Getting Excited

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I woke up to an empty house. I'd been up all night looking at local colleges. The local community college had a daycare for students with kids, but the state school was known for how great it's teaching program was.

I'd most likely be able to afford to go there as a commuter, since I got a near-perfect SAT score. I wanted to do what was best for my little peanuts, but I'd have to do more thinking. I also had to actually be accepted, too.

Poppy, although she made me want to claw my eyes out sometimes, kept being super supportive about me keeping the twins. Instead of going to her usual band camp for a month during the summer, she stayed home and took on more babysitting jobs. Just last night she was watching two kids overnight. It almost surprised me that she was so dedicated to helping out.

As the days went on, I'd always catch her drawing out new diagrams of our bedroom and how she wanted it to look when it would be a half-nursery. She was still dead-set on my tiny fraternal twins being a boy and a girl.

I never told anyone, but I kept thinking they'd be either two boys or two girls, but I'd find that out in a few months.

Today, I was going shopping with Cler. I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. My favorite pastel blue t-shirt was snug before I got pregnant, and now that I was ten weeks along, I was already starting to show. I loved the teeny tiny baby bump I had.

"Your grandma was crazy to think I'd get rid of you two," I said, rubbing my bump.

Mom had really come around to the thought of being a grandma, even though she was going to be a really young one. My first ultrasound was already the background on her phone, and she talked about the babies almost constantly.

A loud, obnoxious beeping in my driveway snapped me out of my cloud of thoughts. 

Ugh, why is she always so impatient?

I ran downstairs, grabbed my purse, put on some flip flops, and ran out the door. Cler was sitting in her brand-new Charger—the present she just got for her eighteenth birthday. I opened the door and climbed in.

"Oh my gosh, look at your cute little bump!" Cler said, giddily reaching her hand over and rubbing it. "You look so adorable!"

"Thanks...hopefully I'll look nice in the new clothes we find," I said.

"Just let me take the lead, and you'll look good in anything," Cler said, lowering her sunglasses and giving me an overly-dramatic wink.

Cler drove us to Target because it was her "favorite place in the whole world," and I knew they'd have some good deals on clothes. We parked the car and walked in. Cler immediately made a b-line for Starbucks. I sighed when we stood in line.

"What is it?" Cler asked.

I looked up at the menu. "I'm craving pumpkin spice really badly...but it's June!"

Cler frowned. I'd been texting her all week about how much my pregnancy cravings were kicking in. I wanted everything pumpkin. I'd resorted to eating pumpkin straight out of the can when no one was looking. Two days ago, I made a pumpkin pie and ate the entire thing by myself.

"I'll handle this," Cler said, pulling a twenty out of her purse. She walked up to the barista behind the counter and slid the twenty over. "Hey, my friend over here is pregnant with twins and craving an iced PSL. Can you give her a hand?"

The barista nodded with a smile and said, "I'll make it a decaf."

I watched as she took Cler's twenty, went to the back, and came back out a few minutes later with a massive iced coffee, which she handed to me. I took it eagerly.

"Thank you thank you thank you! How much?" I asked.

"On the house," she said.

After we got our coffees, Cler grabbed a shopping cart and we went straight for the maternity section. With a lot of begging, I was able to borrow fifty dollars from Mom. I couldn't go above that.

I had a few extra twenties in my wallet for an emergency, but I needed to put a hundred percent of my earnings towards buying a car. How else would I get my babies to the doctors? Or daycare? Or...anywhere?

"Oh look! This dress is super cute!" Cler said, holding up this amazing navy-blue dress with long sleeves.

I checked the price-tag. It was thirty-five dollars. 

"No way Cler. It's way too much." My eyes wandered over to the rack with the big yellow clearance sign over it. "Here, I'll show you the right way to shop."

I marched right over to the clearance section and started looking through everything. It was a trick I learned from my mom, who called herself the Deal Queen. She never bought anything that wasn't on sale, and now I really understood why.

On the clearance rack, I found two maternity t-shirts for only eight dollars each and a pair of leggings for sixteen.

Cler was on one end, and I was on the other. When we were almost to the middle of the rack, a shirt with long sleeves caught my eyes. The front of it said, "Eating for Two" with the word Two crossed out and Three written under it instead.

"That's so perfect! You have to get it!" Cler said.

It was twelve dollars. I threw it in the cart, then took out my phone to add everything up.

"Okay, that's forty-four. With the tax it'll probably be fifty total, so we can stop now," I said.

"What?" Cler pointed to the cart. "A few t-shirts and some leggings? That's not even considered shopping."

"I've only got fifty bucks, Cler."

"Come on! Let me buy you something else then! You're going maternity shopping. You need at least one adorable dress."

Normally I would protest because I hated handouts, but in this case, there was no point in arguing. I had no other money for my babies other than my house cleaning income. I could use all the help I could get.

Cler rummaged through the racks and pulled out a few dresses. I never really dressed up, but that was because Mom could never afford to buy us anything fancy. In the summer, clearance t-shirts were a lot less expensive than new sundresses.

"Okay, I know you won't say 'no' to this one!" she said.

Cler pulled out a long-sleeved dress. I felt it and it was super soft. It had a hood on the back of it. After being friends for this long, she knew that sweatshirts were my favorite article of clothing ever.

"This is the greatest dress I've ever seen in my life," I said.

"Good. Now it's yours," Cler said, tossing it into the cart. "You know, if you're worried about cash, maybe you should finally tell Jace. We both know the Hetchers have tons of money."

My stomach turned. I couldn't tell if it was pregnancy gas or if it was because I was still way too scared to tell Jace about this.

"I think I'll pass on that one," I said.

"You'll have to tell him sooner or later, Chrys," Cler said. "Promise me, you'll tell him before the end of the month."

"Okay. I think I can do that."

She held out her hand. "Pinky swear?"

I laughed and we shook pinkies. "Pinky swear."

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