Faye cried when she heard that Shawn had married Monet. She too blamed herself. She knew that there was no way that a guy like Shawn would be happy with a slut like Monet. She and no one else at school believed that the baby was Shawn’s.
Cara was absolutely furious when she heard. She wasted no time on politeness when she confronted Monet. “You Slut! You tricked my brother into marrying you. If I hear a breath of you seeing anyone else after this, I’ll pull your hair out by the roots! I’m warning you. You’d better not hurt him. I’m serious Monet. I will hurt you!”
She quickly found that Cara was not the only one upset with her. All of the other cheerleaders as well as many of her classmates voiced the same type of feelings toward her. Now her classmates true feelings toward her were exposed. They made it clear that she had stooped really low by tricking Shawn into marrying her.
Shawn was popular and well liked. Everyone considered him to be a sweet guy and had hated seeing him begin dating her from the very beginning. Most people knew that she was a girl who didn’t say no and that she used the guys she dated. By the end of her first day back at school after marrying Shawn, Monet had decided that she was not going to return. Although she didn’t really care what anyone thought, their attitudes toward her just made it even easier for her to quit. She hated school anyway.
Cara could feel how hot her face felt and knew that it had to be suffused with color.
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry about the other night.”
“Cara I know you’re not that kind of girl. I knew it before I even asked you out. I shouldn’t have pushed things the way that I did. I just wanted you to know that.”
Cara smiled. “Thanks Duncan. I feel so much better. I’ve been really nervous about seeing you again. I mean since you saw me…” She broke off with her face feeling hotter than ever.
“Yeah, well I don’t blame you for not wanting to see…”
“What? I didn’t mean it like that. You’re beautiful Cara. I was hoping that we could go out again. I mean out, not like last time. I promise that won’t happen again. Do you like Jared? He’s giving a concert here next weekend. I got tickets. I thought we could grab some dinner and then go to the concert.”
Cara liked Jared’s singing. His full name was Jared Broke. They’d had crushes on each other when he and his family had lived in Santa Fe for a while when Cara was a little girl. He had given her her first kiss. Remembering it still made her smile. They’d remained in contact for a while, but when her letters started to be returned and she didn’t receive any more from him, Cara had stopped writing.
Cara laughed. Then she told him. “My cousin Kaylee and I are already planning to go! Why don’t we all go together.”
They set up a time to meet and Cara was actually looking forward to going. After her conversation with her father, she had decided to just have fun and not worry about having a serious relationship.
He immersed himself in the music accompanied by his background dancers. After he left the stage at the end of his performance, surrounded by the wild clapping and screams of his fans, he didn’t think about the girl.
He didn’t remember who she was until he was on the plane, flying to his next concert gig. It had been Cara. The little girl he’d crushed on as a boy. He’d had his first kiss with her. She was even prettier now. He had lost her address after one of his family’s moves to another military base.
His manager was talking on the phone with Jared’s mother. Although not with him on this tour, both of his parents kept close track of his activities. He might be “Jared” a teen pop star to his fans, but his parents still saw him as their little boy.
It had been a long time since he’d thought of Cara. He wished he could have stuck around town for a few days to see her and her family again. At least he’d know that they didn’t want anything from him.
“Kids can’t get married!”
They could tell that that Aidan and Joy still didn’t really understand, but they felt it was best to just leave it with that simple explanation.
“Mommy and Dad don’t let us watch those kinds of movies.”
Dale and Alissa went to talk with Monet’s parents about the situation. They seemed to be very nice people. They were an older couple, and Monet had been a happy surprise for them although they hadn’t planned on having children. They had tried very hard with Monet.
They told the Stallworths that she had always been a difficult child and that nothing they tried seemed to work with her. When she became a teenager she used to sneak out at night and eventually she just left the house whenever she wanted, no matter what they told her. She’d been taken for counseling but refused to cooperate with the counselors.
They had been surprised when she had joined the cheerleading squad and hoped that she would change. It didn’t work out that way. If anything, Monet had become worse. They told them that Monet had been on probation with the squad because of drinking and being found half dressed making out with a boy in the locker room. They had told her that if she became pregnant, they would not support her, and they meant it.
So Dale and Alissa knew that they would have to be the ones to help. Later Dale and Alissa found out that there was more about Monet that her parents had not told them. If Dale and Alissa had known, they would have handled the situation differently.
Alissa tried, but she too did not like her new daughter-in-law. She didn’t want to be like Valerie, and so she still tried hard to get close to Monet. However Monet did not make it easy. She took Monet to see the new place. It was a small house with two bedrooms and one full bath. It also had a washing machine and dryer in the bath. With a baby, Alissa felt that was important and would help Shawn and Monet save money.
She had taken Monet to an obstetrician who had verified that Monet was pregnant. However, Monet had demanded to wait until after the baby’s birth for the paternity test. They couldn’t force her to take one yet, but because she was refusing to take the test now, they believed even more definitely that the baby wasn’t Shawn’s. He still refused to end the marriage even after Alissa tried to reason with him. He said that Monet needed him.
“I thought that we could make this room the nursery. Is there any special theme that you would like?”
Monet hadn’t complained anymore, but she let Shawn know her displeasure in other ways. That night in bed she wouldn’t let him touch her. She slept as far away on her side of the bed as possible with her back to him. The next day, she gave him the silent treatment. Shawn didn’t understand her at all.
Alissa decorated the house for them herself. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was what they needed. Besides, Alissa and Dale didn’t believe that this would be a long term marriage. Since Monet provided no input, Alissa did it according to Shawn’s tastes. She made the nursery gender neutral since they didn’t yet know whether Monet was having a girl or a boy.
Shawn didn’t even try to reason with her. He just silently listened to her complaints and hoped that her new attitude wouldn’t last for long. He didn’t realize that her attitude wasn’t new. She was finally showing him her true personality.
They started back having their weekly date nights and felt like newlyweds again. Right away they saw a difference in the children and in themselves. They were all happy together again. They just wished that Shawn was happy too.
Joy and Aidan had never even been on a camping trip. Family camping trips had been a regular part of Dale’s life growing up and he had done it often with Sharlee, Cara and Shawn over the years. It was always a good bonding time and gave them many great memories. Dale wanted to introduce the younger children to camping and make it a part of his family’s regular routine again. So they planned a trip. They wanted Shawn to go too, but of course they would have to invite Monet also. Shawn mentioned the trip to Monet.
“You’re kidding right?”
Shawn frowned. “No, I’m not kidding. We used to go camping all of the time.”
“Camping is fun, Monet! You should just give it a try. It’ll be an opportunity for you to get to know my family better and for them to get to know you.”
“Why would I want to do that? They already don’t like me and to be honest, I really don’t care! They dumped us in this place. I thought it would be different! They are so selfish! They could have gotten us a penthouse in Bridgeport or a bigger house here. Or at the least, let us live in that big house with them! There’s no way I’m going camping. That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. You call that fun!”
She went on and on. Sean just listened to her rant but didn’t reply. When she stopped talking, he called his parents and told them that he and Monet would not be going with them. He was quickly realizing that he had been wrong about Monet’s feelings for him.
Of course he’d known about her reputation before he started dating her, but she’d made him believe that he was different. She’d told him that he was special to her. Things at home weren’t going well, and so being with her had made him feel good about himself. Now he knew what an idiot he’d been to believe her.
“But Honey, you like eating fish!”
“I never saw it alive before I ate it!”
Dale smothered a smile and took Joy back to camp with Alissa and Cara. Then he and Aidan continued fishing.
Dale and Alissa were happy to be together and to share quality time with their children. Aidan was mesmerized by the fire, and Joy was just excited that they had gone camping. Their family was becoming close again.