In one movement, Jean sprang from bed, swept up the portable phone, muffled it against her stomach, and lurched into the bathroom. She jerked the door shut behind her, noiselessly. An insistent, digital ring purred against her sleep-damp T-shirt, but she held still in the dark, straining to hear any sound from the baby’s room. Nine-week-old Halley had just gone back down, after her second middle-of-the-night feeding. If she woke now, with over an hour until it was possible to nurse again . . .
Calamity. Apocalypse. The ultimate pit of despair.
There was no irony in Jean’s assessment, no awareness of exaggeration. She was shredded by lack of sleep, utterly bombed-out, and in this first night on her own with the baby—with Tom out of town on business—every new-mother jitter was magnified to a power of ten. Who the fuck was calling?
“Hello,” she hissed, and then instantly understood who it must be.
“ . . . Vic.” With the thick seconds-long pause between her words and his, Jean’s little brother sounded as far away, in Iraq, as he was. “Guess I woke you.”
“No, no, I’m so glad. Can you hear me?”
“ . . . hear me? Just had a minute, because we’re loading up to—” . . . Read More.