For anyone who likes Brian more than Tori…sorry, Tori's easier to write, and has a bit more drama that's fun to write.

CHAPTER 7 – Tori

I have hot flashes. How lame is that? I thought only 60-year-olds got those. But no, pregnant women under a lot of stress and anxiety, i.e. me, can have hot flashes too. So, as a result of this injustice, I'm standing with my head in the freezer, and simultaneously pulling out my fifth fudge bar of the day. Fifth! I shut the freezer door and instantly meet my mother's gaze.

"Honestly Victoria, your fifth fudge bar? What is going on with you, you look all dizzy, and I heard you vomiting this morning. You don't look sick. Are you bulimic?"

I process her words slowly, but I argue as soon as I get the chance. "No!"

"Honestly, I don't know what to do with you. You've been acting so crazy lately, and bulimia?"

"I'm not bulimic," I assure her, almost begging her to understand.

"Then what are you? You've obviously been having some weird weight problems, I thought it could have been Anorexia before—"

"I'm pregnant!" I spit out. The silence after that is chilling. My mother says nothing but turns around and leaves my room. I almost miss the interrogation, the yelling. Then I at least know what to expect. This is different; this scares me. I get chills, though that may just be the end of my stupid hot flash. She could talk about eating disorders like they were nothing; she's old fashioned like that. She believes she can fix them with a handful of sugar, or whatever that stupid nanny said. But when old fashioned is a simple thing with any eating disorders, it's the opposite with pregnancy. I've heard her talk about her cousin Sarah being kicked out of the house for being pregnant before marriage like it was a good thing, and she was 17. I can only imagine how she'll deal with me.

X+X+X+X+X+X – Brian

"Brian, you're home early," comes a voice from the kitchen, obviously my dearest stepmother. She doesn't work, but she's really good at doing her nails on the kitchen table while talking to her friends that she saw just that day.

"Yeah," I mumble. "My teacher thought I should rest after being beaten up."

"Well, your teachers usually know what they're doing." It's obvious she only heard the word "teacher" and made up a response from there. That's why she made it plural, in case I mentioned a gender.

"Yep, thanks for the advice."

"Of course sweetie." I'm stepping through the threshold of my room when she decides to tell me, "Oh, and your dad's on a business trip, he won't be home until late tomorrow."

I grunt to let her know I heard her (not that she cares) and lock myself in my room before she can attempt to give me a makeover (I will never do anything alone with her again).

The only good thing that has happened to me lately, is that I've started to talk to my sister again…and she talks to Tori. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to hear from my sister, just because of the fact that she's my sister…but I also like to hear updates on Tori.

Last time I heard she had a boyfriend. Which I'm fine with, you know? Because it's probably my fault that she never had a boyfriend before. Guys see her with me and assume she's either taken or nerdy. So good for her. And good for me for not asking Emily for every detail about him.

I flop down on my bed to hear the familiar sound of paper crunching beneath me. My dad left another newspaper on my bed (I've been asking to borrow them after him). I ignore all of the current events, the Carwash for Christ that somehow got front page, even the math puzzles. I flip all the way back to the classifieds. I figured finding a job was a good idea, but I decided I would take the laziest approach instead of going out in public and exposing myself to my fellow classmates when there are no teachers around. Besides, Emily told me that Tori's been looking for babysitting jobs.

I'm not a slow reader, but I take my time reading the classified section. I want to make sure I don't read any of the details wrong. Last time I did that I showed up at a creepy man's house with a horrible little resume in my hand. I'm not even going to tell you why he thought I was there.

After a few minutes I finally found something that looked OK. It was a simple ad for a restaurant looking for someone to clean. There was no chance of running into any of my classmates because I'd be in the kitchen the whole time, and even if I wasn't the job was at some old person restaurant that my parents refused to go to. I stood up right away and told my step-mom that I was going out. I'll leave it up to her to decide where she thinks I'm going.

X+X+X+X+X+X – Tori

"Get her fed and get her to bed, that's all I need you for." And with that Mrs. Truman left the house, her husband honking in a car 20 feet away.

"O-OK. Bye." I walk into the living room to try and find my new babysitting job, Anna. She's there, glued to the TV. "Hi Anna, I'm Tori, I—"

"My show is on."

I turn to the TV and see that she's watching some medical drama. It hardly seems appropriate for a 7-year old. "Are you sure you can watch this?"

She sighs as if it's a huge stress to say yes or no. "My mom's a doctor, OK? She knows what goes on in these shows."

I turn to the TV once again to see a couple, doctors I presume, getting quite intimate with each other in the on-call room. "Right. Well, I'll be—"

"Great, bye."

"Right," I say once again. I pull out my Mothers Magazine that I glued into the cover of a Seventeen Magazine and begin to read about "50 great exercises" that are safe for those carrying a baby. I'm just on exercise 37 when Anna is right in front of me.

"Are you going to cook dinner for me?"

I grimace. "Well, I was thinking we'd just go out for dinner," I say trying to sound civil.

"No," she says flatly.

I pause for a moment. "Care to elaborate?"

"We can't."

"Why, are you scared?" I ask, goading her.

"No," she says rolling her eyes, "my mom said I'm not allowed."

"Well she told me that she wanted us to go out, and what the mother says to the babysitter overrules what the mother says to the daughter. So let's go."

She groaned. "Do we have to walk?"

"Yes. It's good exercise…even if you're pregnant."

"Well I'm not. Come on, it's cold out here."

"There's a diner a mile away. You can handle that, can't you?"

"Yes," she says through clenched teeth.

"Good." After that I ignored her. Closed her out of my thoughts. It wasn't until she declared she was done with her dinner (chicken fingers), leaving a pile of poor deserted baby carrots in her wake.

"Eat your vegetables, then we can go," I say turning back to my disguised pregnancy magazine.

"No," she says, flatly once again.

"C'mon, you have to eat your vegetables."

"Why? What will happen to me?" she asks with a sarcasm that makes me want to leave her here.

"That will," I say pointing to a man with a large growth on the side of his face.

She cringes, but still turns to me. "My mom's a doctor, and I know that things like that are mostly birth defects," she said smugly.

"Well do you know why he was born like that?" She shakes her head. "Cause his mother didn't eat her vegetables."

She glared at me. "I'm not going to have children, because there's a surplus of people and our resources are dwindling."

Well thank god for that. "Your mom's a doctor, you have to know vegetables are good for you."

"I know," she said taking a loud bite of her baby carrot. "I just wanted to see what you'd say."

I hate you.

X+X+X+X+X+X – Brian

"Hey kid, don't miss the corner. Shit's been piling up there."

I glance over at the corner to see rotting food scraps that were obviously missed the last time someone decided to sweep. "Yes sir," I say with a grimace that's impossible to hide. As I get to the corner I see it's even worse than I thought. The food here may as well be retirement home food and, over time, in the heat of the kitchen, it turns into something much worse. Word's can't describe what it's like to be among the leftover liver and onions and 3-week-old poached eggs.

I don't take one breath as I sweep up (and scrape off) the remains from the floor. Breathing is the wrong thing to do in this situation. Once it's all swept up, I dump it in the garbage can with the heaviest lid and don't take a breath until I'm yards away and the lid is firmly on. I go back to the sink and wash my hands before continuing on with the rest of the filth in the kitchen.

The minutes and hours tick by slowly, and I nearly vomit a few times. I wasn't made for this stuff. Give me a book, I'll write you a paper, give me a broom…I'll probably try to give it back. I want more than anything to just quit…after one day. But I don't quit. I keep working, if only for one reason…Tori.

X+X+X+X+X+X – Tori

"Are we leaving yet?"

"Just I second," I say ready to scream at Anna. I turn to the man at the counter. "Are you hiring?"

"Uh…" the pimply guy behind the counter scratches the peach-fuzz on his neck. "Hey Tito! Are we hiring?"

"Who?" came a deep voice from the back followed by the hacking of a large loogie.

"I don't know," he says unable to help his adolescent voice from cracking. He turns to me. "What do you want to do?"

"Uh…waitress?" I glance over at Anna who has her arms folded across her chest and refuses to look at me.

"This girl wants to be a waitress."

There's a pause from the back of the kitchen. "Is she hot?"

"Er…" the pimply guy says. "She has kind of big boobs."

Thank you sweet pregnancy.

After another pause, this time a bit shorter, Tito (I assume) says, "Fine, give her an application," quickly followed by another, this time noisier loogie. I grab the application pimple-man gives me, say a quick thank you, and quickly walk out with Anna. It's beginning to get dark and even colder, so we walk to her house quickly. Her mother shows up only a few minutes later, and I accept her money and leave without a whole lot of conversation. As I walk home I vow to myself that I will never baby-sit anyone ever again as long as I have one once of dignity left in me.

Sorry about the wait for this chapter, I think I'll have chapter 8 done way sooner since I have most of it written. But please review!