Somehow Liam managed to sweet talk me into getting inside the tent, though I still told myself it was a death trap and checked the zip at least a thousand times before I settled down under my sleeping bag.
“What if it collapses and we suffocate?” I asked him, he smiled softly at me and smoothed out my hair.
“Liv, you’re paranoid. I promise you everything is fine, you’ve just reacted badly to the brownie.” I nodded, calming myself with the sound of his voice and the gentle way he played with my hair.
“I’m scared.” I admitted. He pulled me in closer and kissed the top of my head.
“I’m not going to let anything happen to you.” He whispered into my ear and I believed him. Somehow being in Liams arms made everything feel safer.
“Why were they shouting at each other?” I whispered so they couldn’t hear us in the next tent over.
“He thought she was pregnant, she wasn’t.” Liam spoke so casually like he never doubted it to begin with or he didn’t think it was a big deal even if she was.
“That’s crazy, I can’t imagine them having a baby. Can you?” A small ‘v’ appeared in the center of his forehead as he thought over my question, perhaps for the first time. Then he shrugged, not giving anything away. I rolled my eyes, remembering he doesn’t like to wager opinions on the arguments that his friends have within their relationships.
“You can speak freely Liam, it’s just me and you.” I prodded. He sat still for a moment, thinking over his options and then a small smile tugged at his lips.
“If it were me, I would want to wait.” He finally said and my eyebrows moved upwards. “I would want to be sure that when my child was born I was past all of this bullshit. I want to be able to hold my child without fear. I want my child to run and jump into my arms unexpectedly and not flinch or be instantly transported back to a dark place in my mind. I want to be able to cuddle my child on my chest and still breathe easy as I do.”
“Liam I don’t know what to say.” I whispered weakly.
“That’s just me, their situation is completely different. He would be a good dad, he would stand by her.” He gave me half a smile and something about the way he said that made me think something was troubling him. “I would stand by you, of course. I would love our child with every ounce of my being whether they came today, tomorrow or in ten years.” He added quickly, obviously reading my questioning expression and getting the wrong end of the stick. “But if it were me, I would prefer to wait.” He nodded to himself, satisfied with his answer.
I grabbed his cheeks, squishing them up to give him fish lips and then kissed him “I love you so much.” I said in a baby voice. He laughed sweetly.
“I love you too, you weirdo.”
“I’m going to go talk to Tia.” I announced, shuffling out of the sleeping bag and slipping on Liams intoxicating smelling hoodie. Silently I prayed that the tent zip just easily fell down before I clutched my hands around it and pulled.
I planned on somehow knocking on Tia’s tent but I didn’t need to because she was sat on the edge of the cliff looking out at the view. I sat in the grass next to her and didn’t say a word for a while.
“He’s a jackass.” She broke the silence first.
“I know.” I admitted.
“They all are.” She added.
“I know.” I agreed again and she laughed which made me laugh. “Why are your apps synced?” I had to ask, the question had been on my mind since his outburst earlier. In my paranoid state I actually thought he had hacked all of our apps and was trying to rule women through the knowledge of our cycles but now my paranoia was wearing off and I could think somewhat straightly. Tia looked at me like the answer should be obvious.
“He doesn’t like to ride the crimson tide.” She said and I coiled over in disgust. She rolled her eyes at me. “You’re so innocent Olivia.” She muttered under her breath.
“So what are you going to do now then?” I gestured back towards her tent and she looked at it for a moment and then back out at the view.
“He apologized and I have to accept his apology.” She sighed sadly and my brows furrowed. It wasn’t like Tia to accept an apology this quickly, normally she would let them stew and grovel a little first.
“So soon?” I teased, but half of me wanted a truthful answer as well. She looked at me, her dark eyes so full of emotion.
“I have to accept his apology. I can’t be mad at him when he was only pointing out something that was entirely correct.” She said quietly. She chewed nervously on her lower lip.
“You mean he was correct about the app telling him that you were late?” She nodded and I relaxed, for a moment there I thought she was telling me that he was correct about his assumption.
“He shouldn’t have done that, not in front of everyone but he’s an idiot so what did I expect?” I nodded in agreement and rubbed her back. “But he wasn’t wrong Liv. I took a test just before we came here.” She added, looking at me with those pretty eyes.
“W-what?” I stammered.
“Liv, I’m pregnant.”
In that instant I felt like my blood had ran cold. I waited for her to tell me she was joking, that in fact, the whole thing was a joke conducted up by Jordan and the rest of them just to prank me. But one look at her serious face and the fear behind her eyes told me that this wasn’t a subject matter to joke about. There was silence spreading thick between us, the only thing breaking it was my audible gulp.
“But you said-” My words came out in a cowering way and she sighed loudly.
“I know.” She uttered quietly.
“Does he know?” I asked.
“No.” She accompanied her words with a brief shake of her head. I looked back towards her tent, it was just a simple yellow triangle sitting in the middle of two blue domes. I could see no shadows or hear no noises coming from any of the tents.
“What are you going to do?” I asked, turning my attention back to Tia’s face. Her dark skin had paled considerably and I took hold of her hand offering her support.
“My family... they’re incredibly religious... terminating the pregnancy isn’t an option for me.” She wiped away a fallen tear and then gave her head a little nod, as if she was trying to reassure herself that this was the right choice.
“Tia...” I began, not really knowing what to say. ”You should decide what is best for you, not what your family decides is best for you.”
“I know.” She took a deep settling breath. “But keeping this baby is the only choice that feels right for me because of the beliefs my parents have instilled in me.” I nodded in understanding, squeezing her hand a little tighter. “I’m just scared, you know? It’s Jordan. He might not feel the same way and I’ll be left all alone with his baby.”
“You” I took hold of her dark curls and gently placed them behind her shoulder, smoothing them out so I could get a better look at her eyes. “Are” I placed my hand on her shoulder and made her look at me. “Never alone. You hear me? I’m here.” She threw her arms around me and we sat for a while, just hugging one another.
“Besides, I think we both know Jordan does absolutely everything for the people he loves. I don’t doubt for one moment that he wouldn’t stand by you. Go tell him.” I pointed my chin towards the yellow tent, Tia followed my face with her chin and then nodded sadly.
I sat quietly breathing in the fresh air as I watched Tia’s timid figure retreat back to her own tent. From this moment on their lives were never going to be the same.