“Sometimes home isn’t four walls. It’s two eyes and a heartbeat.” – Unknown
Sophie was waiting for him so they could go grab dinner. Driving up to her house, only fifteen minutes from the ranch, he was practically glowing from his first official surgery. And it was successful. He was itching to tell her everything.
Travis and Sophie had been together for nearly a year now and both graduating in two months. Everything for them was winding down and, yet, it just beginning.
They were arguing more often than not about where they would go in the fall. Travis had a full ride to North Carolina State University, one of the best veterinary schools in the country, and Sophie happened to get accepted too. She didn’t want to be a vet or have a full ride, but she had a scholarship and enough money saved. In his mind, everything fell into place. They would attend NCSU together and get an apartment close to campus, and for awhile it was exactly what she wanted. At least up until these last few weeks.
“Think about it,” he had told the previous Tuesday while they were laying out on a her old, pink towel. They spent a lot of days at the river swimming and studying. It was the only way to be alone and away from their smothering families. “This time next year we’ll have our own place. Our own lives- just the two of us.”
“Just the two of us?” she asked, biting her bottom lip and looking up to the sky.
“Yeah…” he answered hesitantly, moving his hand slowly across her stomach. “Isn’t that what you want?”
“I don’t know anymore.”
Travis took his hand away and propped himself up on his elbow. He tried not to think about the sudden panic and fear pulling at every inch of his chest. He never thought about the possibility of Sophie breaking up with him.
“I mean I don’t see myself fitting into your whole vet world,” Sophie started to explain sitting up and sliding her hand around his back, trying to ease his tension. “Do you?”
“Of course I do,” Travis said incredulously as if there was no other world she belonged to more than his. “You fit right in at the ranch with everyone. What makes you think school will be different?”
“Everything will change.”
“How I feel about you won’t” Travis said hoping to reassure her second thoughts, or jitters, whatever she wanted to call it. Everything was perfect and he wasn’t going to let anything spoil that. If she was scared, he could fix that. If she got homesick, he could fix that. He knew that as long as she was in the picture, everything else would fall into place.
He not only wanted to be on his own, but had th burning desire to get the hell out of Oregon. His sister, April, was like an obsessive parent. Yet, she had every right to be. She raised him when their mom left, beat up the foster kids who bullied him, went to his teacher conferences, and on and on. She was admittedly his whole world, but it could be exhausting.
Sophie, though, was just the opposite. She took care of him in ways he didn’t know were possible. He’d never known what it was like to love someone the way he loved her. And after living in sixteen different homes growing up, he was desperate to build something of his own and away from any reminder of the hell he’d gone through.
Finally, he slowed the car to a stop, seeing Sophie sitting on the porch bench, swinging slowly back and forth. He jumped out of the car, appreciating the temperature dropping to the cool, night Oregon breeze and skipped steps to Sophie. When he saw her, he stopped in his tracks and everything he was going to tell her disappearing from his brain like a vacuum. She sat there in his favorite sundress, white against her tan skin, with her shoulders hunched forward and shaking.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, rushing to her side. He’d only seen her cry once and that was from watching a sad movie about a dying dog. All he could think was that this was it. This was the end. She was going to tell him why he wasn’t enough for her, why she had to leave him, why she never wanted him in the first place. These thoughts were always tucked away nicely in his brain; he just never thought she’d be the one to pick them out.
Travis tried to remain a calm, concerned boyfriend. She still hadn’t said anything; only quietly sobbing and starting to scare him. It had to be one of the worst sounds he’d ever heard.
“Soph. Talk to me,” he said, his voice shaking. He was scared she would see the desperation behind his eyes. Sophie finally looked up at him, her eyes red, puffy, and soaked with tears.
“I’m pregnant,” she choked out.