I can’t believe I screamed at my best friend. She’s got cancer, she’s sick and she’s scared and I stood in her living room and yelled at her. What kind of person does that? I should have just taken what she threw at me. She deserves to scream and yell and let it all out. She’s right, it’s not all about me. It was never about me, it was always about her. This is her battle and her illness and as much as I want to, I can’t fight it for her. I was supposed to be the one who always understood her, but at the first sign of trouble, I forgot everything about being a good friend and what she would need from me. I didn’t talk about what was going on with her because it was too hard for me, but it shouldn’t have mattered. What she’s going through is a thousand times worse than what I’m going through. I am a selfish person and I let Claire down.

I was so scared of losing my best friend to this disease that I never stopped to think that I might just loser her because of my own pig-headedness instead. She’s been there through all of my good times and I let her down during one of her worst times. I just want to go back to the good times. It was so much easier then.

Twenty-two years ago, in a balloon galaxy far, far away…

JIM AND I planned getting pregnant, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when the stick turned pink. It wasn’t a huge secret because we’d been talking about it and trying our hardest to make it happen for months, but I still wanted to do something special to break the news to him. I hate surprises and being the center of attention, but Jim loves it so I really wanted to plan something special to tell him. I would have been perfectly fine just blurting it out over dinner and being done with it, but Jim is a romantic and he wouldn’t be too pleased with that.

I asked Jim to meet me at Seduction and Snacks one night under the guise of helping me with inventory. When he walked in, his face took on a look of confusion when he saw the entire place filled with balloons. Piles of green, purple, red, blue and orange balloons littered the floor and every available surface of the shop and hundreds more filled with helium covered every inch of the ceiling. I could have gone with pink and blue, but I didn’t want to make it too obvious.

Jim kicked balloons out of the way, making a path as he walked towards me. He opened his mouth to speak, but was immediately interrupted by Drew, who came running in from Claire’s side of the store.

“This is the best day EVER!” Drew shouted, holding the largest balloon I had ever seen in his hands.

Jim looked at me questioningly.

“Sorry, this was kind of his idea, so I told him he could help,” I explained.

I watched as Drew raced back and forth among the balloons like a two-year old on crack. “Tell him the best part! TELL HIM THE BEST PART!”

I grabbed my husband’s hands and squeezed them. “I have a surprise for you. Drew thought it should be something fun. So, if you want to know what your surprise is, you’ll need to pop the balloons until you find the one it’s hidden in.”

I managed to slide the positive pregnancy test into one of the balloons before we blew it up and it was somewhere in this room, although I’d lost track of it ever since Drew came barreling in here.

“OH, MY GOD! POP THEM! POP THEM!” Drew shouted as he swatted at balloons that floated up and down from the ceiling.

Before I could question how much caffeine Drew had ingested to make him so excitable, Claire, Carter and Jenny stepped in from Claire’s side of the store and made their way over to the counter where the cash register was.

“Don’t mind us,” Claire announced. “We’re just here to huff some helium.”

Jenny immediately grabbed a ribbon attached to a balloon on the ceiling, yanked it towards her and went to work untying it while Drew finally stopped running to stand in front of Jim. He held the giant balloon he’d been racing around with out to him. “Please, pop this one first.”

Jim laughed before taking the balloon from Drew’s hand.

“Mmmmmm yeah, pop that balloon,” Drew moaned as Jim started squeezing it.

Jim paused and looked up at him. “Why are you moaning?”

Drew didn’t answer. His eyes glazed over as Jim squeezed harder and when the balloon popped, I swear to God his legs almost gave out and his eyes rolled to the back of his head.

Since Jim didn’t find the pregnancy test in that balloon, he went to work walking around the store, stomping on balloons as he went. I couldn’t help but notice that Drew was following close behind Jim. Every time he popped another balloon, Drew’s voice got deeper and more sexual as he cheered him on and it really started to creep me the fuck out. I couldn’t even complain to my friends, though, because they were all sucking helium and cracking each other up.

“We represent, the Lollypop Guild, the Lollypop Guild, the Lollypop Guild!” Carter sang in a squeaky, high-pitched voice. Everyone laughed while Drew got right up by my ear.

“Tell Jim he should pop that red one next. It’s so round and full and when it pops it’s going to make this great noise and the smell of rubber will fill the air…” he trailed off and his entire body shuddered.

“What in the actual fuck is happening with you right now?”

Drew ignored me, bending down to grab a red balloon. He rubbed it over his chest and sighed before handing it to Jim.

“I am not touching that thing now that you fondled it,” Jim told him.

His eyes widened. “Can I pop it? Please, please, please, can I, can I, can I?!”

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