Authors: Kourtney King
The burst of colours behind
Valerie’s eyelids slowly faded to black. She felt Vlad move as he tried to
stand up, but she wasn't ready for him to pull out. Locking her legs around his
lower back, she ran her knuckles against the profile of his face. He lifted his
head to look at her, his blue eyes cold and hard. He was upset.
She placed a kiss on his nose
and another on his lips. "Thank you, for trusting me,” she said. Yes, he
was rough and yes she'd pushed him into giving into her, but she'd loved every
minute of it. Vlad softened his expression as he continued to look at Valerie.
She looked happy. He’d made her happy. Kissing her forehead, he picked her up
off the desk and sat on the chair behind him, placing her across his lap.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m perfect. Everything is
The sound of Valerie throwing
up in the bathroom was the first thing Vlad heard when he woke up. He
immediately got out of bed to check on her. Once the churning in her stomach
had subsided, Val went over to the sink, rinsed her mouth and brushed her
“I don’t think I’m up for one
of our sessions today,” she said.
“Even if you did want to have
one, I wouldn't let you. You haven't been feeling well for a few days. I'm
taking you to the doctor."
Protesting was at the tip of
her tongue, but a headache currently piercing her skull stopped her from
voicing her opinion. “Let me lie down for a bit.” She wasn’t a fan of
medicating common ailments, but with the way she was feeling at the moment, she
would gladly pop a few pills to make it all go away.
A few hours later she was laying
on yet another examination table this year. She had never been a sick person as
a child or an adult. This trip was one too many in her books. In the end, she
chalked it up to over exertion on her part and paranoia on Vladimir's. She
allowed him to come into the examination room with her. That way he could ask
the doctor as many questions as he pleased as long as he left her alone once
they got home. She could use another nap even though she had only woken up a
few hours ago.
Dr Swanepoel walked back in
with a file. “I got the blood test results back.”
Valerie scrunched up her nose
in confusion. She thought it was just a lagging cold coupled with too much
exercise. Was there something wrong with her bloodwork? “What does it say?” she
"The reason behind your
fatigue, headaches and nausea are that you're pregnant," he said with a
Oh God! This was not good news,
not good news at all. She didn’t even want to think about what that meant. She
closed her eyes afraid to look at Vlad’s reaction.
The nausea was back. This time,
it was a result of the news the doctor had delivered. “How can I be pregnant? I
was on the injection. Doesn’t that throw off my period and hormones or
something to that effect even if I did come off of it?”
Gauging the reaction from his
patient and who he assumed was her boyfriend, Dr Swanepoel surmised that they
weren't happy to learn that they were expecting.
"The Depo shot is a
powerful form of birth control. However, there is still that one percent chance.
Recent studies show that about three in a thousand women fall pregnant while on
it, and conception usually occurs before you get it. How many times have you
had the shot administered?"
"I've only gotten it once.
I was on the pill, but I got off it."
“And when was the last time you
went for the injection?”
"I'm not sure." She
had been with Vlad for two months once he returned to Cape Town, spent one
month as a hostage and had been home for another two and a half months.
"Maybe five to six months ago?"
The doctor took off his glasses
and looked at the distraught, young woman. Even though contraceptives were an
effective form of birth control, nothing was one hundred percent guaranteed.
“Shots are effective for twelve to fourteen weeks, but we usually ask that
women get it every twelve weeks for maximum protection. Did you engage in any
sexual activity in that period?”
Valerie went over her timeline
again. She had gotten the shot when Vlad left for his business trip. That
twelve-week mark had fallen a week or two into her stay in Saudi. He had raped
her and then she had stupidly slept with Vlad on the same day. Why had she
relied so heavily on the progesterone remaining in her system? She was such an
idiot. "Yes," she replied.
“Have you been on any other
form of birth control since?” the doctor asked.
“Okay, I’m going to give you an
ultrasound so that we can find out how far along you are."
Dr Swanepoel left to find the
Val finally risked a glimpse at
Vlad. He was staring at the ceiling as if an answer would rain down on him from
above. She didn't know what to say. Was he angry or worried? Sometimes she
wished he was the vocal type because trying to figure him out in difficult
situations was laborious.
The technician rolled in the
ultrasound and asked Valerie to take off her pants and put on a gown behind the
screen partition. She then explained that since Val was likely to be in the
first trimester of her pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound would be the most
effective. There was a slight pressure as the wand was inserted and moved
around. After a few minutes of waiting as the doctors watched the screen, she
still could not see anything that resembled an embryo. Maybe the tests were
wrong, and she wasn't pregnant.
"I would say you're about
ten weeks pregnant based on the size of your embryo," said Dr Swanepoel
pointing at the grey blob on the screen. "You're also having a set of
twins. Here's baby A and here's baby B," he added confirming the location
of the two with his pen.
Vladimir had been dumbstruck
when the doctor had announced that Valerie was pregnant. The news that she was
expecting twins broke his silence. "Do they have a heartbeat?" he
“Yes they do,” the doctor
turned on the speakers and the sound of rapidly beating hearts filled the room.
Vlad listened in silence and
finally looked at Valerie. She was glued to the screen as she watched the embryos
that the doctor had told her were her twins. Only one question rattled in his
mind right now; who was their father? Valerie had been raped by Keyaan before
they had slept together. The children she was expecting may not be his.
Shortly afterwards, the
technician packed away her equipment and left the room, and Valerie got up to
change behind the screen. The recent events had left her numb. She walked back
to the examination table and sat down. Not only had she found out that she was
pregnant, with twins no less, she had also heard her babies' heart beats. There
were little bean like figures growing inside her that she would welcome into the
world in a few months. She was going to be a mother.
“Is it possible to have a
paternity test done during the pregnancy?” asked Vlad.
The question broke through
Val's blurred mind and sent her reeling. She knew when the doctor had told her
how far along she was that there was a possibility that the children may belong
to Keyaan. But hearing Vlad question her children's paternity brought the
gravity of the situation to the forefront.
The tall, lanky man looked at
Val as if seeking her approval. She nodded her head yes for him to answer.
“Yes. Around eight weeks in,
the baby’s DNA can be found in the mother’s bloodstream. It’s the most
non-invasive way to determine paternity.”
So much had happened in the
last hour. Valerie needed more time to absorb everything. If she knew who her
children's father was, would she treat them differently? Would she feel
differently about this pregnancy? She felt like a horrible mother already. She
wanted them to be Vlad's but would she love them any less if they weren't? Did
she want to keep them if they were Keyaan’s? So many questions were going
through her mind at the moment that she didn't notice the car pull up to their
home until Vladimir cut the engine.
Vlad hadn’t said anything because
there was no acceptable way to say what he was currently thinking. He wanted
her to terminate her pregnancy. He had never thought of having children of his
own, and he wasn't sure he wanted any. His biggest driving force, however, was
the fact that they may not even be his. How was he supposed to be with Valerie
if she was carrying the children of that sick bastard? Keyaan’s last words
played on a loop in his head as he drove home, “
she will never forget me
Not only had he raped her, but he'd also managed to impregnate her. Only
recently had she started to get better. How much therapy would she need to
recover from this?
“Vlad, talk to me,” said
Val as soon as they walked through the front door.
“I wish I could kill him all
over again,” he said before heading down to his office. He needed to be alone
before he snapped.
Her pregnancy was a sensitive
topic he needed to handle with care. If the twins were Keyaan's, he didn't want
her to keep them. That conversation would not go down well if he forced her to
make that decision. What did a baby even look like at ten weeks? He hadn't been
able to see much on the screen and in truth he didn't want to. He opened his
laptop and began researching the various stages of pregnancy. At week ten they
were forming bones and cartilage, knees and ankles, and arms complete with
elbows. When he read about the teeth forming within their gums, he slammed the
lid of his PC shut.
His mind went back to Valerie
and the depression she had drowned in for close to two weeks. Would this be a
trigger? He spent a few hours reading up on the topic of rape-related
pregnancies. Some women carried to term and kept the baby; some gave the baby
up for adoption; others chose to terminate. What would she do? One thing
highlighted in every article he read was that the mother would need ongoing
treatment during and after the pregnancy, regardless of the decision she made.
How many hoops do we have to jump through in
this damned relationship! When the hell is this bullshit going to end?
A few hours later, Vlad emerged
from his brooding and found Valerie in the kitchen. "Have you thought
about what you want to do regarding the pregnancy?" he asked.
She stirred her cup of tea and
put the spoon in the sink. She was still in shock over the news of the
pregnancy. The question regarding her children's paternity had rocked the
foundation of everything she had spent the last two months building. So no, she
hadn't thought much about the pregnancy because it brought up a whole set of
other issues she wasn't ready to deal with until her Tuesday appointment with
“Not really,” she replied.
“Do you plan on keeping them?”
“I’ve always been pro-choice.
However, I don’t know whether I could live with myself if I did have an
abortion. I listened to their heartbeats for the first time today. How do I get
“They aren’t human beings Val.
They are only embryos at this stage. Have you thought about what this will do
to you if they are his?”
"Vlad… I really don't
know. I haven't thought that far yet. I've spent these past few months trying
to let go of the guilt and recognising that what happened wasn't my fault. If
, I won't blame them for the sins of their father. They
could also be yours. Have you thought about that?”
“The chances are slim Valerie.
As much as you would like that to be true, I have to go with the high
probability that they aren’t mine. Even if they were, I would respect whatever
decision you made.”
Valerie looked at him as if he
had grown a second head. “Are you saying that you would be fine with me
aborting your twins?”
“Yes. I don’t want children.”
Vlad had thought long and hard about whether he wanted to be a parent and the
answer had been a resounding no each time. It appeared that Valerie was leaning
towards carrying the pregnancy to term. The fact that another man had taken her
and put his claim on her in this way rattled him. If she kept these children,
then there would always be a reminder for them both of how he had failed her
and the pain he had brought into her life. It would be the final blow to their
To say that she was shocked at
the words that had just come out of Vlad's mouth was an understatement, she was
flabbergasted. He was either vehemently opposed to the idea of her having
another man’s baby, and if that wasn't the case then his range of emotion was
extended to very few people, and that did not include what could be his
children. The innocent lives thrown into this mess didn’t matter to him and for
the first time, she asked herself what moral compass he carried.
The decision on whether or not
she would keep the babies was hers alone and if Vlad didn’t like it, then this
is where they would part ways. She had initially thought she was uncertain
about the decision, but this conversation and his feelings towards the pregnancy
proved that she did. They were her babies regardless of who their father was.
She would move out if she had to. They were a package deal now. If he wanted
her, then he would have to accept the twins as well. They had less than seven
months before they arrived. Raising a child was no small feat, and she had
somehow managed to conceive two. They needed her, and it looked like they would
only have one parent raising them.
“I’m keeping them regardless of
who the father is Vlad. What you decide to do from here on out is up to you.”
The ultimatum was laid down
loud and clear. He needed to wrap his mind around the fact that his woman was
pregnant with twins that may not be his or she would leave. That meant letting
Valerie go, an effort he'd tried numerous times to accomplish and failed. Why
was this happening? Just when he thought that they were going to live happily
ever after, as happy as a man like him could get, there was another spanner
thrown into the works.