A/N. I know that I said I would take requests and that I still have 'Head On Collision' and 'How to Save a Life' to write. But I received a review from UnitedPen for chapter three of 'HTSAL' that mentioned the song, 'Lucy' by Skillet. I looked up the lyrics at first and then I listened to it and then I bought it on iTunes. It was when I looked up the meaning of the song and was listening to it on repeat that I knew I needed to write a one-shot about it. Once I'm inspired I can hardly focus on anything else. The last time I felt this inspired was when I head Daughtry's 'All These Lives' and wrote the one-shot based off of it on December 31, 2010. I need to warn you that the angst in this story is extreme. It's one of the hardest things I've ever written. And yet, just like 'ATL' I am glad I did write it. I can only hope that it can make an impact because the subject matter is truly heart-breaking. Please listen to 'Lucy' while you read this so you can understand where I'm coming from. I don't own anything.
It's a beautiful autumn day as I pull to a stop and park my car by the curb. I don't get out right away and merely sit there, trying to mentally prepare myself for what I'm about to do. But it's no use and I give up and step out into the sunshine. A gentle breeze blows through the trees overhead and I turn my back to it, sheltering the bouquet of roses that I'm holding in my hands.
The breeze dies off and I take a deep breath before starting down the dirt path. I'm the only one in the cemetery today and I'm grateful for this. I want to be alone with you. The only other person I would want to be with right now is your mother and she still refuses to come see you. She's afraid and although a part of me is angry at her I can also understand. Each time I visit you it feels as though the regret that haunts me every day and every night will kill me like I killed you.
I reach your tiny grave and sink to my knees. We laid you in the shade of an old oak tree and I reach out with a shaking hand to wipe the leaves away before I lay the roses I brought you in front of the headstone. Then my fingers lift upwards slightly and I brush the stone that feels as cold and hard as my heart must be. I trace the letters and like a blind man I read your name with my fingers because I can't see through the film of tears in my eyes. "Lucy," I whisper. "I'm so sorry, baby girl."
Sorry can never be enough. There is no way I can ever make what I've done go away. Sorry won't bring you back to us and give us a second chance. No matter how badly I want to turn back time and do things right the second time around, I can't. I'm stuck here forever.
I never thought I would be here. Looking back, I thought we were making things better. If the press and our fans got a hold of the news of your mother's pregnancy then our professional careers would be filled with scandal and our lives would become so much more difficult. We were sixteen, young, young, naïve, and so incredibly stupid. We thought we were in love with each other and we gave up everything we knew about premarital sex in one night of passion. We both lost our innocence that night.
When your mother first told me that she was pregnant I was too much in shock to react very much. She had knocked on my apartment door earlier that day and asked to speak to me privately. I thought she wanted to break-up with me and my friends all gave me sympathetic looks, each of them thinking the same thing.
We took a walk together and sat down at a bench in the park. There she took my hand and told me that she hadn't been feeling very well lately. I forgot all about our relationship ending and became terrified that something was horribly wrong with her. I held my breath and waited for her to tell me that she had a terminal disease and that she only had a few months to live. But instead. . .
"I'm pregnant." She whispers, her eyes filling with frightened tears as she waits for my reaction.
At first I can only stare at her as I try to make sense of her words. "Pregnant." I repeat, the word sounding foreign coming from my numb lips. I scan her face for any hint that she's just messing with me, hoping beyond hope that this is all a joke. I wrack my brain, trying to remember if today is April 1. It's not. I look at her closely and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's telling the truth. "Are. . . are you sure?"
She takes a deep breath, struggling to hold back tears. "Yes." She chokes out. "I. . . I took three home pregnancy tests and they all came back positive."
"But. . ." My head is spinning as I try to absorb the news. "But don't those tests sometimes give false positives?"
"Three times?" She looks doubtful and then shakes her head. "Besides, I just came back from seeing a doctor." She's holding both of my hands in hers and then releases one to lay it on her still flat stomach. "He said I'm about two months along." She gives me a meaningful look and we're both thinking of that night.
"Oh," It's all I can think of to say. I don't live under a rock. I've heard of teenage pregnancy. We both have. Back in Minnesota there was a senior at my old high school who got pregnant. Her life was miserable because everyone teased her for being fat and her boyfriend left her. She finally dropped out of school when the torture became to much. When I left with my friends to live in LA she was working two jobs to support her and her baby. How could anyone be happy like that? Even her boyfriend wasn't as cool as he used to be. They were both shunned. It's so much worse for us. We're somewhat famous. Both of us are role models and now she's pregnant? What are we supposed to do?
"I don't know." She says, making me realize that I had spoke out loud. "I was. . . I was hoping you'd know."
I shake my head. "How am I supposed to know?" I ask as I rake my fingers through my hair. "I'm sixteen! I'm too young to be a father!"
"And I'm just sixteen too." She reminds me. Tears have started to spill down her pale cheeks and she looks terrified. "I'm not ready to be a mother. I. . ." Her voice breaks and she begins to cry. "I can't do this."
At last I break from my frozen trance. I take her into my arms and hold her tightly ash her body shakes with sobs. "Don't cry." I murmur soothingly as my own eyes begin to fill.
But my words only make her cry harder and she clings to me as if holding herself together. "I'm so s-scared." She stammers. "What's going to happen to us? What are we going to do?"
I have absolutely no clue what to say to her. What are we going to do? This changes everything. I would never think to leave her but at the same time, I don't want to be a dad. I don't want to accept responsibility for this enormous mistake we've made. But we made this mistake together so I'm determined to stick by her side. My arms tighten slightly and I run a hand up and down her back as she continues to shudder. "I don't know." I say quietly. "But I do know that we're going to do it together."
That catches her attention and her tears slow. She pulls away enough so that she can look up at me. "Really?" She asks tearfully.
I take her face and hold it in between my hands, wiping her tears away with my thumbs. "Absolutely." I promise. "We'll figure this out. Together."
Maybe if we had made a different decision, we'd still be together today. Maybe if we had kept you, you'd be the glue to hold us together no matter what else happened. I consider this as I sit there underneath the tree with my knees drawn up to my chest. Maybe we'd be a family.
"A family." I murmur. "She would have been a fantastic mom. Maybe I could get the hang of the whole dad thing after a while. I know that you would have been beautiful just like you mom."
After that day I thought I would be able to forget about you. I thought we would move on. But instead we broke apart and became stuck in the same place, unable to move forward. I thought about you throughout the day, too distracted to pay attention to anyone or anything else. There are still nights that I lay awake and imagine what could have been.
All we knew was that you were a little girl. We never talked about first names or middle names. We never went shopping for pink dresses to put on you or bows for your hair or teddy bears for you to sleep with. We never bought any baby stuff. Because we had already made a decision.
"You would have looked just like your beautiful mom." I whisper to you. "We would have named you Lucille Ann and called you Lucy for short." A humorless chuckle escapes from my lips. "I call you Lucy anyway, don't I?" Again my finger traces the letters carved into the stone. "She thought it was old fashioned and maybe she was right. But we both thought it was pretty and we knew that you at least you needed a name."
Maybe that was why I find myself unable to move on. Because we gave you a name. I once read an article about a family who breeds and raises race horses. They sold the baby horses when they were a year old. After they were born they only called them, "So-and-so's" colt or filly. They said that it was easier to say goodbye to them if they didn't name them. Giving them a name was a personal touch that would make it harder for them to let go. We named you Lucy and now I still can't let you go even after all this time.
"Anyway, Lucy." I continue to talk to you, wondering if you can even hear me. If you can hear me do you even want to? Are you mad at me for what I had a part in? "You would have looked just like Mommy. You would have been smart and funny and everyone would have loved you. I bet you would have been a dancer. My little ballerina."
Daddy's little girl. It's too late now and my wishes are useless. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming. You would have been my baby girl and there is no one I would have been prouder of. You would have been my world. More than anything I want to take back that day. I want to do things so differently. "Lucy, I want to hold you. I want to see you." My voice is getting choked up and tears begin to spill down my cheeks. "I want to know you."
I give her my best smile which is pathetic and squeeze her hand. There are so many things I want to say to her right now to bring her some comfort. But I'm scared too so I tell her that instead of lying. "I know. Me too."
She leans her head on my shoulder and closes her eyes. "We're making the right decision, right? We're. . . too young to be parents. We're too busy with our careers. If the press found out about this-"
"I know." I say again, kissing her hand that's clinging tightly to mine. "We are making the right decision." Even as I say those words there's a part of me that doesn't believe them. There's a part of me that doubts that we're doing the right thing. "We can't give this baby the life it deserves right now."
The door opens and the doctors come in. She shivers against me and turns her head away as they approach us. They're talking to us but I don't hear them and I don't think she does either. One of the doctors is explaining what they're about to do and my stomach drops.
This is wrong! A voice screams in my head. It drowns out the voice of the doctor as he describes the process as if he's talking about how to operate a lawn mower. Like he does it every day. Because he does do it every day. I stare at him. How can he be okay with this?
I look down and my eyes meet hers. They're filled with tears and plain old fear. She's terrified. I can see that we're both wondering if we made the right choice. We can still speak up and stop this. We can still change our minds. There's still time.
But we're both silent. I promised her I wouldn't leave her. I'm right there when the doctors go through the same procedure that happens every day all over the world. Everyone does it. That's what I tell myself. I read somewhere that there are approximately forty-two million abortions performed in a year which works out to one hundred and fifteen thousand a day. We're not the only ones. I never speak up to stop them and beg her to reconsider like I want to. Instead I turn my head, pretending that I'm not watching a life come to an end before it even began.
It's over before I thought it would be. This is a relief since I just want to get out of the room that's now a morgue. But I look up too soon. It's only a glimpse but it's just enough to stop my heart for several beats. A tiny, bloodies, mutilated body. I can't breath. It's a baby I'm looking at. A dead baby. It's dead because we chose to have it killed.
I don't know what I expected. But I didn't know that at sixteen weeks our baby would look like a tiny human being. I didn't that it would have fingers and toes and. . . it's all there. Except it's in pieces. I feel dizzy and even though the mess is now out of my sight I can still see it. It's like a scene from an old war movie when an enemy bomb blows up in some guy's face and his buddies find him in bits and pieces all over the place. Except this is a baby. My baby.
Then I hear it. I don't think she meant for us to hear but the doctor who explained everything to us turns to one of his colleagues and I catch his whispered words. "A girl." He tosses the words around carelessly as if it doesn't matter to him but he still feels the need to tell the others when he's sure we can't hear.
But we do. I can tell by the way she whimpers quietly that she heard him too. A girl. A little girl. I. . . We had a little girl. A daughter. I think of the few scenes from TV shows and movies that I've seen of new parents. The actors always portray such joy as they view the tiny life in their arms. They treasure that baby, weeping with joy.
We weep then but not tears of joy because there is no new life to celebrate. We don't weep tears of relief even though we don't have to worry about rumors or scandals. The tears that stream from our eyes are tears of grief and a crushing guilt.
We're not parents, I realize with horror. We're murderers.
"I know I don't deserve your forgiveness," I say, automatically straightening the roses when they shift slightly in the wind. "I took your life before you had a chance to do anything with it. I know you would have been amazing."
The sound of footsteps breaks up the silence. I don't turn, almost positive that it's one of my friends because I know they're all worried about me. Then I feel a hand on my shoulder and she drops down beside me. I turn and meet her gaze,those beautiful eyes red and teary. "You came."
"I had to." She takes a deep breath and stares at your grave. "They're beautiful." She says, meaning the roses.
"They're not enough. She would have been beautiful." I hear myself say. "Just like you."
You mother shakes her head, a sob catching in her throat. "No. I'm not beautiful. Not at all. I'm ugly inside and out."
I hold her as she cries and I can't help but remember the day she first told me about you and how she cried like she is now. Except back then she was scared and today she is grieving a lifetime's worth of regret. "You're beautiful to me." I say as I rock her gently back and forth.
"No," She says again. "She didn't deserve this. She deserved a chance to live. She deserved to go to the beach and feel the sand between her toes."
I give in and pull away from her to look at your roses again. "She deserved to run and laugh and play just like every other kid."
"She deserved to get excited about her birthday and Christmas." Your mother whispers.
"Sometimes I think about what she would have been like." I admit to her. "I think she would have looked like you and that everyone would have loved her. I think she would have been a dancer. A ballerina"
She leans her head on my shoulder. "She would have loved the color pink and reading books and pretending you were her pet horse. She would have liked to sing just like her daddy and she would have loved her three uncles."
"She would have loved going to the beach and to the zoo and the aquarium." I say softly.
"I should have come sooner." You mother tells me. "Like you. You've been coming for months now."
I nod absentmindedly. "That's what the counselor said would help best. I come here and just. . . talk to her."
"Does it help?" There is no hope in her voice. It's easy to tell that she doesn't think she deserves anything to help.
It takes a while before I can answer her because I'm not really sure. "I think. . ." I begin slowly. "I think that it helps sometimes. I wish I could do something that would. . . make the pain go away even for a little while. I'd give anything in the world to go back and change things."
"Me too." Her voice is a whisper. "We would have been okay. Why didn't we keep her? Our friends and families would have supported us. They were so disappointed when we told them what we did. And even if we really didn't think we could be parents we could have given her up for adoption. She could be alive and happy today."
That's another though that haunts me constantly. There are so many beautiful, wonderful, happy couples in the world that can't have children of their own. You could have made one of those couples happy. We destroyed so much when we destroyed you. We destroyed so much happiness. "Sometimes it's hard for me to want to live." I admit to her. "You know how there are some mistakes that you make in life that stay with you for a lifetime?"
"Of course I do. It was thinking that she was a mistake. I was thinking that I could pretend that night never happened. Lucy wasn't a mistake. What we did to her was a mistake. And we have to live with that." She's started to cry again, this time heart-wrenching sobs that shake both of us. "Lucy," She cries to you. "I'm so sorry, sweetie."
It's been months since you became a little angel in Heaven. I know you make a wonderful, perfect angel but that doesn't stop me from wanting you here down on Earth with me. I want my little girl back. I wonder if it'll ever truly get easier but I know that I deserve the misery. I drop a kiss on your mother's hair. It's not a romantic kiss at all because there's no longer anything between us. Everything is so different now.
One last thought comes to me before I prepare myself to say goodbye to you once again. I think, no, I know that we would have been perfectly okay with you. We would have been a great family. Sure, there would be a lot of downs but there would have been more ups. We would have made it. We would have been happy.
I release your mother and bend forward, pressing my lips to the letters of your name. "Goodbye, Lucy." I whisper. "I'll be back." I feel a hand slip into mine and even though she doesn't say a word, I now that next time I come visit you, your mother will be with me.
Maybe if all three of us try together, we'll begin to heal. I know we don't deserve your forgiveness, Lucy. We stole the world of a precious life. We robbed you of everything. I'm so glad that you're in Heaven now, Lucy. I know you're safe there. No one will ever harm you again. You're safe and sound forever. I'll never forget you for as long as I live, Lucy. Please hear me when I say that I'm sorry. I've never felt something so strong before. It doesn't make anything okay but it's all I have.
Just know that I'd give you my life if I could. I'd give anything to be your father. To hold you. To watch you grow up and make friends and go to school. I'd give anything to give you away to another man on your wedding day. I'd give anything to have people look at the two of us walking hand in hand and call you "Daddy's little girl". But this is selfish of me because I don't deserve you and you're safe and happy in Heaven right now. You're perfect.
A breeze blows through the cemetery and your mother and I both shiver. If I close my eyes I can almost see you now. I can almost see your smiling face and hear your sweet little laugh. I can almost hear you speak to me. To us.
"It's all right. I'm okay now. I forgive you."
A/N. So 'Lucy' has officially been played on repeat the entire time I was writing this and the play count is. . . about to reach 110. Writing this was the same powerful experience that 'All These Lives' was and I thank UnitedPen for introducing me to this song. I have no words to convey the emotions I feel whenever I listen to it. I only hope that you listened to it while you read this story. And I can only hope that I did the song justice. Please know that I'm not trying to condemn anyone. As a Christian I believe that abortion is wrong and the murder of an unborn child. The research I did while writing this made me sick and absolutely broke my heart. I pray that things in this world change and that the horrible statistics change for the better. Because even though I know without a doubt that those innocent lives go straight to Heaven and are safe and happy there, it's still a heartbreaking situation. Anyway, I'm done writing for the day. Review and let me know what you thought. Thank you for taking the time to read. Love you all!