Expecting Love

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Chapter 2

MY INSIDES FROZE, then churned so suddenly I thought I would trip and fall on thin air. I did a double take and rubbed my eyes, unaware to Mom’s panicked voice, rushing up the steps.

Evan was the one person in our family to never cry. When I say never, I mean never! Evan’s never cried, and I doubt he cried when we were babies. Seeing him now though, his blue eyes wet and on the verge of tears, I knew something really wrong had happened. It was so wrong I almost forgot Chelsea was still standing there awkwardly, clutching her duffel bag to her chest.

“Chelsea?” I asked, peering past Evan’s jacket to the punk girl. Chelsea cowered slightly in front of me, which was even stranger. Usually, despite me being older than her, Chelsea enjoyed bossing me around. And me like an idiot listened to her. I guess part of me didn’t want to upset Evan, since he was the one who really helped me cope with my last break-up.

“Alright,” Dad boomed over us. We all quieted down and looked to him, as if he was some type of Alpha. Dad looked sadly at Chelsea, and as I took a good look at her, I realized she had a red hand print on her cheek and her clothes were ripped and smelled vaguely like cigarette and smoke. I wrinkled my nose.

Dad led everyone back to the kitchen. He tool Chelsea’s bag and set it by the shoes and led her and Evan to the stools I was using to do my homework. I shoved my books into my bag and set it by the doorway to the kitchen, hopping on the stool closest to it. Mom placed cups of water in front of Evan and Chelsea. Chelsea drank greedily, but Evan only stared lifelessly at his cup.

Dad sighed heavily, the crease in his forehead trenching deeper. Mom wrung her hands on the table, just like Riley does when she’s nervous. Evan and Chelsea remained quiet, as if they wanted us to tell them what they did wrong.

“So...,” Dad drawled slowly “What’s up?” Evan didn’t say anything. Chelsea coughed, then nudged Evan with her shoulder. He glared at her.

“You want me to tell them?” He hissed “We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you!” He may have said it a bit too roughly, for Chelsea looked like she was going to cry, which again, wasn’t like her.

“Evan,” Dad said, a bit more sternly this time. Evan sighed and spared one last glare for Chelsea before focusing his attention to his cup. He swirled his finger in the water and sighed again.

“It was prom night,” he began. “We were drunk, silly, and smoking at night when the guys and I decided it would be a good idea to call it a night.”

“Night?” Mom and I both asked.

“Like...night!” Evan emphasized and the realization of what he was referring to slowly dawned on Mom and I.

“Oh...like...oh...I get it,” I said. Evan gave me a lopsided smile and turned back to Dad.

“Yeah, so anyway, we all went to our girlfriends and...” he trailed off, hoping we got the picture. Mom’s face gradually grew paler and Dad’s jaw ticked. I just sat frozen on my stool, my mind still wrapping on Evan’s short explanation.

“Okay...so? That doesn’t explain why Chelsea is here with her things and slapped,” Mom clipped. Evan flushed suddenly and Chelsea hiccuped quietly.

“Maybe a week ago,” she began, her rough voice now soft and cautious “I wasn’t feeling very well. I told Evan, and he suggested I take a pregnancy test...” Chelsea gulped, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what she was trying to say. A cold wave washed over me and my brain stopped computing as I had my epiphany.

“Y-You’re pregnant?” I hacked. Chelsea’s breath caught in her throat, then she nodded, as if she considered lying to my face. Evan refused to look any of us in the eye, and it hurt that he didn’t trust me enough to tell me.

Mom looked like she was going to faint...again. Her face grew pale, then red, then back to pale. She took sips of her water, but I could see the nervousness and anxiety building up in her.

Dad sat as still as a statue. His jaw was clenched and he just stared at Evan, who was visibly squirming in his seat. He turned pleadingly to me, but I looked away, even if it hurt me to. He needed to learn that I couldn’t help him if he didn’t trust me.

“Everly,” he murmured. I turned to look at him, and saw he was giving me the puppy eyes. I sighed.

“What?” I asked. He pouted.

“Please don’t be mad sis. I wanted to tell you, but Chelsea thought it’d be a good idea to keep it a secret. Remember how everyone reacted when Dylan’s sister Chloe got pregnant in Middle School?”

“And digging up old graves is going to help your case?” I snapped. “You should’ve trusted me when you had the chance. Besides, it’s not like Chelsea liked me anyway.”

“What are you talking about?” Chelsea asked, sounding genuinely appalled. “I do like you Everly. I just thought you’d be a stereotypical sister and hate me!” I bit my lip at that, because I could understand where she was coming from. Liam’s sister, Ginger, hated me at first until she got to know me. She even apologized for her brother’s behavior after we had broken up.

“...Okay,” I said after little hesitation. I gave her my hand to shake, and she took it eagerly, which is when I began to look at Chelsea in a whole new light.

“Ahem,” Dad coughed, and I blushed and pulled my hand away. Dad gave me a small smile, then took his role at lead Alpha.

“Okay...so...have you decided what you want to do with the baby?” He asked. Evan’s eyes widened.

“Y-You’re not mad?” He asked.

“Oh I’m furious,” Dad said and Evan slumped. “But I can’t stay mad because we have other things to worry about”. He glanced at Chelsea’s bags. “I take it your parents didn’t react too well to this news?” Chelsea shook her head.

“No. They kicked me out,” she said. “I have no where to go, and I know we got off on a bad start, but I’m willing to start fresh again.” Dad leaned in, intrigued.

“And tell me, why are you deciding on starting over?” He asked. Chelsea gulped and put a hand on her stomach.

“For my baby. I want to keep it, but I know raising one takes a lot of work, so I’m willing to start,” she said. Dad looked at Mom, a somewhat pleased smile on his face. Mom, though it seemed like she tried not to, was smiling as well.

“Let me talk about it with my wife,” Dad said “Then we can decide what to do.” He took Mom’s hand and led her out of the room, leaving me with Evan and Chelsea.

As soon as they left, Evan grabbed my hand and pulled me in for a big hug, his bushy hair buried in my neck.

“Ah...Evan?” I asked. I felt a wetness on my cheek and when I pulled him away, I saw that Evan was crying.

“I don’t know what to do Everly! I’m lost! I want to support Chelsea and the baby...but how?” I patted Evan on the head and sat him on the stool again. Chelsea moved closer to us to hear better.

“Well, for starters, we can’t stay in HavenTown. They’ll kick us out just like Chloe. If we move...which is my guess as to what we’re doing, you have to get a job,” I said, pointing to Evan. He looked surprised.

“Me?”

“No. Me.” I gave Evan a look. “Of course you! It’s your baby, not mine! You have to learn how to support your own family!” Evan grumbled under his breath.

“I agree with her,” Chelsea said. She took Evan’s hands and squeezed them. “We made a mistake, and now we have to pay up for it. Your family is willing to help us, to change their lives for us. The least we can do is change for them.” Evan looked shell-shocked, and turned to me for affirmation. I nodded just as Mom and Dad walked in.

“We’ve decided to help you Evan and Chelsea,” Mom said “Key word: Help. You are almost adults and should start becoming responsible for your actions.”

“We own a small house in Beverly township, the next town over,” Dad said “Since Chloe’s incident, we’ve decided that moving there would be best for all of us. I know this is sudden, but I think we can adjust slowly to this new change. Cool with everyone?” Evan, who was barely controlling his smile, nodded and Chelsea almost jumped on my Mom to give her a hug. Mom laughed awkwardly and patted her back.

“Are you okay with this Forever?” Dad asked, walking up to me. I shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” I said “Right now we need to help Evan and Chelsea.”

“You’ve really matured Everly,” Dad said. He ruffled my hair and my long pigtails bobbed behind me. “I’m proud of you. But remember you’re just as important in this family as anybody else and you do have a say in things.”

“Yeah. I know.” I said. I looked behind Dad at Mom, who was already helping Chelsea schedule doctors appointments. “Dad, how are you really feeling about this?” Dad sighed.

“I can’t lie to you Hun. I am a bit disappointed in Evan,” he said “But I’m going to talk to him later and make sure he takes full responsibility for his actions. He has to know that we’re uprooting our whole life for him.” I smirked at Dad, catching Evan’s pleading eye from behind his shoulder.

“Trust me Dad. I think he will.”

*****

When I told Riley the next day about our sudden move, she was so still I was scared that I broke her.

Like, she literally stopped drinking her milk and just stared at me. Her blue eyes bore into me, and it didn’t help that her dark blue hair was out of it’s mini pigtails today. They practically hooded her face, casting a dark shadow over her eyes.

“You’re moving? Why?” She asked. I looked around, as if I was in a spy movie about to reveal the secret.

“Remember the night I came to your house? When Evan had prom?” I asked. Confused, Riley nodded.

“Yeah...so what?”

“Well...it seems my brother got a bit too handsy with his girlfriend and now...” I trailed off, hoping she caught my drift. Luckily, I know Riley isn’t stupid. She gasped quietly, leaning back in her seat.

“Chelsea’s pregnant?” She gasped. I nodded solemnly and sipped my drink. Riley continued to gap at me for a while, until finally, she let out an incredulous chuckle.

“Well, it is baby season, they say,” she said. She bit into her sandwich and swallowed hard. “So what does this have to do with you?”

“Remember Chloe? Dylan’s sister?” I asked. Riley nodded, then made a small o shape with her mouth.

“Oh...Right. We don’t want Chelsea being the new fur ball everyone likes to poke at,” Riley said. I nodded and sighed into my hands.

“Is it really that bad Everly?” Riley asked, slurping on her juice “Like, when do you move?”

“Friday,” I moaned. Riley winced, like she wasn’t expecting that answer.

“Okay...Well then. Your parents are quick,” she said. I nodded, picking the crust from my sandwich.

“Yeah. Ma said the sooner the better. Beside, Chelsea already has a few appointments booked for the Beverly doctors, and Beverly is a good two hours from here!”

“Three actually,” Riley corrected. I glared at her. “Okay! Point taken!” She licked the drips of juice dropping from the chewed straw. “So what’s your plan?” I shrugged.

“Dad already enrolled me into a new high school, and the college I wanted to go to is only fifteen minutes from our vacation house...well, our regular house, now. So...I guess everything already plays into our hands.” Even as I said this, my hands trembled. My voice cracked and I knew Riley could hear it. She grasped my hands in hers.

“How do you feel about this?” She asked. I shook my head.

“What does it matter what I feel? What’s important now is Chelsea and Evan,” I said, though I knew my brain was fighting desperately with me to see reason. I wasn’t happy about the move and I knew it, and so did Riley. She sighed heavily, a sigh when she knew she was getting nowhere with me.

“Everly...” she tried again, and it didn’t take much after that. I broke.

“Okay!” I admitted, perhaps a bit too loudly. A couple of kids from the other tables cast their eyes at me. I blushed and shook my head, and they immediately went back to whatever conversation they were having. Riley had been mildly distracted by Jessica’s hand running down her arm, but once Jess went to her table, Riley had her full attention back on me.

“I don’t like moving,” I said. “It means I have to start all over again. Make new friends, work on my grades, catch up to my class-It’s so much pressure. Chelsea and Evan won’t even be going to school! They’ll be home, prepping for the baby!”

“Do you want to be like Chelsea?” Riley questioned. She pushed her bangs briefly to bite into her sandwich, but soon looked back up at me, waiting for an answer.

“N-No,” I stuttered. “What I mean is-!”

“Because Chelsea has more reason to be worried than you do,” Riley said. “She’s the one that got into this mess. Evan included...no offense,” I shrugged.

“I can’t help him all the time. Sure, he’s my brother, but he’s also older than me. He an take care of himself, and he has to learn that he has to own up for his mistakes,” I said.

“So what are you worried for? You’re not writing a whole new book. You’re just beginning a new chapter.” Riley dropped her tray into the trash behind her back and slid next to me. She wrapped her arm around my shoulder and I’m pretty sure I saw Jessica flinch.

“I’ll always be your best friend. You know that,” Riley consoled “We’ll keep in touch after you leave. Besides, Beverly isn’t too far from HavenTown. I can always drive up and we can chat for a bit.” I smiled and stacked my books.

“Yeah...thanks Riley,” I said. Riley shrugged.

“No problem. That’s what best friends are for,” she said modestly. We sat quietly for a few moments, basking in the soft glow flowing from the windows. It wasn’t until the lunch bell rang that Riley fell into step next to me.

“When are you moving?” She asked.

“Friday. Dad said the sooner we leave the better,” I answered. With a fast beating heart, I slid into my seat in French and Riley pulled the chair next to me. I assumed she wanted more answers. This was pretty sudden, and even though I’m still a bit nervous about moving, Riley’s pep talk really helped me. I hope we keep in touch, but with the way Riley is so adamant about it, and even bolding her number in my phone, I’m sure we will.

“So...not that I’m dissing any of the boys here, but do you think there are any cute boys in Beverly?” Riley asked cheekily. I nearly dropped my textbook, blushing profusely.

“Oh? Is there already a boyfriend I don’t know about?...Unless you’re lesbian. Then I apologize,” Riley said, changing her tune of voice after each sentence. I laughed and shook my head.

“No! No boyfriend. I was just startled that you would even insinuate something like that!” I laughed again. “But I am straight.” I sighed. “Besides. After what just happened with Chelsea, I don’t think I want to be next. I have a dream and I plan to make it a reality!”

“I’m not saying you have to have sex now Everly,” Riley giggled “I’m just asking if you’ll be dating anyone in Beverly.”

“And I’m just saying I don’t want to be the next Chelsea,” I said. I flipped the textbook open as Mme. Daley flipped the projector on. The yellow screen flickered, then broke out in a blinding white color.

I turned to Riley and sighed. “I don’t want a boy to take advantage of me like Evan has done to girls all these years. I don’t want anyone right now, not if sex is involved.” Riley shrugged.

“Eh. I mean, Jess and I have done it, but a relationship doesn’t just consist of sex Everly. It has trust, love and happiness. Just tell him you’re not ready. I’m sure any boy can understand that,” she said. Mme. Daley clapped her hands, calling the classes attention and I groaned and grumbled under my breath.

“Not every boy is that understanding,” I hissed. Riley hummed.

“Yeah...so just find one who is,” she said in a ‘duh’ voice. Mme. Daley caught her eye and Riley grinned sheepishly, holding her pencil up. Mme. Daley nodded and turned to Sidney, who sat just across from me.

“Like who? A playboy? Popular boy?” I asked.

“Nerd,” Riley muttered. I slapped her with my pencil top.

“Okay! Just...be wary, okay?” Riley asked. “I may joke around about this stuff but teen pregnancy is no good. Pick a boy wisely.” She turned and rested her head on her palms before I could answer, but I already knew what I would’ve said.

I’m not going to be the next Sidney or Chelsea or Chloe I thought Because I’m not dating in Beverly. That’s final!

Ooh! Everly doesn’t want to date in Beverly! Do you think she will (duh)? Who do you think she’ll date? Playboy, Popular boy, or nerd? Will she get pregnant too? Comment what you think will happen and if Everly’s reaction to Evan and Chelsea’s baby is suitable for her!

Love, Shreya

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