TWENTY ONE || HARDER AND HARDER TO BREATHE

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Over the next three months of musical preparation, Sweet Pea and Fallon's secret became even more difficult to hide.

Fallon was now six months along, and was not going to school in order to hide her baby.

"Look, I was skinny to begin with," Fallon said miserably one night as she got ready for bed, Sweet Pea sitting on the edge of her bed as she stared into the mirror. "But it seems like as the baby gets bigger, I get smaller everywhere else."

Her boyfriend sighed, knowing by the way she moved that she was hurting.

"Well, we can't do anything about it now except wait. I'm starting to think that my flannels are getting a little small around the middle for you, too." He replied, watching her walk slowly over to her side of the bed, gingerly lowering herself down onto the mattress.

"Yeah. And everyone is probably wondering why I just up and fucking vanished at school, Mama Leone had to tell the school at the four month mark that I've taken an extended vacation to see my mom in Maine. I don't even think my mom is alive, Pea! The last time I saw her was when I was three!" She said with exasperation, turning over to her side.

"Who did you tell besides Fangs, Mama Leone, Cooper, the Joneses, and Cherry Bomb?" He asked, and Fallon didn't even have the energy to roll her eyes.

"Okay, first of all, Cheryl finding out was completely accidental, but God willing she hasn't told anyone, that's it. Lodge and Andrews are in the dark, so is Josie. I haven't...exactly told Toni yet either."

"Oh man," Sweet Pea chuckled humorlessly, "Topaz is gonna be pissed."

"No shit, Sweets." She snapped, and his face softened. "Hey, hey, hey. I didn't mean anything by it. I know you're hurting, Blue Eyes. I can see right through you. But you, me, and the little one, we're a family, okay? We'll make it through."

His arms wrapped securely around her, and for only the third time in four days, Fallon slipped into a troubled slumber as the night wore on.

______

"Whoever said that the pregnancy glow is a thing is a goddamn fool." Fallon growled, a hand on her belly as she ambled into the Fogarty's living room. Fangs, who was lounging on the sofa, did a double take when he saw her.

"Okay, no offense," he started slowly, "But you look like hell."

"Gee, thanks, asshole." She said, the exhaustion in her voice taking away any intimidation that was there before.

"No, but seriously, Fal. Are you okay?"

To be honest, Fallon felt like the human inside her was more of a parasite. Over the past six months, she had lost weight everywhere the baby wasn't, her face becoming gaunt and pale, skin clammy and cold. She was always exhausted, her body shaky and weak.

However, that didn't mean she didn't love the baby inside of her.

She felt a nudge, never ever a kick, near her left hip, and she placed a hand there, gently pushing back. Another small nudge.

"It's okay. You're okay." She thought towards the little nudger. A shift. Another nudge. Her baby didn't mean to be hurting her. She could feel it. She could feel that it was sorry. That she was sorry. Fallon was certain it was a girl.

"Where's Sweet Pea?" She asked, changing the subject. Fangs sighed, looking at his sister with sympathetic eyes. "He went to the store to get stuff for you. Everyone's noticed how sick you are, Fallon. I think this kid is killing you, to be honest."

Fallon collapsed onto the couch, pulling the blanket that was there over her, tucking her knees up as far as her belly would let her.

"As much as I hate to say it," She told Fangs sadly, "I think you might be right. But I gotta see it through. If it turns out that this baby lives and I don't, that's okay."

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