The Governor looked out the window and sighed. She was tired but not just in a sleepy way. She was tired of the secret that she was forced to hide from her staff, the prisoners and most importantly the woman she loved.
These little moments of respite allowed her to put her guard down and acknowledge the little being growing inside her. At 46 Joan Ferguson never expected to become pregnant. It scared her but also provided her with a sort of excitement she hadn't felt in years.
Initially the governor was set on terminating her pregnancy. Both her age and profession provided too many risks for a pregnant woman. However, the moment she heard her child's heartbeat everything changed.
A fluttering in her abdomen disrupted her thoughts.
"moy rebenok" she whispered as she placed her hands on the small swell of her stomach.
Joan closed her eyes and thought about her mother who would call her moy rebenok. Her mother was the complete opposite of her father. Where he was short tempered she was patient. Where he was harsh she was kind. Her mother radiated warmth. Tears formed in her eyes as she recalled her mother holding her close each night and singing her the same lullaby.
The Governor didn't realize she was humming said lullaby until she heard her deputy.
"Governor I finished the duty roster you asked for"
Joan turned around blushing as if she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. "Thank you Vera."
"There's something else I wished to discuss" Vera announced meekly.
The older woman gestures for Vera to sit beside her. "Is everything alright?"
Her deputy governor chewed on her lower lip for a few moments mustering up the courage to ask the question she has had for months. Despite already knowing the answer. "Joan, are you pregnant"
Vera looked down expecting some sort of curt reply or a reprimand for asking such a personal question. When none came she looked up at her boss.
"Yes" Joan confirmed as if reading Vera's mind she continued. " I'm almost 4 months. You are the only person who knows. In a way I'm happy you asked. I wasn't sure how or when I wanted to reveal this." She gestured to her stomach.
"How do you feel?" The other woman asked genuinely.
"Physically tired and occasionally nauseous. Emotionally I'm apprehensive."
"Why is that?" Vera questioned knowing full well she was entering dangerous territory.
Joan visibly became tense preparing to put her guard up. The loving look on Vera's face made her defenses crumble. "Well, I never had much of a parent. My mother passed away when I was 5 and my father was rarely around and when he was I was either not even acknowledged or I was screamed at. Being told I was worthless and that no body could ever love me."
Vera wiped Joan's tears away "that's not true. You are loved."
"By who" the governor scoffed.
Vera placed her hands on Joan's stomach "by this baby and by me"
Brown eyes looked into blue eyes searching for pity but found none. Joan found herself leaning closer until her lips were inches apart from Vera's. "I love you too". She felt the other woman's smile against her lips as they met for the first time. After a few tender moments they separated.
Vera stroked the Governor's cheek "What were you humming earlier?"