woke up at the touch of Eliza's cold feet on his legs. His wife
shivered slightly, snuggling closer against his chest under the
thick comforter. Her hands slipped under his pajamas at his
waist. They were no less cold than her feet.
moonlight, intensified by reflection on the untouched snow
outside, drew her delicate features in bluish-silvery light,
stressing the contrast between her pale skin and auburn hair. She
wore her hair shorter now, saying that now that they'd passed
forty-five, the shorter hair was more appropriate for her. He'd
disagreed; she'd never appeared old to him. But he hadn't argued
against her decision, and though at first he had missed the long
silken strands gliding over his skin when she moved in his arms
at night, he'd soon come to appreciate the sight of her slender
again, obviously feeling cold.
he whispered. "What's wrong with you?"
freezing," she whispered sleepily against his chest and
tried to snuggle even closer to him. "It's ice-cold in
He frowned. It
wasn't cold in their room. In fact, the good heating was one of
the reasons he'd always preferred the small winter sport resort
to the bigger and noisier Aspen, which was not that
far away. But she was obviously freezing. Her feet between his
legs still felt icy.
for the blanket of polar fox fur lying folded at the foot of the
bed, pulled it up to their waists, and tucked it securely around
them. After a moment, she sighed faintly and relaxed in
But he couldn't
stop thinking about her feeling cold in a warm room, in their
bed, next to him. He spent a sleepless night with those thoughts
and in the morning, he begged her to see a doctor.
that's impossible. I'm forty-six already. How?" Eliza
whispered, shocked, just as Zachary entered the room. She looked
at him with wide, disbelieving eyes. Disbelieving? He stopped
behind her chair and put his hand on her shoulder for comfort.
She leaned her neck slightly against it. He was alarmed by the
doctor's wish to speak to him, too, and tried to keep his tension
out of his touch. Whatever it was, they would handle
"Mrs. Fox. It's not
impossible," the physician smiled. "By far not. It's
happened to women ten years older than you."
isn't it dangerous?" she whispered with an unsure tremor in
her voice, laying her hand upon Zach's on her
"Well, of course
there's an increased risk because of your age, but I really don't
see why you shouldn't. You're in remarkably good shape. A lot of
women younger than you aren't half as fit as you. And the
hibernation you mentioned..." The doctor laid his fingertips
together. "There are no known additional risks as long as
the hibernation was more than a year ago." He sighed. "But
since you are beyond the recommended age, I must inform you about
the possibility of ending"
she flared, and her shoulder bumped hard against Zachary's hand
as she nearly jumped up. "There's no way! I would
decision is made." The doctor leaned back in his seat and
looked at him for the first time. "Congratulations, Major.
You're becoming a father again..."
woke up in the dimness of their hotel room. The moonlight,
intensified by reflection on the untouched snow outside, drew
Eliza's delicate features in bluish-silvery light as she slept
next to him.
He took several
deep breaths to calm down. Their son was old enough to have
children of his own. Likely people would have taken his son for
the father. And he himself... he'd be sixty-five when the child
enrolled in college, seventy or older when it
Thank God, it was
only a dream.
He froze. Eliza's
cold feet touched his legs. She shivered slightly, snuggling
closer against his chest...
to Elizabeth 'fatima' Bales for her help with English.