Clara Lords was blissfully happy about her new life in the District. Her husband was adoring, attentive, compassionate, insightful, and so much more. Clara was proud to be the wife of Joshua Lords, and just as proud to be carrying his child.
Joshua was completely honest with Clara about how he found her in the Intelligence Database, and he promised to reveal the answers to all things she would want to know, “at a gentle pace.” He also told her that he had one remaining family member whose whereabouts are unknown, but that bringing a new generation into the world was extremely important to him.
Clara also found great joy in attempting to hack into the Intelligence Database Joshua told her about! It was her new favourite game, despite her lack of success. When Joshua got home from work, she bounded down the stairs to welcome her sweetheart. “How was your day, Hon?” she wondered.
“Well, it felt like it lasted eighty hours or something because I just wanted to get home and be with you,” he joked sweetly. “But I need to talk to you about the hacking.” Clara looked scared, so he immediately reassured her. “Never use a regular computer to hack anything other than typical servers. The office computer is the only one that you can safely use for real digging.”
“Oh, I’m glad you told me, and that you’re not upset with me for hacking.”
He smiled proudly, “No, I love that about you, Clara! You’re smart and inquisitive and perfect.”
After kissing and flirting for several minutes, Clara finally interrupted the moment to ask, “Do you think there’s anything that can be done about the lighting in here? It’s sort of gloomy.”
That night, Clara went to the office computer to do some more hacking while Joshua was asleep. She marvelled at how it felt to be able to share her hacking interest with someone without needing to hide behind a fake identity. Now she understood what family really meant.
“Good morning,” Joshua greeted her. “I prepared breakfast for you, but I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“I wanted to see you before you left for work,” she explained. “I was thinking a lot about our baby, and it made me wonder about your brother.”
He didn’t try to hide his awkwardness, but instead, asked her to sit with him. “I don’t have much time to get into this right now, but what is it you want to know?”
“What is his name? And if our baby is a boy, do you want to name him after your brother?” Clara asked.
“His name is Justice,” Joshua explained, “and he’s my brother; I love him, but I definitely wouldn’t name our child after him.” The silence was gravid with despondency. Clara wanted to apologize for bringing it up, but he changed the subject. “I promise to think about names and I know we’ll find one together that’s right for our baby.”
Joshua also promised to teach Clara how to access the Database, so she stopped trying to hack into it. Instead, she focused on her programming skills and took some freelance work as a beta tester.
Finally Clara went into labour! She phoned Joshua and he was rushing home to be there when the baby arrived, but Clara’s labour was surprisingly fast and she delivered their baby girl by herself.
Joshua arrived after Clara had already delivered their daughter and got her all clean, dry, and dressed up nice, and Clara couldn’t help but laugh at the way Joshua was freaking out. “It’s okay, Joshua. Look at her, she’s so amazing!”
He embraced his wife and thanked her with all his heart. They agreed to name their daughter Maribeth.
That night, Joshua was up late moving furniture from the attic to make a perfect room for their little baby girl. Thankfully, he didn’t need to worry about getting to work at the crack of dawn like usual, because he’d already arranged to have a few days off from work.
Everything should have been perfectly perfect, but the following afternoon, Joshua discovered that something was terribly wrong.
He called his best friend immediately. “Darren, I need you to get over here as fast as you can.”
Darren had been at work when he got the call, but he arrived at the Lords’ home in less than an hour. “What is it, Joshua?”
Joshua looked over his shoulder and saw Clara was in the kitchen. “Not here,” he said under his breath, and gestured for Darren to go into the other room.
When they were finally out of earshot, Joshua asked Darren, “So, how’s it going with Daria?”
“Uh… great, thank you for asking.”
“Darren, I’ve seen the girl’s medical records!” Joshua snapped. “Are you telling me there’s something wrong with her?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with her.”
“Then, if it’s not too delicate a subject, can you explain to me why she isn’t pregnant yet?”
Darren sighed and shrugged his shoulders before explaining, “Because I just had a baby with Skylar. Granted, that wasn’t my idea and I feel like she tricked me, but I thought that meant–”
“It means something alright,” Joshua confirmed, “but it doesn’t change the plan.”
Darren sat down and said, “Fine then, I’ll get to work on making another baby, but the way you sounded on the phone… I thought something bad might’ve happened, not that you wanted to ream me out.”
Joshua nodded. “Something bad did happen; that’s why I’m freaking out. I was playing chess this morning and I was really focused, and that’s when I discovered I have a slip memory.”
“No–are you sure?”
“Without any doubt whatsoever!”
“Do you know when the slip happened?” Darren questioned.
Joshua thought backwards, then said, “It was after you first met Daria but before Lily was born.”
Darren gasped in horror, “Does that mean–?”