“Her parents caught the next flight out.” Harmony grunted as she fell back in the chair. “They should be here before noon.”
Stillness blanketed the hospital waiting room. The flat screen docked in the corner displaying HGTV was the lullaby that lulled Trevor and Cairo to sleep. Cairo sat erect with his head against the eggshell wall while across from him Trevor turned three chairs into his bed for the night.
Safiya nodded while yawning wildly not covering her mouth, “Don’t Alyssa’s parents live in Dallas.” Safiya buried herself deeper in the hospital grade white blanket.
“They went to San Francisco for their twenty-eighth anniversary, remember.” Harmony answered staring blankly ahead. Her mind became a Rolodex, running down male names; trying to discover who would bore themselves into her best friend without permission. Could it have been Kendrick Howell, the frat boy always known for dragging a drunken girl up to his room or Isaac Rupert, who always wore his Free Fuck shirt on Fridays? Or maybe it was someone they didn’t even know, a stranger off the street preying on the vulnerable. A visitor at the hospital. This hospital. Harmony shuttered inquisitively leering at the faces of ever passerby thinking one thing, Could it have been him? She shook her head wanting to think about something else.
Harmony stretched out her dozing legs, “Let’s have girl talk right now.” Silence. Harmony turned to Safiya whose head was buried in her chest. Harmony slapped Safiya’s shoulder.
“What?” Safiya whined hiding her scrunched face under the blanket.
“Girl talk.” Harmony said. “You wanted to talk about something. What is it?” She twisted her legs in the chair trying to get comfortable which was an unwinnable battle. She still had the dress on she wore to the club. They didn’t make it out the parking lot before receiving the call from Ivan (Alyssa supervisor), telling them something happened to Alyssa and they should come to the hospital ASAP. “Is it about Garner?”
Hearing the name Garner woke Safiya up quicker than any shot of espresso every could, “No.” She rubbed the sleep out of her cinnamon eyes.
Harmony’s head tilted piqued with curiosity, “Then what is it about?”
Safiya raked her hand through her bone-straight, raven hair. “Have you ever had a time in your life where there was a situation that completely knocked you on your ass and you knew you had to get back up but you didn’t know how?
Harmony smiled to herself before answering, “My father isn’t my father. I’m pretty much on my ass right now.” Her smile faded. “I haven’t got up yet, though.”
“I forgot.” Safiya held her forehead. “Let’s talk about that instead of this.” She dropped the blanket off her shoulder showing her bare skin. “Are you going to see him? Laurent O’Connor.” She clarified.
“Sam thinks I should.” Harmony’s nose crumpled. “I’m not quite sure yet.”
“You don’t know what?” Lela asked sitting on the table in front of them as she cradled a tray that held platter of pancakes slathered in maple syrup.
Safiya’s mouth began to water and Harmony’s eyes locked on the flapjacks like a missile.
“I brought forks.” Lela pointed to the silver utensils wrapped in the napkin.
Safiya quickly unwrapped the cloth and sliced into the breakfast cake.
“Thanks for the etiquette, Fiya.” Harmony reached over Safiya’s arm for a fork.
“Screw etiquette.” Safiya talked around the pancake in her mouth. “I’m starving.”
Lela took a gulp of orange juice, “So, what don’t you know?”
“If she wants to talk to her real father.” Safiya cut off another globular piece.
Lela swallowed the first slice of pancake she could get without battling their forks, “I thought you wanted to know him. Isn’t that what you were bitching about last night?”
Harmony licked the maple syrup off her finger, “I wasn’t bitching!”
“Yes, you were,” Safiya added before inhaling another bite. “My parents lied. They betrayed be. I don’t want to see them. I’m erasing them out of my contacts.”
Harmony rolled her eyes dropped her fork, “Enough about me.” She scooted back in her chair. “What about you? What’s your life altering situation?”
“My scholarship got pulled,” Lela spoke as she slowly twirled the bottle of Tropicana. “I owe seven thousand now.” The fee statement was still folded in her purse, which was draped across her body.
Harmony waved her hands shaking her head, “I wasn’t talking to you.”
“Well, fuck damn excuse the hell out of me.” Lela dropped her fork and pushed the tray off her lap and to Safiya. Safiya eagerly grab the tray, cradling it cutting into the last three pancakes.
Harmony and Lela stared at her as she devoured pieces after piece after piece then they looked at each other then back at Safiya as she sopped up the rivers of syrup with her finger.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Lela asked with a twisted face.
Safiya stopped licking her finger. “Nothing.” She looked blankly at them as their eyes bore into her. She gingerly slipped the tray off her lap and slid in onto the table. “I’m fine.” She pulled her legs to her chest and pulled the blanket back around her.
“I’m pretty sure that pancake had eggs.” Harmony scratched at her temple unraveling one of her many curls. “And aren’t you a vegan or vegetarian or something like that.”
“I’m a vegetarian.” Safiya cleared her throat. “You can eat eggs.” The heat from their eyes broke her. She dropped her head planted it against her knees. Tears soaked into the blanket’s thin cotton fabric.
“You can’t eat eggs.” Lela slowly spoke confused. “Why are you crying?” She leaned over trying to see Safiya’s face.
Harmony stroked Safiya’s slender back shooting Lela a quizzical look beckoning a shoulder shrug from her. “If you want to eat eggs, eat eggs.”
Safiya’s head shot up with creeks of blue mascara running down her face, “It’s not the eggs. It’s the egg and it was fertilized.” She swiped her hand across her face smearing the blue over her cheeks.
Lela gagged. “What? The hell.” She gripped her stomach feeling a twinge of pain. “You mean. We ate.” Her eyes danced around her head. “Wait. Fertilized eggs are chicks.”
“Not the chicken’s egg. My egg.” Safiya pointed to herself.
“You’re pregnant.” Harmony’s eyes bugged out. “Like right now.” She looked at her friend trying to see her abdomen through the blanket.
“No, like tomorrow.” Lela rolled her eyes.
“Is that why Garner punched your car window?” Harmony asked.
Lela inched closer to them, “Garner did what?”
“He broke her car window.” Harmony tugged on the hem of her bodycon dress, she was showing too much thigh and the orderly that passed by almost tripped over Cairo’s legs trying to get an eyeful. “With his fist because she’s having his baby.”
“Damn.” Lela uttered the only word that hovered in her mind.
“Its not his baby.” Safiya spoke quietly.
“He’s the only boyfriend you had this semester.” Harmony said.
“It can’t be Keith’s. You guys broke up seven months ago.” Lela’s mouth dropped. “Don’t tell me you double dipped. You went back to him.” She frowned in disgust.
“There was this guy.” Safiya inhaled deeply. “I met him during the summer. We talk for hours, fucked like rabbit and then he told me he was married.” A blue streamed rolled over her cheek.
Lela leaned back using her hands to prop up her body, “And he left you with a souvenir after you got off his rollercoaster.”
“When did ya’ll ride a rollercoaster?” Samuel dropped a duffle bag off his shoulder. “Ya’ll went to Fiesta Texas and didn’t tell me and I just went to ya’ll house scavenging for clothes. Shameful.” He glared at them with disdain. “And hint ya’ll need to wash some clothes.”
“Laundry day is today.” Harmony yanked the duffle from him.
Lela held her finger up toward Samuel, “You better not have been playing in my underwear drawer.”
“Girl, please ain’t nobody thinking about you.” Samuel exclaimed waving her hand out the way.
“Harmony, can we talk for a second?” Wes asked stepping around Samuel.
Harmony blinked. She didn’t see him there. She looked over to Cairo. He was still sleep. Then she stared at Samuel.
“I couldn’t sneak out.” Samuel held his hands up in surrender. “We live in a five by five dorm.” He coughed. “Cell. I told you to let me room with you in the apartment but you wanted to room with these heffas so reap the consequences.” He stepped back slowly.
Lela flung a fork at him, “I got your heffa.”
Samuel dodged the utensil better than Neo on the Matrix. “Quarterback.” He pointed to himself. “Don’t forget.” He smiled cockily.
Harmony tried to ignore Wes as she dug into the duffle but it was difficult. His eyes searing into her, his cologne danced in her nose and his voice buzzed in his ears.
“Can we talk?” Wes begged. His wavy toffee hair was tousled the way she liked it. His eyes were blood shoot the way they always got when he procrastinated for a test and had to study all night; and his orange t-shirt was wrinkled like it did on this nights he lost the strength to leave her bed.
Harmony shot up. “No!” She slid the duffle bag strap onto her shoulder staring into his anguished-filled midnight eyes. “I have to go meet my father.” She nudged him out the way speeding out the waiting room.
“She said what now?” Samuel uttered before running after her.
Lela huffed shaking her head. “She left with our clothes.”
Safiya dropped her head, “Damn.”