AN: I started this many moons ago and posted it under a different pen name. Apparently that wasn't a good idea because I kind of forgot about it. I've rediscovered it however and am currently working on chapter 3 (and have made some headway on the next chapter of TaB and the next and final chapter of WHiV) Anyhow, I decided I'd post chapters 1 and 2 of this story under this name. If you don't remember it, or haven't read it before, enjoy these chapters, and I hope to have the next one up hopefully this weekend.
It was hot. The decrepit air conditioner that cooled the motel room couldn't muster enough power to make a single, luke warm breeze cross over the threshold of the bathroom. Rory didn't care; in fact she preferred it that way. The stifling heat was almost a distraction. When she felt like she couldn't breath, she blamed it on the thick, water-logged air. When she felt the beads of moisture roll down her cheeks, she could brush it off as just another droplet of sweat. After all, she was covered in plenty of sweat. The thin cotton material of the t-shirt and shorts she wore to bed were drenched with it. The bare skin of her thighs were so sticky with it, she wasn't sure she would be able to detach herself from the peeling brown and tan linoleum floor without leaving a rash. In fact, that seemed like as good an excuse as any to stay right where she was and avoid the true reality of her situation for a few minutes more.
And then another wave of nausea hit. She lurched herself quickly onto her knees, as expected feeling the sting of the floor ripping away from her delicate flesh as though she had just removed the world's largest band-aid. She didn't have time to think about the pain of her legs as the contents of her stomach spilled out into the ugly, yellow, porcelin toilet bowl. When she was sure this latest spell had passed, she reached for a wad of toilet paper and wiped the remnants off of her face. She didn't usually get sick this late at night; perhaps it was just nerves. Perhaps all of the other episodes had really just been some stomach bug. After all, it wasn't morning sickness—not until she saw the plus sign and the little pink dot on the two plastic wands resting innocently on the sink to her left. Until she saw proof, she refused to accept the truth that seemed all too obvious to anyone willing to see.
At first she had honestly not even considered the possibility that she could be pregnant. She had left home one week after her graduation—a week after her break-up with Logan—to report on Barack Obama's presidential campaign. She had packed her clothes and her toiletries and her computer, but she had not packed the little, tan, plastic container of pills she usually took every day. It wasn't like she would be needing them. Logan had left her when she had been unable to jump into a marriage with him. Family planning was hardly a concern after that. Taking her birth control only seemed to remind her of the fact that she would never be with Logan again; that they would never have the opportunity to decide to stop taking birth control for an entirely different reason. She would never have a family with Logan Huntzberger, and she was still trying to decide if it was her fault or his. So when she was a few days late for her period, it was easy to brush it off as being caused by the sudden lack of hormonal influence. And when she was a week late, she had simply accepted that the stress and poor diet associated with being on the road all the time had thrown her cycle off kilter. But now it was two weeks and the presumed morning sickness had begun, her breasts felt tender and she was hungry all the time—at least when she wasn't nauseous—and the reason behind all of it was becoming increasingly clear.
So she had stopped at a drug store that morning and made the purchases that would inform her that her entire life was about to completely change, so soon after it had only just seemed to begin. Then, when her roommate had left for one of her freakishly long runs—it was like living with Janet all over again—she had snuck the tests out of her bag and gone to the bathroom to confirm what her heart already knew and her head refused to believe.
She was pregnant.
She knew that's what the tests said, so why was it so hard to look at them? At least once her fears had been verified she could begin doing what she did best—planning. Once this step was over she could figure out the next one, and the one after that. Once she knew that her whole "wide open future" idea was out the window, she could go back to the over-analyzed, unambiguous way things used to be. So why was it so hard to look at those tests?
She peaked back at the phone that was sitting on the floor in the corner of the room next to where she had been sitting a moment ago and she knew the answer. Her mind flitted back over all of the scenarios that she had imagined up over the last half hour of waiting. She pictured every possible outcome of the phone call that awaited her. In one scenario—her favorite—he was absolutely elated. He confessed how much he loved her and how stupid he felt for giving her the "all or nothing" ultimatum at her graduation. He told her that he would come back to Connecticut and they could be together to start their new family and he let her know that he still wanted to marry her whenever she was ready, whether that was tomorrow, or ten years from now. In another one of her day dreams, he was cold and heartless. He told her that she had ruined his life and he wanted nothing to do with her or their child and then he had simply hung up on her. While she knew that the true reaction would be somewhere in the middle, the worst scenario of all had been the one where she realized she had no excuse to call him up at all.
Because the truth was, with every day that passed from the date of her missed period, she had started thinking of what it would be like to tell him she was carrying their child and no matter what images passed through her head, the thought of just hearing his voice, even if it was only one more time, was one of the few things that managed to bring a smile to her face. She missed him. She missed him more than she had ever missed any other person in the entirety of her existence. So maybe, just maybe, a part of her saw this potential child as their savoir. The thing that would repair what they had broken. And if she was wrong; if there was no child, then he would truly be gone and she would be as alone and empty as she felt.
She flushed the toilet and stood up, feeling the strain in her legs from over forty minutes of sitting. She squeezed her eyes shut as she reached out for the sink and grabbed the first of the two sticks she touched, bringing it up to her face. With a deep breath, she opened her eyes.
The hustle and bustle of the city streets held Logan's attention. There were so many different people roaming San Francisco. Logan had spent most of his nights over the past week sitting at this outdoor café and people-watching until the sun went down. As each person walked by, he found himself imagining all of the possibilities their life held, and by extension all of the possibilities his own life held. What friends did they have? Where did they live? What did they do in their spare time? Rory had been right—life was wide open. If she could embrace that fact then so could he.
It hadn't been easy at first—in fact it still wasn't easy. When he had first moved to California he had set up shop in the little house with the avocado tree that he had found for him and Rory. He went to work where he threw himself into all of the challenges and rewards his new occupation afforded him. He stayed at the office as long as he could to avoid his own home, and when he finally made it back to the house, he turned all of the lights off and crawled into a ball on his couch, afraid to sleep in his own bed when he knew that there was no one there to share it with him.
But wallowing wasn't helping. The sting of her rejection only seemed to intensify in his newly empty existence. He was alone. No family, no friends, no Rory. She was the one thing that was supposed to make giving everything else up okay. As long as he had her, nothing could hurt him. Without her, every breath of air felt like swallowing a mouth full of wasps.
Then, after a few weeks of this half existence, he decided he'd had enough. He had paid dearly for breaking his lease on the house, but he would have given everything he owned to be rid of the home that was haunted by the memories of a girl who had never set foot in it. He moved to a small one bedroom apartment in the city. He started leaving work at a reasonable hour, after which he found himself here. Sure, he had come to the conclusion that he was going to embrace all of the possibilities his new life held; he had decided he was going to start a life in California—a real, enjoyable life—but he was still working out the logistics and this café seemed as good a place as any to do that. They had good food and they were located in a diverse area of the city where he could examine as many people and lifestyles as he could find.
Logan made note of a man walking by with his long blond hair tied back in a pony tail. He wore board shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops and he was extremely tan. Perhaps Logan would take up surfing. There were a lot of young people to be found on the beach; maybe he would make some new friends.
He took a sip of his tea—coffee reminded him too much of her—and leaned back in his chair to contemplate the possibilities. Surfing was exciting and athletic, and very California. He could definitely see himself on a board. Maybe this weekend he'd give it a try. What did he have to lose? Besides, Rory would probably hate it. He could get eaten by a shark.
The sun was starting to set, so Logan waved to the waitress, indicating she should bring the check over. As he started packing things into his suitcase, his cell phone rang. It was probably work, or maybe his sister, Honor. Those were the only calls he had received since he'd relocated to the west coast. He grabbed for the vibrating device and flipped it open.
"Logan Huntzberger," he greeted. There was silence on the other end. "Hello?" The silence continued for a few more seconds and he was just about to hang up before the caller finally spoke.
"Logan," the hoarse voice whispered. "It's me."