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Friday:


Natalia’s eyes were puffy and red when she woke up. She just stayed in bed, not moving. Her phone was sitting on her nightstand; she glanced over at it remembering that Jamie called her the night before. Natalia listened to the message Jamie left. Natalia shut her eyes. She couldn’t let Jamie know yet, she was too scared. But not responding would be just as bad so she sent over a text, “Hey, sorry I missed your call last night. Don’t worry, I’m fine.” She wrote then sent it off.

Work was long, slow, and not as cheerful as usual. Natalia did her best to smile and enjoy herself. Yes, it was hard. But she was an actress so set tapped into her acting. Her brain was still overpowered with thoughts about being a bad parent when she saw all of the loving ones. However, what Natalia noticed more so than the happy families today, was the unhappy ones. She saw all these kids throwing tantrums and siblings fighting with each other. How could she deal with that?

Natalia wasn’t in the party mood at all, she debated about not going. She was sitting on her bed staring at nothing. Her phone interrupted her loud thoughts in the silent room. Natalia saw Heidi’s name on her phone screen, she figured that she should pick up seen as she didn’t want to worry anyone else. Heidi’s voice came on the phone, “Natalia? It’s Heidi. Do you think you could come over today to help us with the preparations? There’s so much we still have left to do!”

“Sure, I’ll be right over,” Natalia replied in a straight tone.

Worried, Natalia drove to Be Our Guest to help prepare for the party. She was great with cleaning and planning so she knew that she would do that and try and avoid socializing. Natalia arrived at the house and got straight to work. She was straightening up their living room when she heard, “Hey,” it was Jamie.

Natalia was a bit startled and wouldn’t look Jamie in the eye, “Oh hey Jamie.”

“So how have you been? Do anything exciting and fun yesterday?” Jamie asked.

Natalia kept her face forward still not looking at her, “I'm fine. Uh, not really. Just work really,”

“I see,” Jamie replied. Natalia thought she would leave after the silence between their comments but she was wrong, “Are you sure that you’re okay? You seem a little off.”

“Ya,” Natalia lied. She felt bad for not telling Jamie. She finally looked at her and Jamie looked genuinely worried. Natalia had this impulse to just tell her, “Well actually,” Wait, did she want to lose Jamie, one of her closest friends? She stopped herself.

“What is it Nat? I'm sure it's not as bad as you are making it out to be,” Jamie said trying to help. Natalia knew it was as bad as she thought.

Natalia was quiet, trying to decide what to say, finally filling the silence with, “I just found out something yesterday that might be true and it's weighing on me.”

“What is it?” Jamie asked concerned.

“Uh, well it’s just that I, I mean…” Natalia began nervously and started to trail off. At that point she knew that she couldn’t tell Jamie, she was just too scared. She had to think of a lie. Something that was somewhat believable, but not as bad as the truth, “My ex might be back in town and spreading rumors about me that aren't true, but I'm afraid they'll get around at work and to Preston and that things will turn out badly.”

“Oh, well that’s not so bad. Especially since the rumors are from your ex,” Jamie tried to make her feel better for the fake problem.

Natalia nodded acting, “That’s true. I just don't like people talking about me and thinking badly of me.” 

Jamie was quiet for a moment thinking of what to say most likely then replied with a supportive, “Well don't worry, anyone that says something bad about you will hear it from me. No one gets to talk about my friend.”

“Thanks,” Natalia realized how much she was going to miss all of her friends and could feel tears starting to form in her eyes. She tried to hold them back, but when it was hard she quickly said, “I better get back to this the party is going to be here before we know it.”

The party was soon getting started and Natalia mostly sat on the couch and watched the others around her. She fiddled with her pink skirt absently mindedly. All of the boys seemed very late, which was good for Natalia because she did not want to see Preston.

Then out of nowhere, the power went out. Natalia jumped in her seat. She could hear all the gasps and screams from all of the girls. Someone had shut off the power because it was clear that it couldn’t have gone off on its own, the weather was perfect. As Natalia tried to figure out what was going on, the lights turned back on and all the boys came piling through the doors.

“Well that’s one way to make an entrance,” Veronica laughed with a scold at Lucas.

“Ya,” Natalia decided to add in, “You all gave us a good scare.” As if she didn’t have enough scary things in her life.

“Come on, it was pretty funny,” Eric laughed which caused Jamie to punch him.

Preston grabbed the stereo and led everyone out to the backyard. There were beautiful lanterns and lights hanging from the trees and a giant dance floor in the middle of the yard. It was really beautiful. The boys had done that themselves. Which Natalia had to admit, it was really sweet of them to that.

Preston grabbed Natalia’s arms and made her dance with him. He was dancing around her and she felt so uncomfortable. “Stop,” she mumbled a few times, but he never heard her. He must have assumed that Natalia was just being a little shy because he didn’t stop trying to make her dance, “Stop!” she finally yelled as she pushed away from him and ran off the dance floor. She quickly left the party and got into her car. She thought about going home, but there was someone she needed to see.

Natalia cried as she drove her car to Lorie’s house. When she arrived, Natalia looked in the mirror in her car to try and fix the mascara that was running down her face. Natalia rang the doorbell and Lorie swiftly opened the door, “Natalia? Is everything alright?”

Natalia sniffled, “Can I see my mom please?”

“Yes, um,” she told Natalia then turned around and called, “Adrienne! You have a visitor!”

Natalia heard her mother’s footsteps coming down the hall, “Mom!” Natalia sighed.

Adrienne’s expression changed when she saw Natalia’s terrified face. Adrienne said nothing but just ran up to Natalia and tightly wrapped her arms around her. It was just what Natalia needed a supportive hug from her mother. Natalia and Adrienne walked onto the porch and Lorie went back inside, giving them space. Natalia cried into her mother’s shoulder. Adrienne knew that Natalia did not want to talk so she just sat there and comforted her. It felt really good for Natalia to get it all out. 

Adrienne pulled back for a moment, “What happened?”

“I can’t say,” Natalia said through the tears.

“Is it Preston? Did you have a fight?”

Natalia swallowed and shook her head, “No, no he’s fine. Mom I really should get back home. I just really wanted to give you a hug and it really helped. I’ll explain later, promise.” 

Natalia hugged her mother goodbye and got in her car. She felt like it was time to know. Natalia hated lying to everyone she cared about. She had to know.

All of the lights were out at Shining, Shimmering, Splendid which Natalia assumed no one was home. As she opened the door to her room she could feel her hands shaking. Wait, why was her light on? Preston was standing against the farthest wall, “What’s this?” he asked in a quiet voice holding up the pregnancy test.

Natalia’s heart dropped, “Preston,” she inhaled heavily and snatched the test from his hand, “It’s not what it looks like.”

“It looks like a pregnancy test,” he said sounding worried. He sat on her bed, “Natalia are you…”

“I don’t know,” she shook her head and sat down next to him, “But what are you doing here?”

Preston sighed, “I was worried about you. You seemed upset at the party and I came here because I thought that’s where you would be. Even though you weren’t, I knew you would show up soon so I waited. And well I had to pee, so I did which was when I found the test on the bathroom counter.”

Natalia started to cry again, “Don’t leave me, Preston. I’m so sorry. But please, don’t leave me.”

Preston furrowed his eyebrows, “Why would I do that?”

“That’s what my dad did. Preston I don’t even know what my dad looks like. I never met him because he left my mother when he found out that she was pregnant,” she continued to sniffle.

“I’m not like your dad. I might be a cocky loudmouth, but I care about you. Pregnant or not, I’m going to support you,” Preston reached his arm around her and gave her shoulder a squeeze, “I love you, you know that. Yes, I’m scared about being a dad. Terrified, really. But maybe that’s what was supposed to happen and we turn out to be great parents. Maybe it doesn’t happen and it was just a small bump in the road. Did you not tell me because you were afraid I’d leave you like your dad did?”

Natalia nodded and stared at her hand on her lap.

“Why don’t you try and take the test,” Preston suggested.

Natalia nodded again, “That’s what I was coming here to do actually,”

He gestured for her to go with his hands. Natalia walked into the bathroom. There was no way out of this. It had to happen. Moment of truth. After she took the test she shut her eyes not wanting to see it. Her shaking hands picked up the test with her eyes still closed, “P-P-Preston? I don’t want to look. Come in here and tell me what it says. Natalia did not even think about peeking, not once did she open her eyes. She heard the door open, “I-i-is it positive?” her voice shook.

Preston was silent for a moment, “No,”

“What?” Natalia blinked her eyes open to look at Preston.

“It’s negative,” he said gesturing toward the test, “Look,”

Natalia saw a tiny minus sign, “It’s negative!” she beamed. Natalia dropped the test on the counter again and wrapped her arms around Preston, “Thank God!”

“Relieved?” Preston asked with a bit of a laugh of relief himself.

“Yes,” Natalia nodded rapidly, “Preston, we have to be more careful though. I don’t want a scare like this again, okay?”

“Promise,” He assured her then kissed her forehead. 

All of this had got her thinking though, what if someday Natalia and Preston got married and decided to have kids. With the things that Preston said earlier about being supportive either way made her think that maybe they would be good parents. Of course, that would be far off into the future. She wasn’t ready just yet.

{ comment ‘negative’ if you read it all }
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