Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
“What is your problem?” Jessica demanded fatly.
“I’m just a little busy juggling screwed timelines, that’s all.”
“With me. What’s your problem with me? Specifically...” She pointed to her enormous bulge. “...this part of me?”
“I’ve got more important things to worry about than what you’re gestating.”
“Not right now you don’t,” my best friend said, and for a second she was almost as intimidating as Satan. Satan! “If you expect to leave this room under your own power, you’ll own your shit.”
“Own my...? Okay, first, I don’t even know what that means. Second...” Would I? Could I, even? Oh, the hell with it. “Second, I’m jealous, okay?”
“Who? Oh. Nick. No, no. In fact, he’s a delight in this timeline. You have no idea...the father of your demonspawn was a real prick in the old timeline. No, I’m jealous of that.” I pointed to her gut again.
Jessica looked down at it (as if she could look anywhere else), then back up at me. Bewilderment was written across her face; anyone (even me) could have seen it. “What? Why?”
“Why?” I cried. “Are you serious? Why would I be jealous? Why wouldn’t I? In your timeline, in the last few months you remember, I had ages to get used to Nick never being a jerk and you being a mom-to-be. Here, I’ve had about six hours.”
“But what does that have to do with—“
“I’m used to being number one in your life, okay?”
“Listen: in the old timeline, the one you can’t remember, bad things happened to Nick—“
“No, he was Nick then. And bad things happened to him, things that were my fault. And it changed him, made him a different man than the one you repeatedly knocked boots with. And so he made you choose: him, or me. You chose me. That’s the past I remember. In my head, that’s how things are.
“Except they aren’t! And I’m having a tough time handling it, okay? It’s shitty and it’s selfish, and it’s also the truth: I liked being first with you. I liked that you picked me over him. But that didn’t happen here. You’ve got N/Dick here, and he has you, and when you have a baby you’ll love it more than me.”
“Nuh-uh! It’s a biological imperative. It’s gonna happen. You won’t have any choice. You’ll have to love it. And feed and house it, and open a college fund for it, and take tons of pictures of it to bore other people with, and put it on the phone before it can even talk, which we’ll all hate but pretend we don’t...it’s all this huge biological rule you’ll have to follow.”
Jessica’s mouth twitched. “I meant, it’s idiotic to be jealous of a baby who isn’t even here yet.”
“Think I don’t know? It’s also lame and beneath me. Okay, not much is beneath me, come to think of it, so that last bit probably isn’t true. But all the rest is. Look, like I said, I know it’s selfish. But I can’t help it. I don’t like sharing you.”
“Betsy...” Jessica seemed startled, almost flabbergasted. “I could have triplets in here—“
“You might,” I said, stealing another glance at the Belly That Ate The World. “You’re pretty gigantic.”
“—and sure, I’ll love him or her or them, but I wouldn’t love you less, dumb shit.”
“Well, it’s about damn time! Thank you for finally putting my terrible hideous fears to rest. Was that so hard, reassuring me? Don’t you get it?” I cried. “I’m the victim here! I’d think you’d be a lot more understanding, given the situation.”
The corner of her mouth twitched again. Her eyes, tilted at the ends like a cat’s, narrowed, and then she gurgled laughter. She laughed so hard and so long, she had to lean on me to keep from falling down. I didn’t mind.
“Some things,” she finally gasped, “never ever change. Including you, Bets, you selfish cow. I’m glad you didn’t die again.”
“Well.” I was mollified, but had no idea why. Maybe because she was leaning on me literally and figuratively? Or maybe because it was nice to have her to myself, even if it was only for five minutes. “I’m glad, too. So what are the odds of you having a litter?”
“Shut up,” my best friend said, kindly enough.