When am I supposed to get my period? When I think about it, the last time I saw red was forever ago, but maybe that’s just my head playing games with me. Of course, I worry about being pregnant right when Lauren finds out she is—or was. It’s around me, a part of my life at the moment, so thinking I’m pregnant can’t be too crazy.
I mean, I’m on the pill. There’s only a few left, but I’m technically still on it. I take it everyday—I took it this morning, so what’s the problem? Should I have researched more about it? I didn’t think taking birth control was so complicated. What if I’m not taking it the right—
“Are you okay? You look dizzy?”
Peering up to Lauren, I shake it off and straighten up. “Oh, I’m fine. Just got a little light-headed.”
“Do you want something to drink? Or food? Have you eaten today?” Jonas asks while getting me water, not waiting for my answer.
“I did. I’m really fine. I don’t know why...” I hear the front door open, and suddenly I can’t speak anymore. It’s Brandon. I have to act normal, no more stumbling or stuttering because he’ll ask me what’s wrong and then I’ll have to lie instead of confessing that my period has disappeared. I don’t want to lie to him. Whenever I’ve withheld the truth from him, all I feel is guilty.
“Hey, I’m home!” He calls into the house. “Who’s here?”
“Hi, Brandon!” Lauren calls back. “It’s just us!”
He appears from the main hall, and Preston sits up on the couch and does some sort wave thing at him. Brandon eventually turns to the three of us. The popping of the popcorn in the microwave is all I hear when his eyes reach mine.
“What are you guys doing over here? Watching a movie?” He casually walks over and leans against the counter, his elbows on the granite. Keys drop from his hands before he pulls his phone out of his pocket and sets that down as well. I need to stop staring at him. I need to speak.
“Yeah, we’re, uh, watching a movie.”
Jonas places my glass of water down in front of me, so I promptly take a sip.
Jonas elaborates, “No ones really been watching it. We’ve been talking over here, and they’ve been making out on the couch, so.”
“Well, I was actually just about to leave,” I spill.
“You were?” Lauren questions.
“Yeah, there are some things I have to do before our slumber party. I’ll text you later, though. And you better be coming, Jonas.” Just before I can awkwardly slip away, Brandon reels me back in.
He takes me into the hall and my heart pounds relentlessly. I fall back against the wall, hoping to sink into it. He looks at me as if he’s daring me to say it without knowing what exactly it is.
He has to wonder why I’m so bipolar all the time. Why one day I’m all flirty and ready to give him my heart and the next I’m trying to escape him as if he’s contracted some sort of disease. How does he handle me? How does anyone?
“You’re doing it again,” he says, bringing his arm up, nearly touching my neck as he beams it out to the wall.
“What do you mean?”
He’s close enough now to make my mind wander to the idea of him kissing me—softly, lovingly as he did in my bedroom. My eyes flash down to his lips for a split second.
“I have to figure it out before I tell you about it,” I murmur. “So, I have to go, you know, I figure it out now.”
“I really can’t help you with whatever it is?”
I shake my head. “It’s nothing...” I was going to say that it’s nothing bad, but I’m not sure about that statement. It would be bad. Very bad. “Well, It’s nothing—uh, I’m not sure. Just don’t worry about it.”
“Your certainty is very soothing, Emma,” he says sarcastically before pushing off the wall and running a hand through his beachy hair. “Does it have to do with Kaden? Is anyone trying to hurt you?”
“No, no, nothing like that.”
“Does it have to do with me?”
I swallow. “I—I guess so.” His eyebrows raise a little. “I still want to be with you,” I assure him, “it’s not that I want to break up. I just don’t want to worry you or make a big deal out of something when it could end up being nothing.”
His eyes fall to my stomach. I immediately step off the wall. “Stop that.”
"Emma,” he starts as usual. How many times do I have to hear him say my name like that? It’s as if I’m about to make a detrimental mistake and he’s convincing me to stop while there’s still time.
"Brandon,” I say, now needing to be the one to warn him. Don’t you dare—
“You said you were on the—”
“I am!” I’m taking them, every day I’m taking them. The real issue is if I’m taking them correctly. Or—or if it’s even birth control at all. Damn it, Emma.
“Everything alright?” Jonas calls from the other room. I got too loud.
Brandon watches me instead of replying.
I call back, “Everything’s fine.”
“Is it, Emma?”
Stepping closer, I whisper, ”It’s not that.”
Here comes the guilt. It eats away at my stomach, making me want to curl up on the floor and wail.
He sighs. “I’m not upset with you.”
Anger boils up my throat, threatening to burst from my mouth. “Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot. If I tell you that it’s not that, it’s not that.”
Before he can say anything else, I leave through the front door, but I’m not sure if he knew what to say anyway. I’m not upset with you. Ugh! I want to punch a wall. He said it as if I tried to get pregnant on purpose—as if I’m trying to trap him by—oopsie—taking birth control wrong. I didn’t mean to! I’m not some psycho girlfriend who’s trying to get pregnant, so her heart does get smashed again.
When I reach my Aunts house, I hit my room like a hurricane, like a mother searching for her child’s pot stash. Where’s the pillow? I left it on the bed.
Finding my Aunt out back, I poke my head through the door and ask, “Have you seen the little decorative pillow from my bed? It’s white and, you know, has little shells sewn onto it.”
“Oh, there was a stain on it. I was just about to do whites. It’s in the laundry room.”
Did she take off the pillowcase? Did she find the pills? Did she hear the rattling?
“Why? Do you need it?” She asks.
“No. I was just hoping I didn’t lose it or something. Thanks.”
I shut the door then rush to the laundry room, finding the pillow as it sits angelically on top of the washer, still covered. I unzip it and shove my hand in, promptly feeling the hard plastic of the daily pill container. Zipping the pillow back up, I take the pills back to my room and lock the door behind me. My frantic hands shake as I open the Monday slot and take one out. I examine it.
Little white pill. “What are you?” I mumble.
I hear my Aunts car pull into the gravel driveway. Shooting up, I dash out of my room and spring out the front door barefoot, feeling the sharp gravel dig into the soles of my feet as I bombard my mother.
She rolls down her window. “Emma, what’s up? What’s going on?”
I cling to the window, my fingers gripping the car. “Do you still take birth control?”
“Is this your way of asking me to put you on birth control, Emma? Are you and Brandon—”
“No, mom, are you still on birth control?”
She takes the key out, and the car shuts off. “Jesus, Emma. No, I don’t. I’m not sure why you’d want to know that, but I don’t get my period anymore. Now, what is this all about? Do you want to be put on birth control?”
She keeps talking as my heart sinks out of my body and hits the ground. “It’s, it’s just I found this pink pill container thing and—”
“Oh,” she says, “oh, well, I was wondering where that went. Where was it? Did you think it was birth control?”
“No, I just found it with my toiletries for some reason. Maybe you misplaced it under the counter.”
“Oh. Well did you put it back?”
My limbs gain a pound each as every second passes. I’m going to collapse. “No. I-I threw it away.”
“What? Why would you do that?”
“What was it, mom?”
I step back as she gets out of the car, her purse swinging in her elbow. “I’ll explain later. I just need some time.”
She walks past me and enters the house like a ghost. My brows furrow and I cross my arms. I make my way around the house, seeing my Aunt as she heads inside, probably hearing my mom. Now alone out here, I wander towards the water and sit down in the sand. All I can think to do is sit here. All I can do is stare out and not think at all.
“Yup, there she is. I think she’s upset. She’s been out there for a few hours.”
I hear my Aunts voice as she points Jonas in my direction. It’s him because Lauren is usually late. I hear his footsteps in the sand as they grow close, then suddenly they’re behind me.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hi,” I say, not taking my eyes from the water.
“I might be pregnant.”
Silence. He probably didn’t expect me to come right out and say it.
Jonas sits down beside me, and I finally turn my head to face him. “How’d that happen?”
“I thought I was taking birth control. It wasn’t birth control. I don’t know what it was.”
He breathes out. “You know you need to take a test, right?”
Jonas takes his phone out, taps a bunch then looks to me. “I asked Lauren if she has any left.”
“Okay,” I say.
“He thinks I’m an idiot,” I mutter. “I told him that I’m not pregnant, that that’s not what’s wrong, but I lied, so.” I dig my fingers into the sand and grip at it. “I love him.”
“If I’m pregnant, I don’t want him to know about it. It would save him a lot of trouble if I just took care of things myself.”
“I know Lauren chose that rout, but that doesn’t mean you have to,” he says.
“I’m going to Stanford, Jonas. Brandon’s going to Berkeley. And I’m too young. I don’t want to be pregnant. I just can’t believe that right after Lauren goes through this, I do. I wonder if the clinic has a friend-referral discount.” I laugh a little. It feels better to laugh.
Jonas glances down at his phone. “She has a few left.”
“Did she say anything else?”
“No. You know Lauren wouldn’t judge you.”
“She said she’s on her way.”