title based on the song "Skyscraper" - forth in the "One Life, One Love" series
|16-year-old Izzy let out a whine as she rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom for the fourth time this week. Groaning, she leaned over the toilet and threw up, shaking from the lack of food in her stomach. This was the fourth night in a row she had gotten sick like this. She was starting to get worried.
“Sis? Are you…oh gosh, not again,” her brother Niklas said from the doorway.
Izzy let out a slight laugh and turned her head to look at her brother.
“Yep, fourth time this week. And it’s happened at night every time,” she complained.
Niklas knelt next to her and started rubbing her back, the way their mom used to do.
Izzy bit back the tears in her eyes as thoughts of her mother came into her head.
“What would momma do,” she whispered, wiping at her eyes so Niklas couldn’t see her tears.
Her brother –after making sure she was done getting sick- pulled her into his lap and held her, rubbing her back all the while.
“She’d take care of you exactly the way I would take care of you,” he replied.
Izzy giggled and rested her head on her brother’s chest, feeling sleepy.
“I guess you’re a momma’s boy then huh?”
Niklas blushed and shook his head.
“No, I wasn’t. I just loved her,” he retorted.
At around 7:30 that next morning, Niklas came downstairs where his girlfriend, Katrina, was making breakfast. He snuck up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“Morning baby,” he said, kissing her neck gently.
Katrina gasped at the touch and quickly turned her head to look at him.
“Hi handsome. You look awfully cute this morning. How’s your sister,” she said, turning in his arms to give him a quick kiss on the lips.
Niklas blushed bright red at her comments.
“I’m actually not cute, but thank you for noticing. Um, she got sick again last night. I was wondering if you could…”
“…Take her to the doctors while you’re at practice? You got it baby. I know the routine,” she teased, rubbing his neck.
Niklas stuck out his tongue.
“That’s no call to be mean, Kattie,” he teased back.
“Your breakfast is almost ready. Sit down while I finish and then you eat while I check on your sister. I have a feeling I know what’s wrong with her,” she continued as she poured the hot tea water over the oatmeal.
Niklas frowned and stared at his girlfriend.
“What? What’s wrong with her,” he questioned, raising his eyebrows.
Katrina put a few drops of brown sugar in the bowl and stirred it before replying.
“I think she’s pregnant. I know how that whole thing works,” she said as she placed the bowl in front of her boyfriend.
Niklas nearly choked on his water.
“Pregnant?!?! Oh my gosh, she can’t be pregnant. She’s only 16,” he whined.
Katrina grabbed his face in her hands and looked him in the eyes.
“You’ve heard of teenaged pregnancies, love. It is possible for her to be pregnant at 16. Everyone makes mistakes but she’ll grow up fast. She always has, you know that as well as anyone,” she said in her soft voice.
“I know that teenaged girls can get pregnant, but not my sister. She told me time and time again she would wait until she was married. Unless someone hurt her in that way or she was manipulated, than she can’t be pregnant. If she is, then I’ll be the big brother I am and help her take care of this baby. I’ve always taken care of the people I love and that isn’t changing anytime soon,” Niklas replied in a fierce whisper.
Katrina smiled and ran a hand through his long dark brown hair.
“You’ve always been a sweetheart like that,” she said, smiling.
Izzy came into the room dressed in her brother’s jersey, a pair of jeans, and her snow boots. She had come in just as Katrina made the comment and she laughed.
“That’s true. He’s always been that way. I’ve learned that from him,” she added as she pressed a kiss to Niklas’s cheek.
Niklas shook his head at her.
“Love, I…I think you…..you learned that from momma,” he stuttered, trying to take the attention of himself.
Izzy exchanged a smile with Katrina, loving how her brother was so humble all the time. She knew she couldn’t ask for a better brother.
“Oh, stop it! You gotta give yourself credit. I knew you better than...than I knew momma,” she retorted.
Niklas let out a groan.
“I know that, Izzy. And when did I not give myself credit?”
“I……..it just seems like you don’t all the time. You’re always blaming yourself for things that aren’t really your fault,” Izzy replied, biting back tears.
Niklas pulled her into a hug.
“I try not to blame myself but it’s hard. I don’t really like getting other people in trouble.”
Izzy frowned and pushed away a bit to look him in the eyes.
“So you put all the trouble on you? Nicky, come on. Then that isn’t fair to you.”
Niklas quickly finished his oatmeal and glanced at the clock.
“Anything you want to me to tell Hank at practice girlie,” he asked.
“Tell him he needs to come over so I can kick his ass in Smash Bros,” was her reply.
Niklas and Katrina burst out laughing and Niklas messed up her hair.
“He’s gonna hate you for that,” he warned as he picked up his bag.
“Hate me? Nicky I’ve beat him more than once in that game. He hasn’t hated me yet,” she reminded him. Niklas rolled his eyes.
“Ok, squirt. Say what you will. Be a good girl for Kat okay,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
“I’m always good, bro. You be careful at practice. Try not to make Zetta mad,” she teased, winking at him.
Niklas blushed bright red.
“Shut it,” he scolded, kissing Katrina good bye before he walked out the door.
“MAKE ME SHUT IT, BRO,” she yelled after him.
There was no reply so Izzy sighed and sat down in one of the kitchen chairs. She felt just tired and weak. This wasn’t like her. Something was going on.
Katrina, frowning, sat next to her and rubbed her arm gently.
“Is there anything you want to tell me before we go to the doctors,” she asked softly.
Izzy’s eyes widened and she shook her head, her hands shaking.
“No, Kattie, there isn’t anything I need to tell you.”
Katrina could tell that Izzy was lying but she didn’t push the issue farther. It surprised her that Izzy would lie. She had never lied about things before, not even when she was little. If she did something wrong or something happened to her, she’d always tell the whole truth. Was she embarrassed about whatever it was that had happened to her? Was she scared of getting in trouble or hurt?
“Ok, if that is the way you want to do it, that’s fine. Do you want to eat before we leave?”
Izzy shook her head.
“I ate right after I got sick this morning, so no I’m not hungry.”
Katrina gave her a look.
“How many times have I told you not to eat right after you get sick? That makes it worse, sweetie,” she scolded.
Izzy blushed and turned her head away, tears running down her face. She felt embarrassed, hurt, and upset. She was having a rough week but she knew better than to take her anger out on anyone.
“I’m sorry, Kattie. I was really weak and could barely stand. I thought eating was going to help,” she whispered.
Katrina softened in an instant and hugged her instead. She mentally scolded herself for yelling at Izzy. She knew yelling at her was only going to make things worse.
“I’m sorry, Izzy. I’m just really worried about you and I snapped. I love you no matter what, okay? Now, let’s go get ready to go,” she said.
As she helped Izzy find her coat, there was one thought that kept running through her mind.
–God, please let her be okay. Please let her be okay-
At the doctor’s office, Izzy sat nervously in one of the dark blue chairs. This was the one place in the world she didn’t want to be right now. She’d rather be at practice watching her friends play the game they loved, but instead they were here.
“I don’t want to be here,” she mumbled, hoping Katrina hadn’t heard her.
Katrina turned from the book she was reading to look at her “sister” with concerned brown eyes.
“I know you don’t, love, but Nicky and I want you to get better. We don’t like seeing our sister sick,” she said soothingly.
Izzy smiled a bit at that and reached for Katrina’s hand, squeezing it. She was trying to put on a brave face but she knew she was failing miserably. All she wanted was to get better. Being sick was one of worse things in the world to her.
It felt like forever, but finally the doctor- Dr. Olivia Sore-came out.
“Hello, Izzy, Katrina. You wanted to come in to see me,” she asked, holding out her hand.
Izzy swallowed hard and took her hand, shaking it.
“Yes, ma’am, we did. I think something is very wrong with me,” she replied.
Dr. Sore smiled and led the two of them into her room, closing the door behind her.
“Can you sit in that chair for me, love?”
Izzy obeyed and sat down, taking off her coat as she did so.
Dr. Sore sat down next to her and placed the pad of paper in her lap.
“You think something is wrong, Izzy? Tell me what you’re feeling,” she said.
Izzy looked down at the floor for a long minute before looking back up at her.
“I’ve gotten sick four days in a row this week. And each time, it’s been at night,” she replied.
Dr. Sore wrote that down on her pad and frowned.
“At night every time? Hm, that’s interesting. Are you currently on any medication of any kind?”
Izzy shook her head.
Dr. Sore added that to her notes before looking up again.
“Have you been eating right the last couple days? Have you eaten any stale food at all?”
Izzy frowned and wrung her hands, really just wishing it would be over quickly.
“Unless you mean eating a brown spot on an apple, than no I haven’t. My brother knows when food goes stale so he’ll make us throw it out. So I haven’t eaten anything rotten recently,” she replied.
A half an hour later, the doctor came back in. She looked like she was smiling.
“Well, Izzy, we did some testing on you and we’ve found out why you’ve been getting sick the past few days. You’re pregnant.”
At the word pregnant, Izzy’s world flipped upside down. Pregnant at 16? This was unbelievable.
“P-pregnant? Are you s-sure you have the r-right results, Doctor? There is no way I can be pregnant,” Izzy stuttered, shaking nervously. What would her brother think of her now? He’d be helping her with her struggles with autism all her life, but was he going to help her out with this?
Dr. Sore shook her head and sat next to her, taking the young girl’s hand in hers.
“Yes, I have the right results Izzy. You are pregnant. You’re about three weeks along.”
Izzy’s head began to spin and she nearly fell off her chair. She had never felt worse than she did right now. Why, out of all the possibilities that it could have been, why did it have to be that? Of course her dream was to be a mother, but not at this young of an age. She felt a hand steadying her and looked up.
Katrina was there next to her, soothingly rubbing her back.
“Sh, it’s okay love. Nicky and I will help you take care of this baby, no matter how it was created. We’re not letting you abort it, got it?”
Izzy nodded. It wasn’t like the idea of abortion had crossed her mind in the first place.
“I had never thought about aborting it in the first place, Kattie. I know abortion is wrong no matter what happened. I’m not aborting this baby for anything in the world,” she told her firmly, blue eyes flashing.
Katrina laughed and hugged her.
“Looks like we taught you well, didn’t we,” she asked, helping Izzy up.
The young girl nodded, but she hadn’t really been paying attention to Katrina’s question. The only thing that crossed her mind was: I hope Nicky will still be supportive.
When Niklas got home from practice that day, he noticed there was something different about his sister. Usually when he got home, she was there running into his arms and attacking him with questions.
It was even stranger that he had Hank right behind me and she didn’t say anything. He frowned and made his way to her chair.
“Izzy? Sis, I’m home,” he said, gently tapping her shoulder.
Izzy blushed and looked up, her eyes red from crying.
“Sorry, Nicky, I guess I was deep in thought and didn’t hear you,” she explained, waving at Hank.
Hank smiled and came over, giving her a tight hug before pulling away and frowning at her face.
“Have you been crying? Oh my goodness, you never cry. What’s wrong,” he asked, worry chewing at his stomach.
Izzy swallowed hard and lowered her eyes for a long minute.
“I’m pregnant,” she finally blurted out before her cheeks heated up again and she buried her head in her hands.
Nicky stumbled over backwards and Hank stared at her, shock written across his face. The word pregnant would normally excite them (of course they were excited now) but they looked shocked and scared in this case. They were even shocked the word came out of her mouth. This is Izzy, the girl who loved hockey and had vowed to not have sex until she was married.
This was Izzy, the girl that took a long time to trust or even become friends with someone. How could a girl so sweet and so innocent suddenly become a teenaged mother?
“P-pregnant? You’ve got to be kidding me! Sis, you told me time and time again you weren’t going to have anything to do with that until you were married! Do you realize what it’s going to do to your life now,” Niklas asked, his hands shaking with shock and a bit of anger.
Izzy whimpered at his tone of voice and Hank was quick to give his teammate a hard smack on the arm.
“Kronner quit it! You’re scaring her,” he hissed as he took Izzy’s hand.
Niklas blushed and looked down at the floor.
"I know this was a shock to you as well as me,” Hank continued, “but you should know by now that with autism, she can shrink inside herself and not want to answer to you.”
Niklas chewed on his lip for a minute and started to calm down.
“I’m sorry sis. I didn’t mean to yell. I was just shocked.”
When Izzy nodded at him, he continued.
“What happened, Izzy? I thought you were going to stay away from that.”
Izzy’s eyes filled with tears again and she looked away. Hank gave her hand a squeeze and ever so gently turned her face towards him.
“Did someone hurt you? Is that what happened,” he asked softly.
Izzy chewed on her lip for a few more minutes before finally meeting his eyes.
“Yes...I was raped,” she said before bursting into loud sobs and burying her face in Hank’s chest.
Hank gently moved her, sat down in the chair and pulled her into his lap, letting her sob into his shirt as he rubbed her back.
Niklas was stunned by this second bombshell. So not only was his sister pregnant, but this baby was created out of a crime? Why did this world have to be so cruel to kids like her? His blood was boiling but he managed to hold in his anger for the sake of his sister.
“Sissy…what exactly happened,” he asked as calmly as he could.
Izzy swallowed hard and lifted her eyes to look at him. She couldn’t bring herself to move from Hank as seeing that Nicky was in no place to hold her at the moment and his hand on her back was the one thing to keep her from going crazy.
“I was walking home from Cassie’s party. I had called you a few minutes before that I was on my way but that my phone was dying so don’t text me. On my way home, I decided to stop and get an ice cream. While I was in there, there was a middle aged man about Hank’s height who kept staring at me. I felt uncomfortable but I waved it off as sometimes I’ll stare at people without meaning too. I had finished my ice cream and was about a few steps out the door when he grabbed my arm. I tensed up but he told me he meant no harm and asked if he could walk me home. I said no, but then when he told me at night was when the criminals come out and could pounce on a young girl like me in seconds, I gave in. I didn’t want to get hurt and I had seen enough in the news about it to know. About halfway home, he found an alley and said this was a shortcut to the house. Like an ass, I followed him in.
Well, the minute we got into the alley, he slammed me into the wall and covered my mouth. I tried to scream but he quickly shushed me, promising me he wouldn’t harm me. He then grabbed my shirt and unbuttoned it quickly. I now knew what was going on and fought him. I kicked, screamed, bit, and hit at him but nothing worked. Finally, he got my pants off. “Just be a good little girl and it won’t hurt” he told me soothingly. And then he……….he………”
Izzy burst into loud sobs again and couldn’t finish her sentence, but both boys knew what she meant to say. She buried her face in Hank’s shirt again and sobbed hysterically.
Hank rubbed her back soothingly, but he let her cry it out. He knew from experience it was better for her if she cried it out.
Niklas was shaking with fury and he had to bite his tongue hard so that he wouldn’t swear. He had never wanted to kill anyone as much as he wanted to kill the man who had raped his sister. He had heard about rapes before and had always gotten mad, but when it was his sister and not only his sister but on top of that a kid with autism? A girl that so easily in some cases trust people? He couldn’t figure out what kind of sick person could rape a disabled girl. All he knew was that this man, whoever he was, was going to die.
It was about a month later that Katrina and Izzy were sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting to be admitted into the room. Today was the day they were going to find out what gender the baby was going to be.
Izzy’s leg was bouncing up and down nervously as she waited for the doctor to show up. The one place she hated more than school was the doctors, but wearing the jersey Niklas had gotten her for her birthday last year made her feel better. It was a little funny how wearing a certain piece of clothing could calm someone down, isn’t it?
“Why can’t they hurry up? I want to find out and be done,” Izzy whined, shifting in her seat as her anxiety began to kick in.
Katrina looked up from her phone and gently placed a hand on her leg.
“She’s coming soon, love. Just be patient,” she told her.
Izzy huffed and crossed her arms, pouting.
“It’s hard to be patient when you have anxiety,” she muttered.
Katrina softened and gently pulled her into her lap, not caring that others were staring. She knew that someone holding Izzy would always calm her down, no matter how big or little the problem was.
“I know you’re scared, but try and calm down. You’ll be fine, I promise. I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” she said. Suddenly, the teenager sitting across from them snickered. Izzy’s head shot up and she gave him a dark glare.
“What’s so funny,” she demanded, crossing her arms.
The teenaged boy met her gaze and gave her a cocky smile.
“How old are you and you’re still sitting in people’s laps,” he asked.
Izzy let out a growl and clenched her fist to keep it from shaking.
“I’m 16 and for your information, it calms me down when I do it. So why don’t you back off,” she snapped.
The boy paled a little at the bite in her voice and shuddered before turning his head away. Now, it was Izzy who smirked.
“That’s what I thought.”
Just then, Dr. Sore came out.
She was wearing a huge smile and held out her hand at Izzy.
“Come on back, my dear. You wanted to know the gender today, correct,” she asked as Izzy pushed herself off Katrina’s lap.
The teenaged girl nodded and followed the doctor back. She hopped up onto the table and lay down, pushing her shirt up a little.
Dr. Sore laughed.
“You know what to do without me asking,” she questioned as she grabbed the gel from the cabinet next to her.
“I’ve watched enough T.V shows to know,” she replied as the doctor rubbed the gel on her stomach.
Dr. Sore smiled and shook her head before placing her little stick on Izzy’s stomach and turning on the large T.V like screen.
“You are one smart girl,” she teased as Izzy’s cheeks heated up in pleasure.
The girl lay there quietly, deep in thought about the future. She knew Nicky was going to be a great uncle no matter what and so was Hank. They had both promised to take care of Izzy’s child when Izzy couldn’t be there. She was looking forward to becoming a mom that was for sure.
A soft “ah-ah” from the doctor made her look up.
“Well, congratulations, my dear. It looks like you are having a baby girl,” she said happily.
Izzy squealed and pushed the top of herself up so she could see the screen. Seeing her “baby” for the first time was amazing, even if it was coming from a T.V screen. As she got out her phone to text Nicky the results, she couldn’t help but smile. She knew that she was going to have hard times in life, but she knew those tough times were going to make her stronger…like a skyscraper.