Author’s Note: So this from is one of the stories I wrote and completed a long time ago, but due to some issues raised with it and some nasty feedback I got when posting a fanfiction with a similar concept, I was hesitant to share it. I had to do this to get past a roadblock in The Monster in My Garden Shed, a plot that was going to derail the already messy storyline I had going on there. So, Renatta didn’t have to do this… The story became Verina’s.
“Tell me it’s lying. That thing is… defective.”
Cameron wrapped his arms around me. I buried my face in his chest, not wanting to look again. I couldn’t even look at him, knowing that he wasn’t the one I wanted holding me. As close as he could be, I supposed, but it wasn’t the same. It would never be the same again. I was willing to believe that I’d messed up the test somehow, made a mistake, only it seemed rather straight forward—alarmingly so. I hit the mark, I set the timer, and I waited. I repeated the same process with two other brands. They all had the same undesired result. “Please?”
“We will get you in to see the a doctor and get one of those tests.”
“You think these ones are telling the truth?” I asked, shaking my head. I knew they’d be telling me that I was lucky, but no, I wasn’t lucky. This wasn’t luck. None of it was. “I know I did more than one, but I just really want you to tell me that they’re all wrong.”
“I know you do,” he agreed, rocking me a little. I closed my eyes, trying to will away this nightmare. Or maybe I wanted to pretend that he was someone else. If I kept my eyes closed, I could almost believe it. He sounded so much like his brother. “It’s possible that it’s some kind of—oh, I don’t know what it’s called, but something that would cause them to all read false because of what they test for, and that’s something that I believe the doctor’s tests can tell the difference.”
“I am not on any kind of hormone therapy. Yes, there was protection, but it wasn’t the pill,” I said, moaning, leaning into him. I knew that I was giving him information that he didn’t want to hear—details he didn’t need, didn’t want. He hadn’t even been that close to his brother, and he was basically a stranger to me. Still, he continued to hold me. I needed to stop this because I was not like this. Not normally. Of course, normal would have meant so many other things would be different now. “It’s only been, what, a week? It’s too soon. That’s why the results are off.”
“A week since Sam died, not necessarily a week since you’ve been pregnant. Try and stay calm until tomorrow when you can see the doctor,” Cameron suggested, hesitantly combing back my hair. I sighed. I was not going to cry anymore, but I felt so defeated at the moment, unable to deal with this. “Ina, I know how hard this is for you.”
“Cameron, you don’t even know me,” I reminded him, a bit annoyed to hear him shortening my name like that. Why Ina? I was kind of used to people picking Rina, not that I’d ever liked it. Just plain Ina? What was that? “And it’s not in you, okay? You don’t… You don’t understand at all.”
He touched my face gently, looking at me with the same eyes his brother had, though I swore Sam had never seen through me so easily as Cameron was right now. It was the grief. It had torn down all my walls, and I was left exposed, unprotected and even… naked. “It’s not a monster. It’s not any part of a monster, either.”
I shuddered, wrapping my arms around him and shivering. I couldn’t seem to get warm right now. It was like he knew, and how could he know? I hadn’t even told Sam. “I am so scared of this, Cameron. I don’t know what to do.”
He was quiet for an unnervingly long time. “I can’t tell you what to do. I’ve never been particularly good at figuring that out for myself. God knows Sam hated that about me—my inability to stay in one place, to settle—he always said I couldn’t make up my mind.”
I nodded. That sounded like Sam. I could remember those complaints when he’d pick up a postcard from wherever his younger brother was at the time, shaking his head in disgust and saying Cameron would never learn, that he only thought he was living a good life but he was really running.
He’d never actually said what Cameron was running from, and I’d never actually asked. I looked down and turned the wedding ring around on my finger. “Sam… He was definitely grounded. Stable.”
Cameron nodded, leaning his head back against the wall and running his hand through his hair. I knew what he wasn’t saying. The stable one was gone, and the reckless one had lived, and it wasn’t like I had any real expectation of him sticking around, either. I didn’t even know how he’d heard about the accident that killed Sam. The funeral had only been this morning, or Cameron would have been long gone by now, not sitting with me.
Finding out you were pregnant the day you put your husband in the ground was just about the worst way it could happen. I didn’t even know why I’d suddenly been gripped by the need to make certain that I wasn’t—sure, I’d thrown up after I woke up, but that only made sense because I was burying Sam. Still, I’d turned to Cameron as everyone walked away and told him I needed the tests. He hadn’t said anything, later pulling me from the wake to give me the bag, and I’d waited until now, when everyone else was gone, to take them.
“I had to have done that wrong. Three times, and I screwed it up. That’s the only explanation.”
Cameron gave me a doubtful look, and I sighed. “I don’t want a kid. I’m not good with them, and even though your brother wanted one desperately, I didn’t. I don’t now. How the hell am I supposed to do this without him when I didn’t think I could do this with him?”
“You have options.”
I grimaced. “Options. Right. On that note, I think I’m going to bed. I’ll sleep, and in the morning, this will all be a bad dream.”