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By Elin Hilderbrand

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Good-luck charm? Vicki thought. If the book really had supernatural powers, wouldn’t it somehow have kept Brenda from sleeping with John Walsh and ruining her career? “Call the airport,” Vicki said. She took Porter from Melanie and latched him onto her breast. As soon as the chemo started on Tuesday, he would have to be weaned. Bottles, formula. Even Porter, at nine months old, had a more legitimate crisis than Brenda. ” “Okay,” Brenda said. ” “Call information,” Vicki said. “I hate to ask this,” Melanie said.

Here, then, was a classic case of Be Careful What You Wish For. Her breasts felt like lead balloons. They hurt so much she couldn’t sleep on her stomach, and yet that was her favorite position for sleep, facedown, without so much as a pillow. Now she had to contend with new sleeping quarters, a sagging twin bed in this strange, sunny room that smelled like artificial pine trees. All she had wanted was to get away—as far away as possible. When she was in Connecticut, facing the utter wasteland her life had become, moving to Pluto had seemed too close.

She said this every time she thought of Vicki now. Peter nodded distractedly; Melanie intoned this sentiment so often, its meaning was diluted. But Melanie meant the words urgently: Life was too short to fritter away in a constant state of yearning, aching, wanting. Waiting for something to happen. At Exit 1 on I-95, they hit traffic and Peter cursed and they slowed to a crawl. Now’s the time, Melanie thought. And she said, “I think we should try again. ” She steeled herself for his reaction. He hadn’t wanted to pursue in vitro at all.

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