“Amanda, are you OK?” Mrs. Cohen asked through the bathroom door.
“Yeah mom, I’m fine. Roger and I just had Chinese food yesterday.” she started before opening the bathroom door. “Remind me not to get sushi again.” she said trying to play it off.
“Should you stay home from school?” Mrs. Cohen asked feeling Amanda’s head.
“No, I’m fine. My stomach is starting to settle now.” she said looking up at her before going back into her room to finish getting ready. “Is Marky almost ready?” she asked coming out of her room with her book bag slung over her shoulder.
“He walked to school early. He said something about a photography project.” Mrs. Cohen said following her daughter down the stairs.
“OK, Roger’s gonna be here any minute.” she said rushing around the downstairs making sure she had everything for school.
“Amanda Lee, slow down. You need to eat breakfast.” Mrs. Cohen said following her around.
“I don’t have time, mom. Besides I’m afraid if I eat anything it’s gonna make me throw up again. I’ll be OK. I’ll pick up something later.” she said looking out the front window for Roger’s car.
“Make sure you eat something today. And drink plenty of water. You don’t want to get dehydrated.” Mrs. Cohen said as Roger pulled into the driveway.
“I will mom. I promise. I’ll see you later. I’m going out to dinner with Roger, so I’ll be home by curfew.” she said rushing out of the house.
“Good morning Baby. How do you feel?” Roger asked as Amanda got in the car.
“Like crap. I have the worst morning sickness.” she said looking down at her slightly swollen belly which was being hidden under one of Roger’s big t-shirts.
“I’m sorry, Mandy.” he apologized looking over at her.
“Oh, if anyone asks, we had sushi yesterday and it didn’t agree with me.” she said before Roger pulled out of the driveway.
“OK, Baby.” he said confused but he obliged her.
“Do you think anyone can tell?” she asked looking over at him as he drove to school.
“No Mandy, no one can tell.” he said holding her hand.
“I feel like everyone staring at me like they can tell that I’m pregnant. What if everyone finds out before we want them to? It’ll ruin everything we have planned.” she asked looking over at him.
“Mandy, relax. Everything is gonna be OK. Don’t worry about it. We only have a couple of more weeks and then we’ll be free to do whatever we want.” he told her squeezing her hand.
“I know I’m being paranoid. I just feel so fat and I’m afraid that everyone’s gonna know everything.” she said looking over at him.
“You’re not fat. You’re beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so beautiful.” he smiled before bringing her hand up to kiss it.
“You have to say that. I’m carrying your child.” she laughed as he successfully lightened the mood.
“Nah, I always thought you were beautiful.” he smiled before pulling into the school parking lot.
“Amanda Lee, what are you wearing on your finger?” Mrs. Cohen asked putting her fork down.
“It’s a ring, mom.” she replied continuing her dinner.
“I see that. Is it an engagement ring from Roger?” she asked reaching out for her daughters hand.
“Yes mom, it is. Roger and I love each other and want to get married one day.” she told her smiling.
“But Amanda, you’re only 17. You’re too young to know what you want. I think you should go to college first and then see what you and Roger want to do. If you two are truly in love, you can get married in 4 years.” Mrs. Cohen lectured as Amanda rolled her eyes.
“Mom, we’ve been dating for a really long time and we know what we want. I love him and he loves me, so we want to get married.” Amanda argued grabbing her plate and bringing it to the kitchen.
“Amanda Lee, we’re not done talking about this.” Mrs. Cohen shouted as Amanda ran upstairs.
“Yes we are, mom. I can’t talk to you when you’re like this and you’re not gonna change my mind.” she said slamming her bedroom door.
“Mark, did you know about this?” Mrs. Cohen asked looking at Mark who was still eating.
“No mom, I didn’t. And even if I did I wouldn’t have told you. Mandy and Roger are my friends. I’m so sick of you and dad putting me in the middle all of the time. They purposely don’t tell me things because they’re afraid you’re gonna ask me stuff.” he said getting up to put his plate in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry, Mark. I didn’t know this was coming between you and your sister.” she said as Mark stood in the kitchen.
“Well mom, it’s hard. I mean Mandy used to tell me everything. Now she doesn’t tell me anything because she’s afraid you and dad are gonna try to get the information out of me.” Mark said looking down at her.
“OK Fair enough. Why don’t you go check on her and make sure she’s OK? I’m sure she needs someone to talk to.” she told him smiling.
“Thanks mom.” he said smiling back at her as he went upstairs to check on Amanda. “Mandy, it’s me. Can... can I come in?” he asked knocking on her door.
“Sure Marky. I’m sorry about before. Roger and I wanted to tell you ourselves, but I know how mom and dad can be. I usually take my ring off before I come in the house but today I forgot. I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately.” Amanda told him wiping her eyes sitting on her bed.
“It’s OK. I understand why you and Roger didn’t tell me. Congratulations.” he told her smiling.
“Mandy, are you pregnant?” he asked sitting on her bed.
“Um… how did you know?” she asked looking up at him.
“You’ve been throwing up a lot lately and you and Roger have been all hush hush the last couple of months. Plus, I saw Roger rubbing your stomach the other day. I kind of put two and two together.”
“Mom and dad don’t know, do they?” she asked worried.
“I don’t think so. I haven’t heard them talking about it or anything. And I’m pretty sure if they did, they’d have said something to you by now.” he looked over at her.
“I guess you’re right. We’re getting married on my birthday so you can’t tell them, Marky. Please.” she pleaded with him quietly.
“How can I keep this a secret, Mandy? They’re bound to find out and then what? They‘ll never let you guys go through with it.” Mark told her getting up to pace around the room.
“I’ll be 18. They can’t stop us.” she told him as she got off the bed to follow him.
“And what about when mom and dad ask me where you are when you don‘t come home? What am I supposed to say?” he asked looking over at him.
“Just tell them the truth. I don’t want you to get in trouble. By that time it’ll be too late. We’ll already be married and they can’t do anything about it.” she told him smiling at him.
“I just hope you’re happy and you know what you’re doing.” he told her looking at her.
“I am happy, Marky. I want to be with Roger. We love each other so much and being together and raising our baby is all we want to do. Without mom and dad or Roger’s parents thinking they know what‘s best for us better than we do.” she told him smiling back at him as he hugged her again.
“Just don’t disappear, OK Mandy? You‘re the sister I actually like.” he told her hugging her again.
“We’ll try not to. But there’s no telling how mom and dad will react when the news gets out. You’re an awesome little brother, Mark. Cindy is a snob if she can’t see that. Oh um, me and Roger got you an early birthday present.” she said going into her closet.
“You guys didn’t have to do that. Don‘t you need all your money for when you run away?” he told her as she handed him her old green messenger bag.
“You’re our best friend, Mark. I mean, it’s not much, but the guy at the store said it was really good.” she said as he opened the bag and took out an old black camera with a wind arm on it.
“Mandy, this is so cool. I’ve been wanting one of these.” he told her caressing it before winding it to film Amanda.
“I know. It’s better than the 35mm camera you have. Now you can be a film maker.” she said laughing as he filmed her.
“Thanks, sis. This is great.” he said hugging her.
“Anything for the best brother in the world.” she smiled up at him as she hugged him tight.
The following week, Mark made it a point to spend as much time with his sister as possible. He didn’t know how his parents were gonna react when they found out that not only did Amanda get married on her 18th birthday, but she was also pregnant with Roger’s child. He wanted to make sure that he got plenty of film of her, just in case they forbid him from seeing her.
“Mark, are you ever gonna put that thing away? We haven‘t seen you without it since you got it.” Benny asked as he filmed Roger and Amanda.
“Leave him alone, Benny. He likes filming my girl. She was made to be on film.” Roger said looking over at him with Mandy on his lap in the booth at the diner.
“Yeah Benny, lighten up. He’s gonna be a famous filmmaker one day. And I‘m gonna be able to say that he was filming me way back when.” Amanda said smiling over at him. Her smile lit up the diner. She had told him that she was pregnant 3 days earlier and had been filming her and Roger ever since.
It’s a week later and Roger and Amanda are discussing their wedding plans. They’re in Roger’s bed at his house after school.
“What are you gonna wear for our wedding?” Amanda asked laying in Roger’s bed with him as he laid his head on her chest caressing her belly.
“I have the suit from the junior prom. What are you wearing?” he asked looking up at her.
“I had to buy a new dress. Nothing else fits me.” she said running her fingers through his messy hair.
“What color is it?” he asked smiling.
“Baby pink. I have to pick it up tomorrow.” she said as he got up and laid back on the pillow.
“Do you need a ride?” he asked slipping his arm around her shoulders to bring her closer to him.
“Nah, I’m gonna take my moms car and get it myself.” she smiled at him.
“I can take you. I know how much you hate driving.” he smiled, kissing her head.
“No it‘s bad luck for the groom to see the bride‘s dress before the wedding.” she said craning her neck back to look at him.
“Pretty sure that‘s not how it goes.” he looked down at her laughing.
“I don’t care. I just don’t want anything to go wrong.” she said looking up at him.
“Nothing’s gonna go wrong, Mandy. We love each other and we are getting married tomorrow.” he told her kissing her head.
“I do love you, Roger.” she smiled shifting to wrap her arms around him.
“I know, Mandy. I love you too.” she smiled leaning down to kiss her.
The following day, Roger and Amanda didn’t see each other. It was a Saturday. Roger was working in the auto repair shop and Amanda spent the day thinking about her birthday and what it all meant. She was finally 18 and getting married to Roger. They were returning home after they got married, but they weren’t sure how their parents were gonna take the news. They were prepared to run away if they had to, but they were hoping that it wouldn’t come to that.
“Mom, can I borrow your car? I have to pick up my dress from the cleaners for my date tonight. I’ll have it back in time for you to pick up Marky.” Amanda said rushing down the stairs.
“I can drive you, if you want.” Mrs. Cohen suggested looking over at her daughter.
“Nah, I wanted to stop off at the garage to surprise Roger. I promise, I won’t be long.” she looked over at her mother.
“Sure sweetie. Just be careful.” Mrs. Cohen said coming out of the kitchen as she left the house.
“Surprise.” Amanda said entering the garage where Roger worked.
“There’s my beautiful bride and our baby.” Roger said getting out from under the car and rushing towards her.
“Roger, not so loud. Someone could hear you.” she said looking around.
“It’s OK. I’m the only one here. I wanted to get this done before we leave tonight. To what do I owe this little visit?” he said kissing her before leaning down to kiss her now slightly swollen belly.
“I thought I’d surprise you while I was out picking up my dress.” she told him smiling down at him.
“Well I love to be surprised by my girls.” he said caressing her belly before sweeping her into his arms.
“Girls, huh? You’re still on that?” she laughed caressing his head.
“Yeah I’m still on that. I’m so glad you’re here.” he smiled standing up straight.
“Well, now that you’ve seen me, I have to go. I have a wedding to get ready for and my mom has to go pick up Mark.” she said smiling at him as he kissed her again.
“OK Baby. I’ll be by around 8. I just have to finish this up and then get cleaned up and dressed. I’ll see you soon.” he said leaning down to kiss her belly.
“I love you, Roger.” she said running her fingers through his hair.
“I love you too Mandy. And my baby.” he said leaning up to kiss her. Amanda laughed and then left the garage.
Roger finished up and cleaned himself up. He changed into his suit and left to pick up his bride to be, who was carrying his child. As he drove to the Cohen house he needed to take a detour because there was an accident not too far from the garage. He pulled into the driveway of the Cohen home before getting out and going to the door. He rang the doorbell and nervously waited for someone to answer the phone.
“Hi Mrs. Cohen, is Amanda ready?” Roger asked as the older woman answered the door.
“You mean she’s not with you?” she asked looking around outside. She looked worried.
“No, she came by the garage to surprise me and then left to get ready for our date. That was over an hour ago.” Roger told her, getting a bad feeling.
“She left 2 hours ago to pick up her dress. She said she’d be back in time for me to pick up Mark, but she’s not home yet.” she said beginning to cry.
“There was an accident on my way over. It can‘t be.” Roger said running to his car as Mrs. Cohen followed him.
“Roger wait. I‘m coming with you.” she shouted getting in the car with him.
“It can’t be. It just can’t be.” he muttered running his fingers through his hair.
“Calm down, Roger. It’s probably not her. She probably just got caught up in the traffic because of the accident.” Mrs. Cohen told him trying not to cry.
“No, it can’t be her. It just can’t be her.” he said starting to cry now.
“There, I see lights.” Mrs. Cohen said pointing to the accident scene.
“I need to know if it’s her.” Roger said putting the car in park and getting out.
“Roger, wait.” Mrs. Cohen called out unbuckling her seat belt to follow him.
“Excuse me, my fiancé was in that car. Where is she?” he yelled seeing the wreckage of Mrs. Cohen’s car.
“I’m so sorry. She… she was really bad. She was brought to the hospital. She was so young.” the police officer told him quietly as he shook his head.
“Roger, is it her?” Mrs. Cohen shouted seeing Roger’s face.
“They’re at the hospital. It’s bad.” he answered crying uncontrollably.
“They who? Roger, was Mark with her?” Mrs. Cohen asked yelling at him as he ran back to his car.
“Amanda and our baby.” he said getting back into the car.
“Your baby? Amanda’s pregnant?” she yelled as she got into the car too. Roger drove to the hospital as fast as he could.
“Yeah, almost 4 months. We’re… we’re eloping tonight for her birthday.” he told her crying.
“Oh my God, Roger. Why didn’t she tell me?” Mrs. Cohen asked crying.
“We were afraid you’d never let us keep the baby if you knew. We wanted to get married so you couldn’t make us do anything. We want to spend the rest of our lives together.” he told her still crying as they arrived at the hospital. Roger jumped out of the car and ran into the emergency room. “Amanda Cohen, please. She was in a car accident. She’s 18, has blond hair, blue eyes and she’s pregnant.” Roger asked hysterically as Mrs. Cohen followed him in a daze.
“Are you family?” the nurse asked looking up at him.
“She’s my fiancé and I’m the father of her baby, so yeah, I think that makes me family.” he yelled slamming his fist on the counter.
“I’m… I’m her mother. Is she OK? Can we see her?” Mrs. Cohen asked holding Roger’s arm.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Cohen. Your daughters injuries were very severe. We did everything we could, but the internal injuries were too extensive. She didn’t make it.” a doctor informed them coming out to speak to them.
“No, she can‘t... We’re getting married and having a baby. She can’t be gone. I love her. She’s my life and I’m hers.” Roger cried as he slid to the floor.
“I’m so sorry.” the doctor said standing over them.
“Oh, my little girl.” Mrs. Cohen cried kneeling down to hold Roger.
“They can’t be gone. They’re my life.” he cried with his head buried in his hands.
“I need to call Marcus. Oh my god, Mark.” she cried rubbing Roger’s back.
“Mark. I have to go get Mark.” Roger bolted up before running out of the hospital. He got in his car and drove to the Scarsdale Jewish Community Center to get Mark from his film class.
“Roger, what are you doing here? How come you’re not with Mandy? What‘s going on?” he asked getting into Roger’s car.
“She’s gone, Mark. Mandy... Mandy and the baby. They’re gone.” Roger said looking over at him.
“What are you talking about, they’re gone? What... what does that mean? Where did they go?” Mark asked confused.
“Mandy… got into a car accident. She… she died.” Roger said crying.
“No, she… she won’t drive. She’s scared to… She was looking forward to your wedding and your baby.” Mark said as he began to cry.
“She went to pick up her dress and then she came to see me in your moms car and then she was gonna go home and get ready. She… she got into an accident on the way home.” Roger said crying into his hands.
“No, she… she wouldn’t...” Mark said in disbelief.
“I’m sorry, Mark. She’s gone. They both are. I promised to protect them and I couldn’t...” Roger said turning to him. His voice was hoarse from crying.
“Where is she? Roger, where’s my sister?” Mark asked wiping his eyes.
“At the hospital. Your mom’s there. She called your dad.” Roger told him wiping his eyes but still crying.
“I need to see her. I need to see Mandy.” Mark said sitting up straight in his seat.
“OK Mark. We’ll go see her.” Roger said wiping his eyes again as he drove back to the hospital.
“I… I can’t believe that my sister is gone. What am I gonna do now? ” Mark asked crying again.
“I don’t know, Mark. She was my life. They both were. Without them I‘m nothing. I have nothing.” Roger said driving through his tears.
“I guess it’s just you and me now.” Mark replied wiping his eyes.
“I’ll take care of you, Mark. It’s what she always wanted me to do.” Roger said laughing to himself thinking about Amanda.
“Yeah, she always did want us to take care of each other.” Mark said laughing and crying at the same time.
“We’re here.” Roger said sitting outside the hospital as he began to cry again in his hands.
“I have to go in.” Mark told him getting out of the car as Roger stayed in the car crying.
“Oh, Mark. Amanda’s gone.” Mrs. Cohen told him wrapping her arms around him.
“I know, mom. Roger… Roger told me. He came and got me.” Mark said crying into his mothers shoulder.
“Where is Roger? Is he OK?” Mrs. Davis asked looking at Mark.
“I’m right here, mom. She’s… she’s gone. Her and our baby are gone.” he said crying as his mother wrapped her arms around him.
“I know, Mrs. Cohen called me. She told me everything, sweetie. I’m so sorry.” she told him caressing his back.
“I have to see them. I need to see my family.” Roger told her wiping his eyes with his arms.
“I’ll… go talk to someone.” Mrs. Cohen said going to the reception desk.
“I have to see them, mom. Me and Mandy were gonna get married tonight. We were gonna be together and raise our baby.” he told her crying more.
“I know, sweetie. I know. I’m so sorry.” Mrs. Davis asked crying with him.
“You can go in now, Roger. You can take as long as you need.” Mrs. Cohen said putting her arm around Roger.
“Thank you, Mrs. Cohen. Can Mark come with me?” he asked wiping his eyes again.
“Sure sweetie.” Mrs. Cohen said as Roger looked at Mark and they both started walking towards the room she was in. There was a lot of blood. On her clothes and the sheets. Her face was paler then usual and she looked like she was sleeping.
“Oh my God, Baby.” Roger said crying as he took her hand. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you. I promised to take care of you and our family and I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry we can’t get married and raise our baby together. I love you so much, Mandy. I’ll take care of Mark.” Roger said gently kissing her lips one last time crying as he caressed her belly.
“Hey Mandy. Don’t worry about Roger. I’ll make sure he’s OK. I’ll be his best friend. We’ll take care of each other. Just like you wanted us to.” Mark said crying as he looked back at Roger. “You’re the best sister a guy like me could have. Thank you for always standing up for me. I love you, Mandy.” he said kissing her cheek.
As Mark left the room, Roger stayed. He just sat next to her caressing her small hand. He reached into his pocket and took out the ring box that held Mandy’s wedding ring, He took the small wedding band out of it’s box and placed it on her finger. “I love you, Mandy. You are the love of my life. You are my heart and my soul. I will never forget you. Ever.” he told her crying as he kissed her hand before getting up and leaving the room.
“Roger, sweetie are you OK?” Mrs. Davis asked as Roger wondered out of the room and towards the exit. He didn’t say a word. He couldn’t. He just left the hospital and sat in his car.
“I’ll go with him.” Mark said chasing after him. He opened the door and sat in the passenger seat. His sisters seat.
“Mark, get the hell out of the car.” Roger snarled as he wiped his eyes.
“What are you gonna do?” Mark asked looking over at him.
“I need to get out of here. Everything reminds me of her. I can’t be here without her. I need to get out of Scarsdale.” Roger said beginning to cry again.
“But Roger, what about school? Your parents? Me? You can’t just leave like this.” Mark told him turning to him.
“I have to. There’s nothing here for me anymore. Mandy was the only thing that made Scarsdale bearable and now she’s gone. I can’t be here anymore.” Roger told him still crying.
“Where are you gonna go?” Mark asked crying with him.
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go to the city. Mandy always believed I could be a rock star and that’s where she thought I could do it. For her I’m gonna do it. I have to.” Roger told him wiping his eyes again.
“What about the funeral? You’re not going?” Mark asked looking over at him confused.
“I can’t do it, Mark. I… I can’t bury her and watch her leave forever. I just can’t. I… I have to go now.” he looked over at him.
“Just make sure you keep in touch, OK? How am I supposed to keep my promise to my sister if I never see you again?” Mark asked wiping his eyes as well.
“I will. I just can’t stay here anymore. There’s too much of her here.” Roger said starting his car before wiping his eyes again.
“Take care of yourself and be careful.” Mark told him opening the door.
“Thanks, Mark. Just give me a head start OK? I have to go home and get my stuff first. Just tell them I went for a drive or something.” Roger told him holding Mark’s arm before he left the car.
“No problem, Roger. It’s the least I can do. I owe you. You made her happy. Happier than I ever thought she would be in this damn town.” Mark said smiling faintly at him.
“She gave me a life. She saw that I wasn’t a freak like Margaret, Addie and Jamie thought I was. I was nothing until she said yes.” Roger said quietly looking up at him. As he pulled away from the hospital he went back to his house and took everything of value. He grabbed all of his clothes and threw them in his duffel bag and gathered up all of the pictures and momentos of Amanda he had. He looked around and left for New York City.
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