“B-breathe… just b-breathe. In. Out. Stay c-c-calm. Focus. Slow. B-big, deep breath! L-let it out now. Breathe!”
I was sitting in a chair, hugging my middle and still trying to cope with the idea of a random pregnancy. Specter was rubbing my shoulders. Uncle Kay was trying to get his sister to stop hyperventilating. She had a paper bag and was breathing in and out into it. Apparently she really was superly obsessed with aliens.
Aliens? Was that why I was pregnant? It had just been a dream–hadn’t it? But it had felt real. Weird, but real. And here I was all pregnafied. But did that mean the baby wasn’t Specter’s? And what about my second trimester? I didn’t think I could handle another miscarriage. I began panicking and Specter put his arms around me as he felt me tense up.
“It’ll be okay, darling,” he said and I tried to relax. He rarely used terms like darling and he knew how it made me feel. “The doctor is probably wrong about–“
“Wrong?” Doctor Green-Eyes snapped her head up. “Wrong? I am not wrong. He is pregnant. And b-by the sound of your… ahh… ‘dream’ it sounds very much like–like–like aliens.” She stood and smoothed down her skirt, trying to get her face to look all blank like it usually did but I could tell that that was a difficult task for her. “Specter, go and write down everything from your dream while I talk to Chance.” She handed him a pen and paper and waved her hand. Then she began asking me all sorts of questions, most of which I couldn’t really answer.
The color of their skin, how many eyes they had, did they have a nose, did they have a mouth, did they speak English, did they speak at all, did they communicate ‘telepathically’, did they have arms, did they have legs, did they have tentacles, did they wear clothes–so many questions and all of which I answered with a shrug and a, “I dunno.” I couldn’t really remember properly seeing them which seemed to agitate the doctor. It also agitated her that I wasn’t believing it was aliens.
“Why would aliens come make me pregnant?” I asked and she couldn’t answer that.
“What else would it be?” she finally asked in return.
I shrugged. “Magic?”
“Aliens is more likely than magic.”
“You have things like faeries and–and ghosts here and–and you turned a ghost into a real person but you think aliens over magic.”
Then the questions began again, then I went over my dream again so Specter could write it down. Then there was another ultrasound and she pointed out the blobs on the screen that was the baby. I thought back to when I was 9 weeks along with Cloud, and saw the similarities. After that we were allowed to go home though the doctor wanted me coming in the next day with Specter.
“I’m so scared.”
Specter and I couldn’t sleep. We hadn’t talked much on the way home or when we got home–we just watched some TV–then we didn’t talk much over dinner (not pizza though) and then more TV and then off to bed where we lay in silence for a while. Now we were finally talking. It was after midnight. I told Specter how I felt and now he was holding my hand tightly, using his other arm to pull me up against him.
“I’m scared too,” he said.
“The baby is going to–“
“No, don’t say that. Please.”
I closed my eyes tightly, not wanting to think about it but I couldn’t ignore it. “You know that is what’s going to happen. In a few weeks. A month or two. I’m going–the baby will–it’s going to–“
He stopped my words with a kiss. “Don’t talk about it. We don’t know it will happen. We only have Dr. Rosso’s word that it will happen.”
“Isn’t she a very reliable doctor?”
Specter shifted around a bit and then hugged. “Yes. But most people get second opinions on that sort of thing. We can’t, not really. We were pigeonholed.”
Specter thought about for a few seconds then said, “Put in a corner. We couldn’t go anywhere else. We were stuck. Maybe–maybe this baby will go full term. It will be fine.” He put his hand against my stomach. “It has to be fine.”
“How did this happen, Specter? Was it aliens? Magic? How? It makes no sense for me to just randomly be–“
“I know.” He kissed me again then pulled me down while pulling the covers up. “I don’t know. I don’t know how this happened. Maybe it’s just a–a miracle.”
I didn’t answer him. I just tried to sleep although I couldn’t. Aliens. Magic. Aliens. Magic. Would I ever know what really happened? It didn’t seem very fair though. Why me? Why not–not other people? Would–would this baby really be okay?
Over the next few weeks I went in almost daily. Dr. Green-Eyes was obsessed with me. I retold my dream so many times I was getting sick of it and at one point snapped at the doctor that I really remembered nothing else and if she wanted to hear it again just record my voice and play it over. So she had me tell it one more time so she could record it. She tested my blood a lot and put me under as many scans as her brother would allow. She wanted to do more, but Uncle Kay refused to let it happen.
“We c-can’t risk hurting the b-baby,” I heard him whisper to her one day and I began to get scared that all the testing would hurt my baby. I asked Uncle Kay about it later that day and he said he was a bit worried too (which made me MORE worried) but he promised to take care of me. After that, I came in fewer times. Uncle Kay was always there every minute and several times had to remind his sister not to go too far.
In addition, another good thing happened: Specter was given a raise. “All because you and I had a ‘close encounter’,” he said when he got home the day he got the raise. “She didn’t say that specifically but I know that that’s why.”
“So?” Specter stared. “Chance, she’s not recognizing me for my abilities. I got a raise not because of anything I did but because of some stupid dream I had.”
I frowned, trying to figure out a way to explain what I meant without upsetting him. “I know… and that’s stupid. But more money means we’ll be able to give the baby more. We’ll have more money to put away for college. If our baby wants to go to college–“
“He or she will go to college.”
I was gonna protest that but decided now was not the time but when I opened my mouth to speak I found myself crying. “What if th-they don’t w-w-w-wanna go to college?” I sniffled. “What if they want to do oth-other thiiiiings?” I covered my face, feeling miserable. “I never w-went to college! Is it so b-bad not to?”
“Your… case was… different. Stop crying–I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
I turned away from him, trying to stop but being unable. I grew more upset about this. What if he thought less of me because I didn’t go to college or even have a high school education? “You think I’m stupid!”
“No!! Damn it, Chance, I don’t think you’re stupid!”
“Yes you do! You think people who go to college are better than people who don’t!”
“No! I just think going to college will offer more opportunities to our children! I want what’s best for–“
“What’s best?!” I spun around, shocked. “Well I didn’t go to college and I think what I got out of life is pretty good! I didn’t go to college and I have the best!”
“Best? What? Chance, you don’t have a job. I love you and if you want a job you can get one but if you don’t want one, that’s fine too–but really, you play video games. That’s nothing to do with college.”
“I was talking about you!” I yelled angrily. Specter jerked back, apparently startled. I folded my arms and turned again, scowling. “I didn’t go to college and I still got the best.”
I felt his hands on my shoulders. I pulled away and he sighed. “Well. I did go to college and I got even better. I got you.” Now I turned and didn’t pull away when he put his arms around me. “You’re so much better than me,” he said, rubbing his beard gently against my cheek. I nuzzled against him and finally managed to stop my tears. “Look. If our kid… doesn’t want to go… I won’t… be angry. But–but let’s not discuss that right now. You’re right. Money is money. We’ll be able to use it, and–and I shouldn’t… argue the raise.”
I closed my eyes, enjoying his warmth. “You really think I’m better than you?”
“Yes. At least you smile.”
I couldn’t help but giggle at that. “You smile sometimes.”
So Specter had to deal with my moodiness again. I tried not to be moody and emotional but it just sorta happened. I cried over things like a dropped cup or when I couldn’t find a shirt I wanted to wear. At least as I exited my first trimester and entered my second the vomiting stopped being such a big issue. I gained a lot of weight, more weight than I had gained the first time but then again I weighed less going into this pregnancy than I did the first one. I did eat a lot. I mostly wanted pizza but Specter refused to let me eat it much. I had to be content with boring, bland, icky foods.
Of course the doctor continued to want to see me. I went through a lot of ultrasounds. She wanted pictures of the developing baby at every angle she could get. We also found out the sex. Twice. In week fourteen, the doctor said it was a boy. But then the week after she discovered it really was a girl. Things had been in the way the previous week and what she thought was a little weewee wasn’t.
A girl!! Specter and I grinned at each other. A little baby girl. A daughter. A perfectly human-looking daughter (to the doctor’s annoyance). But then after we got home I started crying cause I was worried we wouldn’t know how to take care of a girl very well. Specter spent an hour comforting me, promising me everything would be fine. But soon the fears of the future started turning into fears of the past. Week 15 turned into 16, turned into 17. We were getting closer to when my previous miscarriage happened. It was the second trimester which the doctor had said would be when I would lose any babies we had.
I tried not to stress too much since I knew stress would be bad. But it was hard. I was so scared. It was hard to sleep, hard to eat even though I was always so hungry, and every time I went to the labs for a check-up I was so terrified they would tell me it had happened again. I was scared of any and all pain I felt. So when week 18 rolled around and I felt weird rumbly feelings. I cried and cried and cried the entire trip to the labs but both the doctor and Uncle Kay, after a thorough examination, told me it was the baby moving.
“Are you s-s-s-sure?” I asked, wiping my eyes.
“She is p-perfectly f-f-fine,” Uncle Kay promised, hugging me close.
Of course every little thing freaked me out. Every time I felt her move, I panicked. Eventually Gretchen came to stay with us so there’d be someone with me on the days Specter worked and I didn’t need to go to the labs. Though I felt guilty when she demanded I stay off my feet and I would just be on the couch doing nothing while she did cleaning and stuff. She said rest would be best for me and maybe she was right, maybe it was better I rested.
She also told me this pregnancy would be different. Of course she didn’t know the originals behind this story. Just that we got pregnant again. She was surprised to find out we were risking it, but didn’t really argue. Still, she kept patting my tummy gently and saying, “This one is different, I can tell.”
Maybe she was right. Maybe whatever caused this would make this pregnancy be better. Or maybe Specter was right and the doctor was wrong–though that itself was weird to think. That she might be wrong. Either way I had to cling onto the hope that yes, this pregnancy was different. Nineteen weeks in. Twenty weeks in. The time. I was shaky, sick, barely able to eat, and at the labs every single day for two full weeks. My baby girl moved and kicked and hiccuped and made it to 21 weeks. 22 weeks. Specter’s birthday passed by, a couple more weeks went by as well, and then my birthday went by. We tried to celebrate both birthdays but since we were both a bit nervous, neither celebration was very happy.
I grew bigger, the baby grew bigger (still human-looking; Dr. Green-Eyes was really disappointed) and soon we began to realize that this time might be different. My third trimester started approaching and we began doing work in the nursery. Well, Specter did work while I sat in the rocking chair. We dusted everything off, cleaned the toys, rewashed the bed clothes and stuff, vacuumed, cleaned, and bought some more things. I rubbed my bulging stomach and began to feel more excited than afraid. Because by this point, according to books and stuff we did on research and Uncle Kay… if something happened, they could do a… uhhh… c-session thingie and take the baby out and the baby could live. That didn’t… really guarantee anything cause I could still–well. Things were looking hopeful now. I was more hopeful.
We made it to the beginning of the third trimester. I felt fat and ugly, had sharp, shooting pains from the baby as well as feeling her kicking me hard. I was constipated, had hammeroids, headaches, and trouble sleeping. I was so happy. I cried a lot from the pain and spent most my days trying to figure out how to get comfortable but I was able to make myself feel mentally better by reminding myself soon we would have a baby girl.
Of course Specter and I talked a little bit about names but he told me I could name her. “Even if I want something you think is weird?” I asked a bit suspiciously.
“I know naming the baby is important to you,” he said. “And honestly it can’t be any weirder than the name ‘Specter’.”
I grinned from ear to ear. “I can really name her? Honestly?”
“Honestly. Why? Do you have a name?”
“Uh-huh!” I nodded cheerfully. “I know what I want to name her.”
“Were you going to name her–” he started but then stopped. I tilted my head and he just looked down. “Tifa?” he finally asked.
I swallowed, shaking my head. “No… no. I don’t–I don’t think I want to name any of our kids anything from–well… it just makes me think of–well, no. Not that. I was thinking of the name Presea.” I pronounced it carefully, as preh-say-a.
Specter knew immediately who I meant. “You want to name our daughter after a crazy, psycho girl?!”
“Presea isn’t crazy or psycho!” I protested. “In the sequel she’s better. It’s not her fault she was stunted emotionally and physically. I like her. And I like the name Presea more than Sheena. Presea Danevbie-Greyson sounds more poetic than Sheena Danevbie-Greyson. You said I could name her. I like the name Presea. I want to name her Presea.”
Specter looked like he wanted to argue. I knew he wanted to argue. I really expected him to argue. But, after a moment of growling, he let out a long, slow sigh. “Presea. How is it spelled?” he asked and when I spelled it for him he said, “You can’t spell the word ‘leash’ but you can spell ‘Presea’?”
“‘Leash’ sounds like it should have two ‘e’s in it,” I pouted.
Specter kissed the tip of my nose. “You’re so cute when you pout. All right. Presea is definitely not the strangest name I’ve heard. It’s not any stranger than Specter. But think of other names, all right? Maybe?”
“Okay,” I said hesitantly. “I’ll think. But I really like the name Presea.”
In the middle of December, a wrench was thrown into our semi-smooth workings. It was a little less than a month before my due date and we went into the labs for one of my checkups. The checkup went fine. The ultrasound showed everything was normal. Little Presea was still looking like a normal human being. All my symptoms were normal. So afterwards, I went to Uncle Kay’s room to hang out for the day. He had just gotten me settled down onto the couch when the door swung open.
“Professor?” An assistant stood there, looking a bit scared. “He refuses to eat and won’t stop crying. I–I don’t know what to do.”
“Oh d-dear, um–I’ll b-be there right away.” Uncle Kay waved his hand then turned to me. “I’m s-s-sorry, I’ll be back in a little wh-while. You go ahead and do whatever.”
“What’s going on?” I asked, wide-eyed.
“N-nothing important. I’ll be back.”
He left me so I watched some TV for a bit then played some of my hand-held video game stuff I usually brought with me. After half an hour, Uncle Kay finally came back looking a bit tired with something icky-looking on his sleeve. He went to the bedroom to get changed then returned to the front room, flopping down. I was soooo curious but I managed to keep quiet for a few seconds. As soon as I opened my mouth, Uncle Kay sighed and said, “A w-werewolf.”
“A w–oh! But… isn’t it… day out? And stuff?”
Uncle Kay smiled. “He’s human r-right now. But he l-lost his mother the other n-night and we’ve been having difficulty getting him n-nurtured. He s-sometimes eats if I f-feed him so…” His hand went through the air then fell into his lap.
“How old is he?”
“Um, a-around a year old w-we believe. Thi-thirteen to fifteen m-months.”
I began to feel incredibly bubbly and perky, all my fatigue disappearing. “He doesn’t have any parents? Or family?”
“N-none that we can find, wh–” Uncle Kay stopped, seeing the huge smile on my face. “Chance, I d-d-d-don’t think it’s a good idea to–“
“Can I meet him? Please? I mean, this is–this is the kid me and Specter–would? Right? This kid? This werewolf?”
Uncle Kay seemed uneasy. “I th-think so, but–“
I pushed myself to my feet. “Let’s go!”
So he took me down a floor to a small nursery area where there was a woman watching over a little baby who was pounding little chubby hands on a stuffed animal. He had shaggy white and blue hair, and when he looked up at me I was met with eyes that were as bright as mine, though more of a light blue than a turquoise. And they kinda glowed in a creepy way… but he was so cute.
“Agha,” he said and bit into the stuffed animal.
“He is so cute!” I squealed. “Can I hold him?”
“If you s-s-sit down,” Uncle Kay said so I sat down and the toddler was put in my lap. “Now, be wary he d-doesn’t like–” But he didn’t even finish before the kid began crying loudly. He squirmed unhappily and nearly fell out of my lap. Uncle Kay caught him and quickly set him down.
“So, me and Specter will be adopting him?” I asked. Uncle Kay frowned. “I mean, that was what we were going with, right?”
“Chance, th-that was a long t-time ago. Before your… p-pregnancy.”
I looked down at my bulging belly, where Presea was wriggling around. I put my hands over my stomach and frowned. “But we agreed. On adopting. A baby. A kid. An abandoned kid. This kid–this little boy–doesn’t have a family. What’s going to happen to him?”
“Another f-family at the labs will probably adopt him,” Uncle Kay said hesitantly.
But I was already in love with this baby. I knew I needed to talk to Specter, and besides we had already agreed with Dr. Green-Eyes and Uncle Kay about adopting. But when Specter came by Uncle Kay’s rooms to take me home and I brought the subject up he was firmly against it.
“But we agreed!” I whined.
“No! No way, Chance! We have Presea on the way. In a month we’ll have our baby, and we can’t take care of two at once!” Specter snarled back.
I folded my arms angrily. “Other people do! What if Presea was twins? We’d have two. And he’s already about a year old and people have kids a year apart all the time, less than a year apart sometimes!” I began tugging on Specter’s arm. “Please! His mother was killed, he has no family.”
“Someone else here will adopt him,” Specter said, shaking my hand off his arm. “No. Besides, a werewolf? Around a baby? That’s not happening.”
“But Uncle Kay said werewolves don’t have the, um, hormones or–uhh whatever it was that turns other people into werewolves until after puberty!” I grabbed his arm again. “By then he’ll be old enough to know. Specter, please. We agreed. We can afford it, can’t we? At least–at least go meet him!”
Specter glowered and I gave him the giant eyes that I knew would work. He hmphed loudly but went with me and Uncle Kay to the nursery. He was warned the baby wouldn’t want to be held but as soon as we went into the room, the baby saw Specter and reached out his arms, crying. Specter looked at me and I shrugged. He looked at Uncle Kay who shrugged as well. “I think he w-w-wants you to pick him up,” Uncle Kay said.
“I don’t want to,” Specter said but the baby began crying louder, reaching out towards Specter who, after a second or two of grumbling, caved in. He bent down and picked the baby who who immediately stopped crying. He began patting Specter’s beard, staring at it.
“Emm,” he said, curling his fingers into the beard. I thought he was gonna pull it (which I knew would mean the end of the idea of adopting him) but instead he leaned in and rested his head against the beard. Specter looked completely freaked out while Uncle Kay stared with an open mouth.
“He’s n-never… he hasn’t… been l-like that before,” Uncle Kay said.
The baby closed his eyes, snuggled against Specter’s beard. “What do I do?” Specter whispered frantically.
“Hold still,” I said as I got my phone out and took a picture. Specter glared so hard but I had already gotten it. “Looks like he really likes you. Must be the fur.”
“Hair,” Specter hissed. “Not fur. Hair. Stop grinning at me.”
“His m-mother was shot and killed b-by some drunken f-farmers,” Uncle Kay said. “My s-sister has been looking for more family but has found n-nothing. We usually g-g-give things like this a f-full month of searching… but after that…”
I looked at Specter then at the baby who had fallen asleep. “Specter?”
“I don’t know–I don’t think–we have Presea on the–Chance, we can’t–it wouldn’t–what if there is family?”
“You of all p-people should know how g-good we can do research here,” Uncle Kay said and Specter made a face. “Then we–we will l-look for someone to take him in. Not m-many people here want w-werewolves though. They’re the h-hardest to find homes for.”
Specter’s forehead wrinkled a bit in the angry look he got when he was really actually thinking hard. He tried to look at the baby again but it was hard since the baby was clinging so much to his beard. Finally he looked at me. “All right.”
I wanted to jump for joy but was way too pregnant for that so instead I kissed Specter’s cheek as best I could then put a hand on the little toddler boy. “Does he have a name?” I asked but Uncle Kay was shaking his head.
“As f-f-far as we can tell, he and his m-mother lived in the woods. We sp-spoke with the biggest pack in M-Moonlight Falls and th-they said they knew her d-distantly. They t-told us that she h-had said, once, long b-before the baby, that her p-parents had k-kicked her out after sh-she became a werewolf. So even if w-we find the f-family, we’re not sure if they’d even t-t-take him in.”
“And the father?” Specter asked.
“Unknown, c-could be anyone,” Uncle Kay answered. “Sometimes during a f-full moon, a w-werewolf… well, t-two werewolves will–without–ahhh…” He broke off and went incredibly red. “Well, b-by his DNA we kn-know both his parents were werewolves. And w-while it’s not a definite thing, his DNA has m-more of the werewolf DNA than usual wh-which is what those born by–by–those c-c-c-c-c-conceived during a full–moon–ahh–w-w-well…” He began toying with his glasses, going even redder now. “So it is v-virtually imp-possible to find his f-father.”
“How much longer will you be taking care of him here?” Specter asked. “Because I don’t think it’d be a good idea to take him in while Chance is in his final month of pregnancy.”
“Oh, it w-will be another month at the l-least and we can take care of him a bit longer if need be,” Uncle Kay said brightly. “So you t-two can get your bearings on b-being parents to a newborn and–and stuff.”
“Yes, that would be–be very good,” Specter said softly as he continued to hold the baby who was still asleep against his beard. I beamed so happily, just completely on cloud nine or beyond. Two kids! I felt kinda bad for hoping his family wouldn’t be found (or want him taken in) but I just wanted this little boy so much, there was something about him. Maybe because, like me, he had unusual hair? But he obviously really liked Specter. And Specter seemed to already be bonding with him.
Two babies. I put a hand on my stomach and the other around Specter, so dang happy.