Tamora Thomas had never felt comfortable with her breasts.
When she was a girl, breasts were something women had, but then suddenly they were there, intruding: bouncing when she ran, misbehaving when she did cartwheels and calling unwanted attention from boys who had been her friends.
When she finally started dating, these protrusions were rivals for the affection of her boyfriends, who could hardly seem to bear to look her in the face, but also didn’t know quite what to do with them once they were bared.
When she joined the marines, it was partly to serve her country, but it was mostly to prove herself, to prove to her breasts, that they couldn’t stop her from being the best.
And she was. They called her the Amazon, which, if you know anything about Greek Mythology, is somewhat ironic. The other soldiers, the men at least, were distracted by them, and she used that to her advantage, to best them in training. All except one: Gabriel Hammond. He always looked her in the eyes, and she found his lack of interest in her pectoral rivals arousing. She cornered him one day and jumped his bones, pressing her bosom upon him, but he still wouldn’t touch her.
That was when he told her about Rosalind Furrowes, his fiancée, whom he had loved since childhood. And he spoke of her with such tenderness and love that Tamora couldn’t be angry with him anymore—indeed, couldn’t help but fall in love with Rosalind herself.
Gabriel married Rosalind during the furlough after boot-camp and despite his imprecations, his insistence that his bride would want her there, too, Tamora refused to meet her, and spent the time instead with another man, who appreciated her breasts more than he appreciated her.
In time, both Tamora and Gabriel were invited to join a special program. It was a super-soldier program, like the kind you always hear about in conspiracy theories and bad action movies—apparently, they were real. But perfectly safe, of course. Perfectly safe.
It was there, in close quarters, after many years and many false starts, that Tamora finally managed, in spite of herself, to seduce him. It was her breasts who had done it, she told herself in the morning. They had been responsible, had tricked her somehow—just look at the evidence: it was them Gabriel had focused his attentions on and under his attention, they had thrived as they had never thriven under any other’s care. He had proved himself so adept at manipulating them, in fact, that she had almost started to think of them, these intruders on her own torso, as allies, if not quite as friends.
But she was still angry with herself, not to mention him, especially when he tried to tell her “No, no, my wife actually wouldn’t mind—in fact, she’d be thrilled!” And that kind of angry is the last thing you want to be with someone when you’re about to go into battle.
Which is probably why she felt she could blame herself when he was killed that day by a South American insurgent with impenetrable skin who called herself The Marble Jaguar.
She had to go to the funeral. She knew she did. Her breasts knew she did. She had to face Rosalind Furrowes, whose husband she had slept with and possibly killed. She didn’t think she’d be able to look her in the eyes, but standing there with her dead husband between them, she actually found it hard to look away. They both did. Just kept staring at each other. Not angry, even. Not even hostile. No negativity at all.
She was surprised she even managed to get out of there unscathed, but she tried to put the whole thing behind her by letting one of those idiots from her first platoon marry her for her chest. His name was Patrick Langley and he was going into politics, where it helps to have a “hot young wife”, apparently.
But she didn’t like it, and none of the other wives liked her. Her breasts felt too engaged, too much under fire, and she felt too restless, so she used her serum-induced super-strength to strong-arm her way into a job in construction. This was frowned upon, as her breasts could hardly be seen under a jumpsuit, and their number one fan objected strongly. Fights ensued.
She had almost found the courage to leave him when Rosalind Furrowes showed up on her doorstep and said “I know you slept with my husband.”
This was supposed to be earth-shattering. This was supposed to be the start of a fist-fight, at least according to the mores of the other politicians’ wives. So why was Rosalind smiling through tears?
She soon explained that while she had always adored Gabriel Hammond, she was more moved that he loved her and realized too late that she didn’t feel quite the same way. But she loved the way he spoke to her and about her, and she loved hearing him talk about the Amazonian woman he went to boot camp with. So she, even as his wife, expected him to sleep with this other woman, and was glad that she acquiesced.
Hearing the wife of the man she had loved tell her what he had said about her, Tamora felt a whirlpool of conflicting emotions and soon realized that the only one that really mattered was the realization that both she and Rosalind had each fallen in love with the other, based entirely on Gabriel’s description. This was weird, but as undeniable as the way she now felt about Rosalind.
The divorce was ugly. Congressman Langley was forced to drudge up the affair she’d had with Hammond while still enlisted to change her discharge to dishonorable, but by then she was just relieved to be rid of him. Harder was her transition to the Hammond-Furrowes household, earning the trust and love of Gabriel’s two daughters, whose respective nascent adolescences served to remind Tamora of the issues she had always had with her own body.
But she didn’t have those issues anymore. Rosalind had cured them, had, with tender loving care, reconciled her mamaries and made friendship out of scorn.
She was, however, also the one who found the lump.
How do you pay for cancer, when you’ve been dishonorably discharged from the military? When you gave your husband the quickest possible divorce to avoid the press just so you could be with the woman you love? And Rosalind’s insurance couldn’t even cover it, because their relationship wasn’t even recognized in that state.
Maybe she could have sued the government, the military, but there was no way to prove that the serum used on her even existed, given its classified nature, let alone that it had in any way caused her condition—even though she was not by far the only one experimented on who developed complications.
Unable to afford chemotherapy, she found her only option was a double mastectomy, but they didn’t even have the funds for that kind of operation, the state of healthcare being as it was. What she did have was a katana, a bottle of bourbon and the heart of a marine.
Now, thirty-four and the flat-chested envy of her twenty-year-old self, she fights for a cure (rather than mere treatments), for affordable healthcare and for gay rights.
Having carved off her own breasts to continue fighting injustice, Tamora Thomas has at last become The Amazon.