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“You’re going to need to bring more clothes to leave in the dresser if you’re planning on moving in with me,” Simon said sarcastically, yet extraordinarily sweetly. “Tell me when.”

My new shorts moved up my ghost-white legs, and I smoothed them out with my fingers. “I’m good.”

He walked over to his dresser where his glasses case was sitting. He opened it and placed his eyewear over his green eyes. His reddish orange hair was standing up in some places, yet completely flattened in others. He looked exactly how I always imagined any person named Simon to look: kind of slim, but very tall; kind of nerdy, but oddly handsome.

“Did you shave the right side of your head?” he questioned, his eyes turning to my new hairdo.

“I did indeed, do you like it?”

His head tilted to the left and took in my new look. His head tilted to the right, still staring. “It’s…artsy. Very much you.”

“You hate it.” He did. I wasn’t surprised.

“No, no. I like it,” he promised, which was a lie. Simon liked things to be as normal as possible when it came to looks. He hated standing out, but he knew for a fact that he had become best friends with an artistic girl who was always going to stand out a bit when it came to my looks.

I smiled at his lie, walked over to his computer chair, and sat. His room wasn’t drunk in colors like mine. It was all quite boring. Linen carpets with pearl white walls. The only color came from the few posters hanging up from his favorite video games.

He lowered his body to the carpet and started rubbing the mud out. “Sorry about that, Si.”

He chuckled, his shoulders rising and falling. “Well, ya know what they say, no better way to fix a slight case of OCD than muddy carpets.” He got on all fours and started scrubbing harder.

I leaned forward, resting my elbows against my boney knees. Trying not to frown, I asked, “How is that going?” Simon had always been a little obsessive about things, but I never thought it was a real issue and really, most of the things just seemed like pet peeves.

When we were younger all of his toys had to face a certain direction. The television volume always had to be placed at a number ending with four. The forks always had to be washed separate from the spoons. Little things, really, but then I started noticing the older we grew, the bigger deal he would make of things dealing with the number four. The dinner table always had to be set for four people, even if only two people were eating. All doors and window locks had to be checked and double-checked—and triple-checked, and quadruple-checked.

Sitting back on his heels, he sighed and wiped his brow. “I’m never going to get laid, or a girlfriend, am I? I’m going to be a forty-year-old virgin.”

“Don’t be silly,” I remarked. “You’ll be getting laid in no time.”

“Right. And I’ll be like, ‘hey, sexy mama, if you could just allow me to put on and take off the condom four times before we start the dirty, that would be great.’ Yeah, no big deal.”

I snickered. “You’re right. You’re never going to get laid.”

Simon narrowed his eyes at me and placed the dirty rags into his laundry hamper. He moved to his nightstand and squeezed four squirts of hand sanitizer into his palm. “You’re such a bitch.”

“I love you too,” I grinned. My hair was still dripping wet from the rain, and I began braiding it. “Listen, if you’re still a virgin on the eve of your thirty-ninth birthday, I will show up and we’ll have sex together. I’ll even let you touch my boobs four times.”

Simon’s eyes traveled to my chest and his lips turned up. His cheeks flushed crimson. “Well, I might have to touch them six times. Or ten. Who knows how bad this issue of mine will be by then.”

“You’re such a guy sometimes.”

“And don’t you forget it.” He hopped on his bed and pushed his glasses up his nose. “So, do you want to keep playing nonchalant about your late night visit or do we want to discuss what’s bothering you?”

“What makes you think something is bothering me?”

He cocked an eyebrow. My heart pounded in my throat as I grabbed my purse and climbed onto his bed. My legs crossed, my lips hardened, and I slipped my hand into the purse.

First, I pulled out a paper towel and laid it on his comforter.

I reached back into the purse.





I laid the four plastic sticks on the paper towel, and I watched the air evaporate from Simon’s lungs. He was silent, which made me sick to my stomach.

“Are those…?”

I nodded.

“And they are…?”

I nodded again.

I’d made sure to get four tests in honor of my best friend. Well that, and for my own wellbeing.

“How did you afford all of those?” he asked, knowing that I was pretty good at never having enough money for ice cream or chocolate.

“I saved up the money from babysitting Grace and KitKat these past few weeks. And trust me, the irony of me getting the money for these from babysitting wasn’t overlooked.”

Four different tests. Four different brands. Four different days. Four matching results.

Simon was emptied of thought as he fell backward, running his hand over his mouth. “Aria…for the simple fact that it seems false until one of us verbally speaks the words, I’m going to ask you to say it.”

“I’m pregnant.” The words burned the back of my throat, and I felt ridiculously alone once they left my mouth.