Room For More(3)By: Beth Ehemann
I had my girls and they were all I needed. Failing them was not an option. Suddenly, I was on my own and had to figure out how to not only provide for, but grow and nurture two little girls. It was all up to me. So I did what any normal nineteen-year-old, suddenly single mom would do.
I swallowed my pride and called my mom.
“Zach? At the hospital? Are you serious?” Lauren shrieked so loud into the phone I had to pull it away from my ear for a second.
“Obviously.” I sighed. “I wouldn’t joke about something like that.”
“He totally fell off the grid. I haven’t heard a word about him since he left. And I certainly had no idea he was a paramedic!”
“Me either. Needless to say, I was stunned.”
“What did he say? What did you say?”
“Nothing. I ran. Shocker, huh?” I chuckled nervously. “I pretended to get sick and sprinted to the bathroom. This other nurse, Darla, had to take over the patient while I sat on the floor of the bathroom stall having a full-blown panic attack for fifteen minutes. When I came out, he was gone.”
“Did you tell Brody?”
“Not yet. This just happened yesterday. I haven’t even processed it yet. Nor do I have any idea how to tell him.”
“You told Alexa, right?”
“Nope. You’re the only one that knows so far. Lucky you, huh?” I waited for her to laugh. She didn’t, so I continued, “Anyway, I can’t tell anyone. My mom’s first instinct will be to pack us all up in the car and move across country, and I’m worried that Alexa will go to the hospital and kill him.”
“You know she’s going to lose her mind when she finds out, right?”
“Alexa? Yeah, I know.” I sighed. “Which is exactly why I can’t tell her right now.”
“I’ll tell her eventually, just not yet. You know how she gets, Lauren. She’s so protective of us and hot-headed when it comes to Zach. Promise you won’t tell her?”
Lauren sighed, “It’s not my news to tell, so of course I won’t. I just don’t like this.”
“There might not be anything to get worked up about anyway.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Maybe that’ll be the only time I’ll have to see him. Who knows? With any luck, I can put my hours in and escape without ever having to see him again.”
I sat back on my bed and stared up at the ceiling, trying to force myself to believe the lie I’d just told Lauren. The odds of me not seeing him again over the next couple months were slim to none.
“Oh God, Kacie. I don’t even know what to say,” she said.
I had been friends with Lauren long enough to know exactly what she looked like at that moment, even from 4,700 miles away. Her blue eyes were as wide as saucers while her long, perfectly manicured hands were over her mouth. I could hear the wooden floors creaking beneath her feet as she paced her apartment.
“What’s going on?” Tommy called from the background.
“Zach is back!” she called to him.
“No shit!” he exclaimed. “Did Brody kick his ass?”
“He doesn’t know yet.”
“Oh shit. When he finds out, he’s going to kill him. Ask Kacie not to tell him until this season is over so he doesn’t go to jail, okay? I have a lot of money riding on him.”
“Shhh!” Lauren hissed at him. “What are you gonna do, Kacie?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. “I don’t know. What can I do? If I request a hospital transfer now, either I’ll end up in a field I don’t want to be in or they could make me wait ‘til next semester to switch and finish my hours, which would delay my graduation. I’m stuck.”
“Do you want me to come home?”
“Yes,” I said sarcastically. “Please hop on a plane and travel halfway around the world because I ran into my ex-boyfriend. I love you, but no.”
“You know if you said yes, seriously, I would be on a plane in an hour,” she said softly.
“I know you would and I really do love you for it.”
“So… how did he look?”
“What?” she squealed defensively. “I didn’t mean, like, were you checking him out. I just meant it’s been a long time. How did he look?”
“I don’t know. The same. Older. He had a baseball hat on, so I couldn’t see much.”
“I know you. There was a ‘but’ coming.”
She does know me well.
“God, Lauren… those eyes. Those big brown puppy dog eyes that both the girls got from him…” I sighed. “They haven’t changed one bit.”