"So we're talking fairies." Her mother returned with a cup of tea and Anna took it gingerly, wary of the hot cup. "Is it actually caused by the fairies, or is it just that that's what people used to think? I mean, they used to believe that miscarriage was caused by stepping over toads, and that was just a load of crap..."
"Look, there's very little that's known about it, to be honest. Like I said, there were only eight people who ever had it in the entire country, and that hasn't exactly given them much of a chance to examine it..." Janice rubbed her eyes. Was she crying? Anna hadn't noticed; she was too wrapped up in her own worries to see if her parents were upset. "I think it's probably scientific, not fantastical. But who can tell, in a situation like this?"
"So what you're saying is that ... that they can't tell me what to do? They can't sort it out?"
"There's only one option, and that's avoid all - all possibilities." For the first time her dad looked as awkward as Anna did. Obviously, he wasn't comfortable. "You know what our thoughts are - you're too young to have sex anyway. But now that it's legal for you, I suppose we have to tell you that you can't. It's just not possible. Not feasible. You've got to forget about it, all right? Because there's nothing that could save you if that sort of thing happened."
"But - what about contraception?" Man, she couldn't believe she was having this conversation with her parents. "Surely if we used a condom or something." Uh, cringe, cringe, cringe ... talking about boys and relationships with her father was not what Anna wanted to be doing right now.
Janice shook her head. "No contraception is fool proof. You know that, right? And besides, there could still be problems. I'm sorry, darling, but abstinence is the only way..."
"Guys, you are serious, right? Only, it's hardly the thing I want to hear the day after my sixteenth birthday. My life is going to be crap. What will my friends say if they find out?"
"Well, it's hardly your fault. Or ours. You inherited this disease and there's nothing we can do, all right?" Her father was stressed. "I'm sorry. But to know that you're unhappy, and I can't help, is killing me. We do love you, Anna, we promise. It's hard, sometimes, to show it, and I know we've often seemed a little harsh, but it's always been for your own good. Please tell me you understand that?"
"I get it. Doesn't mean I like it." Anna pouted. "If I inherited this disease, does that mean I'm not your daughter?"