‘Hi Dad. I’m sorry I’m late.’
‘You were supposed to be here half an hour ago. Have you heard back from Johns Hopkins?’
‘Um, no. Not yet. Dad, I need to tell you something-’
‘Marcus Wilkins received his acceptance letter two days ago. Marcus was never as strong a student as you and your references were far superior.’
‘What was Marcus’ GPA? He surely couldn’t have outranked you.’
‘I’m not sure-’
‘Find out’ he insisted, turning back to the stack of college prospectuses in front of him.
‘Dad’ I cried. ‘I really need your help.’
Hearing the panic in my voice, he slowly lifted his head from the pages, his contempt for my personal issues raging in his eyes.
‘What is it?’ he sighed.
‘I-I haven’t been feeling well for a while-’
‘Kids pick up all sorts of viruses.’
‘Dad, this is. . . a little bit bigger than a virus’ I said, fidgeting with my hands in my lap.
‘Has there been any fever, nausea or vomiting?’
I felt the blood drain from my face and a knot of fear twisting in my stomach. ‘Just . . . in the mornings.’
‘Take some painkillers and keep a light diet for the next few days. You should be fine in time for your interview on Friday.’
‘Dad, I think this problem is going to take a bit longer to go away. Probably a few months longer.’
‘Then, I’ll book a doctor’s appointment for you tomorrow morning.’
‘Dad,’ I said, taking a deep breath. ‘Dad, I know what’s wrong with me. I’ve known for a few weeks now and I really, really need your help.’
‘I do not have all day, Elizabeth! Spit it out!’
Beads of sweat were slowly all over my skin and it took all my might to keep the contents of my stomach in place. ‘I-I’m-’
‘Oh!’ he said, reaching for a stack of papers in front of him. ‘I’ve done some research into where you should do your internship’. He pushed the stack towards me. ‘Now, what did you want to talk about?’
I forced myself to take a deep breath and fought back the tears stinging in my eyes. ‘Nothing’ I smiled, one hand reaching for the information, the other resting softly on my belly and out of view.