“What am I going to do?” I pulled the comforter over my head and curled myself into a tight ball.
Pulling back the comforter, my amazing friend held my chin until I looked at her, tears streaming down her own face. “We’re going to tell Mom,” I started to refuse that but she continued, “I promise she won’t be mad at you, she’ll just be sad for you. You know she got pregnant with Chase when she was seventeen?”
I shook my head, they looked young, but I hadn’t known that.
“Well she did, she’ll understand Harper. She can make an appointment for you and after that, you’ll have to figure out a way to tell Brandon.” She sighed and ran her fingers through my hair, “He’s a good guy, he’ll take care of you.”
A new round of sobs shook my body, “I cant. Tell Brandon. He’s not. He’s not. Bree I didn’t. Didn’t lie to you.”
She waited until I had quieted down and my breathing had returned to normal, “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t lie to you Bree, I never had sex with Brandon.”
“You cheated on Brandon?” She gasped, “With who?”
“I can’t. You’ll kill me Bree.”
She scrambled off the bed and stared at me in horror, “You slept with my BOYFRIEND?!”
Oh crap, “No! No I swear I didn’t! I would never do that to you Bree, I don’t like Konrad like that at all. Oh my God, how could you even think that?”
Huffing, she grabbed her chest and forced herself to sit back down, “Well there’s no other reason I would hate you enough to kill you. I’m sorry I thought that.”
“Don’t, don’t be sorry for anything. I did this, I created the mess. Bree I never meant to hurt Brandon, I swear. I love him, I really do.”
“But?” She prompted.
“I love someone else too. He’s begged me to leave Brandon, but I couldn’t.” I choked on the last words.
“How could you not tell me about this? How could I not know…you’re always with Brandon, I don’t get it.” She started, “Wait. You’re always with Brandon, when did this even happen?”
“The night you all went to LA.” I replied softly.
“You weren’t sick?” She was mad I’d lied to her again.
“No, I just wanted to mope over him alone, and then he was there.”
“At the house? You invited him here?”
“No Bree, I didn’t invite him over.” I watched her confused face, and after a few minutes I could practically see the light bulb click on.
“Oh shit.” She breathed. “You and Chase?”
I didn’t respond, I just waited for her to start screaming, but it never happened.
“Why didn’t you tell me Harper?” Her face was filled with hurt.
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, “I hated myself for doing that to Brandon. I could barely deal with it by myself, I didn’t know how to tell anyone else. I wanted to tell you, I did. But since he’s your brother, I thought you’d never be okay with it.”
“Does he know that you love him?”
Nodding I tried to speak around the lump in my throat, “He loves me too.”
After a few silent moments she spoke again, “It makes sense. We’ve all been so worried about him over the last few months, he’s been distant and grumpy. Now that I’m thinking about it I can’t believe no one realized he’s only ever happy when you’re both here.” She paused for a second, “What did he say last night?”
“He wanted me to make a choice between him and Brandon. I’d told him last month before you guys got back I needed a few weeks.”
“Did you choose Brandon?”
“Yeah,” it was barely a whisper, “If Brandon hadn’t ever been in the picture, I still couldn’t be with your brother. I love Chase, but I know he’d leave me. Whenever he gets mad or upset he’ll avoid me for long periods of time. But Brandon is in the picture, and I just couldn’t imagine myself leaving him.” I laughed but it sounded off, “All I wanted was to avoid hurting him, and now this? I’m going to crush him Bree. I’m such a horrible person.”
“A little,” she tried to laugh, “You’re going to have to tell both of them.”
“I know, there’s no way around this. I’ve never slept with Brandon, and Chase knows I’ve only ever been with him. Once Chase knows what’s happening, he’ll always be around me. You know he won’t leave my side, and Brandon will find out he’s the dad.” My body felt like ice, “Oh my God Bree I’m going to have a baby. I’m going to be a mom. I don’t know how to do that, I can’t be a mom I don’t want the baby to grow up like I did!” I was on the verge of hyperventilating. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’d be a horrible mom, Bree. I don’t want to do this!”
“No you won’t! You’re going to be a great mom Harper, no one has a bigger heart than you do. Yeah you grew up with a crappy father, but you won’t be like him.” She gripped my wrists and waited ‘til I calmed down once again, “And it might be hard to believe, but Chase is great with little kids, all our cousins love him and he’s always taking the babies so he can hold them. Between the two of you? This baby is going to be extremely loved, and of course Mom, Dad and I will be there to spoil him or her to no end.”
I actually laughed, really laughed. “I hope you’re right. This is going to be a really rough next few months, but I’m glad you’ll be here with me Bree. You’re like my sister, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.”
She waved my apology off, “I just can’t believe that dumbass didn’t use a condom!”
“Err, that’s my fault. He wanted to stop because he didn’t have any and I kind of begged him to anyway. And the second time –”
“There was a second time?”
“The next day. Anyway that time I don’t think either of us thought about it. I had just found out you all were coming home, and even though I told him I needed time to choose, we both knew I wouldn’t choose him. And it just happened.”
“Okay, okay I don’t want details. He is still my brother.”
Mom peaked her head in through the door, “I just got back from the store, I figured you two would be in class by now!”
Oh thank God she didn’t hear what we were talking about. Until Brandon knew, I didn’t want anyone else to know who the father was. “Uh…hey Mom?”
Her face worried, “Oh Harper honey, what’s wrong? Have you both been crying?”
Bree squeezed my hand and we sat up on the bed, after a reassuring nod from her I looked back to her mom and took a deep breath, before any sound could come out I started crying again. Somehow between the sobs and hiccups I managed to mutter, “I’m pregnant.”
Claire wasn’t mad, just like Bree predicted she was only sad for me. We all cried while she held me and only looked mildly shocked when I said it wasn’t Brandon’s. Actually, she looked relieved when I told her. Bree and I shared a confused look but didn’t say anything. Thankfully she didn’t pry when I asked if I could tell her who the dad was after Brandon and I were already broken up. She swore other than Robert, she wouldn’t tell a soul and then was off to call her OBGYN to set up an appointment. Her only request was that Bree and I strongly consider moving out of the dorm and into their house.
“It will be safer for you and the baby, and this way we’ll be able to make sure you eat nutritiously.” She’d reasoned.
Bree and I didn’t care, if we weren’t at Chase’s house, we were almost always here anyway. The dorm was mainly only used if we were pissed off at Konrad and Brandon. And after I spoke to Brandon, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be welcome in the house anymore.
“Oh and you should call your father.”
That…was going to be a difficult conversation. I called him right away, twice, and he didn’t answer. Not like I expected him to, I haven’t actually spoken with him since the end of August, but I would have rather told him over the phone than via e-mail. Unfortunately, that was my only other option. I grabbed my laptop and typed out a quick e-mail explaining what I’d just found out and that I was sorry if I disappointed him. I asked him to call me so we could talk and told him I loved him. I knew he would respond soon, so I sat there and waited for it. I should have expected his response, but even Bree let out a string of choice words and ran down the hall screaming for her mom to tell her what he’d said.
‘You made your choices, you’ll have to live with them. If you keep it, you are no longer allowed in my house. This semester is already paid for, but if you want to continue your education you can find your own way. I’m busy now Harper, I don’t have time to deal with you.’
I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, but I knew being upset over the dad that never wanted me was pointless. I forced a smile when Bree and her mom came back in. “Well, that’s two down…three more to tell.”
Claire’s eyes filled with tears but she nodded her head, “Your appointment is a week from Wednesday sweetie.”
“Thanks for helping Mom.” I mumbled.
We spent the rest of the day moving out of the dorm, even though they didn’t let me do much. I kept assuring them that I felt fine, but despite my attempts, I ended up supervising everything. Mom gave me the guest bedroom and said if the father ended up being a prick, I could live with them and set up the nursery in there too. I looked to Bree who was all smiles; at least she was sure Chase wouldn’t bail. I didn’t think his parents would let him not be there for the baby, but whenever I got the nerve to tell him, I would make sure he knew he didn’t have to be anything if he didn’t want to.
I didn’t see, or hear from Chase until that next Wednesday. I had already been so flustered all day about the appointment, I didn’t even notice he was there until I ran into him. Literally. Bree, Mom and I were texting back and forth, they were trying to calm me down, and I had been so focused on my phone I plowed right into him and a group of other guys.
“What the he– Princess?”
Retrieving my phone from the ground, I stood back up and turned to leave as fast as possible. I couldn’t see him, not today.
“Harper, wait up!” He caught my arm and spun me around so I was facing him. “You’re not even going to say hi now?”
“Hi.” My voice cracked and I kept my eyes to the ground.
Chase gently placed his hand under my chin and lifted until I was staring at him through unshed tears. “Baby what’s wrong?”
God I didn’t want to hear him call me that. Memories of our times together flashed through my mind and my cheeks instantly filled with heat. “Nothing,” I cleared my throat and blinked back the tears, “it’s just allergies or something.”
His look told me he wasn’t buying that, but didn’t push that subject further. Stepping back he hung his head and sighed roughly, shifting his weight a few times, “I haven’t seen you around my house much. I know you don’t want to be with me, but don’t feel like you can’t be there, I won’t bother you and Brandon.”
“That’s not why I haven’t been there. I um, I broke up with him.”
Chase’s head snapped up, “You did? When, why didn’t you tell me?” He was failing miserably at trying to hide his elated smile.
“A little over a week ago. But it hurt me more than I could ever explain to do it, and I need time to get over that. I can’t just rush back to you because Brandon and I aren’t together anymore.”