Your name is [name_u]Zandy[/name_u] and you are a sixteen-year-old junior in high school. Your dad, [name_m]Brian[/name_m], died when you were ten years old and your little sister, [name_f]Zariah[/name_f], was seven. Your mother, [name_f]Carolee[/name_f], has recently remarried a man named [name_u]Charlie[/name_u]. He is also widowed and has a daughter that is the same age as you, named [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f]. After the wedding, you, your mom, and [name_f]Zariah[/name_f] move from [name_m]Boston[/name_m], Massachusetts to [name_u]Charlie[/name_u]'s house in [name_u]Albany[/name_u], [name_m]New[/name_m] [name_m]York[/name_m]. You are not the least bit happy about it. You like your stepfather well enough, but you can’t stand [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f].
On your first day at your new school, you see a boy sitting by himself in the cafeteria at lunchtime. You remember his name is [name_u]Bradley[/name_u], he’s a senior, and in three of your classes. He’s cute but doesn’t talk much. The first time you did hear him speak, you noticed he had a Southern accent. You go sit with him. He’s surprised. It takes a few days, but he finally warms up to you. [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] tells you that his family moved to [name_m]New[/name_m] [name_m]York[/name_m] from [name_f]Louisiana[/name_f] after [name_f]Hurricane[/name_f] [name_f]Katrina[/name_f]. His parents decided to stay. The two of you become friends–and you discover you’re one of the few he has.
Two weeks before school lets out, a friend of yours, [name_f]Raya[/name_f], talks you into going to an unsupervised party at another friend’s house on a [name_m]Saturday[/name_m] night. An hour into the festivities and you’re bored out of your mind. You go outside to the patio in the backyard to call your mom for a ride home. On the back porch, sitting by himself, you see your guy friend [name_u]Bradley[/name_u], nursing a beer. You didn’t realize he was here so you go over to him. Like you, he was also dragged to the party by another mutual friend of yours. You ask him if he’d like to leave with you and he agrees. You take his car, but you’re the one driving–he’s had a few drinks. The two of you go to the nearest ice cream shop and order a sundae for the two of you to share. While you’re eating at a table outside in the warm mid-summer night, [name_u]Bradley[/name_u], who’s recently graduated, thanks you for being his friend and “putting up” with him. Without thinking, you lean across the table and kiss him. Before you know it, he’s taking your hand, leading him back to his car, getting into the backseat, and…
You and [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] don’t talk about what happened that night. You want to, and you’ve let him know you want to be more than friends with him, but he rejects you. You’re hurt and angry. You refuse to speak to him and ignore all the phone calls, e-mails, and text messages he sends you. A week after school ends, you start feeling sick, but brush it off as a cold…until you realize your period is late. You don’t believe you’re pregnant, but you buy a pregnancy test anyway, for a peace of mind. It comes back positive! You start to panic. You’re not sure of what to do. You hide the test in your bedroom and go to work, hoping to buy time to work out a plan. You’re against abortion, so that’s out. Adoption is an option you like, but you’re not sure if that’s really what you want. When you get home, [name_f]Zariah[/name_f] runs to you. She tells you [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f] found the pregnancy test in your bedroom and told your mother and stepfather. She asks you if it’s true, are you pregnant? You burst into tears and say, yes, it’s true. She goes inside with you to help you face your mother. Your mother is furious and disappointed in you. She demands to know who the father is. You tell him the father is [name_u]Bradley[/name_u], which makes her even madder, because she really didn’t like him. She sends you to your bedroom and orders you to stay there for the rest of the night. Later, [name_u]Charlie[/name_u] comes upstairs. He says he’s not happy about the situation, but promises to be there for you in whatever decisions you make. The next day, your mother comes to you, crying. She says she’s sorry for the way she acted and, like your stepfather, promises she’ll be supportive.
[name_f]Zariah[/name_f] asks you if you told the baby’s father yet. You say no, you haven’t and you’re not sure you want to. She says he at least has a right to know. You can’t help but agree with her. The truth always comes out, and it might not be in a way you want it to. But you’re not sure how to tell [name_u]Bradley[/name_u]. You decide to tell him in a face to face confrontation.
You get in your car and drive to his house. You pull into the driveway to find him in the front yard, mowing the lawn. He’s surprised and happy to see you. You get out of the car. Your feelings must show on your face because he asks you what’s wrong. You come straight out with it: you’re pregnant. He’s stunned. You tell him you’re going to have the baby, and that you’re thinking you might keep it. You say he can be as involved or uninvolved in the child’s life as he wants. He takes you in his arms and hugs you tight, saying he’s sorry he wasn’t careful that night and he wants the baby. You can’t help it. You cry into his shoulder.
[name_u]Bradley[/name_u] goes away to college, but keeps in touch and comes back home to see how you’re doing and goes with you to doctor’s appointments whenever he can. You’re busy with your senior year, working and studying. You got an early acceptance to Purdue University, majoring in veterinary medicine. You’re little sister and stepfather are being helpful, but you’re mother is stressed out and your stepsister is being difficult. After a heated argument, your mother forces you out of the house, but your [name_u]Charlie[/name_u] intervenes. After the incident, you turn to [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] and his family for support. He wants to help, but he’s been living on the college campus and hasn’t been able to get a place of his own. The only person from his family that seems to care is his widowed seventy-eight-year-old maternal grandmother, [name_f]Catherine[/name_f]. She offers you come live with her until the baby is born. You accept and move in with her. She’s very good to you. [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] comes home for [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] break and takes you to a doctor’s appointment. You wanted to keep the gender a surprise, but excitement gets the better of you. You find out you’re having a baby girl! While he’s home for the holidays, you, him, and [name_f]Catherine[/name_f] create the spare bedroom into the baby’s nursery.
Four months later, you give birth to the baby. [name_u]Bradley[/name_u] holds your hand the entire time. You see his eyes light up when he lays eyes on his beautiful, healthy baby girl, and you know you did the right thing telling him the truth. The two of you couldn’t pick a first name, but you settled on a middle name: [name_f]Catherine[/name_f], or a variation of it, to honor your baby daddy’s grandmother. You let your little sister pick a first name. The baby is named [name_f]Ada[/name_f] [name_f]Catherine[/name_f].
You graduate from high school and you’ve moved in with [name_f]Catherine[/name_f] permanently. [name_f]Ada[/name_f]'s father helps out, visits almost daily, and calls just as much. He buys his own place close to the college campus and [name_f]Catherine[/name_f]'s house after he finishes his freshman year of college. The two of you are closer than ever now that you’re [name_f]Ada[/name_f]'s parents. But you’ll never be more than friends…which is probably the best way.