Today, fellow Astraea Press author, Jessie Bailey Anderson, is sharing from her young adult novel, At What Cost.
During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.
Maggie glanced at Lauren, and shooed her away with her
hand. She flicked her eyes back to her calendar, flipped to the
month of August, and counted the days from the little ”X” she’d
made at the beginning of the month.
Lauren interrupted her deep concentration. “Maggie,” she
whispered, smacking her gum.
A bead of sweat trickled down Maggie’s hairline. Finally,
she looked straight at her friend, whose eyes squinted in confusion.
“Oh, nothing.” Slapping her notebook closed, she packed up
her books long before class was over. “Nothing, I’m fine.”
But she wasn’t. “Ms. O’Donnell, I’m not feeling well,” she
said as she gathered her books and dashed to the nearest bathroom
down the hall, where she locked herself in the handicapped stall
and sat on the toilet trying to suck in a full breath. It wasn’t
possible. The calendar she’d just used moments before stared at her
from the top of her pile of books, but she ignored it for a while
longer, choosing instead to read the graffiti on the walls. Jenna
& Cade 4ever. Mr. Brackenrich bites! Not very creative. Staring at the
puffy lettering scratched on the wall, her vision grew fuzzy until
her brain pulled her into the present again.
She had probably counted wrong. Yeah, that was it.
Grabbing the little book, she looked for the mark telling her what
day she’d started last month. Twenty‑eight, twenty‑nine,
Numbness spread through her limbs and mind as she sat on
the toilet. Her arms slack at her side, she didn’t have the strength
even to close the notebook, which still lay open on her lap. She was
late. Two weeks late. She’d been late before, but only a couple of
days, never two weeks. Forty‑one days. No, that couldn’t be right.
One more time. Count one more time. But it was no use. All six times,
she came up with the same number. She was late. Late enough to
Without warning, her stomach heaved, and the acid rose.
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