After locating Felicity,
listening to her moan about her lost summer love before dragging her into her
room so she could sleep off the alcohol she had ingested, I finally made it
home, just before one in the morning. I spent the entire next day doing the
homework I had put off the day before, too anxious about the party.
Suffice to say the party had not gone well. Felicity had ditched me, Phillip and I had that…interesting conversation and then that whole Melanie thing had happened. Damn that had looked ugly. It was all over Facebook. People wondering what had happened, what they had fought about, if they were even still together. Phillip and Melanie weren’t saying anything or responding to the gossip, which in a way was making it worse.
I felt very sorry for Phillip. He had been in an accident, almost died, then woke up and seemed to be a completely different person, only to have to catch up on all the things he’s missed and deal with girlfriend drama.
It seemed that the poor guy just couldn’t catch a break.
I stopped typing up my chemistry homework when I felt my phone begin to vibrate on the desk nest to my left hand. I saved my work quickly and picked it up. It was an unknown number and, biting my lip hesitantly, I answered.
There was a small pause, then, “Rhea?”
I turned around in my chair, facing away from the desk. “Yes?”
“Oh good! It’s you. I was hoping this wasn’t a bogus number.” The voice was male, but I still had no idea who it was. “It’s Phillip.”
“Oh. Hi there. How did you get my number?”
“Well, don’t think this is weird, but I may have asked my mother to ask your mom for your number.” I raised my eyebrows. That was kind of strange, but, I had to admit it was resourceful.
“Okay, well, what’s up?” I asked. I noticed my bedroom door was open and I got up quickly to close it.
“I wanted to apologise for last night.”
I stopped in shock. He what?
“Huh?” I asked stupidly.
“Well I think I was being a bit weird, but also because of the whole Melanie thing. She and I had a bit of a fight. We’ve been drifting for some time and I think Melanie had just had enough of waiting for me to make up my mind on what we were going to do and then we both started saying some really horrible things and…” he sighed. “I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this. I just wanted to apologise for making the night awkward. I wanted to hang out and get to know you better.”
Well where the hell did that come from?! “Oh. Well. That’s okay. I’m sorry about you and Melanie. You two always seemed really happy.”
“We were. But people change.”
“I guess.” I replied. I wasn’t sure what to say. I’d never been in a relationship so I couldn’t exactly relate. I moved over to my window and sat on the cushioned seat that adorned the sill. I looked out at the gloomy weather.
“How’s your friend today? Not too hungover I hope?”
“I actually haven’t heard from her all day.” I replied.
“And from your tone I’m guessing that’s unusual?”
“Very.” I replied. I took my phone away from my ear to quickly check if I had any messages, but nothing.
“So, um, I was also wondering if I could ask you a favour?”
“What’s that?” I tucked my knees up to my chest and rested my chin on them.
“Well I’m a little behind on school work and word is that you’re the best in biology. I was hoping that maybe you could tutor me?”
Spend time? Alone with him? Again? I already spent two months reading to him, what more does this guy want?
I sighed, “I guess I could help you out.”
“Brilliant!” he said, sounding excited. I wondered if him being on the football team required good grades as well. “So, tomorrow? Before lunch? You do have a free period then, right?”
I narrowed my eyes. “Yes, but how would you know that?”
“You must think I’m not observant or something. You keep sounding surprised to find out that I know things about you.”
I shrugged, “I just didn’t think you’d care.”
“Ouch.” He said, and I could hear the humour in his voice. “Way to make me seem like an insensitive prick.”
“Sorry.” I giggled. “Fourth period it is. Do you think the library would be best? It’ll be quiet and nobody cool will be around to see you hanging around with dorky old me.”
“Ha ha ha. You’re so funny.” Phillip replied sarcastically. I could practically hear him rolling his eyes. “I’ll let you go now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay.” I smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He hung up and I took my phone, turning it over in my hands again and again. That was completely out of the blue. I’m still getting used to this new Phillip but so far, I’m pleasantly surprised. He was in no way the douchebag he used to be. He even remembered to ask about Felicity.
Speaking of which…
I unlocked my phone and hit speed dial on Felicity’s contact. It rang five times before it went to her voicemail. I didn’t leave a message and hung up instead. I tapped my phone on my leg, pursing my lips. Felicity always picked up her phone. Even when it was the middle of the night. Something was really wrong.
Without a second thought, I snatched up my coat, keys and slid my feet into old blue tennis shoes. I ran down the stairs and called to mom that I would be back for dinner. I drove straight to Felicity’s house, her mom in the garden trimming back a hedge. I parked in their driveway and got out.
“Hello Rhea. I didn’t know you were coming over today.” Mrs Normandy said, wiping her dirty gloves on her leggings.
“Hey Mrs Normandy. I just thought I’d better check up on Felicity. She wasn’t answering her phone.” I replied. Mrs Normandy smiled at me, although it looked a little strained. She always liked me, I think because I looked after her rather wild daughter.
“She’s in her room. She isn’t feeling well, afraid to say. Go on in sweetie.” She waved me inside the house. It was cosy, it being only Felicity and her mom here. Felicity’s dad had left after he found out that Mrs Normandy was pregnant at nineteen. Felicity had a stepdad once too, but he died when she was six from lung cancer.
I stood outside her door, which was closed so I knocked. “Go away mom!” She sounded like she had been crying. “I don’t want to talk to you!”
“Flick, it’s me.” I said through the door. “Let me in.”
There was a pause and for a second I thought that she would tell me to go away too, but then I heard a small and soft voice that sounded nothing like my best friends tell me to come in.
Felicity’s room was chaotic at best. Clothes everywhere, the walls a collage of posters to her favourite bands and celebrities over the years. Her desk looked like it was used for anything but studying, and the matching chair was toppled over. She was sitting on the bed, her knees pulled up to her chest and rocking back and forth a little bit. I immediately went over to her and put my arms around her. This wasn’t a hangover.
“Flick? What’s wrong? What’s happened?”
She just shook her head, continuing to cry for a little while and I let her, rubbing her back in consoling circles. Eventually she pulled back, wiping underneath her eyes which was stained black from her mascara.
She sniffled. “Just, let me explain, okay?”
I frowned. “Flick, what have you done?”
“Just listen!” I flinched at her harsh tone, but sat on the bed with her, legs crossed lotus style. I slipped off my coat and waited. “You know how I told you my boobs hurt and wouldn’t fit into my bras anymore?”
“Well I’ve also been feeling a bit sick lately and I’m super emotional all the time and Rhea…I realised this morning that I’m late.”
I went pale.
“How late?” I croaked.
“Almost three months late.” Felicity said before bursting into tears again. I felt as though the very air from my lungs was sucked from my body and my stomach twisted painfully.
“You and Mark – ”
“Matt.” She automatically corrected.
“Whatever. Did you and Matt use protection when you two…?”
She glared at me with her puffy pink eyes. “Of course we did. Do you think I’m an idiot?”
“No of course not. What did you use?”
I bit my lip, hesitating before I gently said, “You know they don’t always work.”
“I know that, but I thought that it would be safe. I mean, a three percent fail rate isn’t much…” Her lip started wobbling. I didn’t really know what to say or do to console her.
“Did you take a test?”
“Two.” She said. “Both positive.”
“Does your mom know?”
Felicity scoffed. “Are you crazy? Why on earth would I tell her? You know what she’s like when it comes to these things! She’d kill me!”
“You don’t know that.” I reminded her, flattening out her hair neatly. “She had you really young. She may be sympathetic.”
Felicity rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Right.”
I sighed and we sat without speaking, the only sound made was Felicity’s occasional sniffle. I glanced around the room, trying to figure out what to say. Felicity was playing with the drawstrings of my coat.
“You know that I don’t care right? It doesn’t matter to me that you got pregnant at eighteen, or whether you keep this baby or not. It’s your choice, it’s your body and you have the right to do what you feel is right. But if you keep the baby I’ll be there. Sure this isn’t the best timing, but you’re going to do really well this year in school. I’ll help you. I’ll go to all the doctor’s appointments with you, birthing classes, crib shopping, everything. And if you decide you want to get an abortion, I’ll be with you holding your hand. Whatever you need, I’m here. I promise. Okay?” I put my hand over hers and Felicity’s eyes filled with tears before she threw her arms around me, crying softly into my shoulder.
She didn’t have to say anything. I knew what she meant.
“I think I’m going to keep the baby.” She said, her voice muffled by my t-shirt. I nodded. “Matt doesn’t want to be part of its life, but he said he’ll pay child support.”
“He doesn’t want to be part of his own kid’s life?” I gasped. Felicity pulled away and got up to go into her bathroom. I followed her, perching myself on the countertop next to the sink. She grabbed a packet of facial wipes and began removing the ruined makeup from her face.
“No. I mean, we had a no-strings-attached thing in the first place and he’s older and has a life in another state for crying out loud. It wouldn’t be realistic to expect him to uproot his entire life for a summer fling who got herself knocked up.”
I threw a toilet roll at her. “Don’t talk about yourself that way! It was an accident yes, but think of it this way. You’re going to bring a person into this world and you’ll love that little being more than life itself. The way I see it, that’s a gift.”
“It’ll be difficult. I’ll have to get a job and start saving.” She mumbled.
“I’ll help.” I said, “I know I can’t do much, but I’ll help where I can.”
She stopped and stared at my reflection in the mirror. “How did I get so lucky to have a best friend like you?”I shrugged and said simply, with no hint of doubt whatsoever, “You would do the same for me.”