Things get ugly when a teen mom discovers her not-so-long-term boyfriend had a dalliance at the start of their relationship

Daddy issues: Not only are they real, but they can be devastating. Markai’s father was absent for much of her childhood, and the years she spent waiting and hoping, only to be disappointed, caused her to grow up extremely fast. She was hellbent on not becoming a single parent and wanted to ensure her child — whenever she had one — would have a relationship with both of his or her parents. “I told myself if I was going to have a baby, that baby’s going to have a daddy, no matter what,” she said. Nice in theory, but can it really work that way at 16?

Markai was a high-school senior on the path to veterinary school — not motherhood — but maybe she should have added condoms to her curriculum. (Or, as her younger sister so poetically put it, “Close your legs!”) To Markai, though, having a baby meant having an instant family, even if the man in her life was apprehensive about commitment. When she and boyfriend James got pregnant very early into their relationship, he assured her he’d “take care of [his]” which led her to believe they would make this work. Well, they had to, because as she told him, “breaking up is never an option.” Translation: You better not leave me, now pass me my spit cup!

Oh, James. It was hard to miss him and his signature long dreadlocks, which his friends believed were keeping him from getting the job he so desperately needed. They felt he was better suited for a dread-mullet — maybe it’s his face-shape? — inspired by the style icon Billy Ray Cyrus. (Whoa! Looks like trends are coming out of this little Florida town, because Billy’s bringing the mullet back! What are the odds?) Cue the makeover montage. What, wrong show? Guess we’ll have to wait for next week’s episode of America’s Next Top 16-Year-Old Pregnant Model.

But along with his coiffure, James’ MySpace habbit was also likely preventing him from securing a full-time position. He looked much more natural lounging on the couch than speaking with managers at local businesses and asking for a job. That said, for future reference, here’s a pointer: Next time, bring your own pen to fill out the requisite paperwork, buddy.

MySpace also created a rift in the expectant parents’ relationship, making Markai insanely jealous and James incredibly lazy (why get a job when you can collect unemployment?). First Markai became paranoid after learning James had been communicating with his ex, but he assured her she had nothing to worry about. But leave it to a random ex-girlfriend showing up uninvited, telling stories about how she and James had been together two weeks into his relationship with Markai, to cause their alleged strong relationship to crumble. Oh yeah, and James and said skank didn’t use a condom either. Ugh. That’s enough nastiness to make anyone feel crazy, and the public humiliation made Markai — who had recently returned to her high school — feel even worse. With her sister Samarra in tow, she stalked James down on the side of the road, impulsively jumped out of the car, and left it parked in the middle of the lane.As traffic whizzed by, Samarra looked scared (“Oh my god, I’m gonna die!”) and confused, but sprung into action with a completely logical question: “Hey do you want me to move the car?” She may not be old enough to drive legally, but there’s no age requirement for having a license in common sense.

NEXT: Things take a turn for the violent.

James owned up to everything, which made Markai feel even worse. Maybe cheating with his ex-girlfriend wasn’t his best move, but he pointed out how he’d changed a lot in their relationship, which, um, negated that minor sleeping-with-the-ex-girlfriend detail, right? “I deleted every female out of my phone, dog,” he told his friends, who were on hand again for some astute commentary: “I feel you man. But hey, that’s your love, boo.” Stylish and sensitive? Are these guys single?

But Markai didn’t feel that way, and their serious talk about James’ infidelity soon escalated into a physical fight. James claimed he was with Markai through her entire pregnancy, and even held her hair back when she was sick (as he should have). He was getting more and more worked up, just as Markai was attempting to shut the conversation down. James claimed to have been faithful to her for over a year and called the ex-girlfriend in question a “ho” and a “bitch,” which was nice language to use around sleeping Za’Karia. “But can you turn a ho into a housewife?” Markai asked. Good question!

This set James off, and he fled into the night, causing Markai to chase after him and start throwing punches, while Za’Karia slept peacefully in her car seat. I don’t condone violence — and this scene was a little scary — but James had it coming, right? “I love you so much and I’m scared she’s going to come back and she’s going to take you,” Markai said about her romantic rival, her screams fading into sobs.

Let’s be honest: James and Markai hadn’t been dating very long prior to the pregnancy. With an infidelity scandal in the mix, their connection becomes all that more tenuous. Now that the baby is here, will their love fizzle out altogether? I respect Markai’s desire for her daughter to have a relationship with James, but I just hope she doesn’t sacrifice her own happiness in the process.

Fathers be good to your daughters. This week’s teen mom certainly had a healthy amount of baggage to go along with her new baby girl. Did you feel for her mom Sarina when she explained how Markai was breaking her heart? Do you think it was a coincidence that Markai’s father showed up to take her on a surprise brunch date just as MTV cameras were in town? Would you forgive James for his indiscretion? Even though it was early in the relationship does it warrant a break up, or does having a baby mean these kids have to try to make it work? Do you think he finally got a job? How precious were Za’Karia’s glamour shots? Sound off below!

EVER WISH EW.COM HAD A RADIO STATION? Quit living in the past, man or lady! In this week’s TV Insiders podcast, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Michael Slezak grade the first week of Conan, pick the funniest Modern Family character, and discuss the trouble with the Survivor: Nicaragua cast and Bristol Palin’s improbable run on Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!

Episode Recaps

16 and Pregnant
An unflinching docu-series following the trials and tribulations of pregnant high-school girls
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