Chapter   Three

Lynn was standing by her window in complete and utter shock. She didn't think she'd ever see AJ again or have him see her the way she was now. I didn't think I ever see you again, said another voice in her head. No, Lynn thought. I refuse to even think about Dwayne. I have to move on. And Em's right, he's no good for me. She jumped when a knock on her door brought her away from her thoughts.

"Lynn," said a familiar voice. "It's AJ. Can I come in?"

Lynn walked over to her door and unlocked it, then went to sit on her window seat. "Go ahead."

AJ slowly opened the door and stuck his head in. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Lynn said quietly. "I was just a little surprised to see you sitting in my living room again. In fact, I didn't expect to see you at all after you left."

"I wanted to surprise you," AJ replied. "I guess I did my job well."

"You sure did."

"How far along are you?"

Lynn stayed silent for a minute before answering. "The baby will be born in a couple weeks."

AJ thought about that for a minute. "So you were about...."

"I was three months pregnant when I met you. Four months by the time you left."


The two of them stayed quiet for a long while. It was a companionable silence though. Neither really felt the urge to speak at that moment. AJ started wondering if he should ask her what her situation was and Lynn was wondering if she should tell him. Finally, AJ decided to speak up.

"So, what happened to the father?" he asked. "Is he anywhere around or did he leave you hangin'?"

"Do you really want to hear the whole story?" Lynn asked him. "There's only one way to tell it so it'll make sense and that's to start from the beginning."

"Sure, I've got time," AJ told her. "I'm already settled in the house and I don't have anyone waiting for me to call or anything."

"Okay, if you're sure." Lynn took a deep breath before starting. "When I was a senior in high school, I went to Phoenix to visit my mom for Christmas. It was an attempt to form some sort of relationship with my mother. Well, it turned out my mom was hardly around and I spent most of my time with my brother James, my cousins Ericson, Crystal, Ryan, and Alisha, and our friend Jon. The day after Christmas, my mom and her boyfriend decided to go to Lake Havasu City to visit my other brother Miguel, sister-in-law Christy, and nephew Hunter. They were going to be gone a few days, so James and I decided to have a party. According to us, you don't need a big crowd to have a party. Just some weed and good alcohol. Well, James and Jon went to the store with our neighbor Johnny, who was over twenty-one, to get the booze. Then Crystal came over from next door and said this guy Darrell, who was also my ex, wanted to talk to me. Apparently, the neighbors told him I was in town and he wanted to see me. We were outside talking when two guys I had met at my nephew Steven's apartment six months before came over, Dwayne and his brother Josh. They were looking for Darrell. Then Crystal came back and we were talking to them for a little while before going back inside. Then James, Jon, and Johnny got back from the store and joined the others outside. Ryan had stopped by looking for James but he was still at the store so Ryan left with one of his movies telling me to tell James he had it. After the guys got tired of standing outside in the cold, they came in. We were all having a good time. All the guys were getting buzzed. James had given me my own 40, but I ended up giving it to the guys after I took two sips and Crystal took one. Soon the six 40s they bought was gone and they went to the store to buy four more. They got back and started playing 'Quarters' with the 40s. Soon everyone was drunk, except me and Crystal. We would've been if they'd bought us wine coolers like they usually do, but they didn't so we didn't drink. Then me and Crystal went into my bedroom for some gum. 'Dwayne's all paying attention to you,' she said. I was like, 'Oh', then went into the bathroom to check my hair. I kept thinking, 'Who the hell is Dwayne?' It turned out it was the guy I was eying."

"Okay, I'm confused," AJ interrupted. "You're making sound it like there were hundreds of people were there. How many were actually there?"

"My brother James, my cousins Ericson and Crystal, our friend Jon, our neighbor Johnny, and Ericson's friends, Dwayne, Josh, and Darrell," Lynn told him. "And me."

"You and Crystal were the only girls there?"

"Yeah. And the only ones not drinking."

"Okay. Go on."

"Well, me and Dwayne ended up getting together, which Ericson didn't like at all. We didn't care. Then when we were all chillin' and watching a movie, Josh got up to go to the bathroom and saw the cops outside the door shining a flashlight through the little window. 'Guys, the cops are outside,' he said. Everyone was like, 'Shut up' cuz we thought he was joking. Crystal and I got up walked into the hallway and saw two cops standing outside. We both yelled out there really were cops outside, and the guys took off running into every room in the house. Crystal and I went to talk to the cops. They said they had a call saying that we were making a lot of noise and asked who all the guys were that took off running. We told them they were our brothers. They didn't believe that and asked to search the house. We said it was okay and let them in. Luckily, all the 40s were gone by this time and they didn't find anything. But they told everyone to go home. They even told my brother to go home. He told them he lived there, but they didn't believe them. Then Ericson, Crystal, and Darrell tried to leave unnoticed, but were marched back inside with another cop following them. The cops let us off with a verbal warning, told everyone to go home, and if they were caught back at my house, everyone would be arrested. Everyone took off. Within minutes it was just me at my house. I looked for James, but he was nowhere around and I started wondering where he went. Then I heard the side door open and Dwayne walked in. He was the first one to return. We got to talking about what had happened and I started freaking out. I kept saying that I was going to be in so much trouble if my mom found out about our party. Dwayne got me to calm down by kissing me. It was just a short kiss, but it got me to shut up. Pretty soon, everyone showed up again. We turned off all the lights in the house so no one would see us. Johnny brought over his gun, shot off some caps outside, causing Jon to take off in his car. Everyone just ended up staying the night at my house. Except Crystal. Ericson wouldn't let her come back down to my house. Then everyone started getting into fights and yelling at each other...."

The ringing of AJ's cell phone interrupted. "Just one minute. Hello..... What for?..... Can't you do that without me?..... I'm kinda busy right now..... She's right here..... Thank you..... I will..... As soon as I'm done..... Alright..... Bye." He turned off his cell phone. "That was Kev. He said to tell you he said hi."

Lynn smiled. "Tell him I said hi, too."

"You can go ahead and continue."

"Like I was saying, everyone started getting into fights with each other. Johnny was yelling at Darrell for taking his now missing gun. James was trying to get them to shut up. Ericson was trying to get Dwayne to leave with him, but Dwayne didn't want to leave. Josh and I were fighting because he thought I didn't want any of them there when all I really wanted was for them all to shut up and be quiet. Finally Johnny, Darrell, Josh, Ericson, and Dwayne went outside. Me and Phil were still inside, figuring out how to get Johnny to leave. Dwayne came back in, told me Ericson was all mad because Dwayne liked me, when he finally left by himself. Me and Dwayne sat back down on the couch and talked. Darrel and Johnny came back in. Johnny walked over to Dwayne and started punching him, saying he took his gun. They got into a fight and Darrell was trying to Johnny out of the house. Finally, Darrell got him out of the house. Then it was just James, Dwayne and me at the house. We all talked for a while, then James went to bed. Dwayne and I continued talking. He told me about what it was like here in Seattle 'cause he used to live here, what he wanted to do when he got older, stuff like that. And he was interested in what I wanted to do, where I was from. He asked me, 'Why doesn't a good-looking girl like you have a boyfriend?" He asked me that numerous times, like he didn't believe that I couldn't have a boyfriend, just like someone else did."

AJ noticed Lynn looking directly at him. "Are you never going to stop bringing that up? I've said 'I'm sorry' about a thousand times. But Dwayne's right. It is kind of hard to believe that you don't have a boyfriend. Do you?"

"No, I don't have a boyfriend. You think I can attract someone looking like this?" Lynn got up and put her hands on her hips.

"I think you look great. Some women are just able to look good pregnant and you happen to be one of them." AJ looked at her meaningfully.

"Thank you," Lynn said as she blushed. "Anyway, Ericson, Johnny, and Darrell came back right as we were starting to make out. Johnny came over to apologize to Dwayne for punching him, then when he wouldn't leave Darrell had to drag him out the door again. Ericson stayed though. He wouldn't leave me and Dwayne alone for the rest of the night. He wouldn't even let us keep all the lights off. He turned on the light above the stove in the kitchen and when someone turned it off, he got mad and turned it back on. Dwayne was tired of trying to keep our feelings hidden, so we held hands out in the open instead of hiding them between us. Then Dwayne put his arms around me. Eventually, the two of us went to sleep. I was told Ericson didn't go to sleep at all. He just kept watching us. When I woke up the next morning, I was in my room and Dwayne was gone. I never saw him again after that night. I went to California to continue living with my dad. I graduated, had a bunch of relatives at my house. Then a month later, I went back to Phoenix for the summer. It had been almost seven months since I'd seen or even thought of Dwayne. I had just broken up with this guy I'd been seeing almost two months before. When I got there, I was anxious about seeing Dwayne. I didn't know if he still remembered me or what. It turned out the next day, my uncle got a fire call, he's a firefighter. Ericson and Dwayne went with him. They were in Colorado for about a week. Still it was another week before I saw Dwayne. Partly because I'd gotten sick and could barely even stay awake for about five or six days. And I was always cruising around with my cousin Alisha and her friend Eileen. Finally, I saw him at the mall with Ericson, Josh, and some of their other friends. He saw me and we shared a smile while Crystal smiled and waved to Josh. Ericson saw this and placed himself right between us and gave us a look that told us to not even think of coming up to them. We didn't let that stop us. Crystal and I came up with a plan to pick up Dwayne and Josh in my mom's car and go cruise somewhere at 11:00pm. We didn't have to 'cause Dwayne came to my house with a friend. We cruised around for a while then went back to Dwayne's house. We had stopped by there a couple times before, but it seemed like Dwayne's friends were having a party in his room, and Ericson was there, so we would just leave. We all hung out there for the rest of the night. From that time on we were a couple."

"How long were you guys together before you got pregnant?" AJ asked.

"I ended up moving in with my mom again and my friend Emily moved in with us, too," Lynn said. "Dwayne and I were together.... almost four months when I got pregnant. He went to go visit some relatives in New Mexico for Thanksgiving when I found out. Then Dwayne got a fire call and met up with the fire crew in California. I was going to tell him that day, but he called and said he wouldn't be coming home for two to four weeks. It was the day before he was supposed to start his college classes. When he got back home, he immediately came to visit me. By this time, I was almost two months pregnant. I told him and he was shocked, to say the least, but he said he would be with me forever, that he wouldn't leave me alone."

"What happened?"

"I went to visit my family one weekend and I picked up my cousin Ryan to cruise around. We were going to Dwayne's house to pick him up when I saw him all up on this other girl about a block away from his house. Dwayne saw my car drive by, but acted like he didn't. I drove straight home and locked myself in my room for hours, crying. The next day, Dwayne came over, apologizing to me over and over. He told me he didn't mean to do it and all this other stuff. I told him I didn't want to see him again, that I could take care of our son by myself. I came back to Seattle so depressed. Emily was the only one that was able to get through to me. She saw my emotions were going crazy and that I needed to get back on track or else I'd lose my son. So she helped me get myself together and that's when I met you. You unknowingly helped me to and I'm sorry for acting like I didn't want to go out with you. It was just that I was afraid you would think less of me when you found out I was pregnant. I had disappointed a lot of my family when they found out and I know they haven't looked at me the same way since. I didn't want to disappoint you, too."

"There is no way you could disappoint me, Lynn," AJ said sincerely. "I would've been surprised to find out you were expecting, but it wouldn't made me think less of you. You're a young, intelligent, beautiful woman. I'd take you any way you are."

"Thanks," Lynn smiled.

"Speaking of young, how old are you?" AJ asked. "It never occured to me to ask the last time I was here."

"I turn nineteen in September," she answered.

"Wow," AJ breathed, looking stunned. "I thought you were older for some reason."

"Nope. Still a teenager."

"How old is Dwayne?"

"Nineteen. How old are you?"


"You don't look twenty-two," Lynn said.

AJ was about to say something with Brian and Emily walked through the door.

"We came to see how Lynn was doing," Brian said.

"I'm fine," Lynn said, smiling appreciatively. "Thanks for asking."

"Well, we thought you could use something to eat," Emily said. "That and the other guys are starving and asked us if we wanted to have dinner with them."

"Sure," Lynn said, nervously. She looked at AJ.

"Don't worry about it," AJ assured her. "They'll be amazed, but still find you exciting."

Lynn laughed. They all left for the resturaunt a few minutes later. Lynn was still nervous about seeing the other guys like this, but AJ took her hand and held it comfortingly the whole way there.

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