Chapter 1

Ame got pregnant. It had to be deliberate; she controlled when I fucked her and she controlled how. She didn't even tell me until she was a month along and having morning sickness every damn day.

Three months in, she was home sick a lot. By five months, her Doctor put her on bed rest which did nothing to improve her already short temper.

In the end, we both took the time off. She just quit the firm, refusing even to work online from home. I took an extended leave from the fishery. Not that it's that big a deal.

My Mom offered to move in with us but I decline. Neither of us is any good at keeping our tempers and I figure four months of bed rest was gonna have us crawling the walls and looking for a target. I'd rather Mom not be in the way of that. Still, she comes over fairly frequently - as does damn near every one in the family. I spend as much time answering the damn door as I do tending Ame.

When we're alone, we argue. A lot. Stupid shit. All it really boils down to is that she's bored and worried and I'm worried and frustrated. I wanna spend my time away from her but every time I'm gone for more than half an hour, I start worrying about her. Peter tries to help but I wind up starting a fight with him and coming home with a sore shoulder. By the end of the second month, I'm sleeping on the couch. We can't even do the new parent bullshit - paint the nursery, buy baby junk, take a Lamaze class together.

The big fight comes when we take her in for her umpteenth doctor's appointment and he recommends a c-section.

"No." Ame's voice is flat. I know before the discussion even starts that the fuckin' sun will cool before she changes her mind but the jackass of a doctor has to try an' 'get her to see reason'.

"Ms. Wilson, natural birth is painful at best. In your case, I believe it will be dangerous for both you and the babies." I still get a shiver every time I hear 'ies'. "A caesarian will be best and-"


"Now, I realize that you may -"


I finally cut in, "Doc?" he looks at me, "She said no. If-n she has ta say it again, you an' me gonna have a whole new conversation, hear?" He looks for a moment like he has something more to say. Then he drops the topic and asks Ame what exercises she's been doing.

In the car home, we're both silent until she says, "Thank you."

"For what?" I haven't done much deserving of thanks lately.

"For standing by me on the natural child birth issue. You went a little trailer park but apparently, that's what he needed to hear. So. Thank you."

I shrug, "It's important to you. And anyway, that's the kind of thing they can switch to at the last minute if they need to."




I'm in traffic so I can't actually look at her but in my one quick glance, I see tears. I pull over fast. "What? What's going on, Amelia?"

"My mother wasn't strong enough..."

" ... It's ok..."

" ... Amanda didn't even try..."

" ... shh, shh, shh, you'll be ok. You'll be ok."

" ... I don't want to be a fake mother Alex..." She's hysterical. I undo both our seatbelts and hold her as best I can, " ... I can't, Alex, I can't..."

"You won't be I promise."

"You won't let them take it from me?"

"Take what?"


I have no idea what she's talking about, "No, what? Ame, no. No one's taking motherhood from you. Shh. It's ok."

She pushes me away, "Promise me."

"I promise."

She gasps in disgust, "You are such a fucking liar. You don't even know what you're promising, do you?"

"Ame, what ever it is, in the end we are gonna have two beautiful kids so just -"

"Promise me that it will be natural only."

"Ok, natural only." I catch her eyes, "Natural only. If an emergency comes up, we'll deal with it then."

"No dealing, Alex."


"Natural. I live or die as my fate. No c-sections, no chemicals, no meddling. Either I'm strong enough to be a mother or I'm not."

It takes a minute for her meaning to sink in. "No. Oh, fuck no. No. No fucking way. You think I'm gonna let you die because you want some fucking pain fixation about your mother? No fucking way." I think I'm as hysterical as she is.

We probably sit there another half hour crying and arguing. I don't have anymore chance than the doctor did. I agree. I tell myself as I re-start the car that I'm lying to her; that if anything happened I will authorize any and everything to save her life but I know the truth. This is worse than a direct order. Ame cried.

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