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John waited for Holly, continually clenching and then unclenching clammy hands. He sat on the edge of the bed, his stomach roiling, his feet tapping the floor incessantly. It never got easier. He always dreaded the confirmation. It was inevitable and yet most of him wanted to delay. Another month, he thought, just one more. I’ll be better prepared then.
There was a soft click from the ensuite door, and then it was opening. John swallowed. He attempted to convey a neutral expression behind which he could hide his growing dismay. Holly emerged from the bathroom, beautiful in her pink nightie. She flicked auburn hair from her smiling blue eyes and, as she held aloft the pregnancy test with the telling blue cross, her face lit up.
John absorbed the jolt to his guts as best he could, but it was hard to give nothing away when he knew he’d be dead before his son was born.
“So, what do you think?” Holly asked expectantly, her smile beginning to falter.
He forced a grin, hoping it didn’t look like a grimace. His mouth felt thick and dry, but he made it move.
“That’s amazing,” he said. And when she squealed and threw herself at him, he almost believed his words. He drew Holly close and rested his head on her shoulder, inhaling her scent of soap and lavender. God, he’d miss this.