30. That Is All

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Times I find it hard to say,
With useless words getting in my way,
Silence often says much more,
Than trying to say what's been
Said before.


When I open my eyes, Minnie is staring at me. She's crouching down beside my bed, so that we're almost eyeball to eyeball. She's so close to my face that it takes me a few seconds to focus on her. Whatever the pills Maurice gave me were, they were strong. I feel groggy and heavy as I try to lift my head.

'What time is it?' I ask, my voice sounding croaky and dry.

'Are you knocked up?' Minnie demands, bluntly.

'What?!' I'm suddenly a lot more awake. 'No! Min-' I can't finish speaking as the effort brings on a coughing fit. My stomach muscles hurt with the exertion and I roll on to my back, wrapping my arms around my middle. Minnie stands up, still viewing me suspiciously. When I recover, I add weakly, 'Don't be stupid.'

'You're sure?'

'Yes! Of course I'm sure. Why on earth would you think I was pregnant?'

'Fainting in Toronto. Throwing up in Atlanta.'

I give a small shake of my head. I'm too exhausted for this. I just want to go back to sleep.

Minnie shifts her weight from one foot to another and puts her hands on her hips. 'Don't lie to me, Hannah.'

'I'm not,' I protest, dropping my voice down to a whisper. 'I'm not supposed to be talking. I'm supposed to be resting my voice.'

It took a little over two hours to get to Houston. I couldn't fall asleep on the plane. I couldn't stop thinking about what Cat had told me. I can't believe George would do that. He came and said all those things to me, he slept with me and asked me to go back to England with him, when all the while he had another girl waiting in the wings.

What if I'd said yes? When was he planning on telling me? That morning? When we got to England? Or when I walked into their home and found her there?

I can't think about it. I can't think straight. Bits, fragments of thoughts keep repeating themselves inside my head, making me feel sick and feverish.

When we arrived at the hotel - a huge, twenty-eight floor, oblong shaped, modern monstrosity - I had to run to the toilets in the lobby. There wasn't time to check in. When I came out again, word had finally reached Maurice that I was sick. He gave me a lecture on keeping things from him and two fat yellow pills to help me sleep.

'Is it really so out there, Han?' Minnie continues. 'You've been married nearly a year.'

I shake my head at her. 'What time is it?' I ask again.

Minnie purses her lips. 'You won't be singing today,' she says.

'No,' I agree, reluctantly. 'Maurice was going to call a doctor. Hasn't he arrived yet?'

I'm losing my voice too. That's not totally out of the ordinary. When I'm on tour, when I'm suddenly having to sing a lot more, I routinely find my voice suffers. It's early in the tour for me to lose it like this, but it's not entirely unexpected.

'Doctor's coming,' Minnie says, flatly. She folds her arms over her chest. 'Hannah...'

I groan. 'No, Minnie, I am definitely not "knocked up",' I repeat, as firmly as I can. 'I have a terrible headache, my stomach hurts, I feel sick and ache all over. These are not the symptoms of pregnancy. Plus... No, there's no chance I'm pregnant.'

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