Home > Surprise Delivery(14)

Surprise Delivery(14)
Author: R.R. Banks

I don't know why he takes such a special delight in tormenting me. Is it because I tell him no? Because I won't give in to his advances and blow him in the file room like half the other women in this office have? Each and every day becomes more grueling and more of an endurance test – how much shit can I put up with before I snap and decide that living on the streets is preferable to this kind of garbage?

The truth of the matter is that until I can find a logical move – one that will allow me to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly – I can't do anything. I make more here than I would slinging coffee down at Starbucks or mixing drinks in some sleazy sports bar. Probably more than both of those jobs combined.

For now, I'm trapped in this circle of hell and have to deal with the devil standing before me.

“Is there something I can do for you?” I ask.

The salacious smirk that slides across his face makes me want to throw up all over his thousand-dollar suit. Knowing him, he'd make me replace it and I don't have that kind of money.

“No, not at the moment,” he says.

He leers at me for a moment longer before sauntering away from my desk to go harass Emily. Unlike me, Emily seems to think he's charming and is more than happy to give him what he wants whenever he wants it. At least he's leaving me alone. I'm thankful for that, at least.

As another wave of nausea rolls over me, this one more intense than the last, I grab my phone, check the time, and shoot Preston a quick text message.

Feeling terrible. Is it okay for me to go home?

He's not due in court until ten-thirty, so I'm hoping I catch him before he goes in. Tyler is still huddled over Emily's desk, no doubt pouring honey into her ear in an effort to get her to drop her panties. Emily's high-pitched – and obviously fake – laughter rings out, making me wonder if she's that enthusiastically fake during sex with him. My phone chimes a moment later and I look down at Preston's message.

No problem. I'll be out of the office all day anyway. Feel better.

I key in a quick word of thanks, send it off, then start quickly packing my bag. I want to get out of there as fast I can – and not just because I'm feeling sick. I just want to get away from Tyler and the rest of them. My plan is to go home, get online, and start searching for new jobs. I want to get my resume out there in circulation. Hopefully, I'll get some bites. The situation here is getting worse by the day and I desperately need to get out.

Throwing my bag over my shoulder, I stand and head for the door when Tyler's voice stops me.

“Where do you think you're going?” he asks.

“I checked with Preston and he said it's okay for me to go home.”

“Checked with Preston, huh?”

“That's what I said,” I reply. “If you don't believe me, talk to him.”

Without waiting for a reply, I turn and head out of the office. The moment I step outside, I breathe deeply, savoring the cool morning air as it hits my lungs – savoring the taste of freedom. No job should feel this way. I'm not naïve enough to think every day is going to be sunshine and roses at your job – not even if you're passionate about what you're doing. But it shouldn't be a constant battle, either. The workplace shouldn't be a warzone.

And you shouldn't have to feel like you're getting out of prison after a lifetime behind bars every time you leave your place of work.

I'm standing in the aisle at the drug store, my stomach still roiling – though, this time it's from worry, not nausea. I hate to admit it, but Tyler's flippant remark really got under my skin – what if I've been feeling so under the weather lately because I'm pregnant? Could it be possible? Duncan and I had been safe and used protection, so I want to believe it couldn't be that. I want to believe it's something like food poisoning.

But Tyler's comment is sticking with me.

“Better to rule it out, right?” I mutter to myself as I grab the pregnancy test off the shelf.

I pick up a couple of other small things – mostly because I'm hoping the test kit will just blend in with everything else – and head for the register. I set everything down and as the cashier starts ringing me up, I see her hesitate for a moment with the test kit in her hand before she scans the box. She drops it into the bag and gives me a smile – and I don't know if I'm imagining it or not, but I see judgment in her eyes.

My hands are shaking so hard, I fumble with my debit card for a moment, but finally get it into the machine and manage to process my payment. Grabbing the bag, I hustle out of the store, anxious to be away from the woman with her judgmental eyes. I take another deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm myself down.

I'm stressed out and maybe feeling paranoid because of it. Maybe the woman wasn't judging me. Maybe I imagined it. I'm sure I'm not the first woman she's seen coming in to pick up a pregnancy test. At the moment, I'm just feeling a little raw. The situation at work is really beating me down and now I've got Tyler's stupid fucking comment bouncing around inside my head, only adding to my stress and worry.

It can't be. It just can't be. There is no way I can be pregnant. We used a condom. We were safe. It just can't possibly be true.

But – the voice in my head giggles with some sort of diabolical glee – what if I am?

“Shut the hell up,” I mutter to myself, drawing a curious look from a guy walking past me.

Taking my bag, I walk the few blocks back to our apartment, doing my best to not just avoid eye contact, but avoid talking to myself as well.

Half an hour after I get home, I'm sitting on the edge of the bathtub, staring at the box that's in my hand. My mind is spinning about as fast as my stomach. Thankfully, the nausea is loosening its grip on me. I can be grateful for that much, at least.

I turn the box over and read the instructions for the hundredth time. Nothing's changed since I last read it two minutes ago. I know I'm just putting it off – mainly because I don't know that I want to know the answer. What if I am pregnant? What am I going to do? If I am, Duncan is absolutely the father and he's currently half a world away – and for all I know, is never coming back.

Yeah, he said he'd be back in eight months or so – and that he wants to see me when he gets back – but who knows if that's even true. It's an easy thing to say when you're caught up in the heat of the moment, flush with the rush of endorphins really great sex gives you, but when that afterglow fades and things get real, things tend to change.

Once you're not caught up in all the pleasure and sensations of the moment and gain some critical perspective; thought and intention have a way of changing.

“I can't do this right now,” I mutter.

I open the cabinet and throw it in, not wanting to deal with it right now. I mean, the possibility that I'm actually pregnant is infinitesimal anyway. I've got bigger things to worry about right now – like finding a job where I can make decent money and not be treated like a piece of meat every damn day. Yeah, that'd be nice.

But, now that my stomach has finally settled, the first thing I need is some food. Given all the stress and nausea, I'm shocked to find that I'm actually hungry. But, now that the cloud of sickness has passed – if only for a little while – I realize that I'm ravenous.



I still don't entirely trust my stomach not to turn on me, so I figure I'm just going to pick up some soup and a sandwich from the deli down the block. That sounds like it'll be easy enough on my tummy. I take the stairs down – our building is old and doesn't have an elevator – and step out onto the sidewalk.

Bri and I live in a neighborhood in the Bronx that's been gentrified over the years and is now a hipster heaven. Ordinarily, I am not a fan of the hipster set – they're a little too pretentious for my taste – but even I can't deny that they've brought a lot of great things into the neighborhood. Cute little boutiques, eateries, pastry shops, coffee houses out the wazoo, and even an actual record store line the street.

As a result of the revitalization of this neighborhood, the place is crowded. Of course, that's also a symptom of living in New York. Thankfully, this small, out of the way place isn't near some of the major traffic centers, so it's not completely wall to wall people, but it's plenty crowded anyway. But then, I'm not one for big crowds, to begin with.

With a sigh, I set off down the sidewalk, weaving around people. I get to the deli, take a number, find a quiet corner and start to play on my phone as I wait. I scroll through some news and check my social media. When my number is called and it's my turn to order, I squeeze my way through the crowd, finally making it to the counter.

“Hey, how ya doin' today, Lexi?” calls Monty, the owner of the place.

“Doing good,” I reply. “How about you?”

He shrugs. “Wife's still on my ass about everything, the kids take me for granted, and the cat shit in my shoe this morning.”

“So – the usual?”

“You know it,” he says and tips me a wink.

Monty is in his sixties, has wild white hair, crystal blue eyes, and deep lines etched into his face. He's got that thick Bronx accent that matches his thick Bronx attitude. Monty's been around forever, and his deli is an institution in this neighborhood. When the hipsters started moving in, I was afraid they'd try to force him out. But, stubborn as a mule, Monty has hung in there and refuses to give in. Of course, I think there probably would have been a riot had he been forced out and whoever took over the shop probably would've had to deal with a lot of angry people.

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