Tommy like already had his hand on his tablet, wondering if he should admit that it was his and shit, when Wizened Woman announced she had “dreadful news” to tell Imogene.
The woman looked down at the tablet she was holding, then turned to look up at him with ruthless RL eyes.
“I’m…” Tommy paused. Would they let Imogene out of this fucked-up excuse for a hospital once they heard that she was still convinced that she wasn’t pregs and shit? He puffed himself up as much as he could. “…her therapist.”
Wrong move! As he both remembered his age and watched the complete disbelief spread across Wizened Woman’s face, he felt like he’d just died some hideous death in Minecraft with no hope of respawning. Then he factored in that they didn’t know each other, and he wasn’t wearing anything that identified him as staff. “Not really, I know. But for all intents and purposes I am. I’m…” He gave her a warm, conspiratorial smile, choosing his next word carefully. “…family.”
“You should never have given her her tablet!” snapped the woman, though she released it to him.
Tommy stood his ground. Quickly enlarging the font on his tablet to monster-sized, he remembered sneaking a look at Imogene’s chart when no one was in the nurses’ station. “The doctors told me she’s okay now medically and that…” The next words slipped out before he knew what he was saying. “…our baby is safe.”
Wizened Woman frowned and started like riffling through her paperwork, probably looking for any prior mention of the baby’s father.
Imogene’s eyes, looking past Wizened Woman to stare at him, had snapped so wide they looked like they were going to pop out. Tommy wondered which of his words had caused the stronger reaction, “baby” or “our.”
As if all this shit wasn’t enough, Tommy thought he caught sight of a green mist seeping in through the window but ignored it. “So,” he continued loudly, hoping Wizened Woman wouldn’t examine her paperwork too carefully. “Now that the big secret’s out and we’re reunited, Imogene needs to start facing a lot of reality before our baby is born, and the internet was a way to ease into that, right?”
Wizened Woman didn’t look like any too convinced and all, but she did turn back to Imogene.
For a sec the room turned…green. Tommy found himself envisioning a 19th century theatre and batting at something that seemed to be swirling around his eyes.
“Anyway, my darling Imogene,” the woman was saying, “perhaps I should start by sharing the bad news with you. It’s about your mother.”
Imogene looked blank.
Tommy remembered she’d not only denied the baby’s existence but also her mother’s. He started typing on his tablet.
Wizened Woman continued. “I know she was in prison for treating you tremendously, tremendously badly, so I’m not sure this news will fall on the most sympathetic ears, but when her allegation that the guards were repeatedly beating her fell on deaf ears, she managed to hang herself.”
Imogene still looked blank. “That’s impossible. I don’t have a…”
Behind Wizened Woman’s back, Tommy was gesturing wildly at the tablet he held up so Imogene could see it. In monster-sized letters, it read: DON’T LET HER NO U NEVER HAD A MOTHERR
Tommy typed a new message.
Wizened Woman asked, “Don’t have a what, my darling?”
Tommy held up: OR THEY NEVER LET U OUTT AND PEEPS GET KILLED HEREE
Imogene stammered, “Have a… Have a… I like don’t know what I was saying.”
“You understand, my darling, that your mother is…most assuredly regrettably no matter what she did or did not do…dead?”
Tommy nodded his head furiously behind the woman’s back.
“Yes,” said Imogene, but she looked completely undisturbed by this news.
The woman looked at her for a while. “Well, my darling, perhaps, under the circumstances, your reaction…or, should I say, lack of reaction…isn’t altogether astonishing. Moving on, though it strikes me as a tad abrupt of me, shall we talk about your baby?”
Tommy was like typing furiously again, despite the return of that fucking green mist: TELL HER WE’LL NAME BOY EDWARD OR GIRL CHARLOTTE AMELIA