Some of you may know this story from the website. I have decided that I'm going to start posting it here. Word of caution: I'm not even done with chapter three yet, so the updates on this story may be few and far between while I get the kinks out and write the story. I'm still going to be posting installments of Love Story at the same time, so no fear for those that like the story and are following it. As a matter of fact, I'm not going to pick this story back up until I finish Redemption and start on the last book, titled Lost Dreams, so there will be a lag time of about two weeks before the next chapter gets posted.

This may not be a traditional romance, where the hero doesn't sleep with anybody but the heroine. This story is like life and sometimes, it gets complicated. I hope you enjoy and as always, don't be too shy to review.

Prologue

Devlyn walked home slowly, her mind in a fog. She barely noticed what was going on around her. She'd just come from her check-up at the clinic, with earth shattering news. She was pregnant! Her mind still found it too hard to grasp. How could she be pregnant? She was only 17! She stopped, taking a moment to cool off in the shade of a magnolia tree and think. She dropped her bag to the ground and slid down the trunk of the tree. She pulled her knees up to her chest and placed her head on them, letting her body relax. She didn't know how she could to break the news to her family. What would her father say? She brought her head up to stare straight ahead, not really seeing anything.

Squaring her shoulders, Devlyn got up and grabbed her bag, trudging home. She would just have to face whatever came. Her steps faltered when she thought of the baby's father. Should she tell him? They'd been together for nine months and no one even knew. They'd met at the school's Homecoming dance the year before and had been inseparable ever since, though in secret. As the youngest son of one of the wealthier white families in Orangeburg and her family just an average black family with three kids, she didn't know how he would take it. That was the main reason they'd had to keep it so quiet.

She pushed all those thoughts aside and kept walking home. She needed to worry about her parents' reaction first.

Devlyn nudged open the door to her house and walked quickly to the room she shared with her sister. She hoped no one noticed her and let out a quiet sigh of relief when she made it to her bed with no incident. She lay down, curled into a ball and closed her eyes, hoping to calm her beating heart. Her parents would be home in a few hours and she needed to be composed.

~***~

That night after dinner, Devlyn pulled her parents aside.

"Mom, dad, I have something to tell you." Devlyn could feel her hands start to shake and her stomach was doing somersaults. She looked down at the kitchen floor.

"What is it honey?" Devlyn's mother reached out, gently squeezing her daughter's shoulder.

Devlyn looked up at her father, her eyes pleading for understanding.

"I'm…I went to the doctor today to find out why I've been feeling so sick lately." She noticed her mother's hand tightening on her shoulder.

"I'm…I'm pregnant." Devlyn was unprepared for the sharp pain in her cheek as her mother slapped her.

"How could you?" her mother asked shrilly, the disappointment in her voice crushing Devlyn.

Devlyn looked at her father, flinching at the look on his face. She'd never seen such rage and distress on his face. She shrank farther back from him, afraid of her father for the first time.

"Get out. Pack you things and get out." Her father's voice was deathly final.

She looked to her mother for help, only to have her turn her head and avoid her eyes. She faced her father.

"Dad…please…" Devlyn felt the tears start to fall.

"Shut up! I want you out. How dare you bring such shame on this family!" Her father shouted, face dark with anger.

Devlyn heard a sniffle and looked past her father to see her little sister standing in the kitchen doorway, crying, clutching at the teddy bear she'd just given her on her seventh birthday. Devlyn moved to comfort her, but her father's hand on her forearm stopped her.

"I said get out." Her father hissed through clenched teeth.

"Where…where am I supposed to go?" Devlyn choked out.

Her father dropped her arm; stepping away from her. "Go to the boy's house that did this for all I care." He turned and walked from the kitchen.

~***~

Devlyn found herself standing in front of a massive oak door two hours later. She raised her hand, hesitating momentarily before knocking on the door. She didn't know why she was there. She just didn't have anywhere else to turn. Her friends didn't want anything to do with her and her family had turned their backs on her. She didn't have any money or anywhere to go. She didn't really expect him to do anything for her. She just wanted to let him know; see what he thought she should do.

She stepped back when the door swung open unexpectedly, revealing a tall, slim, dark haired woman. With her hair perfectly done in a sharp angled bob and clothing well tailored to her slender body, Devlyn felt her throat close up. She looked Devlyn up and down, disgust plain in her eyes. Devlyn gave a shiver.

"We already gave at the office." The woman's voice was cold enough to freeze, a sharp bite to it.

"Mrs. Goth, I'm here to see your son, Ryan." Devlyn have a small smile, hoping that the woman wouldn't slam the door in her face.

For a moment, the woman froze. Her eyes were calculating as she stared at Devlyn. "I think you should come in." Mrs. Goth stepped back, impatiently motioning for Devlyn to come in.

Hesitantly, Devlyn stepped inside, standing in the corner by the door.

Mrs. Goth turned and walked down the hall, never glancing back at Devlyn. She passed by an ornate wood chest, trailing her fingers over it as she walked by, as if showing what she had that Devlyn didn't. She opened a door on her left, stepping into the room.

Devlyn stood in her spot awkwardly, not knowing what to do. After a minute, she followed after her, steps hesitant.

Mrs. Goth turned to look at Devlyn, slender fingers stroking the desk behind her. She eyed Devlyn as she shifted from foot to foot, the corners of her mouth curving up as she enjoyed the nervousness Devlyn displayed.

"Let's cut to the chase. I know who you are. You're the girl my son has been sneaking out to see." The look on Mrs. Goth's face dared Devlyn to deny it.

"I…" Devlyn began.

"Ryan isn't here. He left this afternoon for Switzerland. He won't be back anytime soon. He's going to school there." Mrs. Goth gave a smirk at the stricken look on Devlyn's face.

"Wha…I don't understand." Devlyn's eyes went wide, mind whirling with confusion. Why hadn't he told her? Maybe it had all been a lie.

Mrs. Goth walked around the desk to sit in the plush leather chair. She reached into the desk drawer and pulled out a big check binder. Opening the cover, she flipped past check stubs until she got to a blank check. Pulling out a platinum pen, she looked at Devlyn.

"My son has a bright future. He's going to go places. Hopefully run his father's business when he gets his degree. He does not need to be saddled with someone like you."

Devlyn stared at Mrs. Goth, before dropping her gaze to the floor. Humiliated to tears with the way the woman spoke to her, she could only let her, too intimidated to do or say anything. She tried to wrap her mind around the facts that she had just found out. Ryan had left, left her alone with this burden and she had nowhere to go, no money, no family or friends. What was she supposed to do now? Devlyn looked up when a blue piece of paper caught her eye. Mrs. Goth stood in front of her, waving a blue check in her face. Confused, but with a hint of understanding coming through, she stared at Mrs. Goth, not wanting to believe this was happening.

"Here is a check for $10,000.00. Take it and never contact my son. I know you kind of people need money."

Devlyn looked at the woman, her mind warring with itself. On one hand, she did need the money, now that she no longer had a home. But she didn't want this mean, cold woman to think she could just be bought off. She had pride and she had some self-esteem. All that was worth nothing if she didn't have a way to take care of herself and her child, her mind reminded her. She resigned herself to what she had to do. With trembling hands, Devlyn reached out, hot tears falling from her eyes as she took the check.

"Good girl. You can leave now." She sneered at the young black woman before turning her back.

Devlyn stared at the retreating back, tears falling freely, before slowly walking out of the room and out of the house.