For a moment, all Arthur can do is stare at her. To be honest, she doesn’t really blame him.
“You’re…you’re…” he starts finally. “Am I…?”
Gwen closes her eyes. “I don’t…I don’t know how far along I am. I haven’t been to the doctor yet.”
He passes a hand over his eyes. “So what you’re telling me is, you don’t know who the father is.”
She’d expected recrimination, but instead there’s only weariness, and she feels a flash of—not gratitude, exactly. More like relief, and a corresponding exhaustion. “I’ll know for sure once I go to the doctor.”
“Can I—do you want me to go with you?” Arthur asks.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Gwen replies levelly. “At least not until this gets settled.”
“I don’t like the thought of you going alone,” Arthur says.
Gwen sends him a look. “Arthur. I’m pregnant, not dying. I don’t need someone to hold my hand. Besides, I called Morgana. She’s coming out.”
“Does he know?”
“Not…not yet. I just felt…given our history, I wanted to tell you first.”
“Our history.” Arthur snorts out a breath. “Thanks for that.”
“Please don’t make this any harder. If it is…well. We won’t be the first people to have a child together but not actually be together.”
There’s a pause. Then Arthur says quietly, “Gwen. If it is mine. Would you—at least reconsider—the possibility of us?”
Gwen blinks at him. “You and me? Getting back together?”
“Yes,” he says.
“You mean, ‘stay together for the kids,’ that sort of thing?”
“Gwen, a month ago we were happy. Kids, marriage—a month ago, we would have been thrilled about a baby. Why don’t you think we can’t get that back? Why won’t you at least try?”
“Because this isn’t a month ago, Arthur,” Gwen says tightly. “And a baby certainly doesn’t change all that. I for one do not want to bring a child into a dysfunctional family. I would think you wouldn’t want to repeat the experience either.”
Arthur flinches. “I hope…I hope you’ll think about it, at least.”
Gwen raises a brow. “What if it isn’t yours? What then? Would you still want to get back together then?”
Arthur looks down. “I don’t know,” he says, low.
Gwen sits back in her chair. “Well, thank you for being honest, at least.”
He glances back up at her, his face strained. “Gwen…this doesn’t change the fact that I still love you.”
She sighs. “Arthur, I’ve tried telling you…. This time, your love is not enough.”
He opens his mouth to speak, and says, “…I USED TO READ WORD-UP MAGAZINE, SALT ‘N’ PEPPA AND HEAVY D UP IN THE LIMOUSINE—”
Gwen jerks bolt upright. The room is dark except for her mobile vibrating, Biggie rapping about how he never thought hip-hop would take it this far.
Elyan, calling her. She lurches toward the phone. “Lo? Elyan?”
There’s fuzziness, some indescriminate voices. For an insane moment she thinks he’s calling about—Lancelot in the hospital? Robb? The baby? She shakes her head, as though to clear it.
“Elyan?” More voices, some laughter, and music pounding away. Ass-dial, Gwen thinks, checking the time. He must be out somewhere.
She gets out of bed and pads down the hallway to the kitchen, filling a glass of water and drinking reflectively. A few minutes later, Morgana appears, and Gwen makes a guilty face at her. “I’m sorry. I was trying to be quiet.”
Morgana yawns. “‘S okay. Not your fault I’m such a damned light sleeper.” Something in Gwen’s face must have shown through, because she says, “Are you all right? You look a little…”
Gwen shakes her head. “You would not believe the—”
“IT WAS ALL A DREAM, I USED TO READ WORD-UP MAGAZINE, SALT’N’PEPPA—”
“Ugh, Elyan,” Gwen says in annoyance, switching her mobile off. “He ass-dialed me and I woke up.”
“What time is it there?” Morgana says, peering at the wall clock. “Ah. Looks like someone’s having a good night.”
Gwen rolls her eyes. “Anyway. You would not believe the dream I was having.”
“Really?” Morgana says, sitting down at the table. “Normally I’m the one with the crazy dreams.”
“I know,” Gwen says. “I think it was all the wine I had at dinner.”
“Well I hope that wine gave you some good dreams,” Morgana says. “Because it sure as hell didn’t help you make out with the hot snowboarding dude who is sooooo into you.”
“Morgana!” Gwen squwaks. “I just met him today. Yesterday. You know what I mean.”
“Yes, and what better time to indulge in a bit of reckless behavior?” Morgana asks. “You’ve just ended it with Arthur, you’re in a foreign country where no-one knows you, it’s the perfect time for a bit of bad-decision making!”
“Well, I like him,” Gwen protests. “Maybe if I didn’t like him so much…” she trails off as Morgana starts to laugh.
“If you liked him less, you’d be be more inclined to sleep with him now?” Morgana says, giggling.
“Hush,” Gwen says. “That’s not at all what I meant. Are you going to let me tell you about my dream or not?”
“Does it end with you crashing on a deserted island and having to make fire from twigs?”
“I—what? No. What are you talking about?”
“All my dreams involve desert islands nowdays,” Morgana says, distracted. “Must be all the snow.”
“All right, all right, tell me about your dream.”
The next morning, Gwen finds Robb in the equipment room. “Hey,” he says, smiling at her. “Ready for another day of snowboarding? I promise you that I’ll have you on the trails in no time.”
“Definitely not,” Gwen says.
Robb frowns. “Well, that’s not at all the right attitude.”
“No snowboarding,” Gwen says firmly. “We’re doing something totally different.”
He looks at her, confused. “Different? Than yesterday?”
“Not exactly,” Gwen says, smiling. “Just…different.”
“Okay…” Robb says, his brow creasing. “…Do you want to try skiing instead?”
Gwen laughs. “You’re adorable, you know that?”
Robb flushes, trying not to hide his own perplexed smile. “‘Adorable’ isn’t really the word I’d hope you use about me, but I’ll take it?”
Gwen tamps down her own laughter, stepping up to him and pushing him lightly against the wall. His lips curl up in surprised anticipation and then he slides his hands around her hips as she leans up against him. The kiss is warm and languorous, full of promise, but when Robb goes to deepen it, Gwen pulls away.
“Sorry,” she says, still standing in the circle of his arms. “I can’t stay. I’m hanging out with Morgana today. Lots of yoga.”
“Well,” Robb says, looking down at her, “that’s certainly different than snowboarding.”
“That’s the idea,” Gwen says, and then pecks him on the lips again and steps away. “But I was wondering—do you have any plans tomorrow? Maybe by then—” she stops, and shakes her head briefly.
“What?” Robb asks, brows raised.
“It’s nothing. Tomorrow? Maybe you could show me around?”
He grins at her, snagging her by the front of her shirt and pulling her in for another long, slow kiss. “It’s a date.”