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Teenage Pregnancy: Part 2

“You know Brooke, Landon thoroughly enjoys you coming to his games.” Mrs. Hetter said in her normally chatty manner, “I feel that he always does better when you’re here. You’re like a good luck charm.” She winked at me while nursing her hot coffee. Two creams and one sugar was the way to go. She had told me all about how she had come to this conclusion during her college years.



I tried to smile, but it probably came out as more of a grimace. I couldn’t help but think that this would be the last time she would smile at me like that. She saw me as her son’s young, innocent girlfriend. After tonight, she would never look at me with those soft blue eyes again. I would be a disgrace to her.


Today was the day that Landon and I had decided to tell our parents about our little secret. After his game they were going to come over to my house and we would break the news to them. Our mothers would probably cry out of sadness for what our lives would become, or that’s what they would say. My dad would yell at Landon, blaming it all on him while his dad would probably yell at me, blaming it all on me. Both of our dads have tempers, and to be honest, I’m nervous as to what Landon’s dad may do to him when they go home afterwards.


I sipped my hot chocolate and sighed, I might as well enjoy this last peaceful afternoon while it lasts. I looked through the glass and saw number 19 handling the puck. He dodged past one guy who tried to take the puck away, and in that moment, I couldn’t help but think that maybe that would be my little son in 8 years out on that ice. As time slowed down, I saw Landon bring his stick back, and then I saw the puck glide slowly through the air, straight into the goalies net. As the crowd got on their feet and screamed, I wrapped my blanket tighter around me. My mind wondered off into the possible future, I could see my daughter, 5 years from now, kicking the soccer ball into the net. It’s sad how your mind wanders off into darkness.



I stood up, realizing that I was out of place just sitting there, and listened to Mr. Hetter yell “That’s my boy!” in slow motion.



“Will he still be yelling that tonight?” I thought



I watched as the fans clapped slowly. I observed a man’s hands meeting together after each clap, keeping a rhythm, as if his hands were the clock ticking. Ticking. Ticking and ticking. Ticking my life away.



I looked out onto the ice to see a huddle of 16 year old boys holding their sticks proudly in the air, with no worries at all. I saw one break free from the huddle, number 19, and registered that as Landon as he pointed happily at me, as if saying “This one’s for you.”



I wanted to smile, but I couldn’t. I felt miserable. I pulled my knit hat tighter around my ears, sat back down as the crowd did, and readjusted my blanket around my shoulders.



I felt a playful shove on my shoulder, “See I told you you’re his good luck charm.” Mrs. Hetter laughed



* * *


In the car ride home I felt lost. I had no idea what was to come tonight, and thousands of possible scenarios floated through my head.



Mrs. Hetter turned around in her seat, “I’m just so proud of you honey,” She said to Landon, brown hair draping over her shoulders, “Scoring the only goal of the whole game is just fantastic! You haven’t scored in weeks, so I’m sure that felt great!”



Landon smiled; he has the same smile as his mom, and nodded in agreement. I could feel his eyes on me, but I just stared off into the distance. He grabbed my hand and squeezed it.



I looked over at him as he grinned a reassuring smile. I looked away.



“Landon knows nothing.” Was all I could think. He knows nothing of what’s to come. Right now he’s just some teenage boy who scored the winning goal of a hockey game, as if that’s the most important thing in life. In a few hours he’ll be a miserable teenage boy, telling his parents he got a girl pregnant. In a few months he’ll be a teenage father.

It’s funny how time can change things.


I looked at Landon.

Would he take it back? That’s the question I’d like to ask him.



Landon leaned over next to me, “Whatchya thinkin’?”



I looked into his sparkling brown eyes, “Nothing.” I said, but thought about how this could be the last time that I ever see his brown eyes sparkle.



“So that was a pretty sick goal I had out there, right?” He smiled broadly, a smile that I’d learned to love.

“Oh just the sickest of sick, man.” I said in a joking voice.


He leaned in closer towards my ear and whispered, “Ah, I see you’re back to your old self.”


I tried to respond, but I couldn’t. My throat had closed up, and I tried to swallow.


“Back to my old self?!” I wanted to yell at him.

“I will never be back to my old self.” I thought. I will never go back to being a normal highschooler. There will be no Friday night football games without a child inside of me or in my arms. There will be no walking down the hallways without being judged by every single person at school ever again. There will never be cute movie dates and hot make out sessions with a boyfriend who I could just forget about in college because that boyfriend will be my baby’s father. There will never be dinner with Landon’s family ever again, because they will hate me. There will never be a normal high school life for me again. I will never be normal again. I will never be “back to my old self”. Ever.


I looked at him, taking it all in: his puppy dog eyes, his messy long hair, his crooked nose, and mole above his lip. His broad smile would become rarer and rarer in the coming months, until it was almost extinct. His bright eyes would become hard with anger and sadness at what his life had become. His words would become rough with rage at what I’d done to him. He would spit them out in anger on how I’d ruined his life.


“I’m sorry.” I whispered, inches from his face


He frowned, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” He said and squeezed my hand while reaching for the other one, trying to reassure me that everything would be alright. But that’s just thing, nothing will ever be alright again.


“Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry.” I told myself. If I cried, Mrs. Hetter would ask what was wrong with me, and she wasn’t supposed to be asking that until dinner tonight, for Landon and I would be sitting in awkward silence, deciding when to break the news.

I looked out of the ice coated window. I saw few people out on the streets on this cold Minnesota day. A man bundled up in a snowsuit walked the icy sidewalk. Each warm breath he exhaled reminded me that I needed to inhale and exhale as well. My heart needed to stop pounding so fast, and I just needed to breath. I looked through shop windows and saw people carrying on their usual day. A woman trimmed a man’s long hair, each snip of the scissors snipping away my life. I saw a child throwing a tantrum through a daycare window. Each scream pierced my ears even more than the last. Each scream a reminder of my future. A snow blower held by the hands of an elderly man seemed to be blowing away my life. Blowing my life into the chilling wind, away forever.

Mrs. Hetter’s proper voice interrupted my nightmarish thoughts, “Brooke darling, what would you like us to bring to the little dinner tonight?”

“More like what would you like to bring to the world ending, earth shattering dinner tonight?” I thought

“Um, I guess a salad would be nice.” I mumbled, not really caring at all what she would bring, just wishing she wouldn’t show up at all and that it was all just a big misunderstanding.

“I will make my famous Caesar salad then.” Mrs. Hetter nodded as if approving of her own choice.

“Mom, it’s really not that famous, and if it was, it wouldn’t be famous because of you, considering it’s Aunt Lucille’s recipe.”

“Honey, please, you honestly don’t think that I don’t add my own touch to it?” Mrs. Hetter responded matter-of-factly, “Now pipe it down, this is my favorite song.” She reached for the volume knob on the car and cranked up an old Elton John song.

I frowned, realizing that the day could only go down from here.

*
*
*


“Please set the table, Brooke.” My mom said, reaching for the dish soap.


I stood on my tiptoes and grabbed the plates from the upper cabinet, then I headed towards the table with them.


“Brooke,” My mom said my name in a scolding tone, “Not those ones, the nice ones that grams gave to us on my wedding night.”


She pointed towards the dining room, as I set the plates back in the cabinet and stomped off, already feeling stressed about the dinner.


I marched back into the kitchen to set the table with the plates that would hopefully be good enough for my mother’s high demands.


“What’s with the attitude?” My mom asked while scrubbing a pan in hot water.


“Nothing.” I mumbled while forcefully pulling and tugging on a silverware drawer that refused to open. “Why does this stupid thing never work?” I yelled between strenuous pulls on it.


“Here let me get that,” My mom wiped her apron and with a visibly well thought out procedure consisting of twists of the handle and pushes on the door, she pulled out the drawer. She handed me the forks and knives and went back to washing dishes. “Obviously something’s bothering you sweetie, so spill the beans.”


“Oh,” I thought, “There will be plenty of ‘bean spilling’ tonight.”


I let out an exasperated sigh, “I just don’t understand why we’re making such a big fuss out of some stupid dinner. And why we have to use the stupid dining room plates.” I began to vent, “And why, in the seven years that we’ve been living in this house, that no one has bothered to fix the stupid silverware drawer. I mean, that’s kind of an essential part of our everyday lives, considering we have three meals each day that require silverware. So why not just fix the freaking drawer?”


“You do make a good case about the silverware drawer; you will have to present that to the handyman of the house.” My mom joked, “But as for this ‘stupid dinner’ situation, I do recall you being the one who wanted to have it. It seemed rather important to you when you first brought it up to me, considering you didn’t want your sister to be a part of it.” My mom arched an eyebrow, as if questioning my newfound attitude about the meal.


I let out another sigh, “Well I just thought it’d be nice to have a dinner with Landon and his parents, considering we don’t do that very often.” I lied.

My mom smiled, “Yes, I think it is a nice idea. You’re obviously very stressed about it, but I don’t know why because I know that on multiple occasions Mrs. Hetter told me that she loves you. Why don’t you go ahead and get ready for it? Landon and his family should be here in about an hour.”


That’s my mom for you. She always knows has to make me feel better.

* * *


An hour later I forced myself back up the stairs. I felt like I was knowingley leading myself to my death, just like in the old poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” I had put on a nice loose fitting dress. One that said classy rather than trashy. I didn’t bother to put on shoes, considering I would be in my own house, but the instant my mom questioned that, I threw on a pair of boots.

“You look really nice Brookie,” My mom smiled at me, she herself wearing a flattering black dress, “The boots pull the whole outfit together.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled, checking the old grandfather clock and realizing that the Hetter’s should have gotten here ten minutes ago. Just on cue to my thoughts, bright lights flashed our front windows as Landon and his parents arrived fashionably late in his dad’s red sports car.

“Now, Brooke, don’t be nervous, Mrs. Hetter loves you. And so does Mr. Hetter, even if he’s more reserved about it. Just be yourself honey, you have no worries.” My mom said to me.

And for the moment, I had no worries. My boyfriend’s family and mine were having a formal dinner. It would be fun, everyone would crack jokes. It would be normal. I convinced myself of this.

“Would you look at that,” My dad grumbled to my mom, “Our daughters been dating the damn man’s son for two years now, and he still feels the need to show off their wealth to us in a shiny sports car.”

“Dad,” I turned around angrily, “He drives that thing everywhere. Now could you please try to get along with him?”

My dad and Mr. Hetter have a long history. Mr. Hetter runs a real estate agency that my dad used to work for. My dad started his life on a poor farm in Ohio and rose to become a big time realtor here in Minnesota. Mr. Hetter used to be my dad’s boss, and my dad was his most praised realtor. When my dad worked for Mr. Hetter, he knew everything that was going on, he is very intelligent. With the housing market crash in 2007, every housing agency across America started to suffer, except one. Hetter & Co. While house values were decreasing and people were being laid off left and right, Hetter & Co. was prospering. People were getting raises in salaries, and monthly bonuses. My dad knew something was wrong and when he finally figured it out, he quit his job and started his own company, ‘Jones’ Inc.’ I figured this all out by listening through the vents in the walls, and overhearing conversations between my mom and dad late at night when they thought that I was asleep. I never once heard them say what Mr. Hetter was doing, I’m assuming, illegally. Well as you would guess, the moment Landon showed up at my front step, my dad didn’t like him. But my dad has been mature enough to not take his grudge out on Landon for Mr. Hetter’s wrong doings are not Landon’s wrong doings.



I watched as Landon and his father, both dressed fashionably in khaki pants and ironed collared shirts, each carrying a plateful of something, got out of their flashy car. I watched Mrs. Hetter step out of her seat, smooth her floral dress, and grab her Caesar salad bowl from the car.


Oh they were dressed nice, but little did Landon’s parents know what they had gotten themselves into.


My mom opened our large glass door, and smiled a broad smile at Mrs. Hetter. “Well don’t you look lovely in that dress, it really flatters you.”


“Thank you very much, Heather, you look lovely yourself.”


As Mr. Hetter came into sight, I whispered to my dad, “It’s only for a couple of hours, so be nice.”


My dad let out a sigh, and greeted Mr. Hetter with a nod as he stepped into our house with a plateful of cookies.



As Landon entered, I realized I’d been holding my breath, and I let it out as he entered. He was unknowingly calming my nerves by looking so handsome on such a stressful night. He also happened to be holding a plate of delicious looking strawberries dipped in chocolate. Once again, everything was presumably normal for the time being.


“Hey Landon,” I smiled a real smile. He came in for a hug and we held each other for an extra second. We looked into each other’s eyes, silently acknowledging the reason of this dinner.


“Come on, let’s go into the kitchen and set those strawberries on the table.” I said, hoping I could catch a moment alone with him so we could discuss how we would bring the topic up at dinner tonight.


“You clean up well,” I joked, trying to ease some of the tension away as we stepped into the bright kitchen.


“You too.” He said automatically, not really acknowledging my comment.


“Uh!” I squeaked, “Are you saying that I didn’t look very clean this morning at your game?” I joked back


“Listen, Brooke, what are we going to say at dinner? How are we gonna bring it up?” He frowned, not noticing my attempt to lighten the mood. I realized that we had switched places since his game this afternoon. Suddenly, I was the silly one trying to lighten the mood, and he was the serious one. The serious one worried to death about how we are going to tell our strict parents our little secret.


I looked up at Landon, took the plate of strawberries and set them on the counter. They didn’t look so appealing anymore with tears in Landon’s eyes.


He looked at me with those water filled eyes and I almost broke down right then and there. Everything was overwhelming me now, the world was spinning and I didn’t know how to stop it. Everything was out of my control. And it was all stupid. Everything was stupid. It was stupid that I couldn’t take one little mistake back without taking a life away. It was stupid that nothing was ever in anyone’s control. That was the stupidest of all stupid things.


“How’s it going in here?” My mom barged in cheerfully. Landon turned away quickly she wouldn’t see the tears in his eyes.


“Great,” I tried to sound cheerful, “Just trying the strawberries I said and shoved a whole one into my mouth, “Mmmmm, they’re delicious,” I said through a mouthful of red.


“Ew, Brooke, clean yourself up.” My mom scolded, “You look like an idiot,” She laughed.


“How are you tonight Landon?” My mom smiled at Landon as he turned back around, tears out of his eyes.


“Oh I’m alright Mrs. Jones, I’m just a little tired from hockey today.”


“I’m sure scoring the winning goal must’ve taken it all out of you.” My mom laughed once again.


“Yeah,” Landon tried to smile, “Well it wasn’t really a winning a goal, it just happened to be the only goal of the game.”


“Oh don’t try to play it cool, it definitely was the winning goal.”


I saw my dad and the Hetter’s walking towards us. My father seemed to be getting along pretty well with Mr. Hetter, they didn’t look like they were arguing. Mrs. Hetter was nodding along to their conversation.


Landon nodded in response to my mom.


“Alright,” My mom said all too cheerfully as everyone crowded into the kitchen, “Why don’t we get this thing started? I’ve got wine!” My mom held up some wine glasses


“Ooh! I’ll take a glass!” Mrs. Hetter said while reaching for the bottle


“Oh you’ll be needing more than a glass.” I thought


Everybody milled around and helped bring all of the food to the table. I took a seat in my usual spot and Landon sat next to me. My parents sat across the table from us and the Hetter’s sat near us. Everything was going as my mother had planned. Her and Mrs. Hetter spoke about an upcoming PTA meeting and my mom praised Mrs. Hetter on her Caesar salad which led Mrs. Hetter back into the conversation about how ‘special’ it is. Mrs. Hetter praised my mom right back on how great the garlic chicken is, and then changed subjects in her usual fast pace, asking about the whereabouts of my younger sister. My dad and Mr. Hetter small talked, keeping their careers well out of the conversation. All the while I gripped Landon’s hand tightly as we nodded along silently to our parent’s conversations.


Landon texted me in the middle of dinner, “Wait until dessert?” his message had said and I nodded in agreement as I read it.


“Well,” Mrs. Hetter’s loud mouth spit out, “You two are rather quiet tonight, aren’t you?”


“Yeah, I’m just not feeling the best; I’ve had a headache all day.” I lied


“You did seem a little off at the game today, but a headache can do that to you.” Mrs. Hetter responded


There was a lull in the conversation after that and my dad broke the silence by saying that he was hungry for dessert and rubbing his stomach.


“Me too,” Mr. Hetter added in agreement.


My mom and Mrs. Hetter got up automatically to grab the strawberries, cookies, and key lime pie.



Dessert was too soon. I needed another few hours, maybe another few days to think things through. I didn’t know what I was going to say, I hadn’t planned anything out. It was all happening too fast.


“You two have barely touched your food.” Mr. Hetter pointed out.


“The headaches not really making my stomach growl.” I responded.


Another lie.


“I’m saving room for dessert.” Landon said without a hint of emotion.


“Here we go,” Mrs. Hetter placed the cookies and strawberries on the table while my mom grabbed the pie and a fresh set of dessert plates.


Everyone grabbed their fair share of dessert. Mr. Hetter placed a large piece of pie on Landon’s plate and told him to eat up. I grabbed the smallest cookie, knowing I wouldn’t eat it with my stomach feeling queasy. I should’ve said I didn’t feel well, because that would’ve been the truth. I didn’t feel well about lying to my parents for so long. I didn’t feel well at all about having to tell my parents. I didn’t feel good about the realization that I was sixteen and pregnant. I didn’t feel good. Period.


Dessert finished up. Our parents continued their lively conversations. Landon ate a couple bite of his pie to please his dad. Mrs. Hetter asked how my older sister was enjoying her first year of college. Mr. Hetter discussed how great the high school hockey team is this year.


“So,” My mom directed at me, “What do you guys have to tell us?”


I swallowed hard. She knew. She knew I was pregnant, didn’t she? My heart began to race.


“What do you mean?” I said, hoping she’d just say it if she knew.


“Why are you guys so quiet? Why’d you call this dinner? Why are you guys acting so suspicious?” My mom raised her thick eyebrows in question


“She doesn’t know.” I realized. We would have to tell her. She was just confused as to what our peculiar behavior was all about.


Landon squeezed my hand hard as a cue. It was time.


“We have something to tell you.” Landon said in a serious tone that made everyone’s heart slow a bit.


I watched my mom freeze, her fork piled high with pie midway between her mouth and the plate. I watched my dad swallow a large gulp of milk and slam his glass down forcefully. I watched Mr. Hetter wipe his mouth and stare at Landon with hard eyes. I watched Mrs. Hetter’s mouth move, “Please, God, don’t tell me you want to get married.” She inhaled sharply


“No, that’s not it.” Landon said, still very serious.


“Oh thank God!” Mrs. Hetter nearly shouted. She quieted down though, realizing it must be something even more serious.


Seconds passed. “Well what is it?” My dad asked impatiently.


Landon squeezed my hand hard again and I turned to look at his brown eyes. They were cold, probably out of fear of what we were about to do. I squeezed his hand hard, preparing for what I was about to say. Preparing for my life to change forever.


As I squeezed Landon’s hand tight enough to hear the heartbeat in it, I said the scariest words for a parent to hear come out of their teenage girl’s mouth, “I’m pregnant.”


My mind flashed back to me saying those exact same words to Landon. I remembered how he’d reacted. The shame I’d felt, the guilt he’d made me feel. The sadness that had overwhelmed me when he left. I remembered the chaos I had felt internally. All of these feelings overwhelmed me once more.


“You’re lying.” We’re the first words to come out of anyone’s mouth, that mouth belonging to my dad. He had settled a fist that turned his knuckles white on the table.


I hung my head and shamefully shook it ‘no’.


I looked back up to my mom; she had tears in her eyes. I’m sure she couldn’t believe that her sixteen year old, 4.0 earning daughter had had unprotected sex and gotten pregnant.


I looked to Mrs. Hetter, for once she was silent. I turned to Mr. Hetter, his eyes were full of rage. I shrunk back, scared of him.


Silence passed, it felt like hours, maybe years that we sat there. But it couldn’t be years, for if it was years from now we’d have a little child running around the house, wouldn’t we?


“It was one time. It was one mistake. It—” Landon began


“Shut up. Shut up right now!” His dad roared and pushed himself up from the table.


“You guys are idiots.” My dad yelled, “You’re stupid kids, you can’t have a kid.”


“What the hell were you thinking?” My mom chimed in angrily, “Didn’t you ever take a health class, role a condom on a banana or anything?”


Mrs. Hetter had been stunned to silence while Mr. Hetter began to pace back and forth.


“Idiots,” My dad mumbled and stood up to lean over the table. He pointed directly at Landon, “I want you out of my house. I don’t want you to ever see my daughter again. You crossed a line buddy, and you’re gonna pay.”


“Dad, come on.” I whined

“Shut up!” He yelled, “I don’t want to hear anything from your stupid mouth until that demon’s out of you.”


“Dad—”


“We’re getting that thing out of you, it’s a mistake. I’m calling the clinic right now.”


“We’re not, I’m not” I began to mumble


Mr. Hetter stormed over to my father, “If you’re speaking of an abortion, there’s no way in hell that that’s gonna fly by me.”


“Shut up, it’s not your decision.” My dad scolded him as if he were a child, and grabbed his phone out to dial the abortion center.


“The hell it’s not my decision.” Mr. Hetter responded angrily, getting in my dad’s face.


My dad looked up from his phone, “That’s my daughter! That’s my baby. She’s not going to be a teenage mother and throw her life away. You can’t make her do that.”


“And that’s my son!” Mr. Hetter screamed back, “You’re not making the decision of taking his child’s life awa. That’s not your decision to make.”


“Oh yeah,” My dad yelled, “And who’s gonna stop me?”


“Boys!” My mom got up and pushed herself between them. “That is not either of your decision to make.”


Mrs. Hetter sat upright, “You’re not getting an abortion.” She stared right at me.


I swallowed hard as she continued, “We’re all Christians here,” She said, addressing everyone in the room, “And it’s not right by God’s book to take the life of a human being. That’s cold blooded murder.”


“Once again, that’s not anyone’s decision to make but theirs.” My mom said, looking at Landon and I.


“We’re not getting an abortion.” I said, “We already decided that.”


“Shut up, Brooke, yes you are, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.” My dad was treating me like I was eight again.


“You’re right dad, we don’t. But we do know that we can’t take someone’s life awhy who’s gonna look just like us.”


My dad shook his head angrily “Brooke, if he forced you, if he forced himself upon you—”




“How dare you accuse my son of anything?” Mr. Hetter screamed, louder than ever.


My mom unsuccessfully tried to keep her ground between the two angry fathers.


“If anything,” Mr. Hetter continued, “We should be questioning your daughter. A teenage boy always carries a condom with him, so why wouldn’t my son have one with him. Maybe your daughter—”


My dad shoved my mom aside and, taking everyone by surprise, punched Mr. Hetter squarely in the face.


I let out a scream as Mr. Hetter fell to the ground, I felt as if I was watching a scene play out in an action drama film.


Landon leaped from his chair and dragged his dad up from the ground as my mother screamed at my dad to gain control of himself.


My dad breathed heavily but didn’t advance on Mr. Hetter. “Don’t you ever talk about my daughter like that again.” My dad said


“You’re crazy,” Mr. Hetter said, leading his own way out of the kitchen.


“Don’t you ever set foot in my house again,” My dad yelled, “Or else you won’t leave with only a black eye.


I began to cry as Landon started towards me. It wasn’t even possible for me to dream up to this horrendous out come. All of the late nights I spent thinking about how this would play out, my dad punching Mr. Hetter had never even crossed my mind.


“Don’t touch my daughter ever again.” My dad stepped between Landon and me, “And I mean ever.”


Landon took a step back, respecting my father. He paused. “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones, for all of this. This is my fault.”


I wanted to tell Landon it wasn’t his fault, but the words just wouldn’t come. Landon grabbed his mom’s arm, who was also now sobbing loudly. He led her to the door. They stepped out of our house without looking back.


My dad stormed downstairs to his shop.


“Well you’ve really done it this time,” My mom’s face was red from crying.


“Mom, I’m sorry—”


“Save it.” My mom said from across the table, “Just save it. Now go to your room.”


I retreated without another word. My life had spun out of control.



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