Um, she said finally, feeling she absolutely had to say something. How . . . how have you been?
Oh, like her biological father, you mean? Like the motherfucker who put her on that table? You want to be like him? Yeah, that’s a real improvement over a guy who’s been here in this corridor, looking like he’s going through open-heart surgery without anesthesia ’cuz his little girl’s having a hard time.Rhage rubbed his hair so hard his fingers were fuzzy when he stopped. You wouldn’t understand. You’re never going to be in my shoes.
That’s my point, though. Whether you had a hand in birthing them or you volunteer to take them in, we’re all in the same shoes.Rhage stared at the closed door in front of him. I’m scared, Z. I’m just … fucking scared. What if there’s something permanently wrong? That’s what Doc Jane is worried about, you know. She’s worried Bitty’s transition will ruin her arms and legs so badly … that they’re going to end up having to amputate them.The image of Bitty dancing through the foyer made his eyes sting. She was so active now … he couldn’t imagine her in a wheelchair that was operated by her blowing into a tube. It just killed him.
What the … what the fuck are you talking about? Z demanded.Something to do with growth plates. There were breaks that occurred right along—He motioned to his thighs, his forearms, his calves—you know, Bitty’s growth plates, and they healed wrong? So when the change hits her, they’re liable to bust open and be unrepairable.
Mary doesn’t know. Rhage went back to trying to pull his hair out. Yeah, I should have told her before now, but I just didn’t know how. I told Doc Jane I would. But I’m a fucking coward for both of them. I was hoping … for good news, I guess, but the longer they’re in there, the more I think—
Across the way, the exam room door swung open, and Doc Jane emerged.Marissa crouched down, tucking her blond hair behind her ears. You’re safe, it’s going to be all right. That one eye looped over to her face. Do you have kin we can call? Is there someone who we can get for you?
The female’s head went back and forth.No? Are you sure? The eye shut. Can you tell me who did this to you?
Backing off, Marissa went out to the shallow hall in the front of the house. There were long, thin windows on either side of the door, and she looked out to the lawn. The trees that had been so brilliantly colored just weeks before had molted their spectacular red and gold and yellow leaves, the spindly limbs underneath revealed like the bones of a too-thin dog.It was impossible not to glance at the mirror next to the door and check to see that her hair was in place, and her makeup was holding up even after a ten-hour day.