Um... Better late than never? Seriously guys, i'm so sorry for making you wait this long. You've probably all forgotten about me anyway. I wish I could make this better for you guys but I seem to have lost my spark. Still, I appreciate every one of you.

Our last presenter today is... Ms Wise. Can you come up here Cassie?"

The class applauded me half-heartedly, giving me wary glances out of the corner of their eyes. I could understand their trepidation. I had been gone for a couple months, and of course, they had no idea why.

I tugged at the waist of my dress, straightening the fabric. The day was here. I was going to present my project.

I opened my mouth to begin. "When we were given this project-"

But hold up. I should probably go back and summarize the last couple of weeks.

1. The scar. Oh yes, the scar. A C-section takes a while to heal, apparently. Which of course, set me extremely behind in my homework.

2. The homework I had was awful. Trying to take care of a baby (two babies!) and catch up was the worst, and for once in my life, I was going to summer school to make up the credits.

3. Seth. I'd like to say that we had properly made up and gotten back together, but that never really happened. He, however, remained my good friend along with Lena.

Speaking of Lena, she sat in the front row, even though we both enjoyed the back, just to give my encouragement. I appreciated it immensely.

I cleared my throat nervously and started over. "When, um, we were given this project, I didn't know what to do." I clicked to the first slide on my PowerPoint, showing my messy desk, and my crumpled up pieces of paper. They weren't actually from the project, but no one had to know that.

I continued, going off of my note cards I had written. "I was supposed to study the theme of social interactions. So I had the, um, genius idea to become pregnant."

This got me a couple of chuckles, and when I looked up, there was a sea of reactions. Some unsurprised faces, because obviously I had been pregnant. A couple of girls looked horrified, but mostly everyone looked mystified. I decided to take it as a good sign.

I began to click slides as a spoke, showing pictures I had taken of my growing belly. I stopped around the four month mark.

"I had a sources take notes of what people were saying about me," I said, "And then, around this time, people started to get really... Mean."

I clicked to the next slide, which had an array of quotes on it.
"Is she pregnant or just fat?"
"Oh my God, ew. Who would do that with her?"
I clicked to the next slide which showed a picture of my locker when the word 'whore' had been written on it in bright red sharpie.

A couple of people glanced at Mr. Everett, but he didn't even blink at the swears on my slide.

"That's one thing I learned from this project," I said, "Is the difference in adult women getting pregnant and someone my age is that everyone often congratulates her while younger people are seen as promiscuous."

Then I clicked to the next slide, which showed pictures of me holding Mira with Kellyn in the stroller beside me. It had only been taken a few days ago, when I had stopped at the mall for job applications.

I shrugged. "Maybe I don't know, but I don't think that I love them any less than someone who's 25 and married would."

It was hard to say this with a bunch of 17-18 year old teenagers looking at me, but I managed. I wasn't much older, sure, but I felt like it.

"It's not like I would recommend getting pregnant," I let off a short laugh, "But I realized in this project that it's not just a social thing, it's an emotional thing too, and it freaking sucks."

I switched to the last slide, where it showed a picture of my two daughters side by side, which elicited a slight "awww" from the class.

I looked at Mr. Everett as I said my last part. "So if you're asking me if I learned anything new, the answer is no. At least, not what I was expecting. And frankly, it's been exhausting. But I wouldn't trade it for the world."

2 weeks later

"Cassie Wise."

I walked across the stage to polite applause, except for one person in the audience who whistled and hollered embarrassingly until I got my diploma. I smiled in my dad's direction until I saw him, his hand on the babies' stroller.

Yes, they let me walk. I wasn't going to be allowed to, considering how low my grades had fallen, but my dad had called the school and made a stink about how technically it wasn't my fault.

I loved him. I was so lucky. And I hadn't even thought about my mother in months.

Seth and Lena had already gotten their diplomas, and when we all filed off the stage, Lena whooped and gave my a hug, squealing.

"We graduated, can you believe it?!"

I shook my head. "I really can't. Can you, Seth?"

His mouth shifted into a smirk, this boy that I somehow accidentally ended up knowing so well. "I would hope I can believe it. If I had to spend one more second in sex-ed, I would've died."

I laughed in agreement, then turned my head to scan for my dad.

There he was, standing there with a stroller and my two babies, his eyes shining with pride (and probably a few tears that he would refuse to admit existed)

"Kid," he said as I approached. "You're growing up."

I was, I agreed. How weird to think that I would be nineteen the next year. How weird to think that my kids would be one year old.

Life was a crazy hot mess. But I was already prepared with a couple bibs and diapers. Bring it on.