Rick dropped off Murray and Edison first. As they headed to Theora's place, Theora noticed Bryce shivering.

"Still cold?"

"I don't think I'll ever get warm again," Bryce muttered.

"Rick," Theora said, "just take us back to my place. Bryce don't worry, I'll warm you up We'll have a nice cup of cocoa together. How does that sound?"

"Very nice," Bryce agreed.

Rick dropped Bryce and Theora off at Theora's apartment. Bryce could still barely move from being almost frozen solid. He followed Theora inside and sat on the edge of the bed, which was the closest place to sit down.

"The cocoa will be ready in five minutes," Theora told him. "In the meantime, why don't you change into one of my bathrobes and I'll put your clothes in the dryer to warm them up?"

Bryce took a blue and pink cotton bathrobe into the bathroom. A moment later he came out and handed the cold clothes to Theora who almost dropped them.


"I'm sorry," Theora said. "Maybe this wasn't such a hot idea. I didn't think of how nice you'd look in my robe."

"Um.. Thanks," Bryce blushed a little, not sure exactly why he was doing it.

He sat at her table, but for some reason he found himself gazing at her bed wondering how comfortable it was and what it would be like to lie there with her curled up in his arms, wondering how different it would be compared to curling up in Edison's arms while he had been waiting to die.

By the following morning, he knew.

The few who saw Bryce come in with Theora the next day made no remark. Bryce was a known innocent and Theora had a good reputation, so they never considered that anything sordid might have happened.

Bryce and Theora knew better, of course. They knew that they had explored forbidden roads that night, knew that while it might be perfectly okay in the town where they lived that there were places in the world where Theora would be crucified for their indiscretion.

But it was okay, and they had agreed that it would not happen again. Could not happen again.

At least not for a few years.

Fate, of course, had other plans.

As the second month anniversary of her night with Bryce approached, Theora felt a nagging sensation that something was seriously amiss. During a series of commercials, she went into the bathroom for a regular break. While she was there she looked at the near-empty trash bin. Only the bare core of a toilet paper roll was present. There was no sign of feminine hygiene articles.

She realized with a gasp what was wrong. She had to act quickly. Some women in her predicament might have an abortion. But she wouldn't. It did feel right to destroy Bryce's child. They might not be in love, but she respected him too much for that.

Then there was the matter of Bryce's age. As she had noted earlier, Bryce was of legal age where they lived in London, England but not in many of the outside countries where Network 23 was viewed. If those places found out and ganged up on Network 23 for the affair it could get very ugly indeed.

She remembered that Ted, one of her fellow Controllers, had asked her out. She hadn't given him answer.

Reaching for her vu-phone receiver, she dialed his number.

"Hello, Ted," she said. "I think I'd like to have you come over for dinner and maybe drinks afterward."

It was the next day that Edison had found Theora still entertaining Ted. And although she made a big stink about it to Murray and Max, it was exactly what she hoped what happen.

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