a\n: Hey everyone, so I'm back with another story. I will still be updating A Little Chemistry regularly, and have chapter 5 in the works right now, but this story will also have first dibs on being updated for awhile. NOTE: I forget who's story used it, but I liked the name 'Henry' for Keith's Dad like they did, so I'm using it for this story as well since his name isn't mentioned. For the actually story, I got inspiration from Purple Shamrock 17's: A Special Present. I have my own spin on how I think Natalie getting pregnant by her and Keith's 'magical night', would've went- so, without further ado: chapter 1. Read, enjoy, and review, please! (:
Natalie appraised her appearance in the mirror.
She was gaining weight.
Two positive pregnancy tests lay on her bed.
Nausea radiated her insides.
There was no denying it; no more tennis. No more body. No more Duke University.
Pregnant…As in: baby.
As in: Keith's.
Natalie Anderson, ex-girlfriend of Rafael Marques, pregnant with the cancer kid's child. Her life was over; just like Keith's would be soon.
She fanned her fingers over her swelling stomach.
What would he say?
Would he be happy? Sad?
Would he want her to keep it? Handle it?
Would he be alive long enough to meet his child?
She pulled her shirt down and threw the tests into the front pocket of her book-bag.
The sooner she told him, the better.
Keith was waiting for her to pull up in her usual spot next to his truck at school, and when she did, she flashed him a smile. Keith, though, saw through it, and furrowed his eyebrows.
"The word, 'fake', radiated from that smile of yours, partner." He handed her a paper plate with an omelet and toast on it. "What's bothering you?"
She took the plate and chuckled. "You sure re-defined breakfast on the go…"
He grinned silently and waited for an answer to his previous question.
"Keith, can we sit in the truck for a little while?"
"You don't care that you'll be late if we do? Should I be writing this milestone down?"
He hopped into the driver's seat then, and she followed in suit.
"I want to skip today."
He replied nothing, but drove away as she just wished. For once, though, Keith was confused, and even wondered where to go. Nothing he did, (although it seemed weird to outsiders,) was weird for Keith. He planned every little crazy detail of his never boring adventures with Natalie. But now, for once, he wasn't in charge; he felt at her mercy, and that bothered him.
"Why the rebel all of a sudden?" he asked.
She stared ahead as he stopped at the red light. He looked over at her then. She was un-blinking and still emotionless. He was about to turn away when he saw her lips part slightly. She whispered something then that he didn't catch.
"Say that again, partner?" He asked, confusion marking his features.
"I'm pregnant." She whispered the slightest pitch higher.
He sat wordlessly for a long moment, and then rested both of his hands on the steering wheel firmly. He put the truck in drive and moved as the light turned green.
"So why are you telling me?"
Emotion, finally: she shot him an angry glare.
"Because it's yours!"
"What!" He shouted, disbelieving. "No! no, no, no, nope. I did not get you pregnant, Natalie."
"Well who did then? My name isn't Mary, Keith!"
"You've never slept with anyone but me?" He asked her; not out of assumption, but out of pure curiosity.
"Well," the thought sunk into her mind, and warmed her inside. "No."
Silence penetrated the truck again.
It wasn't until minutes later, when Keith heard Natalie sniffling, did he speak.
"Come on, partner. Don't cry, okay? It's spilt milk."
He stopped the car on the side of an abandoned road, and moved to pull her into his arms. The embrace was awkward; he had never held someone like this before, but it was all the comfort Natalie needed in that moment.
"My parents are going to kill me."
"I'll take care of you, Patsy." Was his only reply.
She smiled slightly through her tears at the reference to their Bowling Ball Excursion.
"I have to tell them."
"Do you want me to be there?"
"They don't even know you."
"Then we can hold off, and I'll come over for dinner or something a couple times, then we'll tell them."
His offer was kind enough, but why the sudden sweetness? Natalie just shrugged it off, and nodded.
"I want them to meet you; maybe it is best to hold off."
"Alright, then. Is there anything else you need me to do?"
"Just don't leave me, Cosmo."
"Don't worry your little head; not any time soon."
Natalie got her mother to agree to letting her new boyfriend over for dinner, (even though she was still so hung-up on her dating Rafael,) and by 6 sharp, he was already there.
Natalie was wearing some nice jeans with a dressy, black shirt that had a low v-neck, and a cluster of diamonds on the shoulder. She wore a simple, silver chain necklace, and her hair was down and slipped back in the front. She took in a deep breath, and opened the door. Both of their eyes shimmered, then, with newfound attraction. Keith had never seen Natalie so beautiful, and Natalie had never seen Keith so cleaned up. She was actually surprised at how seriously he was taking this. He was wearing jeans that lacked rips or stains, a dark green T-shirt, and he smelled of sweet cologne rather than motor oil and gasoline. She smiled then, and he planted a soft kiss on her cheek. Natalie's Mom and Dad came in the door then and welcomed Keith with a hug and a handshake, respectively. He handed Natalie a light, pink rose after that, and her mother a bright red one. Caroline smiled at that.
"Well, thank-you, Keith. Hungry?" She asked; her home-cooked meal the only way to repay him for the kind gesture.
"Very," he nodded, following the family into the dining room.
Zack entered moments after them and gave Keith a handshake and slap on the back.
"How are you, Zetterstrom?"
"Good, good. No bowling trips lately?"
Keith chuckled, remembering the first time he met Zach, coming to ask him if his sister could go on a 'spur of the moment' bowling trip.
"Not lately, no."
They all sat down then and ate in somewhat of a silence. Nearing the end of the meal, though, as Zack cleared the plates, Keith was bombarded with questions concerning his family, college, intentions, aspirations, and goals. He answered as best he could without sarcasm, and they seemed satisfied at the end of the daunting experience. Dessert was served soon after and they all ate more easily now; the ice broken, and fondness grown.
Once the meal was over, Keith offered to help with any dishes, but they declined his offer and he got a chance to absorb their house in all of it's glory as he sat on the couch waiting for Natalie to be done cleaning. Keith could never dream of living in a house as beautiful as their's. His family wasn't poor, but they had always enjoyed the simpler things in life. Natalie's house wasn't huge, but the furnishings still caught his eye. The couch he was sitting on, he assumed, was a couple thousand in itself he could have easily used for a new paint job on his truck, a name brand jacket he'd always wanted from White-Wash, or...chemo. He absent-mindedly ran his fingers across the gold flecks on the arms of the couch; it was fit for a king, and a king, was something he surely wasn't.
The rest of the night was spent over coffees, talking some more, and Keith taking a look at the transmission in Natalie's car. He had been worried for awhile of the slight variation in sound emitting from her car, and when the subject was brought up, he jumped at his opportunity to take a look. Gaining bonus points by wanting to keep their daughter safe, Keith knew he had hit it off well with Natalie's parents, too. When he walked in the house, he was greeted with a glass of ice water from Mrs. Anderson.
"So, the car is…workable? Non-workable? What?"
"It's fixable." He replied, leaning against the kitchen doorway.
He explained the problems, and how much the parts she needed would cost, and they listened intently. He offered the parts he had at home that would work, but they declined anymore help and thanked him for all he'd done.
By the time it was ready for him to go, Keith's bones were aching and he was incredibly tired. The pain, though, was well worth it- he had really impressed her family, and until Natalie, he had never impressed anyone.
He gave Natalie's mother a hug, and her father and brother firm handshakes. Natalie walked him to the doorway, ignoring the choruses of: "it was lovely meeting you," and, "next time you have to check out my car for me!" Natalie smiled and leaned in for a kiss.
"I had a great time, partner," Keith said as they pulled away. "I really did."
"So did my family."
"Wait, so, if I had a good time, and your family had a good time...what about you?" he asked curiously.
She laughed. "Anytime I have with you is perfect."
"Good." He replied, hugging her close and then kissing her forehead. "I'll see you at school tomorrow, Pumpkin-love."
"Goodnight, partner." She said softly, watching him get in his truck and drive away before shutting and locking the door.
She turned back to enter the living room, where she was greeted by her parents' smiling faces.
"He's a very sweet young man, Natalie. If you don't want to be with Raf, I'm fond of your choice in Keith."
"I agree," her Dad added. "Concerned about your safety, very respectful, and a good mix with you. We approve."
Natalie grinned. "Thank-you, guys!" she said happily, giving them both hugs. Relief flooded over her; they found Keith just as absolutely wonderful as she did.
"No problem, sweetheart. He's s cheap to feed to! Why does he eat so little?"
Natalie took in a deep breath…this wasn't the conversation she was hoping for right after them saying how fond they were of him.
"Well, Mom, Keith is a little sick."
This was so hard for her to say; too hard. She knew her mom could see her so anxious now, and she knew she would have to tell them since she was acting so suspiciously. She had wished so desperately she didn't have to ruin the night with this…but if they were so fond of him, they had to know…that he was dying.
"Why are you so tense, Natalie? You know I'm only kidding about the eating thing, we really like him."
"Mom, Keith has cancer."
There. She said it.
She had come out, and said it: Just like that.
"Cancer? Natalie, what cancer? Is he alright?"
Natalie fell silent.
"Natalie, how bad is it?" her mom asked, forcefully now.
"He has Leukemia, Mom…and his Dad doesn't have enough money for the new chemo treatments."
Natalie's parents spoke all night about Keith, the treatments, and the cost. The fact that a child had to forfeit his life over a little money, to them, was horrifying, and they were more than willing to help. When they met Natalie in the kitchen the next morning, they asked her to sit down before school, and gave her comforting smiles.
"Natalie, we need Keith's address and the days Henry is off from work if you know, please."
"We have a little something for them."
Natalie's face was etched with confusion, and her mom soon clarified by holding the check in front of her.
"This is 3 months pay of the most aggressive, experimental chemo there is."
Natalie's eyes filled with tears.
"Mom, Dad how much-"
"-Money? …is nothing compared to a life. Keith is a sweet boy who doesn't deserve to give up without a fight; no child does."
Natalie gave her mom and dad the schedule she assumed Henry worked then, and Keith's address. Once they had they details straight, she got in her car and set her book-bag on the passenger's seat. Smiling and staring straight ahead of her, she took in a deep and soothing breath.
Yeah, she was pregnant…and she wasn't sure that was a good thing.
But Keith had a chance to live…
And that was something way beyond the word, 'good'.