"Cora told me you went to see Clarkson today." Matthew took off his robe and got into bed next to Mary. He eyed her hands, unconsciously cradling her stomach. He shouldn’t hope, it wouldn’t do any good to be disappointed again.
Mary nodded. “Yes, I did…”
He raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to explain. She seemed quite content to sit there and leave him in suspense. “And…”
She smirked. “Nothing is wrong, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
"Good, I’m glad. What were you worried about though? Why did you see him?"
"You’re awfully curious tonight," she said, leaning her head on his shoulder. "But if you must know, Sybbie might have a friend in about seven months."
His eyes widened and a large grin crossed his face. He had hoped for this, but he could scarcely believe it was actually going to happen. He was to be a father! “Truly! Mary, that is so wonderful! Mary?”
She was holding back tears, her face crumpled. And Matthew knew her well enough to see she was not crying tears of joy. “It’s nothing…it’s just…”
"I just…I don’t know if I can be a mother. And after Sybil and everything…." Mary sat up and forced a laugh. "You think it’s stupid, don’t you. I’m sorry, I just don’t know…"
"It’s perfectly fine to be worried," he said, scooting closer to her and rubbing her back gently. "God knows I’m worried too."
She shook her head. “You’ll be a wonderful father. Everybody likes you, of course your child will.”
"Everybody likes you…" He pulled her closer. He wanted to be one with his wife…and child. The thought made him want to bubble up with gleeful laughter, but the gravity of Mary’s thoughts didn’t allow that.
"Very few people like me, Matthew, surely you’ve realized that. When I was younger, I had a lot of men around me because I was rich and pretty and a flirt. But with the war and the scandal and everything, I have very few friends that I keep in touch with." Mary sighed and her hands went to rest on her abdomen.
Matthew didn’t know how to dispute her. Of course he loved her, very much, but he couldn’t speak for others. Perhaps he was biased, but he couldn’t see how someone could not love Mary. “I haven’t been around a lot of children before…”
"Other than Sybbie, neither have I."
He had to laugh. “We’re quite the pair then, Sybbie being our only practice.”
"That we are." She grinned, but her face soon became dark. "Poor Tom. He doesn’t have Sybil to help him raise his daughter. How does he manage?"
How did Tom manage? If the same thing happened to Mary, he wasn’t sure if he could make it without her. She was too precious to him, he couldn’t lose her. They were lovers, they were together, they should be invincible.
Yet Tom and Sybil were lovers, friends, husband and wife, and Sybil was gone.
"I don’t want to lose you…" Matthew finally said. He had started to tear up as well. The very thought of ever losing his wife scared him beyond measure. "Now I’m a little bit scared too," he admitted, trying to pull her even closer. She could never be close enough, he always would want her nearer.
Mary put her head on his shoulder again. “You don’t need this too. What an emotional mess we are.”
"We’ve always been a mess."
Mary batted her eyelashes at him and gave him a little peck on the cheek. “A very loving mess.”
He took this as his invitation to pull her onto his lap and kiss her shoulders, trying to be closer, always closer. Could he ever be near enough? “No matter what happens, I’ll always be here for you.”
"And I for you. And us for our son."
She patted her flat abdomen. “It’s going to be a boy, I just know it is.”
"Is it because it has to be a boy?" Matthew asked. "Are you just thinking wishfully?"
Mary elbowed her husband gently. “When am I ever wrong?” She kissed him sweetly, loving the feel of his warm arms around her.
"I’m so very happy, Mary. So very, very happy for us. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be a father. We’re so blessed, you know that?"
He lay down, Mary still cuddled next to him. “And I’m so very blessed to have you.”