After the shock had blown me over, it was time to blow over the second person who needed to be blown over. Well, technically Greg was the first one to be told, but he was the second to find out about this situation. The first being Allison, of course. After all, the one person to go with you to the pharmacy to buy ten pregnancy tests and test them all with you would see that positive sign as well, right?
I had no idea how to tell Greg. I had no idea what to tell Greg. Saying, 'Hey boyfriend, just letting you know that I'm pregnant. Anyway, how's the debate team?' isn't really the ideal way of breaking the news. Actually, confessing a pregnancy to your high school boyfriend isn't ideal in any way.
I was screwed. Ech, figuratively and literally.
After much deliberation, I had dragged Greg to dinner and ice cream for our date tonight, silently preparing myself throughout his ramblings on the right-winged columnists of his will-be college's newspaper as well as his plans for this weekend's sailing excursion.
His smart-boy wits finally caught on as we sat down in after buying two triple scooped ice cream cones, pistachio and cake batter flavored for Greg and me, respectively.
"Lucy, are you alright? You've been unusually spacey this evening. You hardly commented when I was talking about Nash's new column at dinner." He reached over the table and took my hand in his, a gesture I would have found sweet if I wasn't already sick with dread. "Hey, whatever it is, you can tell me."
I would've filled my mouth with ice cream to avoid answering his question, but ice cream melts, so my words would be slobbery and understandable.
Instead, I sighed and pushed my hair behind my ear, all the while avoiding Greg's pointed stare.
Meeting his eyes I blurted out, "I'm pregnant."
The longer Greg stared at me the wider his eyes got. "Wha—what?"
"I'm pregnant," I repeated.
The hand rested over mine was quickly retrieved by its owner as he burrowed it in his hair. He was quiet for a moment before he responded. "How . . . when . . . I thought we were careful!" he cried, gesturing wildly.
I looked at him with a weird expression and my previous apprehension was squashed by sudden suspicion. "Um, what?"
Greg frantically looked at me. "Weren't we careful when we did it?"
I stared at my boyfriend of almost two months and wondered where his stupid mind went. I had expected a reaction out of him, but I didn't expect him to go into a frenzy about something I wasn't sure he was sure about. I knew he was attentive, but obviously not attentive enough to this relationship, because then he would have definitely known if we were careful or not. That then led me to deduct other reasons for his lack of knowledge in our extracurricular relationship activities, none of which led me down a happy path. He was still looking at me for all the world as if I had the answer to his problems. I did, but I was a bit frazzled to give him the satisfaction and relief.
I eventually quelled his worry. It was kind of pointless to be staring at each other after having such news between us, especially since I was the one delivering it. Also, I wanted my own questions answered, so wasting time was unnecessary. No need to overdramatize this whole thing.
"Okay first of all, it's not your baby and secondly, if you even paid attention to us these past two months, then you would know that we've never slept with each other," I said to him, relishing in his confusion.
"We haven't?" he lamely asked and at that moment I marveled at the switch of his intelligence levels. An hour ago Greg was the all-knowing, A-lister boyfriend who perfectly pulled off polo shirts and khaki cargos like the born socialite he was. Now, however, I was faced with an eighteen year old boy who looked as if he just realized he had five fingers.
"No," I answered, still looking at him speculatively with questions flitting across my mind.
"So it's not my baby?"
"No," I said again.
"Shit," Greg breathed out and slumped forward. His eyes quickly turned accusing on me. "You cheated on me, Lucy?"
I raised an eyebrow and chose not to bristle at his sudden turn in blame. "Are you?"
He looked abashed and scowled at me. "No! And even if I was, that is irrelevant to this current situation."
"Oh is it?" I asked, rolling my eyes. When he just looked at me like I was in the wrong here, I shrugged and licked my abandoned and melting ice cream. "As long as the subject's brought up. And anyway, what kind of boyfriend doesn't know if he's had sex with his girlfriend or not?"
Greg adopted a serious look that made him look more like the guy who caught my eye those long weeks ago. "Lucy, that's not important. And I would never cheat on you. We've just done so much with each other; I can't keep up with all this. Anyway," he said, swerving our discussion as well as his eyes to my stomach, "how did this happen?" He paused and a bemused expression fitted his face. "Well of course there's only one way of procreating. Scratch that question."
After a moment's pause to regain his dominance in our discussion, he changed to a more suitable and informative line of inquiries. "If it's not mine, then whose is it?" Ah, jackpot! That one, proverbial question that was doomed to be asked one point or another.
Sighing, I knew that what was about to come out of my mouth would make me sound like the slut I most certainly wasn't. "I don't know," I muttered, feeling the ramifications rush up in the form of blood to my face, along with Greg's outlandish look.
"What do you mean, 'I don't know?' Were you raped?" he immediately asked, and I shot up from my slouched position, glaring at him.
"No! I phrased that incorrectly. I don't . . . I don't remember how this happened. I was very, very drunk, it was dark that night, and when I woke up I was alone. I just . . . I don't know. But the sex was definitely consensual," I warily admitted. Greg's eyebrows rose at this and I huffed.
"When did this happen?"
I laughed humorlessly and recalled the night of the party that was a first of everything. "The night of the party where we met."
Greg took a bite of his ice cream and smiled at me. "And two nights later I called you to ask you out on our first date." But no sooner than he had smiled, a shadow was cast on his face. "Are you positive you're pregnant?"
"Would you like to see the ten tests?"
"Okay, I take that as a yes. Well, what do we do now?" he asked and though I appreciated his apparent voluntary role as the doting and responsible boyfriend, it wasn't his responsibility, and he had absolutely no part in this whole mess. Anyway, I detected the hesitation in his question and I knew that a child wasn't what he ultimately wanted. I mean, what guy who's eighteen and not married would?
"Greg," I started and carefully looked at him before continuing, "I want you to know that this baby isn't your responsibility, and I'm not going to make it yours. We're young and deserve to keep our youth for as long as we can. Well, one of us at least. I want you to go to the college you're already set to go to and have a career and a company car and a bachelor pad and a single, happy life."
He smiled at me and took my hand again, this time tucking it against his chest. "Lucy, you sound as if all that is closed to you."
"It is," I replied dejectedly, though the prospect of losing the rest of my adolescence wasn't all that earth-shattering. My life wasn't of the envious sort that all girls vied to have; well, not including the fabulous boyfriend I had managed to snatch up. But before Greg, I was more than happy to sit at home browsing the movie channels for anything worth watching on my weekends. Since I barely went out to the movies—partly because I was never beckoned there by invitation—I didn't mind waiting around half a year for a movie to grace itself on HBO or Starz.
Greg's voice brought me back to our conversation. "No, it isn't. You're keeping this baby, right?" I nodded. "Being a young mother doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your whole entire life. You can take off a year of college and focus on the baby, and then go back to school for spring or the next year. And who cares about being single? I may be single five years down the line, but that won't mean I'll be happy. And who knows, maybe I'll find what I'm looking for with you and have a nice little family."
I smiled at his short soliloquy, but knew that his words were made of comfort and ideal. "Greg, even after only two months of dating, I know you. Once you finish college, you're going to be a great, liberal columnist for the New York Times and what then? You'll still want to come back to your ex-girlfriend whom you didn't get pregnant and help her raise a child who's not yours?"
He winked and kissed my wrist. "Maybe. We don't know that, Lucy. Our future isn't set in stone."
"But the next nine months is. Settled nicely in my uterus, thank you very much."
"Lucy, what part of me being your boyfriend don't you get? I'm here for you, okay? I'm here now, for the next nine months, and however long it takes for you to get rid of me. Anything you need, I'll get."
I stared at him. "You still want me as a girlfriend?"
Greg laughed. "What, you thought I was going to dump you? Jeez, Lucy, what do you think of me? I'm your boyfriend, and for the meantime, I'll take responsibility of this baby, whether it's mine or not. I don't think your parents would like it so much if they found out that their daughter was pregnant with some stranger's baby. Did you tell them?" He asked and I shook my head. "They'd immediately blame my penis anyway, right?"
My head tilted at his words and I marveled at how good Greg was to me. His words proved that this was the guy whose preppie pretense I had adoringly looked beyond and decided to date. Any other boyfriend who found out that their girlfriend was impregnated by another guy would've bolted. Greg stayed. He stayed. And that meant a lot to me despite my still reservations towards his loyalty. But I wasn't too put off by that.
Because honestly? I never really imagined myself as Mrs. Greg Tillman in the future. Greg wasn't the type of guy I was looking for in a soul-searching relationship; he was just this guy that I really, really liked, just because he was such a looker and had the charm to accessorize it. Plus, he is my boyfriend, is he not? In any case, I don't think I'd ever be in love with him, but his dedication to me and this baby made it really, really close to almost being able to.
"You'd do that for me?" I asked, and he nodded, smiling gently.
"I would and I will. You're my girlfriend; what kind of boyfriend would I be if I were to ditch you now?"
"What about your reputation?"
He scoffed. "What reputation? It's your choice on whomever you tell. People find out, they find out. I don't care."
"But don't you dare blow off Cornell, Greg."
"I'll go as long as I know you're taken care of," he countered.
I breezily dismissed his comment with a flick of my hand. "Please. I can't take care of myself and a baby. Besides, I'd have everyone else who'd worry over me." Replacing my annoyed look with a gracious smile I said, "But thank you, Greg, for caring so much."
"Of course." He then leaned back on his side of the booth and grinned. "This will be interesting, won't it?"
• • • •
The remainder of our date was spent in a semi-forced enjoyment that didn't involve any forms of reminders about my pregnancy. That decision was made on my part, naturally. I didn't want to pressure Greg even more by talking about what was to happen, which would probably cause him to realize what he just agreed to and leave me faster than our school's resident slut's record sex time.
Though, despite my not wanting him as the father, after I got through this surprising calm phase, I would be an emotional girlfriend who needed her boyfriend there more than ever.
After Greg parked his car in front of my house, he turned to face me with one arm resting on the steering wheel and the other fastened in my hair. The dimness of the streetlamp shadowed us, subsequently shadowing our mood. I had yet to unbuckle my seatbelt, safely sitting still with minimal movement consisting of my hands fidgeting with the edge of the seat.
"When are we planning on telling your parents?" he asked and I still bristled inside at his usage of the "we" pronoun. I just couldn't get over the fact that Greg was so willing to be scathed socially and morally respectively by the general public and our parents.
I sighed and glanced at my brightly lit house before returning my gaze to my knees. "I'm not sure. I haven't really thought about what we were actually going to say to them. As much as they like you, I'm sure you'll be their public enemy for however long it takes for either them to get over the initial shock, or me to find out who the real father is."
"But you do understand that you can't wait much longer, Luce. You can't wait for the baby to come out to tell them, 'Surprise!'"
I rolled my eyes. "I know that. And I'm not going to wait that long. Give me a few days to get my nerves uncurled and then we'll tell them when you come over for dinner." As an additional thought popped in my head, I added, "What about your parents? Are we going to tell them too?"
Greg shrugged and slid his hand to the curve between my collar and my neck. "Do you want them to know?"
My answer was delayed by my ever thinking mind. As much as I knew Greg, I also knew his parents and sadly their reactions could go either way. Upon discovering that their prized darling boy had spread his seed into his slightly substandard girlfriend whom he had been with for almost two months, they would either offer to pay for the means of "solving" this problem in order to preserve Greg's irrefutable repute, or they would delight in the coming of a new Tillman; in other words, they would have an addition to their waning family whom they would mold into the perfect human specimen using the typical Tillman Prototype as a model.
In either case, I wasn't sure I wanted the fate of my child in their hands.
After a brief and desperate deliberation, I turned to Greg. "Why don't we do this; give me a few days to remember who the unlucky bastard is, and then you won't have to be involved in all this," I suggested, my hopes brightening at my obviously genius plan.
"But what if you can't remember who it was?"
I shook my head earnestly. "It's not hard to remember the only guy I've ever slept with, Greg. I've been blocking that night out for two months; it wouldn't be hard to come to me once I stop trying not to remember."
He looked at me still unconvinced. "Okay, so say you remember. But when you tell him, what if he doesn't want to do anything with the baby?"
I pursed my lips at his argument, but my resolution was steadfast. "If he doesn't want to take responsibility for this baby, then that's shit in his hands. But I'm going to make him take responsibility for what we did, and that entails both of us telling my parents. If I can't successfully make him stay after that, then so be it. I'm probably better off without him, anyway."
"And that will leave the baby fatherless. So what then, Lucy?" Greg asked and I sighed.
"That's up to me to figure out. I just want him to at least own up to the actions made by his stupid penis to me and my parents. But whatever happens, I know I'll be fine. I'm just hoping that the best will come from this," I said, pressing the belief into my mind and grabbing onto it like it was a lifeline.
Greg sighed and I knew he submitted to my plan. "Fine. I give you a week, Lucy. A week. If you haven't found him out by then, then I'm taking matters into my hands. Whether you want me to or not, I'm not going to leave you to face your parents and this by yourself. And as for my own, I don't really give a shit about what they'd think. If anything, they'd be ecstatic, since they've been hard pressing Dave into getting married and giving them "fine, hale and hearty grandchildren" for the past couple years. And you know how that is." He scoffed and I giggled.
Greg's brother Dave was older and decidedly gay, a lifestyle he had embraced for well over ten years now, yet his twenty-six year old self couldn't manage to make their parents understand that their gracious firstborn will never spawn firstborns of his own. It was sad, of course, because Dave's flamboyant character had his sexual orientation embossed in everything he was and owned. He was the one to fill my boyfriend's wardrobe, air kiss his mother and father for every greeting, and most glaringly, he brings—has been bringing for the past five years—his lifelong partner, Bradley, to every social family gathering. I didn't understand why their parents still insisted on setting Dave up on dates with perfectly groomed debutantes born and bred in the Northeast.
"Okay," I said. I was about to ask why Greg wanted to do this so badly, but decided against it, because I wasn't prepared for another tirade on his boyfriend loyalty and such shitty nonsense.
"Okay," he repeated with a smile. Sensing that our conversation and date was over, Greg leaned forward and proceeded to kiss me in such a way that made me question why exactly I hadn't already slept with my over-skilled boyfriend as well as making our problems seem as small as they are in a world completely not of the real kind.
After five minutes of feverishly oral activities, we pulled away. My breathing closely resembled that of a dog's, and I felt a surge of giddiness come about me in the normal, girly way of ending a date.
Greg slowly extracted himself from my arms and re-buckled his seatbelt with a smug smile on his face. I was pretty sure he gathered that right from the satisfactory one I was unable to resist.
"I'll call you tomorrow," he said while starting his car.
I nodded and finally unbuckled my seatbelt, opening the door. "Alright. Night." I shut the door and turned towards the walkway, but quickly turned back around and ran to the car, sticking my head through the open window. "Oh, and Greg? Thanks."
He smiled and winked at me. "Anything for my girl."
I watched him drive out of my street and continued to stand on the sidewalk for a while longer, finally able to assess everything that happened up until this point. Granted, this whole discovery of a fertilized egg in me hoopla transpired in a span on only two days, but I felt exceptionally tired and suddenly a misplaced fear was starting to creep into my mind that should've been there one month before.
Oh holy fucking hell, how am I going to survive the next eight and a half months?