The Biggest Freakshow

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"So, there I was, laying out on the examination table, getting the ultrasound. I could see both babies on the screen."

I set up the scene for Julia, who was leaning over the counter of her register, all ears. "And then, right when Brittany, the tech, was about to tell me both genders, Poppy jumps up and yells, 'wait!'."

Julia gasped. "No. No way. She didn't."

I sighed. "So, Poppy goes, 'did you really think we weren't going to throw you a big gender reveal party?' And I looked at Cler, and just by looking at her I could tell that she was in on it too—this whole time!"

"Wow. That's crazy."

"Crazy? Yeah, crazy frustrating." I sighed, again. "So, that's why I didn't come in with the news of the genders."

"It was a good answer, though. But when's the party? As your honorary Bump Buddy, I'm guessing I'm invited."

"This Saturday at three, and duh. Of course you're invited," I said. "But I'm literally not even thinking about that with my first day of school being tomorrow. I'm super worried about everyone giving me judgmental looks."

"That's right! I totally forgot! Just chill. You'll be fine. It sounds like your bff Cler has your back."

I sighed. "Yeah. I really hope so."

I left an hour later when the store closed. I wanted to walk to my car with Julia, but she was staying late to help put away returns and pick up some overtime.

So I walked through the dark parking lot with the other employees who had the closing shift, drove Smushy home, and had a quick snack.

I went upstairs and after my shower, found Poppy sitting up in bed and looking through her phone. Her fingers were tapping the screen like a madwoman. I got a quick look at the screen and could see that she was typing out some big long text to someone.

"Hey, tell Destiny you'll talk to her in the morning about your vampire show. We need to go to bed," I said to her.

"Ugh. Fine," she said. 

The next morning I woke up to the sound of Poppy's stupid pop music she had set as her alarm. With Mom already out of the house for over an hour, it was up to me to make sure we both got to school on time, just like every other year.

But even though I was pregnant, I knew the morning routine would be easy. With my 'new' car, I was super excited that we didn't have to take the bus and we'd have about twenty extra minutes to get ready.

I poured us both cereal and a glass of juice for breakfast, and then we both went upstairs to argue over who got to put on their makeup on the bathroom vanity. As usual, I lost and had to straighten my hair behind Poppy while she figured out what color eyeshadow she wanted to put on.

After my hair was good, I put on a cute grey maternity t-shirt and black leggings to match my Converse. My bump was extremely visible and it was way too warm out for a sweatshirt that would hide it. Everyone who didn't know I was pregnant was going to know today. 

Once we were finally done ready to leave, we grabbed our bags, got into Smushy, and started the ten-minute ride to school. 

"Are you ready for your first day of high school?" I asked Poppy.

She was next to me in the passenger's seat, all dressed up in a cute pair of shorts and a crop top, and was even wearing more makeup than usual. In a way I wanted to kill her for dressing so inappropriate, but since it was her first day, I was going to let it slide. Just this once.

"Totally!" she said, raising her sunglasses but still looking down at her phone, pretending to be cool.

"Who are you texting?"

"Oh uh....just Destiny again," she said, slipping the phone back into her pocket.

I could see it just by the way she was sitting. She thought she was the greatest kid in school, getting a ride from her sister and parking in the senior parking lot. It was like I was pregnant and in a rusty SUV didn't mean anything to her.

We got out and parted ways. There were two separate entrances: one for freshmen and sophomores, and one for juniors and seniors. I knew I wouldn't see Poppy for the rest of the day.

I took out my phone and looked at the schedule emailed to me weeks ago so I could find my locker and homeroom. That part was easy enough.

On my way to my new locker I saw Heather, Maddox, and Cler. I hadn't seen Heather and Maddox since the last day of school. I tried texting them so we could all meet up this summer, but they told me they were either working, out of town, or they already had plans.

I totally understood—I was no couch potato either this summer, even though most days I wished I could be.

"Hey guys!" I said, waving.

Cler looked up and waved back. Heather and Maddox turned their heads for a second and started walking off as soon as I got close. My heart was sinking like the Titanic. Over the summer I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn't stupid. It was clear how they felt about my...situation.

"What was that about?" I asked Cler.

"What are you talking about?" she asked.

Was Cler really going to play dumb with me? I crossed my arms over my belly. It felt like the twins were having a party in there today.

"They literally just walked away because I was coming. They don't even want to be seen with me."

"Oh that? No way! They were just—"

"You know what? Forget it!" I said, storming off.

It was on the way to homeroom when I started picking up on everyone's side-glances and whispers. It was hard as anything, but I knew I could do this.

I kept my head up and walked into homeroom. But just when I thought things would be better because I was out of the hallway, when I sat down, I couldn't fit into my desk.

No way. Please don't let this be happening to me.

I tried to look discreet by sitting sideways, and thankfully everyone was looking down at their phones. Of course, that included the guy who was walking past me and tripped over my foot. Now everyone was staring.

"How about you sit over here, hun?" asked the teacher at the front of the room. She gave me a warm smile and pulled out a chair at the table on the side of the room. "You'll probably be much more comfortable."

I got up and walked over with everyone's eyes on me. Once I sat down, I leaned forward and buried my face in my arms. It was only day one of senior year and I already felt like the biggest freakshow of the entire school.

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