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Our next few weeks were filled with laughter and giddiness and pure joy. David made me doubt if I had ever experienced any form of happiness in my life before him; I had never felt the way I felt for him with anybody, not my friends or my parents or my ex-boyfriends.

It was so hard to explain what it felt like to anyone who hadn't been in love, but for me, it was like I was floating. It was like every single moment was perfect and warm and light and so, so happy. I couldn't stop smiling, even when my back was killing me and it felt like the baby was trying to rip my vagina open and turn me inside out.

I was worried it would all change when my mother came to town.

She planned her visit around my twenty six week mark, the baby was the size of a head of lettuce, and I was big enough to look pregnant but not so heavily pregnant that I could barely move. It would be one of her first trips out of Illinois, and I wanted to make it kind of special, even if we did have a bit of tension at first.

"Oh, Eleanor," she grinned as she got out of her Uber, wrapping me in a restrictive hug in the middle of the sidewalk. "Your hair is so dark."

"I dyed it," I softly smiled, tucking some of the black hair behind my shoulders. My caramel hair just reminded me of the times Tauber used to tug on my ponytail after a good game, and I was stuck between shaving it or dying it. After some deep words from Aaliyah, we decided shaving it was not in my best interests. "And it's Sloane, remember?"

"Right," tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she gave me a sad smile. "Sloane. You know, your father picked Eleanor. I picked Sloane."

"Maybe that's why I chose it," I laughed, pulling away when I heard the front door open and close, signaling David's exit. I finally looked down at my belly and placed my hands on it. "This is my baby."

"Is it a boy or a girl?" she asked in awe, her hands pressing on the sides of the bump.

"It's a boy, but don't tell anyone," I instructed, smiling up at David when he wrapped a supportive arm around my waist. "This is my boyfriend, David."

"Hi, David," my mom pulled him in for a hug. "It's so nice to finally meet you."

Finally. I had almost forgotten David had went behind my back to communicate with my mother (while I thought she was evil), but it wouldn't be right if I wasn't thinking about it.

"It's nice to meet you too," he grinned, his eyes finding mine. "You raised a lovely daughter."

"She is lovely, isn't she?" my mom grabbed my hands and squeezed while David grabbed her bag. "Let's go inside. I'd love to see the house."

"Yeah, David's rich, did I mention that?" I wiggled my eyebrows at her, following David up the driveway. "I always told you I was going to find a rich man."

"I knew you were just in it for the money," David acted shocked, playfully pushing me to the side. "Get the hell out of here."

"I'm getting war flashbacks," I joked, my eyes lighting up when David turned around to playfully glare at me, all the while my mom had no clue what was going on. We chose to leave her in the dark on my subject.

"So this is the place," David gestured around the house as my mom entered the front door, jaw dropped in shock and awe. I was too, the first time I saw it. "Make yourself at home."

"David likes for you to take your shoes off," I informed her, sliding the Gucci slides David bought me off my feet (what, I wanted to look like Morgan Adams. Sue me). "He's a bit particular."

"She's a bit dramatic," David defended himself, sending me a middle finger on the down low. I stuck my tongue out at him, grabbing Elaine's hand and dragging her behind me for a tour.

"This is the living room and the kitchen," I raised my hands to gesture to the genuinely beautiful house. David's interior decorator did a wonderful job, because if David would've decorated it himself, it would look like a two hundred thousand dollar house instead of a two million dollar house. "In there is the podcast room, that is going to be the nursery, and that is our bedroom. That's pretty much it?"

I looked to David for reassurance, and he nodded. He said, "Is it okay if I go take a quick shower? I didn't know you were coming so early and now I look disgusting."

"Yeah, we'll just talk," I nodded, and he placed a kiss on my cheek, mumbling a quiet I love you as he left the room. I gestured for my mother to take a seat and asked if she wanted a drink.

"I'm fine, baby," she smiled, patting the spot next to her. I sat down, turning my body to face her as she continued, "This is such a beautiful house, and that car outside? Wow."

"I know," I replied with a grin, my mind flickering back to the Tesla. "I love that car. It feels like you're in a spaceship. Maybe tonight when we go to dinner, we can ride and you can experience the magic."

Her lips turned up in a smirk as she said, "You've really finessed that boy, haven't you?"

My polite smile dimmed a bit, and I asked in confusion, "What do you mean?"

"Oh, Eleanor," she laughed, reminding me of a middle aged woman in a country club. "You can't possibly think I'm going to believe you just stumbled across a millionaire and accidentally got pregnant? Let's be realistic, doll. It's not every day someone from Indiana gets Cartier bracelets and Gucci shoes as light gifts."

I clenched my jaw, checking over my shoulder to make sure David wasn't lingering behind us, before whispering, "Listen, you're already on thin ice here. You're lucky David even made me the person I am today and that we were nice enough to let you come into our house and stay here. If I hear one more word about mine and David's relationship in any way that isn't considerate and kind, you will be out on the streets. I'm not tolerating it anymore. Are we clear?"

"Are you forgetting I'm your mother?" she replied in shock, her jaw dropped and her face twisted in disgust at my bitter words.

"You were my mother, Elaine," I corrected her, a fake smile on my face. "You were, and then you didn't believe me when I told you I was being groomed by a pedophile. You lost all parental privileges the second I moved out of your house. You don't get to come in here and act like you own me. You don't get to say whatever you want. This is my house now. You're in my house now. I thought you were just used by Steven and misunderstood by me, but it seems like you are the exact same person I always thought you were."

"I think you misspoke," her lips curled up in a taut, fake as hell smile. "This is his house. You're just living in it, and milking him for all the money he has. I don't know why you're getting upset, Eleanor. I respect it. I'm proud of you for getting this far."

"Stop calling me Eleanor!" I finally snapped. It took everything in me not to kick her out of the house then, but then David would've felt like he did something wrong, and I loved David. I wanted him to think I was having a good time. "It's not like that. I love him, and I would love him if he had ten dollars to his name. If you act this way in front of him, I will ruin your fucking life—"

A door opening cut off my speech, so I finished with a mumbled, "I hope I made myself clear."

My mom's fake smile grew as she cheered, "Crystal!"

David took a seat next to me, his wet hair still dripping onto his black shirt.

"Hey guys, what'd I miss?"

im tired lol and im stressed bc one of my friends asked me to think of a joke for her yearbook superlative quote bc im the "funniest person she knows" BUT IM DEADASS NOT FUNNY AND I CANT THINK OF ANYTHING

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