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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 17

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Justin’s POV

            “Okay, bye bud! Love you!” Madelyn was on the phone as she walked into the living room and sat down beside me.

            “How is Miles?” I asked.

            “About as good as any other kid battling cancer. He’s having surgery tomorrow to remove one of the tumors, but that means that he has to stop chemo for the next two months, meaning he won’t be done with treatment for at least another six months after that.”

            “Man, that’s tough. I feel bad I can’t visit him as much as he would like. Did you tell your mom about the pediatric cancer benefit concert we are doing in next week? It would be awesome if Miles could come.”

            “Yeah, she thought it was an awesome idea. She was going to look at flights and then text me information.”

            “Awesome.” I said as she handed me her other foot, smiling.

Madelyn’s POV

            “Hey Miles!” I picked him up in my arms. He was so thin he weighed barely nothing for almost being five. His cute bald head was covered with a baseball cap. My mom emerged from the airport right behind him, suitcases in tow.

            “Hi Maddie!” He squeezed me giving me a hug. “Where’s Justin?” He looked around excitedly, but didn’t find him.

            “Um, excuse me? Your big sister took the day off work so I could come get you at the airport and you ask about Justin?” I laughed setting him down and opening the trunk and helping my mom with the luggage. “He should be home by now.” Miles was smiling ear to ear, something that was becoming more rare for him.

            I was right, by the time we got home Justin was there. He came out onto the porch when he heard us pull up. Miles was out of the car, almost as soon as I put the car into park, running into Justin’s outstretched arms.

            “Hey little buddy!” He picked him up and carried him inside, leaving my mom and I alone. She had been quiet on the way home, barely talking to me. She was becoming more and more distant as time went on. As I was growing up we were best friends, so this was starting to bother me.

            “What’s up, Mom? You’ve been super quiet.”

            “I know, honey, I’m sorry. I just have a lot on my mind, that’s all.” She smiled, but I saw through it. “Your house is beautiful.” She looked around the property. This was the first time she had been in Los Angeles since Justin and I had moved in together. “How is it living together?”

            “It’s great. It can get really lonely sometimes, because he works and travels a lot. But between school and volunteering at the children’s hospital, I’m not here very much either.”

            “Are you being safe?” She suddenly turned and stared at me, watching for my reaction.

            “What?!” I asked, not sure if we were talking about the same thing; hoping we weren’t. My mom hadn’t ever talked to me about sex, and I really didn’t want her to start now.

            “Well if you weren’t sleeping together before, you definitely are now.” Yes, we were definitely thinking the same thing. “Are you at least being safe?”

            “Yes, Mom, we are being safe. Is that what you are so worried about?”

            “Justin was a product of teen pregnancy. You were raised by teen parents. I don’t want history to repeat itself. You’re so much better than that. You’re so much better than this! You could do so much better than Justin! Why are you settling for him?” Had that actually just come out of her mouth? Had she really just told me I could do better than Justin?

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