Suburbia. Perfect setting for unexpected tragedies. The distribution of roles is clear, of course. Men work hard to earn money and call the shots. Women do the housecleaning take care of the children and make their husbands believe they call the shots. One thing about women in suburbia shall be added, though. They like to tattle with their friends. In summer one can see housewives sitting on porches in the streets, chatting with their girlfriends about random stuff like the scandalous found of the neighbor’s affair. Unfortunately they neglect their precious, dearly-loved children. The problem is that unattended teenagers are prone to get into trouble and trouble often begins with little secrets every teenager hides so despe-rately. And that’s where our story begins:
Splendidly, the red sun throned at the evening sky and shone through the little bathroom window, changing the white tiles into a light red. It had been the hottest day in summer, but the more the day came to its end the more heat vanished, leaving only a slight, comfortable wind blowing gently through the neat streets of suburbia.
The bathroom was a huge, pompous room in which all windows had been opened. From the inside you could hear everything what happened in the neighborhood, if you would listen carefully. The rustle of green leaves dancing in the wind, birds’ twittering filling the air or conversations and laughter of passing citizens (and if you are in luck an argument). All that you could hear from that particular bathroom if you would just listen carefully. But the one who sat in that bathroom hadn’t had the least intention to listen.
Next to the toilet a teenager, not older than seventeen years, sat on the floor, looking pale. She had closed her eyes, leant her head against the wall, mouth opened and felt the warm breeze playing with her hair. The girl didn’t show any sign of life, only with a closer look one could see her slight breathing. It made the impression as if she was asleep. Her long, black hair covered half her face and her make-up looked smudgy. She had taken off her black high heels and had opened the tight red jacket which had wedged her the whole evening, but that is the price you pay for looking good (she always kept that in mind when she wore a new pair of shoes).
Isabella Foster, cheerleader and applicant for the homecoming queen was the most popular girl at her school, especially popular among male students. Always looking to die for, always friendly, always smiling and never bothered blinding people with her extraordinary white teeth. But her perfect appearance began to fade.
In the backyard her whole family had a barbeque, waiting for her to come back, because she had ran into the house without saying a word, fifteen minutes before. Of course, they had no idea why, but Isabella just found out what exactly was happening to her. She had thrown up twice this morning and felt dizzy all day long. Her best friend Katrina Jenkins had bought her a pregnancy test (in school they called her ‘the town slut’. The worry was, that she liked to be called the town slut). She would have bought it herself, but the pharmacist was a friend of her father’s and without fail it would be the number one talking point at the local golfclub. Isabella could even imagine the highly embarrassing scene:
“Oh, George,” the pharmacist would begin conversationally and her father would look at him with his cigar in his mouth. “Do you know who just came to me and bought a pregnancy test that morning?” and Isabella’s father would take his cigar out of his mouth, cheeks blushing of curiosity.
“You tell me!” he would say, grinning about the dirty secret he was about to hear.
“Your very own daughter!”
‘And that would be it. My father’s head would burst into a thousand pieces and his ghost would haunt me until my dying day,’ Isabella thought full of exasperation.
The dreadful scenario in Isabella’s head was interrupted by a cellphone ringing. Slowly, her eyes opened and she ran her finger through her hair to have a clear sight. She stretched for her jacket, searched for her BlackBerry in the right pocket and mumbled: “Hello?” as she found it.
“Hey Bella,” Katrina’s voice sounded cheerful through the telephone. “So?”
Instantly, Isabella understood what the ‘So’ meant. She paused. With a sigh she replied quietly: “I’m pregnant.”
* * *
When Katrina hung up, she put the BlackBerry at her bedside table and lay with her back onto the pink blanket on her bed. She starred at the ceiling, thinking about nothing. Then Isabella’s words resounded in her head: ‘I’m pregnant.’ She sounded desperate, confused and tearful. Katrina promised her to come later that evening and kept company with her in that miserable situation. As a matter of fact, that’s what best friends do, isn’t it?
But as Katrina lay on her bed curiosity arose and that was actually the only reason why she was going to Isabella’s, later that evening. A little smile appeared on Katrina’s face, because she just found some advantage in Isabella’s pregnancy: No boy would look at her again, when she was gaining weight in the next few months. ‘Nobody likes girls who look like hippos,’ she thought and giggled.
One have to know that Isabella had always been the prettier one and that made Katrina go nuts, because she didn’t get the attention from students (first and foremost from male students) she’d like to get. Especially from one particular boy. Since Isabella and Katrina had become friends, Katrina hadn’t received as many compliments as she used to. People were laughing and talking behind her back, calling them: ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ ‘With something more creative they couldn’t come up, stupid lowlifes,’ Katrina thought. She hated, being in Isabella’s shadow, couldn’t show it though. She couldn’t end their friendship, because Isabella knew too many secrets about her.
When she banished the thoughts about the complicated friendship from her head for the moment, she thought about the boy she fancied. Katrina stood up, marched through her room towards the window and looked out of it.
The sun was setting and Lincoln Avenue was nearly empty. Only a few neighbors were enjoying the last few hours of the day, sitting on their porches. Of course, they were only waiting for something scandalous to happen. Katrina was about to lay down again when she saw him.
He was a good-looking, tall, muscular boy, at the same age as she was, and the football captain of the team in Katrina’s school. Pauly Stuart the most fancied boy in school jogged down the street with headphones in his ears, coming straight in the direction of Katrina’s house. Nobody knew that Katrina had a crush on him, even Isabella didn’t know.
She opened a window and stuck her head out of it, about to say hello to Pauly. She was feeling like Julia on her balcony, seeing her Romeo coming for her to confess his love and nobody could ruin that moment. “Now or never,” she whispered.
“Hey, sis!” somebody said and she looked around confused. “Right here,” the voice shouted and when Katrina realized that it was her brother, on the floor above her window she looked up.
The water balloon directly hit her face. “That’s what I call a payback, silly cow!” Katrina’s brother shouted and roared with laughter.
“JASON!” Katrina shouted and tried to wipe the water out of her eyes. Her hair was wet and adhered to her cheeks and her make-up wasn’t really that perfect, anymore. When she could see again she saw Pauly watching the highly embarrassing scene, smiling and then he began to jog again. Slowly, seethed with rage and her face red with shame and embarrassment
Katrina murmured something like: ‘I will kill this boy,’ and ‘Everything had been working well for me when I was an only child,’ and tromped through her room into the bathroom to get a towel to dry her hair. While opening her wardrobe, still thinking about ways to hurt Jason she noticed some familiar voices outside, talking in angry tones.
* * *
“Could you repeat that?” Pauly said horror-stricken.
“I’m pregnant and I’m pretty confident that you’re the father,” Isabella repeated in a rather casual tone.
For a few seconds Pauly just stood there, looking into the eyes of that stupid girl he got pregnant. He didn’t want to be a father of anyone and that was never going to happen until he was ready for it. ‘I am fucking seventeen and on my best way to become a famous football player,’ he thought and couldn’t imagine a baby-boy or baby-girl in his near future. The question was how would he get out of this? “Well-,” he began and thought about a good way to make his position clear. “Of course you don’t keep the baby and have an abortion.” Even he should have known that this was not a clever thing to say, but rather moronic.
He could see the destructiveness of his sentence in Isabella’s face. First, her mouth opened a bit. Apparently the answer had been a slap in her face. Secondly, her eyes filled with tears and she looked just as if she would burst into tears. Thirdly, her face blushed and her eyebrows moved so close that it looked like they had grown together. “Could you repeat that? I truly hope I misunderstood you,” she hissed, doubling her fists a tear running down her blushed cheek.
“Come on. Do you want to be a mother, yet? That would only ruin your figure and wouldn’t do any good to us. We are too young to be parents,” said Pauly. “I mean you can’t even handle your little brother and he is the nicest boy I’ve ever seen. You would definitely be a horrible mother, as you are a horrible sister. Everybody thinks that way.”
And before he knew what was happening, Isabella had stricken him with the flat of her hand. Pauly didn’t know how to react, that was why he was just looking perplexed at Isabella who had turned her eyes away from him. He had never been hit by a woman before, but didn’t like the feeling at all and he was sure that this was never going to happen again. Silently he put his headphones on and started jogging away without looking at Isabella once more.
After a while he thought about the situation he found himself in. He could still feel the spot on his cheek where Isabella’s hand had hit him. Unconsciously he was aware of the fact that he needed to have a proper conversation with her, because this wasn’t anything you could handle easygoing.
Pauly had never thought much about his future. He only wanted to be a football player and this was the only thing he could think of when he pondered on his future. But now the most fancied boy was forced to think about Isabella’s and his future and this was way too much for him. The only thing he was sure about was that there wasn’t going to be an ‘us’ for Isabella and him. ‘The only thing that matters to me is myself and nobody else,’ he thought and nodded as though to agree to this thought.
While thinking about the miserable issue, he saw a boy he had never seen before. He was standing in front of the Wilson’s house with cartons and bags, apparently moving in. But Pauly had no time to have a closer look, because he wanted to go home. This had been a rougher day than he had expected it to be.
* * *
‘I’m fine and I can do it. I can start a new life and make new friends. I did it before so why shouldn’t I be capable of doing it again. I have enough of sitting in my room alone, thinking
about my life and which of my mistakes were the worst. (Of course, one big mistake I have made beats the band). I have been self-pitying myself enough. Put on a fake smile and everybody will think that you’re OK. That was the best thing of being a human. Lock your emotions away, deep inside of yourself, and looking your best from the outside. But sometimes there will be cracks in your cheap facade which will reveal the truth. I will do my very best to stop that from happening ,’ thought Andrew self-opinionated.
‘My aunt won’t be a problem at all. She is as shallow as weird uncle Peter only dating women who looked like Pamela Anderson and that was really weird, because one should think at the age of seventy you’re done with that dating-phase. (And anyway, try to find a seventy year old woman who looks like Pamela Anderson). My sister is the bigger problem, though. It’s like she is a mind-reader or something like that, because she can instantly tell you when something is wrong. Maybe a woman’s intuition...’
Before he could deepen that thought his aunt and sister appeared in the front door, looking pitiful at him. ‘Smile,’ Andrew thought, having problems to make that thought reality, though.
“There he is, my baby-boy!” yelled aunt Sheila, running towards him. She had a fuller figure and her short black hair made the back of her head look like a black leather-ball. When she reached him, she gave him a hug. Choking, because of her big arms which strangled his trachea, he clapped with his hand on Sheila’s shoulder. He hated to be hugged (especially by persons he hadn’t seen in years and who smelled as though they had bathed in a tub full of perfume) and didn’t know how to respond.
His sister’s reaction of his arrival was more pleasant to him. She just waved with one hand to show that she’d noticed his attendance. The relationship with his sister had always been rather uncomplicated. After she had moved to their aunt’s they hadn’t seen each other for years and hadn’t spoken since.
“Now come in, come in. Ehm, you Mr... right you,” she said to the cab-driver and let go of Andrew. “Could you please get the bags and cartons into the house,” aunt Sheila stuffed ten dollars into the cab-driver’s shirt pocket and winked. He just nodded and vanished into the house with Andrew’s bags. “I guess you are hungry. On these planes you never get proper food. Look at you, have you always been that thin? I bet you are starving,” and before Andrew could even reply she dragged him by his arm into the house.
“Wait,” Andrew said as Sheila had dragged him straight into the kitchen. Now, he was able to release himself off her grip and ran outside. The cab’s motor was humming and about to drive away. As the cab-driver saw Andrew running out of the house he opened a window. “Is there anything wrong?” he asked harshly and looked at Andrew who opened the door.
“No. Just forgot my bag!” he swung the black bag above his shoulder and slammed the door. As the taxi had driven away, Andrew looked around.
‘This is it,’ he thought and watched a few neighbors watering their plants. ‘This is my new home. Why do suburbs always have to look perfect? The houses, the flowers, the people. I just can’t understand how people can live here voluntarily. I bet nothing interesting has ever happened around here. Well, what the heck. Maybe that’s exactly what I need now,’ and as Andrew was about to go into the house again he saw a blonde girl with wet hair marching across the street looking really angry. And as he followed her steps he realized that there was another girl with black hair and then something weird happened. When the blonde girl reached the black-haired girl the angriness vanished just as though she didn’t want to let her
black-haired friend know that she was angry at all. Andrew shrugged his shoulders and entered the house.
* * *
Isabella still hadn’t moved and starred dreamily at her mother’s flowerbed which was moving with the wind. Her brain was exhausted. The day had cost so much strength that she felt tired
and burnt-out. Actually, she had always thought of herself as a person who could see the inner personality of someone, at the very first moment they met. But Pauly had shattered that thought into hundred sharp pieces, hurting her mind, doubting herself. ‘How could I be so stupid and so blind and first of all how could I be so utterly wrong? I mean, I should have known that he is a selfish idiot when I caught him stealing the answers for our exams,’ Isabella thought angry with herself and shook her head. ‘Let’s not think about him any longer.
He doesn’t deserve me wasting my time thinking about him.’ At that very moment Isabella looked up and saw Katrina walking across the street, looking quite strange.
Banishing every sad thought, she said: “What are you doing here? I expected you to come in two hours at the latest. And anyway what happened to your-“
”Jason,” replied Katrina briefly. “I was looking out of the window and saw you standing here and thought I should talk to you, because you don’t look your best.”
“Thank you very much,” Isabella said and ran through her hair with her fingers. “It’s not easy to look good while you are puking out your soul.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to-,”
“That’s alright,” Isabella interrupted her. “So. You saw me from your window?” Isabella looked at Katrina’s house, at the open window and then back at Katrina. “How long have you been watching me?”
“Not for long,” Katrina lied. “I was arguing with my brother and then I saw you. Why are you asking?”
“Just out of curiosity,” Isabella said relieved. “Jason, yeah? Still giving you a hard time?” she tried to change the subject, because she didn’t want to think about Pauly nor the pregnancy.
“I don’t know what’s going on in boys’ heads.”
“Tell me about it!”
Katrina looked at Isabella puzzled. “Well I mean. Who really wants to know what’s going on in there,” she said hastily. ‘Get hold of yourself!’ Isabella thought intensely. ‘Don’t act as if you hated boys. Katrina will ask questions and get suspicious and then you’re in real danger. I’m glad she hadn’t ask who the father is, yet.’ At that thought, heat soared into her face.
“OK. I think I should go now. I’ll come back later, but you know how my dad is. Really wants dinner time to be family time,” Katrina said after an awkward silent pause.
“At least you don’t have to explain to your parents that you’re pregnant. That’s going to get ugly,” at the very thought of it Isabella felt like vomiting again.
“So you are really going to tell them?” Katrina sounded amazed.
“You know what pregnancy is right? It would be really difficult to hide first the growing belly and than the baby itself.”
“Still. But please don’t do it while I’m in the same room, because your father is going to explode,” and with these words Katrina turned to go.
“Thanks for cheering me up,” Isabella called after her.
“You’re welcome, Bella!” she yelled before she entered her house.
Lost in thoughts and with no slightest idea how to explain it to her family, Isabella scuffled into the house.
* * *
As the sun finally set and the street lamps shone through the darkness creating big shadows in the quiet street, the Jenkins family had dinner. At the weekend it meant that the whole family sat together at one table eating and talking. Katrina couldn’t hide her distaste for it, though.
At the beginning of the year her father had asked Kate to marry him and to become his second and hopefully his last wife. Kate was thirteen years younger than Katrina’s father and only seven years older than Katrina herself. People still thought they were sisters, which
Katrina always contested noisily. She couldn’t stand her and Kate knew that, but didn’t stop provoking her.
“Katrina,” said Kate suddenly. She looked at Katrina who took a big sip of water, because the soup Kate had made tasted like hot toilet water you got from school (the mere thought of it got you herpes). Kate waited for her to swallow the big sip she just took and followed, “What is going on with Isabella lately? She acts really self-engrossed. I met her in the supermarket today and greeted her, but she didn’t even take notice of me.”
‘Maybe because I told her that you are one big, stupid-’ but before she could end that thought her brother, Jason, interrupted: “Maybe because her boyfriend broke up with her.”
“Don’t intervene Jason,” his father, Christian, said with an accusing look. “You wanted to reply Katrina?”
‘I didn’t, but I have to thank you very much.’ She looked at Kate with a dark look on her face. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I will talk to her later that evening and maybe-“
”Oh, well. I understand. Girl’s secrets,” Kate giggled. “My best friend and me were like that all the time when we were in high school.”
‘Hard to believe that you had friends, pathetic-’ this time it was her father who interrupted her thoughts.
“Well,” Christian began and the tone in his voice changed. Katrina noticed it and knew he wanted to say something important. Her father always uses the word ‘Well’ when something was bothering him and knew he had to tell his children (and for Katrina it had never been any good news). Last time he used the word ‘Well’ he confessed in tears that their mother had left him and absconded with her lover. Before that he used the word ‘Well’ to announce that Katrina would get a baby brother (and even then she didn’t like the thought of having a sibling). Of course, Katrina was curious what her father was about to say. That was for sure: she wouldn’t like it.
“As you know Kate and I have been together for over a year now and I think it is time for a change.” Her father was smiling widely, looking at Kate and stroking her hand. Katrina’s eyes widened in horror, her mouth fell open and her hands tensed up. In her ears she heard her father’s dull voice saying the words which would entirely destroy her life as she had known it and that would be the moment she would remember until the days she dies as the worst moment in her life (besides the birth of her brother).
“We decided when to get married,” Christian said triumphantly. “We agreed on the perfect date for it yesterday.”
“I would like to punch you in the face,” Katrina yelled. Her brain had its time off and she couldn’t prevent saying the words. “I actually thought that you’d be clever enough not to marry her,” and she looked at Kate distastefully. “She is nothing but a gold digger who sneaked her way into this family and sabotaged my life from the very first moment,” she shouted in a blind rage.
Kate began to cry and the wide smile on Christian’s face had vanished. He arose from his chair which fell over. Kate winced as the chair hit the floor. Katrina and her father were staring into each others eyes. Rage was filling the air, you could nearly touch it. Then Christian grabbed his plate and threw it against the wall, breathing heavily.
Katrina wanted out. She had to get out of there. She couldn’t stand them any longer and didn’t know what would happened if she did stay. Katrina ran out of the room, opened the front door and bare-footed she ran out into the dark.
Bewildered she stopped in the middle of the street. She stood in the dark, because the street lamp which actually should light through the night was broken. The stars and the moon were covered by heavy black clouds. Her mind was empty. She couldn’t think of anything else, but envying those teenagers who were laughing, sleeping or just worriless right now. She would have liked to go to Pauly and tell him everything. She imagined him, bringing comfort to her.
Her hands began to shake, she fell on her knees, which began to bleed, because of the hard concrete on which she had fallen and began to shed bitter tears in the end.
* * *
If Katrina had known about Pauly’s problems she probably wouldn’t have envied him any longer, but rather compassionated him. When the darkness broke down over the suburb, Pauly didn’t bother turning on the lights. For hours, he was alone in his room. His parents were watching TV downstairs and didn’t know of any of Pauly’s problems. Lying on his bed, staring at the black ceiling he found himself thinking about a future with Isabella and their child. The more he thought about it, the clearer the image of a life with her got, the more he despised it. He made his decision. He was sure about it and it felt right (for him at least). He didn’t want Isabella to give birth to his child and certainly didn’t want her to be his girlfriend. Everybody in school said that they would be a perfect couple, but Pauly never thought the same way. He liked to have fun, but that was it. Fun nothing more, nothing less. And if someone fell in love with him, he didn’t bother. It was their problem. ‘Love. I am to young to fall in love with anyone!’ was his precept. Maybe he thought this way, because his parents got divorced three years ago. He had always seen them as the perfect couple, but when they separated his mind kind of froze. For him, women became objects not human beings to fall in love with. ‘Only god knows if I will ever fall in love with a girl.’ That was a critical question Pauly didn’t want to think about. When it happened he would deal with it, if not he wouldn’t die because of that.
When he was lying on his bed thinking about these things, the street lamps came on. They shone through his window, hurting his eyes which had gotten used to the darkness. Reluctantly he stood up. It was then, when he reached the window about to draw the curtains he noticed a girl. He had seen her a couple of times before. In school and once on his way home. It was Jessica Brewer who lived with her aunt Sheila. Pauly didn’t like Sheila too much, because once she had offended him as a football-playing-idiot.
Jessica was taking out the trash. Pauly couldn’t stop staring at her. As she got a call and remained at the trash cans, he ran out of his room, down the stairs, put on his shoes and opened the front door. His heartbeat rose and his hands became sweaty. ‘Funny, what that unknown girl does to me,’ he thought.
Jessica had pocketed her cellphone and was about to go into the house again when Pauly called after her. She stopped. When Jessica turned around she had a questioning expression in her eyes, because of the so far unknown visitor. But when her eyes met Pauly’s (and just for a second) another expression flared up in her eyes. Desire.
Of course, Pauly didn’t notice it. He just smiled simple-minded and looked at her. Seconds passed and it didn’t even occurr to him to say anything.
“You’re not really talkative, are you?” Jessica said after a while. She was annoyed.
Realizing, Pauly stammered: “S-Sorry. It was...just a h-hard day.” Apparently the answer was fine for her, because she began to smile.
“Why? What happened that tied your tongue?”
“Nothing worth mentioning, really.”
‘God, think of something. Anything. Talk about her. That’s what girls like,’ he thought and collected his thoughts.
“But enough about me,” he said, pretending self-confidence. “How was your day?”
“Silently. Well, to be honest. Boring. Last day before school starts again and what did I do? I watched TV and leafed through school books. Oh and my brother moved in today. That’s going to be real fun. He’s the most boring boy I know.”
Pauly remembered the boy with the cartons he had seen earlier that evening. ‘That had to be her brother,’ he thought. “I think I saw him earlier. Can’t imagine your sibling is boring, because you are definitely not boring.”
Jessica had to smile. ‘More compliments. Think of more compliments.’
“I love your smile. Should do that more often,” Pauly said and moved closer.
Her smile vanished from her face. Both were looking straight into each other’s eyes. They moved closer so that Pauly could feel Jessica’s breath in his face. Their lips only millimeters away from touching.
The front lights of Jessica’s house were turned on and shone brightly through the darkness. As if someone spilt a bucket of cold water over them, they moved away from each other. Sheila, Jessica’s aunt stepped out of the house followed by Andrew. Her dressing gown didn’t minimize her frightening appearance and her black look gave Pauly goose bumps.
* * *
Instantly, Andrew didn’t like Pauly. He knew exactly what type of person he was. At his old school he usually tried to prevent meeting them in corridors. Football-players. Selfish and more muscles than brain cells. That was an important fact, because when you are not one of them it’s always good to be smart (or at least a pretty girl). You can offer them your help (as if you have a choice). You give them your homework, prepare their talks and let them copy your answers in tests. Therefore they’ll let you walk home with all your teeth in place.
He wondered whether he was in his class or not. Certainly Andrew hoped that none of these walking bull terriers were in his class, but it was High School. Which meant that at least one of them would give him a hard time. He wasn’t expecting anything from his new school. And the last thing he’d expect was not to get treated like dirt. His bleak prospects were interrupted by the shrill voice of his aunt.
“Jessica Natalia Brewer! You were supposed to take the trash out, not kiss it!”
‘Did she just call this boy trash?’ Andrew couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He had never seen that boy before, but apparently he was no good. Aunt Sheila had visited him a few times before, but he had never seen her that angry. One can only imagine how embarrassing it was for Jessica who stood frozen in the light of the front lights persistently holding Pauly’s hand. Sheila raised one of her eyebrows, giving Jessica an outrageous look. As if something bit her, she let go of Pauly’s hand.
Still starring at Jessica, she snapped: “What are you waiting for?”
Jessica mumbled sheepishly: “Goodbye” and she entered the house. When she passed her aunt she side glanced at her and gave her one of the best angry looks Andrew had ever seen. Aunt Sheila watched Pauly persisently though and missed her look. “And you,” she continued in a low voice, nearly hissing, “You better keep you hands of things you can’t handle.” And with these words she entered the house as well.
Andrew looked at Pauly for a short time, but as he looked back Andrew followed his aunt. Curiosity rose like a fire inside of Andrew. He badly wanted to know what that boy had done to make his aunt that angry. Actually Andrew had never seen her like this before. Only a friendly, warm person, hugging people without their assentation. But this side of her which he had never been aware of kind of scared him to death. ‘If a by who is not a relative to her,
only a neighbor did something stupid and she disliked him that much, what would happen when he did something inappropriate?’ This question exceeded his imagination. ‘Better not find out!’ he thought to himself, silently.
When he went into the kitchen where both his aunt and his sister were standing he could almost feel the awkwardness floating in the air. He didn’t know if he should dare saying something, but nothing came up in his mind what he could do to calm down the situation. Andrew knew that his aunt was one stupid comment away from exploding.
Her head looked like a red balloon and her eyes were little slits, starring angrily at Jessica. A few beads of sweat gleamed on her forehead and her hands were formed into a small meat fists. Only a well trained psychologist could tell what was going on in her mind. That was why it was so astonishing when aunt Sheila’s fists turned into stubby fingers again and she only said in a high-pitched voice: “Jessica I know that I can’t decide whom you will or will not date, but trust me he’s no good for you. I would really appreciate it if you didn’t see him again.”
Even Jessica’s eyes widened. Andrew couldn’t quite explain what had happened to his aunt, but he definitely wanted to find out. With a look on her watch their aunt said shocked:”Oh my! Tomorrow is your first school day and we are talking in the middle of the night. Hurry up you two and get to bed!”
Andrew looked at the clock, hanging over a calendar on which the next day was circled and highlighted. It was just nine p.m. and he couldn’t remember going to bed that early before. He sighed and watched his sister leaving the kitchen without saying anything else. Andrew could understand that she didn’t want to challenge her luck. But tonight he couldn’t even think about sleeping, because he was too nervous. School never meant anything good to him! After two hours lying in his bed he got up and marched through his room to the window.
The streets were empty and nearly all windows of neighboring houses were dark. Nevertheless in one house there was still light. Andrew remembered that it was the same house which the black-haired girl had stood in front of. He wondered if it was her who was still awake.
Isabella marched through her room, trying not be too loud due to the fact that her parents and her brother were already asleep. She was nervous. Extremely nervous. Every now and then when she passed her window she looked out of it and tried to spot any suspicious movement. “Where are you?” she whispered and moved closer to the window. “I can’t believe you’re doing that to me.” Her window was breath-clouded. Suddenly she turned around grabbed her BlackBerry from the bedside table and looked at it closely. ‘No new messages,’ said the black letters on the display. Her background photo was a picture of Katrina and her, last year in
cheerleader-camp. Isabella liked to think of that time. But cruel reality couldn’t let her out of its rough claws for even a few minutes. She threw her BlackBerry on her bed and started walking around again. ‘Something happened,’ she thought determined. ‘But why doesn’t she call me? I would if something happened to-‘ Isabella sighed. ‘Right I forgot. Something has already happened to me,’ and she touched her belly. She hadn’t told her parents yet and if she had a choice she would never tell anyone. Her mind ran riot and created scary pictures: Her father screaming at her, her mother crying in a corner - The birth itself and Pauly whispering the word abortion again and again. Isabella bit her lip and breathed heavily to stop herself from crying.
Suddenly someone knocked on her door. Adrenaline flooded her body and she jumped onto her bed, fighting her way under the blanket, but before she could turn out the lights her mother opened the door.
Mariella Foster wasn’t what you would call a typical housewife. Her outfits were always chosen well-considered. If she had to do the chores she wore comfortable clothes and flat shoes. If she had to go to a dinner party she dressed glamorous. If she had to go to school events she was elegant (wearing a pearl necklace, of course). And if she had service providers around she wore a very décolleté blouse (thanks to this, they usually payed half of the actual price). All this got her the nickname black widow (or maybe because of her long black hair and her tanned skin?).
She closed the door behind her. Gently smiling she walked through the room, just like Isabella did seconds before and then sat on the edge of Isabella’s bed. “Your father is asleep,” she began and Isabella had no idea what to expect. “Are you going to tell me now what is going on with you?”
Isabella’s face began to burn and her heartbeat got faster. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. On one hand her mother was the only person who could understand in which desperate position she was but on the other hand it was her mother and of course she wouldn’t be too ecstatic about it. “It’s-” she paused and made her decision. “It’s nothing really. I think I’m getting ill.”
Her mother smiled and for a stupid second Isabella thought she had bought it. But as her mother laid the pregnancy test onto her blanket, which Isabella had thrown into the trash can of the bathroom, she felt like fainting. “Are you going to tell me the truth now?” her mother said with a calm voice.
Silently Isabella nodded and stood up, marched over to her window and sat on the window sill. And only for a few seconds her eyes got distracted by a black silhouette of a girl sneaking into Katrina’s house. Isabella closed her eyes, leant her head against the pane and whispered tearfully: “I’m pregnant mom. And I need your help.”
* * *
When Katrina had ran out into the dark streets of the suburbia, kneeling on the warm concrete and looking up into the sky with her watery eyes, thoughts were hammering against her skull. Some solving all of her problems and some creating even more. The half-moon was diving everything into a soft light and the cloudless sky revealed thousands of stars.
After wandering through the neighborhood without looking right or left her feet dragged her to Pauly’s house. For a while she stood motionless in front of it until the door opened and Pauly came outside. Torn what to do she decided to hide. Before Pauly could spot her through the darkness Katrina vanished behind a tree. Silently she watched Pauly heading over the street in the direction of Jessica who hadn’t been recognized by Katrina, but she was confident that Jessica hadn’t seen her. She didn’t care anyway. Jessica was actually a good friend of Katrina’s and she wouldn’t gossip.
Nevertheless when Jessica and Pauly were seconds away from kissing, Katrina starred puzzled at the two of them. She had never assumed they knew each other that well. “Slut,” she whispered and prayed to God to prevent them from kissing.
Apparently God was in a generous mood and fulfilled the wish. The front lights were turned on and Sheila Summers, Jessica’s aunt, made her way through the door. She yelled something, made Jessica go into the house and went inside seconds later. Katrina noticed a boy who she had never seen before. Lanky, brown hair, not really good-looking (that’s why Katrina turned her eyes away from him). Either way he went inside as well.
Katrina thought about revealing herself and talking to Pauly, but couldn’t quite come up with an explanation for her bloody knees and why she was bare-footed. So she stood behind that dark tree. Its bark felt painfully as she clasped her finger into it and watched Pauly walking home. ‘At least I have something to tell Isabella,’ she thought. And suddenly as if something pinched her she clapped her palm on her forehead. She had forgotten about Isabella. ‘Well, now you have to find an explanation. And it better be good!’
Sneaking home was easier than Katrina had thought. All the lights were out. That somehow bothered her, because it showed her that nobody was interested in Katrina coming home safely any longer. That was actually not what she had expected of the last day of her holidays. As she entered the house with her key she was almost certain that at least her father would sit there waiting for her. But the corridor was dark and no chink of light was visible.
In her room Katrina didn’t bother turning on the lights. She walked through her room and lay down. She was tired and her knees and feet hurt. Suddenly she felt something vibrating next to her head. It was her BlackBerry. A text message from Isabella:
“Where the hell r u? I’ve been waiting 4 u the whole night! I could’ve needed ur help.
Oh and btw my mom knows! And she’s not happy at all. I think she’s gonna tell my dad...
So thx 4 nothing
Katrina read the message over and over again and had only one thought on her mind: ‘I need a damn good excuse!’
TO BE CONTINUED...
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 09.08.2010
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