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Jeremy braked sharply when the green walk signal suddenly turned red. To be fair, he wasn't entirely paying attention, but he thought it would have given him a longer warning.
As he waited (it was just his luck the roads looked deserted and he still had to wait) his gaze wandered to the little brick building to his left. He recognized it right away, having passed it several times. A few times he had seen groups of people out front, holding signs, many of which portrayed gruesome images. The abortion mill had had protesters there many times, so had the one on the other side of the city. Jeremy was just as against the murder of innocent lives as the protesters, but he didn't quite think displaying the signs was the way he wanted to fight the crime. He wanted to do something different. He didn't know what, though.
Jeremy snapped out of his thoughts and saw a young lady, probably around his age, heading toward the door of the building. He had seen her before, at the college campus. What was her name?
"Megan!" the realization hit him and he shouted her name. The girl jumped and looked at him. Realization flitted across her face. She smiled at him and waved before walking on. Jeremy grunted and abandoned his bike by the light pole and ran to her. "Megan! Wait!"
"What?" the girl turned to him, a little agitated. Jeremy began to wonder if this was a good idea, but he refused to back down. "Jeremy, I have an appointment--"
"Yeah, I am." Megan nodded. "Didn't think you were the nosy type."
"I'm not," Jeremy said quickly. "I'm sorry for prying, but I didn't know if you were..."
"I am." Megan nodded again. Jeremy felt his heart get pulled. He had to stop her!
"Why?" he asked. "I mean, why..." he waved helplessly at the building.
"I can't take care of a baby," Megan replied. "I can barely take care of myself. I have to keep up with the rent to my landlady, I have my job I need to work, and I have school. A baby is the last thing I need to worry about, not to mention all the hospital bills. It's better this way."
"No it isn't." Jeremy shook his head. "It's not, Megan."
"How do you know?" Megan sniffed. "Have you ever had a baby?"
"No." Jeremy smiled a little. "But if I did, I wouldn't be throwing mine away."
"That's a rather weird way to put it."
"You don't want weird?" Jeremy asked, almost icily. He tried to stay calm, but inside he was churning with a desperate desire to save the life of the little one that Megan carried. "Weird is an understatement for what happens. It's the killing of an innocent life, Megan. A life that hasn't even seen the light of day is murdered."
"It's just tissue, Jeremy," Megan huffed. Jeremy had a feeling she was just quoting someone who had told her the same thing.
"It's more than tissue," Jeremy pressed. "It's a living, breathing human being. It's small now, but in a few months, you can see it become a wailing, newborn child that might even be wondering why on earth everything is so bright and big." Megan smiled a little. "If you do this, Megan... you will regret it. I've seen it happen before. You know Hannah?"
"She had an abortion a year ago. And today, she still regrets it. It's affected her more than anyone realized it would." Jeremy looked pleadingly at Megan. "I don't want that to happen to you."
"What do you care?" Megan asked sharply.
"I care about you," Jeremy replied. "I really do. And I care about the little life you have been blessed with."
"I can't, Jeremy," Megan sighed. "I'm going to be late--"
"Please!" Jeremy was getting desperate now. "Think about the baby that's inside you. It's growing now. Soon it will have tiny fingers and toes. Delicate eyes, and a healthy heartbeat, and be as much alive as either of us."
"I can't take care of a baby, Jeremy!" Megan exclaimed. "I can't support us both. It will get taken away and put into the system. No baby deserves that."
"And you think it deserves to die?" Jeremy murmured. Megan said nothing. She turned and started walking to the door. Jeremy bolted after her and stood in her way. "Think about it, Megan! If you kill this baby, it won't ever, ever see the sunshine. It won't feel the salty ocean that's just a few miles from here, it won't hear the birds in the park or hear the rain pounding on the roof. It won't taste those absolutely heavenly brownies you made that one time for Angus's birthday party."
"It won't know how much fun a birthday is," Jeremy went on. "It won't know the joy of opening gifts on Christmas day, it won't be able to hold its first furry pet that could be as energetic as the child."
Jeremy was nearly in tears. "It won't know the loving hug of its mother, at night when it's had a bad dream. It won't hear the little lullaby sung to it to help go back to sleep. It won't be able to love all the things there is to love. Beaches, ice-cream, snowflakes, kittens, friends, family. It won't know any of that."
"Who would take care of it?" Megan asked. Her expression had changed. Jeremy could see it in her eyes. "My parents won't. When they found out they told me they wouldn't help fund my education if I had the baby."
"He's off in Kansas," Megan replied, looking clearly miffed about that. "I've told him, but he never replies to my E-mails." Megan looked at her watch. "So, unless you have a brilliant idea to make this work, I have an appointment."
"I will," Jeremy blurted. Megan blinked surprise. "I'll take care of your baby."
"I'll adopt your baby," Jeremy repeated. He knew now what he hadn't known just a few minutes ago. He would do anything to keep this girl from making the biggest mistake in her life. This was how he would defend the ones who couldn't defend themselves. "If you'll let me, I will adopt your baby."
"You can take care of a baby?" Megan looked skeptical.
"Always wanted a little brother or sister." Jeremy smiled. "I have a feeling my parents would adopt your baby, too. Please, Megan." Jeremy looked straight at her pleadingly. "Let me adopt your baby."
Megan's eyes searched his. Her lower lip trembled, and she bit it to keep it still. "You... you would really adopt my baby?"
"I would." Jeremy nodded. "And I promise, he or she will be well taken care of." Megan's hands twisted the handles on her purse. She didn't say anything. "Trust me, Megan. Adoption is the best thing you could do for this baby." Megan looked up at him. She reached out and took his hand.
"Thank you," she whispered, tears in her eyes. Jeremy felt relief wash over him. He smiled and gripped her hand.
"No," he said, "thank you." Megan cocked her head. "For giving this baby life." Megan smiled and nodded.