The first cat was crushed, guts splashed across the driveway, mouth a frozen hiss. Its milky eyes seemed to track Ling as she hefted herself out of the car and waddled over.
That was the word that came to her. In Chinese, a word of raindrop suddenness, a reflex.
“What is it, honey?” Raymond said, rounding from the trunk and surveying the mess. “Oh man. You go on inside. I’ll take care of it.”
In the kitchen, Ling prepared a glass of raspberry leaf tea. By the time it was steeped and aromatic, she heard Raymond entering through the garage, taking the back stairs up to the guest shower.
Lovely, discrete man.
She gazed out the kitchen window into the rolling, wooded yard of their home in Maryland. Deep autumn fire, a sparkling brook—
Ling gasped with relief. Sophie had lain still ever since the cat incident.
She blew on her tea, sipped it, supporting her considerable weight against the counter. Sophie turned and kicked again. Ling held her belly, feeling her child’s movements.
I can’t wait to meet you.
Soon she heard the shower, felt a slight tremble from the pipes, and remembered that there had been another cat—with the realization came a wave of panic, and Sophie grew still once more.