Negative. Again. For the thirty-ninth time.
Sara tried to control her breathing. She did everything she could to remain quiet, but inside her head… a thousand suns were exploding.
Their anniversary was next week. Their third anniversary.
It was crucial that this test be positive. And, for the thirty-ninth time in a row… negative.
She’d failed him.
And now he’d go away.
To someone more shapely. To someone more fertile. To someone who would not wake him up at ungodly hours because an idea possessed her to the point where noise became inconsequential.
And she’d woken him again, despite her best efforts.
“I didn’t hear yo’ singin’,” he rasped. The morning frog-in-the-throat turned his voice almost into a literal croak. “You okay, sweetums?”
She couldn’t hold it in any more. Sara broke. A flood of tears and muffled shrieks erupted in one large, babyish wail and words so mangled not even the best expert at Tearful Girl could understand her.
Todd pried her left hand open. Found the little plastic stick that had managed to be a stake in her heart. He helped her up. Held her close. Guided her unsteady steps to the bed and let her cling to him and weep and wail.
Because she couldn’t get pregnant.
She had three years and wasted them. They were gone, too.
And she couldn’t even speak to let him know. Just blub and sob and quiver like the useless lump her mother had always said she was.
Finally, after a subjective eternity in tear-soaked hell, Todd’s words became understandable in her ear. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It ain’t yo’ fault. I thought… I thought it’d be better to… Look. I had the Shot, okay?”
Oxygen returned. Tears still fell, though they fell slower. “You did what?”
“I took the Shot. Y’know. RISUG. The shot that empties th’ barrel?”
“I do know what RISUG is, dear. When—?”
“When you had that day at the dressmakers. I thought I was doing a good thing. I wanted you to get all’a them degrees an’ all. I thought… Young Mama’s never get looked at all that great. And…”’
Silence reigned for another eon. “And?” she prompted.
“I didn’t wanna be my dad.”
Ah. His father. Who ‘kept’ five women dependent on him via a series of pregnancies and thuggishly induced miscarriages. Mutantcy and a small set of miracles made sure he survived to independence.
“Th’ Gorgons have this rule,” Sara quavered. “If you can’t conceive in three years… you don’t deserve a spouse…”
There was blood on his shoulder. On the bedclothes. On her face. On everything she touched. It had been a long time since she’d cried so hard her nose bled.
And Todd didn’t care about it. Clothes washed. People washed. It was the crying that mattered. “We shoulda talked. I’m sorry, honey.”
“…’m sorry I didn’ think’f all th’ factors… y’mus’ think’m horr’ble…”
“Naw. Never. Ain’t never nuthin’ wrong wit’ makin’ a guess. Peeps make mistakes, yo. Even the smartest peeps inna world.”
“Gotta butter up mah sugar-buns.” He grinned. “Wanna discuss this in depth over Nana Kurbalowitz’s famous waffles?”
“Sounds like a definite plan.”