The judge stated the bail amount.
“I do have some bad news though Noah. You are being extradited to Bridgeport. You have to surrender yourself in two days. Your parents are going to take you back there. I’ll be at the courthouse in Bridgeport with you on Thursday.”
Noah couldn’t help but wonder if that was really true. Also he could not honestly say that he had missed her. He was surprised when they drove up to the Stallworth’s home.
As they waited on the porch, his mother explained. “Mr. and Mrs. Stallworth have invited us to dinner. They knew that you and Sharlee would want to see each other. She doesn’t know that you are out. They wanted to surprise her.”
“Okay. I’ll leave you two alone to talk. Just make sure to leave her door open.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“You’re right. They are welcome to stay if they want to.” Although he agreed, Dale still intended to keep an eye on Noah. He was grateful for what Noah appeared to have done for Sharlee, but the entire situation had increased his distrust and disapproval of Noah. Also it would give him an opportunity to get to know Noah’s parents.
Alissa smiled at him and said, “Good.” She invited them to stay, and they accepted.
“I’ll be right back Sharlee.”
His mother spoke first. “So, this is Sharlee. She’s a pretty little thing Noah. She’s not like the other girls you date.”
Noah’s mother was shocked. “Will!”
“You know I love ya, Melina, but I’m not dead or blind. We’ve watched her Mama’s show lots of times. Besides, its a compliment!”
“Be nice to her Mother.”
He kissed Sharlee. Then he pulled over a chair for his mother , and he and Will left the room.
Sharlee looked at Noah’s mother curiously. Melina and her husband had spoken about Sharlee as though she were not in the same room with them. Sharlee hated when people did that.
“I believe in being blunt. Noah has been involved with other girls. It’s been one girl after another. He’s never had a steady girlfriend before. There was one girl who tried to trap him by claiming that he was the father of her baby, but Noah said it wasn’t true. He always supplies the protection. He never trusts the girl to provide it. A paternity test proved that Noah wasn’t the father. Even after her, I know there were other girls. Although Noah wasn’t living at home, people in town made sure that I knew what he was up to.” She paused.
“Relationships. Hah! That’s one way to put it. I’m trying to tell you that Noah uses girls. He is just like his father. He gets what he wants and then he moves on to the next girl. Although, unlike his father, he makes it clear to them that he doesn’t want a relationship. He just wants to have fun.”
“I know that you think you are. Noah and I talked on the phone a month ago, and he told me about you. He’s never talked about any girl the way that he talks about you or looked at anyone the way that he looks at you. What I’m trying to say is don’t get pregnant, Sharlee! That is the last thing that Noah needs now.”
Sharlee looked at her in shock and irritation rose up inside her. She changed position to give herself time to calm down before she spoke. “I don’t understand everyone’s concern with that part of my and Noah’s relationship. Since you are his mother, I’m not going to tell you to mind your own business. Noah and I have not slept together and we have no intentions of doing so. I intend to wait until after I am married, and Noah respects and supports my decision.”
“Well, you are my business! I’m just glad that this girl seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Although that remains to be seen.”
She left the room without saying another word. Noah sat in the chair.
“It’s okay, Noah. She’s just worried about you.”
Noah seemed uncomfortable.
Sharlee could tell that he was having a hard time saying something. “Just tell me Noah, what is it?”
A look of deep pain came into Sharlee’s eyes, and she felt like her heart had been pierced. She managed to say over the lump in her throat, “I guess I don’t blame you. I’ve brought you nothing but bad luck from the moment we met.”
“Sharlee, that’s….” He was interrupted when Dale came to the room.
“Noah, it will still be a while before dinner, and your stepfather wants you to come downstairs. He wants you to go with him to your place so that he can see what things you want to take back to Bridgeport. He said he may have to arrange to have some things shipped and some things sold.”
Noah said quickly, “Sharlee, we’ll talk when I come back.” He headed downstairs.
“Oh, Honey, what’s wrong?”
“Noah, broke up with me. I’ve been bad luck for him from the very beginning! Please, can I just be alone for awhile?”
“No Daddy.” Sharlee turned her face towards the wall.
“Dale, you should know by now that doesn’t include me!”
When Noah and his stepfather returned, his mother was in the kitchen finishing preparing dinner. “Alissa is upstairs with Sharlee. I could see that Dale was going to ruin the meal, and so I took over for him.”
“She misunderstood. I don’t blame her at all for my situation, but I think that it would be better for her if we break up. My case isn’t going so well, Mrs. Stallworth. I don’t want her involved any more than she has to be.”
“I will, if she’ll let me.”
“She will. Go on in.”
Sharlee wiped away her tears and then turned to face him. “It’s okay, Noah. I don’t blame you.” She still had a tremble in her voice from crying.
“Sharlee, my case isn’t going well. I’m being extradited to Bridgeport. I have to turn myself in there on Thursday. My bond will still be in effect, but I’ll have to stay there until my trial. The DA fast tracked my case, and my trial will start in a couple of months. Sharlee, I don’t think that I’m going to get off. The DA wants to try me as an adult. If the jury doesn’t believe it was self defense, then the judge could sentence me to up to ten years in prison.”
“Only two years because I’ll be eighteen in two years.”
“So you only broke up with me because of that?”
“Yes, Sharlee. It isn’t fair to you. I know you’ll have to testify, but after tonight, we won’t be together.”
“Noah, I’m stronger than you think I am. I know that ten years from now I will still love you. Whether you say that I’m your girlfriend or that I’m not, it won’t change how I feel about you. I won’t want anyone else.”
“Sharlee I don’t want you to come to see me in jail.”
“Of course, I’m going to visit you.”
“I won’t accept your visits. Whether by some miracle I’m in Juvie or whether I’m in jail, that is no place for you. Besides, I don’t want you to see me that way.”
She kissed him, and he smiled. He realized that she loved him no matter what happens. In his heart, he had known that she wouldn’t agree. If their positions had been reversed, he would not have agreed either. He would have waited for her too.
“I hope this question doesn’t offend you, but why wasn’t Noah living at home with you and his mother?”
“Noah doesn’t like to follow rules. It reached the place where he and his mother were always arguing. He was sneaking out of the house and getting into trouble. Until finally we’d had enough. When he left at fourteen, we didn’t try to find him. To be honest, I’m not surprised that he’s in trouble again. He has quite a temper. You seem like a nice guy and so I’m going to give you some advice. If Sharlee were my daughter, I’d keep him away from her. Noah only thinks about himself, and he’ll get her into trouble. He has a way with girls.”
“Maybe those things were true before Dale, but you’ve seen for yourself that he cares about Sharlee. From what Sharlee’s lawyer told us, he is in this trouble now because he was protecting her. People change, especially young people. You also have to consider the source. Will doesn’t seem to be very fond of Noah. They definitely don’t have the relationship that you and Sharlee have.”
Dale could see that Alissa was not ready to stop Noah and Sharlee’s relationship. He himself felt that Noah’s parents had been wrong to give up on him at fourteen. You don’t give up on your children. So he decided that for now he would not do anything to end their relationship.
Dale responded. “It was nice to meet you. I just wish that the circumstances were better.”
Alissa saw the expression on Melina’s face as Melina looked at Sharlee and Noah. She still didn’t know what to make of her. She couldn’t tell whether or not Melina was pleased or displeased with Sharlee and Noah’s relationship.
Thanks so much Zhippidy for making the courtroom poses for me!