[Image: A background of glitter with the word “YOLO” in black across it.]
Kassidi Kerr always knew that she was going to marry young. From the time when she first understood what weddings were, she demanded to play wedding with her friends. Her fondest childhood dreams were drawing her wedding dress, arranging the seating charts, and kicking girls out of her bridal party that annoyed her that week. She knew it was just a matter of time before she found that special man that would slip an engagement ring on her finger and ask her to be his wife.
When she met Stu, she knew that he was the one. Just like the last four boyfriends before him. He was sweet, kind, caring, dedicated, and so intelligent. They had started dating soon after they graduated high school. As soon as Kassidi heard that he was a pre-med student, she knew that she had made the right choice. He would be able to provide for her and her future children, without a doubt.
But as much as they loved each other and as much time as they spent together, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries passed without Stu getting down on one knee and producing the ten thousand dollar engagement ring that Kassidi had texted him multiple photos of. Now that she was in her junior year of college, she was getting impatient. Confused and unsure of what to do, Kassidi called an emergency Sunday meeting of the YOLO Girls in order to discuss the situation.
The girls filtered into Kassidi’s suite one by one. Meadow entered humming a Taylor Swift song, Mikaia arrived clutching her astronomy text book against her red jacket. Kaydence showed up with a selection of gluten-free cupcakes. Kaity, however, didn’t want any because she already had her Pumpkin Spice Starbucks latte and was too full from that. Tyonna didn’t particularly care for the cupcakes as she knew that she could make better ones herself. Marlie wanted to sing everyone the new song that she had learned in her vocal performance class, but Kassidi tried to remind her that they were here for her, not for Marlie’s singing career.
Jaimee was the penultimate to arrive. She was carrying a box of tissues as she walked in and complained about possibly having Ebola. Sundee arrived last, carrying a protest sign against professors forcing students to dissect animals in science classes. Once all of the girls were assembled, Kassidi cleared her throat and began.
“You know I’ve been seeing Stu for a really long time, right?” She started.
“Yeah, like since the beginning of college,” Marlie nodded.
“That is such a long time,” Kaydence agreed.
“Well, he’s not proposing to me,” Kassidi said, biting her lower lip. “I thought that maybe he would do it this year on my birthday. But he didn’t. I’m not sure what he’s waiting for, but I’m getting worried.”
“Why are you worried? He so loves you,” Tyonna said, encouragingly.
“I know that he cares about me, but does he see the rest of his life with me?” Kassidi questions. “Marriage is the only way to show your true love for someone and he hasn’t proposed yet. I need to know for sure.”
“Well, I have an idea…” Kaity said, slowly, sipping her latte.
“What?” Kassidi asked, eagerly.
“My sister was dating a guy for five years and he hadn’t proposed. She got upset and faked a pregnancy. He married her right away, then she convinced him to have sex without condoms since she was already pregnant and she got pregnant anyway,” Kaity said, happily. “They’ve been married for 3 years now and they’re totally in love.”
Kassidi gasped. This was prefect! Stu always said that he had wanted children. While he might not be ready to propose to his girlfriend right now, he would definitely be ready to propose to the future mother of his child.
“That is such a great idea,” Jaimee nodded. “Stu is such an upstanding guy, there’s no way that he would leave you or anything like that.”
“Oh!” Marlie said, her eyes lighting up. “You can get positive pregnancy tests on Craig’s List. Just look for them and grab one and get a photo and send it to Stu. He will be completely convinced.”
“This is such a great idea!” Kassidi said, her hands vibrating with excitement. “Oh my god, I’m going to be engaged by the end of the week!”
The girls tried to share her joy, but all of them had to admit that they were jealous. None of them were in relationships and the thought of seeing one of their new friends engaged when they were still single was hard to cope with. But they all put on brave faces and pretended they were ecstatic for their girlfriend.
After the girls left, Kassidi got onto Craig’s List and started searching for positive pregnancy tests. She emailed two separate sellers, just in case one didn’t work out, and then decided to look over the baby things for fun. She would need to be looking at these soon enough, so why not start now? Kassidi was deep in contemplation about which style of crib she liked best when she got her first response.
I can sell you one positive pregnancy test for $25. If you need two I can sell them for $45. We can arrange a meeting tomorrow, if that’s convenient to you.
Kassidi smiled. This would be perfect. She composed a quick response back to her that she would need only one and asked her if she could meet her after her classes ended at 3pm. Sitting back, after sending the message, Kassidi sighed to herself in satisfaction. Everything was going to be perfect.
When Kassidi returned to her dorm room after picking up the pregnancy test, Meadow and Mikaia were waiting for her. The girls smiled at each other and regarded the brown paper sack that Kassidi carried, with a knowing glance. Kassidi wordlessly let the other girls into her dorm room and immediately shut and locked the door after them. She approached the bag carefully and gently removed the positive test.
She had to stop herself from giggling as she picked up her cell phone went into the suite’s bathroom. Her friends waited patiently as she took 60 different shots of herself in the mirror with the positive test. When she finally decided on the perfect selfie, she sent it to Stu with the message, “We’re going to be parents!”
Emerging from the bathroom Meadow and Mikaia both started clapping in excitement. Kassidi laughed and jumped into the air, her fingers tingling. She couldn’t believe that this was happening. She was going to be engaged soon!
“Do you think he’ll text right away?” Meadow asked.
“I’m not sure,” Kassidi said, looking back at her phone. “He said that the leader of his Campus Crusaders for Christ was sick and they might not be meeting today. If they didn’t meet then he should be at his study group. If they did meet then he won’t get the message until 5pm.”
“We should go get an early dinner and update all of the girls on what’s going on,” Mikaia said, clasping her hands together in delight.
“Yeah, let’s get going,” Kassidi agreed. She tucked her phone into her jean pocket, ready for when she would hear Stu’s alert, pick up her phone and read that he had proposed marriage to her.
Kassidi was at dinner, discussing Taylor Swift’s new hairstyle with Meadow when her phone rang. She squealed in delight at the ring tone, One Direction’s “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful”, which had always been their song. The other YOLO girls looked at her in envy, knowing that she was seconds away from a marriage proposal and one step closer to becoming someone’s wife, which is what they all wanted, in one form or another.
Kassidi waved to her friends as she took her phone outside of the dining hall and answered it. “Hello?” She gushed, trying to keep her voice pleasant and casual.
“What happened?!” Stu blurted out. “I got the picture, what the fuck happened?”
“I’m pregnant!” Kassidi announced. She loved to hear herself say that. She thought that she better get used to it now as she would be saying it to Stu in the future plenty of times.
“But you’re on birth control, we use condoms, this wasn’t supposed to happen!” Stu cried in one breath. Kassidi cleared her throat. He didn’t seem as excited as a future father should be. She needed to remind him how lucky he was just to have her.
“You’re right, we’re very careful,” she said, “but you know that no birth control method is completely effective. We were always going to start a family together, Stu. This is just starting a little earlier than we had planned.”
“We never talked about kids,” Stu said, his already loud voice rising another octave. “I’m in school, I can’t afford a baby! And us, we’ve only been dating for a little while and I told you that I was uncomfortable with the idea of getting serious with anyone before I’m finished with my education!”
Kassidi laughed that comment off. “Don’t be shy, Stu,” she told him, watching a girl and her boyfriend walk hand in hand toward the dining hall. “I know you’re hesitant to love again after your ex broke up with you and I completely understand that. But I’m different. We’re meant to be together. This is just the start of the family that we were always going to have.”
“Kassidi, this is too much for me right now,” Stu said, suddenly. His voice becoming flat and cold. “I will call you in a few days and we can talk about what we’re going to do. Please don’t tell anyone or do anything until we talk, okay? We need to keep all options open.”
“Of course we do,” Kassidi agreed. “I would rather get married now and then have the baby later this year, but if you want me to be super hot in the wedding photos, I completely understand if you want to wait until I have the baby and get back to my pre-pregnancy body in a few weeks. We also need to talk about our budget, the wedding size, baby names even. We have a lot of options that we need to discuss.”
There was a long pause at the other end of the line. Kassidi looked out across campus, already thinking of what kind of wedding dress she wanted. She had always looked good in mermaid dresses. So that was a natural silhouette choice for her.
“Kassidi,” Stu said, slowly, “when I say options, we need to think about maybe not having this baby at all. Neither of us are prepared for a child and this could ruin our lives.”
Kassidi made a choking sound, unable to comprehend what her future husband had just told her. She was already highly invested in their imaginary baby and she couldn’t understand why he didn’t feel the same way. “But… but…” the young woman stammered.
“Let me take a few days and get my head together. I promise I will call you soon, okay?” Before Kassidi could even reply, he hung up. She pulled her phone away from her ear and looked at it, blinking back tears.
This was not how this was supposed to go. He was supposed to be overjoyed about the baby. They were supposed to celebrate together with alcohol-free sparkling cider and confess their nervousness. They were supposed to discuss what gender their child might be and throw out ridiculous baby names from when they were children themselves and didn’t have the cognition to name a child something responsible. They were supposed to discuss marriage and getting a place together. How they were going to afford a baby and how excited their parents would be to find out that they are going to be grandparents.
Kassidi knew exactly how this entire night was supposed to have gone. What in the world was wrong with Stu? She looked back at the dining hall entrance, her eyes still watery. She couldn’t go back in there and face the other YOLO Girls. Yes, they were her friends, but she had always been the most mature one and the others looked to her for guidance. How could she possibly tell them that she let them down in the most spectacular way possible? Kassidi just couldn’t do it.
Stepping away from the dining hall, Kassidi returned to her dorm room to think. She sat on the edge of her bed and gripped her blankets. All was not lost though, she told herself. Stu needed time to gather his thoughts. He could come to the natural conclusion that they should get married and raise their imaginary child together. He would meet with her, talk about how scared he had been by their approaching future.
He would take her into his arms, kiss her deeply and then make love to her without a condom. She would have already thrown out her birth control by then and that way, she was one step closer to making their dreams come true. It would be perfect. Kassidi brightened. Of course that’s what would happen. It wasn’t on her time schedule, but Stu loved her, and she loved him. There was no other way for this go to.
When Kassidi caught up with the YOLO Girls the next day, she told them that Stu had been really overwhelmed by the good news and needed some space to adjust to his new role as husband and father. The girls all understood. This was a lot for one person to deal with, so who wouldn’t need some time on your own to sort through your feelings and really prepare yourself for your future? The girls all decided to share the happy news of Kassidi’s impending marriage and baby with some of their other friends.
Kassidi also told her mother and posted a hinting status on Facebook for all of her friends to see, two days after she had had that conversation with Stu. She was still waiting for him to contact her in order to see if he wanted to go with a traditional pink or blue room for their future child, or something more radical like a green or a yellow. When her phone rang that evening, after her last class and right before dinner, Kassidi was leaning more towards green.
“You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” played happily as Kassidi picked up her phone from where it rested on her desk. She put down her latte and closed out of her Instagram page before picking it up.
“Hello?” she chirped.
“My mom knows you’re pregnant!” Stu blurted out.
“Oh, does she?” Kassidi asked, innocently.
“My sister saw your Facebook post about where to buy diapers and told my mom and my mom freaked the fuck out and called me. She told me that it better not be true or they weren’t going to help me finish medical school. I told you not to tell anyone!” Stu demanded again.
“I actually posted that on Facebook for a friend,” Kassidi casually lied. “But your mom needs to know anyway,” she reasoned. “How else is she going to help me plan a baby shower?”
“Kassidi, you are ruining my life!” Stu shouted.
Kassidi paused, unsure of how to interpret what he had just said. “That’s no way to talk to the mother of your child,” She mumbled in response. How could he be so rude? Didn’t he even think about what this fake pregnancy had put her through? She just read that some women poop during delivery. She was risking that, all for the sake of their family. How selfish could he be?
“Kassidi, I can’t do this. I told you that I didn’t want to get serious, this was a total accident, I don’t want to be with you, we need to part ways. If you choose to keep the baby, I will find a way to pay child support but I don’t want to be involved in any way.”
The YOLO Girl waited for him to announce that he was joking and laugh off what was no doubt a terrible joke to play on a pregnant woman. But all she could hear was Stu’s breathing. Kassidi cleared her throat and decided that he needed to be reminded of who she was in his life. “Stu, you love me. We’ve been together for a long time now and we’re going to have a baby. You can’t just walk away from me.”
“Kassidi, I don’t love you,” Stu began with a deep sigh. “I’ve never said that to you. I enjoyed hanging out with you for a while, but things have gotten into a real slump and there’s another girl that I’m interested in that’s also pre-med. I never saw myself with you, long term.”
“But… but the baby,” Kassidi sputtered, her dreams crumbling before her very eyes.
“I don’t know if I want kids at all,” Stu confessed. “But right now, I’m not ready and even if I did want kids, I wouldn’t want them with you.”
Kassidi sat back in her chair, feeling slightly dizzy. She must have a real problem with her hearing. This couldn’t be what Stu was saying. Stu, the man she loved, the man that loved her and impregnated her. None of it made any sense. They loved each other. They always have. Ever since they met, they had been inseparable. She had chosen to follow him to his first-choice college, in fact. He was the entire reason why she was here.
“You need to think about this some more,” Kassidi finally said.
“No, I don’t,” Stu insisted. “You’re always telling me what I’m supposed to want and I don’t want any of it. I don’t want to be with you and I definitely don’t want to have a baby with you. I’m sorry for all of this. I should have ended it sooner when I was having doubts. I never thought that this would happen and I’m really sorry that things happened the way they did.”
“You need more time,” Kassidi assured him.
“Goodbye, Kassidi,” Stu sighed. “Please don’t try to contact me again. We can’t be friends after this.”
The phone went dead. Kassidi placed the device onto her desk and looked back at her black computer screen. This was all a bad dream, she assured herself. None of this was happening. She was going to wake up and find out that she had had a terrible nightmare.
Kassidi accessed her Facebook page and decided to show that she and Stu were fine. The other YOLOs didn’t need to know that they were having problems, after all. She had to keep up appearances. She started a new status and typed out, I love when Stu calls me after class, just to see how I’m doing. She then went back and thought that she better tag Stu so he knew just how much she appreciated his calls.
Deleting his name and then adding the @ symbol as she typed, she found that his name did not pop up in her list of options. Confused, Kassidi went to his profile and found that he had unfriended her. She gasped. Nothing could have cut her more deeply. She made a terrified squawking sound just as, Kaydence, her roommate entered carrying her books and a gluten-free bagel.
“What’s wrong?” Kaydence asked, looking up from her bagel.
“Um, nothing,” Kassidi said, but it was too late. Tears were streaming down her face and she couldn’t stop her roommate from seeing them.
“Is something wrong with Stu?” Kaydence guessed immediately.
“I… I…” She was too distraught to lie. “He broke up with me.”
“What!?” Kaydence demanded in outrage. “Are you sure you understood him correctly?”
“He said that he didn’t want to be with me,” Kassidi said, wiping her face as more tears fell.
“But you’re pregnant with his baby!” Kaydence objected. “What kind of man does that?”
“I don’t know!” Kassidi wailed, now sobbing uncontrollably. “He said that he wanted to break up with me a long time ago and there’s someone else and he doesn’t want anything to do with the baby.”
“We need to have an emergency YOLO Girls meeting,” Kaydence said, darkly. “This has to be dealt with.”
Kaydence got onto Facebook and messaged the other girls. They all arrived quickly, each one dropping whatever they had to do in order to come support their friend. Sundee was last to arrive as she had been in the middle of a test and had left the class shouting about how supporting her friends was far more important than a test and it was the patriarchy that wanted them to think otherwise.
“How did this happen?” Mikaia asked, still confused as to what went on.
“Does anyone want a latte?” Kaity offered, holding out an extra Starbucks cup.
“What about the baby?” Jaimee questioned.
“Oh my god, girls, Stu just posted on Facebook,” Marlie said, staring at her phone.
“He unfriended me!” Kassidi cried out, almost in physical pain to admit it. The other girls gasped.
“What did he say?” Meadow asked.
“He said, ‘Attention everyone, I have broken up with Kassidi. Things had not been going well for some time and I finally had to put an end to it. I’m very sorry for anyone that has been worried about my relationship with her, but please know that it’s over now. I just want to get back to my life and focus on school.’ ” Marlie said, looking up from her phone as she finished.
“What am I going to do?!” Kassidi wailed.
“You still have the baby,” Tyonna said, supportively.
“I’m not actually pregnant, you dolt!” Kassidi shouted at her. “I was supposed to trick Stu into getting me pregnant and I didn’t have enough time.”
“Maybe that’s the problem,” Kaydence said, shrugging.
“What is?” Mikaia asked.
“Maybe if you really were pregnant that would convince him to stay,” Kaydence suggested.
“But he already thinks I’m pregnant,” Kassidi pointed out. “He doesn’t know that I’m lying.”
“But yeah, you said you’re pregnant, that’s not the same thing as having a baby with you,” Kaydence said.
“What do you mean?” Mikaia asked.
“It’s easy for him to turn down this theoretical baby,” Kaydence explained. “Maybe he knows you’re faking it, maybe he thinks of this baby as a fetus or something. He needs to see a real baby and know that that baby is his and that will make him come around. Once the responsibility is in front of him, he will have to man up and be a father.”
“That’s a good point,” Marlie said. “It would be so much more real if there actually was a baby. I mean, you can’t argue with that.”
“A baby… a baby…” Kassidi muttered to herself.
Of course! There was a pregnant woman in her psychology class. The woman was married and this was her second child. She loved to flaunt that around the classroom by talking about her husband and son. The woman worked at the library on school nights. She would be there with her swollen belly and her pre-born baby and all Kassidi needed was that child to show to Stu to get her relationship back on track.
“I have to go,” Kassidi muttered. She grabbed her purse and then went to her dresser where she found her metal nail file. She shoved that inside her bag then left the room, without even saying goodbye to the other YOLO Girls.
As the door closed she didn’t even hear Kaity announce that he was going to drink the spare latte all by herself.
The first thing that Kassidi did was make sure that the woman was working. She went into the library and looked around the first floor before she found the woman crouched by the women’s studies section, putting away a bunch of books. Kassidi then checked her watch. The library closed in two hours. So she had to wait in order to get her alone.
Kassidi walked outside and around to the side of the building that faced the road. She felt her heart racing as she pondered just what she was going to do. First, she tried to remember the woman’s name. When she couldn’t, Kassidi decided to call her Mary. Like the virgin mother, she was going to sacrifice her baby for Kassidi’s happiness.
Pulling out the metal nail file, Kassidi examined it. It was sharp enough to cut through the woman’s stomach, she thought. All she had to do then was extract the baby and cut the umbilical cord. Mary had said in class that she was 36 weeks along and that seemed like a lot. So the baby must be done cooking in there. The idea of being so close to so much blood made her wince, but she had no choice. She had to get that baby so Stu would step up and be a real man.
While she waited for the library to close, Kassidi planned out her attack. She would approach Mary from behind when she was alone and then hit her over the head with one of the loose bricks that everyone complained littered the walkways that the school never did anything about. Then she would drag Mary into the shadows and take the baby. She could get to Stu’s dorm on the campus shuttle before it shut down and by the end of the night, the pair would be reunited as a family. It was perfect.
The sound of voices roused Kassidi from her thoughts. She peered around the building to see one of the library employees wave goodbye to Mary. Mary stayed behind to lock the heavy metal and glass doors. Kassidi picked up a chunk of brick from the ground and approached the woman quietly.
Just as Kassidi raised the brick overhead, Mary finished locking the doors and went to leave. When Kassidi brought the brick down, it struck the door, missing Mary completely. But the woman heard the noise and made a surprised sound. She turned and observed Kassidi, who now had a completely crazed look in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” Mary asked. “You’re Kassidi, right? From psychology class. Did you need help?”
“I need your baby!” Kassidi shrieked. She picked up another piece of brick and lobbed it at Mary. The brick fell to the ground, yards away from where the woman stood. Mary cried out in a panic and grabbed for her purse.
“Stop it!” Mary shouted, trying to get out of her phone.
“I need your baby!” Kassidi roared. She ran to Mary and grabbed her shoulders, shaking her roughly. She started to drag the woman behind the library.
Kassidi was completely unaware that what Mary was trying to get out of her purse was not her phone but instead a taser that her husband had given her for when she was walking alone at night. Unfortunately, neither of them knew much about the device or how to use it. So when Mary finally fished it out of her purse and discharged it into Kassidi, Mary had no idea that the voltage was entirely too high and between the high voltage and a heart condition that Kassidi had yet to be diagnosed with, the shock sent her into cardiac arrest.
The YOLO Girl collapsed onto the pavement, twitching as Mary, still unsure of what she was doing, kept pumping the fatal volts into her body. When Mary dropped the taser, Kassidi was already dead. As she called the campus police and requested an officer as well as an ambulance, Kassidi’s eyes stared blankly into the sky above her, seeing nothing. When the ambulance finally arrived, it was too late for Kassidi. But Mary’s shock and trauma had caused her to go into early labor.
Mary delivered a healthy baby boy about twelve hours later at the local hospital. She named him Shawn Lawrence and smiled placidly in the Facebook pictures that graced her profile. When Shawn reached 15, he asked his mom to tell him about his birth. Mary told him that she had saved his life by defending herself against a crazed college student, insisting on harming her. Shawn didn’t believe her.
To read more in this series, click here.