“Beth, answer me.”
She didn’t respond at all, just stirring the contents of the pan.
“Did you, or didn’t you?” Again, she made no response. “Beth! Did you have sex with Robert?”
“Maybe,” she said emotionlessly, trying not to let memories of her time with Robert flood her mind.
“Yes or no?”
“Oh, my God, Beth...”
“You didn’t suspect?” Beth asked, turning around to face her. “Not once, did you suspect?”
“No! I thought I’d raised you better than that,” she said, her tone disappointed and saddened.
“Well, guess what, Mum? Sex is what happens when two people are in love!” Beth shouted. She was surprised by her loudness, as well as the anger in her voice.
“That doesn’t mean you have to get fucking pregnant!” her mother shouted back.
“Well, it’s too late now, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not,” Mum said, returning to a relatively normal volume. “You can get an abortion. We can make an appointment for a few days’ time.”
Beth just stared at her in shock.
“I’ll give the hospital a call now.” Mum moved to get the phone.
Beth ran to it and grabbed it, holding it to her chest. She wouldn’t let her mother take away her child.
“Beth, give me the phone,” her mother said harshly, holding out a hand for Beth to place the phone in. Her grip tightened around the plastic. “Give it to me.”
“Give me the phone.”
“I’m eighteen; I can have a child if I want.”
“You are eighteen, and that’s the point. A baby is going to make your life hell.”
“I don’t care. This child might be all I have left of Robert.” That was why she wanted the baby, because she didn’t know if she would get Robert back, and if she didn’t, she wanted something that would always remind her of him.
“Beth, be serious. You’re going to have a life; you’re going to get a job; you’ll have a house one day. You won’t be able to do any of that with a child.”
“I don’t want to do any of that, Mum. I want Robert back,” she said, her voice cracking.
“He’s probably not coming back!” her mother shouted, getting angry and frustrated.
“Whether he does or not, I’m too involved in that world to make a normal life in this one.”
Beth turned and strode out of the room, forgetting about the soup she had cooking on the stove. She was grateful when her mother didn’t follow her. She went back to her room.
She lay down on her bed, curling into a tight ball. She saw the phone Onyx had given her so long ago. It was on the bedside table, on charge, where Lucius had left it that night he’d brought her home.
Beth reached over for it and turned it on. She found the contact list. She scrolled through it, seeing names both familiar and unknown. She paused over Lucius’ name, but then remembered that someone had told her he never responded. At the thought of Robert, her free arm tightened around her abdomen.