I know there are a lot of people who wouldn’t agree with our choices, including but certainly not limited to our parents, most of Marta’s softball and soccer team, Bradley’s best friend, one very irate cousin would somehow found our new phone number to give us both his own version of the hellfire and brimstone lecture, and at least two-thirds of the Roundtable, as we found out when the motion was moved for Marta and me to step down from our positions due to “unexpected additional responsibilities that might interfere with our ability to give our positions the attention deserved.” All in all, we probably could have fared a lot worse.
The rumors found more focus, most people starting to favor the Marta having an affair with Bradley line, in part due to the lovely soap opera sound to the boyfriend impregnating the twin, and Marie letting it slip that Bradley was moving into our apartment post-graduation to help us with the kid.
“I was trying to defend you,” Marie added weakly, setting her head down on the lunch table as someone else shouted something less than pleasant in our general direction. “I had the best of intentions.”
“Well, you know what the road to hell is paved with,” I grinned, rolling my apple across the table to Marta again. It was hard to be mad at Marie. She really did try, and she was one of Marta’s few friends who was sticking around. We needed as many friends as we could get right now.
“Unwed teenage mothers?” Marta asked, taking a bite of the apple.
“Really? I thought it was their sisters who lie for them therefore not only letting them sin but adding their own sins on top?” I replied.
“Ah, Cousin Matthew,” We agreed in unison.
“Not mad?” Marie asked the floor, her forehead still resting on the edge of the table.
“Not mad,” Marta confirmed, reaching over to rub a comforting circle on Marie’s back with her free hand. Someone yelled something across the room again that vaguely implied that Marta had made money off sleeping with my boyfriend and Marta amended her statement. “Not mad at you, Marie. Avery, what’s our number?”
“One hundred and four, only seventy-three are actually school days,” I replied automatically.
“Only a hundred four days til graduation.” Marta leaned back in her chair, and when she sat like that, it was easy to see where her baby bump was starting to show through her t-shirt. Soon, she would look properly pregnant, no matter what we did. “Remind me again why we rejected the GED option?”
“Uh, we’d put in too much time at this school. You weren’t going to pay for something you’re already getting for free. It’s the principle of the matter. Something about putting someone in their place. I don’t remember. I’m pretty sure I still have your pro-con list at the apartment if you want to revisit it.”
“That’s it,” Bradley threw his half-eaten sandwich in his lunch bag as someone else a couple of tables over cat called and asked if I was open for business now that Marta was down for repairs, “I’m going to find the teacher who is supposed to be in here watching us. This is getting ridiculous.”
“It doesn’t matter,” I answered quietly, putting a hand on Bradley’s knee under the table, “Don’t show that you’re angry, Brad, it’ll just egg them on.”
“I hate them.” It came out almost like a hiss, “I hate them all. I want to do terrible things to them.” I gave his knee a sharp squeeze, and he looked at me. “All right. I won’t do terrible things to them. Can I do slightly horrible things to them instead?”
“Just nothing illegal. I think we’ll lose your parents’ support if we have to bail you out of jail. We could really use your parents’ support in this.” Bradley looked like he was pretty sure his parents would be on his side still if he ended up in jail for putting people in their places, but I sighed. “For me, then. Can you not do anything for me? I don’t need the extra stress.”
“Okay,” Bradley let out a slow breath and put his hand on top of mine. “Okay, I won’t do anything to them, but I am going to hope that karma gives him all a sharp kick in the painful parts.”
I smiled. Who could argue with that?