tissue from her purse and wiped her eyes dry, laughing. "Now I know we'll be okay. If we were to go by money or social status, I'd still be the senior partner," she held up a hand before I could speak, "but you're right. None of those kinds of things can matter between us. Neither one of us can be in charge. We're either going to be partners, or this won't work." She smiled with that twinkle back in her eyes. "But, I'll still tease the hell out of you about it. In public when I can."
"You can take the money and that social crap and toss it right out the window," I retorted with a small smile. "I don't need your money and I settle social issues with a taser."
A tiny smile that mirrored my own flitted across her face. "Well, if you're my wife, then guess what? My money and my social status are part of the package. The flip-side is that, as your wife, I have to deal with you being a cop. I've watched enough TV to know that isn't easy, but I accept that you being a cop is part of your package." She looked at me with an intensity that made me squirm, and I suddenly realized that Gretchen and I had done something important, something exhilarating and terrifying and utterly wonderful; we had come to an understanding. I wanted to hold this moment, savor and extend it, but Gretchen wouldn't let me. "It's okay, though, Hawk," she told me, "I know all about cops. I watch Law and Order." One look and I knew she was serious.
"Dear God, help us," I moaned and covered my face with my hands again.
"What?" she asked indignantly.
I argued a little more about taking the test, but it was just a formality. Call it reflexive resistance. Gretchen had already won this round, and I was going to get a test. It couldn't hurt because I wasn't pregnant, so I figured it was best to just give in, get it done and move on to more important things.
Gretchen insisted on getting that crappy car back to Dio's lot and having Devon meet us first, though. With all that was going on, I had forgotten how bad it was in this car. She could have this round, too. I didn't even try to argue about getting rid of it.
Devon was waiting at the lot, chatting amiably with his cousin. When we pulled in and the car wheezed to a halt with a clatter, he looked in the window, his eyes wide with shock.
"Jesus wept, Dio! How you give dem dis... dis ting?" Devon demanded of Dio. "I give dem my good word!"
Dio held up his hands. "Dey say dey want low end. It don get more low end than dat! Dey could always tell Dio no."
I climbed out and gave the door a good slam. Rather than closing, it bounced back open and fell onto the ground with a crash. I considered giving it a kick, but I was afraid the whole thing would fall apart. Turning to Dio, I shrugged. "Sorry."
Both men burst out laughing. They were laughing so hard, they were holding each other up. I rolled my eyes in disgust before stomping past them and into the warm office. Gretchen followed me in and headed right for the restroom.
"I'll be back. I need to ritually cleanse myself. We'll end up owning Devon and his cab with the fares we pay before I get into another junker like that!" she said, defying me to argue.
Not that I had any intention of arguing. "Fine by me. We can lease him or something. It would be cheaper than buying another car. Besides, aren't we supposed to have a driver?" I teased.
"You only think you're funny," she said and closed the door behind her. Firmly.
The outer door to the building opened and the men, still laughing, stumbled through. I laughed sarcastically back at them. "Ha, ha. Very funny." Dio slid behind the desk and grinned at me while Devon parked himself on the couch.
"Dat is very funny," Dio insisted. "It was so funny, Dio won't even charge you for de damage."
"Charge us for..." I sputtered. "You should be so lucky," I finally laughed, shaking my head. "Gretchen is cleaning up, and then we'll be on our way."
Still laughing, he returned the deposit, minus fifty bucks. Reasonable, considering the car, I suppose.
When Gretchen came out, she smelled better. Not clean, but better. I hoofed into the restroom and stripped off, doing my own whore bath. I stopped dead at that thought and then shook my head. Gretchen and I were going to have to talk about that business of renting herself, and I needed to get that word out of my vocabulary.
When I dressed and came back out, Dio was smoking a huge cigar and listening to Gretchen and Devon talk. The two were seated on opposite ends of the couch, facing each other.
"Three months," Gretchen said.
"Dat's too short to be worth all de hassle," Devon responded. "Dere be a lot of disturbance to my life. One year."
"Six months," she countered. "We don't know how things will be until then."
"One year," Devon said firmly, "but wit a one week trial period. If you don't know by den, you not be de kind of woman I tink you are."
Gretchen pursed her lips as I sat on the edge of the desk and looked at Dio. "What's going on?" I asked him.
"She be hiring Devon to drive de two of you around," he said with a shrug.
"For a year?" I asked incredulously. "We won't be in Boston nearly that long. I have a job in Houston."
Gretchen looked at me and with a smile that was pure defiance, she nodded. "Done. You start now, Devon. We'll be picking up a car, and you can drop your cab back off at the, um, place where cabs go."
"Gretchen!" I screeched. "What are you doing?"
She smiled lazily at me. "Hiring a chauffeur. We'll be needing one."
"For a year?" I demanded.
"At least," she said seriously. "Though we still haven't talked about the little details like who will move where and how we're going to manage living together. Oh," she said with a smile, "I went ahead and told them we were married."
I choked and resisted the urge to strangle her. "You what!?!"
Gretchen held up a hand. "Stop. Part of you has it accepted it, but you need to get this through that stubborn head of yours. For better or worse, we're married, and I'm not going to hide it from the world. I mean it. This'll get out even if we say nothing, and I refuse to cower from the world. I take the lumps for what I do. Isn't it worth it to you?" Her eyes weren't teary now. They were hard and bright. She was pissed off.
I bit back the instinctive response and shook my head, backing down. She was right. "I didn't mean it that way. I still haven't thought it through that far," I got off the desk and moved to her, "but I'm not ashamed of you."
"Good!" she said perkily as she bounced up from the seat. "Then to get back on subject, we will have to have a driver wherever we move."
"Why?" I asked. "Neither one of us had one before."
"Neither one of us was married before. Now that I'm settled down, I need a driver," she insisted. "Besides, you told me we needed one just a few minutes ago."
"I was joking," I groaned.
"Well, I'm not," she said with a saucy smile. "Now, Dio, if you will excuse us, Hawk and I have a lot to do and a short time to do it in."
Devon drove us to an upscale rental place, and Gretchen swished inside to rent a car. When the attendant pulled up with a black H2 Hummer, I shook my head. Low profile was not in my friend's personality. My wife's personality, I corrected myself with a self-conscious smile. That was going to take some getting used to.
Devon walked around the Hummer and whistled appreciatively. "Dis is very nice! I tink Devon will like driving you around." He popped the door open and looked at the instruments. I would have mocked his male habit of looking over the hardware, but I was too busy craning my neck to peer past his shoulder for a look myself.
Gretchen popped out of the front door to the rental place and waved us inside. "Come on. They need your information so you can drive that hunk of metal."
"Why a Hummer?" I asked as we stepped into the classy lobby.
"I never miss a chance to thumb my nose at convention, and here in Massachusetts wasting gas is a sin. I," she said with a grin, "am a sinner with a capitol 'S'."
We handed the nice young man our licenses and in fifteen minutes, we were done. I followed Devon while he drove his cab back to the cab lot. He pulled up to the building and took a few minutes to show off his new toys to the men there. That would be the Hummer, us and his new salary. Men.
Eventually, the manly chest-beating ritual was done and Devon strutted to the driver's door. I climbed out and shook my head at him impishly. "So, were they more impressed with the car or with Gretchen?"
"What do you tink?" he said through a grin as he buckled in.
I climbed in the back, and Gretchen joined me, stopping to adjust her sandal strap to the awed stares of her crowd of new fans. I could tell that she was gently shaking her ass at them before she stood up, as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
Gretchen smiled at me and looked at Devon through her eyelashes. "I think I know what they admire more now." She looked back at me coyly. "Your ass. I carry it around, but it's yours. Shall we make out in the backseat while Devon drives us to the pharmacy?"
"Pharmacy?" Devon asked, looking at us through the mirror. "Is one of you sick?"
"No," I said firmly. "It would just be a waste of time anyway. We've got a lot to do so let's just go to the next item on our list, Gretchen."
She shook her head. "Oh, no you don't. We have things to do, alright, and we've already been through this. The pharmacy first, and then off to see Daddy." Gretchen slumped into her seat. "If I can face him and tell him what happened, you can humor me in this one thing."
"What one ting?" Devon asked as he pulled out onto the street like a tank, dominating the road.
"Never you mind," I said waspishly. "Girl stuff." Deep down, I felt the small voice of fear. I didn't want to face the possibility that I was pregnant. That would be a disaster of the first order. If I thought some segments of the lesbian community had rejected me for sleeping with Ted, that would be only a mild shockwave compared to the nuclear blast I would face if they found out I was going to have a baby. Thank God that was so unlikely.
I wasn't so sure twenty minutes later when Gretchen was reading the instructions on various over-the-counter pregnancy tests. She stood up from her kneeling position, a grin of triumph on her face.
"This one says it can detect pregnancy six days after conception. That's today if he knocked you up the night before we met."
I winced. "Can we try something else other than 'knocked up'? That phrase makes me queasy."
"Sure, how about 'with child', 'expecting', or 'in the family way'?" Gretchen grinned sweetly. "I've got it... You've got a bun in the oven."
"You're a riot," I muttered. "Let's get this over with. I have more important things to do than waste time on fantasies." I snatched the box from her hand and stalked past her, ignoring her laughter behind me. I laid the box on the counter and smiled a strained smile at the woman pharmacist.
"Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?" the woman with the tag that identified her as Linda asked.
"A boy!" Gretchen answered before I could respond. "We'd like a big, healthy baby boy!"
"I am not pregnant! Jeeze! Why does everyone want this but me?" I complained, tossing money on the counter to pay for the test kit and stalking toward the ladies room. Gretchen skipped - skipped - along behind me and snatched the box back out of my hand.
"I get to read the instructions!" She said, ripping the box open and handing me the contents. "It says you pee on it and then close the little cover. In you go!" Gretchen shoved me into one of the stalls and I almost fell over the toilet.
"Gee-zus, woman. Will you calm down? You're getting all excited over something that isn't going to happen," I said as I dropped my trousers and sat on the can.
"Midstream," she advised me through the door. "Get a clean hit in the middle of the stream!"
Muttering imprecations, I doused it and closed the cover. I then stared at it while I finished my business. "What am I looking for here?"
"If it stays clear after three minutes, you're not pregnant."
After an hour, I looked at my watch and two minutes had passed. So far, so good. It was looking clear. Wait... Was that a line? No, it was just a smudge on the paper. Right?
"Ohmigod!" I felt my stomach fall through the floor. "A fucking line."
"Woo Hoo!" Gretchen squealed. "I'm going to be a daddy! I need cigars!"
"You are not the freaking daddy!" I shouted. "Geezus, I am not the beta in this marriage!"
"Hey, all I know is that mommies get pregnant, daddies get to brag and I'm bragging!"
Was she dancing out there? She was! The woman was dancing over the worst disaster I could have imagined. I put my head in my hands. Pregnant and married. Dear God in heaven, what was I going to do?
"I can't wait to tell Daddy that he's going to be a grandpa!" She said, rattling the door.
"Hold on, hold on," I said, cleaning off. When I pulled my pants back up and opened the door, she yanked me out and spun me around squealing. "How long till we know if we have a boy or a girl?"
"How the hell should I know? Months, I'm sure. This stupid thing is probably broken. I'll test again later."
"Pessimist," Gretchen said, skipping back out the door and into the pharmacy. The pharmacist quirked her eyebrows and Gretchen gave her the thumbs up. I almost went over to beat her up when she started clapping.
"Do we have to do this?" I complained. "I don't want to do the happy-happy, joy-joy dance."
"Shut up and get out to the car, Little Woman. I get to do my dance cause I'm married and gonna be a daddy!" she crowed.
I pulled my hair and almost ran out to the Hummer. I slammed the door behind me and locked the doors. "Don't you dare unlock the door, Devon."
Gretchen tried the door and squawked in protest, knocking on the glass and demanding entrance.
Devon raised an eyebrow. "Don you put Devon in de middle of your lover's spat! Let de poor woman into de car!"
With a scowl, I unlocked the door. "Nobody better give me any shit about this."
"Devon! I'm gonna be a daddy!" Gretchen said with a grin as she climbed in. "I need a box of cigars! Go to a place that sells good ones."
"Congratulations! Devon take you der right away!"
"This is out of control! Let's just let this go and pretend it never happened," I begged. "I should never have agreed to that stupid test!" I felt the edge of something. A feeling I rarely experienced. Panic.
Gretchen stopped and put her arms around me. "Shhh. It's okay. I'm sorry. I'll cut back." She held me as the shakes finally came over me.
"Oh God, Gretchen!" I sobbed onto her shoulder. "This can't be happening! I'm not ready for this! I don't know how to have a kid!"