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A Missing Heart(2)

By´╝ÜShari J. Ryan



“It’s a good plan,” I tell her, pushing against her back again.

“We’re dumb teenagers aren’t we?” she asks through laughter.

“Yeah, no sixteen-year-old knows what they want for the rest of their lives,” I agree with her, smirking to get a reaction. “Except us, of course.”





CHAPTER ONE





Twelve Years AGO


I’VE HAD SEVEN long months to figure out a way to break the news to the two people who brought me into this world. Part of me would like to think they won’t be surprised, considering this sort of thing is expected from me since I’m not their all-star, perfect son. I’ve accepted it…in fact, I’ve run with it…until now. However, now I have to stop running and start thinking, really quickly.

Cammy leans across the row between our desks and hands me a note, interrupting my thoughts. I quickly take it and unfold it, reading:



I’m a little scared about this. Actually, I’m freaking out.



I wish she would relax and try not to worry. I want to tell her everything will be okay, but we’re sitting in the middle of history class. Mrs. Halifax hates me as it is, so if I start talking, she’ll ship me right down to the principal's office again, so I mouth, “It’s going to be okay,” to Cammy, hoping it holds her over until the end of class.

Cammy closes her eyes and leans back against her metal chair. Her auburn hair falls over the back side of the seat and she swallows loud enough for me to hear. “I can’t do this,” she says abruptly, out loud.

Every kid in the class looks over at her curiously—everyone including Mrs. Halifax.

Cammy struggles to stand up from her seat, using her hands to push her body upright. “Cam,” I mutter. “What are you doing?”

“I can’t do this, AJ,” she says again. Cammy makes her way down the long row of desks and out the door before Mrs. Halifax can respond. It’s only a short minute before everyone turns back around, facing the front of the room, carrying on as if nothing just happened.

If I run after her, everyone will know. She doesn’t want that because we’re a secret, and so is our almost two-year-long relationship.

With my focus locked on the clock, waiting for the minute hand to sluggishly make its way to the twelve, I struggle to understand what changed, and what might be going through Cammy’s head. We’ve talked everything through. We’ve made decisions and plans, leaving nothing unresolved.

The bell buzzes through the loudspeaker and I grab my books, jetting out of the classroom before anyone has a chance to step foot into the rows between the desks.

I race through each hall, searching from one end to the other looking for her, but she’s nowhere in sight.

Needing a brief pause to catch my breath, I lean up against one of the lockers and take my cell from my back pocket. A text from Cammy is waiting for me.



Cammy: We need to talk. I’m in Parking Lot C.



I don’t want to waste time responding to her so I continue running down the halls and out one of the exit doors I shouldn’t be using during school hours. As I find her in front of her beat-up, cherry red BMW, she drops her school bag to her feet and slaps her hands over her eyes, crying so loudly I’m afraid someone might think I’m hurting her. Regardless, I throw my arms around her neck and let her cry her fears out.

“Tell me,” I whisper in her ear.

“I have to give the baby up. I submitted the paperwork last week and…” she says as she breathes heavily into my shoulder. “…and I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but they found a family.”

“Wait. Stop! What the hell are you talking about?” I snap. I don’t need to question it, though, I’m smart enough to understand what she’s saying. I just feel lost, however, since the topic was never brought up. We had plans. Stupid plans, but plans. We did this and we were going to make it work. There was never another option—not one that was discussed between the two of us. We’re so stupidly in love that we have convinced ourselves we’re ready to be parents at seventeen. We’re not. But, the alternative is not an option—was never planned to be an option.

“I have to give the baby up for adoption, AJ.”

“No. No, you don’t, Cammy. Wha—we didn’t even talk about this. Why would you go and—” My head is spinning, and I want to understand but this isn’t fair. The baby is mine too. How could she just give our child away without consulting me first? Is that even allowed?

“AJ, I’m nine-months pregnant,” she says, cutting me off. “There is no more time.”

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