Time in Willow Creek: 11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
Author’s note: Hey folks! This is the season finale! Yeah…I’m pretty sad about that too. However, I’ve already gotten started on season 3, and I don’t plan to write the whole thing ahead of time this go round, so there will be a dramatically shorter wait this time! Juliana and friends will be back before you have a chance to miss them. Your enthusiasm for this story warms my heart, and I appreciate all of your support! Enjoy. 🙂
At breakfast, the next morning, everyone was excited to hear about Juliana’s first date. She told them about the cafe, the music, the food, and their conversation; she conveniently left out the details about the “define the relationship” talk. Naturally, Hillary wanted to know if there was kissing involved. Before Juliana could say no, Harold chastised his daughter. He said her mind was always in the gutter and admonished her not to drag Juliana down with her. Furthermore, he gave her another stern warning. “You keep goin ‘round kissin everything that walks, you’ll never find yourself a real man!”
That was the end of that conversation and all conversations. Breakfast was finished in silence. Afterward, everyone except Hillary went their separate ways. She remained at the table with her thoughts. Juliana went to her balcony to paint. Harold went to his usual spot, and Harriett went to her room to read. She needed a moment alone to calm down after Harold’s lashing. She completely agreed with everything he said and wished their daughter would get her act together. But, she wished Harold would try something new. All Hillary’s life, he harped on every little thing she did. Harriett wished he would simply talk to her sometimes, but he was an old dog and would not learn new tricks. His old school ways were engraved in stone. Hillary didn’t seem to listen to either of them, but Harriett knew that if Harold were a little kinder, she might receive him and change her ways.
Hillary was still sitting at the table summoning all the courage she required for the conversation she needed to have with Harriett. It was time. She had been putting it off for weeks and tried to ignore her problem. She even tried to make herself believe she didn’t have a problem. But, as time progressed she knew she couldn’t ignore it anymore.
Harriett thought she was embarrassed and needed consoling. “Come here, sugar pie. Are you ok?”
She sat next to her on the couch. Harriett tried to embrace her, but she pulled away. “He’s right, mama. I need to do better.”
Harriett was glad that she finally got it, but there was something strange in her daughter’s eyes. It almost looked like fear. “What’s the matter?”
Hillary looked at her in the eyes, but she couldn’t make her confession looking at her mother’s sweet face. She bowed her head low, and she and her shame were on the same level. “I…”
She couldn’t do it.
Harriett was anxious–almost desperate. Hillary almost never confided in her mother when it really counted. She could tell this was one of those times, and Hillary was so close to telling her. She threw her left arm around Hillary’s shoulders and held her hand with the other. “Sugar pie…what is it? You can tell me! Please… Just tell me!”
Tears began to stream down Hillary’s face. Her mother’s comfort was nice, but it didn’t help make her more confident. “Mama!” She cried into her mother’s shoulder for a moment. Harriett was silent and tried to console her, stroking her hair and shushing her like a baby.
When Hillary gained her composure back, she sat up and dried her eyes. Only her mother was allowed to see her be that vulnerable with her mascara running down her face. “I think I might be pregnant.”
Harriett gasped and pulled away. “Oh dear God!”
Hillary’s eyes began to fill with tears again as she watched the disappointment wash over her mother’s face. “I’m sorry, mama!”
“Hillary!” She sat there with her mouth gaped shaking her head.
“I’m sorry!” Her bottom lip quivered. She felt like a puppy with its tail between its legs.
Harriett thrust her hands in Hillary’s face. “I thought you were being safe! I thought you were smarter than this!”
“I’m not a fool, Hillary! You don’t think I notice when you don’t come home at night or when you have on the same clothes the next morning? We’re not as old as you think we are!”
She felt ashamed for thinking she could outsmart her mother. She thought being caught coming home at disrespectful hours would have been bad, but knowing that Harriett knew the entire time was worse. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“What would you expect me to say? Would you listen? We’ve been talking about these things for a long time, sugar pie. I don’t know what else I can say!”
“I’m sorry, mama.”
Harriett thought back to the past month or so, and it all made sense to her. The emotional outbursts, the backaches, the weight gain, and even the nausea she didn’t know about. She felt like she should have seen it coming, but she was blindsided. She said nothing as she processed all that her child presented to her and silently prayed for her. She wished she understood her better. The times had changed, and Harriett maintained her position. Hillary was growing up differently than her. She began to feel guilty and questioned every part of her mothering. Did she teach her the wrong things? Did she leave anything out? Did she try to shelter her too much? Could she have been more loving? Was she open enough? Should she have tried harder to connect with her? Was this her fault? Stop! She couldn’t let herself get caught up in the what ifs and blaming herself. With the knowledge and experience she had, Harriett knew she had raised her children the best she knew how. Hillary was an adult, and only she was responsible for her choices.
After a few moments, Harriett broke the silence. “So who’s the father of this child?”
The fear returned to the pit of Hillary’s stomach. “I-I’m not sure.” Her voice was just above a whisper.
Harriett wanted to scream, but Hillary felt bad enough. Instead, she closed her eyes and sucked in all the frustration and disappointment she felt and exhaled it all out slowly. She heard the sounds of her child’s sniffles and wanted to tell her that it was going to be ok, but would it? She didn’t think Hillary was ready for the real world before, and she definitely had doubts after receiving the news. However, she pushed those thoughts away and got down to business like she always did. After she got dressed, she promptly took her to the doctor to find out for sure even though they both knew it was true.
Hillary was mortified after answering questions about her sex life in front of her mother. But, at the same time, she felt oddly relieved that Harriett knew everything now. She surrendered blood and urine samples to the lab rats to analyze. The doctor also insisted on doing an ultrasound. She told Hillary she wanted to do it in case the results were positive for pregnancy then she could go ahead and determine how far along she was; but if the results were negative, she wanted to make sure she didn’t have a tumor or something else that was causing the discomfort. All of that was probably true and that particular doctor’s style of testing, but Harriett knew the real reason for the ultrasound. According to when Hillary said her last spurt of sexual activity was, Harriett knew she was probably getting close to that magic 20 week mark when the first sonogram is usually done. The whole experience of being there with Hillary was unnerving; she still couldn’t believe it was happening. Both of the Humphries women felt sick.
As she awaited the doctor’s return, Hillary was hoping it was a tumor. It scared her to think about a cancerous mass growing inside her, but at least she could have surgery to have it removed. Worse case scenario, she would need a few rounds of radiation or even chemotherapy to eradicate it all. In a few months time, she would be rid of it and would have her life back. But if it wasn’t a tumor…
Her mother’s voice snapped her out of her thoughts.
Harriett was trying to stay positive and thought that would be a good time for some encouraging, motherly insight. “I know you saw your life going differently, and I know you’re terrified, but this isn’t the end of the world. Children are little blessings! It’ll take some getting used to, but in time you’ll find that your life is so much better with a child in it. And…you’re not alone! Whether the father chooses to be involved or not, we’re still here. And your sister… And Juliana just loves kids!”
As much as Hillary appreciated the encouragement, she was still rooting for cancer.
The Humphries ladies waited for the doctor for another half hour. Harriett tried to take Hillary’s mind off it, but it was no use. She had no idea what her daughter was going through. All of her children were planned, and finding out she was pregnant was always joyous occasion. It was the same with Rebecca. This was all very new to her too.
At last, there was a quick knock at the door, and the doctor let herself in. Hillary held her breath and braced herself for the news.
“All right, Ms. Humphries! I’ve got your results.”
Hillary’s face turned as white as the doctor’s coat. She panicked. “Mama…” Her voice trembled and was drenched with desperation.
Harriett knew that tone. She hadn’t heard it in many years, but she knew it well and could never forget it. When Hillary was hurt as a child, she heard it. When Hillary was sick and couldn’t help herself, she heard it. When Hillary was agonizing over some major decision or problem she had, she heard it. Each time she heard it, she ran to her child’s rescue. It was her cue to be supermom and save the day. It may have been a while, but Harriett was not rusty. She jumped up from her seat and rushed over to the bed where Hillary was sitting. She held her and said, “I’m here, sugar pie.” She was always there.
The doctor understood. She had seen more than a few young, unwed mothers in her career. They were all terrified, and she tried to put a positive spin on the situation. She sat to give her the news. “Ok… So, I have excellent news. I’m very excited to announce that you will be having a baby soon!”
The doctor continued. She was trying so hard to make Hillary excited. “You should have a cute little baby bump soon! Usually women start showing between 12 and 16 weeks, and you’re somewhere around 13 weeks. The fetus is still quite small, but it was there and we measured it as best we could. Most doctors don’t do sonograms until 20 weeks because of that, so I’ll definitely want to see you back then to get a more accurate measurement so we can determine your due date.”
Hillary was still processing the news. She heard what the doctor was saying, but she wasn’t listening.
“So…do you have any questions?”
Harriett always thought it was good to have a question even if it was silly and she knew the answer. “So, she could be in the second trimester already?”
The doctor nodded. “Either she’s at the very end of the first or just beginning the second. It’s just hard to tell right now.”
Harriett nodded with understanding.
“Ok, so if no one has any more questions for me, I’ll see you all in seven weeks. Congratulations, Hillary! I’m sure you’ll be a great mom.” She said that to all the expecting mothers.
Harriett smiled, and the doctor left.
“Thirteen weeks,” Hillary said, finally. “That’s like…three months.”
“A little more, yeah. Does that mean anything to you?”
She shrugged. She wasn’t brave enough to look at her calendar to count the weeks. Finding out who she would be connected to for the rest of her life wasn’t a priority at the moment. This was a wakeup call—a rude awakening. At some point, she would have to begin heeding her parents’ advice and taking responsibility for her own life and now the life of her child. She felt like the universe was conspiring against her, forcing her to confront her demons and fears head on before she was ready. There were many questions she needed to ask herself and answer honestly. It was going to be a long, hard, painful journey; she knew this. Thoughts of her family’s reaction to her predicament struck fear in heart, and she felt remorse all over again for the unwise decisions she had made. However, she took solace in knowing she had her mother’s support. Her mother was always in her corner. Although she sometimes took her for granted, she always appreciated knowing she was the stalwart supporter in her life. As she thought about the child she was carrying, she only hoped that one day he or she would one day feel the same way about her.
And…just for fun… 🙂