Pregnant Pause, flash fiction by P.A. O'Neil at

Pregnant Pause

Pregnant Pause

written by: P.A. O’Neil


Andre sat on one side of the living room staring at the telephone on the side table next to the couch. His left leg bounced in four-quarter time to an unheard tune, while Tomas wordlessly picked cat hair off the sofa cushion. Chicago, their long-haired gray cat, jumped into his lap to offer his assistance.

Tomas moved the cat off his lap. “Remind me to give you a thorough brushing after dinner.” The cat stared at him with yellow eyes before closing them to rub his head against the man’s leg.

“You do know, when the baby comes, we’ll have to keep the cat away from it?”

Tomas scratched behind Chicago’s ear eliciting a purr. “Would you stop with the bouncing? You’re making me nervous. She’ll call when she has an answer.”

Andre placed his hand on his knee as if it needed assistance. Hauling himself up, he began to pace. “But what if it’s bad news? Asking Mandy for help was our last resort.”

Tomas pushed the cat aside. He got up and caught his husband by the arm as he passed. “No, it’s not. We can always adopt.” He placed his hands on Andre’s shoulders and dipped his head to look into the eyes that first attracted him to the man. “Don’t worry, we’ll have our family, just like we planned.”

Andre pulled in for an embrace, resting his head on Tomas’s shoulder. “I know, it’s what we both want. It’s just…”

“Just what?”

Andre lifted his head to look his husband in the face. His eyebrows pinching his forehead. “My dad said something, and well, it kind of discouraged me.”

“I can see that. What was it?” Tomas escorted Andre to the couch, pushing the cat off to make room.

“He overheard me talking to Mom about what Mandy was doing this afternoon, and Dad said, ‘If you wanted to be a father so bad, then you should’ve thought of that before becoming gay.’”

Tomas shook his head. “That’s Bob, ever the candidate for father-of-the-year. I thought it was all resolved when we got married?”

“It was, Dear, he just doesn’t understand—and in a way, he’s right.”

Tomas lifted his head and stiffened. “Beg pardon? You think your old man is right?”

Andre took his husband’s hands in his. “No, no, I don’t. What I think is, he’s as worried as I am, that having a child of our own is never going to happen. He loves me, and you, but in his own tactless way doesn’t want to see us hurt.”

Tomas pulled his hand free to place his arm around Andre’s shoulder and bring him close to his chest. “Look, I know how much you wanted to have a baby which resembled both of us.”

“Yes, it’s why Roxie took all the medication to donate eggs.”

Tomas nodded. “Yes, your sister’s egg and my sperm. That’s as close as it could get for a child to be related to both of us by blood.”

“It just a shame, Roxie, couldn’t carry it for us too. If it wasn’t for Rob…”

Tomas gently rubbed his hand up and down his husband’s back. “I know, I know. She was kind enough to donate her eggs when they hadn’t yet had children of their own. Just allowing her to do that was rather generous of him.”

Andre’s head popped up. “Generous? How can you say that?”

“Think about it—what if someone else asked if I would get pregnant and carry their child for them. I’m sure you’d be upset.”

Andre’s mouth dropped and his eyes popped wide.

Tomas winked and tilted his head to give his husband a peck on the cheek.

Andre closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. At first, it came as a snigger, then a chuckle, and finally, they both broke out in laughter.

When the laughing subsided, Tomas stroked the back of Andre’s head. “Just think of it. Pretty soon, we could be parents of either a little boy or a little girl.”

Andre sat up. “A little girl! Tomas, we don’t know anything about raising a girl.”

“Darling, calm down—does any man, gay or straight, know anything about raising a girl?”

Andre sat back and chuckled, as Chicago jumped up into his lap. “I suppose you’re right. If Mandy isn’t pregnant this time, we have more eggs, and …”

“…and if none of the eggs take, we can always adopt. No matter what happens, I promise you, Andre, someday we will be parents to a child who needs to be loved and cared for. Doesn’t matter how he or she arrives as long as we have love to offer.

“Now, Mandy said the appointment at the fertility clinic was scheduled for 3:00—it’s a quarter to 4:00 now. All we can do is wait until she can get someplace to call. Good news or bad news, we have to accept it—promise?”

“I promise.”

“And promise me you won’t stare at that phone as if to make it ring because it won’t.”

Andre giggled as he crossed his chest with two fingers. “I promise.”

They both laughed until Tomas pulled him in for a kiss. First one, then another, and then the phone rang. They turned their heads and stared as it rang again.

“This is it. Get up and answer it,” encouraged Tomas.

Andre nodded all the way to the phone. Tentatively, he picked up the receiver after the fourth ring. “Hello, Mandy?”

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