Ahh, this is why I stock my desk with pain killers, I thought to myself as I watched the twelve men and women, standing on opposite sides of the coffee table in my office, screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. They were college students, or so I'd gathered. Barely older than teenagers which was a little unusual in my line of work. I'm a couples counselor so usually I get the married couples, the newly divorced or 'seperated' couples, or the older boyfriends who are dragged here by their grilfriends. So hearing from my secretary that so many young people were asking for my help, was, to say the least, pleasing. Maybe I could actually help some of these youngsters before they grew up to be the people I see regularly. Not to imply that I'm old by any means, because I'm not. I'm not fresh out of my college years either, but we'll say no more on that matter.
Finally I couldn't sit back anymore and simply watch or listen to all this screaming. So I reached down under my chair and pulled out my trusty blow horn, sounding it off loudly and effectively putting a stop to their screeching.
"Thanks you." I said pleasantly, putting the blow horn back down on the floor and grabbing my pen from the top of my clipboard that was resting on my lap.
They all simply stared back at me, blinking in surprise.
"Now then, if you'll all take a seat." I gestured to the couches and the extra chairs I'd had brought in that were sitting behind them.
"Okay, let's see, who is this appointment technically for?" I asked, looking around at the group consisting of six boys and six girls.
All of their eyes glanced between a girl with dirty blonde hair and hazel-green eyes that was sitting in the middle of her friends on the couch, to a boy sitting on the couch opposite her who had midnight black hair and bright blue eyes.
I leaned forward and made eye contact with these two. "Can you two please tell me your names? I assume you are the couple this session is actually for."
They nodded and then the boy glanced at the girl before introducing himself. "I'm Trey Morrison." Then he turned and stared at the coffee table.
"I'm Melissa. Melissa Clayton." She said, clenching her hands timidly.
I wrote their names down at the top of my paper and then looked up at them smiling. "I must say my secretary was a little overwhelmed when you said you wanted to bring ten other people with you to your first appointment, but I told her it was okay and as long as you thought it necessary."
"Thank you." Melissa said warmly.
"You're welcome. Now then," I said turning to look at the other people filling my office. "I'm sure I'll get to know the rest of you in due time. For right now though, I'd like to hear just from Melissa and Trey." They all nodded, although I expected to be interrupted by them at least once before I was actually ready for their imput. I glanced between Trey and Melissa.
"So who wants to go first."
"Well," Melissa said slowly, looking at Trey to see if he had any objections with her going first. When he didn't react and simply continued staring at the coffee table, she went on. "I don't know what a regular session for you is like, but we figured if we could get someone outside our group of friends to take a look at our situation, maybe they could help us. Not that our friends haven't been helpful. We love you guys, seriously. It's just-"
"We know Melissa. No worries." One of the girls said, patting her friend on the shoulder.
"Alright, where would you guys like to begin then?" I asked, pen ready in hand.
"I guess at the beginning." Melissa said a little hesitantly, again giving Trey the chance to jump in with a comment. He didn't so she began her side of the story.
"I guess it all began with the victory party-slash-christmas party that was being thrown at Trey's apartment last December..."
"No guys. I don't want to go." I said, straining against the pull of my roommate, Rachelle, who unfortunately was stronger than me as she was a swimmer and had been on the cross country and water polo team at her highschool. She had a lot more lower body strength than me.
"Come on, it'll be fun. Plus you need to get out of the apartment. You've been sick the last couple of days and now you're better and you've done all your homework while you've been couped up in here so you don't have any good excuse." Tiffany said, tossing her light brown hair over her shoulder and putting it up in a ponytail.
"I don't want to." I said again, dead-weighting myself and laying in the middle of the hallway.
My quieter roommate, Brianna, came out of our room and stared down at me. "Melissa you don't have to go, but we'd really like to have you there. I hate to say it but I agree with Tiff and Rachelle. You need to get out of here and socialize. Even I'm making an effort to come out of my shell.
Ugh, when I left home to go to college, this is not what I'd imagined my roommates would be like. Still you had to love them.
I shook my head and sat up crossed legged and crossing my arms as Rachelle let go of them. "Please guys. I don't want to." I said again. Then my other two roommates, Jenny and Lucy, came out of their room at the end of the hall and stared down at me.
"What's the hold up?" Jenny asked.
"Melissa doesn't want to go to the party." Tiffany said rolling her eyes toward Jenny and Lucy.
"What? Why not?" Lucy asked. surprised.
"No good reason." Tiffany said as Rachelle hauled me to my feet.
"Well come on then, let's get a move one." Jenny said, ushering everyone out of the narrow hallway and into the living room. "Everyone has their jackets and what not right?" Brianna asked, turning around and survey everyone. They'd stuff my jacket on me before telling me what they were planning, so I'd reluctantly kept it on.
"Great then let's go." Tiffany said heading out the door, a spring in her step.
Everyone else filed out and I lagged behind in the back. We walked down the hall to another apartment and knocked on the door. Someone pushed it opened and yelled for us to come in. Music pounded against the walls and poured out of every speaker in their living room.
My roommates quickly chucked their jackets on a chair covered with them and threw themselves into the pulsing music.
People were passing beers around in cans and bottles and plastic cups. Others were off in a corner, crouched suspiciously and looking around like they were paranoid.
I rolled my eyes and sat down on a couch in between a couple that was making out and the armrest. We were celebrating our boys basketball team's victory against a rival college whom we considered our worst enemy. That and the end of the semester was headed our way and with it, finals and then Christmas break. I guess everyone thought they needed a break from the stress of finals and a basketball victory was the perfect excuse.
Looking around, I only noticed a few people that I really talked to and they were hanging out in various groups around the room. Our neighbors, who were throwing the party for their roommates, Trey and Adam who were on the basketball team, moved around the apartment. They were talking, drinking, stumbling, everything you see at your stereo typical college party. I like people watching, so I didn't mind just sitting there on the couch, content to do that for the whole night. Until Trey caught my eye.
He was slowly moving around the room, he had a red plastic cup in his hand and it seemed like he kept glancing my way, as he mmoved from one group to the next, each time getting closer to my couch.
When he laughed at a joke, I noticed his blue eyes light up and he would shake his head a little, his dark, slightly shaggy hair moving with his head shake. Finally he started talking to the people who were perched on the armrest of the couch, drinks in hand. I half expected him to move on to the people who were making out, but he didn't. Instead he made his way around them and their tangled legs and stared me down.
I fidgeted a little, pulling my long sleeves down around my hands, and crossing my legs.
"Hi. How's it going?" He asked, standing in front of me and smiling.
"Good." I said, noddding and hoping he would move on.
"You don't have anything to drink." He said, nodding to my empty hands.
"Nope, I don't."
"Come on, let me get you a drink."
I shook my head. "I don't want one."
He wouldn't take no for an answer. Instead of just walking away or chatting me up some more, he reached out his hand, grabbed mine, and pulled me up off the couch. "Come one." He said again. I tried to pull my hand back, but he wouldn't let go. He smiled at me and his eyes sparkled as he stared at me and then pulled me in the direction of the kitchen.
For some reason, I didn't fight him. Maybe it was because there were too many people here and I didn't want to knock into someone or cause a scene, but whatever the reason my roommates smiled as we passed them. None of them decided to help me out, even though I was sending urgent help signals.
Once we reached the kitchen, Trey grabbed a cup and poured a can of budlight into it and then handed it to me. I took it but didn't take a drink.
"What's the matter?" Trey asked, leaning back against the counter and studying my face carefully.
"Nothing." I shook my head.
"Lies." He said back, taking a drink of his cup.
I took a sip too and then shrugged. "I just don't want to be here."
"Then why don't you leave?" He asked, as if it were that simple.
"My roommates wouldn't be too happy if I did, and I have to live with them."
"Most of them wouldn't notice if you slipped out, at least, not if you wait until they're wasted or passed out."
"I don't want to wait that long."
"Look, you seem to have made up your mind that you can't leave, right?"
I nodded. He went on. "Well then, why don't you make up your mind to try to enjoy yourself? If you're stuck here, you might as well at least try and have fun."
I bit my lip and took another sip of my drink.
He chuckled and shook his head at me and I narrowed my eyes, staring him down. "What?" I asked suspiciously.
"That's how you drink, seriously?"
"Uh, yeah, that's how I drink when I get handed a beverage I didn't want in the first place." I said, turning around and looking for an empty space on the counter to set this drink. I couldn't find any space so I growled in frustration and starting clearing up cups and cans. I was about to set the drink down when a hand reached out and grabbed my wrist, stopping me. I turned and looked up straight into Trey's blue eyes.
"What are you doing?" I asked softly.
"Stop. Come on, try it like this." He tilted his head back and took a gulp of his drink. "Try that."
"No." I said.
"Bet you can't do it better than this." He said and repeated his actions.
I rolled my eyes and took a drink out of the cup as Iwould have done if it was water.
He shook his head and pretended to look disappointed in me. "No come on, you can do better than that." He paused and when I didn't say anything he took another drink to show me how it was done and said, "why go halfway? If you're gonna do it, give it all you got."
So I stood there, debating whether I really wanted to be doing this right now. Drinking with Trey, no roommates in sight, no one to make sure I got home all right. I bit my lip and then decided Trey was right. I was in college and I was going to experience everything I could now. That's what you were supposed to do in college, right? So I took a gulp of my drink, tilting my head back the way Trey had. Then I looked over at him and smiled smugly. "Happy?"
He nodded like he was pleased with the progress we were making. Then he grabbed another drink for himself and said, "let's go somewhere so we can sit and talk. It's too loud out here."
"Okay." I said. Again he grabbed my hand and lead me out of the room and this time he lead me down the hallway, past people lounging against the walls and talking or making out.
He opened a door and poked his head in. "Sweet, the keep out sign actually worked." He said leading me into the room. I noticed a sock on the doorknob on the room next to this one and my head started to whirl. I couldn't tell if it was from the beer or the fact that a boy I barely knew was taking me into his room at a party. What kind of girl did he think I was?
"Um...what are we doing?" I asked as he plopped down on one of the two beds in the room.
"Talking." He said, gesturing for me to sit down on the bed next to him.
I ignored him and dropped onto the bed on the other side of the room. I crossed me legs indian style and stared at him from across the room. He hadn't turned the lights on but the blinds were open and a street lamp provided some light through the window.
"Talking about what?" I asked, taking another drink because I was hoping to ease the awkwardness that was creeping into me slowly.
"Well, first of all, I'm just double checking, but you're Melissa from down the hall right?"
I nodded. "And you're Trey?"
"And you're on the basketball team right?"
He smiled. "Yes, actually on a basketball scholarship." He sounded pleased with himself.
We both took a drink. I was starting to feel a slight buzz in the back of my brain. I was such a lightweight. After that I don't remember much of what we talked about. I know he asked me quite a few questions and I asked him some back. I kept drinking and he kept drinking. Once I'd finished off my cup, he tossed me another beer and grabed another one for himself. Things got hazier and hazier and I remember sitting on his bed with him, but I don't remember moving there. I barely remember him leaning towards me and kissing me, but after that everything is black.
The next thing I can remember is waking up. The harsh December sun was coming in through the window and it was irritating me as was the pounding in my head that I realized was probably a hangover. I turned my head and closed my eyes to block out the sun. Then I realized I was lying next to Trey...on Trey's bed...and Trey was...naked. I blinked a few times before my brain started freaking out. I sat up slowly so I wouldn't wake up Trey and glanced around the room. Apparently I'd drunk more than I thought I had as there were a lot more cans and bottles of beer than I remember drinking. Granted he'd drunk at least half of those, but there were still a lot of drinks all over the room. No one was in the other bed, so I hoped it was safe to assume Trey's roommate hadn't been here. That was when I noticed my shirt laying on the floor, and my underwear, bra, and pants.
I could feel my face turning red as I realized I was wrapped up in a sheet with a boy I barely knew and both of us were naked. I slipped out of the bed quickly and started throwing my clothes on. I was going to kill my roommates for taking me to that party, just as soon as I got back to the apartment.
Trey stirred in the bed and I froze, slowly turning my head to see if I'd woken him up. He was just turning over apparently. His eyes were still closed and he had a sweet, peaceful look on his face. I let out a little sigh of relief and hoped that whatever we'd done, we'd used to protection.
I left the room, slipping my shoes on in the hallway. The boys were going to have one heck of a clean up job. Cups, cans, and bottles were all over the place. Drinks and spilled, people had thrown up in corners. The apartment was a mess, not to mention there were people passed out on the floor in the hallway, the bathrooms and the kitchen. I tiptoed past them all and walked over to the front door. I tried to open the door and get out of there as quickly as possible but the door wouldn't open for some reason. Behind me I heard someone start to stir and my hands flew over the locks hoping I could unlock them and get out fast, before whoever was waking up saw me. I turned around and noticed the person stirring was on the couch and was one of Trey's roommates. Brody I think, or Zane, I'm not really sure who it was exactly, only that they actually lived there and they were about to witness my escape.
"That was me." A boy with spiky brown hair and green eyes said, laughing and raising his hand.
"And you are?" I asked, getting ready to make note of him on my clipboard.
"Brody." He answered, chuckling with amusement. "I didn't know that girl was you." He said to Melissa.
She nodded and her face got red again at the memory of that incident.
"When Trey woke up, I was sitting on the couch still. He came out to the living room in his boxer shorts and looked around. 'Do you know what happened last night?' He asked me. I shook my head. 'Not exactly, no. Why?' I asked. 'Because I think I did something with a girl, but I don't remember why, and I barely remember her name. But when I woke up this morning she was gone.' He was so confused and at a loss as to what had happened last night. It was pretty funny actually. Usually I was the one stumbling in the door from parties with Ted and Zane going, 'I don't remember what I did last night or who I did it with.'"
"Yes, well, we'll get to your story later. Thank you Brody." I said turning back to Melissa. "Please continue."
Well, I finally got the door unlocked and open and dashed out of it, unintentionally slamming it shut behind me. I winced at the loud slam it made but didn't stop in my flight down the hallway to my apartment. Luckily the door was unlocked because I didn't have my key. I opened and shut the door quickly and then slid down onto the floor.
None of my roommates seemed to be up yet, which was fine with me. I needed to compose myself before facing down any of them. They didn't need to know what I'd done with Trey. I didn't even know exactly what I'd done. But they were going to pay for leaving me there.
I sat there, in front of the door for what seemed like forever but was probably only half and hour, then I moved to the couch and shut the blinds so the sun wouldn't irritate my eyes and make my hangover worse. That was when I realized I was probably a mess and I needed to study for a test I had to take tomorrow. I got up and hurried to the bathroom so I could take a shower while there was hot water and then I stuck my head in my room. Brianna was sound asleep in her bed. She was in her pajamas so it was safe to assume she wasn't wasted when she got home.
Surveying the room I located my pajamas and got dressed. I wanted to be comfy and I needed the comfort my pjs gave me. Then I grabbed my notes for my test and went back out to the living room so I could study on the couch and not worry about waking anyone.
The rest of that week was spent studying for finals and taking tests all while trying to remember to eat three meals a day, so I didn't have much time to think about what had happened and I didn't run into Trey again until after Christmas break. However over Christmas break something big happened. I missed my period.
I panicked a little, and with good reason. I mean, I couldn't remember what had happened at the party so missing my period really had me worried. Pacing around my room I decided to run to the walmart down the street and get a pregnancy test. Having no idea which pregnancy test was the best I went with the one that said it would tell me the earliest. I didn't care how much they costed I needed to know.
Walking towards the cash registers I said a silent thank you to the people who had invented self-check out since it meant I was able to avoid awkward questions or glances from the casheirs. I hurried through the check out process and ran most of the way home. Once I got there I said hi to my mom who was sitting in the family room watching television and rushed up to the upstairs bathroom.
I quickly read and followed the instructions on the back and stared at the first test until a little pink plus came up. In shock I shook my head slowly and took out the second pregnancy I'd bought just in case. I read the instructions carefully again and then waited for the test to process. Again a little pink plus appeared and this time all I could do was sit on the toilet seat. My brain felt like it had melted. The world had ended and I'd been late for the spaceships that had blasted off to another galaxy. I threw the pregnancy tests in the garbage and decided to take out the trash.
When I walked back downstairs, my mom looked at me and gave me a look of concern. "Honey, are you all right?" She asked as I put on my boots and opened up the front door.
"Yeah. Fine." I said, picking up the trash bag and stepping outside to throw it away.
When I walked back inside my mom gave me another weird look and pursed her lips to stop herself from saying anything.
I walked up the stairs again and went into my bedroom, flopping down on my bed. As I closed my eyes, thoughts instantly started whirling through my brain, hurtling themselves at me. How was I going to handle a kid and school at the same time. For that matter, how was I going to raise and support a kid regardless of whether or not I was going to school. I wasn't ready to be a mother. I wasn't prepared at all. This was why I didn't go to parties, I thought broodingly, thinking of how my roommates had forced me to go to that dumb party.
That had to have been where it happened. I hadn't done anything with anyone else that would cause me to have a child. The father had to be Trey.
I groaned and face-planted into my pillow. I was going to have to tell Trey. I'd have to do it when we got back from Christmas break. Great, I thought, dreary news for a dreary time of year.
Eventually I would have to tell my Mom too, and probably my Dad, but if I didn't tell him this year when he came over for Christmas Dinner, I didn't know when I'd have a chance to tell him. My parent's got a divorce when I was seven. It was really hard on me and since it was around Christmas, they decided we'd all have Christmas dinner together every year. They tried their best not to fight on Christmas and even if that meant not speaking to each other, they did it.
I was not telling my Dad on Christmas and if my Dad didn't get to know, neither did my Mom. Now that I'd figured that out, my thoughts went back to Trey. How was I going to build up enough courage to actually find him and tell him I was pregnant with his child? Maybe he didn't have to know. No, I couldn't do that. He doesn't need to take responsibility for the child, but he should at least know he fathered one.
Growling in frustration I felt tears sting my eyes and sat up quickly, grasping for a tissue sitting on my bed side table. Apparently I didn't grab it fast enough because the tears began to flow faster and soon the tissue was soggy. I threw it in the trash can next to my bed and would've probably decided to take the trash out if I didn't think my mother would see me crying and force me to tell her what was wrong.
Alone. That was how I felt. There was no way I was telling my parents, and Trey needed to be told in person. I didn't want to bother any of my friends or roommates who were probably spending the holiday with their families. I had no one to tell. Absolutlely no one who could help me figure out what to do.
I sighed and lay back down on my bed, tears still streaming down my cheeks. I shut my eyes, covered myself with a blanket and grabbed an old teddy bear that was sitting on the corner of my bed. Finally after at least an hour of crying non-stop, I fell into the peaceful oblivion of sleep.
The rest of Christmast break went by too quickly and at the same time not quickly enough for me. I couldn't wait to get back to school and ignore all of my problems for at least a little while, as I immersed myself in my school work. But at the same time, I didn't want the break to end because that meant telling Trey. I was torn and spend the rest of the break in a nervous agony.
When the break had finally come to an end, my mother dropped me off at my apartment and helped me carry some my stuff up. Then I walked her back to the car and when we got there she stopped before getting in. She turned around and looked me up and down like she was looking for a clue to what was on my mind.
"What?" I asked.
"You're sure you're okay?" She asked.
I sighed and nodded. "Yeah Mom, I'm fine."
"Mmm, okay. If you need anything you'll call right?"
I nodded and gave her a hug. She didn't seem like she wanted to let me go, but finally I pulled away from her comforting embrace and smile. "Go, hurry before the storm comes in." I said glancing up at the grey sky.
"Okay, bye honey. Love you."
"Love you too mom." I said as she got in her car, backed up out of her parking spot and pulled away.
I stood there for a minute and then realized how cold it really was outside, with piles of snow all around and only a long sleeve shirt on. I couldn't figure out where my jacket was. As far as I could tell it wasn't in the apartment and I didn't remember taking it home. I started walking back across the parking lot but stopped when I heard someone calling my name.
"Melissa!" Trey was hurrying across the slippery parking lot so fast I was afraid he was going to slip and fall and crack his head open on the ice
. "Melissa right?" He asked as he reache me. I nodded. "Hey I was hoping to run into you." Then he looked down at my arms that were folded across my chest and said, "geez you must be freezing. Here." He swung his coat off and set it on my shoulders before I could protest.
"Anyway, I was hoping to run into you because you left your jacket at my apartment the night of the party. I was going to come by and return it today and when I saw you standing here in the parking lot I thought I could grab you and we could drop by my apartment and grab it." He paused and then gave me a once over. "Although, if that jacket is the heaviest one you have I might have to make you keep that coat." He said, nodding to the coat that I had reluctantly pulled on. I had to admit, it was really warm. He had to be freezing though. He was wearing a light short sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans.
"So you wanna come grab your jacket? It's not the heaviest one you have right?" He asked with a hint of concern.
I shook my head. "I have a coat, I just don't like wearing it. It's to puffy."
He started walking towards the stairs to our apartments and nodded. "Yeah, but all the warm ones are puffy."
"True." I said, almost smiling. Then I remembered what I had to tell Trey and groaned inwardly. I was hoping I wouldn't have to tell Trey for at least a week so I could have some more time to psych myself up. Or you know, more time to be a coward. We hurried up the stairs and when we reached his apartment he invited me in. I said I'd wait outside.
"Okay, then I'll walk you home, just let me grab you jacket real quick."
He ducked inside and was back in a few seconds, my jacket in his hand.
"You know you really don't have to walk me home. It's five feet that way." I said, pointing down the hall and taking off his coat.
"I know but I want to." He said, handing me my jacket and holding his. He started walking and I matched him step for step. I was about to tell him goodbye but then I stopped, looked at the ground and sighed. "Listen," I said, not looking at him. "I was actually hoping we could talk. None of my roommates have gotten back yet and I have something really important to tell you." I looked up and him and was a little surprised to find a look of concern on his face rather than one of dread as I thought he would have. I thought he would think I was silly and just wanted to talk about what had happened at the party. Instead his blue eyes stared me down and he nodded. "Sure we can talk." He said.
"Great." I said opening my front door and stepping inside. Someone had apparently turned the heat down before they'd left, so the apartment was freezing. I glanced down at my arms that I could feel were covered in goosebumps and hoped they were just there because it was so cold and not because of what I was about to tell Trey.
I turned around as he shut the front door and said, "I'll be right back. I'm going to turn the heat up. Have a seat." He nodded and sat down on the loveseat.
Hurrying back down the hallway to the living room I started to shake I was so nervous. I sat down on couch and my eyes met Trey's. "I'm not one to beat around the bush." I said. "So I'm sorry if this seems a little blunt but..." I bit my lip hard and tried to keep the tears out of my eyes. "Trey, I'm pregnant." I'm sure in that moment, for him, time stopped. He kept staring at me, but he didn't blink, didn't move, didn't show any sign that he'd even heard me. "Did you hear me?"
He nodded really slowly and then began looking focused again. "You're pregnant." He repeated.
"Yes," I said nodding. "And the baby is yours...ours." I said slowly.
Trey stood up and for a moment I flinched. He didn't do anything or say anything. He just kept staring at me. "I need to umm...I've got to go. I'll talk to you later." He said haltingly and then stumbled to the door and down the hallway to his apartment.
That was when Brianna walked in and saw me sitting on the couch, hugging myself and gasping for air.
"Melissa? Melissa are you alright?" She asked worriedly, dropping her bag on the floor and not even bothering to shut the door as she knelt down in front of me and looked me in the eyes.
"Melissa? Talk to me."
I leaned my head forward on Brianna's shoulder and shook as sobs began to wrack my body. "Brianna. I'm...I'm pregnant." I gasped out.
"What?" She asked, before recovering some composure and wrapping me up in her arms, sitting next to me on the couch. "Shh, shh, it'll be okay." She said softly, soothingly.
We sat there until it was dark and the rest of my roommates started arriving back. Then Brianna helped me to our room and tucked me into bed so I could get some sleep.