Lilly Rush could not believe this was happening. It was supposed to be one of those routine checks at the doctors that was supposed to take 15 minutes. Everything was going fine until that one question, "So Miss Rush, when was your last period?" And she couldn't remember. It was definitely before the attic, before George, definitely before then.
After a few moments of silence the doctor looked up and Lilly got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach; "Is there any chance you could be pregnant?" Normally the answer would be a resounding "No", it had been nearly a year since Kite and she hadn't dated anyone since then, but there had been that one night... her stomach dropped further as she whispered the answer.
The doctor smiled sympathetically and handed Lilly a small beaker for a urine sample. One bottle of water and a trip to the bathroom later and the answer was revealed: she was pregnant. She was sure it was a mistake, but the doctor had very kindly run two further tests and she could not deny the truth any longer: she was pregnant.
So here she was, sat in the waiting room in the radiology department for a dating scan. Despite the fact that she had only had one night of sex in the last 9 months and she could give the doctor the exact date the baby was conceived, she still had to have a scan. Apparently it was mandatory if she and her doctor were going to discuss her options.
But what were her options? Looking at the leaflets in her hand there appeared to be three: adoption, abortion, or well, keeping it.
Lilly wondered how she was supposed to make that decision? She knew she was 9 weeks along so there were only a few weeks to make a final decision, but her mind was a whirlwind of emotions she was struggling to identify:
Confusion . She had stopped taking birth control after Kite. Her gynaecologist had suggested a break might be a good idea seeing as she had been taking it since she was 16, and well, at the time she didn't really have a need to be taking it so she'd stopped. But she always kept condoms in her bedside cabinet, just in case. She knew firsthand what it is like to be an unwanted kid and she didn't want to put a child through that, so how had she let herself be so reckless?
Anger that she had let this happen. That night had been so emotionally charged that contraception had been the last thing on her mind. She thought they'd used something, but now it was obvious they hadn't. Would it have been so hard for her to have checked the box or the bin in the morning to have made sure they had been careful?
Resentment. The one night she had turned to alcohol and sex for comfort, to feel something other than the hollowness and emptiness - to just forget the damn day's events - she had gone and made her life so much more complicated. She knew that whatever decision she made she would have to live with the consequences for the rest of her life.
Disappointment. After all these years of trying not to become her mother, she had ended up just like her anyway. Pregnant with an unplanned child, the only difference being that work was her drug of choice instead of alcohol. Granted she wasn't a teenager - she had a good job and a nice home in a good area unlike her mother - but ultimately she was alone, pregnant and suffering an addition just like her mother.
Fear. Did she even want to be a mother? Could she be a mother after what she had been through as a child? She didn't have the best role model. Cats she could look after, but a child? She wasn't getting any younger and from the scant information she had gathered over the years from baby showers and magazine articles she was lucky to be pregnant at 36. Realistically, this was probably her one and only chance at having a family of her own. She had no family as such - she wasn't even sure where her mother and sister were living at the moment - so she would have no one to rely on if things got tough, or if the kid was ill, or it wouldn't stop screaming, or if she got pulled into work at 2am...
So that left adoption and abortion.
Abortion seemed the most logical route. She could have a simple procedure and pretend that it had never happened, that it had never existed. After all, it had been conceived on the night she had killed Philadelphia's most prolific serial killer, so that in itself didn't bode well for the kid's future. She hadn't really had any symptoms either, she didn't feel pregnant, so it wouldn't be hard for her to force the memory away. Obviously she'd missed a couple of periods (although she hadn't even noticed those) and she had been feeling a bit more tired than usual. Coffee hadn't had its usual appeal either and she hadn't had a cup for weeks, but that was about it. She was pretty good at denial, perhaps this could be one more thing she could add to the list?
She was brought out of her internal debate by a nurse calling her name. Walking towards the examination room she felt like she was in a dream and was thankful that the radiographer seemed to sense she wasn't in the mood for talking. The radiographer asked her some questions, which she answered the best she could given the circumstances, and the scan began.
Suddenly Lilly didn't know what to do. Her mid-drift was bare and she felt exposed, as if the radiographer was going to look inside her and find that the hollowness and emptiness she had been feeling since That Night was in fact real.
Her hands gripped the bed sheet tightly and she stared blankly at the ceiling as she felt the cool gel being applied. The radiographer started to move the wand over her abdomen and that's when she heard it; a fast, echoy, booming, sound that sounded so far away yet so close.
Lilly's head shot to the monitor and she was mesmerised by the image she was seeing. There, as plain as day, was this small, white, bean shaped thing. Inside the bean there was something flickering so fast, so strong, and with such ferociousness and determination that Lilly could just not tear her eyes away. She heard the radiographer talking to her, but all she could hear was that booming sound and all she could see was that flickering thing inside the bean. It was as if it was trying to send out a message to her, that this bean shaped thing wanted to be born, wanted to live, wanted to be a part of her life. At that very moment she felt such an overwhelming wave of protection for that bean that she wanted to knock the radiographer's wand away from her belly in case it was hurting the bean in some way, but at the same time she wanted to keep watching, keep listening... Something else stirred deep inside her causing Lilly's heart to speed up and a warm feeling to creep into her chest and circulate around her body.
For the first time since the doctor had uttered those life alternating words to her this morning, she knew what she was going to do.
Lilly Rush was going to be a mother.