Tattoo of Love Ch. 12byvirgofemme©
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Awakened out of her sleep by movement, Julia lifted her eyelids and focused upon the face of her lover. She could feel his strong arms carrying her, and as they made their way toward the bedroom she sleepily inquired about their journey.
"Where are we going?" The cobwebs of sleep had disoriented her, and she wasn't quite sure just where she was.
"To your bedroom. You'll be more comfortable there."
As they reached her bed he lay her down upon it, then pulled the covers up over her body. Once she was cozily tucked in, he graced her lips with a soft, sweet kiss. Sliding his fingers into her curls he said, "I have to go, but I'll give you a call later on, okay?"
"Don't go. Stay here with me," she sleepily murmured.
"Sorry babe, I can't. I have an early morning photo shoot at Otter Creek."
Turning her head to look at the digital display on her alarm clock, she saw that it was five am. "Why so early?"
"The model I'm working with prefers I capture her early in the morning. Sunrise hours always create the most flattering images."
Uttering a small groan of displeasure, she placed a palm against the back of his neck and offered him a deep gaze. "Please don't leave. I want you here with me."
Noting that she was more emotional than usual, Nolan gently stroked her hair and returned her intent gaze with one of his own. "You're not still feeling sick, are you?" The concern was clearly evident in his eyes.
"No, I feel okay. I just don't feel like being alone right now."
Kneeling down so that his eyes were level with hers he asked, "Are you sure? If you feel weird in any way at all, then let me know. I can always reschedule this client."
Julia was tempted to tell him that she didn't feel well, but the truth was that she felt perfectly fine. She currently wasn't experiencing any nausea at all, and the dizziness and headache that she'd had earlier had completely dissipated. So against her wishes to keep him there with her, she decided that it would be best if he kept his appointment. She knew that his business was important to him, so she didn't want him to adjust his schedule unless it was absolutely necessary.
"Yeah, i'll be fine."
He couldn't help feeling guilty about leaving her. "I really don't want to go. I'd much rather stay here with you, you know that, right?"
She nodded. It's okay though, I understand you have to work."
There was a hesitancy to his voice as he said, "Well I guess I'll be on my way then. If you need anything at all, then make sure you call me, alright?"
Nolan leaned in to kiss her on the forehead. "Sleep well, and I'll talk to you in a bit."
She heard the front door shut behind him, and then there was the sound of his boots descending down the steps towards the driveway. As his car started up she rolled over onto her side and nuzzled her cheek against the pillow. She listened to the sound of his tires as they rolled across the gravel driveway, and as the noise of his engine faded into the distance, she closed her eyes and relaxed her body, complacently falling into a deep sleep.
* * * *
Sitting on the edge of the tub in the bathroom, Julia impatiently glanced at her cell phone. She was only two minutes away from finding out the result of her pregnancy test, but even that short amount of time seemed like a lifetime to wait. No longer able to sit still, she got onto her feet and walked over to the sink. The pregnancy stick was located on a little glass counter above the sink, and as she glanced at the display window, she saw that it was still blank.
Eager to know the results, she gave it another minute and then picked the stick up. Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she pleaded for it to be negative, and then once again lifted her lids. She was certain she could hear her heart pumping in her chest, and as her gaze fell upon the display window, she was relieved to see there was a negative symbol.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she tossed the test into the trash can and stripped out of her pajamas to take a shower. She did feel as if a bit of the stress had been lifted off of her, but she wouldn't feel entirely at ease until her period showed up.
As she soaped up her body she thought about how unusual it was for her period to be arriving this late. She was dangerously close to reaching the two week mark, and every day which passed caused her to feel even more nervous about what was going on. Unsure of what else she could do to ease her mind, she decided to make an appointment to have a blood test done. She was done playing this waiting game, and needed to know what was going on with her body.
Once she'd rinsed the last of the soap off her body, she turned the water off and grabbed a towel from the rack. After drying off she headed into the bedroom and got dressed. She slipped into a pair of tight black jean and put on a white tank top, then finished the look off with a stylish blazer.
Picking her cell phone up from the dresser, she flipped through her address book until she found the number for her obgyn, and then dialed in the number. The other line only rang once before a chipper voice came through the receiver.
"Hi, I need to schedule a pregnancy blood test. How soon can I get in to see a doctor?"
"Can I get your name, please?"
There was the sound of nails clicking against keys, and then a brief pause as the receptionist searched through the computer for available appointments.
"It looks like you're in luck. There was a no show today, so if you can get here within the next half hour, the appointment is yours."
"I'll be there."
"We already have all your information on file, so it looks like you're all set. We'll see you at two thirty, Miss Clayton."
"Great, see you then."
After hanging up the line Julia grabbed her purse and keys, heading straight for the front door.
* * * *
The fluorescent lights of the doctor's consulting room buzzed above her, and as Julia adjusted herself on the exam table, the tissue paper beneath her emitted a crinkling noise. Glancing at the clock on the wall, she saw that it was half past three, which meant that the doctor was due back with the results from her blood test at any minute. Exhaling an anxious breath, she stared at the plain, gray walls, and wondered why such a glum color was picked for the interior of a doctor's office.
It only added to her feeling of bleakness, and as her eyes fell upon a poster on the wall, she found herself studying the image upon it. The illustration showed a baby in the womb, and also listed the development of the fetus at every stage of its growth.
Sliding her hand beneath her shirt, Julia rubbed her belly and began wondering about her own body, and began to imagine what stage her own baby would be in if she was pregnant. Since her menstrual cycles were so erratic, it was difficult for her to calculate the date of conception, but if she had to guess, she'd figure she was at least three weeks along.
Suddenly realizing that she was getting ahead of herself, she removed her palm from her stomach and pushed the thoughts away. She wasn't even certain yet if she was carrying a child, so why she was already acting as if she were? As the door clicked open, the female doctor entered, and Julia anxiously waited for her to reveal the results.
Glancing down at her clipboard, the doctor adjusted her thin wire frames. She was quiet for a few moments and then turned her hazel eyes upon Julia.
"Sorry about the wait. The lab took longer that I expected to process your blood test."
"No problem." She felt a nervous fluttering in the pit of her stomach.
"I know you're eager to hear the results, so I'll just get right to the point. You are, without a doubt, pregnant."
Julia felt her heart dip in response to the doctor's words, and she knew that life as she knew it would be making a very drastic change. She'd had her suspicions that she was with child, but she still hadn't expected to actually receive the news that would confirm it. Flabbergasted into silence, she stared at the physician with a dazed expression.
"You seem very surprised by the results, so I'm guessing this was unplanned."
"Yes it was, and I'm not only surprised, but also a bit confused. I've been faithfully taking my pills, so I don't understand how I could be pregnant."
The doctor tucked a streak of gray of hair behind her ear, and then took a seat on an exam stool.
"While the chances are slim, it's certainly possible." Fixing Julia with a serious look, she asked, "You're completely positive you haven't missed taking any of your pills, correct?"
She nodded in response. "I haven't missed one. I've even been taking them at the same time everyday."
The doctor's brows dipped slightly. "Have you been taking any medications?"
"What about antibiotics?"
Julia began shaking her head in disagreement, but then suddenly remembered that she had herbal supplements working through her system. "Wait a minute, yes I have. About a month ago, I was having some trouble falling asleep. So I bought a bottle of St. John's Wort, and have been taking doses ever since."
The physician nodded her head. "Well that's probably what did it. Antibiotics are known to interfere with the effectiveness of the pill. You should have been using a back up method of contraception."
"Okay, I didn't know that."
"You'd be surprised how many of my patients don't." She scribbled a few words on her pad and then glanced up over the rim of her glasses. "Which physician do you regularly see?"
"Doctor Bradman. I would have made the appointment with her instead, but the receptionist told me she was fully booked for the day."
"And she didn't warn you about this when she first prescribed your birth control?"
"No, she didn't say a word about it."
Shaking her head in displeasure she said, "That's not good at all. Doctors are supposed to warn patients about that kind of thing." She released a sigh and then stood up from the stool. "I'm sorry about that. I know you weren't planning on having a baby, so I can understand that this must be very difficult for you."
"I appreciate the concern, doctor." She offered a weak smile.
"Before leaving today, I suggest you make an appointment for your first pregnancy checkup. That is, if you decide to continue with it."
Nodding her head she replied, "I am."
She offered two glossy pamphlets for Julia to look over. "These contain some information as to what you can expect during your first exam. They also provide tips as to the types of foods you need to be eating, as well as a few pointers about the vitamins you should be taking."
Julia tucked them into her purse and then slipped the strap over shoulder. "I'll be sure to look them over."
"Well I guess that it's it for now. Please don't hesitate to call me if you have any questions at all."
"Thank you, doctor."
The physician held the door open for her, and then followed her out into the hallway.
Extending her hand, she said, "I wish you all the best, Miss Clayton. Take good care of yourself."
She clasped palms with the doctor. "I will."
Once she was back in the waiting room, Julia walked up to the reception counter and booked an appointment. Then she headed for the door and walked outside. Once she was in her car, she took a few moments to just be still and think. Still in shock, she could hardly believe she was going to be a mother. A life was growing inside of her, and within nine months she would be holding a baby in her arms.
She surely wasn't ready, but it was too late to go back now. It was a done deed, and all she could do was make the best of it. Turning the key in the ignition, she backed out of the parking space and headed out of the lot, deeply immersed in thoughts of her future.
* * * *
As she was driving along the road, Julia found herself desperately needing to hear Nolan's voice. She hoped that he was home, because if he was, she was going to immediately drive over and break the news. Grabbing her cell phone from her purse, she dialed in his number and waited for him to answer. As he picked up on the third ring, she heard his voice float through the receiver and was instantly comforted by it.
"Hey sweetie, what's up?"
"I just finished up at a doctor's appointment and I'm pretty close to your house, so I thought I would give you a call. Is it okay to drop by?"
"Of course you can come by, but why did you go to the doctor? You didn't faint again, did you?"
"No, I just went for a female checkup." She was eager to tell him more, but it wasn't the kind of news that she wanted to say over the phone.
"Oh, okay. So is everything cool?"
"Um, yeah. I guess."
Noting the waver in her voice, he asked, "Are you sure?"
"Well actually there is something I need to tell you."
"Okay, what is it?"
"I'd rather not say over the phone, but I'm really close to your house, so I'll just wait and let you know once I get there."
His voice was laced with a mixture of worry and curiosity. "Alright. I don't like the idea of waiting, but if you think it'd be better to tell me in person, then I guess I have no choice. How soon do you think you'll be here?"
"I'm about six blocks away, so it shouldn't take more than a few minutes."
"Cool. I'll see you soon, then."
"Yep, see you in a bit."
Flipping her phone closed, she tossed it back into her purse. As she drove along the streets, she imagined Nolan's reaction, and wondered how he would take the news. She knew that Nolan had a sweet and caring disposition, but she still felt uncertain as to how he would truly feel. They had, after all, only been dating for two and a half months, so she knew it would come as a shock that a baby was on its way.
As she drove along the street which led to his house, she found herself feeling very anxious. On one hand she was nervous to see how he would respond, but on the other hand she wanted to get the situation over with and just let him know what was going on. Pulling her car up to the curb, she put it in park.
Reaching his door, she took a few calming breaths to try and regulate her heartbeat, and then she pushed the doorbell to alert him of her presence. There was the sound of his feet as they padded toward the entryway, and then the sound of the locks being unlatched.
"Hey you." His lips tugged into one of his charismatic grins.
"Hi." She offered what could barely be described as a smile.
Instantly picking up on her downbeat mood, he led her over to the couch so that she could sit down.
"You want something to drink?"
She shook her head. "No thanks." Her eyes then fell upon two glasses which sat on the coffee table, and she couldn't help noticing that one of them had lipstick smeared around the mouth of it. Taking note of a glossy postcard sized photo, she picked it up to have a closer look, and saw that the image was of a olive skinned brunette who was clad in a form fitting mini dress.
"Did you have company over?"
"Company?" His brow furrowed in a questioning way.
She gestured towards the glasses.
"Oh, right. I forgot to clear those away." He retrieved them from the table and took them into the kitchen. Once they were in the dishwasher, he returned to sit beside her.
So who was here?"
"Is this her?" She showed him the picture of the model.
"Yeah. Remember I told you I was doing a photo shoot this morning?"
"Yes I remember, but I thought you were taking photos of her at Otter Creek." She peered deep into his eyes, as if trying to retrieve a secret. "So what was she doing here?"
There was an edge to her voice that Nolan had never heard before. "She just came in to take a look at my portfolio. She's interested in having some headshots done."
"Noting the scent of lilac which hung in the air, Julia said, "I can smell her perfume."
"Really? I don't smell anything at all."
"I can." She could feel the jealousy rising up inside her, and tried her best to extinguish it before it did any damage. Yet despite her best efforts, it seemed intent upon maintaining its presence. Taking another glance at the model's photo she asked, "So are you attracted to her?"
"Alright what's going on here, Julia? Where are you going with this?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're trying to bait me into a fight."
"I am not. I just want to know if you're attracted to her. It's a simple question."
"Yes she's a good looking woman, but what does that have to do with anything?" His tone was full of annoyance.
They stared each other down for a few moments, and then Julia averted her eyes. They were beginning to grow moist, and she could feel that tears were on their way.
Leaning in closer, Nolan cupped her face in his palm and forced her to meet his eyes. "Julia, what's wrong? It isn't like you to act this way."
The last time Nolan had observed this side of her had been at Lois's wedding, but even then she'd been nowhere as accusatory as she was at this current moment. He'd forgotten how territorial she could be, and began to wonder what had brought about this abrupt change in her mood.
Feeling stupid and petty about her sudden flare of jealousy, she suddenly blurted out, "I'm pregnant."
Dumbfounded by her announcement, Nolan blinked a few times and then finally spoke. "Are you sure?"
Julia nodded. "I just got a blood test at the doctor's, so it's definite."
Nolan wrapped his arms around her so that he could cradle her in his arms. "So that's why you've been acting this way. I knew something was going on." Releasing a little sigh, he smoothed her hair away from her face. "Honey, why didn't you just tell me?"
"I wanted to, but then I saw the picture of that girl, and I started feeling jealous. I'm sorry for picking a fight with you, I don't even know why I did it." She tilted her chin upward so she could look into his eyes. "It must be my hormones going crazy or something, I don't know."
"Babe, it's okay. You have a lot on your mind, so I understand that you didn't mean it."
Julia's voice was raw with emotion. "I really wasn't expecting this."
"Well neither was I, but now that it's done, we're just going to have to deal with it." A brief silence fell between the couple as they each became consumed by their own thoughts. Then his voice broke the stillness. "Weren't you on the pill?"
"Yes of course, but I took some antibiotics and they ended up canceling out the birth control."
Nolan exhaled a deep breath. "So that's how it happened." He stroked her hair softly and then asked, "So what do you want to do?"
"Have the baby, of course. Why, do you not want it?" Her voice wavered with emotion.
"Of course I want it. I was just asking to see how you felt about it."
"Are you sure?" Her eyes scanned his for any signs of doubt.
"Absolutely." His tone was steady and firm.
Laying her head upon his shoulder, she placed her palm against his chest. She felt safe and warm in his arms, and was comforted by his manly touch.
"So how have you been feeling today?"
"I've had some lower back pain and have been feeling kind of tired, but other than that, I seem to be doing okay."
Nolan could hear the unease in her voice and could only imagine what was going on inside of her head. As surprised as he was by the news of her carrying his child, he knew that she would be bearing the brunt of this pregnancy. It was going to take some time for her to adjust to the changes, and he knew she would become both mentally and physically transformed by her impending role of motherhood. Hoping to ease her mind, he offered a few words of support.
"I'm here for you, all the way. You understand that, right?"
Julia nodded in response.