Chapter 18: When You Love
“Wait! I can’t lay here fighting the urge to puke!” I yelled at Danny. “And so it begins,” he said rolling his eyes while flopping to the other side of the bed. His head had been buried between my legs for the last twenty minutes and all of a sudden, my stomach turned. Little did he know, it had already began and at this point, it was already in full force.“I’m fine I promise,” I said rolling over to him for a kiss. “Nooooo! If you’re going to puke, I don’t want it to happen while your mouth is attached to mine!"
I was still somewhat walking on eggshells. I was always secretly defensive. I made sure that I always watched his every move and paid close attention to his emotions. So far, he had kept his word. He was kinder and more gentle. It almost felt like he was afraid that he was going to break me if he got too close. I'd find myself in a wild state of paranoia as I adjusted to the idea of not being so small in a few months. I didn't know how he would look at me once I looked like there was a watermelon stuffed underneath my shirt.
Danny held me tight, taking me by surprise. He always flipped back and forth between treating me like glass and hugging me until he squeezed the air out of my lungs. He stroked my hair. “You know we have to tell your parents,” he said softly. I knew for a fact that they would lose their shit. They don’t see me for what seems like forever and then, SURPRISE, I'm pregnant. “I know. Dad will take it easier than Mom will. He's always been a little bit more understanding and open, but what can either of them do? What can they say? I’ll be a senior this year, I'm eighteen, and I’m not against working.” It made me a little sad to think about sharing something so life-changing with my mom. We never had the relationship that I always wanted and there were more than a few times that I wished she would actually see me as more than just a shadow. All I ever wanted was for her to want to be my very best friend.
He shook his head slowly. “I don’t want you to work. Do you know how much stress that can put on the baby?” Here we go. I knew he couldn’t possibly think that he could make enough money to support the three of us. Not legally anyway and anything else would have been out of the question. “Don’t go prostituting to feed our family,” I said with a laugh. He shook his head. “You don’t have to worry about that, I have us covered.” I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. “And I love you so much for that.”
Danny waited on me hand and foot. He was making sure that nothing could put me at risk for losing another baby. I wasn't as freaked out about something going wrong, but I could tell that he was being considerate anyway. The reality of everything was beginning to set in and I was easing into the idea of the entire county knowing that we would be welcoming a baby soon. There would be whispers and rumors, but that was the least of my worries. Once my parents found out, I didn't care who the hell knew. I didn't even care if it got back to Dean. They were the only ones that I had to answer to regardless of how many times I tried to defy them. I could only hope that once and for all, they would make me the center of their universe and I wouldn't have to question how much they loved me.
Whether I was ready for it or not, it was time for us to fill them in about what my future was going to hold and they were either going to love me unconditionally, or shut me out for good. Either way, I've known for a very long time who would always stand in my corner. Now I could only hope that my parents would join them.
“Stop being so jumpy,” Danny hissed at me as we waited in the booth at Pizza Hut for my mom and dad. I made a bold move by reaching out to them, asking if they could meet up with Danny and I for dinner.“I can’t help it. How are we supposed to tell them?” I asked nervously. He rested his hand on my knee to calm my nerves and the smell of pizza was making my mouth water. That was my first craving. Every night, I had to have a large pepperoni pizza whether I would end up puking it all back up or not. Some nights I craved buffalo chicken wings and some nights I
craved hot pockets. With all of that eating, I was beginning to get a little bit of a belly and Danny loved every minute of it.
I was still struggling with how I was supposed to go about putting all of this out on the table. My parents couldn't couldn’t kick me out of their house because I never stayed there anyway. They could yell, but we were in a public place and they were never the type to make a scene no matter how big the issue was. “They’ll love you regardless. You practically live with me, so what do you have to worry about?” he asked me quietly. That still didn’t settle my nerves. I was still a wreck and I knew that as soon as they walked through that door, I was going to fall to pieces. “I’ll have to sit through a long ass lecture and who knows how long they’ll sit here and bitch at me.”
The door swung open and I held my breath. When my mother came strolling in first, my palms grew sweaty and my whole body began to shake. When Dad walked in, he spotted me instantly and threw his hand up for a wave. Danny being Danny, he waved back and stood up to meet them halfway, leaving me there to panic. “Sydney Gayle!” Mom squealed to my surprise. She never
looked this happy and cheerful. She always wore a scowl. What changed while I was gone? Dad looked equally enthusiastic about being able to see me again. “It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve seen you. But as long as you’re happy that’s all that matters,” Mom added before she and Dad slid into the booth. Holy hell. I knew that I probably looked confused just by the expression on my
face. The two of them looked at me with the same look they always gave me when someone had been filling them in on my every move. They knew that I wasn't as slick as I thought I was, but they stood firm behind letting me lay in the beds that I made. I had to admit that they truly looked happy and I guess that was the most important part.
“We have good news,” Dad said once they were finally settled. He and Mom clung to each other and the amount of love that radiated off of the two of them was simply shocking. Their arms were intertwined and they looked like a couple of high school sweethearts. I sipped on the water that was in front of me to tame my stomach. Where in the hell was our pizza? “Go on,” I coaxed. “We know that things have been pretty rocky for all of us over the last few years and I know that it’s put a strain on our relationship,” Mom went on to say. Damn, was she in my head too? She was never
the one to bring up the problems that we had in our household. To her, if it wasn’t visibly broken, there was no need to fix it.
“Your father and I have decided to renew our vows!” She announced happily. Dad leaned over to give her a kiss on her forehead and a feeling of warmth exploded inside me. I had to fish through my brain to figure out the right words to say to keep from sounding like a complete smart ass.
“That’s fantastic!” Danny answered for me. I smiled from ear to ear and grabbed his hand. “It’s going to take some time to get things together, but your daddy proposed to me again and everything. It was beautiful. We didn’t have a huge wedding the last time around and we want to do it right this time.” I wasn’t expecting this at all. They were in such a great mood that I didn’t want to ruin it with my news.
The waitress came to our table carrying our pizzas and by the time the smell hit my nose, my mouth was watering and I could have easily killed off both of them by myself. Danny grabbed them from her hands, sliding one between him and my parents and sliding one directly in front of me. Before I could even think about it, I was already devouring three slices back to back. My craving was finally being satisfied and I was totally and completely distracted from whatever it was that was going on with my parents. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I was almost to the last slice and the disappointment was about to set in. Even after inhaling an entire pizza, my stomach was still screaming at me.
“So, when is our grand-baby due?” Mom asked softly but with a hint of amusement. Danny spit his water out and onto the floor, completely caught off guard by the question and I froze in the middle of swallowing the last cheesy bite. “What?” I mumbled, growing more and more terrified. “We know. Your mother did the exact same thing when she was pregnant with you,” my dad said, fighting the urge to chuckle. I shot a look at Danny that screamed, HOW IN THE HELL DID THEY KNOW?! He looked just as afraid as I was. So much for one of us being calm. “I knew you were pregnant. I could tell by those chubby cheeks of yours,” my mom said, reaching across the
table to squeeze my cheeks like everyone used to do when I was ten. “You did not,” I said back, fighting the urge to laugh off my anxiety. That's simply what I was used to doing whenever I got caught red handed.
“Well, either way, you’re not the first and won’t be the last. We like Danny and considering everything that you went through last year with him being there for you, I’d say it’s about damn time,” Dad finally added in. “We’re just excited to finally get our grand-baby. Of course we can renew our vows and try to relive the early days of our marriage, but who in the hell wants to be in their forties trying to have a new baby?” Mom asked rhetorically, standing firm behind not wanting to raise a baby and start over like she always did.
She stretched her arm our across the table to hold my hand and she looked into my eyes. “This isn’t a curse. Babies are a blessing and I want to be there for you now just like I wasn’t all of those years
ago. I didn’t know how to deal with a teenager, much less a teenage girl. I didn’t get all of that when I was your age.” I knew exactly what she meant. My grandmother had been there for her and my aunt and uncle when they were babies and when they were in grade school, but when it came to being there for them when they were teenagers, having all of the questions in the world about life, she was absent. I had heard the story a million times and as much as I understood where her behavior came from, I never wanted to let go of the fact that she had left me hanging by ‘giving me my space’ when I was trying to figure out everything about life.
“Pregnancy is when you need your mother the most. I can see that Danny is going to be there for you, but there are certain things that only a mother can help you through. Just wait until you’re in the delivery room and all you want is your mommy,” she said with a laugh. I had never seen my mom in such a vulnerable state before. “You have Danny, but now you know that you have us too. And your ass is going to graduate and walk across that stage, big belly and all.” I wanted to cry. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy. This was everything that I could have ever wanted. I had never experienced a feeling of love that was so intense, but I could definitely get used to it.