The next part
|I vaguely recall Rhiannon getting up and moving around the room. Personally, I didn’t plan on getting out of bed today. My body ached like I’d been run over by a MAC truck. No, getting up was not an option. Not even for coffee.
There was a knock at the door. Rolling on my side, I tried to decide whether to answer it or not. It sounded urgent… too bad. Then I smelt it: Lilacs and blood. It was Fern. Now I was definitely not getting it.
There was a click as the door unlocked. Oh no she didn’t. I forced myself to sit up. As the door swung open, I snapped. “Aren’t you supposed to wait until I get it?”
“Were you planning on answering the door?”
She rolled her eyes, “Ms Halek told me you were ill. I was coming to check on you.”
She played the guilt card. I couldn’t argue against that. “Well, since you’re here, shut the door. The light is bothering me.” I flopped back against my pillows.
“Vampires don’t get the flu.”
“Maybe it was the steak I ate last night?”
“Ahh, yes.” She smiled and came further into the room. “How was your date with Rei?”
“How did you know?”
“I sign the day passes.”
I blushed, “Oh, right.”
“Bella, I don’t believe it’s the steak either.”
Fern crossed her arms and hesitated before coming to sit on the corner of my bed. Her smell became stronger and I felt the urge to vomit again. I watched her fold her hands on her lap. Her painted mouth opened, then closed again. There was something she wanted to say. “Have you ever considered that you might be pregnant?”
Pregnant? Well, once or twice. Never seriously. A girl would know that she was pregnant, wouldn’t she? It wouldn’t be left for someone to reveal to her. “Why?”
“I think you should go see the Nurse. Lately, I’ve been feeling something strange-”
“Is that like vampire, ESP?”
“Okay, so it’s a possibility.” I admitted, sighing.
“Would you have gotten pregnant here at the school?”
“Would it be easier if I said no?”
“It would be best if you just told the truth.”
“If it happened anywhere, it happened here.” I added, “And Rei would be the Father.”
“I never questioned that. You and he seem to be the newest ‘It’ couple. Though Rei always seems to be the male half of that equation.”
“Was that supposed to hurt my feelings?”
“I just don’t want you to have regrets.”
“Why do you care?”
I was angry now. If I hadn’t been ready to puke, I would have probably hit her. Lucky for her, my steak was making its way up.
“Bella, I have something to tell you. It’s no mistake that I am your maker. Before your parents died, I was asked to be your guardian.”
My mouth opened in shock. “What?”
“Sophia and Alistair were two of my closest friends. They asked, if anything happened to them, that I turn you. After they passed, I tried to find you. When I did you had already been adopted. Then you came here and-”
“Get out!” I screamed and pointed at the door. “Get out of my room now, you liar! I don’t believe you. My parents never would have wanted this for me!”
Fern nodded, looking sad but left. I didn’t know what to do. Crying seemed like a good idea. Maybe breaking something. Before I did anything, I had to make a trip to the bathroom. Morning sickness was kicking in.
The nurse on duty was a matronly woman. She was round with her silver hair kept in a neat braid. Her pencil tapped again the clipboard. “Name, dear?”
“Arabella Carmen Grimassi-Brujah.”
“Weight and height?”
“125 and five feet, seven inches.”
“Okay.” She set down the clipboard and pencil. “Now what can I help you with?”
Hot blush crept up my face. I had come alone. Too ashamed to tell Rhi and too afraid to tell Rei, I had no other option. What I would have given to have Kate with me. “I need a pregnancy test.”
She nodded, “Alright. If you can just go into the bathroom, I’ll bring one right to you.”
When I didn’t get up, the nurse took my hand. Her soft brown eyes exuded comfort and warmth. “It’ll be okay, Arabella. You seem like a strong girl. Whatever the result, there are options.”
Ten minutes later it was official. I was pregnant. The test had come up with two pink lines. They were cheerful. I was in shock and the pink annoyed me. I was scared out of my mind. The lines should be black. How did I let myself get knocked up?
“Would you like me to get someone?”
“No,” I shook my head. “There’s no one to get.”
It was a tribute to her that she didn’t push me more. I guess the girls who came through here didn’t have support. No best friend, no boyfriend to hold their hands. I probably had both.
“Now,” she had her clipboard again, “there is a few tests we have to perform. And the fact that you are underage means we will have to contact your parents.”
“Fern.” The revelation came to me. “Headmistress Fern is my Guardian. Please send everything to her.”
She looked surprised but nodded. “Of course. Now, if you come back in a couple of days, we can do the testing then.”
I nodded and tried to sniffle back a tear. Her fleshy arms surrounded me and held me. “It’s alright, dear. If you need anything, just ask for Althea, okay?”
Numb, I made my way through the halls. I couldn’t think, couldn’t comprehend the results. I was pregnant with Rei’s baby. I was in a juvenile facility, pregnant with my new boyfriend’s baby. Shit. What was I going to do?
When I stopped walking, I was in front of Fern’s office. I had to tell her. Now was as good of a time as any. I knocked once, twice, three times. No one answered. Frustrated, I tried the doorknob. It turned and the door opened.
She was there but not alone. A man was lounging on the familiar leather love seat. As he turned to look at me, I was drawn to his eyes. They were gray, the color of a stormy sea and framed by copper wire lenses. “Is this her?” He asked.
“Yes.” Fern’s eyes turned towards me as well. The feeling was eerie as hell. “This is Arabella.”
“I can, uh, come back if you’re busy-” I wanted to run away from their stares.
“Don’t be silly.”
Fern used the word silly. It was even more disconcerting than the looks. She smiled at me and turned to look at him. Her collar moved, revealing bite marks. Someone had been snacking on her. My number one guess? The man on the sofa.
“The Nurse will be sending you some paper work. I’ll need you to sign it.”
“Yeah, its about that thing we were discussing earlier. You were right.”
“Oh, Bella.” She stood and looked like she was coming to give me a hug. I didn’t want hugs from Fern.
“I’ll talk to you later, I guess.” I nodded at the stranger, and nodded before leaving. The silence of the hallway was better than her office and it lacked the invasive eyes. Since I was up, I figured I might as well get a coffee.
In the caf, Tom got me my usual. While I sat on the counter, waiting, I heard a familiar voice. “Looking for me?” Rei leaned against my legs, his arms slipping around my waist.
“Nope but I’m happy I found you.”
I leaned in and kissed him softly. He smelt so good, and tasted better. My hands reached for his face. Stubble lined his jaw and chin. He caught my lip between his teeth and gently bit down.
“Argh, shall I make that two then?”
Rei pulled away and looked over my shoulder. “Nah, she and I will share, Tom. Just charge it to my tab.”
Letting me off the counter, Rei took my hand. Our usual booth was empty so we slid into it. “Shouldn’t you be in class or something?” I asked him.
“Trying to get rid of me?”
“Avoiding my question?”
“Maybe.” He took a sip of our coffee. “The teachers don’t expect me to show up.”
“Don’t you want to make something of yourself?”
Rei shrugged, “I’ve always got by.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to do more then get by? I mean, whatever you did to get by got you here.”
“I want to do something, I just don’t know what yet.”
“What did you do to get here?”
“You don’t want to know.”
He sighed, looking down at the table and away from me. “I was a dealer, a thief and a pimp.”
“Yeah. I worked out of this mausoleum that was only half finished. The girls slept in the back; I had the west wing to myself. It was a nice set up.”
Wasn’t today full of surprises? I was pregnant, Fern was my parent’s best friend, and my boyfriend was an expimp. “Shit.”
“Bella?” Rei stroked my cheek. “I- I’m sorry.”
I looked at him and nodded. He might have been the King of the Bad Boys where he was from but I was the Queen of the Bad Girls. I didn’t have a pimp but I’d slept with my fair share of guys. I’d toked, smoked, snorted and injected. And who needed to shoplift when they could just take Daddy’s platinum card? Well, I had but that’s just because I’d ‘made friends’ with a security guard at Macy’s.
“Are you mad at me?”
I turned towards him, tucking one leg under me and playing with the hole in the knee of my jeans. How do you admit you were a slut to your new boyfriend? “I guess I have a confession to make. I did stuff before I came here.”
“You know how you said you were a pimp and a dealer?”
“I was a slut and a user.”
His mouth opened as he tried to think of something to say. “You’re not that person anymore.”
He cupped my face. “Because, babe, none of the girls I worked with wore Prada or Dior. You don’t have track marks or the shakes. You’re dating me, the biggest dealer in school and you’ve never tried to get anything off me.”
“That’s because I use another dealer.”
“You’re not using the others.”
“How do you know?”
“Because, babe,” Rei smirked, “I told them not to. If you’re going to do any of that shit, I want you to have the best.”
“That’s sweet… kinda.”
“I try. Now, were you hinting that you need a little something?”
Not now that I was pregnant. “Nah, I’m not in the mood anymore.”
“Are you in the mood for something else?”
“Do you have some ideas in mind?”
“Is Rhi in your room?”
“Rei, she’s a good girl. She’s in class.”
“Thank God one of us does what we’re supposed to.”
“Amen to that.”
Fern was back at my door later that afternoon. Climbing from bed, I pulled on a robe and answered the door. Rei was still in bed sleeping. “Am I interrupting something?” She asked, trying to see in the room.
“May I come in?”
“Bella,” Fern sighed, “is Rei in there? You know there are no boys allowed in the girls dorms.”
“If I say no will you believe me?”
“I think you’ve gotten yourself in enough trouble now that you’re-”
I left my room and shut the door behind me. “Shut up, he doesn’t know.”
“You haven’t told him?”
“The nurse said I had options. I’m still considering them.”
“I think you should tell him.”
“And I think you should mind your own business.” I snapped. “First you tell me Rei is a play boy. The male half of every ‘it’ couple. Now you want me to tell him I’m knocked up? If I’m just the flavor of the month, he won’t stick around.”
The expression on her face was shocked. All my insecurities had just spilt out in a very Linda Blair ala Exorcist, projectile manner.
She sighed and handed me the medical folder. Turning, I went back into the room. It was dark and warm. He was breathing softly. “Bells?” He mumbled, “That you?”
“No, it’s Rhiannon. I’ve come to take you up on that offer.”
“Ha ha.” When I didn’t come back to the bed, he sat up. “What’s wrong?”
I collapsed onto her bed and began to cry. “Nothing.”
My eyes had a hard time adjusting to the light as he flicked on the lamp. Rei got up and sat by me. I handed him the folder. Curious, he opened it and skimmed the contents. “Are you?”
“And I’m the father?”
He began to cry. My strong, kingpin boyfriend had tears running down his cheeks. “Holy fuck, Bella.”
“Is that a good exclamation or a bad one?”
Rei grabbed me, his lips meeting mine. He kissed me a dozen times then broke away with a laugh. “We’re having a baby! Me and you are going to be parents!”
“God help this kid.”
“You’re going to be such a great mum.” He ignored my sarcasm. “Me, well, I’ll learn to be a dad. I’ll sure as hell be better than mine.”
“So you’re happy?”
“I’ve finally done something worthwhile with my life.” Rei smiled and leaned over, placing his ear to my stomach.
“Hun, whatcha doing?”
“Listening for the baby.”
“Rei, its not even a month old. You won’t be hearing much.”
Laughing again, he got up and sat beside me, his arms circling around my waist. “God, Bella, I never thought I could be this happy.”
I nodded and cuddled against him. “Are you scared?”
“Rei, I’m 17 and pregnant. I’m in a reform school for freaks-”
“Sorry but come on. Before I came here, I didn’t believe in any of this. Now I really don’t have a choice.” Sighing, I shifted against him. “Can I ask you something?”
“Since you’ve been here, how many girls have you been with?”
He pulled away from me. His dark eyes looked troubled and his posture tensed. “Why?”
“I want to know.”
“Because isn’t an answer, Bella.”
“Fern told me you’ve been around. I want to know how many girls.”
“Since when do you tell our Principal about us?”
“Since I got her to sign my paper work to get blood tests because I’m underage.”
“She can’t. She’s not a parent.”
“Fern’s my maker, Rei.”
His eyes widened. “You’re shitting me.”
“Nope, she finished turning me when I got here. Don’t change the subject.”
“Fine, I’ve dated three and slept with ten or so.”
I nodded slowly. “Are any of them…”
“What do you think, Bella? No, none of them got pregnant. If they did, I wasn’t told and no baby was ever born.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean… I’m just scared.”
“Like I’m not?” Rei pulled me onto his lap, resting his chin on my shoulder. “Me and you, we’ll take care of this. I’m not just going to abandon you. It’ll be me, you and her.”
I smiled a little. “Her?”
“A little girl who looks like her Mom.”
“What about a little boy?”
He shrugged, “There’ll be time for that later.”
“So we’re having more?”
“I think six or seven.”
I laughed in shock. “We’ll see about that, Rei. You’re not the one who has to have the kids. As usual, I’m the one doing most of the work.”
“Oh are you? Well, I’ll have to make it up to you.”
Rhi came in. Glancing at him briefly, she took off her jacket. “Do I need to change my bedding?”
“No.” I rolled my eyes. “We were just talking.”
“Is that what you kids are calling it these days?”
Rei slid me from his lap, standing. This was bad. I could feel him vamping out. Taking his hand, I tried to pull him back down. It didn’t work. “I always wondered why Bella has such low self-esteem.” He pulled away from me and took a step closer to her. “You treat her like she’s doing something wrong.”
“I do not!”
“Do too and for your information, we were discussing our daughter.”
Her eyes turned to me and I felt myself shrink. This wasn’t how I wanted to tell her. She looked worried. “Are you?”
“When did you find out?”
“Who took you to the Nurse?”
I felt Rei look at me too. “No one. I decided to go alone.”
Their expressions mirrored each other’s. Both looked hurt and disappointed. It was an uncomfortable silence. I slid on my shirt over my tank and pulled on my jeans. I couldn’t handle this right now. Grabbing my purse, I rolled my eyes. “I’m going to get coffee. You two can either come and behave yourselves or stay here and kill each other. Your choice.”
The two most important people in my life here looked at each other. Slow grins spread across their face. “Okay, Mum.” Rhi said smartly.
“We’ll behave.” Rei chided. “Wouldn’t want to get grounded.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a room with you and Bella.”
The friendly banter continued downstairs and to the café. Life could be strange sometimes. Wonderfully weird. I wouldn’t have it any other way.