Ann was dreading Joe’s reaction as she got ready for their date. The doctor had confirmed that she was two months pregnant and morning sickness had already kicked in badly.
In work she had told Katie who was extremely supportive as was John who was always kind and thoughtful.But Joe was another story and Ann began to realise how little she really knew him. As he collected her that night he was his usual laid back self.
Dressed casually as always he picked her up at 7.30 and together they drove to what had become their usual restaurant.
Throughout the dinner he was very attentive and once again made her feel as if she was the only woman he wanted to be with. Still she was wary and used to him being all over her when they were together and then neglecting to phone her when they were apart.
‘You’re very preoccupied Ann, is everything alright?’ he asked abruptly.
Ann looked at him and taking a deep breath blurted out, ‘I’m pregnant Joe two months to be exact.’ Joe stared at her in shock his mouth opening and closing.
‘Have you nothing to say?’ Again there was silence, just him looking at her squeezing his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger.
Suddenly Ann thought he looked like such a weakling. She hadn’t expected him to be delighted, she knew that would be asking too much. However, she had hoped he might at least try to reassure her that everything would be alright and that he would be there to her give her support.
He continued to sit silently watching her. ‘It’s true what they say, you don’t see good looks after a while’, thought Ann to herself. ‘All you see is the person, which depending on personality can make the plainest face beautiful and strong and the outwardly handsome appear unlovely.’
To Ann Joe now looked pathetic and she knew she was on her own.
Finally he said ‘What will you do?’
‘What do you mean what will I do? This is your child too. Shouldn’t that be what will we do?’ Again silence.
‘Look Joe I know from your reaction that this is as much a shock to you as it was to me, but you are going to have to step up to the plate here. Whether you like it or not this is your child and you are going to have to support it financially. It would also be nice if you were in the child’s life.’
‘Of course,’ he said compliantly and Ann sensed he was relieved that she didn’t expect him to marry her.
It was back to the silence again before Ann said it was pointless sitting there and asked him to bring her to the station.
The drive back was tense with neither of them speaking at this stage. Ann’s heart was breaking and a giant lump was in her throat which she couldn’t swallow. She didn’t want to cry nevertheless she was finding it extremely difficult to keep the tears at bay.
When the arrived at the station she got out of the car and all Joe said was that he would be in touch. She didn’t look back as she closed the door behind her.
On her arrival back home she went over to Thelma’s house who taking one look at her knew something was wrong.
Thelma put her arm around her and led her to the kitchen where she put on the kettle and Ann told her the whole story with the tears pouring down her face.
‘Oh Ann you poor thing, Joe is an idiot sometimes. Listen to me now you will not face this on your own I will be here for you and it sounds as if Katie will be too. I will give you all the help I can and everything will be fine wait until you see.’
‘What about the neighbours what are they gonna think’ wailed Ann.
‘Oh for God’s sake, Ann, stuff the neighbours think only about yourself for a change. Let them think and say what they like. So what, it won’t do you any harm no matter what they say.’
‘Oh just think of it Ann you are going to be a mother, that is exciting and you don’t know what is around the corner for you. You will be taken care of don’t worry about that.’
Ann was once again so thankful to have Thelma she was such a good friend and she loved her to bits. They hugged warmly and Ann went back to her own house. As she was climbing into bed exhausted her mobile phone rang, it was Joe.
‘Look Ann I am sorry about this evening, I was just shocked. Of course I will stand by you and the baby and give all the support I can. I can’t tell you I am delighted with the news but it has happened and of course I will play my part.’
Ann was so relieved to know that the father of her child would be there for her and she also had a good friend to help her too. She knew she had a lot more support than many who find themselves in the same position.
As she turned off the light she prayed that everything would go alright with the pregnancy and that both she and the baby would be healthy.
The next morning Thelma was at the door with her breakfast on a tray. She had freshly squeezed orange juice, a cereal, hot buttered toast and jam and a pot of hot tea.
‘How are you feeling love? Just brought you over some brekki in case you didn’t feel up to it.’
Ann hugged her warmly and for the first time Thelma set foot inside her house. Ann felt ashamed at how little she had given to Thelma in return for her friendship and generosity.
She thanked Thelma for being such a good friend and apologised if she was sometimes distant and off with her especially in the beginning.
Thelma thanked her for her friendship too and said sometimes her line of work puts people off and they back away. They chatted for a while before Thelma finally left promising to attend any prenatal classes or scans with her.
When she left Ann began to try to look forward to the birth of her baby and what would be a whole new way of living.