Allysa shakes her head. “No, you keep me too busy for that. Marshall can watch her while I work.”
“You mean you don’t have people for that?”
Marshall is passing through the living room when he hears me say that. “Shush, Lily. Don’t speak like a rich girl in front of my daughter. Blasphemy.”
I laugh. That’s why I come over here a few nights a week, because it’s the only time I laugh. It’s been six weeks since Ryle left for England, and no one knows what happened between us. Ryle hasn’t told anyone, and neither have I. Everyone, my mother included, believes he simply left for the study at Cambridge and that nothing has changed between us.
I also still haven’t told anyone about the pregnancy.
I’ve been to the doctor twice. It turns out I was already twelve weeks along the night I found out I was pregnant, which makes me eighteen weeks along now. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’ve been on the pill since I was eighteen. Apparently being forgetful a few times caught up with me.
I’m beginning to show, but it’s cold out so it’s been easy to hide. No one suspects a thing when you have on a baggy sweater and a jacket.
I know I need to tell someone soon, but I feel like Ryle should be the first one I tell, and I don’t want to do that over a long-distance phone conversation. He’ll be back in six weeks. If I can somehow keep things quiet until then, I’ll decide where to go from there.
I look down at Rylee and she’s smiling up at me. I make silly faces at her to make her smile more. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to tell Allysa about the pregnancy, but it makes it hard when the secret I’m keeping is being kept from her own brother. I don’t want to put her in that kind of situation, no matter how much it kills me that I can’t talk to her about it.
“How are you holding up without Ryle?” Allysa asks. “You ready for him to come home?”
I nod, but I don’t say anything. I always try to brush off the subject when she brings him up.
Allysa leans back into the couch and says, “Is he still liking Cambridge?”
“Yes,” I say, sticking my tongue out at Rylee. She grins. I wonder if my baby will look like her. I hope so. She’s really cute, but I might be a little partial.
“Did he ever figure out the subway system there?” Allysa laughs. “I swear, every time I talk to him, he’s lost. He can’t figure out whether to take the A-line or the B-line.”
“Yeah,” I tell her. “He figured it out.”
Allysa sits up on the couch. “Marshall!”
Marshall walks into the living room and Allysa pulls Rylee out of my hands. She hands her to Marshall and says, “Will you change her diaper?”
I don’t know why she asks him that. I just changed her diaper.
Marshall scrunches up his nose and lifts Rylee out of Allysa’s arms. “Are you a stinky girl?”
They’re wearing matching onesies.
Allysa grabs my hands and yanks me off the couch so fast, I squeal.
“Where are we going?”
She doesn’t answer me. She marches toward her bedroom and then slams the door once we’re both inside. She paces back and forth a few times and then she stops and faces me.
“You better tell me what the hell is going on right now, Lily!”
I pull back in shock. What is she talking about?
My hands instantly go to my stomach, because I think maybe she’s noticed, but she doesn’t look at my stomach. She takes a step forward and pokes a finger in my chest. “There is no subway system in Cambridge, England, you idiot!”
“What?” I am so confused.
“I made that up!” she says. “Something hasn’t been right with you for a long time. You’re my best friend, Lily. And I know my brother. I talk to him every week, and he isn’t the same. Something happened between you two, and I want to know what it is right now!”
Shit. I guess this is happening sooner rather than later.
I slowly bring my hands up to my mouth, not sure what to tell her. How much to tell her. I had no idea until this moment how much it’s been killing me that I haven’t been able to talk to her about this. I almost feel a little relieved that she reads me so well.
I walk to her bed and take a seat on it. “Allysa,” I whisper. “Sit down.”
I know this is going to hurt her almost as much as it hurt me. She walks over to her bed and sits down next to me, pulling my hands to hers.
“I don’t even know where to start.”
She squeezes my hands, but says nothing. For the next fifteen minutes, I tell her everything. I tell her about the fight. I tell her about Atlas picking me up. I tell her about the hospital. I tell her about the pregnancy.
I tell her about how, for the last six weeks, I cry myself to sleep every night because I have never felt so alone and so scared.
When I’m finished telling her everything, we’re both crying. She hasn’t responded to what I’ve told her with anything other than the occasional “Oh, Lily.”
She doesn’t have to respond, though. Ryle is her brother. I know she wants me to take his past into consideration just like the last time it happened. I know she’ll want me to work things out with him because he’s her brother. We’re supposed to be one big, happy family. I know exactly what she’s thinking.
She’s quiet for a long time as she struggles through everything I’ve told her. She finally lifts her eyes to mine and squeezes my hands. “My brother loves you, Lily. He loves you so much. You have changed his entire life and have made him someone that I never thought he could be. As his sister, I wish more than anything that you could find a way to forgive him. But as your best friend, I have to tell you that if you take him back, I will never speak to you again.”