”Baby sis…?” I crack open my eyes to see Kit standing in front of me. ”I brought you breakfast.” I hear the beeping sound to my right and turn my head to check on Tina. She’s been turned, but otherwise unchanged. I scrub at my face and hear Kit sigh disapprovingly as she walks to the other chair and has a seat. When I meet her gaze, I can tell what she’s going to say. It’s always the same. ”Bette…you should go home and get some rest.”
I eye her in exasperated wretchedness. What force on this earth other than the knowledge that my wife and child are truly going to live could cause me to rest? Doesn’t she understand that there is no home without Tina? Does no one understand this? She seems to read the emotions crossing my face and her stern expression softens as she reaches her hand out to order my disheveled curls. ”I know baby girl…I know…”
No, she really doesn’t. I stare over at Tina and say, ”If you knew you would understand why I can’t leave.” She sighs again as she rubs my back soothingly. I meet her gaze and I know she’s right. I’m useless here, powerless…helpless. I hate these fucking feelings. What good is anything if I can’t even protect my family? ”Look, I understand what you’re feelin’…” My gaze hardens. ”…I may not sympathize, but I do empathize, Bette.”
She points to the breakfast and I eye it disdainfully. ”Come on, baby sis, you have to eat and keep your strength up. You’re sure gonna’ need it when that feisty little white woman wakes up and screams at yo’ ass for gettin’ so thin.” I turn my face to her and smile through the tears. She returns it with a bright smile of her own. ”And she will wake up baby sis. She’s a strong woman.” She snorts. ”Hell, she married you. Hmm Mmm, she must be crazy to boot.” I can’t help but laugh as she turns her serious and loving eyes on me. ”Have some faith.”
My smile is bigger than it has been in a long time and the sensation of it feels strange. ”Thanks Kit…”
She stands walks over to Tina, fixing her gown and blankets in a motherly way. Once she’s done she sits on the edge and takes one of Tina’s hands. She doesn’t turn from Tina as she says, ”At least go home to shower and change your clothes. You look like…well, you look how you must feel.” She turns her gaze on me and smiles sadly.
I sigh and nod my head once, wincing at the stiff crick in my neck. I reach up to rub it and realize that she’s right. I’ll shower, grab the mail, change my clothes, and come right back here. ”I will a little later.”
She smiles as she stands and strokes Tina’s face. She leans in and whispers something that I can’t make out before picking up my breakfast bag and dropping it in my lap. ”I have to get to the Planet. Now eat something, and tell that baby girl that I’m not allowed to meet yet…” Kit crosses her arms over her chest in an indignant manner and I chuckle. She was none too happy when the doctors limited Angelica’s visitors to just me and Tina. The risk of infection is just too great. She eyes me pointedly and continues. ”…that her aunt Kit loves her something awful when you see her.”
I stand and put the breakfast bag on the table next to the cooling coffee and turn to hug her tightly. ”I will.” She returns the affection and while she’s been completely strong, I can tell that she can’t take how sad things are. Tears well in her eyes and she blinks them away before patting my cheek and walking away.
I flop back into the hideous chair with a sigh and grab the coffee, taking a large sip as I gaze at my wife. ”I know you can smell this incredible vanilla soy latte. Why don’t you wake up and I’ll let you have every last drop of it.” She doesn’t move but a smile quirks the corner of my mouth. If there’s one thing Tina loves, it’s coffee.
I walked into the bathroom half awake and still in my pajamas. The sun was up and shining happily through the balcony doors and the wonderful smell of coffee wafting up from the kitchen heralded the start of another Monday. I opened the glass shower door and turned the knob, feeling the water temperature and adjusting it accordingly. Once I was satisfied, I stripped and stepped under the steamy current, washing off the last vestiges of sleep.
I took my time ladyscaping, as Alice calls it, and thoroughly cleaned and conditioned my hair and skin. The new showerheads made the whole process must faster, and I couldn’t have been in there for more than ten minutes. I stepped out onto the rug and wrapped a white, fluffy towel tightly around my breasts as I approached the sink to pick up my toothbrush. I saw something out of the corner of my eye on the counter, and diverted the course of my hand to the tiny stick.
Tina’s ovulating. Tina’s ovulating! I set the stick down hastily and made my way back into the room, throwing on the first top and bottoms I could find. I checked the bedside clock to see that it was just past seven am, and my smile grew wider. Taking my cell phone from the charger on the nightstand, I quickly dialed Malcolm’s number. He finally got a fucking cell phone.
His deep and vibrant voice filled the receiver and I smiled brightly. ”Malcolm…um, hey…I uh, I need a…Tina’s ovulating…”
There was a long moment of silence before I heard him chuckle. ”Right…okay then, give me five minutes.”
I furrowed my brows and blurted out, ”That’s it?!”
I can hear the chagrin in his voice as he stumbles, ”Well, uh…” He cleared his throat to regain some of his self-dignity. ”This is fast food, not a bloody restaurant. Look, I’ll have a…it…for you in five minutes. I’ll bring it by. I assume you’re not going to work this morning?”
I smiled radiantly. Not if I could help it. ”No, I don’t think I will. But you can take the Saab.” Did I really just offer my car? Wow, even I don’t recognize myself sometimes…
”Right…thanks…we’ll trade then. Two girls, one cup in exchange for your keys.” He sighed in satisfaction. ”I love American girls…they’ll try anything once…”
”Okay, okay, overshare. I’ll see you in five minutes. And…wash your hands.”
I heard his chuckle as I ended the call, and looked up to see Tina enter. She raised that expressive eyebrow and I beamed at her as I came up and took her in my arms, kissing her passionately. Her face was shocked and dazed as I pulled away, and I smiled as I grabbed her hand and led her into the bathroom, handing her the stick on the counter.
She gazed down at the reading and that same eyebrow lifted above the gleaming, knowing anticipation in her eyes. ”So, after work?”
I furrowed my brows and took the stick from her hands, setting it gently on the counter. I turned back to her and took her hands in my own, shaking my head as I spoke. ”No, I thought I’d stay home and we’d make a day of it.” Her expression lit with shocked happiness as she leaned up and kissed me gratefully. ”Malcolm will be here in five minutes.”
Her happy expression fell a little and she started to laugh. ”Five minutes?”
I chuckled with her and gave her a knowing grin. ”I’m just glad we’re not entirely alike.”
She kissed me again and stroked my face as she leaned back and sincerely said, ”Thank you. Thank you for making this a priority.”
I pulled all the honesty I could from my soul as I replied, ”You’re always my priority.” There was that wonderful raised eyebrow again. ”Come on. Let’s go down stairs and wait for him while I call James to cancel my appointments.”
I took her hand and we started for the stairs before she pulled me to a stop. ”Bette, are you sure you shouldn’t go to work?”
I eyed her with patient exasperation. I was beginning to wonder if she’d ever figure it out. ”I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”
She smiled brightly and I tugged her along with me to the kitchen where I made the call to James while we waited. Just as I hung up, Malcolm poked his blushing face in through the back patio doors. Tina went up to him to retrieve it and hugged his neck, kissing his cheek with a sweetly uttered, ”Thank you.”
He smiled boyishly and nodded his head, waiting for a long moment before I realized he needed the keys. ”Oh, sorry Malcolm…” I rushed to get up and retrieve them, handing them to him with a bright smile and a ”Thank you,” of my own.
He finally shrugged off his chagrin enough to smile coyly and say, ”Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” and took off out the back chuckling. He called over his shoulder, ”Have fun ladies,” and disappeared completely. Wow, when he warms up to you, he’s quite the character.
I turned to Tina to see her smiling brightly and gazing at the sterile cup in her hand. I took it from her and grabbed that same hand, pulling her through the bottom floor, up the stairs, and through the double doors to the master bedroom. I approached the bed with surety and set the cup on the nightstand while Tina retrieved the diaphragm and syringe from the bathroom. She walked in and I opened the cup. We smiled at each other for a hesitant moment before she dipped the fine tip of the syringe into the serum and pulled back on the plunger.
She lifted it and we both watched the bubbles rise to the top. She gazed into my eyes and handed it to me. I took it carefully and flicked the shaft, depressing the plunger just enough to be sure that the catheter was clear of air. I looked back to her hopeful face as she took the syringe from my hand and placed it on the nightstand. I furrowed my brows at her. ”I want a baby more than anything Bette. But just now, watching you, being with you, knowing what we’re about to do, how much of a priority it is to you, I realize that I just…need…you.” She stroked my face and tears gathered in both of our eyes. ”Just make love to me…”
I felt my heart burst with the joy of this moment. I had been so concerned about this, about her. Since I met her, all I wanted was her, but it was like she wasn’t even seeing me. After everything we have been through, after all of the mess we have pulled apart and reassembled, so much of it still lingered. Her faith in me had not been restored, not fully, not yet. And honestly, I have been so scared that any little thing is going to send her away from me, that I could lose her at any moment because she has been so fragile. I took her in my arms and held her to me tightly, so thankful that something had finally sunk in, so thankful that she was seeing me in this moment, not just the goal.
I leaned back and gazed into her beautiful face conveying that gratitude with little more than my eyes, and then a deep and intimate kiss. It didn’t feel rushed or hurried or insecure in that moment. It felt…confident, confident in us, in her. For the first time in a long time, it felt confident and sure and stable, and nothing but what we were meant to be.
The kiss turned heated and she reached for her top, pulling it up over her head before attacking my lips and chest and throat. I could see it in her eyes, feel it in her touch, she was hungry, but it was something only I could fulfill, and that knowledge was like a balm to my soul. I returned her fervor with equal intensity, pulling my own top off and reaching for her bottoms. She pushed my hands away and forced me down on the bed, removing the last vestiges of our clothes in quick and frantic movements.
She climbed up the length of me, avoiding my desperate pleas to taste her mouth as she stroked my center in a perfectly knowing manner. Her voice was rough and impatient as she said, ”I need you…just you…so badly…”
The hot breath and meaning of her words, and the sure touch of her warm hand against me was enough, but she climbed down and alternated between pulling me into her mouth and swirling her tongue hard and fast against me. My frantic and uncontrollable climb to the precipice of release was swift and jarring as it charged through me and lasted long blissful moments, every muscle in my body standing in stark relief against the intensity of her desire.
She spent a long moment resting her head against me, breathing heavy puffs of hot air that sent currents of afterglow and gooseflesh skittering across the delicate skin of my sex and thighs. When the last shudders of orgasm released my heavy limbs, I reached down and pulled her up over me, crushing her against me in a bruising kiss. I rolled us over and latched on to her breasts, letting the erotically pebbled flesh trail across my velvet tongue. She whimpered and tangled her hands in my hair, spreading her legs wider in subtle entreaty.
I grabbed the syringe from the nightstand as I attacked her mouth and trailed a wet path down her torso, stopping to dip my tongue in her belly button and nip at a pointed hip bone with sharply grazing teeth. Her hips jerked and swayed and the core of her refused to be ignored any longer, but I wanted to push my luck. I wanted to revel in this feeling, her absolute need for me, to glory in it, just as I glory in my need for her.
I nuzzled my nose across the v at the apex of her legs, running it through the sparse matted blond curls and down the silken length of her, breathing her in, holding her in my soul before releasing her back into herself. The last jerk of her hips was sharp and quick and utterly involuntary, and I could see the longing seep from her center in earnest supplication. I reached up and used my thumbs to part her, open her, before delving my tongue as deeply into her as nature allows and dragging it up the entire length of her, pulling her exposed clit in my mouth and laving it with my tongue.
When I felt the shudders of her climax begin, I grasped the syringe and poised it at her opening, waiting until her knees pulled together at my shoulders and her hands bade me stop by gripping my hair roughly. With infinite care, I gently pushed it into her until I felt the back of her opening give resistance. I rested my head on her thigh and ever so slowly depressed the plunger, turning it in a slow circle to coat her cervix. Once I was certain I had emptied the tube, I carefully withdrew it and placed two pillows under her hips, covering her with a sheet and putting my bottoms back on.
I curled up next to her and rested my head on her hopefully soon to be swollen belly, and gazed at her wonderfully flushed face. She smiled at me as she reached a hand down and began to play with my hair. I closed my eyes and released a contented sigh as her angelic voice filled my soul. ”I love you Bette…more than anything…” I let those words settle in my soul where I would cherish and nurture them, just like my love for her.