Wednesday, 12th February 2041
After Jade’s dramatic departure from the coffeehouse, Chloe ate both pies, paid the bill and headed towards the DSA. She scheduled the appointment with the Principal as soon as she possibly could because she wanted to prevent any kind of gossip Mrs. Adams was most definitely going to spread around the campus within the next few days. Chloe has seen Mr. Goodwell many times at various events, but she never talked to him in person except that one time when he shook her hand and wished her good luck with her studies at the Dribbledine Sports Academy, and she said ‘Thank you, sir.’
“Come on in,” Mr. Goodwell said from behind the door of his office after Chloe knocked on the dark shiny wood. His voice was very deep and croaky. “Good afternoon, Ms. Thomas. Please, take a seat,” said the Principal and pointed at one of the leather armchairs in front of his desk.
“Thank you, sir,” Chloe said politely, sat down and looked around the office.
“Would you like a glass of water?”
“Or juice, perhaps?” the Principal asked with a friendly smile. Chloe just nodded her head from side to side. “Alright then. So, my secretary told me you looked a little stressed out this morning. Are you okay?”
“I’m… I’m just a little worried about my future… here, at Dribbledine.”
“Is that so? Have you done something wrong? Something that could possibly threaten your student status at the DSA?” he asked Chloe, but she hesitated to answer. “Well, Ms. Thomas? Talk to me.”
“Oh. I see,” the Principal sighed heavily, rose from his chair and walked to the wooden cabinet by the window. He pulled out one of the folders and started searching for something. “Are you going to keep the child, Ms. Thomas?”
“Yes, I am. I wouldn’t be here otherwise,” she said decisively.
“True. You don’t have to answer this question, Ms. Thomas, but I have to ask you anyway. Is the father of your child one of our students?”
“Good. Thank you,” he said with a relief. “So, as you may know, according to the paragraph four of the Teenage Pregnancy Policy, I am bound to inform your parents about the pregnancy unless you’ve already had. Have you told them, Ms. Thomas?”
“Understandable,” he said, placed a paper folder on his desk and sat down. “Since I know that this argument is very sensitive for a girl your age, I give you a choice,” Mr. Goodwell began. “The aforementioned paragraph obliges me to inform your parents. It doesn’t states, however, the fact that both parents have to be notified. So, Ms. Thomas, would you like me to rather inform your mother, your father or, perhaps, both?” he asked, opened the folder lying on his desk and looked at Chloe’s information sheet. The moment he noticed the note in brackets next to the name of Chloe’s mother, it was too late.
“My mother is dead.”
“So I read. I am very sorry, Ms. Thomas. I had no idea. Please, forgive me,” the Principal apologized.
“It’s okay. I don’t really remember her…,” Chloe told him vacantly.
“Do you have a healthy relationship with your father, Ms. Thomas?”
“It depends on what the definition of healthy is.”
“Healthy relationships are the ones that bring out the best in you.”
“Could you be a little more specific?”
“Good communication, trust, honesty, support, mutual respect…”
“Well, I could definitely be more respected, but overall I think my dad and I are good friends. I mean, I don’t talk to him about girl stuff, but yeah, I think he’s quite understanding and supportive. Dribbledine was actually his idea, to be completely honest.”
“That’s very nice to hear, Ms. Thomas,” Mr. Goodwell fondly smiled at her. “You see, not all students are as lucky as you are. Even though your mother is no longer with us, your father has managed to raise a strong, self-confident, lovely young woman.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Well, don’t thank me, thank your father,” he said joyfully but as he laid his eyes on Chloe’s information sheet again, the smile suddenly disappeared from his face. Chloe’s GPA wasn’t as high as he expected. “Your current GPA is only satisfactory. I remember that you used to be one of the Dribbledine’s best. I’m certain that I’ve seen your name on the honor roll more than once. Can you tell me what happened, Ms. Thomas?”
“Sometimes I have to skip classes because of nausea,” Chloe explained. “I always do my homework but lately I find it very hard to concentrate due to my headaches. I take painkillers but they don’t always work…”
“I hope you know that there are many options for students in your situation. One of them is the possibility to create a personal plan to suit your special needs, but one of the conditions is that all of your teachers have to be notified of the pregnancy immediately,” informed her the Principal. “Another of your options is to temporarily suspend your studies. It is inevitable that in that case, the whole campus, most probably the whole Twinbrook will know your name and your graduation will be delayed by one or two years if not more. It all depends on what you think is best for you, Ms. Thomas.”
“With all the respect, sir, I don’t really see the difference. Mrs. Adams already knows so I am going to be remembered as Preggers ’41 either way. I might just go with the special pregnant program or what’s it called and be done with it,” Chloe told him honestly. “After all, there’s only one semester left and if I pass the finals I don’t have to show my face here ever again.”
“Are you sure about your decision, Ms. Thomas? I can give you some more time to think it through. Maybe you could first discuss it with your father?”
“There is no need. I can decide for myself and I just did,” Chloe smiled at him with confidence. “So, is this all then? Can I go now?”
“Your confidence and the sense of responsibility truly amazes me, but I will anyway need your father’s written consent, Ms. Thomas.”
“Whoa, whoa… wait a second. Why do you need my father’s consent?” Chloe asked the Principal. “I thought it was about me, not about my dad?!”
“You are still underage, Ms. Thomas. Your father’s approval of your decision is essential.”
“But don’t you understand? My father is going to kill me if he finds out!”
“Your family will anyway get to know about it. Your baby will grow and so will your belly, Ms. Thomas. If you thought you could have kept your pregnancy secret, well, then I have to admit that you’re more naive than you look.”
“Do what you must then, Mr. Goodwell,” Chloe sighed at the thought of her father’s reaction when he’ll get to know he’s going to be a grandpa.
I am a dead girl anyway.