Chapter 1

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(Ruby's P.O.V.)

"What about this one, Ruby?" I turn to face my Mom to see what she's picked up this time. So far I haven't liked any of the clothes she's picked out. I scrunch my nose in disgust at the orange colored dress with sunflowers decorated all over it.

"Mom," I groan. "I am not putting that on my daughter."

"Why not? It's so cute."

"What did I do to deserve this torture?" I ask myself as I make my way over to the prams. I rub my swollen stomach, ignoring the looks of horror from the older women in the store. I can almost hear their unspoken words, the thoughts burning through their narrow-minded brains.

'That poor girl. Pregnant at such a young age.'

'Poor girl? Her poor parents. Imagine the shame she has brought on her family.'

'Serves her right getting pregnant after sleeping around with all those boys. It's a shame the child will have to suffer because of its mother's foolish actions.'

I sigh as I stared longingly at the beautiful designer pram that I would love to have. I could only dream about it though. I know I could never afford it; particularly with me being a single parent. I could never ask my parents to buy a pram as expensive as this one.

If only things had worked out differently. If only Ryan didn't go to Iraq, if only he still wasn't over there fighting day after day. Maybe then I could have had a proper family. Maybe then my baby girl could grow up with both her parents by her side. Maybe...Maybe Ryan will come home someday and he can meet his daughter.

"There you are," my Mom says, snapping me out of my daydreams. She holds up another item of clothing. I sigh, preparing myself to say no...again. I look at the baby pink onesie and a smile makes it way onto my face. "Finally," Mom sighs as I giggle. "I didn't think we'd ever find something you'd like."

"Thanks, Mom." I give her a peck on the cheek and we wander slowly around the rest of the store.

After what feels like hours I collapse on my bed. My feet are starting to hurt a bit. I place my hands on my stomach as my baby gives me, yet again, another kick. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to break your way out of there," I coo, smiling down at my ever-growing stomach.

I look up to the doorway as I hear a chuckle. Matt, my older brother, is leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed across his chest. "Talking to yourself again, sis?" he asks playfully. "You're nineteen, I thought you would have grown out of that by now."

"No. I'm talking to my baby," I say matter-of-factly. Matt pushes off the door frame and sits down on the bed beside me. He looks at me intently, as if he's analyzing me. "Can you believe it's only three more months?" I ask, in an attempt to distract my brother from his thoughts. I know he's about to interrogate me about something and I really don't want to have to put up with that.

I love my brother. He's practically my best friend. But sometimes I just can't stand when he gets over protective of me, which, now that I'm pregnant, is most of the time. He was always protective of his baby sister, but now he won't even let me walk to the end of our driveway to collect the mail from the mailbox on my own in case I trip on a stone and hurt myself or the baby.

"Ruby, how are you holding up?" he asks. Oh dear, here we go with the interrogation, just as I predicted.

"I'm fine, Matt," I sigh.

"Don't lie to me, sis. I can see right through you. I know this pregnancy is catching up on you. I'm worried. Mom and Dad are worried too."

"I said I'm fine," I snap.

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