Appo watched with thinly veiled amusement as his twin sister pottered around the kitchen, leading the way with her thirty-five-week pregnant belly at every turn. Every now and then he’d let a giggle slip past his lips, and Thenie would turn to give him a dirty look. But she had insisted that she could do it without help, and he would absolutely never hear the end of it if he disrespected her wishes.
When they were little, they used to joke about their children, running around each other like hooligans, the best of friends just like Appo and Thenie had been the best of friends as they were growing up. When they were children, it seemed like the obvious course of the future that they would both fall in love, get married, and have children at the same time. After all, they did everything else at the same time, why not this too?
But as they got older, Appo realized that wouldn’t be the case. Someday, Appo might find a woman he loved, and settle down, pop out a couple of kids, and continue the Carter line. But, Thenie. No. Thenie was never destined for such a pedestrian life. If she ever had a family, it would be in some extraordinary way that no one saw coming, and that no one could possibly be prepared for. Because that was what Thenie did. Everything for the first time, and in ways that no one thought was even possible.
And boy, Appo had never been more right in his life. Thenie had been twenty-three years old when she slept with the twenty-five-year-old father of her child. Now, she was still twenty-three, but the man she’d slept with was just passed fifty years old, running off to the store to purchase ingredients for pregnancy cravings from a sexual interaction that to him was more than two and half decades ago, but was for Thenie less than a year ago.
Thenie was the first woman to conceive while on a trip back in time. She was the first woman to time travel while pregnant. She was an absolute anomaly, and the fact that they could have once thought it would be any other way was absolutely laughable to Appo now. Of course, of course, this was the way it had to be.
“Whatcha thinking?” Thenie asked.
Appo blinked and saw that Thenie was standing in front of him now, munching away on the snack she’d been working so hard to get perfect. He’d been so lost in thought about what his sister had to be, that he’d forgotten that she was still there in front of him.
“You.” Appo answered honestly. “Your kid. Iain Valde. The insanity of this whole situation. And how even though no one could have possibly seen it coming, it does not surprise me at all that it came.”
Thenie rested a hand carefully on her stomach. “This kid is really going to be one of a kind, isn’t it?”
“Thenie, there is no way in the world any kid of yours wouldn’t be one of a kind,” Appo laughed, “Absolutely no doubt that.”