“Frankie, trust me, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” Mikey said calmingly to his worried friend. They were standing in the middle of the pharmacy because, well, Frank had very embarrassing business there, and Mikey was the obvious emotional support. “Lots of people get them.”
“You’re just lying,” Frank sobbed, and pulled the hood of his jacket over his head. “I am a freak! Frankie the Freak they’ll call me!”
Mikey sighed and forced the hood down. “Just go up to the counter and ask for your hemorrhoid cream. You have a note from the doctor, you don’t even have to say what the product is called!”
“But the pretty lady at the counter will know!” Frank argued, freaking out. “What if she recognizes me and tweets about this? Oh, cursed be this fame of mine! I could never bear that embarrassment. Let’s just go home, I’ll send Jamia to fetch the cream...”
“Frank, go get your ass cream right now!”
“You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not my mother!”
“Can I help you gentlemen?” a soft voice asked, and both men screamed out in surprise. They hadn’t noticed the pretty lady from the counter sneak up on them.
“Yes, my friend here -” Mikey started, but was cut off short.
“My penis is too big and I was wondering if you have anything for that,” Frank announced very loudly, so very loudly in fact that an old woman in the next isle dropped her cane and fell down in surprise.
The pharmacy lady looked confused for a moment. “You mean you have swelling on your genitalia?”
Frank began a very colorful tale of how his penis did not have any swelling, but in fact was just naturally enormous and aesthetically pleasing. Mikey however had something else catch his attention. As Frank’s penis-speech progressed, Mikey watched his 17-year-old niece enter the store and head straight for a section at the far end of the store. First he thought nothing of it and was about to call out to Gia, but then noticed exactly what section she was heading for.
“Oh crap,” Mikey sighed when Gia grabbed a few boxes and headed for the counter to pay for them. Very violently Mikey grabbed Frank’s arm and pulled him out of the pharmacy.
Frank shouted out, surprised by the violence, and stared at his friend in shock when they got outside. “Dude! I’m calling adult protective services! And the police! You’ve just abused me!”
“We have to go talk to Gerard,” Mikey snapped and started to walk to his car.
“That’s right! Let Gerard settle this! And don’t you think for a moment that he’ll pick your side just because you’re his brother, he loves me way more than he loves you! Our love goes much deeper!”
“Not about that,” Mikey said, rolling his eyes. “Didn’t you even notice Gia at the pharmacy?”
“What about my baby?” Frank asked, gasping.
“First of all, she’s not your baby -”
“Someone has to be her mommy if that wench who popped her out of her vagina won’t take the responsibility!”
“Second of all,” Mikey continued, ignoring the mommy remark completely. “Didn’t you see what she bought?”
The worried look on Frank’s face only got more serious as he followed Mikey to the car.
“ A pregnancy test?!”
Gia winced at the shrill voice of her father. Seriously, not the greeting you expect first thing you step into the house.
“Gia, what the hell?! Haven’t you learned ANYTHING?” Gerard shouted, outraged. They’d had this conversation before, many times. And he was appalled that his daughter would be in this situation again. “Was it Lucas? I know I promised to get off his case but I’M GOING TO KILL HIM! I mean, seriously?! I finally let you go out with him and BOOM, the very next day you’ve ruined your life!”
“Dad, relax,” Gia sighed. “How did you even know? I just bought it like ten minutes ago!”
“Mikey called me!”
“Oh, wow,” she scoffed, shaking her head. “You seriously have them following me around?”
“No! He was there on his own business, Frank needed some ass cream or something, but that’s not important! What IS, is that YOU -”
“Stop it!” Gia shouted and then continued calmly, explaining: “It’s not for me.”
“What? You’re saying... What, LINDSEY?!”
“NO!” she stopped him before he could panic any more than he already was. He seriously looked like he was about to die. “At least I hope not. Gosh, Bandit is already more than enough, isn’t she?”
“Then who the hell is it for?”
Gia hesitated. He’d find out soon anyway. “It’s for Hazel. But you can’t say anything!” As if on cue, Hazel turned to the driveway and was walking up to the door up on the driveway, so Gia opened it for her. “Please don’t say anything,” she said to her father before Hazel could get within earshot. “We’ll be in my room.”
Gerard promised to be quiet, and Gia led Hazel upstairs. There they set up camp; a box of chocolates and tissues on the floor beside the bed, just in case the test was positive, and a bottle of cheap wine to celebrate with just in case it was negative.
“What are you going to do? You know, if it’s positive?” Gia shouted through the door to her en-suite bathroom where Hazel was peeing on a stick. While waiting, Gia was pacing around the room. Loud music by Green Day was booming from the stereo, just so that Gerard, who no doubt had his ear pressed against the door, couldn’t hear what they were talking about.
Hazel waited to answer until she came out of the bathroom. She had the stick with her, but she set it on the table and then sat down on the floor, and attacked the box of chocolates. “I’ve no idea. Honestly. I can’t even imagine.”
“Do you know who the father is?”
Hazel shrugged, her mouth full of candy. “I wish. Could be Danny. Could be... Hell, there are so many choices I’m starting to get a bit ashamed of myself.”
“You? Ashamed?” Gia asked, amazed by the concept. Hazel wasn’t exactly a prude, and she’d never been anything but proud of the fact.
“What would you do?” Hazel asked, leaning against the bed. She brushed her hair back, looking extremely stressed out. She looked up at her friend who remained standing.
Gia laughed. “I wouldn’t have many choices, would I? If dad wouldn’t kill me, then it’s either get an abortion or leave and never come back. But no, I wouldn’t know if I could keep it. Or kill it, for that matter.”
They were silent for a moment. Gia kept checking the time to see when it was time to check the stick, but Hazel was in no hurry. She was terrified.
“It’s time,” Gia said, looking at the clock on the wall.
“You do it.”
Gia obeyed and picked up the stick. Hazel stopped pacing around the room and instead resolved to nervously biting her nails.
“Is it bad? It’s bad, isn’t it?” Hazel asked. The girl was nearly in tears.
“Well,” Gia sighed, shrugging her shoulders with a small awkward smile that she meant to be comforting. “The good news is you’ll have someone to keep you constant company for the next eighteen years.”
Hazel felt like her stomach dropped and suddenly she got very light-headed. “Oh I’m gonna puke,” she managed to mutter out before running to the toilet to empty her stomach. When she came out of the bathroom, she glanced at Gia who hadn’t moved.
“It’s really positive?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Gia replied with a nod. “I’m sorry.”
“This sucks balls,” Hazel groaned and sat down next to the bed on the floor, attacking the box of chocolates. “What am I going to do? I can’t be a mom! I got a cactus for Christmas and it already died of dehydration. Then again... I can’t just... Murder it. You know?”
“Well these tests aren’t always hundred percent sure, it might be a false positive. When I was with Sean, I had to take a test once and I got a positive but it was nothing. I mean, this was before he actually did get me pregnant. You should go see a doctor to confirm it. And it’s not like you have to decide right away. You have time.”
“Yeah I guess...” Hazel said, though she was still just as worried and miserable. “I don’t even know how I’m going to break this to my parents. My mom is gonna flip her shit.”
Gia smiled and tried to be positive. “Hey, look to the bright side. There’s no way she could react any worse than my dad. And as bad as he is, I doubt he’d kill me. You’ll be fine.”
That managed to calm Hazel down enough for her to phone her mother. And yeah, Gia was mostly lying when she said her dad probably wouldn’t kill her. He would in a heartbeat. He’d regret it later, but he’d still do it if she got pregnant. And as she waited in her room for Hazel to finish the phonecall in the hallway, she hoped that Hazel’s parents would be more understanding.
But the second Hazel entered the room again, with that helpless look on her face, Gia knew that they weren’t.
“Oh babe, it’s okay,” Gia sighed and hugged her friend.
“She told me that if I was old enough to have sex, then I should be old enough to handle the consequences,” Hazel cried as she sat down on the edge of the bed, grabbing the box of chocolates once more. “And she told me not to expect any help if I was going to keep it. She said I could pick up my crap tomorrow while she’s at work.”
“I’m sorry,” Gia said, though she knew it wouldn’t help at all. “I’ll help you get your stuff, and you can stay here as long as you want.”
“You sure?” she asked, wiping her eyes. “What about your dad? And Lindsey?”
“They won’t mind, they like you. I’ll ask to be sure but I can guarantee they’ll say it’s fine.”
Hazel grabbed a handful of the tissues Gia offered her, and blotted the tears away from her face. “I just can’t believe this. You always hear about this shit happening but you never expect it to happen to you, right? You better not get pregnant, dude. I’ll rip Lucas’ dick off if he does this to you.”
“Does that mean I need to rip the dick off from whoever did this?” Gia asked, gesturing at Hazel’s stomach, which was still perfectly flat.
“Oh how am I going to figure out who the father is?” Hazel asked, sounding frustrated. “I don’t even know who I’ve slept with! You have it so easy, only being with one guy.”
“We’ll figure it out, don’t worry,” Gia assured her, but she wasn’t sure how exactly they were going to do that. Hell, if they didn’t find the father, Gia would grow some testicles and be the father herself.
A few hours of talking later Hazel was too exhausted from the crying and worrying and fell asleep. Gia took the opportunity to re-supply on chocolates and tissues and to get permission from her dad so Hazel could stay with them.
“Dad?” she said once she found him in the kitchen, sitting by the small round breakfast table.
“What’s up?” he asked, looking up from the magazine he was reading. Gia caught a glimpse of the page before he closed it; he was reading an interview of himself. Of course.
“Could Hazel stay here for a few days? Or weeks?” she asked him, and the nervous tone told him every explanation that he needed.
“So she’s pregnant, huh?” Gerard sighed. He propped up his elbows on the table and rested his head on his hands. After a moment of thinking, he continued in a very matter-of-fact voice: “You know, this this exactly the reason why I tried to keep you away from boys.”
Gia rolled her eyes. “Dad,” she snapped. “Just let it go.”
“Sit down,” he said and nodded his head at the chair opposite from his.
Knowing there was no way out of this, Gia obeyed and plopped down on the chair. She crossed her arms, already annoyed because she knew what was coming. “Dad, just because Hazel is pregnant doesn’t mean I am, too. And she might not even be, it was just one test.”
“Still, I think we need to talk. Does she have a plan?”
“She said she’s keeping it. I don’t know how she’ll pay for everything, though. I’m no expert but I think it’s kind of expensive to raise a kid.”
“I assume that means she told her parents and they didn’t react well?”
Gia nodded with a sigh. “Yeah, kind of the reason why I asked if she could stay here.”
If possible, he even looked like he felt bad for the girl. That was strange, considering Gia was sure he’d be ecstatic that he was getting an excuse to preach about abstinence. “Look, I know I can get a bit... insane. Sometimes. Not often, just...”
“All the time?”
“Okay it’s no secret I’m overprotective,” he finally admitted, though hesitantly. “But you have to realize that having a kid is a big deal, even more so when you’re seventeen. This is why I’ve been trying to actively murder Lucas.”
“Wait, you mean you actually tried -”
“Let’s not go there,” he said quickly. “I just hope that you now realize that even if you use contraception, accidents happen.”
“Dad I know all that,” Gia groaned and moved on her chair restlessly. “Can I go now?”
“In a minute. Even though I would possibly kill you if you got pregnant and hire an assassin to take care of whoever is responsible, you should know that I wouldn’t kick you out because of it.”
Gia almost believed him. Almost. “You would,” she replied. “You’d get so mad you’d kick me out. Maybe you’d regret it right after but you’d still be too proud and angry to tell me I could come back home.” She rose from the chair, seeing the conversation now finished, and headed for the door.
“What?” She was getting a bit agitated already, he could tell. But there was something else they needed to discuss. Hell, might as well pile all the shit together and dive right in, rather than suffer for longer with smaller doses.
“Your mom called today.”
Gia was visibly surprised. She hadn’t heard from her mom in months, not since she went to get her things from her at least two or three months ago. Not that she really missed the woman, of course. No, coming back to Belleville was the best thing she could’ve done.
“She said she’s staying with Thomas. I’m sorry.” Neither of them were very surprised by that fact, Gia knew that her mother’s new family meant more to her than she did, but it still stung. “She said that if you still want to be in contact, she’d like that, but she understands if you don’t want to. And I know you’ll be eighteen soon and you can make your own decisions but if you ask me, I’d rather you didn’t see her anymore.”
Gia shrugged, tried to sound like it didn’t really even matter. Her relationship with her mom wasn’t good, they hardly even spoke to each other while living under the same roof. While her mom might not have had used drugs and alcohol openly in front of Gia, she still appreciated her less than her dad. At least Gerard had stuck around. At least Gerard was prepared to stay. “Well she wasn’t much of a mom anyway,” Gia finally replied and turned to leave again. As far as she was concerned, this time the woman really was dead, at least to her.
“Tell Hazel she can stay,” Gerard called after her before she got out. “For as long as she wants. I’ll let Linds know and we’ll get the guest room ready.”
“Thanks,” Gia said and left. That wasn’t a very fun conversation, and she was happy to return to her room, kick off her shoes and fall asleep on the bed next to Hazel whose eyes were still stained from the tears and smudged mascara.
In a small two-bedroom apartment across town, a boy with shaggy, dyed black hair paused the racing game he was playing on XBox, and a look of confusion and discomfort crossed his face.
“What’s up?” Lucas, who was sitting next to him, asked, wondering why his friend had paused the game.
“I don’t know... I just have this feeling... I can’t really put my finger on it...” Danny replied.
“You look constipated. Do you need to go take a dump?”
Danny shook his head. “No, it’s not that. Well, a little bit, but mostly I feel...”
“Hungry?” Lucas suggested.
“No, I have the weird feeling that I should run away and go to Mexico to hide in a cave.”
Lucas nodded understandingly. “A pizza will make you feel better. Family size, extra cheese with pepperoni and bacon?”
“Yeah, sure,” Danny said absentmindedly, but when Lucas was phoning the pizza place, he just couldn’t shake that feeling... That feeling that he should change his name to Senor Jose, grow a mustache and spend the rest of his life in disguise.
A/N: Because why the hell not.