I've been up here for a while, looking out over my city. People go about their business, just living life, taking care of their responsibilities, with no idea about transgenics and our plight.
But that's okay. They're dealing with their own plight. It occurs to me that lie is tough for everyone, and each of us must take care of ourselves, depend on ourselves, figure out life for ourselves.
Alec's been up here for over an hour, giving me space or time, but I know he'll treat me differently now. Pretty soon he'll pull me away from the edge, or lure and bait me into fighting him verbally, but on more solid ground.
It's not his fault, I know.
"You're so far away," he says.
I don't turn to face him. Not yet. I stare straight out through the overcast clouds, themselves moving with the weight of the future. I know I'll come back at some point.
"Max?" he asks hesitantly.
He wants to see my eyes. Only Manticore soldiers can see through the Manticore mask, and we have mastered reading one another by now.
"It's not fair," I say lowly.
I take a shallow breath and try not to cry, because how many of them down there say the same thing but still pick themselves up every morning?
Less than a minute passes. I feel his warmth surround me as he scoots forward to put his arms around me, his legs on either side of me. He gently pulls at my shoulders until I lean back into him.
"I got the message," he whispers, as if way up here on the Needle, the wind may carry his voice down to the people on the street and sweep all our secrets around.
I finally close my eyes as he rests his chin on my shoulder.
I had left the 'message' right on the bathroom counter. I had to tell him, but my own shock was overwhelming. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you." I won't look at him. I can't. He'll be ashamed.
"Maxie," he soothes, slipping his hands under my arms and around my waist. "I am in love with you, and I love our baby."
He rubs my stomach. Hard to believe in less than a year, I'll be a mother.
And Alec will be a father.
"This is the happiest day of my life. I can't wait to have a family with you."
His words drift on the breeze and I snuggle back into him further. "What if I'm terrible?"
He kisses my neck just below my ear. "I have faith in you."
We don't fight and he doesn't pull me from the edge. We just sit there, feeling hopeful.