art by Void lon iXaarii
Playing the Percentages
by Michael Haynes
Gerard sat in the awkward waiting-room chair, bouncing his right leg up and down. The door from the scanning room opened and Emily walked out. She gave him a smile, but he saw it didn't reach her eyes. She hurried across the room and sat in the chair beside him.
A moment later, she set her hand on his knee. He stopped bouncing his leg.
"Sorry. Nerves," he said.
She shook her head. "No worries."
"I could use a smoke."
"You said you were quitting."
"I said I could use one, not that I'm going to have one. I'm still sitting here, aren't I?"
He took her hand in his, slumped down in his seat and closed his eyes.
"It's supposed to take, what, about fifteen minutes?" Gerard asked Emily.
A minute or more of silence passed. It felt like an hour or more to him. What if the results came back and said that they weren't truly compatible, that they were likely to end up unhappy, likely to split up in the end? He knew what would happen; the same thing that happened to almost every couple that got that news. They might try to shrug it off, try to say they would beat the odds, but doubt would creep in. And then it would only be a matter of time and the computers would end up being right again.