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The receptionist glanced up expectantly as Kit pushed through the door. Kit nodded and tried to find a smile. 'Yes, that's right.'
'Dr Maybury is almost running on time. If you'd take a seat, she shouldn't be too much longer.'
Kit smiled her thanks. The surgery had managed to fit her in for the last appointment of the day and the waiting room was deserted.
She sat. She crossed her legs and bounced her foot. She glanced at her watch. She shifted on her seat, glanced around the waiting room, glanced at her watch again and finally seized a magazine. It wasn't that doctors' surgeries made her nervous. It was just
The magazine fell open to a celebrity wedding spread with the bride and groom in a variety of cheesy but romantic posesarms wrapped around each other, staring deep into each other's eyes, feeding each other wedding cake. For a moment all Kit could do was stare. And then she slapped it shut and shoved it back into the magazine rack.
All that giddy happiness.
She closed her eyes and pulled in a breath. It was three months almost to the day since Alex had so brutally ended their.. She could hardly call it a relationship, and still there were imageslike the ones in that magazinesnatches of conversation, a scent, that could hurtle her back in time and remind her of her stupidity. Remind her of the ridiculous dreams she'd woven about a man who hadn't been worth a single one of them. Reminded her of her appallingly bad judgement.
It was crazy too because she and Alex had hardly spent any time together during these last three months. He'd flown to the Brisbane headquarters of Hallam Enterprises the day after his no-nonsense rejection of her and he'd remained there for six weeks. He'd only been back in Sydney for two days when she'd found herself given the fancy title of Project Manager and moved to another department two floors down.
She'd welcomed that change, but.. She uncrossed her right leg to cross her left leg instead. She bounced her left foot. She let out a breath and stared up at the ceiling. Was she becoming too hard to please? Was that it? It was just The project she was heading up was one that had previously excited her. She should be raring to go, eager, engaged. But she traipsed into her office each day as if she had nothing more interesting to do than filing and data entry.
She was the one who'd urged Alex to pursue the book deal McBride's Proprietary Press had offered him over four months ago. And she was the one who'd hoped she'd get the chance to head the project up.
Midway through last year, she'd written a profile on Alex for a book titled Australia's Most Successful Entrepreneurs. That had led to a whole chapter in another book called Advice From Australia's CEOs. Now McBride's were launching a new series called From Go to Whoa, and they wanted a book with Alex's name on the cover detailing a land development project from its earliest stages through to the final development. The title they'd floated was Commercial Land Development: from Scrubland to Shopping Mall. Kit had already substituted shopping mall with sports resort.
She should love what she was doing.
Her eyes narrowed. Had she lost her zest for life because a man had disappointed her? Pathetic!
She slapped her hands down onto her knees and glared at the wall opposite. From now on, whenever thoughts of Alex surfaced she was ousting them out of her head pronto. It was time she started having fun again.
She brightened marginally. At least for the next three weeks she didn't have to worry about running into Alex, didn't have to steel herself for accidental meetings in the corridors at work, there wouldn't even be the risk of catching an unexpected glimpse of him in the distance. A week ago he'd left for a month-long odyssey to Africa. Rumour had it that he was doing some kind of aid work.
Not that he struck her as the aid worker type.
She uncrossed her legs. Re-crossed them. Well, okay, maybe he had three and a half months ago, but not since
No. She wasn't doing that any more. She was through thinking about Alex, through trying to work him out. 'Enough,' she muttered under her breath. She had more important things to think about.
Like the reason she was sitting in her doctor's waiting room at ten to five on a Friday afternoon.
She gripped her hands together. If this was what she thought it was, then
She squared her shoulders. She'd get through it. Adjustments would be necessary, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. This could be taken care of.
Kit jerked around at the receptionist's voice and tried to smile. Would she have to have a needle? She didn't like needles.
Of course you'll have to have a needle. The doctor will have to take blood.
The receptionist smiled kindly, as if she sensed Kit's nervousness. 'This way; the doctor is ready for you.'
Dr Maybury was middle-aged, kind and unfailingly practical. 'Now, Kit, it's been a while. What seems to be the problem?'
Kit pulled a face. No sense in beating about the bush. 'I'm worried I might have diabetes.' She pulled in a deep breath and quickly detailed her incredible thirst, her endless trips to the bathroomespecially at night. 'The thing is, though, that sometimes there's nothing, just a drop or two. And I'm so tired all the time. And hungry.'
'I've felt faint a couple of times.'
'Blurriness of vision?'
Kit shook her head.
'Well, let's not waste any more time.' Dr Maybury handed Kit a cup. 'We'll test your urine.'
Ten minutes later, Dr Maybury turned to her and folded her arms. 'I'm pleased to say you are not diabetic.'
Kit slumped in relief. 'Oh, that is good news! The thought of having to give myself daily insulin injections ' She shuddered.
'Kit, you're not diabetic, but you are pregnant.'
Kit blinked. She shook her head. 'What did you just say?'
The doctor repeated it.
She shook her head again. 'But ' Her chest tightened, her stomach cramped. 'But I can't be! I just had my period.'
'Some women maintain their period throughout their entire pregnancy.'
Kit could only stare. 'Heavens,' she found herself murmuring, 'how unfair is that?'
Dr Maybury smiled and Kit shook herself again. 'No, you don't understand. I can't be pregnant. I haven't had morning sickness and and my breasts haven't been sore and I mean you have to have sex to get pregnant and I haven't had sex in, like, forever!'
She hadn't had sex since that magical night with Alex. Her mouth went dry. 'Except One night '
'One night is all it takes.'
'But but that was three months ago.' She couldn't have been pregnant for three months and not known. Could she?
She thrust out her arm. 'Please, do a blood test or or something!'
'I will take blood and send it off to the lab to make a hundred per cent certain. But, Kit, the pregnancy test I just used is roughly ninety-seven per cent accurate. I can do an internal examination to eliminate that final three per cent of doubt if it will put your mind at rest.'
Kit nodded mutely.
After the internal exam and when Kit was dressed again, she forced herself to meet the doctor's eyes. 'Well?'
'There is not a doubt in my mind that you are pregnant. And, like you say, I'd put you at about three months. The results of the blood test will give us a better indication of your due date.'
She could tell the doctor the exact date of conception, only she didn't have the heart to.
'Kit, what do you want to do?'
She couldn't be pregnant. She just couldn't be. Alex, he'd.
She closed her eyes.
'If you'd prefer a termination, we can't leave it too much longer.'
Her eyes flew open.
'Do you want children, Kit?'
'Yes.' The word croaked out of her.
But she'd wanted to do it the right waymarried, with a divine husband whom she adored and who adored her in return, and with a mortgage on a cute little house and and planned. Not like this!
'You're twenty-eight. How much longer did you mean to leave it?'
She didn't have an answer for that. Through the fog of her shock, though, one thing started to become increasingly clear. She swallowed, twisted her hands together. 'I don't want to terminate my pregnancy.'
Her doctor smiled.
The answering smile that rose up through her suddenly froze. 'Oh, but I've been drinking tea first thing in the morning and again at lunchtime and'
'You don't have to give up caffeine altogether. Are you exceeding more than three cups a day?'
'Then that's okay. Alcohol?'
She winced. 'I usually have a glass on Friday and Saturday nights.'
'Any alcoholic binges in the last three months?' 'No.'
'Then there's nothing to worry about.' 'I haven't been taking folate.' 'You can start that today.'
Kit leaned forward. 'You really think my baby is okay?' She couldn't stand the thought that she might have somehow hurt her unborn child.
The doctor patted her hand. 'Kit, you are a healthy young woman. There's absolutely no reason to suppose your baby isn't healthy too.'
She let the doctor's words reassure her. Finally, that smile built up through her again. 'I'm really pregnant?' she whispered.
'You really are.'
'But that's lovely news.'
Alex Hallam wouldn't think it was lovely news.
The doctor laughed. 'Congratulations, Kit.'
Who cared what Alex Hallam thought? She was through thinking about him, remember? She beamed back at the doctor. 'Thank you.'
Kit left the surgery and turned in the direction of the train station. When she arrived there she couldn't remember a single step of her journey.
Pregnant? A tentative excitement wrestled with her apprehension. One moment joy held sway. In the next, anxiety had gained the upper hand. An unplanned pregnancy? She gulped. It sounded so irresponsible. Irresponsible people shouldn't be allowed to raise children.
She hugged her handbag. No. She hadn't been irresponsible. She and Alex had taken precautions. It was just that sometimes, obviously, accidents happened.
She frowned over that wordaccident. Her baby wasn't an accident. It was lovely, a miracle.
Alex wouldn't think their baby lovely. He'd definitely think it was an accident, a mistake. She closed her eyes. It was pointless telling herself now that she was through with thinking about Alex. They were having a baby. That changed everything.
Her hand moved to her abdomen, cradled it. She imagined the tiny life inside and her mouth went dry. How on earth would Alex react when she told him the news?
I don't do long-term, I don't do marriage and babies, and I certainly don't do happy families.
Nausea swirled through her. Her eyes stung. Would Alex reject their child as ruthlessly and dispassionately as he had rejected her? Her throat thickened and then closed over completely. When her train arrived she boarded it like an automaton, found a window seat and concentrated on her breathing.
A baby deserved a mother and a father. Had she robbed her child of that chance because she'd misjudged Alex so badly? She should pay for that mistake, not her baby. She'd messed everything up and now her baby would pay the price.
The rush and clatter of an oncoming train as it sped past her window made her flinch and then sit up suddenly straighter. What was she doing? She couldn't control how Alex would react, but she could control how she dealt with the news. She had a miracle growing inside her and she wanted this baby with every atom of her being. The weight pressing down on her shoulders melted away. A smile built up inside her.
She was having a baby!
The minute Kit entered her apartment she let out a whoop, shrugged her arms out of her coat and threw it up in the air. She was going to have a baby! And then she danced around the coffee table before falling onto the sofa and grinning at the blank screen of her television, at her sound system, at the magazines scattered on the coffee table.
She was going to be a mother.
Her hands formed a protective cocoon across her abdomen. 'I'm going to be the best mother that ever walked the earth,' she vowed, making the promise out loud to her unborn child.
And Alex I-don 't-do-happy-families Hallam?
She lifted her chin and pushed all thoughts of Alex aside for a moment. He was out of contact for the next three weeks and she wasn't going to let thoughts of him darken her day or dim her joy. He might not do happy families but she did!
She reached for the phone and dialled her mother's number in Brisbane. Today was for joy. 'Mum, I have some wonderful news.'
'Ooh, do tell, darling.'
She heard her mother's grin down the line. It widened hers. 'Mum, I'm going to have a baby!'
She held the phone away from her ear as her mother squealed her delight. 'Darling, I'm so happy for you! I can't wait to be a grandma. When are you due?'
Kit counted six months off on her fingers. Was that how one did it? She shrugged. 'Some time in March, I think.'
'I'll take holidays,' her mother vowed. 'I want to be there for you.' There was a slight pause. 'And the daddy?'
'He doesn't know yet and he's not going to be thrilled. I um got him all wrong.'
Kit's eyes filled at the sympathy in her mother's voice. 'Do you really think I have to tell him?' Keeping it from him, would that be so bad?
'Yes, darling, you must.'
Kit knew her mother was right.
'Are you quite sure you got him so wrong?'
'Quote: I don't do long-term. I don't do happy families. End quote. I don't think he could've made it any plainer, do you?'
Her mother exhaled one indignant breath.
She shook her head at the remembered pain of his words. It didn't matter. Not any more. 'It was a learning experience. The baby and I will be just fine. We'll be better off without him.'