Blackout - Chapter 5
Published Feb 11, 2013

Written By



Page 1 / 34

Sorry for the long delay getting this chapter out! I plan to finish the series in the next month or so.

As always, comments are appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Sorry for the long delay getting this chapter out! I plan to finish the series in the next month or so.

As always, comments are appreciated. Thanks for reading!
3 months later..

As it turns out, life goes on. Once I get over the shock and am able to think about the future, I'm actually a little excited to have a little person in my life. Terrified, but excited.

I get out of Tina’s car after another monthly checkup, and she pops open the trunk, struggling to pull out an enormous box of baby clothes her kids have outgrown. She's always been such a petite little thing. I hurry over to help her, taking the other side of the box.
“No no no. I’ve got it, Carolyn! Pregnant women aren’t supposed to be lifting stuff.”

I giggle as she stumbles over a tree trunk that she couldn’t see around the box. “Heavy stuff,” I correct her. “Quit being so stubborn. It’s not even heavy, just bulky.” She grumbles but lets me help her.

We awkwardly fumble up the walkway and I unlock the front door, still marveling at the fact that I have my own house. With a little persuasion from Tina, I decided that it's time to get a real home. A permanent one. What else am I saving all that money for?
She sets the box on the counter and immediately starts talking to my belly, a habit that’s quickly losing its amusement to me.

“I can't wait to meet you, little man! You’re going to spend lots of time with your favorite Auntie Tina when you come out, aren’t you? Oh yes you are!” I sigh and patiently wait for her to stop googling at it.

Trying not to sound annoyed, I say “Favorite? Tina, you’re the only aunt. ”

She grins. "Then I'm a shoe-in, aren't I?"

Tina-logic always makes me laugh.
“So do you need me to make you something to eat? Or maybe we should go through those clothes right away. You won’t feel like doing it when you’re much bigger. Or--”

I’m rescued from her boundless energy by her phone beeping with a new text message. She sighs. “That’ll be Todd."

She checks the message and groans. "Erick is potty training, and Talia is in her ‘Why?’ phase. He fears for his sanity if he's alone with them much longer."

She taps her chin for a moment. "Well, I suppose if there were an emergency he'd have to deal with it. Are you sure you don’t need my help going through these clothes?”

I laugh at her. “Sorry, I don’t think that fits the definition of a sisterly emergency. Go rescue the man.”

She grins and gives me a quick hug, then bounces out the door with a "Later, sis." I plop down on the kitchen chair, exhausted just from watching her. Once she's gone, I hear the clock ticking in the silence and I'm all too aware of how empty the house is. When did this start bothering me? I've always enjoyed solitude. I think for the first time in my life, I'm actually lonely.

Enough of this feeling sorry for myself. I need to get out of the house. I’m hungry and there’s a cute little indoor/outdoor café down the street. It looks pretty full, but I’m really craving their food. Besides, it's a beautiful summer day and the walk will feel good.
At the cafe, I'm greeted by a surly hostess who seems to have a permanent scowl etched on her face.

“How long is the wait?” I ask her.

She chews her gum and gives me a bored look. “45 minutes,” she says flatly.

I don’t think I’ll last that long, but I can smell the food and my body refuses to leave. I'm considering throwing a tantrum to get in sooner. People expect pregnant women to be a little crazy sometimes, right? I giggle at the mental picture, but quickly wipe the smile from my face when I see her death glare.

I’m still trying to be polite, but man I'm starving. “Are you sure?” I ask, looking around. “It looks like you have a few open tables.”

“Look lady, it’s 45 minutes. Do you want me to put your name down or not?”
I’m about to give up when she suddenly brightens, looking over my shoulder. “Hi Sean,” she says shyly, playing with her hair. I close my eyes and pray it’s not him. There must be a million Seans in Bridgeport.

“Hi, Kayla,” says a voice behind me. My bubble of hope bursts. “How soon can you get me in?”

“Oh, I saved your favorite table for you, Sean," she says flirtatiously and gestures for him to follow. So she can smile!

He glances at me. “But isn’t she--” he does a double take and looks back at me. “Carolyn?”
His eyes travel down to my belly. “Wow, umm.. congratulations! I hadn’t heard you were expecting.”

I can feel my cheeks getting warm. “Oh yeah. I didn’t find out until after I started my new job, so...”

I see something in his eyes, but I can’t quite read it. Is it hurt? Betrayal? Disgust? I know he won’t understand why I didn’t tell him, but I just couldn’t. No one except Tina knows about the blackouts. I couldn’t exactly go around asking every man I knew if we might’ve slept together and when.

The hostess clears her throat, clearly annoyed that he's speaking to another woman. Sean glances at her, then smiles at me tentatively. “Do you want to come eat with me? Looks like a table opened up.”

I chew my lip and consider his offer. I've long ago let go of my anger, but I figured I’d burned that bridge with him. I’m afraid the awkwardness will ruin the pastrami on rye that has me drooling.

“Come on. Tell me about your new job,” he urges.

5 minutes ago I was willing to throw myself on the ground to get in sooner. What's so bad about discussing work with an old colleague? Besides, I really am starving. I smile back. “Sure.”
After we order, I tell him about the new job and the quirky characters that are now my responsibility. He laughs at my stories, and then fills me in on the newest prank they pulled on their boss.

“So finally, Josh is about to lose his mind. Everyone else swears they don’t hear anything, but he keeps hearing this cricket chirping. One day he started trying to take his desk apart, so I finally had to pull out and show him the little gadget before he destroyed the whole place."

I laugh so hard that I snort, which used to be infamous around the office. He cracks up when he hears it. When we settle down enough to talk, we reminisce about meetings that I’ve disrupted with my snorty laughter. I’ve forgotten how easy it is to talk to him. By the end of the meal, I’m pretty sure we’ve annoyed everyone in the café, so we pay our bill and leave.
“Can I give you a ride home?” he asks.

“Oh, actually, I just live a few blocks that way. I’ll just walk.”

“Well in that case, can I walk you home?”

I’m enjoying his company and don’t want to say goodbye just yet, so I agree. I wish I’d known this side of him better when we worked together. We could’ve been great friends.

We continue the banter as we walk back onto my street.

He whistles when he sees the new house. "Wow Carolyn, quite an upgrade!" I'm embarrassed as I remember the time he visited my small apartment.
We chat for a few more minutes in my front yard. He tries to give me a good-bye hug, which is awkward with the baby in the middle. Of course, that conveniently gives him an opening to bring up the elephant in the room. “So… how far along are you?”

By the way he studies the sidewalk, I can tell he’s been trying to come up with a tactful way to ask me about the baby. I swallow and try to act nonchalant. “About 5 months,” I say.
He blinks and looks up. I can see the gears turning in his mind. “Oh,” he says. He clears his throat and pauses for another second. “So.. who’s the lucky daddy?”

I knew this day would come, but I’m still not prepared for it. I stare at my toes, the only part of my feet I can still see. “I don’t know,” I say softly.

“You...don’t...know.” His voice is quiet, but dangerous. “Could it be mine?”

“Could be.” My voice is almost a whisper.
“What the hell, Carolyn?" he bursts out. "You didn’t think I’d want to know?”

“I didn’t know,” I choke out.

“You didn’t know if I’d want to know? What kind of person do you think I am?”

He’s yelling now, his hands balled into fists, and I’m trying desperately to keep the tears from falling.

“I didn’t know whose it was,” I mumble.

“Well couldn’t you narrow it down? How many candidates are we talking about here? 5? 10? 100?”

He’s practically screaming by now, and I’m sure the whole neighborhood can hear us. I won’t lie to him, but I definitely can’t tell him the truth. I close my eyes, bracing myself. “I don’t know,” I say again.

I wait for the explosion, but there is none. After a minute I open my eyes, hoping he left. He didn’t. He stands there breathing heavily, trying to regain his composure. Finally, he says quietly, “You’re not the person I thought you were, Carolyn.”
That stings, but my shame is taken over by anger. “How dare you! Do you think I didn’t hear the stories about you at the office? From the rumors, you have a regular parade through your bedroom, so don’t try to act all self-righteous. Because you’re exactly who I thought you were.”

“That’s not— I didn’t—“ He punches my elm tree and I see traces of blood on the bark, but if he’s hurt he doesn’t show it. Keeping his eyes on the tree, he takes a deep breath and says quietly. “Get a paternity test, Carolyn. My lawyer will be in touch.”
Without looking back at me, he turns around and stalks off in the direction of the café. Trying to keep my dignity, I walk calmly to the front door to unlock it. But the moment I step inside, my body crumples to the floor. 2 months later

I can't believe how huge I am now. I'm hungry all the time. Onion soup -- my craving of the week -- sounds great right now. I flip on the stove and pull the can out of the cupboard when I hear Tina's trademark knock-and-then-walk-right-in entrance. She's wearing old ratty clothes, carrying two buckets of paint and an assortment of brushes. And of course she's as perky as always.
"Ready to paint the baby's room? I'm SO excited. I swear it wasn't this much fun when it was my own babies. Oh! And the crib is in my trunk, but we can't put it in until we paint anyway. Here, I grabbed your mail from the mailbox."

She hands it to me and continues jabbering, and I look through the mail as we walk back to the kitchen. The letter I've been waiting for finally arrived. I set down the rest of the mail down and stare at the envelope. She notices and immediately sobers up. "Oh, are those the test results?" She puts her arm around my shoulder. "It'll be ok Care, no matter what."
My hands shaking, I open the envelope and scan the letter with her reading over my shoulder. I let out a sigh and let her hug me. "I guess I should call Sean."

She nods. "Why don't you meet him somewhere?" she suggests. "Somewhere neutral. I'll get started on the baby's room and by the time you get back, I'll have something to make you feel better. We'll get a gallon of rocky road and watch chick flicks all night or whatever you want."

That's my little sister, always taking care of me.

I dial Sean's number with unfeeling fingers. I ask him to meet me somewhere so we can talk. There's a park not far from here, and he agrees to be there in 10 minutes.
When I reach the park, he's already waiting on a swing. He stands as I approach and begins talking.

"Wait, before you say anything, I want to tell you something. I've been thinking about what you said. And you're right. I would be a hypocrite to judge you. And I shouldn't have been so upset, but there's something different about you. I really, really liked you, and I didn't want to share you with anyone. And when I thought about you with other guys... I'm sorry. That's not fair. I had no claim on you. But I want to, Carolyn. I don't know why you didn't tell me about the baby, but it doesn't matter. I love kids. And I want to take care of you. Both of you. So.. say something. Please?"
I can't speak. I can barely make sense of his ramble. I hold out the letter in my hand to him.

He looks puzzled, but not worried. He opens the letter and scans it. His face falls and the paper slips from his hands. "It's not mine?"

I still haven't managed to say a word. He sits back down and rubs his face with both hands. I sit on the swing beside him silently, both of us just absorbing the news. I didn't realize until now how much I had wanted it to be his. I had imagined this fairy tale life where we would play together in the plastic pool in the back yard, and he would hold the camcorder while the baby took his first steps to me. Stupid.

I'm not sure how long we've been sitting here when he finally starts to speak. "I want--"
Whatever he was thinking is interrupted by a fire engine roaring by, blaring the siren. For the first time, I notice the smell of smoke in the air. I can see the truck turn on my block and suddenly I have a very bad feeling.

I jump up and start running, even though there's no way I can sprint all 6 blocks in my condition. Sean catches me easily and grabs my hand. "I'll drive," he says.
We get there in record time and I suck in a breath as my house comes into view. Flames are shooting through the downstairs windows. Sean has barely slowed down when I jump out. He yells after me, but I ignore him.

With the grace of a beached whale, I stumble and skin my knee, but I can’t feel any pain. I get up and keep running, grabbing the nearest fireman, who turns out to be a firewoman.

“My sister! Is she ok? Is she out?”

“Ma’am, you need to stay back. We’re working on it, but that fire is really hot. We can't send anyone in yet.”
She is distracted by her radio, and I push past her toward the house. Before I get much further, someone grabs me around the waist and holds me.

“Let me go! I have to help her! She has a family and—“

“You have a family,” Sean murmurs in my ear, gently squeezing my belly. “You need to protect the baby. The firemen know what they’re doing. Let them get her out.”

I let him hold me and wipe away the tears. I vaguely realize he’s saying comforting things to me, but I can’t make out the words.
That’s when I notice the dark shadow by the house. My mind must be playing tricks on me. The shadow starts gliding toward the house. Oh God no! It's the grim reaper! Why is he here?

I break away from Sean’s arms and run after him. He opens the front door and leaves it open, daring me to chase him. Many of the flames are gone now, and I’m able to make my way through the smoke to the kitchen. I find the reaper standing over Tina, who is curled up on the floor. And Tina.. she’s not ok.
The girl I see before me is just a whisper of my sister, one thin layer of the thousands that made her whole. He taps his scythe on the floor once, and she pulls herself up with effort.

“NO!!” I wail, running forward. I reach out to grab her arm, but my fingers slide right through.

Tina stands facing the reaper, not even acknowledging me. I hear her voice, echoing like she’s at the far end of a very long tunnel.

“I’m ready.”

“Tina, NO!” I cry. “Please Mr. Reaper, don't take my sister! Take me instead!”
She turns and gives me a reassuring smile, trying to hide the fear in her translucent eyes. "It'll be ok, Care. I promise."

I reach out to grab her, but with one swift strike of the scythe, Tina disappears into thin air. I sob desperately and support myself on the counter, feeling like the world is crumbling around me.

The reaper finally looks at me, and I swear I see an evil grin in the shadows of his hood. I stumble back a step on instinct and try to stifle my crying.

The sound of a deep laugh floats down the tunnel, and I suddenly feel a searing pain down my middle. I scream and double over in pain, holding my belly. He disappears in a puff of smoke just before the world goes blurry.
“Carolyn? Can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes if you can hear me.”

With effort, I pull my eyes open to see a stranger in a white coat. He moves a little penlight between my eyes while I stare at the ceiling. I feel dull and emotionless. I don’t remember how I got here. I just want to go back to sleep. Then I sense movement at the side of my bed and feel a warm hand squeeze mine. I slowly turn my head and look into warm brown eyes.
“Sean? What happened? What am I doing here?” Instinctively I reach for my belly. “Is the baby hurt?”

The doctor answered for him. “Everything appears to be fine. You weren’t close enough to the house to inhale any smoke, and she looks just fine on the ultrasound.”

A thought stirs at the back of my mind, but I’m distracted by that one word. “She? I’m having a girl?”

He looks uncomfortable. “I’m sorry. Did I let the cat out of the bag?”

I laugh and hug Sean. I blurt out, “We’re having a girl!”
Sean stiffens and I suddenly realize what I just said. I let him go and try to pretend it didn't happen. The doctor clears his throat awkwardly and steps out of the room. I’m searching for a way to change the subject when the thought at the back of my mind surfaces.

“What did he mean, I didn’t get close enough to the house? I was inside, in the kitchen!”

Sean frowns and shakes his head. “No you weren’t. You.. lost consciousness.. on the front lawn.”

And just like that, everything stops. The memory -- the real memory -- comes rushing back.
The firemen hadn’t found any sign of Tina in the house by the time they had the fire under control. I prayed that somehow she’d made it out before the fire started.

I kept telling myself that’s what happened, despite the fact that her car was still in the driveway, and that she wasn’t answering her phone.

And when the paramedics came out carrying a gurney, I told myself they were bringing her to the hospital. Maybe she had hurt herself. Some debris must have fallen on her. She would be fine after she got some stitches, maybe a cast.
The other voice in my head spoke up, annoyingly calm. “She’s not injured. Those paramedics aren’t in any hurry.”

“So her injury isn’t serious!” I argued with myself.

“Then why won't Sean let you go to her?”

“He just wants me to stay out of the way!”

Finally, quietly, the voice won. “They don’t cover people with a sheet on the way to the hospital.”
I couldn’t deny it any longer. A searing pain ripped through my body. My knees gave out and I vaguely realized I was falling. I felt Sean’s arms around me before I hit the ground. He held me to his shoulder and stroked my hair gently. Distantly, I heard an anguished wail. I realize now that it was coming from me. And when the paramedics came to look me over, I screamed and lashed out. I told them to leave me alone, I was fine. I wanted to know why they weren’t taking care of Tina in the ambulance. I think I scratched one in the face, and the other got at least a few kicks to the gut.

Arms came around me from behind, but I continued struggling and screaming. And then something poked me in the arm, and I was relieved when the darkness took over.
"Tina..." I whisper. "She's not ok, is she?"

Sean squeezes my hand, and that's all the answer I need.

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#1jadababy2003VIPFeb 13, 2013

Wow...I'm practically crying! Her sister was everything to her! I hope she recovers from this and that Sean does what he's supposed to do. Good job. I love this story! Don't make us wait too long write the next part quickly!\:\)

#2AlessaFayeFeb 20, 2013

Been meaning to comment, I have to say I love your stories! I love your screenshots and poses, and curse you for almost making me cry! lol Don't take too long on writing the next chapter! \:rah\:

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