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Authors: Cami Checketts

Reality Ever After

BOOK: Reality Ever After
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Reality Ever After

 

 

 

Cami Checketts

 

COPYRIGHT ©2015 by Camille Coats

All rights reserved

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

COPYRIGHT ©2015 by Camille Coats

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Birch River Publishing

Smithfield, Utah

Published in the United States of America

Cover design: Sherry Gammon
http://www.wordpaintingsunlimited.com

Interior design: Sherry Gammon

Cover Photo: Golya
k
(Yura Golyak) of Depositphotos.com

 

 

Dedication

To my sweetheart and four boys. Reality is crazy, but so much fun. I love every day we get to be together.

 

 

 

 

Reality Ever After

 

Chapter One

“Okay, Syd. You can do this.” Crew cleared his throat, looking like he was giving a pep talk to his football buddies. “Go quick and then we’ll know.”

“Can’t you come with me?” Sydney welded herself to his muscular arm.

“No!”

She blinked quickly. Where in the snot were these tears coming from? She was a tough chick. She rarely cried.

He shook his head, the usual twinkle in his deep blue eyes noticeably absent. Not that she could blame him with the stress they were dealing with. “Sorry. I can’t go in a women’s bathroom.”

“Might diminish your manhood?” She tried to joke to diminish both of their worries.

“Not a risk I’m willing to take.” Crew winked and steered her toward the restroom of the Flag’s West truck stop, half an hour from their hometown of Malad, Idaho. Hopefully they wouldn’t see anyone they knew.

Sydney pushed the door open, walked inside, turned around and walked right back to Crew’s arms.

“What’s wrong?” He held her close. Even though he was pushing her to get this done, he wasn’t pushing her away. His arms were always open and welcoming and Syd needed them more than ever right now.

“It smells like old women pee,” she whispered against his chest.
And you smell so good.

Crew’s characteristic grin appeared. She had to remember to breathe.

“It’ll be all right. Wash your hands after.” He gave her another nudge. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

Her head snapped up. “Get this over with?”

“Come on, Syd. I can’t wait any longer.”

“But, but...” She gnawed on the inside of her cheek. “What if it’s positive?”

His face paled. “Then we’ll deal with it. Together.” He hugged her, then guided her back to the bathroom door.

Sydney somehow found the resolve to leave his side and enter the bathroom.

She lined the toilet seat with paper. Wasting no time, she ripped the cover off the test Crew purchased a few minutes ago. She knew exactly what to do. They’d read the instructions four times.

Wrapping the test in toilet paper, she rested it on the counter. She pumped soap into her hands, washed, rinsed, then scrubbed again. She felt tainted in a way that had nothing to do with the stains in the sink.

Sydney stared at the test. She didn’t want to pick it up, an inanimate object that would determine her destiny. She pinched the end, terrified of the piece of plastic wedged between her forefinger and thumb. Looking up, she glimpsed her dim reflection in the smudged mirror. Tears welled up in her eyes, clouding her vision further. Her stomach churned as she inhaled the foul air. She gulped back the acrid taste, praying she wouldn’t vomit.

Her grandmother’s ghost floated next to her, reflected in the bathroom mirror. They could’ve been twins with their dark hair and olive skin. Granny had explained the first time she’d appeared that she’d been restored to her prime. Grandpa would be in heaven if he could see her. Ha, heaven.

“Wow.” Granny whistled. “Your mother would have a coronary.”

“Seriously, Granny.” Sydney sighed and turned to face the image that appeared solid until she tried to touch it, which she’d done many times. “I appreciate the fact that I can still chat with you even though you’ve croaked, but this is not the time.”

Her grandmother’s dark eyes glinted with amusement. “I only come when you need me, sweetheart.” She glanced at the pregnancy test. “And it looks like you
really
need me. How are you going to survive this one?”

Sydney groaned. “If it’s negative, she’ll never have to know.”

Granny shook her head. “She’ll find out, she always does.”

“Are you ratting me out?”

“Ha! Like she’d believe in ghosts. Besides, she didn’t like me much when I was alive, why would she want to talk to me now?”

“Join the club.” Sydney sniffed and almost smiled. “I blame you. You raised her.”

“Now that’s just low, sister. She was born bratty.”

The door swung in. Granny disappeared and Sydney glimpsed dark, wavy hair.

“You okay, Syd?” Crew called.

“Couldn’t be better.”

“Sorry, stupid question.”

He edged out. The door closed. She was left alone once again.

How did this happen?
She wished she could blame Crew’s charm, the fact that he was the hero of their small town of Malad, Idaho, and every girl wanted him. But she’d thrown away her values as quickly as he had. He claimed she was the only girl he’d ever been with, ever loved. She hated that she doubted those words at this inopportune moment.

Why was the test taking so long? It was supposed to show up fast.

“What do you really want, love?” Granny floated next to her head now.

Sydney didn’t even have to think about her answer, “I just wish I could be with Crew.”

Granny winked and pointed at the test. “Be careful what you wish for.”

The lines were unmistakable. The ticking of Sydney’s heart paused for a five-count. Her vision blurred again.

“Granny?” But she was gone. “Dang you, Granny, did you do this?” Granny’s ghost had been one of the constants in her life, and it wasn’t the first time she suspected that her grandmother could make things happen. Like the time Cole Storey tried to get a little too friendly after a football game and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Sydney had wished that he couldn’t touch her and all the sudden it was like she was on fire. He’d screamed out and was stupid enough he tried it a few times before running away.

Sydney touched her abdomen. It wasn’t Granny who put the baby here.

“Crew?”

No response.

“Crew?” she called a bit louder.

Still nothing.

“Crew!” she yelled, frantic now. He always made things better. She couldn’t handle this without him.

“What?” His head came in the bathroom. At the sight of her blanched face he disregarded the risk of entering a women’s restroom.

She couldn’t find her tongue. She shoved the test at him, wishing she could throw it against the wall. He recoiled as if it could bite him.

“Take it,” she begged.

Slowly, Crew extended his hand. His eyes wide with shock.

“No way!” He stared at the plastic test. “You’re pregnant? Those two lines means yes. Right?”

Sydney nodded. She bit her lip to stop the quiver. Tears were coming. Crew tossed the test on the counter, wiping his hand on his pants.

“You’re pregnant.” He shook his head and his face cracked into a wide grin. “I can’t believe it.”

He actually had the nerve to look excited.

“Well, believe it,” she said.

“But we only did it one time. One time! It’s amazing that you’re really pregnant.”

“Amazing isn’t quite the word I would use.”
Amazing?
His chest was amazing. Kissing him was amazing. Being pregnant and months from high school graduation? Definitely not amazing. The tears came quicker than a summer storm.

“Don’t cry.” He pulled her close. “It’ll be okay.”

Sydney tried to stop her tears, but she couldn’t think clearly. The whole situation was insane. It couldn’t be true. She was too young, too unsure of herself. She couldn’t even think of all the things that were wrong with the situation. There were too many.

“I love you, Syd.”

She didn’t reply, even though knowing he loved her was the only thing she could cling to right now. They’d been dating for over six months and planning their future together for the last two. None of it included a baby, at least not yet. Her life was all the sudden on fast forward and she desperately wanted to find the pause button.

Crew was patient. He held her. Not saying anything, just being there. After several minutes, he pulled back a few inches to study her face. “Talk to me, Syd. What are you thinking?”

“Are you kidding me? I’m thinking this is a crappy, horrible joke. It can’t be true.”

“It’s true. We both saw the test.”

“It’s so wrong.”

“So you’re not…happy?” Crew’s eyebrows dipped together.

“Happy?” What a question. Why would she be happy about losing her hopes and dreams? She felt more tears sliding down her face. Happy? She could taste reality. Her life was over.

“Maybe happy isn’t the right word. Do you want the baby?”

“Are you asking if I’m going to have an abortion?”

His eyes darkened to navy. “Are you thinking about that?”

“I’m pro-choice, Crew.” The words churned out with a sarcasm he failed to detect.

“You are?” His question slid between tight lips. He released her from his arms.

Sydney felt so alone.

“Yes, I am. I believe we made our choice when we decided whether to have sex or not.”

“Oh.” The muscles in Crew’s forearms relaxed. He drew a long breath.

“Did you think I was serious?”

“I, well,” Crew stammered. “I don’t know.” He ran his hand through his wavy, dark hair.

“You should know me better than that.” Her tears dried as anger rushed in to take their place.

“If you don’t really want the baby.” He shrugged and looked away.

“I didn’t say I don’t want the baby.”

“You said, ‘This is so wrong,’”

“You’re right.” She pursed her lips. “I didn’t mean it like
that
. It’s just so...unexpected. But I can’t believe you’d think for one second that I would kill our baby.” What kind of a person did he think she was?

“I didn’t, but…you caught me off guard with the whole pro-choice thing.”

“I’d never let anyone hurt our baby.” Crazy how she’d just learned about the baby, but she truly would do anything to protect the little one.

“Our baby,” he mused.

Yes, our baby
. Graduating high school in two months and expecting a baby in nine. This couldn’t be happening. She wrapped her arms around her middle. Hugging herself for warmth, she tried to still her shaking body. She was going to be a mother. Oh, she needed help.

Granny’s face appeared in the mirror again. She gave her an encouraging smile.

Somehow just knowing she was being watched over comforted her.

“What do you want to do, Syd?”

How could he ask her that? What choice did they have at this point?

“It’s not like we have a lot of options.” Did he want the baby? Did he still want her? A baby at eighteen was now her future. Her dreams of having her own porcelain and ceramics shop and dancing with University of Utah dance team seemed impossible right now.

“What kind of options do you want?” Crew asked.

He seemed to be treading water with only his legs, careful not to make waves or progress toward any sort of conclusion.

“I don’t know what I want.” She looked away so he wouldn’t see the fresh layer of tears. What she wanted was to have her life back. She wanted to go back to that night, that wonderful, insane night, and make a different choice. She took a deep breath. She couldn’t say that to Crew. She didn’t want him to think she regretted being with him, not that way. They’d made a mistake, but they’d made it together. She placed her palm on his chest, centering herself. The baby would need so much care. So much time. She wasn’t naïve enough to believe it would be easy. But, it would be much easier if she had a husband.  She would not be the first one to suggest they marry. That had to come from Crew. She loved him. She wanted to marry him, even before the baby, but she didn’t want to get proposed to out of pity.

“We’ll figure it out,” Crew offered, rubbing her back.

What did that mean? They’d better figure it out quick. She had two parents at home whose dreams for her future were larger than her own.

“Oh man, my parents are going to kill me,” she said.

“No.”

“You don’t know what they’re like. They fight all the time. My mom tries to control everything I do. This is going to throw her into a loop of crazy like you’ve never seen.”

Crew drew her into a comforting hug. She laid her head against his broad chest.

BOOK: Reality Ever After
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