“I can’t decide what I want.” Meg tossed the bridal magazine she had been looking through onto the pile of color swatches, catering brochures, and wedding etiquette books covering Purity's living room floor..
“We just need to break it down piece by piece, Meggie.” Purity grabbed the list she created with Meg earlier. “We can’t think about the whole thing at once. It’s just too overwhelming. Let’s concentrate on one thing at a time.”
Meg sighed and buried her head in her hands. “I just want to marry Bobby in a simple service in the back yard.”
“Then that’s what’s going to happen,” Pure assured her, putting her arm around Meg’s shoulders and giving her a gentle, comforting squeeze.
A knock on the door gave Meg a diversion. “I’ll get it.” Meg opened the door to find Courtney with her hands full of boxes, bags and three ice-cold soft drinks. Meg took the soft drinks while Purity snagged two of the bags. Courtney shifted the other items around so they were easier to carry the rest of the way into the room.
“Are those the invitations?” Meg asked.
All three women hovered over the box as Courtney opened it to reveal the handmade invitations.
“Oh, Court, they’re perfect!” Meg exclaimed, hugging her friend tightly.
“They truly are gorgeous, Courtney,” Purity said.
Courtney had embossed daisies on the front of the invitation, air brushing the center of the flowers the lightest shade of yellow. The paper was folded in such a way that you opened a left and right panel, uncovering a square center. A pale yellow slip of paper covered by a smaller white square housed Meg and Bobby’s names as well as the date, time and location of the wedding. A thin, gold cord was threaded down either side of the invitation’s edges. The look was stunning, classic and simple, exactly what Meg wanted.
Another knock on the door caused the oohing and aahing to cease as Purity grabbed the cash on the counter for Sean, her regular Pizza Hut delivery person. Sean and Purity exchanged dough for dough while Courtney grabbed plates and napkins from the kitchen.
“Don’t get the pizza near the invitations!” Meg yelled protectively as she moved the box to the other side of the room, lest a wayward piece of pineapple jump onto the embossed paper.
“I drove by the house today,” Courtney said, then shoved a huge piece of veggie pizza in her mouth. After swallowing, she finished her thought. “The roses are still blooming and they look fabulous. How are your wedding plans going?” Court asked Purity.
“What wedding plans?” Purity answered. “I haven’t done a thing yet. Work has been crazy busy and Meg and Bobby’s wedding is in less than three weeks.”
“Can you believe our little Meggie is getting hitched to your brother?” Court asked.
Meg sat quietly eating her pizza and drinking her soda as if she hadn’t heard a word her friends said.
“Hello?” Court waved her hand in front of Meg. “Anybody home in there?”
“Sorry,” Meg said. “I was lost in thought.”
Courtney and Purity exchanged glances. “What were you thinking about?” Pure finally asked when it was obvious Meg wasn’t going to share the information.
“Are you worried about the wedding?” Courtney asked.
“No. No, the wedding will be lovely, I’m sure,” Meg answered.
“Then what is it, Meg?” Court asked.
Meg swallowed hard, her gaze intently focused on a loose thread on her sweater. “I haven’t told Bob I can’t have kids. I know he wants a family, he’s mentioned it several times. I’m afraid if,” Meg paused, not wanting to say the words aloud. “I’m afraid if Bob knows I can’t carry a child to term, he won’t want to marry me.” Meg’s words were barely a whisper by the time she finished.
Purity put her arm around her friend and held her close. “Bobby isn’t like that, Meg. He loves you, not because you may or may not be able to bear his children, but because he loves you.”
“Pure’s right,” Courtney chimed in. “I think you should just tell him. Get it over with so you don’t have to give it another thought.”
Meg knew Court was right, but what if Bobby said he loved her, but he wanted a family. She couldn’t give him that. She’d never be able to give him that. Someone else could. It wouldn’t be fair to him to deny him the family of his dreams.
The trio let the issue rest and resumed eating pizza and drinking soda. If there was one thing they had learned in their nine years of friendship, it was that they each needed breathing space. Their relationships had thrived because they didn’t try to control one another’s lives. Instead, they wanted to share the journey together, allowing each other to work out their own problems while offering love and support rather than trying to “fix” things.
Purity reached over and grabbed a DVD from her collection and tossed it near Meg. Meg’s eyes followed the motion and then rested on the title. It was a perfect choice to lighten the mood, While You Were Sleeping. The women had watched it more times than they could count. Even Courtney liked it, even though she always rolled her eyes and made a big fuss about the “chick flick.”
They changed positions from the floor to the couches and Meg put the DVD in Pure’s DVD player.
As they watched the beginning of the movie, Meg’s thoughts drifted back to Bobby. She could still see him in his suit of armor the day he proposed. He dropped the bouquet of red roses, got stuck when he bent down on one knee to ask her to marry him, and couldn’t find the key to their new house. It had been perfect.
When they entered their new home together, a feast of wine, cheese, french bread, grapes, strawberries and a basket full of Big Hunk bars was laid before them on a red and white checkered tablecloth. Twenty votive candles ensconced in clear glass containers illumined the scene. Four large white fluffy pillows were available for lounging on.
Bob put the roses in a vase that was conveniently filled with water and placed off to the side by the chilling wine. Meg hardly knew what to say. Her heart was filled to overflowing and words couldn’t seem to find their way to her lips. Instead, she laced her hands around Bobby’s neck and kissed him tenderly. Meg was the first to deepen the kiss. She had waited long enough to show Bobby just how she felt about him. Now was the perfect time to share all of herself with him: mind, spirit and body.
The suit of armor was difficult to remove. It didn’t help that Bob was sweating profusely, both from the weight of the armor and having his nerves on edge. It wasn’t every day he asked the woman he loved to marry him.
“How did you get this thing on?” Meg asked.
“It wasn’t easy, let me tell ya.”
After several minutes, and a lot of pushing and pulling, Bobby stood before Meg clad only in his long underwear.
Their bodies crushed one another as the force of their passion increased. Lips explored new tastes and hands found flesh under clothing, Meg thought she would be consumed by the heat. Fire scorched every inch of her skin. She felt more alive than she had ever felt in her entire life.
Bobby was an experienced lover, yet he never truly felt love the way his emotions slammed into his gut when he was with Meg. The hunger shot through him like a bullet and he found it impossible not to moan from the sweet agony.
Meg had been with only one man and it had felt nothing like what she was experiencing at the moment. As Bobby assaulted her senses, she felt her bones turning to liquid and she pressed her body closer to his. She wanted to feel him inside her. She moved her hands down to his rigid manhood. Moments later they were matching rhythms on the floor while taking advantage of the pillows for support.
Even the walls seemed to come alive with the sexual energy pulsing in the room. Meg’s foot began to feel hot and she glanced in its direction only to find she had knocked over one of the candles and the wax had poured onto her toes.
Bobby took Meg’s hands in his and they clasped fingers as they climaxed within minutes of one another. Bobby buried his head in Meg’s breasts and she ran her fingers through his hair and pressed his head closer still. They lay together, listening to each other’s breathing become less ragged and their heartbeats resume a normal pace.
Bobby lifted his head and kissed Meg gently. “I love you, Meg.”
“I love you, Bobby.” Meg never felt so wanted and beautiful. Tears sprang to her eyes. Happy tears. Hope-filled, love-filled, joyous tears.
“Are you okay?” Court asked Meg.
“Huh?” Meg answered, realizing she had been caught in a reminisce and tears were rolling down her face. “I… I was just, um… I was just thinking about something… from before,” Meg said, biting her lower lip as a pink flush rushed to her cheeks.
“What is it, Meg?” Purity asked.
Courtney and Purity watched as Meg’s face changed color.
Meg wiped away the tears and sat upright. “Well, don’t stare at me!” she exclaimed, getting up from the couch and heading to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face.
Purity and Courtney exchanged glances as they watched their friend retreat.
“Hiding in the bathroom won’t help,” Courtney said. “You have to come out some time.”
Purity hit Court on the arm softly. “Stop! She’ll never come out if you say that.”
“I’m just kidding. She’s knows I’m just kidding.” In a louder voice so Meg would be sure to hear, Court said, “Bobby must be doing something right if he can put that goofy weepy look on your face.
When Meg joined her friends again, she avoided their curious eyes. She hadn’t felt like herself for a couple of weeks. Meg blamed it on the stress of planning the wedding and the fact that she was putting in so many hours of overtime at work. Starting her own accounting firm had been a scary and wonderful endeavor and she knew she’d need to spend a disproportionate amount of time working for the first year or so. Her stomach seemed to always be upset. She never went anywhere without saltine crackers and 7-Up.
Pure and Court watched Meg the rest of the afternoon, noticing that she was fidgety. Halfway through the movie, she fished the crackers and soda from her bag and began nibbling on the saltines.
Courtney’s eyes widened as the thought hit her and she blurted out, “Are you pregnant?”
“What?” Meg asked, stunned at the thought. “Of course not.”
“Meg,” Purity said, leaning closer to her friend, “did your doctor say you couldn’t get pregnant or that you shouldn’t get pregnant?”
Meg thought for a moment, then replied, “Doc Barnes said I shouldn’t get pregnant. That even if I was lucky enough to conceive, I most likely wouldn’t be able to carry the baby to term.”
“So, you could be pregnant? I mean, you and Bobby have had sex, right?” Court asked.
“Well,” Meg paused, “yeah.” The guilt of being a Christian, yet having premarital sex, was a weight Meg felt sitting squarely on her shoulders. She had justified making love with Bob because they were engaged to be married. She knew it still didn’t mesh with Christian teachings, but she really loved Bobby and planned to spend the rest of her life with him. She reasoned that even God couldn’t be against a real and lasting love between two people.
Court uncurled her legs from the love seat she had been sitting on and reached for her shoes.
“Where are you going?” Meg asked.
“To get a couple pregnancy tests. We need to find out if you’re preggers and there’s no time like the present.”
“When was the last time you saw Dr. Barnes?” Purity asked.
“Oh, gosh, it’s been years. I guess I saw her, maybe three Christmases ago. I probably should give her a call and make an appointment.” Meg’s thoughts began to spin. Suddenly the pieces started to fit into the puzzle. The emotional ups and downs, the nausea and the feeling that something was different but she just couldn’t put her finger on quite what.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Courtney said, grabbing her purse and heading out the door.
“What if I am pregnant?” Meg voiced to Purity, her eyes wide as saucers. “I mean, I was always told I couldn’t… shouldn’t have children, but does that mean I really can’t have children? Maybe if I stayed in bed and really took it easy it would be okay. Bobby wants a family so much and I want one, too. Do you think it might be okay, Pure?”
The longing in Meg’s voice could not be denied and Pure wished she knew the answer. She put her arm around her friend. “Let’s see if you’re pregnant first, then we’ll talk with Dr. Barnes, see what she has to say. I want this so much for you, Meggie, but I’m also selfish. I don’t want anything to happen to you and your health. A baby is great and all, but the thought of losing you, well…” Tears filled Purity’s eyes. “I just can’t even think about that.”
Meg felt the sting of tears in her own eyes and she had to sniff to keep her nose from running.
“Remember Steel Magnolias?” Meg said through sniffs.
“I was just thinking about that movie!” Purity half-laughed through her tears. Many were the times they had snuggled under afghans and chenille throws on Pure’s couches eating popcorn and laughing and crying their way through the movie. There was never enough tissue when Julia Roberts’ character, a woman who was told she shouldn’t bear children because it would be too hard on her body, met her demise.
The very thought that Meg might come to a similar end sent more tears flowing down Purity’s cheeks. She closed her eyes tightly and forced the image from her mind.
“It’s a good thing I’m not Julia Roberts, huh?” Meg said, trying not to let the fear she felt overwhelm her.
Purity leaned back so she could look into Meg’s eyes. “That was a movie, Meg. This is real life. If you are pregnant, it’s a good thing. You’ll make the best mom ever.”
Waterworks started anew for the two women. When one of them would finally stop, the other would begin again and new tears would flow. It was the scene Courtney walked in on when she returned from the store.
“Have you two been crying the whole time I’ve been gone?” Court asked, a bit bewildered by her friends. A baby was happy news.
Meg said, “Did you get the test?”
“Not just one, I got four!” Court beamed proudly. “Ya know, in case one is defective or something.”
Courtney’s enthusiasm was catching and the tears were left behind for the moment as all three friends went into Pure’s bathroom and began reading instructions on how to use the pregnancy tests. Pure sat on the long bathroom counter, Courtney on the bathtub edge and Meg on the toilet trying to pee on the sticks without peeing all over her hand.
“How long does it take before we find out?” Meg asked.
“Check the directions. I think it depends on which brands I got,” Court replied.
Pure began reading the packages aloud while Meg lined up all the tests on the counter. The nausea she had felt all morning seemed to worsen suddenly and Meg found herself returning to the toilet, this time to throw up.
Courtney grabbed a washcloth and drenched it in cool water, wrung it out, then gave it to Meg so she could wash her face. Pure grabbed another cloth and followed Court’s lead, this time putting it on Meg’s forehead.
Meg wasn’t an inch over 5’ 2” and slim as could be. The last thing she needed was to lose weight by tossing her cookies time and again. Pure hoped this was not going to be the beginning of a trend. From what she knew about pregnancy, the first trimester was the worst period for nausea and vomiting.
By the time the focus had shifted off of how Meg felt and back onto the outcome of the pregnancy tests, the time had elapsed so the results could be read.
On the counter lay four test sticks. One was blue, one had a plus sign on it, one had a minus sign on it and one read not pregnant. Meg had a 50% chance of being pregnant and a 50% chance of not being pregnant.