Thursday, December 25, 2014

Chapter 5, Facing Life Head On

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

One day was much like another. I found myself losing track of time and not caring. The only difference was, with each day, the pregnancy seemed to grow more and more. My back ached all the time, my ankles swelled, and I was having strange cravings for food I hadn't even cared for before. My body felt as if it were inhabited by an alien.

I continued to stay wrapped in my cocoon, shopping online for books and other things, and quickly bringing in the packages when the deliveries arrived. As much as I hadn't planned for this to happen, there was no getting around the fact that I was having a baby. I read everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I knew I'd need a place for the baby and all the things he or she would need. I nearly panicked as I made a list of baby things to buy. Who would have thought a baby needed so much? Again, I went on an online shopping binge but for baby paraphernalia. I spent quite a long time putting the crib together, setting up the baby swing, and getting the changing area ready. I figured most mothers-to-be had a partner to help, and I felt the immense weight of aloneness settle over me. This was not how I pictured my life, but I was somehow going to have to suck it up and deal.

Almost every night, I had nightmares of Shane's attack. Bile rose in my throat and sometimes I'd barely make it to the bathroom before everything came up, not that there was much in my stomach to begin with. I still couldn't bring myself to eat much, and most of what I did eat came up anyway.

I continued to often nap in the rocker, unable to muster the energy needed to take my sorry butt to my bed. The rocking motion somehow comforted me and made me feel safe. In my rocker, I could read to my heart's content and reflect on life, which was probably a bad idea, considering how hopeless my life was. I went on this way until Simon called me, sounding royally pissed.

"You're going to listen to me and listen good this time, Deborah Evans," he said without preamble.

"It's Deborah now, is it?" I said, feeling a spark of my old fire flame into action.

"Yes it is! Dammit, Debbie, what the hell is going on? You've been avoiding me. Not to mention you've been MIA from work."

"I put in my notice for personal time," I said.

"Yes, you did, and it's almost up. You haven't given me a date for your return." He lowered his voice for his next statement. "Look, kid, as much as I care about you, I still have an office to run, here. You either report in to work tomorrow or I'll have no choice but to let you go."


"No, Debbie. Either get your butt in here tomorrow or it's the end of the line." I didn't get a chance to argue. There was a click on the other end, and he was gone.

"Well, shit!" I said between clenched teeth. This was all I needed.

You couldn't have avoided it forever, Evans, my inner voice said. Well, it was true. I'd have to face life eventually, but I didn't want to.

Where's your fire, Evans? You're letting that asshole win, you know. You've never given up before. You gonna start now? my annoying inner voice continued.

"I was never raped before, dammit!" I yelled aloud, feeling tears run down my cheeks. "Do you know what that feels like?"

I was there too, honey. Now, here's the way of it. You can either sit here and feel sorry for yourself or get it together. Choice A will drag you down as low as you can get. You'll probably lose the baby, make yourself sick, and end up in the Loony Bin? Is that what you want, knowing it should be Shane in the Mad House and not you?

"Son of a bitch!" I yelled.

That's it. Let it out. What you need is to get really mad, go see your doctor, and get your butt back to work. You have someone other than yourself to think about now.

"Damn you!' I yelled. Tears spilled down my cheeks, and I did get mad. I screamed in rage, pounded my fists on the table, screamed some more, and cursed fluently. "You bastard, Clayton! I hate you! Oh, I LOATHE you! I despise you and wish you were dead!" I had never felt such hatred for anyone as I did for Shane Clayton.

I decided to take advantage of one of the items I bought for myself. After Shane attacked me, I toyed with the idea of getting more in shape and taking some self defense classes. I bought a power bench but hadn't touched it until now. I guessed what I needed was to get mad and rage for a while. This wasn't the end of it. I know this, for something like this just doesn't go away from one's life. Even so, it kicked some sense into me and was forced to face the reality that I couldn't stay wrapped in my hidey hole forever.

I attacked the power bench with gusto, straining and snarling as I pressed and lifted. If Shane Clayton thought he'd ever get the jump on me again, he was sadly mistaken. No more weak sister for this bitch. If I had to Hulk Out to kick some ass, then I would.

I went at it for a good half hour and knew I would be sore in the morning. I'd probably overdone it, but I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was dripping with sweat when I headed to the shower. A shower, for heaven's sakes! I was sure it had been at least three days since my last one.

I felt clean, at least, afterward, but the feelings of being violated and persistent nausea still remained. I heaved a sigh and called my doctor, asking for the earliest possible appointment. I got lucky. There was a cancellation, and I was told to be there within forty-five minutes.

After a thorough exam, the doctor pronounced me a bit underweight for this stage in the pregnancy and urged me to eat more. I was given some medications to help with the nausea as well as a healthy exercise routine. I guessed he didn't consider my insane workout today as being healthy. I was also urged to take Lamaze and parenting classes as well as seek a counselor because of the depression.

I headed most of the advice but decided to forgo the classes and counseling. I didn't see how rehashing what Shane had done to me as being helpful, nor did I want to be the lone wolf in classes full of happy couples going gaga over their just born or soon-to-be-born babies.

I dreaded going into work the next day but knew it was a necessary evil. I supposed it was better to get it over with. When I arrived, I was greeted warmly by my coworkers, which surprised me a bit. Oh, we all got on well for the most part, but I hadn't expected so much concern to be extended toward me. Sure, there were raised eyebrows, as the pregnancy was obvious. I didn't volunteer any information in that area, and thankfully, they had the grace not to press.

I knocked on Simon's door, and he looked up from his paperwork as I entered. "Close the door, Debbie," he said in a businesslike manner.

I did as bidden and sat down in a chair opposite his desk. However, he came around, took my hands, and pulled me to my feet. I didn't resist, but I dropped my hands immediately. I felt his eyes look me up and down and felt my cheeks flame. "You're pregnant," he said matter-of-factly.

"Yeah. Funny how that can happen to a woman," I said nonchalantly.

"Very funny," Simon said dryly. He cleared his throat, studying me intently. "I'm probably going to get a slap in the face for this, but I have to ask. it...I mean, have you...?"

I looked around his cushy office, at pictures of Simon, his wife, and his baby together. He had on a gold tie tack, an expensive watch, and a tailor-made suit. The expensive stuff was one thing, but seeing the happy-happy-joy-joy pictures of him and his family ignited something ugly inside me. I hadn't wanted to spill Shane's attack to him, especially not like this, but once I got started, I couldn't stop.

I backed away, pacing the floor a few times before turning to glare daggers at him. "Gee, Simon, I don't know. Maybe it's yours and maybe not. After you got through fucking me, I had a visitor, see? While you went home to your wife, I got myself raped. Oh, but you didn't know that because I didn't tell you." I gave a humorless snort as his expression turned to complete astonishment. "Poor Simon," I drawled. "Surprises you, doesn't it? Well, in answer to your question, I don't know who sired this kid. Guess that leaves your conscience clear, doesn't it? You can go home and lie next to your wife, relieved that you didn't sire a bastard with the office bitch."

"Debbie, that's not fair," Simon said. "You God!"

"I was raped, Simon, plus I was fucked by my boss. Guess that makes me the whore Shane Clayton always said I was," I said bitterly.

"Did he...was it Shane who...?"

"Yes, Simon," I said coolly.

Simon put his head in his hands and swore. "Shit, Debbie! Why didn't you tell me?"

"What could you have done, Simon?" I asked, tilting my head to peer at him. "Any help you would have give me would get back to wifey-pooh. Besides, like an idiot, I got rid of the evidence. It would be my word against his, and without evidence, he'd get away scot free and our names would be dragged through the mud. Oh, they probably will be anyway. You know an office affair can never stay quiet for long."

"You wouldn't spread it around," he said confidently.

"No, not me, but these things have a way of getting exposed. But don't worry, Simon. There is nothing I want from you. I'll just come to work, do my job, go home, and raise my baby the best I can," I said. "Now, I'd better get to work since you gave me that ultimatum to either show up or clean out my desk."

"Debbie, I..."

"Spare me, Simon," I said, turning to the door. "If you want to fire me for insubordination, go ahead. That is your right. Otherwise, let me get back to work."

"I'm not going to fire you, Debbie. If you want to talk about it, you know where to find me," he said.

I gave him a cool shrug, then headed to my desk to bury myself in as much work as I could find. I knew I was being a first class bitch, but I just couldn't help it. Getting the raw end of the deal sucked royally, and I was getting so tired of it. It was easier to just lash out at someone, and Simon was the obvious target. Well, he was after Shane Clayton.

I worked until the instant I went into labor. That day when I'd gone into work, my back was killing me like always but was hurting even more. As the day wore on, I felt the unmistakable pain of contractions, and my water broke just after lunch. I was taken to the hospital, and after fifteen hours of labor, my son, Nathaniel Robert Evans entered the world.

Although long, the delivery went well, and Nathaniel and I were ready to go home within forty-eight hours. For a woman who didn't want to have kids, I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to instantly fall in love with this little baby. My heart melted the second he was placed in my arms, and I felt like an absolute heel for that time when I didn't want him. As I fed him, I looked down into his little face. "Well, kiddo, looks like it's just the two of us. I reckon we'll either sink or swim together, eh?"

My inner voice had been right all those months ago. I had someone besides myself to think about now. This little one was depending on me and me alone, and this was something I was not going to screw up.