They were laying on the trampoline side by side, staring at the dark skies freckled with stars and the air around them was tense. They've been there for over an hour, maybe two. Just staring at the beautiful night sky. Thinking. They have so much to say to each other but how do you tell someone you supposedly hate that you want to raise a child with them? How do you tell someone who had nearly killed you that you're scared of dying when bullets don't scare you?
Maca heaved a sigh. This was maddening. Zulema tilted her head to look at her companion. "What is it, Rubia? Something you want to share with the rest of the class?". She stretches her hands to the sky when she says the last part.
Maca interlaced her fingers on her abdomen and smiled a little. This pregnancy, unlike her first one, was planned. She had thought long and hard about wanting to bring a child into this crazy world and raising them before going through with the IVF and after a successful first try, she had decided that the life she was leading wasn't one she wanted to bring her child into.
She was brought out her musings by a familiar hand touching her cheek. Maca turned slightly and faced Zulema. A stupid and uncertain smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She said, "You know, touching someone's face, touching your face is kinda my thing. Hi."
"I want to raise this baby with you." She blurted out. Zulema quickly removed her hand from where it had been resting on Maca's cheek and her Rubia hastly continued. "Only if you'd have her. I know this seems crazy but I see us raising her together."
"Her?" The woman besides her whispered. She thought back to the first time she held her little Fatima and the warmth she felt in doing so. Such a small thing. Holding someone. Feeling warm and fuzzy and having the need to protect her with everything she had. But she hadn't. Instead they; her mother protected her child from her. That's what she was made to believe. The irony was that her own mother didn't protect her from all the horrors of this world.
She thought of Saray's little girl, Estrella. She thought of her best friend's face. The sheer happiness and determination and a promise to always do right by her daughter. And she had. It was hard but she had done right by her daughter and gave her up so she could have a great life with good people. A normal life. One she didn't have. Her friend was a good mother.
She wished her own mother had done right by her and loved her the way a mother should but alas, some people have great mothers and some don't. She had been unlucky. She sighed. What the hell was Maca thinking? She hadn't been able to protect her own child from the evils of this world. She had died because of her.
"You're not thinking straight."
The blonde haired beauty besides her softly chuckled and replied, "I think we've already established that I'm not straight." Zulema shifted so she could sit and she stared at the other woman incredulously. "Jesus fuck, Maca!!"
"What?" Zulema felt her head throbbing but decided against getting up and taking her pills to lessen the headache. This was not the time for some light banter and jokes. Unbeknownst to her, Macarena was thinking the same thing but she had thought that maybe the joke would ease the tension. She hadn't expected Zulema to react like that. Honestly, she hadn't a clue how Zulema would react. God, she was fucking it up.
"I killed your unborn child." Zulema said.
"I know but I too almost killed you, once upon a time and you saved me later on when Akame and her stooges almost killed me in that washing machine." She thought back to that awful day. It wasn't her day, really. She had been way too confident strutting in someone's territory, wanting to make a name for herself and maybe rule Cruz del Norte. Turns out being cocky and knowing how to throw punches can't save you from the Chinese and a fucken washing machine. That really did a number on her confidence for a while.
"But you saved me." She continued. "You could have put me back inside that machine and cranked it up the moment you realized it was me. It's thanks to you that I'm still alive and to tell you the truth, I was ready to die that day. I had accepted my fate but the universe works in mysterious ways. My enemy at the time had saved me. It's crazy!" She exclaimed.
Zulema let out a long sigh.
"I know, I know, alright? But we've been through so much together, would raising a child together be such a bad thing?" She asked.
The silence after that stretches for a few minutes and Zulema finally replies.
"I'M DYING!, Or have you forgotten about that, Maca?". Her companion shuffles closer to her and places a hand on her knee. "We're going to fight it." She says with so much conviction, Zulema almost believes her. Almost.
"We're going to find the best oncologist and neurosurgeon and we're going to fight it. You and I. I'm not giving up. You're not alone. I'm not leaving you. We could be happy and I'm not saying this because we've both lost our children and that this is some ploy to replace them. I assure you, it's not." She said. "Can't you see that maybe this is a chance for us to finally get it right?"
"God, you talk as if we're in a relationship. There's no we Maca. Never was. We've betrayed each other too many times. We're toxic together. Also, I'm dying, remember? You're so caught up in what you want, what about what I want, huh? She asked.. Breath labored. She really needed to get away from Maca and all her positivity and a promise of a beautiful future together. She was a cancer, she'd ruin the kid.
"I think you're scared and it's okay. I'm shit scared too. You're thinking about your death, no? And I'm thinking about the life I'm bringing to this world. Both are scary."
Zulema couldn't stop herself, she imagined a toddler with blonde pigtails, tied with light blue Frozen ribbons, wearing her black Frozen sweater that was sizes too big for her, pooling at her feet and clipped with pegs on the yokes so it wouldn't fall off. Running and tripping over it and the sand under her feet at the beach, not far from the cottage they bought.
She snapped out of her musings. She wasn't supposed to imagine the possibilities.
Macarena was silently staring at her, glassy eyed. This was getting out of hand. They were business partners. Heist partners. She didn't do feelings. What was her life coming to? What did she expect? This was starting to play out like a fanfiction she had come across on the internet. Who in their right mind falls in love with their enemy and wants to raise a kid with them? Such a silly trope. She really needed to stop referring to Maca as her enemy but it was easier that way. It wasn't messy.
"I'm sorry for making you feel like you don't have a say in your life and what you want to do because you're dying. But seriously, if you don't want to then it's fine, we don't have to raise her together. However, I'm not leaving your side. Ride or die." The blonde woman said.
Zulema let out a wet laugh. A self deprecating one. Maca was something else. "I'm not good for you."
"Now you're the one talking like I want a relationship with you." Maca teases. "I'm not good for you either.
Zulema stopped laughing and sobered quickly at that. She covers the abrupt stop of her laugh with a pathetic cough, hoping Maca hadn't noticed the longing on her face when Maca had mentioned a relationship between them. But of course she noticed. Maca always noticed the little things about her. She knew all her quirks.
God, she really needed to make up her mind.
"So uh, maybe I'll start chemo. I dunno." She shrugs.
Maca, sweet Maca launches herself at her and hugs her tightly. It's a bit clumsy at first because they're on a trampoline and they're swaying and bouncing at Maca's enthusiastic hug. The energy between them is lively. Totally different from what they had just a few moments ago. She hears sniffles and feels a wet patch of tears on the crook of her neck where Macarena has burrowed her face. She awkwardly brings her around Maca so she could rub her back but her hand seems to have a mind of its own and it ends up on the small of Maca's back. Rubbing circles. Lazy ones.
"Let's pretend that it's the hormones making me cry and not that I'm happy that you'll maybe go for chemotherapy." She hears the woman in her arms say. Jesus Christ, when did Maca get on her lap?
She laughs at that. A full bellied laugh that has them swaying on the damn trampoline and falling on her back, with Maca on top of her. She's smiling down at her. Eyes bright in all her dimpled glory. They stay like that, just staring at each other for a while and Maca falls asleep. She has her head tucked under Zulema's chin. She can hear little snores coming from the other woman and chuckles quietly at that. She's going to have fun teasing her about it. She turns slowly and reaches for the multi colored afghan that was on Maca's side, where she was laying before they were tangled. She covers them both and just stares at the sky. It looks like they'll be sleeping outside tonight. She didn't have the heart to wake the other woman. She was getting soft and she found that it wasn't a bad thing, especially because it was Maca and her beautiful face making her feel so good. Maca and her stupid and silly quirks. She hopes that she lives long enough to see her kid. She really wants to pray. For what? She isn't exactly sure.
"I'm so scared of dying, Rubia. What will I find on the other side? I have done so many bad things. Do you think Allah will forgive me? You live so freely now. Without care of what people will say about you. You've changed so much from the girl I first laid my eyes on at prison. You were such a meek little thing, so naive. My, you've changed and I love it. This new found confidence makes you so beautiful."
Oh boy… She really needed to shut up because what the fuck? There's no way she'd blame this softness on the pregnancy hormones when she wasn't even pregnant.
"Y're beuful too, y'know'nghh?" The woman on top of her mumbles. Then she was snoring. This woman will be the death of her. She can't be this cute even when she mumbles half nothings in her sleep. My, she was far gone.
Zulema falls asleep somewhere during her musings. She wakes up alone. Feeling rather cold. She hears heavy footfalls of her companion and she smiles lazily. The sky is bright and the birds are chirping. Their two pet chickens, Antonia and Tere are clucking. Everything is fine.
"What are you thinking about, Zulema? Something you wanna share with the rest of the class?" Maca dramatically throws her hands up in the air, mimicking Zulenas antics.
"I'm going to lose my hair. I really love this elf look I've got going on. Jesus, Maca! I'm going to look like that doe eyed elf from Harry Potter but sinister looking with the tattoo on my fucken face. Oh good." She groans. "Fuck me, the kid is will have nightmares."
"You don't even know what I was going to say." Maca huffs and stomps her foot petulantly and juts her chin up. Stupid puta.
"Uh huh. We're not fucking. I know you."
Maca for her part, is struggling to keep her tears at bay. Seriously, the urge to cry has been a constant mood lately and it was annoying to say the least.
"Well, make your own breakfast then, I'm going to take care of myself and shower. There's toast on the coffee table, please cut it into small pieces or I dunno, crush it and give it to Antonia and Tere? There's fruits too. They're for the chickens. It's not like I woke up in the morning to make you breakfast or anything."
"Nope. I'm not listening." She replies making her way to their caravan. She decided that it'll be better to take matters in her own hands anyway. The line between friendship and whatever it is between them was beginning to blur. Zulema had made it clear that they're not in a relationship and it seemed like she didn't want to be in one either. This is starting to be like one of those fanfiction stories Zulema likes to read when she thought Maca wasn't watching her.
The jokes keep writing themselves. It seems.
She took a much needed shower. When she was done, she got dressed in faded blue jeans, ankle boots and a familiar black sweater. If Zulema didn't want to fuck then she'd wear her clothes. They were comforting.
She went outside and found the other woman smoking, so far lost in thought that she didn't hear Maca's footsteps coming. She flinched a little when Maca hugged her from behind. The hug was sof but yet firm. She'd never admit it out loud but it felt nice being in Macarena's arms. She was pretty sure that Maca loved it too.
Macarena rested her chin on Zulema's shoulder and sighed contently. This was home. Right here with her dark haired cuddly devil.
"You trust me, Maca. You do, don't you?"
Maca laughs softly at that. What an odd thing to ask, considering the life they've lived together. But the question is valid. It was shaky at the beginning of their partnership, if you could call it that. They had to learn to have each other's backs and when they did, it turned into a cohabitation. An entanglement of sorts, although they wouldn't voice it. It is what it is but maybe wanting something more isn't so far fetched anymore. She sighed. Who was she kidding? The crazy elf from hell would have none of it but she has come to be her crazy elf.
"I do. I trust you, Sting."
Sting. A nickname she had dubbed her because of pet Scorpion. Jesus Christ, after all these years living together, she was still afraid of it.
"Do you think I'd be a good role model to the kid?" Zulema asked her with a voice so small and so uncertain, it broke her heart. Zulema was, is the most confident person she has ever met. Even with her small height, her presence still commanded respect.
"Hey, look at me. Please."
Zulema reluctantly turned around but she was eyeing her monstrous boots she loved so much like they were the most interesting things ever. Maca put her finger under her chin so she'd tilt her face and look at her. "With me, you don't have to be afraid and if you are then I won't judge you." Maca reassured her. She nodded jerkily. A lump on her throat, how she wished she could just swallow it. Damn these emotions.
"You talk big game, Rubia. I might fuck around and let my guard down, ya know?"
Maca laced their fingers and brought them to her lips and kissed the back of Zulema's hand. "No pressure." Zulema in turn nodded. She didn't trust herself to say anything right now. She was happy. Right there in that moment.
Her Rubia broke the silence between them. "So… Dobby huh?"
She rolled her eyes and smiled fondly at the other woman. Of course, she hadn't forgotten about their chat earlier. She was stuck with a dork and she wouldn't have it any other way. Ride or die.
"We're in this together and if I have to shave my head and be bald then I will."
A few months later..
Face flushed and lime wig askew and dangling from 16 hours of labor, Macarena would have her baby with Zulema by her side and name her Zora Encarna Ferreiro. Maca wasn't as sly as she thought. Giving her child an Arabic name? Zulema was touched. Zulema would put her name on her birth certificate on a whim because a child needed two parents. She surprised herself but she found that she didn't mind. This was where she was meant to be. Pink wig and all. Holding a baby she swore she'd love till forever and beyond.
Zora Encarna Ferreiro-Zahir would grow up to be a fierce and headstrong woman who knew that her mothers were idiots who were hopelessly in love with each other even though they didn't say it.
It was in their actions and words and how they'd look at each other and that was enough validation for them.