This was first posted here.
When the initial fear of seeing that second little pink line wore off, Julia sighed and pulled herself off of the cold bathroom floor. She and Steven had never really been trying, but in accordance with a deal she made as a much younger woman, she was bound to avoid all kinds of birth control until after the birth of her first child.
Steven had set himself up on the old, worn sofa and was staring intensely at their flatscreen, controller in hand and nose wrinkled.
“Hey, you got a sec?” Julia fell down beside him and started scratching his back.
“One minute, hon,” he didn’t look up, “it’s just a few more seconds.”
And it was – the screen went dark and “success” flashed across the view and he leaned back and sighed before looking at her.
She held up the pregnancy test in response. He tilted his head slightly, looking rather intensely like a confused golden retriever puppy, “what, you have a fever?”
“Oh my god,” Julia snorted, “no, it’s a pregnancy test. And it looks like we just weren’t careful enough – I’m pregnant.”
“Oh,” he ran his hands through his hair, clearly shocked, “I guess it was bound to happen, what with your latex allergy and inability to use birth control.”
“Yeah, about that,” she trailed off.
“So, I may have lied about those things because the reason I couldn’t use birth control wasn’t due to any sort of allergy,” Julia’s heart was beating so hard she was sure Steven could hear it, “I may or may not have promised my first born to a witch. Like, long before we had even met.”
She wasn’t surprised by the look of shock on his face, “Look, I’m sorry. I wasn’t planning on having kids, we hadn’t met yet and I was considering living alone for the rest of my life.”
“No, I’m not mad. This is just crazy. I mean, I made that promise too, is all.”
Julia took only a few minutes to let the news sink in before she started laughing, “Of course. This is just like us.”
“You’re right, it is,” he laughed with her. He took the next moment to hug her tightly before saying, “I guess we’re just perfect for one another. Now, though, we need to figure out what to do.”
Julia nodded solemnly before grabbing her bag from beside the couch and pulling out her laptop.
“What are you doing?”
“I added the witch on Facebook? So I could find her later. How were you expecting to get back into contact with your the person you made this kind of deal with?”
He made a face, “I hadn’t thought about it, honestly. She said something about just knowing when it’d be time and that she’d know where to find me.”
“That didn’t strike you as creepy?”
“I might’ve been drunk when this happened.”
Julia rolled her eyes and pulled up her online friends.
“Here she is,” she pointed at a younger woman with dark hair pierced by dark purple highlights. She clicked on the picture and started scrolling through her recent posts.
“Wait!” Steven exclaimed, “go back up!”
Julia scrolled up to the top, where the witch’s friends were visible.
“That’s the girl who I promised our child to!” Steven pointed at a similarly aged woman with grey hair and a long, kind face.
“Wait, really?” Julia was amazed, “they’re friends! That might make this fairly easy.”
Julia went to the other woman’s profile and attempted to add her as a friend before pulling up a chat with both of the women.
“Cynthia, Karen, hi!” she typed up before she realized she hadn’t thought about how to start this. She turned her gaze from the keyboard to Steven, slightly panicked.
“Hell if I know,” he shrugged in return, “I mean, you’re the one that kept up with your witch.”
“’Kept up’ is a little of an overstatement. She was really insistent that I add her.”
She erased all that she had typed and started a separate chat with the dark-haired witch, “Cynthia – I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, and unfortunately, there’s a catch. Are you going to be in the area soon? Could we meet for coffee?”
She hit enter and went to lean back on the couch, but before she could reach the cushion, a chime rang out from her computer.
“Julia! Hi! How are you, we haven’t spoken in ages! I’m down for coffee anytime, I’m actually here for a couple weeks. I hope, though, that you don’t mind if I bring my partner, I’m here mostly to vacation with her.”
The two agreed to meet the next day, each happily allowing the other to bring their spouse. The coffee shop Cynthia suggested was a little obscure, Julia had never heard of it, but she promised the drinks were “magical.”
When the got to the little shop the next day, which was charmingly hidden by crawling vines and dense hedges, Steven was beside himself with the need to pee. Julia laughed about telling him to go before they left, and he rushed inside and to the nearest restroom as Julia ordered for them both and spotted the dark-haired witch sitting across from a woman with short and curly bubblegum pink hair. They made eye contact at about the same time and Cynthia waved her over. She pulled Julia into a tight hug as she approached and turned to introduce her wife.
“Julia, darling, this is-”
“Karen!” Julia could hardly believe what she was seeing. The hair was clearly, wonderfully different, but there was no mistaking the long, thin features and piercing blue eyes. For all of their abilities, both Cynthia and Karen seemed startled.
“Yes, hi,” Karen rose suspiciously, reaching across the table to shake Julia’s hand, “have we met? I usually recognize a face.”
“No, no, it’s just my husband,” she started as he walked up, patting his hands dry on his jeans, “he does know you.”
Karen looked at Steven with amusement, as he went immediately to Julia for answers, before turning back to Cynthia, “Honey Dove, why are we here again?”
“Love, Julia here has graciously agreed to carry a child for us to adopt. I did it as a surprise for you!” she went to hold Karen’s hand, “But she said that there may have been some problem.”
Karen snorted, “Dove, I think I know what the problem is. I had the same idea – I had hoped to surprise you with Steven’s offspring. You’ve been talking about children for so many years.”
Cynthia’s eyes welled up with tears, “Karen! Oh, you’re so sweet to me!”
Julia and Steven, pleased but shocked, laughed at the turn of events.
“So I guess this has all worked out?” Julia said tentatively.
“Yes! Both of the contracts will be sealed with the birth of this child, and of course, for your own kindnesses, we’ll help every step of the way!” Karen said as Cynthia clung to her, clearly too emotional to speak.
“Wait, I’m curious, though.”
Everyone turned back to Steven.
“Julia, what did you trade our child for?”