Hi all, and welcome to the new year! I hope Christmas time went well! About today’s post, I thought it was going to be cool to post the very beginning of Scott and DJ’s story. Which, by the way, it’s going to be FREE for the weekend, so you might want to keep the link handy.
Crescent Creek, FL. July.
If that second pink line appeared, any kind of future was going to be over and done.
Wiping away cold sweat from her forehead, DJ tried to breathe. Her dreams, young, unfocused and blurred, might hover in her consciousness but the hunger, the thirst for the world, were as defined as the buildings of her hometown. Small, quiet, Crescent Creek. Stale.
Scott sat on the sidewalk of a deserted Pizza Hut parking lot like it was nothing, like their lives weren’t on the line. The scorching summer sun shone on his black hair. Behind his sunglasses, DJ knew determination gleamed just as bright in his dark blue eyes. Oh, he was freaking out. The twitch in his jaw, the tension in his stance said all. Yet here he was, cool as they come. “We’ll figure it out,” he told her quietly.
“There’s nothing to figure out,” she bit back. “Nothing, until the three minutes are gone.” She hooked her hands on her hip, paced. “There will be only one line. One line, and we’re free.”
God, it must play out like that.
Scott didn’t say a word. She hated him for such restrain. She would have given anything for some emotional reaction, something to crash her own temper and fear and anxiety against.
DJ eyed the white stick they’d laid face down on the concrete, leaned down to check the timer on the cell phone they’d put beside the pregnancy test.
One minute gone, two to go. Christ, she was going to throw up.
Fear zigged in jagged waves under her skin as she paced some more, uncaring of the heat, the heavy air, the sweaty clothes.
Scott’s voice cut through all of it, deep and commanding. “You’ll start school come the fall–”
“Pregnant at Berkley?” she snapped. “Yeah, sounds like every girl’s dream. And what about after? Uh? How am I going to study with a newborn?”
Unfazed, he kept taking. “I will move west with you, find a job and help you with the baby.”
“What will you do, Scott, really? Wash the dishes in some fast food?”
“If it’s what it takes, yes.” His fingers started to beat a fast tap on his leg, the only clear sign of disquiet. “Eventually, you know what I’m going to do.”
He nodded. “I will have it, I might as well start from the lowest bottom. My family will help, so will yours.”
Their families. Of course, they would help. Both she and Scott had grown up into that kind of love, that kind of support. Images of her mom popped and twirled into her head– exhausted after a day in court, yet helping her with a project for school. Sleeping on a chair at her bedside when she was sick. Giving up a big case because it would have meant being away from home for too many weeks.
Her father had been there, too, but in a different way. It was her mom who had to choose more. Give up more. DJ pressed her hands over her eyes. She wasn’t ready to give that total devotion to another being, still needed her own mother too much to be one. She wished she was in her arms right now. Her mom would know what to do.
DJ snatched the phone up. Two minutes gone, one to go.
“We’ll make it work, DJ. We’ll need some adjustments, but if we plan it–”
“Stop it! Don’t you see? Nothing will ever be the same if this is positive.”
As the first tear appeared and was hammered down, she could almost see them: her dreams of seeing the world, of studying, of learning what lived beyond Crescent Creek. They were disappearing as fast as a jet boat fading into the open ocean. “This can’t be happening,” she whispered. “I can’t let it happen.”
Scott rose. His mouth, so generous, so passionate, was a thin, unforgiving line. He didn’t reach for her, didn’t try to touch her. Simply stood in front of her. “What are you saying?”
She shook her head, opened up her arms only to let them fall at her sides. “I don’t know.” The next words scorched her throat and soul. “There are other ways.”
“You’re not getting rid of my kid, DJ.”
Once again, he was right. She would not be getting rid of their baby. How could she? If she was pregnant, how could she kill what they had made, a part of the boy she loved and needed like a gulp of air? Scott was everything, no way she’d love someone else as much as she loved him. Ever. Yes, she dreamed the world, but that never implied a life without him.
And yet… A black knot squeezed her chest. “How about me? My life?” She sat beside him only to jump up again. “There are other ways, like adoption–”
“Damn it, Scott, at least–”
“No.” When he talked, anger resonated through his voice, made it tremble like a thunder would a crystal glass. “If you don’t want it, I’ll take it with me.”
She shook her head once, twice. Did she want the baby? Keeping it and raising it were two different things. Would she be able to part from it? To change her life for it, if she decided to be a mom? She couldn’t think, couldn’t really feel anything other than fear. For her future, for his. For the life they may have created in those hot nights by the river, where the breeze had carried their whispers and the moonlight had shivered on heated skin.
“I want him. Or her. But I can’t. I just can’t. I just–” she pressed trembling fingers on her forehead trying to force out some coherent thought.
The shriek of the phone froze over her blood.
Time for the truth.
She and Scott stood, one in front of the other, both itching to grab the test and see what their future held, both too scared to do it.
“Scott?” she pleaded.
He ran a hand over his mouth, nodded. Then turned around, crouched down.
His hand reached for the test. Her heart pumped so fast her head spun.
Light. Too much light around; sounds distant and muffled.
Scott raised the stick, looked at it.
She closed her eyes shut.
DJ is a free spirit who needs the road under her feet. Scott is a family man who wants to groom his roots. With danger on their doorstep and a baby to keep safe, how much are they willing to compromise for love?
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As usual, this being the Book Hook, here are other great stories for you to check out: