If only her idiot father hadn't smeared her pictures all over the evening news! The Black-Wolff Widow was splashed across all the headlines. What was he thinking?!
She stabbed the 'call' button and impatiently waited as the phone rang.
"It's me," she snapped angrily. "Leave me alone!"
She heard her gasp. "Lacie! Oh, my plumbbob!" Her sister's response became muffled, as though she were holding her hand over the mouthpiece. "DAD! It's Lacie!"
Raven scowled. "LEAVE. ME. ALONE!" she hissed, hanging up the phone quickly, before her father could reach the phone.
As if she wanted anything to do with her bleeding heart family. She scowled angrily at that thought. NO! They weren't her family. They were Lacie's family! And Lacie was dead. DEAD!
Fuming, she stomped her foot on the floor. Her father was ruining everything for her! Everything!
She fought the urge to throw her cell phone across the room. That would be too hard to explain to Daryl...
He could've sworn he heard her yelling.
Ever since they'd found out she was pregnant again, Raven had been acting... off... Understatement of the year, he thought with a sigh. He'd found her muttering to herself angrily a number of times and she absolutely refused to fix the TV, nearly losing it when he'd suggested they call out the repairman. She also didn't want to leave the house. Not for prenatal appointments, not for movies out. It was almost like she was scared to step outside...
He cocked his head, listening. He'd heard movement from the sitting room on the second floor.
Raven grimaced at the untimely interruption. The last thing she wanted to do was have Daryl fawning over her!
Daryl nodded, attempting to placating her. "I know, babe. I know!" He'd found that she was hard to talk to when she was in this mood. Nothing he said right now was going to go over well.
Raven smirked. "How do you know it's a girl?" she asked, crossing her arms.
Daryl looked back up, a smile lingering on his lips. "Well, we already have a son. A little girl would be perfect," he told her. "A beautiful little girl with your pretty eyes!"
"Well, that's not the way simbiology works!" she snapped, frustrated again with him. Why did he have to be so... so... simple!
Raven started to shake her head. "No, I don't want to go out in public."
"Just for a little bit, then we'll come home," he pressed. "I really wanted to get a family picture."
Raven thought of the family pictures lining the wall in Sunset Valley with a pang and allowed herself to be persuaded.
"Fine. But we leave when I say we leave!"
Daryl pulled a book of the diaper bag. "I'll hang out here with Onyx and catch up on this pregnancy book. Do you want to sit with us?"
Raven scoffed. She could've told him not to waste his time on that drivel! Pregnancy books told you nothing about being pregnant! "No!" she said with a huff. She looked around him, searching for anything else to do. "I'm going to go get some food."
It would be better after their child was born, he thought, full of hope. Hopefully the baby would change everything!
I should just go home, he tried to convince himself. But, he was already striding towards her, as though pulled by some unknown force.
It should have disturbed him. He was a principled man that depended upon wit and logic, not superstition and emotion.
But there was just something about her..
"I've missed you," he told her simply.
Then, after only seconds, her face cleared as she smiled seductively at him. "I've missed you, too" she admitted in that husky, sultry voice.
Nathan breathed with relief. He'd thought he'd ruined everything because he'd bungled the morning after. In his defense, her unexpected pregnancy had thrown him off... as well as the urn...
"Can I see you again?" he asked.
Raven glanced behind him, towards the fountain once again before meeting his gaze. "I'm with someone else," she told him hesitantly.
Nathan squeezed his eyes shut with defeat. "I know," he admitted heavily. "Is it serious?"
"I'm pregnant," she said slowly, gauging his reaction.
Nathan felt the words hit with the force of a physical blow. She'd moved on. He jerked to his feet.
Raven scurried out of her chair quickly, glancing behind him again. "Wait!" she called out softly, reaching her hand out to stop him.
Nathan's shoulders dropped. He knew what she was suggesting and it finally dawned on him why she kept glancing over her back. He glanced behind him and saw the man with the baby at the fountain. Her husband.
But he already knew his course of action.
He nodded, quick, concise and irrevocable.
"I'm ready to go," she snapped.
Daryl nodded, glancing up with a smile. "Sure, just let me finish this page..."
She folded her arms across her chest and frowned. "You said we would go home when I chose!" she hissed angrily. "And I want to go home, now!" She could feel Nathan's pensive gaze following her every movement.
Getting him out of the house would be easy!
As we walked away, she glanced behind and her eyes made contact with Nathan.
Soon, her eyes promised him with a little smile.
Daryl chuckled. It seemed to amuse him when she called the kid anything other than his name. He seemed to think she was being cute. Really, she just thought the kid was a helpless drain on her life. She'd never wanted to be a mother and soon she would have two brats well before she was even twenty.
He turned to face me. "I don't know..." he hesitated. Raven could feel him grappling between his need to work on his craptastic book and his desire to be there for her.
She forced a smile to her face. "Really, I'm fine," she promised. Just go. Just go. Just go, she chanted in her head.
Daryl swallowed thickly and nodded hesitantly. "Okay, sounds good," he said with false cheer. "I'll head down to the cafe and work on my book."
Raven nodded, all but shooing him from the nursery. "Great. Go! Have fun!"
He took a sip of his chai tea, then took a deep, clearing breath. Opening his eyes, he drummed his fingers lightly on the keyboard. So far, his main character, Roland, had just discovered the woman he was entranced by was actually a werewolf.
And that was where his story was stuck. For some reason, he was having trouble encouraging Roland to enter Theresa's world of werewolf intrigue. He kept cautiously hanging back on the fringe of something more.
As he re-read the draft, trying to sink into his story, it struck him how much Roland's love interest reflected Raven...
He sunk his head into his hands.
"Come in," Nathan said nervously after answering the door. His gaze dropped to the baby in her arms.
"There's something I have to tell you," she said softly, licking her lips.
He nodded, leading her into his kitchen.
She lowered her lashes. "But I made a horrible mistake," she whispered.
Hope flared in Nathan's eyes.
After all, you never knew when you might need an Option B.
"I've got to get home!" he said under his breath as he jumped up and hurried to catch a cab. He'd been worried about their relationship and considering a divorce. He wanted to kick himself! But, it was just a normal stage of pregnancy!
The cab driver scoffed and threw a disgusted look over his shoulder. "It's storming out there and you want me to go faster? Plumbbob, they don't pay me enough for this job!" he muttered under his breath.
Daryl sunk back in his seat and waited anxiously.
He flew inside. "Raven?" he called out, listening.
He didn't hear any movement that would indicate where she was. The house felt empty and quiet. He began to worry. Did she leave him? Is that why she'd wanted him out of the house? His stomach clenched with fear.
The truth of the matter is that she'd just gotten home and threw herself into bed when she heard the front door slam open.
Raven rolled back to her side and closed her eyes tightly. Daryl's thoughts were bouncing off the walls, making her feel strangled. "Will you get him?" she asked, waving him from the room. After spending the afternoon with Nathan, Daryl's neediness seemed stifling.
"Of course," Daryl nodded, slipping from the room silently, hoping Raven would be able to slip back to sleep.
Onyx turned at his voice. "Da!" he called out happily. "Da! Da!"
Onyx laughed as he flew up in the air. He started babbling about his day in incomprehensible snippets.
"Oh! Sounds like fun!" Daryl murmured in response. "Time for bed, little man."
"NOOOOO!" Onyx protested loudly.
He settled Onyx into the crib and kissed the top of his head. "Sleep well, little man."
His eyes widened when he found himself staring back at a blonde Raven. As blonde as Onyx...
Clicking the back button, he selected the article, delving into the mystery of the Black-Wolff Widow and working out a timeline...