It actually disappointed me not to see an emergency happening down there! In retrospect, I was glad that nobody was in any real peril, but at the time, it vexed me that they had made that cacophony for a trivial reason! Apparently, Mason had levitated the sofa in order to create a faster escape route from Jackson, who was it, and he hadn’t bothered to return it to its original position in a gentle fashion either! What floored me was that I seemed to be the only one concerned about this! I upbraided him, “You can’t just toss around the furniture like it’s unbreakable! What if you ruined it? Do you know how long it’d take for the FBI to issue us a new one?”
Mason inquired, “How long would it take?”
“Long!” I replied. “It’s the government, they do everything slow! If they moved at a reasonable speed, do you think my boyfriend’s stalker would still be with us?”
“You’re gonna have her killed?” Kinsey gasped.
I corrected her misinterpretation, “With us in this house, not on this earth! Nothing she’s done has warranted the death penalty! … At least, nothing that I know of!”
Minna exclaimed, “Hey! It’s not like I wanted to become an inconvenience to everyone! I offered to make things easier by sleeping outside, but-!”
“Shut up! Just… shut up! I’m not in the mood to argue with your nonsense!” I snapped. “Gosh, is it too much to ask for a few minutes of quiet so we can do some important research?”
“Yes!” Harper wise-cracked. “You’re a farmer now! What are you researching for?”
I got offended not only as someone who intended to go back to my detective role as soon as possible but as a person in the agricultural field too! “Ugh! I’m so tired of people assuming that farmers have no cause to enrich their knowledge in any subject! They have interests outside of work, you know! And furthermore, they can look up stuff to help with their profession! As a matter of fact, we were trying to find something related to irrigation, so excuse us for trying to be productive!”
It made me feel slightly guilty to claim that I was attempting to assist with water supply considerations when, in reality, I had been neglecting that in order to decipher Wade’s movements, but this was equally important! I mean, if Wade ended up annihilating us all, we certainly wouldn’t have been able to aid the Hekekias’ orchard! However, the shame swiftly evaporated when Mom pulled out a bottle of wine from the cupboard and offered it to me, “Maybe you need a small break from your project!”
“No! I can’t have any alcohol!” I barked. It roiled me that instead of addressing the validity of my statement, they were aiming to dull my senses!
“Why not?” Laraleigh probed.
I hesitated in my response to her. I definitely couldn’t say that I esteemed that I needed to stay alert as much as possible because I believed that the wanted criminal that sent us into Witness Protection in the first place may have been in the area and I foresaw a dangerous confrontation! If the love of my life doubted my allegations, then surely they wouldn’t buy them either, and I was not in the proper mindset to contend that point with this rowdy bunch! But… what other plausible explanation could I have provided to them? “I… haven’t been feeling well lately, which is another reason I could use some quiet, so please give me a bit of peace!” I added that last part in a stern voice in hopes of finishing this conversation, but that’s not what wound up occurring…
Willow cried out, “You’re so mean! I hope you’re nicer to your baby!”
“My baby?” I puzzled. My perplexion over her motive in bringing this up was enough to pull me out of my heated fervor! “Uncle Aidan and I are only pretending to be married, we haven’t talked about our actual future yet! Frankly, we can’t really ‘til we understand what’s gonna happen to us here! Who said we were entering a baby into this already complicated picture!”
“She did!” Willow asserted while pointing her finger to my mom.
Mom reacted in an overly innocent manner, which instantly informed me that she was one hundred percent guilty! “Me? No, I did not! I would not, no! Not me! Never!”
Willow argued with her, “Yeah, huh! You said she had a baby inside of her tummy!”
Mom turned beet red as my jaw dropped at such an unfounded allegation! Seriously, I recognized that I didn’t have a lot of experience with that topic, but I felt positive that I would have had some clues that would rouse my suspicion on that sort of status! Wouldn’t I have noticed my body going through several changes if I had another human growing inside of me? I gave her no indication that anything out of the ordinary had been transpiring lately, so it flabbergasted me as to why she would make that kind of hypothesis! And then to spread that rumor to others was unfathomable! I gazed at Mom for a rationale, and she could discern that I wasn’t about to abandon this matter, so she apologized, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to give that announcement out before you got a chance to, but-!”
“Woah, woah, woah!” I cut her off at this line of lunacy and denied her implication, “I’m not pregnant!”
“You’re not?” Mom blinked in disbelief. “Are you sure?”
I insisted, “Um, no offense, but, duh! If I believed it was even a remote possibility, I would’ve admitted it ages ago!”
Kinsey put in, “My sex ed teacher taught us that if you have sex, there’s always a possibility of getting impregnated! … Well, for straight people anyways! Her wife couldn’t get her knocked up! Anyways, you two have made it abundantly clear that you do it frequently, so-.”
“Not all the time! We only do it when…” I mulled it over for a second, and then I switched tactics, “That isn’t significant! Having intercourse doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll get a bun in the oven! There’s things you can do to prevent that even from unfolding!”
“Oh, don’t tell her that!” Laraleigh groaned.
Kinsey reassured her, “It’s okay, Mama! Missus Lyubovpole told us that no form of protection is totally effective!”
Aidan contended, “Yeah, but we only have a one in a hundred shot at that with birth control! We have greater odds of getting into a car accident each instance we go out than getting a bundle of joy each instance we… ahem!”
“That’s sorta a bummer!” I commented.
“Yeah,” Aidan agreed. “It’s not something I like to think about when I hit the road! But anyways, what makes you all so convinced that she’s expecting?”
Mom observed, “For starters, her mood swings have been off the charts lately!”
I challenged her, “Don’t you imagine that all of the stress I’ve endured this week would warrant that?”
“True!” Mom acknowledged. “But you’ve also been pretty constipated for a while…”
“How did you know about that?” I cringed at the thought of the entire household learning something so personal to me, which made the day that Aidan and I would return to our apartment that much more appealing!
Minna reported, “You take forever in the bathroom! Originally, we were thinking you were simply hiding from us, but then we realized that’s what your hidey closet is for!”
Laraleigh added, “You’ve been more tired than usual also!”
“Fatigue is a symptom of almost every ailment out there!” I bickered. “Besides, I’ve been more run-down here ‘cause I’ve been doing hard labor with virtually no sleep!”
“You’ve been avoiding alcohol too!” Aidan chimed in, which made the ladies downstairs murmur in agreement.
I questioned Aidan, “Hold on, who’s side are you on?”
Aidan bashfully brought up, “No one’s! It’s just that… Well… How do I put this delicately? Your belly has gotten a bit bigger recently… Not that much! I only saw it since I know you somewhat completely… But, maybe it’d be a good thing to find out definitively…”
My primary reflex to this development was to take a moment to absorb the sting of my beau noticing my stomach getting larger, and I nearly panicked in fear that he was becoming less attracted to me, but then he took my hand and supportively caressed it. It registered that his sentiments hadn’t altered, but he was staring at me with eyes full of worry as though he expected me to feel scared right then. I glimpsed down to the lower level, and I beheld everyone giving me the same look, and I grew irate again! It was such a crazy notion! If I was gestating, I would have felt it in my gut! Literally and figuratively! No one believed that that I spotted a hooded silhouette that resembled Wade, and now, no one took my word about the state of my fertility! It burned me up enough that I intended to prove them wrong! I marched over to my purse and grabbed one of the small wines that I forgot to take out of my purse after that flight attendant gave it to me, and I posed to the assemblage, “If I drink this, would that drop this insanity?”
Nobody spoke. The entire facility was silent for a minute, and I paused my efforts in order to savor this bout of tranquility! As I wondered if this move would show the same success going forward, something I could save as a tool in my back pocket, Harper queried, “I don’t get it. What’s happening?”
“Liquor can hurt unborn infants,” Minna educated. “Oh, the born ones too, but when a woman has a baby in her tummy, everything she eats and drinks goes to the baby too!”
“So, pregnant women never drink that stuff?” Harper asked.
Minna answered, “Some do, but it has some terrible consequences…”
Harper’s face fell at that concept, and everyone ogled me incredulously. A part of me wanted to defy their judgment and guzzle down the alcoholic beverage, but it registered to me that if I went through with it, they’d harbor a very ill opinion of me, and the last thing I wanted to was to evoke more drama in this abode! I resentfully removed the bottle from my lips, and I petitioned the lot, “If I do a pregnancy test spell and it comes out negative, will you all accept that my bigger belly is simply from my constipation and my moodiness from stress?”
They all seemed to come to a consensus that they would, but as Laraleigh floated a cup over to me, Mom couldn’t resist squealing, “Eek! I’m gonna be a grandma!”
I rolled my eyes as I received the cup, which I opted to do instead of arguing. I got the urge to remind her that she more than likely would have to postpone that aspiration for a longer interval, but I also explicitly desired to put a halt to this discussion as speedily as possible, so I ran into the bathroom with as much haste as I could muster! I pulled down my pants and held the cup between myself and the bowl, and it felt rather strange to urinate into a glass receptacle! Midstream, I heard Mason request, “Mama, can you have her hurry? I gotta go now…”
After letting out an exasperated sigh, I set the cup on on the sink, pulled my pants back up, and reemerged into the living space. I placed the cup onto the ledge, and Jackson crinkled his nose at this sight. “We ain’t drinking from that glass again, are we?”
“Oh, hush!” Laraleigh commanded him. “We’ll wash it real thoroughly!”
“Okay, here we go!” I waved my wand over the cup, and I concentrated on the effect I wanted to produce. The substance started swirling, and each person viewed this spectacle with mourning anticipation! I was confident they’d all get disappointed by the result… until I saw swirls of blue and pink form! My heart froze! What if I was pregnant? I wasn’t ready for this stage of my life, and I didn’t reckon that I could handle the hardships that entailed this condition along with all of the other tribulations I already had to cope with! My pulse skyrocketed as a bubble hovered over the cup, and I prayed that the cycling colors would stop at white! It flashed blue, pink, and white a few times, and it landed on…