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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15. Chapter Fifteen

Natalia's POV

I covered my forehead with my palm as I laid in my uncomfortable twin sized bed, thinking about everything that played out between Jason and me yesterday in the truck. Yelling. Lots and lots of yelling. And slamming things. A lot of that too. Tears, too. Too many of those. In fact, just a lot of mixed emotions.

Since yesterday, I dodged all of Jason's, Tyler's, Addison's and Amber's calls, knowing they would all say the same thing except for Jason.

"Get your ass out of that bed, Natalia." I removed my hand, looked up, then turned my body to the side.

"Go away, Tyler."

"I come back to school and you're moping around your room? Addison said something happened and since you didn't answer my calls, I came here myself. Obviously, I have the balls out of the others."

"No, they have the decency to leave me the hell alone. They've all been through this before, you haven't. You just need to leave me the hell alone, Tyler."

"Wh-"

"Talia, Jesus. Thank god you're okay. When Jason said you weren't answering your phone, I got worried so I came right here. They let me in, thankfully."

"Am, what are you doing here?"

"I'm here to make sure you're okay, Talia. With everything that's going on, I didn't want anything to happen."

"Okay, what the hell is going on? And who are you?"

"I'm Amber, Talia's best friend. And this doesn't concern you, so you can leave and let me take care of my friend who's in need of someone right now who understands her relationship." Tyler looked to me, to Amber, then exited the room in one swift motion.

"What happened in the car, Lee? Jason told me you guys got in a fight and you walked away."

"I think we broke up, Am."

"The usual break up?"

"No." I shook my head, holding in the tears that threatened to fall.

"Talia." She sighed, hopping onto my bed.

"He's in criminal justice, Am. How am I supposed to be with someone who is going to risk their life every single day?"

"You broke it off because he's in criminal justice?"

"I told him I wouldn't stay with him if he pulled the move he did when Tommy was just born, with volunteering at the firehouse."

"Lee, you have to let him be. If criminal justice is what he wants, you have to let him do it."

"But I don't want him to get hurt, Am. Look at everything that's going on these days. What if he's on a job and he gets hurt?"

"You don't think I think about that every time I get off the phone with Jackson? All the risks he's making? I let him live his life as he wants to live it. Like right now. You telling Jason not to do criminal justice and leaving him because of it. Talia, you're holding him back from doing what he wants to do, and I know you never wanted that."

"I am?"

"He's changing his mind on what he wants to do, Talia. He would rather do something he hates, like business, than lose you because of a career."

"I'm a terrible girlfriend."

"No, you're a scarred girlfriend. Your past is killing you, Talia. All you can think about it how Nathaniel died and how Macey grew up without a father and you don't want that for Thomas. You're scared, that's gonna happen."

I nodded.

"But you have to let that go, Talia. Your dad died a hero that day. He, too, risked his life every day going into burning buildings, just like Jason would do one day in the line of duty. You need to let him live."

"I need to call Jason."

"And you need to call Jackson. He's worried about you, too."

"You don't know, do you?"

"Know what?" I shook my head. "Talia, what don't I know."

 

"You what!" Jason yelled. The vain in his neck popped out as the anger settled in. "Why the hell would you tell Amber what happened!?"

"She's my best friend. And Jackson's girlfriend. She has the right to know, Jason."

"But she didn't need to know! Honestly, how stupid can you be?"

"Obviously very. But I think she handled it well."

"Handled it well? Are you kidding me? You and she are exactly alike. And if I know you, I know Amber. She's probably about to take a bat to his head right now."

"Oh well. He made the move on me."

"Yeah? And what if he says you made the first move, Natalia? Then what will you do? I wasn't there to see it, no one was. If he puts the blame on you, there are no witnesses to see it."

"I didn't think about that."

"Of course you didn't. Your best friend comes to help you out because of whatever the hell happened with us and then you break the news her boyfriend, who was your first official boyfriend, the one who made you starve yourself, is still in love with you." He said, as his bedroom door opened.

"Hey, Matt can't find his charger again and I need it. Can I borrow yours?"

"It's over by the bed."

"Oh, hey Natalia." Kaitlyn smiled, leaning over Jason's shoulder. Her hand was on his shoulder. His bare shoulder. She was in his room. With him shirtless.

"Um, hi, Kate."

"Would you get the charger and get out? I'm in the middle of something."

"Snooty today, aren't we?"

"Kaitlyn!"

"Alright, I'm going, bye Talia." I waved goodbye to her, then focused on Jason.

"What?" He asked, popping a chip into his mouth.

"You're shirtless."

"And so are you, we're even."

"And she just walked into your room."

"She's Matt's girlfriend."

"Was she wearing your shirt?"

"We have one laundry room in the house for a bunch of guys. Do you expect me to get my shirts back?"

"She's wearing your shirt."

"Matt probably took it thinking it was his."

"She's pretty, you know. And she's around a lot more now that she goes there."

"Talia, I know where you're headed."

"I'm just curious."

"First of all, why would I want someone like Kate when I can have you? Second, I'm a dad now. Gotta keep that going."

"But still. I don't like her being there so much."

"I guess we're even, then. You don't like Kate being here and I don't like Tyrone being there with you."

"Tyler. His name is Tyler."

"Tyrone. Tyler. Same thing."

I rolled my eyes before playing with the promise ring on my right hand. "So... are we good now?"

"We always were good. It was just a matter of you accepting it."

"I know. Um, can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"If I was holding you back, you would tell me, right?"

"Talia." He sighed.

"Please, just answer the question."

"Yes, I would tell you."

"So, why didn't you tell me all those times at home? Why didn't you tell me I was holding you back?"

"Talia, I can't do this right now. All you need to know is that you have never held me back from doing something."

"Parties. Football. Fireman. Criminal justice. Smoking. Drinking. Being a teenager. Ditching school."

"Stop."

"Loving someone else."

"Natalia, dammit, stop it. Stop all of this. You've never held me back. Ever. You made me a better person. You made me look at life differently than getting drunk every weekend and coming home to my screwed up family. And as for loving someone else, I haven't loved anyone besides you, not even my mom. In fact, I said I love you to you first before my mom. So, stop with whatever you're thinking."

"I'm sorry. Amber just... put things in my mind."

"What did she say?"

"That I'm holding you back."

"No, baby, you're not. Holding me back would be having me on a leash and never letting me go. Look, I got class and practice tomorrow, so I gotta go. But if you need someone to talk to, baby, I'm right here. Don't hesitate to call, alright? Call me up whenever."

"I will love you."

"Love you too. Go to bed, too, babe."

"I will. And Jay." He looked up to me. "Thank you for being there and talking some damn sense into me."

"Anytime, baby. Anytime. Goodnight."

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