For The Love of Easton (For the Love Of #2) - A.M. Hargrove



My hands quivered uncontrollably when the knock on the door came. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans before I opened it. My boyfriend, Stuart, sauntered in like he owned the place. We were in our second year of college and it was late March. Sometime throughout this year, he’d changed. The sweet, kind boy I’d fallen in love with in high school had replaced me with alcohol as his best friend. As if that weren’t bad enough, along with the heavy drinking came a vicious temper. My belly rollercoastered as I thought about the times he had shoved me around recently. What would his reaction be when I told him the news?

“Hey, S-Stu. How was your day?” The stammer in my voice matched the quiver in my hands.

“Better now,” he said, tipping the ever-present bottle of Jack into his mouth. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how he could tolerate the stuff. “So, what was so fucking important that I had to interrupt my partying to come over here?”

From the looks and sounds of things, he hadn’t interrupted anything. He’d detoured here on the way to a fraternity party. Besides the drinking, that was another huge part of our problem. Hell, if I were honest, we were riddled with issues, but after he heard what I had to tell him, all of them would be minor in comparison.

“Maybe you should sit.”

“Fine.” He dropped to the sofa my parents had given me when I’d moved into this apartment. One year of dorm life had been more than enough for me. I looked him over and for the first time wondered how I’d ever fallen in love with this man. His clothing was unkempt, his hair dirty, and he didn’t appeal to me at all. But I had to do this.

“Well, what is it? I don’t want to hang around here all night.” He took another slug out of his bottle.

Might as well get to the point and get it over with. “Right. So, I, uh, I’m pregnant.”

He stared at me a moment, then asked with a hard edge, “Is it mine?”

My heart pinched. He was the only man I’d ever been with, only now I questioned my judgment. I’d lost my virginity to him when we’d been seniors in high school and decided to attend the same university. We’d vowed our love for each other then. What had happened to the kind boy I’d grown up with? Fury crept into my veins and I exploded, putting any fear of him behind me.

“Of course it’s yours, you idiot.” I glared at him. “How can you even ask that? You know damn well I haven’t been with anyone else.” Then something made me ask, “Have you?”

He smirked, then shrugged. That was my answer. He wasn’t the idiot, I was. Rage’s fierce claws sank further into me and I flew at him, hands balled into fists. “You asshole.”

As I made to strike him, he grabbed my arm in an iron grip and said, “Don’t even think about it.” He was on his feet faster than I’d thought possible and shoved me to the floor.

When I landed on my butt, it pissed me off even more. I pushed myself up and went at him again, only I wasn’t expecting him to retaliate with his fists. My head snapped back as he connected with my jaw. Stuart wasn’t scrawny anymore. He had put on weight after we entered college, about twenty-five pounds’ worth of it, and most of it was muscle. Stars spun, but he didn’t stop with that single punch. He hit me again and again until I cowered on the floor, curling into a ball.

Lucky for me, that was when my roommate walked in with her boyfriend.

“What the fuck!” Stacey shouted as she ran to me, knelt down, and cradled my bruised head, while her boyfriend threw Stuart out of the apartment. They argued briefly, but I was too dazed to comprehend what was said.

“We’re going to the hospital,” she said.

“No, just give me a minute.” My breath wheezed as I slowly moved.

“Let me call the police.” Stacey ran her hand over my jaw and I winced. “You could have a broken jaw and maybe some ribs.”

I touched my cheek, which stung with pain. As I thought about this pathetic situation, I broke into sobs.

“Hey, everything’s going to be all right. You don’t ever have to see him again.”

“Yes, I do. You don’t get it. I’m pregnant with his baby.”

Stunned eyes