Chapter 5-Discovery

People were shocked when they heard about the Crosswire's decision to send their daughter away. Francine's parents were supportive. They knew Muffy was a bad influence on their daughter. They were glad she was gone.

At school, people were still talking about what she did. Muffy was infamous. The boy was even more infamous. People were finding out about the diseases. They said all of them were nasty. Sue Ellen and Fern published a joint story about safety on the principal's orders. The counselor asked to submit an editorial about teen drama; the editor refused.

A week passed and things hadn't calmed down yet. Arthur and Sue Ellen were still going out. They went to the Sugar Bowl after schools most days, sometimes just to sit and talk. Buster joined them sometimes. He was happy Arthur was doing well.

Francine wasn't. She missed a few days of class because she was sick. Buster wondered if she was pregnant like the rumors suggested. Arthur didn't care. It wasn't his problem.

The Frensky's were concerned Francine was sick for a reason. They took her to the doctor. The test was negative and they gave her anti-nausea medicine. It worked some. She went back to school. Everyone gave her dirty looks. She wished her parents had shipped her off to France too so she could hide. In Elwood City, she couldn't hide. People who didn't really know her stared. Francine took to wearing hats in public so she could hide.

After another week, things hadn't gotten better. Girls were getting sick of the older guy taking advantage of him. Several were filing charges. Francine got anonymous messages to file charges. Francine ignored them. She had bigger problems: She was late. Her mom took her to the doctor. The test wasn't negative this time. Her parents were furious. Francine felt even sicker. Nothing was in her control anymore.

Francine's parents talked. They didn't want her roaming around Elwood City pregnant. They called family members. An old aunt in Metropolis agreed to take her. Francine had to leave that night. It took three days for the kids at school to notice. Sue Ellen wanted to do a story about everyone disappearing. Arthur and her editor thought that wasn't a good idea.

Things happened fast after that. Charges were filed against the older boy. The court held a grand jury. They decided there was enough evidence to act. A few months later, his trial started. A lot of girls were there. Some were pregnant or held babies in their arms. Others looked like they were in pain. It was a horrible sight, so many girls in the courtroom. Francine and Muffy were missing, but Francine's parents wanted to file charges. The district attorney added her to the trial but only if she could come.

Francine returned to Elwood City pregnant. People were shocked. Arthur felt sick. Sue Ellen comforted him. Their six month anniversary was coming up. She didn't want him thinking about Francine.

But a few days after her arrival, a paper hit the stands that forced Arthur to think about Francine. The older boy's lawyers claimed Francine's kid was her ex-boyfriend's. Arthur's parents found out. They demanded a test. The older boy's lawyer demanded a test too. There were risks, but Francine's parents allowed the test. The older boy and Arthur had DNA swabs taken. Francine was taken to the hospital. She had an amniocentesis. That got DNA from the baby. They compared the DNA to Arthur's and the older boy's. It took a few weeks for the results. The older boy was the father. Arthur was cleared and his parents were happy.

Elwood City felt different when the boy was convicted, safer maybe. Love was still hard to find. Arthur and Sue Ellen were still together, but a lot of couples had broken up. None of them had rough patches like Arthur did. He'd never forget the love quadrilateral that ended the way it did. He was glad Muffy was gone, that Francine had moved back to Metropolis after the trial. He was glad Sue Ellen wasn't like either girl, that she believed in waiting. Their favorite thing to do was nothing. They sat together in silence for hours, just like they wanted.

-end

a.n: sorry this got quick in the end. i have other projects to do for work so i needed to finish fast.