To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 28
“Pregnant?” Vidcund gasped in shock. “How could you possibly be pregnant? Oh, don’t tell me...” He whirled around angrily and glared at Pascal. “What the hell have you two been doing now?”
“Nothing!” Pascal replied, taken aback, his eyes wide. “We haven’t! Seriously, it wasn’t me!”
“Oh for God’s sake, Vidcund!” Charity said in an exasperated voice.
“Well?” Vidcund replied, folding his arms. “What am I supposed to think? You say you think you’re pregnant… and since I haven’t… I mean…” he blushed. “You two had something going on once before!” he sputtered finally. “And I don’t know anyone else who would have gotten you that way...”
“For your information,” Charity huffed, “there’s only one possibility it could be, and that’s Reginald.”
“No, that’s out of the question.” Pascal argued. “He was a vampire.”
“But he took the antidote.” Charity reminded him. “And after he did, we," she gulped, "... well, you know... slept together... for the last time.” She sighed sadly. “The Vamprocillin didn’t cure him, but it must have done something to him! Somehow, it made him able to father children!”
Vidcund was crushed. He found he could not even look at Charity at that moment. Of course, not being naiive, he had known Charity and the vampire had been intimate together, but to hear it coming from her lips was almost too much to bear.
He almost felt as though she had been unfaithful to him, and he was heartbroken and upset, although he knew he had no right to be.
Charity noticed his stance and the expression on his face. “Vidcund, don’t be angry,” she said softly, taking his hands in hers.
“Reginald was my husband, Vidcund... and I did love him. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it is the truth. Yes, I know what he was and what he turned me into. Believe me, I’ll have to live with the memories of the things I did during that time for the rest of my life...”
She shuddered, her eyes haunted, remembering things she dare not speak of.
Vidcund looked at her questioningly, and Charity swallowed hard before continuing. “...the rest of my life,” she repeated. “But all that still doesn’t change the fact that I fell in love with the man that was inside Reginald, not the monster everyone thought he was.”
She’s right, of course, she’s right, Vidcund thought. Much as he hated to admit it. The pregnancy was only a very unexpected result of something that had happened regardless of whether or not he knew about it. Why be angry or hurt now? It didn’t change the way he felt about her. Nothing could ever do that.
But...a baby? A vampire’s baby?
“Charity, are you sure?” Pascal said. “Maybe you should see a doctor.”
“That’s a good idea,” Charity agreed. “I’ll call for an appointment first thing on Monday, but yes, Pascal. I’m as sure as I could be about anything. I can’t really say whether I’m late with my cycles because when I was a vampire I didn’t have any. I haven’t had one since I was restored, though... plus I have all the other symptoms.”
Pascal cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Uh… have you thought about… ?”
“Well,” Pascal was clearly ill at ease, but he felt he had to say this as he knew it was what Vidcund was thinking, too. “Charity, if you truly are pregnant, have you thought about what the child will... you know... be like?”
“He or she will be a baby.” Charity said, her eyes narrowing. “I’m not sure what you’re implying, here.”
“Yes, but aren’t you worried that it...”
“He or she is not an it!” Charity said haughtily. “And no, I’m not worried about anything!”
She turned sharply away, and Pascal shared a concerned look with Vidcund. Clearly, Charity was worried, and how could she not be? Vidcund realized Charity would need support now more than ever, and softly, he put his arms around her. “Let’s not think about it now,” he said to her soothingly. “Your health is the most important thing at the moment. You can’t be getting too upset.”
Charity smiled at him gratefully. “So, you’re okay with this? I know it’s not something you expected to happen.”
“We’ll deal with it,” he replied.
“Yes, but what if the baby is...” she couldn’t say it, but Vidcund understood.
He turned her around so they both were looking at his alien-spawned twins, who were playing together on the floor.
“Life comes in all forms, Charity,” he whispered to her. “Who are we to say one form of life is less deserving of love or acceptance than any other?”
“So you’ll love the baby, even though he or she is part Reginald’s?” Charity asked bluntly.
“It’s part yours, too,” Vidcund said, looking at his feet. “And there isn’t a part of you I couldn’t love.”
Charity smiled at him and gently touched his face without speaking. Vidcund suddenly realized that was the nearest he had ever come to expressing his feelings for her out loud. Yet he knew it wasn’t enough. She had to hear exactly how he felt, especially now, and he understood this very moment was the time to say it if he ever was going to.
He braced himself and took a deep breath. “I love you, Charity.”
Tears filled her eyes, and her breath caught. “Do you?” she gasped. “...even though I’m...” she trailed off and indicated her abdomen.
Vidcund sighed and decided to tell her the truth. “Well, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t upset me a little to know you’re pregnant with his baby, Charity. When I found out you were married to that vampire, I wanted to die, but not before I killed him. Not because of what he was, but because you loved him. It wouldn’t have mattered, you know. Vampire or not, I would have despised anyone you were married to.”
“But you didn’t kill him.” Charity protested. “You tried to help him. You gave him the cure.”
“Because you wanted me to,” Vidcund said with a tired smile.
Charity thought about that. “You know, Vidcund... I’m convinced it was your cure that somehow made it possible for him to get me pregnant,” she said.
“Yes,” Vidcund agreed, trying hard not to think about the images that brought to mind. “I’m sure you’re right.”
“So, in a way,” Charity told him thoughtfully, “this baby exists because of you. I was able to conceive because of your creation. In a way, this baby is yours too. Does that make any sense?”
“Not one bit,” Vidcund said, although in a crazy way, it did.
Tentatively, he reached out a hand and placed it on her still-flat abdomen. Charity placed her hand over his and held it there, her eyes closed, tears she could not suppress seeping from the corners of her eyes.
Reginald, I wish I could tell you that you’re going to be a father. I know you’d be so happy about it, and that you’d love the child so much! But even though you’re no longer here, Reginald, our baby will grow up in a house full of love. Of that I’m certain.
She opened her eyes and saw Vidcund’s blue eyes looking at her, his hand still held to her lower stomach. He was watching her warily, with bated breath.
Gently, Charity lifted Vidcund’s hand to her lips and kissed it. “I love you, too.” she whispered.
Lazlo came out of the bathroom a short time later in a cloud of steam. His lower half was swathed in a white towel, he was radiating heat, dripping water everywhere, and scrubbing his hair with a second towel.
“You know,” his muffled voice came from under the towel, “I think I have the perfect chick for Nerv... she works down at the lab. She’s about as nutty as he is, but cute. I’m thinking about setting them up.”
He flipped the towel off his head to see Charity and Vidcund wrapped in each other’s arms, kissing passionately, and Pascal, who recognized a lost cause when he saw it, resolutely leafing through an informational book on pregnancy.
“Okay...” Lazlo said slowly. “What the hell did I miss?”
To Be Continued...