“Well! What do you think that was all about?” Diana exclaimed, watching as Trixie forlornly followed Norma out of the cafeteria.
“I honestly have no idea!” Honey answered, shaking her head in amazement. “Although, now that I think about it, hasn’t she been acting odd to you today?”
Di shook her head. “Honey, she’s been acting differently ever since she and Jim broke up. You know she’s refused to talk about it, even though we both offered to listen.”
“I know,” Honey said. “I’ve been worried about her, but you know as well as I do that we can’t make her talk about anything she doesn’t want to. I just don’t know why she was wanted in the office, I mean, surely she would have mentioned it if something had happened in one of her classes.”
“Well, she certainly didn’t seem surprised when Norma came to get her! Don’t you think that’s mysterious?” Di tossed her hair over her shoulder.
Honey laughed, “Now you’re starting to sound like Trixie!”
Both girls giggled, sobering as Di reminded Honey, “Well, the old Trixie anyway. I don’t think I’ve heard her mention the “m-word” since Valentine’s Day!”
“Why, Honey, I suppose I need to congratulate you, seeing that you’ll have a new sister-in-law before long,” Jane Morgan interrupted their speculations, setting her books down on the table next to Honey’s.
“Um, Jane? I think you must have me mixed up with someone else. Jim’s not getting married anytime soon.”
“Are you serious?” Jane asked, her eyes wide with apparent shock. “I mean, I was sure that he and Trixie would be making wedding plans, now that, oh!” she abruptly covered her mouth with an expertly manicured hand.
As Honey shook her head, Di noticed the malicious smile that Jane was half-heartedly attempting to hide.”Now that what?” she snapped, wondering what game the other girl was trying to play.
“Now that she’s expecting, of course!” Jane whispered, looking around as if to make sure no one was listening in on their conversation.
Di felt her stomach drop, and she stared wordlessly at her. Honey said, “Jane, I can tell you quite certainly that Trixie’s not expecting to marry my brother. They haven’t even been seeing each other for three months now.”
Jane laughed. “I didn’t say she was expecting to marry him! I said she’s expecting! Do you mean to tell me that you don’t know?”
“Know what? What do you think she’s expecting, then?” Honey asked in bewilderment.
“Come on, Honey! Can you honestly sit there and tell me you didn’t know she’s pregnant? Why did you think she was called to the office? For another commendation? Unless I miss my guess, Mr. Stratton is expelling her even as we speak!”
“Jane, I’m not going to sit here and listen to this vile gossip. You know as well as I do that it’s just not possible! Trixie would never do anything like that before she’s married!”
“You just wait, Honey Wheeler, and you’ll see that I’m right!” Jane said spitefully, stalking away towards the table where the other members of her clique were gathered.
Di forced a smile, trying to forget that while completely vile and malicious, Jane’s gossip usually did have a grain of truth somewhere in it. Even as she listened to Honey chattering about the impossibility of it, she couldn’t help but think about the change that had come over their friend during the past few months. Changes that they had attributed to her mysterious breakup with Jim suddenly took on a whole new light as she began to remember the information she had read in the Family Medical Encyclopedia she had snuck out of her family’s library one recent night. She didn’t know how Jane had found out, but in her heart, she just knew she was right.
“Di?” Honey asked, waving a hand before her face. “Where’d you go?”
“Oh, sorry! What were you saying?” she flushed.
“Just asking you how anyone could possibly believe such a lie. I mean, even if Trixie had been willing to, well, you know, which we know she would never do, Jim is so honorable that he wouldn’t. I mean, can you imagine Jim, of all people, doing something so immoral?” Honey shook her head. “It’s just not possible. You know, even leaving the moral issues aside, even if it weren’t a sin, I just can’t understand why any girl would be stupid enough to risk it. Why would any girl risk having her life ruined, which is what happens, you know. To be thrown out of school, to have no possible future, and that’s when they’re lucky enough that the guy does agree to marry them!”
“Says the girl who has dated the same guy for three years and never even been kissed! If she only knew what it’s like,” Di thought to herself, once again wondering why Brian let Honey get away with just an occasional hand clasp. She shook her head, knowing that Honey would interpret it as an agreement even though it really wasn’t. She was relieved when the bell rang, saving her from having to say anything that would prove otherwise. She and Trixie had long ago agreed that certain aspects of their lives were much better kept away from Honey’s sensitive ears.
The two girls gathered the three lunch trays, taking them to the window before going their separate ways. Di slowly walked towards the home ec. classroom, hoping against hope that Trixie would already be in her seat when she got in there, ready to tell her some silly story about why she’d been needed in the office. In that, she was disappointed, as she had expected to be. She quietly told Mrs. Phillips that Trixie had been called to the office during lunch, purposely keeping her voice low so that no other students would hear her. Setting her books down, she retrieved her supplies, and headed for her assigned sewing machine.
Forty-five minutes later, she was getting frustrated. Her thoughts kept wandering to Trixie’s assumed predicament and to her own relationship with Mart, making her completely unable to concentrate on her work. Feeling her face flush as she recalled the weekends that they’d gone to the drive-in in White Plains, she made an effort to clear her mind. Looking down at the material under her needle, she sighed. This would be the fourth time she would have to take out the same crooked seam.
Shrugging her shoulders to get some of the stiffness out, she glanced out the classroom window. She dropped her seam ripper as she caught a glimpse of Trixie slowly following Mr. Belden to the parking lot. Feeling like crying at the sight, she quickly turned her head in hope that no one else would see the pathetic figure. There would be enough gossip over the next few days without having her friend denied that one last shred of dignity.
That evening, Di was still trying to force herself eat dinner when Harrison summoned her to the telephone. “Pardon the interruption, Miss Diana, but Miss Honey seems very upset. She asked me to find out if you would be willing to go talk to her. She claims that it’s an emergency.”
Looking to her parents for permission, she nodded her head, even though she dreaded what she knew was in store. “Tell her I’ll be right there. Thank you, Harrison. Dad, may I please be excused?”
She reached the Manor House within minutes, astonished when a tearful Honey met her at the door. The two girls went up to Honey’s room, where she said, “Oh, Di! This is horrible! It’s…, it’s even worse than Jane said!”
Di gasped in dismay. “How can it possibly be worse than that? Unless, I mean, what’s happened?”
“She, she, she…” Honey sobbed, finally whispering, “Trixie is pregnant!”
“Oh, no!” Di moaned. She had expected it, but hearing it confirmed made it seem like more than just a bad dream. “What did Jim say? They will get married, won’t they?”
“No!” Honey almost yelled. “Jim’s not going to marry her! He doesn’t even know about it yet! Oh, how in the world am I going to be able to tell him?”
“Honey! Slow down! Why doesn’t he know? Why would you be the one to have to tell him? I mean, aren’t the Beldens doing that?” Di asked, feeling confused.
Honey wailed, “It’s not his baby, Diana!” before falling onto her bed in tears.
Di sank down beside her friend, her eyes wide with shock. She had expected to hear that Trixie was pregnant, but Honey’s idea was simply impossible. “What? Honey, it has to be!”
“She…, she…,” Honey struggled to get a hold of herself. “She told Mr. Belden, and… , and…, and he called Dad….”
Alarmed by the way Honey was gasping for breath, Di stepped into the adjoining bathroom and wet a washcloth in cool water. She handed it to the other girl, urging her to calm down. She had known that Honey would take it hard if the rumors had proved true; Honey had stated time and time again her opinions of those who weren’t as virtuous as she. Yet, that hadn’t prepared her for the reaction her friend was actually having. “Calm down, Honey,” she rubbed her back distractedly. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I…, she…,” Honey sat up, wiping her face with the cloth. Beginning to twist the material in her hands, she gulped resolutely. She blinked back more tears as she told Diana, “Mr. Belden called Dad a little while ago. I don’t know exactly what he said, but Dad yelled for Mother to come in the study, where he was on the phone. Next thing I know, she’s running out the door, heading down the path to Crabapple Farm. She’s still over there; I guess she’s trying to comfort Mrs. Belden.” She gave another choked sob before continuing, “I know I shouldn’t have listened! Oh, why did I ever want to know what was going on?”
Fearing that Honey was about to break down again, Di was surprised when she continued in a strange voice, “I was on my way upstairs to ask Miss Trask why Mother literally ran out the door. I heard voices in the study, you know how loud Daddy gets when he’s mad. I was still walking when I heard him say, ‘You do realize you’ve going to have to marry her.’ Then somene yelled, ‘I want to marry her, for crying out loud! I’ve already told Mr. Belden I’m ready to marry her right now!'”
Resisting the urge to yell herself, Di realized that Honey couldn’t be hurried. Thinking that the sobs had been easier for her to handle than the dull monotone her friend was now using, she listened in shock as Honey continued, “For some reason, I stood there. The door was closed, but I could still hear everything that was said. Enough to realize, anyway, that they’ve been sneaking around since before she and Jim broke up. It’s his child, Diana; they’re going to get married! She’s been slipping around for months, there’s no telling how long this was going on!”
Her speech at an end, she covered her face with her hands. Di was bewildered, trying to figure out just who Honey overheard. Gradually, the words she had just heard sunk in. Thoughtful, she patted Honey’s hand, trying to soothe her renewed sobs. She decided that Honey must have somehow been mistaken, that maybe Jim had indeed come home and she just wasn’t aware of it. She reminded herself that Trixie had had no time for a secret romance; after all, if Trixie hadn’t been with either Di or Honey, she had been at home, on one of the innumerable walks she had started taking in the game preserve, or in the stables helping Regan.
She opened her mouth to remind Honey that it was simply impossible when she remembered the look she had once caught Regan giving Trixie. Although she had wondered about it at the time, as she saw it now in her mind’s eye she recognized the sheer love and desire that had been in his eyes. She gave a startled exclamation, feeling afraid to ask the question she decided that she really didn’t want the answer to. She was unable to stop herself from asking, though, dreading the answer she knew she would be given.
“Honey, who was it in the study with your dad?” she whispered.
“Oh,” Honey laughed mirthlessly. “That little tramp has been sleeping with Regan! Which certainly explains why she was spending so much time in the stables, doesn’t it?”
“Honey! You don’t really think that, do you?” Di asked in amazement. She had never heard her speak ill of her best friend before.
“Di, I heard every word they said! Regan had already been down to Crabapple Farm to talk to Mr. Belden! You know full well that with the temper he has when he’s angry that everyone on Glen Road would have heard him yelling if it wasn’t true. Besides, he plainly admitted to Dad that it is his child.”
“Oh, no! What’s going to happen to her, now?” Di wondered aloud.
Honey spoke in a voice as cold as ice. “I don’t know, and quite frankly, I don’t care. It’s my poor brother I’m concerned about. He’s the one who’s going to be hurt when this gets out.” She spat out, “For once, Trixie’s going to have to deal with the consequences of her actions. She’s made her bed, now she’s going to have to lie in it.”
“Diana?” Mrs. Lynch called as Di walked into the house late that evening.
“Yes, Mom? What is it?”
“Mart just called. He sounded upset about something, but just said to tell you he’ll call you tomorrow evening.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Di nodded, torn between wishing that she had been able to talk to him and relieved that she hadn’t. She felt guilty for feeling relieved, but it had taken all of her energy to get Honey calmed down. She wasn’t sure that she could have handled Mart as well. “I’m going on up to bed, I didn’t mean to stay at Honey’s this late.”
She started towards the stairs, stopping as she heard her mother ask, “Di? What’s going on? And don’t tell me ‘nothing,’ because I know there’s something wrong.”
“Oh, gleeps!” she thought, not wanting to tell her mother about Trixie. As strict as her parents already were when it came to her dating habits, she feared that this would make them even stricter. And since her mother didn’t really approve of Trixie anyway, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“Di,” Mrs. Lynch said warningly, giving her a searching look.
She closed her eyes, knowing that it was going to be worse if she found out from someone else the next day. “Trixie’s in trouble,” she whispered.
“Again? What has she done this time?”
“Mom!” Di exclaimed.
“Really, Diana, that girl is always getting into some sort of trouble! I’m just praying that she won’t involve you when she gets into a situation that she can’t get out of! You’re not involved in this one, are you?”
Tears came into Diana’s eyes as she realized that she really wouldn’t be getting into any more dilemmas with Trixie. She had no doubt that Regan would very quickly curb her friend’s habit of jumping into dangerous situations, especially with the child on the way.
Obviously taken aback by her daughter’s sudden tears, Mrs. Lynch spoke in a much softer tone of voice. “Sweetie, are you in trouble? Do we need to call a lawyer?”
“No!” Diana hiccuped. “Mom, Trixie’s pregnant!” she whispered, watching her mother’s eyes widen.
“Are you sure?” she asked in disbelief.
Di nodded. “Somehow it got out at school today, but Honey and I assumed it was just a nasty rumor. That’s why she was so upset on the phone tonight; she had just found out that it was true.”
“Oh, dear!” was all Mrs. Lynch managed to say as Di hurried up the stairs toward her room.
Lying in bed a few minutes later, all of her worries, fears, and exhaustion came crashing down at once. She thought back over all of the dangerous situations that the Bob-Whites had been in, knowing that they had always had a sense that nothing bad could actually happen to them. Even during those terrible days when it had seemed like it was happening to her, she had tried to assure herself that it wasn’t really happening. The feeling had been strengtened once she had known for certain that her fears were groundless.
She lay awake, thoughts tormenting her mind, until finally the tears soaked her violet pillow case. Diana was crying for Trixie, but she was also crying for herself. She had never hated herself as much as she did at that moment, because she knew that deep down she was relieved. She was relieved that it was Trixie who would have to face the consequences, even though she knew that she was just as guilty. Grabbing a dry pillow, she eventually fell into a restless sleep.