One week of school left, one week of "childhood" left. As long as there was school I could tell myself I wasn't on the verge of being an adult and that I wouldn't have to face a certain reality.
I'd spent the last couple weeks fretting about that stupid pregnancy test and the ones that followed. They all said the same thing - "Welcome to Mommy-hood, you're totally screwed." I hadn't told anyone else about it yet and this was eating away inside me. So, with only a week left of school, I went to the school counselor to unload this secret on someone else.
"Well..." she said after I related the news to her. And that's all she said for a few moments. The silence in the room was very nearly unbearable. "Have you told the father?" she asked finally.
I shook my head quickly. I hadn't told her the specifics of how I'd gotten pregnant and certainly not the who - I wasn't sure I would ever be able to tell anyone that.
"What about your parents?" My eyes went wide and she sighed. "Violet, you'll have to tell someone - you'll need some support..."
"I told you!" I said firmly.
"In a week you'll graduate Violet, it'll be summer - I won't be here anymore..." She said calmly. "Have you considered your options?" When I shook my head she started rifling through her desk until she emerged with a few pamphlets. "You should read through these - tonight if possible. So you can come by if you have any questions..."
I took them from her silently and nodded. Suddenly I couldn't figure out why I'd come here, why I thought telling a perfect stranger that I was pregnant would make me feel better...it didn't, it just made me feel lonely. "Thank you." I said quietly. Nausea rolled through me and I grimaced. "I should go..."
"Please come back if you have any questions Violet." she said, stepping in front of me. She pressed a business card in my hand along with the pamphlets and then let me go.
I walked quickly through the office before running for the nearest bathroom - thankful that the halls were mostly empty of students.
I slumped on the floor for awhile after my stomach contents were empty. In the back of my mind there was the nagging feeling that I should get up; that I was in a school bathroom, possibly one of the dirtiest places on Earth.
But I didn't get up.
Not right away anyway. Finally I pushed myself up and washed my hands and face. My eyes were red and puffy from the newest round of crying.
"You okay?" he asked as I stepped out of the restroom finally. Nepal.
"Stalking me again?" My voice was flat as I tried to joke with him though. Instead of laughing or smiling, he just looked sad. "I'm...f-fine." I lied.
"You look like you've been crying." he pointed out.
"Probably because I have." I said with a shrug. "I gotta go..." I said, moving past him.
"Come somewhere with me?" Nepal asked, a twinge of hope in his voice. "Or do you need to get to work?"
I shook my head. "No work..." He smiled, it was small and fleeting but it was enough. "Sure, lead on..." His motorcycle was parked just behind the school but we walked past it and up the hill toward the planetarium. I thought back to the last time we'd been there at the beginning of the school year and was torn between smiling and sobbing. "Nepal..." I wanted to change my mind now, I didn't want to revisit that place only to break both our hearts.
He kept walking though, even reaching out and curling his fingers in mine so I couldn't turn back.
To my surprise, he didn't lead me up the stairs or into the building, we walked through the grounds until we came upon a clearing surrounded by a ring of rocks. "Wait...I know this place..." I said confused. At least I think I did. After thrashing through my memory I smiled. "This is where my parents got married."
"I love you Violet." Nepal said suddenly. He looked at me steadily and took my hands. I was surprised that they seemed clammy. "I've tried not to. I've tried to forget because it seemed like...like we no longer fit together. But...."
I was shaking my head and trying to pull my hands from his even as he poured out his heart to me. "Nepal..."
"No! Let me finish Violet! I'm sorry, I shouldn't have cut you out..." Nepal was still talking.
"I'm pregnant!" I practically shouted it in his face, trying to make him stop talking. My hands dropped like stones as he released them. I stared at the ground as I spoke, "I'm the one who's sorry, I'm the one who screwed everything up and even now...it's me." When I looked up, he was staring at me so intently I wanted to cringe away.
He didn't have to do any math to know I wasn't pregnant with his child though. He turned on his heel and walked away.
I didn't try to stop him. I wouldn't love me much either if I were him.
I looked at the two acceptance packets in front of me and should have been overjoyed but all I could think about was my quickly disappearing future. "Trying to decide which one to go to?" my mom asked with a proud smile on her face. It had been so long since I'd seen her proud of me that all my resolve to tell her about the baby disappeared. I just smiled at her and nodded. When she left again, I shoved them both deep in my desk.
With a sigh I left the house, feeling smothered in the house. I walked into town, enjoying the crisp night air for the first time probably. On the edge between our neighborhood and town stood the nicest restaurant in town. It was always well lit at this time with tasty smells lingering in the air all around it. I shoved my hand in my pocket and extracted a handful of bills - enough for dinner anyway. I was already at the door when I spotted them standing there talking. I ducked my head and hoped they hadn't seen me.
"Oh! Violet!" Baby Boy Director called out to me when I started to tug on the Bistro's door. I groaned mildly before dropping my hand and turning toward them.
Mirage looked away from me as I walked over. As much as I wanted to confront him, I was glad he didn't try to look my in the eye right now. I'd just as soon burst into tears as yell I'm sure.
"Hello Mr. Melon." I said with a fake smile. I didn't look over at Mirage who stood awkwardly beside us.
"Oh Violet, I'm glad to see you actually. I was wondering if you'd considered the offer for next season any more. You see, Mirage here speaks rather well of the job you did for him..."
Yeah I bet he did. I tried not to roll my eyes and just nodded along as Baby Boy kept talking.
"I think your future could be bright at Merlot Studios." he concluded.
"Well, I appreciate that, but I don't think it'll work out. You see, Mr. Melon, I've been accepted to two very good universities for the fall." I said.
He smiled and nodded. "Well I understand of course."
"Yes. Besides," I added, turning to face Mirage for the first time. "I'm pregnant. So I'm not sure I'd be much good to you." I said turning back to face the director. Mirage turned his attention to me for the first time, his face a mixture of shock and horror. And maybe sadness? Probably not!
"Well!" Mr. Melon wasn't sure if he ought to be congratulating me on my good news or consoling me I'm sure. Finally he smiled and offered meager congratulatory remarks.
"Thank you again." I said. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get dinner." I extracted myself from the entanglement and disappeared inside hoping they'd be long gone when I finished. Just to be sure, I took my time eating.
When I got home I typed up identical letters of rejection for my universities. I carefully worded my situation and indicated that I hoped to reapply in the future. After finishing I checked my email, hoping for some sort of communication from Bloss but was disappointed once again. Where was she?!
I'd just closed the laptop when there was a knock at the door. One peak out the window told me who my visitor was. Nepal caught me looking at him through the window and nodded but he wasn't smiling. He wasn't frowning either though. I stepped out onto the porch with him. "I shouldn't have walked away..." he started.
"I don't blame you for it." I said honestly.
"But I shouldn't have. I was proclaiming my love and at the first sign of trouble I walked away...I shouldn't have." he said. He took my hands in his again, "I was serious Vi, I still am. I love you and I will always be there for you if you need me."
Tears were in my eyes now and I shook my head slowly. "I can't Nepal. I am a mess right now and the last thing I should do is..."
"I'm not asking for marriage or a relationship Vi. I'm just offering my friendship - for now. A shoulder to cry on, a hand to squeeze whenever you need it..." Nepal gave me a small smile. "When I picked you up at the studio that night, I told you I'd always be there for you and I mean it. Just call if you need me okay?" I nodded weakly and he kissed the top of my hands. "Be careful Vi..." And then he hopped off the porch and was gone in minutes.
I slipped inside and leaned against the door until my mom walked by. "Mom? Can we talk?" I asked. We sat down on the couch and I told her just about everything.
It became harder and harder to hide my pregnancy as the summer wore on. I hid out in the house the larger I got so I wouldn't have to face the gossip and questions from those in town. I'd been seen with Mirage by the few local paparazzi just enough to make them curious - I was afraid the pregnancy would just make them salivate. So I tried to stay occupied at home...
Which only got more difficult when Minsk left for college. Haiti was busy with school and Summer so he wasn't around. I wasn't about ready to hang out with my parents so I became good friends with my mirror...sad right?
Mom shoved books about pregnancy and child birth at me. "If you're not going to get them yourself..." Then she'd walk away. She's been so cool when Amethyst had announced her pregnancy - even though SHE wasn't married. She'd even been happy for Windsor and Miltan when they said they were having a baby through surrogacy. But me? Nope, couldn't be happy for me! Of course I wasn't even happy for me so how could I ask anyone else to be?
I shrugged off the thoughts and opened the newest book she'd brought in for me.
I was on the brink of delivery, "any day now" the doctor said, when I admitted to myself that I couldn't do this. I'd never wanted a child and couldn't imagine my life with one in it - even as I sat there rubbing my bulge of pregnant belly.
I pulled out the pamphlets the counselor had given me all those months ago and flipped to a particularly worn one. "Adoption" spanned across the top of the paper and read the familiar words. It wasn't the first time I'd read it and other literature on adoption. I'd even gone so far as to contact an agency but when they called back for more information I couldn't answer the phone. I hadn't counted on them calling the house phone and my mom answering.
I could hear her thundering up the stairs within moments but didn't realize I was the target until she pushed the door open. "Adoption!? Did you really....?!"
For a moment I was ashamed, I felt all her disappointment roll over me and felt like a misbehaved child. Then I thought about the baby I was carrying and looked up at her, fire in my eyes. "Yeah I did! I didn't want this and I'm not ready to be a mother! Someone out there probably is! Someone who can love this baby with all their heart...."
"I don't think I can do that." My anger tapered off and I was left with pain and tears. "I've tried! I've honestly tried! But I-I just can't imagine loving this baby and he shouldn't be punished because of what happened to me..."
"What happened?" My mom stepped forward, now deeply concerned for me. I'd left out some of the more difficult memories of that night at the studio just as I'd left out the identity of the baby's father.
I held up my hand to stop her from advancing. "I don't think I can do this Mom...and I know there are people who could give this baby everything that I can't..."
"Violet..." she stopped coming closer, "you know your father and I will help right? There's plenty of love to go around in this house."
I just shook my head. "I'm going to bed." I said, pushing past her gently. I just wanted to curl into a ball and sleep.
Between Amethyst giving birth to a baby girl and my own impending birth, Haiti's birthday went pretty much unnoticed - he didn't seem to mind though. He wasn't even done with school officially but he proposed to Summer the same week and she said yes of course. Great, Summer Green was going to be my sister-in-law.
I was a week late when I finally went into labor. Even though I had decided what to do when this baby came, I was so ready for him to get here so I could stop feeling like a whale.
My eagerness evaporated as the first contractions hit though! The books hadn't described pain quite like this! Even my mom, the veteran childbirther, freaked out a bit as the contractions came on so hard and fast.
Unlike Mom who was all for the home birthing thing, I had a firm plan to deliver in a hospital. With doctors. And drugs. My threshold for pain was only so high and I already wanted that epidural. Mom finally calmed down enough to get my hospital bag and alert my Dad. Together they got me into the car and we drove to the hospital. My dad remained surprisingly calm.
"Oh he panicked the first couple times but by the time you and Minsk came along he'd learned to just let the women handle it." my mom said when I commented on his calmness between contractions.
Labor was alarmingly short. I barely got situation in Labor and Delivery when I felt the need to push. It took a few shouts to get someone's attention but as soon as they checked me all heck broke loose. My mid point ultrasound had revealed one healthy baby boy - Cobalt Dust.
His twin sister had apparently been the world's best hide and seek player because she was a total shock to everyone - particularly my doctor who'd done the scan himself. Lazuli Dust was a bit smaller than her brother but just as healthy and eager to be in the world.
For the few days I was in the hospital following their birth, I was able to block out everything about how they came to be. I held them and traced their features with a dopey smile on my face. I couldn't imagine ever letting go of them and pouted when the nurses took them for tests or measurements.
I'd only been home a day when the euphoria wore off and reality returned. I forced myself to care for them but I got easily frustrated - especially with Cobalt who cried the most. Cobalt and I were sobbing together as we paced the upstairs rooms when I saw the car sitting outside on the street. Despite Cobalt's increased crying, I stopped and watched Mirage fiddle around in his car. I could just imagine the inner-monologue he had going as he decided what to do.
I was half-tempted to go out and relieve his debate but didn't get the chance as he started the car and drove away. "So much for your father huh?" I asked Cobalt. He cried louder and I started pacing again.
Most of their first months of life were a blur of misery and tears. I pulled further and further from them and every day wondered if I should have given them up. Could I still give them to someone who could love them more?
"You're doing fine Violet!" My mom tried to reassure me but I just shook my head and pushed Zuli into her arms. Zuli cried for me as I walked away but I couldn't look at her. I threw myself onto my bed and smothered my own cries with a pillow.
This wasn't motherly joy. I wasn't supposed to look at two innocent babies like this....
My mom planned their birthday party as she'd planned every other moment of their first year. She'd arranged the pictures, the clothes, the trips to the mall to see Santa - I'd stood back from a distance and let her drag me along but I didn't offer opinions anymore.
Eventually she stopped asking me.
It was just as well, the more they grew up, the more they looked like him.
And that was when I broke completely.
Dear Mom, you said it would get better, you said I would get better. It didn't. And I'm worse. I can't do this anymore.
I put the note on the dining room table and grabbed my small suitcase that had everything worth taking. I set it down again and crept up the stairs. The door to the nursery squeaked as I pushed it open but the twins didn't stir. "I'm sorry. It's better this way...I hope." I whispered before slipping back down the stairs and out the front door.
The cab was waiting for me and I climbed in. "Take me to the bus station please."