Life settled into a
routine over the next few weeks. I would take Felicity to the hospital for appointments,
tutor Phillip in biology on Monday afternoons, go to school and usually do
something with Phillip on Friday nights. He had practise on Thursday and
Tuesday nights and would call me when he got home. Homework really started to
pile up and unfortunately, Felicity began to show a lot more. She hit the five
month mark and she couldn’t hide the fact that her belly was expanding anymore.
The whole school now knew that she was pregnant. Phillip, Josh and Dustin had
been a little shocked to find out, but after explaining the situation, they
were nothing but kind and supportive of Felicity.
We sat around a lunch table now, just myself and Phillip, enjoying some time to ourselves and trying to ignore the looks being sent to us from Melanie’s table. I didn’t blame her, really I didn’t. She had every right to be hurt an upset, but that didn’t mean the whole thing wasn’t getting on my nerves. It had been weeks now since Phillip and I got together and I would have thought that by now she’d be a little less vengeful.
“Don’t let her get to you.” Phillip said to me. I turned my head around towards him and he was staring over my shoulder at Melanie. “She’s not a mean person. She’s just upset.”
“I know. It’s just getting on my nerves is all.” I said.
“What’s getting on your nerves?” Josh asked as he and Dustin sat down.
“Melanie.” I said by means of explanation.
“Ah.” Dustin said.
“Well, seeing as you stole her boyfriend and knocked her out of first place in the running for Prom Queen, I can see why she’d hate your guts.” Josh said casually as he unwrapped his sandwich and took a bite.
“Be kind and rewind for me, please.” I said, holding a hand up. “Did you say, Prom Queen?”
“Yeah. You were nominated and from what I’ve heard you’re pretty popular.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t do anything. Melanie deserves that more than me. She’s class president, on the honour roll and runs the prom committee. I didn’t do anything.”
“Well, technically you’re on the honour roll too.” Dustin pointed out with a smile.
“And you’re dating Prince Charming here, so that makes you popular.” Josh jerked his head towards Phillip, who rolled his eyes.
“Not to mention the fact that you’re a nice person, which is always a good thing.” Dustin added. “Face is, Rhea. People like you.”
“Is that so hard to believe?” Phillip asked curiously.
“Well, it’s more the popular thing that’s got me stumped right now.” I said. Josh glanced at my tray.
“Are you going to eat those tater tots?”
I moved my tray. “Yes, back off.”
“Can I have one?”
“Phillip make her give me one.”
“I can’t make her do anything.” Phillip laughed. Dustin shook his head and tried not to look amused.
“I still think Melanie will win.” I said, getting back on topic. I moved my tray further from Josh’s grasp and he sighed, sat back in his chair and pouted.
“You never know.” Phillip said.
Dustin scoffed. “Dude. That’s easy for you to say. You’ve been Prom king two years in a row. You’re pretty much guaranteed to win this year too.”
“You know Felicity was nominated too, right?” Josh asked me and my eyebrows shot up.
“I didn’t even know I was nominated.” I pointed out.
“Fair enough. But I overheard Melanie talking to Sarah, you know the girl who oversees the voting?” Josh said, “Well she was asking Sarah to make sure that Felicity got nominated.”
“Why?” I asked. “It can’t be out of the goodness of her heart. Melanie and Felicity never got along so well. Even before Phillip and I got together.”
Dustin and Phillip exchanged looks but didn’t say anything. These boys weren’t subtle and I noticed it immediately.
“Guys?” I crossed my arms.
“Well,” Dustin cleared his throat, “I may have overheard her speaking to one of her friends the other day.”
“It seems that Melanie hopes that Felicity does manage to win, because they have this big thing planned. Something about Felicity and some photos from summer. I didn’t hear the full extent but it sounded bad.”
I frowned. “Wow. That’s devious.”
“Not to mention low.” Phillip said.
“Sometimes people just need to be angry.” Dustin shrugged.
“She really is Maleficent.” I mumbled under my breath.
“What?” Josh asked with a grin.
“Felicity used to joke that Melanie was Maleficent reincarnate. Like I said. They never really got along.” I explained.
“Maleficent…she’s the one with the horns right?” Phillip asked.
“Yeah. You know, curses baby Aurora to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday so that she falls into a one hundred year sleep. Only true loves kiss can wake her up. Ring any bells?” I smiled.
“I was only asking, Miss Smarty Pants.” Phillip chuckled.
“So what are you saying? Melanie is going to put a curse on Felicity?” Josh snorted. My smile died on my face.
“Well, from what you’ve told me, Melanie isn’t going to let this go. She’s out to get us.” I said. “Normally I wouldn’t care about this sort of thing but she’s resourceful and clever.”
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Dustin mumbled.
Mom, dad and I were huddled on the couch that night, watching Who Wants to Be A Millionaire as usual when there was a knock on the door. My mother got up to get it, handing me the tub of ice cream as she did. I thought it was a little too cold for this time of year, but that didn’t stop me from eating it anyway.
“Rhea! It’s Felicity!” Mom called and I could tell from her voice that something was wrong. I got up, shooting my dad a funny look and left the room.
“What is it mom?” I asked as I rounded the corner and then I saw Felicity. Her eyes were swollen and red, her cheek bruised and a bag clutched in her hand, the other protecting her protruding belly. “Flick, what happened?”
“Mom kicked me out.” She said. “I knew she would eventually figure out that they weren’t just rumours and actually notice that I’ve put weight on. But she flipped out. She started screaming and throwing things…” She touched her cheek. My mom wrapped an arm around her.
“You’ll stay here, of course.” She said and I nodded fervently. “Your mom will come around. Don’t worry. She’s probably just shocked.” My mom looked at me. “Why don’t you take Felicity up to your room?”
“Sure. Yeah. Absolutely.” I sounded like an idiot but I didn’t care. Felicity and I both knew and had talked about the time when her mother would eventually find out about the pregnancy, but I didn’t think it would be this bad.
I grabbed Felicity’s bag and followed her up the stairs, feeling the eyes of my mother on us the entire way up the staircase. When we got to my room, Felicity went over and sat on my bed, not saying anything, arms crossed. I close the door behind me before going over to her. I try and put my arm around her shoulders but she shrugs them off. I try not to be upset about that because I know she’s only hurting.
“Don’t.” she said.
“What? Flick, talk to me.”
“Oh sure. Now you’re interested in talking to me.” she snapped. I recoiled at her tone.
“What are you talking about?”
“You! Ever since you and Phillip started dating, I’ve barely talked to you! Sure I see you at school, but the only time you’ve been mildly interested in speaking to me is when we go to doctor’s appointments, and even then you talk about Phillip!”
I voiced my thoughts, “I had no idea.”
Felicity sighed. “I know he’s your first boyfriend, but it felt like I was being replaced. Like you didn’t care.”
I stared at Felicity for a few seconds before I threw my arms around her tightly. She huffed at the sudden impact. “Flick of course I care!” I cried. “You’re my best friend!”
“Didn’t feel like that. I know he’s a priority now and all that crap, and I know you’re still trying to figure out the whole relationship thing. It’s just I didn’t know it would make me feel this way.”
“I’m sorry it upset you so much. I’ll try to do better from now on. I promise.” I pulled away from Felicity and saw she was smiling though her eyes glistening.
“I wasn’t upset so much as…” she mumbled and didn’t finish. I prodded her arm.
“As much as what?”
“Don’t make me say it. You know already.”
“Maybe I don’t.” I grinned.
She glared, eyes still shining. “You suck. You know that?”
I laughed and after a little bit, Felicity laughed with me. She’d changed her habits so much in the last few weeks. Placing her hands over her belly every time she laughed, or was worried. It was like she was afraid any kind of movement would harm her baby.
“You don’t really suck.” She stated, then thought about what she said. “You know what I mean. I didn’t think before I said that. That sounded dirty.”
I shook my head. “No worries.”
“Speaking of dirty. You and Phillip haven’t…?”
I blushed to all the way down to my neck. “Felicity! God no! We’ve only been together for a two months.”
“So I’m not you.” I said, then hurried on before she could get offended. “I can’t commit to things like that unless I’m sure. You’re a lot more confident and free spirited.”
“True.” She said, dragging herself backwards onto my bed so she could lay against the pillows. “I just thought I’d ask anyway. You know what boys are like and all.”
“Just because Phillip thinks about and wants sex doesn’t mean I’m going to give it to him. At least not now.” I frowned, turning around on the bed to face her. I had more dignity and self-respect than that to just do whatever boys expected me to do.
“You go girl.” Felicity reached for her phone and then winced. Alarm washed over me like a bucket of ice water.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
“It’s just the baby. It’s kicking.” She stated. Felicity looked up at me and I was too busy staring at her protruding abdomen.
“What does it feel like?”
“I can’t really describe it.” She answered after a pause. “It’s something you have to experience to understand.”
I nodded and smiled up at my friend. She grabbed my hand all of a sudden and placed it on her belly, close to her left side. I felt a little nudge under my hand and I tried to hold back a gasp. My eyes widened. It was unbelievable to even think that there was a person growing inside my friend. You always see babies in strollers or being held by their parents, little kids on the playground, but you never really stop to think that we all started this way. We all nudged our mothers with our tiny hands and feet. We kicked and moved and grew, never letting anybody forget that we were alive, we were waiting. It’s astounding to think that some of the world’s greatest engineers, writers, leaders, soldiers, even my neighbour down the street, we all started this way. It made me wonder what this little person would accomplish one day.
“Rhea are you alright?” Felicity cried suddenly and I sniffed.“Yeah.” I replied, smiling at her widely. “Couldn’t be better.”