A couple hours later, Audrey held tight to Becca’s hand as they waited for the doctor to report the findings. The pregnancy center wasn’t creepy as Audrey had feared. It was decorated for the holiday season with twinkle lights and snowman figurines. The waiting area was cozy enough with sofas and plush chairs. However, the leaflets in the waiting area describing gonorrhea and chlamydia served as an unwelcome reminder that she wasn’t there for a friendly visit.
Then there was the exam—being poked and prodded, not knowing what the doctor would discover. She shuddered. She couldn’t have been more relieved when the exam was finally over. The doctor had told her to get dressed; she’d be back in a couple minutes to discuss the results.
“I’m so scared,” Audrey whispered to Becca. She was trembling.
The two of them sat in silence for a minute or two. Becca squeezed Audrey’s hand, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
A tear rolled down Audrey’s cheek and splat on the white linoleum floor. “And lean not on your own understanding.” Audrey looked at Becca through blurry eyes. “That’s the verse I’ve been focusing on. I think God keeps reminding me of it.”
The door creaked open, and the doctor entered the room with a serious look on her face. She sat down on her swivel stool and began clicking away on a computer.
Come on, lady. Spit it out, Audrey wanted to scream.
The doctor cleared her throat and hesitated before looking up from the screen. “The good news is that you are healthy. There are no signs of disease or infection, although we do need to wait for a few test results to be certain. It would have been better for you to come in right afterwards for a more thorough assessment and preventative measures.”
Audrey exhaled. What a relief. Becca hugged her, and the stress of the past couple of hours drained away. She turned to the doctor. “Thank you so much.” Audrey could’ve hugged her too.
The doctor took a deep breath. “Audrey, there was one other test.” Bad news was written all over the lady’s face.
“What other test? You said I’m healthy.”
“You are pregnant.” She paused to let the news sink in. Then she stood and opened a cupboard, retrieving a selection of pamphlets and a small bottle of pills. “There are options. I’ll give you this information to take home and look over. When you make a decision about how to proceed, give the office a call to make an appointment. In the meantime, take one of these prenatal vitamins daily. Do you have any questions for me?”
Audrey wanted to scream that it couldn’t be true, that they should take another test to be sure. But she couldn’t find her voice. She looked at Becca who was staring blankly at the pamphlets in the doctor’s hand. She was shaking her head, also apparently at a loss for words.
The doctor’s eyes softened. “I’ll leave the literature here on the desk. Take as long as you like.” She stood and left the room, letting the door close quietly behind her.
Becca wrapped her arms around Audrey. Their tears mixed as they streamed onto their shoulders. Audrey clung to her friend, weeping until she finally found the energy to stand up. “I want to go home.”
On wobbly knees, Audrey leaned against her friend as they walked out of the clinic.
Audrey slid into Becca’s car, moving on autopilot. Numb. Numb to the chill of winter biting her fingertips. And numb to the myriad of emotions whirling through her head.
“Audrey, your phone is ringing.” Becca said. She sat behind the steering wheel, breathing warm air onto her hands.
Audrey’s phone vibrated in her coat pocket. She read the caller ID through blurry eyes. Trevor. Every fiber in her body screamed at her to answer his call. She missed him in a way she hadn’t known was possible. She wanted so badly to hear his voice. To hear him say everything was going to be okay. To know he still cared about her.
But she wouldn’t answer his call. As much as it was ripping her heart into a million pieces, she had to be strong and resist. He didn’t need her with all her baggage. Or maybe he was calling to yell at her for being so rude. Her heart just couldn’t take that. The ringing eventually stopped, and she returned the phone to her pocket.
“That was Trevor, wasn’t it?” Becca maneuvered the car out of the parallel parking space and onto the street.
“Why don’t you talk to him? He’s miserable without you.”
Audrey couldn’t find the words to answer.
When Becca dropped her off at home, she made her promise to keep in touch. “I will. Thank you for coming with me today. I wouldn’t have done it without you.”
“No problem.” Becca smiled.
“Please don’t tell anyone about this.” Audrey knew she could trust Becca.
“Cross my heart.”
Audrey tried to sneak in the house unnoticed but her mom came running to the door, holding the home phone to her ear.
“Just a minute, Trevor. She just walked in the door.”
Her mom held out the phone. “Trevor is asking to speak with you.”
“Tell him I’m busy.”
Her mom continued to hold the phone out, pleading with her eyes. Audrey shook her head and ran upstairs to her room.
She heard her mother’s voice. “I’m sorry, Trevor. She can’t come to the phone right now.” There was a pause. “I’ll tell her. Bye, hon.”
Audrey lay face down on her bed and put a pillow over her head. Soon she felt the bed sink down as her mother sat beside her. Her mom’s gentle hand rubbed light circles on Audrey’s back. “Trevor wants me to tell you he’ll be home all day if you want to talk.”
Trevor’s tenacity was unbelievable. After the unfair way she’d been treating him, he still wasn’t giving up on her. A part of her wanted to reach out to him. It was possible that she could get through this with Trevor by her side.
She considered calling him back immediately. She’d tell him that she was sorry for shutting him out. But just as quickly, she decided against it. He deserved better than her.
“I can’t talk to him, Mom.”
“Listen, Audrey. I don’t know what’s going on with you two, but you need to talk to him soon. He needs to hear that you still care about him. Even if it’s just as a friend.”
Audrey didn’t respond.
“To be honest, I think you’ll feel better after talking to him.”
“I’ll think about it,” Audrey uttered under her breath. It was all she could think about.
Her mom’s hand stilled. “Is there anything you’re not telling me? Did you and Trevor have a fight?” Audrey knew that her secrecy was breaking her mom’s heart.
“I’m not ready to talk about it.”
Her mom sighed. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.” Before leaving, her mom kissed Audrey’s temple. It was a gesture meant to demonstrate her mom’s unconditional love. But her mom didn’t have a clue how serious Audrey’s troubles were. Would her mom’s love be able to stand the test of public humiliation of her daughter’s teen pregnancy?
She sat up and took off her coat, removing the stack of brochures she had balled up in her coat pocket. Taking a deep breath, she started to read.
The first brochure briefly explained a medical procedure to remove the fetus. Medical terminology was used to disguise the fact that it was simply describing abortion. Audrey had always been opposed to abortion. God created life and it was up to Him to take it away.
On second thought, did God really create this fetus? God wouldn’t use rape to create a baby. Would He? Besides, the brochure didn’t use the word baby. It said a doctor would remove the “tissue” from the lining of the uterus. That didn’t sound like ending a life. Audrey set the brochure aside, tucking this option into the back of her mind. She would have to think about it more.
She moved on to the next pamphlet, describing the changes a woman needs to make in her daily life to support the needs of a growing baby. There were vitamin supplements to take and foods to avoid. It advised against going in hot tubs and saunas. It suggested taking naps and avoiding carrying heavy loads.
Information overload. The whole pregnancy thing was way too much to deal with.
At this point, the medical procedure to remove the tissue seemed the most logical solution to her problems.
Trevor slammed his phone down on the coffee table and slumped into the living room chair. It was torture not being able to see or talk to Audrey when she was in the house next door. It bothered him, what Darcy had said about Audrey being pregnant. But he tried not to let it weigh too heavily on his mind. Obviously Darcy didn’t have her facts straight. He and Audrey hadn’t even come close to having sex.
He looked out the window, past the backyard. The pond was frozen over, and snow was piled knee deep. His mind wandered back to yesteryear, when he and Audrey would shovel a crude ice rink and spend hours shooting hockey pucks or playing broom ball one on one. His head fell in his hands.
Lucas walked up from behind and gave him a brotherly kick in the shin. “Hey, how ya holding up?” Lucas sat on the adjacent chair, a pile of frosted sugar cookies in one hand and a tall glass of milk in the other.
Trevor rubbed his eyes before looking up at his brother.
“Dude, you’re looking rough.” Lucas eyeballed the phone on the coffee table. “She’s still not taking your calls?”
Trevor fixed his eyes on the pond. “Nope.”
Lucas followed his brother’s gaze out the window. “So what are you gonna do about it?” He bit into a sugar cookie cut out in the shape of a Christmas tree, green frosting coloring his lips.
Trevor rubbed his head. “One minute I’m done with her. She doesn’t want me in her life so why waste my time trying? The next minute, I can’t live without her, and I’d do anything to get her to speak to me.”
“And where are you at right now?”
Trevor sighed and laughed in spite of himself. “I’m desperate, man. Pathetic as that may sound. I’m completely desperate. I’m planning to march into the Chapman’s house and pin her to the ground until she gives me answers.”
“You might wanna try a more subtle approach.” Lucas wiped a hand on his jeans, sending crumbs sprinkling to the carpet.
“Ya think?” Trevor helped himself to a cookie from the pile in Lucas’ hand. He stuffed the cookie into his mouth all at once. “Hey, I’ve got an idea.” Bits of cookie fell from his mouth when he talked.
Lucas raised his eyebrows. “Oh yeah, what’s that?” He took a swig of milk.
“How about we go out and shovel off the pond? For old time’s sake. We could play a little broom ball.”
Lucas downed the last of his milk. “That’s the spirit! No more moping around, crying over girls.”
Trevor didn’t tell Lucas he came up with the whole idea while reminiscing about the days of old with Audrey. He grabbed the last cookie from his brother’s hand. “Loser shovels the driveway.”
Once snow pants, boots, hats, and gloves were on, the guys trudged out to the pond in the deep snow. Lucas tried to keep the mood light with his witty banter, but Trevor’s disposition remained as heavy as the snow they pushed to the side of the pond. They piled up snow at opposite ends of the pond for goals, and played an aggressive game of broom ball. It felt good to pour his energy into a game. It was a much needed break from racking his brain about what had happened between him and Audrey.
A biting breeze blew across the ice as the sun began its descent. It was a tie game. Trevor could outrun Lucas on the football field, but their athletic ability was a match on the ice. Lucas had grown up playing hockey, and he could shoot a mean puck.
“Next point wins the game.” Lucas charged toward Trevor’s goal.
Trevor guarded his snow-piled goal, eyes fixed on the ball, when he heard rustling behind him. He turned around to see Darcy making her way over to the pond.
Lucas took advantage of Trevor’s quick glance away, scoring the final goal. “Woo hoo!” He raised his stick in the air. “Undefeated, baby!”
Trevor, ignoring his brother’s lack of humility, approached Darcy. “Hey.”
“Hey,” she echoed, looking down at her boots, buried in the snow.
Trevor waited for her to say more, but when she didn’t, he asked if she wanted to join in the broom ball game.
“No thanks. I can’t compete with you guys. It just looked like you were having fun out here, and I was bored out of my mind sitting inside.” She traced circles in the snow with the toe of her boot. “I wouldn’t mind shooting around with you for a while though.”
Trevor tried to hide his surprise. Since when did Darcy develop an interest in sports of any kind? He wondered if Audrey had set her up to this. But what harm could it do to play a little broom ball with her? Even if it was some sort of a game Audrey was playing. Or maybe Audrey sent Darcy as a messenger to fill him in on what was going on with her. Or maybe she just wanted to play broom ball.
“Sure. You can use Lucas’ stick. He needs a break anyway. He needs time to let that big head of his deflate.”
Darcy walked onto the ice and reached for the broom ball stick Lucas extended to her. She squealed as her feet slid out from under her, landing her on her bottom.
“Yeah, you might not be quite ready for a game.” Trevor helped her back onto her feet. He showed her how to walk flat-footed on the ice, keeping her weight over her feet. Soon she was able to run with short strides and make feeble attempts at stick-handling the ball. As she approached the goal, she swung the stick back and struck the ball with all her might. Her momentum from the back swing threw her off balance, landing her back on the ice with a thud. Her scream echoed across the pond followed by her laughter, as she rubbed her butt.
Trevor and Lucas couldn’t hold back their laughter. This time when Trevor extended a helping hand, she grabbed it and pulled him onto the ice next to her. His stick went flying and sent the ball bouncing into the goal. Soon they were all doubled over in laughter.
Trevor noticed how good it felt to laugh. He looked over at Darcy, silhouetted from the darkening sky. Her frame resembled Audrey’s. For a moment, he let his mind wander back to times when he laughed with Audrey over a game of broom ball. He wondered if he would ever laugh with her this way again. He shook his head, shaking his thoughts away. He stood up and dusted the snow off his jeans. He looked down at Darcy, still on the ice. “You’re on your own this time. No more help from me.”
Darcy batted her frozen eyelashes at him. “Come on. You can’t leave a girl on the ground.” She dramatically lifted her gloved hand delicately in his direction. “Please? I really need a big strong guy to help me.”
Trevor reached for her hand, pulling her to a stand.
Lucas walked over to them, a curious look on his face. “I’m gonna head in. My fingers and toes are frozen.” He looked at his brother. “You coming?”
Trevor realized he had his eyes fixed on Darcy as his mind wandered back in time. He had never noticed the strong resemblance Darcy had to her sister. It was almost like looking at Audrey a couple years ago, back when their friendship was untainted. Darcy seemed to squirm under his gaze, snapping Trevor back to reality.
“Yeah, I’m coming. You can head in without me. I wanna talk to Darcy for a minute first.”
Lucas gathered the broom ball sticks and walked back to the house. Trevor looked at Darcy who seemed to be squirming more than ever now. “I better go in now too.” She turned to leave.
Trevor grabbed her coat sleeve. “No!” He pleaded with her to stay. “Please talk to me, Darcy. Tell me what’s going on with Audrey.”
“Trevor, I told you everything I know.”
“But why won’t she talk to me?”
“I don’t know, Trevor. That’s between you guys.” She put her hands on her hips. “It’s your own fault, you know. You were supposed to wait until you got married. You got yourself into this mess, so don’t keep looking to me to get you out of it.”
Trevor took off his stocking cap and rubbed his sweaty hair. “Darcy, we never did it.”
“Never did what?” Darcy looked confused.
Did he really have to spell this out for her? “We never had sex. Audrey and I were both waiting for marriage. Anyway, she just sees me as a friend.”
“Then she can’t be pregnant, right?”
Trevor put his hat back on to cover his ears that were stinging from the cold air. “Not by me.”
“That’s not possible! You are definitely the only guy she would have sex with.” Darcy’s face was deadpan as she put the pieces together.
Trevor laughed at the bluntness of Darcy’s statement. Soon Darcy was in stitches along with him. “It’s true, you know. She totally knows you’re the one for her. Any other guy would have to—”
Darcy’s laughter stopped abruptly. She gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.
Trevor fought to regain control. “What?”
Darcy’s eyes were wide. “I think I figured it out. I bet she was raped.”
Trevor felt like the wind got knocked out of him. He clutched his chest, struggling to breathe.
“I’ve heard date rape happens on college campuses more than people realize.”
Trevor’s blood ran hot. “Talk to her. Find out what happened.”
Darcy nodded. She was stunned, looking like a deer in the headlights. She rubbed her arms, shivering.
“Let’s go in.” Trevor turned toward their houses. He linked his arm in Darcy’s as he carefully guided her off the ice.
“Me and my big mouth. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything out on the porch that day.”
“It’s not your fault. I made you talk.”
It was time to go their separate ways as they approached the back of their houses. Their arms were still linked as they faced each other. They were each experiencing a new understanding of the situation with Audrey, and sadness filled both of their eyes.
“I hope things work out for you and Audrey.” She looked down at the snow now sparkling in the moonlight, before looking up into his eyes. “I really like you.”
Trevor pulled Darcy into a hug. It felt good to have Darcy to talk to. He had never paid much attention to her in the past as she always had seemed so young. But she was maturing now. “I like you too, Darcy.”
Trevor released her and walked into his house feeling better than he had when he went out. At least he wasn’t as worried about Audrey being in love with another dude. He dropped his wet gloves and hat onto the tile flooring just inside the sliding door of the walkout basement.
Lucas was hanging his coat on a hook. He had a disgusted look on his face. “What’s up with you and Audrey’s little sister?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about—the way you were hugging on her and stuff. Dude, I know you’re upset about Audrey and you’re all confused, but you better watch yourself.” Lucas shook his head as he walked away. “You’re losing it, man.”
Lucas was right. Trevor was losing it. The whole situation was ridiculous. How did Audrey expect him to react anyway? Was she expecting him to chase after her or did she really want him to leave her alone? Did she really think he could just move on suddenly, forgetting all the years of memories they had made together? Impossible! Especially after he had just poured his heart out to her. How could she ask that of him?
Frustration grew so strong inside of him he thought he would burst. Taking a steadying breath, he pulled the door open and trudged through the snow to the neighbor’s house. This time he wasn’t leaving until he got some answers straight from Audrey.
Read a chapter a day from Bittersweet Goodbye right here on this blog, beginning September 1st, 2019.