Junior prom signaled the coming of summer. While most of Bug’s class was enjoying the coming freedom, she was laid up at home with a cold. After a week of missed classes I’d had enough.
“You don’t have a fever. You aren’t puking. You aren’t bleeding profusely from a lost limb. You aren’t dying, Bug. Get your ass to school tomorrow or you are in danger of being held back!”
“I can’t, Aunt Penny! I won’t,” she moaned as she started to get up off the floor.”
Something in her voice lodged in my heart and I knew she was right.
I sighed. “How late are you, Katherine?”
She just stared at me like she thought I was crazy.
After a minute she sighed. “Five, almost six weeks. I told Teddy when I first suspected it before prom but he didn’t believe me. Then when I showed him the positive tests he started telling people I was a slut because he doesn’t think it’s really his!”
“They said horrible things about me, Penny! Even my friends! I’ll never go back there! You can’t make me!”
I wanted to be angry. I was shocked that she’d gotten herself pregnant but I remembered a long ago trip I took to France. I remembered the fear, so much fear. I couldn’t be angry.
“Alright. Well, what kind of cookies do you want?”
“If you are anything like the women in this family I know you are craving cookies right about now.”
“I’d kill for a sugar cookie. I’ve been craving them for a week now.”
“Ok, Bug. I’m going to go downstairs and make some sugar cookies. It will take me 45 minutes. Think about things and then come down and we will chat.”
“Here’s how this is going to work. You have three options. You can have an abortion and everything stays the same for you. You go to a new school and you keep your after school activities. The second choice, you can put the baby up for adoption. You’ll be home schooled and no after school stuff. Just focusing on classes and the health of the baby. Finally, you can keep it. You’ll be home schooled until graduation. After the baby comes you will get a job. You’ll work until college. You and the baby can live here until after college and then you have to do it on your own.”
“I already decided to keep the baby, Penny.”
“They you sure as hell better straighten up and fly right. Any more of this bullshit you’ve been pulling and you’re out on your own, baby or not.”
“I’ll be alright, Penny. It’s not about me anymore.”