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Chapter 4

Mom and the twins had been home for an hour when we got back. She was making dinner, nothing grand, just some spaghetti and meatballs. The chicken we had was better.

"Hey, do you guys want to get ready for dinner and come down and eat? It's really good! I made homemade meatballs this time. They're turkey!"

She was really enthusiastic and almost caring. We looked at each other and then down at the bags we were desperately trying to hide behind us and keep from rustling.

"Sorry, Mom. We already ate. If there's leftovers we can eat those tomorrow. Thanks, though," Alex was polite and to the point.

"Alright. I'll make sure there's some left. Is Syll staying again?"

"Yeah, if that's alright."

"Yes, it's fine. I just wanted to know because we were thinking about going to the park for a family picnic but if Syll's over then you can just stay here and we'll go."

My mother does her best to avoid being rude. She hates it when she comes off as rude, most of the time. In this instant, she didn't care. Syll was basically family and Mom still treated her like an outcast half of the time. Jacob treated Syll better than my mother did. And he was usually horribly blunt or eerily quiet.

When I looked at my best friend, I saw her smile was tight and her left eye was twitching. She hated my mother. But it was alright because, sometimes, I hated her too. We quickly turned around and did our best to go up the stairs.

"Alex, go see if the twins are in the playroom. Hurry, some of these bags are heavy," I did my best to hurry him along.

For some insane reason, Mom and Jacob had decided that their bedroom and the twins' bedroom would be downstairs while the playroom was upstairs with our rooms. It made sense to them and only them. It caused major problems when trying to sneak around the house. Maybe that was their plan... Anyway, back to the story!

Alex came downstairs and gave the all clear. We scurried up the stairs. We made it to my room and hid our purchases.

"I don't know how long we can do this."

Syll's words brought a heavy weight down on the room. I sank onto my bed and looked at my friends. It was true. We couldn't do this for long because as I got further along, I would obviously show. And you can't exactly hide the birth of a child.

"Reina, we have avoided asking for your sake but I think we deserve an answer. Who is the father? You don't have to tell us but we would like to know if we know him or not."

"I-I really don't want to tell you. Can I tell you m-maybe after the baby is born? I trust you both but I just don't feel ready to tell you yet."

"That's alright, sweetie. Now, why don't we sort out your stuff and look through that name book? That's fun, right?"

"Yeah, Syll. Can we have ice cream too?"

Syll looked hesitant and so I pulled out the puppy eyes. She was just about to give in when Alex decided to play nutritionist.

"Nope. We've all had too many sweets lately and, in the long run, that will be real bad for you and the munchkin. Eat a cucumber or something."

Syll breathed a sigh of relief while I grumbled to myself. Stupid Alex, being all smart.

"Hey, Dr. Alex, go get food. We're hungry!"

Alex dodged the onesie Syll threw at his head.

"Why do y'all eat so much? They say guys eat a lot but you girls eat more than anyone I know! That includes Zack. And he's a quarterback!"

"We eat when we can because we don't want to conform to society's standards. Now, love of my life, go. We want snacks. We have names to look through!"

He gave Syll a soft smile before walking out the room. They really were great together. She looked at the door for a minute before bursting into action and startling me. She dug in her purse before pulling out a card. She showed it to me then walked to my underwear drawer.

"Important things like this should always go in the underwear drawer. This is a number and address for a therapist. She's amazing. She's also my fourth cousin once removed but that's not important! Tell nobody. Not even Alex."

The importance of that little card hit me rather hard. Syll shared everything with Alex. Everything. Hell, he knew when her period was so he could get her chocolate. He knew when her fifth cousin's birthday was, how old her cat was, Syll's first stuffed animal's name, and even her favorite make-up brand. He knew everything about her.

I nodded my head at Syll's intense look. Her eyes filled with a calmness that I hadn't seen for a while. She must have been struggling with not telling me. She flopped down onto the floor and pulled some of the bags toward her.

"Now, let's pick out a name for my future niece or nephew!"

I giggled and went to sit next to her. We wouldn't find a name that night but we had fun looking at all the names. Alex was baffled by the bond we seemed to have that night but he accepted it and left us to our own devices for once.

I didn't imagine that I would have so many problems when I went back to school.

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