Aftermath of rape: A little bit of truth shows through.
I put a hand on Theo's shoulder and turned to Mariella. "Mariella? Were you with her when she told you she was in labor?"
The woman turned to me, surprised, as if she had forgotten I was there. "Yes, I was. What of it?"
"Can you tell me how she was acting? Was she having contractions?"
"Yes." The woman looked at me closer now, a crease growing between her eyebrows. "They were coming every five minutes or so."
"How long are they lasting?"
"Well, when I left they were lasting for about a minute each, but I couldn't be sure." She paused, glancing at Theo, who I saw shake his head slightly from the corner of my eye. "Who are you now?"
"I'm a family practice physician. I did most of my fellowship on the Labor and Delivery hall at Columbia University Hospital. Does she have an Ob-Gyn or a midwife?"
"No, she hasn't found anyone to...suite her needs. We had assumed she could do this on her own."
"Ok, well, women give birth at home all the time, but without a midwife there, she needs to go to an ER to make sure everything is going smoothly. Where's your car, Theo?" I began walking up the path again, only to turn and see the two staring at each other intently. "Look, this may be a surprise to you, but we need to get to her quickly to make sure that everything is ok, and after that we can all calm down and make decisions about where she'll deliver and so on." Neither of them moved. Mariella lifted her hand up and touched Theo's face, her anxiety beginning to show through where before she had only seemed relaxed and disinterested. Theo pulled his head away, shaking it.
"No. She won't be able to help us," he said to Mariella. "This is not the moment." He turned to me. "Thank you for your help, Lana, but I'll go see to my sister myself. I'll call you later."
I didn't even mention the fact that he didn't have my phone number, and just stared at him. "Theo, I get that you don't know me very well, but I am a physician, and your sister needs someone, even if you won't take her to a hospital."
"No. Thank you, but my sister has quite a few...complications that would make it difficult for you to care for her." His voice was steel cold and I felt a shiver go down my spine. "I appreciate your offer, but now you have intruded too much into my personal life, and I need you to leave." He made as to turn back to Mariella, but now I was mad. I didn't care what the state of our relationship was, I wouldn't let him endanger a woman and her baby like that.
"You just quit it right now, Theo. You may think I'm some dumb cunt you can seduce and leave whenever the fuck you want, but I am an educated, stubborn fucking woman, and if you do not take me to your sister this instant, so help me god, I will go straight to the police and bring every fucking charge against you that I can, including attack, sexual assault, and intentional harm to another."
"You simply do not understand! You are not trained to help someone like her."
"I have seen more types of birth than you would know what to do with! Do not fuck with me, Theodore Wagner." There was a stillness, and the silence echoed fiercely between the two of us. Suddenly Mariella turned. Theo's head snapped over to look at her, growling warningly. She glared back at him and walked straight over to me.
"I don't care what Theo says, you sound like you know what you're doing. I was there with her earlier, and I'll be the first to admit that I was scared. I am scared. We need you." She took my hand and looked over her shoulder at Theo who was silently fuming. "This may be a little uncomfortable, and a little distressing, but if you're coming with us, you're just going to have to get used to strange things happening, ok?"
I nodded, confused yet willing, and I felt a tug behind my navel.