"It's just dinner."

The second appointment isn't as scary for two reasons: 1) that her mother has come along with her, and 2) that she's finally kind of accepted the news. Sure, she'd finished wallowing a few days after finding out but it's only after spending a few weeks getting used to the idea that she finally starts thinking about how her future looks now. She can imagine the bassinet in the corner of her bedroom and the high chair pulled up to her little white table and toys strewn all around her small apartment. There's no visible bump yet but she feels like there have been some subtle changes in her body. That's the weirdest part of all of this for her-- every time she brushes her hand over the flat plane of skin between her hip bones, she imagines what it's going to look like months from now, even weeks from now.

Dr. Skye doesn't seem worried that she's not showing yet, especially considering that her mother had been the same way with her pregnancy. Besides, the baby looks utterly perfect on the scan, growing and developing right on pace. She'll find out the gender at her next appointment since it's still too early to tell this time but for now she has several black and white copies of a perfect little profile to take home with her. The doctor gives her a few symptoms to look out for in the next few weeks and then they're on their way, straight to the Grille across the street because Julia's craving their grilled chicken caesar salad, which is hands down the best in town. After dinner, her mother returns her back to her apartment and a waiting Melissa, who fawns over the ultrasound photos while Julia changes clothes so they can go to pilates class.

She's also kind of accepted the fact that she's never going to see Tom again either. Sure, she has her emotional moments where she just sits down and cries, staring at the one picture she has with him where they're both actually looking at the camera and Mike isn't photo bombing. But for the most part, she tries to be okay. She lets herself get distracted by the other thousand things going on in her life and tries to put him as far out of her mind as she possibly can. That isn't always easy though because whenever she thinks about the baby, her thoughts tend to automatically drift to him.

She glances at her phone from time to time, hoping she'll see his name across her screen, but she never does. She goes into her iMessage thread with him and types out texts a thousand different ways before just deleting what she wrote and turning her phone off altogether. She even pulls up Mike's contact sometimes, finger hovering over the number, but she never actually presses it, never actually makes that call. She desperately wants to know how they are, what they're thinking after having two weeks to absorb the idea. But she also knows thanks to some of her students that the Capitals made the playoffs and that that's a very big deal, so they probably haven't even given her a second thought.

Okay, so maybe she isn't totally as free from thinking about Tom as she wishes she was. But she tries.

Early Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market when she gets a sudden overwhelming craving for strawberries and immediately heads to the stand that's selling them, she bumps into a cute stranger and then spends the next hour walking around the rest of the market with him. She returns home shortly before noon with bags full of fresh fruit and plans for the night and is surprised to find Melissa stretched out on the sofa, watching reruns of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. She just waves at Julia from her nest of blankets, not even taking her eyes off the screen as Julia heads into the kitchen to put her market haul away. Once she returns to the living room, she picks up her roommate's legs and plops down on the end of the sofa, placing them back in her lap.

"What are you still doing here?"

"Mom called, she thinks she has the flu. Told me not to come up this weekend."

Julia makes a noise of understanding and adjusts the blanket so that it covers her legs too, slouching down a little to prop her feet up on the coffee table so that she can be more comfortable for the evidently lazy afternoon ahead of her. She realizes almost immediately after getting situated that Melissa is watching season 7, knows exactly what episode this is, and when she sees Callie and Mark on screen, infant strapped to the latter's chest, she frowns, shifting uncomfortably in her seat.

"Can we watch something else?" she mumbles, looking away from the television and it takes a few moments of Melissa sitting there looking at her with furrowed brows before she finally makes the connection.

"Oh!" she exclaims, glancing back at the screen, before lunging for the remote control on the coffee table in front of her. "Here, you pick."

Julia settles on Parks & Recreation because at least she won't have to deal with any emotional situations that hit a little too close to home and besides, it's just a feel good show for her. Melissa however continues to periodically side-eye her for the first three episodes, obviously concerned. Julia looks at her phone a lot but is only actually texting about half the time; the rest of the time, she only pretends she is, although she's almost positive Melissa knows she's faking because other than her, Julia only texts like three other people. Still, she lets her do it, doesn't call her out at all.

She finally gets up from the sofa around 4 to go take a long bubble bath and it's not until she's already back out of the tub with hair dried, makeup done, and dress on that Melissa finally comes down the hall to see what she's doing. Julia's standing at the bathroom counter curling her hair when she walks by the open door and then immediately back tracks to stand there and gape at her roommate. "Where the hell are you going all dressed up like that?"

"Dinner," Julia replies easily, like it's not weird that she's curling her hair, has makeup done perfectly, and is wearing a lacy cocktail dress and heels for the first time in probably months.

"With who?"

"This guy I met at the farmer's market."

"You're going on a date? What the hell?"


"You're dating while you're pregnant? Does he even know you're pregnant?"

"Of course not," she scoffs. "It's just one dinner, Mel. I'm not marrying the guy. Anyway, do you know how long it's been since I went on a date?"

"Not counting Tom and Mike?"

"I never went on an actual date with either one of them."

"But you and Tom-...." Melissa trails off at the look on her roommate's face in the mirror. "So you're moving on?"

Julia sets the curling iron down on the counter and sighs but she doesn't turn around, unwilling to see that look of sympathy she knows she's getting. "It's just dinner," she repeats quietly, and her voice betrays her, coming out all shaky and sad. "Besides, if Tom wanted me....he'd be here."

"Maybe he's just trying to process," Melissa offers sympathetically. "It's only been two weeks."

"You didn't see his face," she frowns, unplugging the curling iron from the outlet and gently ruffling her hair with her fingers. "He's not coming back here, Mel. Whatever we had, or could've's done. I'm doing this alone."

Melissa steps into the bathroom behind her and firmly grabs her by the shoulders. "Hey, look at me," she says, then pauses until Julia hesitantly meets her eyes in the mirror. "You're not. Never."

Part of her wants to disagree, to remind Melissa that she will in fact be alone once July comes because her roommate and best friend is moving all the way to Philadelphia but she feels too tired to argue it so instead she just keeps her mouth shut and nods. "Now," Melissa continues, pulling her shoulders back so that she's standing up straight. "You're gonna go out with this guy, and those ridiculously huge new boobs, and you're gonna have a good time, okay? Just forget about everything and enjoy dinner."

"Yeah," she mumbles in agreement, giving Melissa a little smile in the mirror and Melissa squeezes her shoulders in reassurance before she leaves the bathroom to let Julia finish getting ready. Once she's alone again, Julia adjusts her low neckline to make sure she's not showing off too much of her newly acquired cleavage then smooths her hand over the front of her dress, turning sideways in the mirror to make sure nothing has appeared there since she last looked half an hour ago. Satisfied that she is indeed still fine for now, she turns the light off and goes to her room to grab her phone from where it's charging on her night stand, automatically checking the screen for any missed calls or texts but there of course aren't any.

She has the sudden overwhelming urge to blow off the date and go crawl in bed to call Tom instead, but she does have at least some shred of logical reasoning left so that's pretty much ruled out as a good idea, even as bad as she wants it. Melissa is lounging on the sofa sipping a glass of wine when Julia emerges from her bedroom and she so wants to follow suit but, oh yeah, she can't drink anymore. She glances over at the clock hanging on the wall before slumping down into the chair across from the sofa, hesitant to leave the apartment. Melissa takes it upon herself to give her roommate one final pep talk before sending her out the door and the whole walk to the restaurant a few blocks away, she contemplates turning back. Perhaps not even going back home, but just....not going on the date. She's not even sure why she said yes honestly; there's only one guy she wants.

The date is, in a word, terrible. The guy shows up late, acts put off when she declines alcohol, and talks about only himself all throughout the meal. Then at the end of dinner when they're standing outside the restaurant to say their goodbyes, he asks her back to his apartment and she almost laughs right in his face. He calls her a "fucking tease" under his breath when she politely declines and that's not normally something that she would let slide but she feels so tired and defeated and ready to go home that she just rolls her eyes and walks away from him, down the half block to the crosswalk in the direction of her apartment.

Melissa is exactly where she left her, even in the same position, although it's barely been two hours since she walked out the door so it's not that bad, considering. She watches sympathetically as Julia flops down into the chair across from her, propping her tired feet on the coffee table, heels and all, and leaning her head back to glare at the ceiling. "Dare I ask?" Melissa ventures carefully after muting the television.

Julia groans in response. "That was like my last date for the next eighteen years and it sucked."

"Julia, come on, you'll meet more guys. You'll have other dates."

"I don't want to have other dates," she admits, absent mindedly running her hand over her stomach and leaving it there. "I just-....I want Tom."

She hates how small and broken her voice sounds, hates Melissa's soft, pitying "I know, sweetie" in response, but she especially hates the way her eyes well up with tears at that thought of him. How she's never going to see him again. How her baby's not even born yet and she's already screwed up any chance of him or her ever knowing one whole entire side of who they are. It's dead quiet in the apartment since Melissa muted the tv show she was watching so Julia is pretty sure she hears the shaky breath she takes in but she shakes her head and blinks a few times, reaching up to quickly swipe the excess water at the corners of her eyes before sniffing and sitting up fully in her chair.

"I'm going to bed."
♠ ♠ ♠
Julia's date outfit.