What if? The alternate version of Never Alone

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

Chapter 34 (v.1) - Chapter 34

Submitted: April 09, 2011

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Comments: 6

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Submitted: April 09, 2011



I zoned out again on the way home. I didn't even notice that I was walking by Mamma, in the living room, until she called me.

"Lizzie?" She said, coming over to me. "You ok, Baby?"

I nodded. "I'm fine." I said out of habit.

"Sweetie, what's wrong?" She asked, not buying it.

I focused on her and my eyes filled with tears. How was I going to tell her? How was I going to say the words?

I knew I had to, and the sooner the better. It would probably be easier without Daddy here. Mamma was the only person who would understand what I was feeling right now.

Only, not really. Because she and Daddy had been in love when she got pregnant with me. I was alone. I was going to be a single parent. At 16.

"Lizzie?" Mamma tried again when I didn't say anything.

"Mamma, I'm..." I stopped when I looked up and saw the concern etched on her face. I couldn't say the word that I knew was going to break her heart.

"I broke up with Josh." I said instead. May as well let her be happy about something for a while.

She tried not to look too happy since she thought I was actually upset about it.

"Good." She said. "He was no good for you. You were so unhappy with him."

I was suddenly angry. Why hadn't she forbidden me from seeing him if she knew he was bad for me? Why hadn't she protected me like she was supposed to? Or Daddy? I knew he absolutely hated him.

A second after that crossed my mind, I felt guilty for even thinking it.

Hadn't they always protected me? Now they just thought I was smart enough to help myself a little.

I couldn't blame them for my actions. No one held a gun to my head and made me do what I did.

I nodded. "I know." I said. "You're right." My lower lip quivered as a tear fell down my face.

"Oh, Honey," Mamma hugged me. "I know it feels like the end of the world right now, but you did the right thing. I knew you would."

Her faith in me was vastly misplaced.

"Mamma, I've been such an idiot!" I said, hugging her tightly and letting my tears flow freely.

"Lizzie, we all make mistakes." She said. "It just means you're human. It's how we deal with those mistakes and what we learn from them, that matter."

I started sobbing, wondering if she would still say that when she found out just how badly I screwed up.

I hid out in my room for most of the next day. Only leaving when absolutely necessary. Every time I did, Mamma and Daddy were just so...nice to me.

Not that they weren't normally, but they thought I was miserable about breaking up with Josh and were trying to make me feel better. It just made me feel more and more guilty and ashamed.

Louis burst into my room sometime after lunch.

I looked at him, thinking something was wrong. He usually knocked.

"You dumped him?!" He asked, excitedly. Mamma must have just told him.

"Yeah." I said, giving him a sad smile.

"Let's go tell Ben!" He grabbed my hand and tried to pull me off the bed.

"No, Louis." I said, not moving.

"Why not?" He asked, confused.

I looked down. "Just...no."

"What's wrong?"

I looked at him and wanted to cry seeing the worried expression on his face.

"I'll tell you later." Unfortunately, I'd have to.

He just watched me, not understanding.

"And don't say anything to Ben, tomorrow."

"Why not?" He asked again.

"Just don't. Ok?" I sighed.

He still looked confused but nodded.

I suddenly didn't feel so well. I almost didn't have time to grab the small trash can off the floor before I threw up again.

"You're sick now?" Louis asked as I set the trash can on the floor and rubbed my throbbing head.

"Sort of." I mumbled.

"Too bad you got the flu now and not during school, like me." He said.

"Yeah," I agreed. "Too bad." Why couldn't I have just had the flu?

"Do you want me to bring your book back?" He asked.

I forgot about the note that I was going to write Ben. I still needed to do something, so he'd be able to forget me and move on. But what? I wasn't stuck with Josh anymore.

I should really do it in person. Ben deserved that, at least.

I just didn't know if I could do it.

"No." I said, staring at the floor. "Not yet."

What was I going to do about Ben?

What was I going to do about anything?

And what in the world was I going to do with a baby? I couldn't even take care of myself. How was I supposed to take care of another person?

What if I couldn't love my baby? What if I couldn't even look at it? What if all I saw, when I looked at it, was Josh and what he did to me?

I wanted to be able to forget eventually. How could I do that if I had a baby as a reminder?

What kind of awful mother was I going to be?

Was I just making another horrible mistake by going through with this?

I put my hand on my stomach and tried to imagine the tiny person, inside.

Would this baby even want to be born like this?

I was going to be a horrible mother and it's father was Josh.

I tried to think about what I would want if it were me. If Daddy wasn't who he was and if he never wanted me at all.

I knew I'd still be glad that I was born. I'd be glad that Mamma had the courage to have me, even if it meant she'd be alone.

No, like I told Brooke, that wasn't an option. I'd have this baby. It wasn't the baby's fault that I'd been so stupid.

I'd just never let him or her know anything about Josh. I'd lie if I had to so he'd never know the kind of person his father was.

I could at least give him that much.

I looked down at where my hand was resting on my abdomen and wondered what it looked like and how big it was.

And again, if I'd ever be able to love it.

My stomach growled, reminding me of my increasing appetite.

I honestly felt even dumber for not realizing sooner. I'd never been a big eater and lately I'd been starving all the time.

I just assumed it was because I'd been skipping lunch most days. But that didn't explain why I'd still been just as hungry on those days when I was away from Josh. Or why I'd developed such a liking for ice cream and a few other things that I'd never cared for much.

I rubbed my head as my stomach growled impatiently, again.

I sighed and stood up, only realizing just then, that Louis wasn't in the room anymore. He must have slipped out while I'd been lost in thought.

I repeated the pattern of mostly hiding in my room for the next few days. I was glad that there was no school so I didn't have to worry about seeing anyone.

But I knew it couldn't last forever. In a few weeks, I'd have to go back and I could only hide from Mamma and Daddy for so long. I mean, it was going to be pretty obvious when I didn't get over the 'flu' and my clothes all started getting too small.

I guess I wouldn't have to try to gain weight the way I'd wanted to. It felt like a cruel illustration for the 'be careful what you wish for', idea.

"Lizzie," Louis poked his head into my room after he knocked. "Could you come in the living room?"

"What is it, Louis?" I didn't feel like moving, right now.

"I have to show you something." He grinned.

"Can't you just tell me?" I asked. "I don't feel very good, right now."

"Please, Lizzie?" He looked so excited, I couldn't tell him no.

"Alright." I sighed, getting up.

He turned to run ahead of me.

I followed Louis to the living room but froze in shock when I saw Ben, standing there.

I looked at the floor, too ashamed to meet his eyes. I looked up at Louis, who still looked very happy.

"I asked you not to say anything." I said, glancing quickly at Ben.

"Well, actually, you said not to say anything on Sunday." Louis said. "I waited till Monday."

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "You know that isn't what I meant."

"I'm sorry." Louis said. "Don't be mad."

I looked at him and knew I couldn't be. He was only trying to help, the way he knew how.

"I'm not." I said. "Could you just give us some privacy, please?"

"Ok." He nodded, looking upset.

"Hey." I stopped him as he was passing me.

"I'm not mad." I assured him when he looked up.

He just nodded and continued on to his room.

I watched the floor after he was gone and heard his bedroom door close, a minute later.

Ben was about to find out if he hadn't already figured it out.

The silence was almost unbearable, but I couldn't think of a thing to say to him.

It was ironic considering I'd wanted to talk to him so badly for so long and wasn't able to.

"So," He finally broke the silence. "Louis said you broke up with Josh."

"Yeah." I said, not raising my gaze from the floor.

"And, he said," Ben paused. "You're sick. Sort of."

I closed my eyes as a tear slipped out. He knew.

"That you have the flu." He continued.

I didn't say anything.

"And that something was wrong." He said. "He was worried about you, Lizzie."

"I know." I bit my lip.

"You don't have the flu, do you?" He guessed.

It took me a minute before I was able to say anything passed the lump in my throat.

"No." My voice broke over that one little word. "I really wish I did."

The room was deathly silent again.

"Say something." I begged.

"What do you want me to say?" I couldn't tell from his tone, what he was thinking and I was still too embarrassed to look at his face.

"I don't know."

That you love me. That you don't care. That it doesn't matter.

But I couldn't say any of that because Ben deserved so much better than me. And I knew his reasons for being here were probably closer to that than what they needed to be. Otherwise, why come at all?

"Say," I stared at the floor as I cried. "That I disgust you. That you never want to see me again. That you can't even look at me anymore."

"I can't." He said. "Because it's not true."

I finally met his eyes. "It should be."

"I love you." He said, taking a step closer.

Hearing him say the words felt amazing and so very wrong because I didn't deserve it at all.

I shook my head. "Don't." I said. "Please, don't." I couldn't stand it if Ben got mixed up in the mess I'd made of my life. He was much too good for that.

"Can't help it." He took another step.

"Ben," I said, really trying not to break down. "You deserve someone so much better than me. You need to move on with someone who can make you happy."

He didn't say anything, he just watched me, thinking.

"Like that girl." I said.

"What girl?" He asked, confused.

I shrugged. "The blonde girl."

He still didn't know what I was talking about.

"The one that's in your class. I saw you in the hall with her."

"You mean, Micha?"

I frowned, involuntarily, learning her name. What kind of name was 'Micha' for a girl anyway?

"Lizzie, Micha's just a friend." He said. "We had a class project to work on. That's it."

Hearing him say that made me feel so relieved. And then I felt awful for feeling that way. Ben needed someone else.

"I've never even liked another girl that way. Not really. Not before you." 

He came closer and took my hand. "Lizzie, when I gave you this," He held up my arm and indicated the bracelet. "I said you could always come to me. No matter what. And I meant it." He lowered my hand, but didn't let go.

"I still do." He said. "Louis shouldn't have had to come to me. You could have."

"I couldn't."


"I didn't want...I couldn't tell you...Ben, I can barely even look at your eyes, right now. I'm just so...I feel so...contaminated."

"And you didn't know what you were saying." I added.

"Yes, I did." He contradicted me.

"This?" I asked. "Did you plan on me coming to you like this? Did you want this?"

"Of course I didn't want it." He said. "I hoped you'd..." He looked down for a second before he looked back at me. "I knew it was a possibility."

I wish I had.

"Ben, what am I going to do?" I started crying.

He pulled me into his arms. I knew if I were a better person, I'd push him away and tell him I didn't want him here. To leave me alone from now on. That I hated him - anything to get him to leave me. But I just couldn't say any of those things.

I leaned into him and sobbed.

"We'll take care of this." He said, rubbing my back. "You'll be ok."

I stiffened. He almost said the same exact thing Josh and Brooke had - we'll take care of this.

"What?" He asked, confused by why I pulled away from him, suddenly.

"Ben, I'm having this baby." I said.

"I know." I couldn't read his expression.

"How?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I know you."

"Am I..." I tried. "Do you think I'm making a horrible mistake? Again?"

Ben was quiet for a minute. "No." He finally said. "I don't."

I just watched him, shocked.

"I think," He said. "You screwed up. You made a mistake."

I raised my eyebrows. That was putting it mildly.

"Ok." He conceded. "A really big mistake."

I nodded.

"But so did I."

"Don't you dare try to blame yourself." I said, almost angry. "I made my own decisions. I didn't listen to you."

"I know." He nodded. "And I shouldn't have listened to you. I should never have agreed not to do anything."

"You only did what I asked." I said. "It's not your fault."

"I knew it was wrong, Lizzie. I could have stopped it, but I didn't. I thought, if I tried to...force you into something you didn't want, that I'd be just like him." He said. "So I didn't. I know it was wrong now. And I wish I'd made a different choice."

"You couldn't have stopped me." I said.

"Maybe." He allowed. "But I could have tried."

"Ben...You can't always rescue everybody."

He looked down, seeming to take that particularly hard.

"I know." He said and looked at me again. "But I won't let you do this all alone."

I attempted a smile and failed.

"I know I won't be completely alone." I said. "But I'll be raising this baby, alone. How am I supposed to look at my parents and tell them about this? They're going to be so...heartbroken." I stared at his shoulder, not really focusing.

"You won't be alone." He said again. "We'll do it together."

"No." I shook my head. "I don't want them thinking that you-"

"Why not?" He said, and I fully understood what he meant when he said I wouldn't be alone.

"No!" I tried to pull away from him. "I can't ask you to do that!"

"You're not asking." He held on to me and I stopped trying to get away.

"Then, I can't let you."

"Lizzie, I want to do this." He said, seriously.

"I won't let you screw up your life because I screwed up mine."

He shook his head. "I won't be."

"You're 16." I said. "You have your whole life. You can be anything. I won't let you get stuck with me."

He took a deep breath. "The only thing I'd regret is if I let you walk away again."

"Ben, I slept with Josh." I said, trying to get him to realize what he was asking. "I'm having his baby. You don't want this."

He looked away from me didn't say anything.

"I don't even know if I'm going to be able to love my own baby. I don't know how I'm going to be able to look at it and not think of him. Especially if it looks like him." I said. "You don't want this."

"You will." He said. "You're going to love this baby, Lizzie. Because he's going to be yours. He'll be a part of you. It doesn't matter how he got here or who his father is. When I look at this baby, I'm going to see you."

"You can't know that."

"I do." He said.

I just looked at him, wishing that I could believe what he said.

He knew I didn't believe him.

"What do you see when you look at me?" He asked.

"You?" I smiled. "You're Ben. You're perfect. You're caring and sweet and gentle and much too good for me."

He frowned. "Lizzie, you've got me on this pedestal and I don't belong there."

I didn't say anything.

"And I'm hardly perfect."

I looked down, not arguing but not agreeing. He was perfect to me.

"My point is," He said. "You don't see some...disgusting person who should have never been born, do you?"

I quickly looked up. "Of course not."

"And neither does my mother."

I just watched him and shook my head. Why should she?

"I told you that my dad wasn't around much, when I was growing up."

I nodded.

"I wish he hadn't been around at all." He said. "My dad makes Josh look...well, I wouldn't go as far as to say, a decent person, but...maybe not so bad."

"My mom never loved him." He continued. "She - like you - did what she had to. Only, she did it to save her brother. And it wasn't for a month. It was years."

"I wasn't her first baby." He said. "I'm just the one that survived what he did to her. The one who got to be born."

I felt a tear slide down my face. How awful for his mom.

He seemed to struggle and didn't say anything for a few seconds. "I'm sure she wasn't exactly rejoicing when she found out about me." He said. "But...she loves me. I know that. Even though I look like him a little."

"When I was little, I didn't understand...anything really. And I hated that I wasn't strong enough to protect her from him."

"When I got older, I found out...what she did and I...I didn't want to believe it. I didn't think I could see her the same way anymore."

The way he would probably never see me the same way. I looked down.

"But she's still my mom." He said. "And I still love her just as much as before. Maybe more."

I looked up to his eyes.

"People knew, she never wanted to be with him." Ben said. "I...didn't know why they treated us different...Even if they'd known why....they just wouldn't understand. My uncle wasn't the best person, then. But he was her brother and she loved him and...I'm not sure I even..." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

"Lizzie, I know what it's like to be looked at that way. To see my mom looked at the way she was. And I don't want that for you or your baby."

"Me and this kid are gonna have alot in common." He said.

"Ben..." I had a hard time not falling into his arms and just agreeing. "You think you want this, now." I said. "What about in ten or fifteen years when you realize you wasted your life on me?"

"That would never happen." He said. "I told you, I love you."

I closed my eyes and wished that I could let him.

"When I wasn't able to help my mom," He said. "I made a promise to protect girls when I could and especially when I found..." He touched my cheek. "I said I'd never go against what you wanted. I'd never force you into anything."

He glanced down and quickly back at me.

"Now I know, that's not exactly right." He said. "That sometimes, I shouldn't listen."

"Ben, please don't feel guilty about me."

"Do you feel guilty?" He asked.

"That's different." I said.

"We both should have known better."

I looked down and realized that he wasn't going to give up.

"Alright." I said. "If you're sure."

"I'm sure." He said.

I had no intention of letting him ruin his life for me. I'd tell Mamma and Daddy, on my own and make sure they knew that this baby wasn't his. No one else really mattered. Not now, at least.

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