Juno

"Hey Pauly, did you hear the sweet news? Our band is playing at The Java Chip tonight!" At this point in my life, Pauly and the band are the two most important things to me. Sure, getting good grades in college is essential, but I'm pretty sure I'm just going to end up being a heating and air-conditioning specialist like my dad. Music is pretty important to me and with an awesome boyfriend like Pauly in my band, life can't get much better than this.

"No Juno, I didn't know that. Why doesn't anyone ever tell me anything?" asked Pauly.

"Oh…well I just found out like two hours ago," I said to make Pauly feel better. I really found out three days ago. It's really easy to forget to tell him things. Maybe if he wasn't so quiet all the time I would remember.

All of the sudden, I heard my phone ringing. I knew who it was right away since I was with Pauly and he's the only one who calls me. But sometimes, Vanessa gives me a call. Vanessa Loring is pretty much the coolest old person I know. She wanted a baby really badly and I had one that I didn't want, so I just gave mine to her. I don't know anything about the kid and I don't want to. It doesn't feel like mine, so I'm not interested. I still talk to Vanessa every now and then, but she never brings up the kid. I hear that she's doing great, though. She's one of those ladies that were born to be a mother. "Hey Juno, I'm really sorry, but I can't make it to your show tonight." I heard Vanessa say through the phone, "I have some legal stuff to work out with Mark up in the city." Oh, too bad. I was really looking forward to seeing her tonight.

"Oh, that's alright. I'm just sorry you have to see that jerk," I said. Mark is the dumbest adult I know. I still haven't forgiven him for leaving Vanessa right before I was about to have their baby. I didn't want my baby growing up in a broken family like everybody else's. Confused and scared, I decided to still give my baby to Vanessa. I had a feeling she would make a pretty rocking mom. And I was right. I didn't want it growing up around that haughty man. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

"Ha-ha! Good luck tonight! Bye." After I hung up with Vanessa, I looked up at the clock. Oh no. I was supposed to be at The Java Chip ten minutes ago.

As I walked out of my dorm, I heard the crunching of the snow under my feet. I hate winter. Probably because three winters ago, I had to squeeze a whole baby out of me. It's just ruined all winters for me. As Pauly and I walked side by side he asked me, "Juno…do you ever think about our kid? You know, like how it's doing or what it even looks like?"

"No," I replied sternly. I was serious when I said I didn't want anything to do with it.

"But, we don't even know if it's a boy or a girl! Doesn't that seem odd to you?" He sure was asking lots of question today.

"Pauly, can we talk about this later? You're ruining my mood for the jam later." Thank God he dropped it then. When we arrived at The Java Chip, our band was already there, waiting for us. "Hey guys!" I said.

"You're late…" Anna said angrily.

"Yeah, so? Big deal! We're here now." I was not in the mood for Anna's bossiness. We then got up on the stage and played some of our favorites. There were only about ten people there, but that was enough for me. I just hoped Mark was being nice to Vanessa. Ugh, I hate that guy so much.

After I got back to my dorm, I had a terrible headache, so I took a long, hot shower. It wasn't from the loud music; it was from Pauly's outrageous questions and Anna being the usual Anna. Once I was dressed in my monkey pajamas, I sat down to watch some TV. "I am a vampire, I am a vampire…" I heard my phone blasting. It was ringing again? I usually don't get that many calls. I looked down and saw it was an unknown number. "Whatever, I'll just answer it," I thought.

"Hi, this is Jenna Hoard from Social Services. I am sorry to inform you that Ms. Loring has been in an accident," The lady said.

"What? What kind of accident? Is she alright?" Ok…this was starting to scare me.

"She got in a car accident on her way up to the city tonight. I'm really sorry to say this, but she died shortly after the accident. Her child has nowhere to go and it says here…" I heard papers rustling around. "You're the biological mother." No! No, no! This was not happening. This kid won't go away!

"Isn't there someone else who can take care of it?" I bawled into the phone, "Mark! What about Mark? He's the father!" I knew Mark wouldn't want to take care of it, but I had to ask. My whole life is falling apart. I've Vanessa and now I'm forced to take care of my kid who I got rid of for a reason!

"I already contacted him, ma'am. He doesn't want her." Her, she said her. I already knew too much.

"What do you mean he doesn't want her? He's her father!" I knew he was too busy loving the bachelor life.

"I'm sorry…you're the last person she can go to before she goes into foster care."

"Well that doesn't sound so awful! She can find a nice foster family." Maybe this wasn't so bad after all.

"Well, it can be awful. The chances of her actually getting adopted are slim to none." I guess I would hate for my own kid to grow up in an orphanage, but I'm just not cut out for something like this. I feel bad that I'm the only chance for this kid.

"Ok…fine. I'll take it," I decided.

"Her. You'll take her."

I decided Pauly better know about this. I wasn't doing this is by myself. I called him right away. "Hey-o!" he answered.

"Pauly…we need to talk," I said quietly.

"Oh no! You're pregnant again! Why does this keep happening? Are we keeping this one? Or are we…"

"Pauly! I'm not pregnant! Vanessa has been in an accident and I'm going to be taking care of her child…err…our child," I knew he would not take the news nicely.

"Juno that's great! I mean, it's not great that Vanessa was in an accident, but I've always wanted a child with you!" he said excitedly. Ok, that went better than I thought. I didn't realize he actually wanted a family with me. I mean, I knew he was totally in love with me but wanting a family? Now that's sweet.

"So…you're cool with this? Us being parents all of the sudden?"

"Of course! When do we get it?" Man, he really was excited.

"It's a girl. And the Social Services lady will be dropping her off tomorrow." Tomorrow is going to be the biggest day of my life.

I instantly fell in love, when I looked down at the supple brown eyes staring at me confusedly; the way her brown tresses look so much like Pauly's hair and how her nose is so small, I feel like I could just pinch it right off. Poor girl, she has no idea who I am and I'm going to start trying to replace her marvelous mom, Vanessa. There's no way I could take her place. But I just couldn't let her go into foster care. "Hi!" I said in my normal voice, only an octave higher, "My name is Juno. And we are going to have so much fun together!" That only seemed to scare the kid even more.

"Juno, this is Belle. She isn't talking much now because she really is just scared and confused. But, I hear she's usually a jabber jaws. She loves to tell everyone that her mom named her after the band Belle and Sebastian." Belle, what a lovely name, seems to fit her extremely well. No if only I could just get her to say something…

"How old are you Belle?" No reply. "You have beautiful hair!" Silence. "I can't wait to spend lots of time with you and get to know you!" Nothing. Not even a grin. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Pauly and I spent the next two hours trying to get her to say something, but nothing worked. I even tried to bribe her with ice cream, chocolate, and popcorn. "I give up. I can't do this. I'm just not the girl to be a mom."

"Nonsense!" yelled Pauly, "You are going to be an incredible mom. You just need a little practice. You have me, which is a plus." I can tell he's trying to cheer me up. It's not working.

"This was a bad idea. She'll be better off in foster care." I was giving up all optimism I had left in me.

"Juno you're talking like a crazy person! No child is better off in foster care! I know just what to do…I'll give Brenda a call and she can come help us out for awhile, ok?" That does sound like a good idea.

"Ok, that's fine." I called her immediately. "Brenda! I need your help. Remember what I told you about yesterday? Well, I'm kind of having a panic attack. Can I bring her over to your house for a while?"

"Juno…I told you this wasn't a good idea." I knew I was going to get a lecture. "You're not mature enough to take care of her."

"Listen, Brenda. I just need your help this one time. I know if you help me, I can be a great mother. Can you just take care of her for a few days so I can calm down get everything straightened out in my life? Please?" I can't believe I'm to the point where I'm actually begging Brenda.

"Fine, but only for her. I'm doing this for her, not you. This was your mistake and you need to hand it like a mature adult." Blah, blah, blah. I love Brenda, but sometimes she just really gets under my skin.

After I hung up with her, I put Belle in her car seat and drove off in my van. The drive there was awkwardly quiet. I was relieved when she finally fell asleep so I didn't have to try to make conversation. I can't believe a three-year old kid could stress me out this much. I was relieved when I finally pulled into the driveway of my old home. This place had so many memories. Pauly and the cross country team running by every morning, yelling at Bananas, the noisy dog next door, and playing my guitar on the front porch. As we walked up to the front door, I felt Belle reach for my hand, sparks ran up my arm. Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad. "Hello!" Brenda yelled in a too-happy tone. Never mind. It's still bad. "Hi Belle! How are you?"

"Good," Belle giggled. Oh, so I see how it is. She'll talk to Brenda just fine but not me!

"Ok, I have to go. I have class in the morning, I'm sorry I can't stay longer to visit." Brenda was sad but I really wanted to get back to Pauly. He always knew what to say when I was upset. When I was just about ten minutes from my dorm, I got a call from Brenda. What does she want? I left only two hours ago! "Hello…" I said unenthusiastically.

"I was just calling to tell you that Belle is doing great! She's such a good girl! I'll take care for her for however long you need me to!"

"Thank you so much, Brenda. I should be able to pick her up in the next few days, or so but I'm going to still need your help regularly."

"That's fine, Juno! I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier. I can tell you're under a lot of stress and I probably wasn't helping. I'm here for you throughout this whole thing. You're going to be a wonderful mom. I have faith in you."

"Thank you, Brenda. I love you"

"I love you too. Everything's going to be just fine."