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Ghosted: Sully and Morgan's Story

(unedited and subject to change)

Chapter 1

Morgan

Five years ago

 

When I was growing up in a rural part of Montana, my dream was to move to the big city. I wasn’t sure which city just yet. All I knew was that I wanted out of the countryside. I hated everything about it.

My parents took me on a trip to Seattle when I was fourteen. Dad was, and still is, a huge sports fan, living and breathing football in particular. He won tickets to a game there, which ended up being our big family trip for that year.

We landed in Seattle on the night before the game. The drive to the hotel downtown where we were staying was fascinating to me, and when we got to our suite, I was done for. We were on the twelfth floor of a swanky hotel, and even though we were not as high as we could’ve been, for me, it was everything.

“Ron,” my mother gasped behind the teenage me as she called for my father. “This is amazing! I had no idea they’d give us such amazing accommodations as well.”

“Only the best for you, my love,” he responded right away, then I heard them kissing. Gross. And not like he spent money on any of this. The football tickets he won came with everything paid for, flight and hotel for four people included. That’s how he was able to bring me and my older brother along.

“Whoa,” I heard Bradley calling from the bathroom. “Check out this shower. This is badass.”

“Language, Bradley,” mom chastised him, but I could tell she was amused by his antics in there.

I smile at the memories, realizing with a start that I actually miss my family. Four years after that family trip, I graduated high school. I had a great GPA score and wanted to attend nursing school. I applied to the one in Seattle and got accepted. 

I was elated on the day I received my acceptance letter. Mom cried, and I’m not so sure they were all tears of joy.

“I’m going to miss you so much, pumpkin head,” she whispered in my hair when she pulled me into a tight hug.

“Congrats, my smart girl,” dad was next. “I had no doubt you’d get in. Don’t forget us country folks when you’re out in the big city.”

“I won’t, daddy,” I smiled into his chest. I could tell that his voice was a bit shaky when he spoke, but I just couldn’t contain my happiness. This was everything I’d been working so hard for.

Bradley was the only one who made zero attempts to fake how he felt about the entire thing.

“So you’re just gonna pick up and go?” He watched me funny, his sheer size intimidating as he stood there with his beefy arms crossed over his wide chest.

At twenty-years-old, Bradley Foster looked like a fully grown man. His dream was to become a firefighter, and he’d been training relentlessly while also attending classes at the local community college.

“I’m going to school, Bradley,” I snapped at him, mad that he wasn’t happy for me. He knew how important moving to the city had always been for me.

“Will we see you again?” he snapped back.

“I’ll come home for breaks and stuff,” I tried to explain calmly. “It’s not like I’m about to disappear off the face of the earth.”

“Yeah, right,” he rolled his eyes. “You’ve been talking about leaving Reeding for how long now? We’ll be lucky to get a Christmas card from you.”

“Bradley,” mom got in between us. “Stop antagonizing your sister and just be happy for her.”

“Yeah, Bradley,” I smirked at him. Deep down though, I wanted to jump into his arms and celebrate with him.

Now, it is eight years later since that day. I am ashamed to admit but my brother was right when he said it. I went back home for the first couple of breaks from school. But after that, I got a part time job to help supplement my partial scholarship. Before embarking on the adventure of my life, I had no idea how expensive school was going to be. My parents did help with some, but there was still a lot more that needed to be covered.

Eight years after landing in Seattle for the second time in my life, I am a registered nurse at one of the biggest university hospitals in the country. I am also working on not just one but two masters while holding a very demanding full time job, and also being in a serious relationship with the man of my dreams.

A glance at my watch reminds me that I’ve been sitting here reminiscing for twenty minutes now. He is late. Today is my twenty-sixth birthday, and he wanted to do something special for me. He paid for the Space Needle to be closed to the public at this time in the evening and hired a high end restaurant to deliver our meals out on the observation deck. To say that I am blown away doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I give the waiter a tight lipped smile when I see him doing a casual walk through again. 

“Should I open the bottle of wine for you, miss?”

“Oh no,” I put a hand up to decline the offer. “No wine for me. My boyfriend should be here at any moment now.”

I pick up my cell phone to make sure I didn’t miss any calls from him. There’s nothing. I smile though when I see a text from my brother wishing me a happy birthday. He never misses it, even though he never got over the fact that I wanted to remain here permanently after graduating from college.

The elevator doors finally open with the gentlest whoosh, bringing my attention to them. I smile big when I see Grant stepping out from the cart.

“I’m sorry I left you hanging, beautiful.” He places a gentle kiss on my lips right before placing a blue and silver gift bag on the table in front of me. “I had to stop and pick this up for you. Special order for my girl,” he winks at me.

My heart threatens to jump out of my chest with excitement when I see the bag is from a famous jewelry store. My fingers are itching to open it.

“Go for it,” Grant tells me when he notices me staring at it. “It is for you after all.”

I stick my hand in and feel around for the box I know it’s inside. I try not to show my disappointment when I realize that it is too large for what I was hoping to find.

When I have it out and open it, the item inside, while not what I thought it would be, is breathtaking.

“It matches your beautiful eyes perfectly,” Grant murmurs before walking around the table to place the necklace he got me around my neck. “Happy birthday, beautiful,” he whispers and kisses me on the cheek this time.

“Thank you, Grant.” I try to show my gratitude by turning my head to take the kiss up a notch, but he is already gone. “This is amazing.”

“Only the best for you,” he grins at me, then signals for the waiter, who rushes over to pour the wine in the crystal glasses waiting on the table.

“You really didn’t have to go to all this trouble, Grant.” I feel awkward now, and I’m not sure why. “I would’ve been happy with dinner at your place tonight.”

I was actually disappointed he didn’t offer, but then I thought that maybe tonight is the night when he is going to ask me to move in with him. Then again, I also expected him to ask me to be his wife tonight. I need to make up my mind which one is more important to me so that I can manifest it into the universe.

Beautiful and expensive looking dishes start flowing from the back, but I am not very hungry anymore, and I can’t wait for this to be over.

“And how was work today?” Grant asks out of nowhere. He hardly ever asks about my job. In fact, I’m not sure he is happy that I am just a nurse. He feels that a doctor would be more socially acceptable, hence me getting into more debt to sign up for all these extra classes and certifications to get in as high a rank as possible.

“It was good,” I answer in a soft tone. It’s as if I am always whispering around him, not sure why. He has that type of demeanor about him. “We got a new patient today, a little boy named Liam,” I continue, even though I notice he is not into anything that I’m mentioning to him in the least.

“Interesting,” is all he says by the time I am done talking.

“And how was your day?” I force myself to ask. The closer we get to the end of this dinner, the more nervous I become.

“Good, great in fact,” he gives me a smile full of perfect teeth. To be completely honest, I’m not even sure what Grant does for a living. Something stock market related. In the two years we’ve been dating, I was never able to get a clear answer out of him, but the world he moves in is wealthy, and the few functions he took me to were way over my social status.

“That’s really good,” I smile back, happy to see him in a good mood. It hasn’t happened often, but once in a while he’d have these weird bursts of anger that threw me off. I just learned to be out of his way when they happened. And since we didn’t live together, I could just stay at my apartment during those times.

We continue eating, with me mostly picking at the food on my plate while he shovels everything in, but in his always elegant way.

“You’re not hungry I see,” he comments when he glances at my plate. “Is the restaurant I chose not to your satisfaction?”

The way he is asking me that feels as if he’d order for people’s heads to roll off if I give the wrong answer.

“N-no, Grant, the food is amazing,” I assure him. “You know it is.”

“Why are you not eating it then?” 

“Uhm, I’m just not very hungry for some reason.”

I drop my hands in my lap, playing with the cloth napkin laying across it. I am so nervous, I feel like I’m going to throw up. 

“I just wanted to tell you that I love you,” I blurt out, seemingly from out of nowhere. This is not the first time I tell him that I love him, so it’s not a surprise or anything.

“Yes,” Grant watches me closely. “I appreciate and return the sentiment.” He’s always had such a weird way of telling me that he loved me as well.

“I have some news for you,” I force myself to ignore his attitude and continue. If I don’t spit it all now, I may never be able to.

“What sort of news?” he raises an eyebrow to stare at me in question. He hates surprises, but I am convinced this will be a good one. “I hope you’re not about to tell me that your family is coming to town.”

My eyes instantly fill with tears. Grant has always been extremely polite to my parents and brother, but, needless to say, they never hit it off.

“He’s a pompous jackass, Mor,” Bradley told me. “I can’t believe this is what you’re attracted to in a guy.”

“Oh no, nothing like that,” I assure Grant. Although, now that he said it, the surprise I am about to give him will tie him to my family forever. I can only hope that his feelings for me will trump everything else he might feel toward the other members of my family. We live far enough where they wouldn’t see each other much anyway.

“Talk, Elizabeth,” Grant barks at me now, his face carved in stone. He always chose to call me by my middle name. Morgan is too country-ish, or so he’d decided at the beginning of our relationship.

I take a deep breath in and send a quick prayer up to the skies. It may be too little, too late though. I didn’t think this through.

“I’m pregnant,” I finally tell him the reason I am such a mess. Today is my twenty-sixth birthday. I am starting a new chapter in my life. Such a milestone. He gave me an expensive necklace, and I am giving him a little human being that will be legally bound to the both of us for the first eighteen years of their life.

I get very nervous when Grant just stares at me. There is no instant happiness, but no anger either. I am taking it as a good sign. He is just in shock.

He lifts a long slim finger, and the waiter instantly materializes next to us. Grant pulls a business card and a pen out of his pocket. He writes something on it, then hands it to the waiter.

“Send all the leftover food to this address,” he instructs. “We are done here,” he points to my plate. “And I know there’s quite a bit still waiting in the back.”

“Yes, sir,” the waiter bows to Grant like he’s royalty, grabbing the business card with the address and the hundred dollar bill that is suddenly attached to it.

“Grant,” I call his name in gratitude. “You don’t have to send all this food to my apartment. I really appreciate everything…”

“Grab your stuff,” he growls at me without acknowledging anything that I told him. “We’re leaving.”

I instantly stand up, scared to breathe anymore. I drop my small purse a couple of times when I check to make sure my cell phone is in it, then pick up the blue and silver bag containing the box his gift to me came in and walk around the table to where he is waiting. The tension coming off him is making me shiver in my expensive dress.

The doors to the elevator slide open as soon as he presses the button, and the ride down is nowhere near as exciting as when I went up. I usually love going down in these elevators. The pressure in my stomach dropping when we descend at such high speed is usually a thrill. Not this evening.

Grant’s driver is waiting at the entrance, and we slide into the back seat right away. I let out a silent breath of relief when I realize that we are going in the direction of my apartment and not Grant’s. Given the sudden situation, I really need some alone time. This is not going the way I thought things would go.

My one bedroom apartment is in a modest but very clean neighborhood. The building it is in is three stories high and has only four apartments in it. I loved it on sight. My apartment is the smallest, with the other three also having a second floor. But I have a view of the back yard instead of the main street, and my back door butts right into the laundry room we have inside the building. It’s just perfect.

Now though, the air feels heavy when I enter my personal space with Grant. I place my purse and gift bag on the side table in the living area, then turn around to face my boyfriend with a nervous smile on my face.

“Repeat to me what you said earlier,” he instructs in an impassive tone. I know exactly what he is talking about.

“I’m pregnant,” I tell him again, my voice shaky and almost inaudible.

I don’t even see his arm going up when he lifts it and slaps me across the face. The sting from the palm of his hand connecting with my cheek shocks me. Grant never touched me like this, not even on his worst day.

“Grant,” I gasp. “I…”

“I am going to tell you this only once, Elizabeth,” he interrupts me. “And I need you to pay attention. You’re a smart girl after all, with all these degrees you’re working on and all. Am I right?”

He waits for me to nod in confirmation. My hand is pressed to my face where he hit me, and his next words are my biggest fear.

“Get rid of it. And soon.”

(c)Andie Bale 2023

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