Sevin answered right away, “One.”
I looked at him. He looked at me. His eyes were telling me not to question it, and I had no intention of protesting. I was confused, unable to understand how he could possibly want to share a bed with me after everything that happened tonight.
The room was small with one full-sized bed. It was dark, but neither of us turned on the lamp. We kept the bathroom light on, which allowed just enough illumination for us to see each other.
Sevin lifted his shirt and threw it on the chair. I honestly didn’t know where his head was at. His specifically asking for one bed made me wary about the reason he wanted to sleep next to me. The truth was, if he planned to try to angrily fuck me to let out his frustrations, I would give him whatever he wanted. I’d do just about anything to comfort him tonight.
“Lie down,” he said, his tone demanding as he undid the bedding and got underneath.
My back was facing him as I climbed into the bed with everything but my shoes on.
Sevin wrapped his arms around my waist and held me close. He was being so quiet that I wasn’t sure whether he’d fallen asleep until he asked, “Has he always manhandled you like that?”
“Not in the very beginning, but in the past few years, yes. He’s never beaten me really badly, but he slaps me sometimes or shoves me. And he’s very verbally abusive.”
Sevin started to breathe heavier, tightening his grip on me and pulling me even more firmly against him. Closing my eyes, I relaxed into him. After several minutes of quiet, he lowered his hand and placed it under my shirt over my stomach, gently caressing my skin with his thumb.
I knew he was thinking about our baby, searching desperately and in vain for something that was long gone. It was breaking my heart. How was I going to explain everything to him tomorrow in a way that could possibly justify my actions?
Sometime in those early morning hours, Sevin and I fell asleep, his hand never leaving my belly.
The morning sun streamed through the window. When I woke up and patted the bed around me, he was gone. Before I could freak out, the door creaked open and clicked shut behind him. Sevin was holding two bags of fast food breakfast and two coffees in a cardboard tray.
I sat up as he handed me a coffee and placed one of the bags on the night table next to me.
“Eat,” he simply said. His mood was definitely darker than last night when he held me. He was probably gearing up for the conversation we were about to have.
As for me, there was no way to mentally prepare for it. As I sat up eating, the sun caught his dark blue eyes in such a way that it made my heart clench. His hair was unruly from sleep. It had been at least a few days since he last shaved. Sevin was such a beautiful man. I didn’t know how I would be able to handle it if I had to live in Dodge City and not be with him, not be allowed to love him openly if he could never forgive me.
After breakfast, he told me to take a shower. Afterward, he stood in the doorway with his arms crossed and watched as I brushed my hair slowly. I was trying to delay the inevitable.
“Sit down,” he said.
I knew it was time.
Sitting on the bed, I looked down at the floor and rubbed my sweaty palms along my thighs. Sevin stood leaning against the wall at the opposite side of the room as if to avoid being near me in the event that his anger became uncontrollable; at least, that was how I interpreted his standing so far away.
When I finally looked up at him, he offered me a simple nod.
I just started talking.
“I found out I was pregnant about a month before I left. You might remember I started to really distance myself. I wanted to tell you, but I knew if I did, that you would insist that we keep it. I just didn’t see how that could ever be possible unless we both ran away. I just couldn’t do that to Elle. At the same time, abortion wasn’t an option. This was still our child. I needed help, so I made a decision that was risky. I told Mama about us…everything.”
Sevin’s gaze lifted from the floor, and his eyes were piercing. A look that was a mix of shock and rage washed over his face. “Your mother? Olga has known all this time?”
“What about Lance?”
“Daddy still doesn’t know to this day. Neither does Emily. No one else knows.”
“Fuck. I can’t believe this.”
“I confided in my mother instead of Adelaide, because I was afraid Addy might tell you. Mama set me up in a house in Wichita. The old woman who lived there was a second or third cousin of my grandmother’s. My mother paid her to let me stay there while I was pregnant. I don’t know if you remember her going away some weekends back then? She was visiting me.”
“Yeah. I always thought it was strange that she would leave Elle…to supposedly visit some cousins.”
“I also got a job waitressing at the time. That was when I first met Dean, although we never got together until after the pregnancy. He was a regular at the restaurant.”
“I was really scared, Sevin. I missed you so much, yearned for you. I was carrying a part of you inside of me and couldn’t tell you. I thought I would never see you again. I know it seems like I made a rash and irresponsible decision, but it felt like I had no choice. I just didn’t see another solution at the time. I couldn’t risk my sister finding out, especially in her condition.”
“I had a fucking right to know!”
“Can you honestly say that you would have let me give the baby up for adoption?”