A Different Kind of Reputation

With thirty minutes and school work separating Talia and Jason apart from each other, they have to figure out ways to be the best they can be for their baby. From being the school bad boy back in high school, to being the football star daddy in college, Jason has to figure out ways to fit back in with the crowd and keep his reputation as a father. From being the school nerd to the scholar mommy, Natalia has to figure out ways to let loose and have fun while keeping her reputation as a mother. Find out what goes on in this crazy life of Jason and Natalia in the second book, A Different Kind of Reputation.

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11. Chapter Eleven

Although it's not thanksgiving, I wouldn't be able to update on that day so I decided to just make this chapter the thanksgiving chapter. The book will now start to move slower now that all the drama is finished. 

Natalia's POV

The house was crowded with both Jason and my family. His aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and my mom, step dad, siblings, aunts, uncles and my one cousin, Leah. I could sense the tension in the room from my mom and Zac, but no one said anything. If I felt it, everyone else did too. 

After Zac found out about mom cheating on him with Rob, who, by the way, is here tonight with his kids, Zac decided he needed time to think about what his next moves were. Fortunately, he loved my mom and wanted to stay with her. Which is why there's tension. Not only is Rob here, but they're having a little disagreement in couples therapy. 

Once Angelina, Rob's wife, found out about what was going on between him and my mother, she filed for a divorce. It really killed me to see her leave his life, mostly because she helped me so much during my grieving period when my father died. She took me to school, friends houses, practices, to the store, everywhere I needed to go, Angelina was there. 

Liliana and James, Rob's kids, aren't fully understanding what's going on between their parents, but who expects them to? Even though they're a little older, maybe twelve, they don't know the full story, only clips of it. And each chance they get alone with me, they try to pry for information which I am not going to tell them. 

Not being able to take the tension in the room anymore, I turned to my mother, "if Jason asks, I went upstairs." She nodded. When I proceeded to the staircase, I could feel everyone's eyes on me. Most of the people here tonight, mostly my family, expect me to just break. With everything going on between my mother and Zac, myself and Jackson, Jason and I, school, distance, friends, they're all grinding their teeth waiting for action that they won't get. I'm not an attention seeker and I don't need to be. If someone wants to see me break down, they can come over to my house and see it for themselves in my alone time. Not on the day for giving thanks. 

In the bedroom, the same bedroom Jason and I stayed in the first time he took me here, sitting on the bed was a composition notebook with Jason Summers written on the front in the box. I hesitated before opening the notebook up. On the first page, words lined the page. I pressed my finger onto the page before taking it into view.

Mom died today. I didn't know how to feel about it. I don't think I felt at all, really. Talia was there to hold me, even though I didn't want her to, but she insisted. And it felt... nice. Nice to finally have someone care about me besides my mom. I've never really been the type of person to write in a journal, but the councilor at school says it helps clear the mind and get rid of stress and anger. I guess this is one of those times. I wish I would've told mom how much I loved her, or needed her, or even cared for her. All the times she told me she loved me when she was alive, I couldn't say it back. I don't love. But I loved her, and I never said it until she died in the hospital bed. I'm a shit son, I know... maybe if dad never turned into a drunk, or Val never died, I wouldn't be so bad and she would be alive. But who knows? Life is stupid like that. 

I turned the next page, astonished from what came into my eyesight. Lines filled with Angel and Devil, with numbers on them. The first page had numbers from one to twelve on the angel side and only one on the devil side. I flipped through the book, taking in the pages and pages of the same thing, but the numbers on both sides grew bigger and bigger. Single digits to double digits, then, the last page, triple digits. The last page of the notebook came to as a shock to me as my eyes scanned over the page. 

June 24

The last day of school was supposed to go great, amazing, actually. It started off perfect but ended terrible. So, at the end of the day, Talia broke the news to me that she was pregnant. How was I supposed to act to that? Was I supposed to be excited? The way she said it, "I'm late, Jason. I took a test and it came out positive. I'm pregnant." With that big smile on her face, she was excited. But me? I was nervous as fuck. I'm not father material, hell, I'm not boyfriend material. I don't need a kid in my life right now, I got too many things to focus on. School, sports, Jackson's decision, my college decision. And a baby would change all of that. So, I reacted the only way I knew best. I was shocked, to say the least, but Talia wasn't as shocked as I was. She told me it was because we had a lot of unprotected sex, but we're young and we're supposed to do that. Not get punished for it. That's what this is, a punishment from my mom for never listening to her. She punished me by giving me a baby.A baby that I don't want. It'll only ruin my life. 

February 15

Talia just gave me a child, and honestly, despite my thoughts of wanting it gone, I'm happy he's here. Thomas, is his name. Thomas Nathaniel Jason, named after Talia's dad and myself. I don't really know where she got Thomas from, but I'm truly honored to share my name with my own flesh and blood. Everyone says he's going to look like me, but I don't know. When I first looked at him, I saw Talia in him, and I still do. His eyes, nose, mouth, everything. I didn't realize how important this kid was to Talia until they took the baby out of her, and he wasn't breathing. I, myself, thought my life was just about ready to end. I don't know if it's good or bad that I'm happy to be a dad at such a young age, but I think I'm going to love it. Just from holding my own baby in my arms... it felt... real. 

Connected to the last page, the words Angel and Devil remained, this time, the devil side having more numbers than the angel. 

"What are you doing?" I snapped my head up, seeing Jason in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes hard. 

"I, um, I found this on the bed. Is it true? You didn't want him?"

"First of all, that was private. Secondly, it was true, yes, until I started buying baby things and became excited about it a couple days before he was born." 

"Why didn't you tell me?" 

"Talia, you were already pregnant and telling you I didn't want a kid would make you upset and stressed about what to do. I kept it from you because I couldn't force myself to tell you about it." I nodded and looked down to the book. 

"Why is there a bunch of words like Angel and Devil?" He snapped his head up, grabbed the notebook from my hands and threw it across the room. "Jason, you need to tell me." 

"I'm a terrible boyfriend, Talia. That's why those are there. After we broke up... when you thought I cheated on you with Sophia, I started saying shit like that. So, every time I was nice, I put down another number. Every time I was a dick, I put  a number down in the Devil."

"You kept a score?"

"Yes."

"When did you stop?" 

"I didn't."

"You're still doing it?" 

"I needed another notebook... I ran out of pages. But yeah."

"Why? Why keep score?"

"So I can see all the times I did something good in my life and all the times I hurt you. Like with Jackson. Marked up on the devil side. In the car on the way home from the beach...I put twenty on the devil side. And when you told me you were pregnant I marked up the devil."

"Why? You could've come to me and talked to me about it, rather than keep score and have a memory of all the times you messed up," 

"I wanted to be able to show myself how good and how bad I am as a person."

"Natalia, Jason, come on down!" We both picked our heads up. I made the first move towards the door, but Jason stopped me. 

"I may keep score, but I love you."

"I know."

"Come on, T, say it back."

"I love you." He nodded and let me go out the bedroom door without another word. The fact that he thinks keeping score is going to help him makes me... upset. He should've come to me with this whole thing, instead of writing it down on paper. He doesn't need to do that to himself, make himself feel worse than he already did in the beginning. Going back to those pages is just a remembrance of all the times he knew he could've done something differently or walked away. 

"So, we decided this year, that everyone will say one thing they're thankful for. So, I'll start and we'll go around the table," my mom smiled. I'm thankful for my family and friends here tonight in this beautiful house," she turned to me, "your turn."

"Umm... I'm thankful for, I guess, my fa... No, wait. I'm thankful to be here with such a beautiful family. I'm thankful for my friends and my life. I'm thankful to Jason for giving me a child and just... thankful for the love we have."

"Um, same thing Talia just said. No other words."

"I'm thankful for this life I live today." Adelaide smiled, rubbing her growing stomach. 

"I'm thankful for having a beautiful, hormonal wife, a daughter and a baby in the oven." Adelaide slapped Harrison's chest. 

"Thankful for this day. Just... being here with everyone who I love. Oh, and thankful for whoever bought this bottle of wine." Bria.

"I'm thankful for getting a second chance at what I want to do." Addison. 

"Thankful for my job, family, friends and all of you being here with us." Mike. 

"I'm thankful for... my kids." Rob

"Thankful for my life." Zac. 

"I'm thankful for my new Teddy bear." Macey. 

"I'm just thankful for all of this love in this room. Even though it may be crooked love, it's still amazing. I'm thankful for my three beautiful children and they're amazing lives. I'm thankful for my sister giving me a gift in life and allowing me to take care of him and his girlfriend. I'm thankful for the baby in the room. I'm thankful for being a grandmother, not to only two children, but three, thank you, Talia and Jason. And I'm thankful for the happiness I have in my life."

Jason and I decided that if Sally would be anything to Tommy, she would be his grandmother. Sally is a huge part of Jason's life, and her only being a great aunt wasn't enough. When we broke the news to Sally about her being a grandmother to Tommy, she was over joyed. 

"I'm sorry," Jason whispered in my ear. I turned to him. "For not telling you anything that you read. You shouldn't have found out that way." 

"It's fine. Besides, I'm happy you're writing things down instead of being angry with yourself." He nodded and took my hand in his under the table. I felt him run his hand over the stone on my ring finger. 

"You're wearing it?" 

"I decided that I don't care what other people think. I don't want to keep the secret that I'm engaged anymore, and I don't want to keep Tommy a secret either. Let all of New York University know I have a kid. I don't really care."

"That's my girl."

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