Chapter Eight: Discoveries

"Edison?" Theora stood up as Edison remained frozen, both of them ignoring the broken camera.

Edison didn't answer at first. His mind was racing with a million thoughts, but one question buzzed in the foreground; was there a GroBag with his and Bryce's child inside it? Maybe he was just being paranoid because of what Martinez had said. He hoped the latter was the case.

"We'd better get to World 1," he finally said. "If Bryce is there we need to find out why."

"I agree," Theora said.

The three of them left the restaurant and headed out to the car park.

"I'd better come along," Blank Bruno offered. "I know his mind better than most. After all, I helped train it."

"So you're the reason he's so charming," Theora laughed.

"His personality can be a bit caustic at times," Bruno said as they got into Theora's pickup, "But once you get past the ice, he's really sweet."

The drive to World 1 was a short one. When they arrived there, they were stopped by the door guard.

"What does the great Edison Carter want in World 1?"

"I have a friend who ran away," Edison said honestly. "I believe he's hiding here and I'd like to bring him home."

"Very well," the guard said. "My son ran away once. I know how nerve-wracking that can be. Go find your friend."

"Thank you," Edison said as he and the others entered the building.

Bryce checked the GroBag to make sure everything was working properly. This wasn't just any project after all. It was the most important one of his life. Inside the suspended bag his and Edison's child was growing. It was a thrilling idea. It would be another eight and a half months before the baby was born.

"What shall I call you?" he mused. "Tabitha sounds nice. Or Rachael. But what if you're a boy? Maybe I should name you Edison after your father, or Axel?"

The door opened. Bryce heard it and turned.

"Larissa," he began.

"Nope, it's not Larissa," Edison said. He looked solemnly at the GroBag. "What's this?"

"You know perfectly well what it is," Bryce said pointedly. "You did a story on them a month ago."

"And the parents?" Edison said.

"It's mine," Bryce said.

"Where is the mother?"

"I am the mother," Bryce pointed out. "It was a gene splice. My cell was the one that was converted into the ovum."

"And I'm the father?" Edison guessed.

"You're an ideal father," Bryce explained. "My intellect and your strength of will, not to mention you're an excellent physical specimen are a good combination and…"

"And you love me," Edison interrupted.

Bryce lowered his gaze.

"Bryce, I'm sorry," Edison said as the others watched from the doorway. "I don't feel the same way as you do. I do like you a lot. I consider you my best friend. But I have no romantic feelings toward you. You're still so young, I can't see you as anything more than a little brother."

"Please," Bryce said, tears welling up in his eyes. "I guess that's okay, but don't ask me to destroy the baby. I can't…"

"I think you should consider giving it up for adoption," Edison told him.

Bryce shook his head. "I can't, Edison," he said. "Please don't ask me to do that."

"Bryce, this is a baby. Not a doll that you can just put away and ignore when you don't want to play with it."

"I know it's not a doll," Bryce said. "I know it's a big responsibility."

"Bryce," Bruno said, joining them. "There is knowledge and there is wisdom. You are very smart, we both know that. But you've only recently turned seventeen. You don't have as much wisdom as you'd like to believe. You understand the mechanics of the process. But you don't understand the underlying emotions. Babies require emotional attachment from their parents. Not just mechanical responses. You'd be on an emotional roller coaster that we both know you're not prepared for."

"I have eight months to prepare," Bryce said. "That's more than enough time."

"You can't just perfect your emotions in a set time frame," Bruno told him. "It's not a set of switches that you can turn on and off."

"Actually…" Bryce began, but Bruno cut him off.

"I know what you're going to say. And that's true of the brain. But emotions are more complex. They don't just come from the brain. And you're going to find that the more intense they become, the harder it's going to be to just ignore them."

"I can't lose my baby," Bryce said, collapsing into a chair. "Please, I can't."

"Bryce," Theora suggested. "I can ask Shawn and Winnie to take the baby. I'm sure Winnie would love having a baby brother or sister for her daughter."

"You'd be able to visit the child at least," Edison pointed out. "You should really consider it."

"He's right, Bryce," Larissa said as she walked in. "Giving it up for adoption would be the best thing. You're not ready to be a parent. Look, I know it will be hard for you to do. I'll help you get through it."

"You promised you'd be the baby's godmother," Bryce said, sounding hurt.

"I am being a godmother," Larissa replied. "A godmother's duty is to make sure that the child is well taken care of. That's what I want to do. Please, Bryce. I will always be there for you. I won't leave you to struggle with it alone."

"You could help me raise the kid," Bryce suggested.

Larissa shook her head. "I can't, Bryce. I'm still just a kid myself. So are you. The law may say that we're adults, but emotionally we're not. Neither one of us is ready for parenthood."

"I'll think about it," Bryce sighed, mentally exhausted from the painful discussion.

"Why don't the rest of you leave," Larissa suggested. "He'll be okay with me."

Bruno nodded and ushered the others out the door.

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