Life On The Line

Another short story about one tiny mistake. This was also originally coursework that I wrote for Language so amendments are most likely needed.


1. Life On The Line


Reality hauls me down like a rope, wraps itself around me and tightens. I’ve made mistakes in the past but nothing compares to this. Nothing so dreadful that it would tear my family apart.

I cannot tell you my first initial thought when it happened. The fear is too overwhelming. The reality of knowing it is enough to seize my stomach and have me hurling over the toilet seat like a maniac. Literally. But that isn’t what makes me churn with revulsion. It is knowing that I cannot undo my mistakes; I can’t lie to Wayne and tell him that our family is going to be perfect and I most definitely can’t deny the fact that I betrayed him.

        “Something’s bothering you, I can tell,” Wayne says from his place in front of the fire. His observance is surprising.

        “No there isn’t,” I lie. “It’s just-”

        “Don’t do that.”

        “Do what?” This is how the conversation always turns out; civil one minute and crazy the next.

Wayne shakes his head in disapproval. “You’re making excuses. You always do. If something is wrong you don’t have to keep it to yourself. I’m your boyfriend, Ivy, I’ll help you.”

His sympathy tugs at my love for him and I want to confess to everything; to breath out the truth and never have to carry it again. The temptation overpowers me and I almost agree with it. But that means losing him forever.

“Wayne, its fine. Honestly.”

But it isn’t – I am pregnant.

        This thought has been torturing me for months, caging me, blinding me with turmoil. Nothing makes it worse than the possibility of an alternative father, and who am I to choose between them? Wayne is a sweetheart: rough on the outside but gentle within and Reid is a complete contrast. His intrepid charms and incessant attempts to sway my attention are never inept and despite my vigilant emotions get the better of me.

        But it’s not as simple as that.

        I have seen a side to Reid that I thought never existed. His cold, reckless intentions were scorched with passion and security, no more than his words whispered so delicately against my neck. Reid has completely changed my life. But watching Wayne now, the way his eyes flash with wonder at the simplest things and how the corners of his mouth don’t quite reach even lengths when he smiles, I know that I couldn’t wish for a better man to be my baby’s father – biological or not.

        “None of this feels fine to me,” Wayne’s says, pulling me back to reality. “You haven’t been acting like yourself lately, going to bed early, leaving for work before I’m even up. It’s like your avoiding me. And those phone calls – the ones you claim are just your mum – she never calls you that much in a month, never mind a day. What is going on?”

At that precise moment a shrill ringing breaks my train of thought. I panic. Wayne glances at me and then at the phone vibrating on the coffee table, his eyes already hard with determination. “I guess I’m about to find out.”

“No, please just ignore it,” I beg before I can catch myself. I reach out for him but Wayne is already ahead. He darts for the phone, effortlessly dodging my grasp as I launch myself off the sofa. “Please,” I whisper. “Let it go.”

But he doesn’t hear me.



“No, she’s busy at the moment. Who is this?”

The silence stretches on as Wayne listens to the person on the end of the line. From his incredulous expression, I have a pretty confident suspicion of who it is. Instantly, I feel my heart shatter. I can already feel the atmosphere trembling around us and one look at Wayne tells me that the pain isn’t going to end.

He knows.

“Ivy doesn’t know any Reid Garwin,” Wayne says. He looks bitterly at me, noticing the fear etched across my face. “Or maybe she does. Ivy, do you know a Mr Reid Garwin?”

I don’t answer.

He clenches his jaw. “I’m sorry, it looks like your call has been wasted.” And with that said, Wayne hangs up.

My head pounds from all of the stress. Everything in me aches with the pain of what is about to come.


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