I stopped my birth control pills a month ago and now my period is late.
I am so incredibly excited about this. I know it’s only been a month without the pills, but I’ve heard that the first month after stopping them is the most fertile month. I could be pregnant!
I guess it’s unlikely. I mean, my period is probably just off because of having just stopped the pills. Jim doesn’t ejaculate, so the chances of my getting pregnant without medical help are remote. But it’s possible. I mean, we’re having sex, so there is always potential for exchange of fluid.
I keep thinking of cuddling a newborn baby, getting to breastfeed him and change little teeny clothing. And I know Jim would be a totally amazing dad. He loves kids and I know he’s really excited about having kids soon. It would definitely make the wedding more annoying if I’m pregnant, but I don’t think he’d mind.
I don’t want to tell him I might be pregnant, because I know it will get his hopes way up and I don’t want to let him down. But if I don’t get my period tomorrow, I’m going to buy a pregnancy test.
Fuck. Got my period this morning.
Oh well, I knew it was unlikely. I just get worried because my mother took three years to get pregnant with me and she was really young then. And she was married to a guy who was (mostly) normal. What if Jim and I can’t conceive? What if I’m infertile?
All right, I know I’m being irrational. I’m sure Jim and I will end up having a baby one way or another eventually. I just need to be patient.
When I got home from work today, Jim was already home. I was shocked. I’ve beaten him home almost every day this month, sometimes by an hour or more. I saw him sitting in his wheelchair in front of the dining room table, just staring at the wall, and for a second, I was sure he’d been fired. I mean, with the economy the way it is, that seemed like a possibility. He looked really upset.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him, sitting down next to him at the table.
He looked at me. I was surprised to see his eyes were rimmed with red behind his glasses. “Are you cheating on me with Vincent Alton?” he asked.
I stared at him. I felt this awful sinking feeling in my chest. “What?”
“Is there something going on between you and Vincent?” he said.
“Why are you asking me that?” I was stalling. I felt like I was going to be sick.
“His secretary Cheryl told me,” he said.
Of course. Jim gets along with secretaries as well as he gets along with waitresses. Of course Cheryl would “warn” him that I’d been going to see Vincent a lot and closing the door behind us.
“You’re not saying no,” he noted.
I could have said no, obviously. He might have believed me, although I’m an awful liar. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully lied to Jim.
“It’s true, isn’t it?” He looked so hurt and devastated, I thought I was going to cry.
“It’s not true,” I said weakly. It wasn’t, really. I mean, Vincent and I had one kiss. It wasn’t a big deal at all. That wasn’t cheating. And whatever it was is over now.
“It’s not?” He raised his eyebrows. “Then how come you have so many emails from Vincent on your computer?”
“You looked at my email?!” I said in shock. “How could you do that?”
“You fucking cheated on me!” he shot back.
I’d never seen him so angry at me. There was no point in denying it now. He believed it was true and I wasn’t going to convince him otherwise.
“Did you sleep with him?” he asked.
“No!” I cried. “Nothing like that. I mean, he kissed me. That’s it. Nothing else happened.”
“Great,” he murmured. “It all makes sense now. Why you never wanted to set a date for the wedding. You don’t want to marry me. You don’t even want to be with me.”
“No…” I felt sick. This wasn’t happening. I wanted to cry because I thought maybe if I did, he’d realize how sorry I was and forgive me. But for some reason, the tears weren’t coming. “Look, Jim, it was a mistake. It was just a one time thing. Like when you kissed your ex.”
“That was different.”
“You know it is,” he said. “You have a relationship with this guy. You exchanged like a hundred emails.”
“I don’t have a relationship with him! I swear...”
We stared at each other for a good minute. Jim didn’t look any less furious. He’d never looked at me this way before. I felt a sense that I had done irreparable damage. I know Jim holds a grudge and I wondered if he could ever forgive me for this.
“I’m going out,” he finally said.
“Where are you going?” I asked in a small voice.
“I don’t know,” he said.
He pushed away from the table, grabbed his car keys, and left the apartment without saying another word to me. When he was gone, I started crying for real. I was scared that he hated me now, but I was also scared he was going to do something awful and dangerous because he was so upset. What if he got in a car accident? Or what if he hooked up with some waitress?
After a while, I wasn’t even sure why I was crying anymore. But I think it’s safe to say the engagement is over.
Jim got home very late last night. Around 3AM. I knew he’d be home eventually, because he’s needs too much special equipment to crash at a friend’s house or something. He wouldn’t even be able to use the shower. If he didn’t come home, I’d know something was really seriously wrong.
I wasn’t asleep when he got back. I’d been lying awake in bed since about midnight. I hoped he’d have thought it through and decide to forgive me and would get into bed with me.
He came into our bedroom smelling of cigarettes and alcohol. I guessed he’d been at a bar. I wondered if he went alone or if his brother or a friend had been with him. I wondered if he’d flirted with the waitresses. I wondered if he’d hooked up.
He looked drunk. His brown hair was mussed and his shirt was wrinkled. Despite everything, I thought he looked incredibly sexy. I wanted him. But I could tell that wasn’t going to happen tonight.
“Are you coming to bed?” I asked in a small voice.
“What do you care?” he retorted. His voice was slightly slurred.
I didn’t know what to say, so I kept quiet.
“I’m going to sleep on the couch,” he said finally.
He left the bedroom, unwilling to change in front of me, I guess. I couldn’t sleep though. I lay awake for most of the night, drifting off only briefly. I woke up this morning when I heard Jim in the shower. Usually he showers at night, but I guess he figured he needed it this morning.
I sat outside the bathroom, so I’d be there when Jim came out. He was mostly dressed, but he looked pretty bad. He looked pale and he had circles under his bloodshot eyes. I wasn’t sure if his eyes were bloodshot because he was tired or because he’d been crying. Maybe a little of both. He didn’t say anything when he saw me.
“Jim,” I whispered.
He looked away from me. “I have to go to work.”
I took a deep breath. “Jim, do you want me to… to stay somewhere else?”
I was hoping to god he’d say no, that we could work this out, but instead he heaved a sigh. “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.”
So that’s how I ended up here at Sandra’s house tonight. I told her what happened and she was kind of horrified. She said to me, “Tessie, what were you thinking?” Like this was all a really well thought out plan. First, cheat on wonderful fiancé; then get kicked out of our apartment so I could sleep in my best friend’s fetus’s room. It’s all going exactly to plan.
Yeah, it sucks sleeping in Sandra’s baby-to-be’s room. They put a mattress on the floor for me and I’m surrounded by pink (she’s having a girl) and the smell of baby powder. It’s so depressing, I want to shoot myself in the head. I keep thinking about how only a few days ago, I thought I might be pregnant myself. If only I were. Jim would never do this to me if I were pregnant with his baby.
Sandra told me not to worry, that he’d forgive me. But honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never seen him so hurt and upset. As I lay in the dark, looking at the big white crib with pink trimming, I felt an intense sadness come over me and I started to cry.
I picked up my phone in the dark and dialed him on speed dial. The phone rang and I decided I was going to tell him straight out how much I loved him and wanted to be with him and I just made a terrible mistake. Unfortunately, either he was asleep or not answering, because his cell went to voicemail. I heard the sound of his cute voice in the message and almost started crying all over again.
So here I am, writing this in the dark. Hoping that Jim will someday forgive me.
I’ve tried to call Jim a few times but he never picks up. I know if I called the computer help desk, I might get through to him, but that seems like a bit of a ploy. I feel like maybe he just needs some space to forget what happened. That’s what I’m hoping anyway. I sent him an email this morning: Jim, can I come by tonight to pick up some clothes?
His reply: What time?
I wondered if he was asking me that because he wanted to be there or because he wanted to avoid me. I was contemplating this when the phone at my desk rang. I hate the way my phone sounds. It has this shrill ring that always makes me jump like a foot out of my seat.
“Anastasia Manousakis’s desk,” I said.
“Tessie? It’s Vincent.”
I gripped the receiver. “Vincent…”
“I heard you and Jim broke up,” he said.
“Oh,” I said. How did he know that? The only person I told was Sandra.
“I ran into Jim in the elevator,” Vincent explained. “He said a few not so nice things to me.”
That sounded like good news. If Jim cared enough to blow up at Vincent, he must still like me. “What did he say?”
“The usual,” Vincent replied, which made me wonder how many girlfriends he’d stolen. “Called me an asshole, threw in a few four letter words.” He laughed.
“He was pretty upset,” I said.
“I’d imagine,” Vincent said. “So that means you’re available, right? Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?”
Part of me wanted to say yes. I mean, Vincent was attractive and nice, and it was better than being alone. Then again, I felt like if I went out on a real date with Vincent, there would be no going back. Jim would never forgive me. And Jim was the one that I loved.
I was about to tell him no when Vincent said he had a call on another line and he’d call me back. I hung up the phone and looked up to see Jim’s blue eyes staring at me. I felt my breath catch in my throat. After not seeing him for a few days, I almost forgot how cute he looked. It was all I could do to keep from jumping him.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I said back.
“How are you doing?” he asked me.
“Okay,” I said in a voice that was almost a whisper. “How are you doing?”
“I’ve been better,” he said with a weak smile. He cleared his throat. “Tessie, um… I’ve been thinking…”
I was quiet.
“Maybe I overreacted,” he said. “You’re right. I did kiss Molly and I know things happen and…”
I felt my heart pounding in my chest. He was going to forgive me. I thought I was going to cry.
“What I’m saying is,” he said. “Is that I still…”
He stopped short. His eyes looking at something in the distance. He frowned.
I turned my head and realized that Vincent had decided to make a personal trip down to my cubicle. What great timing. And of course, Vincent just strode right over and put a hand on my shoulder. I looked back over at Jim, who was bright red and his jaw was hanging open.
“Hi, Tessie,” Vincent said.
Jim lowered his eyes quickly. “I, uh… I’m going to go,” he mumbled.
This was the time for me to assert that there was nothing going on between me and Vincent. To slap Vincent or something. But it happened so quickly and I felt somehow frozen. I didn’t know how to handle this. I’ve never had two men interested in me before. One is an usual occurrence. I almost expected to look out the window and see a pig soaring by.
So what I ended up doing was I just sat there and let Jim wheel away from me. My heart was thumping really hard in my chest. I knew I should run after him, but I couldn’t move. And Vincent’s hand was still on my shoulder. “Poor guy,” he said. “I feel kind of bad for him. Despite what he called me.” He grinned at me. “So how about lunch? You and me, right now.”
“I’m not interested,” I said.
Vincent raised his eyebrows. “But you’re broken up, right? What’s wrong?”
“I’m just… not interested.”
“Really?” Vincent looked confused. I guess he doesn’t get turned down very often.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
I don’t know if I expected Vincent to be upset, but I didn’t like the way he smirked when I told him no. Like he couldn’t get over the fact that someone like me was turning down someone like him. Well, screw him.
After Vincent left, I walked around to the computer help desk and Jim’s office, trying to find him. I couldn’t. I thought about writing him an email, but I felt like anything I wrote would come out wrong. I needed to speak to him in person.
I searched the building for him for nearly an hour, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I came back to my desk to discover an email waiting for me:
There’s a meeting out in NYC this week. I wasn’t planning on going, but I think maybe this is a good opportunity for both of us. I’m leaving tomorrow and I’ll be back in a week. While I’m gone, you can take your stuff out of the apartment and move wherever you want. Have a good life.
I stared at the email, feeling sick to my stomach. I dragged Sandra over to my desk and made her look at it. I watched her face as she read from the screen. “Does this mean he’s dumping me?” I asked her.
“Um,” Sandra said.
I looked at the email again. “He said, ‘Have a good life.’ That sounds pretty final, doesn’t it?” I looked back up at her, hoping she’d disagree.
“I think he’s really angry at you,” Sandra said. Duh. “I think maybe you should give him some space.”
“But what if he meets someone in New York?”
Sandra rolled her eyes. “Come on.”
I don’t know why she thought that was so ridiculous. Jim is charming AND he’s on the rebound.
“Once he’s cooled down, you can talk to him about what really happened,” she said.
The problem with this plan was that it would take superhuman restraint not to call Jim for an entire week. But clearly, he was really pissed off and probably talking to him was just going to make him angrier. Maybe Sandra had a point though. Maybe after a week apart, he’d realize how much he missed me. That or he’d realize he was better off without me.
To be continued....