A Southern Star

A Southern Star by Anya Forest

Book: A Southern Star by Anya Forest Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anya Forest
“Blake told you…”
    “Privately,” the other woman emphasised. “Only because he was concerned about you and the baby.” Christie’s mind whirled as she realised what Valerie was saying, the assumption she had made. That Blake had made.  
    “I’m nearly three months pregnant,” Christie said, noticing the shock Valerie carefully concealed behind a professional mask.  
    “Well, Blake’s been waiting outside with Ian, until recently, anyway. I think he’s just left. Let me see if I can catch him.” She smiled at Christie. “And of course you’ve had Mark waiting as well, and Lisa. Quite a support crew.” She left the room before Christie could protest, returned to confirm Blake had gone.
    “Christie.” She turned as Valerie spoke to her. “I would prefer that you stayed with us for a few days until you catch up on some sleep. I’m going over on the ferry early on Tuesday, why don’t you come with me, go to the doctor for a thorough check—up?”  
    Christie nodded. “Thank you,” she said quietly. “I’ll get my roster changed.”  
    Valerie pulled her chair closer to Christie’s bed. “Now, Christie,” she said in a more motherly tone, “what’s all this about a pregnancy?” Christie burst into tears.

    — # —

    Four days later, Christie was feeling much better physically, had been to the doctor, started making plans. The financial implications were huge; Christie had worried endlessly about how to support a baby she had resolved to keep, despite everything. She did not think she could stay on the island, but the rents in Auckland, in Tauranga, the only place she had relatives…Again and again she had been through the figures, trying to work out how long her savings would last.
    She bitterly regretted the six month contract she had so blithely accepted, never dreaming she was pregnant. With Paul. Who had only reacted with scorn, anger when she had called him. Even now his contemptuous words, his comment that she was simply being needy, rang in her head, shocking her. There would be no support there, she realised. And her parents, on an extended trip of a lifetime around Australia…there was little point in moving back to Tauranga in their absence.
    At Valerie’s urging, she had looked into paid parental leave, realised she would not qualify, looked at other government assistance. The savings she had would comfortably see her through if she was careful. I’ll just need to keep working, saving as long as I can, she told herself.
    Lisa had called in to see her each day after work, obviously concerned, unaware of the reason Christie had fainted. Lisa had casually passed on Mark’s best wishes, was wholly silent about Blake. Christie cautiously took Lisa into her confidence, knowing Blake would tell her anyway, that her pregnancy would soon be common knowledge. Still hurt by Amanda’s betrayal, Christie shared only the bare minimum of information; was surprised and touched by Lisa’s immediate understanding and support.  
    Gradually, Christie found herself discussing more details with Lisa as Lisa tactfully asked about Christie’s plans, her circumstances. “I don’t know yet,” Christie said, trying to be matter-of-fact. Lisa had pressed her for specifics, instantly realising the financial implications.  
    Christie found herself reflecting on Lisa’s words as she walked along the promenade a few days after she had returned to the crib. Christie was doubtful about returning to Auckland; her career was there but it would mean still seeing Paul and Amanda professionally, paying city rents and prices while supporting a newborn, until she could work again. Dully, Christie realised that the lifestyle she would have with a newborn would hardly mesh with that of her friends in Auckland, the majority of them still career focused, planning travel, socialising heavily.
    Christie had contacted her former employer, asking about contracting, working remotely, sounding out options. At least

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