RE: Blindside (Jordan)
on Friday, June, 15, 2012 8:53 PM
Jordan stared at the small plastic stick in her hand.
“This isn’t happening…” she muttered in disbelief. “It only thinks it’s happening.”
Sure, she was a couple weeks late, but she hadn’t truly thought anything of it—it wouldn’t have been the first time her fluctuating hormones had thrown her off schedule. And she thought she’d been good about her pills. But, here it was… and EPT probably didn’t lie.
“Shit.” She noticed her mouth had gone dry.
She thought of picking up the phone and calling Kevin at the office, but what would be the point? She was always lucky to catch him in to begin with, he spent so much time all over the office—she and his secretary had become friends just from the fact that Katharine was who Jordan usually found herself talking to when she called, rather than Kevin himself—and she didn’t see a reason to worry him before he got home. Might as well not have two individuals’ entire days ruined.
It had been a whirlwind romance, which wasn’t surprising, considering the people involved. Three months into the relationship, they’d moved in together. Two months after that, Jordan was here, sitting in the bathroom of their shared apartment on her day off, looking at two pink lines and wondering what the hell she was going to do now.
“Shit, shit, shit,” she repeated, then added a few of her father’s choice words in Greek, which were just about the only thing of the language she’d picked up (though he was bilingual himself, being first-generation American with parents straight off the boat, he only resorted to Greek when angry and walking around the house muttering heatedly).
They’d met through Lora. Jordan and Lora had gone to college together in their undergrad days—roomies at Stanford. Jordan had always been the more free-spirited of the pair; Lora liked a good time as much as the next girl but was more likely to buckle down when push came to shove, and she wasn’t the one to miss class because it was a “perfect day” and she’d ridden her 60s-era Honda dual-sport down to the beach with some new friends she’d met at the bar the previous night over a Guinness and a discussion about Plato’s cave allegory or what Beatles songs were really about. Jordan always had an inventive excuse for the profs, and if they didn’t quite buy it from a logical standpoint, something about Jordan’s sparkling hazel eyes, free and breezy smile, and simply her devil-may-care attitude, left them doing no more than sighing and shaking their heads. Lora was the prettier of the two, but there was something about Jordan that made you want to be on her side, and so she could hold her own with everyone even when all Lora had to do was smile.
Thrown together by chance-- and perhaps someone in Housing who was good at reading a student questionnaire and matching up roommates-- the pair had become instant friends. Lora-- who'd studied karate since she was a child and had earned a third-degree black belt so far-- taught Jordan a few moves. Jordan taught Lora to ride a motorcycle (though when they went anywhere, Lora much preferred to let her friend do the driving). Lora tried to interest Jordan about computers; Jordan tried to teach Lora to draw (both were equally unsuccessful). They had their differences-- Lora'd grown up in New England, while Jordan was a California girl all the way and it showed; Lora had a greater stock of patience while Jordan was much better at rolling with the punches and not sweating the small stuff; Lora took stock in working harder while Jordan believed in working smarter and getting things done with little fanfare to cause extra toil and trouble. Somehow they balanced each other out, and the inseparable pair were sometimes mistaken for sisters by people who didn't know better.
After graduation, Lora had gone straight to grad school; Jordan gave it a year while she traveled.
“I can grow up soon enough,” she said. After earning her degree in architecture, she’d gone out to Chicago to work for some big firm, and then on to Boston when they transferred her. But her new bosses in Boston, uptight and sexist, were rubbing her the wrong way, and she was tired of cold winters and itching to get back to California… so she told her boss to take the job and shove it in the crudest Spanish slang she’d learned from her Latino friends while growing up in L.A., called up an old grad-school buddy who’d opened his own firm and found he did indeed have an opening, and prepared to head home.
As she packed, she looked in the mirror, realized she was getting older and pretty soon would have to become “respectable,” and decided to have one last hurrah on her way back to the west coast since she didn’t have to start at her new job for two weeks.
And so, after backpacking across the country, she ended up on Lora’s couch while she looked for an apartment (having tearfully sold her trusty Honda to scrape together the extra cash for rent and a security deposit). Alan came home late from work one night and found Jordan sprawled out on one of his living room chairs, cheerfully sketching a new design for his kitchen, and all he did was roll his eyes. He’d always liked Jordan, but he had to admit to himself that he didn’t quite understand what it was that made her so nonchalant about life. However, it did give him an idea, which he broached to Lora as soon as he got to bed and woke her up.
“Hey. We should have Flynn over.”
“He and Jordan would be perfect for each other, right?”
“Yeah, now that you mention it.”
“And you say Jordan’s settled down quite a bit since college, right, so she’d also be a good influence on him.” Lora just gave him a bright (if sleepy) smile that told him she thought it was a great idea, and the next day they invited Kevin Flynn to go with them for a picnic on the beach.
The rest was history. Wise men say only fools rush in, Alan would’ve intoned if he’d been asked (but he wasn’t, a mistake of omission that he thought many people committed far too often. Yet, years down the road, he would grudgingly admit the pair had worked out really well together. Besides, Alan was the guy who’d waited so long to ask Lora out that Flynn got to her first, so perhaps his prudence went too far at times).
And so now... here was Jordan, whose life had just taken a turn she never in a million years would've expected.
“Damn. Damn. Shit,” she said again. “What happened and what do I do about it?”
This could be the end of everything she'd planned or wanted for her life. She felt like throwing up. What was she going to tell Kevin? What was she going to tell everyone? What about her job? What about her life? Was Kevin going to cut and run? Jordan wasn't sure she'd blame him if he did; she herself had the urge to bolt.
Could she go through with it? If she did, would she keep the baby or give it up?
She thought of calling Lora. She needed someone to talk to, and her best friend was an obvious choice. But somehow she thought her other best friend-- the other person who had a huge stake in this whole thing-- ought to hear about it first So she decided to wait until Kevin got home.
But when he did, he was late and fuming.
“Those idiots in R and D!” he raged. “They made some changes, didn't test them first, uploaded a glitch and shut down a whole server! I had to stay late to fix it. Then I get to the arcade; the change machine's down and nobody thought to call me. Ever been mobbed by a bunch of irate thirteen-year-olds?” Then he looked at Jordan's face.
“I'm sorry, love. How was your day?” Jordan bit her lip.
“I...” she paused. “It was fine,” she lied. Somehow, now didn't seem the time.
Nor did the next day. This time, he came home ecstatic, energized in that way he could get when something in the world of technology went well for him.
“This new game I'm working on,” he told her, talking fast with his voice rising in the characteristic way it did when he was excited about something, “is going to be bigger than Space Paranoids! Just you wait! It's going to be called 'Tron,' and it's based on... well, it's... it's really something. I can't wait to show it to you.” He babbled on to tell her what it would be about, then veered off into some technical jargon she couldn't wrap her mind around. No, she couldn't bring him down tonight, either; it would be cruel to send him crashing back into reality abruptly when he was on this kind of high. Soon enough she would lay it on him.
It was the next morning, a Saturday, as they still lay in bed after he'd hit “snooze” on the alarm clock, that he turned to her.
“J. What's eating you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You've seemed a bit distracted. You toss and turn all night long. What's up?” She took a deep breath and opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She pressed her lips tightly together, staring fixedly at the ceiling, and tried again.
“Kevin, I...” She swallowed hard. “I think I'm pregnant.” She dared to look at him. He looked like he'd been punched in the stomach; she thought he perhaps stopped breathing for a few moments. The blood had drained from his face and he was as pale as she'd probably been when she'd first read the test. His mouth moved a few times as if he was trying to speak but couldn't manage, as he stared at her, looking like a deer caught in a set of high-beams.
“Are... are you sure? I mean, what makes you think so?” She rubbed one hand over her eyes hard.
“My period was late. Later than it's ever been. So I took a test. And... well...” She shrugged.
“Is... is there any chance it could be wrong?” he asked, with a note of desperation in his voice.
“I suppose so. I... I could take another one.” He sat up.
“Let's go get one.”
“Kevin, it's seven a.m. The stores aren't open.” He flopped back down.
“Wow, Jordan. Wow. Shit.”
“Um, yeah, that's pretty much what I said too.”
“Have you been taking your pills?”
“Yeah, of course. Religiously. But, um, they do have a failure rate, and it would seem we maybe got lucky.” The alarm clock went off again and he rolled over slowly and turned it off. He got out of bed and walked into the other room, and a moment later she heard him on the phone.
“Hey, Ross?” Ross Swain was the general manager at the arcade. “Sorry to call you so early, man. I know I said I'd come in today and get some stuff done, but something's come up at home and I'll have to beg off. I owe you one, man … No, I'm okay; what do you mean my voice sounds funny? … No, it's just, Jordan's not feeling well so I'm going to stick around here and take care of her … No, I'm sure she'll be fine. She's just come down with something unexpectedly … Yeah, I'll tell her you said so. Thanks, man.” He hung up and returned to their bed, still looking haunted, his voice strained.
“Ross says he hopes you feel better soon.” She nearly choked.
“Um... so... what do we do now?”
They sat on pins and needles until the earliest drugstore opened, bought a second test, and came home again. For the second time, Jordan peed on that ridiculous little stick. As soon as she set it on the bathroom counter, Kevin leaned over it.
“Hey, nothing's happening,” he said hopefully.
“We have to wait five minutes.”
“Oh.” But it didn't take that long. As they watched in horror, the second line appeared again, and they looked at each other like a pair of defendants who'd just been sentenced to death row.
“Well,” he said. “Um...” He turned away abruptly, one hand propped against the bathroom wall and the other running violently through his hair. Jordan looked at the floor and bit her lip hard.
“Kevin... I'm sorry.” He spun around.
“For what? It's not your fault.”
“Well, I know, but... Well, I mean, it's my problem, and I'll take care of it some way or another.”
“Jordan. It's our problem. And I...” He took a deep breath. “I've got your back. Look... no matter what, I'm here for you, okay? Whatever happens, whatever you need to do. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not like that. I know I'm not always the most responsible or mature guy in the world, but... I'm not leaving you in the lurch over this. Whatever it is you want to do. Have... have you thought about it? I mean...” his voice trailed off.
“I don't know, Kevin. I don't know what I'm going to do. What we're going to do.”
They spent a few weeks feeling like they were tiptoeing around on marbles. Jordan alternated between sobbing uncontrollably, terror, a feeling of violation, and a tenuous hope that maybe this could happen and it might work out okay. The more she thought about it-- and perhaps it was attributable to hormones-- the more she thought they might be able to work it out. Judging from some of his comments and attitudes, she thought he might be feeling that way too.
“Oh, what the hell, Kevin,” she said finally. “I suppose we can’t be bohemians forever.”
“Fine, but we’ve got to do this right,” he said. “We’ll get married, buy a house—“
“With a white picket fence?” she laughed, half-scoffingly.
“Yes,” he replied seriously. “Exactly.”
“I’m not changing my name,” she said quickly.
“No one said you had to. Lora didn’t.”
“Yeah, but that was for professional reasons. I just don’t want to.”
“Fine by me. Whose name will the baby have?”
“Mine,” she said decisively.
“You just wait, Jordan. We’re going to have the coolest kid ever. She’s going to be smart and beautiful, just like her parents.”
“And we can name her Samantha and call her Sam. I’ve always liked that name. But what if it’s a boy?”
“Girls run disproportionately in my family. Growing up, all my cousins were girls. My sisters loved it… I didn’t. One of my sisters had one boy… the rest are all girls. I think it’s safe to assume. We can teach her to play soccer anyway.”
“Or she might be an artist, Kevin.”
“Or a computer geek. Or all three. She is our kid, after all.”
They were married on the beach by a justice of the peace that Kevin knew somehow, their only guests their parents, and Alan and Lora.
Before they approached their guests and his JoP friend, Kevin took both of Jordan's hands in his and stared into her eyes seriously.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked her. She took a deep breath. It's now or never, Canas... no going back. She let the breath out very slowly. Then she smiled and squeezed his hands.
“Yeah, let's go.”
It was nothing fancy. It wasn't a fancy situation, and even if it had been, they weren't fancy people. Neither of them had ever been sure they'd want to get married at any point in their lives, and had this not happened, they may have considered keeping their relationship the way it was, even if they were together until they day they died. So they didn't see a point in a big to-do.
Kevin had dug up, and actually pressed-- himself-- a nice pair of khaki pants, and he had on a button-down shirt but it was open at the throat; Jordan had vetoed a tie.
“Don't you wear those things enough at the office? Besides, they're not 'you.' And heaven help us if either of us is ever in a relationship stodgy enough that celebrating it would require such attire.”
She herself wore a strappy sundress a friend had sent her from India a couple years ago but she'd never found an occasion dressy enough to merit. The wind blew their hair in their faces as they laughed and tried to half-ignore the fact that this was the most serious thing either of them had ever done in their lives.
The honeymoon was simple: a long-weekend trip to San Francisco to watch over the apartment of Jordan's cousin Maria, who'd gone on vacation and needed someone to carefully tend her prize orchids. They stayed in, they went exploring, they religiously watered the orchids, and when one fell off the shelf and lost half its dirt (fortunately, Jordan caught it on the way down so there was no further damage), they laughingly tamped the soil back in around it and swore to each other that Maria never needed to know (“Oh, shit, Kevin, we can't even keep orchids from mishaps and we're going to be responsible for a baby?” Jordan said, half in humor and half in horror).
There were plenty of times when she wished she’d made a different choice. The days when she threw up more than she had in college after a rough night, or the first time she got up one morning, looked down, and realized she could no longer see her toes and worried she’d never fit back into her favorite clothes. The nights when Kevin would be working late or would miss her doctor appointments—she would’ve thought he was cheating but she knew better (Kevin Flynn had eyes for two things in the world: her, and a computer screen. When he didn’t come home on time, she knew he was chasing code, not skirts. She wasn’t 100% sure that should make her feel relieved). The days when she had to miss time at work for appointments with her doctor or when she contemplated her upcoming maternity leave, or the possibility of being a stay-at-home parent for a year or two—she’d worked hard for her career, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to throw it away for this.
And there were times when she was okay with it, too, like when she pulled out her old bio textbook and read about just what little Sam was doing at this point in her gestation, or when they painted what would be the baby's room in their new house and Kevin sketched in a fanciful pattern of computer circuitry as a border up along the ceiling, though he wouldn't tell her why he insisted on doing it in blue glow-in-the-dark paint.
“She’s a kicker,” Jordan complained one night when it felt like the baby was doing nocturnal gymnastics in there. Kevin snorted.
“Of course she is. Remember whose kid she is? This one will be the type to rock the boat, wait and see. She’s going to change the world, I guarantee it.”
“One more push, Jordan, and I think we’ll be there,” Dr. Ferrell reassured her. Kevin, you wanker, Jordan thought. Where the hell are you? I paged you an hour ago and this kid’s coming fast. Obviously she didn’t inherit speed from her dad, though.
“Come on, Jordan, one good one for me.” Jordan gritted her teeth and complied, making it easier by yelling her father’s favorite curses (the Greek nurse down the hall caught the idea that Jordan was wishing Kevin’s mother would turn into a goat, and there was something also about all of his ouzo going bad at an inopportune time). Jordan was just wishing she had some ouzo herself—like a whole bottle-- when it felt as if she was tearing in two, and then there was a shrill cry that wasn’t her own, and Dr. Ferrell was holding up a wrinkled, gooey, red, shrieking thing for her inspection and proclaiming,
“It’s a boy!” Jordan raised an eyebrow. So much for the tendencies in Kevin’s family. Well, we knew any kid of ours would have to be difficult, buck trends and expectations. Probably did it on purpose.
“Well, I guess his name is Sam…” she said wearily, watching a nurse take tiny Sam out to be cleaned up.
“Jordan!” A half-crazed figure with wild hair and clutching a motorcycle helmet burst through the delivery room door, security hot on his tail. Jordan managed to raise a hand to stay the rent-a-cops, who were about to drag him back out.
“It’s all right, officers. This madman is my husband.” Jordan rolled her eyes. “Some days I even don’t regret that fact,” she added drily.
“I came as fast as I could! I thought babies only came this quick on TV.”
“Yes, well, surprises abound, Kevin… our Sam is not a Samantha.” Flynn’s eyes went wide as a nurse entered the room carrying a bundle wrapped in a blue blanket.
“It’s a boy?”
“No, Kevin, it’s a pony.” Jordan rolled her eyes, then immediately regretted her sarcasm; she was exhausted and, it was true, annoyed at her husband’s tardiness, but that was still no good reason to be snarky at a time like this. But Kevin didn’t even notice as he bent over Jordan and the baby the nurse had just placed in her arms.
“Well, that’s great too! And we can still call him Sam—”
“—but not Samuel,” Jordan cut in at the exact same time Kevin went on to say it. They looked at each other and laughed, and then all was right with Jordan’s little world as she looked at the man she loved more than anything, and the tiny person she couldn’t wait to watch grow up.
“Sam,” she whispered, smoothing the few wisps of hair back from the still-misshapen forehead and gazing into the eyes that looked like they might stay blue, “Mommy and Daddy are always going to be here for you, and we love you.”
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