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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison

The Talk

As promised

Izzy is ready to talk the next morning.

Thankfully, Alex is still there

Giving me a reassuring smile from behind his coffee mug.

Meanwhile, Izzy is standing in front of the table

Arms crossed in front of her chest.

When she sees me, she takes a trembling breath

Giving me a steely glare.

Though Alex promised she’d be calmer by now

I’m made keenly aware of how badly I’ve messed up

Just by looking at her.

Izzy never looks this frazzled

Not even in the mornings.

Trying not to let my worry show

I force a smile onto my face.

“Morning,” I mumble.

Alex returns my fake grin.

“Good morning,” he chirps.

Izzy’s only response to our exchange is a small grunt.

Alex motions towards my spot at the table.

A plate of scrambled eggs and bacon sit in front of my chair

Along with a steaming coffee mug.

“We made you breakfast,” he announces.

“Thanks,” I reply.

I sit down

Pretending to take interest in my food by poking the eggs with my fork.

Izzy sits down across from me

Though I can tell by the look on her face that she’s reluctant to do so.

I pick up my mug, taking a hearty sip

Only to be met with the taste of some sort of herbs.

Sitting the mug back down, I see that the liquid inside is a creamy white tea

Rather than the light brown of my usual coffee.

No caffeine.

Right.

The three of us sit in silence for a while

Shoveling our eggs into our mouths

And sipping from our mugs

In sync with one another.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll get that talk I was promised at all

When Alex clears his throat.

“Iz,” he begins.

“Weren’t you meaning to ask Candace a question?”

I swear I see Izzy roll her eyes at him

Before she swallows the food she was chewing

And meets my eyes.

“You do believe that it’s a woman’s right to choose, right?” she asks.

I nearly choke on my tea.

In that moment, I seriously consider standing up

And screaming from the top of me lungs that I do

That I made my own choice a long time ago

That if I weren’t too chicken to actually go through with it

We wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.

Knowing that this is more than likely a bad idea

I nod instead.

“Great,” Izzy continues.

“And do you have any idea what the right choice for you might be?”

I consider this

Before opening my mouth

Finally letting the truth slip out.

“I’ve been trying to make a call to Planned Parenthood for a while now.”

It isn’t until I see the look on Izzy’s face

That I know that telling her the truth

Might not have been the best move, after all.

“A while?” she asks.

“God, Candace. How long have you known?”

I bite my lip

Thinking back to my first trip to Culpepper’s.

When I tell her

My voice comes out quiet and strained.

“Almost three weeks.”

“Oh. Well, that’s just fantastic.”

She looks at Alex

As if he might be able to do something about this.

He shrugs.

Apparently, he’s done with being a help.

Izzy sighs and shakes her head

Before looking back at me.

“How far along are you?” she asks.

“I’m not sure if you know, but there’s a limit for that sort of thing.”

I sigh

Bringing a hand to my temples.

“I think it happened during the last week of May.”

“Five weeks!”

Izzy slaps the top of the table

Causing me to jump.

“Izzy,” Alex warns.

“You need to calm down.”

“Calm down?”

She laughs

Eyes wild.

“She’s almost two months pregnant and she wasn’t even going to tell us!”

Alex shakes his head.

“That’s still within the legal time,” he says.

“Now, sit down. You’re scaring her.”

Upon hearing those last words

She cuts her eyes toward me.

I look down

Only to find my hands shaking in my lap.

Alex was right

I am scared.

I hadn’t realized just how scared I was until now.

There’s only a brief moment of silence

Before Izzy starts asking questions again.

“Is Todd the father?” she asks.

I nod

Though I hardly think that’s the most important part of the situation.

“Does he know?”

I shake my head.

“You do know you have to tell him, right?”

That part almost makes me want to throw up again.

“I don’t think he’d care.”

She narrows her eyes

Opening her mouth as if she’s ready to argue

Before Alex interrupts her

By placing his hand on her arm.

“You two can discuss that later,” he says.

“For now, let’s focus on breakfast. The coffee’s getting cold.”

We go back to our tense silence.

I pretend to eat

Wishing that I was anyone but me.

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