28. 17 - Extract from the Diary of Captain Thomas Rogue
I've had the strangest day, though strange in what way I'm unsure. It all started when I found Midnight fussing over some mess the twins had made in the kitchen. No, not a normal mess. We'd have to be a normal family first. The twins, Edward and Rose, seemed to have dragged the dead game all around the kitchen. Gore and innards everywhere. I had to remind John not to leave it out for those two Angel kids to play with. Why play with dead animals, though, I had no idea.
But anyway, back to Midnight fussing, I don't think anyone was supposed to hear her.
“Why? Why would anyone voluntarily have these monsters?” she muttered, as she mopped up the floor.
It took me by surprise, the statement.
“A bit extreme, don't you think?” I said, folding my arms.
She stiffened and turned to me. She didn't say anything, though. Midnight just sighed and rinsed the mop in a bucket before wringing it out.
“Anything I can do t'help?” I asked, sensing some measure of discomfort.
“No, I... I can manage it,” she continued to mop up the mess, “Is Annabeth's room fixed?”
“Aye,” I replied.
I sat by the kitchen table and watched her work for a while. There was a way, a method of knowing something was wrong with Midnight; but it was complicated - and one sign didn't always point to a certain meaning. When she worked, she made sure to do it extremely slowly, as if to prove that either a) she didn't need help, or b) she didn't want to speak to me so was making herself work for longer. More often than not, option b) was the one that prevailed - but I couldn't think of anything I'd done wrong in recent memory.
“Midnight?” I said, “Ye're awfully quiet. Everything alright?”
“Fine. Just... fine.”
Oh. Big sign - when a woman says she's fine, you can be sure as hell she's not.
“Did I say somethin'? Do somethin' wrong?” I asked her.
“No, Thomas, nothing,” she stood upright, leaning against the mop.
“This about the Sons o' the Sword?”
“No. I'm... still researching on that. Vera's gone out to do some snooping and I'm still waiting for Khadir's letter back. I might not get one, since he might be coming around to the Manor. I've told Annabeth about everything you found on the El Tívu though.”
“In song or...?”
I was expecting a witty remark, but she just said, “No. I gave her my notes.”
Biggest sign of all.
I stood up and hugged her, “If ye don't want to mop the floor, you can say so, ye know.”
Midnight leaned against me, “It's got nothing to do with the floor, Thomas. I...”
I looked at her, “What?”
She held my gaze for a while, but then shook her head.
“Was't Queenie? Simon? Bex?” I asked, “...William?”
“Stop looking for excuses to yell at people.”
“Ye're upset about somethin'. What is it?”
“...I'm not upset.”
And then after all that time it hit me.
I was dumbfounded and it clearly showed on my face.
“What?” Midnight asked.
I held her face and stared, mouth agape, unable to express anything.
I put my hands to her abdomen and said, “You're pregnant, aren't you?”
Midnight's eyes widened. She pushed me away and said, “I'm not pregnant, you are.”
“No, Thomas, stop it. I just... I can't...”
“As insane as this is goin' t'sound, ye need to calm down.”
She looked away, “I want to hit you with something. So bad, right now.”
I took her hands and made her sit down, “How long?”
She bit her lip and shook her head.
“Ye don't know?”
“About four months... I think,” she mumbled.
“Ye're nearly halfway there, ye've no reason to worry, love.”
Midnight looked away.
“I have every reason to worry!” she growled.
“This time'll be different.”
“That's what you said every time! And every time, except the first...”
“But the first gave us three beautiful daughters!”
“How does that change anything?”
“I don't know- I just... Relax,” I said, stroking her shoulders, “Relax, we'll make this work.”
She shut her eyes.
“Midnight...” I touched her face.
She shifted away.
“Please, look, I... We'll do everything we can for this one, promise.”
“One out of six, Thomas. One out of six pregnancies were actually successful. And three of my five failures were still-born. This child has no chance.”
“Don't say that. Don't lose hope, Midnight, please... You can't give up now.”
She fell into my arms and cried.
“This is how you've been living for the last four months?” I asked her softly, kissing her behind her ear.
“I wanted to tell you... But...”
“Didn't want to jinx it?”
She sniffed and said, “Something like that.”
“Listen t'me,” I said, taking her face in my hands, “I'll finish cleanin' up here, you go and find a good book and get some rest upstairs, alright?” when she nodded, I continued, “I'll have t'tell Georgia about this, though.”
“I don't want anyone to know. What if it does jinx it?”
“You know that's all hogwash, Midnight. Ye're the logical one, remember?” she smiled a little at that, “Besides, if I don't tell anyone, they'll treat you the same. And you can't always talk yourself out of trainin' and soon ye won't be able t'hide that baby,” I touched her stomach, “I know this is hard for ye, Midnight, I do. I don't really know what t'say except... whatever happens, it'll pass wi' time. And you'll still have me and the others.”
Midnight nodded, “I know.”
“Do ye want me t'escort you up, or...?”
She laughed a little, “What am I, royalty?”
I smiled, “If you want, I'll carry you.”
“I can manage, I think.”
“Really, I can-”
“Thomas, as insane as this is going to sound, you need to calm down.”