The stench hit my sensitive nose and the rest of my breakfast left me. Syll was leaning against the door with a bottle of water ready. She had her olive arms crossed and looked like she was contemplating on whether to throw the bottle at me or not.
"Hon, I think you should take a p-test."
Her words didn't register at first. After they hit me, I threw up the previous night's dinner. She sighed and I could hear her rummaging in her purse. I stood up and flushed before looking at her. She held a pregnancy test kit out to me. Why did she have that in her purse? My surprise must have shown on my face because she quickly explained.
"You've been sick for two weeks every lunch hour and you've been moody. I figured I might as well be prepared for anything. I have tampons, Tylenol, cold medicine, a thermometer, and pads in her too."
I took the box from her and looked at it. It was just your normal pregnancy test kit you could get from the drug store. I went to ask her to stay in the bathroom as a lookout when the bell rang. The test would have to wait.
I honestly forgot all about the test. I had bigger problems to worry about. Mom was finally home. She'd been out of town for two weeks. Yes, the same two weeks I had been puking my guts out. But she wasn't the only one home. They were home. My stepfather and half sisters were back. My step brother and second best friend had stayed with me. We were both in high school so we couldn't afford to miss even a day.
As soon as I opened the door, I plastered a fake smile on my face. I could hear them in the living room. I did my best to quietly and quickly walk past, towards the stairs, but it didn't work.
And that was Mom's excited voice. I changed my destination to the living room.
"Hey, Mom. It's good you're back. How's Aunt Jean feeling?"
"Oh, she's all better! It was just a virus. Lasted about a week. Nothing serious," her hands fluttered about and she leaned towards me as she talked.
"So why were you gone for two weeks," a quiet and masculine voice inserted itself into the conversation.
I turned around and saw Alex propping his body against the door frame. He must have been home awhile because he had already changed into more casual clothes than what he usually wore to school.
"Oh, hello, Alex. I didn't realize you were home. You were really quiet," my stepfather spoke with his gravelly voice. I did not miss that.
"I was studying. We have a test tomorrow."
Alex said this all matter-of-factly but I knew he was lying. We were in the same classes all day and we wouldn't have a test until the next week. No one else seemed to catch onto his bluff. I went along with it while Mom answered his question.
"We figured we all deserved a mini-vacation, so we went to the water park, the mall, the movies, and the carnival! It gave us things to do and a chance to relax!"
My mother's voice was perky and her smile was blinding. My stepfather nodded along with her words with his stupid smile. The twins decided to put their two cents in.
"We had a lot of fun! It was weird without you and Alex-"
"-But it was funner! There wasn't any teenagers to be mean!"
Alana and Jenna spoke so enthusiastically that I didn't really understand what they said for a second. It stung to think that my sisters disliked me so much.
"Hey, brats, don't be mean to Reina. She'll cry."
Alex's statement held more truth than I would have cared to admit. What was wrong with me?
"I need to study. I'll be in my room. I'm glad you had fun."
I tried to sound loud and excited. I dropped my smile when I turned around and Alex gave me a look of sympathy.
"Come on, we'll study together. We'll ace the test that way."
I followed him upstairs to his room. It was as bare and clean as it was last month. He plopped down into his desk chair and planted his long legs on the white desk. I sat in the wicker hanging chair in the corner.
"So, talk to me. What's wrong? Syll texted me and told me to remind you to check your purse for that thing. I don't know what it is but she said you'd know. She also said that she's worried about you, " Alex barely looked at me as he tossed a tennis ball in the air and spoke.
Shame filled me and I looked down. Syll was one of my best friends and genuinely cared about me. Here I was, worrying her. My head sprung up when I remembered what item I shoved in my purse. The test! How could I have forgotten something so important and nerve racking? I threw my bag onto my shoulder and sprang up. Alex's eyes widened in surprise at my sudden movement.
"Alex, I-I'll talk to you in about... ten minutes!" I held up both hands to emphasize the time. "I'll be right back! I need to do something!"
My leg jiggled up and down as I waited. I kept tugging on my hair and fidgeting with my throw pillows.
"You'll remember me for centuries-"
Patrick Stump's voice startled me and I hurried to cut off the timer. All I had to do was go to my bathroom and pick up the stick. That's all I had to do. I had to be strong and do it.
I called Syll instead.
I was trembling on my bed while Syll paced in front of me. Her steps were forceful and muffled by my carpet. Alex sat on my desk chair. Syll decided it was time to tell him. He was my other best friend, he deserved the truth.
"Wait, do you," he pointed in my direction with a pale hand, "have been sick and moody for two weeks instead of one? And you," he pointed at Syll. "-think she may be pregnant? Where the hell does that add up?"
I sighed. Alex was a wonderful person. I felt terrible for deceiving him. Honestly, I had been having suspicions myself, but I had never even thought about voicing them aloud. Alex's blue eyes just looked bewildered and hurt. Syll stopped pacing and looked at me with her arms crossed.
"I'm sorry I lied to you. I-I was scared. I didn't know what to do," and then the tears started.
I could practically hear the conversation I knew they were having with their eyes. It probably went something like this: Should we console her? Why are you asking me? You should know! Yeah, whatever, you're the girl. Go hug her. Syll was the one to come sit next to me and hold me.
"Reina, stop crying and calm down. First, you're going to go to your bathroom and you're going to pick up that test. Then, you're going to come out here and look at the results with us. We'll figure out where to go from there."
Syll wanted to be a psychologist. It was the perfect thing for her. She had a calming effect on people. I stood up and did exactly as she said.
I stared at the test in shock. Negative.
"N-negative? Then why...?"
Alex, Syll, and I all relaxed. Our worries were mostly erased.
"You and I'll go to the doctor tomorrow to find out what's wrong. Maybe you caught a bug."
"I'll go too," Alex chimed in.
My smile was watery but grateful. It was great having people you could rely on.