Spencer doesn’t know it yet, but Ally is about to spring a fake pregnancy on him.

She’ll tell him in the morning, in their bedroom with the door wide open. She’ll lie about her symptoms and the doctors appointment that never happened at the clinic down the road. After she breaks the news, she’ll pretend to throw up in their ensuite toilet. He’ll hold her hand as she cries about the child they made by accident, and the future that will have them tied together.

Because of the open door, everyone else will overhear but pretend they did not. Instead, they’ll whisper about it to each other as though saying it any louder might make it their problem as well.

The abortion will be Spencers idea, and Ally will never let him forget it.

She’ll book herself in at the Box Hill family planning centre, ensuring it’s a Wednesday so Spencer can’t get off work. He’ll be devastated and in repentance, he’ll dote on her for weeks. In that time, she’ll corner their housemates one by one. Her unhinged glare will transform the words ‘I know you’re full of shit, stop lying’ into ‘I hope you’re ok’, because after that conversation they’ll say or do anything to get out of this crazy they’ve stepped into.

On the day, Spencer will kiss her goodbye. He’ll stroke her hair and hide his sobs in her shoulders while everyone else sits awkwardly in the kitchen eating breakfast and wondering why they wouldn’t do this in their room.

He’ll go to work and have a fight with his foreman and end up shattering three knuckles punching a solid concrete slab. He won’t go to the doctor, because he’ll consider it a cosmic punishment for his sins.

When she gets home that night, she’ll know exactly how to act to make it convincing. The hobbling, nausea, emotionality and dizziness that comes from a surgical abortion. Later on, Spencer and Ally will sit together in the living room when everybody else goes out to give them some privacy. He’ll make sure she has a comfortable cushion to rest on while they load up their crack pipes with the methamphetamine they lied about throwing away. They won’t have used for a while, but it’ll seem easier to heal with a crutch then without. They’ll burn through four points in an afternoon watching re-runs of Law and Order SVU on the communal television.

At night, Ally’s going to dab her underwear with drops of fake blood. She’ll steal a whole bottle of it out of the make-up kit belonging to her housemate, thinking they won’t notice. She’ll also think that nobody will notice that her and Spencer have started smoking meth on a daily basis again, even though the house will smell of burnt plastic and cat urine.

Months later, Spencer is going to come across the search history on Ally’s laptop when he’s wiping it clean to pawn off to a mate. Suspicion will jostle his paranoia, and he’ll lie awake beside her gnashing teeth at his demons. When he breaks, he’ll call up the family planning centre. They’ll tell him they can’t give out that kind of information, but it won’t matter because the seed of distrust will have started germinating on its own.

It’s going to grow difficult for him to ignore the fault in everything she does. To stave off the anger he feels after a three or four-day shard bender, he’ll distance himself. In response, she’ll break into his phone and read all of his texts. They’ll fight, again and again. Their relationship will splinter, but they’ll stay together as if that’s the best way to punish the other person. Spencer will move into the spare bedroom upstairs. They’ll force their company on everybody else, hurling cheap shots at each other from the trenches of passive-aggression. Together they’ll take out anyone who braves the neutrality of no mans land. People will stop coming to visit.

After a five-day bender, Spencer will get fired from his job. He’ll spend his last hundred dollars on a bag of weed and a point of meth. Before he gets a chance to smoke any of it, Ally’s going to throw it out. Then she’s going to pick a fight with him.

She’ll blame him for everything, getting right up in his face to needle at every single one of his dysfunctional buttons. She’s going to hit him, and drag her claws down his arm until the faces of the tattoos on his forearms weep blood. He’ll yell at her, and push her away. She’s going to trip over and slam into the wall.

Spencer will take off into the rain and darkness, leaving most of his belongings behind, and never come back.

Ally will schedule another appointment at the clinic, and she’ll come home with a sling. She’ll say she has a broken wrist and arm and shoulder but will never get an x-ray or a cast. She’ll take up permanent residence on the couch, smoking cigarettes and meth instead of eating and sleeping. She’ll stay awake for a whole week and her body will snort and moan like an animal trying to communicate with a brain that’s too high to pay attention.

The lease will expire the next month, after Spencer flees the state owing thousands to unscrupulous characters. Ally will move back in with her parents and pick up a teaching position at a catholic high school, the irony of which will be lost on her. She’ll text Spencer on the anniversary of their abortion to remind him of what he made her do. It’ll take three years for everybody else to figure out the truth of what happened. By then, Spencer will have a two-year-old with a woman called Allison, and nobody will want to ruin his happiness by dragging him back into the pasts.

Kate Frances is a student from Melbourne, Australia pursuing a bachelor of Creative Writing. She devours books, writes movie reviews for Digital Fox Media and mainlines cheap wine like it’s going out of fashion. She has had poetry previously published in Etchings Magazine.

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