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Lean on Me
 

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Lean on Me


  Lean on Me

  Copyright © 2014 by Candy Crum

  All rights reserved. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission. For information, contact Candy Crum ([email protected]). This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  ISBN-13: 978-1495987694

  ISBN-10: 1495987698

  Lean on Me

  Copyright © 2014 by Candy Crum

  All rights reserved.

  Published by Candy Crum

  www.facebook.com/CandyCrumBooks

  Cover Design by EmCat Designs

  www.facebook.com/EmCatDesigns

  Editorial Services by Nathan Squiers

  Literary Dark Editing

  Other Books by Candy Crum

  The Eternal Series

  (New Adult Paranormal Romance)

  The Eternal Gift: Vol. 1 – April 13, 2014

  Eternally Forsaken: Vol. 1.5 (novella) – June 8, 2014

  The Eternal Echo: Vol. 2 – August 10, 2014

  Eternally Bound: Vol. 2.5 (novella) – October 12, 2014

  The Eternal Throne: Vol. 3 – December 7, 2014

  Stand Alone Novels

  Lean on Me

  …Before I wake – February 2015

  To my awesome family. I love you guys so much and I couldn’t do this without you. Brandon, I love you – no matter what. Boys, Brandon and Matthew, mommy loves you and you are the reason that I do this – so you might have a brighter future. Amanda, my seester, I love you so much and you are my other child – even if you’re only three years younger than me.

  Charlee M. Combs, my unborn niece. I love you so much and you won’t be here until April (happy birthday Aunt Candy!) but I want to shout your name to the world anyway. Welcome to the world, baby girl. You’ve got one hell of a crazy family, but you’ll be loved every minute and spoiled rotten.

  Mallory, thank you for being my best friend and sticking with me even though I’m a crazy lady.

  Lean on Me

  DISCLAIMER

  I feel like I should say a few words about this book before it begins. This is a fiction novel – first and foremost. It is meant to entertain and stimulate your own emotions. Though this is a YA (Young Adult) novel meant for teens sixteen and older, there are certainly violent situations, language (a few strong ones), and adult situations involving the obvious things given the theme of the story: pregnancy, complications, and birth.

  That being said, this book was written to recognize teen pregnancy and the girls whose lives dramatically change when they have a child at a young age. When a young girl reads that positive pregnancy test, some of the first things that run through her mind are things like:

  What will my parents say? Will they kick me out? Will they support me?

  What will my boyfriend say? Will he leave me? Will he ask me to have an abortion?

  Do I want an abortion? Do I want to give the baby up for adoption?

  These are only a few of many. If that girl happens to be in an abusive (mentally/physically/or a combination of both) relationship, those questions are taken to a whole new level. There is no limit to her fear – especially if she decides to keep the baby. This is the story of a girl who has a wonderful life, but whose life is destroyed because of a single mistake.

  This story is based off of many of the teenage pregnancy horror stories I’ve been told by friends or others I’ve simply crossed paths with. But it is all fiction and not based off of anyone specific that I know. These things do happen. Perhaps not nearly as many unfortunate events as our lead female, but I suppose if you read seventy thousand words of a perfectly happy story where nothing ever goes wrong, you might be a little bored.

  This story is meant to be an inspiration. Though it is fiction, I think that a lot of girls look/think/feel/and act much like Bri. So I believe that they can take hope away from her tale and remember that things might be hard – even unbelievably so – but they will get better. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Just focus on the things that are most important: doing what’s absolutely best for yourself and/or your child and seeking help with those you trust.

  TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 1

  “Please hurry,” Bri urged before biting a nail and continuing her pacing in her private bathroom. Longest two minutes of my life.”

  Each second that ticked by seemed like an eternity as the sixteen year old waited for the white stick to determine her future andreminded her just how stupid she’d been. She’d only had sex one time, and hadn’t even wanted to do it then. It was just that Mike was very – pushy. He hadn’t forced her, but it was obvious that she wasn’t getting out of it easily. In the end, she’d succumbed in to his emotional abuse.

  Bri didn’t believe in waiting until marriage to have sex, but she did believe in waiting until one was ready, a decision she thought that a young person wasn’t capable of safely making due to raging hormones. But, she’d given in, fearing that he might get angry or maybe even hurt her if she didn’t.

  “If you don’t, I’ll tell everyone that we did anyway,” he’d said, giving her that disturbing, haunting grin of his. “May as well have the fun that comes with it.” He’d also promised her that he’d put on a condom, but obviously hadn’t. It had been, dark and she hadn’t able to see.

  He’d hit her before, something she vowed never to allow him to do again. She’d loved him until that moment when he’d struck her, betraying her trust in an ultimate way. She’d been trying to find a way out of the relationship ever since, but he’d wanted to make it up to her by taking her out on a date. Bri had been trying to find a way to break up with him without sparking more of his rage, but hadn’t yet, and not doing so earlier might have cost her.

  Though she didn’t truly buy the remorseful act, it had been lovely until the moment he’d parked out on an abandoned road and threatened her reputation. And the way he’d squeezed her arm when she tried to resist, she knew he’d force her if she didn’t agree. The moment he claimed her innocence she shed tears, both from pain as well as deep regret; two things Mike had absolutely no patience for.

  The timer finally went off and pulled Bri from her memories, jolting her a bit in the process. She ran to the bathroom sink and picked up the test, tears immediately forming in her eyes as she saw the word “pregnant” played across the screen. Fear coursed through her veins as she thought about what her parents might say. She knew they wouldn’t be happy, but she hoped they would come to accept it.

  Pulling her toothbrush holder from the mirror cabinet, she removed the toothbrush and crushed the holder, cracking it down the side, but not breaking it half. She placed the pregnancy test inside and buried it in the trash, knowing that if her parents rifled through her trash they wouldn’t think twice about seeing it. The rest of the trash from the box she shredded and stuffed inside a plastic grocery bag, balled it up as tight as she could, and shoved it inside an empty toilet paper roll, burying that in the trash as well.

  Bri tried to force herself to calm as she wiped the tears fro
m her cheeks and began to brush her light-blonde hair. She tried to focus on the task at hand. Just like every night of the week, her family would have dinner tonight between seven and eight and she didn’t want them to question her red eyes that were normally a beautiful deep ocean blue.

  She gave herself a once-over in the mirror and sighed. Her cheeks were a little pink, but she was as happy as possible with her appearance. She made her way into her room. Everything inside was expensive, the best of the best, and none of it her choice. Her mother, who had never like her style, wouldn’t allow her to pick out her own clothes half of the time, let alone her own furniture. Her mind raced as she searched through her closet for something nice to wear to dinner. Though her parents were always busy and she was always out at basketball practice and training, her mother insisted everyone to meet every night for dinner and that everyone dressed nicely.

  Finally, she settled on a just-above-the-knees yellow sundress with wide straps and white sandal wedges. As she slipped off her clothes, she studied her body in the mirror. Her flat stomach seemed to hypnotize her, and she wondered how big she would get, or if she would even carry to term. A lot of women suffered miscarriages. She couldn’t help but worry if she would be one of the unfortunates to suffer one as well. She shook her head as she blocked thoughts of the future, forcing her eyes away from the mirror and sliding her dress over her head.

  From downstairs Bri could hear the front door slam before her mother announced her arrival. Bri snapped from her thoughts, realizing that she’d come to sit on her bed and more than an hour had passed since she’d finished getting dressed. It was then just after seven and she needed to fix dinner for her family.

  “Hello, Briana,” her mother, Ellen, said as Bri entered the kitchen.

  “Hi, Mom,” she replied in a forced and monotone voice. She could hardly force the words out of her mouth. “Are dinner plans the same?”

  Ellen gave her daughter a strange look. “Of course they’re the same. Are you alright? You seem – off.”

  Bri forced herself to perk up, realizing that she was allowing her inner turmoil to show. She wanted nothing more than to run into her mother’s arms and tell her what had happened and the result of her unfortunate decision, but she was terrified. Her stomach knotted and she felt the intense urge to throw up. She couldn’t tell if it was due to nerves or the effects of the pregnancy, but she refused to let it overtake her. She smiled.

  “Yeah, just a little tired. It was a long day today,” she said. “I guess I just wasn’t thinking.”

  Ellen gave a brief smile before putting her things away and grabbing a bottle of wine. Bri went to the fridge and looked at the weekly menu to see that it was lasagna night. She was thankful for such a complex meal, taking her time putting her frustrations and worries into carefully preparing the perfect lasagna. Her mother was very picky about how it was to be prepared, and Bri had spent a lot of time learning how to make it, and a number of other dishes, correctly. Her mother couldn’t really cook, but her specifications were strict enough to have forced Bri to learn.

  An hour and a half later, dinner was finished and Bri had just placed the last plate on the table. It was a large table fully set with expensive china, candles, flowers, properly folded napkins, and several pieces of silverware. Her home was something typical you’d find in a snooty wealthy homes magazine and she hated it. It was boring for her. When you have everything you want – what’s left to work for? What fun is that?

  She poured wine for her parents and grape juice for herself in a wine glass. Once grace was said, the family began eating and Bri’s mind began to swim again, but she forced it aside.

  “How was work, Dad?” she asked.

  “It was long;very long.” His response was bored as he prepared himself for another bite. Bri merely nodded, realizing that her father had no interest in talking, like most nights. “Monty’s girl is knocked up,” he said, suddenly having a little spark in his behavior.

  Bri nearly choked at the topic change. Her heart skipped a beat and she hung on to her parents’ every word as they exchanged their worries about the situation. She knew the girl they were referring to. Molly. She was quiet and usually kept to herself, but was otherwise a good girl.

  “Are you serious?” Ellen asked. “How far along? What’s Monty going to do?”

  John, Bri’s father shrugged. “I have no idea. I don’t think he knows what he’s going to do either. But she’s six weeks along. They took her to the doctor as soon as she missed her cycle.”

  “Is she going to keep the baby?” Bri was surprised how tiny her voice sounded. She’d meant to sound more confident and not so guilty. She looked from parent to parent as their eyes locked on her, forcing her to squirm under the scrutiny of their glare.

  “She’s seventeen years old. What does she know about raising a baby? This will ruin her life. Why on earth would you think that was even an option for her?” Her mother was rigid as she spoke, her voice like icy steel as it cut through Bri’s ears.

  “Well I just think that she should have a choice in the matter. After all, it’s her baby,” Bri said, eyes fixed on the peas that she was now pushing around the plate with her fork.

  A huff of a sarcastic laugh escaped Ellen. “Her baby? That’s funny. No. It isn’t her baby. Who has to take care of it while she’s at school? That’s if she doesn’t quit! And if she quits school, who is going to take care of her for the rest of her life with no education? Who is going to care for this baby financially? Because if she goes to school she can’t work and if she quits school she’ll never get a good job. Fast food. That’s her future. Or selling drugs. Does that sound like an excellent future for her or the baby? Her parents need to make her abort it. Abort it before it ruins her reputation. She could put it up for adoption, but she’d always be known as the knocked up teen that gave her baby away. This way no one has to know.”

  Bri was shocked. She’d never heard something so horrifying. Her mother was far icier than she’d ever thought. Bri instinctively rubbed her belly, wondering if they would force her to get an abortion, too. Is that what she would want? Her mother wasn’t wrong about the girl’s future being difficult, but was it really so hopeless? Bri felt the urge to throw up once again, and she knew this time that she wouldn’t avoid it.

  “May I be excused?” she asked.

  Her mother rolled her eyes. “I think that would be for the best, actually. Don’t forget to clear the table and wash the dishes before you go to bed.”

  “I will, Mom,” she replied before running up the stairs and into the private bathroom that neighbored her bedroom.

  Her stomach rolled as soon as she dropped to her knees in front of the black toilet.

  She thought it would never stop, having thrown up a half-dozen times before feeling the swaying in her abdomen subside. Bri slowly stood and rinsed her mouth with cold water from the tap. The cool water that she splashed on her face contrasted against the heat that seemed to be radiating from her.

  Taking a deep breath, she went to her bedroom and locked her door before sitting at the computer. She pulled up the internet and began researching teenage pregnancy. She was confronted with every statistic she could think of, including the odds of her losing the baby naturally, the odds of her developing major issues during the pregnancy due to her body not being fully mature, the odds of her dying during childbirth, and more.

  She looked up the costs of caring for a baby and was astonished by the large figures. She’d considered the costs of the formula, bottles, diapers, and clothes that she would have to completely replace every two or three months as well as toys, cribs, changing tables, blankets, safety items like outlet covers and latches for toilet seats and cabinets.

  After only forty-five minutes, her mouth had gone dry from panic and her leg had gone numb from nervously bouncing it up and down for so long. She began convincing herself that her mother was right. There was no way that she could do this alone. Would she be alone? Would Mike have
anything at all to do with the baby? Would she want Mike to have anything to do with her baby? There were so many questions!

  Returning to the search engine, she found a link for pregnancy options. As she clicked it, the first one that she noticed was abortion. Her mother had been so adamant that abortion was the easiest answer for Molly. Would she think the same for her own daughter? Bri’s heart raced as she considered all of her options. Could she raise this baby on her own? If she decided that she couldn’t and still wanted to carry to term, would she have the strength to put her baby up for adoption?

  Bri had always considered herself pro-choice, but had never given true thought to what she would do in a situation of her own. She clicked on the link for abortion and began reading. It listed the entire procedure from start to finish. She noticed, however, that it didn’t list what actually happened to the fetus. Her stomach pitched as she thought about the terrible pain and couldn’t bring herself to research what actually happened to the baby once it had been vacuumed out of the uterus.

  As she leaned back, she realized that she’d been protectively rubbing her lower stomach again. She smiled as she thought of her flat belly growing, looking as though it had a basketball tucked inside. A feeling of peace fell over her as she imagined actually carrying her baby. Feeling every kick, every roll, every hiccup. She hadn’t even known babies hiccupped inside the womb until she’d just read it moments ago.

  If I can learn all of this in an hour, then I can spend the next nine months preparing for you, she thought.

  She smiled again. “Granny is wrong. Abortion may be right for some,” she said softly, speaking to her flat tummy, “but not for us. Mommy’s going to do her best, little one. Even if I fail and have to find you a safe home, I’m going to do everything I can to keep you safe with me. I’m your mommy and that’s what good mommies do.”

 
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