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The Right Way
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After witnessing his younger brother’s death in a tragic accident, Jonathan Nelson desperately tries losing himself on the gridiron. No matter how hard he tries keeping his head above water, he’s drowning in a sea of grief. Compounding his inability to get his head on straight is Presley—the girl who had a complicated relationship with his brother, Jake, and who is pregnant with his child. At first, Jonathan only harbors resentment and animosity to Presley when she moves in with his parents. But the more the two are thrown together, the more his feelings for her begin to change, and the more confusing Jake’s loss becomes.
Presley Patterson never imagined finding out she was pregnant just a month before graduating high school. She also never fathomed losing the baby’s father to a tragic accident. Needing support for her and her unborn child, she seeks solace by moving in with Jake’s parents. She isn’t too surprised to find an adversary in Jonathan, but she isn’t about to let him ruin the first stability she’s ever experienced. Surprisingly, the animosity towards Jonathan begins to fade and is replaced by more amorous feelings. Taking a chance on Jonathan means risking the perfect world she’s built for herself and her daughter.
Can the two move on from the specter of Jake in order to find a future together, or will their wounded hearts remain unhealed?
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Chapter One: Presley
Peering around the doctor’s office waiting room, I couldn’t help feeling slightly out of place. Women of varying ages and various states of pregnancy sat in the uncomfortable straight back chairs around me. From time to time, I caught one of the them stealing a glance from their phones or magazines to throw a curious glance my way.
I guess I couldn’t blame them since I stuck out like a sore thumb. Maybe it was the strapless sundress that hit just at my knees that set me apart from the others. Or the intricate tattoo on my ankle that was on display in my strappy sandals. More than anything else, I’m pretty sure it was my age.
And the fact I was pregnant.
While the age post MTV’s Teen Mom might’ve normalized teenage pregnancy, it still didn’t feel in anyway normal in my hometown. When I’d walked across the stage at my high school graduation, the robe hid my slight four-month bump. Now at five months, I’d officially popped, and there was no hiding it anymore, especially since it was the dog days of summer in Georgia and bulky clothes left me drenched in sweat.
A hand reached over to rest at my knee—the one that had been bouncing with anxious energy.
“Nervous?” Evelyn asked.
Tearing my gaze from my lap, I met her concerned blue eyes—the same eyes that belonged to my baby’s father.
“A little,” I lied.
With a reassuring smile, she replied, “I’m sure everything is just fine.”
I wanted more than anything in the world to believe her. However, the events of the past few months had turned my usual optimistic self into one of debilitating pessimism. Desperate fear spread through my chest of all the things that could go wrong with this baby.
As I swept my hands over my bump, I shuttered my eyes. Please be okay. Please be healthy. Please be…alive. “I hope so,” I muttered in a choked whisper.
Evelyn squeezed my knee. “It will be. You just wait and see.”
“Presley Patterson?” a voice called from the doorway.
My eyelids snapped open at the mention of my name. “That’s me,” I replied to the nurse staring expectantly around the waiting room.
“You can come back now,” the nurse said.
With a nod, I slid out of my chair and got to my feet. At five nine, I somewhat resembled a scarecrow with my growing belly and spindly arms and legs. Although Evelyn shoveled food into me constantly, I’d barely gained any weight.
Grief will do that to you.
Shaking my head free of the thought, I joined the nurse in the doorway. After making our way back into the office, she led me to the first door on the right. A brown-haired woman with a long braid and wire rimmed glasses met me with a smile. “Hi there, Presley. I’m Marcia, and I’ll be doing your ultrasound this afternoon.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Evelyn replied pleasantly as I nodded in agreement.
“And are you her mom?” Marcia asked.
I wish. My life would’ve probably been a lot different if Evelyn Nelson had been my mom. She was the classic sitcom mom who stayed home while her boys were growing up and cooked dinner every night. She volunteered at the school and baked brownies for the teachers.
As for my mom, she had never wanted to be a mother. Sure, she’d never come right out and told me that, but it was pretty evident from the way she embraced motherhood, or I suppose I should say how she didn’t. It wasn’t like she was young and didn’t know any better—she was almost thirty when I was born. Having a kid later in life didn’t stop her wild, partying ways. Through the miracles of modern science, Botox, and plastic surgery, she kept herself looking young. Now that she was pushing fifty, she only looked thirty.
While I’d known my fair-share of step-dads, I’d never actually met my biological father. Growing up, the less than kind rumor mill loved to churn the lie that in my mom’s teen years, she had been a groupie of Elvis Presley, and that’s how I’d gotten my name. But whatever dumbasses started the rumor apparently couldn’t do math since my mom was just a kid when Elvis died. The truth was far less salaciFor the early part of my life, my grandmother was more of a mother than my own mom. I was fourteen when Gram died and the only stability I’d ever known came to a shuddering halt.
At my hesitation, Evelyn said, “Her mother is out of state at the moment. I’m the father’s mother.”
“How nice. Do we need to wait for him?”
Evelyn’s strangled gasp caused me to shudder. “He isn’t coming,” I whispered.
Since she was busy tweaking dials on the machine, Marcia didn’t notice our discomfort. “No problem. I’ll be sure to send you home with pictures and a recording of the heartbeat for him.”