"Go pick something," Karen says the words half distractedly, pushing her card not into Molly's hands so much as the general direction she occupied. Her hair pulled so far back from her face makes her look more severe and cold than normal, and hre makeup conceals the break out she's had in the days since the letter arrived with the test results. "The luggage we have at home isn't going to do. Don't take too long and meet me in the food court afterwards, do you understand?"

Molly stands there in clothes she already feels disoriented in, and thinks that she should have the decency to come with her to pick the luggage. But ever since the letter, ever since the reveal of the pregnancy, she hasn't felt much like her old self that used to snap back at her mother or who used to make snide remarks. She literally -- mentally and physically -- isn't up for it. The fatigue is wearing on her already, making her barely able to get up when she was pulled out of her bed this morning, the morning sickness starting to make her feel uncomfortable nauseous, the bloating more and more apparent, and the mental component....


"Okay. I'll call you," Molly just takes the card from her mother's hand, and Karen makes her way down the mall on her own, pulling out her phone. Molly is left standing there, Visa card in hand, her stomach churning.

Nervously, she waits for her mother to turn the corner, and as soon as the black flag of her hair disappears, Molly is on the move.

Urgent footsteps take her not to the luggage store waiting for her, but to the newsstand in the mall. It's opposite the place she really needs: the restroom. Quickly, she makes her way inside, and slams the stall shut, pressing her forehead against the cool metal.

She takes breath after breath, trying to get everything under control, trying not to freak out in public like this.

The book her mother had given her, the classes she took told her that this was natural: spotting in the first few weeks. That it would go away -- or turn into something else entirely. A miscarriage.

A miscarriage is what she prays for as pain starts to radiate up her hips, and her fingers dig into the pockets of the plaid jacket she'd worn. Fumbling, she withdraws a pad, feeling tears well up in her eyes, her breath getting ragged. A miscarriage could fix things, all in one swoop: get rid of this baby, allow her to come home, and the fear of a pregnancy would keep her on the straight and narrow.

Even as the thoughts swirl around her head, bile surges in her throat. It wouldn't really fix things, she knows that. Her mother still would treat her like this, her father still would be absent, she probably still would be on a one way trip to Montana, no matter what.

Still, she hopes for it, as she changes frantically in the bathroom, eyes focused on the blood spots before her. She hopes for a miscarriage, as a last way out, as any kind of hail mary. There's no way that Molly can do this, can do any of this.

It takes ten minutes until she's ready to leave the bathroom, scrubbing her eyes, feeling raw and not at all prepared to do what she has to do.  Aches run up and down her body, and she's so goddamn tired. 

Still, her mother is waiting. The credit card is tucked in her pocket, and she's leaving in a few days. There's no choice but to do what her mother says: pick out the luggage, and call her.