Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

The Dr Pepper Prophecies Free Sample

The Dr Pepper Prophecies

© Jennifer Gilby Roberts 2002 – 2013

Chapter 1

When Harry Met Sally.

I just do not get that movie.  I mean, how can two people be good friends for that long and not realise that they’re meant for each other?  How?

If I’d been a character in that film, it would only have lasted half an hour.  I’d have got them together, easy.

I’m sitting in my uncomfortable, economy class seat (they like to call it World Traveller, but no leg room and a screaming baby in the next aisle makes it economy in my language) eating the contents of a packet that may contain nuts.

It’s a packet of peanuts.  I never would have guessed.

I’m flying back to London from New York after a weekend with my friend Susan (who lives there), during which I learned that I’m too short, too fat and must pay more attention to grooming.  Definitely not a city to go to if you have low self-esteem.

I am not scared of flying.  Will, my best friend in the whole world, is afraid of flying.  He went on one flight when he was thirteen, they hit a tiny bit of turbulence (to hear him tell the story, you’d think Godzilla had got loose and shaken the plane like a maraca) and he’s refused to ever get on another.  I’m the only one who knows that – his evil girlfriend, Natalie, just thinks it’s severe motion sickness.

What I get on planes is bored.  Hence why I’m watching this movie.  Which is about to end.

And now I’m crying.  For absolutely no reason.  I mean, not that I never cry at movies.  I do.  But not this one.  I must be pre-menstrual.

Automatically I bend down to my bag and slam my head on the seat in front.  I let out a short, violent exclamation that results in the mother of the screaming baby in the next aisle giving me an accusing look.

‘Do you mind?’ she says haughtily. ‘There are children present.’

Of course I don’t mind.  What’s a blinding headache and a few less brain cells?

‘Sorry,’ I mutter.

I try again to get into my bag, nearly breaking my neck since the person in front of me has pushed his seat back.  The only way to do it seems to be to spread my legs and pull the bag up between them.  I really wish I’d worn trousers, because the jammy bastard who got the window seat is now leering at me.

I dump my (fake) D&G bag on my lap and unzip it.  I scrabble around in the five tons of stuff I have in there (to tell the truth, I’m not absolutely sure that half of it’s even mine, despite what I told the people at customs) until I locate my diary.  I open it to today and then flip back through the pages looking for the little blue hearts.  Don’t ask me why I started marking my periods like that, because I have no idea.  It must have been right at the start, when they were still a novelty.

I can’t find any.  Where the hell are they?  Blue hearts, blue hearts.  I’m flipping further and further back through the dates.  Someone’s just encased my insides in dry ice.  How long has it been?

Blue heart.  Okay, blue heart.  Breathing.  Staying calm.  Slowly I start counting forward.  One week.  Two weeks.  Three weeks.  Four.  Five.  Six.  Then today.

I slump back in my chair, thumping my head again on the back of the seat.  But I barely notice.  I’m too busy having a heart attack.  I can’t breathe, my vision’s going cloudy.  I swear there are shooting pains in my arm.

I’m pregnant.  I, Melanie Caroline Parker, am pregnant.  I’m a single mother, I’m a statistic.  My mum will have a stroke, my dad will disown me.  I’ll have to wear navy dresses with white collars and eat baked beans so I can afford nappies.

Martin will leave me.

Why did I think that?  I don’t know that.  Okay, so we’ve only been going out for three months and he’s really focused on his career and when my nephew was born he wanted to send my sister a condolence card.  What does that prove?

He’s absolutely going to leave me.

I could do it on my own.  My flatmate Beth loves kids.  And Will’s always saying how much he’d like a nephew.  Beth’ll make gourmet baby food and teach it proper pronunciation and she has so many books around it’ll probably read before it can speak.  Will can be its father figure.  It’ll grow up just like him.  A computer geek who can recite episodes of Red Dwarf word for word.

I am so not ready for this.

**

Okay, I’ve had five minutes of panic.  The guy who was leering at me now thinks I’m about to throw up, because I’ve been leaning back with my eyes closed and a tortured expression on my face.  I’m thinking clearly now.

I might not be pregnant.  I have been late before.  I even skipped one period altogether when I went on that stupid crash diet after GCSEs.  What I need is a pregnancy test.

Somewhat inconvenient then that the plane won’t even land for another three hours.  And Martin’s picking me up at the airport.  They really should sell them on the plane.

Okay, I’m thinking.  There are other ways to tell if you’re pregnant, aren’t there?  Like…okay, I know I read somewhere that you have vivid dreams when you’re pregnant.  And I did have a great one last night.  Colin Firth, the lake scene in Pride and Prejudice.

But then, who hasn’t had that one?

Nipples.  Your nipples go dark brown or something.

Except I can’t really get my breasts out on a plane.

Or can I?

I go to get up and nearly gut myself with the seatbelt I’d forgotten I’d put on.  Now the window seat guy thinks I’m running off to be sick.  I sit down again, jarring my spine, take a deep breath and try again.  Undoing my belt this time.

I walk unsteadily to the toilet.  In fact my knees feel a little weak.  It’s low blood sugar, that’s all.  Or maybe food poisoning from the failed cloning attempt they gave us for lunch.

I’ve slipped into denial now.  I’ve always liked denial.  The sky is always blue and there’s never a queue at the post office.

Or the toilet.  I bet someone’s trying to join the Mile High Club.  I never applied for membership.  I don’t like using aeroplane toilets, let alone want to have sex in one.  They’re dirty and the lighting makes you look terrible.  Plus, is there actually space?

I finally get into one.  I lock the door, pull my top up and my breasts out.  Then I study them very carefully.  They look normal to me.

Of course, it might just be too early for it to show.

What else?  There must be something else.  Morning sickness – don’t think so.  Dizziness – low blood sugar, low blood sugar.  C’mon, I watched all those medical dramas.  Think.

I have it!  If you’re pregnant, your cervix turns blue!

Well that’s a fat lot of use, isn’t it?  I can’t exactly get a quick look at my own cervix.

Or can I?

I mean, theoretically, all I need is a mirror.

It might work.

And it’s not like I have anything better to do.

I pull off my knickers and hike up my skirt.  Hmm, in fact, I’d better take it off.  I dump them both on the toilet seat.

First hitch, mirror is on wall.

Finally, gymnastics comes in handy.

I get one foot up by the wash basin and keep the other on the floor.  Then I sort of tilt myself so I can see.  It’s not working.  I can’t see the right bit of me.

I get onto the toilet seat, put my leg up again and try that.  That’s better.  I’m kind of in the right place now.  I try to see.

Nope, no good.  Can’t see anything.  Need a smaller mirror.  And maybe a miner’s helmet for my finger.

It was never going to work.  I’ve gone mad, haven’t I?  Post-traumatic stress disorder.

I try to get down.  I catch my foot on the tap.  Oh shit, I’m falling!

Ow.

My butt hurts.  And I hit my head on…

Oh, God, no.

The ‘call for help’ button.

**

I jump up like the floor’s made of hot coals.  Oh, God, I’m naked from the waist down, alone in an aeroplane toilet and any minute the Mary Poppins of air stewardesses will be knocking on my door.  I’m starting to hyperventilate.

No!  Can’t waste time.  Must get dressed.  Fast.

I grab my knickers.  They’re inside out, but I yank them on anyway.  Then I grab my skirt.  I’m in a cold sweat.  I put it on back to front.  Crap!  They’ll see me.  They’ll take pictures.  Maybe they’ll even have a video camera.  I’ll be the star of every party they have for the next decade.  I’ll be recognised on planes.  I’ll have to get plastic surgery.

I can’t get my shoes on.  Why am I wearing shoes with buckles?  Why did I buy shoes with buckles?  Why didn’t I realise that this might happen one day?

Got it!

I’m dressed.  I’m okay.  They didn’t come.

I sit on the toilet seat and hang my head between my knees.  I’m okay.  I’m calming down.

Why didn’t they come?  I mean, I could be seriously hurt, couldn’t I?  What if I’d collapsed with deep vein thrombosis?  It’s total negligence.

What am I saying?

I get to my feet again, take off my knickers, put them on again the right way out and fix my skirt.  Then I take a deep breath.

Crisis over.  All’s well.  I’ll just take a pregnancy test when I get home.  It’s not like the result’s going to change, is it?

I check my hair and reach for the door lock.  Please don’t let there be someone waiting outside.

I unlock it and fold it open.  No one.

Safe.

I step out, trying to look like nothing unusual has happened.

The next thing I know, I’m grabbed and pushed against the wall.

‘You have to help me!’ the man gasps.  He’s all pale and sweaty and he’s breathing really fast.  He gulps. ‘We have to get out.  It’s not safe.  We’re all going to die.’

I’m dizzy again.  My knees are shaking.  This is it.  The plane’s been hijacked and I’ve just spent my last few minutes of life trying to see my own cervix in an aeroplane toilet.

‘Help me!’ he pleads again, clutching my arms harder. ‘We can get the doors open, jump out.’

Jump out?  We’re at thirty-something thousand feet.  We’d suffocate before we even had a chance to fall to our deaths.

My vision is getting patchy and my balance is going.  What’s happening?

‘Help me!’ someone says, somewhere in the distance.

Everything goes black.

~~~~

To continue reading, buy The Dr Pepper Prophecies on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites.

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