Chapter 1: The Party
They were all laughing and chattering together. Jane’s house was really the perfect place to hold a little party and unify as a team, since the New Directions and the Warblers were still having difficulty coming together. Even though the new costumes had gone a long way to healing the rift between the two groups, there were still two distinct factions during practice. The New Directions felt like the Warblers were invading their turf, while the Warblers were clinging to what they viewed as their show choir superiority. There were many little clashes that were constantly driving Mr. Shue and Kurt and Rachel insane with the in-fighting that finally Jane decided that something had to be done. She figured that if she could bury the hatchet after they had rejected her because she was a girl, then so could everyone else.
So Jane threw a party and invited everyone- no grown-ups allowed. Spencer provided tons of alcohol, which made everyone a lot looser than they were normally. Mason kept trying to feel Jane up. Madison was currently flirting with one of the Warblers, though over the course of the night she had flirted with almost everyone. Spencer was dancing crazily with Alistair and Kitty, that latter of which was rolling her eyes at his moves and discretely eying another of the Warblers. Myron was behaving like the spoiled little privileged prince he was, but a couple of the Warblers were watching him like he was a fascinating experiment. Roderick hadn’t had much of anything to drink and was instead being a wallflower in the back. He was talking to one of the other Warblers though about music, which Jane was very happy about since that was the point of this whole thing. Most of the Warblers were dancing around and happily partaking of the drinks that were available.
Mason snuck up behind Jane and hugged her, before turning it into a make-out session. The make-out session eventually moved past Roderick at the door and into Jane’s room. Madison and her Warbler attempted to follow and find their own room in Jane’s massive house. Roderick cut off his conversation with the Warbler he was talking to, however, when he saw the two of them going through the door in full make-out mode.
“Do you even know this guy Madison?” He asked.
“Not really!” She giggled back, running her hands along his body, “But he is a lovely specimen, don’t you think?” Roderick didn’t even spare him a glance before taking her arm and pulling her back into the room and towards the door to the outside.
“Yeah, you’re drunk and I’m just going to bring you home instead. You can’t just make-out with a random guy, Madison. It’s not safe. You don’t know if he’s going to respect you in that bedroom you were headed for.” Madison rolled her eyes and laughed, but followed him. She turned back to wave at her almost-one-night stand and grabbed her purse off a table. She swung herself into Roderick’s truck. He started the truck as she leaned back in her seat, watching him through her long lashes.
He was cute, she thought. Not, like, drop dead gorgeous. But cute in the way that a boyfriend who would be the perfect gentleman is. Roderick didn’t notice her eyes on him. He liked her, like, like liked her. But he knew that she would never feel the same way about him, not when she was a cheerleader and could have any guy at the school. And of course she had her brother, though he didn’t believe in any of the “Creepy Incest Twins” thing that Kitty was always ragging on them about. They drove in silence over to the McCarthy’s house, neither of them speaking but both of them watching each other.
“The house is dark. Are your parents home?” Roderick asked Madison when they pulled up. She laughed.
“Nah, they never are. They are out touring now, though I don’t remember who with.” Madison replied, tossing her head. Roderick nodded as he waited for her to get out of the car. She didn’t. She was sitting, with her chin propped on her hands, looking directly at him. He blinked at the sight and shifted nervously. He was about to open his mouth and say something when she crawled over and plopped on his lap facing him. Roderick opened his mouth and started stuttering because really, what on earth was she doing? She leaned in almost uncomfortably closely, touching her nose to his.
“You know, it was very rude of you to let a lady leave unsatisfied.” She murmured. Roderick could hear the smirk in her voice as she spoke. He swallowed uncomfortably, wishing desperately that he was anywhere but here. “What do you say that you fix that yourself?” Madison added, letting her hands trail down his upper body.
“You are drunk. I- we- I shouldn’t.” He stammered.
“Not that drunk. I know what I’m doing.” Her hands snuck under his shirt. “I can hold my liquor, don’t worry about fucking a drunk girl.” Roderick’s mind was very fuzzy because really how could anyone expect his mind to stay clear when that was happening and now she was kissing him and he really couldn’t think. Somehow, he thought, they had ended up inside in what was undoubtedly Madison’s bedroom and they were still kissing and she was making him feel so good he didn’t know what to do. So instead of putting a stop to it the way he had originally intended, he started helping her strip as she helped him. She was a good kisser, he thought. Not that he had much experience with any of this. No one was exactly jumping up and down to do this with him. What was she doing? Oh. Right. She wanted him to lie down for her. Her face loomed on top of him for a minute before his mind went almost completely blank because he hadn’t known that anything could feel that good.
Chapter 2: The Morning After
The title kind of says it all.
I’m glad people liked the story. Enjoy the second installment!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Roderick blinked his eyes at the sun that was starting to stream through the windows. That’s odd. He thought, I never leave the blinds open. On second thought, this doesn’t feel like my bed either. Too soft. He went to move his arm and found that it was trapped under a weight. He looked down and saw Madison lying on top of it, still asleep. Crap. What happened last night? He checked to see whether they were dressed. They were most assuredly not. Double crap. Oh no this is bad. Madison, a Cheerio with a reputation for questionable mental stability and popularity points through the roof is lying on my arm on what I’m going to assume is her bed and we aren’t wearing any clothing. Oh crap. As the memories started flooding back as he woke up more, he shifted a little. Now was not the time to get a boner! Instead, he considered his rather limited options. He could continue to lie here until Madison woke up on her own, he could slip out without waking her up, or he could attempt to slip out and actually wake her up. All the options kind of suck, but it’s worth a shot to try to slip out. After all, it’s not like Madison is going to want a reminder of last night. In fact, it would probably be better for her if I just left now because while she was amazing, I’m sure I was absolutely awful and the only reason she slept with me at all was because I was there. I’m the worst kind of one-night stand- a guy virgin.
With that thought he made the decision to try to sneak out without waking the girl up. He very carefully slid his arm out from under her. She didn’t stir and he breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe he could get out of this. However, when he swung his legs over the side of the bed and went to stand up, a hand grabbed his wrist. He turned back and saw that Madison was looking at him with a worried expression on her face.
“Why are you leaving? Do you really want to get out of here that badly?” Roderick blinked at her. It sounded like she didn’t want him to go. That was not at all the response he had expected.
“Um, I kind of figured I’d get out of here rather than have the awkward morning after conversation. I mean, I don’t really- I mean I’ve never really done this so I don’t know what the protocol is.” He ran his fingers through his hair nervously.
“You mean you’ve never had a one-night stand? Because honestly that’s always awkward.” Madison had propped herself up on her elbow and was facing him.
“No, I mean I’ve never done anything, ever.” He answered. Madison sat bolt upright.
“You mean you’ve never had sex before?” Her voice was a mixture of incredulousness and anger. Roderick shook his head shyly and put his face in his hands. “You should have said something last night!” She exclaimed as she flopped down and put her hands over her eyes. “I would never have pushed so hard if I had known.”
“Because a guy who’s a virgin isn’t worth anything, huh.” He couldn’t help himself. Madison shook her head vigorously.
“If I had known I would have made sure you were really okay doing what we were doing. Everyone’s first time should be with someone they at least really care about, even if they don’t love them. And it should never be a one-night stand with someone they barely know from Glee Club.” She sat back up. “My first time was with one of my ex-boyfriends and while he is an ex for a reason, I’ve never regretted the way I lost my virginity. I don’t want you to regret the way you lost yours.”
“I don’t really regret it. You were definitely a really fantastic experience for a first time.” Madison gave him a slight smile. “I’m more concerned,” he continued, “that you would be disappointed with the whole thing. After all, I can’t have been particularly good.” She rolled her eyes at him before getting up on her knees and moving over to sit next to him on his side of the bed.
“Trust me, there was nothing wrong with your… performance.” She grinned at him as he gave a short laugh.
“I don’t necessarily believe you on that, though that was sweet. But can you honestly say that I was anything other than a convenient fuck? I mean, I was there and you were drunk and probably insanely horny from when you almost went into a room with that Warbler.”
“His name was Michael and yes I can honestly say that you are worth more than that to me. I’m not just ruled by my hormones, first of all. And secondly, even when completely smashed I still have discriminating tastes. I slept with you because I wanted you, not because I just wanted sex.” Roderick snorted. And opened his mouth to protest but Madison cut him off and sat up from the position she had been in, slouched against his arm. “You don’t believe me?”
“No, I kind of find it hard to believe that a girl like you would ever choose a guy like me without the influence of alcohol.” He responded, refusing to look at her. She stood up off the bed and moved in front of him, at which point he became slightly distracted by the sight of a completely naked Madison in front him, forcing his chin up to look at her directly.
“Listen to me very, very closely Roderick. I. Chose. You. I didn’t have sex with you because you were there and I was drunk. I slept with you because you are cute and funny and clever and have a killer voice. I wanted you. And this isn’t going to be some mushy love confession because no, I don’t love you. But I do respect you. Do you want me to prove that it’s you I want and it wasn’t the alcohol talking? Because I can do that.” Roderick’s eyes met hers, flashing with anger and something else he couldn’t quite identify. Suddenly, the distance between the two of them closed and she was kissing him again and it was just as good as he remembered. She pushed him back onto the bed and straddled him before pausing to look at him.
“Do you want to do this?” Madison looked at him with all the gentleness that he would never have expected from her.
“Yes. Yes I do.” Roderick answered, grinning a little as she descended on him.
Afterwards, the two of them were basking in the afterglow of their first round of really conscious sex when Madison sat up sat up suddenly.
“What time is it?” She asked. Roderick grabbed his phone off the floor to check.
“Um like 11:20? Why?”
“Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit.” She mumbled to herself, swinging herself out of bed and looking desperately for her clothes. “You need to get out of her, like, now.” Roderick’s confusion was evident.
“Because if my brother comes home and finds you he will string you up in a heartbeat. He’s super protective and almost killed my ex-boyfriend when he found out we were sleeping together and we were dating. I don’t even want to think about what he’d do to you.” She shoved her hair behind her ears as she searched for her bra. “Wait, why am I putting on my clothes from last night?! Dead giveaway! Here, just put these on.” She threw his shirt and pants and boxers at him. Roderick was definitely having trouble processing everything that was happening but he could definitely understand what he was supposed to do with the clothes. As he put them on he couldn’t quite stop himself from admiring Madison’s very fine behind as she squatted to grab clothes out of her dresser. He shook his head vigorously and focused on getting dressed.
Madison stood on the steps and watched him as he climbed into the truck. She waved at him as he pulled out and he gave a little wave in return. She slipped back in the house and went around, making absolutely sure that there was no evidence of her little fling for her brother to find, even going so far as to wash the sheets. It was while she was doing a wash of all the sheets in the house that she heard Mason open the door and come inside. She took a minute to ready herself to face her brother and lie to him about what she’d done that night before she headed upstairs with an enormous smile on her face and a bounce in her step.
“Mason! I missed you last night!”
Hope everyone enjoyed their first look at the characters sober!
Chapter 3: The Discovery
This chapter is a little on the short side, but if I hadn’t split it, it would have gone on forever, so instead I broke it into two chapters. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been almost a month and a half since the legendary party and it had definitely produced some changes. Mr. Shue, Rachel, and Kurt were certainly surprised- and pleased- with how much better the two factions were getting along. They still didn’t know about the party, and the kids fully intended on keeping it that way, so they attributed the bonding to the absolutely ridiculous team-building exercises they had made them all do. While that certainly hadn’t hurt the team’s bonding, the real cementing factor had been dancing around like fools in Jane’s basement with no adult supervision.
There had been some subtle flirting between Madison and Roderick, shown in things like secret smiles, more touching, and a willingness to pair up almost all the time. However, they had not talked about that night since it happened and as far as they knew, no one else had any clue anything had happened. They had, for the most part, put it behind them. Until Madison missed her period. She kept it a secret for a full month, assuming that maybe it was stress or related to her diet. Then she missed another, her breasts started hurting, she was tired all the time, and now she was getting sick a lot. She was pretty sure she knew what the problem was, but she really, really didn’t want to admit it. She especially didn’t want to admit it to Mason, but she knew she would have to if it was real. So after school one day she wore a plain hoodie and sweatpants as a makeshift disguise and went into the drugstore to pick up a pregnancy test. Or 5, because she really wanted the answer to be no and she didn’t trust just one test.
She locked herself in the bathroom when she got home. Mason was out on a date with Jane so she had a little time with which to get this done. As she waited for the results to come back she thought about what she would do if they were positive. Should she tell Mason first or Roderick? One was the uncle and one was the father but she was so much closer to Mason than Roderick. Still, she considered, Roderick probably deserved to know that he was going to be a father and he deserved to hear it from her before anyone else found out. Butttt she wanted to do the conversation in a way that would leave time to actually talk about the whole thing rather than just spring it on him and leave. On the other hand, she knew she would need her twin’s support and love to get her through the experience. In the end, the choice was made for her.
She thought she was prepared if the little sticks had two lines. She was not. She crumpled to the ground in the bathroom, put her head in her hands, and sobbed like her heart would break. Perhaps she had broken the second she realized that this was real and she was going to be a mother. That was how Mason found her when he got home from his date with Jane 10 minutes later. He gathered her into his arms and rocked her until her tears subsided. When her crying had changed to hiccups and she had mostly calmed down, he asked what was wrong. She didn’t say anything, just pointed at the little row of pregnancy tests on the sink. He stared at them in silence for a minute, his jaw clenched tightly.
“Who’s the father? I’m going to string him up by his own entrails for getting you pregnant.” He snarled through his teeth.
“No, no you won’t! I’m not telling you anything until you calm down Mason! And besides, it was entirely consensual! It’s not his fault any more than it’s mine!” His eyes were on fire with anger and he grabbed her up off the floor and shook her.
“Tell me! Tell me or I will find out somehow!” Madison shook her head vigorously. “Goddamnit Madison! There’s some guy responsible for knocking my twin sister up and you want me to not blame him?!” He exploded. She glared at him.
“I want you to accept this and love me and support me no matter what I decide. And I want you to let me do this with the father at my side! Is that too much to ask?!”
“YES!” His voice was angrier than Madison had ever heard it. And with that he pushed her into the wall behind her and stormed out of the bathroom and into his room. Madison felt like whatever pieces of her heart she had left had shattered again and the jagged shards were causing her physical pain. She slid down the wall and cried loud, harsh tears that shook her body with their force. Her phone buzzed in her hand and she looked at it through her tears.
“Your phone is being tracked by MASON MCCARTHY,” read the notification. Of course. He wants to know who the father is and thinks I’ve either texted him already or will soon. Well, I won’t. I owe Roderick that much, to protect him from the wrath of my brother. She continued staring at her phone. I should still tell him though. I just don’t know how to contact him since we share pretty much everything, including Facebook passwords and I doubt he’s going to leave me alone over the next few weeks and if he does he’ll be spying to figure out who the daddy is. That settled it. She would have to find a way to tell Roderick in person, but without Mason finding out. She’d figure out how soon enough. Right now, she needed about 10 pounds of ice cream and a Disney movie to help her feel better.
Surprise? I know it’s super cliché, but it just seemed to fit the characters as I played with them.
Chapter 4: The Rift
This is a bit of an evil chapter. I’m aware of that. Don’t hate me (or Mason) too much at the end of it.
Madison woke up the next morning feeling groggy and sick. Shit. I don’t have time for this! I have Cheerio practice this morning and Glee this afternoon so I need to eat a decent breakfast! Instead of quieting, however, her stomach revolted more and she practically flew to the bathroom she shared with her brother. As she crouched over the toilet, throwing up everything she thought she’d ever eaten and then some, she heard footsteps behind her.
“You know, I should have figured out earlier, what with you feeling so tired all the time and throwing up every day without fail. I guess I didn’t want to believe it.” He didn’t reach down to help her so she guessed he was still very upset.
“Well,” she said, rising her mouth and flushing the toilet, “it’s not like I asked for this. I don’t like it either, after all it’s me who can’t keep anything down.” He snorted.
“You say this like it doesn’t affect me. You being pregnant hurts us both. There’s going to be people who claim that the baby is mine. We know it isn’t, but Kitty’s going to crank up the rumor mill to high speed and you know it.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“I think you should get rid of it.” Mason blurted out. Madison spun around to face him.
“Yeah, I think we should make an appointment at Planned Parenthood and just, you know, get rid of the problem before it really becomes one.”
“That is absolutely not an option.” Madison hissed at him, her eyes flashing as she shoved past him and stalked out of the bathroom.
“It would fix everything!” He shouted after her. Without hesitation, for the first time in her entire life, she flipped her twin brother the bird. How dare he talk about her baby that way?! Especially when he wasn’t the father and he knew it! She had a sudden wash of fear. What if he tells everyone that I’m pregnant before I’m ready? What if he tells them that he’s the father? Shit shit shit shit shit. This was getting worse all the time… and I still haven’t told Roderick. There was nothing she could do though, so she hauled herself up for what promised to be a very rough day of school.
At Cheerios practice she had messed up multiple times in a sport where messing up even once wasn’t acceptable. Even though Coach Roz had been relatively understanding when she said she thought she might be in the early stages of the flu, she could feel Mason’s eyes boring into her back and Kitty staring at her thoughtfully. She refused to make eye contact with either of them, terrified that they would say something that would unravel everything. She was determined to make it through her first day of really knowing she was pregnant without any major incidents. During lunch, her brother refused to sit next to her or look at her. Jane noticed and raised her eyebrows at them as if to say what is going on with you two, which neither of them answered. One of the Warblers, one of the one’s who’s name she hadn’t quite gotten yet plopped down next to her and, apparently oblivious to the tension at the table, chattered about the set list for Regionals that Mr. Shue was releasing that day. Most everyone was watching the McCarthy twins wage their silent battle of indifference when Madison abruptly stood up, threw her tray out, and ran out of the lunchroom.
She was running to the bathroom, of course. Eating even a little bit had brought the nausea sharply into focus and it was all she could do not to throw up in the hallway. Back in the lunchroom, Kitty stood up and made to follow her before Mason snarled at her to sit down, that he would explain what was going on. Jane looked at him, alarmed, because clearly whatever this involved, it was probably not in either of the twins’ best interests to reveal it. Mason leaned into the center of the table gestured the group closer.
“What I say right now doesn’t leave this group, okay? I mean it. Swear that you won’t tell anyone else, okay?” He held out his pinky, which everyone linked with, as well as they could anyway. “Good. So, um, Madison is pregnant. She found out yesterday.” He dropped the bomb to muffled gasps and widened eyes. “I don’t know who the father is yet, she won’t tell me. I think she’s too afraid of me hurting him. Which is true, I guess, but still. Anyway, I thought you all should know.”
Jane glared at him before hissing, “And you thought the best way to handle this was to tell the entire glee club? Are you stupid?” He stared at her open-mouthed. “She’s probably still wrapping her head around being pregnant and you decided to tell everyone?”
“The point is, I think you guys deserve to know, after all, the New Directions handled a pregnancy in their first year but only as a group.” Jane and Kitty just gave him disgusted looks and stalked off, while the only thing running through Roderick’s head was am I the father?
Later, at Glee, everyone was in the room early except for Madison. They were all waiting for her because none of them had any afternoon classes with her and Jane had insisted that they tell her that they all knew.
“It would be unfair not to. After all, she should have made the choice to tell us when she thought she was ready. You did not have the right to make that choice for her.” Kitty backed her up, and so they were all waiting in the choir room in silence, whether out of respect for Madison or fear of Kitty it wasn’t quite clear. When Madison walked into the room of serious looking New Directions she looked petrified. Jane nudged Mason hard in the side and motioned for him to stand up and talk. He scratched his head and ruffled his hair a few times before opening his mouth.
“I’m sorry.” He said nervously, “I screwed up big time and I’m very, very sorry. I told everyone in glee that you were pregnant at lunch after you ran out and I really shouldn’t have.” He finished as quickly as possible. Madison stood stock still, looking rather faint.
“Everyone?” She whispered. He nodded shamefully before rearing his head again.
“But they deserved to know. They deserved to know what you did because it might impact them if you decide to keep the baby.”
“That was not part of the plan.” Kitty hissed.
“I literally found out yesterday Mason! I’m still struggling to accept this AND the chance of miscarriage is still high right now! I needed more time you idiot brother of mine! I wasn’t asking for anything ridiculous! Just a little bit of time!” She shrieked, her breathing getting panicky. Kitty, recognizing a full blown crisis when she saw one, stood up.
“Well, we wouldn’t want Jaime and Cersi Lannister to have problems in paradise so why don’t we cancel Glee practice for today and I’ll handle Thing One and someone else can handle Thing Two.” Jane grabbed Mason’s hand and pulled him out of the choir room as fast as she could manage to tug the sputtering cheerleader. “Oh! And someone make sure that Mr. Shue doesn’t come in!” Kitty hollered after them. One of the Warblers nodded quickly at her as he vanished. Roderick was one of the last to leave, and he turned back at the door to lock eyes with Madison, whose tears threatened to overflow imminently. Kitty swatted her hands at him. “Out! That includes you!”
Then she turned to Madison. “So, you wanna tell me exactly what’s going on?”
“There’s not that much to tell.” Replied Madison. “I found out I was pregnant yesterday after missing my second period in a row. Mason isn’t taking it well. I haven’t thought much beyond that.”
Kitty sighted. “Roderick is the father, am I right?” Madison nodded miserably.
“How do you know?”
“Well, you aren’t exactly known for screwing every guy in sight, you aren’t dating anyone, anddd I saw you leave the party with him. That’s the only time I could imagine you being somewhere with someone and Mason didn’t know.” Madison nodded slowly.
“What do I do? Everything I text or call is being tracked by my brother and I can hardly get any alone time as it is, nevermind alone time to tell Roderick he’s the father!” Kitty handed Madison her phone.
“Call him on this and tell him to meet you somewhere late tonight. Trust me, if Mason McCarthy thinks he can track my phone he’s in for a big surprise. And whatever his flaws, Roderick’s a really great guy who would be heartbroken if you didn’t tell him.” Madison took the phone gingerly and called Roderick’s number.
It’s Madison. I don’t have a lot of time so I need you to listen carefully.
Do you know the park down the street from my house? It’s like 3 blocks away?
Yeah I think so.
Meet me there at midnight tonight. It’s important. And whatever you do, don’t tell anyone.
Okay. And Madison?
None of us encouraged him today. And Jane insisted that we tell you.
I never thought you would have. It isn’t like you, and this really isn’t like Mason. But hopefully this all gets resolved, or at least accepted, soon. Bye.
After she hung up and handed the phone back to Kitty, Kitty stood up and offered her hand to Madison.
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Because I know what it’s like to have people gossip about you for a reason that’s inane and patently untrue. I’ve suffered more than you’d think. Now come on, let’s get some pizza.” With that, Kitty linked her arm through Madison’s and swept imperiously from the now-empty choir room.
Chapter 5: The Revelation
Not going to lie I actually almost forgot about doing this chapter today. I’m in chaos because it was the last day of my field school and so much was going on. But I didn’t forget so here, have some Madison/Roderick cuteness.
Roderick walked over to the park Madison had mentioned a few minutes before midnight. He had a feeling he knew what she wanted to talk about. Either she was going to tell him that he was the father of that baby or she was going to tell him to stop being so ridiculous and assuming that he was the only one she had slept with recently. Neither option was really ideal. He checked his watch anxiously. 12:05. She could be late because she was having trouble leaving the house. Or maybe she’s throwing up? Probably she’s just not coming. She probably just wanted to see if I would come or something.
“Hey, sorry. Mason took longer than usual to fall asleep and wanted to sleep in the same room as me for the first time since we were little. It was almost impossible to convince him that it was better if we just slept in our own rooms.” The voice came from behind him. He turned to see Madison nervously wringing her hands and biting her lip.
“It’s fine. You aren’t really late anyway. You wanna sit down?”
“How about those swings over there?” She pointed to a creaky old swing set at the edge of the park, mostly hidden from view unless you knew it was there. “It’ll give us some privacy and it was always my favorite part of the park. I’m glad they didn’t tear it down.” Roderick just nodded an affirmation and reached out his hand to help her. He was pretty sure that being a gentleman definitely applied to the mother of what might be his baby. She looked at the hand for a minute, like she might refuse to take it, but in the end she gingerly accepted it. They walked over mostly in silence, with Madison gripping his hand just a little too tightly. He somehow thought she was not going to tell him she had slept with 50 guys around the same time that the baby was conceived and he was not the father. The pit in his stomach was growing bigger with every step they took and every time Madison tightened her grip on his hand like she was afraid he would run away. He wasn’t going to. Whatever she said, he decided, he was going to support her. He was absolutely not going to be a deadbeat dad, even if he wasn’t in a relationship with the mother of his child. He was determined to face this with strength and not to make this harder on Madison than it obviously already was.
They let go of each other’s hands to sit on the swings. Madison hugged herself tightly and looked like she might throw up at any moment. Roderick reached over and put his hand on her shoulder gently.
“No matter what, I’m going to support you, okay. Don’t be afraid of whatever it is you need to tell. One of Madison’s hands snaked up to lace her fingers with his.
“You probably have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to tell you, but yeah I just want to say it out loud. That always seems to make it more real. Obviously, you know I’m pregnant. And as you’ve probably already guessed, Roderick, you are the father.” He squeezed her hand.
“You are right about something becoming real once it’s said out loud. I suspected, but I didn’t know for sure. Why didn’t you tell me immediately? Were you afraid I’d reject it or you?”
“Honestly,” she replied, “I never had the chance. I wanted to tell you as soon as I calmed down from the discovery. My brother found me first and was kind of upset.”
“Understatement based on what he was like at school.” Roderick interjected.
“Yeah well he kind of blew up and kind of threatened to kill the father. Then he started tracking my phone so I couldn’t just call you and tell you. Or even tell you to meet me. Mason is basically having me stalked everywhere. I’m lucky Kitty is so terrifying and that he obeys her.”
“So Kitty did help you? I kind of thought she might just berate you more.”
“I mean, she did let me use her phone so we could arrange this. That seems pretty helpful to me. And she didn’t berate me. She just, kind of, supported me, probably because my own twin was failing so spectacularly at it. And she guessed that you were the baby daddy.”
“Don’t say it like that. It sounds so much dirtier than it really is.” Madison turned and smirked at him.
“Isn’t it? It was a one-night stand, not exactly a mature, loving relationship to bring a baby into.” He stood up and slid his hand out of hers. As she looked up, concerned and wary, he started rubbing her back and massaging her shoulders. Her body relaxed a tiny bit.
“I’m going to support you and that baby. I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever you want. I’ll get a job, hold your hand during delivery, even stay silent about being the father.” He told her. He put his arm around her, resting on her non-existent baby bump.
“That’s very sweet of you, but I haven’t decided what to do yet. Mason thinks I should get an abortion.” Roderick’s hand, which had been rubbing her stomach, suddenly stopped.
“I see. And is that what you want? Because even though all I am is the one-night stand who happened to get you pregnant, if I get any kind of voice, I’d really rather do anything but that.” Madison got out of her swing, spun around, and kissed him.
“Thank you. Thank you for not seeing this baby as something to be eliminated. Thank you for being supportive and not reacting like my brother. Thank you. Just, thank you.” He pushed the swing out of the way and hugged her, hard. She buried her head in his chest to muffle her sobs. He just kept holding her, rocking her. Mason going crazy affected her more than she’ll admit, he thought. She really needs someone to love this baby without judging her too.
“I’m right here,” he crooned. “Shhh, I’m right here.” Madison looked up and started wiping her tears away.
“I’m sorry. That was a bit embarrassing.”
“It’s” he started to say, but she kept going, apparently determined to be all business now. He silenced the assurances that were at the tip of his tongue.
“ANYWAY, I’d like to keep this all quiet for a little while longer, just until Mason stops acting like a class A jerk.”
“Just between you and me?”
“Well, and Kitty. She kind of figured it out, remember? She saw us leaving the party and put two and two together. She won’t tell Mason, for sure.” Madison added. Roderick grimaced.
“I’m not crazy about Kitty knowing anything, but as long as she’s using everyone’s fear of her in your favor I won’t protest.” Madison nodded. “And I don’t want to stay silent on this forever, either. I think that at some point I want to be acknowledged as that little one’s” he touched her stomach lightly, “daddy.” Madison had to wipe away the tear that had formed in her eye.
“Damn hormones,” she muttered. Roderick laughed.
“Damn hormones,” he agreed. They exchanged one last hug before Madison jogged back towards her house, where she climbed back in through her window. Roderick watched her go for a minute before putting on his headphones and walking back to his house.
Chapter 6: The Intervention
It drives me absolutely crazy that people in Glee Club only ever seem to be friends with anyone inside of the club so I created a friend for Madison. She’s awesome and logical and I love her. She’s based on one of my best friends
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Madison repeated the same cycle day after day for weeks. Get up, throw up, ignore Mason’s unforgiving glare, try to be the best Cheerio possible, throw up, go to class, eat lunch, throw up, go to class, go to glee club, try not to draw attention to herself, go home, throw up, work on homework, and go to bed. Rinse and repeat. Being pregnant, she decided, sucked. It really did. And she was trying to both keep Roderick’s impeding fatherhood a secret from Mason and the rest of club and give him the opportunity to be a father by letting him do things for her like hold open doors or carry her books. It was hard. Really hard. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep it up. And on top of it all, she was having trouble focusing in class because of how tired she was. She needed to get back under control!
Her friend Vivian caught up to her as she rushed through the halls.
“Why did you leave French class so fast? I wanted to ask if you’d grab lunch with me!” Madison waved her hand at Vivian and pushed her way into the bathroom. She shoved the door to one of the toilets open and knelt to throw up. Vivian crouched behind her and rubbed her back. Madison stood back up and rinsed her mouth before turning to Vivian.
“I would love to join you for lunch.”
“Good. Because you’ve been holding out on me! I know that you usually share everything with your brother, but I’m your friend too and whatever’s going on right now clearly needs to be talked about.” Vivian linked arms with the bedraggled looking Cheerio and pulled her to the lunchroom. “First off, we are going to discuss the fact that Mason is currently not speaking to you and that you keep throwing up all the time because I somehow feel like they are connected.” Madison stopped short.
“If we are going to have this conversation we are not having it in the lunchroom.”
“Good thing I brought my lunch, isn’t it.”
The two girls slipped into the choir room to munch on their food and talk about everything that had been happening in Madison’s life recently. She spilled the beans about being pregnant, which Vivian just murmured “I knew it!” to, about Mason’s absurdly overprotective reaction, about Roderick being the father, which she whispered only after checking that there were no bugs, to her unsureness about what to do. Vivian listened patiently, reaching her hand out to comfort Madison every once in a while. At the end of her story Vivian reached over and hugged her.
“This all sucks, I know. Why don’t you come over tonight, and since it’s a Friday you can sleep over, and we can discuss it in more detail? Then we can go through everything that needs to happen and your options. And we can make your appointment for a sonogram because if what you said is true, you needed one weeks ago.”
“How will I get around my brother?” Madison asked nervously.
“Let me take care of him.” Vivian’s eyes flashed dangerously and suddenly Madison was a bit scared for her twin.
After school Vivian picked Madison up by her locker.
“We are going have to walk to my house I’m afraid. I can’t afford a car right now.” Madison just shrugged.
“I’ve been walking home most days anyway because we share a car and Mason hasn’t been letting me ride in it. He says that if I throw up I might ruin the car.” Vivian rolled her eyes.
“That’s ridiculous but okay.” They walked in silence the rest of the way, with Madison just enjoying the lack of Mason’s omniscient presence.
“How did you get him to leave me alone tonight and tomorrow, anyway?” queried Madison.
“Oh that was easy. I just challenged him to wrestle with me. Then I reminded him that I’m a blackbelt in Tae Kwan Do by beating his ass. I told him the cost of defeat was one full 24 hours where he left you completely alone and that to claim that prize I was taking charge of you myself.”
“That has to be the most ridiculous excuse you could possibly have come up with. No way that’s what happened.”
“I may have taunted him and called him a weakling in front of Jane. Maybe.” Madison laughed. Vivian grinned and added, “Besides, it doesn’t matter how, what matters is that I succeeded and you are free for the next 24 hours!” The girls grinned and entered Vivian’s modest house. Vivian pulled out snacks for the girls, which Madison stuffed in her face as fast as she could. Vivian watched, bemused.
“I guess they are right about pregnant women being hungry all the time.” Madison looked up sheepishly.
“Sorry! I know this isn’t very ladylike but,”
“But nothing. You eat however much you want. That little one,” Vivian poked Madison’s stomach, “needs energy somehow. Especially since you seem to be spending more time throwing up than eating.” Madison grinned at her gratefully. Whenever she ate with the Cheerios they seemed to be judging every bite she took, and the Glee table was no longer a welcome environment since Mason always sat there. It was nice to feel accepted unconditionally.
Without warning, she lunged and hugged Vivian. “Thank you for doing this.”
“No problem. Someone had to after all. Do you want to relax a little bit or get right down to business?”
“Let’s relax a little first and then start figuring things out.” Vivian nodded agreeably. The two chattered about school and homework and their French class, which both agreed was très difficile. When they had migrated upstairs to Vivian’s room, she shut the door and plopped on the bed.
“Now, shall we discuss the business of the day?” Madison suddenly looked nervous, but took a deep breath and nodded. “So first things first, do your parents know? Or any adults?”
“My parents aren’t exactly around that much and no adults at school know yet. It hasn’t affected my schoolwork or performances yet so I see no reason to tell them.”
“You need support from an adult. Someone who can actually make sure you get what you need physically. You should at least tell Mrs. Shuester. She’s a guidance counselor, she’ll know what to do.”
“No! There is no reason for any adults to know! I can handle this all myself.”
“I hate to break the delusion, but you aren’t taking care of yourself. You need someone to look after you. Have you even gotten a sonogram yet? Because if you are at 3 months, you really need one.”
“I haven’t.” replied Madison.
“Then the first thing we are doing is making an appointment, then. The doctor will be able to help you and tell you if everything is normal. I remember reading somewhere that in teenage pregnancies more goes wrong simply because the mom knows less about what is going on and may not recognize warning signs.”
“That’s terrifying! I know I’m not really ready to be a mother, but I don’t want to lose my baby.”
“Of course you don’t,” soothed Vivian, “so we’ll just call the office now and set up an appointment. I can do it if you want to.”
“Can you please?” Vivian pulled out her phone and looked up the number for Dr. Wu before calling him. Madison buried her face in the pillow during the conversation. I can’t believe I let her talk me into having any kind of authority figure find out. What if they tell my parents? Or the school? What if I get kicked out? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod.
“You have an appointment for next Wednesday right after school. You’ll have to miss Glee club, but this is more important.”
“What do I tell everyone?”
“Just say that you have a doctor’s appointment. It’s the truth.”
“But then won’t they know?”
“The people you are concerned about are the teachers, right? Well they won’t know question it if you just shoot them an email or something.” Vivian pointed out.
“Okay, I can do that.” Madison breathed out.
“Now, next on the list. Do you want daddy dearest with you?” Vivian asked. Madison paused for a minute, thinking hard.
“It would mean a lot to him, I think. But it would also put him at risk. Both of us missing from Glee practice would be very suspicious. I just, I don’t know.”
“Have you even spoken to him since you told him? Because I swear if you just dropped the bombshell on him and then never talked about anything again I’m going to flip.” Madison looked at her sheepishly.
“At least I told him! And I let him do things for me sometimes!”
“Not good enough! Poor boy is probably worried sick but too afraid to say anything. If he hasn’t even had any relationship experience he probably has no idea who approach this, or you, or your brother!” Madison started pacing with her head in her hands while Vivian took a breath. “Look, why don’t I call him and invite him over? That way, he can express what he wants and you guys can talk without the threat of Mason’s interference.”
“That seems fair.” Madison replied. “Should he come over now or in the morning?”
“Why don’t I call him and ask him? If he can’t come tonight, then we can spend the rest of the time watching stupid chick flix and gossiping. If he can, then you have to agree to meet him and talk to him so that you both know what’s going on in the other’s head. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” Madison nodded. Vivian texted Roderick’s number.
Hey Roderick, you busy tonight?
Kind of. I have to babysit my little siblings and there’s a pile of essays with my name on them.
Okay then how about tomorrow morning, say around 9?
That’s awfully early to want the pleasure of my company.
Well you and Madison need to talk some things out and I have to give her back to that controlling twin of hers after lunch.
Madison is over?
Yeah, she needed some time away from everyone.
I didn’t even know you were friends.
We are, though that’s beside the point. Will you come over at 9 tomorrow or not?
Yeah, fine. Your house?
You got it.
Okay then, see you tomorrow.
See you at 9!
Vivian put the phone in her pocket and turned to Madison, who had buried her face in the pillow again.
“Oh get out of there and let’s watch The Notebook. I want to laugh at their overblown
love affair until my sides hurt!” Madison grinned at her as she pulled out her laptop and they settled down for a long night of movie watching.
There won’t be an installment next Thursday because I’m not going to be anywhere near wi-fi so I’m sending the completed chapter to my friend and asking her to post it.
Chapter 7: The Confrontation(s)
Hi, this is a friend of the author! I'm uploading for her today, so if it looks different, that's why. Enjoy Chapter 7!
Madison woke early the next morning and puked her guts out, as per usual. This whole pregnancy thing mostly just seems to suck. She thought as she worshipped the porcelain gods. There is literally no upside, especially because all it seems to be doing is pushing people away and making me horribly, horribly sick! Vivian came up behind her and held her hair back as she leaned against the toilet, trying to figure out if she wanted to throw up again.
“Is there anything I can get you?” She asked Madison.
“Just let me suffer. It stops eventually.”
“Is this normal?”
“The internet says it is, but who knows.”
“I’m glad that you are going to see the doctor next Wednesday. He can tell you if this is normal or not because you are throwing up more than my stepmother did when she was pregnant. And it was her first too.” Vivian’s concern showed in her tone. “If we go downstairs though, my mom should have some cereal stocked. Maybe that won’t make you sick.”
Maybe.” Madison smiled gratefully. The two girls walked downstairs, where Vivian’s mother was sitting at the table, eating some toast and eggs.
“Anything you want me to make you girls? I can make pancakes or waffles or eggs. Or there’s cereal too if you’d prefer that.” Vivian’s mother said.
“I think we’ll just have cereal, if that’s okay mom.” Vivian replied.
“Of course! I remember when I was pregnant with Vivian that the only thing I could eat were corn flakes, so I ran out and got some this morning for you.” Madison looked startled. “I hope you don’t mind, Vivian told me you were pregnant when she let me know you were staying over. That’s why there’s no coffee or juice out. That always made me sick as a dog.” Madison looked at Vivian with a horrified expression on her face.
“You told her?!” She whispered. Vivian nodded.
“She’s my mother.” She replied simply. “Besides,” she added, “it’s good for someone who has actually been pregnant to be available for guidance. Don’t freak out until it becomes a problem.” Vivian’s mother handed the two of them bowls and Madison went automatically to fill it with cereal. Vivian turned back to her mother. “Oh yeah! I almost forgot. Roderick Meeks is coming over at 9.”
“He’s that nice boy who worked on you with that history project, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“I don’t suppose Madison being over has anything to do with him coming over.”
“You know better than to ask that question, Mom.” Madison watched the exchange with a peculiar expression on her face. She’d never had that kind of relationship with her mother. I wonder what it would be like if I did. I probably wouldn’t be as worried about this as I am. Maybe I should let her help me. She obviously wants to and I will need an adult really soon. My own parents aren’t options, none of my teachers strike me as the kind of person I can go to with this, and much as I love Mr. Shue, Rachel, and Kurt, they aren’t really suited to this kind of thing. And Coach Roz can’t find out. If she does, she’ll kick me off the squad!
“Helloooo, earth to Madison.” Vivian waved her hand in front of her face. Madison shook her head. Right. She needed to focus on eating something. She started eating her cereal. She found that the corn flakes actually didn’t make her want to throw up and made a mental note to get some for home. Once the two girls finished they washed their dishes and by the time they were done with that, it was almost 9. Madison was so nervous about seeing Roderick again that she went and threw up again, though she was doing slightly better than she had in the last few weeks.
She and Vivian were sitting on the couch, Vivian looking relaxed and Madison perched uncomfortably on the edge, when Roderick arrived. Vivian opened the door for him and led him to Madison, before grabbing them both and bringing them upstairs.
“I’ll be in the basement, working on homework. You guys have fun.” She told them, before leaving the two of them standing awkwardly in her room.
“Sooooo. How has school been?” Asked Roderick, looking like he wanted to melt into the floor.
“It’s been fine. Classes have been demanding, but fine. You?” Madison responded.
“Pretty much the same.” The two shuffled their feet uncomfortably, casting glances at each other every once in a while before Roderick finally put an end to the silence. “Look. I know that you want to keep the fact that you are pregnant a secret, but you can’t do that forever. You’re going to start showing soon and people are going to guess. You need to start planning- and I want to help.” Madison sat down on Vivian’s bed and patted the seat next to her for Roderick. He sat down next to her and turned to face her.
“Yeah, I know. Vivian basically beat me over the head with that last night. And I don’t really want to acknowledge it, but I do need to figure out what to do when I’m too big to deny it any longer.” Roderick nodded. “I took the first step with Vivian last night. I made an appointment with Dr. Wu for next Wednesday to get a check up and a sonogram. I was wondering if you wanted to come. We’d have to miss Glee, but if you want to we can work our way around that.” She was twisting her hands rapidly trying to calm her racing heart. She wasn’t sure what she hoped he’d say- yes, he wanted to come even though it would create a whole host of problems or no, he would rather not see the baby he had helped create.
“I’ll come. I’d rather risk discovery and get to see my baby then refuse out of fear. I want to be a real father, not just a sperm donor.” Madison nodded briskly.
“Okay, then we need to figure out how we can both be missing without it being suspicious.”
“Are you announcing to the club that you are going to the obstetrician?” Madison shook her head. “Then I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ll say I have a dentist appointment and you can say you aren’t feeling well if it comes to that. But I don’t think anyone but Mason will care that much. Do Mr. Shue and company even know that you are pregnant?”
“I didn’t tell them, so not that I know of.”
“Then just tell them you have a doctor’s appointment and you’ll be fine.” Madison laughed.
“That’s exactly what Vivian said to do.”
“Great minds do thing alike!” Roderick grinned. “But on the same note, what are you going to do when people do figure out that you are pregnant? Tell them there is no father? Say it’s a guy from a different school? Admit it’s me? Tell them Mason?”
“I’m certainly not saying that it’s Mason’s, though there will be people who think it is. I’m expecting a whole new slew of Creepy Incest Twin jokes, probably with references to Game of Thrones and Flowers in the Attic. I’m planning rebuttals, but they really aren’t done yet. They kind of haven’t been the most important thing on my mind.”
“And will you tell them it’s me?”
“Honestly, I don’t know yet. Once Mason knows, then I don’t care who knows. But Mason has to know first because he’s the biggest threat to you.” Roderick rolled his eyes. “The question is, are you ready for the ridicule that will come with being a teenage father? I don’t have a choice, but you do. You can just say you’d rather not be revealed as the father and I’ll keep silent. You don’t need to submit to all the horrible things that will be said. Because they will be said.”
“I already know that.” Roderick put his hand on hers. “I can already predict most of them I think. There will be people who claim that you are just using me to conceal the fact that it’s actually Mason’s, people who think I raped you because that’s the only way I could have ever had sex with you, and people who think you actually just slept with a whole slew of people and you are claiming that I’m the father because I’m the most gullible. Plus the usual comments about immaturity and how stupid could we possibly be to let this happen.” She nodded miserably.
“That about covers the worst of it. You know that none of that is true, right? Everyone gets so hung up on the sex thing, they ignore that there are other ways to be close to someone and growing up with them as your constant companion is one of them. And obviously you didn’t rape me! If anything, it was the other way around.”
“It wasn’t.” Roderick put in.
“And I may not be a virgin, but I’m hardly Santana or Brittney. Their exploits are still legendary at McKinley.” Roderick put his arm around her comfortingly.
“If you want me by your side, all you have to do is ask. I’d do anything for you. I had a crush on you for a long time before that night.”
“Really? Because honestly, I thought you hated me.” Madison peered at him.
“No, not at all. I just couldn’t see you ever liking me at all. Plus you are crazy intimidating, you know. You obviously have a plan and don’t like to deviate. And you mother Mason all the time. It was scary. You know,” Roderick continued, “when Mason was trying to get a date with Jane he asked me to ask you out. I told him no because you were too crazy, but it was mostly because you would definitely have said no. I’m not sure if I’m glad I didn’t ask you or not.”
“He asked that?” Madison’s voice was controlled fury. Roderick gulped and eyed her worriedly. He was afraid she would burst at any minute. She was mumbling angrily to herself for a few minutes, while gesturing wildly. Roderick discretely moved away and watched her carefully. She finally seemed to come back to herself.
“You, you okay?” He asked warily.
“I’m glad you didn’t agree. I would never have forgiven either of you for using me that way. I am not a prize to be won or a roadblock to get rid of.” Her controlled fury was worse than anything he’d ever heard. Frankly, it was terrifying. He remembered why he had always been so afraid of her.
“Of course you aren’t. And I knew that if I was ever going to make a move on you it would have to be, you know, for real. It couldn’t be because your brother asked me to. And I didn’t want you to accept out of pity for poor pathetic Roderick, who couldn’t even get a girl to look his way either.” Madison’s fury deflated.
“You still don’t see that I would have said yes, even then? And not out of pity either. You are attractive you know. You have a very nice face and hands and while I won’t deny that Spencer, for example, has more of that hot bad boy attractiveness, you’d be the boy next door type. You know, the kind you could bring home and introduce to your parents and actually have a relationship with instead of a short affair. And more importantly, you are kind and intelligent. Trust me, if you actually talked to people you would have a girlfriend in an instant.” Roderick laughed and rolled his eyes. “I’m serious! A lot of the Cheerios have ranked the guys at school by attractiveness and dateability and you are always pretty high! Not at the top, but near the top of the middle! That means that most of them would say yes if you asked them out.”
“Are you serious? Not that I would, but it just seems so ridiculous.” Roderick sounded skeptical.
“Why don’t you try it?” Madison suggested.
“I’m really not comfortable asking another girl on a date while there’s a girl who is literally pregnant with my child around. I may not be your boyfriend and you may not want me as one, but I’ll be the best father I can be and I think a lot of that is being supportive of the mother in every possible way. That means not being distracted. I’ll be faithful to you,” here he spoke to Madison’s non-existent belly, “for as long as you need me to. Even if that means being single for a very long time.” Madison viciously wiped away a tear. I may not have picked him in the traditional sense, she thought, but damn I’m glad I picked him. He’s going to be a wonderful father and it is so unfair to ask him to not claim the baby.
“You know that I do care about you right?” Roderick nodded. “And that I care about my brother, no matter how much of an idiot he’s been lately?” Roderick nodded again. “I genuinely want you to be part of the baby’s life. But I want that in a way that means neither you nor Mason are jumping down each other’s throat. That’s not a good way for the baby to be raised. I need everyone to be on the same side.”
“I understand. I don’t necessarily like it, but I understand.”
“And besides,” Madison added, “I want to wait to tell anyone else that I’m pregnant until the appointment. I want to make sure everything is going okay first. I think everything is fine, all my symptoms match up with the ones online and none of them seem to be out of the ordinary, but I still want to check with an actual doctor.”
“Fair enough.” Replied Roderick. They sat in silence for a little while longer before Roderick broke it again. “When do you go back to your house?”
“Soon. Way too soon. Like 3 o’clock, I think because it was a 24 hour reprive. And I really don’t want to go back to that big house where the only other occupant is angry at me.” She said, swinging her feet.
“You know you don’t have to, right?”
“Where else could I go? I can’t stay with Vivian forever.”
“You could stay with me. I know my mother isn’t thrilled that I’m going to be a father, but she wants to meet you and be a part of the baby’s life.” Roderick said anxiously. Madison had flinched almost imperceptibly when he mentioned his mother knowing, though she had controlled it so well he hadn’t noticed.
“That’s very sweet of you, but I really don’t think I can. Mason’s anger is my battle to fight and half that battle is in not backing down. This is the same thing he would do when we were kids and couldn’t agree on something. I can handle it. And as long as I don’t touch my stomach or remind him in any way that I’m pregnant he’s been fine. Really.”
“I just don’t want you living in a situation that could turn dangerous for you or the baby.”
“Mason may be acting like a jerk right now, but he’d still never physically hurt me or do anything to hurt the baby. He isn’t going to slip me Plan B or anything, don’t worry.” Roderick did not look comforted but did seem to accept that she wasn’t going to bend on this.
“I guess I should go. I think we covered everything.” Roderick said, looking awkward and unsure.
“Where do you want to meet to visit Dr. Wu next Wednesday? We could go together if we met off school grounds or we could go separately if you want.” Queried Madison.
“Do you have a car?” Roderick asked.
“Not really. It’s mostly been taken by Mason right now since he’s the better driver and I’ve basically been locked in the house except for school.”
“That settles it then. It’s too far for you to walk and I have a car.” Roderick said decisively. Madison smiled at him. Protective daddy already, she thought to herself.
“That’s fine with me. Maybe stage it so it looks like you just saw me and offered me a ride instead of it looking planned.”
“Whatever you want is fine with me.” Roderick shrugged.
“Okay then, we are agreed. You’ll pick me up next Wednesday somewhere on the sidewalk leading away from the school towards my house.” Madison looked pleased to finally have some kind of plan in place. Roderick felt oddly empty. I’ll be seeing my baby for the first time in a week and a half. He thought. That’s such a bizarre concept. My baby!
After Roderick left, Vivian suggested pizza for lunch and a movie, one without romance or babies. They finally settled on an action movie with lots of explosions. They watched mindless stuff for a few hours. Madison kept anxiously checking the clock, not wanting the hand to move to 3 and her brother to materialize on the doorstep. She felt like Cinderella, frightened for the clock to strike 3 instead of midnight. When it finally did and the doorbell rang a few seconds later, the knot in her stomach sent her flying to the bathroom for one final heave before she stood up, squared her shoulders and walked downstairs. Mason reached out his hand for hers and she took it, which surprised both of them. She wanted to be his sister that he loved and knew better than anyone else, not the stranger he had turned her into over the last few weeks. She squeezed his hand and even though the car ride was silent it was a more comfortable silence than they had since she had discovered her pregnancy. That separation did us good. She decided. It made the tension between us dissipate a little bit at least.
When they pulled into the driveway they entered the house in silence too. Before she went into her room though Mason stopped her.
“Just tell me one thing. Does the father know about the baby?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“And did you see him at Vivian’s”
“Will you tell me who he is?”
“Not until you stop threatening him.” Mason nodded and let go of her wrist. He went into his room and shut the door, while Madison went into hers. Everyone had a lot to think about.
Chapter 8: The Debate
Yeah so this is a bit of rough chapter. Trigger warning for mentions of abortion, though there is no description.
On Monday, Madison faced her most brutal day yet. Whatever tiny steps she had made in mending the rift between her and her brother were destroyed in the choir room after school. They were chatting before Mr. Shue came in, as they were wont to do, when Alistair brought up Madison’s pregnancy. Everyone seemed to tense up at the mention of the elephant in the room and the room went dead silent. Alistair asked again what everyone thought, adding that if the reason Mason told them was so that they could all help her figure everything out then they were certainly doing a poor job of that. Madison resisted glancing at Roderick and kept her eyes trained ahead as she struggled to keep her breath even.
“Well, what do you want to discuss about the pregnancy? It’s not like anyone outside of the room even knows about it and when they do, the most important thing is to be Madison’s defenders.” Kitty pointed out.
“Like what does she plan on doing about it? Because if she wants an abortion she has to get one soon to minimize complications and if she wants to give it up for adoption she should start looking for an agency and adoptive parents as soon as possible.” Alistair pointed out.
“I really think that she should get an abortion,” said Mason, “that would get rid of the problem before it really started.” Madison’s eyes prickled with tears. She couldn’t believe that her brother still saw her baby as something to be discarded.
“Me too. I mean, what’s the big deal? Just walk in, get it done, walk out. Bam, problem gone.” Added Spencer. “It’s not like this is going to be a good thing for you if you go through with it and have the baby.”
“No, no, no!” Exclaimed Jane. “Nothing is that simple. I’m not pregnant, but I do know that doing that can do a number on a woman mentally and physically. The dangers of getting an abortion, especially as you get later and later in the pregnancy, can be deadly.”
“And even if you want the abortion it can have painful mental effects.” Added Kitty. “That’s still your child and a mother’s instinct can kick in after the procedure. A lot of women feel like they failed after they get the abortion and grieve for the rest of their lives.”
“But some don’t.” Pointed out one of the Warblers. “Some women have no problems moving on with their lives afterwards.”
“While that’s true, the issue isn’t with most women,” Jane said, “the issue is with Madison. And I can’t see her not regretting it in the future.” Madison still hadn’t moved and was barely breathing. The only thing running through her mind was I must protect my baby over and over.
“And if she doesn’t get the abortion, then what happens. She marries the father and lives happily ever after?” Another of the Warblers asked.
“My vote would definitely be for her to give the baby up for adoption. Yeah it would be hard, but it gives all of them the best chance. Then Madison can finish her education with no obstructions and the baby gets parents who have the funds and the time to take care of them.”
“I disagree.” Put in Jane. “I think that after carrying her baby for 9 months, she’s going to have too much trouble giving the little girl or boy up.” Some of the Warblers looked like they agreed with Kitty and some with Jane. Others still seemed to think that abortion was the most logical option. No one seemed to notice that neither Madison nor Roderick had weighed in. The discussion kept getting louder and more passionate as the two sat frozen in their seats. It was their baby’s fate being discussed and both of them were numb, closed in their own heads.
Suddenly, Madison stood up and fled the classroom. Roderick watched her, wishing desperately that he could follow her and comfort her, but knowing she would be more furious if he did that than if he stayed put. One of the Warblers, the one he vaguely remembered peeling her off of on that fateful night, stood and followed her instead. The silence in the room was tangible when Mr. Shue walked in and looked around. Instead of asking about the crackling tension, however, he chalked it up to the stress of Regionals coming up and the lingering problems between the groups and dove right into his lesson for the week.
Outside, Michael found Madison sobbing into her hands on the ground by her locker. He sat down beside her and wrapped her into his arms, rocking her a little.
“I guess that’s the conversation you’ve been trying to avoid, huh?” He asked. She nodded miserably. “And I’m betting you did not want to have it with the entire glee club?” She nodded again. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you. After all, my calculations indicate that if things had gone differently that night, that baby could have been mine.” Her head snapped up and she stared at him. “It’s the truth isn’t it? That baby would have been mine if we had made it to a bedroom?” His hand rested on her abdomen.
“Yes.” Her reply said it all. In that single word was the admittance of what had happened that night and who the father was.
“Does his silence mean he doesn’t care?”
“His silence means he does. I asked him not to say anything yet, at least until I can work on Mason. His silence is him bending to my will.”
“Will you acknowledge him as the father?”
“It’s what he wants, so yes. I will. I’m not ashamed of him.” Michael squeezed her tighter.
“Then I will be your support every step of the way. You can handle this crowd alone if you need to. But remember that you don’t need to.” Madison hugged him back very hard.
“Thank you.” She whispered, almost inaudibly. They sat like that for a while, just being and hugging until Michael brought her home himself so she didn’t have to face Mason just yet.
Chapter 9: The Fallout
I know this is early, but tomorrow is going to be legitimately insane between my internship and my obligations afterwards and, you know, getting food into my body. So enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Kitty scowled in the mirror. Madison had had another terrible day in Cheerios practice and frankly, she wasn’t sure how much longer this could go on. Ever since the conversation in the choir room about what she was going to do with her baby, Madison had been having more and more difficulty hitting the routines. Or maybe Kitty was just noticing now. Either way, she had been doing some observations and it seemed to her that even if Quinn could be on the Cheerios for months after she got pregnant, Madison wouldn’t last much longer. She was already 3 months along anyway. Plus, she had done a little bit of research, which pointed to the chance of miscarriage being raised the longer she went as a competitive cheerleader. It was a contact sport after all. She knew that if she brought this up to Madison, she would set her jaw and ignore her, just like she had when she had told her that she couldn’t master the triple flip. She had practiced on her own for 2 weeks, before executing it flawlessly. And even the slightest mentions of maybe thinking about quitting the squad resulted in the Ice Queen treatment from the brunette. No, Madison had to be removed from the squad for her own safety and it had to be done soon.
Kitty walked into Coach Roz’s office after she got out of the showers. She was determined that if she couldn’t get Madison to quit on her own, she would at least talk to the Coach about her concerns. Then the Coach could figure out what to do.
Coach Roz looked up when Kitty appeared in the doorway.
“Can I help you, Head Cheerleader?”
“The squad has a bit of a problem, and since you are the coach I thought I should bring it to your attention.”
“If it’s about those ridiculous drinks that Former Principal Sue Sylvester recommended, those have been banned and I will enforce that with all the power that I have as an Olympic Bronze Medalist.”
“It’s not about that, though I do applaud you taking those out of the rotation. No, this is about Madison McCarthy.”
“She the brown haired one that ain’t looking to good up there recently? The one with the twin brother?”
“Yeah that’s her. See, she’s run into a bit of trouble recently. She’s knocked up.”
“You don’t say? She and that brother of hers finally have evidence of their unholy union?” Couch Roz looked startled.
“I know who the father is and I promise he isn’t on the squad. The point is, she’s weakening. It isn’t safe to have her as a base anymore. It risks the lives of all the girls who are flyers and depend on her being steady when she isn’t at her best.”
“You want me to kick her off the squad because she’s pregnant? I thought you two were best Glee Club buddies or something?” Coach Roz sounded incredulous.
“The risk of miscarriage is only going to get higher as her pregnancy goes on and she’s only going to get less capable. It’s better to pull her out now, before she becomes a liability or something happens.” Kitty forced herself to sound flippant, despite being desperately worried about Madison and her baby. Coach Roz studied her intently.
“You know what, I’m gonna talk to an old friend about this. I’m gonna need some more time to make my decision.” Kitty nodded and walked out of the office with a swish of her skirt. Coach Roz watched her go for a minute. She would never have expected Kitty to come to her and ask her to kick a fellow glee clubber off the team. She had thought they would always protect each other. She reached for her phone and dialed a number she had never expected to use: Quinn Fabray’s.
It was Monday when Quinn walked into the choir room, surprising by everyone. She smiled at them and greeted them all, and then carefully seated herself near Madison slipping her a piece of paper secretly.
“We weren’t expecting you Quinn!” Exclaimed Mr. Shue.
“No, I decided to surprise everyone.” She said, smiling magnanimously at them. Honestly, she could have happily never visited this shithole ever again, but the pull of helping someone who was going through essentially the same thing she had was too great. She listened as Mr. Shue droned on and on about how important whatever his musical lesson of the week was. She thought it was some singer or another maybe? Frankly, she didn’t really care. All she wanted was to talk to the girl next to her. When Mr. Shue finally dismissed them he walked up to her to try to engage her.
“I’m actually here on important business Mr. Shue. I stopped by to see you guys, but I have a meeting in half an hour so if you don’t mind I’m going to head out. It was great seeing everyone though! And this choir room especially. It holds a lot of memories for me.” Mr. Shue smiled at her and hugged her.
“I always forget that you guys have your own lives now. Of course. Maybe next time you come back to Lima we can grab a coffee or something and I can catch up on the Wonderful World of Quinn?”
“I’d like that.” Quinn replied. She wasn’t lying. She would like that. She wasn’t sure if it would ever happen, but if it did she would definitely enjoy it.
She met Madison on the field and sat down beside her.
“Who sent you to talk to me? Someone must have. Was it Kitty? Mr. Shue? I have no idea how he found out but maybe he did.”
“Do you want an honest answer? Because it isn’t anyone who you suspect.” Quinn answered. Madison nodded firmly. “Fine. Then it was Coach Roz.”
“Coach Roz? But how…? Kitty. It had to have been Kitty.”
“It doesn’t matter how she found out. What matters is that she wants you to figure out what you are going to do about the squad.” Madison laughed harshly.
“The squad? Is that the only thing she cares about?” Quinn reached her arm around the Cheerio and squeezed her.
“She’s probably worried about a lot of things but she has three immediate concerns. The first is that these tricks are hard for girls with no limitations, never mind girls who are pregnant. She’s afraid that you will become unreliable as a base and that will put a lot of people in danger. The second is that this will cause a miscarriage. She isn’t the softest person, but she does care about you and your baby. The third is that you will eventually become too big to participate. At that point, you will have to leave the squad and you will leave them high and dry.” Madison remained silent for a few minutes before looking up.
“Well, you are the only Cheerio I know of who has ever been pregnant before. What do you think?”
“I can’t give you the answer, that’s for you to decide. What I can say, is that being a Cheerio puts a lot of pressure on your body. Coach Roz is a less intense Coach than Sue was, but there’s still an incredible amount of physical exertion that takes place. Too much physical exertion, even when you are used to it as we are, gets dangerous. I’m also going to guess that there’s some kind of diet involved?” Madison nodded. “I assumed as much. See, right now you are eating for two and you can’t afford to be losing all that energy in that way. It’s going to become too much really soon. So the question is, can you afford to keep going?” Madison sat for a very long time and neither her nor Quinn stirred from their spots. The words echoed in Madison’s head.
“I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday.” She said finally. Quinn just looked at her and waited for her to continue. “That’s only 2 days away. I think I’ll ask him, but continue until then.”
“That seems like a fair compromise. Who’s your doctor?”
“Dr. Wu. He’s the one on my parent’s insurance.”
“Do your parents know yet?” Madison went absolutely white at Quinn’s words.
“No! Absolutely not!”
“Are you going to tell them?” Quinn remained absolutely calm despite Madison’s outburst. “Because I can almost guarantee you that when you start showing, they’ll start noticing.”
“They aren’t home much. In fact, they shouldn’t be home during the entire pregnancy at all. There really isn’t any reason to be worried that they’ll figure it out.” Quinn looked at her sympathetically.
“You know, when my parents found out, I got kicked out of the house. I had to live with Puck’s family, which was awful because his mother kept calling me rude names in Yiddish. Then I moved in with Mercedes. That was a lot better, mostly because Mercedes wanted to support me.”
“Is there a point?” Madison interrupted.
“Yes,” Quinn sighed, “there is. The point is simple. You need to surround yourself with people who will support you on this journey, not people who will tear you down. If that means cutting your brother out of your life right now, then so be it. If that means cutting the father out, then you have to do it. And frankly, cutting the Cheerios out of my life, with their backstabbing and gossiping, was the best decision I made during my pregnancy once I decided I was giving Beth up for adoption.”
“They have changed, you know. Maybe not much, but at least a little bit. They still judge me for eating as much as I do, but they aren’t nearly as gossipy as I think you think they are. Honestly, they mostly talk about the routines and Sue’s shocking departure from the school. They are trying to figure out if that’s good or bad for us.”
“Still? It’s been a couple of months.”
“Still.” Madison nodded. “I think they’ll tire of that soon enough, though. And then they’ll start talking about me and my rapidly expanding belly.”
Yes,” Quinn said, “they will. There’s nothing you can do to stop that, not when this school is in freaking Ohio. This isn’t exactly the most accepting place in the world.”
“You got that right.” Madison responded. “I wish there was a simple solution for all of this.”
“Things stopped being simple the second that sperm hit your egg, sweetheart. Now you just have to deal with the consequences as gracefully as you can. And don’t spiral. I’ve done that, it’s a dark path.” Madison sensed that the story behind that particular statement was fascinating, but for another time. As it was, she was late to get home and start her homework and Mason would be annoyed. She said goodbye to Quinn, who gave Madison her number and promised to be in touch, and headed home. The day had been long and she really needed to think hard about what Quinn had said.
I thought it was time for Quinn to enter stage left. She's the only one we know of who's been pregnant, after all.
Chapter 10: The Appointment
In which there is finally professional intervention, and Baby McCarthy-Meeks gets his/her 1st pictures!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The morning of the appointment dawned gloomily. Madison looked anxiously at the sky, praying that it didn’t rain. She didn’t want to be seen getting into Roderick’s truck, but she knew he would never let the plan they had decided on continue if it rained. He was too protective for that and would insist she ride in the car the whole way. She used her concern about the weather to conceal her much greater worry about the appointment itself. She was terrified the doctor would say that something was wrong, though she was excited to see the picture of her baby on the sonogram. She was full of mixed feelings about everything and was spending even more time than normal in the bathroom, throwing up whatever food she had managed to get down. Mason came into the bathroom and held her hair as she struggled with the sickness.
“Morning sickness still got you bad, huh?” Mason asked.
“It’s been getting better. In fact, it’s mostly gone now. But it still likes to rear its head every once in a while.” Madison replied. She wiped her mouth and brushed her teeth vigorously to get rid of the taste in her mouth.
“Come on. I’ll drive you to school. The rain looks like it might come down in buckets any minute.” He hugged his sister around the waist and the two walked out to the car. Madison’s heart was pounding. Now would be the perfect time to tell him she was going to the OB today, but something stopped her. Maybe she didn’t want to disrupt this delicate peace, or maybe she wanted the first one to just be for her and Roderick and their baby and not include her unsupportive brother. Whatever the exact reason, she chose to keep silent about her appointment on the car ride, though she chattered with her twin about Cheerios (another thing she had to think about) and how the Glee club practices for Regionals were coming. They had heard from Kitty that Mr. Shue usually ended up doing everything last minute so they were glad that the Warblers would not stand for that. They were going to be well-rehearsed when they stood on that stage if it killed them.
She and Mason parted on relatively good terms, though there was still clear tension in the air. She prayed that not mentioning the doctor’s visit to him would not destroy these steps towards a better relationship. She wanted her brother’s support in her pregnancy, not his condemnation. She went through the school day in a haze, not quite fully conscience of what was going on. She kept sneaking glances alternately at Roderick, Mason, and the clock during all her classes and had trouble sitting still. She was trying to control it as best she could, but it was very, very hard. When the last bell rang, she gathered her books. She was about to walk towards the doors leading outside when Mason grabbed her hand and started pulling her towards the choir room. She pulled out of his grasp, explaining that she was feeling a little off and was going to walk home and rest instead of coming to Glee. He pouted, and Madison almost felt bad for lying to him, but she forced herself to carry on. Getting this check-up and ultrasound was of paramount importance. She watched him disappear around the corner and slipped out through the door. She started walking towards her home at a slow pace. When Roderick’s truck pulled up beside her, she hopped in and closed the door. She stared straight ahead, barely breathing. Roderick reached over and squeezed her hand, trying to give her reassurance.
“I couldn’t stop worrying all day about this. I wanted to grab you and bolt for the car so many times during the day if it would just make this come faster.” He told her. Madison nodded in agreement.
“I would have done practically anything to have this all over and done with and confirmation of a healthy baby. That’s all I want.” A thought suddenly occurred to her. “Do you want any specific tests done? Like I know they’ll do the basics, but do you want a paternity test or any other kind of genetic testing?”
“I don’t have anything in particular I want. If you want the paternity test, I’m fine with getting it. I trust you when you say I’m the father, but if you’d like evidence for the idiots who won’t believe you, that’s fine. It’s up to you.”
“I don’t think it will matter. The people who really don’t believe it won’t be convinced by the paper. They’ll claim that it’s faked or something like that and continue to insist that someone else is the baby daddy, probably my brother.”
“So is that a no to the paternity test?” Asked Roderick.
“That’s a no to the paternity test.” Madison responded. Her sureness in her answer comforted Roderick. If she was unsure at all about whether I was the father, she would have wanted the test. He thought. That means that this is real. He reached over and squeezed her hand again before turning his attention back to the road. They drove the rest of the way with the radio blasting whatever popular songs the station played, Madison dancing a little in her seat to the music. Roderick couldn’t help but think it was adorable, though he delicately refrained from commenting on it. He didn’t want her to think he was making fun of her.
They arrived at the obstetrician’s office in no time and climbed out. They held hands walking in and giving Madison’s name to the receptionist, who didn’t even blink at the sight of two teenagers in the office. When they were called in, they were still gripping each other’s hands and did not let go until Madison had to change into her gown. When the doctor asked all the questions about how Madison had been doing and feeling, what she’d been eating, and how much she’d been exercising he made a lot of notes on his clipboard while the two of them watched anxiously.
“Have you considered cutting down on the amount of exercise you’ve been doing? It’s not too dangerous yet, but it will be soon. Try cutting down on workouts so that you give your body a rest and can devote more energy towards taking care of the baby.”
“So you think I should quit Cheerios?” Madison asked.
“I think it would not be a poor decision. And you would definitely have to have quit in the next couple of months anyway.”
“Why? Couldn’t I continue all the way through?” Dr. Wu looked alarmed at that suggestion.
“Absolutely not. You wouldn’t physically be able to, for a start, because of how unbalanced you’ll be, and furthermore it would be very dangerous for the baby. It’s already putting you at a higher risk for miscarriage. Like I said, the smart decision would be to quit now.” Madison nodded anxiously and Roderick was gripping her hand so tightly he thought he might break it. He knew he couldn’t tell her to give up cheerleading, but he really hoped that she made the decision to give it up for the sake of their child, as well as for her own health. Miscarriages, he knew from his hours of careful internet surfing, were very dangerous and could potentially kill the mother or make her infertile or otherwise really hurt her if they happened. He didn’t want that to happen to her.
“I would also like to prescribe some prenatal vitamins for you to take to help you get everything you and baby need.” Dr. Wu added.
“Okay.” Responded Madison. She took the prescription he handed her and made a mental note to stop by the pharmacy soon. Possibly right after the appointment if she could. The doctor turned his attention to Roderick, asking him about his medical history and family medical history. She learned that he had a history of anxiety that was currently controlled by medication and therapy and that his family had no history of cancer but did have a history of back problems. She realized that she knew nearly nothing about him, from his childhood to now, and resolved to spend more time learning about her baby daddy and getting to know the family her baby would be a part of too.
The doctor gestured for her to lie down on the table, indicating that he wanted to begin the sonogram.
“How many pictures do you guys want?” He asked as he rubbed the gel on Madison’s stomach. They exchanged glances.
“Um, like 4? One for me, one for you, and a couple of extra? I want to leave one out for Mason and your mom might want one. What do you think?” Madison said unsurely.
“4 sounds good to me.” Replied Roderick.
“All right” Said the doctor. “I can arrange that. Now, this will feel funny, but it’s just the gel. Don’t worry about it. Now, if you look up at the screen, you’ll see your baby. It’s the little thing right there.” Dr. Wu pointed at an almost human-looking, if out of proportion, creature on the screen. He moved the wand around, showing them different angles and the body parts the baby had already started forming as the baby shifted around itself. “The baby is probably about the size of an apple and a lot of its major organs have already formed. It’s doing fine, though it, and you, are a little on the small side. Try to eat fish and other protein rich things. And don’t be afraid to eat a lot. Your weight is in the low range right now and we want to get it up.”
“O-okay. But everything’s okay? Is there anything I need to look out for? And there is only one, right? I’m not carrying twins?” Her words came out in a rush.
“Other than my recommendation that you eat more and exercise less, you are doing great. The nausea should level off very soon and hopefully disappear altogether in the next few weeks. There is only two heartbeats, yours and the baby’s so I don’t think you are having twins. Shall we make another appointment for next month?” Madison looked unsure about how to proceed so Roderick barged ahead.
“We’ll make a tentative appointment for next month, but if we could make it on a Friday that would probably be best.”
“All right, how does the 7th sound? I have an appointment for 4:30 open.”
“Yeah, that sounds fine.” Madison responded, making a note of it in her phone.
“That’s all from me,” said the doctor, “and I’ll see you the 7th.” The two students took the photos he offered and left the office. In the car Madison broke down crying. Roderick hugged her tightly and let a few tears of his own slip out.
“That’s our baby. Our baby. Even with the horrible morning sickness it didn’t feel real until right now.” Madison sobbed out. He just held her and rocked her until she managed to bring her emotions back under control. When she looked up, she noticed that he was crying as well. She touched the tears and wiped them away. He didn’t even attempt to defend them. He just whispered very softly.
“I’m going to be a father.” Madison nodded and hugged him tightly again before composing herself.
“Can we swing by the pharmacy quickly? I want to pick up the vitamins he prescribed.” Roderick nodded and turned the car back on. After they picked up the prescription, he dropped her off at her house, keeping 2 of the sonogram pictures for himself and leaving 2 of them for her. She hugged him one last time before hopping out of the car and heading inside. He watched her for a minute before turning around and going home himself. As soon as he got inside, his mother pelted him with questions about the visit and the baby. He answered as best he could, before carefully presenting her with the sonogram picture.
“Oh how lovely!” His mother exclaimed, beaming. “You know, I never met that girl of yours. I want to meet the mother of my grandbaby before I actually become a grandmother.”
“I know Mama. I want you two to meet too. She just isn’t comfortable with anyone knowing anything yet and her brother is on the hunt for the father. She’s hopeful that he’ll calm down soon though.” Roderick answered his mother. “You’ll like her.” He added, “She’s sweet and kind, even if she does have a bit of a crazy streak.”
“I look forward to meeting her, sweetheart. She seems like a lovely girl, despite the mess you are both in.” Roderick smiled slightly.
“It’s a mess we’ll live through, Mama.” Mrs. Meeks touched her son’s cheek.
“Yes you will my darling, yes you will. And I don’t doubt that you’ll make me proud, no matter how much I wish this had never happened.”
Back at the McCarthy residence, Madison carefully placed the sonogram picture she had gotten for Mason on the table with YOUR NEPHEW/NIECE SAYS HI written on it with sharpie. She fervently hoped that when he found it the picture would melt his heart rather than seal it up. It was a gamble, but she needed her twin back. He was her other half and if she was going to get through this, she needed the guy who knew her like the back of his hand at her side. Roderick was wonderful, the perfect gentleman and the best guy for the father job she could have found. But he wasn’t Mason. She breathed out and gave the picture one last look before slipping upstairs to her room to do her homework.
Next chapter Madison and Mason finally have a chat that’s been, oh, 9 chapters in the making.
Chapter 11: The Reunion
Madison and Mason finally actually talk about what’s going on. Finally.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Mason strolled into the house after going out for pizza with Jane. His relationship with his girlfriend had be on the rocks a little lately, since she thought he was handling his sister’s pregnancy very poorly. Admittedly, she was right. He had chosen to be the inappropriately overprotective brother when in reality, everything she had done, he had done with Jane. Granted she had done it while not in a relationship, but still. She did not deserve his hypocrisy. And if she hadn’t gotten pregnant, his reaction would never have been sustained this long. He would have forgotten about it long ago and they would have moved on. The pressure Jane was putting on him to make amends was definitely changing his perspective. And besides, he wanted his sister and best friend back. He was even starting to be a little excited about meeting his little niece or nephew in 6 months. He wasn’t necessarily ready to be thrilled about everything that was happening, but he was starting to accept it. Plus, he could clearly see how much Madison wanted him back too. She was jumping at nearly any chance to mend their torn relationship and honestly, he was too. He just wanted to ease into it, that was all. He had told Jane that the other day and she was happy with him. Happy enough, to let him take her out today, even though it was a weekday.
Mason reached the kitchen and was about to go upstairs when something caught his eye. There was a piece of paper on the table that had definitely not been there this morning. Curious, he walked over and picked it up. His heart stopped for a minute when he saw what it was. Madison’s ultrasound. He hadn’t even really considered that she might need doctor’s visits. He had spent so much time wrapping his head around accepting her pregnancy that he had forgotten the brutal reality of it. There was a baby, his niece or nephew, who was coming into the world in about 6 months. He held the image in his hands for a while, trying to make sense of what he was looking at. Then, with shaking legs, he made his way up to Madison’s room and knocked on the door.
Madison heard the knocking on her door and took a deep breath. She needed to control her desire to panic. This was the turning point, after all. Either Mason would come to her side on this, or their relationship would splinter beyond repair. She desperately hoped for the former, but she was very frightened that he was knocking to tell her the later. She anxiously smoothed down her hair and answered the door. He looked contrite when she opened up, staring down at the sonogram image in his hand.
“Hi.” She said, struggling to maintain her composure. This was all a very promising sign.
“Hey.” Mason responded looking up at her face then. “I see you left me a little gift on the table. Did you go today?”
“Yes,” nodded Madison, “and I was thinking that as the little one’s uncle you would like to see its first pictures.” Mason eyes were unfocused as he looked from the picture, to her stomach, to her face. “Do you want to come in?” Madison opened the door wider so her twin could enter and sit on one of her chairs, which he did, plopping comfortably into the chair that had always been his. It felt natural, or it would have if there wasn’t so much tension hanging in the air. Instead, they were both eyeing each other, waiting to see what the other would do. Finally, Mason broke the silence.
“You have every right to be pissed off at me. I know I acted like an absolute ass, right when you needed me most.” Madison opened her mouth to speak but Mason shook his head. “Let me finish my piece first, then you can say whatever you want.” She settled back down and gestured for him to continue. “I was so angry that you were doing something behind my back and I realize that it’s hypocritical of me to judge you for having sex when I’m sleeping with Jane and I’m very sorry for that. And I’m so, so, so sorry for threatening the father. If you want him by your side, I’ll support him and you. I don’t know if I’ll like him, but I’ll tolerate him. And if you still don’t want to tell me who he is that’s fine. But if he abandons you and the baby I reserve the right to kick his ass.” He took a deep breath. “So, um, your turn.” He finished lamely.
“You were an ass, but I forgive you.” Madison smiled at her twin. “I need you by my side to get through this. We especially need to be a united front when people start muttering about us when it becomes obvious that I’m pregnant, which it will relatively soon. Especially since I’m quitting the Cheerios tomorrow.”
“Whoa whoa whoa. You’re quitting Cheerios?” Mason looked shocked, like he had never considered that possibility.
“The doctor told me that it increased my chances of having a miscarriage dramatically and that it would become extremely dangerous really soon. So I decided to quit tomorrow when I go in. I think Coach Roz will understand.”
“If you’re sure.” Mason said dubiously.
“I’m sure.” She answered. She sounded so certain that Mason just shrugged and let it go. He wasn’t nearly as sure as she evidently was, but he also didn’t want to fight it too much. Not when they were finally on the same page again.
Madison leaned forward. “I need to know for sure that you will not freak out when I tell you who my baby daddy is or how it happened. I know you. You aren’t going to like it, especially because we still aren’t dating, but I need you to be supportive anyway.” Mason hesitantly nodded. “Are you absolutely sure? Because he really wants to go public and be acknowledged as the father, has since he found out, but I won’t do that if you are going to cause him any problems.”
“I promise. I promise that I won’t cause him any problems and that I’ll try to get along with him as best I can.” Madison breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s Roderick, from glee club. He’s the father.” Mason reared back in shock and started sputtering, as if looking for the words to express what he thought about the boy she had chosen so she hastened along. “It was when he brought me home from Jane’s party. I was quite drunk and he wasn’t exactly sober himself. And I came on very, very strong so don’t you dare blame him for anything. In fact, if he had had his way I think he would have just dropped me off and gone home himself. It would never have occurred to him to try anything.” She paused, eyeing her brother’s puffed up reaction. “He was a virgin before that night you know.” She said softly, watching the anger go out of her brother.
“Puts it in a different perspective, huh?” Mason nodded. “Anyway, he’s been really supportive. He came with me to the doctor’s today. He’s dying to be allowed to be a real father and so far I haven’t really let him. I’ve been too afraid of your reaction to let him.” Mason deflated entirely. He felt even guiltier than he already had. “But.” Madison said perking up, “now that you know he can officially claim the baby! He’s very eager to do that. I even offered him an out multiple times, but he steadfastly refused to take it. All in all, if I was going to end up pregnant, he’s not a bad option for a baby daddy. He’s loyal and kind and hardworking and he’s certainly not going to abandon me or the baby.” Mason didn’t know how to react to her honest affection for Roderick, so instead he cracked a joke.
“So the most Hufflepuff of Hufflepuffs?” Madison smiled.
“Better than any of the other Houses!” She quipped back. “Slytherins are too ambitious, Ravenclaws care about knowledge over people, and Gryffindors can’t keep a secret to save their lives!”* Mason threw back his head and laughed.
“Fair enough.” The twins grinned at each other for a few minutes, just enjoying the easy joking before they had to return to the reality of their situation. Madison was the one who finally broke the peaceful feeling.
“We need to discuss one more thing.”
“And what is that?”
“What we are going to do about the people who are going to think that we’ve got a Jaime/Cersi Lannister thing going on. We need to have a united front because I’m already hearing rumors floating around that I’m pregnant. They think I’m either pregnant or bulimic mostly and pretty soon they are going to figure it out.”
“I hadn’t heard that.” Mason said, surprised.
“That’s because it’s the kind of gossip that happens in the girl’s bathroom. Jane, Kitty, and Vivian have been keeping me informed, in addition to the information I pick up myself.”
“Oh. Right. Of course.”
“Anyway, the important thing is that we figure out what we are going to do because once I quit Cheerios, the scales are going to tip in the direction of me being pregnant real fast. I was thinking that the most practical thing to do would be to confirm the pregnancy when asked. It’s not like I can hide it much longer anyway and denying it now makes me look stupid later. And then, when they ask about the father, just give them the truth. Roderick gave the green light for that ages ago, though you can call him and confirm yourself if you want. In fact, you guys should probably meet up, mano a mano. I have a feeling you guys have a LOT to talk about that needs to be settled without me there.” Mason gave a short laugh and ran his fingers through his hair.
“Yeah, I guess we do. It would definitely make me feel better to actually talk to him and only him. No one else around.”
“You should go to the park down the street.” Madison started playing with her hair and avoiding looking at her twin.
“Because that’s where I told him that he was going to be a father.” She stopped twisting her hair and looked up at Mason. “It makes a kind of poetic sense for you to confront him there too.” He blinked at her.
“You’re weird, little sister. That doesn’t make any sense.” She grinned at him and shrugged.
“Worse ways to be!” She sang out. She giggled and hugged him tightly before dragging him to the door. “Now, I have homework to finish because I’ll be damned if I’ll let my grades slip because of my pregnancy!” He laughed and kissed her on the cheek and gave her a hug.
“We are going to be okay, little sister. We are going to be okay.” She hugged him back tightly, then shooed him out the door. Then she turned around and reached for her phone to text Roderick for the first time ever.
Hey Roderick! It’s Madison. Mason knows everything and I think he’s going to want to talk to you soon about it. She didn’t have to wait long for his reply.
Okay. Hope the talk went well. My mom loved the picture and wants to meet you soon. Keeps talking about it. Are you okay with coming over for dinner, say Saturday night? Madison stared at the phone for a second. Meet his parents? She knew she would have to eventually but to do it on Saturday seemed so soon, especially since she had just gotten Mason back.
Could we do it next weekend? I was kind of hoping to reestablish my relationship with Mason this weekend.
Bring him with you if you want. My mom doesn’t mind and my dad is intrigued to meet you guys too. He keeps talking about twins being a curious thing to study. My mother keeps reminding him that you are people, but my dad is a scientist who studies primate behaviors. He’s hard to stop. Madison smiled slightly.
I’ll see what I can do :)
This was all turning out quite well indeed, considering the circumstances. This was all going to turn out just fine, she could feel it.
*For the record, I love all the Hogwarts houses. Shout out to all the Harry Potter fans out there!
Chapter 12: The First Wave
I won’t have time tomorrow because of a meeting so here’s the chapter a day early.
The next day Madison skipped Cheerio practice and handed in a letter of resignation to Coach Roz. The coach looked over the letter, which simply cited “pressing medical concerns” as the reason for quitting, and gestured for her to close the door. She folded her hands on her desk.
“So did Quinn convince you to quit?” She asked, looking at the now former Cheerio.
“Not quite, though it definitely helped.” Madison shook her head. “The doctor pushed it over the edge into admitting that I needed to quit.” She looked uncomfortable and unsure in the street clothes instead of her Cheerio uniform.
“Well, whenever you want there’s a place on the Cheerio’s team for you. You are one of the hardest working members and one of our strongest bases.” Madison cracked a smile.
“I suspect extracurricular activities are over for me. I’ll be surprised if I even manage to graduate once I have the baby. After all, Quinn wasn’t the only girl to get pregnant in her 4 years here, but she’s the only one who managed to get her diploma. All the other ones kind of just… disappeared.”
“And do you want that for yourself?” Coach Roz asked pointedly. “My Cheerios have more drive than that I know you do. Especially one like you. Especially one that has the support of the glee club to keep you going.” Madison nodded thoughtfully.
“I’d like to get my diploma, but with a baby it’s going to be next to impossible.”
“Have you considered adoption? You don’t have to keep the baby and take care of him or her yourself you know.” Madison’s hand went to her stomach and rubbed it unconsciously.
“I have thought about it. And I’d have to talk it over with Roderick, who’s the father, but I think I’m leaning towards keeping my baby. I just can’t imagine going through the pregnancy and bonding with my child and then giving it up for adoption. It seems impossible to me.”
“You’d have to talk more to Quinn about what happened to her. I wasn’t here yet. But rumor has it that she went absolutely crazy and tried to get her baby back. I wouldn’t know anything about that stuff. I’m an Olympian, not a mom.” Madison gave her a half smile.
“I still have time to decide.” She said softly. “And the daddy needs to be involved in the decision too, now that I’m actually acknowledging publicly what has been going on privately for the past few months.”
“Good. Now get out of my office.” Coach Roz waved her out the door. That girl needed far more help than she was willing to accept. Maybe it was time to alert the Glee director. Or maybe it was time to slide herself out of the equation and let the brunette figure things out for herself. She’d have to think on it.
The whispers got louder that day when people saw Madison out of her Cheerios uniform. Some thought she had been kicked off for her slipping performance. Others suspected that she had been kicked off because she was pregnant. Still others whispered that the Coach had caught her and her brother doing the dirty somewhere and was so horrified that she immediately ejected them from the team, though that rumor died down very fast when people realized that Mason was still walking around in his uniform. With none of the Cheerios except for Kitty, Madison, and Mason being in the know at all, rumors swirled in the ranks. These rumors spread throughout the student body so that by lunchtime everyone knew that Madison McCarthy, the Queen of School Spirit and Performing, was no longer on the Cheerios. She kept her head held high and ignored the whispers that trailed behind her. There was nothing in the world she wanted more than to retreat to her room and forget everything that was happening. She couldn’t, of course, so she made sure that she was always with either Mason, Roderick, or Michael as much as possible. They made everything much more bearable.
At Glee, Mason sang a song begging for her forgiveness. Mr. Shue knew better than to ask why he needed forgiveness, having noted how little time they had been spending together lately in class. He tried his best not to insert himself in such spats. They were siblings after all, their relationship went far beyond the choir room. He wasn’t stupid enough to mess with it.
After the song, the twins were sitting together for the first time in weeks, with Roderick on Madison’s other side. The twins were sitting as close as possible in the choir room chairs and had linked pinkies. Most of the kids looked pleased at this development, which probably meant, Mr. Shue concluded, that this tension had been causing problems outside the choir room. When they left, however, Mason walked away with Roderick, not Madison, a move that surprised all that were watching. They had thought that the twins would now be attached at the hip again and were even more surprised at which twin was hanging out with Roderick. Some had noticed how much Roderick and Madison had been hanging out recently and how attentive he was being. Some of the Warblers had already come to the conclusion that he was the father, but were keeping their mouth shut out of respect to the New Directions members and out of fear that Mason would go ballistic again and they would be down three members. They did not want that, not with Regionals as close as it was. So they kept their mouths shut.
In truth, Mason and Roderick were having their own version of the talk Madison and Mason had had the night before. They needed to establish their positions in relation to Madison and how they were going to handle being in each other’s lives for the next 18 years at least. Mason hated him on principle for knocking his sister up and Roderick was deeply bitter about how much he had frightened Madison. It was going to take some smoothing over indeed to get the two boys to share nicely. But they both knew they had Madison and the baby in common, even if their relationships were different. They were determined to at least get to the point where they could accept each other’s presence comfortably and create a unified front to protect Madison. That meant that they at least had to give the illusion of being friends even if they weren’t actually.
On a whim, Mason decided to have the meeting in the same place that Madison had first told him that he was going to be a father. He told himself that it meant nothing, that it was just done to humor her, but he had to admit that it did have a poetic sort of sense to it. And it was about halfway between their houses so it was neutral ground. They sat down on the same swings where Madison had talked to Roderick.
“You know,” Roderick spoke first, “I liked you originally. I thought you were pretty cool and I never believed any of that Creepy Incest Twin stuff.” Mason nodded. “And then you asked us to manipulate your sister instead of dealing with the problem yourself to get a date with Jane and my respect for you fell just a little bit.” Mason’s head was in his hands at this point. “And then when I slept with Madison,” here Mason’s head snapped up and he gritted his teeth a bit, “she was so frightened of you finding out. Why? What did you do the last time she slept with someone? And why, when everyone knows that you and Jane are having sex?” Mason gave a deep sigh.
“Did she tell you how her last relationship ended?” Roderick shook his head. “No? Then I will.” He took a deep breath. “Last year, she dated a senior named Justin. He was a nice guy for the most part, but he found our relationship kind of creepy. He didn’t like it and did everything in his power to pull her away from my influence and entirely under his.” Roderick sucked his breath in sharply. “She started hanging out almost exclusively with him and our relationship grew shaky. Eventually, she realized that he had been manipulating her, but not until after she had slept with him a bunch of times. He was good at that, or so I gather, and I don’t think she regretted the sex. But she regretted the relationship many times because it almost tore us apart.” Mason grimaced. “That’s why she reacted so strongly to me and Jane. She was afraid of someone coming between us, especially since she has always been the one to take care of me. When she was dating Justin, I had a tough time making sure I took care of myself because of that. I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still rely on her most of the time.” Roderick was silent for a minute before speaking.
“So she was in an abusive relationship?” Mason thought for a moment before replying.
“Yeah, I guess she was.”
“He was an abusive bastard.” Roderick said firmly. “I’m not like that. All I want is to be by her side and help with the baby. I know she’s not interested in a romantic relationship with me and that’s fine. But I do want to support her.” He took a deep breath before charging on determinedly. “And I am the father of that baby, no matter that it was a one-night stand and that’s all it was ever going to be.” Roderick started ticking things off on his fingers. “I don’t want to be an asshole who knocks the girl up and then leaves her to flounder. And I’m not going to be the asshole who uses the fact that we had sex once to pressure her into more. I won’t use manipulation on her. And while I’d hardly call your relationship with her run-of-the-mill, your closeness isn’t a bad thing. Though if you ever leave her alone again like you did I will personally see to it that you regret it.”
“You don’t have to worry about that anymore. I’m on my sister’s side permanently now. And I can promise you that if you abandon her or your baby I will escort you to the depths of hell myself.” Mason said seriously. Roderick nodded solemnly back. The two boys sat quietly for a few minutes, having said the most important things that needed to be said. They knew that there was still much more that they needed to talk about, but for now they were content to leave those for another day. They had made their threats and established their protectiveness over Madison. They would respect each other for the most part and they would be a team if it killed them. After all, they both knew what happened to girls who got pregnant in Lima, Ohio. The ones that were motivated like Quinn managed to rehabilitate their image and stuck around and graduated. Mostly though, they disappeared into the abyss of young mothers who ended up stuck in the poverty cycle and never got so much as a high school diploma or even a GED. They didn’t want that to happen to Madison, so they need to be a team and get her through high school so that she had a chance at something real and concrete in her life. They knew it was possible if they could just get her through high school and into college. It had been done before and they saw no reason why Madison, intelligent and motivated Madison, shouldn’t follow in their footsteps. On that, they were agreed.
Finally, Roderick broke the contemplative silence they had both been in.
“So I mentioned this to Madison but I don’t know if she’s had the chance to mention it to you yet. My parents want the two of you to come over on Saturday. My mother in particular is desperate to meet the mother of her grandchild and his or her uncle.” He looked nervously at the ground as he spoke, apparently fearful that Mason would reject the offer out of hand.
“That sounds cool.” Mason answered. “I know that they are going to be a big part of the baby’s life and it’s probably a good idea to get to know them now rather than later.” Roderick grinned at him.
“Great! Dinner is at 6:30, but you can come by at 5! My parents are going to be so excited!” He stood up gave Mason a handshake as they departed. They were both a little nervous for Saturday, though that was nothing compared to the fear that was mounting in Madison’s chest.
Chapter 13: The Dinner
Finally some adults with potentially some actual influence on what happens. Or, Madison gets the mother she so desperately needs.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Friday brought more swirling rumors and people muttering about Madison’s apparent removal from the cheerleading squad without evident incident. Despite the fact that joining the Cheerios was similar to joining the Mafia, in that once you were in, you couldn’t walk away, there had been no blowout battle between her and Coach Roz, who was refusing to answer any questions about it, and Kitty was apparently still friendly with her. This only fueled the whispers that she was pregnant and speculation about who the father was rampant. Betting was in full swing, with most people betting on Mason, one of the football players, or occasionally one of the Warblers. No one bet on Roderick, since unsurprisingly most of the school still saw her through a very specific, cheer-centric lens. She was popular and for the father of her baby to be so low on the social totem pole was unthinkable. Mason was presently the favorite as her baby daddy, though if they could settle on one of the football players instead of suspecting all of them-including Spencer- he would be knocked down quite a bit.
Roderick was trying to control his urge to yell from the rooftops that he was the father and that they needed to leave her alone. He knew, however, that that would make her situation worse, not better. Having him as the baby daddy would just make them harass her and start the second set of rumors about how on earth a guy like him could possibly have had sex with a girl like her. It would be too much to put on her at once and would drag more people into the battle. So he sat on his hands and seethed at the way they were talking about Madison and their baby. Words like “slut,” “whore,” and “brotherfucker” were tossed around liberally in the whispers that surrounded her as she walked around school. Mason was being true to his word and sticking to her side despite the malicious rumors that were circulating. He and Roderick shared a couple of significant looks throughout the day just to confirm that Madison was doing all right. They both were being extremely protective of her.
She made it through the day despite wanting to sink into the floor on more than one occasion during school hours. When she got to glee after school, she reached for Roderick and Mason’s hands. She pulled them close and whispered quietly to them.
“Do we want to announce to the club that Roderick is the father? It would help to have them completely in the loop, don’t you think?” She asked. Mason shrugged.
“If it’s what you and Roderick want then I’ll support you guys.” The twins looked at Roderick, who smiled.
“All I’ve ever wanted since finding out about the pregnancy was the chance to actually be a father to my baby. This is as good a place to start as any. Let’s go for it.” Madison squeezed their hands and they walked in together. The trio sat in the front and waited patiently for Mr. Shue to come in so that they could interrupt his not-so-carefully planned lesson to make their announcement. He walked in and barely got two words out before Madison grabbed Roderick’s hand and pulled him up and they stepped in front of him, cutting off what he was about to say. Instead of fighting it, he rolled his eyes and sat in Roderick’s vacated seat.
“As probably all of you know,” Madison began, “I’m pregnant.” Mr. Shue sat straight up and tried to say something but was ignored entirely. She barreled on. “What most of did not know, was that Roderick here is the father.” Here there was murmuring, some of understanding, some of disbelief. Mr. Shue had his head in his hands. “We haven’t decided what we are going to do, other than that I will not be having an abortion. We went to the doctor and the baby is doing well so that’s good. I’m about 14 weeks along so I’m out of the 1st trimester, but not quite out of the danger zone yet, so I’m trying to limit the amount of stress I’m under as much as possible. So, um yeah. Now you guys know everything.” She stopped and took a few deep breaths. During her entire speech, she had been gripping Roderick’s hand tightly, trying hard not to panic. He used his thumb to rub her hand, trying to keep her calm. It didn’t really work, but not for lack of trying. Mr. Shue stood up and said,
“Well, we will all support you two, won’t we guys?” The New Directions all nodded their heads and the Head Warbler came up to the front, along with Kitty.
“We are going to support you in any way possible.” Said the Head Warbler.
“Yeah, we are all on your side. Congratulations, Madison and Roderick. You‘re going to make wonderful parents.” Added Kitty.
“Exactly.” Finished Mr. Shue. “And with that in mind, does anyone want to give their song for the week a whirl? Remember, the theme for this week is the Eagles and you guys have been doing a great job with numbers!” And just like that, the announcement was over and everyone moved onto the week’s assignment. Madison breathed a sigh of relief. While some people seemed surprised, no one seemed to think anything bad about the fact that they weren’t together, nor that they were not the classic couple. Probably, she privately admitted, it was because they all liked and respected Roderick and didn’t see the two of them as nearly as different as the rest of the school did. She knew that once it became public knowledge, there would be a lot of backlash. For now, she was content to have the support of her friends around her.
Madison and Roderick were being more open now about being friends and hanging together a lot, despite being in different grades and sharing no classes or extracurricular activities except glee. He was showing her a lot of affection, hugging her and holding her hand. She wasn’t protesting much, except to remind him once or twice that they were not dating. He backed off a little after that and hadn’t done too much that really good friends wouldn’t have, but he was desperate to be the supportive father he had wanted to be from the beginning.
Madison appreciated it, she really did. And she was happy to have a guy who was trying to be a part of his baby’s life, especially considering the conditions under which it was conceived. Frankly, nearly any other guy would have abandoned her as soon as she told them. She was positive that her other one-night stands would have. The football players were not known for their steadiness and reliability and had all fled as soon as the sex had been over, afraid of her particular brand of insanity or of being caught with half of the Creepy Incest Twins. It had hurt her more than she let on, especially since Mason could know none of those experiences. She just knew he’d flip out at the concept of her having a string of one night stands. She was grateful that it wasn’t any of them who had fathered her baby. Still, they weren’t dating and the general population still didn’t know that he was the father. She needed things to happen more slowly. Unfortunately, they were not and before she knew it, it was Saturday and she and Mason were going to the Meeks’ house.
They drove up to the cute little house with the postage stamp yard at the address Roderick had texted them and parked in front. Madison looked like she might start hyperventilating at any moment. Mason reached over and squeezed her hand.
“They are going to love you. I promise. I know you are nervous, but they can’t help but love you.”
“Yes they can! I’m the little whore that led their son astray and then got pregnant! And it isn’t like that’s a wrong assessment!” Mason drew her in for a hug.
“You aren’t a whore. While you guys didn’t make the best decision, you are dealing with the consequences in the best way possible. And a lot of it is going to suck. But ultimately, you guys are going to make it. Maybe you won’t end up permanently together with the marriage and house and the whole shebang, but you will be the best parents you can be, despite how young you are. And I think his parents will recognize that.” She hugged him back tightly before nodding and opening the car door.
“Let’s do this thing.”
They walked in the door and were met by a flurry of hugs and kisses on the cheek, before being deposited on the couch by a very enthusiastic Mrs. Meeks. It was a whirlwind of activity around them as Mrs. Meeks bustled around getting snacks out and Mr. Meeks and Roderick sat with them in the living room. It was rather awkward, Madison felt, being the only girl there, until two little kids, both girls, stampeded down the stairs into the living room.
“Daddy, Daddy!” Exclaimed the older one, “We figured out how to turn our beds into a giant trampoline!”
“That’s wonderful.” Said Mr. Meeks indulgently. Roderick on the hand sighed and beckoned them closer.
“You guys remember what I said about using the bed as a trampoline?”
“Not to do it. But we weren’t!” He looked skeptically at them.
“Jumping on the bed isn’t good for the springs remember? I know you guys didn’t mean any harm by it though. Come here and give your big brother a hug.” The two girls scampered forward and threw themselves into Roderick’s arms and giggled a little when he tickled them. Madison’s lips unconsciously curved into a smile as she watched him with his little sisters. Mason too was watching the exchange with a peculiar expression. This is what I was keeping her from. He thought. A baby daddy that could actually be good for her and look out for her. I’m so stupid. He glanced at his sister, who looked for probably the first time like she’s sure that it’s going to be okay. Roderick looked up and caught Madison’s eye and they exchanged quiet smiles.
The little girls abandoned their brother and scurried over to the twins on the couch. The smaller one stared up at Madison with big eyes, while the older one jumped onto the couch next to Mason.
“Are you our brother’s girlfriend?” The question came from the younger girl. Madison glanced up at Roderick, who just nodded at her to answer the question.
“Ummm, yeah. I guess I am.” Replied Madison. Roderick broke out in a broad smile and Mason nodded approvingly to himself. Madison wasn’t at all sure she had answered correctly, since she still didn’t want to take the leap and date Roderick. She knew that seemed ridiculous to everyone else, but with a baby on the way she needed them to be a team and not end up fighting over everything. But, she was sure that she would be over a lot and it was a lot easier to just tell them that she was his girlfriend. Somehow, she didn’t think that telling them that she was just a girl that their brother happened to knock up would go very well. We really do need to talk about our relationship and where it’s going.
“You are pretty. I like you. You can stay.” The older girl nodded emphatically at Madison. She couldn’t help but smile at their protectiveness over their much older brother.
“What are your names?” She asked them.
“I’m Gracie.” Said the older one, pointing at herself. “And that’s Julia.” She added, pointing at the younger one, who was still standing in front of Madison.
“Can I sit on your lap?” Asked Julia. Madison smiled at her.
“Sure, I don’t mind.” The little girl immediately crawled into Madison’s lap and curled up in her arms, wiggling around to make herself comfortable. Madison was looking down at Julia and didn’t notice the way Roderick was looking at her. Mason did though, and it would be better, he thought, if they were dating. They were having a baby together after all. Besides, he admitted to himself, they would actually really be a cute couple. They balance each other out and will make a good parenting team, even if they don’t date and get married. He turned his attention to the little girl chattering next to him about something she had learned that day at school, while Madison was kept busy by the tiny girl in her lap asking her questions about her dress. The dark-haired girl’s heart squeezed when she finally figured out what the scene felt like- domestic. It felt like a family here and she had never felt anything like that. Not even her relationship with her brother felt quite so much like home.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, I have to go to the bathroom.” She said to Julia with the slightest quiver in her voice. Mason stood up to go after her, but she waved him off and shut the door of the bathroom that the little girl had pointed out to her. There, she sat on the floor and just gave herself over to crying for the family and the life she never had a shot at and that her baby didn’t either. She looked up when the door opened and was surprised to see the kind face of Mrs. Meeks.
“Oh darling.” She sat down next to her and pulled her into a hug, holding her tightly and rocking her a bit while she sobbed.
“Your life is just so picture perfect and you are obviously such a good mother and not only did I screw that up for your family, but I’ll never, ever be able to give my baby that kind of life either. I’m a mess and I’m sorry for dragging your family into it!”
“Darling that is all ridiculous. It’s true we were not happy when Roderick told us what had happened, but only because we know how hard it is. Do you know how old I was when Roderick was born?” Madison shook her head. “I was 22, fresh out of college and just married. It was hard for us and we were young and in love and had college degrees. We were the lucky ones though. David managed to get a job working in a zoo with his degree and I stayed home with baby Roderick for a while until I got a secretary job at a law firm nearby. We made ends meet, but it was a lot of stress on us. Obviously, your situation is different. You are still in high school and most assuredly will be getting your diploma, right?” Madison nodded again. She had decided that she would get her high school diploma or her GED at least. “Good.” Said Mrs. Meeks. “Education is important. And Roderick will be graduating this year, and I’d like him to get a college degree, or at least an associate’s.”
“Wait, Roderick’s a senior? I knew he was older than me but I thought he was a junior.” His mother shook her head.
“No, he’s a senior. He actually turns 18 very soon.” Madison blinked, absorbing this new information. She was a sophomore, which meant that she was trapped at McKinley for another two years and now she wouldn’t have Roderick at all next year. She fought down the panic that was rising inside of her and turned back to Mrs. Meeks, who was peering at her with a concerned expression. “He doesn’t want to go very far away darling if you are frightened that he’ll never see the baby. And of course all of us will be here as well to help you with whatever you need.” She drew Madison into her arms. “It’s all going to be just fine. We don’t have much, but we are perfectly willing to help financially with anything you need.” Madison smiled up at her.
“I think that’s the one thing I don’t need help with. My parents are fairly wealthy and don’t care how I use the money they give us. They aren’t even coming home until the end of my pregnancy so they won’t think to check what I am using the money for. And honestly, they don’t care much so I doubt that they’ll stop the system they have going, and even if they do, Mason is in my corner- he’ll make sure the money goes to the baby too.”
“Your parents don’t know yet?”
“Definitely not. There’s no reason for them to and it’s not like they would want to be involved.” Mrs. Meeks looked slightly horrified at the idea of absent parents and hugged the girl a little tighter.
“Well then if you need anything at all, whether it’s advice or a home cooked meal or just some mothering, you come over here! You are going to become a mother very, very soon, but it’s not too late for you to have one yourself. And I am happy to provide it for you darling!” It was Madison’s turn to squeeze the older woman harder.
“I know how to be a mother, at least I think I do. I’ve been Mason’s mother for so long. But I know I screwed a lot of that up and I don’t want to do that with this one.”
“Here’s a parenting secret that we never like to tell our children until they become parents themselves: no one knows what they are doing. I certainly made lots of mistakes with my son, and then equal but different mistakes with each of my daughters. The learning curve never really lessens, but you can handle it.”
“How could you know that? My parents couldn’t handle having children, after all. Maybe I’ll be like them instead of like you, Mrs. Meeks.” Madison’s voice dropped to a whisper, her confession barely audible.
“Darling, you are already being a very good mother. You are taking care of yourself and staying conscious of the fact that you are pregnant when you do things. You are going to be a wonderful mother. And we are always happy to help with that in any way we can, even if that’s just taking the little one off your hands for a while when you need a break.” Mrs. Meeks hugged her again. “And you can call me anything but Mrs. Meeks. If you want, you can call me Caroline, you can even call me Mama. All my children do.”
“Okay, Mama.” Madison answered her. She smiled broadly at the word and the two stood up.
“Now,” Said Mama Meeks, “Why don’t you come help me in the kitchen for a little while? You look like you need to be busy and I can always use the help.” Madison nodded and followed her to the kitchen. There they worked companionably, finishing the chopping for the salad and chattering on about essentially nothing until Mama Meeks turned to Madison when they had finished everything.
“Can you keep a secret?” She asked, grinning mischievously. Madison was struck by how young she looked when she smiled.
“Of course I can.” Answered the girl.
“We are planning a minivacation for Roderick’s birthday next weekend. We have everything booked for him, but we were wondering if you wanted to go as well. It would be a wonderful chance for you guys to interact without any of the pressures here in Lima and just hang out. It’ll be fun!”
“Are you sure you want to send me with him? I mean, isn’t it a gift for him?”
“Absolutely! He’s talked over and over about how much he’d love to talk to you naturally instead of constantly hiding your interactions. Plus, I haven’t been out of school that long. If you are a cheerleader, or you were one, you were probably at the top of the social pyramid. I love my son very much,” here her voice turned very dry, “but he most certainly is not. This is a chance too for you guys to see how living together works, if you decide to do this as a couple rather than two separate people who happen to have a baby together.”
“If you are sure, then yes, I would absolutely love to go with him!” Madison carefully avoided responding to the last part of the statement.
“Wonderful!” Mama Meeks said, smiling broadly. “We’ll keep it a secret until the last second if that’s okay. It’ll be a very nice surprise for him when he sees you in the car on Friday along with all his stuff for the trip. Oh, I’m so thrilled!” Madison smiled back at the older woman’s infectious grin. She felt so much more comfortable here than she had thought she would and she was endlessly grateful for the woman next to her, who had promised to help her easily and without any apparent concerns about her character or demanding anything in return. She wasn’t used to that, but it felt very good.
She was jerked back into reality when Mama Meeks gestured her towards the dining room, gently shoving her out of the comfort of the kitchen.
“It’s almost time to eat, sweetheart. Go, sit down with everyone else. I’ll take care of bringing the plates in.” Madison stepped out and found her seat, nestled between Mason and Roderick. Mama Meeks came in a few minutes later, bearing a chicken dinner, mashed potatoes, and salad. Everyone dug into the delicious meal, talking about Mr. Meeks’ job and the two girls’ school day. They were all full of funny stories and the little girls’ energy was adorable, if a little exhausting and hard to keep up with.
After dinner, Roderick asked her to help put the girls to bed. Madison was somewhat surprised with how willing the two were to let someone else into what was obviously a ritual between them and their brother, but she read them a story and the two of them sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It was an oddly comfortable experience, considering she’d never done it before.
When she and Mason finally left, it was to a flurry of hugs and food being shoved into their hands. She looked back one last time from the car and turned to her brother.
“I think that went well, don’t you? I really liked them.” Her twin grinned at her and nodded enthusiastically.
“I think it went amazingly, Mads! And I think we have enough food for an entire week here now.” She laughed and squeezed his hand.
“For the first time, I really do feel like it’s all going to be okay.”
I was really pleased with this chapter and I love how Mama Meeks came out. She practically wrote herself really. Also this chapter is 3800 words, the longest I’ve ever written. I’m proud. And sleep deprived.
Chapter 14: The Girls Rally
Trigger warning for mentions of a canon sexual assault.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That Monday, Jane materialized by Madison’s locker while she was collecting her stuff to go home after school. Madison didn’t even have a chance to greet her before she launched into what she came for.
“So I know that you are probably really busy and all, but I would really love to have a girl’s night out on Thursday with you, Kitty, and anyone else you want to bring. They obviously don’t have to be in Glee. We haven’t been there for you nearly as much as we should have been and Kitty and I really want to hang out with just us girls.” Madison blinked in surprise at her brother’s girlfriend.
“I would love to hang out with you guys! If we are opening this up to anyone else, can we invite my friend Vivian? She’s pretty cool. I can’t think of anyone else though. All the cheerleaders have mostly decided that I don’t exist anymore and I don’t really have any other friends outside of Glee.” Jane grinned at her.
“Great! Do you want to have a good old fashioned girls’ night in or a girls’ night on the town? I’m fine with either and I know Kitty is too.”
“Um, why don’t we do a night in, since it is a school night?”
“Sounds good!” Exclaimed a startlingly peppy Jane. It was almost like the two girls had switched personalities, with Madison now the more reserved one and Jane the more upbeat, enthusiastic one. Madison stared as the other girl bounced away before turning back to her locker. She was interrupted again by her brother, who came by with his stuff to walk to the car with her.
“I know the rumor mill has been cranking overtime today. How are you holding up?” Her twin asked her.
“I’m hanging in there. People usually just look at me critically, they don’t actually say anything to my face really. I did hear someone whisper something about me being ‘totally fuckable’ though.”
“That’s not that unusual though, right? People say that all the time.”
“Yeah, but it’s usually just football players and they usually just whisper it or whistle. Today it was someone wayyy lower on the social scale and he made no attempt to hide what he was saying.”
“The president of the Science Club. Not exactly the most popular group, hmm?”
“So that means that your popularity is taking a huge hit from leaving Cheerios and being suspected pregnant then, right?” She nodded. “We did anticipate this.” He pointed out. “We knew that being a Cheerio was a huge protection factor in the jokes and commentary. And you have to admit, you always look very… attractive. Anyone with eyes can see that.” Mason waggled his eyebrows at Madison and she laughed.
“Maybe. But I would appreciate being able to exist without my body being commented on all the time. And it’s only going to get worse, isn’t it? The more I start to show, the more people are going to think they have a right to comment on my appearance or proposition me?” Mason nodded grimly.
“People are already calling you a whore and talking about how they’d like to ‘hit that.’ When it’s actually confirmed that you are pregnant, they are going to think they can take advantage of you.” Madison nodded, then linked her arm with Mason’s and they started towards the car.
“So we’ll deal with it.”
“And we are absolutely not letting you anywhere without someone with you. I don’t think anyone would assault you, but Sue made this school pretty aggressive. We should prepare in case someone tries to take advantage of the pregnant girl by force, rather than coercion.” Mason said worriedly. Madison squeezed his hand before getting into the car.
“We can handle this.” The girl promised her twin. “All of us.” He smiled back at her and agreed, hoping that she was right and they wouldn’t crack under the pressure of the politics of McKinley High.
Thursday seemed to drag on forever, probably because Madison was so excited to hang out with the girls. She hadn’t had a day devoted to just hanging out and talking since she had found out she was pregnant, since when Mason ignored her the other cheerleaders ignored both of them. And even when she had been included in Cheerio hangouts she still often felt left out, since they would often make snide remarks about her and her brother being “Creepy Incest Twins.” She knew that even if Kitty had participated in that in the past, she wasn’t going to do it tonight. Jane had even checked to make sure that Kitty was going to be on her best behavior. Admittedly, Madison doubted that Kitty would refrain entirely from snarky comments, but she was just happy that she would try. They had decided to hang out at Jane’s house, since her parents both worked late and she had no siblings. Mason had been kind of surprised when she had told him that it wouldn’t take place at their house, but had shrugged and left it alone.
In Jane’s room, which was even bigger than Madison’s, they picked a movie to watch. There was an argument of epic proportions before they finally settled on Legally Blonde, which satisfied everything, even the demands for a musical. It was feminist enough for all the girls, as well as chick flick-y enough to satisfy the girl’s night requirements. Plus it had amazing songs that were easy to sing along to.
After watching the movie, and consuming way more junk food than was good for them, they settled down for a good old fashioned gossip session. Kitty, of course, provided most of it since she knew everything about everyone it sometimes seemed. There were a lot of breakups recently, and even some cheating scandals. One couple had had a huge blowout fight outside of the lunchroom, but was found making out after school. The girls quickly exhausted the interesting stories before turning their attention to those in Glee. Jane of course had no updates on her love life, since she was still quite happily dating Mason, though she did admit that they had almost broken up during the month when he had cut off his sister because she thought he was behaving very badly. She was certainly glad now that she had stuck with him, but she conceded that it had been a very rough patch. The conversation then turned to Kitty, who wasn’t dating anyone.
“Come on Kitty,” wheedled Madison, “there must be someone you like!” Kitty shrugged.
“I’m not really completely over Artie I think.” Admitted the blonde. “And I think that until I actually come to terms with that, I’m not going to actually get any crush more substantial than thinking a guy is cute. And that’s okay. I need time to myself anyway. I need to figure out where I stand and stop tying my worth to someone else.” The other girls made sounds of agreement. Vivian in particular was very enthusiastic about agreeing, so they turned to her next.
“We don’t know anything about you!” Exclaimed Jane. “Now you have to tell us something about yourself, that’s what girls’ nights are all about!”
“Um, okay.” Answered Vivian. “I guess I can come up with something.” She thought for a moment. “Well, I can’t think of any particular crushes I’ve had. Actually, I can’t remember ever having any crushes.” She shrugged. “I never thought much about that kind of stuff. I’ve always been under a lot of pressure to do well in school so I don’t get much time to devote to anything else. The only reason I was able to come tonight was because I did all my homework for tomorrow well in advance.” The girls all looked kind of surprised at the idea of not being able to do anything because of schoolwork. “It is what it is though, and because of how much I’ve focused on school I think I have a good chance of being Valedictorian and going to whatever school I want. My mom just wants me out of here because she thinks it’s stifling and she’s afraid that I’ll end up married by 24 and popping out babies and keeping house for some guy for the rest of my life. And I don’t want that either, so of course I work hard.”
“Ohio isn’t that bad!” Pointed out Madison. “I really like it here!”
“It’s not a bad place,” answered Vivian, “just not the kind of place I want to live forever. I want to see the world and work somewhere where there’s more going on than just petty drama. I want to do something with my life. Something big!” Her voice got more lively as she continued. “I don’t know what yet, and it isn’t going to be acting or singing like you guys like, but maybe working in the UN or being a CEO. I don’t know. Just something that makes a difference in the world.” Kitty and Madison blinked at this, but Jane was nodding along enthusiastically.
“I know exactly what you mean! I want to be a lawyer because I want to help people, not because I want to get rich. It’s so amazing when my mom comes home after she’s won another of her public defender cases. She always works on a couple of those in addition to the bigshot cases she does. She does the bigshot cases because they pay the bills, but she does the public defenders one because she wants to fight the system. I want to do that too.”
“I want to be a therapist.” Added Kitty, her voice significantly quieter than normal. “I want to be able to help people who have been really hurt and don’t know what to do or how to handle it.” The other girls stared at her. They had absolutely not expected her to say anything like that.
“Any particular reason why you want to do that?” Asked Madison carefully. Kitty stayed quiet for a few minutes. Kitty pondered what to tell them. I’ve come this far. If I tell them I just want to help people they aren’t going to believe me. And if I tell them it pays well they still aren’t really going to believe me. I trust these girls though. And they have already given me plenty of ammunition to use against them if they tell anyone.
“I want to help people who have been hurt the way I have.” Jane blinked at her.
“Hurt the way you have been…?” Her voice trailed off questioningly. Kitty took a deep breath. Then another. It seemed as though she’d never answer them and the room was dead silent and very tense.
“What I say does not leave this room. I need you to swear it. And if you break your word I will make your life a living hell.”
“Does this include Mason?” Madison asked. “And Roderick?”
“Yes.” Kitty nodded firmly. “I’ve only ever told one other person and that ended badly. I need a guarantee.” The other girls agreed, and then pinky swore that they would never tell anyone. Kitty looked even more nervous afterwards, if it was possible.
“When I was younger, I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. It was all going fine until” her voice cracked but she controlled it and charged on with her story “until my friend’s older brother came into the room and literally into my sleeping bag. He told me to be quiet, that this was all fine and normal but I knew it wasn’t. It felt so wrong. And I went home the next day and pretended that nothing was wrong for month.” Her voice cracked again and she took a few deep breaths before continuing. “When I told them what happened, they went and talked to the other parents, who obviously denied it. My friend found out and then spread it around to everyone that I was lying about being assaulted by her brother. I transferred schools eventually, when the bullying got too much.” The other girls were stunned at this revelation. Finally, Madison pulled Kitty into a tight hug.
“How old were you? And how old was he” Jane asked, her eyes sparking with anger.
“I was 12. I remember because I had gotten my period for the first time a few months before on my birthday and it was still so new to me and I had been worried about getting it at the sleepover. He was 4 years older and he always seemed so cool and we all had such a crush on him.”
“How far did he go? It’s okay if you don’t want to answer that, I was just wondering exactly how sick this guy was.” Vivian questioned, her calm voice barely masking the crackling anger underneath.
“He stopped short of actually going all the way, but he did touch me and made me touch him. He kept telling me that it was meant to feel good and that I must be broken because I didn’t feel that way.” Kitty clung to Madison tighter and buried her head in her shoulder while the younger girl rocked her back and forth and made calming noises.
“Did he ever get punished?” Jane’s fury was tangible at this point. Kitty shook her head, still safely ensconced in Madison’s shoulder. Jane was going on and on about how this wasn’t right and that he really needed to be punished for his actions until Madison raised a placating hand.
“I know that you want to serve justice, but our first priority is her, not him. And talking like that isn’t helping her.”
“Besides,” put in Vivian, “we definitely wouldn’t be able to get any official sanction. Plus, if Kitty is a senior, then he’d have to be in college, right? It would be pretty hard to actually do anything about it now other than help her.” Jane nodded, but had a rather devious look in her eyes that seemed to promise trouble for anyone who tried to interfere.
The silence was heavy in the room for a few minutes before Jane turned to Madison, who was still holding Kitty.
“So we’ve examined everyone’s love life but yours! What are the details? Spill!”
“I’m not exactly sure what details you want,” she replied with a laugh, “I’m pregnant so there’s that.” The other girls, including Kitty who had emerged from the cocoon of Madison’s arms when Jane had started talking guys again, rolled their eyes at that.
“Well obviously you and Roderick have been talking. Have you decided to date him yet?” Came Jane’s quick response. Madison looked distinctly uncomfortable now.
“Well no. I think he’d be willing but I’m not sure I’m ready to jump into the dating game yet, even with him. I’m pretty emotional right now and I don’t want him to be doing this because of the baby.”
“Girl you know that’s ridiculous, right? He doesn’t do much outwardly, but he always came to the football games even before you got pregnant and only really paid attention to the cheerleaders. And his eyes were only ever trained on you.” Jane shook her head bemused. “Occasionally they strayed to Kitty and Mason, as if acknowledging their existence, but believe me his crush was really obvious. I was always there with him to watch Mason and I saw everything.” Jane grinned. “And you guys would be such a cute couple! He would absolutely treat you like a princess and I think your optimism would be a great counterweight to his perpetual pessimism!” Vivian and Kitty both agreed enthusiastically with Jane and Madison turned slightly red at everything she said.
“I just, I don’t really feel that pull to date him. I feel like I want to focus on making sure the baby comes into the best situation possible and I’m not sure us dating is the best situation possible. Too many things can go horribly wrong.” Kitty looked at her dubiously.
“Those sound like flimsy excuses. If you aren’t interested in dating him because you aren’t attracted to him, that’s fine, just say it. If you are scared, that’s understandable too! Just tell us the truth.” Madison chewed on her lip before answering.
“Well, honestly I’m afraid that if we do date, it’ll end really badly and I’ll have to cut him out of my life and therefore out of his child’s life. I don’t want emotional issues we may have to make it harder for our child.” Madison shrugged as she continued. “I mean, it was a one night stand. I don’t really know if we are compatible and there isn’t enough time between now and when the baby comes for us to really figure it out. I feel much safer and secure having him just as a friend with the idea that maybe, one day in the future, the stars will align and it’ll be time to give dating a try. I’m just not ready yet.”
“Better,” said Kitty, “but still not quite right. Try one more time.”
“My last relationship almost destroyed my relationship with Mason, which in turn has made me very commitment-shy. The most important guy in my life has to be my twin or it doesn’t feel right. Me and Roderick is the closest I’ve come to a relationship since.”
“There it is.” Kitty smiled at her. “That’s what I was looking for. A real answer. Wow I really could be a therapist!” The other girls laughed, then sobered when Kitty continued. “Thing is, Hot Rod is in your life to stay. Mason is going to just have to deal with it. You guys share something that’s at least as important as a twin bond: a child.”
“And Mason thinks you guys would be a really cute couple too!” Put in Jane enthusiastically.
“I know you guys really want this, but right now I need to make Junior here my first priority.” Madison rested her hand over her stomach. “That means putting my love life on the back burner, possibly for years. And I’m okay with that.”
Vivian’s phone lit up suddenly and she glanced down.
“Crap!” Her voice was slightly panicky. “That was my mom, wondering where I am. I was supposed to be home an hour ago!” The girls realized suddenly how late it was and scrambled to get their stuff and get home. Madison stayed behind to help Jane clean up in companionable silence before she too left to get home.
As a quick note, if you have experienced a sexual assault, please seek some kind of help, especially therapy. If you need it, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. And remember, assault never the fault of the assaulted.
As another, unrelated note, I met Laura Dreyfuss who plays Madison on Saturday! She’s actually the sweetest person and was very gracious about talking to me and taking a picture. Her new musical, Dear Evan Hansen, was incredible and I highly, highly recommend it!
Chapter 15: The Car Ride
I tried to make it not angsty but that didn’t work. I’m sorry in advance.
The next day Madison met up with Mrs. Meeks before school so that she could load all her stuff into Roderick’s truck so it would be ready when they left after school. They would be coming back Monday afternoon so that he didn’t have to go to school on his birthday and could spend it doing something he really enjoyed to celebrate turning 18. They were going to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Museum and enjoy the city atmosphere away from Lima. She was both nervous and excited. She hadn’t spent that much time alone with Roderick and she wasn’t sure he would like her crashing his weekend. But she also was really excited to visit Cleveland and see the city and of course to actually spend time with the sarcastic, funny, and caring guy who was her baby daddy.
Before she could do that, of course, she had to make it through school. Predictably, it was awful. By keeping silent and not confirming the pregnancy, since no one had explicitly asked yet, Madison had some measure of protection in that no one was directly confronting her. However, it also opened her up to a world of speculation and gossip. She wanted so badly to deny that Mason was the father, but that would just create more gossip and fuel rumors. She was stuck and to make things worse, she could feel herself getting bigger. Not big enough for anyone else to really notice, of course. Just big enough that her clothes weren’t really fitting anymore. She didn’t want to go to a maternity shop yet, but stretchy jeans that were loose might be hard to find otherwise. She would ask Roderick’s mom or Vivian’s mom for help when she got back because she was starting to have to restrict herself to sweatpants and if she did that then everyone would know for sure. She sighed and pushed that problem to the wayside. She could deal with it when she got home, but for now she was going to focus on the good. It was the weekend (finally!) and she was going to spend it with Roderick far from Lima. It was as close to perfect as she could get right now.
Madison slid into the truck’s passenger seat after Mason dropped her off at the Meeks’. She could see him inside, hugging his mom and his sisters good-bye. When he exited the house she took a deep breath and started playing with her hair to calm her nerves. He would be happy to see her. She was sure of it (she hoped) and she was damn well going to greet him with a smile when he got there. The car door opened and she turned slightly in her seat, a smile curving her lips up. Roderick didn’t notice her at first as he got into the car, but as soon as he saw her his entire face lit up and he started laughing.
“I guess this is what my mom meant when she said there would be an extra special surprise coming on the trip. She’s about as subtle as a bull in a china shop.” He shook his head bemused. “God I love her so much. I’m so happy she asked you to come. I’m so happy that you’re here.” Madison grinned wider at the words as relief flooded her. He did want her here!
“She mentioned it on Saturday when we came over. I’ve been looking forward to it all week! Of course, I’ve been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Mason and all that, but I’m really excited to spend time with you.”
“You’re babbling.” Roderick said with a smile, reaching over to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. “I’m happy you’re here and I’m happy my mom knew me well enough to invite you.”
“We should probably head out.” Madison said quickly, trying to cover the sudden influx of romantic tension in the car. “We want to make sure we make it in time for dinner.” Roderick pulled back, slightly disappointed that she wasn’t reciprocating, but unwilling to push it any further. He gave her another smile and a nod and turned back to the face the front of the truck. He knew the way to Cleveland like the back of his hand, but just to be safe (because he was risking nothing with Madison and his unborn baby in the car) he plugged the address of the hotel into his phone.
“And we’re off!” Roderick whooped. Madison grinned delightedly as they pulled away from his house and towards the highway. Roderick turned on the radio and Madison danced in her seat and belted out the words to the rock songs that were playing. “You know AC/DC?”
“Obbbviously. Who doesn’t?! I love the top 40, but give me some credit here. I’m a performer and a music lover- I try to know all the genres. And besides,” she added, rolling her eyes, “rock is one of the most powerful song genres. It’s so angry. Even girls get angry sometimes.” She raised her eyebrows at him, silently calling him out on his expectation that she wouldn’t like it.
“Right, of course. It’s just not what I would expect for you. You’re so bubbly and happy. And you’re a cheerleader, the kind who lives and breathes the sport.”
“And I’m a girl who had to grow up way too fast, constantly taking care of things that weren’t my responsibility. And I’m bitter about it, even though I may not seem like it. I’m exactly the type of person rock was written for.” Roderick reached over and gave her hand a quick squeeze.
“I guess I never thought of you that way. Honestly, I never paid much attention to how much other people were hurting because I was hurt so badly. And I’m really sorry for that.”
“Don’t be.” Madison replied. “Do you have any idea how hard I worked to hide how shitty I felt?” She shrugged. “If anyone knew what was going on at home Child Service’s would have been called and then we would have been separated. There’s absolutely no way I was letting that happen. So I handled it. And a lot of time, I found my release in music. Bon Jovi and Springsteen and Marilyn Mason and Green Day and AC/DC all got me through by giving me an outlet for how I felt.” She shrugged again, feigning nonchalance. “They still do.” The confession hung in the air between them, Hell’s Bells still playing on the radio. Roderick opened and closed his mouth a few times, struggling to think of something to say. Finally, he managed to cobble something together. It didn’t even come close to expressing the fury he felt that Madison had had such a painful experience, but it was a start.
“I want you to know that you don’t have to go through it alone anymore. I’m by your side, Jane is by your side, hell, Kitty will crush anyone who tries to hurt you and we will all help share the burdens too.”
“How do you protect someone when they’ve been hurt by their parents? How do you defend someone who’s used to making do? Look, I know you all mean well and that you’d jump in in an instant, but that doesn’t help me now. Just, keep helping me explore who I am separate from who Mason is. That’s the best thing you guys can do.” Roderick squeezed her hand quickly before putting both hands back on the wheel.
“Whatever you need, whatever you want. We are here to help you.” She just nodded in response, her throat closing up. She had never admitted any of that, not even to herself really. It was strange admitting it to Roderick too. He wasn’t someone she had ever really pictured swapping secrets with. But it wasn’t like she could ever really admit to Mason how resentful she was that their parents weren’t there for them and that she had had to step into the role. After all, it wasn’t his fault and she was perfectly aware that he would feel like it was. She’d keep all the secrets in the world if it meant protecting her brother. She knew he could handle himself, but she didn’t want him too. Not about this, anyway. She could barely handle it and she had been the one to notice that something was off first, when they were 6 and were surrounded by a never-ending stream of nannies. By the time they were 11, her parents had completely abandoned them most of the time, leaving plenty of money, but no transportation to anywhere but school and the grocery store, which were both walkable. It had taken Mason until high school to realize that something was off about that, while Madison had figured out how to cook and clean by the time she was 10. She had the burn scars and bitterness to prove it too.
She was startled out of her reverie when Roderick changed the station from the angry rock that had accompanied her thoughts perfectly to a more upbeat top 40 tune. When she raised an eyebrow at him because she knew that wasn’t his style he just shrugged.
“You looked like you needed something to dance to.” He grinned at her. “That’s right, I’ve seen those little seat-dances you do. They’re cute and very you.” She turned bright red at his words.
“I’m sorry! I just never thought about it because usually the only other person in the car with me is Mason and he usually dances along with me. So I don’t think about it.” Roderick just laughed in response.
“It’s cute. I like it. I’m not trying to get you to stop, the opposite actually. It’s not my thing, but I like to see you rocking yours. And you have to know how adorable you look when you do it.”
“You think it’s adorable? For real?”
“Of course I do. It’s awesome to see you actually doing something so carefree.” He shrugged. “And it makes me smile when you do.” She grinned back at him and reached over to turn up the song that was playing so Demi Lovato’s voice blasted through the car. Madison moved in her seat to the beat of the song and belted out the lyrics along with the radio. Even Roderick sang softly along once they came across a song he knew too. Madison laughed like crazy when she found out he could sing along to any and all Taylor Swift songs. His insistence that it was just to make his little sisters happy did not go far with her, though she reassured him that she didn’t think it was weird because he was a guy, just weird because just like he hadn’t expected her to like rock, she wasn’t expecting him to know Taylor Swift.
Roderick asked a ton of questions about how she was feeling with the pregnancy too. He wanted to know how the morning sickness was (basically gone), how her head was feeling (no worse than usual), and whether her back or feet were starting to hurt at all (nope, not at all, at least not yet). Sometimes, the concern in his voice was tangible and she stopped for a minute to look at him and his hands gripping the steering wheel almost too tightly and his jaw working.
“Is something wrong?” She finally asked, unable to stop herself.
“Everything’s fine. I just want to make sure you’re fine and everything’s going well. That’s all.” His grip on the steering wheel didn’t slacken at all.
“Can we stop here?” Madison pointed to the rest stop that was coming up. “I want to go to the bathroom and stretch my legs quickly.” She studied his face as he agreed quickly. When they pulled in, they quickly went to the bathroom, but before they got back into the truck she stopped him.
“I don’t know exactly why you are so worried. The doctor said I was fine and that so was Junior, but I want you to know that I will tell you the second something happens and I feel off.” She reached for his hand and put it on her stomach, prompting him to take a sharp breath. “That’s a healthy baby in there, I promise. And I promise that I’m doing everything to keep it that way.” His eyes were wide and his hand was unsteady as he slowly rubbed her stomach. She placed her hand over his and locked their fingers together.
“Are you sure it’s going to be fine? I don’t know that I could bear it if something happened to either of you.”
“No one is ever 100% sure of anything and I’m not going to deny that there could be problems. But we have no reason to expect them. I want you to hang onto that, okay?” He took a deep breath.
“I know that, I do. I just can’t help worrying. There’s so many things that can go wrong and you are so young and I’m so young and neither of us know what we are doing. What if we fuck this up royally?” His voice cracked and his hands shook in hers.
“We won’t.” She made herself sound sure despite the same fears echoing in her own head. She knew how this worked. She needed to keep him calm at all costs and if he detected that she was scared and not in control he would never stay calm. She did this with Mason all the time, she could do this with Roderick too. “Come on, we’ve still got like a half hour left. Let’s go so we can unpack at the hotel and find somewhere to eat.” He gave her a half smile and got up into the driver’s seat and drove the car away from the tiny rest stop and back onto the highway.
“Where do you want to go to college?” Madison asked abruptly once they were on the road for a few minutes.
“Um, I was thinking Ohio State, or maybe Cleveland State. I’m not sure though yet. I sent in a couple of applications already and I’m waiting to see who accepts me and what I can afford.” He clenched his jaw a little and nearly spat the next words out. “I’m not exactly rich, we never have been.” Madison averted her eyes guiltily. She knew she had no ability to understand that fear because whatever else her parents failed at, they provided their children with enough money to buy the entirety of Disneyland if they wanted. Not having money wasn’t something she could quite wrap her head.
“What would be your dream school, if you could go to any?” She asked quickly, trying to break the sudden tension that had descended on the truck.
“Oh, that’s easy. I’d go to NYU in a heartbeat. They have amazing music programs and they are in New York, far away from Lima and McKinley and everything this place stands for.”
“NYU is an amazing school and you would do so well there.”
“You think so? I didn’t even bother to apply between the astronomical cost of tuition and my not-so-great grades.” He shrugged. “I mostly only looked at schools that were close by. I may not even live at school to try to save some money.”
“Well I’m sure wherever you do go you will do wonderfully!” She flashed him a brilliant grin. Inside she was rather grateful he wasn’t planning to go too far away. It would be much harder for him to see their baby if he did. She immediately felt a flood of guilt at the thought. He hadn’t asked for any of this, and his life shouldn’t be interrupted because of it. She was grateful beyond imagining that he actually cared and was trying his best to be a father, but she didn’t want to hold him back. He deserved better than that. She could handle this on her own, she always handled everything on her own before. Was having his support really worth him carrying the stigma of being a teen parent for the rest of his life?
She glanced over at him. He kept claiming that he wanted to be there for her but… why? It would be infinitely easier for him to just deny that the baby was his, to duck out of their lives without a second thought. Why wasn’t he? It was certainly what all the other guys she had slept with would have done. With the exception of course of her ex, but he would have used a pregnancy to keep her close to him, rather than being a supportive presence. Roderick was a mystery she was afraid to unlock. What if she did and he wasn’t as good of a guy as he seemed? What if he was? She took a quiet, deep breath to refocus her thoughts and calm herself down. It would do no good to continually think that way. She needed to focus on more practical things. Like the fact that they were in front of the hotel and Roderick was now looking at her with concern. She quickly pasted a smile on her face and adopted a peppy attitude.
“So are we ready to check in?” He nodded, the look of concern still there, though he seemed unwilling to ask any questions. They grabbed their stuff from the back and headed inside for what promised to be a fun- if occasionally emotional- weekend.
Chapter 16: The Duet
Fluff for my poor babies. They deserve the break.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The first thing they did, after checking in and dropping their stuff off of course, was find something to eat. Madison had finally hit the point in her pregnancy where she was starving all the time and Roderick had no intention of standing between a pregnant woman and her food. Particularly when it was his baby she was feeding. They ate quickly, keeping the conversation light and happy. After all, they were in Cleveland and they were going to enjoy it.
They went for a walk after dinner to soak in some of the sights. Though they couldn’t go anywhere too interesting because most things were closed, they did end up at a coffee shop that just so happened to be having an open mic night. Madison dragged Roderick in without a second thought, determined to sing with him. She knew it was easy to sing with him in the choir room, but every move she made there was watched and analyzed. They would attach meanings to them singing together that she wasn’t prepared to deal with. Here, at this totally random coffee shop on a random street corner, they were nobodies. No one knew she was pregnant, no one knew she was the cheerleader and he was the bottom-of-the-heap in the school’s pecking order. It was incredibly freeing. He looked more skeptical at the tiny place, but he seemed willing to go along with whatever she wanted.
“What song do you think we should sing?” She asked after they sat down with their drinks. Roderick shrugged in response.
“I don’t really know. I don’t want to sing anything angry. It’s too nice of a night for that.” Madison nodded.
“Hmmmm. And it should be something that showcases both our voices. Of course, that means it’s going to have to have some soul in it because that’s what you do best.”
“And what about what you do best? You don’t think we should focus on that?”
“Oh my voice is versatile enough to work with yours. No need to worry about me at all. I can sing practically anything. There’s a reason Mace and I always won at the singing competitions, no matter the theme.” She gave a laugh.
“Okay so apparently your voice is perfect and mine is not?” Roderick looked at her with raised eyebrows. She blushed a little.
“No, no of course you can sing anything. But my voice doesn’t have a particular genre that suits me above all others. Whenever you sing ballads or soul music it’s magic. I could listen to it forever. It makes you into a star, one that’s much brighter than mine is.” She sucked in her breath sharply. Really, what was it about this trip and this guy that pulled things out of her that she had meant to keep quiet? At least this time it hadn’t been a deep dark secret. Just, you know, the source of the reason she had ever even slept with him. She glanced up at him. His intelligent eyes seemed to stare right through her and to see all her secrets. She quickly pulled the conversation back to the original topic.
“So any ideas for a song we can sing?” She asked. Roderick reflected for a minute.
“Hmmm. Maybe “Elastic Heart” by Sia? We’ve already proven that Sia isn’t a challenge for you after Chandelier. And I like the song myself and I sing it all the time.” Madison’s eyes lit up and she clapped her hands.
“That’s perfect! Oh I love that song! And most importantly, we are going to kill it!” He laughed at her excitement.
“Wow, it’s really important to you that we do well, huh?”
“Of course. We are performers, it’s our job to always be the best we can be.” He rolled his eyes.
“Doesn’t that get exhausting?”
“Not really. I love performing for people and I want to be as good as possible. Experimenting with my voice is for weekends at home with Mason, not around crowds.” Roderick just shrugged. He never really performed so she definitely knew more than him in that regard. Really, he couldn’t even understand why he had even agreed to sing in front of this crowd in a little coffee shop. He looked around, not sure what he was hoping for until he spotted someone with a guitar. He always felt more comfortable with an instrument in hand. He left Madison at the table scribbling on a napkin figuring out how they would split the song to make it into a duet and ventured over to the guy with the guitar.
“Hey, this is a little awkward, but my friend and I weren’t expecting to come to an open mic night tonight so I’m unprepared. I was wondering if I could borrow your guitar, just for our performance.” The guy looked up at him and stuck out his hand.
“I’m Alan. I think you skipped a few steps there.” Roderick hastily shook his hand, a blush creeping up his cheeks.
“Sorry. I’m Roderick and over there is Madison.” He pointed her out, still scribbling. “We are going to be singing Sia’s ‘Elastic Heart.’ I’m really sorry for opening like that but I was afraid if I didn’t get it out immediately I never would.” He gave Alan a half smile, now thoroughly embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I’ll go now.”
“Nah I’m just teasing. I don’t mind if you borrow the guitar. Though if you break it I’ll kill you.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“Good. Now, I’d love to meet your duet partner. She your girlfriend?” Roderick shook his head as he and Alan walked over to the table where Madison was. She looked up at them.
“I am not rearranging my plan to accommodate a third person Roderick. The point was for us to sing together and I’m not particularly interested in deviating from that plan.” Alan grinned at the girl.
“Nah, don’t worry about that. I’m lending you guys my guitar and I just wanted to meet you. That’s all.” She fixed him with narrowed eyes, clearly skeptical of his intentions. He stuck his hand out, much as he had with Roderick. “Let’s start over. I’m Alan. You must be Roderick’s duet partner, Madison.” She shook his hand rather gingerly. Her eyes kept darting to Roderick worriedly. He made a placating gesture, one that no one else would notice. She let out a quiet sigh of relief. She turned back to Alan, who hadn’t noticed any of what transpired between the two of them.
“So you are lending Roderick a guitar? Did he tell you what we are singing?”
“Yes to both questions. “Elastic Heart” is a good choice… if you have the talent to pull it off.” He looked at her challengingly. Her defiant eyes and uplifted chin clearly accepted the challenge.
“We absolutely do!” She snapped back at him. She turned to Roderick and handed him the napkin she had been working on, ignoring Alan. “Okay I think this should work, do you? It’s a little bit thrown together but I think we can make it work.” Roderick examined it and made a few changes before handing it back.
“Are you sure we can pull this off with no real prep.” Roderick’s nervousness about getting up in front of these people shone through. Madison opened her mouth to reassure him but before she could she heard their names called up to the mic. She grabbed Roderick’s hand and dragged him up to the front, opting to squeeze his hand to show support rather than do so verbally. He settled down in one of the seats and tuned the guitar, while Madison sat down next to him.
AN: The song is on youtube (/watch?v=sY6dyB43Dj8) and I highly recommend watching it.
They sing their hearts out and, of course, kill it. Their voices sound so good together and she knows it. She’s so pumped after they sing that she catches Alan’s eye with a smirk. She didn’t just beat his challenge, she decimated it. Of course, she would never have done anything less. He gave her an approving nod and a grin back. After Roderick returned the guitar to him, they headed back out, both still feeling exhilarated.
“Do you want to go back to the hotel, or keep walking around?” Roderick asked Madison. She reflected for a minute before replying.
“I guess we should probably go back to the hotel. As much as I love just walking around, we should probably go back and relax for a bit. Your mother planned a full day tomorrow and we should be ready for that.” Roderick nodded in agreement and they headed back to the hotel.
Also fun fact, it was when I found Laura and Noah's cover of Elastic Heart that I decided I shipped Maderick. Their musical compatibility is undeniable.
Chapter 17: The Video
This chapter took forever. I ran into some writer’s block while writing it and almost scrapped it but somehow managed! It’s 3 minor sections strung together because none of them needed their own chapter. Anyway, please enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The hotel was comfortable enough, though there was only one bed. Roderick, of course, was a gentleman and had offered to sleep on the floor. Madison had rolled her eyes and pointed out that she was already pregnant, there was no reason they couldn’t sleep in the same bed. He had stumbled over his words, trying to assure her that it was just about her being comfortable, but she just brushed it all off and insisted that it was fine, that she didn’t mind at all. And she didn’t. Besides, this was his birthday weekend, he should get the bed. Her offers to sleep on the floor instead were met with offended looks and adamant refusals. The impasse meant that she got her way and both slept in the bed.
They were curled up on the bed, Madison with her head on the pillow and Roderick with his on her stomach.
“You know that you aren’t going to feel anything yet, right? I can’t feel the baby moving yet so you definitely won’t.”
“I can feel a little bit of a bump there.” He looked up at her with a grin. Worry flickered across her face so fast he didn’t notice it at all. She smiled back at him.
“Wow you sure are eager to be the proud daddy, aren’t you?”
“You know it.” He made sure his head was tilted to look at her. “You do know it, right? I’m not going to abandon you or our baby, ever.” She sighed.
“It’s not that I worry about that. It’s more that it’s not really your responsibility.” He tried to speak up but she held up her hand. “Let me speak please.” She took a deep breath. “I pressured you into having sex with me. Yeah, I was drunk, but so were you. And I wasn’t so drunk that I didn’t know what I was doing. You,” she laughed, “you would never have done anything if you weren’t already drunk and you know that. I wouldn’t have pushed so hard if I wasn’t either, but I absolutely would have still pushed for it even if I wasn’t.” She took a breath. “This isn’t your responsibility, it’s not your fault. And I refuse to trap you into a life you don’t want just because my own irresponsibility had consequences.” Roderick stared at her.
“Are you done?” His voice had a dangerous edge to it. She nodded. “If we are getting really technical, you could make an argument for either of us being the ones responsible but what it comes down to is that we are both definitely responsible for that life growing inside of you. And I’m sure as hell not going to flake on my responsibilities.” He looked earnest and Madison’s heart squeezed unexpectedly, but she shoved it down for the moment. She could examine her feelings about Roderick later.
“I just want you to be absolutely sure you want to do this. Because if you start and then it becomes inconvenient, and you abandon our baby after they’ve gotten to know you then I will never forgive you.” He smiled softly at her and linked their hands, something he had noticed always seemed to make her less agitated.
“Is that why you won’t let me date you or do anything to help you? You are afraid to become dependent on me and then have me disappear?” She turned away from him and refused to answer. He pulled himself up to lay down right next to her and gently turned her head towards him. “Madison. Your answer isn’t going to change anything. I’m not going to try to convince you to date me. I’m not that selfish. If you don’t want to or you aren’t ready to or whatever your reason is, I’m not looking to invalidate it. I just want to know if that’s why you won’t even consider it.” In response Madison just buried her head in his chest. He hugged her tightly. He let her choose to speak, never pushing her.
“I don’t know.” She rested her head on his chest. “I haven’t exactly done an in-depth psychoanalysis and I’d appreciate if you didn’t either. I just, I don’t think being together is a good idea. There’s way too much riding on this and to throw in a brand new relationship in addition to that is too much.” Roderick didn’t respond immediately. Instead he just lay there and ran his fingers through her hair soothingly.
“Okay. I’m willing to let it sit. But it’s not going to get easier if we just ignore it. You can’t keep shoving your feelings away, it’s not healthy. All I want to know is whether, if things were different and you weren’t pregnant and I wasn’t the guy who knocked you up on a one night stand, would you have given me a chance?” He continued running his fingers through her hair while waiting for her response. He was holding his breath, terrified of what her answer would be but needing it all the same. Madison took a few minutes to collect herself. His vulnerability and directness had taken her off guard. He wasn’t usually like this and Mason rarely pushed her to reveal things- he just knew what she was feeling. Besides, she was too focused on the practical issues of the here and now to think of what-ifs Roderick wanted from her. But because it was evidently so important to him, she asked herself if she would have.
“I guess if we had gone about it much more slowly I might have. Would you have ever approached me if we weren’t in this situation, though? You aren’t known for taking risks and we both know that asking me out would have been a huge risk. Would you actually have taken it?” Her eyes were piercing, deflecting the question back to him and daring him to lie.
“You are right. I probably wouldn’t have taken the risk. Girls like you don’t end up with guys like me and I know that. I would have nursed a crush for the rest of the school year and possibly beyond, but I would have never done anything about it.” Madison nodded tiredly.
“That’s what I thought. And you have to realize, I’m not going to make the first move. I never have and I never will. It’s just not me. Why do you even want to know?”
“I guess we’ll never know.” Roderick shrugged. “And it’s not like we can change the past anyway,” he added, resting his palm lightly on her stomach, “all we can do is choose what we do in the future.” She raised her eyebrows.
“Deep, but you’re dodging. Mason does it all the time. Why is it so important for you to know if we were a possibility?” He shrugged and shook his head. “Ah ah ah. You don’t get to back out of this. You brought this up.” Roderick sighed deeply in response.
“None of this feels real to me, you know? Like, I can wrap my head around a baby because I know how to take care of those. I can’t wrap my head around the mother. Even when I thought about my future and how I’d like to eventually get married and have kids but… I never really thought there could be a girl who would want to tie her life to mine.” He held up his hand when Madison tried to interrupt, then took a deep breath and keep going. “It was nothing more than this sort of vague belief that I was going to end up alone and without anyone. And that I’d have to adopt or foster any kids I had and that I’d screw them up royally because I couldn’t give them a mother and because I’m, well, me.” Madison looked at him with raised eyebrows.
“Am I allowed to talk yet?” Her voice was soft and gentler than he had expected, so he nodded. She ran her fingers through his hair as she spoke. “It’s perfectly normal to be scared of the future or to feel like you’ll never find someone to love you.” She laughed harshly. “I certainly have! I know it may seem silly to you because you’ve put me on this pedestal, but I’m lonely. The one boyfriend I’ve had wasn’t exactly a healthy situation, and none of my one-night stands ever stuck around, or even really acknowledged me afterwards. I love my brother and he’ll be part of my life forever, but we’ve never had any kind of romantic or sexual relationship, and we never will.” She laughed softly. “I’m afraid of being left behind without someone when he ends up getting married, whether to Jane or someone else, and that’s a perfectly natural fear. No one wants to be alone forever, but everyone is terrified it’ll be a possibility. Everyone feels it, not just you.” Roderick winced a little, even though her tone hadn’t been accusing.
“I guess. It’s just hard to realize that I’m a senior in high school and I haven’t ever really connected with anyone on anything other than the most basic level. Glee is the first time I’ve ever felt any hope of that. And now I leave in June and I’m terrified that I’ll lose everything I’ve gained.”
“You just take the confidence that you’ve gained in Glee and take it with you to college. You’ll meet awesome people who recognize how cool you are and how talented you are.” And you’ll meet someone better for you then me, who doesn’t destroy everything she touches and can give you a real, stable life. Madison smiled at him, biting back the comment about him finding a real girlfriend and leaving her behind that was at the tip of her tongue. It would just make him feel worse and she refused to do that to him.
“You make it sound so easy. Seriously, it’s not that simple, at least not for me.” Roderick sounded tired, like he’d had this argument a hundred times before.
“Well why isn’t it that easy? You are talented and funny. What else do you need?” Roderick gave a harsh laugh.
“The ability to speak to new people without my words getting stuck in my throat. You guys I’m comfortable with, so it’s fine. Bullies trying to beat me up has happened a million times, I know the script. It’s when I’m trying to talk to new people who aren’t trying to hurt me physically but can do much worse things that I clam up.” He shrugged. “That’s just how it works.”
“Why?” Her voice was simply curious. There was no accusation or pressure to answer correctly to it. Perhaps that was why he answered honestly.
“I was diagnosed with social anxiety a few years ago and I’ve been on medication and in therapy ever since. I don’t panic as often as I used to and I can control it better, but it’s still there. And it always will be, it’s not just going to poof away. New places and people make it much worse though so,” he shrugged, “I’m not exactly looking forward to starting a brand new school for the second time in as many years.”
“I guess that’s just never been on my radar. It helps I think that we were raised performers, Mason and I. Even when we are horribly nervous we can put our acting faces and keep going. I give you so much respect for managing to get out into the world even without those skills.” She squeezed his hand and smiled at him. He looked slightly uncomfortable with the whole discussion and avoided her eyes before getting up off the bed.
“We should really get going. Mom gave us a full load and it would really be a shame not to spend as much time as we can in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, don’t you think?” Sensing that the conversation was over, and not wanting to push Roderick, Madison immediately switched gears as well and focused on the itinerary.
“Well you are in luck, because I’ve studied the itinerary and the best path to get from place to place. Stick with me and we’ll see everything!” She was bouncing a little on the bed with excitement. She loved cities and getting to see sights that she didn’t normally. Roderick grinned at her.
“Well then I guess you should lead the way then! After we get dressed, though.” She laughed and hopped off the bed to grab her loosest jeans and a flowy top out of her suitcase. When she buttoned the jeans, she had to strain a little to get it closed, another reminder that she was gaining weight and needed to go shopping when she got back. It would work for now though. She smoothed the top and scrutinized herself in the mirror. You couldn’t see the beginnings of the bump. Good. Now all she had to do was make sure that neither she nor Roderick touched her stomach or made any kind of reference to her pregnancy. She wanted to hide a little longer, especially in this city where they could be totally anonymous. She didn’t want to go back to the politics and the gossip that had always made McKinley awful to be in. She took a deep breath though and shoved those thoughts to the side. She could cross that bridge when she came to it. Right now, she was going to enjoy Cleveland and everything it had to offer, starting with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She finished putting her makeup on and left the bathroom quickly, wanting to get started.
`Out in the room, Roderick got dressed much faster than she had. While he waited for her to finish he flipped through the pages of suggestions his mom had given the two of them. He noticed Madison’s neat handwriting next to each suggestion, some notes enthusiastic and some rejecting the idea. He smiled slightly, looking up when he heard her come out of the bathroom.
“You put a lot of thought into this trip, didn’t you? I would have gone to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then just have wandered around until I found something cool.” She rolled her eyes.
“That’s such a ridiculous way to do things. If you don’t plan how will you see everything you want to?”
“You don’t plan so much. You just kind of…let it happen.” Madison wrinkled her nose at the idea of not planning everything out. That wasn’t something she thought she would ever really be comfortable with.
“You are letting me use the plan I made for today, right? I’m not sure I could handle it if we don’t have some semblance of a plan. And besides, I worked very hard making sure this itinerary hit all the most important places in Cleveland!”
“Of course we are using your itinerary.” Roderick shrugged. “I don’t mind following a plan at all, especially if it makes you happy. But we are doing a lazy day then Monday if the next 2 days are all about the sightseeing, okay?” Madison stuck out her hand.
“Agreed.” Roderick briskly shook it, with a hint of a smile. She grabbed her purse and the key to the room and pulled him out the door.
As soon as they stepped out into the street, Madison pulled out her phone and began using the GPS to navigate to the Hall, walking briskly as she followed its instructions. Roderick had to rush to keep up, though she slowed a bit when she realized how fast she was moving. Walking with Roderick was nice. They were both carefully avoiding talking about the baby or anything serious, but it turned out they had more to talk about than anyone would have expected. Of course, they talked a lot about music. But they talked about other things too, like school and favorite movies. As they walked through the streets of Cleveland, Madison felt like they were dangerously close to being a real couple. Instead of pulling back though, she allowed herself to enjoy the easy closeness. She would deal with the consequences later. It was nice to just enjoy the day without constantly having to second guess her actions and how they would affect her standing in McKinley.
It wasn’t until the third night that she realized just how much of himself he was investing in their baby. She had just gotten out of the ridiculously low pressure shower and had just turned the knob to reenter the other room when she heard Roderick talking. She peeked out and saw that he was talking to his computer and she caught the very end of his monologue.
“I’m really excited to meet you, even though it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be worth it though. You are worth it. I love you.” Madison was quite frankly bewildered. Who was he talking to? He could have an online friend he was meeting, she supposed, though he hadn’t mentioned anything of the sort to her and he didn’t seem like the type to throw around “I love yous” to just anyone. She was determined to find out somehow, after all she wasn’t used to having secrets kept from her. She carefully closed the door again so she could open it loudly and announce her presence. He looked a little startled, but relaxed when she spoke.
“I’m done in the shower. The water pressure is pretty awful, but at least I’m clean now. You wanna go now?”
“Sure. Just let me grab something to put on after.” She slid into the room and plopped on the bed while she waited. She was hoping that he wouldn’t close his laptop lid, which would make it much harder for her to access whatever he had been doing. Fortunately, her emergence from the bathroom had distracted him and he forgot to close it before he went to take a shower. She waited until she heard the shower start running before she scrambled over and clicked on the tab at the bottom of the computer. A video popped up, and the thumbnail looked like Roderick was just talking to himself. She clicked on it, curious to see what he could possibly be doing.
“Hey there baby. I don’t know how much ti0me I have because your mama is in the shower, but I wanted to say hi. I haven’t updated you in a while. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m excited to turn 18. I’m especially excited to do it with you and your mom… We went around Cleveland’s sights yesterday and today… Your mom has a plan for everything. You’re going to be very well taken care of. I’m really glad of that, Pebble. Oh right! I finally decided on a nickname for you. Your mom calls you Junior, but I think Pebble suits you just as well.” Madison paused the video. Roderick’s voice was bright and happy. He seemed genuinely excited for this. Hell, he was making videos for a baby that wasn’t even born yet. He was giving the baby a nickname. What was up with that? Her mind was scrambling to try to justify this, to try to make it a selfish act but…she couldn’t.
She clicked out of the video. Watching more felt like a violation of Roderick’s privacy, and she’d seen more than enough anyway. Her mind was struggling to accept what she’d just seen. The only thing she was sure of was that he was definitely committed to this. No one made videos for a child they didn’t want, that much she was knew. She forced herself to breathe. Roderick would be out of the shower momentarily and she didn’t want him to know that she’d seen it. She brought her breathing down to a normal level and grabbed her phone. Maybe scrolling through Instagram and posting a few pictures from the day would help soothe her still rapidly beating heart.
Just as a clarification, I don’t have anxiety in any form. However, there are a lot of people in my life with varying degrees of it, many of whom I consulted to get Roderick’s description of his diagnosis correct. This also does not mean that I believe that Roderick onscreen shows signs of anxiety.
Chapter 18: The Homecoming
Sorry this is a little late. School has been kicking my butt.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Monday rolled around, Madison was starting to regret having agreed to a laid back day. When they stepped out into the city, she felt uncomfortable with not having a plan of attack, though Roderick’s presence next to her helped anchor her and not send her into panic mode. She could do this. She could let go of her need for a plan for this one day. She took a deep breath and turned her head towards Roderick’s.
“So where to first?” Her voice was peppy and cheerful and she carefully masked her trepidation. Roderick just looked around at the street in front of them before pointing in a random direction.
“Why don’t we try that way?”
“Okay.” She forced herself to continue sounding cheerful and happy. Roderick wasn’t quite fooled, so he squeezed their joined hands to send her some comfort.
They ended up in a street vender shopping area, so they decided to look for some souvenirs. As they were searching the venders, Madison stopped suddenly in front of a baby themed one. She dropped Roderick’s hand and walked in as if in a daze. Her hand ran over the adorable onesies and outfits that ranged from newborn to two years old. She silently reached for one of them and pulled it off the rack to examine. She didn’t notice Roderick, who had followed her in, until he spoke behind her.
“It’s cute. Do you want it?” He asked, pointing to the white onesie emblazoned with the words “My Parents Are Rock Stars, What About Yours?” with a picture of a microphone underneath. She nodded wordlessly, so he picked it up and brought it to the counter.
“You can’t buy that!” Madison squawked. “The baby is months away from coming and it’s expensive!” Roderick ignored her and haggled with the vender for a few minutes before handing over the cash to buy the outfit. The vender grasped Madison’s hand suddenly and spoke directly to her.
“Darling, you have a very good husband here. He obviously cares very much for your baby and for you. Take care of him too. And your little one.” The vender squeezed her hand quickly before turning to the next customer. Roderick wrapped his arm around Madison and they walked back onto the street. She took a few deep breaths before turning to him and saying with gritted teeth.
“What. Was. That.”
“Me trying to make you happy and pamper our baby. That’s all. It wasn’t anything big, just a onesie. It’s cute and it’s right. Our kid’s parents ARE rock stars.”
“Did you tell her that we were married?” Madison was struggling to order her thoughts about what had just happened.
“No, I promise I didn’t. Look, don’t worry about it. Any time an old lady spends her time selling stuff for babies she’s probably obsessed. It doesn’t mean anything.” Madison nodded her head shakily and pointed to a vender at random.
“Let’s check it out over there.” Roderick couldn’t conceal a grin when he realized that she had been pointing at a little shop that sold heavy duty tools.
“You sure that’s what you want? Why don’t we check out the music store over here instead?” He guided her over and they quickly became absorbed in pulling out their favorite CDs and explaining why they ranked so highly.
On the way home they made sure to steer the conversation towards lighter topics and away from anything that could potentially get out of control. Madison’s phone buzzed a few times while they were in the car and she had checked and sent an answering text every time. Roderick’s curiosity finally got the better of him and he asked her who she was texting. When she replied Quinn, he was startled. He had expected it to be Mason.
“Why are you talking to a random alumni?”
“Quinn isn’t random. She was a Cheerio when she was here and you may not know this since you were never a Cheerio or interested in the McKinley gossip, but Quinn had a baby her sophomore year.” Madison answered.
“Ahhhh okay. So is she mentoring you or something?” Roderick asked carefully. He didn’t want to set her off. He wasn’t quite sure he could deal with her crying or yelling again. The hormones were definitely making her more volatile than normal and frankly it was terrifying.
“Kind of?” Madison said thoughtfully. “She’s explaining to me how being pregnant affected her and what she did and why she did it and how it panned out. It’s helping me weigh potential decisions, like whether I want to go for adoption or keep the baby. We even ran through the pros and cons of having an abortion so that I knew I had considered this from all angles.”
“And what did you decide?”
“Well, I haven’t really decided too much. I think we made the right decision as far as abortion goes. And I don’t think teen marriage is right for us either.” Her voice was contemplative.
“Are you sure you don’t want to just drive out to Vegas and get hitched?” came the teasing response. Madison laughed and hit him a little.
“Ew no! I’m not getting married at one of those quickie chapels by a cheap Elvis impersonator!” They laughed for a few minutes before she sobered and continued.
“Seriously though, getting married this young seems like a recipe for disaster. It’s just adding more stuff to an already chaotic mix. I don’t want to do that to our baby. I think it’ll be a lot worse if we get together, if we get married, and then we find out that we are super incompatible and we end up hating each other than if we just choose to work as partners raising a child together.” Roderick just nodded. He still believed that they would be good together and he knew he would treat her like a princess, but he respected her right to refuse to take the leap. It made sense anyway. It’s what he would have done if the situations were reversed.
Taking his nod as a sign to keep going, Madison continued, “As for whether I’d go for adoption or keeping the baby, I’m still very much up in the air. On one hand, it would be much better for the baby if they were raised in an intact household with two parents who love each other and can provide for him or her. And it would also make it much easier for both of us to continue on with our lives.”
“But I can’t help feeling like the baby should be with us, their birth parents. We’d love them very much and we wouldn’t abuse them so there isn’t really a reason not to keep them. And I think I’d rather do that than just either pretend our child doesn’t exist, or go crazy the way Quinn did.” Roderick raised his eyebrow at the last part and Madison hastily added, “It’s a long story but basically Quinn didn’t handle the aftermath of the adoption well and she may or may not have joined one of the weird cults in school and she may or may not have tried to get pregnant again. It was a difficult time for her.” Roderick looked a bit confused, but dropped the matter and focused on the other parts.
“So are you saying that you are leaning towards keeping the baby?”
“Yeah, I would say that. I know that it would be a lot harder for me to graduate and it would mean a lot of sacrifices, but I think I’d rather do that.”
“Do you want to discuss it further or are you decided?”
“I mean, I do want to know what you think. After all, we’ve established that it’s your baby too. If we are going to handle this as a team, we should probably start now.” Madison’s mind slid back to the video she had seen. “You are going to be well taken care of…I’m glad…I love you…can’t wait to meet you.” The words bounced around her head as she waited for Roderick’s answer, though she suspected she already knew what he was going to say.
“I mean, I would like to be a part of my child’s life and for them to know that I’m their dad. That’s absolutely the most important thing to me. I know that you’ll do a great job as a mom and I’ll probably be close enough to help whenever you need it and my mom is on hand whenever you need her too so I guess I would prefer if we kept Peb--the baby.” Madison caught his near slip up, calling the baby the nickname he had come up with, though she said nothing about it. If he didn’t want her to know about it, she wouldn’t push him.
“We’ll keep Junior then. I was already strongly leaning that way and if you also feel the same then I see no reason why we should agonize any further.” Roderick took one hand off the steering wheel and quickly squeezed hers before returning it. He had known that there was a possibility that she would want to go for adoption, but he had to admit he was a little grateful that they both wanted to keep Pebble. It made at least that part of the process easier. They still had to face the challenge of actually raising the child and being on the same page. Still, being able to agree on this boded very well for everything else because it meant they had the same goals. They would make it.
When they finally got back to Lima a little before dinner time, Roderick invited Madison in to eat with them. Since she had resolved to talk to his mother about the possibility of going shopping for maternity clothes, she accepted the invitation. She waited for the perfect moment to ask for this huge favor, near the end of the evening while she helped Mama Meeks wash up in the kitchen.
“Of course, I would love to go shopping with you, darling!” She pulled Madison into her arms for a big hug. “I’m sure I can manage something, maybe Wednesday? Anyone else you want to bring?” Madison smiled gratefully into Mama Meeks’ shoulder. She was so thankful she had found someone supportive, who could help her through some of the parts of becoming a mom that required a mother. Like shopping for the right kind of clothes. She had no idea where to even begin to look for the right kind of clothes.
“Maybe Vivian? She’s been really supportive and I’d like to invite her. She would really appreciate being included I think.”
“Of course! Vivian Arden, right?” Madison nodded in response. “Yes Roderick worked on a project with her. She’s a lovely girl.”
“Oh good! I’ll text her and let her know, see if she can come.” Madison grinned at the woman who had, for some reason, decided that she was worthy of being loved. She hugged her and swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat before it could make her do something stupid, like cry.
Wednesday rolled around and Madison anxiously waited for Mama Meeks to pick her and Vivian up. She had done some research on good maternity clothing, but she really had no idea where to start. It was such new territory for her. She was hoping that the other two with her would be better informed and capable of helping her.
When they finally reached the mall, Mama Meeks bustled them into a small shop in a hidden corner of the mall. Madison followed tentatively, with Vivian right behind her. Once they got past the unappealing storefront, it opened into a surprisingly charming little maternity shop. Mama Meeks waved them over to a section that was a little less full of huge-bellied mannequins.
“This is the early pregnancy section. I figured that you probably wouldn’t need the other stuff just yet. This stuff is designed to be flexible enough to allow for your bump as it starts to appear but it won’t look odd.” Madison examined some of the shirts and grabbed a few to try on, before moving onto the pants, which were really what she needed. As she grabbed a few off the shelf that looked like they were the right size, her eye caught sight of something off to the side. She looked again and saw that they looked like the stomach minimizers that they sometimes had to wear for Cheerios if they were a little pudgier than acceptable. She glanced over and saw that Mama Meeks and Vivian were oohing and aahing over a dress and paying her no attention. She adjusted her bag and pile of clothes and walked over to rack. She looked over them and found that they were indeed for concealing or minimizing a baby bump. She grabbed a few immediately- she was going to keep this under wraps as long as possible and if these things helped she was willing to go for it. She hid them between some of the shirts and walked over to where the others were fawning over some of the dresses. Vivian noticed her first.
“Come look at this! It’s perfect for you.” Madison looked carefully at the dress. It was definitely something she would wear, so she pulled a few sizes off the rack to try on.
“Do you want to try them on now?” asked Mama Meeks. Madison nodded her agreement and she led the two girls to the stalls to try them on. Once inside, Madison shakily pulled out the stomach concealer and slipped it on first. It was too tight. She immediately slipped it off and tried the next one. Better, but too loose. She knew how this worked- she had endured the use of minimizers on the cheerleading squad. She grabbed the third and fourth and tried them both. Decent fits. She’d get them both, plus the loose one. It would be good for when she got bigger. She was jolted out her thoughts when Mama Meeks called through the door.
“You okay in there sweetheart? Don’t forget to show us the outfits!”
“Yeah I’m fine! Sorry, just having a little difficulty with the zipper on something but I figured it out!” She quickly pulled on one of the pairs of pants and was relieved to find that it actually fit fairly comfortably. She grabbed one of the shirts and slipped into it. She gave the outfit a quick onceover. Not bad. Not exactly going to make jaws drop, but that’s not quite what I’m going for right now. And the design on the shirt could be a fun departure from what I usually wear. She stepped out and twirled around to show the other women. Vivian responded quickly.
“It looks like it fits a lot better than your clothing right now does. The jeans in particular. The top I’m not crazy about though. Tiny skulls aren’t really your thing.” Madison smiled slightly in response.
“I know it’s a little unusual, but I’d like to have a few unusual tops. I’m going to become the school pariah, why not play the emo chick while I’m at it?” Vivian looked at her with raised eyebrows.
“You aren’t the skater, emo chick though.”
“I just want to try something new. It might do something to scare off all the assholes who want to use my fall from grace for their own sick purposes. I know that it’s ridiculous, but hey I can use all the protection I can get.” Madison looked up from the shirt and caught Mama Meeks’ sympathetic gaze. Vivian let the matter drop, but suggested that she try on another of the shirts anyway. They eventually decided on a couple of shirts- including the one with the tiny skulls at Madison’s insistence- and a bunch of pants, as well as a few dresses just to be safe. Madison was pleased with her selections overall, especially the stomach minimizers. She would start wearing them immediately. If at all possible, she wanted to prevent anyone from knowing about her pregnancy.
When she got home, Madison did a fashion show for Mason as well, and like Vivian he wasn’t thrilled with her new skull shirt. Like her though, he let the matter drop and focused on the other clothing.
Buying the new clothing drove home the reminder that her belly would be getting bigger soon because she was growing an actual person in it. Her body was about to go through even more changes than it already had been and she was going to have to face the fact that she was going to totally lose her image at school. Quitting the Cheerios had started chipping away at it, as had the pregnancy suspicions, but confirmation would do even more damage and then when god forbid she actually started showing her image would be decimated. And she couldn’t let that happen. Or at least, needed to prevent that for as long as possible.
Note about Cleveland- it’s based on a conglomeration of cities and towns I’ve actually visited, since I’ve never actually been there. Also, I’m not pregnant nor have I ever been pregnant so there may be inaccuracies in the shopping scene as far as sizing and maternity wear goes.
Chapter 19: The Grandparents
I am so sorry for missing a week. It was a little bit of a rough week, academically, and it’s no longer feasible timewise for me to post on Thursdays at all. I’ll be posting on Fridays or Saturdays from now on.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next few weeks passed excruciatingly. Madison was constantly on edge with the fear of being caught out in her pregnancy. It was seriously wearing on her nerves and there was only so much that Mason could protect her from. She refused to outwardly confirm her pregnancy, but she could feel the undercurrent of judgment from the school, even if they weren’t saying anything out loud. And yeah she was tough, but she wasn’t made of stone. Or rather, she was but the stone she was made of was crumbling to pieces and she wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold together. The stress was making it much harder for her to choke down food, so she quickly lost whatever limited weight she had managed to gain and began to look rather gaunt. She wasn’t sleeping very well either because of the stress and it was starting to show.
It was a Tuesday that everyone finally found out. Objectively, Madison knew it was inevitable, but she was still terrified when it happened. She had been in the lunchroom, sitting with the rest of the Glee kids at their table, picking at her food. She had been a little shaky all day, even experiencing some dizziness and visions blackouts. She hadn’t thought much of it though, since she had been having symptoms for days. She didn’t expect to be overwhelmed when she stood up from the table and end up collapsing.
Mason and Michael were at her side in an instant, Mason cradling her in his arms. Kitty immediately jumped into action, firing off commands left and right.
“Okay, you go get the nurse,” she addressed Roderick first, then Jane, “and you go keep Mason from panicking.” Kitty climbed on top of the table and turned to address the entire student body, which was dead silent as they carefully scrutinized what was going on for good blackmail material.
“You all can get back to whatever your pathetic lives consist of. There’s nothing to see here, just a girl who didn’t eat enough and passed out. We both know every one of you has done something equally embarrassing at one point so unless you want me to dig up the details of everything you’ve ever done wrong, scurry back to your holes now.” She dismissed them with a wave of her hand and the cowed students returned to eating and their quiet conversations. Kitty hopped down and let out a quiet breath while she kept everyone as calm as possible. Jane had managed to convince Mason that his sister was almost certainly fine and that he could breathe and not hurt her, though he was still clinging to her limp body. Kitty glanced up when the nurse hurried in and went to work. She was only a school nurse, but Sue had made sure that her Cheerios had a capable nurse at their disposal.
“Her vitals are fine, just a little on the weak side. I’d like her brought her to my office so I can do a more thorough examination.” Mason scooped her up and carried her down to the nurse’s office with Jane at his elbow, keeping him from panicking. The rest of the glee clubbers silently and apprehensively ate the rest of their lunches and scrambled out as soon as possible. They all knew how much more dangerous is was for her and the baby she was carrying.
When she was finally released two classes later, the biggest gossip just happened to be walking by and overheard the nurse.
“Make sure you actually eat enough so I don’t see you in this office. And you do know that I have to inform the administration that you are pregnant, since your brother told me and you yourself confirmed it, I assume?” Madison’s chastised nod went unnoticed as the other girl scampered off with this new information. By the time she actually arrived at her class with the slip from the nurse, everyone was looking at her funny and whispering mockingly. She swallowed hard. She was determined to ignore this for as long as possible. She would grab Mason after this class and go home. She absolutely could not deal with this right now on top of the concerned nurse and her calm explanation of what could happen if her blood sugar dipped that low again. Instead of cutting as she intended, however, she was summoned to the principal’s office over the loudspeaker to meet with the superintendent who was personally acting as interim principal until they found a permanent replacement. She squared her shoulders and mentally went over the arguments she had constructed in case something went awry with the administration.
When she entered the superintendent was on the phone. She sat down silently, waiting for him to be done. To her surprise, he hit the button for a conference call instead and motioned her over.
“Yes, she’s right here Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy.” Madison froze. Her parents were on the phone with the superintendent right now. They knew. They knew! They couldn’t know. She brought her breathing under control before replying as calmly as she could muster.
“I am right here mother, father.” Her voice sounded cool and crisp to her own ears, with none of the underlying fear or anger. She was grateful for that.
“Darling! We hadn’t heard from you and Mason in…a while and just as we were getting really worried we got a call from this delightful man with some very upsetting news. Pregnant, Madison? And when there are plenty of places around to…get rid of the problem? We raised you better than this.” Madison could practically feel the cold disapproval over the phone and clenched her teeth to keep from lashing out and pointing out that they hadn’t even been home since before school started and certainly had made no attempt to keep in contact with their own children.
“I’m sorry that you are so angry with me. I am not sorry for the decisions I’ve made since finding out. And I am particularly not sorry for not aborting my baby. That’s my choice, not yours.” She was determined to come out of this with her head held high and her dignity intact- as well as her baby.
“We are hopping on the next plane. We will be there in a few hours.” Mr. McCarthy’s voice was pleasant, but with a slightly threatening undertone that evidently only Madison could hear. She blinked back tears. The phone call clicked off.
“Um, you can go now. If you want. Your parents won’t be here before school is out.” The superintendent’s voice trailed off. Dealing with this kind of thing had been nowhere in his training and it deeply unsettled him to know that a student had gotten pregnant in his school.
Madison alerted Mason immediately that their parents were coming home and that they not only knew about her pregnancy, but were upset. He managed to calm her down and take control of the situation, but inside he was seething. How dare they come in now and upset Madison when she was just starting to actually accept this? They quickly decided not to tell Roderick, at least not yet. He didn’t need to worry more than he already was.
When the twins arrived at home, their parents were already waiting there. Mason squeezed his sister’s hand, trying to lend her strength. Madison straightened and squared her shoulders. She was going to be just fine. She didn’t need her parents’ approval. She already knew she didn’t have it. She just needed to be able to maintain her ground and resist being taken in by their attempts at playing the concerned, yet inevitably supportive parents. She knew they would rather just wash their hands of their children, but that would have destroyed their carefully cultivated image as upstanding members of the community. She had singlehandedly torn down years of carefully presented face, and really the only thing protecting her right then was the fact that kicking out their pregnant daughter would be judged un-Christian and therefore unacceptable. So would forcing her to get an abortion, now that her pregnancy was common knowledge. Honestly, she would almost rather they kick her out. Mason would never let it last, and in the meantime she could live with Roderick’s family, which was chaotic but loving. She released that dream though. It would never happen. She needed to focus on the battle in front of her that needed to be fought and shake off wistful thoughts.
She and Mason entered the living room where their parents were sitting on the couch, looking disapprovingly at them. The symbolism of their stand-off was clear. Mason would support her and stand by her side against the two near-strangers on the other side of the proverbial line in the sand. Both sides were silent, waiting for the other to make the first move. Finally, their father spoke.
“How could you? How do we come back from a pregnant daughter?”
“You don’t ‘come back.’ My baby is more important than your image to the community. I am more important than your image to the community!” Madison’s mounting rage and frustration were bubbling over, though a squeeze from Mason reminded her that blowing up was not going to help anything. She took his unspoken advice and filed away her explosion for later.
“Our community image is important! We ask so little of you, really we do. And you go and get yourself pregnant! Really!” Mrs. McCarthy chimed in. Madison gritted her teeth and swallowed the angry words that were begging to come out. Instead, she maintained absolute control and spoke with an almost dangerous calm.
“Really? Avoiding pregnancy is the only thing you ever asked of us? Then I suppose I must be imagining that you stopped providing childcare by the time we were 11, so we had to take care of ourselves. I have documentation. You installed a security camera to watch us, which I can access. I have personal possession of thousands of hours of tapes that show you coming home very briefly and then leaving. And I am not afraid to use them if I have to.” Mason’s shock at his sister’s words was written across his face. She had never used that weapon against their parents. Hell, he hadn’t even known she had that weapon. Neither did their parents, judging by their startled expressions. Though they attempted to defend themselves and turn the conversation back against Madison, she refused to let them take back control. In threatening her unborn child when she was already fed up with her parents’ inability to care for their own children, the McCarthys had finally pushed their daughter too far.
They left the next morning, after meeting with the superintendent and thanking him profusely for personally ensuring that they knew what had happened. Madison watched them go with no regret. She and Mason were much better off without their parents and their grandparental rights, which she had never been particularly enthusiastic about, were permanently revoked now.
So everyone knows now! Including the McCarthy parents. I had fun writing their characters, since they are the definition of terrible parents.
Chapter 20: The Declaration
I’m so sorry, it’s just been so chaotic lately. I think it’ll have to be every other week from now on, especially since I got a job that’s going to be demanding a lot of time too. Being busy sucks.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Though officially, everyone knew about her pregnancy, as long as she refused to acknowledge it and kept her growing belly from being too obvious, most people were willing to overlook it. Except for one aspect. Though no one explicitly asked her, she knew everyone thought that Mason was the father. There were people who defended her and insisted that the twins were close, but not in that way, but they were swallowed up by the sheer number of people who thought she was carrying a child of incest. It didn’t help that Madison and Mason were rarely apart, and Mason was being particularly solicitous recently.
Madison knew the rumors, of course. She would be an idiot not to. She chose, however, to wait until someone brought it to her attention explicitly before she made her defiance of the social hierarchy common knowledge. She had a sinking feeling that the fact that Roderick was the father of her baby would actually cause more of a ruckus than if her brother was. She wasn’t exactly embarrassed about the fact that he was her baby daddy, but she wanted to delay the next stage of assault on her character- and his- for as long as possible.
She knew it wasn’t possible to continue on the way they had been though, when someone else figured it out. She overheard a few of the Cheerios discussing the possibility that Roderick was the father. They were theorizing on all the guys that she had close contact with, so from her corner nearby in the library, she listened to them pick apart the possibilities. When they got to Roderick, they didn’t just pick apart the possibility that he was the father, they picked him apart. They picked apart his clothes, his hair, his attachment to his headphones. Everything. And it pissed her off. What right did they have to view him as less? Instead of doing the smart thing and just ignoring the entire incident, she jumped in and made it all infinitely worse.
“Excuse me,” she swept into their conversation and sat down with the ease she had cultivated as a cheerleader, “but you shouldn’t talk about my baby’s father that way.” She didn’t wait around for their stunned faces to actually react. Her bravery didn’t extend that far. She pulled out her phone and immediately texted Mason, Roderick, Jane, and Kitty what had happened so that they were prepared for the explosion of gossip and rumors that would be swirling throughout the school.
She wasn’t wrong. The looks that had been directed at her for over a month were more aggressive and mocking than they had been even right after her pregnancy was revealed. Someone actually came up to Mason and told him that “he should have knocked his sister up himself” because Roderick was so unacceptable as a baby daddy. They were all livid, but Roderick most of all. He wanted to stop the gossip in its track, but had no idea how. Still, just sitting back and letting them attack him felt funny. He wasn’t capable of the kind of manipulation that Kitty, and to a lesser extent Madison, were. He couldn’t destroy their reputation and make them lay off, at least their explicit condemnation, but… Kitty could. Kitty could ruin their lives entirely if she wanted to. So why wasn’t she? Maybe she hadn’t considered it, or maybe she was waiting to be asked. He resolved to speak to her after school that day.
He managed to pull Kitty aside after Glee to ask her if she could do something about it.
“You have much too high of an opinion of me. I can’t control the entire school in every way. Believe me, if I could help more I would, but then I would lose all of my status. You guys have to handle this on your own. Have you even talked to Madison about it? Or did you just want to fix it on your own. Because you need to talk about it with your baby mama instead of running to me because you want the consequences to disappear.” Roderick felt her cool judgment on him and blushed a little. His silence told her the answer. “Well you need to do that. Because she’s been dealing with this from day one and you agreed to be by her side. She gave you an out and you didn’t take it. Now man up and deal with the consequences.” She turned around and swished out of the room, leaving Roderick to consider his next course of action.
He showed up at the McCarthy house a half hour later and knocked on the door. He had considered exactly what was bothering him, and he thought he had isolated it. And now he needed to talk to Madison about it. When she opened the door and invited him in, he nervously stepped over the threshold. This would be the first time he would be actually admitting that what was happening at school was bothering him. They sat down and she looked at him expectantly. His mouth opened and closed a few times before he finally forced himself to start talking.
“How do you deal with it? The talking and whispering and disrespect?” She shrugged in response.
“I’m used to it, I guess. And I know there’s no other choice right now because I can’t go backwards- and I don’t want to either.” He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up.
“I thought I was prepared. I thought that being teased every day of my life for my weight would make it easier, but it didn’t. Not at all.” She smiled a little at him and squeezed his hand.
“Maybe because it is different. Being teased for your weight is very different that being attacked for ‘bringing down the moral fiber of this town,’ which is actually something someone has said to me. About both the incest rumors and getting pregnant. So it’s going to take some getting used to, but you will get used to it.”
“It’s just odd I guess.” He answered. “I mean, there are people who are actually congratulating me for ‘hitting that,’ though they are much less frequent than the people who come up to me and tell me that I am irresponsible and should never have been born or the people who want to know how much I paid you.” Madison cracked a smile.
“There’s been a sudden influx of people asking me how much I charge a night and if I offered my brother a family discount.” She sobered quickly though. “At least no one is claiming it was rape, so we have that to be thankful for.” Roderick nodded and they just sat there for a few minutes. Madison started shifting uncomfortably in the silence quickly though, and almost without thinking asked him if he wanted to watch a movie. When he slightly hesitantly agreed, she pulled Tangled out and curled against him on the couch. Roderick tentatively put his arm around her and that’s how Mason and Jane found the two of them when they got home after their date, curled together on the couch watching corny Disney movies.
Next chapter will be a time skip because everything else would just be repetitive. She’s having a rough time. More rough times ahead because I love to bring angst to my babies’ lives.
Chapter 21: The Surprise
I am so, so sorry for going MIA for so long! I’ve finished writing though, so I promise I will be able to upload everything over the next couple weeks.
Timeskip to 8 months pregnant
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Madison hated the fact that she had ballooned. She didn’t want to show ever, but now it was downright undeniable. It made it impossible to conceal her pregnancy and now it was in everyone’s face every moment of every day. She had trouble moving sometimes, since her balance was now way off. She could function, of course, but sometimes it took a lot more effort than she was entirely willing to put in. It was just so much harder to move and everything hurt all the time, especially her back. God why did her back hurt so much? This was seriously the worst design for procreation ever. There has to be an easier way. There wasn’t though, at least not for her. So she stubbornly fought through the pain as much as possible and snarled at people when she couldn’t.
Roderick and Mason helped in any way they could, but there was only so much they could do when they weren’t in all her classes. Every time she had to bend over and pick something up and she heard snickers behind her she had to fight to remind herself that this would all be worth it. And that punching them would be decidedly not worth it. She would get suspended or worse and she couldn’t afford that. She needed to graduate. So she would grit her teeth and seal her emotions off until she could scream them later at Mason. Sometimes she couldn’t rein in her tongue would end up screaming at someone and sounding like a crazy woman.
Today though, was different. She had been having slight pains in her abdomen all day and it was making her more irritated than normal. Seriously, it was driving her a little insane. She was ignoring them mostly, but when the combination of the effects of pregnancy, physical and hormonal, the pains, and the cruel gossip became too much, she exploded. She started screaming at anyone within earshot and it took Mason and reaching pulling her into a tight hug and petting her hair to calm her down. Her breathing slowed until another cramp hit. This one was stronger than her last one had been and she gripped her brother’s hand until the pain passed.
“Are you okay?” Mason’s voice was concerned. Worried, even. Madison waved him off, She was fine, after all. This was nothing to worry about. It was normal to feel tiny contractions at this stage in the pregnancy. They didn’t stop though. They continued through the next class and lunch, getting stronger and more frequent. It was during the class after lunch that the pain got too intense for Madison to handle. She reached out and grabbed the hand of the nearest person, a Cheerio who immediately dropped down next to her.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” Madison took a quiet second to acknowledge the irony of someone who had made her life very close to a living hell the last few months sounding so concerned before pain spiked again.
“I think my baby might be coming. Now.” Madison’s breathing had gotten significantly more labored and the Cheerio immediately grabbed some of the stronger guys in the class. When one of them looked like he might protest, her icy eyes reminded him why the Cheerios ruled the school, not the football team. He scurried to help scoop Madison up and bring her to the nurse while the girl ran ahead to let the nurse know what was happening and then to Mason and Roderick in turn to make sure everyone involved knew before finally heading back to class. She kept her lips sealed about the whole thing, after all, no better currency than a secret you won’t tell.
The nurse took one look at Madison and insisted she be brought to the hospital. She was bundled into Mason’s care with Roderick in the backseat with her as she tried to employ every breathing technique she’d learned. She was terrified, and so was Roderick based on his hands shaking. Mason on the other hand seemed perfectly calm. Perhaps he was gripping the wheel a touch too tightly and was going slightly over the speed limit, but he was clearly more in control of himself than anyone else in the car. Madison gripped Roderick’s hands with shocking strength, concealing the shaking for the most part, though it was still there.
They arrived at the hospital quickly and filled out everything as quickly as possible to get admitted. There was nearly no delay, but every second felt like an hour to a panicking Madison as her contractions got progressively worse and more intense. When she was finally admitted and a doctor came in and did tests before looking at her rather helplessly. Roderick noticed first and caught Mason’s eye and directed his attention to the young, nervous-looking doctor next to them.
“Well?” Roderick’s tone was curt.
“Um, well, you see, um” the doctor sputtered. Mason added his glare to Roderick’s and Madison looked more nervous than she already had.
“Answer the question.” Mason spat out his words.
“The baby’s in breech.” The words exploded from the doctor and stunned the room into silence. Roderick was the first to recover his wits.
“So that means…a C-section? Right?” The doctor nodded and Madison fell back into her bed. She squeezed her eyes shut and took a few deep breaths. Her grip on the two guy’s hands tightened and Roderick rubbed his thumb on the back of her hand to try to comfort her. Looking straight at the doctor, she swallowed the tears that threatened to spill.
“Let’s cut me open then, shall we?” She turned to Mason and continued, “you need to call Mom and Dad, okay? If we don’t tell them the baby is coming now they are going to be livid and then they might cut us off or something.” Mason nodded to his sister. Roderick squeezed her hand again before stepping back to allow them to take her to surgery.
Only 1 more chapter left!
Chapter 22: The Arrival
Baby is born in this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Mason and Roderick watched as Madison was wheeled away to surgery. Their worry about the surgery for both parties was written across their faces. Mason slipped away to make the call to his parents and let them know what was going on before returning to sit with Roderick, who had called his parents as well, in the waiting room anxiously. They sat for a while before Mrs. Meeks, Julia, and Grace came to join them. The little girls were nice distractions for the nervous teens. They were bright and happy and curious and kept them occupied and focused on something other than Madison. It felt like days, but in reality wasn’t more than an hour and a half before the nurse came out to tell the waiting group that there was a brand new little girl waiting to see them. Roderick got up and moved like he was in a dream.
“I’m the father.” He found himself telling the nurse falteringly. She gestured to him to follow her.
“First one?” she asked him. He nodded anxiously. “Don’t worry, mommy and baby are both doing just fine.” He smiled at her gratefully. The twists in his stomach were fighting her reassurances and he forced himself to keep calm. Madison and Pebble (a girl!) were both absolutely fine. He quietly slipped into the room the nurse pointed out and went to stand next to the bed where they were.
Madison smiled up at him. “Isn’t she beautiful?” He nodded, speechless. “What do you think we should name her?” she continued.
"Um, something sweet? How about Daisy?”
“We are not naming her after a flower!” exclaimed Madison.
"O-kay, did you have something in mind?” Roderick said carefully. Madison shook her head in response.
“All I have is the middle name. I’ve decided on Caroline, but I need a first name that really goes with that.” She looked pensive. Roderick looked rather taken aback.
“Isn’t that my mother’s name?”
“Well I figured it would be appropriate. She’s going to be a wonderful grandmother, and I figured our little girl should have some kind of family name and it certainly isn’t going to be mine. Now, first names, first names.” Her voice trailed off in thought and Roderick still looked startled, but decided to shelve that for another time. His mother would be in total shock when she found out. Both their eyes snapped up to the door as the sound of running footsteps came into the room. Two little girls bounded in and tried to jump onto Madison’s bed before Roderick swooped down and grabbed them.
“You guys need to be careful. Madison just gave birth and both she and the baby are still a little fragile. I can put you guys next to her if that’s okay.” He directed the last part at Madison, who nodded. “You have to be careful though, okay?” The two girls nodded and squealed excitedly.
“What’s the baby’s name?” Julia asked curiously, holding her little niece’s hand.
“We haven’t decided yet.” Madison told her. “Do you have any suggestions?” she asked, looking at both Julia and Gracie. Immediately the girls started shouting out ridiculous names like spaghetti, chocolate, and cup.
But Gracie suddenly exclaimed, “Layla! She’s a character on my favorite show. She kicks lots of butt!” Madison’s eyes lit up and she tilted her head considering. She glanced up at Roderick and silently asked him what he thought. He tried to give the impression that he liked it and she seemed pleased.
“I think Layla is a beautiful name, Gracie. What do you two think of the name Layla Caroline Meeks?”
“It’s beautiful,” came a voice from the doorway. Mama Meeks was standing there with a smile on her face. The new parents grinned and Roderick wrote down the name they had chosen on the birth certificate before reaching to take the bundle Madison offered him. Holding his newborn daughter, he felt a sudden sense of fear and uncertainty surge in him. Was he even holding little Layla right?
His mom came up behind him and carefully adjusted his arms so he was supporting his daughter’s head properly, smiling down at the two of them. She squeezed Roderick’s arm.
“Look at that, you’re a natural. You’re going to be a wonderful daddy.” Roderick gave her a half smile, before turning back to his daughter. Her little hands reached up and clutched at the air before settling back down. Her little mouth screwed up like she was considering crying. Roderick quietly rocked her in response. He remembered that from Julia and Grace’s births. She calmed down a bit and clenched her little fists as she reached up for him again. He gave her a finger, which she clutched as she whimpered a little bit.
“She sounds hungry. Why don’t you give her to Madison so she can feed Layla?” Roderick glanced up at his mom, who smiled, before nodded and doing what she suggested and handing his daughter back to Madison. The nurse came in to check on the little family and helped Madison position Layla so that she could feed her properly. The whole thing warmed Roderick’s heart considerable. He knew it was silly and that they were not married and most likely never would be in a serious relationship at all, but he couldn’t help envisioning a life where this was what he came home to. He checked himself before the daydream could get out of control, but the ache in his heart made the moment he was in bittersweet indeed.
Mama Meeks squeezed her son’s shoulder and he leaned his head against her. Julia was leaning on the bed next to Madison and Layla, watching the two of them, but Gracie had wandered over to Roderick and reached out for his hand so that she could tuck herself under his arm. There was a knock on the door and Mason slipped in.
“Where’s my little niece? I want to meet her.”
“Right here Mase! Her name is Layla Caroline Meeks, isn’t she beautiful?” The twins exchanged huge grins. Mason moved over to Madison’s side and kissed her head before moving to Layla and petting her head gently.
This is the last chapter, but there will be an AU 2nd chapter and an ending note in the next couple weeks. Tell me what you thought!
Chapter 23: The Alternate Morning After
This is an alternate version of chapter 2 where Madison wakes up first instead of Roderick. Things are a little different.
Madison stirred the minute light hit her eyes. Apparently, she had forgotten to close the shades last night in her rush to get to bed with… she squinted at the guy in her bed. She didn’t recognize him immediately. His face was turned away from her, which made it harder for her to trigger her memory of what she’d done in her alcohol-fueled haze the night before. She knew that if she lay there for a few minutes everything would come back to her though. So she forced herself to relax and concentrate on bringing last night into focus. Michael. Roderick. Truck. Ohhhhh. She winced a little at the memory. Why was I so pushy? God he must think I’m some kind of tramp.
She carefully shifted herself to look at Roderick, still sleeping next to her, his arm curled under her. She studied his face, noting how calm and at peace he looked. She hadn’t realized just how on edge he always was until now. She wondered why. Probably the excessive bullying. She winced again. Maybe even us. I have no idea how sensitive he is to the teasing we do. And I know our peppiness annoys him sometimes. She brushed the thought aside for a moment though, reaching cautiously to touch his hair. It was as soft as it looked, which made her smile. She had wanted to touch his hair for a long time, but had no idea how to ask the guy who virtually never spoke to her one-on-one in club to let her do something so personal. She supposed that there was very little more personal than what they had done last night though, so she felt that it was okay.
The action made him stir the slightest bit, so she withdrew her hand and remained perfectly still until he settled back down. She was determined not to wake him yet. She liked seeing the vulnerability on his face. And she kind of liked him in her bed. She flushed a little when the thought crossed her mind. She had never particularly wanted a guy she slept with to stick around, with the exception of her ex who was most certainly no longer allowed anywhere near her. Her thoughts ground to a halt when she realized that not only had she never wanted a one-night stand to stay, she had never had one in her bed. They had always just hooked up at the party where they met. Mostly they had just hooked up and then each made a quick escape. She didn’t think she’d ever fallen asleep with a hook up either.
The thought scared her. She didn’t understand why she felt so comfortable with Roderick, still asleep beside her, despite having exchanged only a handful of words with him ever. And it wasn’t like they had much in common other than glee club, as he was about as graceful and athletic as a pig (much cuter though) and seemed to prefer hiding from the world over embracing it. Still, she couldn’t deny that he had been a much better friend to her than any of the other guys she’d slept with. She’d never heard him refer to her and Mason as the Creepy Incest Twins and he genuinely seemed to care that she got something out of the liaison. Certainly he was awkward and unsure and clearly inexperienced, but he was a quick study and she definitely went over the edge, something that didn’t usually happen. Actually, she came more than once, which she was pretty sure had never happened to her before, even with Jus- even with her ex.
Her thoughts were interrupted when Roderick groaned and blinked at the light. It took him a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but he eventually turned to see Madison smiling brightly at him.
“Good morning!” She winced a little at the perkiness in her own voice. She knew it was still a little early to sound so happy but she was in a good mood.
“Uuuhhh.” Groaned Roderick, still looking groggy. He stared at the grinning girl with a look of disbelief and incredulousness. Her smile faltered and she cleared her throat.
“Are you hungry?” she asked tentatively. He nodded slowly, then reached out to touch her arm gently. She raised her eyebrow at this, but didn’t pull away.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized, “I just wanted to make sure you were, you know, real.”
“Why wouldn’t I be real?”
“Because guys like me never end up with girls like you, even for a hookup. It just doesn’t happen.” She recoiled at the words.
“Well it happened.” Her voice was frosty. “There’s nothing you can do about it now.” He laughed wildly.
“How drunk were you, that you picked me of all people? You are a beautiful cheerleader and I’m, well, me. You could have had anyone there except for Spencer and Mason and you picked the awkward chubby kid. Why?” She shrugged. She didn’t really know exactly why she felt drawn to him, but she was never going to tell him that.
“‘Cause you were cute, not gay, and I admire your talent.” He still looked dubious, so she changed the subject. “I know this really cute diner down the street if you want to grab something to eat.” He hesitated. “It’ll be fun!” She wheedled.
“I’d like to, actually, I just don’t know if I have enough money to go out right now.” His eyes flitted away from her as he determinedly ignored the fact that she was still very much unclothed now that he knew she was real and not, in fact, a figment of his imagination.
“Don’t worry about it!” Madison perked back up. “I’ll pay for it! It’s the least I can do after you made sure I got home safely.” He started to protest but she cut him off by throwing him his clothes. “Come on, I won’t take no for an answer.” She gave him a smile and he quickly returned it. She was certainly pushy, he’d grant, but she seemed to give a crap about him. He hadn’t expected that, but he was perfectly willing to go along with it if it meant more time with Madison, who had caught his eye the moment she walked into the choir room.
They dressed quickly and efficiently and headed out, Madison stopping to grab her purse on the way out. Roderick headed for the car, but she pulled him down the sidewalk instead.
“It’s a beautiful day and the diner is easily close enough to walk. Come on! Let’s walk!” Her smile, Roderick decided, was infectious and impossible to say no to. So, to his own surprise, he agreed to walk the 3 blocks to the diner. Somehow, the walk wasn’t awkward. Madison was surprisingly intelligent and launched into an explanation of waves when he said he was having some difficulty understanding them in his physics class. Her explanation made significantly more sense than his teacher’s had and he asked her on the spot if she would tutor him the rest of the year. Her ‘Of course!’ accompanied by a shining grin, made him glow inside. All too soon, they arrived at the diner and sat down.
Roderick scanned the restaurant, but it mostly seemed to be people his grandparents’ age. He supposed that probably had something to do with the time, which was 10 am and far too early for the high school crowd. Good. No one to tease me- or her for being seen with me. He thought. Madison watched him as he glanced around, feeling slightly hurt.
“You know, if you don’t want to be seen with me we don’t have to hang out.”
“It’s not that. I just don’t wanna, you know, deal with people making comments about me today.” Understanding dawned and she reached over and squeezed his hand.
“No one’s going to bother you today, I can promise that. So don’t worry.” She grinned at him and pulled him over to a seat. They sat and ordered, Madison even conceding to a cheat day and eating whatever she wanted. They talked and managed to only have a few lulls in the conversation and instead were laughing almost the entire time.
“We should probably talk more in Glee, huh?” Roderick said on the way back to her house. She nodded enthusiastically.
“I’ve been trying to branch out more since Mason started dating Jane, but I’m still having trouble finding my place as his sister and friend with a life of my own instead of one that totally hinges on him. I’ve been taking care of him for as long as I can remember and it’s hard to adjust to life not doing that.” She shrugged casually, but Roderick could tell how hard it was for her underneath her calm demeanor.
“Well, you can always hang with me if you want. And the benefit to making friends with me is that I’m almost always free.” He smiled self-deprecatingly, but Madison flung her arms around him suddenly. She dragged in a few deep breaths.
“Thank you.” It was so simple, just those words and her upturned face with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes and he was totally, absolutely, irrevocably hooked. He wanted to spend as much time with her as she would let him.
“Anytime. Besides, you will be paying for the pleasure of my company with the tutoring.” Her eyes lit up.
“Right! We definitely have that to look forward too!” She stopped short suddenly in front of the house and looked at her watch. “I really wish I could ask you to stay longer, but it’s already almost 11:30 and if Mason has any inkling of what happened last night, he’ll flip. He’s supposed to be back for lunch in half an hour and I just really need to keep everything flying smoothly at home for a while because the last time he found out I was having sex- which was in a relationship mind you- he flipped out. Sooo. Yeah.” Roderick ruffled his hair on the back of his head and nodded.
“But I’ll see you soon, right?”
“Soon.” She promised.