"And the Tower wasn't always used as a
prison. These are the royal apartments, where in the Middle Ages the
King would sometimes stay."
"Do you ever wonder what it would've been like to come here, hundreds
of years ago?" As the tour guide moved on to the next topic, Justin
nudged his wife, casting her a grin. "Damsels in distress and knights
on horseback and living in a place like this...can you even picture it?"
"My ancestors probably did." Jetta said flippantly. "Or no, more likely
they lived in huts with pigs or somethin', considerin' what family I'm
from. I'm not really keen to trade in my phone and my nice modern
appliances for a sack an' a bunch of straw, if it's all the same to
you. Besides, it'd be damn draughty, sleepin' up here with no glass at
the windows. Don't you think so?"
"No glass?" Justin frowned. "But they had that - didn't they? I mean,
that museum we went to earlier this morning had lots of glass artefacts
and they were from the Roman period. This is a whole lot later."
"I know, but I'm pretty sure castles didn't come fitted with glass back
then." Jetta mused. "Honestly, I don't remember my 'istory so well as I
could, but I'm pretty sure they used windows to fire arrows out of an'
tip buckets of slop on other people...somethin' like that."
"So you wouldn't like to be a Mediaeval princess, then? Up here in the
tower awaiting your prince?" Justin teased. Jetta snorted.
"It wasn't bleedin' Rapunzel, you know." She said frankly. "Even if
people did stay here as an 'oliday 'ome, most people who went in the
door didn't come out the other side. I'd rather keep company with my
'ead, if it's all the same to you."
Justin laughed, nodding.
"Me too." he owned, as they headed down the steep stone steps behind
the rest of the party, stepping out into the sunshine. "Can you believe
that people would come out from all around to watch the executions?
Talk about a bloodthirsty lot!"
"Well, no cable television...I guess they had to do something." Jetta
said dryly. "And if it's someone else's 'ead, it ain't yours. Besides,
you an' me, we wouldn't 'ave been beheaded. We're plebs. We'd 'ave 'ad
"This is a sick conversation." Justin decided, as the guide led the
group into the big chapel that lay within the Tower grounds. "Who says
we'd be executed at all? We might be perfectly law abiding citizens,
"And pigs might fly." Jetta shook her head. "Considerin' my family, one
or more of us would've been hauled up for stealin' or poachin' or
somethin' equally petty. An' then, of course, there's the plague - no,
ta. I think I'll stay in the twentieth century, where I can at least
choose me own clothing styles an' 'ave a bath from time to time!"
"Suit yourself." Justin grinned. "But either way, I find this stuff
kinda interesting. I mean, there's nothing like this in American
history. We have our Civil War and our War of Independance and
plantations and gold rushes and native history and all of those kinds
of things. But no castles and princes and knights of the garter. It's a
bit sad, when you think about it."
"If you say so." Jetta smirked. "Personally, I'm not sure what's so
great about bein' dirty an' smelly an' buildin' houses out of horse
shit, but each to their own."
At this point, the guide terminated the tour and people drifted off in
different directions, some pausing to examine specific artefacts, and
others heading in the direction of the tea rooms, to grab something to
eat and drink. Justin linked his arm through his wife's, leading her
towards the door marked 'Tower Museum', and Jetta rolled her eyes.
"More old junk?" She asked. Justin laughed.
"You are really not buying any of this, huh?" He teased. "Just humour
me, huh? It's my first trip to London. I want to get a real feel for it
all before we go back to Los Angeles."
"Trust me, this isn't the real feel of London." Jetta said wryly,
pushing open the door and stepping into the brightly lit, spacious
room. "The less of that you experience, the happier you'll be."
"Well, this is the side of London I want to see." Justin amended. "I
feel like a complete tourist, taking snaps of everything and for the
first time ever, when I open my mouth I realise I talk like an
American, you know? It's a strange feeling. So completely surreal."
"That's because you do sound like a bloody yank. Newsflash." Jetta
teased. "I told you that my accent wasn't so unique in this city. Now
you can believe me."
"I still think you're pretty unique, Jetta." Justin bantered back.
He paused by a display case, reaching across to touch the glass.
"Ooh. That must've hurt!"
"What?" Jetta turned to see what he was pointing at, shaking her head
"Now that is sick." She said decidedly. "The poor sod dies by firin'
squad an' the next thing you know they're shovin' his chair into the
museum as a trophy."
"You can even see where the bullet split the wood." Justin pursed his
lips. "Guess I didn't really think about this place as a prison within
the last fifty years or so - but the guide did say it was one, during
World War Two. Wow. So people were shot here for being spies? That's
pretty mind-blowing. Especially when you consider that this place is a
thousand years old - they still chose to use it during the Second World
Jetta did not reply, and Justin cast her a sidelong glance.
"Hrm?" Jetta stared at him. "What?"
"Are you even listening to me?"
"Sorry." Jetta looked contrite. "I was just...it's a little bit 'ot in
here, that's all, and I wasn't really..."
She faltered, and Justin bit his lip, sliding his arm around his wife's
"You're awful pale all of a sudden." He said softly. "I didn't freak
you out, did I? Talking about spies being shot and all? I didn't figure
you were squeamish."
"I'm not." Jetta shook her head. "I just...feel a little bit
claustrophobic in here, to tell you the truth. With all the
people...it's 'ot an'...do you mind if I step out for a minute? Get
"Of course not." Justin's brow furrowed into a frown."Do you want me to
come with you?"
"No." Jetta shook her head. "No. I'll be...I'll be fine. I just need
some air. That's all. You stay an' look at the exhibits. I'll wait for
She flashed him a faint smile, then she was gone towards the
exit, and Justin frowned.
"Here we go again." He muttered. "More weird, un-Jetta like behaviour.
Well, we're going to get to the bottom of this whether she likes it or
not. She can't go on this way!"
Outside in the courtyard, Jetta had made her way to an empty bench,
sinking down on it as she struggled to get her composure back. Running
her fingers through her thick dark hair, she took a deep breath,
closing her eyes briefly. At length she regained control of herself,
forcing down the rising sense of panic and sitting back to examine her
surroundings with a sigh.
"What the hell was all that about?" She murmured. "This is crazy,
Jetta! You've been in lifts smaller than that with a flock of people
an' you ain't pulled a sissy fit. That room was big an' light an' not
even a little bit enclosed, not really. So what came over me?"
She rubbed her temples, pulling her coat more tightly around her
against the biting wind.
"And now I'm freezin', instead of so hot I might pass out." She added
darkly. "Which is just great. Bloody January weather!"
"Are you all right?"
At that moment Justin approached her, and she glanced up at him,
offering a rueful grimace.
"Yes. Just feelin' a bit stupid an' embarrassed." She admitted. "I'm
sorry, Justin. I don't know what 'appened to me in there, but I just
needed to get out for a minute. I'm fine now. Really."
"You went so pale...I thought you might faint." Justin owned, sitting
down beside her. Jetta shook her head.
"I don't faint." She said simply. "I just felt hot and stifled and
trapped in there. Can't explain it so I'm not really goin' to try. I
just needed air."
She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, sending him a quizzical
"Did you see everythin' you wanted to?"
"Yes." Justin nodded his head. "Maybe we should go find some lunch or
something, huh? Perhaps your blood sugar needs a kick."
"Maybe." Jetta swallowed hard, a sudden wave of nausea washing over her
at the mention of food. Justin raised an eyebrow at her change in
"Honestly, I'd rather not eat just yet." Jetta admitted unwillingly.
"I'm not...not so hungry. Can we just, you know, walk for a bit? I'm
not really in the mood to jump on a crowded tube an' head across the
city, an' I'm not real keen to eat lunch here, after that."
"Are you sure you're all right?" Justin asked quietly. Jetta bit her
lip. She shrugged.
"Don't know." She said shortly. "But I'll live. Come on. Let's get out
of here, huh?"
"All right. We'll do that." Justin agreed, getting to his feet and
holding his hand out to her. "But listen to me, Jetta. This has gone on
long enough. You're no better here than you were in California and I
don't like it. On our way back to the hotel, we're going to stop off at
a drugstore and we're going to buy a test. All right? We're going to
figure this thing out once and for all. And if it's negative, we're
dragging you to see a doctor before the week is out. I'm fed up and I'm
sure you are too. We can't carry on this way."
Jetta looked mutinous, but Justin shook his head.
"No arguments." He warned. "You and I both know that this isn't you.
And the sooner we figure out why, the better. So come on. We'll walk.
And later on, well, we'll find out exactly what is going on with you at
* * * * *
* * *
Ten minutes had seemed like an eternity.
Justin paced across the hotel room, his expression a mixture of
consternation and impatience.
Every few seconds his gaze flitted
between the clock on the bedside cabinet and the door of the en-suite,
as if willing time to go faster. It already seemed like forever since
Jetta had shut herself away, slamming the door behind her. Now, he knew
that the next few minutes could change their lives permanently - but in
what way? He twisted his fingers together absently, forcing himself to
stop his pacing. Whatever the outcome, he knew he would be torn.
The door of the en-suite banged open at that juncture, startling him
from his troubled reverie. One glance at his wife's face gave him no
clues as to the result, for her expression was impassive. Calmly, she
picked her way across the bedroom, between the dirty washing case and
the bed as she approached him, dropping the pregnancy test down on the
windowsill as she did so. She did not speak, but as she raised her gaze
to his, Justin caught a flicker in the grey eyes. He chewed on his lip,
returning her expressionless look with a questioning one of his own.
"Well?" He murmured softly, as the silence threatened to overwhelm them
both. "Jetta, talk to me."
Jetta eyed him long and hard for a moment. Then, she drew a sharp
breath of air into her lungs, her brows knitting together.
"I've a bloody good mind to divorce you." She spoke in low tones, but
there was an edge to each word that made Justin flinch. "Do you have
any idea what you've done to
me, you bastard? Do you 'ave any clue what
this is goin' to mean?"
Justin gathered himself, putting a gentle hand on her arm.
"It's positive." He deduced, a troubled look entering his dark eyes.
"Oh Jetta...it's not like it was on purpose!"
"No?" Now Jetta's temper was in full swing and she knocked his arm
away, shoving him backwards with enough force to make him overbalance.
He sat down hurriedly on the bed, and she glared down at him, putting
her hands on her hips. "So you didn't seduce me in Las Vegas? Get me
drunk so I wasn't askin' any questions an' then do this to me? That was
some other guy, was it?"
"Nobody seduced anybody in Las Vegas." Justin said quietly. "Jetta,
you've had a shock, but yelling at me isn't going to help either of us.
Come sit down. Let's talk it through. Blaming me isn't going to change
"You think you're such a bloody smooth talker, don't you." Jetta's
voice shook. "Well, I ain't fallin' for it a second time, Justin. Tell
me the two main stipulations I asked of you, before we did anythin'
about exchangin' vows? What did I ask you? What did I make you promise
Justin's expression flickered with confusion.
"Promise you? I don't..."
"One, no leavin' the Misfits to play Sally the housewife." Jetta cut
across him, her eyes blazing with rage. "An' two, no bleedin' kids!"
"Jetta, we were both drunk in Las Vegas!" Justin protested. "Both of
us, you know that! You and
me. I'm pretty sure you were there, and I know I didn't
force myself on anyone. So we were careless - sometimes these things do
happen, you know. It's not my fault more than it is yours. I didn't
plan this and I would never have tried anything like that behind your
back. You know that - or you should do."
"Well, you explain to me how this happened, then?" Jetta demanded,
grabbing up the pregnancy test and flinging it in his direction. Justin
caught it with some difficulty, taking in the bluish stripe that spread
out from top to bottom. Despite himself, his heart constricted inside
of him. A baby. His baby.
Quickly he quelled the feelings, setting the test aside. He shook his
"I don't know." He said honestly. "I did some thinking and I was under
the impression you were
taking your pill when we were in Vegas. This shouldn't have happened if
you were taking that."
Jetta opened her mouth to retort, then faltered. She shook her head.
"Pill?" She demanded. "No. Why would you think that?"
"Because when we were in New York, you were." Justin frowned. "Weren't
you? You said we might as well be doubly safe."
Jetta bit her lip.
"I didn't take them to Las Vegas." She admitted unwillingly. "I forgot
to pack them in me case, an' it didn't seem like it'd matter, since you
were all prepared, like. I figured it wouldn't matter. I haven't even
thought about them since - not with everythin' goin' on."
For a moment, her anger seemed to wane slightly, then she fixed him
with another pointed glare.
"An' thinkin' about it, considerin' you were so damn prepared, you
should've been that night too." She added angrily. "It shouldn't always
be up to the woman to play it safe, Justin! It's not just me this
affects, you know! It's bloody you as well. It's just me that's gonna
get screwed over now, no matter what I choose to do! It's me that's got
to make the decisions an' live with it. It's my damn body it's screwin'
up! You told me when we first started goin' out that you'd never make
me take sole responsibility for what we did together. An' now look at
She waved a hand in the direction of the pregnancy test.
"That's what you've achieved! I hope you're happy!"
"Jetta, will you please calm down?" Justin fought to keep his
impatience in check. "I know you're upset, but you're sounding crazy at
the moment. This was something we both did, and you're not going to
make anything better by yelling at me. We need to talk about this -
together. We need to work out the best thing to do. Come sit down here,
will you? Take a time out and cool off. Yelling at me might make you
feel better, but it isn't solving the problem at hand."
"It's all been bloody problems since you came into my life." Jetta
muttered, ignoring his suggestion completely. "Roxy attacked me. You
messed my head up. You went swimmin' in Lake Michigan an' turned me
into some lovesick freak. You're always there, causin' tension between
me an' the girls I work with. An' now you've bloody well knocked me up
as well. We've been married less than three months, Justin - that 'as
to be a record in marital screw ups, even takin' into account that
you're a Pelligrini!"
Justin fell silent, digesting her words slowly. Though stung, he was
wise enough to keep a grip on is own temper, merely shaking his head.
"You don't really feel that way." He said softly. "You're just scared
and freaked out and you've every right to be. I'm freaked out too.
Neither of us expected this, not so soon. It's one thing after
another, I know it is. But..."
"But I did better before I ever met you." Jetta cut across him. "I'm
goin' out. Don't wait up for me. I might not be comin' back today...I
might not be comin' back at all, so don't 'old your breath. I'm goin'
to do the one sensible thing I can do, an' then I'm goin' somewhere
where I don't 'ave to think about you an' your bloody fluke fertility."
"Jetta..." Justin put a hand out to touch her, but she flinched away
"Don't even think about touchin' me." She spat out. "Right now, I 'ave
nothin' to say to you."
"Leave me alone." Jetta shook her head. "I don't want to talk about it,
or whatever it is you think we need to do. This ain't about us, it's
about me. My body, my problem, ain't that 'ow it goes when you guys get
too frisky an' mess us up? And don't try an' follow me, else I'll 'ave
you arrested. I'm damn serious, Justin. Keep away from me. You've
already done enough damage to last me a lifetime!"
With that she grabbed her jacket, pulling her sandals onto her feet and
scooping up her hotel room key. Sliding her handbag over her shoulder,
she stalked out onto the corridor, letting the door slam shut behind
Justin winced. Dropping back onto his pillows, he muttered a string of
unrepeatable words under his breath. The pregnancy test caught his eye,
and he reached over to pick it up, running his gaze once more across
the vivid blue line.
Not even a little bit, then. There was no mistaking the change in
colour, and despite himself it teased at him.
"She's gone to get rid of it." He muttered. "And if she ever speaks to
you again, it'll be a miracle. Let her go, Justin. Don't follow her.
Right now you can only make things worse."
He set the test aside, moving to the window. His wife was just leaving,
her head held high and defiance in every movement she made. She was in
high temper, he knew that, and he knew that by rights he too should be
"But I'm not." He reflected aloud. "I'm not angry at all. I just want
to stop her from doing this. But she's right. It is her body. Dammit, I
can't make her do it, not even if I want it as badly as I do. I made
this choice - I wanted Jetta. I thought I could handle this whole not
having kids idea, but now I'm not so sure. Now it's real..."
He faltered, watching her disappear into a nearby taxi cab, speeding
off into the distance.
"And if she does come back, deed done, can I look at her the same way
again?" He wondered. "I thought I could. I thought it would be fine.
But she's so adamantly against it and me...I want it so much. Did I
really make a huge mistake in Vegas? I love her so much...but I'm never
going to bring her around to my way of thinking. It's what Mom always
says - you can love someone, but you can't change them. And I just
don't know if I can live with it, knowing what she's gone out there to
do. I just...I don't know if I can live with knowing that she let our
baby go...and that when it came to it, I didn't try to stop her!"