I stared at Joe as he held the ultrasound in his hand. He was slightly shaking and I didn’t blame him.
I was raking my mind for possible excuses, but I knew it was pointless. Why I would be carrying someone else’s ultrasound in my purse? I couldn’t tell him I had miscarried because I didn’t want to feed him yet another lie.
None of the things I came up with made sense and Joe deserved to know the truth, no matter how ugly it was. There was no way out of this anymore. I had been caught red-handed.
“Amber,” he said softly, looking at me with pleading eyes.
The look in them broke my heart at once.
I couldn’t really decipher it.
Was he happy, was he sad or was he mad? He was definitely confused, that much was certain. He was very confused.
“Are we… are you–” It was pointless to try and keep my tears in as I shook my head and looked down at the floor.
I was incredibly ashamed, not only of what I had done, but of myself.
I had been the most selfish person on this planet when I made the decision to have the baby taken away and now, I was ready to pay the price for it.
“Joe,” I sobbed, continuing to shake my head. I brought my hands up to cover my face and not even a second later, I felt Joe’s arms around me.
“Baby, don’t cry. It’s gonna be okay,” he cooed in my ear, kissing the side of my head softly.
“No, don’t.” I pushed him away and looked up at him as I stood at a small distance from him.
If he hadn’t been confused before, he was definitely confused now.
“Is this what you were trying to tell me yesterday in the kitchen?” he asked, waving the ultrasound picture around.
I couldn’t stand seeing him hold it so I snatched it out of his hand and ripped it in two.
“Just stop, Joe! Just… just fucking stop it!” I screamed, pulling at my hair while the tears just kept running down my face and hitting the floor.
“Amber what is going on here? First you lie to me about being pregnant and now you’re just… you’re acting really strange. What is going on?!” He looked at me through narrowed eyes, his tone demanding.
His arms were crossed in front of his chest and I knew that if I didn’t come clean within the next five minutes, he would lose it.
“You have to understand that I did it for you. I did it for us. It wasn't-”
“You did what for me, Amber,” he demanded again as I could see him take a step closer to me from the corner of my eye.
I saw the gears turning in his head. He was definitely figuring it out but he needed to hear it from my lips.
He needed me to say it out loud.
I suddenly got really scared.
I had seen Joe angry before but I knew that this would definitely set him off and I had no idea what he was capable when he was beyond pissed off.
“I had no choice, Joe.” The tears were taking me over and I was having a hard time talking. My voice came out soft and unsteady. “I- I had to do it. I could've never-”
“No,” he breathed, taking a couple steps away from me.
I looked up at him and saw him shaking his head as he stared down at me, his eyes displaying heartbreak and not to mention, anger. Or was that... hatred?
“You didn’t, Amber.” He pulled at his hair. "Tell me you fucking didn't."
“Joe I had to!” I yelled, moving closer to him. “Don’t you get it? We’ve barely been dating for three months and half of that I’ve spent with child. Not even your child."
Joe furrowed his brows together, but continued to stare at me angrily, his normally beautiful eyes shooting daggers at me, burning holes through my skin.
"I’m an ex-stripper, you’re an ex-Disney star. These things just don’t go together! I couldn’t bring myself to keep it because I would've never been able to love that child. You have to understand that! Do you have any idea what it would’ve done to your career? People would’ve hated you for it, not to mention me. I couldn’t do this to us, Joe.”
“You did what was best for us, Amber?” Joe said bitterly. “You had our baby taken away without my consent because you thought it was what’s best for me? I can’t believe you would do that! You think I wouldn’t have wanted that baby to have a chance? It’s mine, too, Amber. There’s two people making a baby and those same two people should get a say in what happens to it.”
“Joe, it wasn't yours!” I screamed back at him. “Don't you get that? Do you think I wanted to keep Trevor's child?!”
"How can you even be sure of that?" He boomed. "There was just a much of a chance, if not more of a chance, that it was ours. Ours, Amber. They have tests for that! You could've at least talked to me about this before going on and making one of the most drastic decisions on your own! A decision that concerned the both of us!"
I opened my mouth to respond, but nothing came out.
There was nothing I could say that would make this look any better.
“What happened with Nina was bad, but what you did is even a million fucking times worse!” He was yelling at me and with every word that fell from his lips, I cringed. “I can’t believe you would have an abortion without so much as letting me in on the fact you were even pregnant in the first place. What did you think, Amber? Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?”
I looked down at my feet.
There was no more justifying this.
“I can't be with someone who can just take away a baby’s life with a snap of her fingers.”
Joe started to head towards the door and I ran after him. But when I grabbed his arm, he yanked it out of my hold again.
“Don’t go, Joe!” I yelled, stopping him from opening the door. “You said it was you and me forever!”
Joe turned around and looked at me. That’s when I noticed he had been crying a few tears of his own.
He didn't respond. He just pushed me out of the way and headed out the door, slamming it shut behind him.
It took me a second to realize what was going on, but when I did, I stormed after him.
He was just getting into the elevator so I ran down the nine flights of stairs and met up with him downstairs.
“Joe, please!” I screamed when he walked out the front door. “Joe!” He ignored me as I ran after him and even when I was walking right there in front of him, he didn’t acknowledge my presence.
I knew I deserved it. I had it coming. I deserved the cold shoulder, but I didn’t want to lose him.
I knew that somewhere in the back of his mind, he understood why I did it. I knew he would've never been able to love Trevor's child either. He would've despised me and the baby. Just like I would have.
“Joe wait,” I said, slamming his car door shut just as he pulled it open.
“I really can’t look at you right now, Amber. What the fuck were you even thinking?!” he spat at my face.
I turned away from him again, pulling my lips into my mouth as I closed my eyes.
“Is this it?” I asked sadly, turning back to look at him.
Sighing, he slowly pulled open his car door again. “I can’t be with you right now, that much is for sure.”
Without another word, he got into his car and pulled away, his tires screeching across the street as he took off.
I watched him drive away until the tears started to blur my sight and I turned around to go back inside. I rode the elevator up to my apartment, hugging my arms as I cried out.
I had lost him.
I had lost him for good.
When I was back up in my apartment, I pressed my back against the door and sobbed loudly.
I had ripped out Joe’s heart – and mine at the same time.
Everything we had worked so hard for, everything we had built together, came crashing down in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t even stand to be around myself right now, but unlike Joe, I couldn’t run away from me.
After standing there for a couple moments, I grabbed my phone and called Will to let him know I wouldn’t be able to make it to work this afternoon. I knew I could use the distraction, but I also knew that it wouldn’t be easy for me to keep my tears in.
The wounds were still too fresh.
Before I called him, I realized that he was the one who had called me before Joe found that ultrasound in my purse. I swallowed hard when I put the phone to my ear and waited for him to pick up.
“Will, hi,” I said, trying my hardest to make my voice sound normal.
“Amber, what’s wrong?” Damn it.
“Um, nothing I just, I wanted to call to… to tell you that I’m not gonna be coming to the store today. I–”
“He found out didn’t he?”
I nodded as a new set of tears started to roll down my stained cheeks, but then I realized he couldn’t see me so I let out a faint ‘yes’.
“I’m coming over, Amber.”
“No Will you don’t… don’t do that. I really just wanna be alone right now.”
“Bullshit, Amber. No one wants to be alone after they had their heart broken.”
“Technically I broke my own heart, Will,” I sighed when I fell down on the couch. “But fine, you can come over.”
“I’ll be there in ten.” With that, he hung up and I pulled the pillow from underneath my head. I pressed it onto my face as I screamed as loud as I could.
I didn’t blame Joe for the way he reacted, but I had hoped he would’ve been more understanding.
Then again, I was convinced that he could do better than me, that there was someone out there worthy of him. I had never deserved to be with someone like him anyway.
I stood up from the couch and stared down at the framed picture of Joe and I on the shelf by the TV. With tears still stinging in my eyes, I took the frame off it and ran my fingers over the picture.
“I’m so sorry,” I said through my tears as my fingertips rested on Joe’s face. “I wish I could take it back.” The tears took over again and I dropped the frame to the floor, the glass shattering, as I sat down on the coffee table.
“Idiot, idiot, idiot,” I told myself as I repeatedly slammed the palm of my hand against my forehead.
While I sat there on the coffee table, cursing myself and wishing I could turn back time, the doorbell rang.
I was glad Will had arrived so I could get some distraction.
He had been right, I didn’t really want to be alone right now. My thoughts would eat me alive.
I buzzed Will up and already opened the door so he could come right in.
“Knock knock,” he said when he walked into the apartment a couple minutes after I had buzzed him in. “I would say,” he continued, closing the door behind him and heading over to where I was sitting in the couch, “who’s the jerk, but I guess in this case scenario that’s not exactly the right way to go.”
“The jerk would be me.”
“Honey, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s your fault, that’s true, but it’s gonna get better. You’ll get over him.”
“I don’t want to get over him Will,” I whined, grabbing the pillow beside me and hugging it to my chest. “He was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
The tears started to come again and Will got up from his seat to get down beside me. He threw his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his chest.
“You know, it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to come out here,” he sighed. “With the stories already going around about us.”
“There was paparazzi down there?” I asked when I shot up beside him.
Great, my fight with Joe was going to be all over the internet within moments. And the last thing I needed right now was reports of my rumored boyfriend number two coming to see me right after I broke up with boyfriend number one.
“Just a couple. And don’t worry, I set them straight. I told them right out that I was gay.” He smiled down at me as I let out a sigh of relief.
“They had to romantically link me to you.” Chuckling, I put my head back down on his shoulder.”I mean no offence Amber, you’re gorgeous but, I like my life partner just a bit more… male.”
“I can’t believe they didn’t realize you were gay,” I laughed.
“At least you’re laughing again,” Will pointed out when he looked down at me.
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“Listen, why don’t you go freshen up, get into something comfortable and I’ll get some movies out.” Smiling, he reached for the bag he had brought with him and pulled out some of the movies he had in there. I could also see a box of ice cream in there. “And I’ll get some spoons.”
He pulled the ice cream out, shaking it in front of my eyes. Chocolate fudge brownie, my favorite.
I nodded and then quickly headed into the bathroom to freshen up again.
After quickly splashing water over my face, not giving myself too much time to stare back at my reflection because I know I’d only end up punching the mirror to pieces, I went into the bedroom to change into some sweats and one of Joe’s shirts I had stolen from him one night.
I knew I probably shouldn’t, but I didn’t want to let go of him. Not yet anyway.
When I headed back into the living room, Will had already popped in the first DVD.
“His shirt, really Amber?" Shrugging, I sat down next to him and pulled my knees up to my chest. “I have to say this is probably the strangest post breakup ritual ever. You broke his heart yet you’re the one sitting here crying your eyeballs out.”
“Rub it in why don’t you,” I said. I looked away from him to hide the new tears.
I knew I had broken Joe’s heart and I hated myself for it. I hated myself for letting it get this far.
Even though I wanted nothing more than to get Joe back, I had hurt him really deep and he would be crazy to get back together with me after this.
I wasn’t afraid to admit that because I knew it was the plain truth.
I had definitely fallen from my pedestal.
“I’m sorry, alright. Come on sweetheart.” Will wrapped his arm around me, pulling me into his body again.
“But it’s true,” I sniffled. “You’re lucky I can admit that to myself.”
“Alright, let’s watch some movies and get your mind off everything alright.” He grabbed the remote control off the table, pushing play.
Sighing, I cuddled up closer to him as I kept my eyes on the screen to try and block out any thoughts of Joe that tried to creep into my mind.