Over the next few days I couldn’t stop thinking about what Kim said. One night I talked to Lily about it.
“Oh mom I think that is a wonderful idea. You should totally do that. The house is big enough. There is the “boys” room that just sits empty as well as the spare bedroom. You could turn the old barn into an exam room/delivery room. I bet aunt Kelsey would help you. Oh just think of all the young girls you could help.”
So after Alana and Lily left for school I decided to put my new plan into action. I printed up a flyer and put them up on the bulletin board at the hospital, police station, city hall and other places around town. I also talked to Kelsey and she was on board to help when I needed her.
As we officially moved into Winter I started decorating the house for Christmas.
On December 17 the girls came home for the holidays. I was thrilled as Lily would be here until after the new year as opposed to just a weekend.
After the girls got settled I took Alana to the clinic (I am working on turning the barn into an exam room but it isn’t ready). She has definitely gotten bigger in the last two weeks but I think her baggier clothes covered it.
“Do you think any of your classmates suspected anything?” I asked her.
“No, I think the baggy sweaters helped and I made sure to complain that I had eaten to much over Thanksgiving. Then I joked that Lily’s family was trying to fatten us up because they all kept sending care packages filled with cookies which she was kind enough to share. I kept saying I was going to have to join a gym as part of my New Year resolutions.”
“How have you been feeling?”
“Great actually. I have a lot more energy right now and the morning sickness is gone. My hair also seems extra shinny and the girls at school have been asking what products I started using. I have also been having these random stomach rumblings. You can’t hear it or anything but it just is a strange fluttery feeling.”
“That is actually you feeling the baby move. It is called quickening.” I said.
“Oh wow,” she said placing her hands protectively over her stomach.
She asked if I would be doing another ultrasound and I said I would but not for another week or so as it is usually done between 18 and 20 weeks.
“Have you told Shawn yet?”
“No, I just can’t bring myself to tell him in a letter or email. Plus what if someone else sees it. I am trying to keep this out of the public.”
“Hmm, let me think on that,” I said. “Speaking of telling people we need to contact your parents.”
“Ugh I am not looking forward to this,” she said.
“Dad, it’s Alana”
“Alana, I am kinda busy right now. What do you need?”
“I need to tell you something and I know you are going to be upset but I have it all figured out so you don’t need to worry.”
“Just spit it out, Alana. I am on my way to meet with Congressman Williams about getting his endorsement.”
“I’m 17 weeks Pregnant,” I said. How is that for just spitting it out.
“WHAT! YOU BETTER BE JOKING!” he shouted. “HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? YOU GO TO AN ALL GIRLS BOARDING SCHOOL? WAIT 17 WEEKS THAT WOULD BE BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED? WAS IT THAT STABLE BOY? WOW WHAT A WAY TO REPAY MY KINDNESS. IF YOU ARE CALLING BECAUSE THE SCHOOL KICKED YOU OUT AND YOU WANT TO COME HOME YOU CAN FORGET IT. I WON’T HAVE THIS MESSING UP MY CAMPAIGN. OH AND YOUR MOTHER IS GOING TO FREAK.”
“Dad I have it figured out ok. Do you remember my roommate Lily? I talk about her all the time.”
“Not really, just get on with it.”
“Lily’s mom is an OBGYN in Appaloosa Plains. I confided in her and she offered to let me stay with her until the baby is born. She has access to a private clinic so no one will find out.”
“If you have it figured out then why are you even bothering telling me?”
“You need to give the school some reason why I won’t be there after Christmas. Maybe I am helping with your campaign or something? The school can email me my assignments and I can submit them online.”
“Fine, and you WILL be giving this baby up for adoption,” he said as he hung up.
“That went about as well as I expected,” she said before sobbing in my arms.
Listening to her conversation made me even more grateful for my family.
To help cheer Alana up I took her and Lily to the winter festival. We went ice skating.
Built a snowman.
Ordered hot chocolate and holiday cookies.
When we got back to the house Alana went off by herself to read some of the books I had given her.
Lily and I spent some time together playing chess. Just like old times.
On Christmas morning the girls came into the kitchen and offered to help but I know Lily can barely boil water so I asked them to get the buffet table set up and then told them to go get ready for all of our guests.
I thought the girls did a great job. The table looked very festive.
I invited all my family over for Christmas and we had a great time opening gifts.
I think Alana was surprised that there were gifts for her. I found out later from Lily that Alana usually stays at the school over Christmas and her parents send her a card with money in it.
Sarah was at the party and I asked to speak with her privately.
“I am sure you have figured out that Lily’s friend Alana is pregnant,” I said.
“Yeah, it is hard to miss,” she said.
“Yeah when she came home last week it was just barely noticeable. She has really popped in the last week. I need a favor if it is possible.”
“Ok, what’s up?”
“Alana’s boyfriend is attending basic training at the same academy you went to. She hasn’t told him about the baby yet. They email or write letters frequently but she doesn’t want to say anything about the baby in a letter incase someone else would see it. I was wondering if you knew anyone who could arrange it so he could video chat with her so she can tell him in person.”
“Let me see what I can do,” she said.
Later that night I got a call from Kelsey.
“Hey what’s up?” I asked.
“So I know you decided to open up your home to help pregnant teens but have you set an age limit on who you will take in?”
“Not really, why do you ask?”
“I was working the night shift and we got alerted that there was a bad accident and we had patients coming in. Nineteen-year-old Lucy Porter and her boyfriend Paul Drake were on their way to Paul’s mother’s house for Christmas. Some guy left his office Christmas party drunk, ran a light and plowed right into them on the driver side. Paul was killed instantly and Lucy was brought to the hospital. She was a little banged up but, as it was the driver side that took the brunt of the impact she was, for the most part unharmed. We kept her in the hospital for observation and ran some tests including a pregnancy test.”
“Let me guess it was positive.”
“Yep, when they told her she seemed shocked she had no idea.”
“How far along is she?”
“About 5 weeks I think.”
“She has no where to go?”
“I guess she was raised in foster care but has no strong ties to any of the homes. She worked hard at school and managed to get scholarships for college.”
“What about Paul’s family?”
“His father died earlier this year. His mother is grieving. Her son died while the girlfriend who she hadn’t yet met is unharmed. The mother refused to even stop by the hospital room and see her. She is getting released tomorrow and I would really like to make sure she has a place to go.”
“Sure send her over,” I said.
Since Lucy was older and just out of the hospital I figured she would like her own space so I gave her the other large bedroom with the queen size bed. So far she is keeping to herself and hasn’t said much. I can’t imagine finding out you are pregnant the same day you find out that your boyfriend and the baby’s father died in a car crash.
I finally finished converting the barn into an exam and delivery room. I painted the walls white and had some windows put in for some natural light. I brought in an exam table, ultrasound machine and some chairs. I also hung some informational posters on the walls.
I also put up a couple of walls and had two private delivery rooms put in. I think they turned out very calming and inviting.
Having the exam and delivery rooms here will be very beneficial as it will make it easier for me to keep Alana from being spotted by the paparazzi.
The first morning that Lucy was here I had her come out to the barn for an exam. I wanted verify her due date.
As the image came up on the screen I saw Lucy smile for the first time since she arrived.
“Looks like you should be due around the end of August,” I said.
“Is Lucy going to join us for lunch?” Lily asked.
“No, she said she was feeling nauseous so she went to lie down,” I replied.
“I am so glad I am past that stage,” Alana said.
Alana has been trying to help around the house as a thank you for letting her stay.
I figured that the last thing Lucy would want to deal with would be a house full of people so rather than have a New Years party Lily, Alana and I just watched movies.
Lily was a good friend and rubbed Alana’s feet. Her ankles have been bothering her. I remember when Kim did that for me.
We were all thrilled when just before midnight Lucy came down and joined us.
She sat down to join us and said, “To a new year, may it be filled with happier memories.”
Unfortunately she wasn’t able to join us for long as she had to run to the bathroom to throw up.
A few days after the new year it was time for Lily to head back to school.
“It is going to be strange not rooming with you,” Lily said as she hugged Alana good bye.
“I can’t believe you are just a few days away from being halfway there. It seems like just yesterday you were doing those tests in our room. You better not deliver early. I get home from school on May 25 and you are due on May 27. I do not want to miss it.”
“I’ll try my best,” Alana said.
Later that night I was just getting ready for bed when the phone rang.
“Hey Sarah,” I said as I answered the phone.
“It is all arranged,” she said.
It took me a minute to realize what she meant and then it hit me. “Great, when?”
“How about next week?”
“That is actually perfect. Next week is Alana’s 17 birthday. Can it be on the 14th?”
“I think that will work. I will set it up.”
“Sarah you are the best.”
Now that she is back in school Lily has been mailing Alana her homework. She starts working on it right away so she can mail it back. She doesn’t want to get to far behind.
“Happy Birthday,” I said when she came down for breakfast. I made French Toast as Lily had told me it was Alana’s favorite.
“Thanks,” she said.
“So I was thinking we could go out to the barn for an exam and you could see the baby,” I said. “Maybe even find out the gender if you are interested.”
“That would be Awesome,” she said.
“There’s your baby,” I said pointing to the screen.
“Wow, it’s gotten so big,” she said.
“Do you want to know the gender?” I asked.
She nodded yes. I could tell seeing the baby had her all choked up. I remember that feeling.
“It looks like you are having a girl,” I said. “I’ll print you a picture. Now I have an other special birthday surprise for you. But I think you are going to want to be a little more dressed up, so why don’t you go change into the new dress I got you,” I said.
“Ok, are we go somewhere?”
“You will see,” I said.
“Lucy said I would find you here,” she said.
“Great you are here. Your surprise is just about ready. Sarah pulled some strings and arranged it so you can video chat with Shawn today. She said video chats are usually reserved for family – wives, parents, children – not girlfriends. But like I said Sarah pulled some strings.”
“Oh wow,” Alana said. I could tell she was nervous.
“You look great,” I said.
“Alana,” Shawn cried as soon as he saw her on the computer. “I was told I was getting to video chat today but they didn’t say why or with who. This is amazing. Now I can tell you ‘Happy Birthday’ to your face instead of over an email. I have missed you.”
“I have missed you too.”
“Where are you? That doesn’t look like what I pictured a Boarding School to look like,” he laughed.
“Do you remember me telling you about my friend Lily, well I am at her house. I have been staying here since Christmas.”
“Why? Why did you leave school? Did something happen? Are you ok?”
“I am fine. There is something I need to tell you that I should have told you a long time ago but I just couldn’t find a way to say it in our letters or emails.”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
“No of course not. I love you Shawn and I can’t wait to live out the future you have described for me in letters. Um, it is just that our future may start a little sooner than planned.”
“I don’t understand?”
“Oh I have rehearsed this a million times. Started writing it down in a letter a million times. I figured when the time came I would know what to say and now I am so nervous.”
“Alana, sweetheart you can tell me anything.”
“Ok, here it goes. A few weeks after I got back to school I realized I was late.”
“Late for school?”
“No, silly. I was late as in LATE.”
“OH, THAT KIND OF LATE,” he exclaimed.
“I took a test, well actually several. Most of them were positive but a few were negative. My friend Lily’s mom is a doctor so she brought me to see her. She ran tests and I am pregnant.”
“So you have been staying with Lily’s family since?”
“No, I went back to school for the first few months. I gained a little weight but brushed it off as needing to lay off the holiday baked goods. And it helped that when I was finally starting to show a little it was cold and drafty in the school and we were able to wear big sweaters over our uniform. Then I came home with Lily at Christmas time. We told my father, he figured out it was you I was with, but he of course wants to keep all this quiet. He said he would tell the school something. I saw later on social media that they were saying I had gone to an undisclosed location over seas to help out at an orphanage. He will say anything for some good press. I am 5 months pregnant this week. I am due at the end of May.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I wanted too. Believe me I started so many letters and emails. But that seemed like a horrible way to tell you. So impersonal and what if the letter got lost or something. I just felt this need to tell you face to face. Kaitlyn, that’s Lily’s mom, has a friend in the air force she pulled some strings so I could talk to you today.”
“Can I see?”
“Oh the baby, yeah I had Kaitlyn print out the ultrasound picture. Here she is at 21 weeks.”
“She? You said she, we are having a girl?” he said his voice think with emotion.
“Oh sorry I probably should have let that be a surprise. I was thinking we could name her Miranda after your grandma. She is the one who brought us together.”
“I think that is perfect,” he said. “I think she would have been honored.”
Alana laughed, “She would have been so mad at us for getting into this situation. She was always so proper.”
“Yeah, I can just hear the lecture we would have gotten. So what are we going to do? You will still have a year of high school left and once I am done with training I am not sure where I will get stationed.”
“I know, I am not sure yet. My father wants me to put the baby up for adoption but I won’t do it. Which means I will not be able to go home. I thought about asking Kaitlyn if she would take care of the baby when I go back to school. Then I could come home with Lily when she visits. But that is a lot to ask.”
“My parents are on a cruise. They have been saving for it for years. It is a cruise around the world. They are suppose to be gone three months, spending a month in France, a month in China, and a month in Egypt. They left yesterday. They should get home sometime in late April. I know my parents will be upset at first but they will come around. I would write them but yeah this is something best said in person. Plus they have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. I know my mom, the minute she finds out she will want to see you. Oh looks like our time is almost up. Before I go can I see you?”
“Can’t you see me already?”
“Yes I can see your face, but I was wondering if I could see your belly?”
“Oh, yes of course,” Alana said as she got up.
“You look beautiful. Oh I have to go. I love you and miss you. I will continue to write every day about our plans for our future. I don’t care that it is starting earlier then we planned.”
“I love you too.”
“Thank you so much for that. I didn’t realize how badly I needed that. Can you tell Sarah thank you too.”
We had been having a pretty mild winter until we got to February. Then it seemed to snow constantly. On more than one occasion it was snowing so bad they had to close the schools for the day. In addition to the snow it was also very windy and cold.
But we didn’t seem to mind. Lucy has been coming around more. She is a great chess player so I will happily play a game or two with her.
Her first trimester was rough. She had terrible morning sickness and could hardly eat anything. And it turned out she was allergic to the anti-nausea medication so I couldn’t even help her there.
Turns out she is a very talented artist though and has found great comfort in painting.
The end of February marked big milestones for both ladies. Alana was now in her third trimester and Lucy in her second.
That week we had a particularly bad snow storm. We were all inside watching a movie with a nice warm fire going when the phone rang.
“Hey Kim,” I said as I saw it was her from the caller id.
“Kaitlyn, I know the weather outside is awful but can you come out to the barn? Don’t alert the others but come out here as quickly as you can. It is very important.”
“Sure,” I said.
I could tell from Kim’s voice that it was urgent so I didn’t even bother with a coat. I just ran out to the barn. What was so important Kim couldn’t tell me over the phone. Had something bad happened to someone in the family?
When I got out to the barn Kim was there in her uniform and sitting in the seat next to her was a young girl.
It was clear the poor girl had been on the streets for awhile. She was pale with dark circles under here eyes. She was also extremely malnourished. She looked very young and pregnant. It was hard though to tell from looking at her how far along she was.
Authors note: The next part of the story goes a little dark with mentions of cults and child abuse. Possible trigger warning. If this is not your thing please skip to the end or go to the next chapter.
Kim got up and walked over to me. I leaned in and whispered, “What’s going on?”
“A call came into the station tonight that there was a teenage girl sitting outside at the festival grounds all alone after hours in this weather. I took the call and as soon as I saw her I knew something was wrong.”
“Has she said anything?”
“Not really, but when I found her she was so cold her teeth would stop chattering. I probably should have taken her to the hospital but she seemed so scared I thought all the noise there would frighten her.”
“What’s your name,” I asked?
“Sta . . , no um my name is Amelia but my daddy always called me Millie,” she said.
“And where is your dad?” I asked.
“I don’t know. That is who I was trying to find. But I haven’t seen him in a long time so I didn’t know where to go.
I have his picture though,” she said as she pulled out a worn photo.
“Can I take the photo?” Kim asked. “I might be able to use his picture to find him for you.”
She hesitated at first but handed Kim the photo.
“How about your mom?” I asked. “Where is she?”
“She is still back at that place. Please don’t make me go back there.”
“When I was little my mom used to take me to the park sometimes. Or at least she did on her good days.”
“Yeah sometimes she would be in weird moods and talk to herself or just scream for no reason.
But other times she was ok and then we would go to the park. Usually while I played mommy would just sit and watch me.
But then one day I saw her talking to this man.
It made me laugh because he was dressed in all white and wasn’t wearing any shoes.
We started going to the park more and more and every time that man would be there talking to mommy.
Then one day rather than walk to the park mommy put me in the car and told me we were going on a trip. I asked about daddy but she said he couldn’t come with us which made me cry because I loved daddy and didn’t want to go anywhere without him.
We drove for what seemed like forever. I watched out the window and we went through big cities and country towns. After awhile they all seemed to blend together.
Finally mommy stopped in front of this big house that was surrounded by a gate.
The man from the park came and greeted us. He called my mommy Sister Rosebud which I thought was funny because daddy always called her Katherine or Katie. And then she greeted him as Father Tom but he wasn’t dressed like the Father’s we saw at church.”
“Sounds like a cult,” Kim said.
“How old were you?” I asked.
“I was 6. The man started calling me Star and would get angry if I told him my name wasn’t Star but Amelia.
I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go home and see daddy and my puppy Max.
I wanted to go home to daddy, Max and my pretty purple room but mom said that this was our new home.
Inside the gate Father Tom said we had everything we needed. The women all tended to the gardens.
And the men milked the cows.
I got to feed the chickens and collect eggs.
I didn’t like it there and I didn’t like the other people so I would often sit by myself and sing songs. Daddy always sang to me. One day one of the older girls came and told me I had a beautiful voice. They called her Sister Violet but she said her real name was Molly. I suppose Molly was probably a little older than I am now.
Molly taught me to play the guitar. She was nice and is the one that helped me get away.”
“What happened to you?” I asked.
“There were other kids there. Some had been born and raised there but others were like me and had been brought there by one or more of their parents.
Those of us that had been brought there were told that as soon as we girls ‘bleed’ for the first time that Father Tom would make us one of his wives.”
“OMG,” Kim exclaimed.
I think I just gasped. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“When I turned 13 mom started asking me almost every day if I had bled yet. I told her that I didn’t want to be Tom’s wife. That he was old and I thought he was creepy.”
Mom slapped me and told me that I should be honored to be his wife.
“I told her she could take my place and be his wife. But she said that because she had already been married and had a child she could be one of his followers but never his wife. Then at the end of summer I bleed for the first time. It was just a little bit so I didn’t tell anyone and pretended it didn’t happen.”
I knew it would come again the following month so when it did I told Molly. She told me not to tell anyone else and she helped me hide it. But the following month mom found out. She was so excited and she alerted everyone else including Tom.
Two weeks after my bleeding stopped he made me his wife.”
“I think I am going to be sick,” I said.
“It was awful and hurt a lot. The next morning I was really upset and went running to find Molly.”
“When I found her I just threw myself into her arms and sobbed. She calmed me down and told me she was going to help me get away. She was only 24 and was already a mother of two with a third child on the way thanks to Tom. Molly was one of Tom’s ‘favorite wives’. She hated him but put up with him for her girls. She told me she didn’t want me to end up like her. She wanted me to be able to live my life and maybe be a professional singer someday. She told me to meet her by the gate after dark. I guess she had stolen the code for the gate from Tom and was going to help me escape.”
“I hugged Molly’s six-year-old daughter Becca.”
“And played with her three year old daughter Genevieve.”
“Then after dark she met me at the gate. She gave me her guitar, a little bit of money, some clothes and food she stole from the kitchen. I asked her to come with me but she said she couldn’t. It would be too hard to run and hide with two little girls and a baby due in a few months.”
“I hugged her good bye and cried in her arms. I wouldn’t have survived those 7 years there without her.”
“I didn’t really have any place to go so I just started running but the guitar case was heavy and I was getting tired.”
“At the bottom of the hill was a park with a small gazebo.”
“The gazebo had a basement so I went down there and ditched the white robes and put on the clothes Molly gave me. I am not sure where she got them but they fit ok.”
“Then I spent the night sleeping on a park bench.”
“That is until I saw a cop car drive by.”
“Then I ran. The last thing I wanted was for someone to find me and take me back there. Father Tom always told us he had friends in town so I didn’t know who I could trust.”
“In town I found a store and used what little money I had to buy a scissors and some hair dye.”
“I used the scissors to cut most of my hair off. The dye was harder as I don’t know how to read very well. My daddy taught me to read some and I was learning at my school before we left. But there were no books at the camp and we didn’t have school there. Since I couldn’t read the directions on the box for the hair dye I just poured the bottle over my hair and then rinsed it in the bathroom sink. I didn’t care how it looked just as long as no one would recognize me.”
“There was a park in the middle of town and I thought I would go there and play guitar but while I was walking it started to down pour. I was soaked and freezing so I went to the park bathrooms to dry off.”
“I ate some of the food that Molly had packed for me.”
“The rain eventually let up and I made enough money playing guitar for a bus ticket. I knew the town I was in wasn’t were daddy lived because it was too close to the camp and we had driven for hours to get there. So I went to a bus station and asked the lady at the desk where the bus went. None of the places she said sound familiar so I just picked a place at random and rode the bus until I got there.”
“What did you do then?” I asked.
“I showed the picture to people on the street. Asked if they knew him but no one did. I was so worried about being found and sent back to the camp that I mostly kept to myself.
“I played guitar in parks and bus stops for tips to make money for food and bus fair. I was determined to get as far away from that camp as I could.”
“Where did you sleep?”
“Sometimes at the bus station. A few times I went to a shelter but there were always too many people and I would get scared.
“Once I broke into an abandoned house.”
“I used the show and washed my clothes in the sink.”
“It was the one and only night I slept in a real bed since leaving the camp.”
“In October I celebrated my birthday so for a treat I bought myself a hot dog.”
“I hadn’t been eating really well and I was pale and had lost weight.”
“I had only taken maybe two bites of the hot dog when suddenly I didn’t feel very well. I raced through the park towards the bathrooms.”
“Were I proceeded to throw up. I figured I was sick from sleeping outside or maybe the hotdog was bad. But it seemed to get worse not better.”
“I was always so tired. One day I feel asleep in the library.”
“I was so nauseous.”
“Sometimes I would throw up outside because I couldn’t make it to the bathroom quick enough.”
“As the months went by and we got into winter my hair started to grow out and the black color faded. I also noticed my back hurt all the time.”
“And my clothes didn’t fit anymore.”
“At first I thought it was weird because I hadn’t been eating much and yet I had gained so much weight my shirt didn’t cover my stomach anymore. It seemed like every day my stomach was getting bigger and bigger.”
“Then one day I remembered how a few months after we arrived at the camp Molly had started to feel sick.”
“And she would throw up sometimes too.”
“I remember her belly got really big and she would let me put my hand on it and it would feel like someone kicked my hand. I feel that sometimes when I put my hand on my own belly.”
“Then one day while Molly and I were talking it looked like she had an accident.”
“And then she grabbed her belly and screamed in pain.”
“One of the older ladies rushed her inside and a few days later she came outside and introduced me to her daughter Becca.”
“That is what’s happening to me now isn’t it? I am going to have a baby?”
“Yes, you are,” I said.
“Do you know when?”
“I can find out for you,” I said. “But first can you tell me how old you are?”
“What’s the date today?”
“February 27th,” I said.
“I turned 14 on October 14th,” she said.
I had to force myself to remain calm for the sake of this poor girl who had been through so much. But I wanted to scream and cry and hit something. I told myself I could do all of that later.
While you examine her I am going to head back to the station. I want to report this cult immediately. It sounds like there are a lot of girls there like Millie who could be in danger. I will also start working on trying to find this girls father. I am sure there is a missing person’s report somewhere.
“Is it ok if I examine you now?” I asked. “So I can figure out when you will have the baby.”
“Ok,” she said.
“I want you to lay down on this bed over here and I am going to put this on your tummy. It will let us see the baby. But before we begin can you tell me do you remember the date of the last time you had your . . . um . . . the last time you bleed.”
“It was on the 14th of September. I remember because it was one month before my birthday.”
Based on what she just said she would be around five and half months.
As I looked at the monitor I was shocked. Millie must have sensed my surprise because she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Well it looks like you are having twins,” I said.
“Yep, here is baby one and there is baby two I said pointing to the screen.”
“How am I going to raise two babies? I am only 14. What am I going to do?”
“Well my big sister Kim is going to try to find your dad. I am sure he has been looking for you for a very long time. If anyone can find him Kim will.”
“And until then?”
“You can stay here with me. I run a home for girls who are going to be young mothers and have no where else to go. There are two girls here now. Alana just turned 17 and she will have her baby in three months. Lucy is 19 and she will have her baby 6 months.”
“How long do I have?”
“Well you are around 23 weeks right now. Normally 40 weeks is considered full term but with twins it is often earlier say closer to 37 weeks. So you have about three months left as well. In fact you and Alana should both have your babies around the same time.”
“Does it make me a bad person if I don’t want to keep the babies after they are born? I am so young and they didn’t give us a very good education at the camp. I don’t think I am ready to be a mom. And I am worried that I won’t be able to love them like I should because they will remind me of the camp and Father Tom. Could I put them up for adoption? Does make me a terrible person?”
“No honey, it doesn’t. In fact I think by acknowledging that you can’t give them the life they should have and making sure they find a good home you are showing how much you do love them. But you don’t have to make any decisions now. Why don’t we go into the house. You can take a nice long bath and get cleaned up. I will set out some clothes for you that fit and make you a nice warm meal and you can meet Alana and Lucy. How does that sound?”
“That sounds perfect.”
“Where did you go?” Alana asked as I came back into the house.
“We have a new girl joining us. Her name is Millie. She has had a really rough time. I won’t go into details as it isn’t my story to tell and please try not to bombard her with questions. I will just say that what happened to her should never happen to anyone and especially not someone as young as she is.”
“How old is she?”
“She turned 14 about 4 1/2 months ago and she is 5 1/2 months pregnant with twins.”
“OMG!” both girls exclaimed.
“Let’s make her feel at home, ok.”
While Millie showered I whipped her up something to eat. I figured it had been awhile since she had a decent meal. I am also worried about how small the twins look. Millie needs proper nutrition more than ever.
“How are you feeling?” I asked.
“So much better. It had been a long time since I had a proper bath and the clothes fit so much better than what I was wearing. The food smells great,” she said as her stomach rumbled.
After Millie finished eating Alana showed her the “girls room” upstairs.
“This is the room I sleep in,” she said. “I use this bed here on the end by door because I am up all the time going to the bathroom. The bed in the middle is where Kaitlyn’s daughter Lily sleeps when she comes home from school. You can have this bed on the end or if you would rather not share a room there is another room down the hall.”
“This room will be fine. I am used to sharing with other girls my age.”
Later that night as I was getting into bed I heard Alana and Millie talking and laughing from the room across the hall. In that moment I realized that I am doing something important. Giving these girls a place where they feel safe and loved. Giving them a place they can call home even if it is only for a short time.
Authors note: This chapter got a bit away from me. When I started this chapter the part with Millie was never part of my plan. I blame it on watching a Criminal Minds marathon while playing and working on this.