“Beverley.” My father said. He was seated in front of me with his interlaced hands resting on top of the mahogany dinner table. His posture was as strict and firm as his tone and the look on his face.
“Yes, Dad?” I answered, feeling like a teenager being scolded like a kid.
“What’s this?” He asked, inclining toward the report card in front of me.
“My progress report for the half term.”
“Yes I am well aware. But my question is; why are your grades low?”
I gazed down at my report card. My grades weren’t all that bad, they were pretty average and good enough to be considered passes according to university standards. The issue was why my grades were below 75% since distinction grades were above 75% and I always scored higher than that.
So why did my grades drop?
It couldn’t be because of poor management of the workload since I adapted well working under pressure and still performed well in my modules regardless.
I wasn’t at all comfortable disclosing what had been going on in my personal life as of late.
So overall, I had nothing to say to defend myself.
“It’s only half term, Dad. I’ll do better next time.” I settled for saying.
“That’s not good enough, Beverley.” He let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m the one paying for your tuition for the degree of your choosing despite telling you to pick a better degree. You promised to prove that you made a better choice in picking this degree.”
I clenched my jaw tightly at his words.
“Don’t be hard on her, Darrell. Sure, her grades dropped but it’s not the end of the world.” Gran chimed into the conversation.
“I know what I’m doing, mom. I don’t need you telling me how to be a parent.” Came his response filled with ice.
I saw the quiet injury in her eyes at his words but decided to remain silent.
“You better improve your grades, Beverley.” He told me. “Or else, I’ll have no choice but to make you drop this degree and do Architecture like I had originally planned.”
“You can’t do that.” I exclaimed.
“I have the money and power to do so. I decide what’s best for you since you don’t seem to know what you’re doing.”
“How the heck am I supposed to if you ain’t gonna give me a chance!”
“I have been, Beverley. Your results are a clear indicator of how incapable you are.”
I stared at him with a hard look in my eyes as I scoffed. “You wanna know why my grades drop so bad? Fine, I’ll tell you.” I said. “I had a one nightstand and go pregnant.”
The air in the room was as still as the silence. Dad and Gran both gawked at me surprised for different reasons.
Dad was shocked at the bombshell I had dropped on him.
Gran was shocked at how I carelessly and blatantly told him the news with no care or regard of his reaction and how he was going to receive the news.
But I didn’t care. I was tired. I was fed up. He was going to find out eventually and I wasn’t going to wait until he did. I was better off dealing with whatever reaction he was going to have sooner than later.
He laughed. “This must be a joke, right?”
No one said a word. “You’re serious?” it wasn’t a question.
“Gran has the results.” I told him.
“You knew?!” he bellowed, shooting an accusatory glare at her.
“I was the first to know about this, Darrell. I was going to bring the matter to your attention on her behalf.” She said, casting me a reproving look.
The silence returned. “I should have known better than to let you go on that damn trip.” He finally spoke.
“Dad, I only found out weeks after –“
“So you admit that you opened your legs to some random guy you met on that trip?” he cut me off before I could finish.
“Darrell!” Gran exclaimed, surprised by his remark.
“Where you busy whoring around all those times you came home late after school.”
“Darrell, that is no way to talk to your daughter.”
“Don’t you dare tell me how should and shouldn’t talk to my daughter, mother.” He stood up, pointing his finger at her. “You’re the last person to be saying anything of that sort. None of this would have happened if you hadn’t been so lenient her.”
“It’s not like I wanted any of this –“ I said.
“Don’t you even dare try defending your tomfoolery, Beverley.” He seethed, glaring at me with such malice and disgust I never imagined he had in his eyes. “I have nothing else to say to you nor can I even look at you. Leave”
“NOW!” he raised his voice at me.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I obeyed his command and left the room without saying a word.
“Otherwise, how are you holding up?”
“I’m doing okay.” I answered, standing up from the desk and walked over to the window where I saw the vivid orange and purple colours of the sunset outside.
“You sure, Honey Bee?”
“What do you want me to say?” I asked, letting out a dejected sigh.
“Be honest with yourself. Are you okay?”
I was silent for a brief moment, putting my thoughts and feelings together so I could process them into words. “I don’t know.” I answered. “I am worried about how things will go from here after telling my dad about this. And since he didn’t take the news well, I don’t know what to expect from Matthew when I do tell him.
“Wait? So Matthew doesn’t know?”
I furrowed my eyebrows, confused by her question. “No. I hadn’t told him yet. I was going to as soon as I saw the results and took the pregnancy tests.”
“Maren, what did you do?” I asked, now feeling panic rush through my veins like adrenaline.
“So I may or may not have told him about him while I went apeshit on him for knocking you up the day after I found out.”
I closed my eyes, raking my fingers through my hair and pulled it as I let out a groan. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse. And it certainly didn’t help that I hadn’t been checking my messages nor answered any calls since then so obvious he was going to think that I was avoiding him again.
“Okay, in my defence, I assumed that he already knew about this.”
“Maren, I don’t give a fuck what you assumed. Cant you for once in your life stop being up in ,my business and not make things harder for me?” my voice shook as I snapped at her. “My dad’s already mad at me over this shit. How the fuck am I going to face Matthew after he heard the news from you instead of me?”
“Yeah, sorry ain’t gonna cut it, Mare. Not this time.”
Before she could say anything, I hung up. So many emotions were storming inside me. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was scared. I wanted to scream and breaking anything that was within my reach. I wanted to curl into a ball and wallow.
Okay, Bee. Calm down.
I took a deep breath in through the nostrils and out through the mouth. In through the nostrils. Out through the mouth. I continued doing that exercise until I was sure that I was calm and stable. I opened my messenger and saw twenty unread messages.
Three messages from the group chat I was in with Saro, Ci-Ci and Zarya.
Eleven messages from Maren
Six messages from Matthew.
I went straight to Matthew’s chat.
Can we talk?
Are you avoiding me again?
Beverley, please answer.
I just want to talk.
If you do eventually see these messages, please call me.
Exhaling a sigh, I dialled his number and put the phone in my ear. I waited patiently and anxiously for him to pick up.
“Hey.” I answered.
“You’ve been ignoring my messages.”
“A lot had been going on. I wanted some time off social media.”
“Maren told me that she told you about the uhm –“ I cleared my throat awkwardly. “the pregnancy.”
“She did – right after she slapped me across the face then proceeded to chase me around the studio before Claire intervened and stopped her.”
He didn’t sound angry, but I could pick up how bitter and distant his tone was as he spoke to me and I could imagine the stoic look on his face to match it.
“Can we talk about it in person?”
“Anywhere besides your place. Somewhere where it’s just us.”
“How about Hallingbury Bridge?”
“Cool, see you there.