What if? The alternate version of Never Alone

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

Chapter 35 (v.1) - Chapter 35

Submitted: April 15, 2011

Reads: 47

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Submitted: April 15, 2011

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"Here you go." Anna said, unloading the contents in her arms onto the desk. She brought more than I'd asked for, but I was only focused on one thing at the moment.

"Oh my gosh!" I hastily grabbed the peanut butter. "Thank you!"

I slapped some onto my slice of pizza before I grabbed the cream cheese and did the same.

It was the first crazy craving I'd had and I absolutely had to have it.

"I had to bring everything, because my mom was giving me a funny look." She said. "I told her pizza wasn't enough. We also needed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bagels and cream cheese."

I smiled guiltily at her before I shoved the doctored pizza in my mouth and groaned at the taste - it was wonderful!

I happily scarfed down the rest before I reached for seconds. I grinned sheepishly when I saw the disgusted look on Anna's face.

"I guess I don't have to worry about you eating anymore." She said, seeming to have temporarily lost her appetite.

I sighed. "I don't know why I'm even bothering." I said. "I'm probably gonna throw it up anyway." I hadn't been keeping much down for the last few days. But I was always starving, so I had to eat.

It was pretty awkward when I started having this problem. I'd had to rush from the dinner table and make up some ridiculous excuse to my family.

Anna gave me a sympathetic smile and I marveled again at how easily she's resumed the role of my best friend.

"Anna," I put the pizza down. "How can you still...look at me the same way? How can you just act like nothing's changed?" I'd been wanting to ask her since Ben practically dragged me over to see her a week ago. I hadn't been able to actually say it until now.

 She watched me for a minute, considering.

"How can you just get over everything and treat me the same?" I asked. "I mean, I'm glad...but how?"

"Don't give me too much credit." She said. "And I don't think I do see you the same way."

I looked down. That was a pretty stupid assumption to make. How could she?

"I still have trouble...I still don't..." She struggled.

"I wanted to hate you." She admitted. "After a while, it just...hurt too much to think about you...and to see Ben..." She sighed. "It just would have been easier to not care."

"I'm so sorry." I hadn't realized how much I'd hurt Anna.

"Watching Ben like that...He's supposed to be invincible." She smiled sadly. "I hated seeing him so...broken."

All because of me. I stared at the desk as my vision blurred. I'd hurt him so much.

"But it's because of him, that I couldn't." She said, making me look at her again.

"I figured, if anyone has the right to hate you or to not care, it's him."

That was certainly true.

"But he never did. He couldn't stop loving you. He could never turn his back on anyone - especially you. And I couldn't, for him."

I owed him so much. 

"I don't understand him." I said as a tear slid down my cheek. "How can he even...stand me anymore?"

"Ben's had to deal with alot of really hard stuff in his life." Anna said. "And it's not fair, but it's made him who he is. He's the strongest person I know. When no one else will be there for you, he will."

"I know, he...how can anyone be that strong?"

She didn't say anything.

"You know what he wants to do." I said. "He wants to tell everyone this is his baby." I looked down. "He thinks he's just going to see my baby. See me. But...how could anyone?" I looked back at Anna. "I don't even know if I'll be able to..."

"If anyone can, it's Ben." She said.

"I can't let him." I said. "I mean, I don't care about everyone else. They'll think what they want anyway, but...his mom. My parents. I can't let them think he..."

It was hard to tell by Anna's face if she thought I was right or wrong and she surprised me by smiling.

"You know, you're probably the first one to ever tell him no." She smiled. "People usually want someone to jump in and help."

I just smiled.

"He won't give up."  She said.

I sighed. "I know. I'll just have to tell Mamma and Daddy when he's not there. I don't know what I'll do about his mom."

Talking about his mom made me realize something.

"She's gonna hate me." I said. "She's gonna think I'm some..."

"Lizzie," She said. "If there's one person in this world who'd understand what you did, it's her."

I took a deep breath and blinked back the sudden tears.

"And she couldn't hate you." She said. "Even if she doesn't know. It's not in her. Like Ben."

Maybe not, but I couldn't imagine that she'd like me very much once she found out I was pregnant, no matter who the father was or why. No one was going to like me very much after they found out. People were probably going to treat me like a leper.

"Anna," I said. "I know you're my friend and I'm really glad that you want to be." I said seriously. "But if you can't...when people know...I'll understand if you wanna not be around me so much."

She just watched me and didn't say anything.

"They're not going to look at me very nicely. Or anyone I'm with."

"Lizzie," She said. "I don't think I'm gonna be the one, people are looking at."

"It might not be easy," She admitted. "But you're gonna need friends."

"I still don't know how you can...I mean, Morgan doesn't even know everything and she could barely look at me."

Anna surprised me by inviting everyone over a few nights ago. I thought it was just going to be her and Ben. Morgan acted the way I'd have expected everyone to.

"Morgan's having a hard time. She sees what you did as giving up and that's something she doesn't understand. She's a fighter. But she'll be ok." She said. "I've known her for a really long time and she always comes through. She just needs some time."

"But when she finds out I'm..." I said. "I can't expect her to understand that."

"Actually," Anna said. "That'll probably make her come around faster."

I looked at her confused.

"She's a fighter." She said again. "Especially for her friends. And she's still your friend, like she said she would be."

I dropped my eyes to my hands. I didn't deserve friends anymore.

"It's like you said. We can't understand why you felt the way you did." She said. "Because we haven't been where you have."

I continued to stare at my hands.

"You can't go back and change what happened. You can't do it differently." She said. "But, would you? If you could?"

I looked at her and nodded. "Yeah, I would."

She shrugged. "Then that's what matters. That you know now that it was the wrong choice. That you learned from it."

"I was so stupid." I said dropping my eyes again. "I really thought nothing could be worse. I just wish I'd listened."

"Lizzie, you messed up. We all do. I know, I'm glad that we don't all get just one stupid mistake before everyone gives up on us because I would have been finished a long time ago."

I looked at her and tried to smile. Nothing she could have done could even compare to the magnitude of my stupid mistake, but I appreciated that she was trying.

"And anyway, maybe this doesn't have to be all bad." She said, making me raise my eyebrows. How in the world was this anything but bad?

"I have another person to shop for now." She smiled. "I claim sole rights to this kid's wardrobe.

I smiled back at her and felt incredibly lucky that I had Anna for a friend.

I looked down at my plate, intending to finish the pizza.

When I saw it, though, I realized the craving had passed. And looking at it gave me that inconvenient reaction, where I had to run to the bathroom.

After taking care of that irritating problem, I returned to Anna's room.

Thankfully, she'd been smart enough to remove the pizza that I knew I wouldn't be able to even look at anymore.

Anna gave me another sympathetic smile as I sat down, annoyed.

"Thanks." I said, gesturing to the pizza-free desk.

She shrugged as she started on her bagel, having forsaken her own slice of pizza for me.

I watched her for a minute before I bit my lip, suddenly wanting something else.

"What now?" Anna put her bagel down.

"Do you have any ice cream?" I asked.

She smiled and got up. "Yeah."

"And olives?" I grimaced.

Anna looked resigned and sighed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So, are you gonna tell your parents that they're gonna be grandparents, soon?" Anna asked, nonchalantly. We were sitting in her room, waiting for Ben and Jordan to get off of work.

Since Ben decided that he'd be taking responsibility for my baby, he started working with Jordan at the gas station. I wasn't about to take any of his money, but of course, he wouldn't listen to me.

"Yeah..." I bit my lip. "Why?"

I'd known for about three months now. I was used to the idea but I still hadn't been able to actually tell my parents. I knew I wouldn't be able to wait much longer since my clothes were all getting too small. I was glad that I had alot of baggy sweats and stuff, so I could get away with it for a little longer at home.

What I was really worried about was my school uniform. There wasn't alot of give to it.

I could leave the bottom of the shirt unbuttoned and wear a sweater, but what about the skirt? I could only sag it so much. I was going to have to resort to safety pins soon.

"Because, if that thing gets any bigger," She looked pointedly at my stomach. "You won't need to. And because you need to go to the doctor."

"I know." I cringed. "I need to tell them. It's just, every time I try the words just won't come out. I keep thinking about how much this is going to kill them and I freeze up."

"Do you think you can just wait until this kid's born and then tell them you found it on the doorstep?"

I smiled. "That'd be nice."

Anna gave me one of her looks.

"I know..." I shook my head. "Maybe it'd be easier for them if I...left. Ran away..." That idea had been looking more appealing lately, but I knew I'd never survive on my own.

"No," She contradicted me. "That'd be easier for you, not them. You said it yourself, they gave up everything for you. Do you really think they'd want you to run away because you messed up? Do you think they won't love you anymore? That would kill them."

I looked down. As usual, she was right.

"And you need to do it soon." She said. "It's just gonna hurt them more if they find out before you can tell them."

I looked at her and nodded. "I will."

She raised her eyebrows.

"Tonight." I added, hastily. "I'll tell them tonight."

Anna appeared satisfied briefly before she looked at me assessingly.

"Besides, I'm dying to get you out of those hideous clothes."

I rolled my eyes.

She got up. "I got you something the other day."

I watched her curiously as she went to grab the small bag from the dresser. At least I was pretty sure she'd be steering clear of the mini skirts for a while, now.

"What's this?" I asked, pulling out the fabric and belt set.

"A belly belt." She said. "You know, so you can still wear your clothes as your belly grows. I don't think they had a school uniform in mind, so it doesn't exactly match, but..."

"Anna, your a genius!" I said, relieved that my skirt wouldn't be an issue for a little while.

"Yeah..." She agreed. "You really should listen to me more often."

I just smiled.


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