Disclaimer: I don't own The Secret Life of the American Teenager or the title of this story, which was inspired by the song of the same name by Between the Trees.
Author's note: So, I lied! As it turns out, I updated this story before The Way I Loved You. I apologize in advance if you happen to catch any silly mistakes; I was just so excited and in a rush to post this! I hope that this doesn't seem short or too rushed. If so, remember everything happens for a reason! I hope you enjoy this update, and as always, reviews are greatly appreciated.
Six weeks pregnant
Glowering fiercely at Madison, Ricky jumps to his feet and snarls, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
I stand as well, and I feel sick. I can't even look at her. I'm so confused and everything hurts and oh my God, what the hell is happening?
Silent tears run down my cheeks as I begin to walk away from the three of them. I vaguely hear Ricky and Lauren calling for me to come back, but I shake my head to myself and quicken my pace. Why would I go back there? So I can be humiliated even further?
I push the doors open to enter the school, and before I know it, I'm sprinting through the empty hallways. Mere seconds after I enter the girls' restroom, I find myself throwing up once more into a toilet bowl. From morning sickness or nerves, I'm not quite sure.
Even when I flush, I still don't feel much better. I lean against the wall, bringing my knees up to my chest and hiding my face. Now I allow myself to cry freely, my body shuddering with sobs.
Oh, God, when did my life become so screwed up?
Wallowing in my misery, I don't notice the door opening or the approaching footsteps, which is why I start when somebody wraps their arms around me. I cling onto them like a lifeline.
"Why?" I weep. "Why would she do this to me?"
"She's changed, Amy," says Lauren sadly. "I don't know when or why, but she's changed. She's self-centered… and jealous of you."
I look up at my friend, stunned. "Jealous of me?" I repeat in disbelief. "Why would she be jealous of me?" In a whisper, I add, "I'm going to have a baby, for Christ's sake!"
Lauren sighs. "She's jealous of all the attention you're getting… especially from Ricky."
My tears dry up, and my cheeks flush with anger. "Are you serious?" I hiss. Madison likes Ricky? She's not allowed to like Ricky! She knows how much he's hurt me! Hell, she knows how much I still like him!
"I'm sorry, Amy. I'm sorry about Madison. I'm sorry that I've been distant and unsupportive. I'm sorry that I've been just as bad as—"
"Oh, shut up," I say with a shaky laugh, pulling her into a tight hug.
Soon, the bell rings, signaling the end of our lunch period. I sniffle and wipe my face as Lauren helps me to my feet. "I'm really glad I don't have any classes with him," I mutter while walking out of the girls' restroom.
Lauren glances over at me, brows furrowed. "You know, Amy, Ricky really gave Madison hell for doing that to you," she says.
"Yeah, he probably doesn't want to believe that what she said is true," I scoff.
"Amy…" Lauren warily touches my arm. "I know it sounds crazy, but I think he might actually care for you."
"You're right, it does sound crazy. It is crazy," I snap, pulling away. "Listen, I'll catch you later, okay? Bye, Lauren." Before my friend can say anything more, I pick up my pace and push through the throng of students.
Unfortunately, I notice Ricky out of the corner of my eye. I quickly look down so that my hair falls in front of my face and try to get by without him seeing me. Much to my dismay, however, I soon hear his voice calling for me.
"Amy! Hey, Amy, hold up!"
I feel tears form in my eyes as I glance up, locking gazes with the boy that stole and inevitably broke my heart. Ricky is only a few feet away from me, a determined look on his face. What could he possibly want? Well, it doesn't matter, because I'm certainly not in the mood to hear any cruel words he surely has in store for me. I've already cried enough today, which is why my shoulder bumps roughly into his as I walk right by him.
My decision is made by the time I take my seat beside the tall, gangly boy that sits next to me every day. Now that Ricky knows, I have to spare both of us… even if that means never talking to again.
Goodbye, Ricky, I think wretchedly, just as the final bell rings.
Eight weeks pregnant
"How was school today, Amy?" chimes my mother the moment I walk through the door.
"Fine," I answer in a weary monotone, brushing past her. I don't exactly feel like putting up with her cheery façade, not when I know her and my father's marriage is crumbling right before my eyes.
Besides, I've been doing my best to avoid her like the plague so that I don't end up revealing my secret. I can't even begin to think of how she would react.
It's been two weeks. Two weeks since my lunch with Ricky. Two weeks since Madison told him the truth. Two weeks since I decided to permanently cut ties from him.
Not that that's been exactly easy. Every corner I turn, Ricky is always there, trying to confront me. Evading him is harder than I thought it would be.
Exhaling loudly, I collapse onto my bed. I burrow my head into my pillow and let out a muffled scream. The past couple weeks have been long and hard and exhausting, and all I want to do is sleep.
I groan upon hearing the light tapping on my door. "Go away, Mom!"
"Open up, Amy!" says a voice that I know all too well.
Freezing, I wonder why in the world he is here. I slowly stand and walk towards my door. "What do you want, Ricky?" I say coldly.
I can imagine him rolling his eyes as he says, "What I want are some answers."
"You're going to have to be a little more specific," I reply, though I'm pretty sure I already know what he's referring to.
"I want to know why you've been ignoring me since Madison—"
I panic at his words and hastily cut him off. "Don't say her name!" While it is a bit painful to think of my former friend and her betrayal, I only interrupt him so he can't finish his sentence.
"Amy…" Ricky's tone is exasperated and impatient.
Sighing, I reluctantly open the door and look up into his deep brown eyes. I shift nervously on my feet as I mumble a quiet, "Yeah?"
Ricky wastes no time in making himself feel at home. He peels off his leather jacket, tosses it to the floor, and flops down onto my bed. "So," he says expectantly.
"Thanks for making my room into even more of a mess," I huff, folding my arms across my chest. I'll do anything to put off the subject he is so set on discussing.
"Oh, please. Your room is clean as a whistle," snorts Ricky.
I glance down at the carpet. "You know, I've never really understood that expression…"
"Oh, Amy," he says with a short chuckle, shaking his head at me. "Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?"
I gaze at him blankly. "I don't know what you're talking about," I say resolutely, which is a total lie.
His face turns serious. "We need to talk about what Madison said."
No. No no no. This is not happening right now. I'm not ready to talk about this, especially not with Ricky, of all people.
I open my mouth, but soon close it. No witty retorts roll off my tongue. For the first time since he's gotten here, words fail me. There's just no deterring Ricky Underwood; when he wants something, he gets it.
"So, about what Madison said… Is there something you'd like to tell me?" prompts Ricky.
"No. She was lying," I grit out, trying not to stutter.
Ricky stares at me, unwavering, doubt etched in his features. "No, Amy. I think it's you who is lying—to me, to your parents, even to yourself."
At this, I lash out. "You don't know me!" I fume. "We spent one night together, and that's it! So I'd really appreciate it if you stopped acting like you know everything about everyone, because you don't."
Undaunted, Ricky merely raises his eyebrows. "Touchy, touchy," he remarks, sounding amused. "I have this little thing called intuition. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but it works wonder, Amy Juergens." To my infuriation, he chuckles again.
I stare at him incredulously for a moment. Here he is, this arrogant boy with his insufferable crooked smile steadily meeting my gaze and poking fun at my screwed up situation. Doesn't he know that there's no easy solution? Doesn't he know I can't escape? Doesn't he know what he's done to me?
"How dare you? You broke my heart, and you're making it out to be like it's some sort of joke!" I seethe.
Caught off guard by my outburst, he merely blinks at me.
"Oh, so you're speechless for once in your life? Big shocker," I hiss. "Guess no girl has ever told you the truth: that what you do actually hurts us! We are human, and we have feelings! We feel things, Ricky!"
I shake my head in disgust. "There's nothing to talk about, all right? I'll do my thing, whatever that is, and you keep doing your thing. I think you should just leave. Just leave, Ricky." My shoulders drop in weary resignation as I wait for him to walk out of my life forever, and I find my hand straying to my abdomen.
Ricky stands, but when he folds his arm across his chest, he makes it clear that he isn't going anywhere. "Believe it or not, Amy, people can change," he says coolly.
My jaw clenches, and I raise my eyebrows. "Oh, really? Because just now it seemed as if you've reverted back to the pretentious jerk you were before."
"That's because you drive me crazy!" exclaims Ricky in frustration, taking a step towards me.
"You want the truth? Fine!" I spit. "I am pregnant, all right? There, I said it! Does that make anything better? No, it doesn't, Ricky. It doesn't change the fact that you're a womanizer. It doesn't change the fact that you hurt me. It doesn't change the fact that you don't give a damn about me."
Ricky takes another step in my direction. "Is that what you think, Amy?" he says, barely audible. "You think I don't care? Well, newsflash, I do care. I wouldn't have asked you to sit with me at lunch if I didn't care about you. I wouldn't have been trying to talk to you these past couple of weeks if I didn't care about you."
I feel my body stiffen, and I am unsure of how to respond. "What are you trying to say?" I say, not meeting his gaze.
He clears his throat, uncharacteristically apprehensive. "I'm saying that I care about you. I've cared about you since band camp. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I have a fucked up past to say the least, so I've always strayed away from serious relationships. When I realized that I had actual feelings, it scared the shit out of me, and I wasn't ready, so I ran and tried to distract myself with Adrian... As you can tell, that didn't exactly work out."
Speechless, I clasp my hand over my mouth. "Ricky," I finally whisper, torn, as tears threaten to spill over and onto my cheeks.
Before I can say anything more, he closes the distance between us.
And just like that, Ricky Underwood is kissing me.