“No, sweetheart, that’s not what I’m saying. I am telling you that I was not a perfect mother. Katie, I
have made thousands of mistakes, literally, and continue to do so. You don’t know how many times I
have cried until my head ached or prayed that my son would thrive with the worst mother alive. I’m
saying that if you choose to keep this baby, you will feel these same feelings and more. I am saying
that even though it will be the hardest thing you may ever do, it’s worth it. I wouldn’t go back and
change a thing. I love being a mother, and I think you would be an incredible mother. You just need to
decide if that is what is right for you, at this point in your life. But no matter what you choose, I know
that you have two young men in there that will support you one hundred percent. Not every young
mother has that.”
Katie wiped at her eyes. “I worry that I’m ruining their lives. They shouldn’t have to take care of me.”
Mrs. A smiled, “I have seen so much growth out of both Liam and Cole. Don’t worry about them, Katie.
If they didn’t want to be there, they wouldn’t. They love you, and so do I.”
“Thanks, Mrs. A,” Katie said softly. “I think I am going to go outside for a little bit.”
“Oh honey, I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Katie nodded. “I know, I just need some air.”
Katie knew that Mrs. A was looking on with concern as she crossed the house and went into the
backyard. After closing the sliding glass door, Katie blew out the breath she had been holding. Tears
began to slip down her face, and she knew that she needed to get away from the house.
Mrs. A wasn’t the only one bringing up adoption. Her therapist Dr. Franklin had also been advocating
for that choice, not to mention the school counselor. Much of what they said about adoption made
sense to Katie.
Yes, the baby would likely have opportunities that she couldn’t give it. She was young, inexperienced,
and until recently not very trustworthy.
Katie closed her eyes as she thought about the drinking and partying, and even sometimes drugs.
Images flashed through her mind. Things that she wished she could unsee, or better yet undo.
When her parents were alive things were different. She had friends. She got good grades, and even
managed to stay on the honor roll. But after their unexpected deaths, everything was too much. She
felt too hard, needed a release from the pain that wouldn’t stop no matter how hard she tried.
That’s what started the drinking. She would slip downstairs while Liam was asleep and break into their
parent’s liquor cabinet. It wasn’t like they were going to use it. At least that’s what she had told herself.
Then when Liam found out, she began to lie about it. He must have remembered wrong, she’d snap
angrily. Then the waterworks came, followed by a screaming match and would eventually wear her out
and she would promise never ever to get into it again.
But it did happen again, and again.
The parties started soon after that. There it was completely acceptable to drink your worries away. Hell,
it was encouraged. If your drink was close to being low, somebody was there to fill it up.
The sex, that was also a new escape. Her first time had been terrible, nothing that she wanted to
repeat. But as she kept chasing numbness, it became another way to escape.
Katie’s hands went to her belly. She had walked to the far corner of the back yard where Mrs. A’s fence
met her own. Shame washed over her has she thought about how freely she had given her body to
Cole the night before.
He must think that she was a slut. Katie felt like her heart was breaking, but she wouldn’t fall back into
those old habits, she couldn’t. Dr. Franklin had been teaching her other strategies, that’s what he called
them. Tricks that she could use so that she didn’t fall back into old habits.
Somehow Katie didn’t think that counting to ten could cut it. What hurt the most was that she wasn’t
trying to escape with Cole. Katie honestly had feelings for him.
“Hey, are you okay?”
As if she had conjured him up with her thoughts, Cole appeared by her side.
Katie nodded, but keep her face averted. She knew that she wasn’t a pretty crier. Cole didn’t need to
see the snotty mess she had become.
He held out a bunch of toilet paper. “Um, we didn’t have any tissues. I hope this is okay.”
It was approximately the size of a basketball. Katie couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up inside of
her. She took the massive bunch saying, “Thank you.”
He tugged on her elbow and Katie reluctantly turned in his direction.
He cleared his throat, bringing Katie’s gaze up to his. She knew that she looked horrible. But was
surprised her was how serious he looked. A moment of panic gripped her. Was he trying to find a way
to let her down easy?
“Katie, about last night,” he began.
“Oh, it’s not big deal,” she interjected. “Don’t worry about it.”
“It’s not?” Instead of looking relieved, he looked confused.
Katie plowed on. “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”
“Katie,” he started again.
But Katie couldn’t hear him say it. The last thing she wanted from Cole was pity. It would literally shatter
her. She couldn’t take it.
“No, really, I don’t want it ruin anything,” she rambled on.
Cole’s expression looked pained. “I don’t either.”
“Can we just not talk about it?” she pleaded.
Cole searched her face and she could have sworn he saw right through her words. It was a big deal to
her. He meant everything to her. As much as she wanted to say this and so much more, Katie
Then suddenly she felt a sharp thump on her belly.
“What is it?” Cole exclaimed. “Are you alright?”
Katie’s hand flew to the spot on her belly. “Yeah, I think the baby just moved.”
Cole’s expression cleared and a soft smile replaced his worried look.
“That’s awesome Katie-bug.”
Impulsively, Katie reached out and grabbed his large hand. Placing it over the spot she waited to see if
Cole could feel the same thing she had.
“What’s going on?” Liam’s voice had to the two of them jumping apart.
That movement alone had Liam’s brows shooting into his hairline.
“The baby moved,” Katie said with excitement. “I tried to see if Cole could feel it, but it didn’t happen
Liam smiled at Katie. “That’s so cool. Is it still moving around?”
Katie shook her head. “No, do you suppose something is wrong?’
Both boys shook their head.
“Remember the baby is still pretty small,” Liam added. “We read about that in your pregnancy book.
Anyhow, I am glad you are okay. It was weird seeing you guys like that.”
Cole let out a strangled laugh while I frowned. “Like what?”
Liam shrugged. “I dunno. It was just weird and couple-like. That would be fucking crazy. It doesn’t
matter. Let’s play some hoops.”
Cole turned to leave with Liam, so I called out, “I am going to head home. I am getting tired.”
The boys said goodnight and went to the basketball court in Cole’s backyard. Katie couldn’t help but
take one last look before she crossed into her own backyard. As she did, Katie saw that Cole was
staring straight at her with an intent expression.
She gave him a small wave and then she was gone.