Lor stifled a yawn as Morgan walked into the room. He hadn’t had much time to sleep last night and was definitely suffering for it now. For once, he hoped that she wouldn’t want to talk. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
“What’s wrong, sleepyhead? Rough night?”
“The bits I remember, yeah. I got abducted.” He couldn’t remember his mum ever coming back feeling this bad.
“Ooof, the first time is the hardest, believe me. There’s the shock, and all the new sights to take in…”
“Actually, I just remember being on the ship for a moment and then waking up back here.”
Morgan looked at him, worry creasing her face as she reached over and felt his forehead. “Lissi did say that they had different routines for male and female abductions, so maybe you just had a bad reaction to something. I can’t remember what she said they did, though.”
“It’s fine, mum. Don’t tell mama, ok? She’ll just think I’m making a fuss over nothing.”
“I don’t think she would…”
“I’ll keep your secret on one condition. If you start to feel worse, you tell me right away.”
The dizziness he’d felt earlier in the day had subsided to a low aching throughout his body. It wasn’t enough to cause him any alarm, but it was an annoyance.
“For the last time, Steve. I’M FINE!”
He regretted the outburst as soon as it left his mouth. Steve turned back to his work with a soft, hurt whistle. Now he felt guilty.
“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t sleep very well.”
Steve turned his head back to Lor. How did he manage to look so sad despite having no sim-like features?
“Would you like to talk about it?”
“I’m fine, really. I should be better than fine – after all, I got to go in a spaceship last night. That’s every scientist’s dream!”
“Then why are you so negatively affected by it?”
“I don’t know, man. Maybe they just dropped me home too late and I haven’t had enough coffee.”
“It’s a term of affection. Thanks for looking out for me.”
“You are welcome.”
“Did I hear you correctly, Lorcán Centauri? Did you actually get abducted last night?!”
Margarita stood behind him, her eyes shining with enthusiasm. He looked at her, all smiles and excitement and couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face.
“Yes, I did. I’m afraid I don’t remember that much, though. Next time I’ll take notes for you.”
“Good boy,” she said and patted him absent-mindedly on the head. She turned to leave when she stopped and whirled around, excitement replaced with alarm. She grabbed his arm and held him still.
“Lor, did you say you don’t remember what happened?”
“Yes…” he said, wondering what had sparked the sudden change in her mood.
“Lor, you do know what sometimes happens to men when they get abducted, right?”
“Not really, this was my first time. Why?”
“They get pregnant.”
Lor stood there, stunned. They did what? He opened his mouth to ask her to repeat her answer, but she suddenly bent over in pain, clutching her stomach.
“I’ve got to get to the hospital. The baby is coming.”
It had been around a week since that conversation, and Lor was still trying to wrap his head around it. He could be pregnant. He rested his hand on his stomach, wondering if it was too soon to be able to tell. Did he want to be pregnant?
He shook his head and walked in through the door to the lab. Work, that was what he needed. Anything to distract himself.
“Have you seen the pictures that Margarita put up on simstagram last night? Her daughter is so cute!”
Well, Lor thought, work would be more distracting if the main subject of gossip in the office wasn’t babies.
“I haven’t actually, I worked on for a couple of hours yesterday so I ended up going straight to bed.”
“All work and no play makes Lor a grumpy man~”
“I don’t think that’s how the quote goes, Elisa.”
“Near enough” she grinned, then stood up and hugged him.
“Now, turn that frown upside down and get going.”
He snorted with laughter, smiling as he walked down the corridor. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
“Yo, red head. I hear you got-” she looked around exaggeratedly and then leaned closer before whispering “abducted.”
Lor nearly dropped the circuit board he was holding in shock. He looked at the stranger with wide eyes.
“How did you know?”
“I heard Steve talking to himself earlier. Do you think he might have some sort of faulty wire? I didn’t think that was normal behaviour for an inventor bot. Anyway, I just transferred here. I’m a UFOlogist, so honestly I’m probably the closest thing to an expert in these things that you have around here.” She looked him up and down and raised an eyebrow. “Or maybe not. Hey, aren’t you my brother’s friend?”
“Who’s your brother?” Lor asked, hoping that this wasn’t the evil sister Miles had been talking about. Wasn’t she on tour for a while?
“Leo. You know: tall, hates children, wears a hat under his hoodie at parties just because he can.”
Lor smiled, relieved. “Yeah, I know Leo. I’ve not met you before though.”
“That had better not be a pick-up line, mister.”
Lor held his hands up in protest “It’s really not.” Then he looked at her facial expression and quickly followed it up with ‘No offence. You’re just not my type.”
“What is? Blonde, blue eyes?”
“Ah” she grinned, all annoyance falling away. “No offence taken, then. I’m Nylah, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you. It’s good to see some new people around here.”
“This place has so much more equipment than my old lab, so I’m planning on sticking around. If you need any help with the potential… you know…” she said, waving her hands in a vague way towards his midsection, “just let me know.”
“So, do your parents know?”
Of course he hadn’t told his parents. He didn’t want them to know until he was certain. In fact, other than the few people at work who had found out, he hadn’t told anyone. Not his parents, not his friends, not even his best friend.
He was lonely.
It had been two weeks since the abduction. He couldn’t take much more of this.
As soon as Malik stepped through the door, Lor pulled him close and wrapped his arms around him. He was glad his mama was in the back garden – she’d have been worried if she could see how much he was shaking. At first, his friend was smiling as he hugged back, but as time went on his expression turned to concern.
“Lor? Is everything ok?”
Lor just held tighter, not wanting to leave this moment. Once it was over, he was going to have to break the news.
“Come with me? I’ve got something I need to tell you.”
“Lor, I’m really worried now.”
Malik had been watching him pace across the room for the last five minutes, but he finally stood up and blocked Lor’s way. Lor stopped, his eyes wide and his lips quivering.
“Lor, it’s ok. Just tell me.”
He breathed in and closed his eyes. This was it.
“I might be pregnant.”
After a few moments of silence, Lor opened his eyes again. Malik hadn’t said a word. His mouth was moving but no sound was coming out. Finally, he managed to stutter out his question.
“Who’s the father?”
Lor looked at him quizzically. “Well, I am.”
“No no no, I mean… who else was involved?”
“I don’t know.”
If anything, Malik’s expression became even more shocked at that answer. “You don’t know?”
“Well, no. I was abducted.”
Malik sat down on the bed before his legs gave way. So that was why he didn’t know. His mind had come up with far more disturbing scenarios. “Well, how do you feel about it?”
“I don’t know. Happy, I think. I mean, I didn’t think I would ever have children.”
“Well then,” Malik stood again, a shaky smile on his face, “I guess a ‘congratulations’ may be in order?”
“Yeah, I think it might be. I mean, I don’t know for sure yet, but there’s a good chance of it.”
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.”
Lor stepped back with a quiet laugh. “It feels so good to finally tell someone.”
“Wait, your parents don’t know?”
“Not yet. I don’t want to get their hopes up.”
“You should probably tell them soon. They’ll have noticed something is wrong, you know.”
“I will. ”
A knock on the door sounded, followed soon by a Morgan who sat herself down on the bed and looked up at them both.
“Ahhhhh comfy. Hope I’m not interrupting anything, but Lissi asked me to tell you that dinner’s ready.”
“Thanks, mum. What’s she made?”
“Garlic noodles. You know you want them~”
Lor rolled his eyes at the knowing look on her face, and turned to his friend. “Want some noodles, Mal?”
“Like I’d say ‘no’. I’d love some.”
“I’ll go and help her with the plates, then I’ll bring some over.”
“Oooh! Get some for me, too?”
“Yes, mum.” Lor said, leaving the room. Malik went to follow him but Morgan cleared her throat and the door fell shut behind Lor, leaving them both inside.
“Look,” Morgan said after an awkward pause, “I am sorry if I interrupted anything. I didn’t realise Lor had someone over.”
“It’s ok. You weren’t interrupting. We were just talking.”
“Do you know what’s bothering him?” she asked, hopefully. “Only, we don’t like seeing him so out of sorts.”
Malik hesitated. He couldn’t tell her.
“He asked you not to say, huh?”
He shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s fine. He’ll tell us when he’s ready.”
“Thanks for understanding.”
Malik walked over to open the door, but once again Morgan called him back.
“I know it’s not my place to ask, but are you ok?”
“Only…” she paused, trying to think of how best to say it. “You remind me of myself when I was a teenager.”
“No, it doesn’t matter. We should probably get going.” She wouldn’t embarrass the boy. He probably thought he was hiding it well.
He loves him, she thought. He’s the same way I was with Lissa.
Lor loved the way that the sounds of conversation filled the room. The house had felt too quiet since Verixe had passed away. It was a big building – too big for just three people. He caught his hand before he’d finished reaching for his stomach. Maybe it wouldn’t be just the three of them much longer. He really wanted that to be the case.
“…and she waved her little arms at me when I left for work! It was so cute.”
“Speaking of babies, someone still hasn’t told his parents that he might be having one.”
“Lorcán Centauri, have you not told them yet?”
Lor looked up at Nylah with a glare. She stuck his tongue out at him. “C’mon, you know you should.”
“She’s right, Lor. You should tell them.”
“But I don’t know if I-”
“It doesn’t matter. Tell. Them. Or I will come over to your house and do it for you. I’m not pregnant any more, I could totally just show up at your house one night and tell them. I’d fit through a window now, so locked doors wouldn’t stop me.”
Lor grinned at the image. She probably wasn’t joking, either.
“I’ll tell them tonight, ok? Now, If you’ll excuse me.”
“Oh! Could you do us a favour?”
“After all that?” He looked at the wide eyes and plaintive looks and laughed. “Ok, what is it?”
“Mind control us into our casual clothes? That way we can say it’s your fault.”
“Ahhh. Much better.”
It had been two months since the abduction. He had to accept it. He sat on his bed, tears rolling down his face. He’d become so used to the idea – even planning names and thinking about converting some space into a nursery.
“Mal? Can you come over? I really need a friend right now.”
As he waited for the knock on the door, he slipped under the covers and cried. It was best to let it all out now.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. He only hoped that the group who abducted him last time felt the same way.
He wanted this.