When the dust settled on the ground they remained standing staring at the empty space in front of them. Half-way into a crouching motion ready to run, but nowhere left to run to. They had talked about it. Argued about it for days and nights, and she had almost believed that they wouldn’t follow her order.
She had been late. They had obviously waited far longer than she’d told them too. She could imagine them taking turns venturing into the forest to look for a trace of her, and staying awake during the nights to look out for her. Then finally giving up. Thinking she was dead, or caught.
“Fuck!” she screamed into the forest. Emptying her lungs of air, screaming her throat coarse and painful until her knees gave out under her. Flynn had been chasing her for what felt like hours, but now he stood next to her stoic and silent.
“We’re stuck here,” he said after a while when she hadn’t moved to stand from the ground. An incredulous laugh bubbled out of his throat, but it quickly turned to anger as he kicked the dirt underneath him.
They took off walking in the direction of town. Together felt safer than apart, especially for her. Even in the 21st century she would have been reluctant to walk alone in the forest as night started, but in the 18th century she was even less willing.
Their walk was silent. She was steaming with anger, and he was too. No words that would pass between them would be nicer words. They would lead to nothing good.
Silence was better. Less destructive.
Halfway they came across a house by the side of a road. By the side of the house two horses grazed the grass, and through the small windows she could see candles burning. Without saying anything they both took off towards the house, legs tired and worn from the days of walking and running.
In the moments between knocking on the door and waiting for an answer she tried her best to clean herself up. Wiping sweat and grime from her brow, and dusting off what dust she could from her dress.
A man opened the door with a frown etched on his face. Visitors were probably an uncommon occurrence here. “Hello?” His eyes bounced between the two figures between him.
“Hello sir, I’m Henry and this is my wife -”
“Lucy Preston,” she blurted out before Flynn could name her anything else. If she wanted to retain hope that she could one day be rescued from this place she needed her name to be her name. Not a character to stay under the radar of history.
“We lost our horses and belongings some ways back to a group of outlaws and we have been walking all day. We were hoping that you could possibly offer us a place to rest for the night before we continue on our way to town.”
“Lottie! We have guests,” the man yelled into the house. “My names Micajah Morrison, but you can call me Cager.” Stumped by how hospitable the man was, especially given the initial suspicion, neither Lucy or Flynn got their feet moving into the house even after they’d been waved inside.
“This never would’ve happened in our time,” Lucy mumbled as her feet got moving. Flynn hummed in agreement.
“Oh my,” a woman that must have been Lottie gasped as she saw Lucy and Flynn standing in their house with grime and dirt covering every inch of their bodies. “You must have been through a lot you two.” She tutted. “Cager, could you get Dorinda and Selima for me? I need them to prepare a bed for our guests.”
Soon Lottie had the whole house engaged in providing shelter and sustenance for their two guests. Lucy and Flynn both got seats at the table and served bread, cheese, a pudding and a small slice of meat each. When Lucy was sure no one could hear her she explained to Flynn under her breath that this was a generous dinner based on how most people lived at the time. Not that Flynn seemed to think it was anything but generous, it just filled the silence between them with something. It had become her habit over the months she’d spent time traveling to comment on historical things and persons since seeing everything she had read about play out made her fingers itch with longing to write it all down. Each time she thought about how she would describe an historic person with a 21st century view, and those subtleties that history had forgotten.
When they had finished their plates they’d been introduced to the children of the family. Though Lucy could see that her and Lottie were the same age, she was the mother of five children between around fourteen and three years old. The oldest was a boy named Archibald, then came the two girls that had set up Lucy and Flynn’s bed for the night. The two younger children were Georgina and Solomon.
“Mr and Mrs Preston don’t have any children?” Lottie asked as she patted Solomon’s head as he clung to her skirt, not quite sure what to make of the strangers in his house.
“No… no children,” Lucy said, keeping her eyes on the child that turned his face away from her and into his mother’s skirt. She knew that in Lottie’s eyes she was an old woman. Even if she could pretend to still be in her later 20s most women married around their 18th birthday and started their family shortly after that.
“You’ve not been blessed?” The curiosity sparkled in Lottie’s eyes for a second, then a blush spread across her cheeks. “I apologize, Cager always tells me I’m too nosy for my own good. We all have our sins to battle with.”
“It’s okay,” Lucy found herself saying to comfort her. It was not like she knew that Lucy and Flynn weren’t actually married.
“I… we had a daughter,” Flynn said then. Pretending he had never been a father was something he could never do. It was forever a part of who he was. “Her name was Iris. She was five years old.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.” Lottie brushed the hair over Solomon’s head thoughtfully. “Losing your child is the toughest part of being a parent. Cager and I lost our own boy last spring to the fever.” The silence that passed between them breathed of the children they both had lost, a camaraderie forged in the grief and injustice of a life taken too soon. Lucy kept her eyes on Flynn, watching memories of a daughter he once had dance across his features with a mix of love and bottomless grief. It wasn’t something she could relate to, couldn’t understand since it was nothing close to her own loss. If it was anything near how it felt to lose her sister to time she questioned if she would even have been standing still had she been in Flynn’s position.
The bed was tiny. She suspected that most nights two or more of the kids shared this bed, but that they were all sharing the same bed for the night. The family wasn’t poor, she could tell as much by that they had made their way to America already, owned horses, and the food that they ate. They were closer to a middle class family if Lucy had got an accurate picture of the household structure. She doubted that they sent their children to school, and that was what separated the rich from the rest in early colonial America.
While the small bed was good for the purpose of keeping warm -- the thin blanket offered little protection against the cold, she was pressed against his 6’4” frame or they would both fall off the bed.
“I didn’t think they’d actually leave you here,” Flynn said once the silence settled over the house and they could no longer hear the voices of children. She huffed, trying to adjust her body so that his arm wasn’t resting directly on top of hers.
“I told them to leave.” She thought back to the conversation they had had in an alleyway between two houses days before. The one where she had lain down the law and ordered them to do as told. While a part of her knew this would be a possibility, she had never dared to entertain the idea. “I said if I hadn’t come back after three days that they should leave. They stayed for four days.”
“You didn’t think they would.” He stated it like a fact, without any judgment tinting his words.
“No, no… I thought they would.” She sighed. “I just never thought that I wouldn’t get back to them in time.” She stopped trying to get comfortable on her back, twisting her body so that she was lying on her side instead. Not a position she liked sleeping in, but one night it could work.
“You think they’ll come back for you?” He waited for her answer, but she only shrugged. “You gave Cager and Lottie your name. Very 21st century that I took your name, by the way.”
“I think they’ll look for us. You because you can… do what you do. Me because hopefully I’ve started to matter to them. Wyatt and Rufus will fight for me, but ultimately it isn’t their choice.” She bit the inside of her lip. “They should have arrived already if that was the case. I think that at least. How close to the time you left can you arrive again? Should we have stayed?”
She twisted her body around on the bed to face him. Talking into the dark room felt too much like talking to herself.
“Anthony talked a little about it. They tried once to return back to the exact time they had left, but it didn’t work for some reason. It could be months before they can come back, and then they need to know where we are to know where to land.” He paused for a moment. “If Wyatt hadn’t shot Anthony we would not have been in this situation.”
She knew that he couldn’t see her in the darkness, but she glared at him anyway.
“You are why we’re stuck here,” she said. “A place which really sucks if you’re anything that isn’t a white man, and even then there is the lack of health care, plumbing, and don’t get me fashion and the layers… the corset” She took a deep breath to steady her anger. “Where do you suppose we should stay? We don’t have the money, time, or skill to build a house.”
“We will rent in town,” he said calmly. “We’ll hardly be the first husband and wife to do so after coming to America.” She hated him for being rational. She didn’t want rational.
They rented a small apartment in what would 200 years later be a bustling city. It was hard to imagine when she could almost see the end of the town when she stood at the other. The apartment had enough for them to cook in, and they only had to share the out-house in the back yard with four other families. It was a win, in that sense since it could have been much worse.
There was already a bed and a mattress in the apartment when they moved in, as was standard. Flynn got a job assisting a grocer and soon became part owner thanks to being both a good trader and good at math and reading. 21st century skills apparently became a good commodity in 18th century colonial America. It also helped that the grocer was a Croat and Flynn could with ease speak in Croatian with him.
Though Lucy wasn’t able to work she found herself busy with things she never thought she’d have to spend so much time on. A week’s laundry took ages to clean, and it was hard work. Never before had she appreciated the laundry machine as much before. If she ever got back to the 21st century she promised that she would kiss the first laundry machine she laid her eyes on. The process of clothing them, and feeding them, was also projects that took way longer than it did in the 21st century. There were the small things she knew and read about but living through was tedious business.
It was far from her work with history and and anthropology. She missed her books. There were many times she forgot what she was supposed to do, say, and be because she would get lost in her monotonous work, and she missed having those as a guideline. Before each trip she would refresh her memory with her favorite trusted resources of the specific era. But they’d been in the 18th century for almost two months, and the memories weren’t fresh anymore. She knew more than probably anyone on the customs and the historical events of this time in the 21st century. She was the most equipped. She hated it though.
In the beginning it was lonely, but after a couple of weeks she made a friend. Her name was Abby Thomson and she was younger than Lucy, but didn’t have any children either. She had been twenty-five when she married her husband the year before, and many had thought she’d never marry. Truth was that she refused to marry most men that proposed to her, but when her husband John proposed she had been unable to refuse his charm. Love seemed like a rarity in this century, most of the time there seemed to be a friendship like bond between husband and wife. But Abby and John were in love, and it made Lucy’s heart clench in yearning for that.
Though she was timid she was forward for her time, which was why Lucy was drawn to her. In her she found someone she could actually talk to. When after a month of knowing each other Abby dared to approach the topic of sex Lucy wanted to shrink back in embarrassment. She shared a bed every night with Garcia but they hadn’t as much as kissed, let alone had sex. But since they were supposed to be married Abby obviously assumed that was the case.
Two virgins with no guidance had were bound to approach some difficulty when it came to sex. In Abby’s case sex was painful. It took Lucy three tries and an hour long conversation to explain foreplay and the purpose of it.
“Does Mr Preston do… that?” A beet red Abby had asked when Lucy had talked about fingering -- cunnilingus she feared would blow the woman’s head off at this point.
“Uh…” Lucy had returned to the laundry that had lain abandoned for the better part of the hour. “Yeah.” Where else would an 18th century woman know these things from if not her husband? Abby blushed grew more furious.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to look him in the eyes again,” she squeaked. “You are a lucky woman Lucy, to have a husband who minds for you that way.” Lucy nodded, not sure how to respond to that. It was more a fictitious account of her and Flynn’s relationship. They rarely spoke to each other, let alone actually touched each other. “Does he… does he mind that you haven’t given him anymore children?” Abby had learnt about Iris. It was best to stick to one story for everyone they met, making sure not to give conflicting information to anyone who may cross paths. Which could be everyone.
“He doesn’t mind,” Lucy said. “I think he is happy we have no children,” she added for the benefit of making it more believable.
“I know John loves me, but I fear that if I am not with child soon he will have our marriage annulled and marry someone who can give him a child,” Abby looked down into her lap. “My family is telling me I have to hurry, and I’m getting too old.”
“Hey, hey,” she reached over and took Abby’s hands in her own. “You are nowhere near too old.” She patted her cheeks. “John loves you, he will stick by your side no matter what.”
“I just hope god will bless us with a child soon.”
“People are questioning why we don’t have children,” Lucy said as they undressed for bed one night days after her conversation with Abby. It wasn’t the first time, and she could sense that people were gossiping about them. Hopefully they wrote down something about Henry and Lucy Preston and their unusual childfree life. Maybe that journal they wrote it in would become an historical artifact that Wyatt and Rufus could use to find her.
“Yeah,” Flynn said. The response took her off guard. She expected people to say something to her, but not to Flynn. “Kristofor has talked to me about it.” Kristofor was the one who owned the store. He was an old man for the time at the age of 50, and though Flynn was just a little over a decade younger than him and also considered an old man for the time Kristofor had no children to leave the shop to. He was planning on giving it to Flynn should he die.
“What did he say?” Curiosity got the best of her, and she hastily took off the corset - named stays in this century, to give him her full attention. She and Flynn rarely talked, and she craved talking to someone who understood 21st century customs and norms.
“Well, he said that I should have heirs. Life without heirs is not a good life, according to him.” Flynn rolled his eyes at the sentiment.
“I think most of the town think I’m barren,” Lucy mused. “If I could be 100 percent sure I would go back I’d treat this like fieldwork. The information and knowledge at my disposal is immense. But it’s not like I could publish it anyway.” She sat down on the bed and watched him finish undressing.
In the beginning it had been awkward with her wearing just a chemise and him the shirt, knowing they were completely naked except for the think almost sheer material of them. Now they’d grown accustomed to each other.
“I don’t care what they’re thinking.” He unbuttoned the sleeves like he did each night, and crawled under the covers.
“I don’t get that. How can you not care?” He gave her a look he hoped was silencing. “They’ve got like… judgy eyes everywhere.”
“Lucy…” he said thinly. “Go to bed.” He reached for the candle at their bedside table.
“Fine.” She crawled under covers next to him as he blew the candle out. For about two whole minutes she was silent, then she turned on her side to face him in the darkness. “Do you want kids?” she asked in a hushed voice, as if the darkness carried the sound better than light.
“No, I don’t.”
“I know you said that thing about saving Iris and your wife, and then walking out on them for everything that you have done… but you wouldn’t abandon your child like that. I don’t think you would.” After all he did to save her she didn’t believe for a second he would hurt Iris by leaving her wondering.
“Lucy please,” he said through gritted teeth.
“You could have a second chance.” She pressed.
“Even though they are in a new timeline I will still be the same, I will still have done everything that I have done. There is no second chance for me.”
Silence passed between them longer this time. Then Lucy reached for his hand under the cover and squeezed it. The longer she spent time with him the less she could see him as an evil man. He wasn’t evil. He was hurt and misguided. He was trying to do right by doing wrong. The heart was in the right place, just not doing right things.
“This is your second chance.” She didn’t know what she meant with it, but he squeezed her hand back in a tight grip before he released her, letting her know he heard her. But he didn’t respond.
After four months he started sharing stories of his wife and daughter. Lucy suspected it was the first time he hadn’t been chasing Rittenhouse for years, and staying in one place for a length of time unable to fight for them had forced him to think about them and remember them. Not just avenging them, but also grieving them.
It started as a story at supper. A young girl had come to the store to purchase grains and she had reminded him of his daughter. After helping the girl count the change she had skipped off back home with the same spring in her step as his daughter had had. That night he told Lucy about how Iris would insist on being the one to pay for everything, and she had memorized the codes to their credit cards if they didn’t have any cash on them. If someone else paid she would pout for the rest of the day.
Slowly more and more stories of Iris were shared, and Lucy reciprocated with stories of Amy and how she always felt like her mini-mom. There was a maternal protection she felt towards her sister since she was almost eight when Amy was born.
Six months after being stranded Lucy kissed Flynn. Or Flynn kissed Lucy. It was in bed when they were lying awake sharing stories of their 21st century life when their lips met and didn’t part. Over the course of an hour or two, maybe more because they had no way of telling the time and talking about their past-future usually made everything disappear.
He’d been talking about cooking, something he once enjoyed, and she admitted to her own insufficiencies in that department. Since coming here she had to learn how to cook. Luckily 18th century cuisine was far from advanced, and mostly required making sure everything had been cooked through completely.
They’d been laughing about it. Months ago just the idea of laughing at something with Flynn was unthinkable. Now they’d almost let go of the idea that they would one day return. Each moments pend in this century was chipping away at the hope of going back. Lucy would do anything to have Wyatt and Rufus show up to bring her home, but she didn’t mind staying as much as she once did.
It was in one of those moments where they both had found themselves content and void of sorrows that they slowly closed the distance between them. The kiss was not a passionated one, it was one of those kisses without end or beginning. It was a kiss for kissing, to pull the other one close. It was tongues brushing against each other. Hands mapping out their faces, brushed through their hair, pulled their body closer. It was hands soft and slow exploring the backs and hips of the other person. Heavy sighs that molded them to each other.
In some strange way she found that kissing Flynn was a bit like finding home.
Abby was pregnant. The girl shot up from her seat as soon as Sunday mass ended, weaving through the crowd of people piling out of the church towards Lucy. Neither Lucy nor Flynn were religious, but they knew the importance of appearing god fearing in a place like this.
“Lucy,” she said as she practically bounced. “I’m with child Lucy.” She grabbed Lucy’s hands in her own.
They found two chairs outside their homes in the shade, seeking refuge from the heat with drinks as cool as possible in summer. Abby then went on to explain the whole story of why she thought she was pregnant, and then the confirmation of it. The quickening. For months she had waited, unsure if the missing monthly cycle meant anything. She had been so awfully nauseous too, she confided. But now she could feel the baby move everyday so she knew she was with child.
Lucy did her best to smile and nod throughout the whole conversation, but inside she wanted to scream. If Abby felt the baby move she was probably halfway through her pregnancy already, and just now knew for sure. Her desire to return to the 21st century increased tenfold. Return to a place where she and the people around her actually had more control of what happened. A place where a woman’s role didn’t revolve around her family and her fertility.
When she returned to their apartment later on in the day she took one glance at Flynn and slammed the door shut.
“If we’re not back in the 21st this time next year I’m starting a riot and it’s going to be called The Rufus and Wyatt Look Here riot.” She collapsed back on the bed.
“That bad?” She could hear the humor in his voice.
“It’s the fucking 18th century,” she mumbled into the arm she had thrown over her face.
She swore they wouldn’t have sex.
That worked for a while. There were many things you could do that didn’t involve risks she didn’t want to take, and she was sure neither did he.
Despite her threat of starting a riot she was starting to come to terms with that she was an 18th century woman now and little could be done about it. Each day that passed without a sighting of her two friends cemented that even further. She didn’t feel like spending a lifetime not having sex. Not that it was a huge thing to her in life, but it was something. It was a connection she missed having with another person.
Flynn had changed before her eyes. Morphed into the person she suspected he once was. He was doting without being overbearing, and would each day come back to their apartment with something from the store for her. He would give her backrubs to ease the tension out after a full-day of wearing a corset. There were small things in conversations where he leaned closer to show her he was paying full attention. When she mentioned in passing that she missed oranges he came home weeks later with a small basket of them just for her. It was strange to consolidate the image she had of Flynn now to the one she had months ago.
The first time they had sex was marked by nothing special. Nothing had happened that day worth noting. It was just something that happened because it felt natural.
She wondered about all the things in her life she swore she would never do, and then did anyway. She was never going to be a history professor like her mother, but she did. She was never going to end her last relationship. She was never going to cut her hair off -- that was one of the few things she did despite saying she wouldn’t that she actually regretted.
She waited to regret having sex with Flynn, but the regret never came.
This was their life now, and she was living it.
Abby gave birth to a boy that fall, and that same day Lucy and Flynn had decided to start building their own house on the side of town. Since Kristofor’s health had taken a hit Flynn had assumed more responsibilities, and soon would take over the grocer completely. They had outgrown their small apartment and yearned for more space. It had been ten months in the 18th century and they were setting town roots.
The boy Thaddeus was a fat boy who rarely cried. Lucy thought then that maybe it wasn’t so bad to have a friend with a child, since the infant was a nice distraction from the monotony. When her arms needed some rest from washing she would peek her head over the pram he was lying in and make silly faces until he laughed his gurgling laugh, grabbing at his rolls and tickling him until he squealed.
“You’re not having any children still?” Abby asked one day when Lucy picked the boy up and held him close to her chest before they parted for the day.
“We’re not having any children Abby,” she replied, placing a wet kiss on the boy’s cheek.
November and December put a halt to their plans of building a house. The snow was unlike any snow Lucy had seen in her life as far back as she could remember. A few horses would plow the roads to make daily living possible, but most would stay inside as long as they possibly could. The socialization that she’d grown accustomed to during the summer months where the streets were busy with life of the villagers and the people passing through to other parts of the country.
The most exciting thing that happened during those winter months was the comings and goings of the British Army, officials from England, and the postman. Many people still had family left in Europe, and the letters were their last connection to the place they came from.
Abby announced in December that John’s sister was coming to the colony for a British sergeant that had been placed here. The proposal had been accepted via mail after the sergeant in question had seen a photo of his sister, and now all that was left was the meeting. Lucy had read plenty of stories like it, but experiencing it was a whole other thing.
“Could you imagine coming to a foreign country and marrying a stranger?” Lucy asked Flynn that night as she kept thinking about John’s sister and her the massive leap of faith she took to find a husband in this land.
“You did the same thing,” Flynn answered. “We’re married, and we were strangers meeting in a, or several, strange lands,” he said when she looked confused.
“We’re not married,” Lucy scoffed. Still, there was a ring on her finger, and people called her Mrs and she was treated as his wife by everyone in town.
“We’re married Lucy,” he said with an insistent nod.
“That is not how marriage works. There has to be a ceremony and signing of papers, or something that makes it official.” She started to unlace the front-laced corset as he watched her with an amused expression.
“To everyone here we’re married. We act like it, live like it, and marriage isn’t paper documents or some rites you have to go through to make it what it is. It just… is.” He faced his palms up to the ceiling in an I-don’t-know, I-don’t-make-the-rules type of gesture.
She rolled her eyes at him. “And you’re the authority on that?”
“I’m the one with the most experience of marriage in the room, so yes.” He concluded.
“You’re such a pain in the ass.” Despite her words she smiled at him. Strangely enough he was her pain in the ass.
A year and one month after they were stranded she missed her second period.
For two weeks she waited for it with cold sweat dripping down her back at the mere thought of it. As soon as her thoughts ventured that way her stomach twisted up in knots and she wanted to throw up.
There were no way of knowing for sure, but there were other signs. Unmistakable signs. Signs she didn’t want to notice at all.
So she carried on like nothing was happening. Maybe she was wrong, but if she was right there was nothing to do about it anyway.
She started to regret doing that one thing she said she would never do.
“Are you okay?” Flynn asked one morning as she stared into her morning pudding without any desire to eat. Hunger was far from what she felt. A worried gnawing in the pit of her stomach took up all her attention.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She shoved a spoonful of pudding into her mouth to demonstrate her fine-ness.
Flynn didn’t look convinced, but didn’t press the issue.
“Are you unwell Lucy?” Abby asked placing a hand on top of hers. “You look very pale.” Concerned laced the brows of her friend as she doted over her, extending her hand to press it against her forehead.
“I’m just… tired, I haven’t been sleeping well.” Lucy continued to peel the vegetables she had in a large bowl of water in front of her.
“You really should be hiring servants, you’ve become a middle class woman.” Lucy shrugged her shoulders, she didn’t mind the work even if there was a lot of it. “You work yourself too hard.”
“I like keeping busy,” Lucy said and dried her hands on her apron. “It keeps my mind busy.”
“Anything in particular you want to keep your mind busy from?” Abby queried, looking like the cat that caught the mouse. Lucy shrugged again, plunging her hand into the cold water to grab an unpeeled vegetable. Abby let Lucy sit in silence for while, watching her like her mother would when she knew something was up.
She let out a deep sigh. “You’re with child, aren’t you?”
Lucy didn’t reply, but she did peel the parsnip she was holding more forcefully, almost taking the tip of her finger with it in the process.
“Mr Preston isn’t happy?” She dropped the parsnip in the water, half peeled, and pressed the palms of her hands against her eyes hoping that would keep the tears at bay.
“Fff- Henry doesn’t know.” She would sometimes forget that he was Henry to everyone but her. He stripped himself of his former name and became another person completely.
“You don’t think he’s going to be happy?” She wanted to scream that she didn’t care if he was happy or not, that her life did not revolve around him and making him happy, and bearing his children. That she did not end or start with him. She was her own person, and she was the one who was unhappy. That she was the one who would have to go through all of this again.
“I don’t know,” she said instead, her voice thick with unshed tears.
“I think I’m pregnant.” She had tried to blurt it out all week. The words were on her tongue, but she couldn’t say it. They were lying in bed in the dark, and she knew that she needed to say it soon. She didn’t know how long she could hide it. She might start to show soon.
“I know,” he said. “I’ve known for a while.” He said it as if it was nothing that big, as if he had been expecting it. She was glad that he, at least, wasn’t angry with her for keeping it from him.
“You didn’t say anything?” She frowned. How long exactly had he known?
“I figured you needed time to sort your thoughts out about it, and I did too.” She could feel him shift on the bed beside her. “How far along do you think you are?” Lucy didn’t need to stop and think about how many periods she had missed already, she’d thought too much about it to not remember.
“Almost four months.” She pulled the covers up, ashamed at how long she’d known, or thought she knew, and that she hadn’t told him. “So five months from now…” She bit her lip. Couldn’t finish the sentence. Didn’t want to think about the end of that sentence. This was not how she wanted it to go. This was not how she wanted to become a mother.
“Wow.” She kissed her teeth in reply, not having anything to say. Her mind was exhausted with emotion, with hormones, with life.
She just wanted to go home.
Kristofor died a month later, leaving the grocer and his house to Flynn and Lucy. It was a humble house, but big enough to fit a small family in it comfortably.
When they signed the papers for it she made sure to write her full name; Lucy Emelie Preston, hoping that someone in the future could tie the name to her. It wasn’t the usual spelling in America for it, and what were the odds that there was another Lucy Emelie Preston living in northern colonial America in the late 18th century? Small, she guessed, but she didn’t know. She also made Flynn use his name as a middle name, even if it sounded a bit ridiculous. Henry Garcia Preston. But, people in the 18th century gave their children wacky names anyway, so it didn’t draw any attention at all, to both their dismay and relief. The feelings depended on whether or not they were about to be rescued from the 18th century or not.
Soon after they began moving into the house. During the year and four months they had spent there they hadn’t accumulated many things, and the move was the easiest in her entire life.
The knock on the door was out of the ordinary. It was past supper and no one they knew would knock on their door at this hour. Flynn was the one who got up from his chair in the study to answer the door while Lucy remained eying through a book about botany that was duller than dishwater.
“Hey!” she heard Flynn cheer. “Took you long enough! Lucy come here!” She placed the book on the table next to her and heaved herself out of the chair. Her stomach was becoming heavier and put her center of gravity slightly in front of her making some moves difficult. Like getting out of a low chair.
When she rounded the corner she immediately caught sight of a familiar face she never thought she would see again. Not really.
“Wyatt!” She ran across the hall and launched herself into his arms hugging him tight. “You came back… thank you!” She looked over at Flynn. “We’re going home.”
“We’re not taking Flynn,” Wyatt said, voice flat and humorless.
“That’s non-negotiable, he’s coming.” Lucy put her foot down. They all stood in front of the round sphere that had left them in the 18th century the year before.
“There’s no place for him in there!” Wyatt pointe towards the machine, as if urging Lucy to look and make sure that there were still only 3 seats in it.
“We’ll use rope,” she said.
“Rope,” she heard Rufus mutter in the background, as if the mere word was ridiculous.
“Unless you have a better idea stop it, now.” She pointed at the two men like a mother scolding her sons, and she hated herself for acting like their mother but still felt proud when they listened to her. Maybe she wasn’t doomed to fail at motherhood after all.
“Rope it is then…” Rufus acquiesced, but didn’t dare asking where they’d get the rope from.
After a trip back to their house to get rope meant half the night had already passed, and they were losing the nightfall they wanted to be able to disappear in quiet. She wondered what Abby and the rest of the town would make of the vanishing couple that for a short while owned the grocer in town. Lucy regretted not leaving a letter or something for Abby, but in the rush to finally get home that thought had been lost to her until now.
“Are you sure this is safe?” Flynn lowered his voice so that only she could hear him.
“No, it’s rope, but it’s the only option we have.” It was far from ideal, but it was the only way she could make sure the father of her child returned to the 21st at all. She had already convinced the boys to land them at Flynn’s warehouse and base, since if they landed at Mason Industries Flynn would immediately be arrested. They could say that Flynn pulled a gun on them, anything. She just needed them all in the 21st.
“No I mean for the-” Her glare silenced him.
“This century is unsafe. This is our one chance, and I’m going to take it.” Truth was she never considered that. The g-forces alone could send her into premature labor, or cause other damage that she didn’t even want to think about. She was fairly sure that she was past 24 weeks, and if something happened at this stage the 21st century was the place to be. “We’re going.”
The boys didn’t suspect a thing during their rescue mission. The dress was big with a large billowing skirt that hid any hint of a belly underneath. Undressed there was no way to mistake that she was pregnant, but dressed in all the layers and massive fabrics it wouldn’t occur to anyone to suspect it even.
When they landed and knew that everyone was alright Flynn had exited the Lifeboat and ordered the men that were at the base to clear out immediately, and get to their safe house. Where that was not even Lucy knew.
Before he left he turned to Lucy, standing forlorn in front of her as if not quite sure what to do now.
“Take care Lucy, I’m sorry I can’t be there when… for it all, but I’ll make sure to end this all.” Lucy had no words to respond with, tears welling in her eyes and swelling in her throat. All she could do was nod, and place his hand on the top of the swell of her belly. She gave him a fast kiss before he had to run. Soon Homeland security and Rittenhouse would be in this building.
“Wait,” Rufus interrupted her thoughts. “You just kissed Garcia Flynn, the man who… I can’t even count all the things he’s done right now because he’s done a lot.” He blinked furiously.
“We were there for a long time.” She clasped her hands in front of herself. “We got close.” She was not yet ready to tell them about the baby that was kicking in her belly that very moment, going crazy on the adrenaline of timetravel and the quick good bye to his or her father.
“How long exactly were you there?” Wyatt asked. “Because we thought we came about six months after we left you… that’s not that long?” He seemed genuinely confused.
“Try 18 months.” She shrugged. “We didn’t think you’d come back. That you knew where to find us, if you thought we were dead…” She trailed off. She didn’t feel guilty in the slightest, but understood their confusion if not as long of a time had passed here. “How long have I been gone here?” That was one question she hadn’t thought to ask before.
“Ten weeks,” Wyatt answered.
“We had a bit of difficulty locating where you were, then we found the deed of inheritance and decided that it was a long shot that we were willing to take.” Rufus smiled. “I’m glad we did.”
What had been 18 months for her had only been ten weeks here. It wasn’t as long, but it was still a long time for the people she left behind here. Her mother must’ve been worried sick. Add to that that she’d have to sell her mom on that she was pregnant when she left, which was a scenario she didn’t want to deal with before she absolutely had to. That moment would probably be sooner than she’d like.
“Crap.” That was all she had to say.
The base wasn’t too far from Mason Industries, which meant that they drove them all back their still in their costumes. Lucy got her own car due to how large her skirts were and that they took up the entire backseat. It was strange how accustomed she had become to the skirts, it was jarring to see the tight and light clothing on people around her. They were essentially wearing what would have been viewed as underwear back then.
Before any debriefing took place she had Jiya help her get out of her clothes and get her new ones.
“Could you get me men’s clothes, baggy please?” She hoped that it would hide the bump, but doubted it would. She had no desire to tell the entire workplace that she had been intimate with Garcia Flynn, the man they had named enemy nr 1.
“Sure, no problem.” She trusted Jiya to keep her secret if needed, or at least not get upset with her for the state she was in.
As she undressed Jiya remained silent, even as the curve of her belly became more and more obvious. Jiya kept talking about what they had done the past weeks to try to find her, and the ends they went to get her. They had contacted all possible historians over the world who knew anything about history to point them in the right direction, sifted through all types of archives of the era. That it only took 10 weeks to get to that specific piece of paper was impressive. She’s be hardpressed to find anyone who believed otherwise.
When she was dressed in large black sweatpants, a t-shirt that was probably Wyatt’s, and a zipper hoodie the belly was still visible, there for all to see. She brushed a hand over it, gently pressing against a spot under her belly button where she would most often feel kicks and soft brushing movements.
“Can’t trust 18th century contraception,” Lucy said with a weak smile and laugh that quickly faded from her face. “They’ll think I’m with him now, won’t they?” Would she be considered an enemy of the state now? Colluding with a terrorist? All she did was get stuck with him in the past.
“Or maybe you swayed him over to your side?” Jiya offered, but it felt like a bandaid that had lost all its adhesiveness.
“Maybe…” She dropped her hand from her belly. “Well, I guess it’s time to face the music.”
Few took the pregnancy well, as she suspected.
As soon as she entered the room all eyes had been on her, and then on her stomach. Little else had mattered after that. She had no desire to justify her sexual life, or her body’s ability to reproduce like many women.
She found herself answering most questions with “it wasn’t like that.” Because nothing was how they thought it had been. She hadn’t plotted to join Flynn’s crew. She hadn’t been a part of a conspiracy to ambush Wyatt and Rufus, forcing them to shoot Anthony. She hadn’t stayed in the 18th century with the intent of sabotaging history. Getting pregnant wasn’t a part of that plan of sabotaging history and America.
At the end of the debrief her head was aching and swimming. She hadn’t slept in what was probably 36 hours, and she could barely walk a straight line.
She fell asleep on in the backseat of the car on her way home. When she woke up her mother was leaning into the car cradling her body to her.
“Oh thank god you are back,” her mother cried. “They said you were lost on a mission Lucy?” Her mother looked at her as if she couldn’t put two and two together to make four.
“Yeah.” She had no energy left in her to say anything but that.
“You’re pregnant Lucy,” she said next, her hands falling to the sides of her belly.
Money and connections were good for one thing at least. Within days she was in an OBs office having an ultrasound to check on the baby. With the state of health in the 18th century there was no way of knowing what any potential deficiencies could have impacted the baby’s development.
But there were ten fingers and ten toes, four heart chambers, a developing brain, and all the organs looked the size they were supposed to. She was given an estimated due date, and told to get on prenatal vitamins immediately if she hadn’t already. It had been one of her first purchases when she got to a store after returning.
She also found out she was having a girl.
She wondered how Flynn would have reacted to the news of having a daughter again. He’d probably have been happy, ecstatic even. Without him she was facing that alone, which felt like a much heavier burden than facing motherhood did in the 18th century. Luckily her mother had surprised her with her support, not feeling any resentment at not being told before Lucy had left. Maybe she thought Lucy hadn’t known she was pregnant then, Lucy didn’t ask.
She was born on May 2nd 2018. She named her Amy Iris Preston.