The Power of Us

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"Christina's lying

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"Christina's lying." Justine leans and slaps my thighs, staring into my eyes with an intensity I've rarely seen. And she's a pretty intense person.

I grab her wrists gently. She's probably hormonal because of the pregnancy, tired and upset. "Babe," I say softly. "I understand you don't want to believe this, but I really feel—"

"What you feel is wrong. It's incredible how you can be so ruthless when it comes to business, but with children, you're a big softie. Don't get me wrong. I love that about you and you're going to be an excellent dad. To my baby." She yanks her hands out of my grip and stalks out of the room.

I scrub my face with my hands, feeling guiltier than ever. I glance into the blackness beyond the villa's floor-to-ceiling window and realize it's raining softly. Must be the outer bands of the storm. "Justine," I call out in a pleading voice. "Please don't be mad. I know this is difficult for you. It's difficult for me. It's difficult for us. Let's just talk about how we're going to work through this together. There's room in our lives for more than one child."

Justine returns, carrying her wallet with a self-possessed smile. I'd seen this smile on her years ago, when she'd scored a big story as an intern or got a perfect score on an exam in school.

She plops down next to me and cracks open her wallet. "Your blood type is O-negative. O-negative people cannot be the parents of a child with AB blood type." She's speaking fast, pulling out credit cards and dogeared receipts and looking through small stacks of Post-It notes.

Shifting to face her, I rub her bare knee. "Justi, I don't know what you're getting at, but I'm blood type B. I know that because I had knee surgery a couple of years back. I wrote it down on my intake form." I smile at her patiently.

She pulls out a card and waves it in the air triumphantly. "No. You are blood type O-negative. Same as me."

I scowl and snatch the card out of her hand. One edge is frayed, and it's oddly thick. "This is yours." I point to the top, where it says, Florida Blood Bank. Underneath is Justine's name, our old address in Miami, and her blood type.

"Turn it over."

Frowning, I flip the yellowed plastic card in my hand. I see my name, and fuzzy memories wash over me. I thought I'd remembered everything about our time together, but perhaps not.

"What's this?"

Justine takes the card from me.

"Don't you remember? I wrote a story on blood banks that summer I interned at the Miami Herald." She stands up and paces around the coffee table, weaving around the chairs and sofa, waving the card.

"Vaguely." I rack my brain. "You did a lot of stories that summer."

"There was a shortage of blood in the city. And after I did the story, I made you go donate blood with me. They sent us blood-type cards in the mail. You're O-negative. I'm O-negative."

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