Never Did Say

By: C.M. Stunich

1





Ectopic pregnancy.

What the hell does that even mean? I hear the words like they're far away, floating in a distant universe, not meant for me but about me nonetheless.

Ectopic.

I roll the word around on my tongue, or at least I try to. Honestly, I don't think my mouth is moving at all. I do my best to turn over, but my body won't obey my commands, leaving me in an icy darkness that flickers at the edges. If the light's really trying to make its way in here, then it's going to have to fight twice as hard to get past all of my blackness.

So much blood.

I remember standing on the driveway with Zella and Noah, listening to things I never really wanted to hear and then … I was with Ty. Always with Ty. I will always be with Ty. Unless, of course, I die here. I think about that really hard. I mean, what else do I have to do? I can't move, can't speak, can't even ask what that word means. Ectopic. It means 'out of place' or something, right? It means something is where it shouldn't be. But what does that mean when paired with my pregnancy? The word ectopic sounds alien, like I have a little extraterrestrial baby inside of me. Only I know that's not true. I mean besides the ridiculousness of it – I'm too far beyond delirium to care about logic.

But this is Ty's baby. My baby. Our baby.

I groan and try to sit up again, but I'm still not fully present in my own body and it's freaking me out. If I die now, then Ty will die, too. I know that as surely as I know the earth is spinning on its axis. Ty and me, we're healing but we're not healed, not yet. Without each other, everything would just go to shit.

But that blood.

I remember the red between my legs, coating my thighs. I touched it with my hand and spread my fingers. Even in this in-between, I know what that means. It means trouble and heartache and me fucking up something as basic as pregnancy.

I moan again and fight against my eyelids. Why do they have to be so heavy? I wonder, thrashing and trying to push myself up and out of this dark place. It's too dark here, not that kind of perfect dark that Ty and I make together, that kind where the stars flutter and rest and float high above us. I think of my sisters, of my son, but mostly I keep thinking about Ty. The kind of love we have is so rare that even if there is a heaven or another life after this one, it would take me a million tries just to find someone half as good as him. And even then, it still wouldn't be right.

“Ty,” I whisper, and this time I know I'm really talking. My voice whispers from my throat, grating and so quiet I wonder if anyone could hear me over the other sounds in the room, the people talking and the machines beeping. But he does. Ty hears me.

“I'm right here, baby,” he says, and I feel his ringed fingers close around mine, squeezing so tight I feel like my hand might break. But I don't care. I'd let him shatter me into pieces if he wanted to because I know he could always put me back together. “I'm right here, Never. Stay with me, okay? Baby, I need you. Little Noah needs you. You can make it through this.”

I wonder why his voice sounds so sad, like he's pushing back tears, like I'm in a coffin instead of … wherever it is that I am. A hospital, I think. I'm in a hospital. My baby is dead. I'm dying, too. And it's my own fault. Ty told me to go to the doctor and I refused, wanted to wait. I didn't listen and I'm being punished for it.

“I'm sorry, Ty,” I warble, but my voice trails off and his hand slides from mine.

Consciousness fades, no matter how hard I try to hold onto it.

I hate that I don't even have the energy to say goodbye.





2

Dreams flood my brain with harsh lines and colors that are too real, too familiar to be comforting. I watch them all from a third party perspective and I'm almost certain then, certain, that I'm dead. Why the fuck else would I have to watch my father die again, unless I'm already in hell?

In this dream – no, no, this nightmare – my copper hair hangs down my back and for the first two minutes, the first two minutes that Jade's father has his hands wrapped around my dad's neck, I fight. I scream and shout and claw at him, but I'm too young, too little to fight off a grown man with a vengeance. For the next six minutes, I sit down on the ground and I do nothing. And it's not because I don't want to, but because I can't. That feeling of helplessness was just one of the ingredients that led to an epic meltdown of a life, a life that I've only just recently gotten back. How cruel is fate? To watch me suffer for so long, give my body away like it meant nothing, only to have it taken away from me when I gave it in love?

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