“Yes, I’m sure that’s what I want!” I answered, blubbering through more sappy tears.
Ethan must have liked my answer, because he wasted no time getting ready to join me.
I worked on drying my eyes as Ethan slipped out of his jeans. He kept his boxers on, though. Not that they ever were much of a deterrent when we wanted to be naked, but I don’t think either of us were capable of much more than sleep right now. We were both treading on ground that seemed entirely made of eggshells.
Ethan slipped under the blankets and put his arm beneath me as he did often. I settled on my side and tucked in all along his body so I could rest partially on his chest. My left hand was the one with the IV, which forced me to keep it on top, but I still rubbed circles over his chest through his shirt. I burrowed into him and breathed in his delicious scent.
“You smell so good. I must smell like pig slop.”
“Well, I really couldn’t say, my beauty, because I’ve never been close enough to pig slop to know how it smells.” I could tell he was smirking. “When were you?”
I grinned and mumbled. “It’s metaphorical pig slop I’m talking about, and that works just as well. Even better, probably.”
“I agree with you on that one. I’ll take the metaphorical pig slop over the real stuff any day.” He massaged the back of my neck and teased me. “If you do smell like pig slop then it’s pretty nice, actually. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I f**king love the smell of pig slop.”
It worked. He got me to laugh a little at least and that helped me find the courage to tell him I was ready to face up to what fate had in store for me.
“How did you know I would go back there—to the mermaid angel?”
“I set up GPS on your mobile a while ago.” His muscles flexed around me a little tighter. “Even though I didn’t like seeing ‘Waterloo’ in that text,” he said, pausing to take a breath, “I’m glad you did what you needed to do.” He kissed my forehead. “And that you had your mobile on you and powered up. I’m going to have to insist you always keep it on you when we are apart. We need to talk about the security again too.”
“Why? What happened?”
He dismissed my questions with more kisses, then murmured a very firm “Later” against my lips.
I could tell he meant business by his tone and let it go. He was right anyway. We had other stuff to deal with first.
“I—I want to look at the test now.”
“Before you do, I need to say something.” Now Ethan was the one who sounded anxious. I could feel him tensing his body and I didn’t like the change one little bit. It scared me what he might say. And if he did say what I feared, then I knew it would be the end of us. There was one thing that I simply couldn’t do. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I’d had been down that road before and I couldn’t go there again and survive.
“All right. Tell me.” I felt my stomach clench in a bundle of nerves but was determined to listen. I had to know. I closed my eyes.
“Look at me.” He traced his finger all along the side of my face and ended at my lips. “I need you to look me in the eyes for this.”
I opened them to find his full attention focused on me. The intensity of the way he conveyed his needs to me was almost blinding..
“Brynne, I want you to know—no, I need you to believe—that whatever the test reads, it won’t change my feelings. It may not be the plan I had in mind with you, but if it is the path . . . then I’m not veering off it. I know where I want to go and who I want with me.” He put his hand on my belly and held it there. “You. And anyone else we might have made together are coming with me.” His expression showed so much determination, but I could see some vulnerability in his eyes too, almost fear.
His words were so certain, even a little hard. I thought I understood what he was telling me, but wanted to make sure. A flicker of hope started burning inside my heart and I dug deep, deeper than I ever had before, to find the courage to ask him the next part.
“So . . . so you wouldn’t ask me to have an abor—”
“Fuck no!” He cut me off. “I can’t do a termination, Brynne. It would feel wrong to me . . . and I really hope you feel the same.”
I shuddered out a long deep sigh. “Oh, thank God!” I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. “Because I know I couldn’t go through with an abortion, even if you demanded one. My mom tried that on me before and it just—it just sent me over the edge. I know I wouldn’t be able to . . .”
He kissed the rest of my response away and then rested his forehead on mine. “Thank you,” he whispered, with soft lips caressing my face.
I just breathed for a bit and let him hold me close up against his body. I needed to take it all in and understand his feelings; and I was so very relieved. “So you would be . . . glad?”
He didn’t even hesitate. “I don’t know if ‘glad’ is a word I would use to describe how I feel about the possibility of us becoming parents, but I do know what my conscience tells me, and if we are pregnant . . . then I guess it was fate for it to happen like this, and we just have to do it.”
Ethan’s eyes looked so blue right then I was sure I could drown in them. “Do you believe in fate?”
He just nodded. No words; instead he offered a gesture that felt more intimate than if he’d spoken it.
“Okay, where is it?”
“My test. It was in my front pocket of my jeans.”
He got a blank look for an instant and then started to laugh. It was pretty uncharacteristic even for Ethan, considering the circumstances.
“What’s so funny?” I demanded.
“I just realized I don’t have it anymore. Freddy knows. He’s the only one who knows the truth.”
“How does he know and not you?”
“Well, he had to go to his clinic to get all the supplies needed for your IV and while he was gone, that’s when I found it had fallen on the floor.” He kissed the side of my temple. “I was just staring at it on the floor when Fred walked in. He asked me if I would look at it. I told him to read it, but not to tell me. And that’s what he did. He looked at the test and then put it in his shirt pocket, I think. He was really focused on getting some fluids into you, and quite frankly so was I. You were completely out of it. You never woke up even when I undressed you. You scared me to death.” He squeezed me a little. “Don’t ever do that again, please.”