Tired scarlet eyes fluttered open to meet concerned, sea blue ones.
Carstella gave a sad smile to him as the blond rung out a cloth and put it on her burning forehead with a kiss on her nose.
“I’m sorry, Tuff.” She said weakly.
The man just smiled sadly at her, “It’s okay, Stell. Just please, don’t do it again. I can’t take losing you. Not again, please.”
“I know.” She smiled, extracting a hand from under her blanket to find his and grab it tightly, “I’m really sorry.”
Tuff smiled, leaning down to kiss her nose again.
“I think now’s a good time to talk.” He said after a moment.
Carstella nodded sheepishly. She knew this was coming, but at the same time felt very awkward about it as it could have easily been avoided.
“How long have I been asleep?” She asked, swallowing thickly.
“Little over twelve hours.” Tuff shrugged and help her sit up slightly before handing her a glass of water.
Carstella drained the contents of it before handing back to him. Tuff placed it back on the bedside table before laying the girl back down and readjusting the cold cloth on her forehead.
“I called Bucket and Mulch.” He started, not looking her in the eye, “Told them what happened. They said they’d talk to what’s his name about it and you won’t have to worry about handing in that report or whatever you need to get done.”
Carstella nodded, holding his hand tightly.
“I talked to Stoik and the others as well.” He coughed, “Told them all what happened and I guess the council had a meeting. Ruff and Fishlegs are going to take over the tourism.”
“But-” Carstella began, only to stop herself after a moment seeing as she couldn’t say anything about it.
“Fishlegs wanted out of teaching anyway. Ruff’s a great secretary so the work load’ll be easier on them.”
Carstella nodded, it made sense.
She waited for Tuff to continue, but he didn’t. He just sat there, holding her hand in his tightly.
“Tuff?” She asked gingerly, “There something wrong?”
The blond finally looked at the girl, his blue eyes misty and red rimmed.
He had been crying, she knew. But why?
“The doctor gave you the once over.” He began, “He said you were pregnant.”
Fear and ice seized the girl’s body.
“Did he say for how long?” She asked.
The blond shook his head, “Just your first trimester. And that the odds of it surviving right now are very slim because of the poor condition you’ve been keeping yourself in.”
Carstella shook her head as her throat began to tighten.
“I am so sorry, Tuff.” She said, “I shouldn’t have done this to you. To us. I am so sorry. It will never happen again. It should not have happened this time, but it did, and I am very sorry.”
Tuff took a shaky breath as he lifted her hand up and placed a chaste kiss on her knuckles.
“It’s okay, Stell.”
“No it’s not.” She sniffed, “I shouldn’t ever have put either of us through this. You deserve so much better than me, damn it.”
“I chose to love you everyday, Stell.” Tuff said, gripping her hand tighter, “I chose to be with you. And I chose to take everything that comes with it. I just want you to promise me you won’t ever do something like that again. You need to take care of yourself too you know.”
Silent tears slid out of her crimson eyes as she nodded.
“Promise.” Tuff reiterated.