It had started out just like any other morning. He had woken up promptly at 6:00
A.M. and took a shower. He then had proceeded to his closet and picked out a
Suit, shoes, and a matching tie. The only abnormal thing about this particular
Morning, was that Joan was usually already up and had started the coffee, but he
hadn't seen her even stir. He walked back over to their bed and gently nudged
"Joan, Joan sweetheart wake up" he said. Her eyes began to flutter open. She
didn't reply, but instead only made a painful moaning sound. Arthur then became
concerned. "Joan, are you okay?" he asked. "No, not really" she said holding her
stomach. "Is there anything I can do?" he asked sympathetically. "You could
excuse me from work today" said Joan. "Consider it done" said Arthur planting a
kiss on her head.
"Thank you" she said. "Do you want me to stay with you?" he asked worriedly.
"No, you should go; they need you more at work than I do" replied Joan. "Are you
sure?" asked Arthur. "Yes, I'll be fine" she said as another wave of nausea hit her.
This time she couldn't just force it away. She threw back the covers and ran
toward the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
She dropped to her knees in front of the toilet and started to throw up. Arthur
walked over and tapped on the door. "Joan are you okay?" he asked. "Yeah, fine"
she said just as she let loose another wave of vomit. "I'm coming in" he said.
"Arthur it's not pretty, I really don't think you want to…." she stopped in mid-
sentence and hunched over the toilet starting to throw up again. "Too late" said
Arthur, who had just walked in. "Do you want me to call the doctor?" he asked
"No, I will, you should go, you're going to be late for work" replied Joan, who had
now finished puking her guts out. "Okay" he said planting another kiss on her
forehead. "Feel better" he said. "I'll try" said Joan. Arthur then grabbed his
briefcase and headed out the door. Joan flushed the toilet and proceeded to look
in the mirror. What she saw made her frown. She had vomit crusted on the side
of her lip, horrible bags under her eyes from tossing and turning the night before
and barely being able to sleep, and she just thought to herself that she looked like
She decided to take a shower. The warmth of the water helped make her feel a
little better. She finished up and then grabbed her phone off the nightstand and
proceeded to call the doctor. "Doctor Carmike's office" answered the voice on the
other end. "Hey Shelly, this is Joan Campbell, is there any way that you could
squeeze me in today?" she asked. "Hang on a sec, and let me check. Joan could
hear typing on the other end of the line. "Yeah, she can see you around noon;
does that work?" asked Shelley. "Yes that'll be fine, thank you" said Joan. "No
problem" replied Shelley. Then they respectively hung up their phones. Joan laid
her phone back down on the nightstand and headed over to her closet.
She searched for a while until she found that outfit that was just right. The one
that said yeah I may feel like crap, but I'm sure as hell still gonna look good. She
decided on a pair of comfortable jeans, a beige V-neck sweater, a pair of knee-
high brown boots, and her favorite trench coat. She then blow-dried her hair and
let it fall down her neck in waves. By then it was about ten o'clock. She had a
little time to kill before the appointment.
She figured she might as well try to eat something, even with the looming threat
of upchucking all over again. She went into the kitchen. She didn't know how she
was gonna make it through the day without her usual morning cup of coffee, but
she had decided against it for fear that it would turn her stomach. She decided
instead on glass of orange juice and a piece of toast with grape jelly.
She finished with her breakfast and cleaned up. She picked up her cellphone and
tossed it in her purse. She grabbed her keys from the hook in the kitchen. Then
she looked out the window, because the weatherman had predicted that a
snowstorm would be coming their way, and indeed he was right, because it had
started to come down She went to the hall closet and grabbed a scarf. She set the
alarm and then headed out. As soon as she got in her car she turned the heat all
the way up to high and turned on the defroster.
She thought to herself, if feeling like crap wasn't bad enough, now she had to
freeze her ass off just to go to the doctor to have her tell her that it was a touch of
the flu or a simple stomach bug. But she had promised Arthur, and she knew him
all too well to know that if she didn't go he would find out somehow, because he
was in fact Arthur Campbell, and that meant that he had his ways. But that's why
she loved him. I mean sure they had their fair share of ups and downs, sometimes
more downs than not, but they had made it through in spite of everything.
She couldn't help but smile to herself as she started to think about that night only
two weeks before. It was the night of their anniversary and she had just figured
that Arthur would forget it like he had a lot of things lately. She had come home
just completely worn out and fed up with work. As she had opened the door she
detected the faint smell of cinnamon. She had taken one step inside and had
suddenly been swept off her feet by Arthur. It had startled her for a second, but
then as he carried her the rest of the way into the house her eyes had lit up with
amazement. There were rose petals everywhere and candles, and on the table
there was a bottle of wine and a wonderful smelling dinner. He had put her down
and had started to pull her chair out for her, when she had pulled him to her and
began to kiss him. They had enjoyed a wonderful romantic dinner and had started
to really open up to each other and talk for the first time in a while. Afterwards
they had retired to the bedroom and made mad passionate love well into the late
hours of the night.
Due to the strengthening snow storm, there wasn't a whole lot of traffic on
the road and Joan was thankful for that, as it made the drive to the doctor's
office easier and a lot less stressful. As she drove along, she sang along to the
words of one of her favorite songs, "Nothing But a Miracle by Diane Birch. She
couldn't help but think top herself that just a little over two weeks ago that song
had perfectly described she and Arthur's relationship. Now it seemed as if
everything had changed for the better.
It wasn't long before she reached the doctor's office. She pulled her car into one
of the empty parking spaces. She looked at the clock. She was about 15 minutes
early. She gathered up her purse, took her keys out of the ignition, and headed
inside. As she headed towards the counter she was greeted by a pleasant woman
a few years younger than her with light brown hair. "Hey Shelley" greeted Joan.
"She's just finishing up with another patient; she should be with you shortly"
replied Shelley. "Okay thanks" said Joan smiling. "Just take a seat anywhere"
Joan took a seat near the window that was somewhat isolated. She hated
doctors' offices; hated being around all the sickness, the melodramatic elevator
music, the pasty color of the walls, and then of course there was the overly peppy
attitude of most of the nurses, though there were some exceptions. She did a
quick take on the people in the room with her, something that had become a part
of her daily routine since she joined the C.I.A. It was due in part to paranoia, but
also it had become a sort of methodical game trying to read people's facial
expressions and figure out what they were thinking.
There was a woman who Joan surmised had to be in her late thirties or early
forties. She had a little boy and a teenage girl with her. Then she noticed
something else, the woman's distended belly. She thought to herself I'm glad I'm
not that woman at that age and knocked up. Granted it had probably been an
accident, but…. Then it hit her like a ton of bricks, the stomach pain, the insomnia,
and the nausea. It had never even crossed her mind before, even a couple of
hours earlier when she was puking her guts out, but now as she sat there in this
waiting room, she thought more and more about it being a possibility. But then
again there was no way because she and Arthur had always been very careful
when it came to their sex life.
She was getting lost in her thoughts, when she heard a voice call out. She was
quickly snapped back to reality. "Joan, the doctor will see you now" said Shelley.
This is it Joan thought to herself as she slowly got up and followed Shelley into
one of the examination rooms. "She'll be right with you" said Shelley as she
closed the door and headed off down the hall. Joan sat there just anxiously
fidgeting away with her hair. She felt just like a little 9 year old Joan again, when
her mother had taken her to the emergency room, after the neighbors' German
Shepard had jumped the fence and had attacked her. She still had the scar on her
leg as a reminder.
Finally after what felt like an hour to her; though realistically it had only been
about five minutes, the door opened and in walked Doctor Carmike. "So Joan,
what brings you in today" she asked. "Well I woke up feeling sick to my stomach
this morning and a little dizzy" replied Joan. "And then of course, you know how
Arthur can be; he wanted me to come in" she continued. "I see, and have you
had any other symptoms?" asked the doctor. "Not really, I mean I have been
having trouble sleeping lately, but I just attributed that to the job" said Joan.
"Anything else?" she asked Joan."No nothing that I can think of" replied Joan. "I
see, Joan, have you missed any periods?" asked Doctor Carmike. Joan hesitated
for a moment and then answered. "My last period was about a month and a half
ago, and I was due for another one about a week ago" replied Joan. "Well Joan, it
sounds to me like you might be pregnant; You've got the majority of the symptoms,
fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and a missed period." said the doctor. "No way, I'm sorry
but that's just not possible" exclaimed Joan. "Are you sure about that Joan?" asked the
doctor. "Well yes, I mean….Uh… I don't know" replied Joan exasperated.
"Alright, I realize that this can be frustrating, so here's what we're gonna do" said
Doctor Carmike. She walked across the room and rummaged around in a drawer.
She pulled out a rectangular shaped box and walked back over to Joan. "There's a
bathroom right down the hall; I want you to take this pregnancy test and come
back and see me when you're done." "If it's positive, we'll discuss what's next"
said the doctor. Joan shakily reached for the box in the doctor's outstretched
hand. Then she headed down the hall.
Once inside the bathroom, she locked the door. She hesitated for a moment
before opening the box. Finally, realizing that it must be done, she opened the
box, sat down on the toilet, and proceeded to take the test. When she was done,
she sat the test on the sink, washed her hands and began to wait. What seemed
like years to her was literally about 10 minutes. The alarm on her cellphone went
off causing her to jump. With her anxiety building, she picked up the test and
stared down at a plus sign. She couldn't believe her eyes. That feeling of nausea
came over her again and she found herself bent over the toilet once again. After
round two of puking ,she cleaned herself up and proceeded to go back into the
examination room. Without a word she handed the test over to the doctor.