Thursday, July 14, 2011

That famous glow

I smoothed my dress and couldn't help but smile at the way it accentuated my growing bump.  It was a red halter with an empire waist and I loved the way it flattered my changing body.  I felt feminine and womanly and knew that I was exuding a natural confidence that I hadn't had in the past.  My hair fell in loose, natural waves and the makeup I put on was a little more dramatic than usual, but I was dressing to impress.  Eric and I were meeting for dinner and despite my "condition", I was determined to look my best.  I was definitely beaming, but couldn't be sure it if was a pregnancy glow or a bashful one.

I was unlocking my car door when I heard someone call my name.  I looked up, startled, and realized with some relief that it was Kate.  She gave me a little wave and catcalled me across the parking lot of our apartment.  I laughed and waved back.  Kate had been working more lately so I hardly saw her during the day.  She hadn't slowed down her partying lifestyle, though, and I couldn't help but admire her boundless energy.

I tuned the radio to a local pop station and sang along on the drive to the restaurant where Eric and I were meeting.  The butterflies I felt were phenomenal and I couldn't wait to see him again. I pulled in to the restaurant parking lot and took a deep breath.  I was a few minutes early and I didn't see Eric's car, so I decided to text him and let him know I was already there.  I was surprised when he texted back right away, saying he was there, too, and waiting inside.

It took a lot of self-restraint not to skip towards the restaurant entrance.  I spotted him waiting in the doorway, and he looked so handsome it almost hurt.

"Eric!" I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around him and hugging him as closely as I possibly could. He hugged tighter and I relished in the feeling.  I didn't want to pull away but I wanted to gaze at his face.  How did this man have such an effect on me?  We stood there for a moment, smiling at each other like fools and were soon led to a table.

The restaurant was a beautiful little Italian place with black and white photos of gorgeous women adorning the walls.  Each table had flickering candles and soft lighting.  I had hardly noticed how pretty the restaurant was while I had been admiring Eric.  He was wearing a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the top button undone.  I couldn't help but picture myself unbuttoning the rest of those buttons, and mentally chastised myself.

"A penny for your thoughts?  You're either blushing or glowing, I can't tell which," Eric smirked, and I had a feeling he knew exactly where my thoughts were.  I felt myself blushing harder and struggled for an answer.

"I was just thinking about the last time we had dinner together.  Chinese food, remember?  We ate at Golden Palace..." I trailed off, letting the implication sit in the air.  We hadn't been able to keep our hands off each other that night, and ended up having a delicious encounter, pressed up against his car in the dark, deserted parking lot.

I could tell by the look that crossed his face that he was remembering that night, and remembering it well.  I bit my lip playfully and tucked my hair behind my ear.  I watched his eyes move downward and I knew he was noticing just how full my breasts had become in the past few months.  I brushed my fingers across my collar bone and twirled a section of hair, letting it fall into my cleavage.  I couldn't help but wonder if he was thinking about how they must look out of my dress.  His eyes met my own, and I smiled knowingly.

We kept exchanging glances like that as we ate our meals and talked non-stop.  Ruby had moved out, and he was living with a roommate for now.  Work was going well for him and he was enrolling in classes for the fall.  Conversation flowed so easily that it was like we had known each other for years.  I laughed more than I had in weeks and felt generally at peace with my life.  I felt so comfortable with Eric.  I thought back to a conversation I'd had with Kate in the past, where I told her I only saw Eric as a fling, not a relationship.  As we talked more and more, I realized just how wrong I had been about that.  There was more to him than good looks and great sex.  He was someone I could see myself with.  I glanced down at my belly, reminding myself that I was pregnant with another man's baby.  I felt a twinge of sadness, knowing how complicated things were between us and knowing how much I had probably hurt him.  I suddenly felt so sad and hopeful at the same time and wished desperately that my life could be easier.  I think he could tell what I was feeling, because he reached across the table and put his hand on top of mine.

"What do you say I get the check, and we head back to my place to watch a movie or just hang out and talk?  I'm not ready to be away from you, yet," Eric suggested softly.

I nodded shyly.  As I followed him back to his apartment, I couldn't help but let my imagination run wild with thoughts of how our night might end.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Frustration

Hello everyone!
I was looking through my blog lists on the side of my page, and realized that a lot of blogs haven't been updated in a long time.  I went ahead and resorted my blog roll into 3 categories: Active Fictional Blogs (still updated regularly), Non-Fiction Blogs (updated regularly) and Inactive Fictional Blogs (haven't been updated in 2+ months or have ended).  Sadly, this means I'm running low on new material to read!  If you haven't checked out my blog roll already, be sure to do so!  Also, if you have any blogs that you read that you think I'd enjoy or that you would like to see posted in my blog roll (I don't use my Dashboard, I just look at my sidebar and see when blogs were updated last and read them that way) for easy access, let me know here!

I know a lot of you also read Cosmo's Bedroom Blog and I'm sure you can all roll your eyes with me and agree that our beloved Bedroom Blog has really been going downhill, both in quality and quantity of posts.  I'm disappointed in the lack of posts and the lack of passion behind the posts lately.  I think Cosmo should either hire a new writer, stick to a regular schedule (ie, posting every Wednesday) or wrap the blog up in the near future.  It's frustrating to check back and see no posts have been made, especially since the author is paid to do the writing and there are NEVER any author's notes letting us know why posts haven't been made or when we can expect new material.

Basically, I need some fresh new blogs to read and share on my site!  At least with the lack of reading material, I'm finding more time to write my own blog.  Expect a few more posts this week and next!

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Life Goes On

It had been just over a week since I had left Michael for good.  The bruises on my arm were a sickly yellow color with tinges of green and purple still fading away.  Kate had been concerned when I showed up unexpectedly, crying and bruised, and had attempted to persuade me to file a police report.  That seemed far too drastic, so I instead documented the bruises thoroughly and photographed them with a timestamp each day.  Michael had made no attempt to contact me and I was relieved.  I had never known Michael to be violent or aggressive, and it had shaken me more than I liked to admit.  I knew I would have to face him at my upcoming doctor's appointment, but I was hoping the situation would have settled down considerably by then.

Kate generously agreed to let me stay with her for a month, rent free, so I could put extra money into my bank account before signing a lease on an apartment.  The apartment complex she lived in was affordable, within walking distance of my job and in a convenient area of town.  They were also offering move-in specials and I had decided to lease an apartment there as well.  Kate also offered to let me take her bed instead of sleeping on the couch, but I refused.  It was certainly uncomfortable, but I would survive.

Work was draining and becoming mundane, but I had heard of an advancement opportunity within the company and submitted my resume a few days prior.  I knew the chance was slim, but I couldn't let the chance of a promotion and pay increase pass me by without at least trying.  I hadn't heard yet if I was being considered for an interview, but I was hopeful!

At fifteen weeks along, I was starting to show more each day and people at work were fawning over me.  I was uncomfortable with all of the attention on my changing body, but it felt nice to have so many people interested in my life.  The most common questions were, of course, "What are you having?" and "When are you due?" - I would be finding out the sex of the baby in the coming weeks and promised everyone that I would announce it as soon as I knew.  I had an appointment scheduled three weeks from now and the doctor was hopeful I would find out the gender then.

As stressed out as I was over everything, I wasn't stressed at the idea of being a single mom.  I had really begun to embrace my pregnancy and the prospect of motherhood.  In fact, I was excited.  I had never seen myself as a mother, but now, I couldn't wait to meet the little person growing inside of me.  I knew balancing my life would only get harder once the baby arrived but it was a challenge I couldn't wait to face.

As for Eric, we had started talking again but I was tentative to see him again.  I knew I was emotional and vulnerable, and I was afraid I would project that on him.  Despite what we had already gone through, I hardly knew him as well as I would've liked, but I was determined to change that...

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Michael didn't answer.  He didn't feign shock at the accusation, nor did he have the decency to look ashamed.  He simply stood there silently, and that was all the confirmation I needed.

It felt odd, standing there and staring at each other.  In that moment, I realized I didn't really know who this man was any more.  I wasn't sad, I just felt empty and apathetic.  Michael and I really had grown apart over the years, and I was finally seeing that I was using this baby as a reason to put a bandaid over a wound too far gone to be fixed.  Amputation was the only solution, now.

"Oh, Michael," I murmured, "we've gone about this all wrong.  This was a mistake.  I see that now, finally."

I had been trying so hard to hold it all together, I had convinced myself that I truly did miss Michael and truly wanted to be with him.  Of course being back together felt right to me, Michael had been all I'd known for four years.  I did love him, and I had a feeling I always would, but he wasn't the man I wanted to be with.  I knew leaving again would hurt him, especially considering I was now 14 weeks pregnant with his child, but it was the best choice I could make for both of us, as well as our unborn child.

"Oh, come on.  It's not like Manda and I are involved.  We became close while you and I were broken up, that's all!  I don't want to be with her."

"This has nothing to do with Manda.  This is about us, and the fact that I was right to move out and wrong to think moving back in was a good idea.  You need to leave for work soon.  I'll be gone before you get back."

"That's it?  You're just done with this, no talking needed?  You're unbelievable, Emma.  This is ridiculous!"

Finally, he was showing emotion.  I simply turned and walked away.  He followed me upstairs to the bedroom and for the second time in just a few months, he watched me as I packed my belongings and made no attempt to stop me.  I was fighting nausea and tears and my vision was blurred, but the more I packed, the more confident I was in my decision.  I felt ridiculous, knowing our friends and family would assume the worst about me.  They would say I was being wishywashy, they would say I didn't know what I really wanted, they would say I was playing games.  I didn't care.  Why should I care what anyone had to say?  Suddenly, Michael grabbed my arm, startling me.

"Emma, we are having a child together.  You can't just walk out the door like you did last time.  We don't have to be 'together', but this is way too complicated now.  You can't cut me out of your life!" his voice getting louder and a note of anger was creeping in.

"I know that, I would never cut you out of my life.  I am walking out the door and that's the end of the discussion.  I'll notify you of all upcoming doctor's appointments and we'll go from there.  Now let go of my arm so I can leave."

Instead of letting go, he tightened his grip on my arm and pulled me towards him.  I struggled and attempted to pull away.

"I'm serious, Michael!  You're hurting me, now let go!"

I realized I was afraid.  I had never been afraid of Michael before, not once in my life.  There was something different in his eyes and for a split second, I worried that he would hit me.  Suddenly, he squeezed even harder, digging his fingertips into the soft flesh of my upper arm.  I cried out in pain and fear.  Just as suddenly, he released his grip and pushed me away from him before storming out of the room.

I broke down sobbing and wondered who this man was, and what he had done with the Michael I used to know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I stood there, my mouth hanging open in surprise.  Manda's surprise mimicked my own as she looked down at her hand, unbelieving.

"Oh, my god. Oh, god, I'm sorry," she stammered, looking ashamed and startled.

All of my anger melted away and I suddenly felt weak, defeated.  Michael was standing next to his car, seeming unsure of what to say or do.  I glanced over at him and we made eye contact.  He must've seen something in my eyes and rushed over to where Manda and I stood near the front door.

"Manda, I think it's best if you call someone else to come get you.  You're no longer welcome here," Michael said firmly and led me back inside, leaving her standing outside.

He touched my face tenderly and turned it from side to side, staring at the red handprint across my cheek.  He titled my face upwards and leaned in to kiss me.  When I pulled away from him, I was surprised to see tears in his eyes.

"Honey, I'm so sorry.  I should've talked to you first, I shouldn't have let her stay the night without talking to you.  I messed up, I know that.  But I'm telling you, nothing happened between us.  Manda's in a tough spot right now and I was just trying to do the right thing by helping a friend.  Her and I talked a lot while you were living with Kate and she was a good friend to me, I don't know what got into her..." he trailed off.

"Then why didn't you come to bed?  Where did you sleep, the couch?  The guest room with her?"

"What? No! I stayed up too late trying to comfort her and I fell asleep in the living room.  I didn't wake up until this morning!  Manda was already in the kitchen when I woke up so I made us some coffee.  That's it."

I searched his face for answers and saw none.  I felt a weird lack of emotion, a sort of empty feeling and I was oddly okay with that.  I racked my brain for a response, a question, anything.  Finally, I said the only thing I could think to say.

"You're lying."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In Shock

"Michael's a good man and you're treating him poorly.  I know you have a feeling of entitlement and feel like you deserve sympathy or a free pass just because you're pregnant, but you don't.  I know you think he pined over you when you pulled your little stunt, but he didn't.  He turned to me and now I can see why your relationship fell apart in the first place.  You don't deserve him," Manda spat, and turned on her heel.

I stood there, stunned.  A few things became shockingly clear in those few seconds.  One, Michael had been keeping secrets and two, Manda was one of those secrets.  How could I have been so blind?  Did he not expect me to come home last night and catch him with his new plaything?  Did she even have a fiance, or was the "trouble at home" excuse completely fabricated? Was I being totally, completely insane for letting these thoughts run through my mind? Was it all innocent and was I losing my mind?

I raced down the stairs after her. She was quick and I was trying to be careful; the last thing I needed was to slip on the stairs. I caught up with her as she reached the front door. I grabbed her shoulder and spun her to face me. She was a few inches taller than me and her cheeks were flushed with color. I looked up to meet her gaze and couldn't quite tell what was going through her mind.

"I don't know who you think you are, or what you think you know about me, but you are out of line. I couldn't care less if Michael confided in you, because clearly he wants to be with me and anything he may have said then doesn't matter now. Get off your high horse and get the hell out of my house."

The hard slap was beyond shocking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hell Hath No Fury

I looked around the room in disbelief. It was still early, only 7 am so Michael hadn't left for work yet. There was no evidence that Michael had made it to bed. A slow rage filled me, and when I was sure that I wasn't going to vomit, I quietly stormed downstairs.

I heard voices in the kitchen and was disgusted at how quiet and cozy they sounded. Who did this pretty bitch think she was, drinking coffee with my boyfriend in my kitchen, with no regard for me?

The talking stopped abruptly when Manda and Michael spotted me. She looked fresh and gorgeous and I hated her in that moment.

"Nice of you to come to bed last night," I spat, enjoying the way Michael cringed at my tone, "and don't bother with the bullshit excuse that you didn't want to wake me."

I spun and faced Manda next, fixing my icy glare on her. I grabbed the coffee cup from in front of her and dumped it down the sink, never taking my eyes off of her. I couldn't help but notice the fear in her eyes and the flush spreading across her cheeks. I reveled in it.

"As for you, your welcome has been worn out already. Quite frankly, I don't care about what's going on in your life and it's time for you to go. Now."

I was fully aware of the way they were both staring at me and I knew I was coming across as a jealous nutcase, but in that moment, I didn't care. I was livid. Manda stammered and stumbled over her words.

"Michael, uh, he drove me here. I have no way to leave," her voice was small, meek. I almost felt bad for her but my anger was overtaking me.

"Fine! Then you can both leave."

I stood there for another minute before rushing back upstairs, where I promptly vomited in my bathroom sink. I locked the door and ran the water for a few minutes, willing myself to calm down. When I was sure I was calm, I opened the door to head back to bed for a few hours. Instead, I found myself face to face with Manda and my rage returned.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


My heart is shattered. My sweet baby kitty died yesterday. It feels like the tears will never stop falling. Why Yoda Kevin? He was just a fucking baby, only 8 months old and I loved him so much. He slept with me every night, we snuggled and watched movies together daily, he followed me everywhere and we even took showers together. Our bond was special… Why him? :(  It was a terrible accident.  He was staying at my mom's house in New York because I haven't been able to convince her to send him to me yet.  My 12 year old sister was running through the house and didn't see him; she stumbled/stepped on him Thursday evening.  My mom was out of town so it was just my 17 year old sister, my 12 year old sister and my 10 year old sister trying to take care of him with no money and no car to get him to a vet.  He seemed to be doing okay until yesterday when his breathing changed and he refused food and didn't want to be held anymore.  My brother drove 30 minutes to get to my mom's to rush him to the Emergency Vet about 45 minutes away...he died before they could get there.  I cried until 4AM and I'm still so torn up.  It sounds crazy, but I had a very, very special bond with him.  He even slept inside my tank top at night and never left my side during the day.  He can never be replaced.

I'll miss you, sweet baby <3  I took this picture not long before I left New York.  My 17 year old sister is heartbroken; she promised to take good care of him for me until I could send for him and she blames herself because she didn't have a way to get him to a vet.  My 12 year old sister keeps apologizing for killing him - I tried to tell her it was just an accident and I don't blame her but she's feeling a LOT of guilt. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And you must be...?

*Hi everyone!  Sorry for the lack of posts; moving across country was exhausting and I've been spending all of my time with my boyfriend, making up for lost time.  Enjoy the post!*

The first thing I noticed was how striking her eyes were.  They were an icy shade of blue and surrounded by long, thick dark lashes that I personally would kill for.  Her hair was long, blonde and made me think of California babes on California beaches.  In a word, she was stunning.

The second thing I noticed was how close she was sitting to Michael, yet guilt or surprise never registered on her face.  Michael, however, looked nervous, and slightly jumpy.

"You must be Emma," she beamed.  I nodded and made a small sound of confirmation, then directed my questioning eyes towards Michael.

"Honey! This is Manda, we work together.  She had a fight with her fiance and has nowhere else to go, so I figured you wouldn't mind if she stayed here in the guest room?"

I pressed my lips together firmly, wanting to insist it was far from ok to invite a gorgeous stranger into my home while I was gone and then ask her to stay the night.  Instead, I put on what I hoped was my most gracious and welcoming smile.

"Manda, sorry to meet you under unpleasant circumstances, but you are welcome to stay the night."

She smiled, and I couldn't help but notice how perfect her teeth were.  Did this girl have a flaw?

"Thank you so, so much.  I hope I'm not intruding.  I've heard so much about you!  And I hear you're expecting?  You look great!"

Funny, I had never heard a thing about her.  I also couldn't be sure if she was genuinely sweet, or if she was fake.  I glanced and Michael and gave him a tightlipped smile, knowing he would get the message that he would be getting an earful as soon as I had him alone.

"Well, thank you.  Anyway, I'm exhausted and need a bath so I'll be retiring to the bedroom now.  Again, Manda, nice to meet you.  Michael can show you to the guest room.  The sheets are clean and I hope you and your fiance work things out..." I let the words hang in the air, hoping they would both take the hint that while I was going to do my best to pleasant, I wasn't happy with the situation.

I made my way upstairs and filled the tub.  As I lay there soaking in the fragrant bubbles and deliciously warm water, I listened for the sound of footsteps on the stairs.  After awhile I began to doze, so I made my way to the bedroom.  Surely, Michael would be coming up to bed soon?

I stared at the clock and watched the minutes tick by as I waited.  I became aware of how tired I was and decided to rest my eyes, knowing that even if I dozed off, I would wake up when Michael came to bed.  I wasn't a light sleeper, but I almost always woke up when he got in or out of bed.

The next thing I knew, it was morning and I was waking up...alone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wandering Thoughts, Wandering Eyes

I arched my back and stretched, thankful that I would be leaving work in an hour.  The work day had been really slow and I was looking forward to a hot bath when I got home.  In addition to being unbelievably tired all the time and throwing up everything I ate, I was experiencing muscle aches and cramps sporadically. 

I twirled the cord to my headset and let my mind wander as I doodled on a piece of scrap paper.  My phone vibrated in my purse, making me jump slightly. 

Must be Michael checking up on me, I thought to myself as I fished around my purse for it.  I was surprised to see the message wasn't from Michael, but from a friend of mine named Holly.  I hadn't seen much of Holly in awhile; she had a new boyfriend who occupied a lot of her free time and worked two jobs.  I missed hearing from her, and smiled as I opened the message.

"Hey sooo, I know you and M worked things out and I'm not trying to butt in here, but I'm pretty sure I just saw him or someone who looks exactly like him leaving Austin's with some random blond girl. Thought you should know. xox"

I felt myself frowning.  Sure, I knew Michael was going out with friends tonight, but he hadn't mentioned a female friend, which was unusual for him.  Holly worked at Austin's, which was a local bar and grille, but I didn't know if that was where Michael had been headed.  Michael had plenty of female friends, as I had plenty of male friends.  I trusted him fully and chalked it up to a misreading of the situation or mistaken identity. 

"Hey girl! Thanks for the heads up, Michael's out with friends so I doubt it was him, but when I get home I'll ask what he was up to.  We should hang out soon!"

The next hour at work went by at a snail's pace.  I didn't think much of Holly's message until I walked in the door to my home that night.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Author's Note

I feel like I make more Author's Notes than I do blog posts, and for that, I apologize.  I just wanted to share some very happy news with all of my followers!  If you have been reading for awhile, or even went back to the beginning and read through everything, you'll remember a post I made after my heart was absolutely shattered.  Quick recap: my boyfriend of 2 and a half years ended our relationship by phone while I was on vacation visiting my family.  I was devastated, overwhelmed, had to be hospitalized, etc etc.  I moved on, met someone new and dated him for awhile - but it just didn't work out.  I ended that relationship and ended up confiding in my ex, since he had remained a very close friend to me this past year.  We both realized that we've grown a lot in the 10 months we've been apart, but never grew apart.  On February 22nd, I will be returning to the home I shared with the man who I've always known to be the love of my life.  As of March 1st, we will be relocating together to our hometown of Kansas City (which is where we met). I think the story of our love is actually kind of interesting and might be fun to read.  Would anyone be interested in reading about it, if I created a secondary blog with true posts about that relationship?  Obviously I don't remember things perfectly and conversations aren't remembered word-for-word, so it would be more like a semi-fictional retelling of true events, "based on a true story" kinda thing.  Let me know!  Of course, I will be continuing with Emma's blog and have some new-found inspiration that will lead to multiple posts in the near future.

I hope all of you have been well and enjoying 2011 so far!

Keeping It Down

I leaned back against the wall, taking deep, relaxing breaths and silently begging the world to have mercy on me.  I flushed the toilet, shut the lid and rested my forehead on the cool surface.  It had been a little over a month since I had moved back in with Michael and cut all ties with Eric.  I had entered my second trimester, and this was when morning sickness really kicked in.  I had been blessed with a very "symptom free" pregnancy for the first few months, but my body was making up for lost time now.  Now, I was spending what felt like more time each day kneeling next to a toilet and wanting to cry.

Michael was as supportive as he could be and doted on me constantly.  All of our friends now knew about the pregnancy and most were excited, with the exception of Rachelle.  She was one of those kind of people who craved positive attention and had recently gotten engaged.  I could tell that she resented my pregnancy because it stole some of her spotlight - and I could already tell she was going to be one major Bridezilla.  Personally, I didn't want a spotlight on me at all.  I am a very private person most of the time and all of the attention I'd been getting at work, at home and through friends was becoming overwhelming.

"Emma?" I heard a knock on the bathroom door.

"I'm fine, Michael.  I'll be out in a minute," I called, not wanting him to come sit with me on the bathroom floor.

"You sure you don't want me to come in and sit with you?  I'll bring you a cup of tea or some juice if you want," Michael was so predictable and I couldn't help but smile to myself.

"Really, I'm okay.  It's your day off, go enjoy yourself.  I'm just gonna hang around the house and watch Netflix or something.  I don't really have any energy today," I cracked open the bathroom door and let him plant a kiss on my forehead before shooing him away.

I heard the front door close, and watched from the window as he pulled out of the driveway.  I knew he had plans with some guy friends, but didn't really know what they were up to, only that he'd "be back later".  I didn't mind, I enjoyed time to myself and needed the rest.  My body seemed to be rebelling against me at every possible turn and I still had a few hours before I needed to go to work.

I crawled back into bed, savoring the way the blankets and pillows felt.  My eyes closed and I was just drifting off to sleep when another strong wave of nausea hit me and sent me reaching for the bowl I kept near the bed for these "emergency" situations.

I tried my hardest to keep down any food or liquid left in my system, and failed.  I let a few tears slip, washed out the bowl, brushed my teeth again and curled up on the couch.

Only a few more months of this....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues

"Hey, beautiful," Eric's face lit up as I approached him.  I couldn't help but smile as he opened his arms for a hug.  The hug lasted a bit longer than necessary, but I savored the moment and inhaled his scent. 

He held me at arm's length, looking me up and down. 

"You look amazing.  Must be that famous pregnancy glow, huh?" he joked and I playfully hit him in the arm.

"Yeah, must be," I replied, knowing full well that any "glow" I had about me stemmed directly from being in his presence.  God, he was beautiful.  My heart clenched a little as I stared at him.  I had a good man at home who was willing to step up and be a father and who wanted nothing more than to make me happy.  So what was I doing here, having breakfast with someone else, someone who I couldn't take my eyes off of?

We chatted idly as we waited for our food to arrive.  He had ordered a Western omelet with home fries and coffee, while I had opted for eggs over medium with toast, hashbrowns and apple juice.  Being pregnant, I was trying to avoid caffeine.  I eyed his coffee in envy, wishing I had ordered a decaf instead of juice.  Decaf just didn't taste the same, though, and I knew I would have still been envious of his coffee had I ordered decaf for myself.

We ate our breakfast cheerfully, with no awkward silences but plenty of sparks still between us.  We talked about everything, from comments on the weather to more serious topics like my pregnancy and his living with Ruby.  Any tension that may have existed between us before now was fully dissolved, and I felt like we were finally both being completely open with each other.  As I scooped up a final forkful of hashbrowns, I caught myself wishing my life could be simpler, wishing I could pursue a different path instead of feeling somewhat forced into my life's current route.

Eric walked me to my car, a friendly arm draped around my shoulders.  He hugged me again, and I didn't want to let go.  My heart felt pulled in two directions, but I knew that I could no longer be selfish.  Even if I wanted to pursue something with Eric, I couldn't anymore.  I had made a choice to be with Michael and I had another person to think of in the grand scheme of things: my unborn child.  My eyes filled with tears as I realized that I could not see Eric anymore.  It was unfair to him and Michael both, and it only made it harder to say goodbye to him.

Eric stared directly into my eyes, and the sadness I felt was reflected in his expression.

"Emma, you know it doesn't have to be like this.  You don't have to stay with him just because you're having his baby.  You have other options..." he trailed off.

Was Eric right?  Did I have another choice?  I sniffled, and shrugged.  I wasn't sure what to say, and finally just spoke to break the silence.

"I know.  But I want to have this baby and I want to do whats best for it, despite what I want for myself.  I don't think we can see each other, even as friends, at least not for awhile.  There are too many feelings between us and I'm in a really awkward place right now."

He cradled my face in his hand, and I knew I would soon be powerless to stop the tears from falling.  He ran his thumb over my quivering lips and kissed my forehead gently.  Eric nodded in understanding and hugged me again before walking off, leaving me standing alone next to my car with big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks.