I spin to see who came up to my private balcony, and there is a shattering of glass as moonlight picks out glints of pale hair, bottle blonde to be sure. Jean. A very livid Jean surrounded by shards of what smells like a broken beer bottle.

“I should have known, Lazy Lia. I get it. Not even threats can keep your money grubbing paws off Beck.” She kicks a larger piece of glass in our direction, sneering as it breaks.

Threats? Did Jean threaten my Lia? Is that why Lia has been off lately? Rage colors my vision, and I feel my control thinning out to a hair’s thickness.

“So, Lia, why don’t you tell your silver fox of a fuck buddy about his whore daughter? You’re such good friends and all, but I’m sure your mouth has been too full of his cock to tell him that his daughter is knocked up.” Jean’s face twists into a mockery of a smile. Drinking has increased her cruelty and pettiness.

My emotions are everywhere. Tasha, my Tasha is pregnant? Lia is being hurt by Jean. I’m going to be a father and a grandfather all at the same time.

“Tell him, Lia. Or are you too busy fucking your way into a promotion to even care about your supposed best friend? Maybe she fucked your father to get even with you…No. Paul can’t get it up anymore.”

“Not for you at least.” Lia slaps her hand over her mouth as soon as the words come rushing out. She reaches for me, fingertips an inch from my arm before she shakes her head and hugs herself instead. “I promised her, Beck. I promised Tasha that I wouldn’t tell her secret. She’s not a whore!” Lia snaps. I don’t know if she was meaning it just for Jean or trying to reassure me, too.

Lia moves between Jean and me, eyes pleading with me as much as her words. “Don’t yell. Please don’t yell. Tasha is so scared. She didn’t know how to tell you, and Chris wanted to be there when she tells you. I promised her.” Lia’s crying, but the tears fall unnoticed as she rocks herself side to side. “Tasha is lost. It was their first time together. The condom broke, but they thought…I don’t know what they all were thinking.

“At least I was on the pill, but it was a bad batch or something, and I still haven’t told Tasha that I’m pregnant.” Lia is rambling, trying to rationalize all that’s going through her mind. “She’s going to hate me, and you’re going to hate me for keeping her secret about this. Oh, fuck!” Lia realizes what she said.

I grab her, pulling Lia close, as much to protect her from whatever vitriol Jean is going to spew as to reassure her. “I don’t care.” I do care, very much in fact, but this isn’t the place for that conversation. “I love you, and I love Tasha. With all that the two of you have been through together, I understand why you were keeping this secret. I could never hate you for that, for anything. You were protecting my daughter. It’s sweet,” I say.

It’s hard to play nonchalant over my daughter being pregnant, but I know it’s going to be much how Paul is going to feel when he finds out about Lia. I must be calm outwardly and hope it will sink in.

“Pregnant? You’re pregnant, too?” Jean drunkenly points at Lia. “You got knocked up by Beck? When?” She shakes her head and laughs. “It doesn’t really matter. I don’t care how happy you think you’ll be, I’m going to ruin it for both of you.” She runs off, stumbling as she bounces off the wall to change direction.

Lia is sobbing, shaking in my arms. “W-what are we going to do?”

“Take a deep breath, kiss one another for luck, find your underwear, and go do some damage control.” I brush my nose against hers. “And I’m going to go tell my girlfriend’s father that he’ll be a grandfather in a few months. At least I know he likes me, right?” I have to make Lia feel stronger about our situation.

She leans on my shoulders as she steps back into her underwear, and she pulls it up into place while I zip her dress. I could laugh at how rumpled we both look if not for fear of what is coming.

We are halfway to the wall I had moved to get us through when Lia pauses. “Can’t we just run away somewhere else instead?” She isn’t serious, but the thought is tempting.

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