Prompt Exercise: 500 words, 20 minutes. No editing.

Prompt: Riptide

Word Count: 558

It wasn't what either of them had expected.

In fact, they had taken great measures to prevent it from happening. Still, despite all their effort and planning, the pink plus sign had stared back at them. She had inhaled deep to stave off the panic attack. "It happens," she had said. Even to the most careful, even with two methods of protection. It happens.

"Yeah." His arm had been around her shoulders, and his fingers flexed squeezing. Relief surged through her. This wasn't ideal. It wasn't part of the plan, but she would not be doing this alone. He was here, still standing there. People talked, of course, of those who couldn't stand by their partner during the unexpected storm.

They had each other, and that was enough.

The next nine months they talked names, color schemes, and debated whether or not to breastfeed. The two of them were a team. Money was tight, their parents didn't approve, their friends raised eyebrows, but they were in it together. He held her hand at every appointment, and his eyes lit up with every ultrasound.

He wasn't going anywhere.

They made it through the first trimester with no issues. Together they had created a healthy baby, a child, a brand new human.

The second trimester, too, happened without incident. Slowly they began to let their guard down. It could have been messy. This accident could have driven them apart. Instead, they were closer together.

It couldn't have lasted.

When he was ten, his family had gone to the beach. The weather was nice, the tide was low. It should have been safe. It should have been a day of fun. Instead, he'd gotten caught in a riptide, pulled under. Water had filled his lungs as he struggled for the surface. He'd never forget the feeling of drowning, of trying to claw his way to the surface.

It was later that he learned that rip currents occur during good weather; that they are strongest during low tide. When your guard is down, the ocean will pull you under.

He should have known that this didn't apply to just ocean nature.

The day their child was born was beautiful. It was magnificent as they saw the life they had created brought into this world.

Five pounds, eleven ounces of pure perfection.

It was an easy birth. They were sent home the next day.

He watched the baby while she napped. Then, while the baby slept he took a rest.

When he woke, she was gone. Nothing but a note to explain her absence. Holding their son, their perfect helpless child, had been too much. The weight of the responsibility of raising a child combined with their youth; it was too much. She wasn't prepared for motherhood, not when there was so much she had yet to do.

That left him alone with a newborn infant less than two days old. The familiar feeling of drowning, of feeling like he wouldn't be able to survive hit him as his eyes scanned the paper once more.

He had let his guard down and the riptide was pulling him under once more. Only, this time he wasn't alone. There was another drowning with him, someone who relied on him to swim them to shore.

For now, it would be for him that he would survive.