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“It’s Scarlett.”

“Your assistant?”

“It’s more than that and you know it,” I tell her, chuckling.

“That I do, my boy. That I do. Where is she?”

“My room,” I tell her, and then she’s gone, already closed into my bedroom with Scarlett. I love that woman. She put her dreams on hold in order to take care of me; now, I take care of her. She just enrolled in law school at thirty-eight. She was my father’s younger sister, barely eighteen, when my parents died. They’d be in their late forties now, my dad was my age when he died. Aunt Pen and Scarlett are in there for a long time, and I can do nothing but pace the hallway and wait for them to come out.

What the hell could they possibly be talking about for so long, I wonder after the hour mark. I can hear sniffles but nothing else.

Fuck. I wish Scarlett would just talk to me, but I guess I can’t be too mad. There is so much I have to say to her myself.



Oh my gosh. His aunt is lovely. She is so sweet and kind. Her spirit reminds me of Samuel’s. Well, the part of him he is letting me see. “So,” she says as she starts coming into the sitting room, “you are giving my nephew a run for his money.” She winks at me, forcing me to hide the smile, trying to come out. “Good. Make him work for it. But, I do agree. Something with you is off. I just met you and I can tell something is bothering you. Eating at you makes you miserable, and it might feel good to get it out.” Oh, God. Why did she have to say that? I talked to my friends, but I still feel alone. Maybe it is because they are all away, not here with me.

“I just… I just don’t know what to do?” Folding over, hands wrapped around my stomach, hoping to convey the apology to the little invader inside of me, about how sorry I am to not be more excited about its pending existence, and weep. I cry for the girl who failed to keep her promise not to turn into my mother and for the child who is going to grow up like me without stability and a father. A hand comes to my back, and I hear sweet, whispered words.

“Oh, sweetie. Just tell me. Let it out. I swear you will feel better. And who knows. Maybe we can come up with a solution.” Yeah. The only possible solution to this makes my heart break to even think about it. But she might be right. It might help to speak to someone who is not so far away. Adoption is something I have been thinking about at night when I am alone. Maybe she can help me with that.

“I’m pregnant,” I blurt out, biting my lip. She purses her lips in shock, and then something in her eyes twinkle.

“Oh my. Is it…?” Crap. I should have started with that.

“Oh goodness no. It’s not Samuel’s. He and I are not… I mean, we haven’t… He is just being nice to me. The truth is, I don’t know who the father is. I was dumb and reckless for one night on New Year's Eve, and well… surprise. A party favor followed me home,” I say, patting my stomach.

“Well, now I see why you are so distressed. Can you find this gentleman?” I shake my head no.

“We did not exchange names or numbers. It was sort of a silent agreement that it was for one night.”

“I see. Can I ask why you haven’t told Samuel?” Oh God, panic starts rising in my throat. Why didn’t it hit me until right now that her loyalty is to him? I should have said nothing. Scrambling from the seat, I begin gathering my phone and purse, ready to flee. “Scarlett, darling, I am not going to say anything. Please calm down. I was just wondering because he is extremely understanding and compassionate.”

“I know that,” I tell her, trying to calm down so my stomach does not turn on me. “He has been amazing and I could easily let him take care of me. But what happens when he finds out I am pregnant? I am worried about my job. If I decide to keep this baby, I need my job. I have been sick and it has interfered with my job. What if finding out the reason why, makes him realize it is not going to get better?” She nods her head and walks towards me.

“I see. I understand your hesitance. But, sweet girl, whether you keep the baby or not, he is going to find out when you start to show. My advice would be to tell him so he doesn’t find out another way. Okay?” Well heck. She is right. I have been so worried about right now that I haven't thought about the future much. Pulling me into a hug, she kisses my cheek and moves me back. “Everything will be alright, sweet girl. I promise.” From her lips to God’s ears.

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