“You’re pregnant with Daedalus’s child too?” Charity asked with a tone surpassing disbelief.
“Yep. Seven months,” Chastity Fate answered, rubbing her distended belly with her palms.
Still, Charity struggled to comprehend; “You mean to tell me that both you and I were married to Steel, and now we’re both carrying Daedalus’s children?”
“It looks that way,” Chastity said with a laugh.
“How did this happen? Well, I know how it happened, but how did it happen to you?”
“I can’t believe you don’t know the story,” said Chastity. “Guess I might as well tell you.” And so she did. She told Charity how she met Steel and they got married, and about their life together, and then about the plane crash and her amnesia, and how she too was homeless and alone for a time, and about how she adopted her alter-ego Trixie Testosterone, and how she eventually met and fell in love with Daedalus, and then how she suddenly regained her memory, and how Daedalus abandoned her when she told him she was pregnant, and finally how, buoyed by the experience of being Trixie, she is no longer the Chastity she used to be.
When the story was finished all Charity could say was, “Wow.”
“Yeah. I realize it sounds like a cheap, crappy, stupid soap opera, but that’s exactly what happened.”
“Now then, I wonder what Daedalus was thinking by having you come here?”
“I don’t know. He didn’t say.”
“Hmm. He probably figured I would take pity on you and end up doing what he should’ve done in the first place: That is, take care of you.” Her face conveyed deep thought for a moment. “Not because Daedalus wants me to, but because you’re destitute and it’s the right thing to do, I will,” Chastity said resolutely.
“How are you going to take care of me?”
“By letting you stay here for starters.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t.”
“You can and you will.”
“But this is your house. And you’re pregnant too. You’ve got so much of your own to worry about. You certainly don’t need the added expense of me.”
“Let me tell you another story, sweetheart,” said Chastity. “Actually it starts with part of the other story that I neglected to mention. After I found out I was pregnant and Daedalus had made his feelings clear—feelings I am thankful for now, by the way—I went to Steel and tried to convince him to take me back. I didn’t want to be married to him again, I was just scared and alone. Anyway, Steel saw through my ploy and made me confess what was wrong. When I told him I was pregnant with Daedalus’s child, he was livid. He refused to help and ordered me out of stately Bolt Manor.”
“What a meanie.”
“Before you condemn him, listen: The next day a limousine showed up at my apartment and brought me and the few things I owned to this house. I was presented with the title and the deed, entirely paid for and furnished. Now, every two weeks I get a paycheque—a generous one—from Bolt Fasteners. And periodically a car shows up to take me to the best obstetrician in Crescendo Cove, Dr. Jess Station. Or to pre-natal aerobics, or my masseur, or my pregnant woman’s support group, or foetal education classes, the list goes on.”
“And Steel’s behind all of this?” Charity asked.
“It couldn’t be anyone else.”
“So I’ll go see him and explain your situation. If he refuses to help, you can live here covertly. My paycheques are more than enough to support both of us.”
“Oh Chastity,” Charity said, throwing herself into the first Mrs. Steel Bolt’s arms, “I just met you, but I already feel like I love you.”
Chastity felt a vaguely-familiar warmth circulate through her. Was it the feeling one gets from performing charitable acts, or was it something else? She couldn’t tell for sure. She contented herself by hugging the grateful girl back and saying, “I love you too, sweetie.”