Rich

You can't decide whether money changes things or not; it does. You can decide, however, whether it changes things for better or worse.

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24. Twenty four

I'm really glad Alex is a proactive person because he texts me the next day:

Okay, last night was great and everything but we both agree that we totally need to set ground rules, right? 

I am so relieved. It's best to just be honest about what happened and make sure it's not awkward or weird. I reply:

Yes yes yes

He replies 10 minutes later:

Okay, here are the rules I have come up with. Do let me know if you disagree
1. We were totally stupid and didn't use protection so go and see the school nurse after school today and get emergency contraception, get the morning after pill. 
2. We never speak of it again.
3. No knowing glances about it. 
4. We don't get embarrassed about what happened, we just accept that it was great and now we move on.
5. Your friends NEVER know. Never. 
6. My friends never know either but that's a given. 
7. We don't avoid each other because we feel uncomfortable, we keep going on exactly like usual. 

I reply:

I totally agree. 

He replies:

Great. I'll pick you up for school in the morning :) 

*

I'm at lunch on Monday with my friends and part of me really wants to tell them but most of me just doesn't want them to ever know. I kind of feel like they'd be really ashamed of me for doing something so stupid because it was kind of a stupid thing to do. Plus, it's one of the rules that they never ever know. So I keep quiet. 

"Hey, is everybody coming shopping straight after school?" Alice asks. 

Everybody agrees but I have to go and see the school nurse. I hesitate and then realise they're all looking at me, waiting for an answer. 

"I can't." is all I say. 

"Why not?" they ask, all at the same time. 

"I'm staying behind after school. I'm gonna go to Miss Davidson's classroom and finish off that English assignment."

"Oh, I'll come too actually." Johanna says. "We could all go, then we can all walk into town afterwards."

I feel like crawling into a hole. 

"No, it's okay, I can meet you guys in town afterwards." I suggest, hopefully.

"No, I need to finish that assignment too, it'd be best to get it out of the way." Alice says and the others agree. I am dying inside. 

"Guys, honestly, I'm not going to finish the assignment but I can't tell you what I'm staying behind for and I kind of need some privacy so I'll just meet you in town, okay?" I say all in one breath and they all go quiet but agree. 

After school, I go and see the nurse. I feel so awkward asking for emergency contraception even though the nurse is probably getting requests like this all the time. She does seem kind of shocked though, even if she's trying to hide it. I'm always the girl coming to her because I've tripped over my own feet in gym and hurt myself. She's probably shocked that I even need contraception of any kind. I take the pill while I'm there and then it's over and done with and I can fully move on. 

I should have known my friends would follow me. 

They're all waiting for me when I walk out of the nurse's office. I groan as they all look at me with wide eyes. 

"Please guys, I really don't-"

"What were you seeing her for?" Carrie asks. 

"I felt sick." I suggest hopefully but none of them buy it. 

"Were you... were you getting contraception?" Johanna asks. "Because if you are planning on having sex with Alex, that is a really bad idea. I thought you were smarter than this, I shouldn't have to warn you about what might happen."

"Well I actually went in there to take the morning after pill because I've already had sex with Alex, so please, do go on and tell me all about what a bad decision I've made." I snap, frustrated at her and at them all really. It's the way they're looking at me, like I've done something terrible. All I've done is grown up a little bit more, taken a step that they haven't taken yet and it's like they're accusing me of doing something before they got to do it. I can't stand looking at them all so I just walk away and get the bus home. 

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