Writer of stories about diversity.
The next morning, Ryder burst into the basement carrying a paper bag. Kate sat upright in the bed, pulling her knees to her chin.
“I’ve got it. The pregnancy test. You’ve got to pee, is it your first one this morning?” he asked hurriedly, pulling her from the bed.
Kate took the paper bag and went into the ensuite, closing the door.
“Hey babe, have you finished? I need to time it.” Ryder called to Kate who was standing at the ensuite sink watching the white stick she had just peed on. She was too afraid to watch but at the same time couldn’t take her eyes off it.
Ryder burst into the ensuite, “what are you doing, can’t you hear me out there?”
Kate looked at him, her eyes wide and then looked down at the pregnancy test.
Ryder picked it up, “how long ago did you use it? It’s got to be three minutes before it gives the result.”
Ryder’s eyes went to the results window and noticed the word ‘yes’ and ‘+’.
His face immediately brightened, “babe, you’re pregnant. We’re going to have a baby.” He said excitedly.
Kate felt like climbing to the top of the Gherkin and jumping off, she had never felt so hopeless and yet so responsible for the unknown being growing inside her.
Ryder took her face between his hands and kissed her.
“You’re pregnant, with our baby.” He repeated, as if Kate hadn’t heard him the first time.
“Let’s celebrate.” He took her hand and led her out of the basement room.
+ + +
“What do you feel like for breakfast?” he asked, busying himself in the fridge whilst Kate sat on one of the stools at the counter, she peered around the kitchen and the attached dining area. It was a plush space, lot’s of blacks and browns and everything looked top of the range.
“Umm, no more wine for you.” He chortled, “I’ll go without as well, just to make it easier for you.”
He turned to look at Kate, a couple of eggs in his hands, “You haven’t said anything, hon. How do you feel?”
Kate’s eyes filled with tears, “Good,” she lied, her voice quavering.
“Are you excited?” he said turning away from her as he pulled out a frypan.
“Y,y,yes.” She replied, “Very.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks, she knew she was trapped and her emotions were in turmoil.
Ryder had threatened to seriously harm Ellie should Kate continue to be difficult and now she was carrying his baby. Here was her captor, cooking her an omelette, practically dancing around the kitchen because she was pregnant.
Kate slid off the stool and grabbed a paper towel to stem the flow of tears.
When she had fallen pregnant with Rhys, both of them decided it was best to terminate the pregnancy, neither of them were ready for a child in their lives. Little did Kate know that Rhys wouldn’t be around for much longer. Kate regretted their joint decision to end her pregnancy after Rhys’ death.
Kate sobbed, involuntarily, burying her face in the paper towel.
Ryder turned at the sound.
“Oh, baby, are you okay?” he said enclosing her in his arms, gently stroking her hair. “We’re going to be okay. Our beautiful baby will have the best of everything, private school, holidays overseas, university. We can have more?”
Kate sobbed again, unable to stop herself.
“That’s okay baby, I know it’s a lot to take in. You don’t know how happy you’ve made me. Now all I want to do is make you happy.” Ryder cooed, stroking her hair. He lifted her chin and gently kissed her forehead, her eyes and her salty cheeks.
“We’re a family.” He said.
Kate nodded, not sure what else to do.
+ + +
The rest of the day was spent like any other normal couple, they ate breakfast together and then pulled apart the newspaper, sharing it to read.
They watched TV and had lunch together, busying themselves around the house. Ryder showed Kate around, telling her about the quirks of the building.
He then showed her his photos, telling her about his family and where they were now, mostly dead.
Ryder ordered a Thai for dinner, he greeted the delivery guy, not allowing Kate near the door.
Kate slept in the main bedroom with Ryder that night and made breakfast in the morning whilst Ryder went and picked up some milk and a paper from the local store.
Sunday was similar to Saturday and Kate felt in a daze at this other person Ryder had changed into. She had to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t asleep, dreaming.
+ + +
Monday morning arrived and Ryder had gotten up early to get ready for work.
“Hey, babe. Here’s a cup of tea. I’ve got to go in early.” Ryder said placing a cup of tea on the bedside table.
Kate opened her eyes and sat up pulling the sheet up to her chin. She looked around the room, disorientated and then remembered that she had slept in the main bedroom, with Ryder beside her.
She relaxed recalling their love making the night before, how gentle it had been, how mesmerised Ryder was with her rounded belly. He touched each of her bruises, her split chin and tears welled up in his eyes. She couldn’t believe it was the same guy who had beaten her so savagely over the past month.
“How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?” he sat on the edge of the bed, his hand moving down to her belly, touching it gently.
“No, I’m fine. The tea is good.” Kate said, feeling her stomach begin to turn.
“Good, good.” He stood up. His work shirt and trousers slightly creased and his after shave scent wafting around him. “I have to go to work. You know you have the run of the house.”
Kate nodded, Plans whirling around in her head.
Ryder suddenly bent down and pulled her face to his, “but if you do anything to ruin this, I will kill Ellie and you will be in the basement again. I’m not losing my baby now.” He hissed into her ear.
Then Ryder’s expression changed, he said amiably, “I’ll see you tonight, around six, see if you can make us some dinner, okay?” and then he left the bedroom.
Kate lay down in bed again, giving him a few minutes to leave the house before she got up. She recalled their Sunday together, it was idyllic. After they sat around sharing bits of the newspaper Ryder cooked them a roast for lunch. They watched the news together and then Dancing with Stars before going to bed. She shook her head, it was like a different guy, not the man that had abducted her, beaten her and continues to threaten her friend.
+ + +
Once Kate was sure Ryder had left she wandered downstairs and went straight to the front door turning the handle. It was locked, dead bolted. She walked around the ground floor looking for a back door, there wasn’t one.
Kate began to check the windows, they were all key locked, she sighed and went to the kitchen to make herself a coffee.
While the kettle boiled she looked around for a phone, nothing in the kitchen. She began opening all the doors along a corridor, lounge, dining, utility and then came across a locked door, possibly a study.
Kate went back to the kitchen to finish making her coffee, as she filled the cup with hot water, the familiar smell of coffee wafted up to her. Kate inhaled deeply enjoying the smell of almost fresh coffee and then her stomach cramped, she became ill and doubled over the sink, dry retching into it.
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