Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 24. Dirty Laundry


“Pardon me?” Mom managed.

“Well, since everybody’s dirty laundry is getting aired, I figured to air mine too,” I said and shrugged. I took a bite of my potatoes.

Avery buried his face in his hands.

“Um, Stormie,” Dad started. “I thought Chris and you broke up?”

“Oh,” I snorted. “We did. The baby isn’t Chris’.”

Rachel glared at Avery.

“Make you a deal,” I said. “You tell me what’s going on with you,” I spoke deliberately as I stared at my father. “And I’ll tell you what is going on with me. We’re all adults, right? Time to act like it.”

“You’re sixteen,” Mom snapped.

“I’m going to be seventeen in two days,” I countered. “In a year, I am going to be an adult, so close enough.”

“How could you ruin your life like this?” Rachel murmured and shook her head. She wasn’t looking at me. She was staring at Avery.

“That’s a little harsh,” Dad said to Rachel. “It’s not your problem or your business.”

“Oh, it is,” Rachel said.

Mason dropped his fork after being frozen the last couple of minutes. “Let me guess,” Mason said. His eyes flickered from mine to Averys.

“This has nothing to do with you!” Mom screeched at Mason. “Get out. Your father and I need to talk to her alone!”

“Damn,” I said. “That bad, huh?”

“It’s yours,” Mason whispered.

Avery’s gaze flickered to Masons.

Mom and Dad’s mouths dropped into an O shape. They both turned to stare at Avery and me.

“Wow, not bad for a dumb jock,” I said. “It only took you...” I trailed off and looked up at Avery. “How long have we been dating, babe?”

“You son of a...” Mason trailed off.

Avery looked down at me.

“Surprise,” I whispered to Avery. “Now you know what has been eating me, and I feel so much better that I got that off my chest. I’m sorry. I truly wanted to wait until after the holidays. I didn’t want anyone to know.”

“Stop treating this like it’s a joke,” Rachel said to me.

“Mom,” Avery started.

“I’m not laughing!” I snapped.

“Please tell me it’s a joke,” Dad muttered.

Mason stood up and kicked his chair. He stormed out of the dining room while cursing.

“This is going to sound weird, but I’m going to say it,” Claire said. “Congratulations. I hope everything turns out okay.” Claire stood up and walked out.

Austin pursed his lips and smiled. “I knew I heard weird noises at night,” Austin said and chuckled.

“Get out,” Avery said, glaring at Austin.

Austin’s eyes widened, and he dashed out of the kitchen.

Dad covered his mouth for a moment. “Are you two really dating?” He looked pointedly at Avery and me.

“Yes,” Avery answered.

“How long?” Mom asked.

“A few months,” I said.

“How far along are you?” Dad asked.

“I’m not sure. I just found out a few days ago,” I said. “Maybe three or four weeks.”

“Well, it’s still early enough for abortion,” Rachel said.

Dad nodded in agreement.

“What?” Avery said.

“Fuck you, bitch!” I shouted. “This isn’t your business!”

“It’s my son!” Rachel shouted.

“Stop it!” Avery shouted. He slammed his fist down on the table. “Look, I’m sorry that we didn’t tell you guys the truth. We should have been up front about our relationship–”

“Did you know she was pregnant?” Mom asked in disbelief.

“No, I didn’t,” Avery said. Avery looked at my dad than to my mom. “We were careful–”

“Not careful enough,” Mom said.

“Obviously,” I said.

“Do you realize you could go to prison?” Rachel hissed to Avery.

“We wouldn’t do that,” Mom said. Mom stared at Rachel in disbelief.

“You could consider adoption,” Rachel said. “He is supposed to go to college to play football. He won’t have time for that baby. You don’t want this either, Stormie. You might think you do–”

“Don’t tell me what I want,” I snapped. “You hardly know me.”

“Can I please just register the fact that she is pregnant before we even start having conversations about alternatives?” Avery raised his eyebrows. “I’ve known this for all of ten minutes. I want to wrap my head around it if you don’t mind,” Avery said to Rachel.

“Everyone needs to settle down,” Dad said.

“Micheal and Rachel,” Mom said. “I think we all need to have a conversation alone, and I think they do too.”

“Could you tell me why Mason and Avery saw you and Rachel kissing first? I’m really curious,” I said. “I’m sure Mom is too.”

“I truly don’t know what you are talking about,” Dad said.

Rachel shook her head.

“Great, so it isn’t okay that Avery and I hid things, but it is okay for you two to do that?” I asked.

“I’ve been seeing a guy. His name is Daniel,” Rachel said.

“It was the twentieth that we saw you,” Avery said to Rachel.

“I was with Daniel,” Rachel said. “We went to the diner.”

Mom pursed her lips. “Your father and I were together that entire night. Rachel and your dad are telling the truth; even I can vouch for that. You must have mistaken Daniel for your father.”

“Damn,” Avery said.

I pursed my lips. “You’re back together, aren’t you?” I asked Mom.

Mom smiled and nodded. “We are. We didn’t want you kids to know until we were sure things were going to work out.”

“But we’re sure,” Dad said. “I made a mistake.”

“And I made plenty too,” Mom said. Mom stood up and walked out. Rachel and my dad followed after my mom.

Avery looked down at me. “Really? You couldn’t like warn me?”

“I’m sorry, it just slipped,” I said. “I’ve been trying hard not to tell anyone the past few days. Are you mad?”

“No,” he said and shook his head. “It would be my fault, I guess.”

“Your pull out game is weak, babe,” I whispered.

He chuckled. “My game is strong as fuck. Maybe, a condom broke, and I didn’t realize it.”

“Maybe,” I agreed.

“This is backward, Storm. We were supposed to finish school, start careers, and then make babies,” he muttered. He buried his face in his hands.

“Were you planning all of that?” I teased.

“Not exactly, but I mean that is the usual way to do things, right?” He arched a brow.

“Usually,” I agreed. “We are a little unusual, though.”

“I didn’t think about much past college. I was so set on thinking about how to tell people we were together and how I was going to deal with seeing you and coming back to the house,” he said.

“Damn, you’re making me tired,” I said and faked a yawn.

“I’m going to be beat,” he said. He rested his head down on the table. He grabbed my hand in his. “So, we’re really doing this whole sixteen and pregnant thing?” he wiggled his eyebrows.

A giggle escaped me. “Yeah, I think so.”

Mom and Dad walked back into the dining room. Rachel followed after them. They all sat down.

“Let me start,” Rachel said.

Here we go–I thought to myself.

“I’m sorry. Avery, you are an adult, and how you handle this is on you. I want you to make the right choices for you,” Rachel said. “I’m sorry, Stormie. I’m going to bow out of this conversation, actually. This entire thing is between you four.” Rachel stood up and walked out.

Avery squeezed my hand gently and gave me a reassuring look.

“Accidents happen,” Mom said. “We are behind you a hundred percent Stormie. What you choose to do is up to you, and we will be there for you as much as we can. We will help you, but we will not raise this baby for you,” Mom warned.

“We want you to think about this, both of you. Either choice you make, it’s going to affect you for the rest of your life,” Dad warned. “It’s not easy to take care of a baby, and I’m not saying that to scare you. I want you two to think about where you want to be in ten years. You’ve been together a few months but are you really going to last after this baby? I imagine you still want to go to college,” Dad looked at Avery.

“I do,” Avery said.

“You two have a lot of thinking to do,” Mom agreed. “Avery won’t be around to help you with that baby all the time, Stormie.”

“I know that,” I said.

Dad and Mom got up and left the kitchen.

“So, it really is up to us?” Avery murmured.

“Good, I don’t believe in abortion anyway,” I said. “It’s wrong to kill something innocent to make your life easier.”

He nodded in agreement. “I don’t like the sound of that either.”

“We still have to deal with Mason,” I said.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Let me deal with it.”

“No problem,” I said.

I went into the living room. I heard Claire tell Avery that he went outside to cool down. I sat down slowly on the couch.

Claire stood by the window.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

“Oh my god!” Claire gasped. She bolted for the front door.

That doesn’t sound good. I jumped off the couch and followed her out the front door. Our parents were behind us.

Mason was on top of Avery. Mason’s hands gripped the collar of Avery’s shirt. “Out of all sisters, why the hell did you have to fuck with mine?!” Mason shouted. “Is this to get back at me for Ava?!”

Avery flipped him and Mason. Avery held Mason down as Mason fought against him and failed miserably. “Stop it! It has nothing to do with that, I swear!” Avery shouted. “That was so long ago, Man! I don’t give a fuck about that. I’m not going to fight you, and I’m not going to apologize. I love Stormie, and I don’t regret a thing.” Avery shoved Mason hard against the ground and stared into his eyes.

We all stared at Avery and Mason, speechless.

Avery stood over Mason and offered him a hand up.

Mason ignored the gesture and got to his feet on his own.

Avery came back up to the porch.

“We need to talk,” I whispered to Avery.

Avery nodded, already knowing why I wanted to talk.

Everyone else watched us as we disappeared into the cabin. We walked into my bedroom that was supposed to be for Claire and me, but really Avery and I would wind up sharing it.

Avery plopped down on the edge of my bed and waited.

I paced back and forth in front of him. “What the hell is he talking about? How did Ava get brought into this? What does she have to do with you and me? Why–”

“Stop,” Avery said and sighed. “Look, I’ll tell you, but I don’t want you to take it wrong. It happened a long time ago, and it has nothing to do with us.”

“Tell me,” I demanded.

A knock on the door interrupted us.

I threw the door open.

“What happened to girls sleep with girls?” Dad asked.

“We’re just talking,” I said and rolled my eyes.

“Fine, but since the damage is already done, Avery is probably safer sleeping with you tonight,” Dad said and grimaced.

“’Kay,” I said. I closed the door and turned back to Avery.

Avery cursed under his breath and ran his hands through his hair. “I swear, it has nothing to do with us,” he repeated to me.

“If you really believe that, then tell me what the hell it is,” I snapped.

When he looked up at me, I could see the tears in his eyes. He reached for my hand and pulled me closer.

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