A/N: So, I am aware that it has been an extremely long time since I have last posted, but alas, here is the next chapter. I have about 5ish chapters left. Thanks for sticking with me all this time!
- 30 weeks –
Ashlynn felt hesitant, simply said. Lilly called her, telling her to rush over ASAP because she had a big surprise.
Driving along the highway, windows down, radio off, Ashlynn contemplated the possibilities. She braced herself for her worst nightmare, a pregnancy announcement. After everything the girls had gone through, she had hoped maybe Lilly had learned her lesson, but she couldn't be certain.
She pulled up to her best friend's house, parking across the street. Lilly didn't live in the best neighborhood. Her mother, an unemployed drug addict, lived on welfare and didn't exactly raise her kids. Lilly, being the oldest at sixteen, raised and took care of her two eight year old twin sisters Aly and Amanda, as well as her eleven year old brother, Zach. She made sure there was food on the table and the bills were paid, usually just taking the money from her mother's wallet as she passed out on the living room couch, given that she was even home. Lilly's mom, Tanya, was, in Lilly's words, "a walking cliché of a deadbeat mother," usually out high with her friends or boyfriend.
Ashlynn walked up the dry, yellow grass to Lilly's front door and rang the bell.
"Get the damn door," Ashlynn heard a hoarse voice yell. Tanya was home. Zach answered the door and greeted her with his wide, dimpled smile. He squeezed her gently, wary of her protruding belly. Ashlynn brought herself back to Lilly's room, stepping over a small mound of clothes, but before she could reach the door Lilly came out.
"I've just about finished," Lilly said, beckoning for Ashlynn to come in. Upon entrance, Ashlynn found Lilly's room unrecognizable. Covering the room were pictures from magazines, lining the walls and spread across her lavender sheets.
"Surprise!" Lilly exclaimed, spreading her arms in gesture of the room.
"What is this?" Ashlynn asked.
"Plans! Your baby shower is in two weeks! I've addressed all of the obvious guest invitations, but you should let me know who else you want to come."
"Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about a baby shower. How long have you been planning this?" Ashlynn inquired.
"Just a few months."
"A few?" Ashlynn said unbelievingly.
"Okay, since we all got pregnant. It's going to be a little different than the baby shower trio I had originally planned for, but it'll work. I picked a pastel green for the color, but now that I think about it, a green cake doesn't sound too appetizing. Any word on when you two are going to find out the sex of the baby? I really don't want to wait a whole ten weeks. Unbearable."
"Alex wants to wait, but I don't think I'm going to be able to. I bought the cutest little white lace dress, but I also bought the most adorable pair of little boy overalls. I almost can't even help myself anymore."
"Well all it takes is one little phone call," Lilly winked, gesturing towards the phone.
"I can't just call without Alex, he'd be furious. Just stick with the pastel green for now, and I'll see if we can change that to a pink or blue."
"Fine," Lilly pouted. "Well, onto the guest list. Any additionals?" she asked, handing the current list to Ashlynn.
"Jamie's not on here," Ashlynn observed.
"Maybe because I haven't talked to her for a month. You two may be besties again, but not us. She's just a ghost in the hallways to me."
Truth was, Lilly was hurt like she had rarely been before. With her mother, she expected it. Lilly had long given up hope for a functional family life when rehab boyfriend #5 had stolen away her mother for a long week of bingeing after 10 weeks sober, the last time of which her mother made an attempt at rehab.
She had even had a broken heart before. William Barner, a 12th grade senior Lilly had dated late in her 8th grade year. She was infatuated with such an older boy taking interest in her, only to find out it was for her voluptuously developed body. It was a breakup that took several pints of ice cream, followed by many foodless days, to cure, but it was still curable. Lilly wasn't quite able to handle such a deep betrayal from one of her best friends, however, and the only way she could think of to respond was to become hard and frozen, emotionless when it came to her previous friend.
"She's our friend, Lilly," Ashlynn reminded her.
"It's your shower, Ash. If you think it's appropriate to invite a fetus-murderer, then by all means, invite her." Lilly shut down, giving one-word answers Ashlynn's baby shower questions, becoming nearly mute as she scribbled down game ideas and prizes or menu items. Ashlynn left, searching her mind for a way to cheer Lilly up. It was late that night that Lilly received a text.
Get a blue cake.