Here’s the second of two parts for tonight!
“You ate all of the cookies?” The frown that had once adorned the face of the mother of the two girls laying on the floor was replaced with a grin. Paige giggled and placed the empty plate of cookies next to her haphazardly, pushing herself from the ground while looking at her mother with twinkling eyes.
“Not just me, mum. Abigail ate just as many as I did!” The aforementioned girl was wiping her eyes, attempting to collect herself. At the mention of her name she sat up, shrugging her shoulders and putting on a grin to match her mother’s.
The two smiles were not alike in just structure; the women shared DNA, after all. It was the similarity in deception, a slight hint keen with intent. Each woman knew that the other was hiding something; bluffing right in front of the girl who stared between them happily. The youngest knew nothing of the situation, but could feel how tense it had suddenly become in the room. She could sense that something was about to go wrong.
“I’m going up to my room. Tons of homework. Call me before you leave, Abigail!” The oldest shot her a look, one last plead to stay. Paige, however, did not notice her sister’s cry for help and ran up the stairs.
To say the least, Abigail figured she deserved it for being such a shitty sister.
Her mother’s smile disappeared as soon as she heard Paige’s door close. She shook her head, picking the empty cookie platter from the floor and placing it in the sink, turning on the tap. As she washed, she let the silence linger. It was almost as if she was taunting Abigail, the mother. Abigail did not know how much she knew in this moment, and she honestly did not want to find out.
“So…Has the company called you yet?”
“Twice.” Abigail replied, grabbing a broom from the cupboard and beginning to sweep the spare crumbs from the floor. She seemed cocky, but not in the way that her mother was so used to. “I think they really want me. They might even be considering me for a contract right out of the academy.”
The cookie plate clattered in the sink. Anthea Armstrong did not look at her daughter, but kept her head straight, focusing on the water dripping from the plate into the sink, the drain swallowing it with its gentle power. She took a breath, shaking her head in attempts to remove the anger that had begun to bubble inside of her. Abigail jumped at the sound of the dropping plate but pretended to ignore what was going on. This only frustrated her mother more, and she turned to her with a vindictive glint in her eyes, identical to her daughter’s but bearing a completely different expression.
“Why won’t you talk to me?” Her voice was harsh, louder than Abigail knew it would be if she were talking about the company. She realized, all too late, that her mother knew every last detail of the incident that was plaguing her.
“Would you have listened to me?”
“I would have done a hell of a lot more than Paige could do, Abigail. She’s thirteen! She shouldn’t be so informed about things like this. She’s a little girl, she has her whole life ahead of her! What do you think she thinks about finding out that her sister whored herself out like that?”
“I didn’t whore myself out, mother. It was a mutual thing that we agreed upon a while ago but never went through with until then.”
“You still did it, that’s enough for me.”
Abigail dropped the broom, throwing her hands into the air in exasperation. She had never been so frustrated in her life.
“We did it out of love; out of the fact that we knew we’d be together forever. And until the incident I knew it would be forever.”
“So it’s Sammy’s, then.”
“Of course it is, whose else would it be?” Althea didn’t answer. She simply continued rinsing the dish, consumed in her work and attempting to be anywhere else but in the kitchen with her…pregnant daughter.
“Well, it’s alright anyway. I’ll make an appointment as soon as I’m done with this dish.” Abigail breathed a sigh of relief, but did not let the breath completely out. There was something about her mother’s tone of voice, her stiff posture, that made Abigail think that she wasn’t completely out of the water yet.
“…Good then. Just make sure it’s a day we don’t have classes, Kat wants to go with me too.” Her mother turned then, leaning her body against the counter. She pinched the bridge of her nose, closing her eyes.
“I don’t think you fully understand. It’s not the kind of appointment Kat would want to go to, Abigail.”
It took a while for her mind to register exactly what her mother meant, but once she did Abigail felt as though every single emotion was rushing their way into her all at once; anger for her mother’s inability to understand her, sorrow for her child, irritancy at herself for ever getting into this mess. With that came a new feeling, one of an intense kind of protectiveness she had never felt before. She clutched at her stomach then, as if she could guard the new life from her mother’s clutches. This was the last portion of Sammy she had, and she would guard it with her life. She wouldn’t lose another piece of him.
“I’m not doing it.”
“You have to, Abigail. Think about your career-”
“That’s all you ever say to me!” She was shouting now, pacing around the kitchen as her mother attempted to quiet her.
“You’ll disrupt Paige.”
“No! You’re listening to me.” Althea, although angry, sat on the couch in their living room. Her arms were crossed, one leg set over the other. She listened stone-heartedly while her hazel eyes were ablaze.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina. You listened to that. You put me in classes, and that was the last time you listened to anything I said.” Her mother moved to say something, holding her pointer finger in protest. Her daughter shot her a look, tight lipped and glaring. Althea stopped, and Abigail continued;
“I tried to quit. I tried to quit twice, if I remember right. You wouldn’t listen. It was always ‘you could have such a great career.’ ‘Watch your weight, Abigail.’ ‘You can’t have that, it’s bad for a ballerina.’ ‘One less thing to eat, Abigail.’ Somehow, I listened to all of that. You brainwashed me, and although ballet is my passion I’m not going to allow myself to be manipulated anymore. I’m eighteen years old, mother. I can make decisions for myself now. And my decision is that I’m going to keep this baby whether you like it or not. She belongs to me and Sammy, and I would never do something like that to him. Or her.”
“Abigail,” Her mother sighed, folding her hands together on her lap. “Please don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be. What’s done is done. Your appointment will be next Monday. If you don’t show up, I’ll come to the academy and pick you up myself. I won’t let you ruin your career over a stupid mistake you made with some boy you feel like you have to honor just because he’s died.”
Abigail picked up her stuff and paused at the bottom of the staircase, calling for her sister. Her mother watched intently, anger still in play. While she waited, her hand went absent-mindedly to her stomach. Althea shook her head. Paige came rumbling down the stairs, still in her football uniform. One look at her older sister told her that things didn’t go to well.
“I love you, but I won’t be coming back anytime soon. I’ll call, but I can’t be around mum right now.” The older of the sisters whispered as they hugged, feeling a fresh prickle of tears in her eyes.
“What did she do? What happened?” Paige whispered back. But Abigail looked at her mother, already on the edge and shaking her head at her, and knew that she could not tell Paige about it there, not then. It would have to wait. Slinging her duffle over her shoulder, Abigail walked out of the house and pulled out her cell phone, attempting to find a ride back to the academy.
“She can’t do that.” Kat sat in Abigail and Tara’s dorm, cross-legged on the floor with a bowl of macaroni balanced in her lap. Abigail sat across from her, leaning on her own bed and sucking on a lollipop to keep her morning sickness at bay. It was the day after her mother made the decision about Abigail’s baby, and she was just telling Kat now. It had been too much to handle the night before.
“Apparently she can.”
“But you’re eighteen!”
“But she’s my mother, so apparently she has reign on me for the rest of my life.” She bit down hard into her lollipop, attempting to transfer her anger into her actions. Normally she would be dancing, but with the circumstances it just didn’t feel right. “She wonders why I grew to be so controlling. I mean, look at her!”
“She’s awful. Not only is she….I can’t say it. She’s…harming your baby, but she’s also harming you! She’s absolutely daft if she thinks it’s not going to effect you for the rest of your life.”
“She knows that. She knows everything. She just chooses not to look at that fact.”
It was silent for a while save the friends’ munching. Kat’s fork bumped clumsily against the bowl she was using, and she put it down in frustration, covering her head in her hands.
“You can’t go.”
“I have to. I don’t have a choice, Kat. If I don’t go she’ll drag me there herself. She’s bound and determined to ruin my life.”
“But if you go….” The sentence was left unopened. Both knew what would happen if Abigail went to the appointment the following Monday. She would be back in the studio the following day, training just like everybody else. But she would be slowly recovering, her mind always wandering back to her baby. Would it have been a boy or a girl? What would they have been interested in? Would they be an Olympian? A hero? All were questions that would have to go unanswered thanks to the control of the woman that gave birth to her, that was so connected to her but knew nothing of how much this would hurt her both physically and mentally.
“Sammy would know how to fix this.”
“I know…” Abigail brought her knees to her chest, setting her lollipop in its wrapper next to her. She put her head on her knees, fighting back another set of tears. “I can’t do this.”
“I know. I won’t let it happen. I promise.”