Chapter 12

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"What's your favorite color?"
"Brown, I think."
"Like a dark brown?"
"No, like a beige." Robin took a bite of her pizza. Lon shared Robin's math and writing class as well, and within the four weeks Lon had been at school, he instantly became the hottest topic.
"How old is your sister?"
"She's eight. Her name is Lara." Lon rested his chin on his palm, mostly playing with his food.
"You know, my birthday is the day after tomorrow." Robin said as she downed the last of her milk.
"What, on April 12th?"
"Yeah. I'll be fifteen." And it'll be the end of my twenty fifth week. She silently added.
Robin enjoyed Lon's company. He listened to every word she said, and gave his honest opinion on everything. He smiled at her frequently, which always made her smile as well.
He's the complete opposite of-
"What are you doing?"
Robin was startled at the authority of the voice.
Speak of the devil.
"Just talking to Lon. He's in our seventh period-"
"I need to talk to you." Brady didn't let her finish, but from the look in his eye-he was pissed. Robin slowly stood up, and glanced apologetically at Lon before she was led into the hallway.
"What is he to you?"
"Sorry, he's just a friend..."
Why am I apologizing? What I do is none of his business.
Robin's tone changed in an instant.
"Who do you think you are, bringing me out here and questioning me about my affairs. You aren't my father."
"What you do is my business!"
Robin lowered her voice to a whisper. "The only thing you have to do with me is this baby. That's it. So leave me alone!" Robin turned to leave, but Brady grabbed her wrist.
"Let go of me!" Robin pulled on her wrist. Brady pulled her closer, and for the first time, Robin could smell something similar to alcohol.
"Are you drunk?"
"No, I have a hangover, but that's not the problem here."
"Get away from me! Let go!"
"What were you doing with him at the mall? Have you heard about the rumors?"
"How did you know about that? It's none of your business." Robin was afraid now, and Brady was starting to hurt her.
"Wait, what rumors?"
"Someone took a picture of you two at the mall. Everyone is saying that he's your boyfriend and the baby's father." Brady's grip tightened even more, making struggling futile.
"We aren't dating! We're just friends-who would spread a rumor like that?" Robin was afraid more than anything now. She didn't want Lon hearing about her pregnancy from someone else. It was inevitable. Despite wanting to put it off for a while, Lon would hear about it sooner or later-and he would most likely stop being her friend. Who wouldn't, after being deceived for so long.
"Not only that, people are saying that he transferred from his other school because the school board kicked him out." Brady pulled Robin closer, leaning into her ear.
"He doesn't know about these rumors, or the baby, does he?"
"N-no, but I wanted to tell him-"
"How can you lie to him like that, with all of these rumors ruining his reputation. It might be better if I tell him myself, and let the poor guy know what's going on behind closed doors." Brady started towards the cafeteria, releasing his grip on Robin. Terrified, Robin chased after him.
"Please, stop! This isn't funny!"
"It's not s'posed to be."
"Why are you doing this? Why would you take away one of the few friends I have in this school?" Robin was in tears now. She reached for his arm, and dragged her feet, trying to slow him.
"Robin, is everything okay?"
Horrified, Robin turned to see Lon standing at the corner, looking concerned.
Brady began dragging Robin behind him, ignoring the one hundred and thirty pounds of dead weight.
"No, STOP!" Robin begged between sobs. She placed her body in front of his, and place her hands on his chest. "Please, dont. I-I'll tell him today, okay? P-please...just let me tell him myself." Robin's knees began to shake, and she didn't think she could hold herself up any longer.
"Fine, but just make sure he knows." Brady stepped around her, and glared at Lon as he passed.
"You've officially been put on my shit list." Brady said as he turned the corner.
Robin exhaled as she rubbed her wrist, trying to ease the throbbing.
"Are you alright?" Lon asked as he rushed to her side. Robin shook her head as she continued to sob.
Lon pulled her into a gentle hug, stroking her hair. "What is it that you need to tell me?"
Robin couldn't answer him-between the hiccups and her hitched breathing, Robin felt as though she were suffocating. She allowed Lon to hold her. She was preparing for what was about to come. She was about to lose a good friend.
When it became clear to Lon that Robin wasn't going to recover any time soon, he led her towards the girls' bathroom, and began to dab at her eyes with damp paper towels.
"W-what are you d-doing in the g-girl's bathroom? Y-you could get in t-trouble." Robin forced out as she realized that he was once again inside of a female's restroom with her.
And Robin's face went beet red when she realized that Lon was standing inches away from her face. "Eh, they wouldn't expel me for being in the girl's bathroom, would they? By the way, who was that guy?"
Robin hiccuped. "Brady Winston. H-he's the most popular g-guy in school."
"Is he your jealous ex boyfriend or something?"
"I don't k-know what he t-thinks he is, but he was never my b-boyfriend. It's...complicated."
"I'm willing to listen." He gave Robin a reassuring smile, but Robin wasn't ready to tell him just yet. "I...have to t-tell you by the end of t-the day, o-or else he'll tell you himself."
"Is it that bad?" Lon asked as he dried the remainder of Robin's tears.
"I d-don't know, but it will change your image of m-me."
Lon started at the floor for a moment, as if searching for something. Robin tried to see what he was seeing, but all she saw was granite.
"Alright, then come over to my place today. We're having enchiladas for dinner, so feel free to tell me after wards." Lon's eyes met Robin's, once again filled with his usual enthusiasm. "I-I don't know..."
"I'll introduce you to my little sister! She wants to meet you." Lon nudged Robin with his elbow, hoping to win her over.
And he did.

After seventh period, Robin followed Lon out to his bus, taking a seat next to him. Lon chattered about his sister on the way home, claiming that she was the cutest kid in the world.
"She hates dogs because a German Shepherd bit her when she was little. And she's very picky about the vegetables that she eats-for example, she won't eat cucumbers, but she loves squash."
Robin took in every detail of him, hoping to preserve this memory.
"This is my stop, and the walk to my house is only a block away."
Robin trailed behind, slightly ashamed. I can't believe how selfish I was-dragging him down along with me. I hope he can forgive me. Robin lamented to herself, keeping her head down.
Lon noticed Robin's state, and he hoped that whatever Robin had to say was not as dreadful as it seemed.

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