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Authors: Meg Jolie

Holding On

BOOK: Holding On
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HOLDING ON

BY

MEG JOLIE

 

 

This work is legally copyrighted.

2013©

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1

“This
can’t
be happening. It just can’t be,” Quinn muttered to the empty bathroom. Empty other than herself…and three impossible to ignore pregnancy tests. All of them confirming the same thing.

She
was only five days late. But she was on the pill so five days—well, when you look at the little pills organized so neatly in the little package—it made things kind of obvious. Five days, three tests and nearly a gallon of water later she had three accusatory, irrefutable little strips of proof in her hand.

“This can’t be happenin
g!” she repeated, louder this time. Her voice was laced with something—possibly hysteria—and sounded unnervingly high-pitched. The brightly colored bathroom began to blur. The purple and turquoise accents blended together and then morphed into an ugly gray. She leaned against the wall as she slumped to the floor. Leaning back, she closed her eyes. She was desperately wishing the whole situation would simply do the impossible and go away.

“I’m coming in
!” her little sister, Carly warned. The bathroom door slowly swung open. She had a huge grin on her face as she slipped inside and spotted Quinn sitting on the floor.

“Don’t!” Quinn
wailed. “Don’t look so happy. This can’t be happening!” she lamented for the third and final time.

Carly
dropped down on the floor next to her sister. She was still smiling as she pulled her into a tight sideways hug. They both leaned back against the wall.

“Oh, Quinn,” she said softly as she took the bundle of
proof from her hand. “It’s happening. I’m going to be a fabulous auntie! The best one, ever. And you, you will be a fabulous mom. And Jake—”

Quinn groaned cutting her off as she
fastened her hand over her face. “He’s going to be so disappointed in me.”

“Um
, no,” she said sharply, “I don’t think so. You didn’t do this alone. Besides, Jake loves you. You know that.
Everyone
knows that.”

She glanced at her sister. Other than their strawberry blond hair, they
looked nothing alike. And even their hair was barely a similarity. Quinn’s was a mass of wavy ringlets. Carly’s was smooth as could be. Quinn’s eyes were like their mom’s. A pale sky blue. Carly’s eyes were like their dad’s. A soft golden brown. Worst of all, in Quinn’s mind, was the fact that her little sister was three inches taller than her.

Apparently, she
’s also more logical than me
, she thought with a sigh.

“This was not how I had p
lanned to spend spring break,” she sniffled. Carly gave her arm a squeeze before reaching up to grab the box of Kleenex that was resting on the bathroom vanity.

“I know but everything will be okay. I promise,” Carly said
. She plucked a tissue out of the box and handed it to her sister.

Quinn had stuck around their hometown of Lanford because she’d planned on living at home the first two years of college. She attended their local university. The initial plan was to get her associate degree, then move on to her degree in accounting at a larger university. However, things had gotten serious with Jake. Since Jake was older than her, and actually had a
real
job which prevented him from following her anywhere, she’d decided to stay put.
Technically
, she lived in the dorms.
Actually
, she stayed with Jake about ninety-five percent of the time.

Her
roommate was alright. But that could’ve been because they barely saw each other. Jake had asked her to move in with him a while ago. Her parents had not approved. They didn’t believe in living together before marriage. They held this belief so firmly that they insisted she adhere to their rules even though she was twenty-two. Because they paid her tuition, they ended up having a say about where she lived while she was in school. The dorm had been the perfect solution. While it gave to them the appearance that she lived there, for the most part, she didn’t. She strongly suspected that they knew this. They just pretended, for their own peace of mind, not to.

Her roommate, Veronica, loved their arrangement. If Quinn
wasn’t at Jake’s, some nights she’d simply come home and stay at her parents’ house. On a rare occasion when Jake had to work out of town, she was likely to stay at the dorm. That didn’t happen too often. She was a senior and too old to stay in the dorms, in her opinion. She did, however, return to the dorm room during the day to study between classes.

Sometimes.

So they were more or less roommates in name only. Quinn needed a place to pretend to stay. Veronica covered for her on the very rare occasion that her mom randomly showed up. Other than a few well-placed belongings for those unforeseen drop-ins, Veronica essentially had the whole room completely to herself. It worked out well for both of them.

Though
Carly was only a year younger, she was only a sophomore this year. She’d taken a year off between high school and college because she hadn’t felt ready for college just yet. Then
she
had gone away to school. Because their spring breaks coincided, she’d come home for the week. She’d thought a fun, week long string of partying in her home town, with old friends and her big sister sounded like an acceptable way to spend the week.

Surely, she had not envisioned any part of that time sitting on the cold tile floor
of the spotless bathroom in their childhood home. Their parents were both at work.

Carly ha
d gotten in late the night before.

Students weren’t allowed in the dorms ove
r break. They locked them up. Quinn stayed at her parents to make them happy. Knowing Carly would be coming, she actually didn’t mind.

Not
because she was avoiding Jake the night before, she tried, unsuccessfully to convince herself. She’d been so exhausted that she hadn’t waited up for her sister. In the morning, after their parents had left for work, and while Carly was still sleeping, she’d crept out of the house.

By the time she
returned, Carly was up, fortifying herself with an entire pot of coffee.

“Where did you run off to this morning and w
hy didn’t you take me with?” Carly demanded as she’d rushed into the entryway to greet her.

Quinn
held up the brown paper bag and swiped at her tear stained face.

Wordlessly, Carly had taken the bag from her
hands and peered inside.

When she looked back up at her sister
, her eyes were wide and questioning.

“Let’s do this,” was all she said.

She’d filled up a pitcher with water, handed Quinn a glass and then ushered her into the bathroom they’d shared growing up. Obviously, she’d been standing right outside of the door, waiting for the news.

“I know
this isn’t how you wanted to spend the week,” Carly said consolingly. “This is better.”

Her cheeriness w
as only adding to Quinn’s misery.

“Come on, Quinn. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You graduate in two months. Jake’s got a decent job. You’ve talked about marriage,” she pointed
out. Who would have thought her little sister would be the never-ending voice of reason?

Jake did have a decent job
. He was two years older than Quinn. He worked in his family’s business. He was an electrician and had been working as one for a few years now. He’d just purchased a house. Quinn, however, still had a few months of school left before she got her degree.

“We
’ve talked about marriage. But not seriously,” Quinn mumbled.

“Oh, come on!” Carly said with a roll of her eyes. “Any talk of marriage is serious.”

Ignoring her, Quinn continued on. “We’ve never talked about kids. I don’t even know if he wants any. Ever. I mean, I assume he does. But now? I don’t think he wants them now! I don’t want them now! I don’t want a baby yet! I haven’t changed a diaper for years. Not since I babysat for the Hanson’s. I’m supposed to be looking for a job in a few months. Not just a job but starting my
career
. Who’s going to want to hire a pregnant girl with a belly out to here?” She held her hand out ridiculously far before crumpling into tears. She realized she was babbling. “Mom and Dad are going to kill me!”

Carly
laughed. She actually had the nerve to laugh.

“Quinnie,
” she chided. Carly and Luke, Quinn’s best friend, were the only two Quinn could stand hearing that nickname from. “You’re twenty-two. You and Jake have been together for a year and a half. It’s not like you’re sixteen or anything. It’s March now. You’ll have your degree in May. The baby won’t be due until…” She paused for a second, throwing together the numbers in her head. “Probably around the end of November? Does that sound right?”

She
nodded and took a deep breath. “Yeah, I think so.” Nine months. Nine months to get used to the idea of having a baby…

“Oh my god!” Carly
squealed. “You’re going to have a baby!”

“Yeah,” Quinn said as she
motioned to the pile of tests on the floor. “I know.”

“It’ll be
here in time for Christmas!” Carly said with a huge grin. “Oh my goodness! Think of all the fun we’ll have shopping! There’s going to be so much to buy! A crib, a car seat, a diaper bag…they make really cute ones! Toys and clothes! So many clothes! Oh…” she said with a sappy look on her face. She slid her arms away from Quinn so she could clasp her hands in front of her chest. “Just think of how cute it’ll be at Christmas! You’ll have to get it one of those little red velvet outfits.”

“No, no way,” Quinn
said. “We’re not dressing my baby up like Santa Claus.”

My baby.

While the small pile of tests on the floor provided
the proof…the words themselves were what made the whole thing become real.

“Why not?” Carly
asked. She sounded completely disappointed in her sister. “Have you seen those little red velvet dresses with little black belts?”

“Yes, and they’re ridiculous,” Quinn
pointed out. “You’re the one with the fashion sense. How can you even think of forcing a baby into something like that?”

She sighed. “Fine. But we’ll find something completely perfect.”

Quinn nodded absentmindedly.

“When are you going to tell Mom and Dad?”

“I don’t know. I need to talk to Jake first, obviously.” Her heart began to thud in her chest. Telling Carly had been hard enough. And she hadn’t even known for sure. Now? Now she knew. And it was easy for Carly to be excited. None of the responsibility would fall on her.

She
was
right about a few things. Quinn and Jake were both adults. The timing, while not ideal, was not terrible. She would have her degree. The baby would not have an impact on her education. Jake already had a great job. They both had loving, supportive families.

Her
biggest concern was Jake’s reaction. She knew he loved her. But she didn’t want this to change anything. She didn’t want him to feel trapped. She didn’t want him to feel tied to her if in the long-term, he didn’t want to be.

They
had talked about marriage a while ago. But not lately. Quinn wasn’t sure why. If they’d talked about it recently, she would’ve felt a whole lot better about the situation.

“I’ll get
Mom and Dad out of here so you can talk to him tonight,” Carly decided.

She got to her
feet and reached down to pull Quinn up. If she hadn’t, Quinn was so dazed she may have sat there all day. As it was, she just watched as Carly wrapped up the evidence in the brown paper bag once more.

“Tonight?” Quinn
finally asked as Carly’s words sunk in.

She nodded. “
Yes. Because Quinn, why wait? Jake needs to know. He deserves to know. Besides, the sooner it’s out in the open, the better. Don’t you think? Then you won’t have to worry about where you two stand. You’ll just know.” Quinn’s expression must’ve made her anxiety clearly evident. Carly cocked her head to the side and gave her a sympathetic look. “I can see how worried you are. And honestly, I think you’re getting yourself all worked up about nothing. That’s exactly why you need to talk to Jake. So he can prove to you that this is all going to be okay.

BOOK: Holding On
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