Disclaimer: I don't own any of Kim Harrison's work.
I was in ecstasy.
There was no other way to put it. My body was on fire, my every nerve tingling with waves of passion with every powerful thrust of my hips. Muscles made unnaturally powerful by the virus that moulded me for the past thirty years, and further reinforced by the power poured into me through the bond with my master, rippled in time with my burning need. I demanded to take him, deeper, harder, faster, and my body made him obey my every egotistical whim.
Yes... take him. Take all of him, Ivy-girl. I sensed Piscary's approval in my mind, his influence slick over my soul like dirty oil, sullying me just as it made me more whole than I could ever be on my own, making me accept and embrace my monstrous nature.
The hunger for his blood, for complete, utter possession, beat against my sweat-glistening skin, pulsing in time with my hammering heartbeat, cold, hard, uncaring, animalistic and savage. I welcomed it like an old friend, my hard-earned control little more than a distant memory. I reared back, unable to hold myself in check any longer, my mouth opened as I prepared to strike. Viciously, like a snake snatching its prey, I lashed out, my fangs easily slicing into his neck. Rough stubble scraped against my cheek as he clutched me to his chest, my mouth working his throat, pulling his exquisite blood from his veins, my bite heightening every sensation for both of us, bringing the sex to a whole other level. He throbbed inside of me. His hips buckled underneath me, driving him deeper still, all thoughts of tenderness or care absent. His heart pounded hard against my chest as I crushed myself into him, hard enough to make his bones creak in protest, wanting to join our bodies completely as I consumed him.
Yes... yes, give in. This is what you are. I couldn't tell if the thoughts were mine or Piscary's. I couldn't care, either. Only the growing pleasure, the intense heat, the savage satisfaction, the domination mattered. Only I mattered, the selfish whore, the animal who used him, took him in ways that were little more honourable than rape. I pulled and pounded and clawed and bit until he tightened his grip, hard and stiff enough to snap a more fragile woman in two. My spine protested and deep bruises bloomed, but I was beyond caring. I tossed my head back, his arms around me unable to restrain me, screaming in climax as I did, drowning him out. His nails scraped roughly against my thighs and my buttocks as his own climax took him, leaving deep, bloody gouges, the pain delicious against the overwhelming bliss that tore me apart. I screamed and screamed until my throat was too raw for me to go on and the pleasure finally receded and I could think and breathe again. I slumped down over a burning, muscular chest, a glooming silence echoing deafeningly within it.
Good girl... Piscary's voice echoed in my thoughts, just as I took in the dead blue eyes of the man underneath me, the blond hair I loved so much, the carefully controlled stubble growing on his cheeks, the complete lack of movement of his well-defined chest. The torn mess of his neck, that looked more like the aftermath of a Were attack than a vampire bite.
"Kist..." I felt a sob coming, and brought my hands to my mouth reflexively to stifle it, my hand twitching away without any impulse from me at the feel of warm blood on my lips and mouth. The sickly warmth wasn't just present on my face, it covered me almost entirely.
"Kisten, no..." I sobbed in earnest, my hands pounding at his chest in agony, leaving bloody handprints on the pristine skin there. My touch corrupted his beauty, just like it always did; I killed everyone I loved. It was the way of things, and now Kisten had fallen prey to it.
I killed Kist... I killed Kisten.
I welcomed the heartache and the pain, companions that would never leave me again, the burden a monster like me should rightfully carry, embraced it and made it a part of my soul. Just as I did, just as the pain became too intense for me to even consider going on living, my consciousness rushed back into my body, lying in a familiar bed, wrapped in tangled black silk and drenched with sweat. Even through the thin line between reality and dream, I could still taste the copper of Kisten's last blood coating my mouth. Shaking, my body weak and tired like I had just come down with the flu, I realised I was quite close to being sick.
Bile quickly rose in my throat like a tide, vertigo making the world spin as I stumbled out of bed, a klutziness that was totally atypical for me making my movements jerky and imprecise. I almost bashed down my own bedroom door before I managed to get it open, and flung myself into my bathroom just in time to empty my stomach into the black porcelain toilet. Again and again, my belly heaved as my body stubbornly refused to be put back under control, determined to leave me empty.
"Fuck," I swore feebly, the rare curse slipping past my defiled lips, repeated over and over again. I was too weak to even stand, my arms clinging to the black porcelain the only thing that kept me even somewhat upright, just long enough to unload more foulness into the reddish water. There was blood in the bowl, but revolting as the taste was, I knew it wasn't mine, but a leftover from my last tryst my body hadn't yet metabolized.
Eventually, my stomach emptied, leaving me feeling hollow and drained on my cold floor, my naked legs sprawled underneath me holding roughly the same strength as limp noodles. I was in as undignified a position as I had ever been, and waiting for my body to recover so I could stand gave me time to ponder my recent nightmare.
It had been three weeks since we found Kisten's lifeless body on his boat. Three weeks of hell since I'd lost the man who had been my foundation for the better part of my life. Three weeks of wondering if I'd been the one to do it, despite Rachel's assurances that I wasn't his murderer. How could she know? How could she be so sure? I knew what they did together. I remembered the stab of white hot betrayal I felt in Kist's bedroom when Rachel told me about the caps he'd given her for her birthday. How could she know I hadn't acted rashly and murdered him in a fit of blind, jealous rage? She couldn't, and that uncertainty about the blood on my hands had gnawed at me for all those endless hours my life had spent on hold.
Three weeks... I realised the significance in a wash of cold dread, my eyes widening in horror. Three weeks since Kisten's death, and now that dream, too vivid to be a dream, of me and him, just before I spilled my guts out. It couldn't be... I could not be...
The fear giving me strength, I stood up and reached into my cabinet, past carefully ordered medicine, for a small box I never thought I would have to open. A small ovoid device with a digital display over one side and a single button over one end, a yellow safety cap on the other, fell into my hand. I promptly tore away the clear plastic wrap and read the instructions off the box. A finger stick, not unlike those Rachel used for spelling, pierced a tiny wound into my finger, and I touched the small crimson drop that welled up to the device. It took several tries, my hand shaking too badly for me to even do something as menial as this.
God, no, please let it be the flu, not... Not this, please, not this. I prayed frantically, but I was in vain. A tiny plus sign appeared on the display. Positive.
My breath whooshed out of me as if someone had struck me. It was positive.
I was pregnant. And the father was almost assuredly my deceased friend. And Rachel's deceased boyfriend.
A short bark of embittered, hysterical laughter slipped from me, changing into a choking sob as I recoiled away from the sink, where the test now rested, as innocuous and merciful as the descending blade of a guillotine. I couldn't even remember it, but it had to be true. The days following Piscary's release from jail were, at best, a jumbled mess I didn't want to make head or tail of, but I'd only slept with Skimmer in the weeks before, and I had only dated another woman afterwards. It was the only explanation.
I'm pregnant with Kist's baby. I'm pregnant with Kist's baby. I hammered the hated thought home, finding no way to voice it that didn't make my empty stomach churn. This was wrong on so many levels. Kisten had been more of a brother to me than a lover in the past few years, the passion between us long extinguished, save for a friendly bite now and then. This practically felt like incest, even if we had, at one point, been engaged. Worse, he'd been dating my best friend/hopeful blood partner/prospective scion for months, and now, now I'd gone and betrayed her as well.
And that child... good God. I slid down the wall into a heap of limbs, the guilt and anguish burdening me too much to take. The simple fact was that I couldn't do it. It took all I had to simply take care of myself. I couldn't have a child depend on me as well. An emotionally stunted vampire who was balanced on the razor's edge half the time could not be a mother. It would be completely irresponsible of me to do so. And how could I bring my son or daughter into this world, knowing the ugliness that awaited, the monstrous society that would swallow it whole, twist innocence and desire to live into a perverse emptiness, all for the sick enjoyment of those who claimed to protect us? I couldn't do it, not to my own flesh and blood. It was too cruel. Better to never be born than live only to be warped into a monster. I'd been through enough of that for the both of us
Yet even as the cold, rational part of me told me it was for the best if that baby never saw the light of day, I felt a part of my soul die just thinking those thoughts. The reality was that, as impossible to envision as it was, I did want children, and the mother in me cried in agony. Try as I might to hold them back, my own eyes slowly filled with sympathizing tears. The whole situation was just too messed up, even for my rather eventful life, but I had to shake myself out of this stupor. I needed to focus on centering myself, and push thoughts of doctor's appointments and means of keeping words of my abortion from reaching my mother's ears away.
And I was failing miserably, if the anguished whimper that escaped me was any indication. Damn it all to hell, I didn't want to do this. In a perfect world, maybe I might not have to, but my world was anything but perfect.
"Tink's slutty little dress, it smells like a charnel house in here! Ivy! Rache! You guys okay?" I made out Jenks voice from outside the bathroom, but I felt too numb, too drained, both physically and emotionally, to pull myself in a more dignified position. It was all I could do to flush down the ignoble contents of the toilet while Jenks checked up on Rachel, and woke her up, by the sound of it.
"Ivy, you naked in there? You okay" The tiny man spoke frantically through the bathroom door.
"I'm fine." I answered in so ragged a voice that he instantly darted inside.
"Holy fairy crap!" He shrilled as he took sight of me pathetically trying to stand, "Rache, get in here!" He shouted as he started flitting in front of me, dusting heavily as he did. "What happened? You were attacked? Are you hurt? Crap, RACHE, GET OFF YOUR ASS! YESTERDAY, WITCH!"
"I told you, I'm fine, bug! Leave me alone." I hissed, not wanting to share my misery with Rachel. She was hurting enough already because of Kisten's death, she did not need to learn of our indiscretion, not when she was just starting to recover.
"What happened to you?" He stubbornly repeated, "What's that?" He asked, spotting the pregnancy test. "There's some of your blood on it..." He landed next to it, sniffing and poking at it madly. "Is that what I think it is? You..." He spun around, his whole face lit up, a smile that seemed too big for his body swallowing his face. "You're pregnant!"
Maybe it was the joy he displayed, or simply the way it contrasted with the numbness of my soul, but the dam cracked just then. Huge sobs wracked me as I lost all trace of emotional control. I buried my face in my arms, unable to bear looking at his joy. He looked like I should be feeling, and yet here I was, crying like there was no tomorrow. Some vampire I was this afternoon...
"Rache, I don't know what's wrong with her!" He said, panicked, making me look up at the red-headed witch I never noticed coming in. "I came in and there she was, sprawled on the floor like that! I think maybe she's pregnant, but when I asked, she just... freaked!"
"She's..." was Rachel's only answer. She picked up the test and stared at it for a long moment before stealing a quick glance at me, the pieces of the puzzle clearly coming together in her head.
"Out!" She barked at Jenks, startling me and him both. Her voice was tight with anger, and I felt what was left of my heart sink. She knew.
"But..." Jenks started to protest.
"OUT NOW! Girl talk, no four inches tall jerk is invited! Out, out, out!"
Jenks stared at her, mouth agape, for several seconds, shocked into a rare moment of silence by the witch's aggressiveness. He finally took flight, muttering something about crazy hysterical lunkers as he went, and Rachel slammed the door behind him. I could smell her anger and hear her heart pound, but the virus that made me crave blood was presently busy shaping the burgeoning life in me, and Rachel, for once, didn't stir me that particular way. If I kept the baby, for the thirteen months my pregnancy would last, I knew the hunger would leave me, if only temporally.
Yeah, vampire pregnancies last an unreal thirteen months. Humans don't even know how lucky they are sometimes... No wonder most vampire families only have two kids.
God, don't even think about keeping it, I berated myself, it'll only make it harder to do what you have to.
"Stupid little prick." Rachel muttered, her back still turned to me. "You can sure be the most insensitive bastard around when you put your mind to it." She inhaled sharply and slowly let it out. "It's for real, isn't it?" She asked more calmly, her emotions unreadable. Her previous anger covered up anything I might discern in the air.
"Yes." I whispered, averting my eyes, primarily because I could hardly bear to look at her knowing how I'd betrayed her, but also because she was wearing nothing but a tank top and panties, and try as I might, I wasn't made of stone, and I didn't want my eyes to dilate. My own attire wasn't much better, my robe not being too high on my list of priorities when I woke up about to vomit, and my silken nightgown revealed more skin than she would probably be comfortable with under normal circumstances. She didn't seem to mind too much, however.
"Kisten's the father, isn't he?" She asked mildly. "It's the only way you could have not seen this coming."
"I think so. Rachel, I... I'm sorry." I said, shivers of intense cold running through me.
"Sorry? For what?" She asked, stepping closer and kneeling next to me. She observed me quietly for a few seconds, her eyes shimmering with emotions, her hand almost scalding hot where it rested on my bare, clammy shoulder. She shocked me to hell and back when she moved the back of her hand to my cheek and then my forehead.
"God, you're freezing." She stated, and fetched me one of my towels. She carefully wrapped it around me, the cotton feeling a little rough after the brief touch of her skin against mine. My wide eyes were slowly going black as I tracked her, almost bewildered by her boldness, but they didn't deter her from sitting next to me on the tile floor. Quite close to me. Close enough to wrap a comforting arm around my shoulders.
"Is this too much to take?" She asked with quiet concern as she sensed how tense I was.
Is this a dream? I wondered, unwilling to believe this. She was relaxed. Touching me and relaxed. It was almost too much to take, indeed.
"Stop looking at me like I'm an alien, would you?" She chided, and I realised I'd been staring. "You look like crap, and blood is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but I just want to make sure, 'kay?"
"It's fine." I murmured, letting the warmth and comfort of her presence soak into me and loosen the wire-tightness of my muscles, if only a little. My nostrils flared as I breathed in her scent, taking advantage of my jumbled instincts and lack of bloodlust to appreciate it without fearing to rip out her throat in consequence. She was simply intoxicating, a wonderful lack of fear in her scent making my heart flutter. Sadness, the scent evoking images of light rain and damp grass, but not fear. It almost made me cry again.
Why is it that we only come together when one of us hits rock bottom?
"I'm not sure if this is a dream or a nightmare, Rachel. How can you comfort me, knowing that I..." I choked, unable to admit my crime out loud.
"He didn't cheat on me. You didn't betray me either." She reassured me, her grip tightening. "Don't worry about that."
"You're not angry." I said, too stunned to feel relief. Jealousy was one of my glaring weaknesses, and I knew that if I were in her shoes, I'd be out of my mind with anger.
"I was at first. God, I wanted to scream, just a minute ago, but then I started thinking... You were under Piscary's control when it happened, weren't you?"
"Yes." I answered hesitantly. An almost intangible tension left Rachel as I did.
"So it was his idea, not yours. And I saw Kisten that day at Piscary's." She continued. "He was so desperate it hurt to see. If Piscary told him to sleep with you in exchange for a chance to live, he would have done it." Rachel eyed me compassionately, a sad shadow of a smile on her lips. "You both did what you had to survive. I can't really resent you for that, can I?"
I felt a great weight being lifted off my shoulders. She understood. She didn't hate me for being pregnant with her dead boyfriend. Maybe I could get through this without losing everything I loved.
"Thank you." I whispered.
"You know what they say about friends; they're always ready to let you cry on their shoulder. Best friends already have a stake ready for the bastard who made you cry. That's me in case you need me to spell it out." She swatted at my arm and shook her head. "You're still a dumbass, though. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I can't believe you thought I'd be angry with you."
"You would have a right to. I'm so sorry about this, Rachel."
"Would you please stop apologising? You don't have to. I don't resent you, let it go already."
"But you..." She shot me a pointed look, and I let the matter slip.
"So what do you do now? Do you keep it or not?"
"No, I don't." I murmured, my throat so clogged with anguish I could hardly breathe. "I'll set up an appointment and-" I begun to say, but hurricane Jenks stopped me dead in my track.
"Whaaaaat! No, you can't! You can't do that, Ivy!" He burst into the bathroom, an horrified look marring his youthful face. "That's murder! Fucking M-U-R-D-E-R! You can't just snuff out her life like that! It's not right!"
"What the- Jenks, I told you to get out of here!"
"It's not alive yet, Jenks. So far, it's nothing more than a handful of cells in my womb." I reasoned half-heartedly. So easy to rationalize it, so hard to believe it; if it was that simple, then why did it hurt me so damn much just to think about it?
"You're wrong! You can't-"
"Jenks, I did tell you to get out of here, didn't I?" Rachel cut him off, her annoyance at the outraged pixy obvious.
"Ra-a-ache, you gotta talk some sense into her before she kills her baby! Come on, you can't go along with this!"
"We're not done talking yet, and it's her decision, not yours, got it? Now, get out of here, and don't eavesdrop this time!"
Rachel pointed at the door, and, defeated, Jenks flew out once more, but not before muttering a last "it's wrong". We both watched him leave, the dust he trailed dull and heavy, reflecting his mood.
"He's right, you know."
I thought for a second she had said that only for Jenks' benefit. I was wrong.
"He's right, but not for the reasons he thinks." Rachel stated as she shut the door again. "I think it's wrong for you. I don't need to smell emotions to know that it's tearing you up even worse to think about abortion than about being pregnant." She said, whacking the proverbial nail on the head. "You do want to keep that child, don't you?"
"It's not about what I want, Rachel, it's about doing the right thing."
"This isn't doing the right thing!"
"Letting that child be born his the wrong thing to do!" I hissed, feeling my eyes dilating. I was starting to pull a reflexive aura, pointless though it was. She had gained an ungodly ability to shrug it off during the time we spent living together. "Hypocrite. You're as bad as Jenks."
"Hypocrite, me? If you could give me one reason, just one good reason why you can't listen to your heart for once, I'd tell you to go ahead, but you..." Understanding dawned on her face. She sighed, weariness quickly replacing comprehension. "This is so typical you. You do know that whatever hurts you isn't necessarily right, right?"
"I know that." I said through gritted teeth, trying to rein in my temper. "I'm not masochistic."
"Could've fooled me." She scowled at me. "Seems like your typical "I don't deserve anything good" bullshit."
"Deserve?" I spat. "I'll tell you something about deserving, witch. That that child doesn't deserve to be raised, no, bred, for the enjoyment of whatever master will own it. Why don't you understand that I can't put my own flesh and blood through the same pain I went through, Rachel?! Forget those stupid myths about vampires turning newborns baby, my child will be born a vampire. The same curse will flow through its veins. "
A shadow had fallen over her face at my words, an ugly thing that made me wish the last minute or so had never happened. I longed for the comfort and proximity we just had. "I think you have us confused with each other, because I'm the one who can't have kids, Ivy." She said simply. "No matter how I may want to, each of them would unavoidably inherit one thing from me, my abilities. And you know what? That would make every child of mine a blip on the demons' radar, because they'd make perfect little familiars." Her stare turned hard; if she were a vampire, her eyes would have been fully dilated. A new edge of steel crept into her voice. "So you can go Turn yourself, you and your hypocritical little hang-ups, Ivy. Being a vampire isn't something to be ashamed of; you're the one who makes it so. As for your very dear, very dead, master, maybe once upon a time he made it inconceivable for you to have children, but that's not true anymore. It stopped being true when Piscary died and you started belonging to yourself again. Your mother won't show that kind of interest in her grandchildren! It's sick, even for a dead vamp, and you know it! So if you want that child, stop balking and be the world's greatest mom, just like you're meant to be. Spit in Piscary's face, wherever the hell it is, and be as happy as you deserve to be." She hammered the last words with a conviction that I wished I shared.
I didn't point out that the odds of my mother becoming the next master of the city were somewhere between slim and nil. Rachel didn't know yet that arrangements had been made years ago for Rynn Cormel to take over Piscary's camarilla, at least as long as I, the one Piscary had chosen to succeed him, was breathing. I suspected things could get heated when that happened, but I didn't have a clue what kind of undead I would become, or if the kind of ambition and desire for power required for ruling over a camarilla would carry over from my mortal life.
Cross that bridge when you get there... I reminded myself, knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Still, I wasn't looking forward to his arrival, to be honest. The man was giving up his seventh term as president of the United States to come here, and no matter how I put it, it didn't make sense. Not unless he had an interest in something that could only be found in Cinci, and Rachel was one of those things. The Focus was another, but David I honestly wasn't truly worried about. He could handle himself, even without the demon curse lending him power, better than any Were I'd ever met.
However, Rachel was making sense, in a way. I wasn't used to Piscary's absence yet. Maybe, just maybe, my child would be safe from harm. I didn't think Cormel was old enough yet, being under a century, to have lost all traces of humanity, like Piscary had. Maybe, maybe, maybe... I didn't need possibilities; I needed certainties, confirmations, facts, damnit!
"Take Kisten, Piscary, your mom, hell, take me out of the equation." Rachel rambled on. "It's just about you and your child; do you honestly want to go through with this?"
"I... I don't know." I said, feeling myself weakening. I wanted to be convinced. God, how I wanted to, but I couldn't just sweep half a lifetime of pain and misery under the rug. "I'm scared." I admitted finally, swallowing the tattered remnants of my pride. "I did things, things I'm not proud of. And Piscary... even if he's not alive anymore, I can't erase what he's done to me. He warped me, Rachel. How am I supposed to care for a child when I'm nothing but a..."
"A monster?" She said, her face softening as she knelt in front of me. I nodded. "What's it going to take for you to stop believing that?" Slowly, as if she were scared of startling me, she cradled my face in her hands. "You're not a monster. I've seen the monsters, Ivy, and you have too. You're a far cry from them. You've got more than enough love to give. I know." Her thumb slowly brushed away a lone tear. "I know you, Ivy Tamwood. You're a good person."
"I'm scared, Rachel." I repeated softly, looking her directly in the eyes, the raw emotions I displayed making her, for the first time, uncomfortable, but she didn't pull away from me.
"Typical sign of a good mother if you ask me." A tiny voice piped in from the other side of the door, making both our heads whip to the side.
"JENKS! For the last time, I said no pixies!" Rachel shouted in Jenks' general direction, but the pixy slipped in before she could do anything about it, and came to hover near the ceiling, out of her reach.
"I'm sorry, okay?!" He shouted right back. "It never crossed my mind that it might be bad news! It happened plenty of times in my life, and it was always a damn happy moment. Tinks' diaphragm, Rache, I didn't know it was Kisten's kid, and I didn't have a clue she was this scared of having children! Give me a break!"
Rachel's mouth worked wordlessly as she tried to come up with a reply, ending up huffing in annoyance and crossing her arms defiantly, a brooding expression on her face. If I hadn't been in such a lousy shape, I would have had a hard time keeping a smile off my face. I had it bad for her, there was no denying it.
"You're scared, but not of losing your materialistic lifestyle or your stupid career or every other moronic reason you lunkers have for not wanting children." He continued softly, his very green eyes fixed directly on my pitch black ones. "You're afraid of not being a good mom. You give a damn, Ivy, and I know what that means. Hell, Matie was just like you every time she got knocked up, right up to the last time. She'd always rant on and on about how worried she was about our available food or how rough the winter might be, and look at her, she's a great mother, just like I'm sure you'll be! Tinks' dusty panties, Ivy, if we did make it on our own, with only a few sickly flowerpots as a home, you can too. Are you telling me your baby won't have all she needs and won't be protected and loved by everyone around her? What more can a child need?"
I wanted to believe. Hope was ever the cruel mistress, and she had not once, in all my life, showed me leniency. Yet here I was, falling for her tricks all over again.
"There's still one problem." I breathed, my eyes fixed intently on the red-headed witch. "I can't take you out of the equation, Rachel. You know that." The last was little more than a whisper of breath. I expected Rachel to be made uncomfortable by the reminder of my feelings for her, but she only nodded and smiled shyly, and plopped unceremoniously next to me again.
"I wouldn't leave because of that, you know. And who says you can't stay here because of this? We have the floor space for another roomie. Go, home improvement!" She smiled at me, the most honest, beautiful smile I'd seen on her face in weeks. "Looks like you're running out of excuses here, Ivy."
"Can't wait to meet her." Jenks agreed, earning himself a puzzled look from me and Rachel.
"Her?" I asked, only now noticing that he kept referring to my child as "her" and "she". My heart swelled painfully with emotion. Even more than a child, I always wanted a daughter, ever since I held my baby sister for the first time, years ago. It might be stupid and childish, but it was my most guarded, unreachable dream, and now, if I only had the courage... "You can tell already?"
"You bet your ass I can tell." He said smugly. "Maybe you guys don't have a nose worth crushed fairy balls, but I sure do."
I chewed thoughtfully on my lower lip, utterly torn between the cynicism that had ruled my adult life so far, and the hope that I could make tomorrow vastly different from today. Renewal. To make something good come out of Kist's death and to truly make something of myself, here, with people who loved me. With Rachel, who, for now, loved me, if not in the way I wanted, at least in the way I needed. With a baby, a baby girl, no less, that I would love with all my heart.
"I think we're having a baby, Jenks." Rachel said as a shadow of a smile tugged at the corners of my mouth. A single tear of joy slipped down her cheek.
"Damn, woman, of course we are! And it's gonna be great, too, just you wait!"