“Good,” said Aaron, “I’m glad you have enough sense to do that. I don’t know why I’m having a go at you; it’s a mistake lots of people make at some point.”
“It was two years ago. I was going out with a girl called Lily. One day, she rang me and said she was pregnant. She cried for days and wouldn’t talk to anyone but me. I scraped together every single penny I had to pay for that abortion. Not long after the operation, she left me and I never heard from her again. I couldn’t pay my rent, couldn’t buy food. Dad finally got it out of me and made me move back in. When he died, Mum asked me to stay, she didn’t want to be alone, I guess. Neither did I.”
Aaron pulled his little sister into a hug.
“I love you, and you’ll always be my baby sister, no matter how many children you have.”
In that moment she wanted to tell him everything. But she couldn’t, he wouldn’t believe her and it wasn’t really her secret to share.
“If there’s anything you need, just ask, okay?” asked Aaron.
“Beans on toast sound quite good right now.”
“Want me to make you some?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
Aaron headed back downstairs and into the kitchen. Chelsea followed him.
“How’s university going?” she asked.
“I’m so glad I chose synthetic biology over herpetology,” he said, making Chelsea smile; he’d wanted to do herpetology ever since he was nine.
“So you’re enjoying it.”
“Yeah. What about you? How’s school?”
“I didn’t go in today. Beth’s dead, yet I’m not that sad about it. That just makes me sadder.”
“Oh God, I’m so sorry, I forgot about that,” Aaron said.
“It’s not your fault. So on a scale of one to ten, how much is Mum going to kill me?”
“What have you done now?” somebody asked from behind me.
“Mum! Y-you’re home early,” Chelsea stammered.
“There wasn’t much traffic. So what have you done now?”
“Um...” Chelsea looked at Aaron, who smiled encouragingly. “I’m sort of pregnant.”
“Well I am pregnant.”
“About thirteen weeks.”
Her mother, Emma, nodded slowly. “I’m going to call the hospital.”
“Why?” Chelsea asked.
“We need to arrange an abortion obviously.”
Emma grabbed the home phone and dialled the number. The monotonous ringing was the only sound that could be heard. Chelsea covered her belly with her arms, as if it would protect them.
“No,” she whispered. “I won’t let you.”
“I don’t want an abortion. Put the phone down.”
“Chelsea, you don’t understand–”
“No, you don’t understand. I don’t want an abortion. You can’t force me; it’s against my human rights.”
Emma slowly lowered the phone.
“Hello,” said a voice from the phone. “Hello?”
She hung up and set the phone down in its cradle.