What if? The alternate version of Never Alone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 32 (v.1) - Chapter 32

Submitted: April 05, 2011

Reads: 70

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Submitted: April 05, 2011

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"What are we doing here?" I asked as Josh pulled into the mall parking lot.

"I need to buy something, for my mom, for Christmas." He said. "You're a girl. You can tell me what she'd like."

"Josh, I don't know anything about your mom." I said. "I have no idea what she would want. And anyway, my mom said she wants me home this afternoon."

Mamma told me to come home after school, since I was getting sick.

She seemed a little uncomfortable, actually ordering me to do something. Usually, she asked. But I just smiled and said 'alright', so she relaxed, seeming  more confident.

I was probably the first teenager who was relieved when her mother ordered her to leave her boyfriend early.

"Something girly." He said, brushing me off. "And I'll bring you home after.

I sighed and got out of the car, knowing I would only be wasting more time, arguing with him.

I'd just point him to the first decent, 'girly' thing I saw.

Thankfully, it really wasn't very long before Josh found something. He basically picked up the first thing I pointed to.

Nice how much thought he put into his mother's Christmas gift.

I was standing off to the side, waiting for him to pay, when I felt two small hands grab onto mine.

"Jenna! Jenna!" The little girl cried, excitedly, tugging on my hand.

Surprised, I looked down at the person, hanging on my arm and then up to the woman, running after her.

"Mommy, look it's Jenna!" When the little girl raised her face, I noticed that she had the characteristic facial features of Down Syndrome.

"Honey, no." Her mother corrected, reaching for her hand. "That's not Jenna."

The little girl squirmed out of her mother's grasp before she looked up at me. Surprised, she let go.

"I'm sorry." The woman said to me as the little girl clamped onto her leg. "You look a little like her babysitter."

"It's ok." I said to her before looking down at the girl. "Hi." I smiled. "I'm Lizzie. what's your name?"

She looked at her mom, cautiously and back to me when her mom nodded, encouragingly.

"Emily." She said, much quieter and calmer than before.

"That's a pretty name." I said. "How old are you?"

That was all it took for her to forget that she was shy. She grinned, hugely and told me every little detail about her day.

Her mom, looking tired, told Emily to say goodbye after a few minutes.

I was surprised when she hugged me. "I like you." She said before her mom pulled her away.

I watched them leave and actually felt good about myself for a change. It had been so long since I'd had that feeling.

"Finally." Josh said, exasperated. "Can we go now?"

"Yeah." I said, not bothering to tell him he sounded like a whiny five year old.

"I can't believe they let people like that walk around in public with the rest of us." He grumbled.

I stopped and looked at him, incredulous.

"What?" He asked, when he saw my expression.

"She's a little girl, Josh." I said, more disgusted with him than usual.

"She's a drain on her mother and the rest of us." He said.

I rolled my eyes. "How, exactly, is she a drain on you?"

"Society, Lizzie." He said. "She can't possibly contribute anything. Instead, she'll eat up our tax money for the rest of her life on pointless education and recreation and everything else."

"You don't pay taxes." I narrowed my eyes.

"Not yet."

"Ok, then, what do you think should be done with her?"

"Well, if people like that have to be here at all, they belong in asylums, just like they used to be." He said. "That way, at least the rest of us won't have to see them."

"That's terrible." I said, realizing that he was a bigger monster than, even I, thought he was capable of being.

Apparently, Josh was tired of the conversation. He shrugged and grabbed my hand, leading me out of the mall.


I knew I was definitely sick, in the morning and I was glad for that. My back hurt, my head was killing me and my stomach was...well, Josh might just get his proof today. I got dizzy while I was getting dressed and I thought I probably had a fever.

I didn't say anything to Mamma, though. She'd make me stay home, if she knew, and this was my last day to see Ben.

After this, I wasn't going to allow myself to even look at him when he could see me. And I was going to have Louis take back the book and one last note on Sunday.

I was dreading having to write it.

As usual, I couldn't focus on anything I should have been, in school. The only thing clouding my brain, more than Ben, was the awful way I was feeling. My head stopped hurting for now, but my stomach was a mess.

As Josh was leading me to lunch, I had to quickly pull my hand from his and jump inside the bathroom we, thankfully, happened to be passing.

I'd always hated throwing up. I didn't do it very much, but when I did I knew I was really, really sick.

This was the first time I didn't mind so much. It meant, starting tomorrow, I'd be mostly free of Josh, for the next week or two.

When I felt like I could stand up, I went to wash my hands and rinse out my mouth.

Brooke was leaning against the wall, watching me as I walked over to the sink.

"Not feeling well?" She asked, when I turned off the water.

"Yeah." I said, reaching for the paper towels. "I've got the flu."

She raised her eyebrows. "Are you sure about that?"

I looked at her, questioningly, for a minute.

"Um, yeah." I answered. "My brother just got over it."

She just continued to look at me.

"Why?" I asked. "What else would it be?"

She shrugged. "You could be pregnant."

I felt my eyes get very, very big and I dropped the paper towels when my hands fell to my sides.

"What?" I asked appalled.

She shrugged. "You're sleeping with Josh aren't you?"

I cringed.

"Hey," She held up her hands. "I'm not judging."

I shook my head, and was having trouble breathing. "No!" I said. "That's not...I can't...we...the flu!" I sputtered.

She looked at me skeptically. "Why do you think you have the flu? Other than that's what your brother had."

"I'm getting headaches and...dizzy, and my muscles hurt, and...and...a fever!"

"Lizzie, that can all be from being pregnant too."

I just watched her for a minute before I started shaking my head again.

"No!" I said. "I can't be! I'm...we're careful!"

"You're on the pill?"

I continued to stare at her as I shook my head.

"You know, condoms aren't 100% effective." She said. "You can still get pregnant. Even the pill's not 100%. My sister found that one out the hard way..."

"I didn't know that." I said without any volume, completely horrified.

"Hey, hey." She said, coming over to me. "Don't freak out. Maybe you're right. Maybe you just have the flu."

"You think?" I asked, desperately hoping that was true.

She thought for a second.

"Did you get your period?" She asked.

I nodded enthusiastically.

"When?"

"Last month. It was short, but..." I stopped, realizing how stupid that was. It was almost time for my period this month. The fact that I got it last month meant absolutely nothing.

"But you didn't get it this month?" She clarified.

"It's not time yet!" I cried.

She tilted her head to the side. "You can still bleed a little at first." She said. "My sister did."

I just stared at her, in shock.

"How do you feel now?" She asked.

I had no idea. My whole body felt numb.

"Do you still feel like throwing up?"

I focused on my stomach and wanted to cry when I realized that I didn't still feel like throwing up. At least not literally. My stomach felt fine, now.

I shook my head as my eyes filled with tears.

"Lizzie, relax." She said. "I could be wrong, ok? We don't know anything yet. Let's save the freaking out until you find out for sure, alright?"

I nodded, still having a mental panic attack.

"Look, even if you are," She continued. "It's no big deal."

How could my being pregnant at 16 - by Josh - possibly not be a big deal?!

I looked at her like she had three heads.

"No, really." She said. "You'll be fine. You'll just tell Josh and you guys will get it taken care of. No big deal. I'll give you the card for the place my sister went."

I recoiled, realizing what she meant by 'get it taken care of'. Like it was an unwanted skin condition or something equally trivial.

I stared at the floor, in utter shock and horror. This couldn't be happening.

"Lizzie, breathe!" She ordered.

I focused on her and took some deep breaths.

"Look, I'll tell Josh I need you for...oh something, and you can come to my house this afternoon and take some pregnancy tests, Ok?"

I nodded and felt two tears slide down my face.

"You'll be fine." She tried to reassure me.

I never wanted the flu so badly, in my life. Because I knew that was the only way I was ever going to be fine again.

One thing was certain. No matter what those tests said, I was done with letting Josh use me.

This was just too much.


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