Read Anything but Normal Online

Authors: Melody Carlson

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Anything but Normal (19 page)

BOOK: Anything but Normal
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“What about your purity pledge?”

“Unfortunately it’s not an inoculation against pregnancy.” “But you took it so seriously.”

“Apparently not seriously enough.”

“This just seems impossible, Sophie. How do you even know for sure that you’re really pregnant?”

“I’ve taken some pregnancy tests.”

Mom’s face paled. “And?”

“And they were positive.” Sophie felt irritated. Why was Mom being so dense about this? Did she think it made this any easier?

“But maybe they were wrong.”

“No, I have all the symptoms too.”

“But it could be something—”

“Mom!” Sophie shouted. “I
pregnant. Okay?”

“No, Sophie. It is not okay. It is not okay for you to be pregnant, do you understand?”

“What are you saying?”

“Why?” Tears ran down Mom’s face. “Why did you go and ruin your life like this? Why? You’re not that kind of girl, Sophie. You’ve never been that kind of girl. Why did you do this?”

“I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“Who?” Mom demanded. “Who is the father?”

“Does it matter?”

“Of course it matters. The father is 50 percent responsible too.”

“That’s a statistic, Mom, not a reality.”

“I don’t know how you let this happen, Sophie. What were you thinking?”

“Obviously I wasn’t thinking.”

“But you’re too smart to do this. Too smart to ruin your life like this.”

“Intelligence has nothing to do with fertility.”

“But I didn’t even know you were sexually active.”

“Did you think I was going to tell you?”

Mom fished a rumpled tissue from her sweater pocket and wiped her tears. “I just don’t understand. I do not understand. You had a purity pledge. I thought you were such a good girl.”

“Mom.” Sophie’s voice softened. “I’m really, really sorry.” She was crying now too. “I hate that I’ve done this to you. And to Dad.”

“Dad!” Mom looked at the clock. “What are we going to do about your dad, Sophie?”

“Besides tell him?”

“He’s going to have a cow.”

“I know.”

“Are you absolutely, 100 percent sure that you’re really pregnant?”

“I’m not making it up.”

“When was your last period?”

“Early August.”

Mom looked totally stunned. “Early August?”

Sophie just nodded.

“How long have you
you were pregnant?”

“Since early September.”

“And you never told me?” Mom looked truly hurt.

“I never told anyone.”

“So you’re”—Mom counted on her fingers—“five months along?”

“Not quite.”

“Oh, Sophie.”

“I really am sorry, Mom. I know how disappointed you must be. I know I’ve hurt you. I hope you’ll be able to forgive—”

“Honey, I’m home,” her dad’s voice boomed. Then he was in the kitchen. Before he peeled off his jacket, his cheerful demeanor vanished. “What’s wrong?” he demanded.

They said nothing, just sat there.

“Bart?” he exclaimed. “Something’s happened to Bart?”

“No.” Mom shook her head. “Something’s happened to Sophie.”

He looked confused. “But she’s sitting right here. What’s happened?”

“Dad.” Sophie took a deep breath. “I’m really, really sorry to tell you this. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me—”

“What?” His eyes widened with fear. “What did you do? Trouble at school? With the law?”

“I wish.” Sophie glanced at Mom for support.

“Just plain trouble,” Mom muttered.

“What?” Dad looked irritated. “Will someone please tell me what the heck is going on here?”

“I’m pregnant, Dad.”

His face froze, and he pulled out a chair and sank down into it.

“I’m really sorry to disappoint—”

“You can’t be pregnant!”

“She is, Bud.”

“But she made that whole abstinence pledge.” He wouldn’t even look at her. He pounded his fist on the table. “This is that stupid church’s fault. They set girls up to think they’re better than everyone else, and then they fall down just the same—”

“The church had nothing to do with it,” Mom said.

“Says you!”

Suddenly her parents were fighting about it, acting as if she wasn’t even in the room. Dad blamed Mom for not having taken Sophie in for some kind of birth control. Mom blamed Dad for not having been involved in the purity party that Pastor Vincent had put together. As they screamed and yelled, Sophie slipped out of the kitchen and up to her room. She wished she were dead.

As the yelling continued, Sophie curled up on her bed, pulled her pillow over her head to muffle the noise, and eventually fell asleep. When she woke up, it was to the sound of her mother’s calm voice.

“Are you okay, sweetie?”

Sophie sat up and looked at Mom. “Huh?”

“Sorry about that little fireworks show downstairs.”

“Is Dad okay?”

Mom frowned. “Let’s just say he’s gone out to think about it.”

“To a bar, you mean?”

Mom shrugged and sat down on Sophie’s bed. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I feel like this is partially my fault.”

“Why?” Sophie said. “Because Dad made you feel guilty?” “Because I do feel guilty.”

“Why should you feel guilty? I’m the one who blew it.”

“I should’ve talked to you more. I should’ve suspected that something was wrong. I know you’ve been acting differently. But I just figured it was another adolescent thing.”

“Yeah, a pregnant adolescent thing.”

“I assume you decided against an abortion.” Mom looked away as she said this. “I mean, I know about your religious beliefs, and I respect that.”

“I actually went to a family planning clinic to get an abortion.”

“Oh, Sophie. And you didn’t even tell me?”

“I didn’t want anyone to know, Mom. I was too ashamed. I still am.”

“But you decided not to get an abortion.”

“I guess I figured two wrongs couldn’t make a right.”

“Right.” Mom sighed loudly.

“Do you wish I’d gotten an abortion?”

“I don’t know . . . I wish you weren’t pregnant, Sophie. For your own sake.”

“Me too.”

“So what do you plan to do—I mean, when the baby comes?”

“I don’t know.”

Mom just nodded like this wasn’t surprising.

“What do you think I should do?”

“Only you know the answer to that, Sophie.”

“I mean, I will finish school. No doubt about that. I plan to enroll in the pregnancy center at school.”

“Was that why you got so involved in that debate?” Mom said.

“I didn’t know that you knew about—”

“I don’t live under a rock, Sophie. I knew. I just didn’t want to get involved.” She pushed her fingertips against her temples.

“I’m really sorry, Mom.”

“I know you are, sweetie.” Mom put her arms around Sophie. “So am I.”

“Do you forgive me?”

“Of course.” Mom continued to hug her, stroking her hair. “I love you, Sophie. How could I not forgive you?”

“That might not be the case with Dad.”

“He’ll get over it . . . in time.”

“He wouldn’t even look at me.”

“I know.” She sighed.

“I only had sex twice, Mom.” For some reason Sophie wanted to make this perfectly clear. “And I didn’t even like it.”

“Then why did you do it?”

“The guy . . . I thought—I thought I was in love . . . I thought he loved me.” Sophie told her mom all about camp and Dylan and how he’d pulled her in. “It was almost like I was under his spell. I mean, he’d just touch me and say sweet things, and I—I was such a fool.” Sophie was crying again. But her mom continued to hold her, rocking her to and fro as Sophie just sobbed and sobbed.

Finally she quit crying, and she and Mom just sat there looking at each other. “What now?” Sophie asked.

“Dinner.” Mom stood up. “You need to eat properly when you’re pregnant.”

“I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins,” Sophie admitted. “I kept them well hidden in my sock drawer.”

“Have you been to an obstetrician yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Want me to schedule you an appointment with mine? My ob-gyn doctor is nice.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

Sophie and Mom moved quietly through the remainder of the evening. As if on autopilot, they fixed dinner, then sat down to eat. Sophie did not expect to see her dad again that night. She just prayed that he’d get over it . . . eventually.

“You know . . . you’re going to have to tell your brother,” Mom said as they cleaned up the dinner things.

“No.” Sophie put the remainder of green salad in the fridge. “You need to do that. Bart deserves to know what’s going on.”

“In time.”

“There’s no time like the present.” Mom picked up the receiver and handed it to Sophie.

Sophie sighed. “I just don’t think I can do it.”

“Want me to break it to him for you?”

Sophie felt a rush of relief. “Would you? I mean, I’ll talk to him later . . . after he recovers from the shock.”

As Mom started to dial his number, Sophie made a quick getaway. She didn’t even want to hear her mother’s end of that conversation. Instead, she went to her room and began constructing an email to send to him, explaining how it had happened and how horrible she had felt for breaking her promise to God, but that she knew God had forgiven her. She just hoped her brother would too. Then she hit send.

She could still hear Mom downstairs talking to Bart. Sophie didn’t think that Bart would call her, but just in case, she turned her cell phone off. She couldn’t take any more family emotion tonight.

The next morning, Sophie noticed that Carrie Anne was standing out in the school parking lot, looking around as if she was waiting for someone. Sophie parked her car, then got out and walked over.

“There you are!” Carrie Anne exclaimed. “I’ve been trying to call your cell phone since last night.”

“It was off.”

“Sophie!” Carrie Anne’s eyes were wide with concern. “Tell me it’s not true.”

“What’s not true?”

“My mom said you were at the pregnancy center yesterday.” “That’s true. I was.” Sophie braced herself. It was time to tell her best friend. “And I have something—”

“My mom said you’re pregnant, Sophie! But I told her no way—if you were pregnant, you would’ve told me.” Carrie

Anne laughed. “I also told her that in order to be pregnant, you’d have to have had sex. And since I know that hasn’t happened, I know—”

“Why did your mom say I was pregnant?”

“Some girl there told everyone you were.”


“Yeah, whatever. The point is, we need to do some damage control, Sophie. You don’t want the whole school thinking you’re pregnant.”


Carrie Anne just stared at her. “What?”

“I’m pregnant, Carrie Anne. I’m going to have a baby.”

“No . . . no way.”

“It’s true.”

Carrie Anne looked like she was going to either faint or be sick. “Sophie?”

“I’m sorry. But it is true.”

“No.” Carrie Anne firmly shook her head. “You’re pulling my leg. I
you cannot be pregnant. You’re a virgin. Like me.”

“I was. But I’m not now.”

“Sophie?” Her voice was shrill. “What are you saying?”

“That I was an idiot. That I had sex. Only twice. And it wasn’t fun. Then I got pregnant.”

“But Sophie . . .” Carrie Anne grabbed both of Sophie’s arms and shook her. “That’s not possible. You made a pledge.”

“I broke it.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Do you want to see my stomach?”

Carrie Anne glanced around nervously. “No!”

“Look, Carrie Anne, I understand your shock . . . and your disappointment. This hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park for me either.”

“You really are pregnant?” Her voice sounded small and scared. “My best friend is going to have a baby?”

“Yes, and don’t worry, it’s not catching.”

“Does Wes know?”

Sophie pressed her lips together. “Not yet.”

“How do you think he’ll handle it?”

“I have no idea.”

“So my mom was right after all.” Carrie Anne sighed.

“We’re late for class,” Sophie pointed out.

“Yeah.” Carrie Anne started walking toward school. Then she turned to look at Sophie. “In fact, I better make a run for it. I’ve been late once already this week.” She took off.

Sophie watched her best friend running away from her, and somehow she knew that was an image of things to come.


The last couple of days before Christmas break were like a walking nightmare for Sophie. Thanks to Leah’s big mouth, the whole school seemed to know. Some kids acted like it was no big deal. Some just tossed her the look—she decided it was a weird mixture of sympathy and scorn. Others used the opportunity to make fun of her, saying she must’ve “caught something” at the pregnancy center.

Naturally Kelsey, Hannah, and even Jenny were all shocked and disappointed, but they at least spoke to her, albeit with judgment. Meanwhile Carrie Anne avoided her like the plague. Yet Sophie was glad the news was out. It felt better to be criticized for something real than to be praised for something false. She was done being a hypocrite.

Still, it wasn’t easy. And perhaps the hardest part of what went on at school was how everyone assumed that Wes was the father.

BOOK: Anything but Normal
13.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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