What Are Your Priorities?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of irony, love, and life.

Submitted: January 08, 2012

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Submitted: January 08, 2012

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“Shelby Harris to front office”, said the school secretary as the student body of Hillcrest High School scrambled through the hallways, heading to lunch. Shelby was the girl everybody wanted to be, not who everybody had been with. Top of her class, varsity cheerleader, and head of the Senior Beta Club, and valedictorian, she had everything going for her. She was being called to office not because she had done something against the rules, but she had received her seventh college acceptation, the most any senior had received this school year. Only one thing held Shelby back from her full potential; she was easily influenced by others.

By this time, it was mid- November and her two year anniversary to her boyfriend, Tauren, was slowly approaching. They were the “Bella and Edward” couple, they both had their individual issues, but when they were together it seemed so perfect. Tauren was the head of the football team, HOSA Vice President, and third in his class. Just as any other high school relationships, Shelby and Tauren had their issues. Through countless rumors of cheating, Shelby stayed by Tauren’s side through it all. Not to be mistaken, Shelby also had a few personal issues that complicated their relationship even more. Her mother, a high school drop-out, had gotten pregnant in her junior year of high school. Shelby was determined not to make the same mistake. Many times Tauren and Shelby had discussed “going to the next level”, but Shelby remained firm to values.

Shelby’s parents were the “cool parents” of the neighborhood, which Shelby did not like at all. They allowed Shelby all of the freedoms anyone could dream of, every teenagers dream. Also, money was no option with Harris family, which they constantly reminded the town of by going on expensive trips during the summer, and purchasing new cars every other month. This was not the life that Shelby intended on living once she finished college. She wanted a simple life; a moderate sized home, a husband, two children, and possibly a pet of some sort.

Just as most high school graduates say, her last months of high school were gone before she even noticed. She dreaded leaving her parents’ home to live on campus, but she slowly grew accustomed to the fast-paced campus life. During orientation at the University of South Carolina, she met an extremely friendly girl named Chelsea. At the time, she did not know that she had met her new roommate and a lifelong friend. They quickly developed a close friendship, even Tauren and Tyson, Chelsea’s boyfriend of four years, became friends.

“Good Morning!” said Chelsea, hopping into Shelby’s bed.

“Hi there, Pink Panther!” said Shelby, jokingly making fun of Chelsea’s pink sleep pants. Even though Shelby wasn’t feeling the best, Chelsea finally got her up to go for a morning run, an activity that had become customary being roommates with Chelsea. Just like every other morning run, they stopped at Starbucks to grab a quick cup of coffee and chat with their friend Josh, their favorite barista and also a student at the University of South Carolina. Surprisingly, they were all English majors and had most of the same courses. The event that most freshmen dread was slowly approaching, midterm week. This meant a weekend of cramming for this trio. No partying, boyfriends, or girlfriends for at least thirty-six hours!

After midterm week was over, everyone was rushing home to be with their parents during the holidays. Coming from the same hometown, Shelby and Tauren both decided to take the two-hour ride home together. Before they decided to leave campus, Tauren had a little surprise for their anniversary one afternoon during lunch in the student union. As they ate, along with Chelsea and Tyson, Tauren planned to perform one of Shelby’s favorite songs, “I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family, also featured in her favorite horror/comedy move Scream 2. Tyson asked Tauren, “How has your day been so far, Tauren?”

Tauren stood up and said, “This morning, I woke up to this feeling. I didn’t know how to deal with it. So I just decided to myself”. Gradually bursting into song, he leaped on the table and belted, “I think I Love you! So what am I afraid of? I’m afraid I’m not sure of a love there’s no cure for.”

Blushing from excitement and nervousness, Shelby pleaded, “Baby, I love you too, but please get down before you hurt yourself or somebody else!”

After that episode, everything was fine for a few months until February. After a heated argument, Chelsea decided to move out from the apartment from which she and Shelby had grown so close. Since Chelsea was gone, Tauren decided to move in with Shelby, even though the couple’s parents did not agree with cohabitating at all. It was now Valentine’s Day and Tauren had gone all out to make sure this would be a night Shelby wouldn’t forget. Having come from a wealthy background, with Tauren, money was no object. Every class that Shelby arrived at, there sat a single rose, each a different color. Tauren had learned from his psychology professor that a single rose depicts devotion and loyalty to one. Shelby was extremely delighted to find a life-sized stuffed white teddy bear in her the back seat of her car, even though it scared her at first. With the stuffed animal there was a short letter attached that was signed, “…”. Needless to say, Shelby had found the guy she wanted to marry.

That night, Shelby made a conscious decision to finally give in to Tauren’s invitation to take their relationship “to the next level”. This came as a huge surprise to Tauren, who had even stopped pressuring Shelby about it. Avoiding the subject with his friends, Tauren would often tell them that “We’re waiting for the right time…” and that they did. After the romantic lakeside dinner Tauren had arranged, they made their way back to their home. Tauren had sent a few of his friends to the house to set everything up so the night would be perfect. Once Shelby entered she knew she had made the right decision. Rose petals, candles, and candies all filled the living room. As they made their way up stairs, Shelby whispered, pulling him closer to her,

“I love you more than you’ll ever know…”

It was now the middle of March and Shelby had become sick almost every morning. Her nausea and vomiting were so bad sometimes that she couldn’t even make it to class on time. Tauren decided it was time to for her to see a doctor, no matter how many times she told him that she was fine. One early morning they finally found the time to make a visit to their doctor. Once they arrived, Shelby signed in, and then they both took a seat. Tauren picked up a pregnancy magazine; he studied the cover as if he was in a trance. He was thinking that Shelby could’ve been pregnant, but soon dismissed the thought from is mind. “Shelby Harris, the doctor is ready for you” said the nurse peaking around the corner.

Following the nurse down the hallway, all possible causes of Shelby’s conditions were racing through both Shelby’s and Tauren’s mind. The nurse led the couple into the doctor’s office. Once Dr. Wolcott entered the room, he began asking many questions; asking had she ate anything that may have upset her stomach or unprotected sex. She answered the contrary to both questions. When she did lose her virginity, she knew well enough to make Tauren wear a condom.

They began running several tests on Shelby to find out what may be causing her to feel this way. Every test came back negative, except one; the pregnancy test. Overwhelmed due to the news, Shelby was distraught. Both Tauren and Shelby were questioning how this could’ve happened when they had only been together once and they also used protection. After about twenty minutes, the couple was now calm, making plans on how they should handle this situation. Being from a deep religious background, they both came to the conclusion that abortion was no option. It was either adoption or parent the child together. They both came to a conclusion that they would take the risk and raise the child together, under one conclusion. They would have to be married before the child was born.

Basically everyone at the university knew about Shelby’s pregnancy, even though she had only told a few people. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to return to school the following semester, Shelby’s spent countless hours a night in the campus library studying material she had received from a few professors who understood her situation. She was determined to return to college in the spring of the upcoming year. During this tough time in her life, Shelby had also found her way to God. Every Sunday she could be found at church; praying that God will show her the path that he wanted her to follow.

During the months of her pregnancy, everything seemed to be going well for Shelby, besides the fact that she may not finish college. This all changed one day, during her eighth month of pregnancy when Shelby was hit with a rush of pain as she was showering. Her mother and father rushed her to the Emergency Room, where they waited nervously for test results. It turns out that Shelby was severely dehydrated. The doctors stressed to Shelby how important it was to drink a sufficient amount of water during her pregnancy. This episode led to Shelby going into premature labor. Even though the child was healthy enough to survive out of the womb, Shelby was traumatized because how bad things took a turn for the worst. Though Shelby and Tauren had been apart for weeks, it really upset Shelby that he didn’t even make an effort to leave work earlier to be with her during this time.

Shelby struggled to accept the fact that she may not complete her college career and live the life she had intended. That thought ran constantly in Shelby’s mind. One day she looked in the mirror and noticed something she had never seen or expected to see. She had become everything she despised. She was an unmarried, unemployed college dropout, just as her mother was when Shelby was born. Even though, she would be well taken care of by her parents, Shelby was determined to find employment. From the local fast-food restaurants to the high-end offices on the other side of town, she applied for almost any position that they offered. There was one thing holding Shelby back from taking some of the lowest paying jobs she was offered, her pride.

It was now January of the following year, the baby had been born and Shelby and Tauren were still not married. Shelby slowly lost her determination to finish college. The relationship between Shelby and Tauren was now in turmoil, but they both agreed on being cordial for the sake of their child. Both of their dreams had become just a dusty book in a library. Shelby had come to learn that no degree could compare to the love that she shares with her child. Even though she didn’t live up to her own expectations of not being married by the time she has her first child, just as her mother, she was happy; being successful was now the least of her concerns, her priorities now rest in her arms.


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