Harsh Truths

Written by Isa Bedigian

Charlie visits Julia @ school, Sarah hits Daphne with her feelings about Daphne's feelings towards her unborn child.

"Hey," Claudia nudged Sarah while the guys were doing their dance routine to "Supa Dupa Fly". "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, having a great time."
Claudia stared @ her. She wasn't smiling, or clapping, & she hadn't screamed one time the whole concert. "Don't you like their music?"
"Yeah, I'm just tired, that's all."
Claudia decided not to let Sarah's bad mood get her down. She returned her attention to NSYNC & to JC.
When Intermission came, she had to nudge Sarah again to get her attention. "I'm gonna go buy a keychain, you want something?"
"No, thanks."
Claudia took off & Sarah sat there. She knew she wasn't being very nice to Claudia, but she just had so many things on her mind that the concert was the last place she wanted to be. She wondered how Julia & Griffin were doing, & if she had told him about the baby yet. She wondered how Charlie & Kirsten were doing. She wondered how Bailey was doing with the new waitress he hired @ Salingers'.
Claudia returned & sat next to her. "I'm back. I brought you a Coke."
Sarah took it from her & forced herself to smile. She wasn't the type to be selfish, so she wanted to try & have fun for Claudia's sake, even though she felt like crawling under her bed & staying there a few days.

Julia was reading in bed when the phone rang. "Hello?"
"Hey Jule." Charlie. "How ya feeling?"
My back hurts, I've been throwing up for days & I can't keep any food down. "I'm fine. You? How's Daphne?"
"Pregnant." he laughed. "I was thinkin' maybe I'd come by this weekend. You know, so we could talk."
Julia thought that over. There was no way Sarah told him, so what was the deal. "What's up Charlie?"
"I can't fool you?"
"Not a chance."
"Well, I don't know what all you know.....but......I've kind of been seeing Kirsten."
"Define seeing."
"We're sleeping together. I dunno, I just need a break from this house & this life &....well, frankly I need a break from Daphne."
Julia laughed.
"Okay, fine, you come wait on her hand & foot."
"No thanks. When do you think you'll be here?"
"Saturday, around noonish?"
"I'll be waiting." if I'm up & not in the bathroom puking, she added silently.

Saturday morning, Sarah arrived to an empty house & a collection of notes. "Sarah ~ went on day trip, you can leave tonight don't worry about Daphne. ~ Charlie" "Sarah, I went shopping with Jody & her mom. Be back later, Claudia." "Sarah, almost forgot, took Owen to a birthday party, can you pick him up @ five? Here's the address......I love you. Bailey." She saved the last & headed upstairs to see Daphne. She was quite pleased to find she was still sleeping & went downstairs. The house was surprisingly not a mess, so she opened her laptop & began to write a new song. She hadn't written one in ages, but the mood was there & she went with it.

Julia was going with her mood as well. She'd been in the bathroom since five am. "I didn't puke this much the first time." she muttered. She considered the puking a good sign that the baby was okay. When she finally felt well enough to stand up, she panicked. It was already twenty to twelve. She jumped in the shower & forced herself to look presentable so that she could at least open the door to greet Charlie before returning to bed. When he got there, she let him in & they sat together on the bed the way they did when they were kids.

"Kirsten & I are......complicated," he began. Julia nodded, & let him go on & on the way he needed to. She wanted to tell him that she needed to vent herself, but she waited until he hit a lull.
"I just, I don't know, I'm grasping @ straws."
"I kind of have my own dilemma."
"Um, well, I'm sort of......I kind of.......there's no other way to say this."
"Say what?"
"What is it Jule? It can't be too bad."
"It's bad."
"Why, you pregnant?"
Julia looked @ the floor.
Charlie jumped up. "You're pregnant?" he demanded.
Julia flashed him her ring finger. "And married. Oh Charlie please don't be angry @ me."
"I'm not angry. I'm not......God, Jule, this is just such a.....this is strange."
"You're telling me." she stood up & went over to her mirror. She drew her hair up &put lip gloss on. "I didn't exactly plan on spending my summer semester @ college throwing up in the bathroom."
"You've been really sick?"
"Yeah, it's been a trip."
"Does Griffin know?"
"Do you think I'd be here if he did?"
"So you think you guys'll keep the baby?"
"No, I think I'll keep the baby. I think I don't know for sure yet, but I think I'll move back home & I'll handle this on my own."
"You're not even going to tell him?"
"Why, so he can take off on me again?" she walked over to the bed but didn't sit on it. "Because I don't think I can handle that again Charlie. It's not fair."
"Julia, you have to tell him."
"What if Daphne hadn't told me? I wouldn't even know.....I wouldn't.....you see my point?"
She did, & she hated to admit it. "I just don't want to lose him again."
She started to cry, & Charlie held out his arms to her. She let him hold her as she cried, because he made it better, for the moment, the way he did when they were kids.

"Sarah?" Daphne called around three. "You down there?"
"Ding, dong, the wicked witch is awake," Sarah muttered. She took the stairs two @ a time to get up there faster. The quicker she got up, the quicker she could get back down.
"'Morning," Sarah greeted her.
"Why do you hate me?"
"I don't hate you."
"You're lying. I can see it."
"How do you know?"
"Charlie told me your eyes close up when you're lying & your eyes look like slits so..."
"I don't hate you Daphne, really, I don't. I just don't exactly like what you're doing. I mean with the baby? You're onlee here because Charlie wants the baby. I mean, if it were any other guy you woulda been outta here, bam, had an abortion & gone back to your wonderful career."
"Let me finish. J--My best friend is faced with an unwanted pregnancy right now. And she had a miscarriage a few years ago, so she wants this baby real bad. And I understand that. And I don't know what your past was like, but I don't see how you can feel this baby growing inside you & not want to be a part of its life."
"Sarah," Daphne didn't speak for a long time. "I'm just not the type of person to be a Mom, you know? I mean, would you want to tell everyone in your kindergarden class that you're mom's a stripper?"
"There are worse things." Sarah said, standing up. "I'll go make you breakfast."
"You still hate me?"
Her eyes closed up. "I'm working on it."

"Look @ us," Charlie said later that night. He'd ordered pizza & they'd pigged out, then sprawled out over the bed, watching MTV. "We're two pathetic peas in a pod."
"You can say that again."
"You gotta tell him Jule.
She sipped her lemonade. "Why?"
"I know, I know." she stood up & tossed the empty pizza box into a corner where Charlie noticed there were others just alike. He had memories of when their kitchen was littered with pizza boxes. "I'll tell him this weekend, when I come home."
"You're coming home this weekend?"
"I've missed dinner," she admitted. "I'll bring Griffin if you bring Kirsten."
"No more avoidance?" he asked.
"That's the idea."

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