Hopping down from the couch with a happy trill, the calico cat walked lazily into the kitchen where its owner stood over the sink, cleaning the last pots and pans from dinner. Seeing the woman there, the cat trotted up to her and slinked its way between her legs, calling loudly to be fed.
"Okay, Kitty-kitty" she reassured, brushing her red hair over her left ear, "Lemme dry my hands and I'll feed you." Kitty-kitty continued meowing as the woman filled a tiny cat dish with specially made cat food. Chicken breast, bone meal, fish offal, and other carnivorous stuffs filled the pet bowl. The woman rested the bowl down on the tile kitchen floor. Kitty-kitty needed no coaxing to eat.
Hearing the sound of the bowl contacting the floor, a small Chihuahua sprinted into the kitchen and barked loudly for its share. The woman chuckled.
"No-no, Taquito" she admonished gently, picking the wide-eyed dog up into her hands, "You've already been fed."
As she set the dog back down, the woman heard the video phone ring. She moved to answer it, but another woman's voice responded first. Satisfied that it was answered, she returned to the dishes, listening to the voice's responses with interest.
"Yes? Yes this is the Mackenzie residence. No, Rachel isn't here. Hold on, I'll get her mother. Christina?" The woman in the kitchen rinsed her hands and dried them on the towel hanging through the space in the refrigerator door handle, then walked to the living room videophone. Her mother and father were visiting for dinner and her mother had answered the vidphone.
"What is it, mom?" Chris answered. Her mother pointed to the vidphone and moved out of the way so that Chris could speak to the young woman on the other end.
"Is this Rachel's mother?"
"Yes, who's this?"
"I'm calling from Dr. Akelo's office about the test results." A look of confusion crossed Chris' face.
"What results? What test?" she asked. The woman on the other end craned her neck as if to make sure Chris was alone, then returned to her normal posture and looked at the clip board in front of her. Here eyebrows bounced once.
"The results of Rachel's exam. The results are positive and she's definitely…Oh wait, this is private. I can't tell you." Chris became a visibly irritated at the comment.
"I'm her mother." The nurse rolled her eyes.
"I'm aware of that ma'am.", she explained, "But these results are for the patient only. Sorry, patient-doctor confidentiality. You understand, right?" Chris sighed.
"If you can't tell me, why did you call?" The nurse looked visibly uncomfortable.
"Again, sorry ma'am. But I thought she was home. Is there another number where I can reach her? Her cell phone won't answer."
"Fine." She said, tapping the glass panel on the coffee table. It immediately lit up and presented a lighted outline of a QWERTY keyboard and numerical keypad. Chris typed a string of numbers and dashes.
"This is my daughter's apartment phone number. Call her and leave a message on her voice mail." The nurse went to respond but Chris tapped the comm channel closed.
Chris' mother picked up Taquito and began petting the nervous little dog.
"That was strange." she said, "Everything's okay I hope." Chris petted the dog's head and mocked the nurse's voice.
" 'The results are positive and she's definitely.' Definitely what?"
As Chris was about to respond, her father sauntered into the room, a can of lager in hand. He was a large-boned man with a equally impressive beer gut. His thinning white hair was slightly disarrayed, and his bifocals sat precariously at the end of his fat, bulbous nose.
"Sounds like she was about to say something like 'definitely diabetic' or 'definitely pregnant'." he said gruffly, "I can see the first. That girl eats far too much sugar. But the way she talked about Tem when she was here…It had better not be the second." Chris's mother gave him a defiant look.
"And if it was, James?" she asked, "What then?" The elderly man sighed as he sat next to her at the table.
"I don't know, Emma."
"Then don't come in here swaggering in like you own the place." she rebuked, "If Rachel is pregnant, and if it is the Ray boy, then we should be happy that it's him and not some man we know nothing about. Besides, I hear that Amuro and Sayla Ray are good people."
Ignoring her parents' conversation, Christina Mackenzie thought back to any indication of what the nurse was talking about. A thought popped in and her eyes lit up, along with a cold sense of dread. She quickly walked over to the staircase, tromping her way up to the second level. She remembered Rachel not letting her see the contents of a plastic bag she brought home a few nights ago.
Her fears were confirmed. The plastic bag in the bathroom trash contained a used home pregnancy test and a small worksheet for figuring out how far along a woman was counting forward from her last menstrual cycle. The worksheet was filled out in Rachel's handwriting, a small smiley face drawn next to the printed option of "Congratulations!"
But Chris didn't feel like smiling. Instead, her heart fell. The nurse's voice came back as an echo; 'The results are positive and she's definitely…'
"…she's definitely pregnant", Chris finished in her mind. "Oh God, not again! Why does it have to happen to Rachel too?" Tears began to fall as Chris sat down on the closed toilet next to the bathroom sink. In a flash, she relived the stigma, the pain, of being a single mother. So what if Bernie had died? So what if Tem Ray was alive, and the son of a prominent and heroic couple? None of those reasons were enough to sway Christina from remembering the incredible difficulty in raising a child out of loving wedlock. She thought she had raised Rachel to be careful, to not to fall into the same trap.
Apparently, she thought wrong.