I got home from work that evening at 5:30. Michael’s shift was going to end at 10pm so I knew he would arrive at my doorstep around 11 giving time for him to go home, shower and change clothes and probably bring an overnight bag. Do people bring an overnight bag when they agree to spend the night with someone or just walk with a toothbrush? Would he start leaving stuff in my room now? Should I start clearing out one of my drawers for his stuff?
I was getting way ahead of myself. I think the last time I was this nervous was when I competed in the Cooking Wars competition back in high school and just like that time I was also worried about how well I would perform. I wanted our first night together to be as perfect as it could possibly be. Since he wasn’t gonna arrive until 11 I decided to cook dinner. He would be hungry after his shift ended anyway and I wanted him to be full since he would need his strength for later.
Michael was a foodie but self-proclaimed ‘carnivore at heart’ so a rack of lamb would be the perfect dish, followed by a SimCity cheesecake for dessert and a chilled bottle of Von Haunt Estate Merloire. It was an ambitious meal to complete in 5 hours but I knew I could do it.
I was almost finished mixing the batter for the cheesecake when I heard the front door open. Confused I looked at the time and it was only 7:30. He was way too early.
“Maia? Where are you?” I heard Lyra call out.
I breathed a sigh of relief to know it wasn’t him but then panicked because she was not supposed to be home until early the next morning. “In the kitchen!” I yelled.
She came through the doorway and I rushed up to her, “Why are you here? You’re not supposed to be home until hours from now…!” The expression on her face stopped me in my tracks. “…hey, Lyra, what’s the matter?”
“I…I screwed up.”
“What? What do you mean? Did you get fired?”
She shook her head.
“Well…what is it? Tell me…”
“I’m pregnant.” She groaned out.
I thought she was messing with me but then I realised Lyra would never joke about something like that. “Oh.” It was all I could say. I was surprised but it didn’t seem like the end of the world kind of news either.
“I found out this afternoon. I fainted during rehearsals so the manager sent me to a doctor and that’s when I found out.”
“I didn’t know you were dating anyone.”
“See that’s the thing…I’m not.”
Oh. Now it made sense. “You don’t know who the father is?”
“I know who it is, I just don’t know him.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
She sighed. “I hooked up with him at a party. I don’t even remember his name, just that he was hot and we were both drunk and then one thing led to another and I went back to his place and…”
“You went to some strange man’s house and slept with him? Are you crazy?!” I yelled. I didn’t mean to yell but that was just the dumbest thing I had ever heard from her.
“He wasn’t a complete stranger, I’m not a total idiot!” She cried. “He’s Simone’s neighbour! You remember Simone right? My friend from high school?”
I shrugged since the name did sound familiar.
“Anyway, she and I ran into each other not too long after I moved back home and she insisted on throwing me a welcome back party. She invited all of our friends from high school, well at least the ones that still lived in town, and some of her neighbours. He and I were drinking and flirting and then the next thing I know we went back to his house next door. I left right after we finished because, well, it got awkward.”
“I think…he might have a girlfriend. After we, you know, he kept saying ‘it was a mistake, this shouldn’t have happened’. I told him I was cool but he kept freaking out so I just got dressed and went back to the party. If that wasn’t a cheater’s guilt then I don’t know what is.”
“Lyra, seriously?” Now there was possibly a third person involved in this mess.
“I can’t remember if we used protection like I said I was drunk, but I thought we did. I guess we didn’t after all.” She sat down on the couch and sighed. “Gosh Maia, what am I gonna do? I can’t have a baby right now. My career is finally looking like it’s going somewhere. I even got a job offer to perform for a philharmonic band in Windenburg just last night and now…”
I sat down next to her. “Hey, it’s not the end of the world…”
“I’m not ready to be a mother! I can’t even get up to the sound of my alarm, how can I get up to feed a baby at night? I couldn’t even survive on my own when I lived in San Myshuno and now I have to take care of a baby? And I don’t even know the father. He can be a complete jerk for all I know…”
“Probably, since we already know he’s a cheater.”
“You’re not helping!” She gave me a scornful look.
“Okay, I’m sorry but you know it’s your own fault you’re in this mess.”
She rolled her eyes, “I don’t need a lecture right now Mai!”
“Then what do you need then?” I was getting a little impatient. She was my sister and I didn’t like seeing her upset but since the reason why she was upset was her own doing then I’m not sure exactly what she expected me to do about it.
“I need your support. I need you to be my sister right now and not like my mother or something. I know I screwed up just…just don’t say ‘I told you so’ right now.”
I guess I was rubbing salt into her wounds a little. “Alright fine, I’m sorry. I’ll try to be more supportive.”
“Sure.” I shrugged. “You’re not alone in this. I’m here and I’ll be here to help you along the way.”
“Great because I have a favour to ask.”
Of course she did. “Okay…?”
“I need you to come with me tomorrow to see him.”
“The baby’s father?”
“You’re gonna just show up to his house just like that and tell him you’re having his baby?”
“He has a right to know and plus I wanna get it out of the way. If he wants to be involved or not then I wanna know sooner rather than later. I don’t know how he’ll react but maybe if I had company then he’d be less inclined to get crazy.”
“You can’t just go there unannounced. What if his supposed girlfriend is there?”
She shook her head. “I don’t think she lives with him. His place was too…bachelor-y. But if she is there then we’ll just forget about it and try some other time. I don’t want to be insensitive. It’s bad enough I’ll be showing up at his house to drop a bombshell like this on him.”
She was right about it being a bombshell though I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in her shoes pregnant with some guy’s baby and you barely know him. I knew I had to go with her, not just for support but for protection just in case he did turn out to be a complete jerk. “Alright. I’ll go with you for support and hopefully you two can figure something out together.”
I was trying my best to not be judgemental but I knew something like this would happen to her eventually. On a normal basis Lyra tends to throw caution to the wind but when she’s intoxicated she can be even more reckless. I always tell her she needs to be more responsible for herself when she goes to parties but she never listens to me and now she’s in a situation where there’s no turning back.
She was going to be a mother, a job she was totally unprepared for which made me even more worried for her baby. What if the father decided not to be in his life? Not every man that makes a baby actually sticks around to be a father. She would have to raise the child on her own and that’s what scared me the most because Lyra couldn’t even balance her checkbook or cook a meal to save her life and now she was going to be responsible for another person.
She needed me now more than ever.
So my romantic evening with Michael had to be postponed.
“I’m so sorry about this. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.” I pleaded even though I didn’t need to because he didn’t sound upset or even a little disappointed.
“It’s okay babe. I get it, family comes first. Is there anything I can do to help? I mean if you need me for anything at all, if she’s in any kind of trouble I can help.”
I didn’t tell him exactly what was going on only that my sister was going through something and I had to be there for her. “Thanks for the offer but hopefully by tomorrow morning we’ll have it sorted out.”
“Just promise me that I get to have you all to myself tomorrow night.”
“I promise.” I said before hanging up. He was so understanding and sweet about it that it made me feel guilty about choosing to spend my night with Lyra over him.
Lyra had crappy timing. She ruined my special night with Michael. Then again learning that she got pregnant from a one-time hook-up with some guy made me realise I was a little unprepared for what I planned to do in the first place. Tomorrow a run to the pharmacy for protection would be in order. I was not taking any chances!
I decided I would do that after my trip with Lyra to her future baby’s daddy’s house. I tried to get her to relax during the car ride there as we went over how she was going to break the news to him. When she told me the address I didn’t think too much about it. For some reason, it didn’t register with me.
Perhaps I didn’t want it to.
On a subconscious level, I knew as we drove up that street where we were headed but I was in denial. My fears didn’t make sense. It wasn’t possible. It was a long street and there were a lot of houses on that stretch. A lot.
But when we came to a stop in front of the all too familiar house and I saw Lyra confidently strutting up the stairs…
My heart dropped.
I felt lightheaded and sick.
But I walked in any way…