Author: Alison R Bradley PM
Brittany Christensen's life spirals out of control as she struggles to deal with a teen pregnancy, an abusive relationship, and her father's mental illness.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Family - Chapters: 6 - Words: 15,555 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 01-11-13 - Published: 08-01-11 - id: 2939067
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hi everyone! I'm not dead, and I haven't abandoned this story. Life's been crazy, but I'm trying to carve out a little more time for writing. So hopefully updates will be a little more frequent in the coming months.
I justed wanted to leave this note because I got some interesting reactions after the last update. Two very different viewpoints were presented: one, that Brittany made a stupid mistake; and two, that she was taken advantage of. So which was it?
That's part of the question I'm asking with this story, something I think will become more apparent as we get further into it. So please, keep reading, and keep sharing your opinions!
Chapter 4: Consequences
She was pregnant. She was fucking pregnant, and she had no clue what to do about it. The second test had been positive as well, killing the miniscule hope she had that it had been a fluke. All through the night, she lay frozen in bed as thoughts swirled around inside her brain, tumbling against each other. She couldn't have a kid. She was a kid. So what to do about it? Abortion? Just a quick, end-all solution? Could she have it done without her parents finding out? What else was she supposed to do, keep it? Move her desk over and wedge a crib between the foot of her bed and the window? Absolutely not. She felt herself shudder a little. She didn't even like babies. They cried all the time, they made messes, and they were…little people, for crying out loud. How on earth was she supposed to be responsible for that? Any kid raised by her would be left facing a lifetime of therapy.
Her eyes finally began to droop twenty minutes before her alarm, and when it began to buzz, she blindly flailed over and slapped it off, snuggling deeper under the covers. She just wanted to lie in bed and be blissfully unaware. However, her mother had other ideas.
"Brittany!" Helen's voice was sharp as she pounded on her youngest daughter's door. "Get out of that bed this instant. You need to leave in fifteen minutes."
"I have a migraine," she called back. Maybe, just maybe, Helen would let her stay home. She needed time—time to sort all this out. But first, she wanted to sleep. But the door creaked open, and then Helen was looming over her, yanking back the covers.
'Up. Now. You can go see the nurse when you get to school." She was about to protest, but then she cracked open her eyes and caught sight of her mother's face. Helen's stormy blue eyes were ringed with fury, and her lipsticked mouth was tightly pursed. Clearly the fight last night had not ended well. And so she ended up dragging herself out of bed, entirely unprepared to face her first official day as a pregnant teenager.
She dressed in front of the mirror, pausing in the middle of tugging on her jeans to scrutinize her stomach. So far it looked…normal. That was a good sign. She still had time, and even then, maybe she would only look fat. But then Helen called again, her voice more strained this time, and she was forced to snap into action. Yanking on her baggiest sweatshirt, she scraped her hair into a messy ponytail and dashed out the door. All she had to do was survive the next seven hours.
Somehow, she made it. Classes passed by in a blur, but at the end of the day she was still breathing, and everyone was still ignorant to her situation. When the final bell rang, instead of heading to the locker room as usual, she strode out towards the back parking lot where the buses were waiting. Slinging her bookbag into the front seat, she crawled in after it, huddling up against the window. It was the first time she had been on the bus all year, as Lauren was her primary transportation method. Strangely enough, she found herself wincing at every rattling stop and jolting turn, somehow afraid that the harsh motion would in some way hurt her baby.
Her baby. Had she really just thought that? She suddenly felt sick again, and breathed in a deep sigh of relief as she saw her street approaching. She stumbled from the bus and up the street, and dashed through the front door towards the bathroom. There, she gripped the sides of the toilet and retched, until her stomach was relieved of the few bites of sandwich she had managed at lunch. When she was done, she marched down the hall to her room and pulled out her laptop. Lauren and her parents were all at their respective jobs, and she had at least a good three hours to herself. She opened the browser and typed into the search bar When does pregnancy begin to show?
By the time she heard the jingle of Hank's keys in the lock, she had set her laptop aside and was deep in though. She was going on five weeks in, and according to her research, she didn't need to worry about showing until probably January, at least. She was early on enough that she still had time to decide what to about it.
She glanced up as Hank shuffled past her door without acknowledgement, closing the door of his and Helen's room firmly behind him. She drew her knees up to her chest as a slight shiver ran through her. Fighting with his wife, coming home and going straight to bed…she had seen these signs before. Her father was getting sick again.
With a sigh, she turned her thoughts back to her current dilemma. A sinking feeling settled in her chest as she realized that hockey was now out of the question. Although exercise wouldn't necessarily hurt the baby, hockey could possibly be too much, and she wasn't willing to risk it. But I can have an abortion! This nightmare can be over before it even begins! But imagining actually going through with that plan nearly brought tears to her eyes. This was stupid; she wasn't supposed to feel protective of it. Biological response, Britt. That's all it is. She thought back to the weekend, when she had asked herself if hockey was all that defined her. Why had she been complaining? Better to be defined as a field hockey player than as a pregnant teenage slut. A sob finally escaped her, but she muffled it with a pillow. What a mess. Maybe she should just kill herself.
It was with a heavy heart that she marched down the hallway to Coach Banks' office the next morning, clutching a plastic bag holding her uniform and a note explaining that other commitments were getting in the way and that she needed to quit. She had planned to simply loop it over the door handle and leave, but to her dismay, the door was open and the coach happened to glance up and notice her before she could make an escape.
"You need something, Christensen?" she asked, pushing back a lock of dark blond hair.
"Umm, yeah…" Crap. She hadn't planned on an actual confrontation. "I just…I need to drop this off." She dropped the bag on the desk and turned to flee, but the coach's voice stopped her.
"Wait. Your uniform? Are you quitting?" Brittany nodded quickly, nervously rubbing the edge of her thumbnail along the strap of her bookbag.
"I don't understand." Nora Banks rose from her desk. "You're a fine athlete, and you've been making a lot of improvement lately. Why quit now?"
"It's just things are…I'm just…" Brittany struggled to find an explanation. "School," she spit out quickly. "I really need to be concentrating on school right now." But the woman was unconvinced.
"You made the honor roll this term," she stated skeptically. "But if you're starting to have trouble with a particular subject, the school can arrange tutoring for you."
"No, that's not it. I just…I really have a lot of things I need to focus on right now, and I can't afford any distractions. I mean, I love hockey, but it's just too much right now…" She slowed her string of babble and shrugged helplessly.
"I see.' The coach looked displeased. "I really hope you'll continue to practice and try out for varsity next year, though. When you start applying to colleges, this is a great way to get scholarships."
Brittany nodded quickly. "Thank you," she murmured, and slipped out of the room before her former coach could get in another word. As she hurried down the empty hallway, she dashed away the tears that were beginning to prick at her eyes. She had no idea giving it up would be so hard.
By third period English, she was starting to feel a little better, but then she opened her locker and saw the picture of her—former—team taped to the inside. A sudden burst of anger flared through her, and she slammed the metal door shut with a harsh clang.
"Ooh, someone's having a bitch fit," a jeering voice called. She glanced over her shoulder to see Gary Field sauntered by, his group of friends all grinning at his little jibe. Rolling her eyes, she stalked into the classroom behind them. Gary Field was the rudest, most obnoxious kid she had ever met. Despite it all, though, he was actually quite smart, and she had been unfortunate enough to have had a class with him every year since sixth grade.
Gary was in rare form today, making smart comments all throughout the class discussion. And when the teacher announced the groups they would be working in, Brittany felt her stomach flop all the way to the floor as her and Gary's names were called out together. Sullenly collecting her folder and pencil, she made her way to the other side of the room where the rest of the group was assembling. They worked through the list of questions without incident, until they got to the question about Curley's wife.
"Fuckin' slut." Gary leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. "I say the bitch got what she deserved. "What was she doin', screwin' all those guys?"
Something inside Brittany began to boil. "She wasn't actually sleeping with them," she snapped irritably. Gary tilted his chair back onto all four legs and leaned across the desk to stare her down.
"Yeah? Why was she all over them, then?"
"She was lonely!" Brittany blurted out. "If her husband wasn't such a jerk to her she wouldn't have paid any attention to them." Gary rolled his eyes.
"Yeah well that still doesn't explain why she was trying to hit on a retard."
That did it. Every single thing wrong with her life—Lucas' rejection, losing hockey, her crumbling home life, the unwelcome, foreign presence in her abdomen—all of it gained force behind Brittany's fist as she slammed it into Gary's face.
"Owwww!" Gary's head jerked back as blood spurted from his nose. The classroom erupted in cacophony of shouts as students rose to the feet to see what was happening.
"Brittany Christensen!" the teacher howled, her face a crimson mask of fury. "Office! Now!"
Brittany sat stunned for a moment, hardly able to comprehend what she had just done. Gary was spitting out curses, gesturing wildly with a bloody hand as a dark stain spread down the front of his shirt. Then her brain snapped into action, and she quickly collected her belongings and fled. Her classmates' facial expressions—ranging from scorn to fear to awe—burned themselves into her mind as she slipped out the door. Her head pounded as she wandered through the halls. Had she really just hit somebody? Why on earth had she done that?
As she reached the glass paneled door of the office, her hand shakily twisted the doorknob and she slunk inside, glancing around uncertainly. She had never been in here before. She was a good kid! She didn't pull stunts like this. A blond girl with raccoon-eye makeup glanced warily in her direction, and the grey-haired secretary pushed her glasses further up on her nose.
"May I help you?" she queried. Brittany swallowed.
"Um, yes, I'm supposed to see the principal?" It came out as a question.
"Do you have an appointment?"
"No, but my teacher said to come here. I…I punched Gary Field in the face." Raccoon Eyes let out shrieky noise halfway between a laugh and a snort. Brittany couldn't help but glare in her direction, even as the secretary's eyes widened.
"Oh…I see. Well—"
"Brittany Christensen?" The principal's deep, booming voice interrupted. Brittany gulped back a knot of fear. What had she gotten herself into?
"Ms. Moore called me. I've taken the liberty of calling your mother. Please come in and sit down while we wait for her." Brittany followed him into his office, making eye contact with Raccoon Eyes as she did so, who offered a half-hearted smirk.
Fifteen minutes later, Helen arrived in all her impressive, lip-sticked fury. While the principal and her mother argued, Brittany sat in stony silence. What was happening to her? She never flew off the handle like this. Her head was throbbing, and she was gritting back tears. She just wanted to go back to the days before all this shit started.
"Brittany, someone is speaking to you." Helen's grip on her arm startled her out of her fog.
"Brittany, can you tell us why you hit Gary?" The principal's imposing frown was almost enough to make her eyes start leaking.
"I lost my temper. I'm sorry," she whispered weakly. She kept her gaze fastened on her folded hands in her lap during the following silence.
"All right, Brittany, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. This is the first time you've ever done anything like this, and between you and me, I know Gary Field can be a real pain. I assume this incident was provoked?" She could only shrug. "I'm going to suspend you for the rest of the week. Your teachers will send your work home with you sister, and you will write me a three page essay reflecting on this incident. Furthermore, I will never see you in this office again. Follow through with this, and none of it will go on your permanent record. Are we clear?" She nodded numbly. "Good. You can give me the essay on Monday," he called as she and Helen exited the office. The secretary waved as they passed through, but Raccoon Eyes was nowhere to be seen.
In the car on the way home, Helen erupted. "What the hell is wrong with you?" she demanded, stomping her foot down on the gas pedal. "I never had to worry about you, Brittany. But now you're getting into fights! And he told me you quit field hockey! When did that happen? Do you realize how much time and money this family invested in you with this? I had no idea I was raising such an ungrateful brat."
As Helen continued to rant, the tears began to well up even faster, and before she knew it, they were dribbling down her face. The weight of her secret was pressing down on her, crushing in her chest, and she couldn't bear it. She couldn't hold it in any longer.
"Mom, I'm pregnant," she blurted out. The car coming towards them honked loudly as Helen swerved into the opposite lane.