"Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for impact," the pilot's voice came over the plane's speaker several seconds after the engine's had failed.
Now, the monster 757 was barreling toward the Pacific Ocean with a cabin full of terrified passengers that were on their way back from Hawaii. At the rate at which they were falling it was almost certain that it would be destroyed upon impact with the water.
"Oh, dear God," A woman closed her eyes tightly and bent her head to pray, God, watch over my boy and help him make the right choices, when she looked over at her friend, she saw tears running down her face and knew the end was near.
The social worker carefully knocked on the front door, hoping someone would answer. Within a minute or so, the wooden door opened and a teenager hesitantly poked his head out, unsure of why the social worker was at his house.
"Are you Naomi Crawlie's son?" the man asked.
The purple male nodded and replied, "Yes… What's going on?"
"I'm afraid I have some upsetting information for you," the man swallowed, "Your mother was killed in the plane crash that happened yesterday."
Complete shock and disbelief ran through the teenager's mind. He was alone. He wasn't ready to be on his own, not after everything he and his mother had been through. At that point, he was aware that the social worker was still talking.
"… but your mother's friend, Reginna, did survive, so maybe you two can help each other recover. I know losing your mother at sixteen must be very difficult. If you need any help or someone to talk to, please call our office and someone will be there for you to talk with."
"Yes, it is difficult, and thank you for your kindness."
Two years later…
The young mother gently kissed her newborn's head before passing him off to his grandmother. Only two weeks after giving birth to the healthy boy, she wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful day. That and the grandmother wanted to spend some time with him.
"Be careful, Jaycie, but also have fun," Cheer smiled warmly at her daughter, "And don't worry about your precious son."
The pinkish-blonde waved as she walked out the door with her purse and keys in hand, "Bye, Mom!"
The cool autumn breeze ruffled Jaycie's hair as she stepped out of her yellow Camaro in the mall parking lot. It was a relief knowing that she had such loving parents who supported her, even when she made stupid decisions.
Hmm, I better see if they still have those shirts at Abercrombie so I can get one, she thought as she made her way down the walkway of the upper floor. She was amazed by how crowded the store was, but she zeroed in on the long-sleeved shirts she was looking for and picked out a purple one for her and a red one for her mother. After paying for her items, she headed out of the store, but wasn't paying attention to where she was going and collided with someone, "Oh, gosh! I am so sorry!"
"No problem, Miss. I wasn't watching where I was going."
The voice caught Jaycie's attention, and she looked up to see a royal purple-colored male with beautiful long hair and green eyes standing right in front of her, watching her curiously. He couldn't have been more than twenty. The way he smiled gave her butterflies in the pit of her stomach, "Hi," she was too stunned to say more.
"My apologies, Miss. I didn't introduce myself," he offered his hand to her and smiled when she took it, "I'm Chase Crawlie, and who might you be?"
"Uh, Jaycie Rogers."
"Well, Jaycie… would you like to get something to eat at the food court?"
Oh, my God. Is he seriously talking to me? He's so fine! "Sure. Just let me get my bag that I dropped when I ran into you," Jaycie started to reach for her bag, but he had already picked it up.
"Let me carry that for you, Jaycie."
While they were eating lunch, Chase couldn't help but notice Jaycie's still rounded belly and became curious, but he didn't know how to approach the subject without seeming rude. Could she…No, there's no way. She's still a teenager, he thought as he peered closer at her abdomen, "Um, I take it you're one of those girls who loves food?"
Jaycie nodded, but caught him looking at her belly and understood what he was meaning, "Oh, I… Um… just had a baby about two weeks ago. I know it sounds crazy for a seventeen-year-old to have a baby, but I did."
"What's the sex of the baby?"
"The most precious baby boy, ever."
Chase chewed in silence before speaking, "So, how did you wind up having him… I mean, I know how you got pregnant, but what led to that?"
"I was stupid and got drunk at a party. Then this guy I had been talking to that night took advantage of me and we ended up having sex," Jaycie leaned across the table to get closer, "I was so wasted that night. My friend, Kami, had to tell me what happened the next morning after I woke up at her house… And I don't even remember going to her house afterwards!"
"Was your dad pretty mad?"
"Not so much my dad. He actually understood, especially when I told him I was pregnant, but my mom was pissed."
Chase watched her for a minute, carefully thinking through what he was going to say next, "How did you manage going to school? You must have been tormented constantly."
"Actually, I stopped going after everyone found out, and Kami brought my homework to the house for me. She basically did everything for me," she sipped at her drink before continuing, "I still don't know if I'm going back. I mean, I'll show up for graduation in May, but I don't think I can handle everyone torturing me."
"It must be hard being a single mother. Haven't you found any guys to date?"
Jaycie's eyes fell to her lap, "None of them want to be around someone who's had a baby at seventeen. They see me as a slut."
"Well, I don't have a problem with you being a mother. My mom practically raised me by herself after my dad was locked up."
For a long time the two of them sat and talked about each other's lives, but Chase seemed to be hiding something since he kept skirting around the topic of his mother. Even if he was he kept a deep interest in whatever Jaycie was talking about.
"So, what's with the braid in your hair?" Jaycie asked curiously after noticing the tiny braid hanging on the left side of Chase's head.
He smiled sheepishly and ran his fingers down the braid, "Uh, I've had it ever since I was a kid. I don't know, I think it's kind of unique, don't you think?"
"Mmm, very…But don't you ever take it out?"
"Maybe once a month I'll redo it when it gets ratty."
"That's really cool. The only other guy I've met with long hair is my sister's husband, Gabriel. He's Irish, and for some reason he loves his hair long," she chuckled to herself and pushed back from the table before grabbing her bag, "I should probably get home to take care of my boy."
Chase quickly got up and followed her out of the food court, "By the way, what is your son's name?"
"That's very unique. I like it."
Jaycie glanced at the time on her cell phone, and then back up at Chase, "I really should be going, but here's my number," she took his phone and quickly typed her number into his contacts.
"Thank you. I'll be sure to call soon," he said with a wink and smiled. There was something about her that made him want to learn more about her life, especially how she was planning on raising a baby by herself. She really could use some help with her baby, and I know I'm not the father, but I'd like to get to know her and her family. Besides, two parents are better than one, Chase watched as Jaycie walked toward the other end of the mall and disappeared outside.
By dinner that night, Jaycie was laying on her stomach, trying to understand the procedure of a root canal out of her dentistry textbook. After reading over the pages several times, she slammed the book shut and stood up.
"This is so ridiculous! I just want to be a hygienist, why do I need to know how to use a Gates-glidden bur?" she looked over at her baby, who was sound asleep. I really do need someone to help me raise you.
Two weeks later, Jaycie was running around town since the weather was beautiful, and this time she had decided to bring her baby with her. While sitting at a table in the town's Starbucks, she watched some of the people chatting with friends and enjoying their coffee. As she watched a group of women by the windows the coffee shop door opened and a familiar figure walked in. He raised his dark sunglasses to the top of his head and proceeded to make his way up to the counter.
"Yes, can I get a Venti caramel and mocha macchiato, please?" After getting his order he started for a table near the window but stopped when he saw Jaycie looking his way.
Jaycie quickly turned her gaze downward and blushed as he made his way over to her. Crap. He saw me. Just act natural.
"Well, I thought I recognized you, Jaycie," Chase sat down across from her and smiled, "It's a beautiful day, today, and might I say, you're looking beautiful as well."
She finally looked up, trying to hide her red cheeks, "Hi, Chase. How have you been?"
"Great! I was just out enjoying this great weather and decided to pop in here for some coffee. I never expected to find you here."
"Ah, you know… I was just doing the same."
The two of them sat in silence for a few seconds until Chase heard a noise coming from under the table, and looked down to find a baby in its carrier, "Oh, are you babysitting your sibling?"
"Um, no," Jaycie carefully removed the baby from the carrier and held it against her, "This is my baby boy."
Immediately, Chase's face lit up, "So, this is Xavier? Wow, he's a cutie. You can tell he looks like you," he watched as the baby looked around until it laid eyes on Chase and smiled, "If you don't mind, may I hold him for a minute?"
"Sure! Besides, he needs to get used to men so he won't end up being a pansy when he gets older," Jaycie carefully passed her son over the table and made sure Chase had a hold of him before letting go.
Xavier looked up at the new person holding him and clung to Chase's shirt, "Wow, I still can't believe you had him, Jaycie. I couldn't even imagine the pain you were in."
"Actually, I passed out shortly after I started pushing and Daddy had to pull him the rest of the way. I don't remember any of it."
Chase stared in disbelief for a moment before he noticed something strange about what she was saying, "Did you have a traumatic experience beforehand that caused you to pass out?"
"I was shot in the stomach when I was leaving a concert. My family rushed me to the hospital, and my dad took over after finding out that the baby was stressed. He didn't even induce me, just told me to start pushing. Thankfully I was already dilated somewhat since I was a few days away from my due date," she smiled at her son clinging onto Chase's fingers, "At least I only had a week left of my pregnancy."
"That is a good thing," Chase admired the baby and couldn't help smiling at him, "Gosh, he's so sweet. I can't wait until I have a family."
Jaycie sighed heavily before speaking, "They're nice to have around, but not until you're ready. I regret ever going to that party. Maybe then people wouldn't hate me or judge me whenever they see my baby."
"Well… I don't hate you, Jaycie," Chase listened intently to everything she was saying and actually felt bad for her, "No one should ever judge you. They don't know the circumstances."
Obviously, he didn't understand her frustration and it was starting to make her all the more frustrated, "Chase, do you realize that most guys ignore me now? I'm facing the possibility of never finding a husband. I'm lucky enough to have Kami stick by me."
The coffee shop started to get crowded, making Jaycie all the more uncomfortable. When she looked toward the door, her heart started to race in fright. Almost immediately she gathered the carrier and the diaper bag before motioning for Chase to get up, "Hurry, I need to get out of here."
Without asking questions, Chase followed her with the baby clinging onto him. Once they were outside he was able to speak, "What's going on?"
"That girl that just walked in is Victoria Mansfield; she hates me and wants to get rid of Xavier… and me. She thinks I make our school have a bad image since I had him."
He couldn't believe someone would act so negatively towards something as common as Jaycie's situation, "That's horrible! People like that need counseling."
"She's one of the reason's I won't go back to school."
"Don't worry, Jaycie. I don't have aproblem with you being a mom. My mom had me when she was young, and we had a very close bond."
For some reason Jaycie felt like she could trust Chase with anything. When she looked back up, she caught a glimpse of his tattoo when he quickly scratched his itch on his stomach. It looked like a yellow rose with some writing beside it, "I didn't know you had a tattoo."
"It's a memorial tattoo for my mom. She died in a plane crash on the way back from Hawaii two years ago."
"I'm so sorry. That's got to be tough on you," Jaycie looked around nervously, hoping Victoria hadn't seen her, before turning back to Chase, "I think it might be best if I head home. I just can't take any chances."
"Then, will you at least let me make sure you get home safely?" He bent over and carefully fastened Xavier in the carrier and covered him up with his blanket.
At first Jaycie didn't know how to respond to his generous offer, but she realized that he could protect her, "But how will you get back?"
"Don't worry about that. I've got my ways"
Twenty minutes later, Chase pulled her Camaro into the driveway and turned the engine off. He couldn't believe how beautiful her home was. Before Jaycie could get around to the other side of the car he was already getting the baby out and shutting the door. They walked up to the front porch aand Jaycie pushed open the front door before going in. Chase hesitated, unsure if he should follow her, but Jaycie reappeared and motioned for him to come in.
"Don't be nervous. My parents like meeting people," she said as her father stepped into the room.
"Ah, you must be Chase," Champ took the other male's hand and shook it, "It's nice to meet you."
"You too," Chase responded.
Not long afterwards, Jaycie took Xavier upstairsto change him, and to let Champ and Chase talk. The purple male sat on the edge of the couch and twirled his long hair nervously, waiting for the questions to fly.
"So, are you in college?" Champ questioned.
"I'm taking some classes."
"What is your major going to be?"
Chase blushed a little in embarrassment, "Okay, don't take this the wrong way, but I really want to be a gynecologist and obstetrician."
"I don't think that's strange at all," Champ smiled, "because that's what I am," he watched him curiously before asking, "Do you have any intention of dating my daughter?"
The question caught Chase by surprise and he started to get a tinge of pink on his cheeks, "Well, I figured she'd need someone to help her with the baby. I mean, every child should have two parents."
"You're right, they should," he glanced at the top of the stairs before looking back at Chase, "but are you prepared to handle her emotions?"
"Of course," Chase tried to think of every plausible reason why he wouldn't want to be with her, but all he could come up with were the ones telling him why he did want to be with her. A noise caught his attention, and he looked up to see Jaycie coming down the stairs with a large book in her hand.
"I really don't want to read this entire chapter tonight. Radiography is so boring, and I could care less what the machine is made of," she sat down on the floor and opened the book up before motioning for Chase to join her. He greatly accepted her offer and sat down next to her.
"I didn't know dentistry was part of the high school curriculum?" He questioned with a grin.
Jaycie chuckled as she turned another page, "No I'm taking a special class to learn how to be a dental hygienist… And right now it's very frustrating."
"You shouldn't let it be. It's a whole lot better than what my job was."
A few minutes later, Cheer walked into the living room, wiping her hands on a dishtowel, and smiled when she saw Chase; late at night Jaycie would talk to her about him, and wanted desperately for her to meet him. Now that the day had come, Cheer was very happy by what she saw.
"Have you eaten yet, Chase? We'd love to have you join us for dinner."
The offer surprised him, "Oh, I couldn't…"
"Nonsense! I made plenty," she started back for the kitchen, "and besides, I made tiramisu for dessert."
Now, he was starting to change his mind, "You know, maybe I will stay. Thank you so much."
During dinner, the others watched and listened to Chase and everything he had to say. They were surprised to learn that he had worked for Chippendale's for a year before leaving. Even though he had done something like that they still found him very respectable, and wished he would tell them more about his life.
"What about your parents? Do you still live with them?" Cheer questioned as she took another bite.
Chase swallowed hard, thinking about what he'd say, "Actually, I haven't seen my father since I was fourteen when he went to prison for drugs… And my mom died two years ago in a plane crash. So, I'm on my own."
The news shocked them, including Jaycie, even though she had already been told about his mom. How could anyone so young deal with the loss of both parents? He certainly seemed to be doing fine, but surely it was rough on him.
"Dear, how do you cope? Surely you miss them," Cheer was still stunned and felt the need to help him.
"My father not so much; I'd prefer to stay away from him, but it's been tough without my mom. She pretty much raised me by herself. And we had a very strong bond," Chase set his fork down and took a drink from his glass, "Losing her nearly killed me. I didn't know what to do, and my friends didn't know how to help me. The only person who really knew what I was going through was my mom's best friend, Reginna. She was the only survivor of that plane crash"
After dinner, Jaycie had gone up to her room to change into her nightgown while her parents talked with Chase; they seemed very interested in him.
"Well, I should probably call someone to come pick me up. I forgot that my car is still in town," he looked towards the front door, but Cheer was quick to step in.
"Now, don't be ridiculous. It's late, and we have plenty of room for you, here."
"That's very kind, but-."
Before he knew it, Cheer was leading him upstairs and down the hall to one of the spare bedrooms. He was amazed by how big it was even though it was used when others were staying over. It reminded him of a five-star hotel.
"Will this suit you, or would you prefer a bigger room down the other hall?" She asked as he looked about.
Chase stared at her as if she were nuts, "You have one bigger than this? This one here is huge!
"We have a big family," Cheer explained, "So I take it you'll stay in this one?"
"Oh, yes. This one is fine."