I woke early the next morning, hoping to get to speak to Kaylen, but she was already gone. I had a feeling that Masen knew we caught him, because he never sleeps in as long as he did that morning. By the time he finally came out of his room, he was heading out to the batting cages.
Over the next few weeks, Edward talked to Masen, but I still hadn't had the opportunity to talk to Kaylen. Edward told me they had used protection and even went as far as to buy Masen more condoms, just in case.
Unless they were at school, Kaylen was either at our house, or Masen at hers. I still didn't allow her to spend the night. I just couldn't sleep comfortably knowing that my son and his girlfriend were down the hall doing god knows what. However, Edward and I decided that Kaylen was good for Masen. He was becoming more responsible. He wasn't getting into trouble as often and didn't come home smelling like smoke.
. . .
It was late one afternoon after school and Kenzie and I were in the kitchen starting to cut up some vegetables for the soup I was making for dinner. There was a knock at the door. I quickly washed my hands and told Kenzie to sit tight until I got back.
I opened the front door, surprised to see Kaylen, since Masen wasn't home.
"Hi, Mrs. Cullen. Is Masen home?"
"No, he has practice today."
"Oh, that's right. I thought it was only on Tuesday and Thursday."
"They're practicing three times a week now to get ready for the regional tournament." Kaylen seemed kind of nervous and awkward. "Is everything okay? Didn't you see Masen at school today?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Yeah, we had a test in Geometry so we didn't really get to talk. He was supposed to help me with something, but I forgot he had practice."
"Is there something I can help you with?" I asked, as I noticed her blush and anxious behavior.
She paced a bit on the porch and said no twice, before I saw tears in her eyes.
I stepped outside and closed the door behind me. "Kaylen, what's wrong?" You can tell me. It's okay."
She took a deep breath and tried to keep her tears at bay. I walked her over to the swing on the porch and sat down with her.
"I feel so terrible asking anything of you, Mrs. Cullen."
"I don't mind. Really. What's going on? Maybe I can help."
She looked away from me. "My dad hasn't been home in four days. I don't know where he is. We don't have any food. Nothing. I used the last of the peanut butter last night and made Joey peanut butter and cracker sandwiches for dinner. He's hungry and I don't have anything to give him. Masen was going to take us to the store after school, but I forgot he had practice first."
I couldn't even believe what I was hearing. This girl broke my heart. I tried not to cry because I didn't want to embarrass her. "It's no big deal, sweetie. I was actually just about to head to the store with Kenzie. Let me grab my purse and we'll pick Joey up on the way, okay? You can get whatever you need. My treat."
She shook her head. "Mrs. Cullen, I can't. It's not your responsibility."
"You can, and you will. I was going anyway."
"Well, let's at least leave Joey at home. He'll embarrass me and want all this ridiculous stuff," she laughed, but I knew what she was doing.
"Nonsense, he's coming with us." I knew Joey wouldn't be as sensitive to their situation and wouldn't hold back in choosing what he wanted the way Kaylen would. I left her on the porch and went back inside.
I turned the stove off and quickly shuffled the veggies into Tupperware and into the fridge. "We'll finish preparing dinner later okay, Kenzie? We're going to the grocery store with Kaylen and her little brother."
Kenzie looked at me like I had four heads. "Mom, we bought groceries yesterday."
"We're buying them again. Get your shoes on."
. . .
Joey ran happily from his front door and climbed in the back seat with Kenzie. "Hi, Mrs. C! This is so cool of you. Masen usually takes us to the store." I saw Kaylen turn around and shoot a warning glare at him.
"Hey, you're in my P.E. class," Kenzie said. "Joey."
"Yeah, you suck at volleyball, Kenzie."
I immediately got defensive, but I looked up in the rearview and they were both laughing, so I relaxed.
"I do!" she laughed. "You suck at basketball!"
"Kenzie, don't use that word, please." I saw her roll her eyes. Kenzie has never rolled her eyes at me, but I kept my mouth shut.
"Basketball isn't for short people and I'm short. The goal is way too far from the ground."
Kenzie and Joey and laughed the entire way to the store while Kaylen and I sat quietly in the front.
Once we arrived at the store, I immediately understood why Kaylen didn't want Joey to go with us. He didn't hold back, at all.
"No, Joey. You don't need candy," Kaylen said putting it back on the shelf. "This is only for necessities."
"Candy is a necessity!" Kenzie said loudly.
I had never seen Kanzie so rambunctious before. Ever. "Okay, kids. Kenzie and Joey, you can pick out three of your favorite things, anything you want. Everything else, Kaylen and I will get, okay? Is that fair?"
"Yeah!" They both yelled in unison and took off running further down the aisle where the cookies were.
"No running!" I yelled after them. I blew out a frustrated breath. "I guess I've never really seen Kenzie around her school friends. She's usually so quiet and well behaved."
Kaylen laughed, "My brother will do that to people."
We both laughed and continued down the aisle. I noticed she was literally just grabbing the absolute necessities. Peanut butter, bread, ramen noodles, cheese, cereal, milk. "Don't you need anything else? Really, anything? Toilet paper? Frozen pizza?"
"No, this is good, really."
I pretended like I was grabbing some things for myself, but she would learn later they were for her. Frozen pizza, fries, chicken tenders, canned soup, pasta, lunch meats, eggs, veggies, cookies, crackers, juices, etc.
Once we got to the check out I gave her the keys to my car and told her to go ahead and get everyone in the car and pop the trunk for me. I didn't want her to see the total. $234.28.
. . .
"Mom, how did we have that huge cart full of stuff and all we're coming home with is my candy?" Kenzie asked from the backseat as she held up her little bag with her three things she picked out. We had just dropped Kaylen and Joey off at home after getting all their groceries inside. Kaylen cried and thanked me a million times.
"I was just giving Kaylen and Joey a ride, they needed groceries."
"Where's their mom?"
"She went to heaven."
Kenzie didn't ask anymore questions.
. . .
It was late one Sunday night when I was in my office at home paying bills and going through the little envelope of receipts Bella left me. She seemed to be spending a lot more than usual.
"Bella!" I yelled for her. I heard her coming down the stairs and waited for her to come in.
She came right in and walked behind my desk and kissed my neck, putting her cold hands under the collar of my shirt, running them briefly down my chest. "What's up, baby?"
I laughed. "Apparently you already know."
She laughed, too.
"How do you spend almost $500 in two days at the grocery store? I mean, seriously? And what's with all the ATM withdrawals?"
She rolled my desk chair back and climbed in my lap. She wrapped her arms around my neck and started kissing me, behind my ear, down my jaw, my chin. "It's kind of a long story," she started.
"Stop trying to distract me, woman!"
She laughed and stopped her assault. "I found out that Masen had been using most of his allowance to buy groceries for Kaylen and Joey."
"What? Groceries? When has Masen even set food in a grocery store?"
Bella laughed. "I know, I was pretty surprised myself. Apparently last week her dad didn't come home for an extended period of time. There was nothing in their house, Edward. I mean, nothing! She had made peanut butter cracker sandwiches for dinner the night before. It didn't even look like people really lived there, not in the kitchen anyway. She showed up here looking for Masen after school, she forgot he had practice. She said he was supposed to take her to the store. After some prodding, I learned why. So, I may have bought her a months worth of food and given Masen some extra allowance."
I sighed and let my head fall back against the oversized desk chair.
"You can't be mad at me."
"I'm not mad at you," I said, giving her waist a squeeze. She nuzzled her face into my neck. I could smell the scent of her shampoo and it instantly calmed me.
"Good. I may have also bought some new lingerie."
I immediately looked down at her to see if she was serious. The way she was biting her lip told me she was. "Upstairs. Now." I ordered.
She giggled and jumped off my lap. Bills were forgotten. I loved her.
. . .
* Two Months Later *
I hesitantly knocked on Molly's door.
I went inside and closed the door behind me.
"What's up, bro? Why you look scared to death?" she laughed.
I shrugged and sat down at her desk chair.
"So. . .did you just come in here to sulk, or were you going to talk or?"
I laughed a little. "To talk, yes. I'm just, nervous. Can I trust you?"
She scooted closer to the end of the bed, her face more serious. "Yeah, what's going on?"
Despite Molly's initial unlikeness of Kaylen, she had come around in recent months, especially when she learned about what was really going on with Kaylen and her situation at home. I didn't know who else to talk to. Mom would flip out.
"It's Kaylen. She's been acting weird."
"Like, weird how?"
"I don't know. Like, moody and emotional and one minute she's happy and the next she's mad at me and crying for no reason."
Molly laughed, "That's called PMS, Masen."
"Well, that's another thing. She didn't get her last period." I knew that Molly's eyes getting large and her mouth falling open were not good signs. "But we've used protection, like practically every time."
"Well, yeah, or if we didn't, I didn't . . . you know. . . inside." I covered my face with my hands. "I can't believe I'm talking to you about this."
"The pull out method is not using protection, Masen! You know there's pre cum, and even with condoms, it's not 100% safe. They break. I know."
"Okay, number one, don't ever say the word pre-cum again, and number two, you know?"
She nodded. "When I was with Josh, before he got in trouble, one broke on us. It totally freaked me out. Not only was I terrified of what Mom and Dad would do if I got pregnant, but I don't want a fucking kid. No way. His sister bought the morning after pill for me the next day. Everything was fine."
I knew my sister was sexually active, but I didn't know she knew more about all of this than I did. "So could Kaylen take that? The morning after pill?"
"Well, typically it only works the morning after, thus the name. How long as she been acting all crazy?"
"A couple weeks, maybe a month."
"When's the last time you had unprotected sex?"
"A month or so ago? I don't know," I sighed. "I will be so royally fucked if she is pregnant. God, her dad will probably beat the thing out of her."
"That's not funny, Masen."
"I know, but unfortunately, it's true."
Molly sighed. "Well, I'd suggest she take a pregnancy test to be sure. Her cycles could just be a little off, especially with everything going on in her life. If she's not pregnant, definitely be more careful, and use a second form of birth control, like the pill."
I groaned. "My life will be over if she's pregnant."
"Pretty much," Molly agreed.
"Please don't say anything to Mom or Dad."
"Oh, I won't. I don't want to hear the screaming and the threats against your life."
I laughed. "Thanks, Molly. You always know how to cheer me up," I said sarcastically.
"Anytime big brother."
I went back to my room and tried to come up with a gentle way of approaching Kaylen about taking a pregnancy test. After what Molly said, I was scared shitless.
. . .
Author's Note: Welp, it's safe to say that some very large shit hits the fan in the next chapter, and the next. Fasten your seat belts and keep your hands inside the ride at all times.
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