Only three weeks ago, things were different. Everybody was happy and excited for new love, new milestones, and apparently new people. Three weeks ago was the wedding and that day was everything but perfect. As one couple was beginning their lives as a married couple, the other two were tearing from the seams. One found out her spouse had been cheating on her for some time. As the other was wondering how much longer she could be able to handle as she kept trying to ruin a perfectly good relationship and the newlywed got probably the biggest surprises in her life and it would happened on her first day of her honeymoon. All three of them were heart-broken, shocked, and at each other’s sides throughout the whole thing. Their lives were completely changed within twenty-four hours. Now things were about to get even more crazier as things have a way creeping back on you. Only this time it didn’t just happen three weeks ago, it happened in three minutes flat.
Chloe sat on the couch, still attached to the phone, hoping that Hank would answer his phone soon. After the third ring, she decided to hang up the phone and looked at the clock, it was 4:45 in the afternoon. She had been distracted by the music and doing chores around the house, but now that they had the results of the test, she couldn’t let it go. She stood up from the couch and placed the envelope on the coffee table. She wanted to read what it said, but what if it wasn’t what she wants to hear. What if he is the father of Nicole’s son? Could she seriously take that amount of pain on her own and she was afraid that Hank would get mad at her for reading it without him. It shouldn’t still bother her, because they were on a break. Did she have the power to act like Rachel from Friends when Ross cheated on her while they were on a break too? She thought it didn’t matter, because that was a TV show. She shook her head in disguise and grabbed it again, but as she put her thumb inside the slot, she couldn’t do it. Not even adrenaline was helping her open it. She was absolutely terrified to find out the truth. The fact that she didn’t even see the positive side of it, where he wasn’t the father, even played out in her mind. She doubted it even though Nicole wasn’t the goody good girl, if she knew she was right. Nine times out ten the woman was right. Chloe sat herself up against the wall and looked away from the table, she cried silently to herself to give herself some release.
The phone made a muffled ring as it laid on the table face down, she thought it was Hank, but it was not. Claire was quiet, but Chloe knew it was her. No caller ID on her phone made her realize that it was Claire. As many times as Claire broke her phones, she kept having them replaced and as many exes she had, she had to have her numbers changed too. Nobody had the right number, but her family and friends knew it was her only because Claire never called people. She was always texting people instead, so when Chloe answered her house phone and heard Claire’s faded cries in the background, she knew that whatever she was feeling in her marriage, it would have to be put on the back burner for the time being. “Claire, what’s going on? Are you okay?” Chloe said as she slowly sat up herself up on her feet again. In the same moment, Chloe’s cell phone buzzed inside her purse. Claire was still quiet, wiping away her tears, wondering how to break the news to her own sister. Chloe waited patiently and searched deep insider her purse, there were four unread messages, her recent message was from Hank. Of course, he would go for her cell! The message read, “Did you know Claire’s pregnant?” Chloe was shocked and realized that she was still on the phone with her, waiting for her to actually speak in an actual sentence, but she was still silent. “Claire…” Chloe said into the phone.
Hank sat in his chair, just staring at his younger brother. Realizing what he had just heard, his younger sister-in-law was actually pregnant. He had always hoped that Claire would get her life back on track and maybe go back to school, but Claire didn’t feel like it was her time. She instead took up the role of being the best aunt she could be her nieces and worked every other weekend at the sports bar down the street to the coffee shop. It never paid much, but Claire never complained, because she was content with how things were going. Everybody was more concerned with her personal life anyways, after that abusive boyfriend she had, she never really had that stable male role model in her life to protect her. He had always been there for her and Brenda, that’s why his hands were still slightly swollen from bruising John’s face at his wedding. Hank didn’t see nothing bad behind it, he cared about them just as much as they did for him. Even though, right now he was pretty sure neither one of them cared for him. He had expected that though. Hank sat and waited for Chloe to text him back, but there was no such luck. Levi and Hank sat in pure silence, which was strange, because when they were kids they were always the ones who fought the most. “I would be surprised if Chloe or Brenda didn’t know about it, but then again I would understand if Claire didn’t want to tell Brenda about it.” Levi said as he slowly got up from his chair, aside that his legs and ass were numb, he needed to make use of himself since his boss was in. “Yeah, where do you think you’re going?” Hank said as he put his phone back in his back pocket. “Back to work, where else?” Levi said, “Are you going to be okay, big brother?” he said. “Yeah, don’t go flirting with Layla, she needs to get back to work too.” Hank said as he tried to distract himself to act like a boss to his immature little brother. “Oh yeah, like that’s easy to do.” Levi said as he opened the door, “I hope everything gets better for Claire.” Levi said in a caring tone. “Yeah, I hope so too.” Hank said as Levi walked out.
“When did it happen?” Chloe said while she paced in the kitchen. The cold floor on her bare feet felt good as he felt a fever reaching up her body. She couldn’t believe she was going to be an aunt again. This time by Claire. What was the world coming to? Claire wasn’t handing out information as good as Brenda did when she first found out she was pregnant. “Claire… you need to talk to me. It’s the only way you’ll be able to feel better about it.” Chloe said calmly into the phone. “How is this supposed to make me feel any better Chloe?!” Claire shrieked into the phone, already stressed out to the max and being told to talk about it wasn’t something she was ready for, but yet she is the one who called Chloe in the first place. “Did you at least tell Matt or the other guy you slept with?” Chloe said as she went by the counter and grabbed a glass that she had previously cleaned an hour earlier. She was tempted to get out the wine but knew she needed to be rational here for her sister. She turned on the sink and filled her glass with tap water. “Okay, first of all I did NOT sleep with anybody else but Matt. Matt IS the father.” Claire said in an angry voice. Her hormones were raging already. “All right, okay, I’m sorry. What do you want me to say, “hooray! Congrats!” because you’ve got a long way to go to get there sis.” Chloe was in a mood too. “Well, you certainly were on Brenda’s side when she found out she was pregnant again six months after she had Tatum.” Claire said, she did have a point there. Tatum and Grace could be considered twins if it wasn’t being born ten months apart from each other. “That’s a little bit different. Brenda was already a mom to Ava and Tatum. She had practice. You haven’t.” Chloe said as she drank the rest of the water out of the glass and put it down on the counter again.
Claire twisted her fingers together as she threw together theories of how her future will be like with the new baby at her side. She couldn’t expect that Matt would actually get back with her, but that’s not why she needed to tell him about it. It was his child. She didn’t want him to find out in five years that he had a secret child living without him around, like Nicole. She was not Nicole and she wanted to be smart about all of this, but it was secretly killing her inside too. “Matt knows, but he hasn’t called me back or anything.” Claire said into the phone. She felt hungry and knew she didn’t have anything worthy of putting in her body. So she ignored her belly’s requests. “Well, at least you told him. I don’t like the fact you told him over the phone.” Chloe said as she walked back into her living room. Her feet were starting to get cold from the floor. “It was more like a text.” Claire said shyly. “Oh what are you a guy? Jeez Claire, Matt deserves more than just some lousy text message.” Chloe said as collapsed onto the couch. Her body was exhausted and the couch was very intoxicating. “I can barely talk to you now about it, what makes you think I could get through a damn conversation with him about it. Besides he’s back in school.” Claire said back, she was making a strong case until that last bit. “Oh double whammy.” Chloe said in sarcastic tone. “You’re not helping much either, you know?” Claire said as she walked into her small kitchen and found a bag of chips that hadn’t been open yet. She ripped into them. “Well, would have wanted to call Brenda instead?” Chloe said, she just sealed that deal. Chloe was a lot less threatening than Brenda. She always was that way.
Hank finally sat alone in his office, instead of figuring out paperwork and watching the rest of his employees his mind kept him occupied. He wasn’t thinking about Chloe and their problems anymore. Claire was more in his mind than his own wife. He had remembered when he first met Claire. She was just a teenager when Chloe finally allowed him over to the house to meet the rest of her family. He had already met Brenda as she was nearby whenever they hung out. Brenda never really like Hank back then, thought he was trouble. Her judge of character was always messed up. Claire had turned 13 the week before, she never liked to smile because at that time she had braces but her first interaction with Hank led her to think he was a good guy for her older sister. Hank had his practice with impressing younger kids, since he had been doing that with his brother Levi and his friends since he was able to talk. Claire and Levi went to the same middle school and were in the same classes too. Claire even told Hank a few times that he was the better brother as Levi always acted like a total ass everytime he was around people; but mostly just around the girls. Hank knew how to impress the ladies, not Levi. Now things have changed. It’s the other way around. Levi has had time to clean up his act and actually has somewhat. He’s still a complete moron sometimes, but he’s grown up some too. Claire is still in that hole where she can’t seem to get out of yet and Hank worried about her and sometimes he thought Levi was worried about her too. He just didn’t let it out as much. Hank tried to ignore old memories and at least attempted to do some work while he was on the clock.
It was six thirty, the sun was just starting to set. Chloe had been cleaning, listening to the radio, been on the phone trying to talk some sense into her pregnant baby sister, and she had only talked to Hank only a handful of times today. She felt defeated as the hours kept passing by, she wanted things to be resolved and go back to the way they use to. She wanted to believe in her love with Hank again. The past has come to haunt both of them and it still kept Chloe on a short leash as the papers that said their marriage’s fate inside still un-opened. She no longer had the tears to bear as she let them all fly out earlier. She could nothing but stare at the while the envelope as it sat next to her coffee mug and a stack of fashion and bride magazines. She couldn’t get her mind off of it that things could easily get worse for them if it wasn’t the answer they were both hoping for, but then that familiar ring muffled inside the back of her jeans again. Her cell phone rang three times before she looked on the caller ID and it was her mother, Sandra. “Hey, mom.” Chloe said in a whisper, but whatever somber feelings she was going through stopped right there. “You need to get up to the hospital right now. John and I got Claire and we’re heading there now.” Sandra said over the phone, which freaked Chloe out to no end. “Why? What’s going on? Something wrong with the baby?” Chloe said into the phone, but was sidetracked as Hank walked right in the house with a fist full of roses in his hands. He saw the horror in her eyes and she dropped the phone on the floor and ran out of the house as fast she could. “Chloe… what’s going on?” Hank said as he grabbed the phone and ran out to the car, “Brenda and the girls were in an accident. Get in!” Chloe said in a panic and Hank decided to take the driver’s seat.
They arrive twenty minutes later, surprised as traffic is usually a bitch around seven in the evening. Chloe was freaking out, now that not only is her baby sister was pregnant (and the fact that she just told her mother about it) and Brenda and her nieces were in a car accident earlier this morning. Everything was starting to overwhelm her and the distanced husband sitting beside her in the car didn’t help much either. Hank wasn’t all calm, cool, and collected as Chloe assumed, but he tried to put on a brave face for the sake of his scared wife. It took them two minutes to find a parking spot. They stepped out of the car and began walking up the sidewalk to where Chloe’s stepfather John was, smoking his cigarette. He tossed it down and smashed under his shoe. Chloe hugged him and he led them into the lobby. “So what happened?” Hank said as they got inside the elevator. Chloe stood in between John and Hank. It felt familiar considering John gave her away to Hank just three weeks ago. Just three weeks and they were already in a rut. “Brenda was taking the girls to school. She just got off the interstate and turned into the campus, where some car hit the side of the car with such force that two of the side windows are broken. The front windshield is cracked and there’s a huge dent on the right side of the car. Brenda, Tatum, and Ivy are all fine. Ava has some bruises and a broken leg, but they’re more worried about Gracie since she can’t very well speak in perfect sentences that they’re worried if she can’t tell what hurts and what doesn’t.” John said as both Chloe and Hank stared at him until the doors opened and they saw Sandra and Claire in mid-conversation. Claire looked right at Chloe and was looked pissed.