The ice-slicked roads were barren at that early time; his hands were nearly frozen on the steering wheel, grateful to the depth of his soul for the lack of snow blocking his sight. Every time his truck came to a halt at the stoplights, the glaring, crimson beams of light forming a migraine in his head, his gaze would dart to her still shape on the seat next to him. She was wrapped in a robe, her flimsy chemise hidden underneath the cover, wearing his old pajama pants that were loose on her waist. Horror was etched into her facial expression, yet she made no sound of her fear.

He rushed her into the lobby, waiting impatiently with his foot tapping on the tile, before the doctor was able to come to their aid. He soured at the man's expression, blank and uncaring, as if another day in the life of a doctor. A snarl slipped past his lips, but he managed to compose himself as they followed the man into the room.

She took his hand in hers, delicately squeezing with a tear escaping her tightly-shut eyes. The doctor allowed a smile to grace his features at the sight, then he was cold and stark again, turning around to fetch the gel.

Every breath he took seemed to pierce his throat like a freezing claw. With each thump of his heart, he could feel the shards of broken glass pulsing through his veins, the desperate faith he held onto disappearing as he took one quick glance at her wide, anguished eyes. Unconsciously, he began to grip her hand tighter, unwilling to let go.

The doctor slid a smooth probe over her stomach, slipping easily over the gel-coated skin. She was watching the monitor with fervent hope shining in her eyes; he was waiting with equally bated breath, narrowing his eyes despairingly on the sight. The baby, their baby girl, was clearly visible in the contrasted black-and-white. He could make out the tiny, curled fists, the head tucked close to her stomach.

The doctor frowned, pressing the stethoscope deeper into his ears, closing his eyes with concentration. He waited for several agonizing heartbeats, unaware of her calculating stare, unaware of his desperate breathing. Then, with a resigned sigh, the doctor slowly removed the stethoscope and lifted his head slightly. "I can't find a heartbeat."

She let out a low wail of agony, her lips pressed in a thin line and her eyes finally releasing their full bounty of tears, trickling down her cheeks. He found himself brushing away the stains of salty sorrow, his knuckles white and trembling as he clenched her hand.

With a last sob, she pulled him down, enveloping him in a desperate hug, her arms wrapped around his neck and tears spilling onto his shirt. He hushed her with all he could give her, burying his face into her neck, needing the comfort just as much as she needed it.

Into the hollow of his ear, her lips pressed there softly, he could hear her say, "I love you, too."

Outside, the snow began to fall.


fin.