Author’s Note: Luna gets all the fun jobs.
“We like this.”
“I’m glad,” Luna said, giving Alvin a tight smile. That was not one of her radiant ones, and he knew that she was still worried. She was afraid of Alvin changing his mind, of him demanding to return to his hive. That would mean that he would leave her, and that seemed something that she was unwilling to let happen, no matter how many times he promised that he would return.
“Friend Luna has the best stomach ever.”
She sighed, running a hand over his head as she tried to get comfortable. “I really wish you didn’t find it comforting to listen to my digestion, but since that’s what you need, I’m doing my best to help you with it.”
“It’s not your digestion that is appealing. It is simply the closest sound to when his people are sleeping in the hive.”
“I know,” she said, letting out a breath. “I just wish that he could hear it without being right on top of me. It’s not—Alvin, what did I tell you about flapping your wings? I can sit still if you don’t smack me with the wings, and I’ll let you stay there until you fall asleep, but no hitting me with the wings, okay? Please?”
“Sorry, Friend Luna.”
“His wings beat in his sleep. That’s how his species works. I know that is not easy to accept, but it is what happens.”
She nodded, closing her eyes. “I think part of the problem is that I keep getting this image in my head of my face plastered over all the supermarket tabloids with a headline about me having an alien lovechild.”
“That would be completely inaccurate. You cannot have his child—or mine—for that matter. The species are incompatible.”
She winced, lowering her head. “Yes. I know that. Hell, you can’t even touch me, so that would make any kind of reproduction impossible, now wouldn’t it? Just—Oh, I need to get up. Alvin, we’ll try and get you some sleep in the hive later. I can’t do this right now. I’m too worked up.”
“What if… Oh, if I could only touch you and soothe you or if I could read to you and relax you…”
She gave him a more genuine smile that time. “I would like it if you could read to me. As nice as it was to read to you, as much as I enjoy it, it would be nice if you could read to me, too, or just read for your own sake. The things you’ve been denied…”
He almost reached for her, but he did not dare touch her while she had Alvin on her. Too much could go wrong. “There are… audiobooks. Perhaps if we got one of those for you to sit through while you were letting Alvin rest against you, it would help. We could try that. Exhaust all our options, right?”
“And pillows and to make you more comfortable, too,” he said, walking around her to see if he could find other ways to make it easier for her.
“I wonder if they make things that allow you to listen to babies at home.” She put a hand to her head. “I mean, listen to the ones in your stomach—not that I—Well, it might help amplify the sound so that he doesn’t have to sit on me all the time. Or we could make a few tapes for him to hear whenever he wanted. That would also help.”
“Then… we will find one of these things or the nearest equivalent to it. Anything to make you happy and more… cozy.”
“Oh, Tynan, I know exactly what would make this… cozy, but that doesn’t mean that I can ever have it.”
He frowned, about to ask her what that was when Alvin started snoring, loud enough to wake his whole hive even though they were galaxies away. At least he was asleep, wasn’t he?
“Earplugs. I definitely need earplugs.”