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Sad Teens & Young Adult

"Jane..."

He holds my hand as I turn to go, and that little touch, full of electricity makes me stop in my tracks. Jackson moves closer, his deep blue eyes sparkling in the evening light. It's obvious why he was chosen as Most-Good-Looking Boy of the year, with that floppy blonde hair and smirking smile. Every girl in the middle school has tucked love notes into his locker, hiding their blushing faces in upside-down books. They've worn revealing dresses, short skirts, crop tops that show, all in vain - he's never thrown a look in their direction. I've never been that sort of girl - no dates, no boyfriends.

My idea of a good time is a day in the library, and a game night with the family. I have plans for the future: good marks, good college, a good degree, a good job, good life. If I ever get married, it will be to a homely, nerdy professor whose best friends are books, just like me.


But there he is, looking at me all starry-eyed. I've never seen him like that: always confident and cocky, with an air of supremeness around him. So I don't walk away.

The worst mistake I've ever done in my life.


"Mum," Jim pulled at my leg, his smooth blonde hair sticking out. "Lia's not giving me my toy train." I turned away from him towards the desk and began typing on the old computer again. I could maybe publish the article in the newspaper for fifteen dollars. "Lia, share your toys." Lia crossed her baby arms. "But Jim has all my toys!" "Jim," I said wearily. "Give Lia back her toys." I put my head in my hands, as an throbbing pain resounded through my skull. "But Lia has all my toys," Jim wailed. "Then change back," I snapped, my voice coming harsher than intended.


"But we don't want to," they shouted, their toddler voices echoing in the empty room. I sighed as I folded my hands and marched over to the bathroom. I glanced in the mirror at the twenty-something girl with wrinkles stretching all over her face. Who was she?


I couldn't believe it when Jackson asked me out. I thought - no, I never imagined, never ever even dreamed that he'd just walk up and say, "Do you want to go to the movies this afternoon?" What was I to say? The whole school was staring at me: the girls shooting daggers and muttering, "What does he see in her?" and all the boys looking at me like, "Wait, why have I never noticed her before?"

So I just nodded, bobbing my short brown hair.


I had been to the movies before, of course, but it was only with Mom or Dad, and to see movies like Snow White. I had no idea there was going to be a lot of hand-holding, sitting close, and kissing. I'm not talking about the movie, which was a whole other thing. It was a romance and drama film that involved the two main characters getting really cuddly. The toast I had eaten this morning was spinning inside my stomach faster than the roller coasters at Disneyland. And when Jackson took my clammy hand into his and rested his rose lips on my cheek? I went still as a statue. Did people do things like this at the movies? I didn't want to move away, afraid he'd think I was the ignorant girl I was. I didn't want to be still, afraid he'd think something was wrong with me. So when his lips moved away from my cheek, I panicked. I moved a little closer to tell him that I was fine with the kissing. Which I was not, but he didn't need to know that. When he dropped me off at home, he held me a little too long. Again, a wave of fear washed over me as I looked into those sparkling blue eyes.


This was not the life I had wanted, I thought bitterly as I looked out the windows into the dim night sky. Lia and Jim had just gone to sleep, and I had some time to myself. My phone beeped with a message from the apartment owner: it was probably a reminder to pay this month's rent. I sighed. I could probably scrape out the bank account, but then I wouldn't have enough to get Lia's art kit and Jim's birthday gift. I sighed. I didn't want to ruin their lives in the process. I glanced at the pile of toys spread out on the floor. As I bent to pick them up, a horrible plan formed in my mind.


"What are you doing?" Jackson asked. I jerked alert, dropping the heavy volume on my feet. He looked at me, amused. "It's such a beautiful day." He sat next to me, his hands around my waist, prickly and uncomfortable. "And this is a beautiful book," I said. He knew the dork I was, but the fact that he still loved me kept me with him. Jackson laughed. "Not more beautiful than you," he said. "Has anyone told you that?"

My cheeks went red. "No."

He pulled me up from the chair. "Come on."


"Where?" I said frantically.

"No one's home, are they?" He asked, a mischievous glint in his sparkling blue eyes. "No," I repeated. "Wait - Jackson - stop it!" I never said the last two words because he had cornered me against the wall. I knew of the dreadful things people did to girls alone. "Come on, Jane," he said, pulling me onto the bed. "We're seniors in high school now." That's not an excuse! I wanted to cry, but I couldn't.


"Mama, where are my toys?" Lia asked as she gazed at her small pile. "Mine are missing too," Jim reported, looking his. I chewed my fingernails as I regretted my selfish act. I had earned $200 from the Barbie dolls, $500 on the legos, &150 on the puppets, and &750 on the toy train. That was $1600, enough to pay my $1300 rent.


"It's probably somewhere..." I said, shielding my eyes.

Their innocent faces looked back at me.

"We can search for them later," I said. "Let's get ice cream."

As they got their shoes on, I texted John, the owner of the ice-cream parlor downtown.

Hwo mch is yr chepst cone was my hurried message.

$15 was his slow, smooth response.


That meant thirty dollars...

"Why don't we make our own ice cream?" I asked.

Lia and Jim puckered up their faces and said, "Eew!" At the same time. I sighed. I'm not exactly known for my cooking. "Let's read a story," I said, and Lia threw off her boots as she climbed up in my arms. Jim sat next to me, patiently waiting for the tale. I grinned. Now, that's something I'm known for.


I rang up Jackson's number. I was full of hurt and shame, though my voice showed only anger. "I'm - I'm pregnant," I said, the toilet's cold seat freezing my bottom. I glanced at the two lines on the pregnancy test and closed my eyes. Father had passed away two months ago. How was I to tell this to Mum?

There was silence from Jackson's part. My eyes shone with fury and I did the bravest thing I've ever done: I marched to Jackson's house and barged into his bedroom. "Hey - Jane -" he began, but I stomped my foot. "Stop it!" I yelled. "I'm going to have a baby, and it's yours."


Jackson froze. "It could have been somebody else," he said icily.

Tears ran down my cheek. "Are you calling me that sort of person?"

"No," Jackson said. "I -" He stopped, looking at his feet.

"It's because of YOU!" I screamed, and he went pale. "If you hadn't -"

"I thought YOU WANTED it," he yelled back.

We were silent for a minute. "This is just a prank, isn't it?" he asked.

I waved the pregnancy test before his face. "Proof," I hissed.


He sighed. "Look, Jane. I'm heading to college tomorrow. This is just going to ruin my life. Please leave."

"Well, it's going to ruin mine, do you care?" I shouted.

"Get a bloody abortion!" He said, his face going red. Jackson uttered a swear word and another. "I said, GET OUT OF MY LIFE."


I was back, sitting before the mirror, looking at the woman who was me but also not me. I wished Mother was here. I had told her I was going off to college and never returned. What a horrible lie, to tell your own mother. My whole life was made of lies, I thought sadly. Lou, my best friend from my childhood, called me three years ago to say that my mother passed away from cancer. I didn't go. I couldn't.


I sat in the back of the truck, clutching my bag close to me. I had told Mum that I was going to college and wouldn't be back for a while. The proud smile on her pale face floated in my head. I had planned the escape: a run down a side lane, a call, and a hop on one of the trucks driven by the thieves, kidnappers, and muggers around town.

"Where to?" asked the woman. She wore a big red coat and a red face mask. "Anywhere," I answered. "Anywhere safe." She laughed. "I was like you ten years back," she said. "Now I know that nowhere's safe."

"What do you mean?" I said.

She smiled sourly. "Chicka, fear haunts you everywhere."

I felt chilled to the bone.


I threw the packed bags into the backseat and tucked Lia and Jim into the front seat of the beat-up SUV. I gripped the steering wheel with my cold knuckles, as I stared out into the darkness. "Mama?" Lia asked, her small hand holding mine. "Where are we going?"


"Anywhere," I replied. "Somewhere."

"Is it - I mean, is it safe?" Lia asked, and I smiled at her. I guess it was true that girls mature faster than boys: though they were twins, Lia was always the more responsible one.


"Nowhere's safe," I answered. "When you're scared."

Lia looked into my eyes. "Are you scared, Momma?"

Jim stopped drumming his fingers on the window and turned to look at me. Was I scared? Was I scared of what everyone would say about being a mother without being married? Was I scared that everyone would call me an ungrateful daughter? Was I scared of their eagle-like looks? What was I scared of, really?

I stared at their innocent faces and the darkness waiting for us. "Why should I be?" I said, and as the engine roared into life, we sped down the road, into the Great Unknown.


Note: My first story in a while, so forgive me if my writing is a bit rusty. Read my other stories, from last year. The writing style may be different. Like and follow if you enjoyed the read. Your comments are very valuable to me. Thank you.


- Ivy Sage Penget





July 13, 2021 05:43

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