Abby and Noah are 17. They are typical teenagers in many ways but what sets them apart is that they are newlyweds and trying to have a baby despite Abby's ongoing battle with cancer. They turn to fertility specialist Dr. Juliet Montgomery but will she agree to help two teenagers have a baby? And if she does, will her life ever be the same?
The baby wasn’t just cute, as most babies tend to be. He was outright gorgeous. His cheeks were a light rosy color, and round but not quite what would be considered chubby. When he smiled, those same cheeks revealed dimples on each side. One was slightly higher than the other one, but it only added to his charm. His hair was a bit spotty and stuck straight up into the air. It was the color of the crust on a loaf of whole grain bread, the crusty kind with things like flax seed in it. Dressed in a pair of faded blue, baby-sized overalls, fuzzy white baby socks and a white tee shirt with a frog on it, his eyes danced and sparkled as he bounced up and down on his mother’s lap.
Abby guessed he might be about six months old. It was pretty amazing that he hadn’t cried once during the entire eight hour flight. He had, in fact, smiled and laughed all the way from Paris to New York, save for a 45 minute nap midway through the journey.
Abby couldn’t help being mesmerized by him, and by the way his parents – both French judging by the way they spoke – seemed so utterly, completely happy, both with their young son and with each other. They worked together effortlessly juggling bottles, wipes, and diapers. They passed the baby back and forth to each other to facilitate bathroom breaks and getting up to stretch. Through it all there was not one hint of disagreement or even a disapproving look. In fact, they had smiled and laughed almost as much as the baby had, whispering to each other and holding hands when they could.
Abby wondered briefly what the secret to their happiness might be but the thought flitted away just as quickly as it had come when she realized that she would most likely never have the chance to use any wisdom they might have to offer. But Abby did want a baby, and she wanted one very badly.
Needing some comfort, Abby turned to look at Noah and when he felt her gaze he took her hand in his, gently rubbing her skin. She laid her head on his shoulder and Noah kissed her forehead. Abby was instantly calmed.
At 17, they were way too young to be newlyweds and they both knew it, but at the same time they couldn’t help feeling like, at least in that moment, everything in their world was exactly as it should be.
Connecticut law requires parental consent to be married under the age of 18 and that was one item that hadn’t been a problem. Noah’s parents had also married young, when they were both 19, and had happily made it to celebrating their 22nd anniversary. Noah was the oldest of three, with one younger brother and one younger sister. He was the most grounded and sensible of the three, and his parents had both challenged him with more responsibilities and trusted him from a young age.
They had also fallen in love with Abby the minute they met her. She was charming and polite, a bit shy at first, but once Noah’s father, amidst passing the potatoes, told a joke about the pope that made Abby laugh until her sides hurt, she loosened up and began to relax. Noah’s parents could see that the young lovebirds truly cared for each other, and they knew that Noah would not have brought Abby home if he wasn’t serious about her. After all, Noah had never brought anyone home before.
A year ago, at the tail end of his and Abby’s sophomore year of high school, Noah and his family had moved to Hartford from the suburbs of Boulder, Colorado. Although they hated to uproot their children before the school year was over, Noah’s parents hadn’t had much choice. His father had been laid off from a well-paying job he had loved as a chemical engineer for a small firm specializing in plastics.
With the economy not showing much sign of recovery and unemployment benefits in Colorado starting to dry up, Noah’s father found himself a new job and promptly moved his family to one of the smaller, less lavish houses in a good Hartford neighborhood. It was early April and all three kids managed to finish the school year on a high note, which caused their parents to breathe a big sigh of relief.
Noah had seen Abby on his very first day at Mark Twain Academy. Walking into third period American Literature class just before the bell rang, he had stopped dead in his tracks for a split second when he saw her. She wasn’t the traditional American high school ideal – a blonde, bouncy, cheerleader-type beauty. Her hair was so shiny he could practically see his reflection in it, and it was so black it was almost blue, the same color of a clear, summer night’s sky. Noah didn’t see her eyes at first, as she was intently reading a book of what looked to be poetry when he walked into the room, but when she looked up and he saw her eyes were a deep, bright ocean blue color…he inhaled sharply and stopped short. It wasn’t a common combination and Noah was fascinated by someone who was so different from everyone else. Their eyes met briefly and he felt…something, not love at first sight or anything corny like that, but…depth, maybe. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it but he was definitely intrigued. Abby gave him a quick, friendly smile and turned back to her book. He recovered quickly, adjusted his backpack and sat down at an empty desk, fairly sure that no one had noticed his reaction. Whew, he thought.
It wasn’t until three days later that Noah and Abby officially met for the first time. He’d figured out her name since they had half of their classes together but, always driven and responsible, he’d been so engrossed in trying to make sure that his school work was up to par that he hadn’t been able to give Abby much thought since that first day, much as he had wanted to think about her.
Noah had made a few friends pretty easily and the Thursday of his first week at school (he remembered very clearly that it was Thursday) he had made it to their usual lunch table before anyone else. Not thirty seconds later, Abby sat down across from him with a container of sweet and sour chicken that looked like it might be homemade.
As confident as her move might have looked, Abby’s eyes darted around nervously a few times before she smiled shyly and said, “Hi, I’m Abby Thompson. You’re new here, right?”
“Yep, that’s me, I’m the new kid. I’m Noah Macali. Nice to meet you.”
“Same here. So, what do you think of Mark Twain?”
“It’s…well, frankly it’s the best school I’ve ever been to.”
“Have you been to a lot of schools?”
“No, but, well…my dad got laid off from his job in Colorado and we were all really bummed about moving so far away but...Dad’s new job is better. It pays better. I never could have gone to a school like this back home.”
A crooked smile emerged from the corner of Abby’s mouth. “Aha, so you’re new money then!”
Noah laughed and nodded his head. “Yes, if that’s what you kids are calling it these days.”
“Well, Mr. New Money,” Abby declared as she raised an eyebrow mischievously, “I suppose you’re going to need someone to show you the ropes then.”
“Does that make you Old Money?”
Abby grinned. “Yes.”
“Well, ok then. Where do we find said ropes?”
And that, as they say, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That’s really all it was at first. Noah had thought that if he ever got up the courage to talk to Abby, he would end up falling for her hard and fast, but it didn’t happen. He did like her. He liked her a lot, in fact. She was smart and insightful but also goofy and fun to be around. She was the best of both worlds – someone who could hold her own in conversations and debates about politics, current events, books and just about anything else he could come up with to discuss. But she also seemed to always be up for a good time, too.
By the time the school year ended in mid-June, Abby and Noah were practically inseparable. They ate lunch together, they studied together in the library, and they sometimes went to the movies together on weekends. They quizzed each other on the sequence of events of World War II and giggled as they sat on a bench people watching in the mall. It’s not often, in high school at least, that boys and girls are such good friends without something more going on, and so a lot of eyebrows were raised when Abby and Noah started spending so much time together.
Noah, however, did feel it best not to put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak, which was why he made an effort to have other friends besides Abby, particularly Mark and Colin. The three of them joined a summer baseball league together and it seemed like they ended up at Pat’s Pizza until they were shooed out the door at closing time by Nina, Pat’s wife, after nearly every game. They sat in their favorite booth reliving the best plays when they won and debating what the new lineup should be for the next game when they lost.
Abby, however, did not appear to have many friends besides Noah, despite the fact that she had lived in Hartford her entire life. There was one girl, Kate Carter, who had been Abby’s best friend since the first grade. When Kate and Abby stood next to each other it was almost like looking at a photograph and its corresponding negative. Abby had black hair while Kate’s was the light, golden blonde color of a hay bale. Abby’s eyes were blue but Kate’s were dark brown with hazel flecks in the center. They were similar in stature but Kate was stronger and more athletic, the star of the field hockey team. Both were smart and a little bit goofy, and both tried as best they could not to worry about what everyone else thought of them.
Any time Abby wasn’t with Noah, she was with Kate. But Noah regularly wondered to himself about why Abby didn’t have more friends. It didn’t make any sense to him. She was pretty and smart, plus being a lot of fun. She wasn’t overweight or a “geek” and she wasn’t poor in any sense of the word. In almost three months at Mark Twain, he had never heard one rumor or rumbling about her, so why had she only managed to make a total of two friends in 16 years? Something wasn’t right, but Noah hadn’t quite worked up the nerve to ask what it was.