Christmas with Rachel

The bus dropped Annabel and I off in Downtown New Bern. As planned, my little sister was waiting for us. I’m so glad you two were able to make it to North Carolina, She said as she pulled both of us into a hug.

Where to first, Annabel asked.

Let’s go into the building so you two can use the restroom and pick up bus passes. Get the 7-Day Express Pass, since I want to show you the region, Rachel said.

After taking a restroom break, Rachel said, Let’s drop things off at your hotel room, then I want to show you my temporary home in Havelock.

Alright, I said as I hugged her again.

Buy your bus passes, then we can walk the three blocks to the hotel. Then, let’s walk back here and catch the 2 Express to my place, She said.

This is my new apartment, Rachel said as we entered, It isn’t much, and after Chris and I get married next year, we will buy a house together.

We will keep your things with us until then, Annabel said.

Thank-you, Rachel replied as she started showing us around. The apartment was not very big, but it didn’t matter. It was only for a few months.

The bedroom door opened, and Chris entered. Rachel said, Chris, I want you to meet my…

Rachel’s voice trailed away. I thought you wouldn’t be home, Chris said angrily.

Honey, who is that A confused female voice called from the other room.

Get out, Chris screamed, pointing at me, as he slapped Rachel across the cheek.

It happened in a flash. Annabel said, Rachel, pack your things. We are leaving… NOW!

Don’t you leave this house, He snarled at Rachel, as tears started flowing down her eyes, as the magnitude of what was going on: she was being cheated on.

I reacted angrily, Don’t you dare follow us to New Bern. Chris raised another fist, and I snarled, Touch my baby sister again, and I will personally kill you. Turning to my little sister, I continued, We will take your things to that shipping store next to Big Mart. You are coming home to Virginia.

Annabel added as she started helping Rachel pack, We will discuss things when we get to New Bern. Chris raised his fist at Annabel, who reacted immediately with a blocking arm. She said, Do that again and I will have you arrested!

Who are they, A woman called from Chris and Rachel’s bedroom, as Annabel, Rachel, and I stormed their way out of that house, not answering that other woman.

Rachel’s things were packed, and I said, I’m glad we kept most of your things in Virginia. We walked up the street to the shopping center, where we took her things to the store so it could all be shipped to Virginia.

That’s when it hit Rachel. As if her brain finally caught up to the mess that happened, all her emotion just poured out as she dissolved into uncontrollable sobs. Annabel said, We need to get her back to the hotel. She needs privacy. My wife looked me in the eye and added, Most of all right now, you sister needs you. Annabel then turned her attention back to Rachel and added, Let’s get your things shipped to Virginia, then get you back to the hotel.

Thank-you, Rachel sobbed, as I held her as tightly as I could.

I don’t care how much it costs, but we need to get her things to Virginia, Annabel said to the clerk when they entered the shipping store.

She said to her sister-in-law, Take only what you absolutely need for a couple of nights in New Bern, and the rest will go to Virginia.

I want my laptop and some clothes, Rachel whimpered.

Of course, and some toiletries, Annabel replied.

Rachel had this look in her eyes as tears welled up when Annabel said toiletries. What’s wrong, I asked.

My shampoo. My toothbrush. They are all back in the house, Rachel sobbed.

Annabel responded, We will go into Big Mart and get you replacements.

Meanwhile, I was on the phone with Jessica. Remember when I called you at 5 AM because Delores threw me out? Yeah, Annabel and I are in Havelock pulling Rachel away from Chris, after he slapped her… Yes, please do… Here she is.

I handed the phone to Rachel as I said, Jessica wants to talk to you.

He slapped me… No, I’m with Michael and Annabel only right now… They are shipping my things back to Virginia Beach, and I’m going back home to them. He cheated on me too!

Annabel paid for Rachel’s things to be shipped, then said, Let’s get the next bus to New Bern, and get you a ticket to home.

I still want to show you the area, Rachel said, I did make a promise.

Yes, you did, but we need to get you a ride home, I responded, We are going to buy you a bus ticket back to Norfolk, then head to the hotel.

Annabel added, We want you to be able to calm down in privacy.

Rachel responded by gripping me tightly, as if she would never get to see me again, and I said, Promise: Annabel and I won’t leave your side for any reason.

Water, Rachel whispered, still sobbing.

That evening, after a day of riding the bus to explore the region, we returned to New Bern and the hotel room. Rachel was extremely pale and mumbled, I’m starting to feel throw-up sick.

Annabel recognized the signs immediately and asked, Where is the nearest drug store?

I replied, I think there was one as we walked from the bus stop to the hotel. Why?

Annabel said, Rachel, I think I know why you’re sick. I just hope I’m wrong. Rachel looked up at both of us, and we both saw how sick she looked. Annabel said, Michael, stay with her. I should be back in ten minutes tops. You two, get into the bathroom. Rachel, you need to stay right by the toilet, no matter what happens. You’ll thank me later.

I sat Rachel down on the bathroom floor as I called Jessica again, this time putting her on speaker. Rachel is throwing up sick. You’re on speaker and Rachel is right here, I said.

Rachel, what happened, Jessica asked.

Rachel barfed again, then tried to get out, I feel very queasy.

Annabel returned, entered the bathroom, and said, Rachel, please do not be mad at me. I think I know why you are sick.

Jessica, still on speaker, asked in a worried voice, Who is there?

I said, Annabel just returned from the drug store.

Annabel whispered, Rachel, I’m very sorry, but I recognize the signs you’re showing, since I’ve been through this twice.

Rachel’s eyes widened as she asked, Annabel, do you think I’m… I’m… She was too scared to continue.

Annabel said, Rachel, I’m being honest. As a mother, I immediately noticed the change in your breasts.

Rachel cried, Please don’t tell me I’m pregnant. I’m scared.

Jessica said, I’m going to fly to Virginia. When do you get back from North Carolina?

Annabel replied, Thursday the 27th, around 4 at the Norfolk Station.

Jessica said, I will fly in then.

Rachel sobbed, Thank you Jess. She then proceeded to take the test and was extremely nervous. She was glad to have the one person she trusted more than anyone at her side. She was so glad I was at her side, holding her hand.

She cried as the test came back positive, and I said, We are here for you, and we will be more than happy to raise your child.

Annabel looked into Rachel’s teary eyes and said, Yes, Rachel. We will help you raise your child. All we ask is you pitch in to help us with Daniel and Rowena.

Jessica said, Yes, go home to Virginia. Do not tell Chris that you’re pregnant. It is over; throw that stupid ring away, Now I need to get going and feed Brandon and Dustin.

Alright Jess. We look forward to seeing you, Annabel said.

We will not leave your side Rachel, I said as I hugged her again, Promise. Come home and finish your education at CCHR.

I will, Rachel said, glad to be getting away from the cheater. She had a resolve in her voice, and she knew she belonged in Virginia, not North Carolina.

Good. When we get home, you will drop those Online classes and switch to on-campus classes instead, Annabel said.

Thank-you for talking me out of getting a North Carolina ID, Rachel sobbed when her puking subsided.

Just promise us that you will not find any more creeps, I replied.

Promise, Rachel whispered as she held me very tightly, I’m looking forward to going home.

We are looking forward to having you back home, I replied.