Pepper fell asleep not long after we finished. I dressed him while he slept, he was so exhausted he didn’t even twitch, let alone wake up. For myself, I dug through the old dresser and found a sweater to wear with my boxers.
He looked so peaceful in his sleep. It was as if every problem in his mind was washed away when he closed his eyes. I was glad. Pepper deserved to have some peace. The past twenty-four hours were stressful. I hoped he wouldn’t regret what we did. It was emotional, and kind of a heat of the moment thing, but it meant so much to me. He meant so much to me. I couldn’t stand to lose that now. He was all I had.
My thumb traced his cheekbone softly. I wanted to protect him. So far, I hadn’t done such a good job of that. Because of me, Hemp was able to do awful things to him. I wouldn’t let it happen again, I wouldn’t let him get away with it.
“I’ll make him pay.” I whispered softly.
“I’m gonna make that fucker suffer, for you and Rose. I promise.”
And I meant that.
Life with Pepper as my boyfriend was amazing. Even though the house had no electricity, we had to sneak in and out, and occasionally hide when someone came, it was perfect. We were living in domestic bliss. He cooked, I cleaned, and it was paradise. Sure, sometimes we had our moments where we broke down and cried, considering everything that had happened the past few months. But things were good right now.
Pepper was an incredible cook. He made me all sorts of things, things he grew up eating and things of his own creation. Cooking was a passion of his, second only to gardening. He had to leave his garden behind at the park so he threw himself into cooking for me. I hoped someday I could give him a huge garden, one he can only dream of right now.
“Y’know, its a little creepy that you just sit there and watch.” Pepper teased.
“Ah I can’t help myself, how can I tear my eyes away from my hunky boyfriend making me food?” I smirked at him.
“Ah shush, I’m not that hunky.” He blushed slightly.
“You shush, you’re hunky as hell. Like those underwear models, but better.”
“How am I better?” He turned to me and gave me a confused look.
“Well, you’re here and they’re not.” I teased. Pepper rolled his eyes at me. “And you’re real, not photo-shopped.”
“I’m not man enough to be like one of those models.” He sighed to himself and resumed his cooking.
I got up from my chair and came up behind him. “Don’t say that, that’s not true at all. You know that. You’re as much of a guy as they are.”
“It doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, it’s like there’s a stranger standing there.” He explained as he leaned back into my body.
“I know. I feel the same way sometimes. But it won’t always be like that. We’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna do it together.”
Pepper spun around while still wrapped in my arms. “You’re amazing, you know that, right?”
“I wouldn’t say that.” I half smirked at him. “I think you’re the amazing one here.”
“Oh shut up.” He laughed before kissing me softly.
“I mean it, Pepper.” I pulled back after a few seconds. “We’re gonna do this. You and me, against the world. We’re gonna transition and we’re gonna be happy.”
“I promise.” I smiled against his lips.
Occasionally during the day, I would go to the library and do some research. Some days it would be trans related things, but other days I would be looking for my father. One day, after about three months of living in the house, I found something.
“Pepper, babe guess what!” I yelled as I ran up the stairs. I turned to the room and stopped dead in my tracks.
“Pepper?” My handsome, perfect boyfriend was sitting on the bed crying. “Pepper what happened?”
“P-please don’t be m-mad at me.” He said between sobs.
“Babe, what could possibly make me mad at you?” I approached the bed slowly, so I wouldn’t set him off. “Can I sit?”
He nodded and pulled his knees closer to his chest.
“Talk to me, please. I’m here for you.” I sat across from him and gave him a supportive smile. I was getting better at this comforting stuff.
“Y-you know how I-I told you about h-how Hemp d-did things to me?” He averted my eye contact by staring at his knees. My heart wrenched. How could I forget?
“He-he raped me.” Pepper whispered, so softly I would’ve missed it if a car drove by. Pepper had implied it, but to actually hear him say it was something else entirely. I felt a rage burn through my chest.
“That fucker.” I cursed under my breath.
Pepper squeezed his eyes shut. “Please, please don’t get angry.”
“I’m not angry at you, love.” I softened my voice despite the fire of hatred coursing through my veins. I was going to make this man pay, no matter what.
“I think he m-might’ve…” his voice trailed off and got even softer. “I think he might’ve gotten me pregnant.
Pepper wouldn’t say much to me after that. He just sobbed. Deep, soul crushing sobs. I told him I’d run to the store and grab him a test, so we could be sure. I went as fast as I could without looking suspicious. Though it had been a while, and my mother had been thrown from her throne, I still had to look out.
As soon as I got back to the house I gave him the box.
“Will you stay with me?” He asked helplessly. He reminded me of a small child in that moment and there was no way I could refuse.
“Of course babe.” So I sat on the floor of the bathroom while he took the test.
I had to admit, I was terrified. There was no way we could raise a baby here. There was no electricity, we could be found out any day, it just wasn’t safe. But we had no money. There was one place we could go, but I’d have to run that by Pepper first.
Also, I was worried about Pepper’s mental health. How would he feel, raising his rapist’s baby? Could he do it? Would he want to do it? Or would he want to give the baby up? Would he be able to handle being a pregnant guy? I wasn’t sure if I could handle something like that, it seemed like it would cause too much dysphoria.
I watched Pepper as he sat there, staring at the little plastic stick in his hand. Tears still ran silently down his face, but he wasn’t sobbing anymore. From what little I knew about pregnancy tests, I knew it wasn’t showing results yet. He was just staring at it, and it was impossible for me to read what he was thinking.
“Thorn.” Pepper’s voice was hoarse, from all the crying. “It’s positive.”
“It’s positive! I’m fucking pregnant.” He started to cry even harder than he had been. “What am I going to do? It’s been months, it’s too late now to abort. I can’t raise a baby. Not here. Oh god. What am I gonna do?”
“Hey, Pepper. You’re not alone in this. We’re gonna figure this out.”
“You’re not gonna leave? You’re gonna stay with your boyfriend who’s been knocked up by another man?”
I stood up and gently pulled him off the toilet. “Of course I’m going to stay with you. You’re strong as hell and we’re gonna make the best damn dads.”
“We can’t raise a baby here, Thorn. We don’t even have enough money to support ourselves, let alone a child.” He clutched onto my shoulders for dear life.
“Do you remember how I came up the stairs, saying I found something?” I reminded him of earlier.
“Yes. What did you find?”
“I found out my father is still alive. I saw him, in a video. The coronation of the new kings, he was there and he’s alive.” I told him what had excited me so much earlier in the day.
“Oh my god. Thorn that’s amazing.”
“We can find him, maybe he can help us.” I offered. It was the best I could do in this moment.
My boyfriend was going to be a father, and I was about to find mine.