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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Loving Alternatives
By Sheri Gordon
06/12/07


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“I can’t go in there.”

Shelby stared at the glass door with the frilly purple curtain. The plastic sign hanging from the door handle read Open. Stick-on cursive letters discreetly identified the nature of the business. Loving Alternatives Crisis Pregnancy Center.

“You have to, Shelby. It’ll be okay. They’re really nice.”

Ashley’s attempt to reassure her best friend was met with a stinging retort from Shelby.

“How would you know? You’ve never had to do this.”

“Yes, I have.” Ashley was all-too familiar with Loving Alternatives. This was one of the first places she visited when she moved to Weatherton two years earlier.

“What?! When?! Why haven’t you told me? You and Matt have had sex? We’re best friends – you’re supposed to tell me everything. I told you about me and Garrett. I thought you were Miss I’m-going-to-wait-until-I’m-married. I thought you took the purity pledge at church.”

Shelby’s crisis was momentarily forgotten as she rapidly fired questions and accusations at Ashley.

Ashley knew she should have confided in Shelby earlier. Shelby was the first girl to befriend her when Ashley’s family moved from the city to this sprawling suburban area. The two girls, now seniors at Weatherton High, were inseparable. They shared everything – almost.

Both girls attended First Christian Church. Most of the families from their local community did. But Shelby went primarily for the social part – and because her parents made her go. Ashley, however, was totally committed to serving God and living a life pleasing to Him.

“No, Matt and I haven’t had sex. We both took the purity pledge, and we both meant it. Our first time together will be on our wedding night. That’s what God commands, and that’s what our future marriage deserves.”

“But …?” Shelby encouraged Ashley to continue. She could tell there was some ‘dirt’ in Ashley’s story – and, besides, the longer Ashley talked, the longer Shelby could avoid the dreaded moment inside the purple-curtained door.

“Remember I told you about Robbie?”

“Yeah – he was your first boyfriend, before you moved here, right?”

“Right.” Sour bile formed in Ashley’s mouth as she remembered that final night with Robbie.

“You mean … you and Robbie had sex?”

“Yeah. Just once. I thought I was in-love. This was the guy I was going to marry. My parents were making me move three hours away from him. I wanted to show Robbie how much I loved him. I wanted to share something special with him. I wanted to give him a reason to wait for me.”

Ashley’s glistening eyes stared blankly into her best friend’s confused face.

“Pretty stupid, huh? After we moved here, I missed a period. My mom found this place and brought me here. I wasn’t pregnant.”

“You told your mom you had sex with Robbie?” Shelby couldn’t imagine Ashley’s mom being okay with that. And there was no way she was going to tell her mom about her and Garrett.

“I had to. I didn’t know anybody here. I didn’t have my license, so I couldn’t drive myself anywhere. It was really hard, but she was pretty cool about it. She was disappointed for me. We cried together. She’s the one who got me involved in the purity program. I can talk to her about anything now. I just wish we had really talked about sex before I made my stupid mistake.”

“Does Matt know?” Shelby asked the question Ashley had hoped to avoid.

“No.”

“You have to tell him.”

“I know. I’m just so afraid. What if he leaves me? He’s been saving himself for his future wife. A virgin wife. A pure wife. And I’m not her.”

“Ashley, he loves you. Aren’t you always telling me if I confess my sins, God will forgive me of my sins? No matter what? God forgave you, and so will Matt.”

“I know you’re right. I don’t want to talk about me now. We need to go inside before the center closes. I’ll be praying for you while you take the pregnancy test.”

Thirty minutes later, Shelby greeted Ashley with a big hug.

“I’m not pregnant. Thank God. And Linda, my counselor, explained everything to me about second virginity. I made a pledge to God that I’m going to stay pure until my wedding night. And I’m going to go home and talk to my mom about what’s been going on.”

“I’m really glad for you. And I’m going to go right now to talk to Matt. Pray for me.”


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This article has been read 724 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Roome 06/15/07
Natural sounding dialogue and a very good message. Well done.
Catrina Bradley 06/17/07
Great story about a sensitive subject, or so I thought it was going to be. I love the happy twist at the end - a Christian counseling center instead of a clinic. Well Done!!
Jan Ackerson 06/18/07
I really liked the fact the even the Christian girl had her own doubts and fears--wasn't an unrealistic "Super Christian." Great reading for teen girls, and to tell you the truth, I think boys would like it, too. Good one for a youth group to read and discuss.
Joanne Sher 06/18/07
Great characterization and details. You made both girls extremely real. Great job.
Dee Yoder 06/18/07
Good story and topic for teens to read and discuss!
Jacquelyn Horne06/20/07
Some deep life decisions being made here. Hope it is encouraging to teens facing the same problems.
Kristen Hester06/20/07
I really like this story. I served on a board at a Christian Crisis Pregnancy Center. The staff there would love this story. Nicely done.
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
Nice. I wish we'd been able to get more into Ashley's head. She's so easy to relate to, so realistic and not all perfect and everything. The dialouge was realistic and I'm glad that it's happy that everything worked out and Ashley even decided to go talk to the guy. Nice job.
Rita Garcia06/20/07
You did a wonderful job of handing a big problem that many teens face, a fantastic message...one to be taken to heart.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/20/07
A very well told story about a difficult message. I had not heard about "second virginity." It sounds like a good idea for teens who have slipped--pregnant or not.
joe hodson06/20/07
Great dialogue! I loved the message! Very real! Well-told!
Pamela Kliewer06/20/07
Well done. It's interesting someone said they liked the twist at the end that it was a Christian place, whereas I had that feeling from the beginning with the name of the place. You handled this well and I enjoyed the realistic dialog.
Julie Arduini06/20/07
I bet this would be an encouragment to many girls thinking they failed for giving in. You write a great story about second chances. Excellent.
Cheri Hardaway 07/05/07
Sheri,

This was an awesome story. It is so full of hope and promise, just like God. He is indeed the maker of second chances. Thanks for writing this...

Blessings, Cheri