Bethany woke with a start. A large dog was standing over her and sniffing at her face, though by the wagging of the tail, she was pretty sure that the dog was friendly.
As she slowly sat up, the dog waited patiently. Reaching out, Bethany started patting the dog - a female, Bethany quickly noticed - on the head.
"That's a good girl," she whispered, feeling tears well in her eyes as she looked into the friendly and trusting eyes of the dog. "What are you doing here? Do you live here?" she asked, looking around the junk yard.
Bethany had crashed out in the junk yard, not knowing where else to go. She hadn't wanted to see or trouble anyone, so she had walked to the outskirts of town and found an abandoned home to stay in while trying to decide what to do next.
After a few days there, she knew she that not only did she have to move on, but that she was pregnant and needed to do something about it. She knew she was in no position to keep the baby, though the thought of having someone to love her was appealing.
"What are you doing here?"
Bethany jumped in surprise and spun around to see who was behind her.
"I'm...I'm...I had nowhere else to go," she stammered, stepping back cautiously. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here. Over there, actually," he said, pointing to trailers off to the side. "You shouldn't be here. It's not safe to play in."
"I have nowhere else to go," she muttered as she looked around, noticing that dawn was nearly here. "And I wasn't playing, I was sleeping."
"Why were you sleeping out here?" asked a soft, friendly voice.
Bethany rubbed at her eyes at the bright light of dawn. "I have nowhere else to go. I was tired...there wasn't much else around. I..." she trailed off and shrugged.
The newcomer walked over to Bethany, concern evident in her eyes.
"Does your family know where you are?"
Bethany snorted. "No. I don't think they'd care."
"I'm sure that's not true. I'm Flick, and that's my husband Ulysses. Why don't you come in and have some breakfast?"
"Sure. You look like you need something to eat, maybe a shower. And a proper bed to sleep in. Would you like that?"
It was too good to be true, but she was tired, hungry and she desperately wanted a shower. She nodded, feeling close to tears.
Flick and Ulysses turned and led the way towards the trailers, leaving Bethany to follow.
This wasn't what she expected to find when she crept into the junk yard last night.
As Ulysses prepared breakfast, Flick and Bethany sat at the kitchen table.
"You don't need to tell me what's going on," Flick said. "But I want you to know that there's no reason to lie. We don't know anything about you, but we want to help. Why don't you start by telling us your name."
"I'm Bethany..." she said, trailing off. She didn't want to use her last name. Flick smiled.
"It's nice to meet you, Bethany. If you wanted to talk about what brought you here, I'll listen. And if I can, I'll help."
"I don't know if you can," Bethany said, looking around the shabby trailer.
"Don't let appearances deceive you!" Flick laughed. "My mother refuses to redecorate, and she's not well enough to live alone, so we put up with it. Try me! If I can't help, then I'm sure I know someone who can."
"I...I'll try," she said softly. "But not yet. It's all too messed up."
"Just know that I'll listen whenever you're ready. But for now, let's eat."
Bethany wanted to trust them, to believe them. They seemed too good to be true, but short of returning home, she had no other options. They ate quietly, with Ulysses perched on the kitchen bench.
As Bethany cleared her plate, she felt a familiar churning in her stomach.
"Oh no," she moaned. "Where's the bathroom?"
"Down the hall, second door," Flick answered.
It was close, thankfully, she thought, as she raced down the hall.
"Bethany? Are you okay?" Flick asked. "Can I come in?"
"Uh huh," Bethany sobbed.
"What's wrong?" she asked, wrapping her arm around Bethany.
"Oh. Do your parents know?"
"My parents don't care. He...he never admitted I was his and then he died, and she gave me up after...after what she did. The others..." she trailed off.
"The others what? Were you living with another family?" Bethany nodded. "Do you think they'd understand?"
"May...maybe. I can't face them. Not like...like this."
Flick pulled Bethany into her arms, hugging her tightly. "We'll figure it out. I think what you need is to get some sleep, and then we'll take you to see a doctor. Do you know what your options are?"
Bethany nodded. "I can't face them right now."
"That's okay. It's a big decision. Come one, I'll show you where you can sleep."
Wiping her eyes, Bethany followed Flick into the second bedroom. Her heart thudded when she saw the crib and change table next to the bed.
"Are you...too?" she asked, gesturing to the crib. Flick nodded.
"We've been trying for years, and found out a few weeks ago."
Bethany shook her head and curled up on top of the bed covers.
"Thank you...I really appreciate your help," she said softly, exhaustion quickly creeping over her.
"You're welcome. Just get some sleep, okay? We'll talk later."
Bethany was asleep before Flick could turn around. She left the room, quietly shutting the door behind her, and made her way into the lounge room.
"Hi, this is Flick Nelson. I'd like to make an appointment with Dr Love as soon as possible. Tomorrow? Yes, that'd be perfect. 10am? Thank you. The appointment isn't for me, but for...Bethany. No, that's fine for now. We'll fill out the patient forms tomorrow. Thank you, Sharon."
Sighing, she placed the receiver back on the cradle. Dr Love was her obstetrician, and a very popular one, so she was lucky there had been a cancellation tomorrow.
"How is she?" Ulysses asked. Flick crossed the room and fell into his waiting arms.
"She's sleeping. She's pregnant, scared and alone. I'm glad she found us."
"Me too, babe."
"Marrying you was the best decision I ever made, you know."
Ulysses grinned. "Of course it was. I'm awesome."
The waiting was terrible. Sitting around the waiting room, surrounded by pregnant women...Bethany just wanted to get out of there.
Flick hadn't pushed for details, but she listened whenever Bethany had felt like talking. The whole story had slowly come out, and she was relieved to get it off her chest. She knew what she had to do.
She knew that Flick was worried about her, and she wondered if she'd acted too hastily in running away. Would Zady have been as understanding as Flick? It was too late now.
"Bethany?" Dr Love called, looking over them. "Hey Flick, good to see you again. Come on through, ladies."
As they followed Dr Love through to her office, Bethany was sure her heart was going to beat so fast it would leap out of her chest. It was one thing to know she was pregnant, but to have the doctor confirm it...it was terrifying.
"So what can I do for you today?" Dr Love asked once they sat down. "I see from the forms you filled out that you're pregnant?" Bethany nodded and looked helplessly at Flick, who nodded reassuringly.
"I...I guess I want to go over my options before I make my decision," she finally whispered.
"Well, I will need to do a thorough check on you, but going by your history here, you seem to be in good health. If you want to proceed with the pregnancy, we can monitor it here. If you want to go ahead with the pregnancy but give the child up for adoption, I can put you in contact with the relevant agences who will help with that decision. If you choose to terminate, we can also help. What are your feelings about the pregnancy?"
Bethany didn't say anything, she couldn't. Opening her mouth and saying the words to make it happen...it was too scary.
"I don't want it," she finally whispered. She couldn't bring herself to look at Flick. "I can't go through with it. I don't want anyone else to know. I want to forget it ever happened."
Dr Love nodded. "You're early enough along that you're eligible for a medical abortion, instead of surgical. I can prescribe the pills you need for that, but you'll need to come back next week to confirm it was successful. I will still need to do an ultrasound to confirm this option is viable. Hop up onto the table and we'll get started."
Bethany felt like crying, but she held it together.
It all seemed too easy. Fill a glass with water, swallow a tablet. Was that all it took to end a life, she thought. She knew it was the right decision for her. She felt bad about Flick knowing about it. She couldn't imagine what it would be like in her shoes. She tried not to think about how Flick surely would hate her for destroying a baby. A baby that someone else could love and care for.
Continuing with the pregnancy just wasn't something she could do, she knew. She didn't want to be a teenage mother. She didn't want to be burdened with a child. She wasn't even sure who the father was, and that made it worse. A teenage whorebag slut. That's what some of the girls at school called her, she knew. She hoped that the baby wasn't Vincent's. Killing his baby would be too painful. He was a decent guy. She wasn't a good person.
She was too much like her mother to want to bring a child into the world right now. She knew she couldn't do that to a child. She didn't want to be like Nina.
She swallowed the pill.
"No regrets, Bethie," she whispered to herself. She knew she'd spend the night crying, all the same.
The prognosis wasn't good.
The doctors did everything they could...but it was too late.
They were given a chance to say goodbye after the machines were switched off.
Just like when Damon was in hospital, Zady couldn't stand to see the bandages. She insisted his head be covered, though she knew it wouldn't change a thing.
Xander died before the sun rose.
"Goodbye, you big doofus," Wanda whispered as she leant over to kiss Xander's cheek. Her tears fell onto his face. "I...I...I love you."
Jessie wasn't invited to the funeral, but she had to go. Tim told her it was for family, but that Wanda had asked him to go for support.
She needed to say goodbye.
Jen had suggested the girls all wear matching dresses, to make it a little easier on the day. She knew that the family didn't need any extra stress right now, and did whatever she could to help.
The only person to refuse to dress in mourning was Sarah, who could barely believe that Xander was gone. Dressing in black just made it all the more real.
"I can't...I can't do this," Sarah cried, trying to ignore how stomach churned nervously, and ran towards the gates.
"Sarah, wait!" her mother cried, chasing after her.
"What are you doing here?" Tim asked as Jessie threw her arms around him.
"I had to come...I had to say goodbye."
"You know it's family only, Jess. It's not really the time to intrude."
"I know, Tim, but...well, I felt I had to," she said, looking down. "I'm kind of...family..."
"What do you mean?" Wanda asked, overhearing. She'd seen Jessie arrive and wanted to know why.
"I...it's complicated," Jessie whispered, her hands cradling her swollen belly.
"Is the baby Xander's?" Wanda asked, suddenly angry.
Jessie paled as Tim gaped in surprise.
"I should go," Jessie whispered, choking back tears. She turned and ran as fast as she could. It had been a mistake, all of it, and it was too late to do anything to fix it.
"I can't believe it," Wanda said. "I didn't even know she and Xander were involved...and she's having his baby. This is too messed up, Tim. What am I going to tell my mother?"
Tim sighed and wrapped his arms around Wanda.
"You don't have to tell her anything yet, I guess. Do you want to get out of here?"
Wanda nodded. She really didn't want to be there any more. She wanted to get as far away from Xander's grave as possible. She couldn't imagine what life would be like without her goofy, annoying twin, and she didn't want to. She had to go.
- It's been over a month since I've posted anything, and for that I apologise. I haven't felt like playing much this month, and part of that was due to family and Christmas. I'm hoping to get back on track again.
- Flick is Bongo Friend Glittergaze (from my Glittergaze VDSL), and Ulysses is one of the BB3 offspring.
- I decided against surgical abortion for Bethany, as I felt it wasn't necessary to be that graphic, and because well, it was easier this way. If you're wondering, Vincent wasn't the father.
- The reason Sarah wasn't dressed in black (though she was meant to be), was because she kept glitching out and ruined the scene. I had to change the funeral slightly to accommodate her contrariness, but I think it still works.
- Happy new year!