I pick up a brown and light green carseat with a floral design and polka dots and set it in the cart. I look down at my very well rounded stomach and force myself not to cry, moving on to find a crib. Finding the perfect crib, changing table, and dresser set wasn't hard, the hard part was trying to lift it. Lifting somethin' at eight and a half months pregnant was neither fun nor easy. "Let me help you with that, ma'am." I hear a very sexy masculine voice say before the weight is lifted off my arms and placed into my cart.

"T-Thank you." I manage to stutter as I see the amazing uniform clad body the sexy voice belongs to.

"No problem ma'am. Do you need help gettin' the rest of it?"

"You don't have to do that. I'm sure you have better things to do." I stare down at my stomach, trying to figure out if I had butterflies or if it was my daughter.

"I don't mind. You don't need to be liftin' this stuff anyways."

"Goin' to have to to get it in my house." I mumble softly.

"Not if you let me help you. I'll even help you put it up."

"So what's your story, ma'am?" he asks, well into putting the crib together.

"Well I'm sixteen, eight and a half months pregnant with a little girl who I'm namin' Ryder Faith, my mom and dad kicked me out when I told them so I found this place and I work at the diner after school. I wouldn't trade my daughter for anything in the world and I can't wait to meet her. She will likely never know the guy who fathered her because he didn't want her, didn't want to know her and left but we're better off without him. I'll be seventeen in June and my name's heather. I have one older brother; he's been my best friend through everything and he's helped me when I really needed it. I can't stand when women who smoke while they're pregnant and Ryder will not be smoked around. I wanted to be a navy nurse when I graduate high school but Ryder had different plans for me. I used to attend Central Hardin but I now attend Westport TAPP."

"Damn, you have to be the toughest sixteen year old I've met in my life." He says, finishing up the crib.

"Not really. What's your story, marine?"I ask, laying my hand on my stomach and watching him.

"Smart too," he smirks, "I'm a marine, as you have figured out. My name's Levi Brayden LaBlonc. I have one older brother; he's in the air force and also my hero. I love kids. I don't smoke but I do have a drink every now and then, when I'm just gettin' home but it's not a lot. I'm in church every Sunday I'm home. I can't stand men who abuse women. I love my job and my family's everything. I have my own place but most of the time I'm home I stay at my parents' and help dad on the farm. And I'm nineteen by the way."

"A marine AND a down home country boy? Don't get much better than that. I love your accent by the way, it's really cute."

"Thank ya ma'am"

"You're welcome sugar. You want somethin' to eat?"


"Oh sweet Jesus, that was some of the best spaghetti I've eat in my life. You're an amazin' cook."

"Thanks. My mom taught me how to cook." I reply, turning the color of a tomato.

"You're very welcome. She done a great job."

"I reckon. Do you want to watch a movie?" I glance at the clock, seven. We could watch one before it got too late.


"I won't make you suffer through a chick flick, I promise." I say, waddlin' my way to the livin' room. I waddle my way over to the DVD's, put Pure Country in, waddle over to the couch and carefully sit down beside him.

I wake up to the end credits rollin'. I soon realize my head's on Levi's chest and his arms are wrapped around me, his hands layin' on my stomach. I blink back tears and carefully raise my head to find him asleep as well, his head laid back on the couch. I smile slightly, layin' my head back on his chest gently and placin' my hands on top of his. "Hey Ryder, what do you think about him?" I whisper quietly, tryin' not to wake him up. She kicks against our hands rather ferociously, my little soccer player.

"Strong little girl, ain't she?" Levi asks, lookin' down at our hands.

"I call her my little soccer player. But at least this way I know she's healthy."

"Yes ma'am. It's getting' kind of late and you need your sleep so I'll head home." The sudden sting of loneliness I feel surprises me.

"Ok" I reply softly, missin' the warmth of his body as soon as he moves.

"Do ya'll want to come over for supper tomorrow? You, your parents and your brother. You don't have to bring anything but yourselves."

"Are you sure you're up to that?"

"Yes sir. I'll text you in the mornin' so you can let me know for sure."

"Ok. Take it easy and don't overdo it, don't hurt yourself or little Miss Ryder." I blush and nod.

"Be careful. Text me when you get home so I know you're ok." I grab the pen and write my number on his hand.

"Yes ma'am. See ya soon."

"See ya soon." I watch him as he leaves, feelin' the butterflies in my stomach flutterin' around. I change clothes and lay down, as happy as I could remember bein' in a while. My thoughts drift to one very cute marine as I drift off to sleep.