The retching sound from the water closet made JP swallow hard in reaction. This was the third morning in a row that Cierra lost her breakfast, leaving little doubt if the visit to the doctor had been successful. Now they would have to see one of them about the morning sickness. Another gut wrenching sound nearly had the stoic woman join her mate in the closet. She wasn’t going to survive much more of this. As much as she loved Cierra she had to leave their house now before she lost it too.
JP opened the door and took in a deep breath of fresh air. The effort of not vomiting had her sweaty and weak-kneed. Cyd was walking by their home and heard the sounds from inside.
“Oh God, that sounds familiar. Come on, let’s go find Doc and get some tummy tea for Cierra. I think Sharon has some wafers too. You can keep them in the house.”
Cyd led JP away from the house to the doctors’ home. They shared the house closest to the hospital. Cyd knocked on the door and Doctor Sanchez answered.
“Cierra has morning sickness. She’s puking her guts up.”
“Poor thing. Let me get a tin of the tea I gave Jenny. Make a weak brew of it in the mornings JP. Make her drink it at least 30 minutes before meals. She can have a few crackers or something bland with it though.” The woman fetched the herbal tea and brought it to the door.
Cyd told JP to take it to Cierra while she fetched the wafers. Sharon developed a cracker that tasted a lot like salted water biscuits although they didn’t have the uniform shape of them. The pregnant women tended to prefer them to bread.
JP returned to the house and found Cierra on the bed. She looked miserable.
“I got some tea from the doc. Just relax until it’s ready.”
JP prepared the tea and gave her a few of the crackers that Cyd had brought over. It would become a daily ritual for several months until the morning sickness passed.
She held her mate after Cierra drank the tea and stroked her tummy softly.
Cierra took a deep breath as the sickening sensation finally passed. “Well, the father is a real pain in the ass so it only makes sense the baby is gonna be too.”
JP chuckled. “Well, at least the kid ought to be good looking. Kota is a handsome fella even if he is a know-it-all.”
“I wonder if the baby will be a boy or a girl?” Cierra mused. (At this point I will allow the readers to vote on the gender they want or I will flip a coin LOL)
“Guess it doesn’t matter either way. The kid will have you for a mom and will be one lucky baby.”
The shaman smiled and placed her hand over JP’s. “Thanks.”
When Cierra felt better they walked to the Communal Building to get some breakfast. The expectant mother ate lightly while JP ate enough for both of them.
Sharon walked up to their table and bent low to speak with Cierra, rubbing her upper back lightly. “How are you feeling dear?”
“Better, thank you. JP Jr. was doing a little dance on my tummy earlier.”
The woman cackled. “I never did ask what JP stood for.”
Cierra blinked. She never thought to ask either. She turned her dark eyes to her spouse and lifted a brow, hinting that JP ought to tell them.
JP shifted uneasily. She hated her name and never told anyone.
“Well?” the older woman prodded.
“Um, well, I was named after my two aunts, who detested each other. Dad was hoping by naming me after both they’d settle down and stop fighting.” JP played with her fork, trying to delay telling them. When they kept looking at her she sighed. “Janeeva Patsy,” she mumbled quickly.
Cierra’s eyes got wide and she covered her mouth with both hands. “Oh. My. God, no wonder you took on a nickname as fast as you could. At least we won’t name our child something they’ll hate growing up.”
“What? I can’t name the kid Sapphire Moon or Garfield?”
“Nope, sorry, no way.”
“Aww Hon, you’re no fun at all.” The tall woman pretended to pout.
“Actually, if the baby is a girl I’d like to name her after Grandmother. Her name was Kiona.”
Sharon nodded. “A pretty name. And if it’s a boy?”
Cierra shrugged. She had no ideas for a boy yet.
JP spoke up. “Could we name a boy after my brother? He died when I was ten. His name was Dillon.”
“Sounds like a good name for a boy,” Cierra smiled.
“You know,” Sharon brought up, “with all these female pairings we ought to start a tradition in naming. Each child’s middle name ought to be the surname of her mate or donor, just to help keep track of family lines.”
JP thought about it. “Hmm, donor I think. That way the children will have less chance of accidentally marrying first cousins or something. “We’ll bring it up later. It won’t be mandatory though, just a suggestion.”
The older woman nodded and returned to her kitchen.
The housing for the pregnant women was nearly finished so Carl and Gail sat down with the building crew to discuss the new long house.
The builders had thought to build across the stream the same way they had built in their village but Carl suggested much different ways.
“Don’t build the bath house and long house separate. Combine them.”
Eva shrugged and asked why.
“Simple. Why do you build with wood?”
“Because it’s lightweight and strong. Plus it’s versatile,” Eva answered.
“Yes, but the real strength of wood comes from moisture. Once wood dries out it becomes brittle. So why not build the baths inside so the steam keeps the long house wood from drying out inside?”
“I never considered that. You know, once all the pregnant women move out of the barracks we could always build a cement bath on one end and just shift everyone down. It’s a good idea really.” The others agreed.
“Yeah, and no one has to haul their laundry up the hill if we build that in next to it.”
Eva brought up one problem with it. The water had to be piped to the baths or water would have to be hauled.
Another suggested aqueducts to pipe in water. With so many ideas being launched it took most of the afternoon to agree on a set of plans. A crew would collect clay for making aqueducts pipes while another made the mold forms. Eva required three types of pipes in order to make them work. After the pipes were made and drying they would begin digging the ditch for the flow toilet pipes then begin putting up the frame and clay brick fireplaces.
Their little village was growing.
Kelly waited anxiously for Cierra to arrive and bring her back to the colony. She had been at Jim’s home for the last three weeks and missed Laura. Jim and his family did their best to make her stay pleasant but it wasn’t the same.
During her stay there had been one frightening incident. The fear of the authorities had been in the back of her mind the entire time. Because of the fear of being taken into custody she never left Jim’s home. Three days after she arrived there had been a knock at the door.
Two men in suits wanted to speak with her privately but Jim and his wife had refused to leave their guest alone with them or to allow her to be taken from their home. The men had asked quite a few questions about Cierra, few of them she was willing or able to answer.
They left with their curiosity unfulfilled but they didn’t approach her again. Kelly knew if the article had never been published that she plus Jim and his family might have disappeared. With the secret out there was little benefit from taking Kelly into custody.
The former legal assistant felt slightly safer but still refused to leave the house. She spent most of her time scanning the requests from the web space and collecting names of hopefuls. Many of them were just wacko people. She deleted their emails automatically.
Some of the emails were from publishers and news organizations that wanted to interview people from the colony. Kelly doubted anyone really wanted to chat with them but kept their requests in the inbox folder.
After reading over one hundred emails she decided to make a change to the website. She had a few snapshots of the village that she had taken with her digital camera and uploaded them. She quickly built a page that described their daily life and how hard it was. She wanted to scare off those who would never last or those not serious. Once finished she sent the URL to everyone in the saved file along with requests of further information. Anyone still interested could reply.
Surprisingly she began getting replies within two hours. The emails were still trickling in when she had to leave to the pick up location. So far she had collected nearly 400 names for Cierra to look over. Luckily Jim had a lot of computer paper. The stack weighed almost ten pounds.
Kelly shifted the heavy bundle and wondered where Cierra was. She was beginning to get worried when the shaman appeared.
“Hey yourself. How did it go? Was Jim good to you?”
“Fine and yes. I had a couple of goons in business suits come visit me but they left and never came back.”
Cierra looked worried. She helped pick up Kelly’s belongings and they popped back to Mother Earth. Kelly took in a lung full of fresh air and smiled.
“What did they want?”
“Oh, the usual, information about you. How you did it, etc. I gave them a bunch of blank stares and I dunno answers.”
“Hmm, do you think they still plan on getting hold of me?”
“Yeah, but they won’t do it if there is any possible way the public would find out. You have too many people pulling for you to risk the ire of the mob.”
They walked back to the horses. Kelly noticed Laura wasn’t there and her face fell.
Cierra saw the look. “She twisted her ankle yesterday and Pat ordered her to stay off her feet. Laura was ticked off. She wanted to meet you.”
Kelly asked questions about Laura’s injury and caught up on the village gossip as they rode back. Once satisfied she was back in the loop Kelly began covering some of what she did about the requests.
“Cierra, I think you’ll have to interview them.”
“What? Why? Aren’t you doing background checks on these people?” There was no way Cierra would feel comfortable in that role.
“Does the name Ann Hatch mean anything to you? We lucked out with her but it could have been much worse. Backgrounds are too easily forged. I can sift through the amateurs but what if they sent in another spy? I think once you decide how to proceed then you’ll have to interview the people who want to come here. Maybe do that psychic trick of yours and make sure they aren’t serial killers or something.”
Cierra looked away. She had come quite a distance in her confidence but Kelly was asking too much of her. How could she place herself as judge over these people?
When they reached the village and greeted everyone, Kelly handed over the large stack of papers to the shaman. Cierra took them and headed for her home.
JP had seen her arrived and felt the wall surrounding her lover. Something was bothering her. She went inside and saw Cierra on their bed, looking at the stack of requests.
“Yes, hopefuls. JP, could you leave me alone until dinner? I need to deal with these without your sweet eyes looking at me.”
JP nodded and gave Cierra a quick kiss before leaving her to her reading.
The shaman picked up another copy and began reading.
Continued in Part 11
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