Unchosen (Chosen #2)

By: Alisa Mullen

PROLOGUE





Choice and change are synonymous in life. At any given moment, we are forced to choose between different paths and whichever one you decide to venture down, there will be an end result. Perhaps it will be a joyful prize. Perhaps it will be a life changing consequence. My path led me to places where dark encompassed my soul and when it ended, I could not comprehend how to move on. I suppose that is where my faith took over and I had to accept and say, “Well, shit. This sucks.”

My chosen path was with Teagan Gallagher but in the end, he didn’t choose me. My choice to love Teagan resulted in becoming a mother. The experience is scary and I am left with just one road to choose. I am the unchosen one. The baby that grows inside me was admonished by its father. I have no other choice now but to love my child and survive the pain of being left behind. My well groomed reckless behavior led me to a road of stability and responsibility. So as an experienced traveler, my advice is to always remember that your consequences will lead you back to that one choice you made in the past. Take caution when you choose your paths because you never know where they will lead.

I sat on a Boston city bench outside the tall white granite skyscraper where I worked on Custom House Street. As time passed, I raked my eyes up and down the street in earnest. My older brother, Conner, was ten minutes late and with Boston’s notorious four o’clock traffic, I felt a sinking anxiety that I would be late for my doctor’s appointment. Frigging Conner, I thought. Of all the days to rely on anyone but me to get me across town, it would be the day I find out if this colossal human growing inside me is male or female. Custom House Street was a one way street but that didn’t deter me from looking at all the side roads it met up and down the block.

Short cuts were the key to navigating in downtown Boston. Trick streets that only knowledgeable drivers knew about outsmarted the standstill lights and the unaffected pedestrians crossing the road. I imagined that my Geo Prism would choose today to fall apart, just as an added bonus. That seemed fitting since I was nearly falling apart and it had nothing to do with cars or traffic. I was going to be a single mother and the proof was undeniable.

It was a blistering cold and windy day in Boston but I was a walking furnace. My ankles felt like they were going to burst out of my boots. The water retention women talked about in those pregnancy books was no joke. This side effect of pregnancy was probably the worst of my symptoms. There wasn’t a pair of shoes in my closet that fit at the end of each day. For months, I complained of all my pregnancy ailments and while the ankles topped the charts, sitting down and standing up with a watermelon on my pelvis was pretty rough, too. I was a whale. There is a sound a whale makes and I was ready to learn the massive mammal’s cries of agony.

“Look at that poor pregnant girl on the bench, looking lost and fat,” I murmured to myself. Someone made a gurgling noise behind me. Peering behind me, I saw an older homeless man who obviously hadn’t showered in a week. His eyes were charged up and his step shaky. I gave a half smile to the man and turned back to try to see Conner and my car. Anytime now. Please?

“Got change, darlin’?” he asked. I nodded, quickly dug into my purse and handed over some coins. The man gave me a half toothless smile and rubbed his dirty hands down his pants to accept the money. I could smell the booze and the sweat and oh, how that smell was so familiar. He leaned into my personal space a bit closer than I preferred and I stiffened.

“God bless you and honey, you don’t look lost,” he said, running his dirty fingers through his hair. “Maybe just not yet found.” He winked at me and turned away.

I stared after the man, dumbfounded at his response. Not yet found? I quickly sat back on the bench. I regarded the man as he slowly and drunkenly made his way back towards the center of downtown. Did that guy just totally Jedi mind trick me? Maybe that was some sort of sign to buck up and be happy. Maybe not. I could so totally rock the homeless scene if I didn’t have a baby growing inside me. If wisdom came from walking the streets, then shit, my days as a financial advisor were for nothing.

I quickly called bull shit on myself. My days as a financial advisor hadn’t been for nothing. I came to the conclusion soon after Teagan left to go home to Ireland that I needed a paycheck. I gathered up my pregnant ass one day and went to a seminar about the occupation of a licensed financial advisor, a.k.a. stock broker. Think the movie, “Boiler Room.” Ah, yes, the magnificent financial triumphs of making money from other people’s money.

I was the only female in the seminar but I wasn’t threatened or intimidated. I needed to make a good living for me and my baby. Since Boston was the little finance sister to New York City’s Wall Street, I worked exceedingly hard to pass the Series 7 license exam in the shortest turnaround time in history. I desperately needed a slice of the money pie that was virtually changing accounts every second of every work day in the financial district. I looked down at my belly and reminded myself I once was temporarily without a home. Ironically, I was less lonely then.

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