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That’s great news!

**maybe add to previous chapter? This part is in Brenzel’s POV

“Oh my God! That’s great news!” Brenzel said, laughing and smiling broadly, hugging her friend. In her arms, though, she felt Hatty wasn’t at ease.

“What’s the matter, dear?” Brenzel said, pulling back from her.

“Oh, I don’t know, I should be happy, I mean, of course I am, I’ve wanted another baby so desperately. My Egyptian physicians told me that having another baby was impossible. Plus, 3 and I spoke about children after we were together, and he said children were out of the question. He didn’t want me to get my hopes up for a child. He explained to me that since the great flood, Edenites couldn’t mate with immortals. ” she sighed, waving her hand, “I don’t know, something about the curse that I didn’t understand even when he tried to explain it.

“I see,” Brenzel said, trying to make sense of Hatty’s anxiety.

“Truthfully, I’d just put it out of my mind, it was never going to happen, anyway.”

“But, Hatty, a baby is a good thing then, a blessing! Especially knowing what 3 told you! Just accept the miracle and be thankful.”

“But what if he doesn’t really want to have a baby? What if he just said that because he didn’t want a child at all? Maybe he’ll be angry.” Hatty stood up and began pacing. “Oh, I said terrible things today, things I shouldn’t have. If this angers him, too, maybe he won’t want to be with me?” She turned to Brenzel, who was trying to keep from smiling at her normally strong friend’s silliness. “He tried to tell me to stay behind today…Brenzel…He said that.” Sighing, she sat on a crate across from Brenzel.

Brenzel stopped herself from saying anything, realizing that her friend was serious about her words, even if they were ludicrous.

“I just don’t want to disappoint him again…I love him so much, Brenzel.”

I understand

Brenzel got up and went over to sit next to Hatty. Drawing her close again, Brenzel said, “I understand,” as she stroked Hatty’s black hair.

“Plus, he made me promise I would have to leave if our mission became too dangerous.” She put her face in her hands again. “I just couldn’t handle being away from him now…I feel like I don’t even want to be away from him for a moment.”

Remembering her own emotions flaring for the first time when she was pregnant with Iris, Brenzel reassured her, “It’s an emotional time, my friend, things will get better once your body gets used to having a baby inside. Right now, though, I don’t think there is anything at all for you to worry about. He agreed for you to come along, and I think he will be thrilled to know you’re going to have a child.”

“You really think so?” Hatty said, sitting up and drawing back to look at Brenzel with puffy eyes.

“Of course I do. I am certain of it.” Brenzel smiled, as she stroked Hatty’s cheeks, wiping her tears away with her thumbs.

Some of the stress falling from her face, the small Egyptian woman managed a weak smile. “I’m so lucky to have you, Brenzel, you’re so good to me.” After a moment, Hatty eagerly asked, “When do you think I should tell him?”

Looking over towards the still smoldering city, the tall blond said, “Mmmm…I’d wait until we are over the Dune Sea…”

Hatty nodded in agreement.

*** (new chapter, maybe?)

Apparently, he was mourning

As Hatty and Brenzel made their way down to the ship’s deck, Brenzel said, “I’m gonna go see if Fallon needs anything before we go. I think the whole dragon thing has really upset her.” She bent down to kiss Hatty on the cheek, and walked off in the direction of Fallon’s quarters.

Hatty continued down to the ship’s deck past a large mass of metal pipes, which she had learned were the boiler. Stopping on the deck’s edge, she watched Komae and Meandre bring Micron up the gang plank. In a moment, a faint whiff caught her nostrils and she stopped, not wanting to proceed any further.

“What happened to him?” Hatty asked.

Meandre looked at Hatty and smiled, “Apparently, he was mourning…”

Komae just laughed.

Tane stepped up on the deck from below, holding his nose as he came close. “Permission to come aboard definitely not granted.” He quipped. “Meandra, darling, don’t do this to us.” He pointed back down the gangplank. Placing coin in her hand, he said, “Please, go get him cleaned up.”

Meandre dropped her shoulders and tilted her head, looking at Tane.

“Seriously! This is a small ship,” he said.

Sighing, Meandre looked down at the coin. “That won’t be enough.”

The two women led the still silent Micron back down the gangplank and off the ship.

“Everything’s ready,” Tane said, walking over ti Hatty. “We’ll leave after dusk to avoid some of the heat.” Looking at her eyes, he asked, “You okay?”

Realizing how her face must look after all that crying, Hatty dodged, “It’s just the smell,” putting her hands up to cover her nose and as much of her eyes as possible.

“Yeah,” Tane said, glancing backwards over his shoulder, “I’ve always thought that about him, too.”

Changing the subject, Hatty inquired, “Do you know where 3 is?”

“I think he’s in town. We and the crew finished getting the ship ready a few hours ago, so I think he went to see if he could help out there. “

Feeling wistful, Hatty gazed at the city. What did I do to deserve him? she thought.

The Red slippers

Entering her cabin, Hatty laid down on the feather mattress, staring up at the planks overhead. She did feel tired, emotionally drained, but less stressed since she’d talked to Brenzel. Feeling her tummy, she imagined it big and round, 3 kissing it tenderly, the baby kicking. From under her pillow, she removed the papyrus book Libby had given her. Libby had told her that she would have a child, but the idea was too fantastical for her to believe. She turned the pages carefully, remembering her mother’s voice. The world had been a different place when she was in her mother’s arms, listening to the story of Rhodopis and The Red Slippers for the hundredth time.

She remembered the bedtime story about a slave girl, enduring great hardship, who eventually made good, being helpful and kind to all those around her, even when treated badly. How the girl loved her red slippers, given to her by the old man who freed her from slavery. One day, the story said, a falcon stole one of those slippers, breaking the slave girl’s heart. Then, in a surprise twist, servants of Pharaoh came to look for the girl who owned the other slipper, leading to her marriage to the young and handsome king of Egypt.

“I miss you, Mut, (mother) ???” Hatty said out loud in a small voice. Closing her favorite children’s book, she laid it on the little rounding of her tummy. Inside, she promised herself that she’d be happy if it was a girl, but deep in her heart of hearts, she dared hope for a baby boy with his father’s eyes.