Two months later…
Chelsea looked at the door that led to the hallway one more time. She loved her professor, Dr. Herschel, and really wanted to hear what she had to say about ethics in business, but her stomach was churning. Could she calmly walk to the door and then sprint down the hallway to the restroom without tossing her cookies in front of the entire class?
Something was going on with her stomach, that was for certain! For the last few days, she’d had sudden bouts of nausea that seemed to hit any time of day, but especially in the morning. Over the weekend, she’d thrown up a couple of times, which was super weird for Chelsea because she wasn’t a puker, but she couldn’t figure out why she felt so awful for just a little while and then got better. It didn’t make any sense.
Her roommate, Stephanie, had given her an herbal tea to drink that morning. She thought maybe it was just the mid-term exams that were making her feel so nauseated. Chelsea had never felt that way about tests before, but this was her senior year, and her coursework was harder. She’d been studying and not going out nearly as much as usual. She hadn’t even had a drink in the last few weeks. Part of that was probably because the last time she’d gotten too tipsy, she’d made that bad decision to sleep with Heath. Not that she hadn’t enjoyed it. She definitely had, but she couldn’t even talk to him now for fear her brother, Mike, would figure it out. Heath and called her once a few days later and told her he was sorry he’d have to ghost her, that that wasn’t usually his style, but he had made a promise to her big brother, and he should’ve kept it. Now that they’d screwed up, he didn’t want to go back on that promise ever again.
She understood that completely, but she just hadn’t felt like going out after that. Maybe it was because she knew she’d never meet another guy that could compare to Heath. Or maybe she was starting to realize that her actions really did have consequences. When she graduated in May, she’d be an actual adult—with a college degree and hopefully a job. She’d have to start being more responsible. As it was, she couldn’t remember if she’d taken her multivitamin most mornings and could never find a pair of matching socks to save her life!
The professor continued to talk as Chelsea weighed her options. Should she bolt for the door? Could she make it? What would everyone think if she threw up in front of the entire class? Thankfully, her relationship with a great instructor who’d known her since she was a freshman realized there was something wrong. “Why don’t you get in groups or pairs and talk about what you think synopsis four on page two hundred eighty-seven might mean?” Dr. Herschel said, but before Chelsea could turn to the person sitting next to her, the professor was in front of her desk.
Chelsea swallowed hard, more than just bile this time. Was she in trouble?
“Are you okay, Chelsea? You look… ill.”
The professor could tell she wasn’t feeling well? It must be serious. What if she had the flu—or worse? What if she had some sort of horrible disease and was going to die before she even graduated?
“I’m feeling… a little under the weather,” Chelsea admitted.
Dr. Herschel gave her a sympathetic nod. “You’re doing really well in this class, like you have in all of my classes. Why don’t you go ahead and leave? Just promise me you’ll read chapter eighteen before Friday’s class, okay?”
Chelsea was slightly embarrassed and felt like maybe she should protest. She could stay, couldn’t she? But when her stomach churned again, she knew Dr. Herschel was right. “Thank you,” she said, hoping the instructor could tell just how much she meant it. She gathered up her books and tossed them into her backpack, grabbed her water bottle, and then headed for the door, thankful that her teacher was so observant.
She didn’t make it out of the building. Chelsea rushed to the closest restroom, found and empty stall, and emptied the contents of her stomach. Since she hadn’t eaten anything at all in several hours, it wasn’t much more than bile and acid, which tasted awful and made her feel even worse. It took her a long time to recover from the first episode, but just when she was about to get up, she had to puke again and found herself balancing over the public toilet once more, a thought that grossed her out almost enough to make her puke even if she hadn’t been already.
While she was mid-vomit, she heard the restroom door open and a couple of girls come in. “Oh, gross!” one of them said.
“Somebody’s hung over!” another one laughed.
“Or prego!” joked another.
Chelsea wouldn’t have said anything to the group of strangers, even if she could’ve kept her stomach contents down long enough to do so, but that last comment had her eyes widening even beyond the vomiting session. Prego? Was that a possibility?
“No way,” Chelsea told herself while she waited for the other girls to do their business and leave. There was no way she could possibly be pregnant, could she? Didn’t she just have her period a couple of weeks ago? Or… when was that? She was never good about keeping track of such things. But she hadn’t even had sex since Heath and that was months ago! No, she couldn’t possibly be pregnant.
Except… she could. She realized then that it had been about two months since she’d had sex, without using a condom, and while she was pretty sure she’d taken her pill that morning, she’d forgotten to check when she’d gone back to her parents’ house. She didn’t take them very regularly, not like she was supposed to.
There was a chance—she could be pregnant. Tears stung Chelsea’s eyes as she thought about what that would mean. She tried not to panic. She’d need some prove before she let it carry her away. But if she was pregnant, it would have to be Heaths’ baby. And that meant Mike would kill her—and Heath. Hopefully, he’d wait until after she had the baby because no child deserved the wrath of her brother when he was angry.