“Listen, I’ll go with you. Nobody else needs to know! Trust me, it’ll be better this way,” he whispered.
“I don’t know. It’s so extreme. I’ve heard some scary stories from my friends. Remember Gina Paulson? She gave up one, and she’s never been the same since. She’s SO weird now. I mean, one day she’s so bright and cheerful and on a ‘high’ and the next day, she mopes around, teary-eyed and forlorn,” she responded, “and that in of itself is enough for me to be cautious about such a drastic decision.”
He pushed his stack of books over so he could lean closer.
“Yeah, but think of the alternative. We haven’t even really LIVED yet! Besides, you won’t like being tied down all the time.”
“My Mom would help, I know it! She’s such a sucker when it comes to little ones!” she replied insistently.
The discussion continued throughout their entire library study hour in hushed tones. In between their responses to each other, she kept thinking of cute little outfits and being loved unconditionally and all her friends flocking around her to admire her charge. All he could think of was where the money to pay for everything was going to come from, and how hard it would be to juggle their class schedules around the needs and wants of another. However, he also knew how disappointed his sisters would be if his girl gave in to his reluctance.
“I know!” she burst out, as the bell rang. “My neighbor! It’s a PERFECT solution! Mrs. Dartmouth’s been real lonely since her husband died and I know for a fact that she’s always wishing her grandchildren could come and visit more often! She’d LOVE helping us with him!”
With a brief hug and a “call me on my cell”, both teens went their separate ways to the next class.
She found it difficult to concentrate on her geometry formulas for very long, and began to daydream, mentally picking out names that would be awesome for this new addition to their relationship. She knew her guy would come around to her way of thinking if she pleaded long enough.
While studying his German text, his thoughts drifted to wishing she would give up on this plan. They were both too young to be saddled with this kind of responsibility! He wasn’t ready for commitment of this kind and neither was she! He hated the thought of deserting her at such a vulnerable time, but he hated being a daddy-figure more.
By common consent, they met for supper at Gi-Gi’s drive-in to further discuss the issue. She began, sadly,
“I guess I was wrong about Mrs. Dartmouth. She thinks she’s too old to commit to a regular job of ‘sitting.”
“That’s too bad,” he sympathetically responded, secretly relieved.
“And, to make it worse, Mom says if we’re going to take this on, it’s our problem, not hers. She said she’s already ‘been-there-done-that’,” sighed his girl.
“Well, what are we going to do then?” he cautiously questioned, seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
“I told Manda she’d have to find someone else to take him and that it just wasn’t going to work out for us,” she admitted.
They finished the burgers and fries in silence as he breathed a sigh of relief and she sadly contemplated a life without Pudgy, the perfect name she’d picked for the fattest puppy of Rhonda’s golden retriever’s litter.
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