FACT: It was just another event that didn't end up unfolding the way they had planned.
When Jon had suggested Ginger Ale she hadn’t expected it to be the miracle cure that made pregnancy a bit more manageable. Since she had begun carrying a bottle with her at all times not only had her nausea ceased but she finally rediscovered her desire to eat. The only difference was now her menu consisted of whatever creative concoctions she could whip together on the bus instead of whatever low carb/low fat diet had currently become trendy. The self-conscience issues that were arising because of this cause her to eat most of her meals alone, either when the boys were on stage, while she was on the go, or when everyone was still asleep.
Her excuse this morning, as she tiptoed into the kitchen to fix herself breakfast, had something to do with all of the work she had to get done before noon. She dismissed creaking in the bunk area as her own heightened anxiety as she sat herself at the table with a bowl of macaroni and cheese and a plate with a variety of dipping sauces. Checking over her shoulder to be sure she was still alone, she pierced a few noodles with the plastic utensil then immersing the bite first in barbeque sauce and following that with ranch dressing. With her elbows on the tables and her shoulders still slumped with fatigue she slowly brought the fork to her lips.
“What is that?” An interested voice asked from behind her. With her mouth still parted in anticipation of her breakfast, Cassia turned to see a wide-eyed Ryan Ross looked down at her with a haughty grin.
“Breakfast.” She answered curtly before popping the morsel into her mouth. She moved her jaw in an over exaggerated chewing motion waiting for him to retreat back into his bunk or the back lounge a he never spent extended periods in the same general vicinity as her. From what she had gathered he had a rather creative mind but often came across as more anxious than aloof. Even now as he stood in front of her still wearing the clothes he had on yesterday (minus a patchwork blazer that was inspiringly awful) he looked as though he would rather be fed to the lions than suffer another minute in her company.
A pang of guilt wallowed in her stomach as she remembered Jon’s very engaging sentiment that night before. Give them a chance, He had spoke of Ryan and Spencer, They’ll come around. Cassia sighed begrudgingly removing her feet from the bench across the table for her. While the invitation wasn’t vocal Ryan understood her sentiment and he two had been reminded that first impressions shouldn’t decide the fate of a person. The voice of Jon playing too in his mind he pulled out another fork from the drawer near the sink and sat down adjacent from her.
Cassia was his surprised at his willingness to brave one of her gastronomic creations but instructed him in the proportions of dipping sauce to noodles that was recommended nevertheless. While their conversation stayed impersonal and light the encounter showed much progress on each of their parts. There’s truth in the fact that people bond best over food. Cassia was glad to share her unconventional food cravings with the whole band if it would make Jon happy; she had been too callous of his feelings up to this point.
Fresh from sleep Spencer soon joined them at the table. His took the seat next to Ryan more out of routine than the inclination to give Cassia another chance (Jon had yet to reach him with a lecture). His expression quickly turned to one of revulsion as he observed the choice of breakfast food. “That’s gross.” He insisted scrunching up his nose in disgust. Shortly after, Ryan’s prodded led him to taste testing the dish also. Every bite helped Cassia to feel a bit less self-conscience about her food cravings. Actually, she came close to choking on a swig of Ginger Ale when Spencer immediately grabbed for a napkin to spit his mouthful of food out in.
“How could you eat that?” He asked in an almost friendly jeer. Cassia and Ryan joined in his laughter just as Brendon and Regina entered the bus’ front area.
“Look honey,” Regina cooed to Brendon brushing his arm with her fingertips, “the children are behaving themselves.” Cassia playfully stuck out her tongue at her best friend. Everyone laughed again.
Jon, who had been drawn out of bed by the sounds of his friends laughter he entered still rubbing sleep from his eye. His voice was still that groggy kind of deep as he asked, “What did I hear about misbehaving?”
Settling his eyes on the bowl that everyone seemed to be gathered around he paused unsure what was so peculiar about mac and cheese. It was a typical tour food because it could be easily made in the microwave. He watched as Cassia covered her noodles in both ranch dressing and barbeque sauce. His aversion to the dish was even more evident than Spencer’s. Cassia simply rolled her eyes as he took a seat on the couch across from the table.
“I think she’s a culinary genius!” Brendon insisted reaching for the small plate and dumping its contents directly into the bowl. He removed the fork from Cassia’s hand to evenly distribute the condiments with a few quick stirs. He leaned against the counter with the bowl in hand and began to shovel what was left into his mouth.
“You can’t take food from her!” Jon insisted, a genuine air of protection evident in the way he nearly leapt to his feet.
“Why not?” Spencer chuckled at Jon’s uncharacteristic reaction, “He takes food from everyone else.”
Jon swallowed the lump forming in his throat fighting against the gravity of this predicament. He was slow to generate a clever retort. He met Cassia’s gaze pleading to take back the past twenty-five seconds. She shrugged just as unsurely.
“We’re gonna have to tell them eventually...” Brendon shrugged the fork still in between his teeth. When Regina glared at him disapprovingly his eyes grew wide with question: What’d he do?
Cassia quickly pushed away from the table and past the crowd that had gathered around her. Her hunger couldn’t wait for this awkward situation to play out any further. Busying herself at the counter she didn’t notice everyone’s eyes on her watching for any sign of what would happen next. While Spencer and Ryan both reeled through ideas of what could be the big secret, Brendon, Regina, and Jon tried to decide whether or not they would be the first one to speak. Yet still, at the counter Cassia mixed cheesy and crunchy to make an appetizing sandwich.
Unable to wait any longer, when she took a small delicate bite Ryan prodded with an awkward, “Well?"
Taking more time than really necessary, Cassia carefully swallowed the bite that had been mostly bread, and then answered their stares with a confident, “I’m pregnant.” In her quick mental run through of the facts, Jon hadn’t told his band mates the news for a reason, if he didn’t want them to know she would take all of the blame. She was working on the whole selfless thing this morning anyway.
Ryan’s demeanor changed immediately, his voice began sharper, a bit higher than normal, a furrow found itself place on his brow. “Shouldn’t that have been included on the job application?” The words spilt like venom from his lips, “This isn’t really the place for...”
Ryan’s rant was cut much shorter than intended when Jon shot him a hateful “Shut it Ross.”
Spencer’s mouth fell open at the realization as all of the pieces fell together in his head. “No. Way.” Spencer muttered barely loud enough for the others to hear as Jon hurried to Cassia’s side, placed his hand on the small of her back, and led her off the bus. Cassia was pregnant. Jon was the father. He definitely hadn’t been expecting that.
“So how long do we have before we have to find another bass player?” Ryan asked coldly.
“6 months.” Brendon assured him.
Regina smacked Brendon’s chest with the back of his hand. He dramatized the pain, falling to his knees gasping for air. Upset with his insensitivity she stomped back toward the bunks shaking her head. He rolled his eyes knowing going after her wouldn’t be of much help. They should thank him though, Jon, and Cassia, and Regina, they wouldn’t have to hide the truth anymore.