Warning: Mild nudity.
“How’s my favorite nephew doing today?” Andrei London walked into Kieran’s dressing room with a huge grin on his face.
Kieran rolled his eyes but smiled back. “I’m your only nephew.”
“You don’t know that.” Dre plopped down on a sofa and clasped his hands on his stomach. He laughed at the look on Kieran’s face.
“You have some other sibling that no one knows about?” Kieran went back to fixing his tie. The damn thing would stay straight!
“Okay, fine. But you’re still my favorite.”
“Thanks Uncle Dre.” Dre came over and finished doing up the tie for him. “Thanks.”
“Don’t be so nervous. Getting married is a piece of cake!”
“Said no one ever.”
Dre laughed but his psyche screamed sadness to Kieran. “Well, we still run towards it when we find that perfect someone, don’t we?”
Kieran knew that his uncle was thinking of Maya. It had been two years since Siobhan promised that Maya would come back. The family knew that Dre would wait forever for her and Kieran hoped she’d show up soon, he didn’t like seeing his uncle like this. Hurting. “Yeah, we do.”
Dre seemed to shake himself free of the sadness and grinned at his nephew. “Are you ready? I was sent in here to get you.”
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Huh, that was…inspiring.”
They both laughed. Yeah, he was ready.
Kieran stood and smiled nervously at the guests. It was a small gathering, just close family. He’d wanted to invite Gracie and Emma but Lorde had had her heart set on this date and the girls couldn’t make it because of school. But his uncles, Tony and Riley, had made it.
He winked at Steph, who was watching him and fretting with the hem of her dress. His mother sat in the front row but he refused to look her way again. He consoled himself with the thought that at least she’d shown up. He probably owed Matt for that one.
Eden hadn’t; Belle was having a bad day and he’d stayed with her. Kieran wished Eden would get his head out his ass and accept help. That girl needed it. But today was not the day to try and fix the world.
His attention was diverted when the organ began to play the wedding march. It was funny to him that they were getting married in a church. They weren’t religious at all, but Lorde’s family was and this had been their one ask. He just wished that more of them had decided to come.
As it was, her father and grandmother were the only two people from her side of the family there. He made a mental note to check in on her before things got too crazy.
“I, Alistair Kieran Zenteri King, take you, Lorde Penelope Lawson, to be my wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
“I, Lorde Penelope Lawson, take you, Alistair Kieran Zenteri King, for my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
Before he knew it, the ceremony was over and they were being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. King.
He was married.
Kieran smiled down at Lorde and squeezed her hand, searching for some comfort while his brain tried to process this new paradigm.
He was married.
Remembering his promise, he leaned down and whispered, “Are we good?”
Lorde smiled up and him and nodded. “Yes, we’re good.”
“I will always be there for you, Lorde. I promise.”
“And you always keep your promises.”
“We’re going to be late if we don’t hurry up,” Kieran shouted. He tapped out the notes to Beethoven’s Fidelio on the baby grand piano while he waited for Lorde to come down. Today was their sonogram appointment. He would get to see his daughter for the first time.
He heard his wife finally moving down the stairs and stood up. Moving to the foyer, a small smile tugged on his lips as he remembered Lorde’s reaction to seeing the house for the first time. It had been his wedding present to her. He figured a child should have a backyard and a house to call home, not some high-rise apartment. Maybe they’d get a dog or something.
She’d spent considerable time and money to furnish it, including having the piano shipped from his old place. He’d been ready to leave it but Lorde wouldn’t hear of that, she knew it was important to him. She was that good at reading him. He couldn’t say the same though and it was frustrating as hell.
She looked at him as she came down the stairs and his breath caught in his throat. She’d changed back to her natural hair color and she had a slight bump now. She looked beautiful and he said as much.
Smiling, Lorde came to stop next to him and kissed him lightly. “Thank you.”
He pulled her closer to him and kissed her again, deeper. He was married and was having a baby!
“What was that for?”
“Just because I could.”
Lorde smirked and stepped away. “Come on, silly man. We’re already late.”
Kieran smiled and headed to the garage to start the car.
They were in a well-appointed room waiting for the technician and he glanced down at Lorde before grabbing her hand. She looked so calm. He couldn’t keep his leg from shaking. He’d hear his child’s heartbeat for the first time; see her for the first time.
“Are you okay?”
He smiled at her. “Yeah, I’m good. Are you okay?”
“Are you sure? You seem nervous.”
“I’m fine, promise.”
The nurse walked in and they both looked up. “Hello. I’m Nurse Jackie. Is this your first time here?”
Kieran looked back at Lorde, startled. “What?”
She glanced at him before looking back at the nurse. “I’ve been here before.”
When she didn’t elaborate, he frowned. “When were you here?”
“When I found out about the baby. Can we get started please?”
“Oh.” His tense shoulders relaxed and he sat back in his chair. “Of course.”
He didn’t know what he’d thought she’d say. No wonder she was so calm. He was the only one who didn’t know what to expect here.
Nurse Jackie bustled around, setting everything up and Kieran pretended he needed to scratch his nose so he could let go of Lorde’s hand. She always seemed so calm, no matter the situation. He wondered, not for the first time, what she must be thinking.
“Alright mommy, I’m just going to put this gel on your belly – don’t worry, I heated it beforehand. And if baby is cooperating, we can find out the gender today. Is that something you want to know?”
“Alright.” Nurse Jackie squirted a bit of the gel, took a plastic stick she called a wand and placed it on Lorde’s stomach.
Within seconds, Kieran heard a loud woosh woosh woosh sound.
“And that’s the heartbeat. Good and strong.”
He looked at the monitor, mesmerized. The baby was tiny but he could clearly see the head and what looked like a body.
The nurse took measurements, all the while explaining what she was doing. A few clicks later and she said, “Alright and we’re just going to try and turn the little one around and – oh, there it is! Congratulations, it’s a boy!”
Kieran frowned. “Are you sure?”
The technician looked at him. “Yes. I’m sure.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just I thought…” He didn’t finish his sentence for fear of sounding like an crazy person.
He frowned, thinking back to the letter Siobhan had left him in her journal. She’d said daughter. That his daughter would be important. Had she made a mistake?
He looked down to find Lorde staring up at him. Concern evident in her gaze.
“Sorry, I’m good.”
She studied him a moment longer before turning her attention back to the screen.
The ride home was a quiet one. He could feel the tension. When he parked the car, Lorde was out and walking into the main house in a flash.
He stayed in the car, looking at the tools hanging from the wall. He needed to do better. Placing his head on the steering wheel, he took a few deep breaths. He would do better.
His thoughts turned to Eden and what his friend had said the last time they spoke. He was privileged and he’d never really tried at anything. Never really had to. With a wife and a child on the way, he couldn’t continue his criminal activity. He couldn’t help his friend even if he wanted to. What he needed was a job. Something that would keep him busy, maybe even give Eden an opportunity to earn an honest living as well.
He would find something, maybe open a gallery and make it a family business, something flexible so they could both take care of their families.
He glanced at the door Lorde had walked through a few minutes before. He had a family now and if Siobhan was right, there would be more in the future. He would be better.
“Here it is.” Eva King pulled a book from a shelf and looked down at the cover. “She wanted you to have it.”
Kieran didn’t have to ask who his mother was referring to. “That was nice of her.”
“Siobhan had her moments. She was a complex woman. Mostly because she was Fae.” Eva smiled sadly and handed the book to him. “I don’t know what’s in it but it looks well read.”
When Kieran was a Junior in college, a letter came from Siobhan’s estate attorney. She had a living will that stated if she should go missing or die that all her belongings should go to Eva. It was then that they had learned that no one had heard from Siobhan since she’d visited Andrei two years prior. The will had been executed and Eva now had possession of centuries worth of knowledge in the form of books, scrolls, tablets, post-it notes, talking mirrors, etc.
They’d taken a family trip to Dragon Valley to sort out her things. Siobhan’s house was situated in a remote area and was huge. It was actually large enough to be considered a castle. His parents planned to move in once Steph graduated college and turn it into a boarding school for the magical community.
It reminded Kieran of those old Harry Potter movies and he’d always wondered why something like that hadn’t existed until now. Better late than never, though.
He took the book from her and opened it to the first page. “It’s not a book. It’s a journal.” He looked up at his mom and saw her shock. “She left me her dairy.”
“I didn’t know…” Eva looked like she wanted to take it back and Kieran could feel her sadness and envy. He could understand wanting something that a loved one had treasured and he almost handed it to her but the words on the first page stopped him. It was a letter to him.
He moved to a chair and sat down at the ornate desk, placing the book on the surface, open to the letter. It was in an ancient Fae language and he began to read haltingly, his brain switching from language to language. He had inherited the skill from his mother. Taking a pen, he translated as he read.
“What did she write?”
Kieran exhaled and tilted the book so his mother could read the page. She had tears in her eyes by the end and he stood to pat her soothingly on the back. He really disliked seeing women cry. “Don’t cry, mom.”
She wiped at her tears and smiled. “I’m alright, Al. Honestly.”
He walked over to the couch and sat down, leaving the journal on the table. He was going to have a girl and she was going to be important. “Mom, has Siobhan ever been wrong?”
Eva sat down on the chair he’d just vacated and began flipping through the pages. “Not that I’ve ever known about, no.”
“I’m having a daughter.”
Eva frowned and traced Siobhan’s handwriting. “It would seem so. Kieran?”
Kieran sighed; he knew what was coming next. He could feel her emotions shifting from sorrow and loss to disappointment. He’d heard this argument a thousand times but his mother seemed to think if she brought it up just once more, he would suddenly agree with her. “I’m marrying her, mom.”
“I think it’s foolish to jump into a marriage just because she’s pregnant.”
“You said that already. Countless times.” Kieran slouched on the couch.
Eva stood and began placing books back on a shelf. She managed to put four books away before turning to glare at him. “Al, you don’t even know her. You can’t get married!”
“I do and I can. I am.” He stood up and walked over to her. “Mom, I want your blessing but I don’t need it. Why can’t you just be happy for me?”
“Are you sure it’s your baby?” He could tell she regretted the words the moment she said them but that didn’t help with the anger he felt at hearing them.
“Are you f – are you kidding me?” He glared at her. “You of all people should know better.”
Eva looked properly chastened but he didn’t care. He was going to get married, the sooner the better. He regretted asking Lorde to wait, especially if this was the reaction from the most important person in his life.
“Yes, the baby is his, Mrs. King.”
Kieran and Eva both whipped around to see Lorde standing in the doorway. She looked calm but Kieran knew that was a façade. He’d spent enough time with her to know when she was pissed. “Lorde…”
“No, it’s okay Kieran. We haven’t known each other long enough that there could be no doubt. I get it.” She turned to look at Eva. “But I assure you, I’ve been faithful to Kieran. No matter that my profession might imply otherwise.”
Eva frowned and Kieran cursed silently. He hadn’t told his mother what Lorde did for a living. He’d hoped now that she was pregnant and they were getting married, she’d quit. In which case, he saw no need for his mother to ever know.
Lorde glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. “You didn’t tell her?”
“Tell me what?” Eva asked.
“That I’m a stripper, Mrs. King.”
“A what?” Eva dropped the book she’d been holding and Kieran bent to pick it up, wishing he could skip the conversation like a page in a book.
“A stripper. I take my clothes off for money.” Lorde walked further into the room. “It’s how your son and I met, actually. I took him to a private room where he paid me to take my clothes off for him.”
She was enjoying this and Kieran wanted her to stop. He didn’t find it amusing at all. “Lorde, that’s enough!”
She flashed angry eyes at him and he was momentarily taken aback. But just as quickly as it had come, her anger was gone, replaced with a sad look and teary eyes. “Fine. I just came in here to tell you that it was getting late and we should start heading back. Sorry for interrupting your private conversation.”
Kieran felt like a jackass. He’d made it seem like he was ashamed of her by not sharing her profession and he’d chided her in front of his mother when all she was doing was standing up for herself. Fucking great, you idiot.
He turned to Eva, who was staring at him. “Mom, we have to go. I’ll call you when we have the details for the wedding. You don’t have to be there but it would make me happy if you were.”
He bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek and without waiting for a reply, turned and ushered Lorde out of the room, a hand placed low on her back.
They were in the car and driving towards the freeway when Lorde broke the silence. “I don’t know if getting married is such a good idea.”
Kieran let out a heavy breath; he knew she’d say something like that. “Lorde, I am sorry for earlier. I should have…I shouldn’t have…” He didn’t even know where to start.
“Kieran, I’m not ashamed of what I do. It’s a job. I chose to do it. If you’re not okay with that, then we shouldn’t be together.”
“That’s not – hell Lorde. I’m sorry, okay. I just didn’t know how and she hadn’t asked. I wasn’t purposely keeping it from her. My mom was still upset about the wedding, I wasn’t thinking about you at the time.”
Wrong thing to say. He should just stop talking completely.
Lorde stared out the window for a long while before saying, “If we get married, if we start a life together, you’re going to have to change that mentality. I want to be a priority to my husband. Not the woman he keeps around for sex and because she had his kid. If that’s what you’re looking for then I’ll give you back your ring right now.”
Kieran slowed the car down before pulling up by the side of the road. He turned to her. “That is not why I’m doing this and you know it. I want to be with you and the baby. God, we talked about this already!”
“Do you really? I sometimes think you just feel like you have to. I don’t want us to be like my parents, Kieran. I don’t want this baby to feel like a mistake. I don’t want to feel unwanted by your family. I’m going to keep this child whether you are in or out, I’m going to raise him or her. I don’t need you to do that.”
Kieran reached over and pulled her in for a kiss. “I know you don’t, but I don’t want you to do this alone. I want to be there for you, with you. Let me. Please.”
She studied him before giving a short nod. “Okay, but…”
He kissed her again, cutting off any further protests.
“Are you sure that was your first time?”
They were sprawled across the bed, Kieran lying half on top of Lorde, one arm flung across her body and his face pressed against her right breast. He grinned and placed an open-mouthed kiss on her warm skin. She tasted salty and sweet, like chocolate covered strawberries.
“I am pretty good aren’t I?” He chuckled. “Want to try for a world record, Sweetheart?”
She tensed underneath him and didn’t respond. Finally opening his eyes, he glanced up to see her own eyes were closed and her lips had tightened. He rolled off her and sat up. Oh God, had he done something wrong?
“Are – are you okay? Did I hurt you?” He tried to keep the panic from his voice. He hadn’t even thought – was he supposed to do something after having sex? She didn’t seem hurt, surely he would have felt her pain if she was. Then he remembered he couldn’t feel anything from her. But she didn’t look distressed. Maybe… He didn’t know what to think.
She opened her eyes and turned to face him, calm but serious. “Don’t call me that.”
Confused, he frowned. “What?”
“Don’t call me sweetheart. I hate that.”
Was she upset with him? “Okay…”
Her eyes swept down his body and he suddenly realized he was very naked. His hand twitched, wanting to grab a pillow to cover himself. Which was absurd. He wasn’t ashamed of his body, he knew he looked good. He had great genetics and he worked out. He also knew that she’d enjoyed the sex. So what.the.fuck?
“I’m not mad at you Kieran. It’s just, in my line of work, terms of endearment aren’t always used as terms of endearment.”
“Oh.” Of course. The relief that rushed through him was almost palpable.“I’m sorry, I didn’t think. But you’re okay, though? You aren’t hurt?”
“Hurt?” She laughed. “No. I’m surprised but I’m not hurt.”
He wanted to touch her, he wanted to have sex again or maybe just be with her like he was a few minutes ago, wrapped around her body, but she’d closed up and he didn’t feel welcome anymore. She was naked on a bed with him after having amazing sex with him but she was a million miles away.
Kieran spent years reading people, noticing body language, tone of voice, things they meant regardless of what was being said. So even though he couldn’t feel anything, he could tell she wanted to be alone.
“I have to be home soon. Could I use your bathroom?” He kept his voice neutral, his gaze on her face. He could be emotionless too.
She glanced up at him. “You’re a bad liar.”
“Am I?” He was an excellent liar but he’d hoped he wouldn’t have to be, not with her. Maybe he’d been wrong about her or maybe he’d fucked up so bad she was thinking she’d been wrong about him. Only she was too nice to say anything. God, he hoped he hadn’t done anything to fuck this up!
She frowned a little, her eyes tracking his, trying to read him. “Maybe not,” she said softly. She looked towards the door across from the bed. “Bathroom is through those doors.”
As he rose, she called out to him. “Kieran?”
He turned, still wary. “Yeah?”
“Thank you for tonight.” She glanced out her window. “Or morning. It really was amazing. You’re really, uh, amazing.” She sat up and smiled a little. “I’m happy you shared this with me.”
And just like that, she’d thawed. Kieran was grateful; it meant he hadn’t done something wrong. He didn’t have much experience with the whole dating thing and he liked her. A lot. He really wanted this to work out. “Thank you for being…patient?”
She laughed and got off the bed to walk over to him. “Did you still want to try for that world record, Kieran?”
He’d heard his name hundreds of thousands of times before but when she said it in that tone… His response was immediately and unequivocal. “Shower?”
I posted this over at my simblr but thought it would be cute to share here. Some photos I took for the holidays. I especially liked Tony’s family photo, it was cute and way more relaxed than their usual stiff poses. Without further ado:
Left to right: Eva Louise Torres-London King, Matias King, Stephanie Magdalena Zenteri King, and Alistair Kieran Torres-London Zenteri King
Maya Charles-London and Andrei Heron London
Left to right: Riley MacKenzie London, Grace MacKenzie London, Anthony Jacob London, and Emma Paige London
Back Left to right: Emma Paige London, Alistair Kieran Torres-London Zenteri King, and Grace MacKenzie London
Front: Stephanie Magdalena Zenteri King
Warning: some nudity!