Chapter 8: The Infant and the Fall
Sheryl had not quite expected to be following her friend down the busy street in the midst of the late morning rush hour. They weaved in and out of the mass of passersby as Gwen glanced between a slip of paper on which she had written an address, and the buildings themselves. She was careful to keep her hoodie up and a pair of sunglasses over her eyes she had borrowed from Sheryl. It was as though she were a renegade spy searching for her target.
The two finally came to a stop at a small clinic sandwiched between a row of office buildings. The brunette recognized it a as a neonatal clinic which had recently been in the news in regards to their abortion views.
A mother had taken her daughter in hoping to free her of her premature pregnancy. As a typical procedure, the overseeing nurse had performed a sonogram, showing the mother-to-be just what she was carrying. It wasn’t long before the teen pleaded with her mother to forget the abortion. The mother later attempted to sue the clinic for ‘manipulating’ her daughter out of the procedure. While the clinic was still under fire it continued operations, but did not carry out the actual abortions procedures themselves.
Sheryl was puzzled why Gwen had picked such a place. They both knew she was pregnant. The doctor had confirmed it. So why were they here?
Gwen took in a deep breath and shutting her eyes she forced herself to step inside.
The two waited for what seemed forever after speaking to a nurse at the front desk before being called to a room. Gwen was given a gown and sat waiting quietly for the doctor. Sheryl took a seat off to the side, carefully observing her friend.
Gwen clutched her hands in her lap while staring at the floor. Her eyes looked on aimlessly as it was clear she was deep in thought. She was secretly hoping the doctor and the test had both been wrong, but somehow she knew she wouldn’t like the answer to her question.
No sooner had the two glanced at each other, the doctor stepped in.
“Good morning miss….,” began the doctor as she struggled to read Gwen’s horrible handwriting on her makeshift medical record.
“Laurel,” Gwen answered quickly, “Laurel Baxter.”
Sheryl shot her friend a questioning look. Laurel? It was her middle name, but why was she using that? Why not another name all together?
Gwen waved off the notion as the doctor shut the door behind her.
“Well Miss Laurel, let’s see what we have here.”
Sheryl waited on her friend after the doctor had left. She had given Gwen a sonogram, as was typical of the small clinic, confirming the doctor’s diagnosis. The image on the machine still burned clearly in their minds.
Two tiny arms with two delicate hands. Two little legs were visible; feet folded beneath. The child was whole and complete despite the drugs, though it was too early to determine the infant’s gender.
Both women marveled at the image, Gwen gently stroking her hands over it as tears filled her eyes. Sheryl held a copy of the picture, still amazed. Though blurry, she could see the baby clearly.
“Now what,” she asked her friend as she stepped out of the bathroom.
“I don’t know,” she answered pulling on her hoodie.
Sheryl sighed. “So does that mean I have to start calling you by Laurel now?”
“At least in public,” Gwen smiled. She sighed again seeing the photo her friend held. “Can we add anything else to this,” she asked taking the picture with a groan.
“Hmmm…I don’t know. I was thinking about a pink hair bow.”
The two laughed. It had been a while since either of them had.
Moments later the two exited the clinic after receiving a list of vitamins and foods Gwen needed to be eating.
“Sheryl,” the blonde began.
“Do you think I…could be a mother?”
“Yeah…but you shouldn’t do it alone.”
“Heh…I feel alone…”
Sheryl felt her heartbreak at the tone of her friend’s words. “Gwen—”
The two paused for a moment before beginning down the street again Suddenly Gwen slammed into a man, knocking her to the ground.
“I’m sorry ma’am,” he answered, reaching down to help her up.
The blonde started to jerk away, pulling her hoodie back up to hide her still darkened eyes when she noted his appearance.
He was of medium build unlike the Thomas brothers, dressed in kaki slacks and a thin outer jacket; a portion of his olive shirt glinted out from the collar. Ash colored hair peeked out from a weathered bucket hat. But what caught Gwen off guard was the pair of hazel eyes peering down at her as though making an apology themselves.
After some resistance she allowed the man to help her to her feet, immediately adjusting her hoodie afterwards.
“I’m sorry dear,” apologized a woman with him.
Sheryl and Gwen gave the pair a questioning gaze.
The woman was tall yet thin, dressed in a long skirt and matching blouse.
“My brother’s such a klutz sometimes,” she continued.
“Hey now,” the man objected. “It wasn’t like I did it on purpose.” his tone seemed strangely playful to the women. Turning his attention back to them he continued. “Sorry about that there. My name’s Gary.”
The man extended his hand Gwen, but she shrank back as though stung by a bee.
“Okay…,” began the man again, withdrawing his hand to scratch his head. “Err…and this lovely young lady is my sister, Lois.”
“Hello,” answered Lois, her dark brown eyes smiling back.
“Uhm…it’s okay,” Sheryl said in reply.
She was struggling to find a good place for the pair to make their exit as it was clear her friend was leery of the man. Gwen suddenly turned on her heels in agitation and stormed off, the brunette not far behind.
Copyright The Faithbook 2011