Taylor clacked the sides of the Georgetown mug. Her eyes were still glued to Linden’s swollen globelike belly; they had been since Linden waddled in the house, through the living room, and to the kitchen. Pregnant at seventeen! How’d that happen Wait! So, okay Taylor knew how that happened. She passed health with a ninety-eight and was a regular every Thursday night for Scandal, but realistically how did that happen. They got their prescriptions for the little pill as soon as the first cramp wreaked havoc to their lower backs at eleven.
Taylor’s mind spun back to the awkward birds and the bees conversation she suffered through upon the first visit of her Aunt Flo. She sat in the crème leather chair in the study shivering more from discomfort than actual cold. While her mom sat erect behind the mahogany desk like a CEO from a Forbes 500 company with clasped hands and a straight mouth. Iris had already ducked out and Tyler was outside with their dad getting his very own talk. Subsequently, from the moment her mom told her to take a seat she knew her conversation was going to be different than the one Tyler was having in the backyard. She didn’t even have to factor in the baseball and glove.
It was the longest fifty-seven minutes of Taylor’s life. There were no pleasantries or handholding. Her mom dove right in and not the shallow end. From condoms to STDS, there were even pictures and graphs. What looked like what when it was infected with what. From genitalia-shaped like deformed mushrooms to interviews of women that contracted HIV. Taylor remembered jumping from fright when her first boyfriend tried to kiss her in seventh grade. It took eighth-grader Chase Bullock three tries to meet his lips with hers.
“So, you’re not dead,” Taylor said. She stuck the teaspoon in her mouth, sucked the melting honey off the warm metal.
Tyler tossed two slices of wheat bread on the white marble countertop. “I knew you weren’t dead. I told Kinsley.”
“Kinsley said I was dead!” Linden harked perched on the stool by the island, one hand on her stomach and the other massaging the tangled muscles of her neck.
“Easton said you were on meth,” Tyler told with his head stuck in the fridge grabbing everything he wanted to pile in a sandwich. “Wait ‘til they find out you’re pregnant.” He kicked the fridge door close cradling a bowl of lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayo in his arms. “Mind Blown.” Taylor glared at him with eyes that radiated the heat of lava.
“What?” His voice went up an octave. “Everyone’s going to find out anyways when she goes to school tomorrow.”
“You are going to school tomorrow,” Taylor asked less like a question and more like a command.
“I—” Linden’s voice got caught in her throat.
“You’re going to school.” Taylor ordered.
“I can’t go to school like this!” Linden looked down at he abdomen with heavy eyes.
Tyler opened his mouth, “You should’ve thought about that before—” Taylor threw him a dirty look. He stuck the sandwich in his mouth walking out the kitchen.
“So what, you’re pregnant.” Taylor shrugged. “People will get over it.” She twisted the top back on the mayo. “I mean if Jenna Hamilton can go to school with her neck and arm in a cast and have people think she tried to commit suicide, you can go to school knocked up.”
Linden cocked her eyes at Taylor nibbling on a slice of turkey breast, “We don’t live in Palos Verdes and this ain’t MTV. If I go back it’s going to be a nightmare. I can literally already hear Kingsley and Cassandra snickering in the blue hall.”
“So what!” Taylor gripped the handle of the glass pitcher kicking the fridge door close. “Loins don’t care about the thoughts of sheep. Right?” She grabbed a glass from the cabinet.
“I guess.” Linden tucked the super-stretched red t-shirt under her belly.
“All you need is a goodnights sleep.” Taylor poured the lemonade she made last night into the glass. “Let it marinate. I’ll be fine.” She handed Linden the glass with a smile.
Linden dropped her head, “I can’t.”
“My dad kicked me out.”
“Mr. Thomson…Why?” Taylor asked. Linden pointed to her stomach. “Oh.” Taylor took a seat on the barstool next to Linden.
Linden twirled the glass, “He said I was a disgrace.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “And that my mom would be disappointed in me.”
Taylor took Linden’s hand, “Okay.” Taylor bit down on her lip, thinking. “Don’t fret. This house has five rooms.” She held up her hand, Linden counted Taylor’s fingers with her eyes. “Mines, Ty’s, my parents, the gym and Iris’—who just so happens to not be here. And she won’t be here until winter break and that’s if she comes home. She went skiing with her roommate’s family last year so anything can happen from now to December.”
“Really!” Linden squeezed Taylor’s hand. “You’d do that for me?”
“Of course. You’re my BFF. Can I ask you a question, though?”
“Sure.” Linden swallowed a sip of lemonade. “Anything.”
Taylor scratched the corner of her mouth breathing in deep. “Whose the father…of the baby?”
Linden dropped Taylor’s hand. “It’s complicated.”