Chapter 20: Tell Tale Hearts Part 1

Gar stared at her, "She said you're pregnant?" He hadn't heard right, he couldn't have heard right. How could Kori be pregnant? Everything was going so great for her, she and Richard were so happy and her career was picking up again, it just didn't seem right.

Kori looked down at her hands and nodded her head, still clearly disoriented by the news. She felt Gar's hand rubbing her back, trying to be comforting but she just felt sick. In truth, Kori didn't know how she should feel. She felt Gar take a seat on the edge of her bed and wrap his arms around her shoulders. She rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes as she heard him ask the very question she had been scared to confront. "Who's the father?"

  

Raven pushed the hospital doors open and ran to the information desk. Panting she rested her hands on the countertop, "what room is Kori Anders in?" The attendant stared at her wide eyed for a moment before pulling out a clip board and giving Raven directions.

  

Raven watched Kori and Gar through the small thick glass window in the door of Kori's hospital room curiously, her stomach knotting with dread. What had happened? Kori seemed as if she was in shock and Gar was holding her, whispering something in her ear.

Swallowing she knocked on the door feeling it wrong to just barge in on them. She shifted her bag on her shoulder and rubbed one of her feet against the opposite leg jumping slightly when the door began to creak open.

Gar looked at her surprised; she supposed he hadn't expected her to get here so fast. "No traffic," she answered her breath still ragged. "How's Kori?"

"She's alright, really Raven." She tilted her head to the side. The words were good news, wonderful in fact. But the way he said them, disbelief in his voice, making his words which were meant to be comforting scare her even more. "Maybe you should talk to her," he replied stepping aside to let her enter.

Raven stared at him as she walked inside the room before turning to Kori and rushing to her side. Instantly, she was on the edge of Kori's bed hugging the shocked woman and apologizing her heart out. "I'm so sorry I left you. I'm so stupid! I knew you were sick, I knew something was wrong and I still went! I can't believe I did that to you I don't know what I was thinking, I'm so sorry Kori."

Kori rested her hand on Raven's forearm, "please, do not apologize. You have done nothing wrong."

Raven pulled back and looked at her; she had the same tone in her voice as Gar had. "Okay, what's going on?" She looked from Kori to Gar and back in confusion. "What aren't you two telling me?"

Gar turned to look at Kori who met his gaze with anxious eyes. He hadn't said a word to Raven about anything, leaving it up to Kori. Kori breathed in deeply before resting her hand on Raven's forearm, getting her attention. "I…um…I, please don't be upset with me…" Kori wriggled her hands together in her lap. She didn't know how to tell her, she knew Raven was going to be disappointed at her for not being responsible and not taking the right precautions, and she was going to tell her how this wasn't the right time to have a baby. Kori could just picture it, 'how could you let this happen, you're career's just starting to pick up and you were in such a good place with Richard…'

Kori's eyes shot open when she felt Raven's warm hand under her chin, lifting her face up so her eyes met Raven's. "You can tell me Kori, I won't be upset with you…" Kori felt her stomach knot, Raven sounded so hurt.

"I'm pregnant," she turned her face away sharply. She closed her eyes tighter when she felt Raven's hand still and slip away.

Then suddenly, she was being hugged. "Are you doing okay? How do you feel about this?"

Kori didn't answer her. She didn't know how she felt. She'd wanted a child, had for a long time but she was so afraid. "I…I don't know yet…"

"Who's the…" Raven knew she was being rude asking at the moment but…she couldn't help it.

Kori's shaky hand rested gently on her stomach, her other hand lying on top of her wrist, "Richard. Richard is the father my baby."

  

"You've gotta stop this Kor," Gar said with a laugh, "at this rate that hospital's gonna start becoming your second home."

Kori smiled, "I know, but you heard Doctor Stein, if I just starting eating better, getting the right amounts of protein and calcium and all that in my diet, I'll be alright."

Gar leaned down slightly to kiss her cheek, "that's where I come in. From this point on I'm putting you on a healthy diet made by yours truly. You won't be going back to a hospital bed anytime soon."

Kori laughed, wrapping her arms around his neck from behind, leaning forward she whispered in his ear, "Can you start now?"

"Hah! Yeah I can." He laughed before looking around the room. "Where's Raven?"

Kori pulled away, looked around as well concern in her eyes, "I do not know, I though she was with us?"

Gar turned towards the door, "I'm gonna go find her make sure she's okay."

"No, you get in that kitchen. I'll go find her," Kori said turning him and pushing him towards the stairs.

  

Raven sat in the lobby of her apartment building, her shaking hands fingering a pack of cigarettes. She knew she shouldn't, she knew but after everything that's she's been through these past few days, who could blame her. Besides it'd only one cigarette…what's one cigarette anyway…

Getting up she headed outside, cigarette already between her lips, her lighter already at her mouth. Leaning against a tree, she rested her head back and closed her eyes. She pulled the cigarette from her lips and exhaled deeply before putting it back to her mouth. She glanced at the door to her apartment building every so often, scared out of her mind that Gar was going to come outside and see her. She knew he'd never forgive her if he caught her smoking again.

"Raven?" The sound broke the quiet night air and made her jump. She quickly threw the cigarette to the ground and turned around.

"Kori?" She said relieved, her hand at her neck. "You scared me. I thought you were Gar," she confided.

Kori's face showed no emotion except for her eyes, which were filled to the brim with sadness and disappointment, "When he realized you weren't there he got worried and wanted to go and look for you." Raven's eyes widened. "I told him to stay, that'd I'd get you. I'd hoped you weren't…but I'd wanted to be the one to find you…just incase you were doing…what you were doing." Kori looked away, "why Raven?"

Crushing the toe of her boot on the cigarette she looked up at Kori, grabbing her arm and leading her back into the building, "I don't want to talk about this right now. C'mon, lets get back to Gar."

In the elevator Raven rummaged through her bag, finding a handful of mints she popped them in her mouth. She turned to Kori, "please don't tell him. I'll deal with it; right now's just not the right time. Okay?"

Turning away Kori ran her fingers over the mirrored elevator wall, "okay."

  

"Hey you!" Gar called when he saw Raven and Kori enter, "I was worried about you," he threw the dish towel he had been wiping his hands on on the counter top and made his way over to them. The apartment smelled wonderful and the sizzling sounds from the kitchen gave the place new life. Coming closer he wrapped his arms around Raven's waist and leaned down to kiss her lips. Pulling away he rested his forehead on hers, "I was worried about you, everything okay?" He ran his hands up and down her arms, "I know this all must be a shock to you, and you've had such a long day, you've been up almost twenty four hours."

Raven shook her head but sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning her head on his shoulder. She snuggled into the crook of his neck and he held her, puzzled. He didn't know what to say. Raven didn't usually act this way. They were close, and had been close together before but right now she seemed almost insecure. He shook his head, she was probably just tired and he was reading too much into things. Lifting her into his arms he brought her over to the couch and sat down, Raven on his lap.

He brushed at her hair, pushing it behind her shoulder. Her head stayed tucked into his neck and he felt her arms, which had moved to around his neck when he'd lifted her, loosen and begin to fall down his shoulders. Gar sighed, getting up and resting Raven on the couch. He pulled a blanket off the back of the couch and draped it over her before leaning down to kiss her forehead. He brushed her hair behind her ear before taking her shoes off and heading back into the kitchen.

Kori, who had gone to the bathroom to wash up, stood at edge of the hallway and watched Gar take care of Raven. She smiled as she watched him hold her, stroke her cheek, play with her hair, kiss her gently…he was such a good man and it hurt her so much to know that he was going to be so hurt when he found out that Raven was smoking again.

And it hurt her even more not to know why…

  

"Here ya go, ma'm," Gar grinned as he placed a plate of pasta in front of her. It looked amazing. Kori could smell the butter and basil the blanketed the dish. Mingling with the tender pasta were grilled vegetables and feta cheese had been lightly sprinkled on top.

"Gar," Kori stared at the plate in wonder. It made her laugh to think that for years he'd been cooking her amazing dishes and every time they amazed her. "This is wonderful. Thank you."

Gar smiled, sitting down across from her at the dining room table with a plate of his own. "Thanks Kor, it's really nothing."

Kori glanced to her right at Raven who slept on the couch in the living room. "She's just tired, she'll be fine." Gar's voice made Kori jump and she turned back to him in surprise before looking down at her food again. "Of course, right, she's had a very long day and then an equally long night. You both did not have to stay with me all night last night." She had tried to get them both to go home and get some sleep but they had both refused, insisting upon staying with her all night. She dosed off every once in a while but never saw Raven fall asleep once. Once, when she woke up during the night she saw Raven resting on Gars chest while he slept, running her fingers over his shirt. She seemed so lost in thought then, what had she been thinking about? She seemed so troubled lately…

"Kori, we wanted to. Speaking of which," he hesitated, not sure if she was ready to talk about this yet. "Have you decided what you're going to do about…" he trailed off, feeling awkward.

Kori looked down at her stomach, resting a hand over it. "I'm going to tell him, it would be wrong not to. We'll figure out what to do together from there."

"What do you want to do?"

"I don't know. I don't know what I want." She looked up at Gar, "I want a child Gar, I do. But I don't know if having one fits into my life right now. I mean, I was just going to start my career up again and Richard and I, everything is so wonderful between us. But then again, I've lost my baby before. The pain that caused me…I don't know if I could just get rid of a baby, especially after that." She hesitated and her voice became a light whisper as tears filled her eyes, "I do want to have a baby though, and I do want to be a mommy…"

Gar reached across the table and took her hand, holding it tight, "I know."

  

"Oh, gosh, she can't stay there it'll put her in danger." Kori said as she and Raven sat on the couch wrapped up in blankets. They were staying in today, just having a girls day to do nothing of importance and not worry about any of their troubles, at least for a couple of hours. They we're watching some movie on Encore at the moment, a very juicy thriller actually with Jennifer Lopez called Enough.

"Yeah I know she has to get out of Emerald City, but where can she go?" They were both so caught up in the movie that they jumped when the phone began to blare. Not taking her eyes away from the television Kori picked up the phone off the table next to the couch.

"Hello?" She asked, her voice far off, her attention on the movie.

"Hey, Kori? It's Richard."

Suddenly her attention was fully on the phone, "Richard, hello. H-how are you?" She shakily twisted the cord between her hands. It had been three days since she found out about her pregnancy and in truth she had been avoiding him, intentionally not picking up his calls when she saw his name flash across the caller ID.

"I'm fine. I haven't talked to you in a while, I've called and you haven't called me back. Is everything okay?" She heard the nervousness in his voice and she felt her stomach knot up with guilt. It wasn't right what she was doing, she had to talk to him.

"I'm sorry Richard. It's been a hectic couple of days. I-I would like to see you though….soon! I mean, um, if that's possible." She wanted to do this before she lost her nerve.

She winced as her heard his voice perk up, "yeah, that'd be great. That's actually why I called, I really want to see you Kori…"

"Come here!" It was a sudden burst of inspiration. She would be much more comfortable telling Richard here than anywhere else, this was her home after all. Raven could go out with Gar for the night, or even just have some time to herself, she wouldn't mind.

"Oh, um, okay, sure."


"Okay, yeah."

"Eight o' clock tonight, I'll have dinner ready."

"Okay, I'll see you tonight."

Kori signed, resting the phone back on its cradle. She's done it, too late to go back now. "How are you going to tell him?" She looked up to see Raven staring at her.

Kori slumped back down under her blanket and rubbed her stomach, it didn't look any different yet and she didn't feel like she was with child but she was and she knew that she couldn't put off telling Richard any long. "I don't know yet, I'll think of something."

  

Kori set the candles on the table, they were the final touch. She'd asked Gar to make a special dinner for her and Richard, considering she couldn't cook to save her life, and he had dutifully agreed. Raven had also agreed to go out for the night, though she's chosen to go out by herself, not with Gar, and that troubled her. But she'd have to think about it though; right now she had to do this.

Running over to the full length mirror which hung on the back of her bedroom door Kori examined how she looked. She didn't dress fancy, just a loose, knee length black skirt and a purple long sleeved, V-neck shirt. She inhaled deeply; he'd be here any minute. She was still debating whether to tell him before or after dinner. If she waited to tell him after, she surely wouldn't be able to eat, but maybe that was best…

Hearing the doorbell ring, she jumped in surprised before heading slowly down the hall to answer it.

"Richard," she smiled, opening the door fully to let him in. He smiled, stepping in and wrapping an arm around her waist, pulling her to him. Before she could register what was happening he was kissing her, hard and hungry. Unconsciously her hands came up to thread in his hair before sliding down to cup his cheeks.

He pulled away and grinned, "I haven't seen you all week. I have a lot of lost kissing to make up for." He let her go and look around. He'd never been to Raven's apartment and he was curious to what it looked like. It was nice and neat as he's expected but much bigger than he's thought it to be. "This is a great place," he commented shifting the bag in his hand.

Kori nodded, closing the door, "yes, the penthouse. It's very nice and Raven has always kept her home in impeccable condition." Kori looked at the bag in Richard's hands curiously before smiling at him, "maybe I take your coat?"

He laughed, shrugging out of it, "not used to that," he muttered in a sheepish admittance. She laughed lightly, taking it from his and hanging it the closet next to the door. "What's that?" She asked, gesturing to the bag in his hands.

Richard pulled something out of the brown paper and held it out to her. Kori stared wide eyed at the fancy bottle of wine in his hands before wincing subtly. She quickly smiled to cover it, "Thank you Richard, you really didn't have to do that. I'll take it into the kitchen."

"I wanted to, it's your favorite."

Kori winced as she glanced that the bottle. She sighed, 'it is my favorite. He's so sweet. Oh, how am I going to explain to him why I'm not having any? I'm not ready to tell him I'm pregnant yet. After dinner, yes after…' She smiled at him, "yes, it is."

  

She filled Richard's wine glass with the red liquid before setting the bottle down and sitting across from him. He looked at her, "aren't you going to have any?" He gestured to his glass of wine.

She hesitated, her stomach knotting, she rested her hand on top of his, "I haven't talked to you in a bit, how has work been Richard?"

His eyes tightened as he stared at her curiously, "it's alright. Busy but that's nothing unusual."

She nodded, "have you had a lot of meetings to attend these past couple of days?"

"Not too many actually, I've mostly been dealing with paperwork and the occasional conference via phone, nothing too interesting." He got up, leaving his wine glass on the table and took her hand, pulling her up from her seat.

"Richard…" she hesitated as she felt him wrap his arms around her and pull her too him. She looked into his eyes for a second before quickly turning them to the table.

One of his hands left her waist and touched her cheek. He turned her face toward his before placing a finger under her chin and lifting her face up so her eyes met his. "Why don't we talk about you tonight?" She swallowed as he bent down to kiss her but the moment his soft, warm lips touched hers her mind clouded over and the worry disappeared. Her hands wrapped around his neck as she kissed him back. She felt his hands run up her body and into her hair pulled her head closer to his and deepening the kiss.

When she could go no longer without breathing she parted from his lips and rested her head in the crook of his neck, her hands resting on his shoulders. She signed and closed her eyes as she felt his hands stroke her hair. "How are things with work for you?"

Kori had to work very hard to suppress the nauseating shudder that tried to rock through her. She had to fight hard to even out her breathing and settle her stomach. What was going to happen with her job? How could she model when she was going to be getting bigger and bigger with each passing day and probably going to have sore ankles and have to go to the bathroom all the time and have stretch marks and…'I'm going to hyperventilate if I don't calm down, maybe there is some maternity modeling I can do at the agency when I get…big, with women who are going through the same thing as I am going to be going through.' "Umm, I'm not sure right now. Nothing much has happened yet." Feeling that that answer was going to lead to a whole new set of questions she quickly added, "maybe soon though."

She pulled away and look up and his quickly before glancing at the kitchen, "why don't we have dinner, yes, lets have dinner." She led him back to his seat, "you sit and I'll get it."

"Do you want help?"

"No," she pushed him into the chair, "I'll get it, and you sit. Please, let me do this."

Kori rushed into the kitchen and leaned against the counter top. She closed her eyes before blinking rapidly to evaporate the tears from her eyes. She ran her fingers through her hair and breathed deeply in and out…in and out…

She turned to the countertop once again and took hold of a bowl, carrying it to the dining room table. She placed it down in the center of the table and reached for Richard's bowl, "I hope you like this Garfield showed me how to prepare this and I think it is very good." Her hands jittered and her eyes never met his as she pour some of the soup into his bowl before placing it before him and doing the same with her own bowl. She then brought the large bowl into the kitchen. Coming back to the dining room she found Richard standing behind her chair, having pulled it out, Kori smiled and sat down. "Thank you," she replied quietly as he took his seat once again.

"It's Spinach Potage with a little bit of dill and lemon for flavoring. Please try it, if you do not like it I will find you something else, please do not hesitate to tell me so. I know it is a bit, adventurous."

Richard smiled and picked up his spoon, he brought the full spoon to his lips before swallowing. He looked up at Kori with a smile, "it's delicious. You made this?"

She blushed, "Yes. You really like it?"

"Yeah, it's great. I've never had anything like this before."

Kori smiled, taking a spoonful of her own.

  

After finishing their soup Kori removed their bowls, once again insisting that Richard stay seated. "If I'd had any idea that you were going to argue this so much I would have taken you out to dinner." When she saw him about to protest she grinned, "though I'm sure you would have fought me for the check." She put the bowls in the sink before coming back to the dining room where Richard reluctantly sat. She leaned down and wrapper her arms around his shoulders. She kissed her neck lightly, "please, I want to do this for you." She kissed his hard jaw line up to the hallow under his ear, "please let me."

He sighed, how could he deny her and what was the point in even trying to resist? She smiled giving him one more kiss on the cheek before heading into the kitchen to retrieve the main course.

"I hope you like this, Garfield and I prepared this before you arrived. Its lasagna," she pulled back the silver foil, "though of course, as you most likely assumed considering Gar prepared it, it is vegetarian." She signed looking down at the dish, "I do apologize, I am not a very good cook. I can not take credit for this; I simply helped when he needed something."

She felt Richard stand from his chair and she closed her eyes and leaned against him and he came up closely behind her. His hands slid over hers and he took the serving silverware from her. Following her seductive example he kissed the back of her expose neck, his warm breath caressing her ear, and up to her temple. He heard her sigh and he smiled, "let me serve you, you've done so much tonight."

"But Richard-"

"Shhhh," he placed the serving silverware next to the tray and brought her over to her chair. Pulling it out he motioned for her to sit down. He heard her sigh in defeat and he raised her chin so she could see him smile at her.

  

"Did you really like it? Everything was really alright?" Kori asked eagerly after dinner as they sat on the sofa in the living room. Kori lifter her head from Richard's shoulder and smiled at him.

"Yeah, Kori. Everything was amazing." Smiling, he took her hand and kissed the back of it and then turned it over, kissing her palm. She blushed and he continued, "I can't believe you did all this. Thank you so much."

She held his hand tightly and kissed his fingers, "please stop thanking me Richard. You are too kind." She felt his other hand rest on her cheek and she closed her eyes with a sigh, leaning into his warm hand. She felt his other hand stroke her hair, tucking it behind her ear.

Her stomach dropped and she remembered.

She had to do this now. If she didn't she was probably going to lose her nerve and with Richard here she was definitely going to lose her mind, she could never think clearly when she looked into his eyes…or smelled his breathe…or felt his hands on her…

Straightening up she removed his hands from her face and hair, holding his in hers on her lap. "Richard," her serious and nervous tone made him straighten up as well, "I need to talk to you about something very important." She stammered but managed to get the sentence out clearly enough to remove the smile from his face and replace it with a concerned expression.

His hands pulled away from hers and he held her forearms. He looked at her, "Kori, are you okay? You're shaking, what's wrong?"

She breathed in deeply once more before letting out the breath in a shudder.

"Kori…?" he asked again.

She looked away from him; she felt the tears in her eyes. She was just, so scared. What if he never wanted to see her again? What if he blamed her? What if he didn't want to keep it…what if he did? With all these thoughts running through her mind Kori didn't feel Richard's hand gently take her face it their warm grasp and turn her to face him. She opened her eyes and breathed in once again, "Richard…"she breathed out.

"What is it? Please tell me."

She looked into his concerned eyes.

She couldn't keep this from him any longer; it was too late now to wait.

But she shook her head and let the tears blur her vision, "please," she pleaded shaking her head, "please, please, please don't be angry with me."

"Kori," he stared at her in fear not knowing what to do. He moved closer to her taking hold of her waist and pulling her to him. "I won't be mad at you. Just please, tell me what's wrong." He felt her shudder against him and burry her head in his neck.

He held her tighter, "please Kori…"

He couldn't take this much longer.

She pulled away and moved back from his grasp. Shakily she took his left hand in hers. Closing her eyes she held his hand between hers, bringing it to her lips and kissing all his fingers and his palm. She opened her eyes and shuddered once again before looking down at her stomach and slowly moving his hand to rest on it. She gently placed both her hands on top of his.

"Kori…I don't understand…what…" She couldn't look up at him; she continued to stare at their hands. She felt his thumb stroke her stomach gently and she gently ran her fingers over his hand.

"Richard," she exhaled, looking up at him, "I'm pregnant."

She felt his hand freeze and her eyes darted away from his to stare past him, into nothing, she just couldn't look at him. She felt his hand try to break free of hers and she loosened her hands for him.

She could see him pull his hands away and swallow, hard. He stood up and turned away from her, shock stunning him still and speechless. Kori slowly got up but she didn't move toward him, she didn't know if she should. Should she comfort him or give him time? She'd had almost a week to get used to the idea and here he'd had not even two minutes.

She breathed in smoothly but it came out ragged, she fought back tears…fought hard. She had no idea what she wanted to do yet… What if he didn't want her anymore? She couldn't have felt more nauseous. "Richard…" she whispered her voice unsteady and full of emotion. "Please, we'll figure out what to do, we'll sit down and we'll talk about it. It'll be okay. It will."

She saw him close his eyes tight and groan, running his hands over his face and through his hair. She couldn't tell what he was thinking, what that meant.

She didn't say anything in response.

  

Raven stared into the night sky, watching the smoke rings dissipate. She tapped the toe of her boot on the black cement of the deserted parking lot. It was nice here, quiet, just sitting in her car…alone.

She coughed and her stomach dropped. She didn't even want to think what this was doing to her health, she didn't care.

That was it…she just didn't care.

Tears fell from her eyes and she quickly wiped them away. But they kept coming…

Her cigarette fell to the ground…

She cried… her hands covering her face.

  

"Here ya go, Gar." Karen said with a smile handing him a cup of hot tea. He looked up at her from where he sat on her living room couch and smiled in appreciation then saddened he looked down into the cup at the honey colored liquid.

He couldn't get her out of his mind, something was wrong with Raven, something was going on with her, and it plagued him.

Karen took a seat across from him in one of the fluffy arm chairs in the room and smiled at him. "You sure you don't want anything to eat? Vic should be home soon, he's working late today, football season starts soon you know."

Gar laughed, "I'm not really hungry and I don't want to trouble you anymore than I already have. And I really don't know much about sports actually, never really been my thing."

Karen smiled brighter and nodded, "me neither but I humor him." Then she grew serious, "Is everything okay, Gar? I mean, I haven't talked to you or Kori or Raven in a long time. Vic and I are starting to feel outta the loop."

"It's been a crazy couple of weeks, it definitely has. We have to get together, all of us. And we will, just as soon as things settle down again."

"Have things ever settled down? Ever? In our whole lives?"

He laughed, "I can't think of any time in particular off the top of my head…"

"Still, we'll make plans soon for the lot of us. I did speak to Kori though, I know she and Roy called off their engagement and broke up. How's she doing?"

Gar sighed, "she's doing okay, she and Richard are really happy. You still speak to Roy?"

"Yeah, he's still in Jump. He's got his whole life here, his job especially. He's got his own place and he's doin' ok."

"Tell him I said hi, will you? I miss the guy."

"Sure thing." At that moment Karen turned her head towards the direction of the door, hearing it unlocking.

"I'm home," boomed a loud, deep voice.

Karen got up and caught Vic before he stepped past the threshold. "How was work?" She asked with a quick kiss.

"Okay, same as always."

"Hey, dude."

Vic turned his attention from his wife to see Gar sitting on their sofa. He smiled, "hey, man. What's doin?"

"Same old, same old. You?"

"You said it."

Karen patted his well built chest and grinned, "I'll get you some dinner and leave you boys to chat."

  

"So, what do you want to do?"

Kori jumped at the sound of his voice and wiped the rest of her tears away, her voice passed her lips as a horse whisper, "I don't know. I thought we could figure it out together."

"No, what do you want to do?"

"I really don't know, Richard."

He sighed feeling Kori come close to him and rest her hand on his shoulder and rub his arm with her other. He placed his hand on top of hers. "You're sure it's mine?"

For some reason, that question hurt her. It was a perfectly legitimate question but…did that mean he didn't want it? Was he trying to put the blame on Roy? Did he want to use that as an excuse not to take care of the baby, if she decided to have it?

"Yes," she forced her voice to stay level, "I…I never slept with Roy."

His grip on her hand tightened. This was wrong; it wasn't supposed to happen this way. They were supposed to have more time to be together, get married, and then think about kids. He looked over at Kori whose hair fell around her bowed face and he sighed deeply, closing his eyes tightly. "I need to go."

Kori's head snapped up in fear. "No, please, Richard we-"

He pulled away from her heading for the door. "I'm sorry Kori, I just really have to go."

Her heart stopped and she choked on her tears and they clouded her vision. It felt like the ground had crumbled beneath her feet and she was falling. She was falling with no way of stopping…it couldn't be over. Richard wouldn't do that, they'd fought through so much pain to be together, they could handle this. He couldn't do it, he couldn't throw away what they had, what they were going have, he wouldn't… She covered her mouth to stifle her sobs.

Without knowing what to say she let him walk through her door. He did not once turn back to look at her, not to say goodbye…not to say I love you…

With the slam of the door Kori's knees gave out and she fell to the ground covering her face and the tears fell through her fingers.

  

Sniffling Raven wiped her tears and ran her hands over her face and through her hair pushing it back. She knew she was in trouble, emotionally and mentally in trouble. Her stomach dropped at the thought of telling Gar. But was not telling Gar and putting their relationship at risk worth it? Of course not, and she knew that if she kept this up they were going to grow distant and disconnected…and he'd leave her. She'd lose him…she couldn't lose him.

'He's so wonderful, he's caring and he's sweet and I love him and…and,' the realization hit her hard but the acceptance was even harder, 'he loves me too.' It was in that moment she knew. She knew she had to tell him, she had to let him know that she loved him and tell him her fears.

She was going to open her heart to him, make herself vulnerable. She knew he loved her but in the back of her mind, the part of a person's mind where they try to suppress scary thoughts, the part that housed the thoughts that a person did not want to think about, she feared his rejection….

If Gar rejected her….her heart would forever be broken…

She would never love again.

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The tears kept falling. Kori closed her eyes hoping to block their path but they kept falling, they found a way through her closed lids. She held her stomach tightly, and squeezed her eyes tighter.

'I will have the abortion, if that's what Richard wants done I will have the abortion...'

She cried harder her head resting on the carpet and she held her stomach saying goodbye.

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Raven leaned against the door breathing tiredly as she turned the knob. The door opened and she stumbled in. She groped the walls for the light switch and flicked it on. Shakily she made her way to the sofa, flopping down on it. She was so tired, so very tired…

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Kori sat up in bed stretching groggily. For a moment she felt as if she should be worried about something but she wasn't and couldn't remember what it was...

Suddenly the world crashed back down on her as her mind came to complete consciousness. Her whole body shook as she tried to steady her breathing…she wasn't going to cry, couldn't. She'd cried herself out last night, she had nothing left.

Making her way down the hallway she paused at the foot of the stairs. There Raven slept, still dressed in yesterday's clothes, her hair over her face and her arm hanging off the side of the couch. Worried Kori rushed to her, Raven never slept this way, it just wasn't like her.

"Raven?" Kori whispered, pushing her hair off her face. She was out cold. "Oh Raven," Kori moaned worriedly, "what has happened to you?" She called her name again, and again…

Finally, she heard Raven groan and turn her head to the side to hang over the couch. Her eyes opened slowly before she felt her stomach lurch and she quickly turned onto her stomach before she felt her throat grow hot with pain and her stomach continued to purge her system.

"Raven!" Kori screamed jumping out of the way, eyes wide. Having nothing left to eject Raven's exhausted body calmed and her head lolled lazily on the side of the couch. She didn't even seem to realize what she'd done.

Kori moved hesitantly to sit on the edge of the couch and rubbed Raven's back. She leaned over to get a better look at her and quickly pulled her head away. "Raven, how much did you have to drink last night?" The smell of vodka emanated from the dazed woman and if finally registered to Kori that Raven was drunk, very very drunk. "I'm going to take you upstairs and get you changed and into bed, alright?"

Raven didn't say anything but groaned as Kori pulled her up from the couch. She wrapped one of Raven's arms over her shoulders and helped her slowly and carefully up the stairs and to her room. She changed Raven into her pajamas and tucked her into bed. All the while Raven moaned in pain in sickness begging Kori not to tell Gar.

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