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Terribly Joyless Time

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Rose sighs in contempt, kicks her feet, smooths her dress. She’d never been a fan of going to any doctor, but the gynecologist had to be the worst of them. Especially now.

Her doctor was late, the clock was tick-tocking away and her doctor was nowhere to be seen. Her doctor had never been late before. Now conveniently when her period also decided to be late, very late, her doctor decided to follow suit, how nice!

The white-coat-wearing woman who enters the room is not the one Rose was waiting on. “You’re not my gynecologist.” The words leave her mouth before she could even object to them.
“Actually today I am,” the lady smiles. “I’m Dr. Alver, Luisa. You usually see Dr. McCall, correct?”
Rose nods, looking at the woman with a cocked eyebrow. How is she even certified, she looks like she’s twenty one?
“Well Dr. McCall retired! You were supposed to receive a voicemail about it.”
“Who checks their voicemails?”
The doctor doesn’t know how to respond, so she continues talking. “I’m taking over Dr. McCall’s patients, cause she retired!”
“I’ve been seeing Dr. McCall forever,” Rose reiterates. “She delivered me. I like her, I don’t really like many people.”
A silence hangs in the air, a comedic beat in real time. “I hope you come to really like me! I think I’m easy to like.”

Rose wouldn’t admit it– of course, she had a reputation to maintain here– but that wasn’t looking unlikely. She’d never understood how people developed feelings for people that they were supposed to be engaging in a business-only relationship with– their doctors, teachers, lawyers, the like. Then again, she had trouble understanding how people developed feelings for other people in general sometimes. Try as she might, this stuff just didn’t come easily to her. If it were going to come to her with any business relationship of hers, though, this doctor was a cute contender. She radiates sunshine, and it isn’t just because she’s wearing yellow.

“So what brings you in today?”
Rose huffs. “Don’t get excited, I can already see you’re about to get excited– I think I’m pregnant.”
Luisa lets a smile slip across her lips– man, she glows ten times brighter like that– but then reels it back in promptly. “That’s… not exciting at all, you’re right, very bad news, horrible news… wait, is it actually horrible news? Was it– you weren’t–”
“No,” Rose disputes quickly. “It was my own idiocy for sleeping with him, ever. He said he put one on, but, it must’ve ripped or something.”
“Is he that big?” Luisa mumbles, as she jots something down in her notes. Not that, of course.
“What? No! I mean…” Another beat. “Not the point.”
“This is the time when I remind you of your options,” Dr Alver continues. “We don’t perform abortions in this office but I can refer you to a trusted colleague for that. I can pull out the adoption agency flyers. Whatever you need from me, it’s my job to support you in this… terribly joyless time of yours.”
“You don’t have to keep phrasing it like that,” Rose mumbles. “I just don’t want it to be celebrated. You seem like the type to celebrate pregnant women and their babies.”
“I’m an OBGYN, it’s an occupational hazard that I celebrate new life,” Luisa grins. She wipes it off her face again and clears her throat. “But, not if that’s not in your best interest, of course.”
“I’m keeping the baby. I’m just not happy about it. That’s all. Let’s get on with things.”

A nurse pops in and drops some supplies on the doctor’s desk. “Blood test,” she says simply.
“Oh good, now we can find out just how pregnant you are,” Luisa says, reaching for her clipboard and the things the nurse deposited on the table.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware there was more than one degree of pregnancy,” Rose replies snidely. She may as well have her fun, this situation would limit how much of that she’d be having in the next eighteen years, at least. (People always said that, but she knew it didn’t end when they turned eighteen. She remembers the feeling of waking up on her eighteenth birthday expecting things to be radically different– she was an adult now!– and nothing was. Nothing changed.)
Weeks, how many weeks pregnant you are,” Luisa replies, refraining from rolling her eyes.

“I don’t like needles.”
“You don’t like a lot of things. C’mon, give me your arm. You’re a big girl.”
The redhead pouts, very un-big girl like.
“Would you prefer a transvaginal ultrasound?”
That’s enough to make Rose reach her arm out to the kind, beautiful doctor. She’d had enough… things… inside her lately. “Fine, stab me.”
“You’re so dramatic,” Luisa chuckles, tying the tourniquet and swiping an alcohol wipe. “Do you have any questions or concerns about being pregnant? Exercise, diet, sex…”
“Is than an excuse not to have any?”
Luisa would be lying if she said she didn’t catch the way Rose’s eyes seemed to light up a little bit when she said that, the way her voice leaped an octave higher in hope. “Uh, you can still practice safe sex all the way through your pregnancy, as long as your comfortable and not dilated.” Under her breath, she can’t help but add, “Can’t blame you for not wanting to have any though, not with men anyway.”
“What?” Luisa questions back, as she snaps the tourniquet off. “You’re all done, look at that, you didn’t even cry! Do you want a lollipop?”
“Do you offer minis instead? Take the edge off?”
“You can’t drink while you’re pregnant!”
“Right! I knew that!” Truth was, Rose had been distracted from her bleak situation for just a moment there, and distracted from the needle in her arm. Cute women made her brain short circuit.

“When do we get the blood test results?” Rose asks.
“You need to come back in two days for another one. I need to see the difference in your hCG levels.”
“I–” Rose starts to object. “I can do that, I suppose. I was hoping, I’m seeing my whole family tonight– I’m actually meeting my boyfriend’s kids for the first time, so I was hoping to be able to share my news with them, but it’s okay. My secret for a little longer.”
If Luisa bats an eye, she makes sure Rose doesn’t notice. “Most women tend to keep it private during their first trimester anyway, in case they miscarry or anything.”
“What are the chances, of me miscarrying?”
“You’re a healthy, fit, attractive twenty-eight year old, you don’t appear to be at a high risk for miscarrying. You’re not… hoping for one, are you?”
“Of course not, what kind of person do you think I am?!” Rose retaliates quickly. “I’m sorry. I’m nervous. About everything. His kids are gonna judge me so hard, they already think I’m just looking for a sugar daddy, and now he’s a baby daddy too, how nice! I’m old enough to date his son, or his daughter!”

Luisa is so glad Rose is staring at the ceiling and not at her, so she can’t see her beet red cheeks and the expression on her face. “His daughter would go on a date with you,” she coughs out. “If you asked.”
“What?!” Rose asks immediately, now looking at Luisa.
“What?” Luisa responds, a calm, peaceful smile on her face, holding back a flood of intruding thoughts– some PG ones, but, also a fair share of 18A for good measure. “Good luck tonight, I’m sure it’ll go great!”

She dashes out of the office as fast as her short legs would carry her. Rose sighs in contempt one more time. Maybe there were worse things than the gynecologist… like dating your gynecologist’s dad.