" I forbid you to see him again Danielle! "
Those words made the blood drain from Danielle Millers face. Her stomach dropped as she looked at her father and knew he was dead serious.
"Daddy no! You can't do this! " she cried hysterically.
" Seeing as how you are only sixteen years old, a minor, yes I believe I just did. It should have never gotten this far. "
"I love him daddy and you can't stop how I feel! "
"Maybe not but I sure as hell can stop my daughter from having sex with a hoodlum 3 years older than her. Your damned lucky I'm not pressing charges!"
Danielle looked helplessly at her mother who averted her eyes guiltily.
"You told him." she accused flatly.
Her mother said nothing.
"You told him mother! How could you, you promised!"
"He's your father Danni. He needed to know, he wants what's best for you."
"This is exactly why I didn't tell him!" she sobbed, tears now freely flowing down her smooth cheeks. She turned back to her father and steeled herself. Standing rod straight with her shoulders back she challenged him.
"You can't make me have an abortion, I won't do it."
Her father seemed genuinely surprised she would suggest such a thing. His gaze softened at his little girl, trying so hard to be tough.
"Danni, I would never……"
" Oh, but you would take this child's father away? Wouldn't allow me to see him? Wouldn't allow him to see his own baby?"
Her fury driving her, she spun on her heel and ran up the stairs, locking herself in her bedroom.
"Danni! Danni, get back here!" her father yelled.
"Go away! I hate you both!" she screamed throwing herself onto her bed and wailing into her pillow.
After only a few moments her sobs subsided and she sat up, her throat raw and her face swollen. Quietly she picked up the phone and dialed. There was an answer on the first ring.
"Nick," Danni whispered, " He found out."
" I know baby, it's been hell over here too. My dad pounded down my door and damn near knocked me out."
Hearing this made Danni's heart hurt even more.
" I'm so sorry Nick. What are we going to do? "
There was a silence. Danni thought that wasn't a good sign.
" Maybe we should cool it for awhile." he suggested quietly. " You know, if they see that we aren't trying to hurt anybody and….."
Danni cut him off.
"You don't understand." she pleaded. " I need to talk to you, it's important. We need to runaway. I hate it here, I hate my parents."
" Danni don't say that, please. You're just mad. "
" Nick please!" she begged.
She hadn't told him about the baby yet. She had just found out the day prior and the only person she had shared this information with was her mother. That obviously was a huge mistake.
"Please," she said again.
Nick sighed. Hearing the desperation in her voice he relented.
"Meet me over on Walnut and Baker at midnight. You're parents should be asleep by then." he said.
"I love you ." Danni said, then hung up the phone.
The rest of the night Danni stayed in her room, not wanting to see anyone. A few times her mother had knocked softly and pleaded with her to open the door but Danni wouldn't move. She sat on the bed thinking about all of the things to come.
"Hey there." she said to her stomach.
It didn't look any different than it had before. She certainly didn't feel pregnant. She had gone to the doctor because she had missed her period. The alarms went off in her head the second she had realized it.
" I promise I'll at least try to be a good mom. To tell you the truth, I'm scared to death. I'm just a kid myself, but I'll take care of you."
Fresh tears washed down her cheeks and she closed her eyes wondering what the baby would be. Who it would look like.
How would Nick take the news? Danni had no doubt that he would be nothing but supportive, that was just how Nick Costas worked. He was a good man, although just barely a man at nineteen years old.
Thinking about him made her smile. He was so handsome and sweet. She truly did love him. Her parents have told her time and time again that at sixteen you don't know what love is, but Danni knew. And she also knew that he would be her heart until the day she died. She wanted to spend her whole life with him.
At eleven o'clock Danni heard her parents come up the stairs and listened at the door to hear their door close. Finally it did, so she quietly eased her door open and headed to the bathroom. When she glanced in the mirror she didn't recognize herself. Her blue eyes were swollen and red from crying, her brown hair flying in every which direction.
She ran a brush through her hair and splashed some cold water on her face to ease some of the puffiness.
She went back to her room and quickly gathered a few things and money she had stashed, then opened her bedroom window and shimmied down the trellis and into the night.
Terrified she was going to get caught she tried to stay in the shadows as she went, constantly watching over her shoulder. She navigated her way through the darkened streets and when she caught sight of Nick's car, she broke into a steady run with her heart pounding in her ears the whole way. It was now or never and she didn't want to waste anymore time.
" I forbid you to see him again Danielle! "