Thank you all for being so kind and patient. I have been so sick and so caught up with school, and I'm dreadfully sorry. I'll do better! xo

Chapter two:
Casual Goodbyes

Whatever it was that I wanted to hear from Stacey, his distant and casual gaze was far worse than anything he could've said. He just drove, a prolonged silence settling awkwardly between the two of us. I felt horrible and sick at my stomach, aching with the knowledge that he was disappointed in me.

"I just can't believe that you'd…" he let the sentence remain unfinished, shaking his head. He didn't seem disapproving as much as he did concerned.

"I told you," I said, my tone beginning to rise. "I didn't think it'd be like this…"

"Hasn't everyone told you? Haven't you seen for yourself? It's always like this. Every time." He sounded somewhat parental when he said this, chiding me for not heeding his warnings. I knew that Stacy was a levelheaded guy, but I'd wanted so much to believe in what I was getting into.

"You're not helping," I mumbled, rolling down the window of his car and letting a hand hang out the window. He sighed.

"You never listen, Shiloh. Never," he said, gently. I could tell that he felt bad for me, for what I was sure he knew I was going through. I knew that what he was saying was true; I did, in fact, disregard most people's advice most of the time.

It wasn't like me to have acted so rashly. Even though I didn't pay attention to the supposed words of wisdom people were always so eager to hand out, I made my own rational decisions the majority of the time. It had been a complete sensory overload when I was alone with Jay, in his room. Every perceptive ability I had was occupied by something; the smell of the room mixed with his gentle scent of sandalwood, the darkness, the warmth, the taste of his skin. It'd been all too much of a force against the logic I usually conjured up.

"I try to," I said, simply. It was all of the answer I really had to give him. There wasn't anything to say that hadn't been said already, and I didn't feel like repeating myself.

"So am I to assume I don't know any of this?" He asked, exhaling deeply. My chin dropped in shame, just a little.

"It'd be for the best," I said, quietly.

"So everyone is supposed to pretend it never happened?" He slowed the car down, looking over at me. "He's going to tell his side of the story, Lo."

I knew that he was right; Jay would inevitably share his version of the events with people and I knew it would get around. His version of the story would be the one I'd have to grin and bear.

We pulled up to my house, one light on in the upper corner in my sister's room. I knew she was still up, waiting to see where I'd been and what I was up to. I sighed and paused, waiting for something to be said, putting off getting out of the car.

"If that's what you want me to do," he said, eyes intently fixed outside the window. "I'll keep my mouth shut."

"Thank you, Stace," I said, giving him a light hug before walking away.


"Sit down," She repeated to me three times, each more persistent than the last, with a grin that could probably melt souls. In all actuality, My very swollen older sister, Melissa, just wanted me to sit down. I suppose that there was not much I could do with her stomach pressing against my back as she waddled after me besides sit down. I obliged with my sweetest smirk.

"Sorry, Mel, I can't keep my hands off these little sandwiches!" I scrunched up my face in a wickedly adorable way. She huffed, but quickly recomposed herself into the well mannered Country Clubber she pretended to be.

"Anyways," she began, shooting me a look. "I just want to thank you all so much for being here, not just for me, but for the baby."

Beside her stood a tall man with dark hair and glasses, a bit older and less upfront than Melissa. He was her husband of one year. He was obviously bewildered at the whole aspect of becoming a father. He took her hand, which she then moved over her belly, fondly patting it and forcing him to do the same.

"Michael and I decided we'd wait until this very special day to announce if we've got a widdle boy or a widdle gurwl," she baby talked, coochie-cooing at us all. "In fact, we're coming to that right now. We're excited to announce to you all that our new arrival is a…" She paused here for dramatic tension, something she prided herself on.

"A boy! We're having a boy!"

There was an uproar of giddiness from the peanut gallery. I just feigned a strongly posed smile. They all attempted to rub her stomach in a circular motion, as if the fact that the living thing inside her had a gender to it finally validated it's citizenship. Poor kid.

"I just…" Melissa wiped away a tear that no one else could see forming in her eye, myself included. "I never knew I could love so much before I loved this tiny person growing inside me. Just imagine… this little person I've never even met."

There was another uproar of "Aw's" from the gathering.

"Thank you, but please," she kindly hushed the room. "I'd like to dedicate this to my mother, the one who loved me so before I was welcomed to the world. I'd only hope to do a job half as good, Mother."

This charade of mock adorability went on longer than I could stomach. I eventually retired to my room, where I slept through most of the night before receiving a phone call. I cringed at hearing the familiar voice, again, on the other end.

"Hey," Stacy said in response to my greeting. "I was calling to make sure you were alright and at home."

"Where else would I be?" I asked, skeptically.

"Uh… no where." There was a short time of silence before he muttered, "Jay is having a party. I didn't want you to spaz out and go."

I growled in indignity. I wasn't stupid enough to go.

"I don't need you to always be checking up on me, you know that, right?" I spat, angrily. He paused for a moment before laughing lightly.

"Yeah, you do."