Brian hadn't taken the news very well. Not that I expected him to. He had fallen silent, i didn't dare speak again. Deep down, i knew the choice i made probably hadn't been the right one. I wasn't even a hundred percent sure she was in fact pregnant. I hadn't really given any other option a thought.
He had left the vehicle and walked away, heading inside the shop leaving me behind. The rest of the day he'd been in a daze. I didn't even try and talk to him because I knew it would have been useless.
As I left work, i realized he'd left already and I wondered if he'd gone over to Sarah's to confront her.
I had stirred the pot and I felt guilty.
Now, sitting at the dinner table with Alec I slowly picked at the breaded chicken and mixed vegetables that lay on my plate. Alec's mouth was moving, but everything he was saying fell on deaf ears.
I found myself nodding and giving a slight smile to whatever Alec had said. A frown slipped across his face, he reached across the table and gripped my hand in his "Hey, you alright?" He asked.
I chewed on my bottom lip, I wanted to tell him what I had done but I didn't want to fight with him. I nodded even as he squeezed my hand, "Cas, you can tell me if something is bothering you"
I shouldn't have meddled. I'd done the one thing I was tired of everyone around me was doing.
I glanced up from my plate and stared up at him with guilt before letting out a sigh "I told someone something that I shouldn't have..."
He just sat there staring at me, silencing encouraging me to continue.
I groaned and leaned back in my seat, rubbing a gentle hand over my tummy "I had lunch with Brian today... I may or may not have told him that I thought Sarah was pregnant with his baby"
He dropped his fork and I visibly cringed as it hit his plate and clattered against the surface. There was a long drawn out silence and I nearly choked on the tension that surfaced between us.
"Why would you tell him that? Do you even know if that's the truth? You're creating more drama and meddling into other people's business even after you just had the same thing happen to you with out situation" he said and his words came crashing into me. The protest i had, had died on my lips and I fell silent.
He sighed and I had to force the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes back. These pregnancy hormones would be the death of me.
"Cas-" he began but I stopped him.
"No you're right. My big mouth got the better of me. I guess I also felt bad, if she is pregnant and it is Brian's I wanted him to know and yes I know it's not my business or my place to tell him but again my big mouth got the better of me." Shame filled my heart and I chewed on my lower lip contemplating on what to do next.
Alec smiled and reached across the table to grip my hand in his, "Look, in a way you were trying to do the right thing but you're right it isn't your place. Brian will see that, eventually." He said and his attempts to help ease my internal battles warmed my heart even as I still felt guilty.
"I hope so" Replied.
I don't want to lose Brian as a friend and I could only hope in the end he would forgive me.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Families would get together, there were tables and counters full of food and drinks. The men would huddle in the living room watching the game and chatting about politics.
The women stood around in the kitchen each holding their own glass of wine or beer, laughing about childhood memories and catching up on family drama.
The kids usually ran around the house, their soft foot falls echoing around everyone as they didn't care what they interrupted only that they were having fun.
I really enjoyed it and today just happened to be my favorite holiday.
Alec woke up before me and began picking up the house and getting ready before he begun the process of attempting to get me out of bed. I let out a groan of annoyance and rolled over onto my other wise, away from him.
"Cas you have to get up"
My eyes burned and I refused to open them, "No"
"You have three hours left before we leave for your mothers house and we both know how she gets when we're late" he said and I could hear him moving around the bedroom.
He was right, my mother wouldn't let me live it down the entire evening if I was late in fact a few weeks ago i had been running late for our annual dinner and she held it over my head for about two weeks, constantly bringing up and complaining about how I really needed to get myself together and be more precise. I swear my mothers crazy.
Slowly I stretched and let out another series of groans.
"That's it. Come on. Get up. You got it" he coaxed.
"Shut up" I snapped as I sat up and squinted as the morning rays of the November sunlight glared across my face. I tossed a pillow at him and scowled "I'm not a dog"
Alec caught it and grinned, "Who's a good girl?"
I swung my legs over the bed and stood up still glaring at him "You're an ass" I said before heading out of the bedroom and into the bathroom. Only three hours left, I still needed to shower and change.
"I'm your ass"
I closed the door on his remark.
The water worked wonders, sort of. I almost fell asleep twice as I stood beneath the spray but I definitely felt more awake now as I stood wrapped in a towel in my room staring at the line of clothes that hung in the closet. Alec had gone into the kitchen to finish baking the apple pie that I had pre made yesterday so I could easily pop it into the oven, wait for it to bake and then be on our way.
My closet was filled with clothes that either didn't fit or I didn't like at the moment. Unconsciously I ran my hand across the baby bump as I went through the clothes again before finally pulling out a dark maroon sweater dress.
Alec sauntered in at that moment, his dark black slacks and long sleeve beige shirt quickly reminded me as to why I was pregnant in the first place. He looked so enticingly handsome. His blue eyes darkened and he took a step towards me, "The dress is a good choice however I think I prefer you without it"
I stepped back and held up a hand as if that could stop his advances and we both knew it wouldn't but I was hoping he'd control himself because I also knew if he kissed me I'd fold and I really didn't want to be late for dinner, my mother would have a fit "Alec don't. I need to get dressed and we need to get going"
He sighed and took a step back while still giving me glances of appreciation, "Pregnancy has only made you look even more beautiful. It's hard to keep my hands off of you"
I laughed and stepped into my underwear and pulled on my bra, "I appreciate that Alec but your pretty words won't make a difference, we really have to get to my mothers house"
He stuffed his hands in his pockets and smirked, "Fine then after dinner I think I deserve desert"
"We will just have to see about that"
I pulled the dress on, curled my hair and applied some light makeup before Alec helped me into a pair of black lace flats. We made sure to grab the apple pie before we left the house and headed to my mothers. By the time we arrived we were thirty minutes early, her driveway was packed and the side streets were nearly full from her house and her neighbors own thanksgiving celebration.
My two uncles, my fathers brothers, were standing outside smoking and chatting away as we parked the car further down the street and walked up to the house. Alec settled a hand on my back and held the pie in the other.
I smiled pleasantly as Uncle Richard and Uncle Max caught sight of us. They both gave tight smiles to us both, neither say hello. The smile slipped from my face and I glanced at Alec who seemed equally surprised as they had always welcomed him with open arms and had never been less than loving towards me.
We walked past them, both of us slipping into our own thoughts as the front door opened and my father stepped out. He grinned in welcome, "Cassandra, my darling girl, we were wondering when you were going to show up" he pulled me away from Alec and into a warm hug.
I smiled into his shoulder and hugged him back "hey dad"
He kissed the side of my head and pulled back to look at me, "It feels like you've been gone for far to long"
I laughed lightly and stared up at him, "I was just here a few days ago for dinner"
He set me back carefully, still grinning "Still, I missed you"
"I missed you too" I said.
He extended a hand to Alec who took it respectfully. They each said hello before my father excused himself to go talk with his brothers.
Alec and I stepped inside and I nearly fell back into him as the warmth of the house circled around me, nearly cutting off oxygen. The kitchen was in full use which meant mom forgot to open a few windows to let a nice cool breeze in. She did that every thanksgiving as she was always too occupied with cooking and talking with family members to think about it.
"Mom?" I called out even as we walked towards the kitchen knowing that's where she was likely stationed at.
Loud feminine laughter drew us into the kitchen where my mother, two of my older cousins and my only aunt stood near her all of them laughing and enjoying the moment until Alec and I stepped in. My mother turned her smile towards us and immediately came to pull me into a hug while my cousins and aunt seemed to turn their noses up.
Alec gave them all a small smile, "Hello, happy thanksgiving" he said and held the pie out to my aunt who gave him a once over. She was judging him even though she had met him plenty of times before.
Then it dawned on me. The entire family knew of the situation, my mother had no doubt filled them all in on it.
My aunt eyed the pie Alec held out and flicked her wrist towards the small amount of counter space left. I glared at my aunt over my mothers shoulder, her eyes connected with mine before she suddenly found the floor interesting.
"Mom, can I talk with you alone for a moment?" I asked.
She pulled back, "Of course" she glanced at my cousins and aunt "Will you excuse us a moment ladies?"
They nodded and left quietly.
I glanced at Alec as he set the pie down. I was suddenly furious with my aunt and uncles.
"Alec why don't you go see if your parents are here yet" I said. I could tell by the look on his face that he knew what was going on, I could also see that it was taking a lot for him to remain calm and collective.
He nodded and walked out.
My mother walked around the kitchen, stirring and adding spices, "What did you want to talk about?" She asked.
"Why would you tell everyone what happened between Alec and me?"
"They're your family Cassandra and besides it's a small town, they were bound to find out sooner or later. I'm actually surprised they hadn't heard about it, they were probably the last people to hear about it" She said as if that was such a great explanation.
"No they didn't have to know. In fact nobody in this town had to know except for the people involved!" My voice was rising but I was so furious , mainly at the moment, with my aunt.
My mother turned on her heel and gave me a look of disbelief "Seriously Cassandra? It's Thanksgiving for Christ sakes, why couldn't this of waited until tomorrow or another Sunday dinner?!"
"Because Aunt Cecile was being rude to Alec and The uncles wouldn't even say hello! I literally just got here and already they're making their views on what happened known!" I was practically shouting at this point, my heart was beating so hard I felt sick.
"I'll talk with them" she said turning back to her food, "Send them in"
I was so close to tearing my hair out, "You can't talk to them about it. They already know and now after you say something to them about how they're acting ill already know that when they act nice and polite that they don't really mean it!"
"I don't understand what you want Cassandra!" My mother yelled back.
"I want you to go back and keep your mouth shut!" I shouted before turning on my heel and running to the bathroom. I locked the door and sat on the edge of the tub.
Thanksgiving had been my favorite holiday.
I hid away for awhile, ignoring Alec's and my fathers attempts to get me to come out of hiding. I was being childish, I know, but i just couldn't deal with any of them at the moment, I couldn't handle their looks of contempt and disgust. My family had always been sweet and welcoming and now it was a whole new ball game.
Eventually I found the courage to stand up and walk out of the bathroom. Mainly because I was starving the aroma from the food smelt divine.
So you can imagaine my shock when I walked out into the crowded living room to find Sarah standing in the entry way, all eyes on her as she smiled shyly and greeted everyone.
I sucked in a breath and touched the wall for support.
"Happy thanksgiving everyone" she said just as Brian walked into the house and stopped short as he came in behind her.
My family didn't say a word, they were as equally surprised to see her as I was. I glanced at Alec who glanced at me in return.
"I'll just go wait in the dining room" Brian said before walking away and I didn't blame him one bit. I wish I could follow him.
Sarah looked at me and I felt the eyes of my family boring into my soul.
There was a tension in the air and I had a feeling she was here to confront me about what I had said to Brian. I was at fault, I knew that.
She cleared her throat and it wasn't until she stepped a bit further into the room that i noticed how chalky and fragile her skin looked. She seemed to have lost a lot of weight which didn't seem good as she'd always been small but now she just looked sickly. There were dark bags beneath her eyes despite the makeup she had tried to cover it with. "Listen I'm sorry to drop by like this especially on Thanksgiving but I figured since I knew you would all be here I would only have to make one quick stop and that way you all know what's going on and the rumors around town can cease."
My family shifted in their seats and it was apparent everyone had heard their own rumors about her.
"First I want to apologize to Alec."
My entire being flared to life and I instantly felt the need to protect him from her, it was a weird feeling.
Alec straightened up and watching her cautiously.
"I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you. I should never have propositioned you with that fake relationship. My reasons behind it were purely selfish and immoral and there are no excuses behind it. I damaged your life in more ways than one and I'm so sorry. You were my best friend and I took advantage of that" she said. Sarah didn't want for him to accept the apology and I don't believe any of us expected him to. She looked at me and I couldn't help but feel a little sense of pity for her, "Cassandra, I took away the man who you've loved a long time. I knowingly went after him completely aware of how much that would hurt you" she choked slightly on a sob, tears fell from her eyes "I'm so so sorry. You didn't deserve that. The things I've done and said to you... they're things I'd have never thought I'd ever say to my best friend and I did. Please just know how sorry I am"
I bit down hard on my lip to keep from sobbing along with her. She wasn't entirely at fault though, as I had had no idea of the contract between her and Alec. I had pursued the affair as much as he had. We were all at fault.
"I also would like to put to rest a rumor and tell you all the truth." She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes, "I'm not pregnant. I've been sick, I've been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer"
I didn't think twice as I stepped forward and hugged her. Sarah folded her arms around me and wept into my shoulder. We cried together.
The entire family was stunned, each of them giving her hugs and words of encouragement. Even Alec shed a few tears. Sarah left even after being invited to stay, she said she didn't have much of an appetite anymore which explained the weight loss.
Thanksgiving dinner was quiet and not at all like I remembered it to be.