Hey, guys! So big episode for you this week. There is a lot going on in it, and I would like to say now that it does involve some harder topics. I do not want to give anything away, just wanted to put the warning out there.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
Pretty Little Roomies – Episode 4
“I was enjoying some liquid pleasure before making my big exit, and I guess I had more than I thought. I just fell.” Patrick shrugged like it was no big deal.
“You should be more careful, Patrick. You could have died!” Emily exclaimed.
Amanda, Marissa, Alexander, and Megan all raised their eyebrows at the girl. She of all people never preached about alcohol safety. She followed most of the rules, of course, but making sure others followed them was never her responsibility. Maybe this would bring about a change in their party plans this quarter. They all shook their heads, thinking the same thing. They all just hoped this ordeal would knock some sense into Patrick, at least.
“We are glad you are okay,” Megan said. It was the first full sentence she had really spoken around any of them in days.
Amanda hoped that she would become more talkative now that Patrick was conscious. It was the only reason she could think of for why the girl had been so quiet and distant. Alexander had tried to come up with other options, but none of them added up. He was being very supportive of Amanda’s long and frequent monologues about everything going on with the girls of 25E.
“I am feeling great considering,” Patrick told them. “Thank you guys so much for being here. It means a lot.”
“Of course! We will be here for you as long as you need,” Emily volunteered.
The six of them chatted more, updating the grad student about everything Spring Quarter was bringing already—like the piles of work and books. Patrick did not look too happy about missing so much class, but it was a lot better than the alternative.
Soon, Patrick’s parents arrived; they had gotten the first flight out as soon as they got word. It was time to leave the family alone to talk and make arrangements for him. Marissa wondered how they felt about his termination before the accident and after. She voiced her thoughts aloud.
“Well, if it happened like he said it did, then they might scold him for being stupid, but because of the extent of his injuries, they will probably go a little soft on him. He is their only son, after all,” Megan replied. Red creeped into her cheeks and out of the neckline of her t-shirt.
“That seems likely,” Amanda said. “I mean, unless they despise him, they should be pretty happy that he is alive, despite his unfortunate lapse in judgment.”
When they returned to campus, Marissa and Amanda hurried to their classes. Alexander and Megan gathered books for the library, where Jake, Brad, and Nina would join them. Emily changed into workout clothes and walked to the gym.
News traveled fast that Patrick was awake, but there was plenty of gossip and rumors about everything pertaining to the information. Some people speculated that he jumped off the balcony for fun, while some thought he slipped. A few conspired that the young man had been pushed. Hearing that stung Megan’s ears. She could have sworn that there was someone else on the balcony that night. Patrick mentioned nothing of the sort though, so she was forced to act like she imagined it.
At the library, the five first years took out their books and laptops. Conversation circulated around the school’s hottest topic, but there was not much to say. It was not as interesting as everyone thought, just dramatic. Megan was becoming more involved in their chats, which Brad and Alexander were glad to see.
The boys, however, did not know what Megan was planning. She called for a roomie dinner that night. “Just to spend time together,” she had told them. In reality, she was ready to let them in on why she was pushing herself away from them. It was time for the truth to come out.
She was terrified. That was why she could not help her face turning red every time she thought about it—which was always. Telling her roommates about her Spring Break misadventures made her want to throw up…Just thinking about the ordeal in general made her breakfast want to reappear. But Nurse Kelly told her that she needed to confess. Hiding it was not healthy, and if there was anyone that could help her through this, it was those three girls.
“What do you mean you can’t come over tonight?” Jason whined.
Marissa repeated, “Megan wants to have dinner with all of us, and considering that she has barely spoken to any of us since school started back up, we all jumped at the opportunity.”
Jason continued to eat the sandwich in front of him. He was not too happy about not having Marissa around for the night. Earlier in the week, she had offered to make dinner for him, but now she was bailing to hang out with her roommates. He wondered what he was going to do for food now.
Marissa told him he could heat something up in the freezer. She remembered seeing a plethora of frozen burritos in there. “Maybe tomorrow we can go somewhere downtown for dinner,” she suggested.
He grimaced. “I just went with my roommates yesterday.”
“But I need a break from campus food, and I heard about this new restaurant that my friends are raving about.” She did not mention that it was a sushi place because he loathed raw fish and would not hear it when she told there was teriyaki chicken on the menu. “Please?”
“We will see how tired I am. The guys and I are doing a bunch of stuff at the gym tomorrow.”
Marissa held in a sigh. Well, it was the best she could get for the moment. She liked eating in and everything, but she wanted to have a date night, and Jason was not getting the hint.
“Maybe he will get it once it hits him with the Downtown Transit Bus,” Amanda joked when Marissa told her about it on their walk back home.
The girl chuckled softly. “Maybe.”
“I mean, you do all this stuff for him. The least he could do is take you out for a sort of nice dinner. Like, I don’t do for Alexander half of what you do for Jason, and we still try to go out every couple of weekends. I get you have to work on a student budget, but still.”
Marissa pursed her lips. “You have a point.”
“Of course, I do!” She laughed, and soon Marissa laughed along. “Now, come on. Let’s see what Megan has cooked up for us!”
It was pizza, which does not sound very impressive. At first, that is what they all thought, including Megan. But the girl used her Meal Plan money to buy dough, sauce, and all the toppings you could dream up at the little store on campus. They were all going to make their own personal pizzas, mostly from scratch.
“Megs! You’re not actually putting Cheetos on your pizza are you?” Emily cried.
Megan laughed. “Yes, Em, I am doing exactly that.”
“Why?” Emily looked at her like she had gone bonkers, not that Emily would ever use that term in real life.
“Because we did this at my tenth birthday party, and one of my friends put Cheetos on her pizza. I thought it was the weirdest thing, but we all did it. Then she splattered pizza sauce on the wall, but it was still fun.”
Smiling, Amanda whispered to Marissa, “Why do we keep her around again?”
“Because I am a ball of entertainment,” Megan retorted. “And I clean the bathrooms when people throw up in them.”
“Oh, yeah that second part is it.”
“Hey! Say that again, and I am going to put Cheetos on your pizza.”
Marissa laughed. “I think we should all do it.”
Emily and Amanda now look at her like she was crazy. “Are you serious?”
“Duh,” she replied. “Hey, if we don’t like it, we know who will clean the bathrooms afterwards!”
The four girls doubled over with laughter. It was the first time all quarter. Per Marissa’s request, they all added the puffy orange mess to their pizzas.
All throughout the dinner, Megan had forgotten why she was dreading it. Amanda reminded her when they were all sharing pints of Ben and Jerry’s on the couch. Like a light switch, Megan’s stomach dropped.
Putting down her spoon, she stuttered. “I mean, you guys have obviously noticed that I have been distant. I know you will deny it, but I know you all hear my crying in my room every night.”
“You know you can talk to us about anything, Meggy,” Amanda said supportively.
“I know, and I am sorry I have kept this from you. I am just having a hard time finding the words. But I have been practicing on Nurse Kelly, and I am ready.”
Marissa gulped. If the nurse was involved, what did this mean? She knew Megan would much rather talk to someone her own age and then have that person go with her to see any adult about any problems. She had known the girl since middle school, after all, and Megan had a bad habit of holding in all of her emotions. So she held her hand, knowing how big this must be.
“Over Spring Break, I was pretty messed up about the whole Patrick thing. I tried to talk to my mom about it, but she kept telling me that it was not my business anymore. So I dragged my butt to work every day, and tried to forget about it.
“Towards the end of the week, dealing with crazy people and feeling the weight of everything, I was in pretty bad shape. Somehow I ended up confiding in my ex-boyfriend about it all, and he was really sweet and supportive. It really helped a lot because he was the only one who would listen.
“Some people from my high school told me about this party at one of the frat houses at the university near home, so I decided to go and just kind of shake it all off. It was a lot of fun at first. Then all my friends disappeared, but it seemed okay because I met this nice guy.”
Megan’s voice started to grow shaky and her eyes welled up. Nevertheless, she continued, “I wasn’t going to do anything with him or anything, but he was fun to talk to. I don’t really remember what happened after that. Just…”
Marissa squeezed her hand. “It is okay, Megs.”
Through a sob, the girl finished. “I woke up in the middle of it. He was…he was raping me.” Then she burst into uncontrollable tears.
Marissa, Amanda, and Emily gasped in unison and rushed to put their arms around their fourth roommate. No one spoke.
Finally, Emily said, “Meggy, you know we believe you. This is not your fault.”
Megan sniffed. “I know they always say that, but I should have been smarter. I should have just stayed home.” Tears rolled down her cheeks again.
“No. You did nothing wrong, okay?” Amanda told her. “We are here for you always.”
“Forever and always,” Marissa added. “You said you practiced telling us this with Nurse Kelly. What did she say about it?”
“We are really glad you have told someone about this, though, especially a nurse,” Emily cut in.
Still crying, but able to speak mostly clearly, Megan replied, “She ran all the tests and stuff and offered counseling. I have been seeing a psychiatrist a few times at the hospital when you guys think I am visiting Patrick.”
“And?” Emily softly prodded.
“The therapy has been sort of helpful. I have practiced talking about it with her, as well. Mostly, I just want to forget about it.”
“Megs,” Amanda said. “We mean what happened with the tests? Everything is okay, right?”
Megan bit her lip, and more tears came. “I don’t have any STIs or anything like that, but…but…”
She sobbed again and Emily took the hand that Marissa was not holding, while Amanda calmly rubbed her back.
It was a few endless minutes until the girl whispered, “I am pregnant.”
As always, feedback is more than welcome, and also as always, feel free to email me with any questions, comments, concerns, etc. This episode was hard to write, not just because of what happened, but because I wanted to get it right. The conversation obviously will not end here, but will be discussed briefly in the next few episodes and more in depth as the season goes on. I want to make sure to highlight ALL of the girls’ stories, not just a few of them.
Thanks for tuning in!
PS I sent my novel to a literary agent. Can you believe that?? Because I still can’t. This is only the beginning of a long journey, but I cannot wait to take it!