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It's Time

Spoiler Alert. Disclaimer: Reader discretion id advised as there are mentions of sensitive subjects such as infertility and spousal negligence.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 8 min read
It's Time
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Spoiler Alert.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion id advised as there are mentions of sensitive subjects such as infertility and spousal negligence.

The clock in the near silent waiting room ticked by, Jovie and Bayo sat together scrolling on their phones. Silent, not even sharing a glance in each other’s direction, until Jovie’s phone died.

“Ugh, noooo.” she whined, giving it a frustrated shake and dropping it into her purse.

“What’s wrong?” Bayo asked without looking up, continuing to death scroll.

“My phone died.” She stated with an annoyed huff.

“There are magazines over there,” he offered, with a nod to the table in front of them. Not bothering to look up, still unconcerned and not paying her much attention.

“Fine.” She agrees, slapping a hand down and dragging the one off the top.

Lazily she flipped through the pages, mostly turning the magazine into a fan as she muttered headlines to herself between clicks of her tongue.

It wasn’t long before she got bored and tossed the magazine back. Moving on to a more tangible form of entertainment tapping her toes, drumming her knees with her fingers, and then snapping her fingers as she fidgeted with her legs over and under each other.

“Okay, what’s your problem?” Bayo snapped, fixing her in a glare with his sea-green eyes.

“I’m nervous.” She stated, pushing her brows together in both an apologetic and pleading look. Silently wishing he’d just put his phone down and have a conversation with her.

“There’s no need to be, everything will be fine,” Bayo spoke in a soothing tone, reaching out and grasping her hand in his. “The hard part is done, we’ll get our results today and then we can carry on as we were before. We’re only here as a precaution, we don’t need to worry.” He explained, giving her a soft smile.

“I know you’re right, but I can’t help worrying.” She replied, looking deep into his eyes in search of validation.

“Everything will be fine, why don’t you go into the bathroom and splash some water on your face? That will help.” He offered, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze and taking it back to return to his death scrolling.

“You’re right. I’ll be right back.” She agreed, getting up and walking across the empty waiting room.

In the bathroom, she splashed cold water on her face and forced herself to take several deep breaths. Verbally reminding herself that there’s no point in being upset until there’s something to be upset about.

Finally getting a grip of herself, Jovie left the bathroom, but soon felt her anxiety rocket out of control at the sight of Bayo.

Sitting there with his dark hair and round face pulled into a pensive expression as he looked down at his phone. The last thing she wanted was to disappoint him, especially with something he wanted so badly.

Taking a deep breath she walked across the room and settled beside him.

As she reached for a magazine again, “What time is it?” She inquired in an attempted casual tone.

“There’s a clock there,” Bayo replied in a dismissive tone with a nod towards the wall opposite them. Still not bothering to look up from his phone.

Looking up, she was immediately drawn to the clock. Furrowing her brow as she began muttering to herself, even using her fingers to try to decipher what time the traditional clock read.

Upon hearing this, Bayo looked up from his device to see Jovie with rose-coloured cheeks as she stared at the clock. Speaking to an unseen entity about numbers and various untranslatable mutterings.

“What are you doing?” He finally asked, after running too many scary possibilities through his mind.

“Nothing.” She snapped, suddenly jumping and picking up the magazine to flip through as though she’d been doing so the entire time. Jovie’s cheeks grew redder by the second as she avoided eye contact and tried to act a little too interested in the magazine.

Looking over her shoulder, Bayo saw her glazed and panicked expression focused on an ad for male undergarments.

“What time is it?” he inquired, continuing to watch her with growing interest.

“3:15.” She replied, not looking up from her magazine.

“Exactly?” He pressed on, sounding a little too interested.

“Well, I suppose it was 3:17 when I looked.” She explained, trying to sound convincing but failing.

“Our appointment was at 3:30 and we’ve been waiting for at least 15 minutes.” He stated, giving her a look of challenge. His eyebrow raised in a hook-like shape and his mouth tucked to the side in a charmed smile.

“Sorry, I meant 3:47.” She corrected, clearing her throat in anxiety and continuing to avoid eye contact.

“Which is it?” He inquired, tilting his head in interest as he watched her with growing intrigue.

“I uh..” She sputtered for a moment, looking up from the magazine with a stunned expression. Her lips moved soundlessly as though she spoke to herself, in an attempt at deciphering it one last time.

Bayo waited in bated breath, the half smile on his lips grew wider as he leaned in to whisper in her ear. “You don’t know how to tell time do you?” He asked in a silky yet conniving voice.

“Of course, I can.” She snapped, glancing down at Bayo’s phone.

“Then what time is it?” He challenged, smiling in delight as he pocketed his phone.

She took a deep breath and let out a long sigh, her eyes were blank with racing thoughts. Then suddenly came into focus, as she admitted in defeat. “I never learned how to tell time on a non-digital clock.” She muttered in a barely audible voice.

“What?! But-“

“Mr. and Mrs. Shi, Dr. Bugg will see you in her office now.” A nurse with a clipboard interrupted, to Jovie’s relief.

“Let’s go,” Jovie stated, jumping up a little too quickly.

Followed by Bayo who was only a few steps behind her, as they followed the nurse. The three of them walked in a tension-filled silence, which really should have put Jovie further on edge.

But instead, all she could think about was the twinkle that was in Bayo’s eye just now. How He hadn’t looked at her like that in years, how much she missed that look. Something about that gave her hope that no matter what they found out today, everything would be okay.

“Just have a seat, the doctor will be with you shortly.” Explained the nurse as she opened the office door.

“Thank you,” Jovie spoke with a smile as she passed her and walked to the chairs in front of the desk.

Bayo followed and the nurse closed the door behind him.

The door had hardly clicked closed when he excitedly turned to her. “I can’t believe it.” He muttered, looking at her as though he’d never seen her before.

“It’s not that uncommon. We grew up in the age of technology and digital clocks.” She argued, feeling heat rise to her cheeks again in embarrassment.

He looked stunned as he watched her for a moment, but somewhere along the way, his look of amusement turned to one that resembled pity.

“I can’t believe I wanted to bring a baby into the world with someone who can’t even tell time.” He muttered, watching her in disbelief.

“It’s not that I can’t it’s just challenging for me. I understand the concept perfectly and can do it, I just have to remind myself how it works.” She explained, feeling pain begin to form in her chest as she watched his expression change and wished his words didn’t sting as much as they did.

“I just can’t believe that after all these years, I never knew that.” He stated with a slightly horrified look.

Jovie sat stunned, her heart sank as she fell speechless. Unable to find words for the hurt she felt at this moment.

As if sensing he had said something wrong, Bayo reached out and grabbed her hand. Giving a small smile, “I love that after all these years, we are still learning new things about each other.” He explained, giving her a hopeful look while trying to suppress a charmed smile.

Before she could reciprocate, Dr. Bugg came in and took a seat across the desk from them.

“Good afternoon, now I don’t believe in beating around the bush so I will just get straight to it, shall I?” She began, as she settled herself.

Both Bayo and Jovie nodded eagerly.

“So the fact of the matter is that our fertility treatments are not working and there isn’t anything more we can do to help you conceive.” She stated in a monotonic lethargic voice, not an ounce of care to be given, in Jovie’s opinion.

Jovie felt numb, her vision blurred and her heart began to race as she lost focus.

Her worst fear was just realized and worse yet, all she could think about was that Bayo would likely leave her for this. They were barely on good terms as it was, this would likely be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Bayo’s body stiffened as he nearly forgot to breathe, doing everything in his power to stay focused on Dr. Bugg’s words. He didn’t dare look at Jovie as he knew this news would break her. The only question in his mind was how much he wanted to support the breakdown that would follow.

The news wouldn’t change how much he loved her but it would change how much she loved herself. Which would be hard to watch.


An entry for the Unexpected Uncovering Challenge.

Short Story

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for your support and feedback! 💚💙💜

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Comments (11)

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  • Mark Gagnon11 months ago

    I really liked how you built the tension in this story. My X's sister and husband went through this and ended up adopting. It worked out well for all of them.

  • Whoaaa, this “I can’t believe I wanted to bring a baby into the world with someone who can’t even tell time.” was uncalled for and so mean! Though that was directed at Jovie, I felt that I was slapped across the face by Bayo! And that doctor wasn't helpful either. I'm a firm believer of not sugar coating things and being brutally honest. But I also believe there's always a nice way to say things and be emphatic. Gosh, look at me getting riled up over Bayo and Dr. Bugg. Dr. BUTT would be more apt 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Anyways, I loved your story! When I was like maybe 3 or 4, I insisted to my mom that I wanted the colourful toy clock at the mall. She gave in and bought it for me. When we got home, instead of letting me play with it, this woman started teaching me how to tell time, lol! Now as an adult, I'm so grateful for that!

  • L.C. Schäfer11 months ago

    I believed both of these characters, they felt really real 😁 Tiny typo early on, "wined" 🧐

  • This was so tragic. Bayo redeemed himself at the end. But, like Jovie that "I can't believe I wanted to have a baby with someone..." hit me like a ton of bricks. Great story Donna. I've started reading the first story in the twisted tales series. The one about Aladdin! It's Great so far.

  • Naomi Gold11 months ago

    Oh he’s an asshole! I’m not sure if that was your intention, but that’s the great thing about creating something. Once it’s out in the world, it stops belonging to the creator, and it’s open to interpretation. I hate him. I hope she gets far away from him, and loves herself as fiercely as she would’ve loved his child.

  • Novel Allen11 months ago

    Hi Donna, such a sweet story. You write lovely stories, those two need to have a personal conversation and get their vibes on the same page. How are you four footed little furries doing.

  • Emily Binkley11 months ago

    Love how the story development and how you set the scene of the waiting room.

  • ThatWriterWoman11 months ago

    This is a great story. I really felt the tension build at the beginning! I felt that the way Jovie 'woke up' from her phone dissociation when it ran out of charge was masterful. How she went from quietly scrolling to feeling every single second in the waiting room was soooo well done! I felt as if I were with her every step of the way. I also loved the way you represented both characters. Bayo as someone who is loving but unsure how to show it and Jovie as an overthinker who believes that Bayo is going to leave her. It perfectly represents the anxious/avoidant attachment style in many unstable relationships - making it so relatable and believable! I really enjoyed this immersive piece Donna! A pat on the back for you! Well Done!

  • Roy Stevens11 months ago

    Great character development and detail Donna. The balance back and forth between Jovie and Bayo (Great names) is very realistic and also presented to the reader with a fairness to both of them that's very refreshing in this age of endless blame games. You have a kindness for your characters that makes reading your stories fun and easy. I liked this one a lot! 💗

  • Donna Renee11 months ago

    👏This was a great entry for the challenge! And so tense and sad too 😞

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