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INNOCENT AS A GEORGIA ROSE…
Meg Brown vows her life and dreams won’t follow the narrow aristocratic Southern pretensions of her parents. She’ll never be a debutante nor make a dynastic marriage. Her brother escapes to the Air Force and is sent to Vietnam, while a distant college offers her freedom of another kind.
There, too young and reserved for most social activities, Meg is involved with her colorful roommates and their friends. Two men challenge her deeply held values. Ferrel, with his dancing blue eyes, exemplifies the “if it feels good, do it” philosophy of the era. Cass, a grad student of hard experience, regards everything with world-weary cynicism. One offers Meg friendship that survives the hardest test and lasts forever. The other leads her to a breaking point where everything she believes about herself comes to a shattering halt. Only one thing will keep her going—the infant conceived on the worst night of her life.
Page Count: 284
Word Count: 76695
Cass picked up a random stack of books and dropped them into a carton. “Well, you’re a rich little girl. And you are your parents’ only daughter. Generally they’re your best friends at a time like this. If you can keep it together until graduation, I’ll bet your daddy can arrange a nice trip for you to visit some kindly, understanding doctor who’ll relieve you of the problem. You shouldn’t be too far along by then. It’s even legal now. You won’t have to leave the country. That’s one of the advantages of having a well-to-do family. No embarrassment over these little slips.”
That sick feeling washed over her again. “No, Cass, I’m a rich little Catholic girl, remember? That’s the difference between me and someone else. No amount of legislation or embarrassment could make me think of doing that. I’ll always believe abortion is nothing but murder. You’d have me kill my child because it’s an inconvenience?”
Cass put the books aside. His hands on her shoulders put her back in the chair she’d left. He sat on the arm beside her. “Meg, we can talk about that. I have all kinds of authorities, books by respected people, who agree that, this early, there’s actually no life involved. It’s just like getting rid of a tumor or a cyst. A simple medical procedure, perfectly safe and perfectly legal.”
Meg rose angrily. “Don’t you think I’ve heard all those arguments you quote so lightly? You don’t feel the weight of this child within you. You don’t see the physical changes every morning when you dress. This baby isn’t real to you. Its life isn’t part of yours. It’s real and it’s alive to me. I’ll love her and keep her safe, even if I never have a word of support from anybody.”
Cass laughed softly at her impassioned answer. “ ‘Her’? ‘Him’ is just as possible.”
“Or him,” Meg amended.
“Well, either way, the fact is I can’t help you, Meg. Your best bet is still your family. I see there’s really nothing I can give you, not even advice, because you won’t take it.”
“There is, you know.” She hesitated, then drew a ragged breath. “There is. You could give your child your name. At least that legacy would be some comfort.”
Again Cass moved as far away as the disordered room permitted. He stuck his hands deep into the pockets of his cord slacks and, through the window, watched a man spading a flowerbed. The damp morning was filled with bicycles and garden spades, light jackets and pale green leaves.
“No, not even that, Meg Brown.” He leaned his long form against the window, blocking the light, himself an undetailed silhouette.
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