Day 15 – Chapter 10 – Marin – 02

            We made our way in silence back up the trail and to the ward lines, at which point I took Kellin’s bucket from her.  “Go double check them.  I can handle this.”
            “You sure?”  She eyed me for a moment, looking at the buckets, the way my arms trembled a little as I held them.
            I nodded.  “Yeah.  Go check the wards.”  The buckets were heavy, but they weren’t any heavier than any of the digging equipment I’d hauled around during field school, or the furniture I’d moved around while working for camps and conferences.  It wasn’t like I was going to have to haul them very far, anyhow.
            I’d gone another ten feet before Tala grasped my arm, took one of the buckets out of my hand, and set it aside.
            “I need to talk to you,” she hissed in an urgent whisper, relieving me of the other bucket and setting it next to the first.
            “Tala, they need the water back by—”  She pressed a finger against my lips.
            “Your brother can wait for the goddamned water, Mar.  I need to talk to you now.  It can’t wait.”  She grabbed me by the elbow and tugged me away from where the camp was waking up, toward the shadows of the collapsing dorms behind the tents.  I stared at the back of her head as she dragged me over.
            What’s got her all knotted up?  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her upset like this.  I wasn’t sure if I ever had, really.  “Tala, what’s so damn important?”  I asked her quietly as we eased into the shadows.  Tala pressed her back against a slab of concrete, brows knitting.  She hugged her arms across her body, looking back toward the tents to make sure someone wasn’t about to overhear us.
            “I’m scared, Marin.”
            Aren’t we all?  You dragged me over here to tell me that?  I swallowed that response and frowned at her, watching her closely.  There was a certain kind of terror in her eyes, the look of someone who doesn’t know what they’re going to do, isn’t sure what their options are.  My stomach dropped a little.  “Of what?”
            She glanced toward the tent again and didn’t look at me as her voice dropped to a bare whisper.  “I’m pregnant, Marin.  Pretty sure I am, anyway.”
            I rocked back against my heels, staring at her for a moment.  She risked a glance at me and must not have liked the look on my face, because hers crumpled.  She slumped against the slab, covering her face with her hands.
            “I don’t know what to do!”
            I took her by the shoulders, stepping closer again.  “Calm down,” I said quietly, drawing her into a hug.  She threw her arms around me and sobbed into my shoulder.  I winced a little, hugging her tight.  “How do you know?”
            “Four pregnancy tests in ten days is how I know,” she whispered through her tears.  “I’m three weeks late, Mar.  That and positive tests…what else could it be?”
            She definitely had me there.  I squeezed her.  “It’s okay, Tala.”
            “How am I supposed to do this without Kurt, Marin?”
            I hadn’t doubted for an instant that the baby was Kurt Davison’s—Tala had been dating him for the past two years and we’d been wondering when he’d pop the question.  He’d been back on the other side of the state the weekend the world ended, getting ready for an interview at one of the local news affiliates there on Monday morning.
            Who knows if he’s even alive or dead?  I winced at the thought, glad she couldn’t see it.  I squeezed her more tightly.  “You’re going to be okay, Tala, because you’ve got us.  We’ll help you, I promise.”
            She leaned against me, crying into my shoulder—whether in relief or despair, I couldn’t be sure—and I just held her, mind awhirl.  What are we going to do?  How are we going to handle this?  I never dreamed that we’d have to face something like this so soon.  And for her to be alone, without Kurt…I don’t know that I’d be able to handle her kind of situation.  I don’t think I could do it without Thom.
            I rubbed her back until she started to calm down, hiccupping as she pulled away and looking at me with red-rimmed eyes.
            “I’m just so terrified, Mar.  Why did this happen?”
            I exhaled and shook my head.  “Jac would tell you that God’s got some kind of plan.  I’d say that things happen for a reason.”  I held her at arms’ length.  “You’re going to be okay, Tala.  I promise you.”
            She wiped her eyes and sniffled, staring at me for a long moment, then nodded slowly.  “Okay.  But I’m going to hold you to that.”
            I laughed and hugged her again.  “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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3 Responses to Day 15 – Chapter 10 – Marin – 02

  1. Antonious says:

    Tala, I think what Marin would like to say if she could think of it at this moment is “Do not worry, we may not have been your family before, but we are now. We will prove the adage ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.”

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