"Of course, Lisa," Joe replied reassuringly. "But you haven't done anything bad, I know you haven't changed, and you could never make me look bad. Just out of curiosity though, why did you ask me that question?" Now would be a really good time to tell Joe about my suspicions, but I still didn't have the results from the pregnancy test yet so it would have to wait.
"I was just...wondering," I said, knowing that Joe would realize I was lying. Joe knew me too well and it would be crystal clear to him that there had indeed been a specific reason for my question. But being the easygoing kind of guy that Joe was, he let it go and said, "Okay. Well, I've really gotta go because I need to go. I love you, Lisa. Call me soon!"
There was a click as Joe hung up the phone. Now it was time to call Mandy and figure out what I was suppose to do with myself in this mess. I eagerly punched her number into the phone and waited impatiently for her to pick up the phone. Luckily, Mandy picked up after only three short rings, "Hi, this is Mandy."
"Mandy!" I sighed with relief, just glad to hear her familiar, friendly voice. "It's so good to talk to you. You have no idea what I've had to go through these last few days!" Mandy laughed from the other side of the phone, "There's no need to be sentimental! But go ahead and tell me what horrors you've had to survive through the last few days. Speaking of which, my last few days haven't been so great either. I don't have any friends in science or algebra. Plus, I always find Joe skulking around and looking depressed. He's really miserable without you, you know."
Poor Joe. He must miss me as much as I missed him. It was like we were each two halves of one heart. Together, we functioned perfectly, but apart, our beat was off and missed the rhythm. I answered Mandy's previous question, "Well, I got picked on at school which wasn't exactly fun. Then I ended up throwing up after school. And...uh...I think I might be pregnant."
I said that last sentence all in a rush, knowing that it was best to just blurt it out and get it over with. Mandy responded, "Aw, those people at your school are jerks. They don't realize what a great person you are. That sucks that you threw up at school though - AND YOU WHAT?" Mandy had just taken the last part of my sentence and had lapsed into complete silence.
Trying to cover the tension, I said nervously, "Well, it's not for sure or anything, but I have a lot of the symptoms for it." The silence from the other side of the phone continued. I was actually starting to think that Mandy had hung up. But Mandy wouldn't do that...would she? I continued, "Uh, Mandy? You still here?"
"Oh yeah, sorry," Mandy said in a voice full of shock. "I'm still here. I'm just...surprised! Now you do remember how I warned you to use protection, don't you? Because if you are having a kid, you certainly can't blame me for it." I rolled my eyes, Mandy was such a worrywart. She was always worrying about the wrong things too.
"Mandy, I don't need a 'I told you so' right now. I need your advice. And you know I'd never blame you for anything," I told her, trying to keep calm. "But what should I do? I'm so lost and confused right now. I never thought this could happen. I guess it was stupid of me not to worry about it, but I just didn't think about it until it was too late."
"Hm," Mandy mused, "well, you should've thought things through more carefully. But at this point, let's not worry about this. How many people have you told about this? You're obviously going to have to tell your parents and Joe at some point. You do know that, right? You can't keep this secret to yourself for forever."
"Actually, you're the first person I told," I admitted, "it's not a for sure thing yet though. I'm doing a pregnancy test so I'll know the results from it by tomorrow morning. Do you think I should tell Joe though? I swear he's going to be so mad. And god, I don't even want to know what my parents are going to say. They're going to be so freakin' mad. I swear they'll probably never forgive me. My dad probably won't even want to acknowledge me as part of the family anymore."
"Calm down, Lisa!" Mandy warned, "I know this is a big deal, but stressing yourself out is not the key right now. You just have to calm down and wait until you get the results of the test. Until then, I don't want you to think about this any more, okay? And if you do I'll...I'll..." Mandy tried to think of something she could do to me from back in Vermont.
As she thought for the right thing to say, there was a knock at my door and the turning of a door knob. Oh shit, this was the worst time for my parents to come in! They didn't need be in my room when I was having a very personal, private conversation with Mandy. That was the problem with parents; they just thought they could come barging in your room and do whatever they want. Privacy was unheard of until you were an adult and were living on your own.
Panicking as the door knob twisted, I kicked the pregnancy testing kit under my bed and tried to paste an innocent expression on my face as my mom stepped through the door and sat on my black futon. Mandy finally replied, "Never mind what I'll do to you if you don't quit worrying. But anyways, do you know what foods you should be eating if you're pregnant? Because I can give you a whole list of them if you want! Do you have a pen and paper to write them down?"
"Uh, Mandy?" I asked, trying not to look suspicious as I said this, "I don't think this is the best time to talk about this. My mom's sitting in the room and I think she needs something. So why don't I call you back tomorrow and we can talk more then, okay?" I shot a glance over my shoulder at my mom to see if she was listening in or not. Luckily, she appeared to be picking at the frayed end of a pillowcase and didn't seem to be paying attention to anything I said.
"Oh, okay," Mandy said understandingly, "We'll definitely talk more tomorrow. Just try to hang in there for now, Lisa. You're a strong girl, I know you can do this. Talk to you tomorrow!" Mandy hung up and left me alone with my mother. Great. I seriously had no idea what she could want. I had just seen her an hour ago, couldn't she have just said whatever she needed to say then?
"Hi Lisa," my mom said calmly, the complete opposite of what I was feeling right now. "I just wanted to let you know that your dad and I are going out for dinner. We'll probably be gone for around two hours or so. Will you be okay on your own while we're gone?" I nodded. Of course I was going to be fine while they were gone. I wasn't a baby anymore!
"I guess we'll head out then, sweetie," my mom said, "See you later!" I watched her eyes flick to something under my bed as she waved and walked out of my room. As soon as she had left, I quickly ducked my head down to make sure the pregnancy tester was obscured from view. Thank god that it was.
I sighed with relief and then flopped down on my back on my bed. I was still feeling really exhausted and thinking that maybe going to bed would be the best option right now. It wasn't like I was going to be able to concentrate on anything when I was so worked up anyways. So I flicked off the lights and climbed under the sheets, wishing all the while that Joe was lying in the bed next to me. If only he could come and save me tonight.
~ ~ ~ ~
The next day I went to school as usual. The morning classes had seemed to drag by. Mainly because we were learning about quadratic equations in math that were really confusing me. Mrs. Wolf had gotten mad since I hadn't gotten a single practice problem right. Normally, I would've been concerned about my grades, but now? There were more important things.
Right now, it was lunch time. I certainty wasn't going to eat. If I was pregnant, I didn't want it to show. Okay, that was a stupid thing to say. After all, everyone would know I was pregnant sooner or later no matter what I did to disguise it. But I might as well put it off as long as possible, right?
As I meandered around in the lunch room to see where I would sit, I felt someone tap my shoulder. Not expecting someone to be right behind me, I jumped slightly and then turned to see who it was. It was Steven, smiling at me with both his lips and his amazing brown eyes that were making my stomach go all queasy again.
"Hey," I said breathless, already hypnotized by his eyes.
"Hey," Steven replied, surreptitiously lacing his fingers in between mine as he continued, "Why don't we go eat lunch outside? It's way too nice of a day out there to spend cooped up outside in the little lunch room. What do you think?" I glanced outside through one of the windows. Steven was right; it was a really nice day out. The bright sunny and blue skies were beckoning to me with friendly, wide open arms. It was just too much to resist.
"Well, okay," I agreed, Steven was already leading me away from the lunch room and towards the entrance of the building as I replied, "but just this once because I think we're not supposed to be doing this. And I'm not ditching school this afternoon too. The last thing I need is more trouble right now."
Steven and I finally exited the building and were immediately engulfed in an all-consuming warmth. Birds were singing merrily and there was a light breeze wafting through the air that kept us from getting too hot. What a perfect day! I plopped down on the ground and leaned against the side of the building, turning my face to the sunlight.
Steven sat down beside me and then commented on my previous sentence, "What did you mean earlier when you said you didn't need to get into any more trouble right now? Are you having problems at home or something?" I shook my head, blushing furiously. Telling Steven I was pregnant was out of the question.
Steven seemed to read my thoughts because the next words out of his mouth were, "I'm not trying to be nosy or anything, but...um...did you figure out why you were getting sick and stuff?" As soon as I caught his eye, he quickly looked away and pretended to be busy inspecting the sandwich he had just pulled out from his lunch bag.
"I...I think so," I replied awkwardly, twisting my hands in my lap as I watched Steven scrutinize his sandwich.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Steven asked before taking a big chunk out of his sandwich. Steven's offer was very tempting. I did want to talk to someone about my problem. It was really hurting me and I just wanted someone to understand what I was going through and maybe give me a little sympathy.
"Do you mind hearing about it?" I answered his question with a question, not wanting to make him listen to me talk unless he wanted to. Steven chewed and swallowed his bite of sandwich before setting the sandwich aside and swiveling his body around so he could face me. I found myself blushing again as he gave me his full attention.
"Lisa," Steven began, gently placing one hand over my nervously twitching one, "I just want you to know that I'm here for you. I know you're new here and that you could use a friend. If you want to talk to me, then go right ahead! If I'm making you uncomfortable, then just tell me. I'm willing to do whatever you want. Just let me know what I can do to help."