Taming Damian(2)

By: Jessica Wood

I’d known then that something special had happened in our relationship. He knew that traveling to every continent was on my bucket list of things I wanted to do before I turned thirty, and he’d seen a future between us enough to plan out this trip down to every detail. For a guy like Damian, it was uncharacteristic of him and yet so very much who I saw him to be—the sweet man he was inside. It was the part of him that he’d tried so hard to hide from people. And now he was opening that part of himself up to me.

So here I was, a small-town girl from the Midwest who’d, up until a few months ago, never left the state of Iowa, across the world in the romantic city of Florence, Italy. I was dressed in this one-of-a-kind gown, at this beautiful fairytale wedding, in the arms of the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on. And the cherry on top of this unbelievably romantic surprise, he had just told me he loved me. My lips curled into a wide grin as I thought of him.

“I love you, Alex. You feel inevitable to me.” His words had made me so deliriously happy—more happy than I’d ever thought was possible, more happy than I’d thought I deserved.

My smile instantly vanished as my eyes landed on the reflection of my stomach. I felt my lungs constrict as the air in the bathroom seemed to leave the room, leaving me breathless and gasping for breath. My heart pounded nervously against my chest as a surge of panic rushed through me. If the doctor is right and the test results come out the way he has predicted, what am I going to do? I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the anguish in my eyes—a look I’d thought I’d never have with Damian by my side. More importantly, how am I going to tell him? He will never look at me the same way again, and I will lose him forever. A stream of fresh tears rolled down my face at the thought of losing him. It was already an unimaginable feat that we had found each other, that he had given up his playboy ways to give our relationship a chance. I wasn’t sure our relationship was strong enough for this.

I looked down and watched as my hands moved to my stomach. “He needs to know. Even if it means that I’d lose him forever, he needs to know that I might be pregnant”—I looked back up at the reflection of the terrified girl peering back at me—“or worse, I might be pregnant with…” My words came out in a whisper and I stopped mid-sentence as soon as I realized that I was speaking out loud. I looked around the bathroom and under the five stalls to see if anyone else was in here with me.

I let out a sigh of relief. I was alone.

My lips trembled as I thought about how much my life would change if the tests all came out positive. I imagined the many different reactions that were possible when I told him: shock, denial, anger, sadness, pain.

I’ll try to talk to him after we get back from Italy, I convinced myself. I didn’t want to ruin this trip he had gone through so much trouble to plan for us. I couldn’t bear to ruin it for him. At the very least, I wanted this week in Italy to be about us, and only us. I didn’t want to ruin this week on top of losing him.

I brushed the tears from my face and reapplied some makeup. Even though I looked fine, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of what night happen in the next few months, of what might happen when Damian found out the truth.

“Okay, after Italy then. After I see the doctor. After everything’s been confirmed.” My hands braced the cold marble counter as I tried to calm myself down. “Besides, I couldn’t possibly hide things from him forever.” I took a deep breath as I looked at myself in the mirror one last time. “I will. I’ll tell Damian soon.” I stood up and turned toward the bathroom door that led back out to the wedding reception.

“Tell me what?”

A jolt of panic crashed through me as I froze in place and found myself face to face with Damian.

For a few seconds, fear and panic paralyzed my body and I couldn’t manage to think, let alone speak. How long has he been standing there? How much did he hear?

“Hey, you,” I finally managed to say breathlessly. I turned away from him, my eyes unable to withstand the intensity of his piercing gaze. “This is the girls’ bathroom, Damian. You shouldn’t be in here.” I was surprised at how casual I was able to sound at this moment when the pounding of my heart was the only thing I was able to hear.

“You know I’m not good with rules.” His voice was hoarse and low, almost threatening. “Especially when it comes to you.” He approached me from behind and I felt his hands slide around my waist.

“So everything’s okay out there? I was just coming back out.” I looked at him innocently. “Have they started with the toasts yet?”

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