Time in Willow Creek: 11 months, 4 weeks, 1 day
It took Hillary some time to come to terms with her condition. The initial shock, and grieving her alleged lost love, had nearly paralyzed her. Being responsible for a young one soon, and doing it alone, was a tough pill to swallow. However, she came around and began to make her way around the family with the announcement. First, she apologized to Juliana for being distant. When she explained why, at first Juliana was confused. “Pregnant” was a new word for her, but once Hillary explained it meant expecting a baby, she understood and was excited. Internally, she was a little bit disappointed. All the tension between her and her parents made sense, and she hoped Hillary would behave more responsibly in the future.
The next person she confessed to was her brother. She didn’t go to his house much, and he came home even less frequently. They weren’t super close, but there was a relationship there: one that had been neglected, no doubt. Axel lived next to Jase and across from Don. It never bothered her until now. Previously, she affectionately named the neighborhood “Bachelorville.” In present days, she thought of it more like Hell because it was a place she did not want to go.
“Sis!” He pulled her into a tight hug.
“Hey, douche face.”
“What’s this all about?” He opened the door for her. “Am I back in the fold?” They sat on the couch. “Y’all totally chose that girl over me.”
He was being facetious, but she missed it. “She lives there! How is she supposed to trust us with you always in her space? I still don’t know what you did to her, but she was rattled for a long time!”
He laughed. “I ain’t done nothing to that girl. She’s just a baby.”
She snorted. “Mmmm hmmm. I’ll believe that when pigs fly.”
“Just tell mama she don’t have to disown her son to keep protecting that girl. I’m harmless!”
“And that I’ll believe when Hell freezes over!”
“Whatever. So, what’s up? I know you didn’t come over here to see big brother just to say hello.”
“Yeah.” Her voice trembled and eyes narrowed. The courage she had minutes ago was dissipating.
“Why you look scared? Uh oh. Mama must be mad. What did you do? You had somebody in your room?” He snickered. “I told you don’t bring nobody home with you.”
She rolled her eyes but appreciated a little comic relief. “No, you know I don’t do anything at the house.”
“Now you’re scaring me. If this ain’t about mama’s crazy, this must be serious.”
She loved that he still cared even though they didn’t speak often. “I’m pregnant.”
His head jerked backward. “Pregnant? By who?” His voice sounded like he was putting on proverbial boxing gloves.
“Ummmmm… I-I really don’t wanna say right now.”
He couldn’t believe his ears. His baby sister was going to be someone’s mother. She was 23 years old, and he knew it was chronologically possible, but because of the age gap, it was hard for him to see her as a grown woman sometimes. He remembered very distinctly when she was born. He was 17 and super embarrassed by his pregnant mother while girls his age were also getting pregnant. But, this sweet little chunky blond came into his life, and he loved her so much. He remembered holding her when she was just a few hours old having no idea why he loved her seeing as how he had just met her. There was a bond there. It was nothing like the bond he used to share with his twin, but there was a definite bond. After he graduated, and before he got a job, he used to take her to the park to pick up women. It was the perfect situation, and he didn’t even have to lie about it. They always assumed she was his daughter. Hillary was cute and cuddly and made the women go crazy. Single fathers were rare and were perceived to be more honorable than single mothers. He had their respect even before he introduced himself. It never failed, and he always walked away with at least three phone numbers. Down the line, when he had his own place, whenever they would ask about Hillary, he would say she was with her mother. Genius. After he left home, his “play dates” with her become fewer and farther in between. He wasn’t always present in her life, but he was always one call away.
“Are you serious? You’re pregnant for real?”
He exhaled heavily and rubbed his hands against his face. “Come on, Hill! I thought I taught you better than that. You out here not using nothing?”
“I do! I did! But–
“No buts! Buts get you caught with your pants down like this! Dudes always be packing. Ain’t no shame in stopping and asking him to strap up.”
“I know, Axel! I know! GOSH! You sound just like mama!”
“I’m sorry, ok? I wasn’t yelling. I’m not mad. I promise. I try to give you advice so stuff like this doesn’t happen. I care, you know? I just don’t want you to mess your life up, ok?”
An appropriate moment of silence presented itself. However, Axel still had questions. “So, uhh,” he cleared his throat, “You know…are you gonna–
“I’m having the baby, Axel! God! I’m not one of your hoes.” She looked at him in disbelief. “This is your family,” she yelled, thrusting her hands to her belly.
“I know, I know. I was just asking. There’s always options…”
“Mama would throw me out of the house and never speak to me again, and you know it… Besides…it’s too late for that.” She lowered her eyes as she recalled the time she briefly considered it.
His eyes flicked to where a baby bump should have been. “Oh yeah? How long?”
He threw himself back on the sofa. “Four months? Come on, Hill! Don’t tell me you didn’t know. You waited too long!”
“I was scared! I didn’t want to accept it!”
“That’s why you should have taken care of it back then! Now you done got yourself trapped with some douche whose name you can’t even say!”
She began to cry. “Can we stop talking about this?”
“I’m sorry, Hill. It’s your life… You do what’s best for you.” He patted her knee. “It’ll be fun to have another little niece or nephew around.”
Although he was being serious, she began to laugh at a thought that popped into her head. Axel was confused at her sudden emotional change. “Your hormones screwing you or something?”
“I was just thinking it would be nice for it to be close to you, but then I changed my mind.”
“I’m not letting you corrupt my child like you corrupted Sloane.” She began laughing again.
He couldn’t help but smile. “Man, I didn’t corrupt her. She already knew what’s up, talking ’bout she’s just being like her mama.”
Hillary snorted. “She has the wrong idea of what Rebecca does.”
“Mmmm hmmm.” He turned the TV on.
After about 15 minutes of flipping through nearly 300 channels, a strong bout of nausea came on her very quickly. “Oooh…oh my God…I’m gonna be sick!”
“Sweet Jesus. Please don’t mess up my bathroom.”