It’s time for another Promptly Penned. The prompt will appear in bold in the story.
Elinor woke with a gasp, sitting straight up in bed, glancing around, eyes wide and barely focused. Kyle laid his book in his lap and shifted toward her, rubbing her back. “You okay, El?”
She blinked up at him. “I had the dream again.”
“The one where you’re married to some other guy?”
She nodded again, looking almost haunted. “We have a baby. I don’t remember giving birth.”
“Well, you wouldn’t, necessarily–it’s a dream.” He closed his book and laid it on the nightstand.
She slumped back against her pillow. “It’s just so real.”
He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Dreams are funny things.” She laid her hand alongside his cheek, and he nuzzled her palm. “Want me to get you a drink of water?”
“Yes, please.” She smiled wanly. “You’re so good to me.”
Kyle got up and filled the cup in the bathroom and brought it back to her. “Here you go, babe.”
She downed it all. “Thank you, Ky…” Her words were already starting to fade. He settled back into bed and picked up his book, occasionally checking the time. He’d even started to drift off a little when the sounds of a snuffling baby and furniture being moved in the next room roused him.
He blinked blearily at the man in the doorway then glanced at the clock. “You’re late.”
The other man shrugged and started stripping down. “The baby needed to be changed.”
“Whatever.” Kyle got out of bed and pulled his clothes on then tossed the pajama bottoms he’d been wearing to the guy in the doorway who immediately pulled them on.
“She out?” he asked nodding toward Elinor.
“Gave her a dose about an hour and a half ago.”
He nodded and crawled into bed with her and closed his eyes, as Kyle padded out into the hallway to look for his shoes and coat.
The baby in the next room began to fuss, and he froze as he heard the guy mutter sleepily. “It’s your turn to get up with her. I fed her last time.”
“What?” Elinor’s groggy-sounding groan drifted to him, and he almost felt guilty.
“The baby’s hungry. It’s your turn.”
He mumbled something Kyle couldn’t make out.
Squatting, he felt for his shoes but froze at the sound of rustling in the room. Elinor was climbing out of bed and stumbling toward the doorway. She paused, and he could make out her silhouette clearly in the light from the window.
“I had the dream again.” Her voice was a little shakier this time.
“Oh, about your other husband? Kyle, right? Too bad he’s not around. We could put him on diaper duty.”
“Yeah…right.” She stumbled into the baby’s room. “It’s just so real,” she murmured.
There was no almost, this time. Guilt climbed up his throat, and tasted a lot like bile. But it wasn’t like he could opt out. None of them had a choice in this. Least of all Elinor. Not anymore.
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