Pink or Blue?

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The morning of the gender reveal party was crazy, like it usually was every time we threw a party. Mom was stingy when it came to budgets, but that never meant we couldn't have anyone over.

Poppy and I had tons of birthday parties as kids with home-cooked food and decorations Mom made herself.

We spent the first few hours of the day doing just that: hand-making decorations out of construction paper, like cutting out blue and pink onesie shapes, making triangular flag banners with pink and blue polka dots, and drawing signs. 

Party store decorations were so "overrated," as Mom said. What she really meant was "overpriced". I wasn't sure about Poppy, but I always found our construction paper decorations that much more special because we made them. 

With one hour to go, I was inside frosting cookies while Mom and Poppy were struggling in the backyard. We had two boxes made by a family friend that were tied to the big tree behind the deck.

Poppy and I were going to pull the strings on each one, and either pink or blue balloons would fall down on us. 

Right as I was piping pink frosting onto a cookie, my phone buzzed. I figured it was Cler. We'd had a rough week after what happened with Heather and Maddox, especially after my conversation in band. I guess he told her everything we talked about.

Cler kept defending them instead of literally just telling me the truth: that they were embarrassed to be near me and that was that. It didn't matter how long we were friends or how much we'd been through.

All they cared about was not wanting to be seen with the pregnant girl. I tried to move on. I knew who my real friends were.

However, the rift between the four of us was making things worse for Cler. She was also upset that I was spending a bunch of time with Julia instead of her.

I tried to explain that when I told her I was hanging out with Julia, it meant on the register. At work. She was still upset, and I almost wasn't sure if she was even coming.

I wiped some frosting off my fingers and picked up my phone. It was a text from an unknown number.

Hey Chrys, it's Chase. I know that Jace won't be there today, but Poppy told me last night about the party. I had my pilot fly me in ASAP because I didn't want to miss it. I hope it's okay that I come?

I didn't even think twice about it. I texted him right back with our address.

Cool. Thanks! I just landed so I'll be a little late. I'll be in a hat and sunglasses so no one notices me. I'd hate to take the spotlight off you!

I put the phone down and smiled, getting back to my cookies. How on earth was this person related to Jace, who, by the way, texted me the oh-so-kind words of "screw off, bitch" when I told him about the gender reveal party today.

By the time I was done icing the half-pink and half-blue cookies, guests were ringing the doorbell. Julia came with Carlos, and thankfully Cler showed up too.

Poppy invited Destiny and a few of her other friends. The rest of the guests were a mixture of longtime family friends and people from the front-end of the store.

I tried my best to talk and socialize, but all I really wanted to do was devour every cookie in sight and pull the strings on those boxes. But no matter what, I needed to keep stalling to give Chase enough time to get here.

I didn't want Mom to find out he was coming. She wasn't the best at secret-keeping and would probably tell everyone that a celebrity was at the party. 

"How about now, Chrys?" Mom asked as I was hanging out the couch, laughing with the rest of my cashier friends.

"Uh, not yet," I said for the third time.

Ten minutes later, Poppy yelled, "Okay everybody, we're going to do the reveal now! Everybody outside!"

Now I didn't have a choice. We all crammed onto the deck, where everyone had a view of the tree. Cler had her phone out, ready to film the whole thing, and so did a bunch of the others. I took my position under the box that said Baby B is a...

"Wait! Everyone take a button!" Mom said, passing out a tub full of them.

We also made these ourselves. They said, "team girls," "team boys," and "team both." Poppy, of course, was already wearing a "team both" button.

"All three of us should wear a different one," Mom said, coming over to me with the buttons. "Since Poppy swiped the both one, do you want boys or girls?"

"Well, which one do you want, Mom?" I asked, really slowly, to buy more seconds.

"Oh geez, it doesn't matter. You know my luck when it comes to these things! Every time I go to a gender reveal—"

"You're always wrong," I said, giggling. "I guess I'll take the boys one, purely because blue is my favorite color."

"Okay, then I'm taking girls!" she said. "Hey, maybe I'll be right this time!"

"You said the same thing at cousin Isla's party!" I said as she walked off. "And guess what, you were wrong that time, too!"

"But remember, I'm the one whose usually right," Poppy said, clutching the string of her box. "That nursery is going to be so perfect!"

I looked down at the street one last time for any sign of Chase as I put on my button. Nothing. I took a deep breath. He'd figure it out when he saw all the balloons on the ground.

"So, who's ready?" Mom asked. Everyone cheered.

"Pull the damn strings already!" Destiny shouted.

"I want to do it one at a time!" I said, then pointed to Poppy. "You go first!"

Poppy eagerly jumped up and down. Everyone counted down, "!" and Poppy pulled the string. The bottom of the box opened, and a waterfall of blue balloons rained down on her.

Everybody yelled, cheered, and clapped. To be honest, I wasn't really surprised. Maybe it was my mother's intuition, but for some reason I had a feeling that at least one of the babies would be a boy.

"Yes! That means your balloons are gonna be pink!" Poppy said.

Anyway, I was so excited to find out the second baby's gender that I didn't even take the time to process what happened.

There was no countdown. No waiting. I pulled my string before all the balloons on Poppy's side even reached the ground. When that box opened the balloons started falling, I could not believe what I saw.

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