Asher Horowitz hated me. His family lived across the street from our house. Even though he went to Smugglesworth Prep, he would come home on the weekends. And I would suffer for it.
He told me that his family bought their house from Mom because she was flat broke and needed the money real bad. That our house was once the servants' quarters. How his dad had plans to tear down Mom's childhood home and build a new house. That our family was trash. Bottom line - I wasn't cool enough to hang out with him and his goons. Still, I hoped that he would change his mind.
But Savannah ruined everything. That nosy girl jumped in and told Asher to leave me alone or he'd have to deal with her. Asher left the park then, laughing the entire time. And she just stood there, like she expected a hug or something.
"What'd you do that for? Now Asher will never want to be my friend!" I exploded.
Trust me. I know everything about girls there is to know. They're nothing but trouble. And if I could pick between Savannah and zero friends, I'd pick having zero friends.
That evening, Mr. Horowitz brought Asher over to apologize. Apparently, Savannah had told her mom, and her mom called the Horowitzes. Savannah was "in love" with me and couldn't bear the thought of someone bullying me. See what I mean? Girls always ruin everything.
Mom was really weird the entire time. She was being super nice to Mr. Horowitz and kept staring at Asher. But not in a bad way. Almost like she had something to say, but was scared to say it. Like I said. Weird.
Mr. Horowitz told Asher to apologize, but he refused. Instead he ran home. I went upstairs and locked myself in my room.
That night confirmed my worst fears. I was a loser. I was weird and dorky and awkward. Visions of my sad future were already coming to mind. I would be forced to eat lunch with the smelly kid. I would get stuffed into lockers and trash cans between classes. The only person who would ever like me would be Savannah Chandler. I wondered if my mom would consider homeschooling me.
* * * * * * *
Tad Horowitz and his son were on her porch. Marilyn's heart had almost stopped. She hadn't seen Tad since he had tried to make her his mistress so many years ago. And now he had a little boy that was Go's age.
She could remember when they weren't much older.
She had met Tad through their fathers, who golfed at the same country club. His mother would drop him off at Marilyn's with a babysitter while their fathers played a couple of holes and she got sloshed in the clubhouse. She could barely recall a time when she didn't know him.
As they got older, their friendship turned into something more. In the eleventh grade, they became boyfriend and girlfriend. Most girls were pursuing Carter Pomeroy, but to Marilyn, there had only ever been one boy. She had loved him since they were children.
After they had been dating for a couple of months, Tad had brought her to the Redwood Heights Luxury Lodge one night for a surprise.
"Mar, you're my best friend. I've known you since we were little kids and I don't ever want there to be a day when you're not in my life," he said, handing her a bouquet of beautiful flowers.
He looked down, suddenly growing shy. "I...I love you, Marilyn."
"I love you too, Tad." Marilyn's heart was beating so fast, she wondered if he could hear it. She had been waiting for years and now it was finally happening.
"Do you think we'll be together forever?" asked Tad as they sat down in the soft grass. The night was crisp and the sky was clear. It was a beautiful night and the only sound was the two young lovers whispering in the darkness.
"I hope so." Marilyn had only been planning their wedding since they were six.
Suave, confident Tad suddenly looked very insecure. "Me too. I've never loved anyone else."
She had to laugh at that. "Not even Babe Irvine?"
He shook his head. "Nah, she's a bitch."
"She's my best friend though," said Marilyn.
Tad gave her a small kiss. "We're not here to talk about Babe. I want to show you the rest of your surprise."
He led her upstairs to one of the bedrooms. "I don't know about this, Tad," she said nervously.
"If you're not comfortable, I'll take you home. I just want to cuddle," he tried to reassure her, patting the bed. "Come on, just lay down with me."
She got in bed with him, their bodies separated by only a few layers of clothing. Her mouth went dry and he looked deep into her eyes, like the movies. Suddenly, she knew she wanted him as badly as he wanted her.
He kissed her, harder and deeper than he ever had before. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him down, the desire driving her mad. She could taste the barely contained lust which she felt herself. She wanted to run her hands across his bare chest, and then, with zero layers separating them she wanted him to cover her with his body, to be the closest two individuals could possibly be, to make love.
There was some awkward fumbling and it was a lot different than the movies made it out to be. Honestly, Marilyn didn't see what the big deal was. It was over before she knew it and then he took her home so she wouldn't miss curfew.
"Good night, Marilyn. I love you," Tad whispered, standing outside her home.
"Good night, Tad. I love you, too." Marilyn fell asleep that night with a smile on her face.
* * * * * * *
A couple of months later, she had begun to feel sick. She was throwing up every morning and she felt exhausted all of the time. After an appointment with the family physician, she asked Tad to meet her in the park. Unlike her, he was still at Smugglesworth Prep and wouldn't be home for the weekend until that afternoon.
"What's up, Mar? Why'd you come home early?' Tad saw her face and immediately rushed to his girlfriend's side.
"The reason I wasn't in school today was..." She couldn't even look at him. "I'm pregnant, Tad."
He was in shock. "But we've been using condoms!"
"Not the first time," Marilyn cried. "What should we do?" she sobbed violently. He wrapped his arms around her and held her, his mind racing.
"We'll get married," Tad said, with his thoughts going in a million different directions. "Yes," he said, more sure of himself, "we'll get married and raise the baby together. We can drop out of Smugglesworth Prep and get our GEDs."
"But what about our parents?" Marilyn seriously doubted that their parents would let them throw away the several thousands of dollars that they had already paid for boarding school.
He shrugged. "What about our parents? If they won't support us, we have trust funds. I love you and I want to be there for our child."
For the first time that day, she had begun to feel hopeful. "Really?" she asked. "You really want to do this?"
He smiled. "Yes. I really do."
They sat on the swings together, two young kids getting ready to make the biggest decision of their lives, fresh-faced children who still looked at the world through rose-tinted glasses. They spent the rest of their day making plans.
Little did they know how little they had to say in the matter.
* * * * * * *
When Gregory had found out about Marilyn's pregnancy, he took her to see one of his doctors. She was young and scared. Tad's parents had threatened that if she kept the baby, they would forbid him to have anything to do with it or her. Gregory told her that this way, she could stay with Tad and life could go back to normal. So she let them perform the abortion.
She won Prom Queen and Tad, Prom King. They both graduated from Smugglesworth Prep as honor students. No one would have ever suspected how close they had been to dropping out or that they had conceived a child. And no one would ever know.
* * * * * * *
While still in college, her father had died. She had really needed Tad, but he was screwing the lights out of her best friend, Babe that very same day. Marilyn couldn't even be mad. They had drifted apart after the abortion and had only stayed together for appearances, just like how everything else worked. So she juggled the funeral by herself. When he found out about her father's financial troubles, Tad had appeared to buy her family's home. He asked her to be his mistress which she so graciously declined and then they stopped speaking. Which brought them to today.
Waves of pain, that she had thought were long gone, were now stabbing her all over again like it was just the other day. When she looked at Asher, she saw the son that potentially could have been hers. Even when Tad had cheated on her, nothing had hurt as much as losing that baby.
He looked into her eyes, almost as if he knew what she was thinking. "So, once again, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. I will make sure Asher is punished severely for this."
"Yes, thank you for coming," she said stiffly.
"Well, I guess I'll be going now."
"Okay, I'll see you later." Marilyn just wanted him to leave.
Tad paused. "Mar?"
"I never got to tell you this," he looked away, "but I wanted that baby as much as you did. After the abortion, I didn't know how to talk to you. And then Babe happened."
Marilyn was speechless. He had finally dropped the facade and it was like she was talking to her best friend again. The shy teenage boy, who had once confessed his love was now a shy, grown man answering the questions she had always wanted to know.
"I'm sorry for cheating on you. But I couldn't handle everything. I just wanted to let you know that I loved you," he said, tears forming in his eyes. "Hell, I still love you." His voice wavered. "And I am so sorry."
After Tad had finally left, she went inside. There, in their bedroom, was her husband patiently waiting for her. "About time you showed up," Nate said with a smile. Only his eyes looked uncertain.
"Thank you, sweetheart," she said, kissing him.
"For what?" he asked, surprised.
"For being mine," she said simply.
Nate didn't ask any more questions.