She scoffs. “You’re overreacting, Lennon. You aren’t thinking clearly.”

“No, Mom. I’m thinking clearly for the first time when it comes to your demands. If you and Dad no longer want to be in my life or be in your granddaughter’s life, then that’s on you. That’s something you’ll be forced to live with for the rest of your lives. I’m going to be a single mother soon, and my sole responsibility will be to protect my child. What you’re essentially asking me to do is total bullshit, and I’m not going to do it so you look good to the church. I don’t care what they think about me. I no longer care what you think about me either. So if you flew all this way to give me ultimatums, then you can leave.” Years of frustration spew, and I’m shocked I actually had the balls to say what I feel. For once, I’m glad to be hormonal and not accepting her shit.

I glance at Hunter, and he looks uncomfortable and shocked but gives me a head nod, agreeing with everything I just said.

When I look at my mom, I can tell she’s not happy with me. She looks downright furious. “That’s how you really feel?”

There’s two sides to my mother. The one Hunter met, who was sweet as pie, kind, and accepting. And then there’s this one—critical, judgy, and condemning. I’ve ignored it, refused to believe she could be this way, but things are clear as day now.

“I am not continuing the perpetual lie. I refuse. As you said, all actions have consequences, and I’ll happily face mine. The baby is Brandon’s. I’m not married to Hunter. My baby isn’t coming into a world based on lies so everyone else feels better about my situation. It’s my life, and I’ll do what I please going forward. And either you’ll be there to support me and the baby, or you won’t. I can’t force you to do anything just like you can’t force me. Not anymore.” I shake my head at her, licking my lips that are suddenly dry.

“Excuse me one moment.” Hunter slides his chair out, and I watch as he walks to the hallway. I hear the bathroom door shut, knowing he’s purposely giving us privacy, which is the last thing I want right now. When there’s an audience, she’s forced to be on her best behavior because appearance is everything.

“Young lady,” she hisses. “Remember you’re the one who got yourself into this predicament. You’re the one who had sex before marriage, who ended up pregnant, and decided to lie to me, your dad, and the congregation about being married to a man who’s not even the father of your baby. You live in an apartment with him as well, which I’ve also discovered Brandon lived here too. The internet is powerful, and all of your lies can easily be uncovered, Lennon. What I’m asking you to do is make it right, to do what your heart is telling you to do anyway. The way you look at each other, there’s nothing fake about it. Nothing. He looks at you like you’re his entire world, and I see it in your eyes too. Now, you can deny it. You can say it’s not true or whatever you need to because you’re emotionally unstable, but that relationship you two portrayed, everyone believed. I know everything he said to me and your father was coming from his heart, and that he’d take care of you and the baby in a heartbeat. He loves you, Lennon. And you know what? You love him too.”

I don’t have the energy to deny her allegations or try to make sense of how she can possibly know all that even before I did, so I don’t argue it. She grins and takes a sip of her coffee, but I know this is far from over.

I lower my voice so Hunter doesn’t overhear. “I will deal with that in my own time, when I’m ready,” I snap, tired of everyone telling me how I feel and what I need to do about it. This baby is my only priority right now. Hunter and I will handle everything else when the timing is right.

“You were lucky enough to find love once in your life, Lennon. Don’t let the second time slip through your fingers. All I’m asking is for you to think about it.”

Her words rip straight through me. I let out a ragged breath as she finishes her cup of coffee in silence. Once she’s done, she stands and places the cup in the sink.

“Thanks for dinner and the lovely conversation.” She grabs her purse and walks to the door, not giving me a second glance or a goodbye before leaving.

Chapter Fifteen


It’s been three weeks since Lennon’s mom popped in unexpectedly. There was so much I wanted to say, to do, but I knew Lennon needed to be the one to speak her mind. As much as I always want to protect her, she needed to handle this.