The past few days and nights had been trying for Bruce, psychologically. It wasn’t Rick’s fault, however. He liked kids- they were the future, as they saying went. He and Betty had talked, briefly, about having children and Bruce, complicated even before the procedure, had always waffled and changed the subject. It wasn’t that he didn’t want them, he did. It was just he had hang-ups on his own father and his childhood.
Obviously, everyone had their issues with how the were raised; too many rules or not enough. Too much candy, too many toys, too few friends. Bruce’s issues were of a different nature, however. His father had hated him from the moment he’d taken his first breath and had been consumed with jealousy over his wife’s affection towards their son. Somewhat ironically, Brian Banner had been convinced that his infant son was a monster, tainted to the genetic level by the radiation from his own work in atomic physics.
Despite all that, he actually did want kids, but it had always been ‘some day’ after they married, some day they would have kids and move to wherever and be happy together, forever.
Someday never came, of course and Bruce suspected that it never existed at all. Not for him, at least. Betty still had her life with Leonard Sampson in Virginia, assuming he waited for her. And, from what little he learned from Leonard the night they had spoken over glasses of wine, Bruce could say that he did like him. He seemed pleasant and helpful, he provided for Betty and treated her well. He loved her as Bruce did, even if his resentment towards Bruce was apparent.
‘It’s just as well.’ Bruce thought, as he watched Rick bounce around like the frog he was imitating. If he’d had kids before Culver, they would be no better off than he had been as a child and he’d have left Betty widowed and a single mother.
“David!” Rick shrieked, suddenly. Bruce nearly had a heart attack before he realized that Rick had seen the city of Alamogordo, just beyond the tree line. The terrain they had covered was quite rough; they were at a high spot, for now.
Bruce picked him up and set him on his shoulders and Rick laughed. “Yes, you’re almost home.”