“Well I don’t know, what do you think I should sing?”
“Nelly Hefalump poppa” JC smothered a chuckle at Jewels mispronunciation of the big word. “Ok sweet Nelly the elephant it is. I’ll sing the first time but y’all gotta sing with me next time ok.”
Justin leaned against the hull of the almost stripped ship that was now effectively christened Big Bird and watched as JC sang cheerfully.
“Nelly the elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus, off she went with a trumpery trump, trump, trump, trump. Nelly the elephant packed her trunk and trundled back to the jungle off she went with a trumpery trump, trump, trump, trump.”
The boys joined in. “The head of the herd was calling far, far away. They met one night in the silver light on the road to Mandalay. HEY.”
Justin dropped his head, closing his ears to the sweet voices that were blending together. He turned sadly and climbed through the hatch and made his way towards the bridge.
JC watched from the corner of his eye as the father of his children disappeared into the empty shell. He winced slightly at a small cramp in the pit of his belly then continued to sing. As soon as the song was finished he got up leaving Jovian to play a counting game with his younger brothers, closing the gate to the play area behind him so they couldn’t wander off. He stopped leaning against a tree as another cramp clenched in the pit of his stomach passing as quickly as the first had. He breathed deeply three or four times before carrying on to his cabin. He stripped the linen from the six beds and remade them with fresh stopping every five minutes to catch his breath. Bundling up the dirty laundry he carried it out to the deep metal washtub he had set up earlier and tossed it in the warm soapy water. Getting down on his knees he leaned over rubbing the fabric clean, plunging it into the suds scrubbing hard then plunging again. A small whimper escaped his lips as another cramp took hold longer this time. Making him pant as his muscles contracted. He leaned forward his hand supporting his belly till the pain had passed, then continued with his chores. Only when he had the white sheets hanging did he go back into his hut and rest laying on his cot, tears gleaming in his eyes. He lay there for over an hour waiting to see if any more cramps took hold.
Sure that they had passed he went outside to check on the boys, a slight smile on his lips seeing Justin had returned and was playing in the playpen entertaining them. The tall alien feeling himself being watched looked up meeting the pregnant mans eyes. He gave a small grin and turned back to Jaden who was currently trying to climb onto his back. JC backed back into his hut and curled up on his bunk. His back hurt so much. “It must be from bending over the tub,” he thought. He balled a pillow and pressed his back against it and closed his eyes breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth till he fell asleep.
Justin spent the next two hours giving horsy rides, crawling around laughing loudly as Chris joined him and they raced against each other, cheered on by Lance who had come out with Joshua to join in the revelry. The children’s dinnertime came and went without sign of JC; Justin crept into his ex lovers hut. He crouched next to the sleeping man, brushing stray golden brown curls from his eyes. He drank in his fine features, longing to kiss the slightly pursed pink lips, he rested his hand gingerly on JC’s chest feeling the slow rise and fall. “I love you angel.” he whispered. He got slowly to his feet and left to feed his children.
JC stretched long and lavishly from the tips of his fingers to the tips of his toes. He blinked against the bright sunlight that shone through his small window. He sat up slowly supporting his big belly with his hand, his back still ached but not as much. He got up and went outside. Not seeing anyone apprehension crept in. The playpen was empty, he hurried to Lance and Chris’ cabin, finding that empty as well. He ran back to the playpen panicking where was everyone.
“LANCE, JUSTIN ….. JOVIE.” He whirled round and round not knowing where to look or what to do. He fell to his knees biting his nails as he searched all round him. “Anybody” he whispered. He jumped as a firm hand rested on his shoulder.
“Justin … Justin where is everyone … where are my babies?”
“Honey calm down.” The alien cuddled JC to him rubbing small circles on his back. “You slept all night sweetie, I took the kids to my cabin and then this morning Lance and Chris took the boys and the shuttle to the beach me and Chris found when we surveyed this planet. Lance thought you needed a break. We didn’t mean to scare you baby. I didn’t realise you were awake. I’m sorry.”
He led the older man to where a pot was bubbling away over an open fire. He sat the pregnant man down, pouring him a big mug of the steaming beverage. JC sniffed it cautiously.
“It’s a blend of beans that we found growing wild, Lance checked them out they are safe to drink. Chris says they taste like a blend of coffee and chocolate.”
JC pursed his lips and blew on the scalding liquid, sipping it carefully. A wide grin spread across his face. “It does.”
“Are you going to be ok? I have some stuff to do.”
JC took another small sip of his drink. “I’ll be fine, I was just worried that’s all I didn’t realise I had slept so long.”
Justin patted his ex’s leg. “If you need me I’ll be in big bird. “ He started to walk away “ Oh by the way I folded that bedding its piled in my place if you want it.”
“Yeah ok thanks, I got the boys clothes to do today.”
“Josh why don’t you just use the cleanser.”
“Justin you know as well as I do we need to conserve our energy packs, we have plenty of water from the spring, that foaming sand Lance found cleans really well.”
“Ok just don’t over do it ok. Promise me.”