Whatever little string that had been holding my temper at bay snapped like a twig. “Are you out of your fucking mind?”
“I’m sorry?” Her chin rose a good couple inches.
“Why the hell would you put her in danger like that?” I didn’t care how state-of-the-art their healthcare was. I’d seen the pictures her mother had sent via email. The hospital was made up of tents. Fucking tents.
“Put her in danger?” Liberty scoffed in disgust. “I was born in the middle of an African village, and I turned out just fine! God, Nixon, are you really so hung up on your first-world extravagance that you can’t fathom wanting to help others who don’t make thirty million a year?”
I made more than that, but I wasn’t getting into semantics. “If you want to go help people, then knock yourself out. It’s an awesome program, and I respect the hell out of your mother for doing it, but you having our baby down there is a completely different story.” I gripped the edge of the dresser, my knuckles turning white.
“Okay, so you respect my mother for doing it, but not for her choice to have me while she did it?” Liberty threw her hands in the air and spun around, heading back to her pile of clothing.
I wasn’t touching that argument with a ten-foot pole.
She was really doing this. She folded the shorts, then two more shirts as the silence grew so tense between us that I knew it was bound to shatter. “I’ll have my mom with me,” she said softly, tucking away another shirt into the bottom of the pack. “When our baby comes, I’ll have my mom with me, Nixon. Isn’t that worth something in your eyes?”
My mouth tasted like sawdust. “And just where the hell am I supposed to be? Or am I not a part of this plan?”
She froze momentarily, then folded another set of shorts, reaching the bottom of the pile. “Of course I want you there,” she said softly, looking up at me with heartbroken eyes.
“For fuck’s sake! Don’t you get it? If something happens, I can’t make it there in time. You said yourself, this place is two days away!” My chest tightened. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
“So come down in April.” Her voice dropped to a near whisper, and she rubbed at the center of her chest like her heart hurt just as badly as mine.
But I wasn’t the one running away.
“You come back in April. Do you know how long it will take us to get her a passport once your internship is over if she’s born down there?” Shit, was I even thinking this was possible? What the hell was the infant mortality rate in a camp setup like that? How was I going to protect them?
Liberty tilted her head. “She won’t need it for a while. Breaking Boundaries is set to stay in Brazil for at least another eighteen months, and then I think we’re headed to the DRC, so that gives us—”
I shut down completely and simply stared at the woman I loved lose her ever-loving mind as she walked back into the closet and came back out with another load of clothes that she immediately began packing.
“—at least a year.”
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
She packed, packed, packed.
“You aren’t coming back, are you?” I finally managed to ask.
She shoved the last of her maternity clothes into her pack. “Breaking Boundaries mostly hires from within, so there’s an overwhelming chance that I’ll get a job there once the internship is over.” She brought her gaze slowly to mine, then flinched at what she saw. “Oh, God, Nixon—” She walked toward me.
I put my hand out to ward her off. “You were never going to stay.” The realization hit me like a three-hundred-pound linebacker.
She halted two feet and three billion miles away from me. “You knew that. I told you that I don’t know how to stay…anywhere. My mission is out there, helping people.”
“There are people to help right here.” Even as I said the words, I knew they wouldn’t change her mind. She’d never wanted to stay. “You let me build that nursery?” She let me make plans for our future…or maybe I’d done that all on my own, refusing to listen to what she’d really been saying.
She sucked in a quick breath. “I never asked you to do that.”
I rolled my head back on my shoulders and prayed to wake up. This feeling right here was all too familiar. This was the moment you were sacked from the blindside and found yourself staring at the sky, wondering what the hell had just happened.
“I love the nursery.” She moved closer. “It is so perfect. This life is perfect. You…Nixon, you’re—”
“Don’t.” I shook my head. “God, just don’t.”
“Tell me how to make this better.”