Nothing good was on TV. Darcy pressed the power button on the remote and stood up from the sofa. Being cooped up in the house was making her stir crazy. She needed to get out of the house. A trip to Caribou Coffee was in order. She found her mom in the kitchen and asked if she could take the Durango, which she rarely got the chance to drive.
Having her driver’s license less than a year, she hadn’t yet fully earned her parents’ trust when it came to driving. Darcy assured her mom that she was only going to Caribou Coffee and would be home in less than two hours. After much deliberation with her dad, her mom finally agreed to let her go. But there was one condition. She would need to take Audrey.
“You’re not used to driving on snowy roads. Plus, I think it would be good for the two of you to spend some time together.”
Darcy didn’t argue with her mom. She missed her sister and was sick and tired of all the secrecy in the house. She wanted to have a heart to heart talk with Audrey to get the full story on how she got pregnant.
Audrey also thought it was a good idea and was ready to get out of the house for a while. They each carried their overpriced hot cocoas to leather chairs situated opposite a fireplace. The small coffee shop had an extra cozy feel on the chilly winter day with its woodsy, up-north decor. It was the perfect place for a sisterly chat.
“So what’s going on with you and Trevor?” Darcy removed the lid from her cup and slurped some of the whipped cream.
“What’s so complicated? You’ve been best friends since forever. He’s the perfect match for you.”
Audrey shook her head. “It’s not that simple.”
“Well, I don’t know if you’ll ever find a guy as good as Trevor Hayes. You’d regret it if you let him get away.”
Audrey thought about that for a moment. “I know he’s a good guy. That’s just it. He’s too good for me … I mean, I don’t know if I’m good enough for him. You know … after everything that happened.”
“What did happen anyway? You never told me.”
Audrey sipped her drink. Darcy waited.
“I’m in trouble.” Audrey stared at the paper cup in her hand.
Darcy thought back to Becca’s words she’d overheard. She told Audrey about the night she overheard her and Becca talking. “I figured it was you and Mom having one of your normal girl talk sessions. You know I’m always up for a chat. So I started for your room to join in when I heard Becca say that you’re pregnant. That’s all I heard. Then I went back to my room.” Darcy’s cheeks reddened and she shifted in her seat. “I figured you and Trevor had gone all the way.”
Her heart thudded in her chest as questions filled her mind. She needed to find out if her sister was in fact pregnant. If so, who was the father? But she was afraid to learn the answers. She couldn’t stand to hear that her sister had been hurt in any way. She took a sip of her hot cocoa, stalling. Then she summoned the courage to ask. “That’s not what happened, is it?”
Audrey swept her eyes around the room, making sure nobody was listening. There were a few people who had stopped in for an after-dinner cup of coffee, but most seats were empty. No one was in ear shot, but to be sure, Audrey spoke in a hushed voice. “Trevor and I went to a party at Jake’s house. We weren’t going to stay long.”
Audrey blew across her hot cocoa and steam rose into the air. Instead of taking a sip, she set the cup down on the wooden table separating the two girls. Darcy was surprised at how composed Audrey was. It was as if she was talking about someone other than herself. “Trevor was outside playing basketball with Jake and some other guys. Becca drank too much and was puking, so I took her into the house to get cleaned up.”
Darcy listened, keeping her thoughts to herself. She was shocked that Audrey had gone to a party like that. She’d never told Audrey that she had tried alcohol a couple times with the youth group kids.
“We joined this dance circle, and soon…I don’t even know what happened. Next thing I knew, I felt sick all over—I figure someone slipped a drug into my drink—and I was dragged off into the guest room. I blacked out before it happened. I woke up early in the morning, and I knew I had been raped. And now I’m pregnant.”
Darcy was unable to stop the tears from flowing down her face. People were probably staring but she didn’t care. She probably had mascara running down her face too, but she didn’t care about that either. Her sister had been raped.
And now there was a poor little baby, her niece or nephew, who would grow up without a daddy. These types of things didn’t happen to people she knew, especially not her sister. She watched reality shows about other teenage mothers on TV. She saw how they struggled to raise a baby on their own. It pretty much ruined the teenage mother’s life half the time, and it usually even ripped her whole family apart.
This was even worse than what Darcy had seen on TV, because this baby wasn’t a result of a boyfriend and girlfriend having unprotected sex or even a one night stand. This baby was a result of a horrible crime.
Darcy felt sick to her stomach. She put her half-empty cup down and excused herself. She went into the women’s restroom and sank down into a heap on the cold tiled floor. Sobs racked her whole body. She sobbed for her tiny niece or nephew who was so innocent and precious and was so undeserving of coming into the world this way.
She sobbed for Audrey who worked so hard to do everything right and to the best of her ability. She made bad choices one night and would be punished for them the rest of her life. That didn’t seem fair.
And she sobbed for herself. Her world was shaken. Darcy had always looked up to her big sister as a role model. She wasn’t jealous of Audrey and all she had accomplished—her good grades, her athleticism, her perfect life. Audrey seemed to have it all and Darcy was nothing but proud. Audrey had set a great example of how hard work and living for Jesus paid off. But now, look where that had gotten her. It scared Darcy that life could be this unpredictable.
Darcy also cried because of the guilt she felt. She knew that the other youth group kids had been partying. She knew first hand because she had gone to a couple parties herself. They weren’t big parties like the ones Audrey experienced.
Once a few of the kids had gone to a movie and then hung out at Jake’s house for a while. They each had one or two beers, nothing more. Darcy knew it was wrong, but she didn’t want to look like a goody-goody, so she went along with everyone else. She had reasoned that there was no harm in drinking one or two beers. She was with church friends after all.
Another time—the time she felt most guilty about—was the night of the Fall Festival at church. Pastor Mitchel had brought them to a corn maze that night, and then the youth group came back to the church to carve pumpkins. It was a fun night. Darcy was proud of the cool designs she had carved into her pumpkin. Everybody complimented her on her artistic flare.
But after Pastor Mitchel went home, the teens lingered in the parking lot for a while. When Becca opened the trunk of her car to put her pumpkin in, she found a case of beer that her parents must have bought. So the youth group kids waited until the end of the festival, and when the last family had buckled their little one into the car seat and pulled out of the church parking lot, Becca started handing out cans of beer.
So there was the Hope Church youth group, sitting in the church parking lot drinking beer. Guilt stabbed at Darcy’s chest as she remembered back to that night. She realized at that moment, on the bathroom floor of a coffee shop, why drinking was so wrong. She had never really understood what was wrong with getting a buzz and acting silly with friends. But now it made sense. Bad things happened when people drank that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Nothing good came from it.
Darcy wondered if Pastor Mitchel knew that they’d been drinking behind his back. Now she considered confiding in him about it. But for now all she could concentrate on was the situation with her sister. Look where drinking had led her.
There was a knock on the door.
“I’ll be out in a minute,” she called in the most controlled voice she could muster.
“Darcy, open the door.” It was Audrey.
Darcy stood. She wiped her fingers under her eyes and saw black smudges on her fingertips. She looked in the mirror and saw that she had a hopeless case of raccoon eyes from her running mascara. There was nothing she could do to fix that now. She opened the door and saw Audrey in a similar state. Darcy pulled her sister into the bathroom and gave her the biggest and longest hug of her life.
They finally composed themselves enough to walk through the shop and into the parking lot without drawing too much attention. On the way home, Darcy asked if Audrey had told Trevor yet that she was raped. Darcy was relieved that she had. He needed to know.
“So tell me again why you’ve been brushing him off. I mean…why haven’t you admitted you love him?”
Audrey stared at the road straight ahead. She looked emotionally drained. “Because it’s complicated.”
“Whatever.” Darcy knew she sounded sarcastic, and although Audrey deserved sympathy right now, she also needed someone to tell her how stupid she was to turn Trevor away.
“I have too much to work through right now. I’m not in a position to be dating and finding romance. And Trevor deserves to be able to put his heart and soul into school and enjoying college life. He doesn’t need to be doting on a pregnant girlfriend. That would be so messed up.”
Darcy needed to set her sister straight. “No, your thinking is messed up.”
Audrey looked shocked at Darcy standing up to her, but that didn’t stop Darcy from speaking her mind.
“You’re a smart girl, Audrey, but you’re really being stupid. You need Trevor, and Trevor needs you. Plain and simple. Sometimes in life it’s better to think with your heart instead of your mind. Sure, maybe it doesn’t make sense for you to have a boyfriend when you’re pregnant or for Trevor to be dating a pregnant girl, but look how miserable you two are without each other.”
She paused, waiting for her words to sink in to her sister’s hard head. After a minute she continued, “I know you miss him and I saw how much he misses you. You should’ve seen the way he looked at me, Audrey. I know he was thinking of you, wishing I were you.”
Darcy thought she saw Audrey’s eyes glisten with tears, but Audrey quickly looked away. Maybe Darcy was actually getting through to her. She softened her tone of voice. “So what did Trevor say when you told him everything?”
“That he still loves me.” Her voice was barely a whisper, but Darcy heard it and she understood how difficult it was for Audrey to accept that he would still love her despite the rape and pregnancy that resulted from it.
“If Trevor loves me as much as he thinks he does, and if he is the man that God has set aside for me to marry, then he will wait for me. We can be together when the time is right. This just isn’t the time.”
That reasoning made sense, Darcy had to admit. They didn’t talk the rest of the way home. Darcy thought about how much she admired her sister. She really was smart. Darcy understood now that she wasn’t just punishing herself by keeping away from Trevor. She was doing what was right. There was no need to rush into a relationship. There were more important issues to deal with right now. Their mom had taught them that boys could wait. Darcy just hoped and prayed that Trevor literally would wait for her sister. They were a match made in Heaven. Darcy was sure of it.
“Darcy, Mom and Dad don’t know that I’m pregnant. Let me tell them.”
Read a chapter a day from Bittersweet Goodbye right here on this blog, beginning September 1st, 2019.