16 / double trouble

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It was a little harder to wake up each day that Ishaana knew there was something growing inside her, something that was trying to make a home for itself without asking permission first

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It was a little harder to wake up each day that Ishaana knew there was something growing inside her, something that was trying to make a home for itself without asking permission first. She didn't want it, dread settling over her every morning that she woke up and remembered that she was pregnant. Learning that seemed to have aggravated her nausea, and yesterday she had hardly left the sofa all day except to make herself tea and occasionally run to the loo when her stomach tried to catch her out. Pearl had hardly spoken to her, unsure of what she could say, but Melody had been incredible in the four days it had been since the test had glowed with an unwanted pink plus.

April was coming to an end. Ten weeks had passed since Ishaana had first met Casey, when he had stumbled into her at the bar, and she couldn't help but wonder where she would be right now if Melody hadn't got those tickets; if she hadn't been dragged along; if she hadn't said yes when Casey had invited her up to his room. She never would have met him, or Bishop. She never would have slept with him – or Bishop. Those two words seemed to have popped up a lot recently: or Bishop. Each time she imagined the cells invading her uterus, they belonged to Casey.

But they could just as easily be Bishop's. Melody kept reminding her of that. Four weeks was long enough for the signs to show. That thought churned her stomach even more, mixing up the fresh batch of feelings that she couldn't figure out how to deal with on top of every emotion she had felt before a few days ago. Melody had stirred her up, tricking her into realising that there was a soft spot growing where she had never predicted one would appear, one with Bishop's name inked across it.

Part of her hated Casey, an inexplicable need to vent her anger when she couldn't blame anyone but herself. Thousands of what-ifs swarmed her brain, pointlessly wondering how her life had got to this point and how she would pull herself back from the ledge this time. She needed to hate someone, just to let out the rage she felt towards herself, and Casey was a natural target. She only hoped that it was him who had got her pregnant: it would be a lot easier to rid herself of him than someone she liked.

Those feelings would have to fade, she told herself. It was unfair on Bishop for her to like him as anything more than Casey's friend. Especially now.

At eleven o'clock on Monday morning, as she lay in bed staring at the ceiling with one hand over her stomach, unable to believe that there was any kind of life growing inside her, there was a knock on the door. That would be Melody, her human alarm. Today was the day. One of them, at least. Melody was her rock, the only thing keeping her sane when all she really wanted to do was scream at the top of her lungs and tear her hair out, to hit something – or someone – just to let out everything she had pent up for years.

"Come in," she said, rolling onto her side, and Melody pushed open the door. She was dressed and ready with her bag over her shoulder and a comforting smile on her lips.

"Hey," she said. "You're appointment's in thirty minutes, so I thought I'd check you're alive. You're supposed to have a full bladder. At least, I think that's what the woman said when I made the appointment. Probably makes it easier to scan, I don't know. Anyway, I made you tea." She nodded her head away from the door. "In the kitchen. You ok?"

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