Pushing the green pillow against my head as hard as I could,–making it feel as if I were going to be walking around with my fluffy pillow sticking out of my ears for the rest of my life–I rolled over on my bed, groaning. Not sure how loud I was, considering I couldn’t hear anything but muffled, delighted laughs, I removed the pillow, listening hard.
I could no longer hear Lincoln and his most serious girlfriend yet, Candie, in the bedroom down the hall from mine, so I set the plush square back onto the bed and laid my head down, attempting to fall asleep.
Lincoln and Candie had spent every night for the past month “together,” not for lack of a better word, but to spare me from disturbing thoughts. It was easy to accept the fact that my best friend was off gallivanting with strange women who I never saw again, but to know that he spent all his time with one, nice woman who he wanted to someday marry was absolutely awful, and I had no idea why.
It’s not like she wasn’t a kind person. In fact, I liked her the most out of all the girls that traipsed through our apartment, but for some reason I couldn’t look at her without getting the sudden urge to vomit. “You’re in love with him, obviously,” said Apricot casually when I recited this exact thought to her while working at the diner.
I scoffed and brushed this thought aside. Yeah, I was in love with Lincoln Lavender. Never in a million years would I feel anything even remotely similar to love towards that grape.
“Now, I need help wooing Periwinkle,” Apricot said, just as nonchalantly as when she told me I was in love with Lincoln.
I looked up at her, cocking one eyebrow. “What?” I asked, completely confused as I turned back to resume wiping the already pristine counters. My orange friend had never brought up anything related to Periwinkle before, not even as a passing comment. “What happened to liking Cherry?”
She shrugged. “Please, that was before, when I was young and childish–”
“–that was less than a year ago–”
“–and had absolutely no clue what kind of man I was looking for–”
“–again, I say, that was maybe ten months ago.”
She slapped me as hard as she could across the face. Yelping, more from surprise than pain,–considering she hit like an old woman– I glared up at her.
“Stop interrupting me,” she seethed. “I was speaking, if you didn’t notice.”
“Oh, I noticed,” I said coolly. “I just wanted to make sure you knew that you were ‘young and childish’ only a few months ago. I’d like to know what you even see in Periwinkle. You’ve never mentioned him before now.”
She sighed. “Oh Adelaide, poor, deprived, Adelaide. My sweet,” she said, cupping my chin in her small hands. “How I wish I could bestow upon you the knowledge I have collected over my many advanced years in this life.” She drew out her words, making everything she said seem rather dramatic. “If I don’t do something about this treachery, you may die before ever having the chance to truly live.”
I pulled out of her surprisingly firm grip and swatted her hands away. “Shut up,” I snapped, trying to keep myself from laughing. She really was amusing when she tried. “Now speak to me as a twenty-first century human being, and tell me what is going on.”
She giggled, clearly proud of herself and shrugged again. “I dunno,” she stated simply, sitting on the stool placed behind the counter for the employees. “He’s cute and we’ve been spending most of our time talking to each other. We really get along and understand each other.”
“Wow, a big shot doctor like him can spare time for a lowly waitress like you?” I teased.
She hit me playfully again, suppressing a smile.
“It sounds like you’re getting along just fine, why do you need my help?”
“We’re friends, yes, but I want to ask him on a date and don’t know how. I’m really nervous. What if he says no?”
“Then he says no and you move on with your life.”
She gaped at me. “I wish I had your attitude about things like this. It would make going through life much easier.”
I grinned at her. “I know how to pretend like I don’t care.”
“Hey Adde, mail’s here,” Lincoln informed me, slapping some envelopes onto the kitchen counter.
“Okay, thanks,” I stated absently, turning the page of my book.
“There’s something for you here,” he urged.
“I’ll get it later.”
“I think you might want to open it.”
Slamming the book down onto the couch impatiently, I pushed myself up from where I sat and walked over to where Lincoln stood, eyeing me excitedly. “Why are you so eager for me to open my mail–” My mouth dropped at the sight of the return address:
Sidney Rogers, Sunlit Tides
There was more, but I didn’t get a chance to read it before lunging towards the gorgeous little piece of paper containing something from my real father. Ripping it open like an eager carnivore around meat, I sent the little shreds of white flying everywhere, causing Lincoln to groan as he leaned down and scooped them up into his purple hands.
Nothing. It had nothing but a check. I pulled it out and stuffed it into my pockets, hoping that maybe he had attached a letter as well.
Nothing but a piece of paper with “For Your College Education” on it. I looked at the check and my eyes widened. “What the fu–” I started, but was interrupted by Lincoln snatching the note and check out of my hands.
“Son of a mother,” Lincoln breathed. I almost laughed at his lack of swearing,–which only happened when he was genuinely shocked–but I was too surprised myself to let out more than a “Yeah, I know.”
“Why would he send you a check for your college education after nineteen years of being away?” Lincoln asked dumbly. As if I knew. “And not even a damn letter. How courteous of the man!”
I laughed hoarsely. “Lincoln, you know this is a good thing, right?”
He nodded quickly. “Clearly, but the lack of wording is a little disappointing.”
I sighed. “I know, but this shows that he wants to be there for me. Should I take the money?”
“Should you take–” he started, but stopped, rubbing his temples. “Uh no der!” he exclaimed. “Free money, baby! Take it! Take the money.” His last sentence made him sound rabid.
“Calm down there, Mr. Grape Pants, I can’t take green from a man I’ve never even met before, regardless of our relation.” Lincoln looked at me as if I were going insane. He opened his mouth to retort, but before he could say anything, I said, “I’m sorry, Lincoln, lemme think about this.”
I ran into my room, holding firmly onto the check and little piece of paper and sunk onto my bed. Tears formed in my eyes and I blinked them away. It wasn’t like me to get emotional. I hadn’t cried since the night my mother was murdered.
Hearing from my biological father, no matter how letter-less it was, was amazing. It confirmed that he was real, that he was a living, breathing person that actually cared about me. Hell, he gave me more money than I had ever seen in my life for my education!
And yet, something didn’t seem right. Why would he not explain anything? Why would he not tell me who he was? Did he just expect Mom to tell me who my real dad was? If he didn’t, did he honestly think that I’d be stupid enough to take cash from a mysterious source?
Whatever his thoughts were before sending this, it felt good as I laid back on my bed, putting my hands behind my head, still holding onto the first thing that my father had ever sent me. I quickly fell asleep with the thought of someday possibly meeting him.
What would it be like? Would he be happy to see me? And how quickly would we adapt? I knew it would be nicer than having Peter as a father, but I was still concerned that we would never warm up to each other and nothing would change, and there was one thing I knew for sure:
I needed a change.
Maybe taking the money and going off to college would be a good thing. I had already wasted nearly a year doing virtually nothing with my time that I could’ve spent at college, getting an education. I did need a good job that could help support Lincoln and I. And then a thought occurred to me: if Lincoln and Candie got any more serious than they already were, I’d be working for only one: me.
Regardless, I planned to head to the bank and deposit the money sent from Sidney Rogers. Maybe everything would just get better from here.
The next day, after relaying this news to Apricot, Cherry and Periwinkle, I headed to the bank, thoughts of Ash clouding my mind, making the drive to Twinbrook Bank a total haze.
We needed to break up, and I knew it. We weren’t working, and the worst part of all of that was, was I had missed my period, and that was what triggered this need to end it between us.
I knew that if I were pregnant, I needed to go to college especially bad, but it would also make things harder.
The only person who knew of my possible pregnancy was Lincoln, and he convinced me to go to the doctor to check. I was too afraid to use a home pregnancy test, terrified of what it would tell me. With other things on my mind, I hadn’t been able to get around to it yet. Before I could address that problem, I had to deal with Ash and this college situation. But what first?
Ash. It would be the easiest and would take the least amount of time. I know that probably sounds really insensitive, but the less sentiment I put towards it, the better. If I thought about what it would probably do to him and how it would seriously change the way I lived, it would only make it more difficult.
After handing my cash over to the bank, I headed to Dill’s Diner, where I had scheduled to meet up with Ash. When I walked into the building, my gaze landed on him in the corner booth, waving his yellow hand in an attempt to get my attention. I smiled as genuine as I could and headed over to him, sliding in beside him.
“‘Allo,” he said, his cheeks puffy from the bits of hamburger he had in his mouth.
“Charming,” I said, preparing myself for the words that would come out of my mouth in only moments. “Ash, we need to talk.”
He looked at me more seriously now, all humor that was previously there vanishing. He quickly swallowed his food and wiped his mouth. “You’re breaking up with me, aren’t you?” he whispered, nearly inaudible.
I sighed and nodded. “I’m really sorry, Ash, but there’s just… things, going on in my life right now.”
“I know, and you won’t tell me about any of them. Have you ever thought that maybe I could help you with your problems if you just told me what was going on?”
I shook my head. “These aren’t things you should deal with.”
He snorted. “But I love you, I’m willing to deal with anything.”
I shook my head again, only more vigorously. “No, Ash, I assure you that my problems are too big for you to handle. I’m a complicated person, and it’s only going to get worse from here. Whether you like it or not, I need this to end. If you really love me, you won’t argue like I know you’re preparing to do.”
He nodded, looking defeated as he shut his previously opened mouth. “Okay, I guess I can’t really argue with you, can I?”
I smiled wearily and risked touching his exposed hand that was resting on the table. He pulled away, which wasn’t all that shocking. “I better go,” he whispered, hastily got up from his seat and speed-walked away. I watched him get into his car through the window and drive off, knowing that there was a good chance that I would never see Ash Crow again.
With less to do that day,–regardless of how weighted down I felt after that confrontation with Ash–I headed home and registered for classes online. I had it planned to hopefully teach dance at a high school or middle school someday, so I based my classes on that wish.
With a new sense of satisfaction I was worried my breakup with Ash would overpower, I headed to Lincoln’s bedroom and knocked on the door. A few moments later he opened it and admitted me. I could feel his lavender eyes staring at me intently as I sat down at his desk and fiddled with the pencil sitting there pointlessly.
“So, how’d it go with Ash?” he asked, sitting down on his bed, not taking his gaze away from me.
I shrugged. “As well as it could’ve.”
He grinned. “I’m glad you’re done with that guy. He really didn’t feel right to me. I’m sure you’ll meet someone better.” He turned away, and I could’ve sworn that I heard him say “and someone more purple,” but it was probably just my imagination.
I slapped my hands on my knees, earning his attention once more. “I was tested a few weeks ago for my pregnancy, and he called yesterday so I scheduled a doctor appointment for later today.”
“Oh, great! Can I come with?” he inquired hopefully.
I shook my head. “I think this is something I should do alone.”
He nodded, allowing me to exit his room. I left the apartment and I swear that no elevator ride has ever taken that long before. I took a deep breath as I stepped off onto the bottom floor and trudged to my car, trying to prepare myself for what could possibly be life-changing news.
I knew that I was still young,–only nineteen–and that I wasn’t yet ready to be a mother, but I also knew that the few nights I spent with Ash would have their consequences and I needed to face what would be dealt out to me.
I drove for about fifteen minutes, not really paying attention to what was going on around me, completely oblivious.
When I arrived at the doctor’s building, I pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of the car and headed into the office. “Hello,” said the nurse behind the counter politely. “Please sign in and fill this out.” She pointed at a clipboard with “Sign In” typed at the top and handed me another clipboard with a sheet filled with questions on it.
“Thanks,” I said quietly and took a seat next to a girl who couldn’t have been more than sixteen.
I absently checked my symptoms and answered the questions that it asked until another nurse popped through the door and called, “Adelaide Arbury?”
I hopped out of my chair and handed her the information. “Do I give this to you?”
She nodded and smiled at me. “Alright Miss Arbury, come with me,” she said after glancing at my ring finger, clearly to check that I was still “Miss.” She led me to a small area with a scale and a green, fading seat and indicated the scale. “Please take off your shoes and step up here for me.” I obeyed as she scratched down the numbers onto her board.
She pointed at the emerald chair and I sat down, focusing intently on the floor.
“I’m just going to take your blood pressure now.” She wrapped the black what’s-it’s-bucket around my arm and squeezed the pump on the end. It got tighter and tighter until it felt like my entire limb was going to fall off.
When she had finished with the small tests she took me to a room and sat down at the counter, writing some more things down on a sheet that I couldn’t see from where I was sitting.
“Okay, well, the doctor should be here in a few minutes,” she informed me and left the room, leaving me to myself.
I scanned my surroundings: There was nothing significant, only a few magazines on a little shelf and a couple of posters showing what the baby looked like when it was in the womb. I sighed. Did I have a little peanut in me right then?
I was snapped out of my trance by the door opening: In walked a man in a white coat, smiling broadly at me. His hay colored hair was balding and his skin was a pasty white color. He was slightly pudgy, but it appeared that at one time or another he had been adorable.
“Hello Adelaide,” he greeted. “I apologize for all those tests. We failed to get them the last time you were here for one reason or another.” He eyed me up and down and said faintly, “The test came back, and you aren’t pregnant.”
I heaved a sigh of relief and smiled. “Great, I’m not ready to be a mom just yet.”
He nodded his understanding. “I do, however, have some bad news to go with the good news.” My eyes widened involuntarily at his statement. He folded his hands on the white counter and looked at me sadly. “Adelaide, chances of ever conceiving a child are very slim.”
He allowed me a moment to let his words sink in. When they did I covered my mouth, suddenly frustrated. “What’s wrong with me, then?” I muttered, my voice muffled by my fingers.
He shook his head. “Nothing, your body’s just simply not made for baby carrying,” he replied.
“So it’s not possible to ever have a kid?”
“No, no, it is, but you honestly have a better chance of winning the lottery. I really do regret to inform you of this, Adelaide, but you have to realize that this isn’t uncommon. It happens to a lot of women everywhere.”
“But this doesn’t explain why I was late. My period, I mean.”
“It’s also rather common to be a little late. It isn’t always going to come on the exact same day each month. There’ll be some times where it’s a little imperfect, but such is life. I expect it’ll be arriving any day now.” There was genuine sadness entwined in his tone.
“Thank you,” I mumbled, standing up abruptly, giving myself momentary whiplash.
“So you have no questions, then?” he confirmed, standing up as well and opening the door to allow me to exit.
I shook my head and gave him a weak smile, leaving the building in a haze. I don’t remember how I got into my car and drove home, but the next thing I knew I was lying in my bed, sobbing into my pillow. Tears streamed down my face as I sniffled, wiping my nose on the fabric, not really caring about how I was soiling the cotton.
Lincoln barged in, concern on his face. “Adde, what is going on?” he demanded, sitting on the foot of my bed, staring at me fiercely. “I heard you crying and have been trying to get you to come to the door for the past five minutes.”
I ignored him and continued to weep, shielding my face from his view. “Please go away,” I whispered, just loud enough for him to hear.
“No.” He crawled up the bed and wrapped his arms around me, cradling me where we lay. “I’m here now, if it makes any difference.”
I grabbed his hand that was laying limping over my waist and squeezed. “What would Candie say if she knew this was happening?”
“It doesn’t matter. Candie isn’t here.”
I closed my eyes, savoring this moment. I had never felt so sad, but I didn’t want that moment in time to end. Lincoln made me feel warm.
I fell asleep in his arms a few minutes later and when I awoke again, the sun had set and rose again. I slumped through the doorway and into the kitchen, where Lincoln stood by the stove, cooking his trademarked (although not really) banana pancakes. “Hey sleepy,” he said as I sat at the counter, resting my head on my hand. “Care to explain why you were crying your pretty little eyes out yesterday?”
“I’m not pregnant.” There was no need to tell him or anyone else the whole of what the doctor had said to me. There was nothing that anybody could do for me and I knew that their attempts to make me feel better would be in vain: The only thing that could make me feel happier was a little bit of time between the moment the doctor walked in and the moment where I accepted it.
He half smiled, clearly not sure whether this was good news or not. “And clearly it’s not a good thing, huh?” he asked as he flipped his fluffy goodness.
“No, it is. I’m too young.”
He nodded. “Then why were you crying?”
“There are just some days that you gotta let it all out, ya know?”
Lincoln turned around and grinned at me. “Yeah, I definitely know. You have a good lot of things to let out, too, don’t you?” I smiled weakly at him. He fixed his attention back on the pancakes until they were finished and served them up on a plate for me.
“Oh, no,” I said, holding up my hands. “No thanks.”
He cocked his head to one side and looked at me blankly. “But why?”
I shrugged. “I’m just not in the mood is all. Not hungry. I’ll just fix myself something later.”
“Well… Alright.” With that he plopped down on the stool next to me and dug in, little, smashed bananas flying out of his mouth with each bite.
“I asked him out on a date and he said yes, Adelaide, yes!” Apricot screamed into my ear as I filled up a cup of root beer. “I may someday be Mrs. Periwinkle Blueberry!”
I laughed at her. A little bit of my usual self had come back over the week since my doctor’s appointment. “Then it’s definitely a good thing that Peri moved to Twinbrook then, huh?”
She nodded violently, causing me to giggle.
“I’m glad you’re happy, Apricot, I really am.” I was honestly excited to see how those two worked out. I was sure that they would be an adorable couple, if not a little bit crazy.
“So how’s the search for your dad coming? I haven’t really heard anything From Officer Cherry lately, or Doctor Periwinkle. Or… Musician Lincoln?”
I chuckled. “No, they won’t know anything. I told them to feel free to take a break. I want to find him, but I’m just… scared.”
“Why are you scared?” She sounded genuinely concerned as she put her hand on mine.
I shrugged. “What if he doesn’t want me? What if he has another family and doesn’t need me?”
She began to laugh hysterically. I raised my eyebrows at her in response. “He sent you a lot of money so you could go to college! If that is a man saying he doesn’t want you and doesn’t care about you, then I want my dad not to care about me!”
I smiled weakly. I guess she had a point.
When I got home later that day after my shift ended, I plopped down on the couch and turned on the T.V., prepared for another evening of boring laziness. I turned on Supernatural, so as to freak myself out. I didn’t know what it was with me, but I liked to scare myself before going to bed.
As the episode came to an end, the doorbell rang. Assuming it was either Apricot, Cherry or Peri, I hopped up from my seat and skipped to the door. “Uno momento, porfavor!” I called as I unlocked it and flung it open.
I stood behind the door, expecting one of my friends to come dancing in like they usually did, but whoever it was remained in the hallway.
“Get your berry butt in here,” I commanded, still assuming it was one of my friends, since we never got any visitors. The only friends Lincoln and I had were the pink, blue and orange ones.
“Um, hello, is Adelaide Arbury home?” The voice that echoed out through my living room was most definitely not one I recognized. It was a deep man’s voice. I peered around the door to get a look at my guest.
He was the same color as me, eyes, hair, skin and all. I instantly knew who it was. “Yes, I’m her,” I confirmed, walking around to face him straight on.
He smiled broadly, flashing pearly white teeth that literally sparkled in the light. “Hello Adelaide,” he said warmly. “I’m Sidney Rogers, and I’m your father.”