Californication (Chapter 12 Soundtrack)
Cami tried to forget that she was pregnant. She told no one – not her mother, not her friends, and especially not Ash. She suffered in silence through the days of nausea and fatigue. As her belly began to grow round and hard, she wore baggy clothes and went to school as though nothing had changed.
“You’re putting on some weight,” her mom remarked one day. “I’ve got this great diet, if you want to try it. Nothing but yogurt, every day, but it works great!” Cami pasted on a smile, then left the room before her mother looked too closely.
Her mom’s boyfriend, Trevor, noticed her growing curves, too. “Damn, baby. You startin’ to get a woman’s body,” he said, his gaze drifting slowly up and down her body. Then he dropped his voice and stepped closer. “You startin’ to feel like a woman, too?” he whispered, placing a hand on her waist.
“Leave me alone!” Cami slapped Trevor’s hand away. “Don’t you ever touch me again, you disgusting creep!” She fled the room, and was very careful to avoid being alone with him after that. She wanted to warn her mom, but she had seen how her mother’s face lit up whenever Trevor was around. She seemed so happy, that Cami was afraid to spoil it.
“Don’t mind my dad,” Wyatt said one day, noticing the way Cami shuddered and crossed the room when Wyatt appeared. “I know, he can be a dick sometimes. But I’ll look out for you.”
“Thanks,” said Cami, managing a small smile. “My hero.”
“But you know,” Wyatt continued. “You can’t hide all that much longer.”
Cami played dumb. “Hide what?”
Wyatt clicked his tongue and gave her a disbelieving look. “Girl, you can’t hide all that sexiness from the world,” he said in such a goofy, teasing way that Cami giggled. “But seriously. We share a room. Did you think I wouldn’t notice that big ole belly growing?” Ignoring Cami’s look of shock, he crouched forward and began to talk directly to Cami’s pregnant tummy. “Hi in there, baby! When you gonna come out so I can teach you how to dance?” Cami laughed again, this time in relief. Someone knew. He had discovered her secret and wasn’t scolding her and telling her how stupid she was to go and get herself pregnant.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” she told Wyatt. “I wasn’t planning – I man, it was my first time, and—”
Wyatt shrugged. “It’s in the past,” he said. “Now you gotta figure out what you wanna do in the future. But don’t worry. I got your back.” He reached for Cami and pulled her close for a hug. She stayed there for a long time, just letting him hold her and stroke her hair until the scared feeling went away.
In the days that followed, she spent all of her free time hanging out with Wyatt. To be honest, they didn’t have much in common. Hardly anything, in fact. But he was kind and gentle, offering her back rubs when her back was aching, and encouraging her to get off her feet and rest. He went with her to her doctor appointments, and took her out for fun every once in a while.
“Yo, I was thinking, if the baby’s a boy, we should name him JZ, after JZ,” Wyatt said one night while they were out at the dance club.
“We should?” Cami raised her eyebrows, amused.
“Uh-huh. And we should get him one of those pimped out strollers with the fat wheels and speakers and lights.”
“Oh really?” Cami was grinning now, even though the stroller sounded ridiculous. “And what else should we do?”
A mischievous look came over Wyatt’s face. “I know,” he said. He dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring. It was a cheap-looking ring – probably gold plated, but to Cami, it was the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. Wyatt wanted to marry her! Her baby was going to have a dad, and she wasn’t going to be so lonely!
“Yes, I’ll marry you!” she squealed, tears filling her eyes.
Wyatt rolled his eyes in mock impatience. “You’re supposed to wait for me to ask you, dummy.” Still, he slid the ring on her finger. It was way too big, but at that moment, Cami didn’t even care.
Later that night, she couldn’t sleep. Although she tried not to think about Ash, shoving him into a room at the back of her mind and locking the door, he often escaped and filled her thoughts. Tonight, thoughts of him would not go away. What would he think if he knew that she was getting married? What would he do if he knew that he was going to be a father? Would he hate her forever? Would it ruin his life? She didn’t want either. But he deserved to know. He deserved to hear it from her.
It was very late, but still, she dialed his number. It rang and rang, before at last it switched to voicemail. After the beep, Cami hesitated. Then she took a shuddery breath, and said, “Akash, I love you. I just want you to know that, okay? But…I’m going to get married to Wyatt. And I…” She froze. Slowly, she lowered the phone and ended the call.