"I got another letter from Theo with his check this month." Faye said with annoyance.
"Let me guess, he wants to see the kids again." Kate laughed as she poured two cups of coffee. "How do you want it?"
"That's what I'm talking about." Kate opened the bottom cabinet, which was child-locked and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. She took a sip of it first and then poured some into the two coffee mugs.
Kate set the two coffees down on the table and sat down.
"You are so lucky that your husband killed himself."
"Don't I know it." Kate sat back in her chair and sipped her coffee, "but if yours was dead you wouldn't get any money and you'd have to work."
"True. I guess men are good for one thing."
Kate grinned devilishly, "well, two things."
"Are you getting any?"
"Not really." Kate grimaced, "the last four men got really attached and I don't want to deal with that."
"Everybody gets attached to you. You're practically magnetic."
Herman screeched and ran through the kitchen, Kate reached down and caught him. She lifted him with only a little bit of difficulty, "reason number two I don't fool around anymore. Maybe after menopause." She kissed Herman's cheek, "making a mess?" He shook his head and kicked at the air. She set him down and he took off again.
"Getting pregnant with Herman was just stupid."
"Well pardon me for not double reinforcing every condom. But at least I get child support."
Faye shook her head with a laugh.
Kate downed half of her coffee with a little mm. She poured a little more whiskey into the mug.
"You're going to be that old lush at the end of the road that everyone is scared to talk to, you know." Faye sipped her coffee.
"You don't have any World's Greatest Mom mugs, do you?" Kate looked at the mug in her hands.
"No." Faye shook her head, "then again, my children aren't retarded."
"Are you saying my kids are retarded?"
Kate paused and then nodded, "that could be true."
Shirley at Aunt's
Shirley at school
Shirley stood in front of the mirror in the locker room with her gym shorts in hand. She stared at her reflection for a long time. She put her hands on her stomach and turned to the side. She bit at her lip nervously.
Debbie Matheson stuck her head into the locker room. "Shirley? Are you alright?" She asked, stepping in, seeing that Shirley still hadn't changed into her gym clothes. "Is something wrong?"
Shirley sat down on the bench with a heavy sigh. She felt her eyes well up with tears despite her best efforts. "I think I'm in trouble." She whispered.
Debbie stepped closer to hear her better, "what kind of trouble?"
"Big trouble. Like super big trouble."
"What happened?" Debbie asked with alarm.
"I think I'm pregnant."
Kate burst through the doors of the school and marched straight to the guidance counselor's office where she'd been told Shirley would be. Shirley sat on the couch next to the guidance counselor, who was a petite older woman.
"Shirley get up." Kate snarled.
Shirley looked up at her mother with apprehension, eyes still red and swollen from crying.
"Get up now."
"Mrs. Christian-" The counselor attempted to interject, standing.
"I wasn't talking to you."
"Let's you and I talk about this for a minute." Kate allowed herself to be guided into the other room. "I understand you're upset but try to see this from Shirley's perspective. She's scared and she could really use your support. Girls have a lot of options these days when they experience unplanned pregnancies-"
"She is not pregnant."
The counselor opened her mouth and furrowed her brow.
"She's a 14-year-old kid, for Christ's sake!"
"I understand what you're feeling-"
"No, you don't. You have no fucking idea what I'm feeling." Kate's eyes were narrowed and her nostrils flared. "Don't even try to tell me you understand. And if you tell anyone that she's pregnant I'm going to sue this whole district for slander."
Kate turned on her heel and left the room, grabbing Shirley by the arm and yanking her to her feet.
"Shirley, you do not want to talk to me right now."
Shirley wiped at her tears. "I'm sorry!"
"Shut-up." Kate yanked on her arm again and Shirley yelped. She let her go near the car with a little shove. "Get in."
"Where are we going?" Shirley asked apprehensively. Herman waved from inside the car.
"Get. In." Kate shrieked.
Shirley scrambled around to get into the passenger seat. She buckled her seatbelt and averted her eyes.
"Where's Kerry?" Herman stood on the backseat.
"Herman, sit down and buckle up! I'm not going to say it again!" Kate pulled out of the parking spot and Herman slipped and fell to the seat. "What did I just tell you?"
"Sorry mama," Herman sat in his seat and buckled up, watching Kate with worry. "Shiry, where's Kerry?"
"Jesus Christ, Herman, my name is Shirley, you're six pronounce the L, you retard." Shirley yelled.
Kate smacked Shirley on the cheek, "don't say things like that to your little brother!"
Shirley clutched her cheek and stared at Kate in shock. "Where are we going?" She asked finally, her voice small.
"We're going to the doctor."
"Five months?! Jesus Shirley, when were you planning on telling me?!" Kate paced the living room. "How could you do this to me?"
"I didn't do anything to you. This isn't about you!"
"Go upstairs and pack your bags."
Shirley stared at her mother dumbly, "...what?" She felt as though her heart had stopped beating.
"You heard me."
"Mom... I... you can't do this to me... I... where am I going to go?" She started to cry again, her cheeks already wet and barely registered the new tears.
"To your aunt and uncle's and then boarding school and after that I don't fucking care!"
"Mom, this isn't fair! Don't do this!"
"You should have thought about your actions!"
"This is not fair." Shirley's whole body was trembling and she looked at her mother imploringly. "Please."
"Go upstairs." Kate said very calmly. "And pack your bags."
Shirley stared at her mother for another long moment before she turned and walked up the stairs.
Kerry got off the bus and ran into the house. "Mom!" He called, "Mom!" He yelled again, dropping his books and running through the rooms until skidding to a halt in the kitchen, "why did you pick Shirley up from school?"
"That's not important." Kate said, stirring a pan of tomato sauce and sipping a glass of wine.
"I was trying to wait for her to get on the bus but the guidance counselor told me you picked her up."
Kate spun around, "what did she tell you?"
"That you picked her up. Why did you pick her up?"
"Kerry, drop it, it's unimportant." She turned back to her sauce.
He stood there watching Kate before turning and running out of the room, "Shirley!"
"She's not here."
"Where is she?"
Kerry walked back into the kitchen, "what do you mean she's gone? How can she be gone? Where did she go?"
"Kerry, drop it. Forget about her."
"What are you talking about? She's my sister, your daughter, what do you mean forget about her? Is she okay?"
"Kerry, I'm not answering any more questions. Drop it."
He sighed and rolled his eyes, "I'll be back later."
"Where are you going?"
"To Faith's. I'm going to go do homework."
"Be back by 6 for dinner."
"So that's it?"
"Six not good for you?" She scoffed.
"Just one day you decided to get rid of Shirley and you're not at all bothered by this?" He demanded, "what the hell is going on?"
"Don't say hell." She sipped her wine.
"Mom! Tell me what happened!"
Kate didn't respond.
Kerry let out a loud groan of frustration before stomping out of the kitchen.
"What do you mean she's gone?" Faith questioned with a raised eyebrow.
"That's what I said!" He sighed, "I don't know. My mom just said she's gone and wouldn't tell me what happened." He paused. "You don't think she's... dead... do you?"
Faith was at a loss for words. "I don't know Kerry..."
Margie leaned against the wall as the phone rang. Kate picked up on the other end, "hello?"
"Hi Kate, it's Margie... Shirley's really depressed."
"I'm not surprised." Kate said coldly. "Wouldn't you be?"
"So would you, Kate. Why don't you let Shirley go home? She's going to give the baby up, she could still come home and no one else ever has to know. Be reasonable."
"I absolutely do not have to be reasonable nor do I have to let Shirley come home." Kate protested stubbornly.
"I didn't want to have to say it but you too had an unplanned pregnancy and you should have more sympathy."
"I was 32."
"You had a reputation when we were young. When did you lose your virginity?"
"This is not about me, Margie, just drop it!" Kate hissed. "I am not taking that ungrateful little slut back and that's final. After she has the baby she's going to St. Mary's catholic school for girls and I want nothing more to do with her. Is that all you had to say to me?"
Margie sighed, "I guess so."
"Then goodnight, Margie. Give my love to Billy and Jenny." And Kate hung up.
"You can't stay mad at me forever, Kerry." Kate prodded him gently.
"Wanna bet?" Kerry muttered, pushing his spaghetti around on his plate and facing away from Kate.
"Come on, Kerry."
"Can I be excused?"
"Yeah, put your plate in the fridge."
Kerry picked up his plate and shoved it into the fridge and stomped out of the kitchen.
"Are you going to stay with me, little man?" Kate ruffled up Herman's hair.
"I'm done mom, can't I go play?"
"Oh alright." She kissed his forehead, "love me?"
"Love you!" Herman grinned and jumped down from his seat. Kate set about cleaning up the kitchen.