A few days later, Nicole took the mail and headed to the post office. She dropped the mail in the mail slot and opened the post office box for the motel mail. Inside was one envelope from Blackhawk and Jenkins, Criminal Defense. Her hand shook as she surveyed the envelope. Did he send her a note? She ripped the envelope open and pulled the content out. It was just one piece of paper. A check, for thirty thousand. No note, no thank you, nothing.
She took the check and immediately headed to Butte Falls Community Bank to make a deposit. She didn’t know what she was going to do with her life. Go back to school? Move away or maybe move to Arizona to be near her parents? All the options scared her and made her tired thinking of them. Plus, she’d been sick every morning, throwing up and an upset stomach. She didn’t know what was wrong with her. Was she so upset emotionally that she made herself ill?
When she had missed her period, she knew in the back of her mind. I’m pregnant. She brought herself a home pregnancy test, and the results came back positive. She was going to have to find a doctor and prepare for the baby. Somehow, the idea of having Marcus’s baby brought her out of her despair and gave her a secret joy. Out of her one night of passion with the man she loved, they had conceived a baby. She hadn’t decided yet if she was going to tell him. He had the right to know, but he was a prominent lawyer, and he had arranged to get custody of Nathan, would he find her unfit for a mother and try to take her baby away from her? There was no way that he was going to do that if she had anything to say and do with it. She’d fight her last dying breath if she had to.
“Nicole, you’ve been sick a lot lately, are you okay?” Debbie asked.
“Ugh yeah. I’m okay.”
“What is going on?”
Nicole sat down at the kitchen table with Debbie. “Um, Debbie, do you know a good gynecologist and obstetrics?”
Debbie’s eyes opened widely as she sat there. “Well, yeah, I think I have a good gynecologist, why?”
“I..I think I’m pregnant.”
“You’re what? Who’s the father?”
“The father is Marcus Blackhawk.”
“Oh, my. Are you sure you’re pregnant?”
“I took a home pregnancy test, and it came back positive. I guess I need to go to a doctor to find out for sure and what my next step is.”
“Wow, Nicole. I didn’t know you had an affair with him.”
“It wasn’t an affair. We slept together one night. That night we were trapped in the cave. I think he only had sex with me to calm me down. I was kind of freaked out about being in a cave with no way out.”
“Are you going to tell him?”
“I haven’t decided on that yet.”
“You are going to keep the baby, right?”
“Oh yes. I’m not going to abort or give the baby away.” It’s my only connection to Marcus.
Debbie got up and walked to her roll top desk and opened it. She reached into one of the cubby holes and pulled out a business card. “Here’s my doctor and phone number. If you let me know when you are scheduled to go, I’ll go with you. You are going to need someone to lean on during this time. I doubt Ronnie would know what to do. What about your parents? Are you going to tell them?”
“Eventually, I will tell them. But just not right now.”
“I understand.” Debbie reached over and squeezed Nicole’s hand.
“I had no idea this happened. He did seem like a really nice guy.”
“He is. We got to know each other pretty well while hiking.”
“You know, he’s a lawyer, and he seemed like a good one, I’m sure he would help you financially if he knew.”
“I don’t want his financial help. I want something else. Something he’s not going to give me, so I don’t want anything else from him.”
“What did you want that he’s not going to give you?”
Nicole placed her hands on the table, palms up, staring at them. “I..I want him to love me like I love him.”
“Oh, Nicole. I’m so sorry. You really fell for him, didn’t you?”
“Yes. I did. But it was all my own fault. I should have known that someone as worldly as he was, would not be interested in anything from the likes of me.”
“Hey, don’t talk about yourself like that. I happen to think you are a great human being and deserve to find love and happiness. As far as I’m concern, he’s the loser.”
Nicole sniffed, “Thanks.”
* * * *
Her pregnancy seemed to be coming along well, and she was into her third month. She notified her parents, and Ronnie. They all seemed supportive of her, and her parents suggested that she move down to be near them so they could help her. Nicole had contemplated the idea but decided she didn’t want to make a move just yet.
Nicole woke up in the middle of the night with sharp pains. She got up and noticed that she had blood on her sheets and on her pajamas. Something was not right. She called Debbie. “H’llo?” Debbie answered on the fourth ring.
“Debbie, it’s Nicole. I’m cramping really bad, and there’s blood everywhere. Can you take me to the hospital?”
“I’ll be right there.”
In five minutes, Debbie was knocking at her door. Nicole had managed to get herself dressed in between bouts of severe abdominal pain. She opened the door and doubled over at the same time. Debbie came in and grabbed her and helped her to the chair. “Why don’t I call an ambulance?”
“I’d rather not go by ambulance.”
“I’ll follow behind the ambulance. You won’t be alone. They can get you to the hospital quicker.”
Nicole had another wave of pain rippled through her stomach. “I..I just need to get to the hospital,” she said between the sharp pains.
“Okay. I’m calling an ambulance.”
Within ten minutes, the fire department and ambulance arrived, and Ronnie came running out of their home. “What the hell is going on?” he rasped.
“Nicole is in pain, and she’s bleeding. The ambulance is taking her to the hospital.”
“I’m going too,” he said.
“Okay, you ride with her in the ambulance, and I’ll follow with our vehicle.”
They tucked Nicole in the ambulance and allowed Ronnie to sit next to her and hold her hand.
“Ronnie, I don’t want to lose my baby.” Nicole whimpered.
“I know, sis. We’ll do all we can for you, you know that.” Ronnie reassured her. “Are you sure you don’t want me to contact the baby’s father?”
“No. I don’t want him to know anything.”
Three days later, Nicole returned home from the hospital. All her dreams dashed. She lost her baby and was consumed with grief.
* * * *
Marcus arrived at the restaurant a few minutes late. “Sorry, I’m late, David, have you been waiting long?”
“No, not too long. How’s it going?” David’s eyes roamed over Marcus.
“Since you’ve been back from Mason, I’ve noticed a change in you. You seem quiet, subdued as if something is bothering you. Tell me about it.”
The server came and took their food order and brought them their drinks. Marcus took a sip of coffee. He sat back in the chair and crossed his leg over the other.
“I think I really screwed something up, badly.”
“What do you think you screwed up?”
“While I was in Mason. I came upon this woman. Her name is Nicole. She is a beautiful woman. She took to Nathan like magnet. She was the one that helped me find the Sacred Arrows, and we hiked the mountains nearby where she said she found the arrows. In the course of the trek, we got to know each other pretty well, and I was her first lover.” Marcus stopped talking.
“So, you made love to her. She must be pretty special if she’s still on your mind.”
“David. From the first night I set my eyes on her, I’ve dreamed of her every night. The dreams progress, from the moment I met her, to marrying her, to having a family with her, and so on.”
“Your conscious is telling you something.”
“I think so, too.”
“What do you think it’s telling you?”
“I found my mate?”
“I think that is what it’s telling you too. You’re in love with her, and you love her. Those are two separate things. In a way, your dreams are like your premonitions. Now, you have to follow your heart and go to her.”
“We made love in the cave. And I told her the next day that it was a mistake and shouldn’t have happened. I couldn’t even look at her, I was so consumed with guilt. Then we were rescued and after that, I left town within two hours after being rescued. I hurt her really bad.”
“If she is your true mate, and she is destined to be with you, she will forgive you because she knows that the two of you should be together.”
“I don’t think she’ll accept that. Her self-esteem is a bit fragile. She had never had a loving relationship with a man before. I was her first, and now I’ve scarred her for life.”
“You say you were consumed with guilt. What did you feel guilty about?”
“That I took advantage of her that night, and took something from her, with no intention of it lasting or becoming anything more and she deserved more. I knew I had to come back here. I didn’t think I’d ever see her again.”
“What are you going to do about this?” David asked.
“I’m not planning to do anything about it. I think I hurt her too badly, and I screwed it all up.”
“I think, you need to forgive yourself, and then ask her for forgiveness, and see where it leads. If it’s a true relationship. It will hold up and stand this test.”