DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and the characters therein belong to CBS and the show’s creators. I own nothing…except maybe Daphne and Katie.
SPOILERS: Mostly for Season 2 (but I'm hoping everyone has seen that season already) and very vague ones for Season 4 Demonology as I draw information from that episode as well as the Season 4 Ep Cold Comfort.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To cmsvu2010[at]gmail.com
The Road Not Taken
November 1986 Rome, Italy
It had been a stupid thing to do, done for all the wrong reasons and now she was going to have to face the consequences of her actions. Fifteen year old Emily Prentiss paced outside the doors which led to her mother's private office.
Emily's mother was the American Ambassador to Rome and while she had a public office that she used for her daily work, this was her private office. The office she only used in the evenings when she retired to the East wing of the American Embassy which held the living quarters for herself, her husband and her young daughter.
Emily knew that in the evenings, even if her mother was in her office, she could walk into the room and her mother would set aside what she was working on and give her only child her full attention. Normally, Emily would just knock on the door and walk right in, secure in the knowledge that her mother would always make time for her.
Emily's father was an author. He spent most of his days locked away in his bedroom, working on his latest book. But if Emily needed him during the day, when her mother was busy with her job, Emily knew she could knock on his door.
Emily was pacing now because she knew that when she went into her mother's office and told her what she needed to tell her nothing would ever be the same again. It would be different and, while she prayed it would be a good change, Emily somehow knew it wouldn't be.
Emily had already had this conversation yesterday, when she'd told her ex-boyfriend John Cooley and it hadn't gone well. Of course that might have something to do with the fact that Emily had told John that not only was she pregnant but that it was his baby. John was 17 and not in any position to be a father.
Emily left his house that day, knowing that she'd probably never see him again. He'd somehow gotten the idea (and Emily hadn't done much to correct him) that she would get rid of the baby. Emily honestly didn't know what she was going to do but she did know that she needed to tell her mother.
Which was why she was pacing outside of her mother's private office at the late hour of 11pm.
After another few minutes of pacing, of panic, of nerves, Emily finally took a deep breath and forced herself to knock on the door.
"Come in." Emily heard her mother say and so she opened the door and braced herself for the conversation she knew wasn't going to end well.
Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss looked up from the papers she was reading and smiled when she saw her daughter standing in her doorway.
"Emily, come in and have a seat." Elizabeth said before she glanced at the clock on the wall and noticed the time, "what are you doing up so late?"
Emily faltered a moment as she sat down on the couch that sat by the far wall. "Um, actually mom, I need to talk to you, do you have a few minutes?"
Elizabeth smiled again, "Emily, I always have time for you darling." She got up from her desk and moved to the couch and sat down close to her daughter. "Tell me, what's on your mind?"
Emily felt her mouth go dry and her mind go blank as the moment came to tell her mother the truth. In a sudden flash, Emily saw her entire life irrevocably change. Regardless of what happened, whether she kept the baby, got an abortion or put it up for adoption, her life was never going to be the same and the plans she'd made for her future seemed to crumble in front of her. Emily felt the tears well up in her eyes. The worst of it was that as soon as she told her mother, she'd have to see the disappointment in her mother's eyes.
Elizabeth noticed the tears gather in her daughter's eyes and she began to worry. "Emily? Please tell me, it can't be that bad, can it?"
Emily took a breath and braced herself for whatever reaction her mother would have. "Well, 'bad' is a relative term I guess but, yeah this could be called bad. Um, mom I um I'm pregnant."
Silence followed Emily's confession as her mother tried to process the words. It felt almost surreal to Elizabeth to be sitting there hearing her fifteen year old daughter say she was pregnant. Elizabeth didn't know how she was supposed to react to this kind of news. She still looked at Emily and saw a little girl, not someone who was old enough to be sexually active. She was fifteen for crying out loud!
Emily waited in the silence as her mother processed the news. She knew it was a big shock and it would take a few minutes so she sat and waited.
Elizabeth finally got herself back under control and she looked at her daughter. She heard herself asking the questions that she knew were clichéd but needed to be asked anyway. "Pregnant? How?"
Emily glanced at her mother and wondered how she was supposed to answer that. It didn't matter because her mom seemed to realize what she'd asked, "I mean I know how I meant, when did you " Elizabeth trailed off, unable to bring herself to ask outright when Emily had lost her virginity. Her daughter having sex was something she'd hoped she wouldn't have to deal with for at least a few more years.
Emily looked down again and whispered, "five weeks ago." Emily really didn't want to have to tell her mother that it had been at a party, celebrating John Cooley's 17th birthday. She didn't want to have to tell her mother that she'd been secretly dating John and that she'd only had sex with him that one time as a sort of birthday present. Emily knew it had been a stupid reason, and she'd broken up with John the next day but it had been too late by then, she was pregnant now with John's child.
Elizabeth did a mental calculation and turned again to her daughter, "five weeks ago? Before or after you went to John Cooley's birthday party?"
Emily couldn't look at her mother as she answered, "technically, after but only because the other guests had left."
Elizabeth put it together then, "I guess this means that John is the father?"
Emily could only nod. The tears coming back as she felt her mother's disappointment wash over her. Emily braced herself for the anger.
Elizabeth wasn't angry not yet anyway; right now she was mostly in shock. "Emily, are you dating John?"
Emily did look at her mother then as she explained, "I was but not anymore. II broke up with him after the party."
"Have you told John that you're pregnant?" Elizabeth asked, not really knowing what to say. She knew what she wanted to do but that wasn't an option just yet. She wanted to find John and hurt him for what he'd done but she knew that it took two people to have sex. Still she knew that John was 2 years older than Emily and she figured he'd probably pressured her to have sex.
"Yeah, I told him yesterday." Emily said, remembering John's reaction.
Elizabeth noticed the new pain in her daughter's voice and asked, a little wary of the answer, "how did he take the news?"
Emily stood up and walked a few steps away, needing to move around, "he he wasn't happy. He told me he didn't want to have anything to do with a kid and that if I was smart I'd get rid of it and forget it ever happened."
Elizabeth listened as Emily told her that John had told to her have an abortion. Elizabeth didn't know how she felt about that. She wasn't sure she would be ok with it if Emily wanted to abort the baby, but she knew that whatever decision her daughter made regarding the baby, she would stand by her. "Is that what you want to do Emily? Do you want to have an abortion?"
Emily took a moment to think about that and how she felt about it. She wondered if she could really kill the baby inside of her and move on with her life as if nothing had happened. Could she live with herself knowing she'd taken a life like that? Then she wondered if she was capable at 15 to be a mom. Could she risk her entire future to bring this child into the world? Then she looked at her mother, if she kept the baby, would her mother support her decision? Her mother was a politician after all, and an unwed, pregnant fifteen year old daughter was like poison to a politician. She knew if she kept the baby, it would put her mother's career at risk. An abortion could be covered up and no would ever know. But a pregnant teen was harder to hide.
Emily cleared her throat and said, "I don't know mom. I don't know if I can do that and live with myself but on the other hand, I'm not old enough to be a mom. Plus, something like this would be easy to use against you. I just I don't know what I want to do." Emily was crying by now and hugging herself.
Elizabeth got up and walked to her daughter and put her arms around her. She held her until the tears faded away then she lifted her hand and turned Emily's face towards her so she could look into her eyes. "Don't worry about my career sweetie. This is about what you want to do and I'll stand behind you no matter what you decide. If you want to keep the baby, we'll work it out. You can finish school and even go to college and I'll be there to help you. Your father will be too. If you want to have the abortion, I'll take you to the clinic and hold your hand through it all."
"Oh God, I totally forgot about daddy. What's he going to say when I tell him I'm pregnant?" Emily was suddenly scared. She knew her father wasn't going to react well. Emily's father had a very specific moral code and even though he spent most of his time at a typewriter typing out his stories, the man was well built and strong and Emily had a sudden flash of her father beating the crap out of John. She didn't want that no matter what John's reaction had been to her news.
Elizabeth smiled as a similar image ran through her head, "don't worry about your father Emily. I can handle him. This is your decision to make, no one else's."
Emily nodded. "Thank you mom for being supportive but, aren't you angry or disappointed or something?"
Elizabeth smiled then, "I'm sure we'll get around to angry at some point but right now, I don't think it's completely sunk in. I'm not disappointed in you Emily, I was young once and I know how it can be sometimes when there's pressure to do something. I love you Emily. You're my baby and the fact that you're on the verge of having a baby yourself, doesn't change that. You don't have to decide anything tonight. It's late, how about we both turn in for the night and in the morning we'll fill your father in on the news and we can discuss this as a family?"
"Okay sounds good." Emily said, realizing she was getting sleepy.
"Good. I meant what I said though Emily. If you decide to keep the baby, we'll make it work. One way or another we'll make it work so that you can finish school, go to college and have a future." Elizabeth knew she would do what ever was necessary to make sure that no matter what Emily decided, her daughter would have a bright future.
Emily hugged her mother and then they both went upstairs to their bedrooms. Emily fell asleep that night, feeling a little bit better about her situation than she had when she'd woken up that morning. Her mom had taken the news as well as could be expected. She only hoped her father would be in the same mind frame in the morning.
The next morning, Emily woke up and immediately rushed to the bathroom attached to her bedroom. She was kneeling by the toilet, throwing up her dinner from the night before when her mother found her.
Elizabeth walked into Emily's bedroom, wanting to see how she was doing and felt pangs of sympathy when she realized that Emily was experiencing a bout of morning sickness. She hurried into the bathroom and ran cold water over a washcloth and kneeled down to press it to her daughter's forehead.
Emily smiled at the cooling sensation of the washcloth and slowly opened her eyes. She looked at her mom and whispered, "thanks."
Elizabeth smiled, "you're welcome honey. I would ask how you're feeling this morning but I can see it's obviously not a good start to the day, huh?" She said, sympathy evident in her voice. It tugged at her heart to see her daughter like this, but she knew that this was par for the course when one was pregnant. She remembered all too well what she'd endured when she was pregnant with Emily.
Emily frowned, "not really but bright side is that it can't get much worse than this, right?" Emily said, panting from the exertion of throwing up.
Elizabeth nodded, "let's hope not. Are you done?"
Emily paused, then, "yeah I think so."
"Then let's get you cleaned up and dressed ok?"
Emily only nodded, thankful that her mother was there to help her. With her mother's help, Emily stood up and walked the few steps to the sink. She rinsed out her mouth then brushed her teeth. Elizabeth turned and left the room to give her daughter some privacy when Emily turned to the shower.
Emily stood under the hot spray and let the tears fall. She didn't really know why she was crying she just knew that she was feeling sad. Emily started thinking about how her father would react and wondered if he would say the same thing John had said about getting an abortion and forgetting she was ever pregnant. The more she thought about it the more Emily realized she couldn't go through with it she couldn't get an abortion. She hoped that her parents would support her desire to keep the baby.
Elizabeth got some clothes out for Emily to put on and then sat down in the arm chair that was in the corner of the bedroom. She started thinking about the situation and came to the conclusion that she would support her daughter's decision regardless of what Emily chose to do about the baby, but she couldn't deny that she was hoping Emily would keep the baby.
Elizabeth knew it was foolish to be thinking like this but this was her grandchild they were talking about. She'd always wanted grandchildren and granted, she'd always assumed that Emily (and herself) would be much older when it happened, and that Emily might be married with a steady career but life never worked out the way it was planned. As she waited, Elizabeth couldn't stop the images that her mind conjured up of playing with her grandchild. Sometimes it was a grandson that her husband could teach to play ball and sometimes it was a little girl, in a frilly pink dress that she could play tea party with either way, she always saw a little innocent bundle of joy that she and her husband could spoil and dote upon.
Elizabeth was lost in her musings when the bathroom door opened and Emily stepped out in a towel.
Emily looked at her mother and saw the look on her face that could only be described as 'daydreaming' and she smiled. She hoped that her mother was thinking happy thoughts about her keeping the baby.
"Mom?" Emily finally asked, breaking her mother's train of thought.
Elizabeth shook herself out of her musings and looked at her daughter, "I laid out some clothes for you, I'll wait in the hall for you to get dressed, alright?"
Emily nodded, then watched as her mother left the room. She turned to the outfit on the bed and grinned. Loose fitting black trousers and a red silk blouse were waiting for her. Emily quickly dressed and met her mother in the hallway. Together they headed for their private dining room where she knew her father was waiting for them, like he always did so they could all have breakfast together.
Emily and her mom walked in silence to the dining room, each lost in her own thoughts, not knowing they were similar thoughts.
Emily entered the dining room first and walked to her father's side to greet him.
William Prentiss rose from his chair and embraced his daughter, kissing her cheek as they said their good mornings. He then turned to his wife and greeted her with a kiss on the lips and a smile.
Emily watched her parents, seeing the obviousness of their love for each other. She had always hoped to find someone she could love like that she knew that if she kept her baby, the chances of finding someone who could love both her and her child would be slim but it would be worth it in the end.
William turned to his daughter once they were all settled at the table and smiled, "so, Emily what do you have planned for this fine Saturday morning?"
Emily tried to smile but it got stuck in her throat as she said, "Um, actually daddy, I was hoping we could talk. There's something I have to tell you."
William's smile never faltered but his eyes cut to his wife, wondering if Emily wanted to talk to him privately or if her mother was allowed to hear what she had to tell him. Over the years, since Emily was ten, they'd had their little secrets. She'd confided in him the innocuous little things that kids always felt were as important as life or death. He never felt the need to break any of her confidences because they'd all been harmless. But her serious tone today indicated it was something big.
Emily saw her father's eyes move to her mom and she knew what he was thinking. She quickly put him at ease, "mom already knows, I told her last night."
"Alright, well in that case, what's on your mind kitten?" William sometimes called Emily 'kitten', because when Emily was a baby, she wouldn't go to sleep unless she was laying in a patch of sunshine.
Emily smiled at the nickname and prayed silently that her dad wouldn't react negatively to her news. She didn't want to lose her dad. Emily glanced at her mother for support and Elizabeth smiled reassuringly. Emily cleared her throat and took a breath before she said, "dad I'm pregnant."
Silence filled the room as her father tried to understand what his daughter was saying.
Emily waited in the silence, flashing back to the silence that followed when she'd said those words to her mother the night before.
William looked to his wife, hoping she'd tell him it was a joke, but the look in her eyes told him this was real it also told him that if he knew what was good for him, he'd accept it and not yell.
William finally found his voice and said, "pregnant? Who's the father Emily?"
Emily dropped her eyes to the table as she whispered, "John Cooley."
William heard the name and he flashed on the face of the boy that Emily had always claimed was just a friend. He also recalled that John was two years older than Emily. William took a breath to calm himself before he continued, "have you does he know yet?"
"Yes daddy. I told him two days ago." Emily answered, hoping her father wouldn't let his emotions drive him to do anything to John.
"I see and what was his reaction?" William asked, hoping that she wouldn't tell him the boy wanted to marry her. He wasn't ready for something like that.
Emily silently explained John's reaction, his insistence that she get an abortion and her own ambivalence about the 'solution' John was so in favor of.
William listened and turned to his wife, "does your diplomatic immunity extend to cover me if I kill the little bastard?"
Elizabeth smiled, knowing her husband was only partly serious. "yes but, darling, I don't think that will be necessary."
William smiled, thankful that his wife knew he wasn't completely serious and that she knew enough to play along. He turned to Emily then, "so, young lady, I guess you have a choice to make don't you?"
Emily nodded, "yes sir."
William stood from his chair and extended his hand to his daughter. Emily let herself be pulled out of her chair and happily sank into her father's arms as he hugged her close. She closed her eyes and, as was always the case when she hugged her dad, she drew comfort and strength from the embrace.
After a few moments, Emily felt brave enough to lean out of the hug and look at both of her parents. Her mom had gotten up from her chair during their hug and she'd walked over to them. Emily stood in a loose embrace with both her parents and she silently hoped that what she was about to say wouldn't shatter the moment.
"I kind of already decided last night before I went to bed that I want to keep the baby. I don't think I could live with myself if I had an abortion. But I know that I won't be able to raise this baby alone, and mom, I hope you meant it when you said that if I decided to have the baby that we would make it work because, I am going to need help."
Elizabeth glanced at her husband and saw the answer in his eyes and so she turned to Emily and said, "of course I meant it darling. If you want to keep the baby, then we'll be there for you every step of the way."
Emily hugged her parents close and thanked them again. They stayed like that for a little while before her father cleared his throat. "I hate to be the voice of reason here but we need to tie up some loose ends before we can rejoice."
"Loose ends?" Emily asked, a bit confused.
William looked at his wife then he stepped away and put some space between himself and the women in his life as he said, "John, for one. He needs to know that you are keeping the baby. Even if he doesn't want to be a part of his or her life, and if that's the case, then our lawyers will have to draw up the legal papers for him to relinquish his parental rights."
"But William, John is a minor, he can't sign away his rights, no court would ever uphold the document." Elizabeth began, pointing out the flaw in his plan.
William grinned, he'd been thinking about this from the moment he found out what John's reaction was to the news. "He can't, but his parents can. They can act as his guardians and they can sign the papers as well. I'll have our lawyers word it so that they are also relinquishing their rights to the baby. Everyone signs and it's ironclad."
Emily didn't know much about legal stuff so she took her father's word for it and looked at her mother. Elizabeth thought about it and realized it was the best solution. John didn't want to be involved with the baby anyway, and his parents would most likely agree to sign anything if it meant that they wouldn't have to pay child support. The Cooley's were well known to Elizabeth and her husband and they both knew how the other couple would respond.
Elizabeth nodded, "that sounds like it would work. Emily, honey, what do you think?"
Emily thought about it and realized that she didn't care that John didn't want to be involved. She'd broken up with him before she'd known she was pregnant because she had caught him making out with another girl. If her father knew of a way to keep John out of her life and her baby's life she was perfectly fine with it. "I think dad should get his lawyers on the phone."
William smiled then went into his study to make the calls.
Elizabeth turned to her daughter. "Emily, I am going to ask for a transfer back to America immediately."
"Once John signs the papers, and you start to show, it will be harder to keep this quiet."
Emily nodded, she knew her mother's position required some discretion in these situations. "Where would we go? I mean I'm going to show no matter where we live and the press will get wind of it and then your political enemies will use it against you."
"This is not about my enemies. But we will go to your grandmother's house in New Jersey. I will take a leave of absence from the State Department and you will enroll in high school. Once you start to show, we'll get you a private tutor until you have the baby, then you can return to school a different school and no one will need to know that you have a baby." Elizabeth explained, having spent the whole night thinking about how they would make it work if Emily decided to have the baby.
"I can't ask you to leave your job for this mom."
"You're not asking I am offering, there's a difference. Besides, this is my grandchild, do you honestly think I am going to miss out on a moment of his or her life for work? Or that I would let anything keep me from being there for you throughout your pregnancy and beyond?"
Emily felt the tears gather in her eyes. She hugged her mother and said, "thanks mom."
Two weeks later, Emily was sitting in the living room watching television as she waited for her mother to finish her workday. Her mom had been granted the transfer and a limited leave of absence. In two days, they would be flying into Newark Airport, where a car would be waiting for them to drive into Wayne, New Jersey where Emily's late grandmother's house was. Emily's maternal grandmother had passed away when Emily was ten, and she'd left her house and everything in it to her only granddaughter. The house was in Elizabeth's name until Emily turned 18 then the deed would transfer into Emily's name.
Emily thought back to the day, a week ago, when she'd last seen John Cooley. John and his parents had shown up at the Embassy, summoned there by Emily's mom, confused as to why they were there. John hadn't told them that Emily was pregnant.
The shock of the news, helped convinced them to sign the papers without too much thought. John happily signed, grateful to be off the hook as far as child support was concerned. John wasn't the type to think ahead to the future, to a time when he might be older, more mature and willing to be in his child's life. His parents had voiced a token objection but when John had signed, they'd caved in and signed too.
Despite being in Italy, the Embassy was considered American soil. American laws applied and that meant the contract was legally binding in America. It was the main reason why William had insisted on the Cooley's coming to them.
Emily only spared a few moments to mourn the fact that her child might never know its father, and then she put that thought out of her mind. John had made the decision to sign the papers and Emily decided to focus on doing what she needed to do to make sure her baby was healthy, happy and most of all, loved.
The flight from Italy was uneventful and Emily slept through most of it, thankful that her morning sickness had taken the day off. Her mother had spent the flight reading a novel. Her father used the time to finish the current chapter of his latest book using one of the many notebooks he used when he couldn't haul out his typewriter.
They landed in Newark and after collecting their luggage, they headed to the car rental counter and picked up the car that was waiting for them.
Emily settled into the backseat and leaned her head back on the headrest and closed her eyes. She was looking forward to being in her grandmother's house (she still couldn't think of it as her house). It was big but not mansion big comfortably family sized.
Emily let her mind drift to the house where she'd spent her summers when she was younger with her grandmother. It was the closest thing Emily had ever had to a real home. Her mother's position in the State Department caused them to move around a lot as her assignments changed, so Emily had never been in one place long enough to call it home and Embassies never really felt like home anyway. But her grandmother's house had the feeling of a home, not just a house.
It had four bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, a formal living room, a family room, dining room, kitchen, a full basement, and a two car garage and a yard big enough to hold an above ground swimming pool as well as a sizeable deck and still leave plenty of open grassy space to run around in. The family room had a set of French glass doors that opened up to the deck that was also connected to the kitchen. Her grandmother had added the deck and kitchen extension a year before she'd passed away.
Emily loved the house and as they pulled into the driveway, she could picture herself raising her child in this house. She could see a little girl or boy running in the yard, splashing in the pool or sitting in the family room watching television as she cooked dinner. Emily smiled, knowing that this would be the perfect place to raise her child.
Emily and her parents got out of the car and Emily pulled out the house keys she always carried with her. Since the house was technically hers, her mother had insisted that she hold the keys, while she'd also made a copy for her own keychain as a backup.
Emily and her parents spent the next week getting settled into the house. Emily's parents insisted that she take the master bedroom since it had its own bathroom and it would be easier for Emily to reach it when the morning sickness hit. After some debate, Emily gave in and took the master bedroom.
Her parents took the second largest bedroom which was directly across from the master bedroom and looked out over the back yard. The room next to theirs was earmarked to become the nursery once the baby was born. The final bedroom, the smallest of the four but still a decent size, was turned into a guest bedroom.
Emily's mother sectioned off a part of the basement and turned it into a home office so she could keep up with work, the agreement she'd made with the State department was an indefinite leave from international travel but she still had to deal with local issues. She was able to work out an arrangement that allowed her to work from home with only a once a week visit to the local office in Manhattan. Everything else was done by phone or private couriers.
Emily's father placed his writing desk in a corner of the living room so he could work on his book and still be close enough if Emily or his wife needed him.
Emily spent the week getting herself ready to enroll in high school and dealing with the morning sickness that really should've been called all-day sickness.
During their first week at the house, the cable had been hooked up, a phone and a fax line had been installed and mail delivery had been established. The change of address forms were handled and newspaper delivery was started.
They had also gone shopping for furniture, kitchen essentials and groceries. They were settling in nicely.
Elizabeth had looked up local OB/GYN doctors in the area and had located one with a great reputation and had set up a consultation with her. Emily had gone with her mother to meet the doctor and they all got along great so an appointment was made for the following week, to make sure Emily was doing ok with the pregnancy.
It was the Monday before Thanksgiving when Emily found a moment to sit down with both her parents to discuss when she would enroll in the local high school.
Emily had been thinking about this for a while now and she thought she had a good plan and she wanted to run it by her parents.
"Mom, Dad, I've been thinking about the whole school issue and there's a tiny problem."
Elizabeth frowned, "what's the problem honey?"
"School ends in June, and I am guessing that by April I'll be showing enough that people are going to guess I'm pregnant."
Elizabeth and William thought about that and, doing the math in their heads they realized that Emily was right. They hadn't really thought about that much. Elizabeth turned to her daughter, "you're right. That could be a problem."
Emily nodded then said, "yeah, but I think I have a solution."
Her parents waited for her to continue.
"April vacation would be the best time for me to withdraw from school. I could say that you are being posted overseas and I have to go with you. A private tutor could be hired and I could finish the school year at home. Next school year, after I have the baby, I could go back to school and no one would have to know the truth."
Her parents thought about that and realized it was a good plan. It would be easy enough to hire a private tutor who would follow the required curriculum of the school so that Emily wouldn't fall behind. And the paperwork would only show that Emily did the work, not where she did the work. Elizabeth did some mental calculations and figured the baby would be born in late August or early September which would be just in time for the next school year. She turned to her husband to get his thoughts but all William did was nod his head, agreeing with Emily's idea.
Elizabeth turned to her daughter then and said, "ok then that's what we'll do. Tomorrow, we'll go to the school so you can enroll and we'll explain to the principal that my job currently has me here but that I might be transferred to Europe in the spring. That should give him, or her, enough advance notice so that when you tell them I was transferred it won't be much of a surprise, ok?"
"Yeah, that could work. Thanks mom." Emily smiled and then got up and hugged her parents.
"I'm going to lie down for a bit."
"Ok honey. We'll call you when it's time for dinner." William said, a smile on his face.
Emily went upstairs to her bedroom and laid down. She was getting more and more tired lately and she chalked it up to being pregnant. She hoped that the morning sickness would start taking the day off once she started school, or else she was going to be running to the girls' room a lot.
The next day, Emily and her mom went to the local high school, Garfield High, and managed to get Emily enrolled in classes. Since it was mid morning, the principal suggested that Emily start bright and early the next day so she could make it to homeroom.
They left the school and grabbed some food at a local deli before heading back home. Emily was looking forward to going to high school again. In Italy, she'd gone to a different school, one attended by only the children of diplomats and other important government employees. She hated it because all the other kids were stuck up and rude. The only friends she'd made were John, and Matthew Benton.
Emily missed Matt, he was one of her best friends. Matt was gay and in the closet so he tried to come off as straight but he'd confessed to Emily. She'd defended him to the guys and made sure no one picked on him. She wondered how he was doing now that she was gone. She hoped he was okay.
Emily spent the rest of the day watching television in the family room as her mother worked in her office and her dad worked at his desk on his novel.
A month went by fairly quickly as Emily assimilated into the high school culture. She decided that it would be better if she started wearing looser clothing than she was used to now, so that when it became necessary later as her stomach began to grow it wouldn't be such an obvious change.
Emily managed to make one new friend at the school, she was trying not to make too many friends yet because it would be harder to lie and hide the truth if she made friends but she couldn't help it. Daphne was just too friendly to ignore.
Daphne Morris was a sophomore, like Emily, and they were in two classes together; English and Chemistry. The teacher paired them together as lab partners and before Emily knew what happened, they were friends.
Daphne was fairly tall, almost as tall as Emily, with long blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. She had a way about her that pretty much made it impossible not to be happy and laughing around her and Emily found that out fairly quickly.
Emily decided that while she couldn't tell Daphne she was pregnant, she could still be friends with the pretty blonde.
Emily kept up with her visits to the doctor and took her prenatal vitamins and, thankfully, her morning sickness faded away by the second month of her pregnancy.
Elizabeth approved of Emily's friendship with the bubbly blonde and supported her decision not to tell Daphne about the baby. Daphne had come over a few times to study and hang out with Emily and she'd met both her parents. She'd made a great impression on them.
Emily spent most of the Christmas vacation in her bedroom, thinking about her life and how she might be able to still have the future she had planned before she had gotten pregnant. Christmas had come and gone with very little fanfare. They'd had a family evening in front of the fireplace in the family room with the tree in the corner watching holiday movies. It was a simple celebration that was totally different from the lavish parties her mother used to throw.
Emily had loved the quiet family night. She had taken a moment to reflect on the fact that by this time next year, her child would be celebrating his or her first Christmas.
A few months later
It was nearing the end of March and Emily knew that soon it would be time to leave school. Thankfully, her belly hadn't expanded much in the past few months so she was able to hide her bump with baggy clothes; the winter months being a great excuse to wear extra layers. As far as Emily could tell, no one even suspected she was pregnant.
Daphne had mentioned once that there was a rumor going around about Emily being a snob. A few of the senior boys had asked her out, one to the winter formal and two others for regular dates. Emily had turned them all down, not interested in dating anyone. So the rejected boys had started the rumor that Emily was frigid, stuck up and a snob. Emily didn't care though, she knew the truth and she knew that Daphne knew she wasn't like that and that was all that mattered.
Emily knew that she had bigger things to worry about than what a handful of kids thought about her. In a few months she was going to be a mom and that was going to bring with it a whole new set of concerns that Emily didn't waste much time on the typical high school 'politics'.
It was on a Friday in late March when she finally worked up the nerve to tell Daphne that she was going to be leaving school in April. They were in Emily's bedroom, doing their homework and joking around, when Daphne mentioned the fun they would have when April vacation started and they were off school for a whole week.
Emily bit her lip and knew the time had come to 'come clean' so she took a breath and said, "um, yeah about April vacation, Daph, um I'm not going to be here."
Daphne, thinking Emily meant her family was going away for the vacation asked, innocently, "you going away for the break?"
"Something like that, yeah." Emily said, trying to put off having to confess the half-truth.
"Cool, where you going?" Daphne asked, excited to know her friend was going somewhere for the vacation.
Emily looked away and stared at her closet door as she said, "my mom's company is sending her to Italy for five months and me and my dad are going with her."
There was silence as the young blonde thought about what her friend had just said, then, "so, you're like, leaving the country? What about school?"
Emily picked up her pencil and began to fidget with it, a nervous habit that only came out when she was stressed or when she had to lie. "mom's gonna hire a tutor so I can finish the year there. But she promised me that when we come back in October, I can go back to school here."
Daphne turned and looked out the window, saddened by the thought of her best friend moving away for the rest of the year. It wasn't fair. Daphne didn't make friends easily, despite her friendly out-going nature, because she had a hard time trusting people. But she'd let Emily in and they were best friends and now, Emily was going to be leaving. "When are you leaving?"
"First day of April vacation." Emily's voice was flooded with sadness. She really hated lying to Daphne and she was going to hate it more when she couldn't see her best friend every day.
Daphne took it all in and said, "well then, you know what that means don't you?"
Confused, Emily just shook her head.
Daphne grinned, determined to not let Emily see how much it was hurting her to know she was losing her best friend, "it means that we are going to have to cram in as much fun as we can until then!"
Emily allowed her self to laugh then, as Daphne joined in. She was glad that her friend was taking this so well and she vowed to somehow make it up to her.
It was the first day of April vacation and Emily wasn't feeling well. She'd already withdrawn from school and said goodbye to Daphne. Her mom had even gone to the trouble of packing a few suitcases and made a show of driving them all away from the house.
They were in the car now, driving down the highway towards Atlantic City. Emily was a little confused, "mom, why are we driving so far?"
Elizabeth bit her lip as she exchanged a glance with her husband before she answered her daughter, "we're going to be staying in Atlantic City for a few months darling. To help make your 'move' a bit more authentic and to allow you to get out of the house once in a while."
Emily was surprised at this, her parents hadn't said anything about this until now. They'd just told her to pack as if she really was going away for a while. "What? What about my doctor's appointments?" Emily had really started to like her OB/GYN and she didn't want to think about going to a different doctor now.
Elizabeth smiled, "Dr. Wingate's sister has a private practice in Atlantic City. Dr. Wingate has been informed of the situation and she's agreed to make the trip down to see you for your appointments. Emily, sweetheart, this is the best solution. This way, you won't have to be stuck inside all the time and you won't have to worry about anyone you know seeing you."
Elizabeth had really thought that she was doing the right thing for her daughter. This solution seemed to be best for everyone. If they had stayed at the house this whole time, Emily wouldn't have been able to leave the house much, if at all. Someone from her school, or even Daphne herself could end up seeing her and this whole effort to hide her pregnancy would've been for nothing. Elizabeth hoped that her daughter would be able to see this from her point of view.
Emily took a moment to think about what her mother had said. It was true that this might be the best solution. Emily had wondered how she was going to spend the next four to five months basically on house arrest so that she wouldn't risk being seen by someone she knew. At least, if they were in a different town, Emily might be able to go outside once in a while and not feel like she was being held captive. Emily smiled and quickly reassured her mother that she was fine with the arrangement and she understood that this was the best solution.
Emily turned towards the window, a silent signal that the conversation was done for now. Elizabeth understood and she turned up the radio, content to let her daughter enjoy the ride.
William Prentiss just smiled indulgently. There was nothing he wouldn't do for the two most important women in his life. He could write his novels from anywhere as long as he had his typewriter. It didn't matter to him what city he was in, his imagination was strong enough to transport him wherever he needed to be to write his stories.
Emily looked out the window at the passing scenery of highway, river water and endless blue sky that flashed by her and she took a moment to look forward to the next few months as she waited for her child to be born.
Spring flew by and summer seemed to end far too fast but Emily had enjoyed every minute of it. In the mornings, she would spend a few hours with the tutor, going over lessons and getting her schoolwork done. A healthy lunch would follow and then the afternoons were all hers. Once summer had begun, though, there were no more sessions with the tutor and Emily began sleeping in late.
Her pregnancy had started to take a toll on her energy reserves and she found herself needing to sleep more. She also noticed an increased frequency in her trips to the bathroom. But despite all of this, Emily couldn't be happier. Her mother had rented a house right on the shore so Emily often found herself on the sand soaking up the sun and then in the water. They had a private beach so she didn't have to explain to anyone about her expanding belly.
Dr. Wingate had come down on the weekends to check on Emily and give her a friendly shoulder to lean on and talk to about what she was going through with the pregnancy. Emily felt more comfortable talking to her doctor than to her mother and she sometimes wondered why that was, but she never really questioned it. She still confided in her mother and still had her private chats with her father but Dr. Wingate provided an objective point of view.
Summer ended and Emily and her parents had celebrated Labor Day with a barbeque on their back deck. It was a great way to bid the summer farewell.
The end of summer also brought with it, the awareness that Emily could go into labor at anytime now. Her mother started staying home more at the beginning of the last week of August, wanting to be close by in case Emily went into labor early.
Tuesday, September 15, 1987
The day started out like any other. Emily woke up around 11 am and she immediately headed for the bathroom. After she'd relieved herself, she took a shower and got dressed. She was walking down the steps to get some breakfast when the pain first hit her.
At first it felt like a cramp, like something she used to feel when her period would hit her, so she didn't really think much of it. Emily finished walking down the stairs and made it into the dining room when the second cramp hit her. She grimaced at the sensation and her mother noticed.
"Emily, what's wrong?"
"It's nothing mom, just a cramp. I'm fine." Emily said, trying to play it off, not even thinking that this might be the first signs of labor.
Elizabeth though, knew better. She remembered when she'd gone into labor with Emily that it had started as a cramp as well. Elizabeth walked closer to her daughter, "Emily, honey, I think you might be going into labor."
"What? No, mom I'm not. The doctor told me I wasn't due until the 23rd. This is just a cramp. It'll go away." Emily was adamant that this wasn't labor. She had been told her baby wasn't due until the 23rd and she wasn't going to entertain the idea that her baby might come early.
"Emily, we both know that Dr. Wingate said it was only an estimated due date. There are no guarantees. I mean, I was told you were going to be born on Halloween and you came out on the 12th. I think you need to accept the possibility that this might be it."
Emily took a deep breath and opened her mouth to further deny it when she felt the sensation that she'd peed herself. She looked down and saw the wet stain on her jeans and she knew something wasn't right.
Elizabeth saw the stain too and she knew that Emily's water had just broken. "Ok, whether you want to believe it or not, Emily, your water just broke which means you are definitely going into labor." Elizabeth called out to her husband, who was already in the living room at his typewriter. "William, it's time!"
William Prentiss heard his wife call out that it was time and he immediately knew what she meant. Like any man who was told those words in reference with a pregnant woman, William felt the panic rise along with adrenaline. He sprang into action and jumped up from his chair. He ran to the hall closet and grabbed the small suitcase that was resting there that contained Emily's things.
He ran to the kitchen, grabbed the car keys and stopped briefly to look at his wife, "we're sure about this?"
Elizabeth just nodded as she began to lead Emily to the car.
Emily was oddly calm between the cramps. They had gotten a bit stronger but were still manageable. She figured that they would get worse later but right then it wasn't so bad.
12 hours later
Emily was in her hospital room, resting. She had already been moved from the delivery room to a private room. It had been a long day but it had been worth it when her daughter finally came into this world. She had given out a long, loud cry as she was pulled from her warm womb into the slightly chilly room.
Dr. Wingate had made it down in time to deliver the baby and she had cleaned up the squiggling newborn before she clamped off the umbilical cord. Elizabeth, who'd been in the delivery room with her daughter the entire time, had cut the cord where the doctor had indicated. In a few moments, Emily had been handed her daughter.
Emily looked down at the perfect little angel in her arms and felt the tears well up in her eyes. She was overwhelmed by the fact that she had created this perfect human being. She felt the enormity of the situation settle onto her as she realized that from now on she would be responsible for her.
Elizabeth noticed the tears forming in Emily's eyes and she smiled, knowing that in this moment, her daughter was forever changed.
Dr. Rebecca Wingate glanced at her patient and smiled. "Congratulations Emily, she's beautiful." She was, of course, referring to the tiny pink bundle in the teenager's arms.
Emily looked up at her doctor and smiled, "Thanks Rebecca, she is pretty perfect isn't she?"
"Yeah she is." Rebecca looked from Elizabeth to Emily before she said, "So, have you thought of a name for her yet?"
Emily looked at her mother for a few moments then she said, "yeah, um I've been thinking about it a lot these last few weeks and, um yeah I have a name for her."
Elizabeth and Rebecca looked at each other then turned to Emily. The silence stretched out for a few moments before Elizabeth couldn't take it anymore.
"Well, don't keep us in suspense honey. Tell me what my granddaughter's name is please?"
Emily chucked at her mother's tone. She took a breath and said, "Well, her name is Katherine Elizabeth Prentiss." Emily paused a moment to let the name sink in.
Emily's own middle name was Elizabeth, she wanted a way to thank her mother for being so supportive of her during her pregnancy and this was the best way she knew how. Katherine was her grandmother's name and Emily had loved her so much.
Elizabeth felt the tears well up in her eyes as the implications of the name sank in. Emily had, in one move, honored both her mother and her grandmother. Elizabeth had loved her mother more than anything and her death had hit her hard.
Rebecca watched Elizabeth's reaction to the name and deduced that there was a significance to the name. She looked at Emily, "that's a beautiful name Emily."
Emily turned to her doctor, "thank you."
Rebecca then excused herself from the room, knowing that Emily and her mom needed a few moments together.
Elizabeth waited until the door closed behind the doctor before she walked up to the bed. Elizabeth placed one hand on Emily's shoulder as the other hand gently cradled her granddaughter's head. Emily looked up at her mother and smiled at the love she saw in her mother's eyes.
Elizabeth looked down at her granddaughter and said, in a gentle tone, "Welcome to the world Katherine. You are a very lucky girl, you are already so loved." Elizabeth turned to Emily, "how are you feeling Emily?"
Emily couldn't stop smiling. "I'm a little sore but I'm hardly noticing it. I am just too happy right now mom. Thank you, again, for being so supportive."
Elizabeth smiled down at her daughter and said, in a low voice filled with love, "You never have to thank me for that Emily. I will always be here for you, no matter what. I love you."
Emily reached up with her free hand and pulled her mother down for a brief hug before she pulled back and said, smiling, "I love you too mom." She paused a moment then said, "I think it's time Katherine met her grandfather, don't you?"
Elizabeth grinned, "Yeah he's probably been crawling the walls. I'll go get him." Elizabeth turned and left the room, looking for her husband.
Emily looked down at her daughter and smiled, "Hey baby girl, are you ready to meet your grandpa?"
The baby in her arms opened her eyes and looked at Emily. Her eyes were that grayish-blue that all newborns have, and eventually grow out of. Emily hoped she would keep her blue eyes but realistically, she knew it was more likely her daughter would grow up with the brown eyes that she herself had. Emily looked into her daughter's eyes and she felt a swell of love well up inside her. She knew without a doubt, that nothing and no one would ever be as important to her as her daughter. Emily made a silent vow right then, that she would do whatever she needed to do to make sure her daughter grew up happy and well loved.
A few minutes later, there was a light knock on the door followed by the door opening. Emily glanced to the door and saw her mother's head first as she walked into the room, followed closely by her father. Emily smiled at the look of joy and wonder on her father's face.
William Prentiss slowly approached the bed, his eyes glued to his granddaughter. She was so tiny, so perfect. William flashed back for a moment to the last time, almost 16 years ago, he saw such a tiny perfect baby. He stood next to Emily's bed and looked from the baby to his daughter. There were no words for how he was feeling. All he could do was smile down at Emily.
Emily looked up at her father and smiled, "Hi daddy. Meet your granddaughter, Katherine Elizabeth."
William leaned forward and placed a kiss on Emily's forehead then looked at Katherine. "She's absolutely beautiful. She's " He turned to look into Emily's eyes, "she's perfect Emily." His voice was low and gentle so as not to startle the now dozing infant.
Emily lifted her free hand and placed it on her father's cheek, "Thanks dad."
He just smiled at his daughter, words failing him again.
Elizabeth watched them in silence, knowing they needed the moment. She knew they had a special bond, something that was deeper and more complex than the usual father-daughter bond.
Emily looked from her father to her mother then down to her daughter this was her family.
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