Chapter Two: The Results
If any passerby would happen to walk past the window looking into my small bathroom, they would probably think that I’m just another teen statistic. Because here I am: a teenage girl pacing the small confines of my bathroom as I waited for my cell phone timer to go off as I stared at the popsicle stick-shaped object hoping and praying that the outcome would be what I wanted it to be.
I know I’m close to losing it, so I slowly sit down on the closed toilet lid and take a few deep breaths. I know that if I’m too loud my brothers would come see what the problem was; or worse my mother would. And I don’t want any of my family to know just yet. Not my brothers, and especially not my mother.
I am brought out of my daydream by a loud beeping noise as the timer from my cell phone finished counting down the minutes indicating that it was time to look at the test results. I slowly start to stand, but change my mind and sit back down on the toilet seat again. I start to reach for the object, but at the last minute I stop.
What if it was positive? What would I do? What would my brothers’ reaction be? What about my mom? What about Johnny? What about my uncle and his family? I didn't want to end up like my mother; I know I’m better than that. A lot better than that. I need to calm myself down, so I slowly take some calming breaths in and out.
Stupid Johnny Baker. That’s the first thought that popped into my head when I started getting all those crazy warning signs on our yearly end-of-summer camping trip. This is all his fault. He tricked me. He made sure I fell in love with him, made me believe him when he started talking about the future. Ok, it’s not all his fault. I know that half the blame lies with me. I shouldn’t have been fooled so easily by his charms, and I should’ve said no when I realized that neither one of us had protection on us that night.
“Lora!” there was loud pounding on the door; one of my brothers was awake already.
“Hold on a minute!” I call impatiently as I stuff the test back in the box so I could just look at it later.
“I have early morning practice!” Ernesto; the sports fanatic had pre-season training before school officially started next week.
“Hold your damn horses!” I shove the box with the test in it in my purse and yank the door open. “It’s all yours, impatient.”
“Why did you need your purse to go to the bathroom?” he looked at me suspiciously.
“If you must know, I needed to grab me some tampons!”
“TMI! TMI!” he yelled as he slammed the door behind him and I went to go wake up my youngest brother, Elija.
I walk into the small room that I share with him; it was much too small for us to fit two twin beds in at the same time, so there was a bunk bed set up. Elija happily took the top bunk, and I took the bottom one. The bottom bunk could fit a futon, however. And I could rearrange the bed however I wanted it. Whenever it was time for us to go to bed, it was arranged the same way as Elija’s bed. During the day though, I pulled it out the long ways so I could do homework at the little desk that was fitted into the small space, or I would stash a few items in the hideaway that I didn’t want to be found by my mother and her revolving door of guy friends.
I step up a couple of spaces on the ladder and shake Elija awake. This task used to take forever; but ever since our mother’s drug problems, he shoots right up in bed as soon as my hand touches his shoulder.
“Morning already?” he rubs his eyes.
“I know they woke you up with all the noise they were making last night. But I’m sure that Uncle Emilio and Aunt Carina will let you sleep some more. I just need to get you some breakfast before we leave.”
The ten-year-old slowly climbed down the ladder and picked out some clean clothes to wear that day from the laundry basket that I had placed there the day before after I finished the laundry, but didn’t have enough time to put away before I went to bed the night before.
“I’ll try to find us something for breakfast.” I tell him before I head for the door. “Make sure to pack an overnight bag. I’m closing at work tonight, so we’ll be sleeping over at Uncle Emilio’s.”
“Ok.” He started to get changed as I headed downstairs.
I passed my brother, Julio in the living room as he sat perched on the edge of the ratty old recliner that we had found on the side of the road. He had his guitar in front of him as he jotted down some possible lyrics for a new song he was writing.
“Mornin, Sis.” He greeted me, not even looking up from his notebook.
“Gig today?” I ask him.
“Free play at the outlet mall.” He tells me. Free play means that anyone from the public is welcome to basically panhandle anywhere in the mall. They set up their instruments or whatever, and people just tip them if they like what they hear.
“I’ll find us some breakfast before we have to leave.” I tell him as I head into the small kitchen.
“Good luck with that.” He calls after me. “The bread looked stale.”
Good luck was right. The bread was not only stale, but starting to turn moldy green. There wasn’t enough eggs to make us all something either. I sighed as I opened the almost-bare pantry to try to find some cereal.
“Any luck?” Ernesto comes in followed closely by Julio and Elija.
“I found some cereal.” I got the half-filled box out. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and the milk will still be fresh.”
“No such luck.” Julio takes the carton out of the refrigerator. “It’s gone chunky.”
“Yuck!” Elija exclaims as it’s poured down the sink drain.
“Dry cereal it is for us this morning.” I sigh as I get some bowls out.
“Could be worse.” Ernesto shrugs as we all slowly eat the almost-stale off-brand cereal.
“Uh-oh.” Julio stops as we all hear loud noises from the room above us.
“They’re awake.” I state as we all rush to dispose of the crappy cereal and rush to get out the door before they reach the lower level.
“My bag is still upstairs.” Elija starts to panic.
“I’ll go get it for you.” Julio hands his guitar case off to Ernesto as he heads for the front door. “I’ll get your bag as well, sis.”
“Make sure everything is in them.” I give him a look and he nods knowingly as he carefully heads up the stairs.
“Come on, Squirt.” Ernesto grabs Elija’s hand and pulls him out the door as I hear stumbling and a few moments later I have some unwanted company join me in the kitchen.
“Oh. You’re still here.”
“Mother.” I greet her in my usual way as I finish cleaning up the kitchen and try to walk past her and her sleazy companion.
“This is Rick.” She introduces us.
“Good to know.” I barely glance at his cut-off jean jacket and tattoo-covered arms as he slung a leather jacket over his shoulder. “I’m going to work. I’m closing tonight, so I’ll be home late.”
“Where are your brothers?”
“They’re waiting for me outside. They all have plans today.”
“Doing what?” she demanded.
“Ernesto has football practice, Julio’s going to the mall, and Elija has a play date.”
“So who is picking them all up if you have to work?” she demanded.
“They’re all sleeping over at friends’ houses.” I see Julio sneak down the stairs and out the front door with all of our bags and follow him. “I have to go now.”
“Well, I have the graveyard shift tonight,” Working the graveyard shift means that she’ll get off pretty early, and then head into one of the local bars to pick up another loser like the one I just met. “So don’t expect me to be home when you get here.”
“I never do.” I mumble as I reach the door and hurry down the steps.
I meet my brothers three blocks away in a city parking garage. This is the only place I can leave my car without the fear of my mother or one of her ‘friends’ trying to sell it for drug money. My uncle surprised me with the Ford Explorer a few weeks ago when I returned from cheer camp. There was a welcome home party as well, where we planned the family camping trip and me and Ernesto started in on Julio because he would be entering high school as a Freshman this year.
“You all ready?” I unlock the doors and we all scramble in. “Did you get everything, Julio?”
“Got it all.” He put all of our bags in the very back; Elija’s overnight bag with his DS and all his games, my book bag with my laptop and flash drives and my cell phone and charger, Ernesto’s bag with his PSP and games, and Julio’s bag with his portable amp and his guitar picks. Basically, all the expensive things we own that we don’t want to end up missing because mom needs a ‘quick fix’.
I start the routine of dropping my brothers off at their destinations before heading off to my work shift. First it's to the outlet mall where Julio jumps out and rushes into the entrance to set up his guitar in time. Then it's to the high school football field where Ernesto rushes into the locker room so he can make it on the field in time for the start of practice. Finally, I pull up in front of the family diner that my aunt and uncle have owned since before I was born. I help Elija with his bags and take him into the back where the kitchen is and where there's a spot set up for Elija to hang out while he's there.
“There's my favorite niece.” my Uncle Emilio comes back and gives me a big hug.
“I'm your only niece.” I remind him as Elija goes to the cot in the corner of the room and lies down and falls back asleep.
“Another sleepover last night?” My uncle knowingly asks.
“Yes. This one's name is Rick something. She says she's working the graveyard shift again tonight.”
“We'll leave the door unlocked for all of you tonight.” he assures me as he hands me a freshly- made chocolate chip muffin and a small bottle of orange juice. “Since I know you didn't get anything to eat before you left that house.”
“Thank you. I need to get to work now. Love you!” I call as I go back outside to my car and make my way to the deli shop that I've worked at for over a year.
I walk into the back and greet my boss-the owner-and my co-workers and get to work. We work together setting out the containers of foods out on the line, opening up the register, re-counting the money from the closing last night, and starting all the food prep for today. The day flew by and before I knew it, I was leaving for my lunch break and walking down the street to meet Alec at the bistro for our lunch date.
“Hey, sis.” he greeted me with a hug as we each ordered our choices and went outside to sit at one of the tables to wait for the food to arrive.
“So how goes it at the house?” Alec asks me.
“Not bad today.” I sigh.
“What was the name of the loser of the day?”
“Rick or something.” I mumbled. “It's not like we stayed long enough to bond with either of them.”
“So do you think you and the others would be able to get away next Saturday?”
“I want you all to meet this girl that I've been seeing.”
“Is she ready for that?” I jokingly ask him.
“I think she can handle herself.” he smiled as his cell phone started to ring and clicked it on. “What happened? I'm coming to get him.”
“What's going on?” I ask him as he hangs up.
“Our little brother got into a fight on the football field.” he tells me.
“Ernesto got into a fight? With who?” I ask, already knowing the answer. “Johnny, right?”
“Yep.” he sighed. “I'll keep you posted.”
“I'll see you later.” I stand up and walk back down the street to the deli.
I couldn't concentrate for the rest of the day. My mind kept drifting to the fight that Ernesto got into with Johnny. And of course whenever I thought of Johnny, my mind drifted to the test that was still stuffed into my purse. I sighed with relief when the final customer left and we could finish closing up for the night.
I started the walk down the street to my car with my purse clutched tightly in front of me, anxious to finally know the results. I heard someone calling my name and turned around abruptly to find my cousin Cristian and his girlfriend, Jessica.
“Hey.” I greet them. “You guys on a date?”
“Just got done.” Jessica told me.
“Are you all done with work?” Cristian asked me.
“Yep. I just have to run to the store for something really quick.” I tell him.
“I'll let mom and dad know.” he starts to walk away as he turns to Jessica. “I'll take you home now.”
“Actually, I wanted to talk to Lora.” she tells him. “She can give me a ride home.”
“What's going on?” he eyes us both suspiciously.
“Nothing.” she assures him. “Just a little girl talk.”
“Oh. I get it. You're going to complain about our date.”
“You got me.” she smiled. “I'll see you tomorrow.”
“See you in a while, Cuz.” he tells me as he walks down the street.
“All right. He's gone.” she says as she turns to me. “So did you take the test?”
Jessica Blake-or Jessi, as everyone calls her-my very best friend and the closest thing to a sister that I have. We've been friends since I was five. Our moms were friends as well, but for obvious reasons they're not anymore. We've been inseparable ever since we met for the first time. I can tell her anything, confident in knowing that it won't be spread all over town, or throughout her sometimes stuck-up family. Her family owns practically the whole town, with shares in every major company in town.
She started dating my cousin a little more than a year ago. Everyone was totally shocked; with me being the most shocked. Everyone in her family tried to get her to end it with him because he isn't from 'their class', but she refused to give in to her family, and continues their steady relationship as they both go to the same local college.
Jessica is the only person that I told about my possible impending motherhood. She didn't yell at me, say I was stupid for letting this happen, and she definitely didn't judge me like most of the town does already. She even went with me into the drug store to get the test and told the cashier it was her test when she just looked at the both of us.
“I don't know the results yet.” I tell her.
“Why haven't you taken it yet?” she demanded.
“I took the test. I just haven't had a chance to look at it yet.” I start to explain. “Ernesto was demanding entry into the bathroom this morning, and I've been busy at work all day to be able to get a moment to myself so I could look at it.”
“Well, come on. Let's look at it. What are you waiting for?”
“I'm a little afraid to look at it.” I say honestly. “This is going to change my life.”
“You're right, it will.” she tells me. “But do you really want to spend one more day with your head in the sand?”
“Ok.” I open my driver's side door so that there's some light and slowly open my purse and take out the box that the test was in. “Look with me?”
“Of course.” Jessi takes my hand as I pull out the test. “Ready?”
“I'm ready.” I close my eyes for a moment and count to three as I try to keep my nerves, then I open them as we both stare down at the test.
I see the results of the test and look over at Jessi. She has the same look I do as we both exchange glances. There is only one thought continuously playing in my head at that precise moment:
STUPID. JOHNNY. BAKER.