Where the Heart Lives
Chapter One: A Big Change
Abbie and Willard had been married for two months when he noticed that she was acting strange. She would be listless and tired in the mornings, and often complained of headaches and nausea. Her appetite had also increased a bit, and she seemed to get sick at the smell of eggs cooking.
Willard watched in concern as Abbie slowly got dressed for work. She had been hired as an Assistant Teacher at a nearby daycare, and she adored her job and the children. The feeling was mutual, and once Abbie had bought in Plato, much to the delight of the boys and much 'ew...ing' on the part of the girls. Willard worked as a bookkeeper/clerk in the downtown bookstore, and Abbie would come over after her work and they would have a cup of coffee and a scone and discuss their days-always trying to top one another with tales of woe.
"Abbie, maybe you should stay home today. You look pretty bad."
Abbie sighed, pulling on a dark blue blouse. "Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to crawl back in that bed and sleep, but I can't. Mrs. Sweeney is swamped enough as it is, and I can't really tell her I'm not coming in just because I'm feeling under the weather."
Willard snorted. "Babe, you've been feeling under the weather for two weeks now. Will you at least try to see the doctor today?"
Abbie sighed and turned to him, smiling at the look of worry on his face. She walked over to the bed and sat next to him. "You really that worried about me?" He nodded. "Well, then I guess I'll see if I can get in to see Dr. Silver during my lunch break. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough. You better get going, you'll be late."
"I'll see you at the Tattered Remnant?"
"Of course. Six o clock sharp. I think we're getting in a lemon berry cheesecake."
"My thoughts exactly. Now scoot, my girl."
Abbie kissed him goodbye and headed out to the garage, where her scooter sat leaning against the wall. It was a dark green, and had a wide, comfortable seat. Her helmet, which dangled from a handlebar, was black, with a clear visor that covered her entire face.
Abbie loved her scooter. She had gotten in two days after being hired at Green Wood Day Care, and had automatically fallen in love with how easy it was to drive and handle. But she was smart enough to never take foolish risks.
She pulled up into the driveway of Green Wood, and then paused as she felt a wave of nausea. Once it had passed, she parked the scooter and went inside. She was immediately tackled by her two favorite students, a twin brother and sister named Alex and Amelia, always shortened to Amy. For twins, they were complete opposites in personality. Amy had a tomboyish streak but was sometimes quiet and shy, while Alex was loud, boisterous, and energetic-a typical five year old boy.
"Mrs. Stiles, did you bring Plato again?"
Abbie chuckled. "No, Alex. Plato's at home sleeping. I might bring her back next week. Okay?"
Alex frowned. "Okay. Did I tell you that Amy and I are going on a real camping trip this weekend?"
"Are you? That sounds so exciting!"
Amy nodded. "Yeah, Daddy's going to take us, and we're going up to the lake, and we're going to fish, and pick berries, and sleep in sleeping bags, and look for deer."
"Is your Mommy going?"
Alex giggled. "Mommy's idea of camping is a Holiday Inn. She's going to stay and look after the house."
"Well, she's going to miss a very fun camping trip."
The rest of the day proceeded in its usual fashion of barely controlled chaos, and Abbie felt herself breathe a sigh of relief when her lunch break came. She went to her boss's office, knocking quietly on the door.
Mrs. Sweeney was a plump, matronly woman of sixty. She looked like any one's grandmother, but she ran the daycare with an efficient hand. She could be tough, but she was never mean. "Yes, Mrs. Stiles?"
"Ma'am, would it be alright if I went to the doctor's? I haven't been feeling well these past few weeks and my husband is concerned for me."
"Of course. You're a fine employee, I'd hate for you to die of some strange disease. Take an extra hour, just in case you have to wait."
Abbie grinned in relief. "Thank you, Ma'am."
Fortunately, the doctor's office was not too crowded, and Abbie was able to see him rather quickly. Dr. Silver was about fifty years old, a short, balding man with a walrus mustache and twinkling black eyes. He listened very carefully as Abbie relayed her symptoms, nodding and occasionally interjecting with "I see."
"And Willard's worried about me, which I really can't blame him."
Dr. Silver smiled. "How long have you two been married?"
"Two months, why?"
"And have you been…amorous in those past two months?"
Abbie giggled and nodded. "Oh yeah. Most amor…" her eyes suddenly widened in happy shock. "Are…do you think…could I be…"
Dr. Silver chuckled. "Pregnant? You certainly have all the symptoms. I could administer a quick pregnancy test to make sure, if you like." Abbie nodded, dumfounded, and Dr. Silver smiled. "I'll go and fetch the nurse and ask her to give you the test. It should only take about ten minutes."
Ten minutes later, Dr. Silver smiled at her and said two words that made Abbie's mind go blank. "You're pregnant."
"About three weeks along, by my best guess. I can't tell you if you're going to have a boy or girl yet, but I do want to ask some questions. Do you smoke or drink?"
"I've never smoked, and I occasionally have a beer with dinner. I've gotten drunk once and it's not something I wish to repeat."
"Was this recently?"
Abbie flushed in embarrassment. "My 21st birthday. Seven years ago. I got drunk off margaritas. Seven of them."
Dr. Silver chuckled. "Well, chalk that up to youth. Any medical problems in your family? Diabetes, heart, etcetera?"
"No, my parents were both quite healthy. Dad had to get a physical every year from the Army, and Mom was too tough to get sick."
"What rank is your Father?"
Abbie frowned. "He was a Lieutenant. He and my mother were killed in a car crash in South Carolina when I was sixteen."
"Were you in the car at the time?"
"No, I was at home. They had gone out to a party at a friend's house and they were coming home when a drunk driver hit them head on. All three died instantly."
"I am sorry. However, I'm also happy to say that it looks like you will not have any complications with this pregnancy. Do you drive?"
"I own a scooter."
"Hmmm, well after the fifth month you'll have to find other means of transport. I'm sure your husband could chauffeur you around."
Abbie laughed. "I'm sure he could. Thank you so much, Doctor. You have no idea how thrilled and happy I am."
She went back to work in a cloud of euphoria, and when the time came to leave she practically ran to her scooter, eager to get to her love and tell him the marvelous news.
Willard was stocking shelves and wondering how Abbie was doing when he heard his name being shouted. He turned, and Abbie came marching down the aisle, a radiant grin on her face.
She marched up to him and yanked him into a kiss that caused several patrons to whistle and whoop. Willard kissed her back, and the whistles deepened. Abbie finally pulled away, her face glowing. Willard chuckled.
"Not that I don't appreciate the rather passionate greeting, but is there a reason for it?"
"Well, I went to the doctor, like you asked."
"Well, I'm probably going to have these symptoms for a while, and I'll most likely gain some weight, and retain a bit of water, and I'll likely be a bit moody, but by September I'll be completely over it."
Willard blinked in confusion. "Sounds strange. What have you got?"
Abbie giggled. "Think about it, babe."
Willard stared at her, slightly confused. "It's going to take nine months for you to…Are you pregnant?"
Abbie nodded. "About three weeks along, Dr. Silver says."
Willard stared at her in shock. "I'm….going to be a daddy?" He suddenly whooped in joy and spun Abbie around. "I'm going to be a Daddy!" he shouted, and the people nearby clapped.
Abbie laughed breathlessly as Willard twirled her around. "Yes, you are, and I'm going to be a Mommy!"
Willard smiled at her. "And what a wonderful mommy you will make."