Alice smoothed her palm down the soft fabric of her Prom dress. It was a nervous habit she'd developed lately, and only Salali knew why Ace had begun to check her belly on a regular basis. There was no baby bump yet, but there would be one soon.
"Breathe. Just breath in and out...." Alice reminded herself softly. She stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror and wondered if her gravid status was obvious to everyone around her. She couldn't understand how no one had started to suspect yet. She'd filled out. The weight she'd lost earlier was back on, and she was just a little more curvy than was normal, even more her. Thank god Malcolm had told the taylor to leave the extra room in the dress. He'd done it so Alice could gain the weight back, which she had done, just not how everyone expected. Malcolm... just thinking about her fiancee had Alice dash into the bathroom to upchuck. That sounds horrible but it was true. Alice was thrilled to see him, and terrified. He'd been by to see her a few times since....the Gala, but he was pulling away from her and she could feel it.
Her hand rested against her belly as she flushed the toilet. Wiping her mouth on a towel, she rinsed out with mouthwash and considered her options again. Do I tell him or don't I? she asked herself, squeezing her eyes closed.
She had planned on telling him, the day she realized she was pregnant. She had texted him and asked him to come over, that she had something very important to talk to him about. And he had apologized for not being able to come over. Apparently he was 'swamped with trying to grade exams'. Everytime Ace tried to get him to come see her, he was too busy. And when he came by on his own, it was never for long, and always he seemed in a hurry to leave. Which had caused its own share of rampant weeping on Ace's behalf. Because now she wasn't sure if he wanted her in his life at all.
Ace stood up and walked out of the bathroom. The original plan for the night, as devised by West and Mal, called for DJ Mask and Alice to arrive together. Now of course, everyone thought she was dating West, which meant everyone thought he was DJ Mask. Alice clutched her ticket in her hand and waited on Salali. The fairytale version of her night had included Malcolm picking her up and taking her to Prom himself but now.... Alice didn't know if he was even going to be there. He had seen for himself that Alice was pulling her life back together. She was no longer having hourly panic attacks, though once in a while one crept up on her and mobbed her. Nightmares were still a frequent occurance, but she was even finding them less.... consuming than they used to be. He must have realized that she was surviving the trauma and starting to stabalize. So he was pulling himself out of her life. She spun the ring on her finger. It was her last night as a student and she would be tarred and feathered before she'd give up that ring. It was now back on the right finger, proudly displayed. And if Malcolm wasn't there tonight..... Alice wouldn't tell him. She'd let him walk out of her life and take care of this baby on her own. Because she knew that if he wasn't willing to battle his personal demons and be with her tonight, he wasn't ever coming back as the man she'd fallen in love with. Saving her life might have cost Malcolm his. He was alive, but only as a shadow of himself.
Alice sucked in another breath, pushing away the urge to cry. F***ing pregnancy hormones. Alice cursed mentally, dabbing at her eyes, careful of the makeup already applied. Salali stepped outside and locked the apartment door behind them. The large Native woman gave Alice a soft smile.
"You look beautiful Alice. You glow satinka." Salali said to her, a proud tone in her voice. Salali pulled Alice to her ample bosom and hugged her tightly. "It'll be alright. Everything will turn out." the Native woman whispered, rough voice even more broken sounding as emotion choked her.
"I know Sal." Alice breathed, feeling her gut fill with a calmness she hadn't felt in ages. "Whatever happens, tonight is my last act as a highschool student." Alice smiled at her guardian and friend. "I'm all growed up now mama squirrel." she joked, making Salali roar with laughter.
The two women started to climb into Salali's beat up muscle car when a horn honking caught their attention. Alice frowned and looked at the end of their street, trying to figure out what all the commotion was about. Driving up the street towards them as a stretch black limo with a very familiar figure hanging out the sunroof, screaming Alice's name. Before any romantic notion could swell, Alice started to laugh. Kim was waving her arms frantically, making sure that Ace couldn't miss her dramatic enterance.