Another ball, smaller this time

Without really meaning to, Frank Delaney walked into Charlotte’s room without knocking. The scene that met his eyes was, at first, surprising then, as he realised more, poured ice down his spine.

Katie was lying on his daughter’s bed, skirt off, blouse up under her breasts and Charlotte was stroking her tummy. It took him a few seconds to process the image and also to realise that Charlotte wasn’t yelling at him to get the hell out of her room. She turned to him with frightened eyes and whispered, “is this one, Dad?”

He looked at Katie’s abdomen for a moment, locked eyes with Charlotte and nodded slightly. When he spoke, it was around a lump in his throat. “Katie, may I touch you? It’s important.”

In the last few minutes, fear had been mingling with the fury on her face. She glanced at Charlotte for reassurance and nodded. “Yeah.”

He ran gentle fingers over her tummy and probed, very carefully, the little bump. A sphere, ten centimetres in diameter, nestled there and he feared he knew what it was.

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