Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Byerly looked at Sela’s white face and hurried to lead it over to an armchair in their little lounge.
“What’s the matter? Are you ill? Can I get you some water?”
Sela looked at him blankly. “I’m an idiot. I lost count.”
“Lost count of what? You’re not making any sense, Sela.”
Sela made a visible effort to pull itself together. “Every two years. I need a new implant every two years. Betan years, not Barrayaran ones.”
Something kicked in By’s gut as the implication registered. “Are you telling me you’re pregnant, Sela? How do you feel about that?”
“We haven’t talked about it. We haven’t done any screening, or genetic selection…or…or…anything!” It’s voice broke into a wail. “Byerly, I don’t even know what it’s going to be.”
By slipped an arm around Sela’s shoulder and hugged it tight. “You want keep it, then? Get a transfer to a replicator?” By held his breath. The whole of the rest of his life depended on Sela’s decision.
“Of course I want to keep it. But what if it’s—” It’s voice broke off, choked with emotion.
“What are you worried about, really?”
“Herms are always gene screened, Byerly. It’s complicated. It’s just an X or a Y for you. It’s not like that for me.”
By combed his fingers through Sela’s hair. “You want me to tell you what it’s going to be?”
Sela’s lip quivered. It was on the edge of bursting into tears. “You don’t have a crystal ball. How can you do that?”
“Very easily. What he, she or it is going to be Sela, is cherished, loved, and listened to, every day of his, her or its life. We are going to be the best parents. You’ll see.”