Chapter 2

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3 weeks later

"Hey dad, can I have a couple friends over?"

"Of course. Who's coming?"

"Hallie and Oliver."

"Who's Oliver?"

"A friend of mine," I responded. What else did he want to know?

"Oh, ok."

Hallie and Oliver arrived and we hung out in my room and talked, then watched a movie. It felt nice to have people in the house other than just my dad and I.

After they left a few hours later, my dad said he wanted to talk to me.

"What is it?"

"You and Oliver are just friends, right?"

"Of course. Did you think we were dating?"

"No, no. Just making sure."

"Ok," I said, starting to head back to my room.

"Will you promise me something?" My dad asked.

"Yeah?"

"Don't date anyone anytime soon. The last thing I want is for you to get your heart broken."

"Of course," I said with a smile.

_____________________

"What are you painting?"

"I honestly don't know," I responded, dipping my brush into a new color.

I decided to take art this year because it sounded fun, but I wasn't very good at it. Oliver was in my class as well, and he was way more talented than me.

"Also," he said, looking up at me, "I was wondering if you wanted to go to ColdStone after school."

My hand froze. Was he asking me out?

"Um, I-"

"As friends of course."

"Yeah, I would love to," I responded with a gentle smile.

__________________

Later that afternoon, he came to my locker and we went over to my favorite place in town. I ordered myself a double scoop waffle cone of double chocolate chip, and Oliver got the same but with vanilla.

"That's boring," I joked.

"That," he said, pointing at mine, "is diabetes."

I laughed. "Ya only live once," I said, taking a huge bite.

He sighed.

Although it wasn't officially a date, something about it felt special. We slowly began to hang out one on one more as the school year ended and we entered summer. He and I acted like best friends around each other. We joked around and could talk about anything with each other. I had never felt so comfortable around anyone before. I felt like I could be myself and I could tell he felt the same way. Still, every time we hung out, I thought about my mom. The tragedy of her death was still raw and I didn't feel like I was healed from it at all. Many times I started to tear up thinking about her when we hung out. Explaining how I felt to him was easy, though. He seemed to understand it right away.

One day in late July, he asked me to a movie. This was our 4th or 5th time going somewhere alone, and I wasn't nervous at all. In fact, at no point during the "date" did I think about my mom. Not until I got home and was alone in my room.

During the movie, I felt a feeling inside of me. Like I loved him, kind of. I told myself I couldn't love him because we'd only just met, but he certainly was amazing. Apparently he felt the same way, because after the movie, he asked me to be his girlfriend. My dad's voice inside my head told me to say no, but I had a feeling this boy wouldn't break my heart, so I excitedly said yes. Finally, I felt like I had healed, just a little bit.

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