Don't forget to check out the Mine!!
~ Chapter Six ~
Nina sat across from her mother, the scraping of forks against glass plates the only sound interrupting the burgeoning silence.
Should she try to break it? A sigh escaped and she cleared her throat. “it’s good, isn’t it?”
Green eyes pinned her with laser-like precision. “It is.”
“Max’s parents have owned this restaurant since they got married in the early nineties.”
Her mother held up a warning hand. “Finish eating first.”
Nina bowed her head. “Yes ma’am.”
Nina chewed the Country-Fried steak, comparing its taste to what sawdust must be like. The mashed potatoes weren’t much better.
Maybe her brilliant idea hadn’t been so brilliant after all. She’d thought it would come over a lot better if she at least had plans to marry, since her parents were so religious. Apparently that wasn’t the case.
Max hovered just out of sight and Nina had to hide a smirk. She could hear his mom chastising him for not coming to their table to see if they needed anything. The restaurant was empty except for them, being after the dinner hour and before the night time rush.
She couldn’t help the urge to hold up a hand. When Max’s eyes honed in on her, she could see he wasn’t pleased.
His steps hesitant, he shuffled toward her. “Could I get a glass of milk?”
Relief fell over his features, most likely because she’d stopped his need to come right up to the table, at least for the moment. She giggled as he scurried behind the counter, into the kitchen.
“Oh Nina, stop it already. You’re giving the boy a heart attack.” Her mom’s voice held a hint of amusement.
Nina was about to deny any wrongdoing, but when her Amber eyes met green orbs, she stopped.
“Why did you feel the need to lie to me, Nina girl? That boy is no more your fiancé than mine.”
“I—I thought it would be better if you thought I was at least planning on marrying the guy I got in trouble with.”
Her mother’s face clouded up like a sudden fierce thunderstorm, her eyes falling to Nina’s growing belly. “Trouble? Is that how you see it?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, it was an accident, Mom. I didn’t plan it. I never thought I’d be one of those girls who get pregnant without being married.” Tears welled in her eyes and she blinked several times in rapid succession to dispel them.
Disappointment in every word, her mother said, “I thought I taught you better than that, Nina. None of us are above sin, so I don’t know where you got the idea that you were.”
Nina shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. I’ve always tried to be good. I got good grades, I didn’t run around and I didn’t cause you any trouble. I wanted you to be proud of me, Mom.”
“Nina, I am proud of you. That doesn’t mean I think you can do no wrong. Yes, your father is horribly upset, and rightly so, but he will get over it. What I need from you is the why. What happened? I don’t want the gory details, of course. I just want to know what led to this pregnancy. Do you love him? Did things get out of hand? I need to know.” Her mother’s voice raised an octave at the end of the sentence and Nina saw the glimmer of tears in her eyes.
Remorse filled her. This is what she’d wanted to avoid. Why she hadn’t contacted her mother right away in the first place. “Mom, I’m sorry. I really am. I was tutoring Max. Yes, I was attracted to him, but I never thought for a second about doing anything about it. It just happened, I can’t change that. And no, we’re not really together. In fact, he just found out about the pregnancy too. I haven’t seen him in almost six months.”
Her mother’s stare set her on edge even more. She might as well have sprouted horns.
Silence fell over the table as Max finally returned with the glass of milk. He set it down and practically ran for the kitchen.
Her mother’s voice was full of resignation when she spoke. “So what are your plans for this child?”
Her slender shoulders shrugged before she had the chance to rein it in. “I don’t really know. I thought about adoption. I know there are plenty of women out there who would love to have a baby but can’t.”
Her mother’s red hair bounced up and down in vehemence. “You’ll do no such thing Nina Marie. Regardless of what the circumstances were, you made this child and you will take care of it. Do you understand me, young lady?”
Nina nodded, hesitantly. “Yes, ma’am. But how will I finish school? I have so many plans and—Well…”
“You should’ve thought of those plans before you did this, Nina. But I raised you to take responsibility for your actions. This isn’t some mistake you made that you can get a quick fix for, child. For heaven’s sake, you’re going to have a baby.” Her words ended with a watery sigh.
Nina gave a slight shake of her head. “Yes, I know. I thought about that too. But the truth is, I don’t think I can do this alone. I don’t think I even want to.”
“It’s too late for that. From here on out all I want to hear from you are your plans for this child. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes ma’am, you do.”
And just like that, Nina’s whole outlook on life changed. It wasn’t just her anymore.