Chapter Thirty One
The second I saw my mother walk through the door, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.
Inconveniently, reality set back in when, over her shoulder, I caught sight of the pinched look on Zak’s face as he tried to apologize for Mom having had to take a cab.
“If we’d known you were coming…”
Mom waved off the apology. “I would have told you to stay with Azraa even if you had offered. Speaking of which,” she pulled away from me to look at him. “What time is her doctor’s appointment?”
“Hmm?” Zak had taken up a place leaning against the wall and was fiddling with his phone. I knew he was bored and probably not a little bit irritated. He hated sitting around and had planned to pack his days full of fun and meetups with all the friends he’d left behind here in America. Being forced to cancel several of those plans because of my illness had soured his mood considerably.
“It’s at two,” I volunteered quickly, checking the time. “Actually, we should probably get going in a bit if we want to make it there on time.”
“Right,” Zak agreed. “I’ll get Amira to show you to your room,” he told Mom. “I’m sure you want to freshen up after such a long trip.”
I took advantage of their exit to lean back against the pillows and shut my eyes, already tired again.
I heard the creak of the floorboards and opened my eyes to see Zak leaning over me. “What is it?”
He sat at the foot of the bed and faced me. “I needed to talk to you about your appointment,” he admitted. “But I didn’t want to do it in front of your mother.” He paused to look down at his phone. Whatever he read on the screen made him frown. “Azraa… I can’t make it to your appointment. I just can’t get out of this meeting. You understand, don’t you?” He reached out and took my hand.
“But then who am I going to go with?” I asked, feeling forlorn.
“Your mother’s here,” Zak placated me. “She’ll be with you. Come on, don’t sulk.”
I pulled my hand away. “She’s not my husband. I need you there with me, Zak. I-” I looked down, blinking away the tears that had filled my eyes. “I’m scared.”
An impatient look crossed my husband’s face. “Azraa, you’re not a child. I can’t get out of this and your mother’s here to be with you. That’s what you called her for, isn’t it?
Yes, because my husband couldn’t seem to handle taking care of me, I thought unkindly.
“Zak,” I began. “Please come with. Yes, Mom is here but she’s not the one I want most.”
She was, but telling my husband that now was not going to help matters.
“Azraa, be reasonable about this. You don’t need a parade of people at your bedside. I get that you’re feeling ad and you want us to fuss over you, but come on! If I can’t make it then I can’t! Be a grown up about it instead of acting like a little kid.” Zak had gotten to his feet in the middle of his tirade and now he stood with his arms crossed, glaring at me.
Careful, a voice whispered in my head. I ignored it. “You’re the one who made the appointment,” I pointed out, shooting him a glare of my own. “Why make it for a time that’s so inconvenient?”
“Because you wouldn’t stop nagging me about it!” Zak cried. “All I’ve heard this entire trip is that you’re sick.”
“I am sick!” Did he think I was faking it? That I enjoyed puking all day?
“Then go to the doctor!”
“Fine! Fine.” I wiped my eyes with the palm of my hand. “Get someone to drive us and go and do whatever you want.”
“Great,” my husband muttered. “Now I’m the bad guy.”
I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths to calm myself, listening to the door open and then close. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t coming with me.
I glanced at myself in the mirror. The make up Amira had so carefully helped me apply was ruined. I went to the bathroom meaning to repair the damage and instead, thoroughly uninterested, simply removed it all.
No wonder Zak didn’t want to come anywhere with me. I looked hideous, washed out and pale and some indefinable kind of sickly. What had happened to me? Where had I gone?
I stared at the fresh-faced young doctor who’d just congratulated me. Surely, there’d been some kind of mistake. How could I be having a child? I still felt like I was a child half the time.
“Could you check again?” I asked in a shaky voice I barely recognized as my own.
The young woman sobered. “I can do that.”
All too soon, she came back. “I’m certain. You’re seven weeks pregnant.”
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“I have to ask…” She looked up at me. “Will you be wanting to look into termination options?”
“An abortion,” she clarified.
“No!” The word burst out of me. “No, there’s – No.” I shook my head. “No, thank you.”
A look of relief crossed her face. “It’s a shock for many first time mothers, but you’ll have months to get used to the idea and prepare yourself.”
I nodded. “Could you send my mother in please?”
She disappeared out the door and I put a hand to my stomach. There was a baby in there?
“Az? What did the doctor say?”
I looked up at Mom and felt a smile stretch across my face. “She said I’m pregnant.” Saying the words out loud made me feel almost giddy.
“Oh, Az!” Mom put her arms around me. “Congratulations, sweetheart. Your first baby! What a pity Zak wasn’t here to hear the news with you.”
“I’ll tell him as soon as we get home.” After I made up with him.
I looked up at Mom and we spoke at the same time. “We need to go shopping.” I giggled. “Mom, I don’t know anything about babies. I played with the ties on my handbag. “What am I going to do?”
“You’re going to learn,” Mom said simply. “And we’ll all be right here to help you.”
I hugged her again.
I was having a baby. Mine and Zak’s. Our baby.