Chapter Sixteen

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"Hamburg Nights"

I could feel my raw stomach twist and churn as Astrid's shocking revelation began to sink in. "Holy...sh*t," was all I could bare mumbling under my breathe. By now, Astrid was wiping away a stream of tears that ran down her soft cheek and plummeted to the tile floor. She looked away so she wouldn't have to face my baffled statement. Instead, she just watched her little hands (whom kept buisy shuffling a dampened tissue). "God, Trixi. I never wanted this to happen. I never could have seen this coming but its all my fault. I should have taken precautions! You know, the pill or something. But...I didn't. And now, this." She was sniffling between words and wimpering quietly. I touched her arm, declaring, "Don't get so carried away! How...sure are you?" She finally looked up into my eyes. "Quite sure." She answered, with a silent tear standing in her eye. I nodded. "Symptoms?"

"I've been having morning sickness very often. I wake up, having to throw up nearly every morning. I've also skipped three periods." she enlightened me. I swallowed down hard. Missing one month was okay, when you were sexually active. I mean, it happened, after all. Two months was definetly pushing it. But three. It was a very fearful number. I looked over Astrid's tiny figure. She looked so small and alone, arms wrapped around her stomach and legs crossed. Her short, blonde bob seemed to droop without its usual cheeriness. Her perky blue eyes seemed drear and swollen. Obviously, she must have been depressed for some time. I reached over and touched her little stomach. It seemed impossible that well-below where my hand lay, a small infant could be developing. A real human being. And all because Astrid had indulged in an act commonly partaken in. Human nature had led her to ignore abstinence, for sex was in our genes. We as human, were drawn to this forbidden act and it just seemed so harmless and carefree. Or so it was, back in those days. Our biggest apprehension was pregnancy but it never happened to YOU. Sure, the neighbour's daughter and maybe a distant relative. But we never imagined ourselves in such a situation. And now, the situation had found us. Or more accurately, Astrid.

"Have you told Klaus?" I asked, curiously. Instantly, she looked at me. "Klaus? I don't think he should be the first one to know."
My eyebrows curled in confusion. "Why ever not? He IS the father, isn't he?"
She squeezed the tissue in her fingers, nearly piercing her bottom lip with her teeth. Gazing back at me, her eyes said it all. "No." she quietly answered.
"What?!" I exclaimed, beginning to lift myself out of bed. "What the hell do you mean, no? You're not saying that it's...no! Astrid! For God's sake, be logical about this! It couldn't be, because you two only did it once."
"One time is all it takes," she interrupted, sternly.
"But that...it just doesn't happen! Did...were you with Klaus back then?"
"Of corse, I was with Klaus. We never broke up and I never told him about it."
"No! I mean...did you two ever...you know. Were you...intimate?"
She stopped to think for a moment, then shook her head. "No, we weren't. Not then. Not three months ago. We were hardly even seeing eachother back then."

"Good heavens, why not?" I exclaimed, not wishing to accept her prediction. "Trixi, I couldn't be with Klaus back then. I...I was in love. With Stuart." she tried to explain. I ran my fingers through my hair, crying, "Well that's just great, Astrid, just great! What a dandy excuse: you were too buisy falling in love with my boyfriend to get knocked up by your own man! F*cking hell! I don't believe this."
"Don't talk to me like that! Look, I know what I did was wrong and I thought you forgave me for it..." said she.
"Yeah, I f*cking forgave you! But this isn't just one of those things you roll over and forget. It sticks with you...forever. I don't hold it against you but on the other hand, I'm not completely over it. Especially when you think you're bloody well pregnant! Talk about a lifetime commitment! That child would be living proof to your violation of our friendship."
"Your words are hateful, and demeaning." She quirped, bitterly.
"And your actions have been stupid and ignorant! Christ, I'm not the one bearing the child of my bestfriend's boyfriend! I think I'm entitled to a little anger, wouldn't you say?"
Astrid gave me a cold look. "You don't have to be so cruel."
"Oh, you think THIS is cruel? Its not HALF of what you deserve!" I shouted.
"Trixi, why are we even fighting? This is ridiculous! We don't even know for sure if I'm pregnant or not. This could all just blow over, I mean..."
"Don't you even start that bollocks with me. You've missed THREE periods. Isn't that enough proof right there?"
Astrid sat on the edge of my bed, looking completely helpless.

"Okay, Trixi. Let's just presume I AM pregnant. Then what?" she contemplated.
"Alright," I stated calmly, "In the event that you are indeed pregnant...which is more likely than not...you'll have no other option than abortion."
Mystified, she inquired, "What is THAT?" It didn't surprise me that she wasn't familiar with the term. After all, her English still hadn't been perfected. So I answered, "We'll go down to a clinic, where a special doctor will abort the baby and we can just put this all behind us."
Her face flushed stark white. "Abtreibung," she whispered faintly, as she touched her lips. "Sie wŁnschen mich... fehlschlagen das Baby?"
I nodded. "Its the only way out of this mess. I don't WANT you to loose the baby, but I think you NEED to. Astrid, setting aside the fact that it would be Stuart's child, look at this logically. We don't have the money to support a baby, nor will we have the time or energy. Its out of the question. I don't even think you should tell Stu! Just get it over with and forget about it."
Her eyes welled up with tears.

"But its like you said! You can't just forget about something like this, it sticks with you forever! Taking the life of an innocent child? I just couldn't cope with the guilt and the perpetual wonders. Wonders of what it would be like, how it could have changed my life, or if my life would have been more meaningful with its very existance? This isn't something you flush out of your life just like that; this is a real human being, we are talking about. A living, breathing, moving person. Its the true meaning of life. To procreate and form new life. To love that child with all your heart from the day it is born til the day he dies. How could I live with myself, knowing each day that everything could have been different had I bore that child? Its not as easy as finding one of those...special clinics." She was pouring out her heart to me. Though all I could hear was the simple reality: my boyfriend's child that wasn't mine. The very thought made me hate Astrid! How could she do this to me?

"How can you be so selfish?!" I cried. "This isn't about you! This has nothing to do with you. It isn't YOUR baby, it's Stuart's baby! You need to make this decision regarding whats best for HIM especially since YOU are the one who did this to him."
"This has everything to do with me!" she defended herself.
"Oh, wake up, Astrid! You can't have that baby and you know it." I snapped.
"You speak of nothing!" She screamed. "You speak of utter nothingness. I'm not pregnant yet. YET! Not until we find out for sure. Trixi, please. Let us not bicker over something that isn't even definite. Please."
I nodded, solemnly. She had a point. It was not official just yet.
"Fine." I agreed. "Schedule yourself an appointment here, and let's find out for sure." She looked at me, patheticly, as if something were missing. I playfully rolled my eyes and hugged her. "I'll get an appointment as soon as I can and then, we can figure this all out."

***

Knock knock.
My ears perked up to the stern knocks on the hospital room door. "Who is it?" I called out, wearily. I had just been given my medication which often made me drowsy and limp. "Who do you think it is?" questioned that familiar voice. A small smile spread across my face. "Stu!" I cried half-excited, half-exhausted. The door pushed open and he skipped over to my bed-side, planting a passionate kiss on my lips. He sat next to me, atop the white linen sheet. He looked so much more refreshed, since the last time I had seen him. His face was smooth, and clean-cut (the spikey stubble gone). His hair, once heavy and oily, was now brilliantly shiney and bouncing so cleanly. It was like we had switched roles for now, I was the one worn out with fatigue. But his closeness made me happy. He gently held my hand in his, saying, "So how are you feeling, sweetheart?"
"Kinda tired, kinda achey. But I think I'm getting better." I told him, honestly.
"I'm glad to hear it." He said, so warmly. He kissed the surface of my hand.
"I feel so lonely without you around, ya know. I miss you." I whispered.
"I know exactly what you mean. Without you, everything is just so...strange. Astrid hasn't spoken a word to me for like, over a week! It worries me, I guess. I wonder if I did something or said..."
"Stu, don't be silly," I quickly cited, nervously. "Why would Astrid have any reason to be mad at you?"
"I don't know. I didn't know I had done anything to upset her. Maybe it's all in me 'ead." He tried to reason.
"Surely, its all in your head. Astrid loves you," I assured him. "Like a friend!" I quickly added.
Smiling sweetly, he gave me a strange eyebrow but continued to speak. "Also, the Kaiserkeller has been swarming with swines lately! I don't know what the fuss is all about but they're everywhere."
"Swines?"
"Yeah, you know, pigs." He answered. I just looked at him, perplexed.
"Um...how do you say in German? Polizisten?" He stammered.
"Oh, you mean policemen. Right. Go on."
"Well, they are bloody everywhere! As if there were a drug bust or something going on that we don't know about. It has Lennon concerned. He has a kilo of..."
"Stop right there! I don't want to be accountable as an accomplice."
Stuart laughed. "Fine, then I'll just say John is in custody of some illegal goodies. See? No accountable information that could be held against you."
"Danke," I said.
"Sie sind willkommen," He boastfully replied.
"Oh, very nice." I giggled, faking enthusiasm for a simple "your welcome".

"Anyways, they come and go, those swines. I'm not really fretting over it. My only real concern is that theres something happening whereas the pub may be shut down. Then, the lot of us are screwed. Out of work. F*cked. The scary part is, LOTS of illegal bollocks goes on there, everyday. Hookers are always round, minors are staying after hours, and I'm more than positive there is some kind of drug scene happening. The P'lice get 'old of this and it could mean big consequences for all of us."
"Oh, it would be a shame if they closed it down! Klaus, Astrid, and I have been going there for years. Let's hope its just a fluke." said I.
"For all our sakes." he mentioned.

"So how is Pete? I haven't seen or heard from him in quite some time." I asked, socially.
"Pete? Ah, he's fine. Did you know he and Gertrude are now an item?"
I laughed. "Whatever happened to ol' 'Tits'?"
"You mean the stripper he was dating? Yeah, they broke up."
"Can't say I didn't see that one coming," I mumbled.
"Silly girl! But yes, Pete and Gertrude have been dating for a little while now and they are getting on rather nicely, I'd say." he informed me.
"Does Gertrude...know I'm here?" I suddenly asked.
"Of corse she knows, everyone knows." He answered.
I swallowed down hard. "Does she know why?"
Sensing my discomfort, he asked, "Why? What difference does it make?"
"Oh well, um...I kind of had a brawl with her several months ago. She was purging herself back then, and I blew up at her. I must look really foolish, lying here in the hospital because I have bullemia. How hypocritical."
Stuart stroked back my hair. "She knows why you're here. But she loves you...like I do." I kissed his lips. "I love you too."

"Christ, I've miss you so much," he whispered, carressing me. I nodded. "Its not the same, waking up completely alone, without you beside me. Listening to your snores, and watching you sleep." I cooed.
"Its not the same, not getting to see you naked every morning," he teased. "Sorry, sorry! That was a John comment, I know."
I was grinning widely. "I love you anyway!"
"Good," he grumbled in a huskey voice as he leaned in to kiss me. His lips pressed to mine and he exerted so much passion, that it felt like we were home alone, together again. Getting carried away, I threw my arms around him as he kissed me. I longed to be with him again. I needed him, so very badly.
Apparently, he was getting carried away too as the proceeding sound came from his zipper, unzipping. As much as I wanted him, as much as I yearned to lie with him...I knew it wasn't the time nor place. How could I resist? He tauntalizingly embraced me with his hands and body. It drove me mad! I couldn't stop kissing him as one thing led to another. Before I knew it, he was awkwardly positioning himself over me and trying to pull down his tight jeans. "No," I muttered softly.
"What?" he asked with little interest to whatever I had said. "No," I repeated, only slightly louder. He paused. "What?"
"Not now, Stuart. Not here. We need to wait. If we were to get caught..." I rationalized.
"But that is the fun of it all! Getting caught. Come on, Trixi. If I don't lie with you soon, it's gonna fall off and then I'll never lie with you again!"
I burst out laughing. "Oh, quit being so melodramatic. You'll be fine."
He groaned, as he pulled up his zipper and rolled off the bed.

"Fine!" He grunted, peeved and horny. I just smiled. "Soon enough, my love. I promise you. As soon as I get out of here, we'll make love all night long."

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