Warning: Mild nudity.
“Hey sleepy head.” He frowned. “Lorde, what’s wrong?”
Lorde opened her eyes and stared at him blearily. “I’m cramping. I think something’s wrong.”
Kieran took a step back and searched for his pants. His phone was in his pants! With shaking hands, he unlocked his phone and dialed the doctor’s number. Five minutes later, he hung up and sat by the side of the bed. “Lorde?”
“What did he say?”
“If it doesn’t stop in a few hours, we’re to go to the emergency room.” She nodded and closed her eyes again. “Can you move at all?” She nodded again. “Would it be okay if I just…”
They rearranged themselves slowly until her head was on a pillow and he was curled around her body. He placed a soft kiss on her protruding belly. “I love you, baby. Your mommy and I want you so badly but we can wait. Please baby, please just hold on a little longer…”
He felt Lorde’s hands in his hair, stroking gently. It wasn’t until the cramping stopped and she’d fallen asleep that he realized he’d felt something from her. She’d been giving off this low-frequency hum of distress. That’s how he’d known something was wrong. He wondered if he’d ever sensed it before and had dismissed the feeling, not realizing what it was. He considered getting up and calling Matt but he didn’t want to leave her. He’d talk to Matt tomorrow. Right now his family needed him.
She was on bed rest. Kieran closed Siobhan’s journal and stood up from his desk. They were nearing the home stretch and with the cramping, the doctor had decided not to take any chances. He heard a bell tinkling and was up the stairs and outside the bedroom door in a flash. He paused for a second to compose himself and force a smile. Opening the door, he walked over to the bed and sat down beside his wife.
“Hey love, what do you need?” The doctor had recommended they get a day nurse to help Lorde with her basic needs while she was on bed rest. She’d nixed that idea. She didn’t want some stranger touching her and he got that. So for the next three months, he was her nurse. He’d bought her a little bell as a joke but it had proved useful, if a bit nerve-racking.
“A shower, please.” She sat up carefully.
“Okay.” He helped her undress, trying not to stare too hard, before getting her to the bathroom and into the shower.
While he waited, he changed for bed. The last few weeks had been difficult for him. That tiny thread of emotion, that feeling of distress was still coming from her. Except it wasn’t. It wasn’t her distress but his son’s. And he couldn’t fix it!
He glanced up to find Lorde stepping out of the shower. He felt the familiar tension in his body and he had to take a deep breath. He didn’t understand it. A year ago, he’d never been with a woman, hadn’t even considered it, now he couldn’t look at Lorde without wanting her.
He looked at his reflection in the mirror, smoothed his face into a smile and turned to his wife. “You ready?”
It was a brisk March day. The snow was starting to melt and he and his wife were lying in bed. Today was a good day. She’d had no cramping and was content to just rest with him. “This baby will need a name.”
“I know. But we should stay positive. When he comes, he will need a name.” He watched as she rubbed her hands over her belly. “What are you thinking?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Kieran shifted so he could look down at her. “It matters to me. I can’t… I never know what you’re thinking.”
Lorde frowned and said, “Did you really think I was having a girl? Are you very disappointed?”
His heart lurched a bit. “Goddess no! I mean, yes, I thought it was going to be a girl. But, Lorde, I don’t care what we’re having, as long as he’s healthy. I already love him more than I thought possible.”
She looked back down at her belly. “Did you have any names you liked?”
He let go of the breath he’d been holding and said, “I was thinking of naming him after my dad. Or maybe the middle name at least.”
“You don’t like it?”
“I think it’s fine, Kieran.”
“Did you – do you have any names you like?” He placed a hand over hers. He wanted to talk to her. He wanted to have an open line of communication with his wife because even though they were married, he knew very little about her.
“Not really, no.”
She’d just woken up from a nap and he wanted to get her out of bed. It would be good for both her and the baby. “Do you want to sit downstairs for a bit? We can watch some TV or I can play something for you?”
She turned tired eyes towards him. “Okay, if you think that’s best.”
This pregnancy was taking a toll on her. She had dark circles under her eyes and her cheeks were hollowed in. She’d grown disinterested in anything having to do with the baby. She didn’t care about the nursery, she hadn’t picked out any necessities, she wouldn’t even discuss names anymore. All those decisions had fallen to him and that was worrisome.
“Kieran, tell me about your parents.”
He smiled down at her. That was a first. “What do you want to know?”
“How did they meet? What do they do for fun? Anything.”
Brushing a strand of hair from her face, he sat down on the bed and said, “Mom still paints but she and Matt are planning to open a school for gifted children. Matt is really spearheading it, though. He’s doing a lot of research and it’s nice to see him so focused for a change. We were worried for a while that he’d given up.”
“What does that mean?”
Kieran took her hand from where it lay against his cheek and kissed it. “He was melancholy. They declared his sister dead last year, after years of her being missing. The news devastated him and his parents and I think may have caused his dad’s stroke. But he’s been doing better.”
He stroked her hand, remembering the last year. Matt was constantly worried that he’d start to lose his mental sharpness and they’d all feared that it was finally happening. Michelle had disappeared soon after Matt told Brian that she was in Dragon Valley and he’d blamed himself for it.
Shaking off the feeling of dread that always formed in his stomach when talking about Matt’s family, he asked, “What about you? You don’t talk much about your parents.”
Lorde met his gaze and tugged on her hand to free herself from his grasp. He let her go reluctantly. He’d hoped she’d begin to trust him, open up to him more now that they were married. But she hadn’t. He was surprised when she started to speak.
“My mother was gorgeous and she was smart. A rare combo for a girl from Riverview. She moved to Bridgeport because she wanted to be a journalist for Bridgeport 7. My father was the anchor at the time and he took her under his wing. New girl in the city, fresh out of college… She was there for about six months when she learned she was pregnant. She told him and his family about the baby, he proposed and then they had me.
“She’s in a mental institution now. Has been since I was twelve. I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet her. I couldn’t get permission for her to attend the wedding.”
Kieran listened to her story and heard all the things she wasn’t saying. She wasn’t lying but she wasn’t telling him the whole truth either. He’d met her father on their wedding day. He was cold, calculating, and a bit of a dick, actually. The man had taken advantage of her mother and then locked her away. He wanted to know more about that but Lorde stopped speaking. Deciding not to push – he was grateful she’d shared even that much – he leaned down and smoothed out her frown. He placed a kiss on her forehead and said, “You and I are not your parents, okay?”
She looked up at him in surprise before nodding. “Okay.”
“Are you hungry?” He stood up and held out his hand. “Let’s get you out of bed and find something to eat.”
“Hey Al. It’s good to see you, man,” Eden said as he walked over to him.
Kieran looked at his friend and smiled. He still wasn’t sure this was a good idea. Lorde was home with his mother. They were together. By themselves. When Eden had called asking to see him, Kieran had asked his mother to come and stay with Lorde so she wouldn’t be alone. They were so close to her due date, he knew he wouldn’t go if she was left alone. She’d become afraid of being alone. He knew it was partially his fault, for his visits with Gracie. It just made this outing with Eden seem like such an unnecessary risk. If he thought about it too much, he would turn around and head back home. No point in courting disaster, right?
He’d convinced himself to call it a night when Eden snapped fingers in front of his face and said, “Hey! You’re already here, might as well have one drink right?”
Was he that obvious?
He really didn’t want to have a drink. He didn’t like what it did to him, what it did to other people. But goddess, he needed this. Just one night out of the house before he went stir crazy.
They walked to the bar and Eden ordered them something called the Pink Bunny.
They were here to bowl. At least that’s what he’d told Lorde. And that was the plan. As soon as he had this one drink.
“So, tell me how married life’s been treating you.”
“It’s good. We’re good.”
“That’s great. Is the sex better now that you’re married?”
Kieran frowned at him. “She’s pregnant.”
“Pregnant people can’t have sex?”
“She’s on bed rest.”
“Oh man. I’m sorry to hear that.” Their drinks arrived then and they took a moment to enjoy the fruity flavor of the cocktail.
Eden made a face and hailed the bartender. “This tastes like bubblegum flavored Robitussin. Can we get a shot of tequila please?”
Kieran kind of liked the taste of the drink, he couldn’t taste the alcohol at all.
“So no nookie at all? Not even some hand action?”
Kieran cleared his throat. “I, uh, no. We don’t do…” He took another gulp of his drink, “any of that.”
“Wow. That must suck.”
The shots came and they both tilted their heads back and drank. Kieran thought about the last six weeks. It hadn’t been too bad. He and Lorde were getting to know each other. Sex wasn’t vital to a relationship. What was important was communication, a mutual respect for each other.
He drank the contents of the glass placed in front of him. Did he love his wife? He respected her. He appreciated her and what she was going through to bring his child into the world. But did he love her?
“I gotta go uncork.”
He nodded and watched as Eden made his way to the restrooms. He hailed the bartender for another Pink Bunny. The guy must be skimping on the liquor. He could barely taste anything.
“Al, I think you’ve had enough buddy.”
He was lying on the ground outside the bar, counting the stars and wondering if aliens were real. His grandmother owned a castle with green alien rocks that she used as lamps. “I think I want to be an astronaut. Fly to the moon. It looks quiet up there, don’t you think?”
“I think it’s time to bring you back to your wife.”
“My wife… She doesn’t need me. I want – I want to stay here. I want the moon.” He reached up, pretending to hold the glowing rock with his hand. Eden leaned over and looked at him, concern oozing out of his pores.
“Are you happy?”
They stared at each other for a minute. Eden had these bright cyan-colored eyes and Kieran had always thought they were pretty. Unfortunately, they were also very easy to read. It hurt to look into them for too long. His friend was always in so much pain now. It was dangerous to stare into Eden’s soul.
Kieran smiled softly. “I am right now. Thank you for calling me.”
Eden sighed and looked away. “I’m sorry I’ve been such an ass. This thing with Belle…”
Kieran closed his eyes. The lights from the street lamps were starting to hurt. “Don’t be sad, Eden. Belle doesn’t blame you for what happened. She’s just in shock.”
“But you don’t know that. She hasn’t spoken to me in months!”
Kieran turned his head to look at his friend. “I do though. I know for a fact that she doesn’t blame you.”
Eden frowned. “Has she – has she spoken to you? Were you able to get her to talk?” He sat up, excitement and worry and a bit of bitterness – jealousy, maybe – underlying his tone.
Kieran tried to sit up too. He didn’t get very far. He should not have had that fifth shot.
“Al, did she speak to you?”
“No. I could feel it. The last time I was there, I – felt it.”
“What? Man, you’re drunk as hell.”
Now he was disappointed. Sighing, Kieran placed a hand on Eden’s arm. “Eden, listen to me. I’m telling you the truth. I can – feel things. Like emotions and stuff from people. You know how you’re always wondering how I know so much about strangers? It’s magic. I use magic.”
Eden stared at him for a long time without saying anything. Kieran took it as a good sign that his friend hadn’t shrugged his hand away. He waited in silence. “So you’re saying that you’re magical. Like a unicorn?”
Kieran frowned. “What? Where the hell… I tell you I’m an empath and you compare me to a unicorn?”
Eden tested the word out. “Empath. So you’re like a psychic?”
This was going better than he thought it would. Or maybe he was just too drunk to see the disaster this conversation was turning into. “I’m not psychic, no. I can’t tell the future, not anymore, anyways. I can’t see the dead or read your thoughts. But remember when we were kids and I used to take all those days off school? Pre-teens are extremely emotional. I had to stay at home, just to be able to function because I feel things so deeply.”
“You told me Matt took you fishing on those days! I was always so jealous.” Eden paused. “Prove it.”
Kieran grinned. So typical. “Close your eyes.”
Eden raised an eyebrow but did as he was told. “Think of a memory. Something you haven’t shared with me before.”
An image of Eden on a jet ski popped into his head. It was too dark, though. “Brighter, Eden. Think in color.”
Eden frowned but the suggestion worked.
“Where were you?” Kieran asked in confusion. He’d known Eden almost all his life. Why didn’t he know about this?
“Aren’t you supposed to be telling me that?”
“You’re on a jet ski. In some marshy-like water.” He nudged his friend. “Where were you?”
Eden opened his eyes and looked down at Kieran. “That was before I met you. It’s not important.”
Kieran wanted to probe, ask questions but just getting that image had wiped him out. He was too drunk. “Do you believe me now?”
“Yup,” was all he got as a response. Maybe Eden wasn’t very sober either. He didn’t seem to be processing the information at all.
“Eden, I’m a witch. My mother is a witch, Matt is a witch –“
“Oh God! Is Stephanie one too?”
Kieran rushed to reassure him. “No! She’s normal. No magic at all.”
“Oh, okay. Good.” Eden stood up and helped Kieran to his feet. “Time to go home, then. Go put your clothes on, your ass must be frozen by now.”
“That – that’s it? You don’t have any questions or anything?”
“I need to sleep. It’s three in the morning. If I have any, I’ll call you.”
An hour later, they were both in jail and very sober. “I don’t even know what’s going on right now.”
“That cop is an ass. I don’t know why he locked you up. You weren’t doing anything illegal!”
“I am calm.” Eden let out a deep sigh and slouched on the bench. “I’m sorry Al.”
“It’s okay. I’m sure they’ll let us go in the morning.”
“Eden Mathew Luck?”
They turned to see a woman looking in their direction.
“Yes?” Eden responded.
The door to the cell was unlocked and the woman motioned for him to come to her. “I’m Detective Lewis. I have a few questions for you.”
Kieran watched his friend walk out the cell door and he knew – he could feel the woman’s tension – he knew that Eden was in big trouble. “Eden, say nothing and ask for a lawyer. I’ll call someone, okay?”
Eden just winked at him. “Don’t worry about it Al. I’ll be fine.”
No, Eden. No, you won’t.
But he would be, Kieran would make sure of it. He looked up at the detective. “I’d like my phone call now, please.”
She was having the dream again.
Claire stood in the middle of some ruins and stared down at the fairy. She was different this time, her hair and skin were paler, and she looked tired.
She walked around to see the fairy’s face and was shocked.
“You… You’re awake!”
The fairy smiled up at her. “I’ve always been awake, child. You just could not see.”
The reminder of her handicap dampened Claire’s excitement. “Why now,” she asked.
“You are the last piece.”
The fairy woman rose up and spread her wings. Claire looked up at her. She was so beautiful, even now.
“Are you sick?”
“Not in the way of your people, no.”
“Oh. Do you have a name?”
“You may call me Siobhan.”
Siobhan. “It’s pretty.”
The fairy smiled. “I know. It is the name of a queen.”
“Are you… Are you a fairy queen?” Should she kneel or something?
Siobhan laughed. “That time has long passed.” She beckoned with her hand. “Come child. We don’t have much time.”
A/N: Sorry about the pictures. Some disappeared, some are bright as hell, some are fuzzy. My graphics card updated itself and I’m trying to figure out a way to fix it. I don’t know when things will change. Stay with me guys! kthxbye