by J. Marie
a story about a teen dealing with the death of her boyfriend, and learning to love again.
I look up and there, about twenty yards down the path, stands Matt. No! Not him! Anyone but him. I can't let him see me like this, I thiink as I turn around and start to run. Actually, it's more like speed waddling.
"Sam! Sam, wait up!" he hollers at me. I just keep going. Yet, before I can take just a few more steps, he's caught up to me. He grabs me by the arm, and spins me around to face him. "Why'd you run?" he asks. by now, tears are flowing freely down my face.
"Let go of me!" I scream.
"Not until you answer my question," he says calmly. I try to break free of his grasp, yet he maintains his grip on my arm.
"Answer my question!"
"Fine!" he says as he lets go of my arm. I stumble backwards and fall on my butt. I curl up into the fetal position as best as I can, and start rocking back and forth, sobbing.
Matt crouches down next to me and wipes a tear from my cheek. "It's okay," he says.
"No it's not!" I sob.
"What's wrong then?" he asks me gently.
Suddenly, it all comes pouring out, right there, sitting in the middle of a path in a park. I tell him everything, from finding out about Luke's death, to finding out that I am pregnant, to my mom finding out and wanting me to get an abortion, to her kicking me out earlier today. By the time I've finished my story, it is starting to get dark out. Matt then helps me up, and tells me that it'll be okay, to just trust him. He then walks me to his car, and gets me into the passener seat. He then gets behind the wheel.
As he drives, he tells me that we're going to his parents' place for dinner.
When we arrive, he parks his car in his parents' driveway. as I get out, I check to make sure that I don't look like too much of a mess. Matt then tells me that I look fine, and that they'd accept me even if I "had a horse growing out of my head." With that, we walked up to the front door and went inside.
"Oh, great! Matt's home already!" says Tess, Matt's younger sister.
At Tess's anouncment, Matt's mom, Ali, walks into the room holding a dishrag. "Well, this is a wonderful surprise! And it looks like you've brought a friend for dinner, too. Hello Sam. Feel free to make yourself at home."
"Thank you Mrs. Baine."
"Please, call me Ali."
"Tess, come help set the table."
Tess moans and says that she doesn't want to help set the table, so, I volenteer. Matt and Ali try to convince me not to help, but, in the end, I win.
After I follow Ali into the kitchen, she says, "your mom called here earlier, she wanted to talk to you."
"She said that she wants her stuff back."
"Oh...can I borrow a hundred dollars? I'll pay you back, I promise."
"Sure, what for?"
"I need to buy a caot, because it's cold outside."
"Oh, honey, don't worry about it, I'm sure we can find you something. I bet that one of Matt's old coats would fit you just fine. If, of course, you don't mind wearing an old boy's coat."
"Really, you'd do that for me? I don't know how to thank you enough!"
"Well, you can start by setting the table."
While I'm setting the kitchen table, Matt walks in, pulls his mother off to the side, and tells her something. I strain my ears in an attempt to hear what he’s saying, but I can’t make out the words. So, I just go back to setting the table. When I am finished with that, I walk over to them, and as I draw near, they stop talking and Matt walks away, presumably to go to the bathroom.
“I’m done,” I say as Ali turns around.
“Good, now all we need is the food.”
A few minutes later, Tom, Matt’s dad, walks into the kitchen carrying a Kentucky Fried Chicken bag. He stops short as soon as he sees me. “Who’s this?” he asks his wife.
“She’s a friend of Matt’s from school,” Ali replies as she takes the KFC bag from him.
“The kid’s not Matt’s is it?”
“No, it’s not,” I reply sharply.
“It was just a joke! Calm down!” he guffaws.
“ What’s all this noise about?” asks Matt as he walks into the room.
It looks like he’s just gotten out of the shower, because his hair is still wet. His face is clear of stubble, which implies that he’s shaved too.
I start to think how hot he looks in his Hudson Warriors T-shirt, but then, I think, wait! My heart belongs to Luke, the father of my baby, not Matt. Matt’s just a friend anyway; it’s not like he’d see me as girlfriend material. At least not now that I’m pregnant, I think as an afterthought.
“Sam?” I hear Matt’s voice and snap out of my zoned out state.
“Are you okay? You were looking at me kind of oddly…” he trails off.
I shake my head to get the cobwebs out, “I’m fine, just zoning out,” I reply.
“Zoning out? I don’t think you’ve ever zoned out like that before. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Matt, I’m fine, trust me.”
“Matt, she’s fine, it’s just the baby hormones,” Ali says. “I was like that a lot, too, when I had you, and again when I had Tess.”
“Okay, if you say so,” Matt says.
“I’m hungry, so, let’s eat,” says Tom as his stomach gives a loud growl.
# # #
After helping to clean up after dinner, Matt pulls me off to the side, away from his family, and asks if I’m okay. I assure him that I’m fine, but he looks like he doesn’t totally believe me. Before he has a chance to argue, Ali walks up to us, and says that she needs to borrow me for a little while.
As we walk down the hall, Ali asks if I have any spare clothes with me. I tell her that all I’ve got is my journal.
Well then, I guess that it’s good that I still have my old maternity clothes,” she says as she opens the second door on my left, and leads me in. “This’ll be your room. My apologies for the mess, but it’s been hard to find time to clean, with the holidays coming up so soon.”
The room is very homely. The walls are a pale yellow, almost a cream color. There is a large bed against the middle of one wall. The bed is covered with a beautiful, red, flowered quilt, which compliments the room’s décor perfectly. On top of the quilt, there is a small pile of clothes.
After a while, Ali looks me up and down, and says, “You’re about the same size as I was when I had Matt, so, I think that some of these clothes should work until we can go buy you some newer ones.” Ali then walks over to the bed and picks up a blue maternity shirt, looks at it, and then asks me, “How do you like this one?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Well,” she pauses, “you deserve to have someone be nice to you, and if your own mom won’t play that role, then, I guess I get to.”
“I don’t mean to argue, but, I don’t deserve all this kindness. I’m just a pregnant, homeless teen. I don’t deserve all this. The coat I can accept, but, nothing else. It’s just too much to accept. I’m sorry you’ve gone through all this trouble for nothing.”
“It’s no trouble at all. It’s actually a privilege. And I saw the way you looked at Matt earlier, and that was not from baby hormones. If you make my son happy, and help him get over Lauren, I’ll consider us even. Okay?’
“Okay, I guess.”
“Well, how about I leave you to try on these clothes,” Ali motions to the bed, “and pick which ones you like; I’ll be back in a little bit to see how you’re doing. Okay?”
“Okay then. I’ll leave you to it then,” Ali says as she turns and leaves the room, shutting the door behind her.
# # #
I quick finish pulling on my own shirt. “Come in.”
The door opens and Ali sticks her head around, “You decent? Matt wants to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I’m decent.”
“Okay. I’ll send him in.”
She leaves, and a few moments later, Matt sticks his head in. “Can I come in?”
Matt opens the door wider and comes in. “You look much better than you did earlier. But, anyway, I saw that you didn’t eat much at dinner, so I thought I’d bring you some food.” He holds out a tray of food. “It’s just some orange juice and plain oatmeal, but my mom says those are good for you and the baby.”
“Thanks,” I say as I take the tray of food from him.
“So, um…If you ever need to talk, I’m just down the hall, right past the bathroom. Just in case you ever…um…need to talk…or…whatever. Okay? Well, I’ve got to go do some of my homework, so I’ll see you later.”
He turns, and as he is about to leave, I say, “Matt?” He turns around and looks at me. “Um…Thanks,” I say to him.
“Yeah…um…You’re welcome,” he states as he turns around and leaves the room, shutting the door softly behind him.
After he leaves, I sit down on the bed and start to eat the food he brought for me.
As I am finishing up the last of the oatmeal, Ali sticks her head in, “I see you got the food before Matt ate it all.”
I set the spoon down after the last bite of oatmeal. “It was good, thank you.”
Ali sees that I am done eating, and comes in to take the tray.
“Do you need anything else, or would you like to go to sleep?”
“I think I’ll go to bed, I’m feeling pretty tired.”
“Okay, well then, good night.”
# # #
I awake with a start. It is pitch black outside the window. The clock on the nightstand reads 11:50 p.m. As I try to figure out what woke me, I am hit with a very painful contraction. Shoot! I think as I try to sit up, and a wave of nausea sweeps through me. I fall back on the bed. I then carefully roll myself out of bed, and crawl to the door. About halfway there, I collapse with another contraction. I must have screamed, because as I look up, I see Matt and Ali in the doorway.
Matt says, concerned, “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” as he hurries to my side.
“The baby! It’s coming!” I cry as he picks me up and tells Ali to call an ambulance. He then carries me into the kitchen, and gently lays me down on the table.
I scream as another contraction hits. “Shh…It’s going to be okay…” he murmurs as he gently squeezes my hand.
By now, the whole house is awake. Tom comes into the kitchen, followed by Tess. Tess looks at Matt, and starts to ask a question, but Tom quiets her with a glance.
I scream yet again, as another contraction hits me. I squeeze Matt’s hand as the contraction sweeps through me. A few seconds later, Ali comes into the kitchen from outside, followed by some EMTs carrying a stretcher between them. They quickly put the stretcher’s wheels on the floor, pick me up, and set me gently on the stretcher. I continue to hold Matt’s hand, as if it were my only lifeline. The EMTs try to get me to let go of Matt, but I refuse as another contraction hits. They finally give up, and start to wheel me out the door, into the waiting ambulance. As Matt follows me into the ambulance, one of the EMTs tries to tell him to get out.
But, Matt responds by saying, “No, I stay. I will not leave her.”
“Only family members are allowed, sorry,” replies the second EMT, who is now putting an oxygen mask on me.
“I’m the father, and the only family she has now. Deal with it!”
“Fine, but stay out of the way,” replies the first EMT. To the driver, he says, “Let’s go!” as he closes the doors to the ambulance. The sirens start to wail, as we start off down the street towards the hospital.
When we arrive at the hospital, some orderlies come up to the ambulance with a wheelchair. They help me into the wheelchair, and roll me into the ER.
Matt stays with me through the birthing. I feel grateful for his suppot.
# # #
I push one final time, and flop back on the bed. “Congratulations! It’s a boy!” says the doctor.
At last, my baby boy is born, and I am exhausted.
“What are you going to name him?” asks Matt as the nurse hands me my baby.
I look down at the face of my perfect baby boy. “I don’t know. What do you think I should name him?”
“I think you should name him after his father,” Matt says.
“Okay, but calling him Luke Russell Zimmerman would confuse people.”
“Well, how about Lukas Russell Zimmerman?”
“Lukas Russell,” I mutter to myself. “How do you like it, little one? It is your name after all.”
Just then, my baby opens his eyes. “I’ll take that as a yes,” I mutter. “Lukas Russell Zimmerman it is, then.”
# # #
...TO BE CONTINUED (in Chapter 2)...