“The music’s good, anyway,” Beverly said. “At least, it’s not making me feel nauseated.”

Chelsea rubbed her hands together uneasily. “Yeah, about that. Are you sure it’s not…you know, too soon? For going out to a bar?”

“I’m practically healed, Chelsea,” said Beverly. She had to go in for a biopsy on the ‘other lump’ in a week and stick to eating stuff that her body wasn’t going to violently reject from both ends thanks to the chemo. But Dr. Jaipur hadn’t said anything about not drinking, and he said a lot about not doing other stuff.

“Well, yeah, I suppose,” Chelsea said, nodding. “But just because you’re okay physically doesn’t mean you’re okay mentally. I mean…you’re twenty-two with a fresh hysterectomy. I can’t even imagine what that must be like, how you must feel, not being able to have kids…”

Beverly’s eyes flashed. “Even though I never wanted any kids to begin with?” She’d told Chelsea before that she was just too messed up to bring a kid into this world–a world that, she might add, didn’t need any more humans, thank you very much. That conversation had been years ago.”

“Well, you never know when someone might change their mind,” Chelsea said. “And, I mean, to have that door closed for you so early, to lose even the potential of ever having kids…”

“Goddammit, Chelsea, stop that,” Beverly tossed back her drink and tapped the bar for a refill. God, Chelsea was just like everyone else! It wasn’t that Beverly’s life has been turned upside down, or the chance that the cancer was eating her away from the inside, or the fact that the hysterectomy hurt like hell and she’d always have the scar, or how the operation had hurt her chances of ever having a normal college student life. No, everybody felt sad for Beverly strictly because of the fact she couldn’t have kids anymore.

“Beverly, I-”

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Beverly said. Her drink was refilled and she took a fresh swig of it. Considering it was served in stemware, a swig was about all there was to it. “You don’t have to cling to me like some kind of chaperone, Chelsea. I’ll get a cab home.” She’d come there to get plenty drunk, not wallow in sympathy for not being a person factory anymore.

Rachel seemed about to say something, but instead she gathered her things. “I’m a phone call away if you need me,” she said.

“Thanks, but I won’t. Good night, and don’t wait up.”

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