She had a horrible secret, one that she had been keeping to herself for as long as she could. It started with slight concern and worry and blew into intense anxiety for weeks, wondering when the other shoe would drop.
But Jules couldn't keep it a secret anymore. She called her friend Nina over.
"Nina, I have to tell you something."
"Nina, I...I'm pregnant."
"Oh my God, Jules. What are you going to do? What about college? We were going to go look at universities this fall."
Jules struggled to hold back her tears.
"I don't know what's going to happen. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I can't really think about that far in the future, right now."
"How did this happen?" Nina asked.
That was a good question. After the mayor's son's teenage birthday, he and Jules had begun dating. They were going steady for a while before, one night, his parents went out of town for some political summit, or something like that, so Wyatt Haywood had the house all to himself, and he invited Jules over.
And she made some bad choices.
Telling her parents was a nightmare. She couldn't bear to look at their faces and see their disappointment, and put her mother through stress. Karinna was both a doctor and pregnant, she didn't need more stress.
Jules looked down at the table as she told them.
"Who is the father?"
"Well, that's just great. Trash your own life as well as the mayor's son's."
"Jules, you're grounded. Indefinitely."
Weeks went by without Jules leaving the house for anything other than school. The furthest she got from home was in the courtyard behind the house, where all the little kids played. She sat out there and watched them play while her little bump continued to grow, wondering when her own baby would be playing on those swings.