Pretty Lives Ugly Truths: Book 3 – Chapter One

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Chapter One

 

You must be the change you wish to see in the world “

~Mahatma Ghandi

 

Sylvia’s eyes bounced swiftly around the white, sterile room of her doctor’s office. She rubbed her cold, sweaty hands down the paper skirt draped over her bare legs. It had been two days since she saw Lance at Alex’s 40th birthday party and nothing seemed to have gone right at all. She hated that she couldn’t tell Lance about the baby, their baby. The unborn child that was conceived in their short stint of marital bliss. She hated that their lives were so complicated and that something like this would just confuse it more. But mostly, she hated that she was here at her doctor’s office contemplating abortion, an end of a life that hadn’t even begun. Sylvia breathed out vexation as a series of unwanted thoughts took forefront in her mind; was there any other solution? What else could she do? How would Lance take this news now, or ever? She glanced at her cell phone sitting next to her, picked it up and swiped the screen to reveal that is was 9:35 am. Sylvia couldn’t sleep all night thinking about her appointment for this morning. Sylvia stared at the picture of her and Lance still set on her phone. She really needed to change that, she thought. She wanted to call him, but in that split second she persuaded herself not to. Instead she checked her work email before laying it back down to her side. She was nervous and anxious and unsure of anything in this moment. Although the one thing she knew without a doubt was that she was indeed pregnant. The ultimate question that hung over her each day was what in the world should she do? She took a deep breath, swallowed, studied the various medical tools that sat on a metal square pan next to her as the door opened and her doctor walked in.

Dr. Caroline Anderson had been Sylvia’s doctor for the last four years; she knew a lot about her sexual history and of course she knew about Lance. Sylvia loved Caroline and she knew she would give her the best possible advice, something she needed more than anything right now.

Sylvia watched as her doctor closed the door behind her as she looked up and gave her a warm smile.

“How are you feeling?” Dr. Anderson asked as she pulled the short stool towards Sylvia, sitting down and placing her notebook computer on the table in front of her.

Sylvia adjusted herself on the examining table, “I’ve been better.”

Dr. Anderson smiled as her head dropped down to her computer then back up at Sylvia, “Well I’m sure. So I got your blood work back and it looks as though you are four weeks pregnant.”

“Four weeks, huh?” Sylvia said as she mirrored Dr. Anderson’s statement. Her body slumped down a bit more than it already was. She then passed her sweaty hand through her hair, letting out a forced smile, “Wow. Although the drugstore test alerted me to my current situation, hearing the confirmation from you just made it all the more… real.”

“Well that’s our job, giving out the good, the bad and the ugly. Luckily for you, it’s good news today.”

Sylvia wasn’t sure if she agreed with Dr. Anderson’s sentiment. She was trying to be happy but it was so darn hard.

“Well I have to be honest, I wish I could feel a little happier about the situation,” Sylvia said.

Dr. Anderson leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest; it was clear that she could now tell that this wasn’t the best news for Sylvia.

“Do you want to talk about your options?” Dr. Anderson said in a concerned voice.

Sylvia nodded her head, immolating a bobble head, the kind you see in the center of a car dashboard. “Options, right,” her voice laced with sorrow, confusion and hopelessness followed by a light chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” her doctor asked.

“It’s just that I’m a 35-year-old highly successful publicist. This should be one of the happiest occasions of my life. I should be screaming from the mountaintops, but instead it feels like a moment of regret and sorrow. I just don’t know if I am ready for this, ya know?”

Dr. Anderson tilted her head as she placed her hand lightly on Sylvia’s knee. “Listen, I have three kids and believe me when I tell you, no one is ready for this, but what I do know is that babies are miracles.”

Sylvia nodded her head again, “Yep, that’s what I hear,” Sylvia said with another forced smile.

“Is the baby Lance’s?” Dr. Anderson asked.

“That it is.”

“Does he know?”

Sylvia cleared her throat, “He does not.” Sylvia looked up then back down. Just knowing that she would eventually have to tell him sent a forced shiver through her body. “Although that is on my weekly to-do list, right next to shave my legs and upgrade my cable.”

Dr. Caroline let out a small chuckle. Sylvia did not. A moment of silence fell between them, then, “Well of course the final decision about what you want to do is yours.”

Sylvia looked down at her hands, examined them while going into deep thought, “Right.”

“You know I am not here to judge, but to help you. Give you guidance. If you’d like me to schedule an appointment I will, but I think you should take some time to think this over a bit more. You have time, ya know.”

Dr. Anderson’s pager went off, and she looked down at it then back up at Sylvia. “I have to call this back, it’s the hospital. It will just take a minute. Think about what I just said, okay?”

Sylvia nodded her head, “Of course.”

Dr. Anderson headed out of the room as Sylvia let out a loud bellowed sigh. She turned and lay back onto the examining table, closed her eyes and tried to focus on her next move that would create the next installment of her life. She rubbed her hand across her stomach as her mind took her back to when she was just ten years old…

Sylvia sat with her best friend Kara on the front porch of her house. 

“Hey, you wanna go to the mall?” Kara asked as she sipped on her orange soda pop.

“Sure, but I have to ask Claudia first,” Sylvia responded. She hated asking Claudia anything. It wasn’t that she really cared; it was something she made her do. 

“Well I have to ask my mom too. So let’s meet back here in a few minutes,” Kara suggested.

“Okay,” Sylvia said.

“Sylvia?”

“Yeah?” Sylvia said as she slowly stood.

“Why do you call your mom, Claudia?”

Sylvia stopped and just stared at her best friend. She took a deep breath and quickly shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know, that’s what I’ve always called her, she never told me not to. I guess that’s what she prefers,” Sylvia expressed to her best friend as she processed the information herself in her own little mind, not really knowing the true answer herself.

Sylvia and Kara held a stare, then, “I’ll be right back,” Sylvia continued as she turned and walked into her house. Sylvia’s house was dark and smelled of incense mixed with tobacco. Claudia loved to burn incense all day, mainly to cover up the cigarette stench, which in Sylvia’s opinion, only made it worse. Sylvia headed upstairs and into Claudia’s bedroom to see her watching television. She sipped from a glass she held in her left hand while pulling smoke from a cigarette in her right. Sylvia was sure that inside that glass was vodka even though the liquid was clear. It was her mother’s beverage of choice. Every day Claudia sent her to the corner liquor store with fifteen dollars to buy her a new bottle, and every day Sylvia hated doing it, but she would never tell Claudia no. Sylvia stood in the doorway waiting for her mom to make eye contact with her, since she knew how she hated to be interrupted. Sylvia swayed from side to side, as her eyes bounced around the dark room, lit only by the light that fell from the small TV on the worn out wooden stand.

“What is it now?” Claudia’s raspy voice shot through her as she glanced her way with a roll of her eyes. 

Sylvia swallowed, “Um, I was wondering if I could go to the mall with Kara?”

Claudia was silent, then sighed loudly, began to mumble a few things in her native Spanish tongue before taking a few sips from her glass in her hand along with another drag of her cigarette. 

“You trying to go to the mall to flirt with those little boys?” Claudia asked as she looked Sylvia’s way once again then back at the TV.

Sylvia felt a chill surge through her body, “No, I um, I just want to go with Kara to…”

“Do not lie to me,” Claudia said as she cut her off. Her voice now considerably louder almost out of the blue as she turned and gave Sylvia an intense stare. Sylvia felt her small body begin to tremble from the impact of the glare that was coming her way. She hated when her mother drank, hated the way it made her behave. Hated the way she treated her. 

“I’m not lying, I swear,” Sylvia said in her pleading tone.

Her mother turned her head, “Yeah right, tell me any damn thing.” Her mother finished off her drink, then placed her cigarette in the ashtray with the other dozen or so buds. She reached over and poured herself a full glass more of vodka, then began watching TV again as if Sylvia wasn’t even there. 

Sylvia stood very still, wondering if she should ask again, wasn’t sure if that was a yes or a no from her response. Her mother was never clear on answering anything in life, although when it came to her alcohol, she couldn’t be more precise. Sylvia breathed out a silent annoyed sigh, then, “So, is that a yes?” Sylvia said in a slightly annoyed tone as she waited for her mother’s response. She hoped it didn’t mirror too much of what she was feeling.

Claudia’s head snapped back to her daughter, “Are you sassing me?”

“No,” Sylvia said with a quickness.

“Uh huh? I think your ass was trying to be fresh.”

“No, no, I was just waiting for your answer is all and Kara is waiting for me.” Sylvia felt her heart begin to race. She now wished she had just left and gone to the mall; in an hour or so her mom would be passed out anyway, not even knowing or caring where she was. 

“Well how about you wait in your room until I decide. Matter of fact just go to bed.”

“To bed? It’s only four o’clock,” Sylvia blurted out.

“I am so damn tired of you and your mouth. Did I ask you to tell me what time it was? Did I?”

Sylvia clenched her jaws as she held back the tears fighting to fall down her face. She refused to let her mother see her cry. She knew it wouldn’t do anything for her case nor would she care. She knew her mother had issues and having her was not a top priority in her life and it showed on a daily basis. Sylvia would oftentimes find herself daydreaming about Kara’s mother adopting her, making them sisters. Having a father and a mother that cared for her, who talked to her and gave her any kind of attention. Sylvia couldn’t remember the last time Claudia told her she loved her or even hugged her. 

“Go’n get outta here, I told you, get your ass in the bed.” 

Sylvia turned and took a few steps away from her mother’s door when she heard, “I swear, having that girl was the worst mistake of my life,” Claudia said loud enough for Sylvia to hear. “If I had to do it all over again, I would have gone through with that damn abortion.”

Sylvia froze in her steps as her mother’s words took the wind out of her as she leaned against the wall next to her mother’s bedroom. She felt her insides crumble with each hurtful word that fell out of her mother’s mouth. She tried to swallow but could not push past the lump that had now formed in her throat, as she could no longer stop the tears from falling down her face. 

“Hey, where did you go. Get back in here,” Sylvia heard her mom shout out. Little did she know, she had not gone far. Sylvia pushed herself up from the wall and headed back into Claudia’s room, but not before wiping her face clean of all the tears with the sleeve of her white shirt.

“Yes, Claudia?”

“You know what, just go, go to the mall. I could care less.” 

Sylvia swallowed, then “Thank you,” she said in a soft, hurt tone. She turned to leave, but her mother’s voice stopped her once again.

“Bring me back a bottle. Get fifteen dollars out of my pocketbook downstairs and don’t have me waiting all night for it.”

Sylvia slowly nodded her head, “Okay,” she said as she turned and headed back down the hallway. She saw her mother’s pocketbook and grabbed a twenty-dollar bill and headed back outside where her friend Kara was waiting. 

“Hey so my mom said I can go, but I have to be back in an hour cause she is cooking dinner.” 

Sylvia paused, felt her stomach growling. She wasn’t sure what she would eat tonight. “Yeah, mine too.”

“Oh what is your mom cooking?” Kara asked.

Sylvia felt her stomach knot up; she wasn’t expecting Kara to ask details. Sylvia couldn’t remember the last time her mother cooked her dinner.

“Um, baked chicken, mash potatoes and green beans.” Sylvia’s lie sounded very convincing, practice from years of hiding who she really was.

“Nice. Wow, must be nice. My mom is a horrible cook, but she tries. My dad said if she keeps at it she will be able to pull together a two course meal in no time.” Kara laughed. Sylvia smiled but felt an emptiness inside. She was glad she had Kara as her best friend because without her she would feel so alone in this world. 

“Well let’s get going!” Kara said.

“Yes, let’s,” Sylvia responded as they headed off the porch and down the street.

Sylvia opened her eyes as she rubbed her hand over her stomach once more and wiped the tears away from her face. She knew if she ever had a child she would give them a better life than she had. She would love them unconditionally no matter what the circumstances were that brought them to her, no matter what. She sat up on the examining table as she took a deep breath and in that moment she knew she could not abort this unborn child growing inside of her. This baby was conceived out of love and that was what she planned on giving it, even if her and Lance were separated. She was going to be a better mother than her mother was to her, and if she had to do it alone than she would just make it happen.

Sylvia looked up to see Dr. Anderson heading back into the room.

“So sorry for that; I have a patient in labor.”

She breathed certainly through her lips as a smile cascaded across her face. “Well in nine months that will be me.”

Dr. Anderson smiled and nodded her head, “so I take it abortion is off the table?”

“Yep, it is off the table.” Sylvia smiled a bigger smile this time.

“Well I am very happy to hear that because I think you will be an excellent mother, regardless of what is going on in your life. Although I do advise that you tell Lance what is going on as soon as you can.”

“Thank you and…yes, I think you are 100% right,” Sylvia said as she and Dr. Anderson held a stare.

“Well then great, I expect to see you next month and in the meantime I will give you a prescription for some prenatal pills. Take them everyday without fail,” Dr. Anderson said as she pulled out her prescription pad and began to scribble away. She ripped off the small square paper and held it out her way.

“Thank you and I will,” Sylvia said taking the paper.

“Good. Keep that baby healthy.”

Sylvia looked down at the prescription then back up at her doctor, “Caroline, I know I don’t say this enough, but thank you for always supporting me and my decisions.”

Caroline smiled as she tucked her prescription pad back into the pocket of her white doctor’s coat, “Of course, it’s my pleasure and my duty,” Caroline said as she scooped up her notebook computer. “You will be just fine Sylvia and that baby will be healthy and gorgeous.”

Sylvia laughed out loud, “well all I care about is it being healthy.”

“Well then make sure you take those prenatals every day.”

“I will, I promise,” Sylvia threw back.

“I gotta get to my next patient, but don’t forget to make your next appointment with me on your way out and I look forward to seeing you two next month,” Dr. Anderson said as she gave Sylvia a wink then turned and headed out the door.

Sylvia drove down Wilshire Blvd humming the tune of “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith. She felt herself getting extremely emotional contemplating her decision to keep Lance’s baby. A tear dropped down her cheek followed by a smile. Sylvia turned down the music as she pressed the phone icon on her dashboard. “Call Lance Monroe,” Sylvia spoke out loud. She then heard the sound of a ringer cascading through her radio speakers filling the small interior of her car, then Lance’s voicemail.

“Hey, you’ve reached Lance Monroe, can’t take your call but would love to hear your message. So leave a good one.”

A series of beeps followed then, “Hey, good morning, it’s me Sylvia. Can you call me as soon as you get this. I need to discuss something of importance with you. Okay, I hope you are having a good one.” Sylvia disconnected her phone, hoping she didn’t sound too professional. Oh well, she thought as she turned the music back up. She continued to hum along with Sam as she sailed down Wilshire Blvd in her own content world.

PRETTY LIVES UGLY TRUTHS: LANCE & SYLVIA

COMING JANUARY 1ST 2015 (New Years Day)

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