I could hear the sound of Melody’s voice coming from my phone but I was in too much shock to pick it up.
Melody was interested in Charlie? Melody knew Charlie? The fact that these two elements came together at this particular time complicated things.
Was Charlie interested in Melody? Had she forgotten about Alexis? When we go to Ocean City, will she even care that she’s there? I shook my head, quickly leaning down to pick up my cell.
“Are you still there? Hello…?”
“Yeah, I’m back. Sorry about that. Are you sure her name is Danielle Charles?”
“Yeah, I’m postive. Beck, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing! Nothing at all. I was just wondering if she was another girl that I knew. Her nickname is Charlie too but her name is Danielle Charles…ton. Danielle Charleston!”
“Yeah, we go way back and I’m going to visit her. Danielle Charleston. Not Charlie. Danielle Charles.”
I slapped myself when that lie left my lips. I was never good at lying.
“I’m not even going to try and understand what lie you’re telling me but I hope you have a nice time in Ocean City, Beck,” Melody replied bluntly.
“Shit!” I mumbled. I forgot that Melody could always tell when I was lying.
I hung up the phone and quickly ran upstairs, grabbing my snow boots and coat before trudging out the front door.
I had to let Natalie in on this. There was no way we were going to Ocean City if Charlie had moved on to Melody. I couldn’t let my cousin get her heartbroken.
I saw some girl with red hair in Natalie’s front yard shoveling snow and I arched my eyebrows at her before knocking on their door.
“Natalie! Natalie, open up! I have to tell you something really important!” I yelled, hopping from foot to foot in anticipation and from the cold.
“Beck, I’m right here."
I swirled around so fast that I almost fell. I saw Natalie staring at me incredulously as I gazed at her auburn locks.
“Natalie? What did you do to your hair?” I asked, walking towards her.
“I dyed it. What’s wrong?” she asked, shrugging. “Why’d you dye it?” I continued.
“Cause I wanted a change. What’s wrong?” she asked once more. “A change in style or a change of color?”
“Color. What’s wrong?” she replied, slightly annoyed. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, frowning.
“You don’t like it?” she asked, glaring at me. I shook my head nervously before running my hand over my neck.
“No! No, I mean, yes! Of course I like it Natalie, it’s on you” I replied, laughing anxiously.
She stared at me for a moment before smiling and walking over to kiss me. I smiled back as I cupped her face in my hands.
“Now, what’s wrong?” she questioned once more. “Oh! Melody called me and guess who she ran into while she was in Ocean City?” I exclaimed.
“Wait. Melody called you?” she asked, pulling away. “Yeah, but just to get closure. I kind of ended things on a sour note and if we were in different places, I would do the same thing. You have to remember, we're still good friends,” I replied softly.
She smiled before placing a kiss on my cheek. “Good cover” she whispered. “Thanks. I was thinking about it on the way here,” I said laughing. She slapped my arm and I pulled away from her.
“Jerk” she mumbled, sticking her tongue out at me.
“Melody's in Ocean City and she met Charlie! Alexis’s Charlie!” I announced.
“I’m sorry. I still don’t see what the problem is,” she said, confused. “She’s interested,” I stated, staring directly at her.
Natalie’s eyes widened and I nodded my head. “Oh, now I see what the problem is. Did you tell Alex?” she questioned. I shook my head, sighing.
“I don’t think I should. I mean, she’s been pretty upset about it lately and I kind of blame myself. I think I opened up some old wounds and I feel like I should help her gain some closure with Charlie. Plus, she would be destroyed if she found out Charlie wasn’t interested in her anymore,” I replied.
“Don’t you think she’d be even more upset if we went there and Charlie didn’t even want to see her? I mean, the way you explained it to me, I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t want to see Alexis at all” Natalie stated, placing her hand on her hip.
I shrugged my shoulders and rubbed my hands together to gain some heat. She noticed my behavior and smirked.
“Do you want to go inside?” she asked, putting down her shovel. I nodded quickly as I ran toward her steps. She laughed as she opened the door for me.
As soon as I felt the heat in her house, I smiled. “I hate the cold. I’m a summer baby, you know,” I remarked, pulling off my jacket and boots.
“I love it” Natalie teased, taking off her jacket as well. “That’s because you were born in January,” I teased back.
“I can’t believe you’re seven months older than me. Although, I’m taller so I guess that makes us even," I added.
She slapped my arm again and I laughed as she pretended to storm off. I followed her to the living room, noticing Kylie watching TV.
“Hey Kylie. How come you’re not hanging out with Brandon?” I asked, sitting down on the couch next to her.
Natalie sighed as Kylie frowned before saying, “Because he’s playing with Heather!”
I arched my eyebrows at her while Natalie decided to fill me in. “Heather? Heather Lyn Davis? She lives across from you. Beck, you really need to start spending time outdoors,” she said, lying down on the couch with her head in my lap.
“Who needs the outdoors when you have an X-Box?” I scoffed, like my reasoning better than her own. Natalie smirked to herself as she played with my fingers.
“So, Brandon is somewhere with this Heather girl?” I asked Kylie. She nodded and changed the channel.
“How old is Heather?” I asked, looking down at Natalie. “Twelve years old” she replied. “Brandon is going after an older girl? I didn’t know he was that smooth” I joked.
Kylie's frown deepened as she pouted. “He’s an idiot!” she yelled. Natalie and I both watched her outburst with a smile on our face.
“Kylie, do you like Brandon?” I asked, facing her. Her cheeks turned bright red as she quickly shook her head. “No! He’s an idiot and he’s so selfish. I can’t believe he would rather play with Heather than me” she exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Kylie, if you like Brandon, you can say it. There’s no reason to act shy,” Natalie replied, softly. Kylie turned away from us, still pouting, which made me laugh.
“I can say it. I like Natalie. See? Nothing wrong there” I added. “And I can say I like Beck,” Natalie replied.
“Well, I think I like Brandon but I shouldn’t. He’s my friend and friends don’t like other friends” Kylie responded, getting up from the couch and standing in front of us.
“Says who? Friends can like other friends. There’s no law against friends liking other friends. As a matter of fact, people can actually marry their friends” I stated. Kylie gasped as Natalie laughed at my explanation.
“See Kylie? If you like Brandon, you like Brandon. I know it takes boys longer to mature than girls, but I’m sure if you wait a while, Brandon will say he likes you too” Natalie said, smiling.
Kylie smiled back and then glanced outside, watching Brandon pull Heather around on her sled. She scoffed before storming off upstairs.
“He’s such an-UGH!” she screamed, slamming her door. I glanced down at Natalie and watched as she did the same.
“Your sister and my brother. Who would have guessed?”
Lee paced back and forth as he thought about his options.
One: He could abandon Jessie in her time of need as revenge for sleeping with Chase.
Two: He could help Jessie with the baby despite the fact it wasn’t his.
Three: He could help Jessie with the baby and try to get back together with her.
Four: He could tell his parents the baby was his even though he would be lying.
Five: He could go to jail for killing Chase.
Five and three were starting to sound pretty good. Lee didn’t know completely what he was going to do. He had told Beck that he was going to be there for Jessie and the baby and he meant every word of it. How would his parents react? How would the school react? How would he feel knowing that when he held this child in his arms that it would never really be…his?
Lee growled and picked up his keys. Fuck the future. Fuck everyone else. Fuck what his mind was telling him to do.
He was going to do the right thing and right now; the right thing was to be with Jessie.
He opened his car door and drove to his ex-girlfriend’s house. It was almost a sobering feeling as he drove the familiar path that he hadn’t taken since they'd separated.
It felt good being able to drive to Jessie’s house again; to know that she wanted to see him. No matter what happened next, they would be together.
As Lee reached the curb, he saw Jessie’s belongings being thrown out of the front door along with a suitcase. The girl was being pulled out of her house by her step-father as her mother pleaded with him to stop.
Lee snarled, putting the car in park as he jumped out the door.
“Please, Patrick! Please, don’t do this to me! I have nowhere else to go!” Jessie screamed, tears falling down her cheeks.
“I expected better from you, Jessie! Did you think I wouldn’t find out. Look at you! You’re three sizes larger! Why don’t you go stay with the kid you got pregnant with, huh? Why don’t you do that?” he yelled, anger coursing through his body language.
“Patrick, don’t do this! She’s still my daughter. I won’t let you!” her mother, screamed.
“This is my house, Janet! I’ve worked too hard to have everything thrown away because of her. I am not going to let some ‘pregnant teen’ ruin our happy home. Leave. I’m not saying it twice."
Patrick walked back into his house, pulling Janet with him, and slammed the door.
Jessie almost fell to the ground but she felt warm arms wrap themselves around her. She sobbed before letting herself fall against him in the snow.
“It’s alright. I’ve got you,” Lee whispered, pushing her hair out of her face. He careful picked her up and walked around to his car, putting her in the passenger seat before buckling her in.
He walked back to her front yard and picked up the suitcase and the rest of her belongings, wiping the snow off of them as he placed them in his trunk.
He returned inside the car and looked over at her. “I was…going to tell them on…Sunday. He just…walked inside my room without knocking and…I was putting on a sweater…and he saw. He saw everything. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I just…didn’t know he was going to react that way,” she sobbed, talking between each gasp of air she inhaled.
Lee took her hand, kissing her palm. “I’m here for you, Jessie. I promised I would be. Patrick’s a prick and I know your mom won’t stand for this either. Do you want to stay with Natalie until this whole thing blows over? Or do you want to go to Hope’s house?” he asked, softly.
Jessie shook her head, gazing at him with her beautiful green eyes.
“I want to be with you” she replied. “Alright, you can stay with me” he stated, putting his car in reverse. “No!” she yelled, putting her hand over his. Lee looked down at their hands and then at her.
“I know you’re sorry and I forgive you. Could you ever forgive me?” she asked, tears once more brimming on her eyelids. Lee smiled, leaning over to kiss her. He cupped her face in his hands as she pulled at his shirt.
It had been a long time filled with heartache and sore for the both of them and, they knew what they needed was each other.
Jessie leaned her head against his shoulder as he brushed her hair behind her ear. “I already have. I love you, Jessie,” he whispered.
Jessie pulled him closer and they stayed like that for a while until Lee slowly moved away and grabbed her hand. He put the car back in reverse and pulled out her driveway.
For once, his mind was blank. He wasn’t thinking about the future. He wasn’t thinking about the baby. He wasn’t thinking about his parents, or Rachel, or what anyone else would say. Nothing else was as important as right now.