Chapter 4

Courtney stood at baggage claim waiting anxiously for her best friend. Catching a glimpse of the attractive, petite woman, Courtney launched herself at her. Dodging and running past people, she embraced her friend tightly.

“I’m so glad to see you,” Courtney beamed.

“I’m happy to see you, too,” the woman said. “Let me take a look at you.” She eased herself out of the embrace to take a good look at Courtney. She looked her up and down, walked around her to get a complete picture. She made her way back directly in front of Courtney. “What happened to my little blonde friend with pigtails and braces?”

Courtney blushed. “It hasn’t been that long since you’ve seen me.”

“It sure feels like it,” Courtney’s best friend commented. “You’ve picked up a few pounds.”

Courtney’s gaze wandered downward. “Well, I did tell you my brother is an excellent cook.”

“That you did.”

“I’ll make sure we go over to his house for dinner at least once while you’re here so you can sample his delicious food.”

The woman looked at all the people rushing by them. “As fascinating as JFK is, I’m ready to get this party started.”

Courtney mockingly bowed. “Madam, your chariot awaits.”

The woman curtsied. They laughed and walked to the carousel arm in arm.

Hours later with their hands full of packages, Courtney paused outside a baby clothing store. The woman turned to her right to talk to Courtney, but she wasn’t there. She backtracked her steps and peered over Courtney’s shoulder.

“Imagining the future?” she asked.

Rubbing her slightly protruding stomach, Courtney nodded. “The not so distant future.”

The woman, staring at an adorable sailor’s outfit, seemed like she hadn’t heard Courtney. “That is a cute outfit, I-” She looked Courtney dead in the eye, grabbed her hand, and pulled her from the entrance of the store. “What the hell did you just say? How did this happen?” she asked pacing in front of Courtney.

“The normal way,” Courtney replied quietly.

“What about protection? We talked about this when you were fifteen.”

Courtney sighed. “I was on the pill. It was just a freak accident.”

“What? He’s too good to wear a condom. Why isn’t he protecting you?” she asked angrily.

“We’re engaged so we’re a little pass the double protection stage.”

“Nene, what about you going to college and becoming a teacher like you always talked about, dreamed about?”

“Jay, happened,” Courtney said with conviction.

“A man nor a baby can be your whole life. You need to have a life outside of Jay,” the woman replied, trying to get through to Courtney.

Walking away from the woman, Courtney stared up at the sky. “This is not how I imagined my life to be, an unwed mother with a high school diploma, but I can’t allow myself to think like that. I have to think positively. I am engaged to the most fiercely loyal, protective, and loving man. And with him, we’ve created a new life.” She touched her stomach. “Yes, we’re having a baby sooner then we’d like, but my best friend in the whole world is here to help me plan the wedding of the century.” She gazed at her friend.

“And right now, I need my best friend, not my “shotgun wedding” mother or my “disapproving” older sister.”

“Baby girl, I can’t help it, I’m a combination of all those things, ever since Jeanine brought you to my house. But know, that all three parts of me love you.” She hugged Courtney fiercely and tightly as if trying to convey all that she felt for the blonde in this one hug.

“Jay better be pretty damn charming, a hundred times more charming than you described him, in order for me to forget he got my little sister in the family way without a benefit of a wedding ring.” She said, half-joking and half- serious. “What does your brother have to say about all of this?”

“He wasn’t thrilled, but he knows Jay loves me and will be there for me and the baby.”

“I like the sound of your brother more and more.” She smiled at Courtney. “Enough with the serious talk. I’m now slipping my best friend hat on and that sailor outfit is calling my name.” She grabbed Courtney’s hand and pulled her back to the baby store.