The reason this bullshit is happening to me is because I tried to to do a nice thing. That’s all there is to it.

Emma was the daughter of one of my mom’s friends. We knew each other as kids but our friendship was mostly we were forced to play with each other because her mom was over or my mom was visiting her and I got dragged along. After middle school, when I could finally watch myself, we didn’t even try to keep in contact.

But now there’s this brilliant thing called Facebook, where you can reconnect with anyone from your life, from your second grade teacher to that girl you used to play together with as kids. Or you can stalk their page to see how much better their life is than yours.

Emma was the one who sent the friend request, and because I didn’t want to be a bitch I accepted it. Emma Buddy was now Emma Smith, she’d gotten married to her highschool sweetheart and they’d both been raking in enough dough from their jobs to afford a yearly cruise. Last year’s they’d gone to Alaska. I didn’t even know there was cruises for Alaska.

But I figured what the hey, I’ve done okay for myself, gotten published a few times in various magazines, I had a German Shepherd named Bailey that could sit up on command and would fetch me tissues whenever I sneezed. I was fine.

Then Emma sent me a message.

Hey, Jennifer! It’s been such a long time since we’ve talked, I’m sorry we’ve drifted apart. You wanna meet up sometime next week for coffee so we can catch up?

I’m horrible at finding nice ways to say ‘I’d rather not thanks’ so I ended up saying sure, expecting us to make plans that we’d never follow through with and then we’d go on with our own lives.

We ended up meeting at a nearby cafe next Saturday.

Emma had grown up from the awkward pigtailed child with a stutter to a beautiful woman with a great smile and a contagious laugh. I had to tell my very gay heart to calm the fuck down as she was happily married to a man.

Said man was a guy named Adam, and he was an optimistic, upbeat fellow that worked as a doctor. They lived in a great neighborhood, with a nice backyard and plenty of space for the kids.

It was when she brought up kids that her laugh seemed to fade and she curled into herself, staring at her Chai Tea. I asked her what was the matter, expecting her to tell me that she was worried about how her career would fair with children or that she was having a little trouble conceiving.

A ‘little trouble’ was an understatement. Emma had found out just a few days prior that she would never have children naturally. She might’ve had everything in her life perfect for a baby, but her womb was never going to let that happen. Adam was also crushed by this news but he was already searching for alternatives- adoption, fertility treatments… and surrogacy. You can see where this is going.

Before I even thought about it I offered to be her surrogate. Around the edges I come off as rather rough, but if I can help someone, there is nothing that will stop me from offering that help.

Of course my help isn’t always accepted, but Emma wrapped me in a crushing bear hug and thanked me.

The process itself was pretty boring so I’ll just skip all that, but lucky for everyone involved my womb was ready for the whole ‘baby making’ thing and once everything was all set up, I was set to carry Emma and Adam’s baby.

The first few months were as expected- morning sickness, sudden bursts of crying, tender boobs, basically your average pregnancy. Emma and Adam were incredibly supportive, they handled all the doctor’s appointments, covered all the costs, and I got two new friends out of the deal.

Then I cut myself and all hell broke loose.

Emma and Adam were over having tacos at my place, I was dicing tomatoes and I’d just turned to laugh at a joke Adam made when the knife accidentally caught my thumb. I’m a klutz, so I just swore and shook off my hand, asking Emma for a bandaid.

Both of them went quite pale before Emma sprung up and had me sit down, asking Adam to get the first aid kit. I laughed and told them to calm down, it was only a cut, but Adam seemed about five seconds away from driving me to the emergency room.

My cut was cleaned and bandaged, and I was given strict orders to remain still and to avoid aggravating the wound as much as possible. Again, I insisted it was just a cut, but Adam looked dead serious as he made me swear to be careful. For a moment, I felt a little panic in my chest, but it faded as soon as Emma brought me a plate of tacos.

What, I’m pregnant, and I was hungry. Besides, I reasoned they were just nervous for my safety. They’d already confided in me that Emma had miscarried twice and I knew losing this baby would crush them.

A week later, I attempted to remove the bandage and get on with my life, the cut wasn’t too deep and it should’ve long been healed.

It looked just as fresh as it did back then. The moment I twitched, the wound burst open again and my hand was soaked in blood. Bailey, who’d just been napping on the other side of the room, shot up to her feet and growled. I’d never heard her make that sound before, she was such a gentle dog and she’d never been aggressive before.

I managed to bandage myself back up but I did call Emma and let her know what happened and asked if I should go to the doctor about this. Emma scolded me about removing the bandage but told me it wasn’t necessary to go to the doctor. Whenever she and Adam came to visit he’d make sure it was all right. She told me that wounds ‘don’t heal the same when you’re pregnant’.

At that point I burst into tears again but I blame that on the hormones.

After that I became incredibly paranoid about getting hurt again. I didn’t shave because I didn’t want to deal with a shaving cut, I let Emma handle the knives for chopping veggies when she came to visit, I was very careful. No matter what I did, that cut didn’t heal. In fact, it seemed to get worse, no longer resembling a cut but more of a gouge, ripping back open if I so much as peeked at it.

I was concerned, yeah, but I didn’t think it was something to panic about yet. Like Emma said, wounds take longer to heal when you’re pregnant, and I was pregnant. Emma was more of an expert on this than I was.

Then I began having the nightmares.

The first time I was surrounded by dark figures, it was so unbearably hot. I was tied up and face down while they all just stared and laughed at me. A voice hissed the words ‘devil’s wife’ into my ear before a red hot brand was pressed against my bare thigh. I screamed and cried as it burned, I know you’re not supposed to feel pain in your sleep but I did, I truly did.

When I woke up the next morning, exhausted and my throat feeling like sandpaper, there was a bruise right where I was branded. One of my neighbors knocked on my door and asked if I was all right, they’d heard me screaming last night.

I don’t know why they didn’t think of calling the cops if I was screaming bloody murder, but some people just don’t want to be involved I suppose.

There were more nightmares, more than I can count. I was whipped. Burned alive. Skinned. I’d wake up with injuries I’d have no memory of getting, bruises and scrapes that I’d have to immediately bandage up before I bled everywhere. Bailey used to sleep in the same room as me. Not anymore. She would remain outside the door and wouldn’t come in until morning.

People at work were genuinely concerned I was in an abusive relationship with how the bandages and bruises popped up. One even offered me a safe place to stay. I declined, saying I was just having bad dreams and that I probably needed to be tied down for my own safety soon enough.

I joke about that to Emma and she took me seriously. I threatened to clock her one if she actually put restraints on my bed. I then burst into tears again and told her how sorry I was for threatening to hurt her, that she was a good friend and I was being horrible, but then Emma screamed.

I was crying blood. It wasn’t that my tears were tinted red, I was crying literal globs of blood down my cheeks. I looked in the mirror and I looked like a fucking horror film.

I’m not going to lie to you- if I hadn’t already been past that point, I would’ve gone for an abortion and not felt guilty about it. Okay, I would’ve felt a little guilty, but clearly my body wasn’t as ‘baby ready’ as the doctors said it was.

I’m staying at Emma’s and Adam’s house now, ready to pop in little over a month and I think I’ve been had.

I don’t think I’m carrying their baby. I think I’m carrying something else. The nightmares have only gotten worse. When I sleep in Emma’s and Adam’s bed, sometimes I get a good night’s sleep, but it’s a toss up. Adam once said he’s doing all he can to protect me, but Emma shut him up before he could explain further. I think he’s feeling guilty about what he’s done to me. I’m not sure if Emma is.

At night I stare at my giant belly and wonder what’s truly inside. I feel like hell, constantly woozy and queasy. I know I’m going to give birth soon.

And I think the part that scares me most is that last night Adam confirmed what they’d thought might been the case earlier on.

I’m having twins.