Chapter 1: Beginning


My story begins 9 months twelve days and sixteen hours ago. Walking to my car to meet up with the guys after the first football game of the season. I’ve got my helmet under my arm. That’s right, I play football. I’m the only girl to ever make the team in this Podunk town. That’s what got me screwed. Literally. I’m 6 feet and 200 pounds of muscle and sinew. I’m also a lesbian. That didn’t help my case any. I’ve had to fight off stupid redneck pricks that think they can “straighten me out” since my 10Th grade year. I thought that throwing the winning touchdown of the opening game would earn me a measure of respect. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Still moving to fast for you? Let me go back a little farther. My name is Amanda Nicole Wrigth. Call me Amanda, Mandy, Nikki I really don’t care. There are also some nastier names I’ve been called but I’ll let you be creative. I was born in San Diego California. I was born to two people barely old enough to be parents. Nick and Issy. A long forgotten football start and his cheer captain that decided to run away together. Summer of my sophomore year we moved back to their home town, (small town), Texas. I left my home, my girlfriend, and all my friends. I exchanged it all for a football uniform.
So here I am. Two hours after giving birth to a beautiful baby boy that my family has unanimously decided to name Marshall Evan Wright. He looks just like his daddy, or so I assume because my father says he looks like no one in my family. When the nurse brings him in for me to see him for the first time I am hit by a sudden overwhelming wave of pure dread at the thought that I am about to hold a mini replica of my attacker. But as soon as the nurse lays him in my arms I can do nothing but fall in love with this blanket wrapped, squirming bundle of flesh. My flesh. The baby opens his eyes and mine lock on. A sickening rush of relief floods through my system as I realize that they are not the eyes of the man I had believed to be my attacker for the last nine months. No I do not recognize these eyes. A deep emerald green with a ring of pure gold around the center. They are the eyes of a Celtic god. How something so purely beautiful could arise from something so demonic amazes me. Anyway, I’m healthy, the baby is healthy and with no unexpected complications I should be out of here in a few days with my baby safely in my arms.
My dad pulls up to the hospital doors where they have me sitting In a wheelchair with my baby in my arms. Stupid hospital policy. He’s managed to get the baby seat appropriately secured into the driver’s side rear seat, where I can see it and reach it if necessary. My mom has already claimed the seat next to the baby. As we pull into our driveway I realize that my entire family has been struck by a hardcore case of baby fever. Cars, trucks, and SUV’s line both sides of the street and are parked all over the yard. Tears prick my eyes at this show of support and as soon as I step out of the car I have to turn back and busy myself rearranging and unfastening the baby from his seat so that I can recompose myself. I hand Marshall to my dad to do the traditional “initial presentation”. As my dad announces his name and weight all the men cheer and come up to make comments on how healthy and hefty he looks. There was more than one, “yep that’s good Marshall football stock right there” comment.
As the guys all wander back to their beer and football my mom, aunts, cousins, and grandparents all usher me into the house and directly into a padded rocking chair that has been set where I can see everything going on but I’m out of the way. All the younger cousins want to hold the baby so they all take turns sitting in the rocking chair and holding him for a few seconds. I hand Marshall off to my cousin Nikki.
“Hey do you mind watching out for him for a little while? I need to take a bit of a nap and I know everyone is still not done oooohing and aaaaahing over him. His bassinet is right there just please watch the younger kids. If he starts crying you can come get me.”
“Yeah no problem. I’d love to be the first to baby sit little Marshall.” Nikki says with a grin.
“You’re a lifesaver Nik.”
I find myself wandering aimlessly through the house. Wandering into the nursery room, I take it all in. my family went insane in here. The walls are a soft baby blue with three bands of hand painted border going around at the top, middle and bottom of the wall. The bands are thanks to my aunt Judy, the painter. The border is a slightly darker blue with pink diamonds in it. The diamonds are alternating frogs and ducks with a pink background. The pink was my only stipulation in the room. The boy had to have some pink. The crib is solid cherry wood built by my nephew John. The blankets are a soft pastel yellow with frogs on them. They even got him frog slippers and a duck hooded bath towel. The frog and duck color scheme matches his eyes. A fact I had not considered before. As I walk through the rest of my house I have to chuckle at my own “mommy alert sense” that brought each sharp edge and protruding corner into sharp focus. My mom had already put the little clear plastic shock protectors into all the outlets and put baby locks on all the down-low cabinets. He wouldn’t be mobile for a while yet but I appreciated her sense of foresight. Sitting down on my bed a lump had formed in my throat. In a foggy daze in noticed my football shaped phone and reached for it. My fingers automatically dialed a number that had always been a failsafe when I needed someone to talk to in the past.
The all too familiar voice dashed my reverie to bits.
“Look I don’t know who you are but unless you want the cops called on you don’t call my house again got it? I’m writing your number….oh my god Manda! Manda talk to me. Look I know it’s you. I could never forget your number. Manda please…” a panicked sense of desperation was creeping into her voice. My fingers had dialed the number of my long time girlfriend, Heather. When I found out I was pregnant I had stopped taking her calls, ignored the emails, the texts, the IM’s, and I had even returned her letter unopened. I just couldn’t deal.
“Hi Heather,” She broke down into tears, “I’m so sorry for what I did to you. It’s a long story and one I don’t want to tell over the phone but I have a baby boy now, it’s not what you think though. Believe me, not my doing. Can you come?”
“Yes, I’ll be there Friday ok?” Heather was crying softly. “I still love you ok?”
“I never stopped loving you Heather. I just couldn’t deal. I love you. I’ll let me dad know you’re on your way.”
I fell into a deep sleep clinging tightly to the phone. When I woke up my mom was stroking the hair away from my face.
“Have a good nap?”
“Yeah no dreams. Hey mom…”
“What Hun?”
“I um…I called Heather. She’s coming in Friday. I didn’t plan on doing it but I did.”
“Good. It’s about time the two of you got back on track. Should a get another room ready or….?” My mom asked with a smile.
“I think we should get one ready just in case. Or at least throw a mattress on the floor in here for me. She can sleep in my bed.” I was unceasingly amazed at how accepting my mom was. Any other mom would have freaked out to know that someone I hadn’t talked to in nine moths was coming to see me.
I floated through the next two days in a state of bliss. The family was amazing at balancing helpfulness with leaving Marshall and I enough time to bond. I had worried about my ability to change his diaper or get puked on without barfing but on the occasions it did happened my mommy instincts just got it done. Going to bed on Thursday night I didn’t intend to go to sleep. I was planning on pulling an all-nighter to make sure I was awake when Heather got there. I was all cuddled up in my bed with one of my favorite books. The last time I looked at the clock it was 10:30.

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