The world tilted sharply to the left and he grasped the crib to steady himself. The small, fragile looking bundle inside barely stirred and Larry brought a hand to his bloated stomach, willing the nausea to pass. A sharper pain tore through him and he lurched away from the crib just in time and caught himself on his hands and knees beside it. He thought he was going to retch and welcomed it if it meant the pain was over but nothing happened. He rolled over on his back and panted up at the ceiling, his hand gingerly touching a belly that had become tender and tight in the few minutes of watching the baby. He tried to call out but knew his sister-in-law Laura was too exhausted from the birth and his brother Scott was to far away to hear him.
They’d had a touching-feely home-birth and Larry had been left out, calling friends and relatives like a good second-string when he should have been the one coaching her through that breathing crap. He was the one with the empathy pangs all morning. It was his son in the crib. His nephew to the rest of the world, but Larry knew little Danny was his son. He’d made sure of it. He’d had to.
When Scott and Laura had told him they were searching for a male surrogate for their baby Larry couldn’t have been more offended. They were going to get some stranger, some guy off the street to knock Laura up with a kid who would inherit the Lindford money like he was really a Lindford? It wasn’t right. Their grandfather had worked from nothing and that couldn’t be passed on to some stranger’s baby, to the son of some guy so hard up he was selling his sperm to make ends meet. No, Larry had taken things in his own hands to insure the Lindford legacy.
It had been easy. He’d convinced them both that what they really needed was a wild night of partying until they were fully relaxed. It happened to couples all the time, the moment they stopped trying they came up knocked and the rest was history. Larry had been a bit surprised when they quickly conceded his point. From there it had been just been a matter of the right drops in the right cocktails and bam, everything was set.
Scott had been out cold and Laura’s inhibitions gone. She’d called him Scott the entire time, but that was okay. Larry knew he was the brother she should’ve ended up with and that night was close enough to the life his pansy brother had stolen from under him to count.
Yes, he’d shown Scott. He’d done it right in their bed, with Scott not three feet away. It had been thrilling in the sheer spitefulness of it. But it had been a bit frightening too. At one point he couldn’t stop. He’d emptied into her over and over again, and had been left wondering if anything would remain of him or if his very life would empty out with the last orgasm.
He’d been chafed and sore and hurt in places and ways he didn’t know he could. But it had all been worth it to watch Laura grow heavy with is child. He was fascinated and got to watch the changes up close and personal after moving into their guest room. He still wasn’t sure how that happened. They’d been so grateful his suggestion worked that they’d treated him almost like he was the one pregnant.
All the damn attention and food, no wonder the athletic body he’d been careful to maintain had gone to shit. And just maybe some of it had been guilt at the sincerity of their gratitude. Eating made Larry feel better about what he’d done. It made it seem more like sympathy eating for the pregnancy he’d helped insure. Only now there was nothing to make him feel good or sympathetic, now it was just pain and fear.
Larry lay helpless, his belly rippling and stretching while he bit back screams. The world grayed out and then there was the feeling of a cool towel wiping along his forehead. Fevered eyes opened to look up at his brother sitting beside him.
“Shh, I’m sorry, Lar. I didn’t realize it was already time. I would have given you the muscle relaxants I had prepared.”
Larry reached for his brother. “Scott,”
“It’s okay, Lar, it’s almost over. But I want to thank you for what you did. Laura said with what happened with her sister in college it was a guarantee you’d step up and be our surrogate. It was a hard decision, I mean, no matter what, we’re still family. But it’s the way of Laura’s people to let actions determine fate.”
A tear splashed down on Larry’s face and pain lanced through his pelvis.
“What’s happening, Scott?”
Scott wiped his brother’s face gently, bearing witness as his only brother suffered.
“Laura’s people have been away from Faerie for too long, Lar. She wasn’t strong enough to carry both twins. You fed her enough to strengthen her for the transfer. You made sure our daughter would live. But it’s killing you Larry. Your organs have been liquefying for weeks. She’s absorbed most of your fat stores and the placenta has been mimicking the functions as those organs were eaten away. You won’t survive Larry. But you’ve seen Daniel, Deanna will be just as beautiful.”
No longer able to hold back, Larry let out a hoarse scream as his skin seemed to stretch and rip. He watched his brother work his hands into a slit above Larry’s navel that split straight down with the gentle force Scott’s fingers. Scott lifted a bloody, squirming bundle from the near empty cavern of his brother’s body and Larry heard an indignant infant squall ring out through the room.
Larry’s softer death rattle went unheard.
Xakara invites you to learn more about her and her urban fantasy and paranormal romance worlds at her website, http://xakara.com/ and her blog http://xakara.livejournal.com/.
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