“Celia are you ok?” Ian asked through the door. He had been standing outside the door listening to her puking for past twenty minutes. Stepping aside as he heard the door open. She stepped out, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand.
“I must have eaten something ….” she began holding her stomach turning pale. She took slow cautious steps to towards the couch.
Ian followed after her. Sitting beside her “are you sure? I’ve eaten the same as you and I feel just fine.”
Shaking her head as she began to cry. There was another possibility. One she didn’t want to accept. One that could change everything. “I could be….” she said in a small frightened voice.
Looking down at her in concern Ian asked “you could be what?” He didn’t want to know. He was afraid he already knew. Probably knew it the first time she threw up a few weeks ago. He wasn’t ready. He still wasn’t ready. He pulled her close to him. Holding her tight. No matter what they were in this together.
Crying onto his shoulder, gripping his shirt in her fist she gulped in air “I think I’m pregnant.”
He felt his heart skip a beat as his lungs deflated. It’s what he expected. Yet it still hit him like a ton of bricks. What would his parents say? They would be so disappointed in them. They had been coming to Celia’s apartment for the last several months during their lunch breaks. The first time just sort of happened. Celia had forgotten an assignment. He had offered to take her home to get it. Matt had been busy with some friends and hadn’t wanted to come. One thing led to another….
Soon their lunch time had become their time. The only time they had to be together without anyone watching them. It was their time to be intimate, to learn, to discover, to explore each other. It was a mess. “What are we going to do?” Celia sobbed.
“How should I know?” he mumbled “I thought you were on birth control. We were being careful…”
“I am and we were,” Celia cried moving away from him curling into herself.
“Celia please,” Ian went and knelt on the floor beside her “I’m sorry. Really I am. I’m just as scared as you.”
Lifting h er head she moved into his arms “I know. I can’t help but feel we’ve let everyone down.”
“Oh god my parents….”Ian moaned “how am I going to tell them? They’re going to be so disappointed in me…”
“In us,” Celia corrected “your mom is going to freak out…”
“Don’t forget my dad. Don’t get me wrong he’ll support us but he’ll have this look and I’ll know how disappointed he his in me. That’s what bothers me the most.”
Looking at the clock “we should get going or we’ll be late,” Celia said drying her eyes. “The last thing we need is to be tardy on top of everything else.”
“We should tell my parents,” Ian sighed not looking forward to seeing his parents disappointed looks.
Taking his hand Celia nodded “as soon as I take the pregnancy test. No sense in getting everyone upset if on the off-chance I’m not pregnant. I take it tonight then we’ll tell your parents together.”
“Yes,” she choked out.
“I guess that’s it then,” Ian’s voice drifted off. No more pretending. No more dreams. Life a they knew it was over.
“Ian you still there?” Celia asked breaking the silence “I could always have an abortion.”
“No,” he spit out appalled she would even suggest it.
Stunned Ian asked “don’t you want the baby?”
“Yes but it’s too soon,” she nearly shrieked into the phone “we’re only seventeen. We still have a year left of high school. What about college?”
“Celia,” Ian shouted into his phone trying to get her attention. “Let’s not make any decisions until we talk to my parents. Please baby promise me no decisions until then.”
“Ok,” came her quiet subdued response.
“Good,” Ian sighed dabbing at his eyes “we’re in this together. Don’t forget that. I’m not going to run out on you. Whatever we do we’ll do it together.”
“Yes ok,” Celia repeated “I’m sorry for freaking out. It’s just it felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
“It’s ok,” Ian reassured her “we’ll figure it out. It’s not like we’re the first teens to get pregnant.” He could hear Celia laugh softly in the background. It brought a smile to his lips. They spoke for a few more minutes before Ian walked into the house.
As he shut the door behind him he turned to find his dad waiting for him at the kitchen table. “Son, we need to talk,” Gene said quietly. Ian sat down opposite his dad “was that Celia you talking to?” Ian nodded unable to make eye contact with his dad. Gene cleared his throat dreading the upcoming conversation. Deciding to hit it head on he asked “is Celia pregnant?”
Ian’s mouth dropped open hanging open for several seconds before uttering “how … how did you know?”
Leaning back Gene shrugged “I didn’t know for sure. I guessed. You’ve been avoiding any discussion of going away to college. Sneaking out to make a late night call to Celia. I suspected that’s all. I hoped I was wrong.”
Raising his eyes Ian asked “does mom know?” his eyes darted towards the stairs as panic took over.
“Not yet,” Gene told him “I’ll tell her before you and Celia do.” Looking at his son “you do know she’s going to freak out.”
Shaking his head Ian mumbled “I know.” Ian looked at his dad “I really screwed up didn’t I? I’m sorry.”
“Yes you did,” Gene said quietly “the big question now is what are you going to do about it?”
Running his hands through his hair “I don’t know…I just don’t know…”
“Ian do you love Celia?” Gene asked “Is she someone you can see yourself with for a lifetime?”
“Are you asking if I would marry her?” Ian’s voice came out in a squeak.
“Maybe. I don’t think you should just get married because she’s pregnant. If you love her than it’s an option.” Gene looked at Ian shaking his head as he was brought back to the time when he was told about the twins. “You know Ian I didn’t marry the twins mother. Not that I had the option. I didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she had died in child-birth and the hospital had contacted me as the father. It nearly broke your mother and I up for good. So I do understand what you’re going through. The feeling of being overwhelmed, scared, lost and being alone.”
Ian nodded looking at his dad. He had expected his dad to be disappointed in him not that he would understand what he was feeling. He could see the disappointment but he could also see the love, the concern, the understanding in his father’s eyes. Tears formed and slid down his nose “I didn’t know. I though you were going to be so upset with me…disappointed…”
“Ian I love you and want what’s best for you. No matter what I’ll be there for you. I may be disappointed at the situation but never in you. It’s going to be hard I’m not going to lie to you.” Gene reached over at gripped his son’s hand “When the twins were born I was given the choice to put them up for adoption. I considered it. When your mom walked out on me. Left me when I needed her the most I thought my life was over. That I had lost everything. I didn’t think I could manage it on my own. But once I saw them. So tiny. So helpless. I was all they had and I didn’t even know they existed. Once I held them in my arms, their innocent little eyes looking up at me I knew I couldn’t give them up. There’s something magical that happens when you hold your child in your arms for the first time. adoption wasn’t an option after that. I struggled for a while. I had family willing to help me. Eventually things worked out between your mother and the rest is history.”
Ian smiled through his tears determined that he and Celia could raise their child together. He would be like his dad, he would succeed against the odds. “What do you think we should do?”
Shaking his head “I can’t tell you that Ian. That’s up to you and Celia to decide. Whatever you decide to do your mother and I will support you.” Standing Gene said “it’s late and you have school tomorrow. Get some sleep and we’ll talk some more later.”
Smiling sadly Gene nodded “it’s just as well we had this talk before then. It gives me a chance to prepare your mother for the shock. You know she’s still under the delusion that your still a virgin right?”
“Dad didn’t you tell her … I mean we had the talk.”
“Oh I told her but you know how your mother is. Sometimes she prefers her virtual worlds to reality. I’ll talk to her. “Laughing suddenly “you know who she’s going to blame don’t you?” Ian shook his head “me” Gene said with a sparkle in his eye “After all I’m the one who gave you the idea by having the ‘talk’ with you and I have you the condoms…”
“I think your intent was to prevent what happened,” Ian said looking at his feet. “I’m sorry. I thought we were being careful.”
“Son nothings a hundred percent guaranteed except abstinence,” Gene shook his head “and I knew that wasn’t gonna happen.”
Looking up in curiosity “how come?”
“Son I may be old but I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be young. You and Celia have been together since you were fifteen. It was just a matter of time. I hoped it would be later but realistically I knew it wouldn’t.”
On impulse Ian hugged his dad tight “how did I get so lucky to get you as my dad?”
“A series of unfortunate accidents,”Gene quipped. Ian rolled his eyes unamused. “Luck of the draw,” Gene smiled.
Nodding she looked towards the house “they’re going to hate me.”
“No they’re not,” Ian brought his hands up to her face. “I told you what dad said right?” She nodded “well then why do you think they’re going to hate you?”
Shrugging “I don’t know…”
Kissing her forehead Ian squeezed her hand “you have nothing to be scared of. Even mom didn’t react as bad as I expected.”
Ian chuckled beside her “relax it’s not like you’re facing a firing squad.”
“It feels like it,” she muttered through clenched teeth.
Opening the door Celia was unprepared for Aimee to greet her with open arms. Squeezing her tight Aimee asked “have you been to see a doctor yet?” Shaking her head Celia almost burst into tears. She was expecting anger and dirty looks not hugs and concern looks. Holding the young girl Aimee told her “it’s going to be alright Celia. You’re not alone in this. You have us.” Looking around at everyone’s stunned expressions Aimee smiled “I know you all expected me to freak out and I did when Gene told me. You’re both so young. You have your whole lives ahead of you. You don’t need me telling you how big of a mistake this is. What you need is our love and support,” she squeezed Celia tight before going over to Ian and hugging him.
“Thanks mom,” Ian mumbled.
“Now that we’re all on the same page,” Gene said putting an arm around his wife. She never ceased to amaze him. She had grown so much from the shy girl he had met on Sim Star Idol and everyday he found he was more in love with her than the day before. “Your mother and I have agreed that if you decide to keep the baby that you’re welcome to stay here…”
“Dad we can’t impose…”Ian started to decline when Celia shook her head at him “Ian let’s hear what they have to say. My apartment isn’t large enough for all of us.”
“Ok,” Ian mumbled giving in.
Smiling Gene continued “if you would like to stay here your mother and I will renovate the upstairs for you. You would have your own apartment up there.” Holding his hands up to forestall Ian’s protests “You’re mother and I will move down here with Matt. My ankle can’t take the stairs that well anymore either.”
Ian’s lips thinned at the mention of his dad’s injury. He hated the woman who had done this to him. All he knew about the incident was the little he was able to dig up on the internet. He knew enough to know it had been the same woman who had tried to abduct him and Matty when they were children. He looked at his dad amazed that he never complained about the unfairness of it and he hoped that the day wouldn’t come that he wouldn’t be able to walk…
Celia looked up at Ian her smile fading as she saw the smoldering anger in Ian’s eyes. Looking down he saw her staring up at him and smiled at her. “It’s a wonderful idea,” he said “Celia and I would like nothing more than to be near you guys. How much?”
“How much?” Aimee asked sounding incredulous.
Squeezing her waist Gene smiled “we’ll decide on a reasonable rent later. We hoped that if you stayed here you would take up on the offer to babysit while you’re at school…”
Excitement overwhelming her Celia ran to him and wrapped her arms around him “yes, yes, yes” she cried “I couldn’t imagine better babysitters.”
“So I take it you’ve decided to keep the baby,” Aimee looked at Celia’s beaming face then at Ian’s’ more serious one.
“We’ll tell the contractor to get started on the renovations…just no wild parties up there,” Gene said with a glint in his eyes “some of us value our sleep.”
“and when it comes to college,” Aimee proceeded to say “if you decide to go the local college baby sitting will still be available along with the apartment.”
“I know it’s not what you were hoping for in colleges” Gene said “if you do decide that you want to go some place else we’ll help you with the cost of daycare,” Gene offered.
“You guys are the best,” Celia said giving them another round of hugs and kisses.
“Nothing,” was Ian’s response “it’s just too much…” he began as tears started to flow from his eyes. “I didn’t expect so much.”
“We love you son and want what’s best for you,” Gene gave his son a hug “I told you I understood what you were going through. Don’t push aside our offers to help out of a misguided sense of responsibility or pride. Let us help you and tell us when we’re overstepping. That’s why I’m agreeing to you paying rent and utilities. I know it’s important for you to feel like you’re in control and doing your part. Rent will be due once you turn eighteen until then you’re still our children.”
“Your including me?” Celia asked surprised.