Madi turned off her cell phone and plopped onto her bed. She grabbed a throw pillow and hurled it across the room toward the closed door. Burying her head in the belly of a child-sized stuffed panda, she sobbed.
This wasn't how it was supposed to end up. She'd been going out with Braden since her sophomore year and she was in love. The two of them had even started talking about getting married in a few years. Now, here they were, Madi a semester away from high school graduation, and it was over. She couldn't believe how naive she had been.
She'd been afraid to tell her parents what had happened, but was certain Braden would understand. He'd be surprised, and maybe a bit disappointed, but he'd definitely support her. They would get through it, together, somehow. She even assumed that when she called, he'd propose. His complete rejection of her had stung like nothing she'd ever experienced.
"I thought you were on the pill," he'd said. Where he got that idea, Madi hadn't a clue. "Sounds like you've got a problem. I've got big plans, Madi. I don't have time right now to take care of you, much less a kid. Sorry."
He'd hung up then. Madi hadn't the strength to call back.
She felt lonelier than she ever had. Madi could hear her parents out in the living room, but had no desire to be with them, nor was she in the mood for their questions. "I need to get out of here. If Braden acted like this, I can't even imagine what my parents will do."
Madi grabbed a duffel bag from her closet and threw in some toiletries, a change of clothes, and her cell phone. She opened the bay window beside her bed, popped out the screen, and slid out into the back yard. She crept along the side of the house, avoiding open windows or ducking below them, until she reached her car. She threw her stuff in the passenger seat and backed out of the driveway.
After driving a block, she pulled over. Where would she go? She had no desire to be alone. Looking at the dashboard clock, she smiled.
Madi pulled into the parking lot, noting that only a couple spots were occupied. The rest of the folks wouldn't be here for another half hour. She sloughed into the building and headed straight for Don's office, where she found him and his wife Amanda chatting.
He was facing the door as she approached. "Hey there, Madison. You're early." Don wrinkled his brow. "What's wrong?"
"Oh, Pastor Don," she cried. "I didn't know where else to go."
"Oh, Madi. You've got a problem there." Don stood up reluctantly and rubbed Madi on the back. "I hate this, but I need to get them started."
"We'll be right in, Don." Amanda grasped Madi's hand as she shooed her husband out the door.
"Okay - see you two in a bit. You know where to find me. I'll be praying, Madi." Dan walked out the door, closing it behind him.
Amanda led Madi to a couch where the two sat. "Madi, of all the places you could have gone, I am so glad you came here."
Madi sniffled. "You and Pastor Don and the youth group are family - more sometimes than my parents are."
Amanda looked at Madi thoughtfully. "Even so, you still need to tell your parents, you know."
She nodded. "I'm scared, though. Can't I wait?"
Amanda shrugged. "You know they need to be told. Would you rather they find out from someone else?"
Madi shook her head vigorously.
"Could happen, you know, especially if you go through with your plan to tell your friends in there tonight." Amanda put her arm around the girl. "How about we break the news to your friends first, get some prayer support, then you head home to talk to your parents?"
She nodded slowly, biting her lip.
The two stood and walked toward the all-purpose room. Don had just finished praying. He was standing with his back to the door, so the group saw Madi right away.
"Pastor Don, can I say something?" Madi's voice was scarcely above a whisper.
He nodded, backing away.
"I sinned big time, you guys. I'm pregnant, and I don't know what to do. Can you forgive me?"
The teens' wide eyes transformed slowly into looks of compassion, as the body of Christ embraced this despairing, but repentant, soul.
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