PART 2: Splinters
Chapter 9: Cracking the Door
The next Friday after work, Kaitlyn, her mother, and I drove to Salt Lake City, about 4 hours up from Moab.
We’d both taken the next week off work, citing the need to prepare for the upcoming wedding. Kaitlyn got approval easily, being newly in her boss Sherry Richardson’s good graces. My boss is easy-going, so it was no big difficulty getting the time off myself, but thinking he might be hurt at not being invited, I explained to him that this was going to be a small family-only affair. I then invited him to the public reception, and he accepted.
We’d taken Kaitlyn’s 2003 Subaru Outback, painted what she called “happy blue.” It was her first and only car, bought cheap at 16 while she was in high school, then carefully maintained until now. It gets about twice the mileage per gallon as mi burro, which wouldn’t have been suitable for this trip anyway, being the pickup configuration of the Land Cruiser and noisy on the highway besides. In Kaitlyn’s car, we could chat without raising our voices, and no one would have to sit in the middle of the bench seat, legs straddling the stick shift, as would be the case if we’d taken my truck.
Kaitlyn was driving with her mother in the front passenger seat. They spent most of the drive up planning wedding details. I was in the back and stayed quiet almost the whole way up, speaking only when spoken to during those planning sessions.
Mama Gutierrez initiated one memorable break from that topic. “So, Kaitlyn, have you two planned when you’re going to start having babies yet?”
“Mo-om!” my fiancée protested.
“Well,” her mother defended, “Miguel and Carmen haven’t given me any grandchildren yet, so my hopes are now on you. So when?”
Kaitlyn just simmered, so I spoke up from the back seat. “We have no plans yet, Mary. We’re on birth control.” This was a small white lie, since it wasn’t birth control in the way she understood it. Nature mages have no need for prophylaxis or birth control of any sort. If we want our gametes interfered with, we just interfere with them directly using our magic. If we get an STI, we stomp it flat the same way.
But, Kaitlyn and I had also decided that we weren’t going to tell anyone about our magic unless we had to. It was just too juicy a secret; once it became public, we’d be in for one epic circus. We had no wish to become either celebrities or government lab guinea pigs.
Kaitlyn’s parents are Catholic, but fairly relaxed about it, so Mary just said hopefully, “Oh. Well, I really want some grandkids. Please?”
“Eventually, mom, yes. But we have no plans right now,” Kaitlyn answered.
I was ambivalent about it myself, but I was ready to agree when Kaitlyn decided she wanted children. I decided that before I’d even crafted her engagement ring; I was just hoping she’d give me some warning before deciding. That’s another advantage to being a nature mage: it truly is pro-choice for the mother. If fertilization isn’t going quite to her plan, she simply changes her biology to achieve the plan.
We’d booked a 2-bed hotel room near the JRE offices, which was convenient since it was near the city center, which put it close to all of the shopping places the women wanted to visit.
We pulled into town late, tired from a full day’s work and then half a day’s drive. Between that and having Kaitlyn’s mom in the bed just feet away, Kaitlyn and I just stripped, slid into bed, kissed, and it was lights out for me. I didn’t even see her mom get into bed.