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 Chapter 42: Forks

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Kell
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Join date : 2008-10-05

PostSubject: Chapter 42: Forks   Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:46 am

Understandably, ever since it happened, my grades had been on that list of things that were affected. But lately, I had been finally pulling them back up. Forcing myself to stay concentrated on my schoolwork, as funny as it sounds, was a distraction from everything else. I also enrolled back into the tutoring program to help other students, against the wishes of Mr. Jeffers, my therapist. I knew he had his concerns, but I had tried to assure him that I think it would help me. It would certainly take up more of my time, leaving less room to binge drink, cut & stick needles in my arm. I'm thankful he laughed when I made that joke. Otherwise that'd have just been really awkward.

And even though I had numbing feelings regarding Jaden, being with Jared helped. While I was beginning to think that maybe he wasn't the best shoulder to cry on, we had fun together. Not that Jade & I didn't, but with Jared it was different. We ONLY had fun. Whether or not that's a good thing, I don't know. I don't think anybody really knows the answer to that, but it was...different. Whether it was the movies he took me to, the walks on the beach, the games of badminton we played in his backyard or the sex (which was pretty good), there was never a slow or dramatic moment with him. And I hadn't figured out yet if I liked that.

After I got out of Jade's car when we made it home from school, I walked up my front stairs. The car rides home had been...awkward & tense at best obviously. There wasn't much talking. There wasn't much I could think to talk about that wouldn't upset him. It hurt. To know that I could say something about the weather & even that would bug him, because then of course he'd know I was scrambling to talk.

As I walked inside, I saw my dad's piece on the counter. I wondered why he was home so early.

"Dad?" I called as I put my stuff by the door.

"Yeah?" he said, walking from around the corner.

"Why are you home so early?"

"Well I got a call from the lawyer today. He tells me we need to figure out what we're going to do when the baby arrives because he needs to start filling out the custody papers to give to the courts soon."

"What did you tell him?"

"I told him that I'd talk to you about it but that I think we're pretty sure on the idea of putting him or her up for adoption."

"Who's 'we'?" I said.

He gave me a confused look.

"What?"

"Well I never agreed on that," I said, offended that he would just make that decision on his own. After all, it was ME who was the father.

"Noah, this is a child we're talking about," he said incredulously. "We don't have the money."

"We're pretty well off..." I reminded him.

"Yes, we are, but not to raise a child. You still have to finish high school, go through college, which I'm paying for, you need a car, a place...I already plan on helping you with all of that but I can't do it if there's a baby to raise."

"I can start putting money away now from work, let it build up," I said.

He shook his head. "Noah, I've done the math enough times. And the only way it could work out would be to take money from your trust fund."

"I have a trust fund?" I didn't know about this.

"Yes," he waved for me to follow him to his room. "Your mother & I opened a trust for you when you were born. A LOT of what we each made at the end of the year went into it."

"How come I've never known about it?" I asked as we walked into his room towards the closet. As he opened the door, we walked in & he moved aside a bunch of clothes on hangers to reveal a large safe door in the wall. I knew he kept things like my birth certificate, social security info & other important things in there but I never knew about a trust fund.

"You won't get it until you turn 21," he said as he punched in the numbers & turned the lock.

He reached in & fiddled through some different things looking for it.

"How much is in it?" I asked.

"Take a look for yourself," he said as he handed a paper to me that I assumed was the details of it.

When I saw the number my jaw dropped.

"Wow..." I breathed. "That's...a lot..."

"Yup," he said, taking the paper from my hands & putting it back in the safe. "And your mother & I intended for it to be opened & used by you for regular life purposes, not to support a baby at this time in your life."

"But dad," I said after he closed the safe & we made it back to the kitchen, "if we need the money then why don't we use it?"

"NOW who's 'we'?" he exclaimed.

"What?"

"Until you turn 21, it's gonna be all me supporting the baby, which I just can't do Noah," he said.

"I can help though," I said.

"You don't make enough part time to help. You have to focus on school."

"I could drop out," I replied, surprising myself a bit, but meaning it. "I could work full time. My grades are good enough where if I apply to a college down the line, they'd accept me. I could take night classes, work a full time job then too. Whatever it takes."

"You're not dropping out," he said firmly. "And even if you did, a full time job at a place like Dade's still isn't enough to take care of a child on your own."

"But it WON'T be on my own dad, I'll have you to help me!"

"I've been saving up money to help you get through college, get a car & get a home. And THAT'S how that money is being spent!" he raised his voice.

"I thought you always told me that going to college would always be MY decision to make," I snapped.

"THAT is. Keeping the baby ISN'T."

I shot him a disgusted look.

"Do you have any idea how heartless you sound right now?"

"It isn't about having heart Noah, it's about doing what's best for your child. And if you keep this baby, I can promise you that that won't happen."

"Because you won't help," I said flatly.

"Because we don't have the money," he said through his teeth.

"You know what dad?" I stared at him, "what I choose to do is MY decision. Not yours. If I wanna go to college that's MY decision. If I wanna drop out of school now that's MY decision. If I wanna keep this baby, that's MY decision!"

He looked away & shook his head.

"I know I'm not 18 or 21 or whatever but I AM gonna be a dad myself soon!" I yelled at him. "And I refuse to be one of those parents who sees their only legitimate option being to give that child up because they can't afford to take care of it! Well I wanna be the kind who CAN take care of my kid even though I'm still this young. I HAVE the money! I HAVE the ability to work full time without living paycheck to paycheck because I THOUGHT I had a father who would take care of me! I'm not some loser moron on MTV who's parents don't have any means to help. Instead, I'm lucky enough to have a dad who CAN provide easily & could just as easily decide to take that money meant for my education, car & home, & use it to help raise my child."

He looked right at me.

"All you'd have to do," I continued, a little more calmly this time, "would be to take all that money meant for those things & use it to help me raise my child, dad." I looked pleadingly at him. "I want to be in my kid's life full time. Not as some observing parent who's just the 'biological' father. Please dad..."

He sighed & looked down at the floor, closing his eyes. After a moment, he slowly shook his head.

I gulped.

"Dad...?"

"No," he said.

"But dad..."

"I said no," he said firmly.

"It's not up to you!" I screamed at him.

"You're right. It's your choice. And you're making the wrong one, I'm telling you."

"You know dad," I cried, "you raised me to be able to think for myself early on. You always told me that being part of an adult was being able to think & make up my own decisions about what I feel is best. And this is what I feel is best. I'M the father of this baby, not you. Will it bumpy down the road with this decision? Yeah, I guarantee it. But it's still MY decision to make. You always told me that part of growing up is if I'm going to make my own choices, I need to accept the consequences that will come with it. And I do."

"This isn't like a 'terms & conditions' you sign, Noah," he said, walking up beside the counter.

"I need to think for myself..." I started again.

"YOU CAN'T BE THINKING FOR YOURSELF THIS TIME GOD DAMMIT!" he slammed his fist on the counter, making me jump. My dad had never yelled at me like that before.

"Part of growing up is not just thinking for yourself, it's also thinking about those around you ESPECIALLY your own son or daughter," he said. "If I used the money I've saved to help raise your child, then you won't be able to have a car or a home of your own."

"THEN when I turn 21, I can use the money in my trust to get those things," I replied.

"Yeah and then what!" he threw up his hands. "What happens when there's no money left in either the trust or what I've saved up? You said yourself you''l have dropped out of high school without a diploma. You won't even have a HIGH SCHOOL education. How do you expect to get a satisfactory job then? Sure, you could go back & get your GED. Then maybe yeah, you could get into a college. But with what money? I certainly won't have any, it was all spent on raising the kid."

"It sounds to me like you're putting things & possessions first before anything else. Little materialistic don't you think?" I said smugly, feeling my throat tighten.

"Unfortunately that's life Noah," he shot back. "You need to understand that you need things in order to care for a child. If you don't have a home then where do you expect to raise one? In this house with me? I can't afford that. You won't be able to afford that. How do you expect your kid to get to school? The bus? Sure if you can afford it. A car? What car? How do you have enough money for clothes, food, medical visits, toiletries...without a satisfactory job? How do you even HAVE a satisfactory job without a college education? Without a high school education?"

I looked back at him, tears welling up in my eyes. Maybe this was the reason I never thought of what to do when the baby is born, because it'd be too hard to accept. My dad was right. And I knew he was. I was much better off than other teenagers. But still not enough to have another person living in the house. I had to do it.

"Ok..." I said softly.

"Noah, I know it hurts," he said much more soothingly. "But you need to think what's best for this baby."

I nodded. I slowly walked toward my dad, who opened his arms & hugged me. I cried gently into his chest.

I had to give my baby away.

**********

A couple days later I was feeling better & back at work with my focus now off what to do with the baby. My dad & I had definitely decided to put him or her up for adoption. I cried again when I had to sign some documents, but through my tears, I reminded myself that my dad was right & that it was the right thing to do. Afterwards, it finally began to sink in & that helped me get through it.

Work was good too. I'd gotten a nice raise & with that extra money being saved away, I figured it shouldn't be TOO much longer until I had enough to buy a car with my dad's help. The raise itself wasn't very much, considering when I started I made a whopping $10 an hour due to there being a desperate need for workers. With the raise also came a little promotion. In addition to working the counter downstairs, Tom, my boss, had me waiting on parties and other events that happened upstairs. And waiting on people means tips. And tips means even more money.

I was just walking downstairs from taking orders from someone's 21st birthday party when I saw Nina walk into the place.

"Hey Debby," I whispered to the girl who was working with me, "could you take these orders to the party upstairs?" I asked as I handed her the orders.

"Uhhhh, ok...?" she said, baffled. "But they're your orders..."

"You can keep the tips," I said.

"All right," she said, taking the orders. She headed to the back to make the orders as I walked up toward the front where Nina was standing.

"Hey!" she said when she saw me. "Noah, right?"

"Yup," I nodded.

"I'm terrible with names. But I just remember yours because it's like Noah's Arc haha," she laughed.

"Just like Noah's Arc," I said. I always hated that.

"I didn't know you worked here too," she said. "You & Jade must really be close to go to school, hang out & work together."

"Well he & I don't really work together anymore. Tom, our boss, changed our schedules a while back."

"Ahh I see. Yeah, I pretty much come here the same time every day. Which is how I met Jade. Sort of. We don't really talk, but he knows my usual," she chuckled, waving her hands.

"Yeah. Speaking of that, what brings you by today at this time?"

"Well," she started as she flung her hair back, "my boyfriend & I just broke up & even though I started this diet a little while ago, I figured I could cheat & eat a bit ya know?"

"Boyfriend?" I said, surprised.

"Yeah. We were together for a year. He cheated on me though so I ended it," she pouted.

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said.

"Eh, it's not your fault. Besides...well actually, can you keep a secret?" she asked quietly.

"What is it?" I leaned forward.

"Not that I would have ACTUALLY done anything while I was still with my boyfriend, but for most of the time that I've been coming here...I've kind of been crushing on Jade..." she whispered.

I know. I saw you guys making flirty faces with each other before I walked in here when we first met. Jade & I were actually boyfriends for a while but then we broke up & ever since this other thing that happened to me, it's put a giant strain on our friendship, which has only gotten worse since you came into the picture. He's gay, & to find out that WHILE him & I were still going out that he was having feelings for you, a girl, has made me feel horrible ever since he told me & I'd appreciate it if you stopped coming around here every time he works so that there's one less thing in our way of having a somewhat normal friendship again.

I blinked.

"Oh, really?" I asked.

"Yeah," she gushed. "He's sooo hot. I feel like, I dunno...I feel like maybe he might like me back too?" she guessed to me. "Is he single?"

I wanted to say no. I wanted to say no SO badly. But for the first time in long time...

I thought.

I thought & I realized.

I realized that whatever I would say would have consequences. I wanted so badly to tell her that he wasn't single. So that she could stop liking him. So she could stop coming here. So he could get over her. So he could remember what it was like being with me. So he could want to be with me again. So I could be with him again...

And that's when it hit me...

This is just what my dad & Jade had been telling me.

I was thinking about only myself. Here I stood, in front of a girl who just told me she had feelings for my best friend in the world, who himself had feelings for this girl...& yet the first thing I thought of was to sabotage his chance of happiness. It saddened me to think that maybe I would go down as a confusing moment in his life in his mind. It saddened me even more when I realized that as his best friend...it's my duty to do anything in my power to make him happy. And if that meant watching him fall in love with someone else, then so be it.

"Uh, yeah..." I said, "he's single."

"Do you um...do you know if he likes me back?" she asked, fidgeting in front of the counter.

My heart broke as I answered.

"I think," I swallowed, "...he does, yes."

She clasped her hands in excitement from the news.

"Oh good haha. Don't tell him I feel the same way though!" she threw up her hands in front of me. "I wanna ask him out as a surprise."

"You...should."

"I will, next time I'm here when he's working. In the meantime, I'll have a..." she gave me her order & soon after she had eaten it, said goodbye & left, I finished up the rest of the night with Debby & one more party upstairs before I headed home.

She's really not so bad, I thought. While it killed me to know that I might have to watch Jade start a relationship with someone else, I knew that I had to do it.

I had to give my baby away.

After the long walk back, I made it inside & up to my room. As I got ready for bed, I thought to myself that I couldn't keep up this...this...whatever it was that had changed me. I needed to get back to my old self. But this time, not because I wanted something like Jade liking me again, but because it was the right thing to do & fully move on. Move on past this victim role. Move on past this jealousy role. Move on past this manipulative role. Move on. As I sat down on my bed ready to get an early night's sleep, I looked down at my bed. I looked at the barely-visible light brown ring that was stained into the sheet. I looked at it & realized that I couldn't hide behind it anymore.

I stood up & walked over to my closet & pulled out a brand new sheet. Walking over to my bed, I yanked off the old sheet with a slight smile. After I fitted the new sheet to my bed, I picked up the old one, brought it downstairs, put my shoes on & brought it outside where I opened the trash can lid & threw it in. I refused to ever see it again.

And I refused to ever let it see ME again.

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Chapter 42: Forks
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