Maura had been sitting on the toilet for thirty-four minutes. She'd gotten up three times to turn the overhead light on, twice to turn it off again, and six times to pace around the perimeter of the bathroom.
None of it worked. The blue stripe was still there.
"Fuck," Maura said.
The idea of Maura Sargent: mother made as much sense as Maura Sargent: pageant queen, or Maura Sargent: rogue Russian cosmonaut. She'd needed weeks of coaching before Jimi let her hold Orla. Even then, Maura couldn't shake the feeling that it was some huge misunderstanding, and she was going to drop her impossibly tiny niece on her impossibly fragile head.
She gave the stick a shake. Still blue.
She'd probably have to drop out of community college. On one hand, no more calculus with the professor who smelled like Windex. On the other hand, that would make her Maura Sargent: nineteen-year-old college dropout and single mother.
Maura groaned and put her head on her knees.
"We should probably go in there, shouldn't we?"
Persephone's voice was muffled through the door. Without waiting for a reply, she and Calla slipped into the room and sat on the bathtub. Each of them held a steaming mug.
"We know you're bad at decisions," Persephone said. "So we came to help."
Calla rolled her eyes. "I still don't see why giving it to Butternut is such a bad idea. He's the one who got us into this mess."
Us, Maura thought. "You know why I can't give it to Artemus." She narrowed her eyes. "What's in the mugs?"
Persephone's gaze was steady. "Mine has tansy. Calla's has hot chocolate."
Of course. Maura trusted her friends' herbs more than anything from the drugstore, and she knew that the murky concoction in Persephone's chipped Colonial Williamsburg mug would make everything go back to the way it was. She'd once again be Maura Sargent: clueless teenage ruffian, with a taste for whiskey and ill-advised romantic entanglements.
Maura reached for Calla's mug. She took a sip and immediately spit it all over the bathmat.
"This is supposed to be hot chocolate?"
Calla raised an eyebrow in a way that suggested Maura was dropped on her head as a baby. Maura realized she was facing nine months of that expression. "With supplements."
Maura laughed. "Just what I need this thing inside me to do. Get bigger."
Persephone stared at Maura's lean stomach. "No, not bigger." She smiled like she was remembering a joke. "Stronger."
Maura dumped the supplemented hot chocolate down the sink and went downstairs to order pizza.