That's What Friends Are For
Chapter 16
by kie

The next morning I was still sick, but my period still hadn't started. I didn't think much of it. I missed one usually every five months or so.  Usually when I missed it, though, I wasn't sick. Still, no big deal. I just went about getting ready for work. I kissed Steve good-bye, and drove to work, where a sign proclaimed that, in three weeks, we would be closed for about a month. Kevin had done the sign quite nicely, with little doodles and easy to read lettering. Throughout the day people asked what was going to be done, but no one could tell them anything since Matt was keeping it close to his chest. That's how it was for the next three weeks. People were excited to see how it would look, but saddened that we were closing. Ever since the band (who was still trying to decide on a name) had started playing, our business had increased, even when the guys weren't there.

The Thursday before we closed, I finally had my doctor's appointment, after it had been rescheduled due to my doctor having been in a car accident. When I saw her, her right arm was in a cast, but she was still able to examine me.

"You said you missed your last period," she said after she finished examining me.

"Right," I replied, buttoning my pants and coming out from behind the curtain. "It happens on occasion."

The doctor indicated that I should have a seat.

"I had the lab run a pregnancy test on your urine sample," she replied. I knew right away what she was going to say. "You're almost eight weeks pregnant."


"I'm sure this is a bit of a shock for you.."

Talk about the understatement of the year! That's all I could think of as I drove to the pharmacy to get my pre-natal prescriptions filled. All I could think about as I packed for a weekend at my parents. Steve had gone to visit his family for a week, since his little brother Matt was leaving soon for  another year of college, so I had the house to myself. I knew I was going to have to tell my parents, and I was completely dreading it. It was all I
thought of that night, not getting a bit of sleep. All I thought of the next
day at work. When Nat asked what was wrong, I said I was lonely without
Steve. Which wasn't a complete lie. I wish he had been there to greet me
when I had come home from the doctor. I just didn't know how I would tell
him, either.

The next morning I left for my parents' house, a drive that took about forty-five minutes. As soon as I walked in the door, my mother started harping.

"You look terrible!"

"Thanks, Mom. Good to see you too."

"Well, you do. You look like you haven't slept in ages. What's wrong?"

"Um, I need to talk to you and Dad both, so can it wait until he gets home?"

"I suppose," my mother said with a heavy sigh. "Why don't you go say hello to our brother.?"

I didn't particularly want to, but I suppose it beat standing around my mother, having her try to guess what was wrong with me. Since Declan wasn't plopped firmly on the couch watching TV, I figured he'd be in his room, so I went upstairs and knocked on his door.

"What?" came the crabby response from the other side of the door.

"Hey, Dec, it's just me. I was just saying hi."


Well, that went well, I thought as I went to my old room. I could hear Mom on the phone with one of her friends, so I knew I'd have some quiet time to myself before I had to face them. My eyes instantly fell on a picture of Steve in his band uniform; flute in hand, thick blond hair falling across his forehead, a sweet smile on his face. I had forgotten this was here. I picked the picture up and looked at it. I think Steve was about fifteen in the picture, and even though it had been over ten years, I could still clearly remember going to football games expressly to watch Steve play. I had been a marching band groupie, I suppose.

Feeling nostalgic, I went through my drawers, even though I had taken most everything with me when I went to college. I managed to occupy myself until I heard my father come home. I knew I had to tell them, everything, so I put away the old issue of Cosmo I had been reading and went back downstairs.

I stood in the door way and looked at my parents. My mother was very regal looking, with large brown, almond shaped eyes and thin, straight features.  She was just a few inches shorter than my father, who stood six-one. He had thick black hair, graying at the temples, less even features then my mother, but he was still, even on the eve of his fifty-eighth birthday, very handsome.

"Ah, there's my daughter," my father said as he crossed the floor to embrace me. "Just like your mother, becoming more beautiful each day."

"Daddy," I said, hugging him back.

"At least I don't have those bags under my eyes," my mother remarked. I looked a lot like my mother, but I did not have her vanity. I think Steve would have killed me if I did.

"Your mother says you want to talk to us. Why don't we go to the kitchen?"

I followed my parents to the kitchen. Daddy sat down at the table, and Mom went and got a pitcher of iced tea and three glasses before sitting down next to him. I was too nervous to sit, so I started to pace as I gathered my thoughts.

"Please don't do that," my mother said. "You'll ruin the rug if you keep that up."

I sighed and sat down.

"Please," I started. "Let me tell you everything before you say something."  I took a deep breath, then said "Jeff and I broke up. For a lot of reasons, not the least of which was his cheating on me."

"But you said you were at his place all the times I called," my mother interrupted.

"Let her talk, Sarra," my father said, laying one of his large hands over my mother's slender one. "Go on, Ahnka."

"I never said I was at Jeff's. I said I was at my boyfriend's. Which is completely true." I took a deep breath, knowing I was going to have to talk quickly to get it all in before my mother exploded. "Steve and I started seeing each other shortly after that. I love him very much and he loves me, we've moved in together I'm pregnant, and I'm not sure if the father is Jeff or Steve."

There was stunned silence in the room for a moment. I looked at my parents.  My father was calmly processing what I had just said. My mother was clearly growing angry. She spoke first.

"How could you do this?" she spat. "It doesn't matter if Jeff was cheating on you! He is probably the best you'll get, and he can open a lot of doors for you! Do you know how much his family is worth? DO YOU? And to come into MY house and say that you're living with Steve, and that HE MIGHT BE THE FATHER? How did you manage to get into that condition in the first place?  Did he rape you? That must be it. He's a filthy Jew..that's the reason our people kept his people as slaves..."

"What the hell does that mean?" I asked between clenched teeth.

"Watch your language, young lady," Mom warned.

"Bien, excusez-moi!" I said, switching to French, knowing full well that this was not what she meant when she said to watch my language. "Diable ce moyen ?"

"You worthless little bitch," she spat, veins on her slender neck popping out in anger. "You ungrateful..we have given you everything...EVERYTHING!  And this is how you repay us? By giving birth to some little half-Jew mongrel!"

I stood and leaned across the table, bringing my face inches from my mothers.

"Don'," I said, my teeth clenched.  "I didn't expect either of you to be doing cartwheels over this, but I was expecting some support from you."

Declan wandered into the kitchen and saw that I was in Mom's face.

"Whoa, sucks to be you," he said to me as he crossed to the fridge and rummaged.

"Why aren't you more like your brother?" my mother asked. "He doesn't get himself into these situations."

"Because he hasn't left the house in three years!" I screamed. "I am sick and tired of being compared to him. Why? What do I have to do to make you accept me? I went to college and got excellent grades. I chose to follow in your career footsteps, thinking it would please you. But it didn't. Well, I've got news for you. I've stopped trying to please you, and have decided to lead my own life. And for once I'm completely happy. I'm sorry if you don't approve of my choice, but that's too damn bad."

"Get out." My mother looked at me and pointed towards the front door. "Get out of my house. Now. I don't ever want to set eyes on you again if you insist on seeing that damn Jew."

I didn't say anything; I just went upstairs and grabbed my bag. I caught sight of Steve's picture and grabbed it, putting it in my bag. I ran down the stairs and out the door to my car. I threw my bag in and climbed behind the wheel, started the car and pulled out of the driveway, heading home.

When I got in, I called Steve's parents house.

"Hi, Mrs. Page..It's Ahnka. Is Steve in?"

"He and Matt went to the mall. They should be back soon though."

"Oh. Um, can you tell him that I'm back from my parents, and ask him to call me at home?"

"Of course, dear. I'll make sure he calls as soon as he gets in."

"Thank you," I said. I hung up the phone, and then went into the bedroom, wrapping my arms around Steve's pillow and inhaling his scent deeply before I collapsed into tears.