Hallie sat in the living room holding her cell phone. She had not heard from Parker for over a week. He had not answered her phone calls or messages. Matter of fact he never came home after she told him of her pregnancy. Now at nine a.m. on Sunday morning, he called her. He would be there in thirty minutes.
She dressed in blue jeans and a large long sleeved shirt. Her hair, the color of roasted almonds, pulled back in a ponytail. Surprise at Parker’s phone call caused her to put off her plans to clean the house from top to bottom. She started a pot of coffee knowing it could be a slight distraction for whatever kitchen table conversation was about to take place.
“Hallie, it’s Parker, I’m here,” He said from the hallway after closing the front door.
“I’m in the kitchen.”
Parker walked in the kitchen still holding his keys in his hands. “Hi.”
“Hi. I’m pouring a cup of coffee; it’s only decaf, but would you like some?” Hallie asked.
“Have a seat and I’ll bring you a cup.”
Parker sat down at the table. He sat his keys and cell phone down as Hallie walked up and sat the cup of coffee in front of him.
“Thanks,” He said.
Hallie sat down opposite of Parker. Neither spoke. Instead, they sipped the hot coffee–the only sound in the room. Their eyes met but still deep in thought; it was clear they each wondered what the other was thinking. While the seconds ticked by the silence became more uncomfortable. Hallie wanted Parker to start the conversation.
“So where have you been?” Hallie finally said.
“I’m staying at Victoria’s house.”
Dead silence, Hallie was shocked and needed to formulate her next question carefully.
“You are staying with Victoria?”
“Hallie, don’t let your mind wander. I’m not sleeping with Victoria. I’m staying in her spare bedroom. I called her, and she was kind enough to let me stay there while I figure out what is going on with you and me.”
“Okay,” Hallie said slowly as the shock set in of the possible consequences of Parker staying there.
“I haven’t returned your calls, and I’m sorry about that. I didn’t want you to worry, but I needed to get some breathing room and think things through.” Parker said while never taking his eyes off his wife.
“I think we have a whole lot to talk about Parker. First of all, I am so sorry. I thought about how I have treated you; I made the choice to sleep with Julian one time.” She stuck her index finger in the air to emphasize her point. “I’ve ruined my whole life. My mother will hardly talk to me, and now I’m losing the best thing that I ever had, you.” Tears formed in her eyes but did not spill over onto her cheeks.
“Why did you sleep with Julian?”
Hallie pulled her lips tightly around her teeth, thinking before speaking. “Parker, I suppose being almost twenty-six years old had something to do with it. I’ve only had sex with you, and one other guy when I was eighteen, and that was a disaster. I presumed I might be missing something. Moreover, in a way, facing our upcoming wedding, maybe I felt trapped or unsure. Perhaps being with another man would take that feeling away and I could have a future with you and not wonder about what might have been. I had no intention of building a relationship or affair–that’s not what I wanted.” She shrugged her shoulders, “It just happened and I sure as hell did not expect to get pregnant. I made a huge mistake. If you could ever forgive me, I can promise you right here and now I would never do anything like that again. I love you so much Parker.”
“If you loved me, why didn’t you come to me right up front and be honest. Hallie, we cut our wedding cake signifying our union, and in your heart is this dark secret and a child in your womb. A child that is not mine. How do you expect me to deal with that? Everything is okay Hallie. It never happened. What?”
“I’m trying Parker.”
“What about the baby? You expect me to move back home and raise that child as my own, knowing it is Julian’s baby. I don’t see that as possible.”
“Parker, I haven’t decided what to do. I feel isolated here. My friends are distancing themselves from me. My family wants nothing to do with me. I am not sure what I should do with the baby. As I see it, I have two choices, raise this child or give it up for adoption.”
“So what are you going to do?” Parker asked.
“Can you help me make that decision?” Hallie asked.
Parker chuckled but the tone being more cynical than happy. “Hallie, how am I supposed to tell you what to do with your baby?”
“You are my husband,” Hallie said as seriously as she could. No tears—it was more like determination.
Parker raised his eyebrows in thought. He did not expect that response from her.
“Parker you are my husband for better or worse. I need your help and yes this is the worse part.”
“We got married a month ago, so you call me your husband. I do not feel like one, and now you ask me what to do with another man’s baby in your body. I cannot at this point help you with that Hallie. Maybe you should try and get a hold of Julian and ask him.”
“He is gone, Parker. Julian has agreed to give me fifteen hundred dollars a month. When the baby gets older and goes to school, he will increase it to two-thousand dollars a month. Julian has agreed to pay for college. He also signed over custody to me. This child is now my responsibility and mine alone. Julian is an ass, but at least, he is stepping up to the plate. Now I am asking you as my husband to be there for me.”
A long silence divided their thinking. They both sipped at their cups of coffee without saying anything for several long minutes before Parker finally spoke.
“I asked to come over here for a reason Hallie. I did not expect you to pull this ‘help me’ crap. It is unfair of you to think I would even consider supporting you. I have something for you to consider as well.” He stood up and placing his hands on the table, he leaned forward. “I am going to start divorce papers next week.”