Author's Note: It's so embarrassing that I haven't posted in such a long time which is why I am posting this chapter, incomplete as it is. I am one of the least organized people in the world (maybe I put a little too much faith in fate, lol) and what happened to me was this: I had this part written within a week of posting the last chapter back in August (bad Beth, bad Beth! Yes, I deserve flames for such terrible behavior) but it was far from constituting a complete chapter for me because I am a perfectionist etc. I had almost completed the last 75 when my brother and I switched computers (I have a laptop and he has a full-blown PC but because he is doing a semester abroad in Lancaster it made sense to help him save some money on shipping by swapping). He is supposed to e:mail the rest to me but as it is unfinished anyway and he is having trouble with his internet connection, there is no guarantee when it will be done. (Especially when a bum like me is involved). I've felt terrible guilty though and that is why I am posting this interlude. Just to make sure you know I'm still alive and kicking.
Oh yes- and Happy Valentines Day everyone!
That Simple Magic
Eva's wailing woke me up as his screams were gradually taken up and echoed by his little brother Dorian. Darien (mister helpful) groaned and burrowed his head underneath the pillows. Blinking sleepily, I pushed the covers off of me, turned on the light, and took the couple of steps to the bassinet where my troublemakers slept. Eva's chubby arms and legs beat the air vigorously as an angry extended shriek erupted from his red scrunched up face. Tears streamed down Dorian's face. I really need more hands.
"Whew," I sniffed Eva as I picked him up; someone needed a diaper changed. "No wonder you're screaming. Darien, wake up!"
"Hmph," he snorted, ignoring me as well as valiantly ignoring the caterwauling of his sons. I cradled Eva on my shoulder and padded out to the kitchen. A few ice cubes in a glass, add a little water from the faucet and viola: the recipe for the perfect wake-up remedy! Eva sniffled, cuddling his head into my shoulder as I poured the frigid water onto his daddy.
"Aargh!" Darien gargled, leaping from the bed furiously. His eyes narrowed to slits as he shook as much of the water as possible off of himself and went to cheer up Dorian. I wanted to snigger but restrained myself with some effort. Instead, I returned to living area and proceeded to change Eva's diaper. Luna's dark furred body showed up as I made to throw away the soiled nappies.
"Long time no see," I greeted quietly, kneeling on the floor and relishing the fact that though I still retained some weight, I could get myself out of a chair.
"So this is the kid," Luna said, disregarding my comment. She leaned over and tickled his face with her whiskers. Eva cooed and blew baby kisses at her. Luna drew back as one kiss managed to reach her nose. "Blech." Her expression was both besotted and disgusted.
"Luna meet Evander, Evander this is your auntie Luna," I introduced. Eva didn't react except to yawn sleepily. I gathered him up gently. "Now Luna," I said, "where have you been all this time?" I recalled that she had been missing since before I had moved in with Darien.
"No where in particular," the cat answered innocently. She proceeded to clean her face. "Artemis and I just had business to attend to."
"Right, business," I agreed complacently although I didn't believe her one single iota. Luna whipped her tail at me. "I have to go back to bed, Darien's probably wondering what has happened to me and Junior."
"You're sleeping in the same room as that man?" she exclaimed in shock. I shrugged, not answering.
"We'll talk more in the morning," I said. "Oh, and by the way, don't speak to Darien just yet. He doesn't know you can talk."
"Fine," she answered with a dignified sniff.
Darien rolled over onto my side of the bed as I entered the bedroom. "That's my spot," I complained as I climbed into bed after putting Eva back in his crib. Darien seemed to have done a good job settling Dorian back down since his namesake was sleeping peacefully. "Hey! This is wet!"
His mischievous blue eyes regarded me from my pillow and he smirked. "Haha."
The dream started just as it had before. "Hello darling," I cooed to the chubby little bundle in my arms, "yes, aren't you precious? Mama woves you, yes she does!" My adorable, rosy cheeked little boy gurgled and blew bubbles at me. He had sleepy blue eyes underneath a tuft of ebony hair. Yes, what a handsome boy!
"Serena, have you seen my silk tie anywhere? The blue one?" Darien asked, buttoning up his shirt as he walked barefooted into the kitchen. He stooped to place a kiss on my cheek and I smiled in spite of myself.
"Did you check the hanger?" I asked with as innocent a face as possible.
"Of course I did," Darien grumbled, running a hand through his hair so that it was rumpled just like his son's. His appearance was gorgeous as usual, dressed in a crisp white shirt and black pants that I knew personally were tailored to his shape perfectly. "What do you think I am, an idiot?"
"Mama," Evander whined, running circles around the kitchen. Dorian was sitting at the counter watching his dad become more and more frustrated as he searched for the missing tie. "Dimitri is in my head again; tell him to get out!"
"Now Eva," I soothed, sitting Dimitri down in his high chair. "You know Dimitri can't control his telepathy yet."
"Why not, Mama?" Eva asked. He and Dorian were in their 'why' stage and they had to know the reasoning behind everything.
"You're tie is in between the washer and dryer, Daddy," Dorian announced. "Mama forgot to wash it so she hid it. Dimitri watched her."
Darien focused a glare on yours truly. I pouted at the way Dorian had exposed me. "Oops?" Abruptly, Darien strode across the kitchen and swung me around by the waist.
"You devil, you know I can't resist you when you pout," he complained before kissing me thoroughly. That had been the general idea behind the pout but I couldn't manage to remember it when he was giving me such delightful tingles.
"Gross," Evander said, tugging on Darien's pants. He pulled away regretfully. "Daddy, will you bring me home ice cream? Please?"
"No he will not, Eva," I said. I narrowed my eyes at Darien, knowing how he spoiled our children. "Don't you dare Darien."
"I wouldn't even dream of disobeying you," he promised, stroking Eva's curls. I regarded him suspiciously before the doorbell rang. For some reason, I didn't doubt that there would be ice cream in our freezer this evening.
"Auntie Rei is here!" Dorian shrieked, abandoning his perch on the chair and running to answer the door. Rei was one of his favorite people since she spoiled him so much. Darien left the kitchen to find a clean pair of socks. Dorian returned to the kitchen looking a little sulky, probably because of the toddler on Rei's hip. Gwendolyn was only a year and a half with her mother's lilac eyes and her father's golden hair.
"Good morning Rei, Gwennie," I said, giving my friend a hug. We were going to go to the park and then out for lunch as soon as I managed to finish up breakfast with my boys.
"Thewie!" Gwennie giggled. Her kiss and fingers were still sticky from the jam on her toast which she had had for breakfast. Dorian's frown intensified and he convinced Eva to come watch television with him. The little scamp adored Dimitri and had no problem sharing the attention with him or Jack, Rei's oldest son. Maybe he believed girls had cooties already?
Darien returned to the kitchen with a different tie around his collar and his briefcase in one hand. Absentmindedly, he grabbed a handful of Dimitri's mushy cereal. "Hello Rei. Goodbye!" he put the handful of cereal in his mouth and made a face. "Yuck."
"You realize," Rei said after the door had closed behind Darien, "that you just let him go to the office with lipstick on his collar."
"He deserved it," I answered unrepentantly.
Sunlight slipped through the curtain and woke me up early the next morning. I moaned and rolled further into the middle of the bed. I kept rolling, expecting to hit someone, until BAM, I landed with a thump on the floor.
"Ow," I complained, rubbing my head and blinking in the bright sunlight. Only Dorian was still in the crib, snoozing away the day. Damn it! I thought.
Out in the kitchen, Darien was grilling bacon and flipping pancakes that smelled absolutely delicious. Eva was in his carrier, watching with awe-struck eyes. My eyes were a little awe-struck too and in spite of myself, my mouth went dry at the sight of his bare back. Then I shook myself out of it.
"I had a weird dream last night," I announced as I stole the plate with the stack of finished pancakes. I helped myself to ten before putting the empty plate back next to Darien. He frowned at me.
"I did hear a thump," he laughed at me.
"That was your fault," I sniffed. "If you had still been in bed, than I wouldn't have fallen out. Now that I think about it, I bet the dream was your fault too."
"Naturally," Darien retorted with characteristic egotism. "I know what my proximity does to your brain."
"Whatever," I grumbled, being unable to find a good comeback.
"Case in point," he cried, waving the tongs he used for the bacon.
"Back to me," I said, searching the fridge. "Where is the syrup?"
"On the table, Meatball Brains."
"Anyway, my dream. You wouldn't believe what happened."
"Oh?" Darien added the entire batch of finished bacon to his plate along with the rest of the pancakes. I blushed a little, not sure that I really wanted to finish this conversation. Good one, I thought sourly to myself. Way to bring up a dream in which you acted like a real married couple. To bide time, I stole a strip of bacon from Darien's breakfast. He whacked my wrist with his fork but I ate it anyway. Luna twined around my ankles: the greatest distraction tool.
"Luna!" I exclaimed in surprise as if I hadn't already seen her in the middle of the night. Darien's eyebrows twitched. "Darien, you remember Luna, don't you?" I held her up.
"I remember her on my head once or twice," he grumbled, taking a bite from his pancakes.
"Oh, well," I coughed. "There's also something else you should know about Luna."
"She's not trained?"
"Not very well," I giggled. Luna hissed. "But that's not it. What do you think of talking animals?" Darien didn't answer but his eyes didn't leave my face.
"Are you implying that your kitty can talk?"
"Yes," Luna burst out. "Wow, how stupid are you?"
"Luna!" I yelled as Darien's eyes bugged out. Dorian began to cry in the other room and I dropped Luna onto the floor to go get him. I came back to the kitchen soothing Dorian.
"You have two kids?" Luna gasped in shock. "You didn't mention that last night!"
"There were other things on my mind," I declared self-righteously.
Darien, meanwhile, was completely nonplussed at the table. He continued to stare at Luna in disbelief.
"I'm guessing that you aren't going to eat that," I reflected aloud and helped myself to some of Darien's breakfast.