Mercedes looked at the stick again: three lines. She looked at the directions in her other hand, again. "One line yes, two lines no." she read to herself. She looked back at the tiny window on the plastic stick. It had three lines. Growling in frustration, she grabbed the the box out of the sink next to her, shoved the stick, wrapper and directions inside, and dropped it into the trashcan in disgust. Drumming her fingers on her thigh she stared into space. Just like yesterday, she thought. 'Circle for positive, Cross for negative.' and what do I get? A cross inside a circle. Did I get a bad batch or something? How can these things all be so wrong?

Standing up, she flushed the toilet and buttoned her jeans. Turning on the sink, she washed her hands and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Maybe I should just give in and make an appointment at the clinic. At least I'd get an answer. Sighing heavily she pushed her hair back from her face with wet hands and looked down at her still flat stomach. If the doctor says yes, you tell David. Then we either have a kid six months after the honeymoon or deal with it some other way. If it's no... she let the thought trail off unfinished. Turning off the water, she walked out of the bathroom and into the living room, heading to the phone. She was about to pick it up when it rang.

Mercedes paused in surprise. It rang again and she picked up the handset. "Hello?"

"Hello, Mercedes?" A woman on the other end asked.

Mercedes relaxed, recognizing her best friend's voice. "Oh hi, Diane."

"Hey. I don't have much time, but have you seen the news?"

"Um, no." she glanced at her watch, it was 5:48. "Why?"

Someone called Diane's name from behind her. "Just a second!" She yelled at him. "Look I gotta go, I just heard about it and I hope it's not you but I'll call you later tonight, OK?"

"Ok..." Mercedes replied, slowly, "You know you've got me worried now." She said lightly.

"Yeah, I know I'm sorry. I just really hope-" the man called her name again. "Just a fucking second! God!" she yelled again. "I hope I'm wrong about this. Look I really gotta go. I'll call you later, OK?"

"All right, bye."


Mercedes hung up the phone and looked around for the remote. After a minute of searching she unearthed it from the couch cushions and turned on the TV.

"In our top story tonight, a popular chain of bridal shops suddenly closes its doors, leaving hundreds of women with no dresses and no refunds." Images flashed by: a horribly familiar shop with a heavy padlock and chain across the front door, a woman weeping into the microphone, a reporter looking concerned.

"Shit." Mercedes said.