Big girls do it pregnant, p.7
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       Big Girls Do It Pregnant, p.7

         Part #10 of Big Girls Do It series by Jasinda Wilder
 
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  "Symptoms of what?"

  "Preeclampsia." Something in her tone of voice had me worried.

  "I've heard that word, but I don't know what it is," I said.

  Kelly patted my knee. "It's complicated. I'm not going to worry you until we know for sure. Just be sure to tell me if you have any more things like that. Even if you're positive it's just usual pregnancy discomfort, tell me. Okay?"

  I was worried now, but no sense in telling her that. I just shrugged. "Okay."

  We chatted aimlessly the rest of the cab ride to the train station. Once we were in our seats, Kelly pulled out a paperback and was soon lost to the world. I dug my iPad out of my purse and opened the browser. I typed "preeclampsia" into the Google search bar and brought up the first hit, a .org website dedicated solely to preeclampsia. The more I read, the more frightened I became. By the time I'd read everything on the website, I was in full-blown panic attack mode.

  "Kelly." I closed the cover to my iPad and met Kelly's eyes over the top of her book, a bodice-ripper, by the looks of it. "You think I have preeclampsia?"

  Kelly sighed and set the book face down on her thigh. Her kind brown eyes, so much like Chase's, searched mine and were soft with worry. "You Googled it, didn't you?" I nodded. "Jamie, it's going to be okay. I don't know that you do. I just don't want to ignore the possibility."

  "But I'm experiencing everything listed on the website. Everything. And it said there's no cure but to induce labor or to abort. I'm not--I can't--I mean--"

  Kelly leaned forward and took my hands in hers. "You're freaking yourself out needlessly. You're fine. Samantha is fine. Okay? We'll go see Dr. Rayburn first thing, I promise."

  I took several deep breaths and tried to push away my panic, my tears, my sense of impending doom--which, by the way, was also one of the possible symptoms. For something which had no cure except to have the baby, and I wasn't even close to full-term yet.

  I managed to calm myself down enough that I didn't hyperventilate, but it was close. I marinated in my own worry for most of the excruciatingly long train ride from New York to Detroit. When Chase called, he picked up on my worry within minutes, but I wasn't ready to saddle him with the possibilities yet, especially since, as Kelly said, I wasn't even sure I had preeclampsia. It was hard not to tell Chase, though. He was, beneath everything else, my best friend. I told him everything. So to keep this from him, even if it was just a worry at that point, was painful. I wanted him to comfort me, to tell me it was fine, that I was just being silly. But if I told him, he'd worry. And when he worried, he would be off his game, and this tour had to go well.

  By the time we pulled into Detroit some fifteen hours later, I was delirious from exhaustion. I'd run through every possibility in my head a dozen times, from an emergency C-section as soon as I saw the doctor to being hospitalized for the next twelve weeks to being told I was an idiot for worrying so much over nothing. Kelly had slept most of the way, and I'd read the book she'd brought, as well as another one I had on my iPad. I'd watched half of the first season of Downton Abbey. I was bored, scared, tired, cramped, worried, and panicked. And horny. How could I be horny at a time like this? I had no answer for myself, and no relief in sight until I saw Chase again in a couple weeks.

  Kelly woke up as we pulled into the station, took one look at me, and groaned. "You've been working yourself into a fit the entire time, haven't you?"

  I just shrugged and tugged my sweater higher up my shoulders. I knew if I answered her out loud, I'd snap, and she didn't deserve that. We made our way to Kelly's car in the long-term parking lot and shoved my suitcase in the backseat of her Lincoln MKZ. Chase had wanted to buy her something fancier, but she'd refused to let him, he claimed. So he'd gotten her the Lincoln and had it stuffed with every available option. He'd laughed when he related how she'd chewed his ear off after the car was delivered. I don't know what she was complaining about; it was a nice car that I wouldn't mind driving, if it had been practical to even own a car in New York City.

  I fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up until Kelly gently shook my shoulder an hour later, sitting in her driveway. It was past two in the morning, and I followed Kelly sleepily as she unlocked her front door and showed my my room. I didn't even look around me at Kelly's house. I fell face-first into the bed, felt Kelly slip my shoes off, tug the blankets free from beneath me, and drape them over me. I couldn't even summon the strength to murmur a thanks to her. And yet, even in the grip of utter exhaustion, I dreamed of being chained to a hospital bed for the next three months.

  I woke up in a sweat, near tears, and rubbed my wrists where I'd felt the shackles in my dream. As I fell asleep, I felt the dream coming back, felt the panic, the bone-deep fear.

  The next morning--or, well, it was past noon by the time I woke up--Kelly forced a healthy breakfast down my throat and shooed me into her car. My OB/GYN in New York had referred me to a colleague of hers in Detroit, and had insisted I go in for an appointment when I arrived. Now that Kelly had so kindly instilled in me the fear of preeclampsia, I was all too willing to get poked and prodded again, if it meant putting my mind at ease.

  Two hours and half a dozen tests later, I sat in the passenger seat of Kelly's car, sobbing hysterically into the phone while Chase begged me to calm down and tell him what the problem was. Eventually, Kelly took the phone from me and explained preeclampsia and all its attendant issues and worries to him. By the time she'd educated Chase on my problem, I had calmed down enough to carry on an intelligible conversation.

  Kelly handed the phone back to me and I pressed it to my ear, sniffling but calm. "Hi, baby," I said. "So. How's the tour?" I asked, with overly fake enthusiasm.

  "Fuck the tour," Chase growled. "I'm coming back."

  "No, baby," I said. "Not yet. You're almost done at this point. Just finish the tour. You can't quit now, Chase, and you know it. Doctor Rayburn said we just have to watch my blood pressure for now. Worst-case scenario, they'll induce me at thirty-two weeks. I'll call you every day and tell how I'm doing, okay?"

  Chase growled again. "No, it's not okay. I should be there with you. I should be the one taking care of you."

  "You will be. You have to finish the tour, Chase. You have to. The label will be pissed if you quit."

  "I'm gonna worry more than ever now."

  I sighed. "I know. I didn't want to tell you, but...I'm scared. I know it's going to be okay, but I'm scared."

  "Goddamn it, Jay." I heard the anguish in his voice. "I should be there."

  "You're where you have to be for now. If something comes up, I'll be the first one to call you, okay? I promise."

  "But if something comes up, I'll be hours away. What if--what if I don't get there in time?"

  Kelly took the phone from me. "Listen, son. I'm here with her. This is why she came to Detroit. I'm a nurse. I know what to look for. I'll monitor her blood pressure and make sure she rests. I'll take care of her. You need to focus on doing your job. Keep your fans happy."

  "Okay, Mom," I heard him say. "Just...take care of her, okay?"

  "I will, Chase. It'll be fine."

  I took the phone back, told Chase I loved him, and hung up. Kelly tried making conversation on the way back to her house, but I ignored her. I didn't mean to be rude, but I just couldn't summon the will to care. Eventually, she relented with a sigh and turned on the radio to a pop station. Even Rihanna couldn't get me out of my funk, it seemed.

  *

  Bed rest sucked. I wouldn't let Kelly take time off work until absolutely necessary, especially since Beaumont Hospital, where she worked, was barely a ten-minute drive from her house. Which meant, of course, that I was home alone and relegated to complete bed rest. Like, don't get up to pee unless you absolutely have to. I've always been an active person. I wasn't a gym rat by any stretch of the imagination, but I liked to do stuff. I worked hard, I played hard, and I kept busy. I've never been the type to sit around and watch TV all day, and now, suddenly, that and read was all I h
ad to do. For the first couple days, I watched every movie Kelly owned, which was quite a few. She had everything from The Breakfast Club to Walk the Line, even a few action/adventure movies featuring hot shirtless men. After I'd gone through her movie collection, I started in on daytime television programming.

  Fuck daytime programming.

  I watched all her movies again, and then went through all the movies available on her premium cable package's On Demand section, even the ones I'd never heard of and didn't really like. I even watched 3000 Miles to Graceland twice.

  At which point, a single week had passed.

  Fuck bedrest.

  Fuck preeclampsia.

  When Kelly came back from work at the end of the second week, I begged her to help me find something to pass the time. She stifled her laughter and brought out her knitting kit.

  I just stared at her.

  "You expect me to knit? Do you know me at all?" I held the needles in each hand like knives, pretending to stab her. "What am I going to knit? Socks? Sweaters?"

  Kelly laughed and fended me off with a clipboard. "Figuring that out will be part of what passes the time." She gestured at the TV. "You know I've got Netflix on there, right?"

  I frowned at her. "What?"

  "The TV. When I went to finally buy a new TV after having the same one since nineteen-ninety, the salesman talked me into getting this fancy one here. It's a smart TV, apparently. You can surf the Web on it, which I'm not entirely sure what the point of that is, but you can." She picked up the remote and hit a button, bringing up a menu bar across the bottom of the screen. "I had to have the Best Buy Geek Squad come out and set all this up for me, but now that I have it and know how to work it, it's awesome. Netflix has pretty much everything, including entire seasons of shows--"

  I rolled my eyes and snatched the remote from her. "I know what it is, Kelly. Why the hell didn't you tell me about this two weeks ago? I was about to start watching all your movies through for the third time. Jesus."

  Kelly flushed with embarrassment. "Sorry, I just...I forgot. I guess I just thought you'd be able to figure it out on your own or something. Technology is my worst enemy." She sat on the couch next to me and untied her white Keds. "When the hospital started the transition to tablet computers, I seriously almost lost my job because I couldn't figure them out. When Chase insisted I have a smart phone, I had to take it in to the Verizon store and have them show me how to use the damn thing. I couldn't even figure out how to answer a stupid phone call. I kept hanging up on Chase and then redialing him."

  I laughed with her as I flipped through the Netflix options. Thank sweet baby Jesus for Netflix. I might actually come out of this whole bedrest thing with most of my sanity intact.

  I wondered if bed rest meant I couldn't have sex with Chase. That would be bad, very, very bad. The doctor hadn't said specifically no sex, but she'd said I can't do anything to raise my blood pressure. Chase definitely had a tendency to raise my blood pressure, you might say.

  The next day while Kelly was working, I sat down with the second season of The Walking Dead queued up and a reusable Whole Foods bag full of colored string. Okay, fine, they were skeins of yarn, I suppose. I chose yellow, orange, green, and red yarn, pulled up a "how to knit" video on YouTube, and got started.

  It took three days of clicking needles and unthreading my knots before I got the hang of it and was able to start trying to make something for real. I'd finished The Walking Dead and was going through Spartacus. The first thing I knitted was an unrecognizable, misshapen thing that vaguely resembled something a Rasta might wear over his dreads, if knitted by a blind and drunk old woman. I had meant it to be...well, I didn't really have any idea what it was supposed to be. A hat, maybe. Or a pillowcase. It could function as either, really.

  By the time I was done with the pillowcase/hat, I had watched through a couple seasons of Sex and the City. I'd already seen the entire series--and all the movies--but it was a comfort-food kind of thing. I could quote my favorite lines from the first season to the last, and to rewatch it--for the third or fourth time, possibly--was like hanging out with old friends. I could partially tune it out and try to focus on actually knitting--or crocheting or whatever--something useful.

  I managed a scarf, first. It was about four feet long and six inches wide and had holes big enough you could fit your fist through them, but it was recognizably a scarf.

  #Winning.

  Kelly laughed her ass off at my scarf, and then showed me how to tighten my knots or whatever the hell they're called. Stitches? Loops? They're knots, fancy knots. So I made another scarf, this one longer and wider and with fewer gaping holes. It was pink and purple, so I gave it to Kelly, who actually wore it, bless her heart. I think she did it to be nice to me, since it was warm out and the scarf was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. The edges curled and refused to lie flat, the ends were crooked, and the whole thing was just fucking ugly. But Kelly wore the thing to and from work for a solid week before I told her she didn't have to actually wear it. She looked relieved.

  Now that I had more of a hang of it, I decided to make a pair of socks for Chase. Which was stupid, because they'd be more like something Santa Claus would wear over his boots or something, but still. I'd knit the damn things and give them to him, and he'd be grateful, damn it.

  I managed one "sock" while I watched the best of John Cusack's eighties movies. By which I mean Say Anything, Sixteen Candles, and Stand by Me. I also tossed High Fidelity in there even though it's not technically an '80s movie, but it's awesome and has Jack Black in it.

  Chase walked in at the end of HiFi, and I shrieked happily. I also might've peed a little.

  No one told me about that, and I wish they had. I mean, I've heard all sorts of stand-up skits by women who have kids, but I thought it was a joke. Like, ha-ha, you pee by accident. So funny.

  NO. Not funny. You really do pee by accident. I laughed too hard once watching Liar, Liar, and I peed so bad I had to change my panties. For real. I was so embarrassed I started a load of laundry, even though I was alone in the house and not supposed to lift baskets of clothes. So yeah. Pee. I thought about wearing a pad all the time.

  Chase knelt beside me as I struggled to a sitting position on the couch. "I had a couple days between shows and decided to fly back and see you." He put a palm on my belly and the other on my cheek, kissing me slowly and deeply. My toes curled.

  I pulled away, all too soon. "Don't get me worked up," I whispered. "I can't have sex."

  Chase frowned. "What?"

  "Yeah. Apparently orgasms raise your blood pressure or something, and that's a no-no." I slid my fingers through his hair, which was now long enough to be spiked in two-inch-tall gel-stiff prickles.

  "That sucks, baby." He moved to sit next to me. "Here I was hoping to make you scream for me."

  I moaned and thumped my forehead onto his shoulder. "I'm so mad. I miss you so much. I'm horny, and after I have the baby it'll be another six weeks before you can put anything into me."

  Chase gripped my T-shirt in his fists, growling. "God. We're both gonna fucking die before we can make love again."

  I grinned, putting my palms flat on his chest and pushing him backward until he was lying against the arm of the couch. "Just because I can't come," I said, unbuttoning his tight blue jeans, "doesn't mean you can't."

  Chase sucked in a breath and caught my wrists. "But what about you?"

  Ignoring his question, I freed my hands from his grip and unzipped him. "Commando?" I tugged his jeans down under his taut buttocks.

  He groaned and watched me fist his erection with slow strokes. "I was planning on ravaging you into exhaustion. I thought it might take some of the stress away."

  "It would have," I said, loving the blissful expression on his face as I worked his shaft with both hands, "and you're so sweet for thinking of me."

  Chase lifted his head to quirk an eyebrow at me. "You're mocking me, aren't you?"

  "You're a sad, stra
nge little man," I said.

  Chase laughed and let his head thump back again as I wrapped my palm around his thick mushroom head and twisted gently with a slight pumping motion, rolling my palm over his head and then twisting again. I thumbed the clear pearl of pre-come around his tip until he was slick under my hand, and then resumed the twisting, pumping motion, increasing in tempo until he was arching his back off the couch. I curled my other hand around his base and pumped him swiftly. The motions of each hand were hard to keep separate, but I made a challenge of it, twist and roll and pump. Chase groaned deep in his chest, and I felt him tense. I stopped all motion, just holding his cock in my fist and letting him back away from the edge.

  Chase slammed his head against the arm of the couch. "Damn it, Jay. God, I was right there."

  I slid off the couch to kneel on a pillow on the hardwood floor next to him. I leaned over him and ran my tongue up his throbbing length, then took him into my mouth and sucked once, twice, three times, just enough to get him moving, and then spitting him out and kissing back down his length. He tangled his fingers in my hair, holding the wayward strands away from my mouth, brushing my cheeks and my forehead, cupping my face, each touch tender. I planted kisses all the way down his shaft, then opened my mouth to take his sack between my lips, careful to cover my teeth. He hissed and cursed under his breath as I massaged his tender skin with my lips and tongue, holding his rigid cock in both hands.

  When I thought he'd backed far enough away from the edge of climax, I resumed moving my hands up and down his length, tugging upward and sliding down to plunge my fingers against his base. He lifted his hips to meet each downward thrust of my hands, and now I lowered my mouth to him, taking his tip between my lips at each thrust.

  The upward crush of hips grew desperate and his breathing ragged. "God, Jay. So fucking good. Feels...so good."

  "Fuck my mouth, Chase." I whispered the words and then took him deep into my mouth.

  He sucked in a raspy breath and let himself go, thrusting hard into me. I gripped his length with one hand, wrapping my lips around his tip and sucking hard as he thrust. When he pumped toward my throat, I sucked hard, and when he pulled away, I released the suction; when he thrust, I pumped his length. I cupped his balls in my other hand and massaged them, letting my middle finger extend back toward his taint and rubbing gently.

 
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