Begin Again

Page 22

"A little after eleven," she replied. "How are you feeling?"
I groaned and lifted up onto my elbows, my brows furrowing when I noticed my state of semi-undress. I was wearing my sleep shorts and tank top, and had no recollection of how I'd gotten that way. I started looking around frantically, wondering if I'd come home with someone last night. Huntley saw the horror in my eyes and calmed me with a hand on my shoulder.
"Relax," she said quietly, "No one else is here." She leaned over and took a glass of orange juice and some Tylenol from the nightstand. "Drink this, you'll feel better."
I murmured "thank you" and swallowed the orange juice and Tylenol in one gulp.
Huntley watched me and I noticed her demeanor was more subdued than normal. I leaned back against my headboard. "Are you okay?" I asked.
She hesitated and then replied, "I'll run your shower, and then we'll talk, okay?"
She stood up but I grabbed her arm and stopped her. "What's wrong? Is this about last night?" I remembered bits and pieces about the night before but the details were still a little fuzzy.
Huntley sat back down next to me, and I saw her eyes had grown wet.
"You're starting to freak me out," I said, my throat growing thick with concern.
"I have something tell you." She swiped a tear that fell down her cheek and looked up to meet my worried gaze.
"Spit it out girly, I can't read your mind."
"I… I…" she paused and took a moment to compose herself, "This is harder than I thought it would be."
She needed some time and I'd give it to her. So I waited, and when she was ready to tell me what made her heart so heavy, I'd listen.
"I'm…I'm…I'm pregnant." She burst into tears and I had no idea what to say. The feelings running through me were nothing short of a clusterfuck.
"That's amazing!" I said. My enthusiasm was fake and I prayed that she couldn't hear it in my voice. I chalked it down to a killer hangover and nothing more, despite the menacing feeling unraveling in the pit of my heart and soul. I couldn't fall apart over this. Not in front of Huntley. "Why are you crying? You're supposed to be happy!"
"I am," she cried, her face red and puffy, "but I was so terrified to tell you."
"B-because I don't want you to hate me!"
I stared at my best friend, watching the way her lip trembled. She had been too afraid to share her news with me out of fear that I'd hate her. I could never hate her. I loved her too much.
I scooted closer and took hold of her shaking hand. "I could never hate you," I swallowed the emotion in my throat, "and I'm sorry that you were too afraid to share this with me. I'm happy for you Huntley, I really am. Does Grayson know?"
She shook her head. "No, I only saw the doctor yesterday to confirm it. I wanted you to be the first to know."
I squeezed her hand. "How far along are you?"
She gave me a genuine half-smile. "Only ten weeks."
"I'm sure Grayson will be thrilled."
"I know he will," she laughed lightly. "He wanted us to have another baby, little did we know I was already pregnant when we decided to start trying. I didn't think it would be so easy to fall pregnant a second time."
"It was meant to be," I whispered, feeling my own eyes burning. I wanted Huntley to think it was because I was happy for her, but it was really because a small part of me died inside. Did that make me a bad friend? Probably.
Huntley wiped her face and gave me a hug. Keep it together, I told myself.
"I love you, Demi, so much . You're my best friend."
"I know," I replied quietly, trying not to allow my emotions to get the better of me, "I love you too."
We pulled away and Huntley looked at me sheepishly. "Are you okay after last night?" she asked. It was my turn to look sheepish.
"I don't know," I replied, "I don't remember much. Care to fill me in?"
"You had a little too much to drink," she explained. "And Brody had to drive you home."
My brows furrowed in confusion. "Brody?"
Huntley nodded and I saw the same question in her eyes that was burning itself into my mind: Why would he do that? Because he still cares.
Thinking about him triggered memories about the night before and as they flashed in my mind, my body went rigid and my eyes widened. The night started off drama-free for the most part and ended with…Brody and I…having sex…in the storeroom.
"What is it?" Huntley asked. I'd obviously done a bad job of hiding my shock.
I shook my head, plastering on a fake smile. "It's nothing. I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. It's all fine."
I could tell she didn't believe me but it wasn't in her to push for information.
"Okay," she acquiesced, standing up with a heavy sigh. "I have to leave, but I'll see you at the rehearsal dinner tonight?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I'll see you there."
Huntley was half way out the door when she stopped and turned to face me. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine," I lied. "Promise."
She disappeared out the door and I heard the front door shut a few minutes later. I sagged against my headboard and I knew I was holding on by a thread. It was all too much to deal with at once. I threw the covers off and padded my way across my soft plush carpet into the bathroom. I stared at myself in the mirror and chocked back a sob when I didn't recognize the woman staring back at me. It had been a while since I'd felt like that and it all started when Brody showed up.
I turned my shower on and waited for the water to reach scalding hot before stepping in. The hot water soothed my aching muscles but my heart still hung heavy in my chest. I was a mess and I'd only made it worse for myself by allowing Brody to fuck me like a whore in a storeroom of a bar. "Oh God," I cried out, finally letting the dam break. I slid down the wet tiles and hugged my legs, resting my forehead on my knees. Guilt had made itself at home in my blood and pumped through my veins. Huntley and Grayson were expecting their second baby and I couldn't even muster enough selflessness to be completely happy for them. I wanted so badly to be excited for them. But I wasn't and I'd openly lied to my best friend about how her news really made me feel. I felt cheated, because I had so much taken from me. I felt guilty because I would have never begrudged Huntley and Grayson their happiness. I felt broken because everything had fallen apart all over again in a matter of days. I felt alone because I'd lost everything that I'd dreamed of having. Including myself. I had no idea where to go from here. Except, I had no choice but to move forward and get through it, just like I did before. This was what life was about wasn't it? Rising above adversity and beating the odds. I'd done it once, so I could do it again. Couldn't I?
My body shook with every sob and I cried until there was nothing left. When it was all over I wasn't sure if I had it in me to pull myself out of this hole. Until I remembered the last words Brody had whispered to me after he'd put me to bed last night.

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