“Okay, just tell me everything,” Darren said calmly. “Start from the beginning, and tell me everything you can remember.”
Joshua took a breath and began to explain. “I had gone to the library one night; I don’t even remember why I went there. Anyways, I was distracted by something and walked down toward the river. I remember thinking about the library book because I still had it in my hand and I didn’t want to steal a book from the public library!”
Darren chuckled, “Yeah, who would do that?”
“I know,” Joshua agreed with a laugh, “and thank the Watcher for that book in my hand too, or I don’t know if I would’ve realized that I slipped. In the original memory, I was disturbed by the book and I distinctly remember bringing it back to the library. I felt embarrassed even.”
“In the slip memory, I didn’t get all the way back to the library,” Joshua continued his amazing story. “I was approached by someone I never expected to see!”
“Who?” Darren asked with bated curiosity.
“Think: greatest war hero of our time.”
“No freaking way!” Darren protested in disbelief.
“That’s what I thought too, believe me! And he was standing at the top of that little hill there, so I was looking up at him above me,” Joshua re-enacted the body language as he spoke, “and he was just chatting with me like any normal person would. He said he was new here, so naturally I asked him where he lives. And he lived right across the street from me!”
“But it was a totally different house than the one standing there right now,” Joshua finished with a gasp. “I went inside and talked with him and his wife. They were both so great people, and it was a really incredible honour to meet them and all, but…”
Darren didn’t doubt his best friend’s story, but he asked, “If there’s a problem with the timeline again… Am I going to lose Lily?”
“Tell me,” Darren insisted.
“I had seen some intel about Skylar in the Database–I thought that’s why you were flirting with Daria at the club that night… Lily might not be yours.”
Darren was furious, then revealed, “I thought Skylar was acting different but I thought it was my fault! But I don’t care about that, Joshua, I love Lily! I’m worried about my baby!”
As Darren broke down and cried, Joshua admitted, “I’m worried about my baby, too!”
They cried together for a moment, and tried to give each other strength. Finally, Darren pulled away and asked, “Okay, so what do we do? Who have you told?”
“I haven’t told anyone but you, but I am going to tell Clara everything–in time,” Joshua explained. “Since Lily was born at the hospital, they would’ve taken her blood, so I will discretely look into her genetic situation.”
“I was thinking the best thing we can do in the meanwhile is to stay focused all the time,” Joshua advised. “I think that it’s a lot easier to recognize a slip memory if we are focused, or our memories are full of novelty. Boring routines are not going to help us one bit right now.”
Darren agreed. “Thankfully my memories are packed full of novelty, since I’m having an affair that I felt horrible about until a minute ago…” He let out an uncomfortable chuckle.
“If this all goes south and we end up having to reset the timeline, do you think I could be with Daria from the start?” Darren questioned.
“I don’t see why not,” Joshua answered. “At least, I think it would be guaranteed if you would actually get her pregnant. We know for sure Jack and Iris are good, they’ll be with us whether you and Skylar meet or not.”
“Then I’m definitely in. I love her, Joshua, she is honestly the most…” Darren gushed about Daria and how much he adored her, turning the mood much more joyous.
“Oh, you have to come and see my baby girls now!” Joshua interjected. He took Darren upstairs to the baby’s room on the second floor. “See? I knew they’d both be here!”
Clara looked at them and smiled. “You must be Darren!”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Darren replied.
“I knew she would be in here,” Joshua explained to his best friend while gazing at his wife, “because she always wants to be there for our baby.”
“That’s so sweet,” Darren complimented her. Then he stepped up to get a closer look at the baby.
He and Joshua stood in silence for a moment, looking at the precious child with an understanding that burdened only them.