Except it turns out to be Val’s problem. Peter says he loves her, but he has to get on with his life. Valerie wishes she could get on with her life. But she lives each day with the reality Peter wants to forget—and it is she who must make the impossible choices . . . when love has no answers.
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What Kind of Love
The Diary of a Pregnant Teenager
By Sheila Cole
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard BooksCopyright © 2013 Sheila Cole
All rights reserved.
Saturday, June 8
Carrie was over last night, and we were making lemon bars for Mom to take to the Logicon company picnic. Nick wouldn't leave us alone. I finally chased him out of the room after he put his fingers into the bowl while I was still scraping it, but he came right back. I think Nick likes Carrie even though he's two years younger than she is. When we were playing Trivial Pursuit, he kept hanging over her shoulder and brushing her hand with his. Then, when the lemon bars were cooling, he stole one out of the pan. Carrie grabbed his wrist and they ended up wrestling for it. Carrie thought it was funny. I was mad at them both because they got gunk all over the floor. I made Nick clean it up, but he did a lousy job. The floor was sticky and Mom blamed me for it.
I want to try to get out of the picnic this afternoon so I can go to the early movie with Peter after I practice.
Sunday, June 9
I drove the truck all the way down Coast Highway to Laguna Beach and back without making a single mistake! Daddy says he'll take me out on the freeway next time. He says I'm a lot easier to teach than Sandy was. She had a hard time with the gears and stalled every time she had to shift. I didn't stall once and it was only my third time driving. I'm still a little scared when other cars pass me.
On the way back, we stopped at the bakery because Daddy wanted to get some coffee. He kept pushing his Danish at me, saying, "It's delicious. Take a bite." And I kept pushing it away, saying, "Daddy, you know I'm trying to lose weight."
I wish he wouldn't keep pushing food at me. He knows I'm trying not to eat so much. But he won't take me seriously — he just laughs and hugs me and says he doesn't think skinny women are attractive. Sandy says it's because he still sees me as his little princess, running to him in my pink tutu and ballet slippers. I wish he'd realize that I'm not a little girl anymore.
Tuesday, June 11
It's really bugging me. I can't remember the last time I had it. I know I had it that Saturday when Peter and I rode our bikes to Dana Point. I think it was March because the acacias were in bloom, but it might have been April. I don't know. Anyway, that was months ago. I must have had it after that!
I almost said something about it today at school. Carrie and I were in the bathroom at lunchtime and she needed a tampon. "I wish I'd get mine," I said.
"You still haven't gotten it?" she said.
"You know, I'm always skipping them," I said. Although I tried to shrug it off, my face was on fire. I'm just sick about it.
Nick just stuck his head in the door to see if I want to go running with him. I'll probably feel better if I do, but it has to be a short one because I have to practice for the orchestra concert on Saturday.
Tomorrow is the French final. I've been sitting on my bed with the book open since seven o'clock. But it's no good. I can't concentrate. I keep thinking, what if. ... No. I can't be. Not from the first time.
I knew I shouldn't have gone over to Peter's that afternoon, but I wanted to be with him so bad, I couldn't stay away. It was like there was a magnet pulling me there.
We were lying on his bed listening to a new tape he got from Tom. At first we were just listening to the music, and then we were kind of making out, and things started to get heavy. It felt so good — we just kept going. We took off our shirts. I let him undo my bra. He was stroking my breasts and I was stroking his back. Then his hand moved down to my belly and he was easing down my pants, and then my underpants.
I could feel he was hard, and I was pulling at the buttons on his jeans, trying to undo them. I couldn't, so he undid them for me and slid them off. I know we shouldn't have, only it was too late to stop. I couldn't get enough of him. I wanted him inside me but it hurt, and when he pulled away, there was blood on my thighs. It freaked me out.
Peter kept saying he was sorry, but I was so scared. I gathered up my stuff and I got out of there as fast as I could.
I can't believe I was such a bitch to Peter. I wouldn't even talk to him for two weeks. I even glommed on to poor Mark so he would think I liked someone else. But he kept calling.
Finally I told him I didn't want to see him anymore. I loved him, but I just couldn't be with him. We were both crying, and he promised if I went back with him, we wouldn't do it again until I wanted to. He said he was miserable without me. He was saying, "I love you, I love you. You're beautiful," over and over. And we were both crying and we were kissing and everything was okay. How could I ever have thought I could stay away from him?
Dear God, I love him. Please don't let me be. ... Not now, not when everything is so good. I'm so afraid. Please let me get my period.
Wednesday, June 12
Dianne says I'm overreacting, but I know it. I failed my French final. This time I really did fail. It's because I can't keep my mind on anything, I'm so worried about my period. Tomorrow I have finals in both biology and geometry. I'd better pull myself together and study. I have an A going into the biology final and I can ace that, easy. But I really have to study for geometry.
I'm probably worrying for nothing. I always miss my period when I get upset. People do it all the time and nothing happens.
Peter came over after school, but I wanted to study and I ignored him. I know I was being awful. He didn't stay for dinner even though Mom asked him to. I felt bad after he left. I was going to call him and say I was sorry, but he called me first. I told him it was because I'm afraid I'm going to flunk geometry.
He knows me too well, though. He said, "You're mad at me, Val."
"No, I'm not," I lied. "I love you, Peter. I just can't talk about it now." I hung up on him because I was afraid that if he kept pushing me, I'd say something I'd be sorry for. I can't tell him, though. I know it's crazy, but I can't.
Thursday, June 13
I can't believe what Peter did. It was wonderful. It was so romantic. He slipped a yellow rose through the door of my locker. It was there waiting for me when I came to school this morning, along with these lines from a poem by e. e. cummings.
(... the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
I didn't know what to say to him. He made me feel really special, like he really loves me. He said I'm beautiful. He can't stand seeing me so unhappy. It makes him miserable. He wanted to know if it was something he did.
I can't tell him. It would spoil everything. And, anyhow, I don't know for sure. So I told him I love him. I was sorry about yesterday. I'm just an emotional wreck with my solo for the year-end concert coming at the same time as finals. I think he believed me. I hate myself for lying to him that way, but I can't tell him.
There's no final in English. What a relief! Mrs. Lazarson said that if we didn't already know what we should have learned in her class, we weren't going to learn it in the next few days. We're going to have a costume party instead. Everyone's bringing munchies, and we have to dress up as our favorite character from one of the books we've read this semester. At first I thought, God, how immature. But it could be fun. I'm going as Juliet. I'm going to borrow Mom's teal blue velour robe and make a wreath out of baby roses and statice.
I'm bringing my killer brownies to the party, but I can't touch even one! I've been eating like a pig, and my jeans are getting tight on me. I better quit or I'll blimp out.
Thank heaven, I'm through with geometry. How am I ever going to survive trig next year? Well, have to go practice for my solo now.
I love you, Peter. I love you, Peter. I love you.
Friday, June 14
I stayed home today. I feel awful. All I want to do is sleep.
Carrie called to find out why I wasn't in school. When I told her I threw up this morning, she went on and on about how I wasn't taking care of myself and I should go to the doctor. I think she suspects something. I lied and told her I already have an appointment just to get her off my case.
I'm sorry we're not as good friends as we used to be. The two of us were like Siamese twins. We did everything together. She was always over here, even when I was practicing the violin, or I was over there. But things are different now that I have Peter. I know it sounds ratty, but it's true. It's not that I don't care about her. It's just not the same. I love Peter. And besides, I can't tell Carrie we did it. I can't tell anybody.
Would Peter tell? I'll kill him if he told Tom. If Carrie and Tom were doing it, too, maybe then I could tell her. Sometimes I think the only reason that they're together is because we are. She felt left out when I started going with Peter. She wanted a boyfriend real bad, and there was Tom in the same boat as she was.
I wonder if Carrie is wearing her new white skirt and top to Tom's party tonight. I think I'll wear my black skirt and my black tank top. I wish I had Sandy's blue and black shirt to wear over it, but she took it with her to college. I've got to do something with my hair! I want to look fabulous for Peter. I think Sarah Hendrikson is after him. I saw her talking to him in the hall. Can't blame her. He is built. And there's his smile. All he has to do is smile and you have to smile back, no matter what.
That's what got me the first time I saw him! I can still see it. It was September 20, at orchestra practice. He stood up to play a solo on the clarinet. I thought he was cute — then he smiled, and it was like a flashbulb going off. After that, I was dying to talk to him, but I didn't have the nerve. I kept walking by where the eleventh graders sat at lunchtime, hoping he would notice me. I even made Carrie come with me a couple of times. Then, the next week, after orchestra practice, he came over to talk to me. All I could think of was what a mess I was because I had a grease stain on my shirt from lunch and I hadn't washed my hair. I was like — duh. I was sure he'd never talk to me again. But he fell into step beside me as we were leaving school and ended up walking me home. We sat on the curb in front of the house, talking about music we liked. He said he liked reggae. I wasn't into it, but I pretended I liked it because I liked him. We were still talking when Mom came home from work. She made me go in and help her with dinner.
I was so embarrassed! He called me that same night and said he was going down to the San Diego Zoo on Saturday with a bunch of his friends. I was so nervous, I went on and on about how great the zoo was. Dumb-dumb that I am, it wasn't until he said, "Tell your mom she shouldn't worry. We'll be home by ten," that I finally realized he was asking me out. I walked into the sliding glass door with the telephone in my hand and almost knocked myself out. He told me afterward he'd been so afraid to call that when he heard the thump, he thought I might be hanging up on him. We haven't been apart since — except for the time after we did it. I can't believe it's been ten whole months.
Saturday, June 15
Peter and I had a terrible fight last night. We went to the beach after the party. It was my fault — I know I was asking for it, but I couldn't help myself. I can't keep my hands off him. We were just kissing — then before I knew it, my panties were off and he was rolling on top of me, and all of a sudden I panicked. He was going ahead, after he promised he wouldn't. I kept punching him until he stopped.
Peter was furious. He said he didn't know why I was making such a big deal about it. It's not like I'm a virgin or we never did it before. He didn't talk to me the whole way home. He didn't even say goodnight.
I know I wasn't very cool, but I'm the one who should be mad. He said we wouldn't do it if I didn't want to.
And I was right about the Sarah person. She was coming on to Peter all night. When I said something about it to him, he laughed and tried to brush it off, but I wouldn't let it go. He pulled me to him in front of everyone and kissed me really hard. "Do you think she saw that?" he whispered.
I don't care whether she did or not. She better keep her hands off him!
What if he doesn't call me? What if he calls her? I don't know what I'll do. He has to call me. Please let him call me. Please.
Sunday, June 16
I didn't think things could get worse after what happened at the beach Friday, but yesterday was awful. I got up, and first I had this fight with Mom about staying out late with Peter, and then she starts on why I didn't clean the bathrooms this week or finish dusting the house. "Just because you have a boyfriend doesn't mean that you're not a member of this family anymore." According to her, I am not practicing the violin enough or doing my share around the house.
Daddy chimed in, saying, "I don't know why we're paying that character Mrs. Rykoff for your violin lessons when you don't practice. Do you realize how much those lessons cost, Val? Even electricians don't make that much an hour." I know my lessons cost a lot. He doesn't have to keep reminding me. I wish I could get a scholarship so they didn't have to pay for them.
What really bugs me is that when one of them gets on my case, the other one feels like they have to, too. There's no use explaining that I didn't have time to practice or do the cleaning last week because I had finals. It's not fair! I'm not the only one in the house who uses the bathrooms, and I don't know why I always have to be the one to clean them. I'm so tired of her getting on me about Peter. Well, maybe she won't have to worry about him anymore.
But the worst thing was, I blew my solo. I didn't come in on time and I fouled up the whole orchestra. And what made it really awful was that everyone was at the concert, including Grannie Larch and Aunt Maria and Uncle Brian. I wanted to run off the stage and hide, but I had to stay there and keep on playing. I couldn't escape. I thought I was going to burst into tears right in front of everybody.
After the concert, Aunt Marie and Uncle Brian told me they didn't even notice. They were just saying that because they're my family. Mr. Vanderhoeven wouldn't even look at me. He'll probably put me back in the third chair next year! I'll never get to play another solo. Never. All I wanted to do was go home, crawl into bed, and die. Mom and Daddy wouldn't let me, though. Mom said she wasn't going to let me make too much of it. Everyone messes up sometimes. They made me go out with them to the Old Vienna for coffee and dessert. Half the kids in the orchestra were there with their parents, including Peter and his mother. I don't know how Mom could do that to me — it was so humiliating. I hate her!
Monday, June 17
I knew he'd come back. I knew it! Peter was waiting outside to walk me to school this morning. We didn't have a chance to talk because Nick was with us. But he gave me this incredible tape and a card.
My lusts usurp the present tense
And strangle Reason in his seat.
My loves leap through the future's fence
To dance with dream-enfranchised feet.
Val, that is how you make me feel. I'm sorry I got carried away and scared you. I scared myself, too. The smell of you drives me crazy. I love you, dear beautiful, fragile Valerie.
I can't stand fighting with you, Peter. I love you. I lie in bed at night and dream of being with you, of feeling you against me. I can hardly keep from touching you when we see each other. It's scary. It's like I can't control myself.
Peter came over this evening and we decided that since we're going to keep doing it, we're going to have to start using protection. Peter didn't want to talk about it at first, but I said we had to. "We have to do something if we're not going to stop," I said.
And he went, "You said you didn't want to do it."
And I said, "I love you, Peter, and I want you to love me — but I'm afraid we'll get AIDS or something."
He thought that was funny. "You're not going to get AIDS from me," he says. "There's no way I could have it."
"But I could get pregnant," I said. That stopped him. He looked like he'd just been struck by lightning. I wanted to tell him I missed my period. Since we just got back together, though, I thought it would be better not to say anything until I know for sure.
He said he'd get some condoms, but he wants me to go on the Pill.
Tuesday, June 18
I got a job at the nursery! I saw the Help Wanted sign on the way home from my lesson, and I went in and applied. I think Mrs. Ikura gave it to me because Daddy's such a good customer. I can't wait to tell him.
Excerpted from What Kind of Love by Sheila Cole. Copyright © 2013 Sheila Cole. Excerpted by permission of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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