Something's Gotta Give

A/N: The prologue of this story is actually two chapters from the story "In the Middle." Chapters 10 and 15 to be exact. I'm not sure if it's all right for me to post the two chapters of another story as a prologue to this story, but they are the prologue to this and I thought it would be silly to direct people back to those chapters to know what's going on here when I could just put them as a prologue. If I'm not supposed to do that, someone let me know and I guess I'll take the prologue out. Sorry this was so long. Enjoy the story.


"Oh, my god, who let this fucking bum in the house?" a teenage Isabel hollered in irritation. Her emerald eyes shone with fire in them as her anger flared like a volcano violently erupting because what was happening.

The house that Isabel was referring to was where she was currently standing. It was a mansion, close to a palace in her opinion. The vaulted ceilings were white and gold, as was the tiled floor. There were ivory columns around in the space that she was stood, which was the lobby of the magnificent house with two male actors.

A movie was in the process of being shot and she was trying to choreograph a fight scene. It was her first solo job and she was trying her best not to screw it up. Thanks to the decided bum walking into the shot, she fairly certain that she was doing just that. She would never hear the end of things from her mother if she managed to botch things on her first run out on her own.

The bum that Isabel was referring to was a young man that seemed to have densely wandered onto the set. He was short, but muscular like a bodybuilder. His short, reddish auburn hair went off in every direction imaginable, as if he had just rolled out of bed and his hair had a mind of its own. His skin had an olive tone to it and his strange eyes, purple in color, were droopy to the point where it seemed safe to assume that he had just woken up or was intoxicated from something or any combination of things. He wore a white v-neck t-shirt that had holes in the right armpit, collar, and abdomen. He rubbed his eye with his large hand, seemingly unaware that he had just stepped into a movie set. He also seemed rather unaware of the danger that he was in by angering Isabel.

"What the fuck?" Isabel shrieked because of the situation. A deep scarlet rushed up her pale face as tension caused veins to pop in her neck. "Manny!" she hollered loud and heated enough to get the actors that she was supposed to be leading to back away from her. They expected her to burst into flames because of the way her temper ignited.

"Oh, dammit," the director of the movie muttered and palmed his face briefly. He happened to be Manny and he knew that when Isabel said his name like that, it was not good. He actually contemplated pretending like he had not heard, but that would only upset her more, which was terrible for business and the wellbeing of everyone around.

Manny turned around from what he was doing, fixing his sporty spectacles to see what made the temperamental fight choreographer sound like she was going to rip his intestines out. He and the crew definitely would not put such a thing past her. He then spotted the decided "bum" and trotted over to him.

"Kane, what the hell are you doing here?" Manny inquired with his chocolate features twisted in utter confusion. He was much taller than the "bum" that he obviously knew. He was skinny, but looked almost as thin as a rail compared to the bum and his thick athletic build.

"Trying to get breakfast, but it's pretty damn crowded … and loud," Kane answered while glancing over at Isabel. He was eighteen years old. His youthful face, though tired, still managed to look vibrant, which was the vibe that he gave off even while exhausted. "And hot," he decided with a grin after giving Isabel the once over. Yeah, it's definitely loud and hot. The latter now concerned him much more than the former.

"Don't even go there, buddy," Manny said when he noticed Kane checking out the raven-haired fight choreographer.

Considering the fact that it was kind of warm, even in the air conditioned house, Isabel was wearing some rather skimpy shorts that showed off her milky, shapely legs that seemed to go on forever. She had on a t-shirt that hugged her torso just right, showing her generous bust size and perfect shape. Her face was nothing short of beautiful, highlighted by usually bright emerald eyes, and crowned off with a flowing river of ebony hair that fell to the small of her back.

Yes, Isabel was very hot, Manny would never argue against that, but she was also … well, Isabel. He suspected that the figure, curves, face, and hair of that woman was to make her tolerable enough to be around when a person knew that at any given moment, she could lose her amicable demeanor and destroy everyone in the room. Isabel was like a ticking time bomb in his opinion. But, she did design one hell of a fight scene and since she was generally good-natured, he did not mind being around her most of the time.

"I gotta go there. What do you think she'd do if I grabbed her ass?" Kane wondered aloud with a sleepy, but cheeky grin on his face.

"Yeah, because we both know girls love it when strange men grab their asses," Manny remarked sarcastically with a deadpan expression. "She would totally kill you, Kane. And I'm not even talking about a pleasant, wonderful, the pain-stops-quickly death," he explained as best he could, even though he had a feeling that he would not get through to the auburn-haired teen.

Kane shrugged. "Some deaths are worth it," he said with a yawn. He rudely just opened his mouth wide as he inhaled deeply, not bothering to cover it at all.

"You don't want to do that. Trust me, you'll lead a much happier life if you just leave her alone. What are you doing here, anyway?" Manny inquired somewhat forcefully and he hit Kane in his barrel chest with the back of his hand as he posed the question.

"Wasn't I coming back today?" Kane asked curiously. He squinted his eyes and scratched the top of his messy dark red hair as if bemused by the inquiry. For him, it was obvious that he was back when he said that he would be.

"No, you said next week. You didn't climb any mountains in a week, right?" Manny pointed out.

Kane's strangely purple eyes widened a little in realization. "Oh, I changed my mind on that. Ended up going and doing some cliff diving and camping out for a few days. Sorry, I came back early. I'll try not to get in your way."

Manny rolled his dark brown eyes, showing his disbelief for that vow. Kane not get in the way? Yeah, and then pigs'll fly to the moon, Manny thought. He knew that Kane would not get in the way with malicious intent. Trouble just followed Kane and his odd nature like a happy shadow.

"Well, gonna go have me some fried eggs," Kane announced and he was about to walked away, but Manny grabbed him by his broad shoulders.

"Kane, seriously, stay away from Isabel. You damn sure won't like it if you piss her off," Manny tried to assure Kane.

The auburn-haired teen just shrugged his friend off and Manny knew that Kane was probably going to get himself killed. It was just the type of person Kane was. When he got an idea in his head, no matter how bad or stupid it was, he had to go forth and get injured by it. Manny just sighed.

"Kane, she'll kill you if you grab her ass," Manny seemed to promise the short fellow.

"It'll be worth it," Kane replied with a delighted smile as he rubbed his hands together, as if he would welcome death if he got the chance to do as he desired.

Manny sighed again and shook his head, knowing that he was wasting his time. He decided to leave Kane to get slaughtered. He was well aware that Kane would harass Isabel, no matter how much he warned the violet-eyed young man. He sighed again and went back to his own work while leaving Kane to his own devices. Maybe if Isabel did not hurt Kane too much, they could all get the scenes shot and be out of there before Kane got upset, not that Manny had ever seen Kane really upset. It was just that he doubted that the eighteen-year-old would take kindly to being beaten up in his own home, even if a lovely lady was doing the beating.

Kane yawned again and began scratching his head while lazily approaching Isabel. She was still fuming over the fact that she had been interrupted. Her slightly pale face was scrunched up from her fury, but all Kane could think was that she looked beautiful when she was angry. Her emerald eyes seemed to spark with energy; sure, it was murderous energy, but it was still fascinating all the same. Oh, you must tempt Fate, his mind ordered him.

Isabel blew off some steam by hollering at the two actors that she was supposed to be designing the fight between. They wisely took their scolding, having found out early on that replying to her when she went on a rant resulted in horrible pain along with belittling and demeaning comments toward their manhood. So, the two grown men stood there like toddlers being reprimanded by an infuriated mother for having broken the rules of the house. And then, the admonishment suddenly stopped.

Isabel squeaked like a mouse out of the blue while her face twisted from fiery anger to unpleasant surprise before settling into homicidal indignation. She turned around on her heel, coming into a right hook punch, which landed right on the cheek of Kane. It was quite the wakeup call for him as his teeth rattled in his skull.

The sound of knuckles meeting bone echoed through the large, open hall and everyone grimaced as the blow landed, crunching upon impact. Kane himself hardly made a sound when the punch connected, but he fell back almost a whole foot while holding his thoroughly injured cheek. He did not collapse to the ground, but his legs wobbled like he was in an earthquake occurred directly underneath him as he rubbed his sore face. Oh, she is a dangerous one, he noted with an internal smile, which only intrigued him more.

"Are you fucking insane!" Isabel screamed at the auburn-haired young man. He had just cupped her rear-end as if it was his property.

"Is that a trick question?" Kane countered with a shameless grin. To do so, he had to ignore the throbbing in his cheek. They both knew that he had to be out of his mind to do what he just did.

"What the fuck is this bum still doing here?" Isabel demanded from whoever had an answer, not that she would like the answer considering the mood that she had worked herself into. Any response that did not involve throwing him out would undoubtedly just piss her off more, which why was no one chimed in.

"Hmm … a bum, you say," Kane commented with an amused smile.

"Get out the hell of here before I throw you out," Isabel stated with a frown.

He could tell that she meant those words from the furious look burning in her quite enchanting eyes. If her punch is any indication of her strength, she probably wouldn't have a problem throwing my little ass out. Still, he continued on being himself with her.

"You gonna throw me out of my own house, Bella?" Kane inquired with a bit of a pout, as if he was heartbroken to hear such a thing. The nickname came out just because she was beautiful and he felt like he was speaking the stone-cold truth when calling her that. She did not take kindly to it, though.

"Your house? Bella?" Isabel's face turned bright red in an outrage by what she felt was a scandalous lie regarding his claim on the house. The fact that he was acting so casual and friendly with her only served to fuel her blazing anger. She did not even know his name after all and he had already taken all sorts of liberties with her.

Isabel, long ago at the end of her patience, took another swing at Kane. It seemed like she was actually trying to take his head off with that blow. The whole film crew grimaced before the hit even landed, appearing as if they had just witnessed the worst train accident of all time. They expected Kane would be down for the count when the blow finally did crash against his cranium, but found that they had reacted too soon. Kane did an amazing thing; something that everyone else would have thought was impossible. Kane caught Isabel's fist.

"You only get one, Bella," the tanned male remarked with a proud, almost teasing smile.

Isabel was incredulous and embarrassed by the fact that a perverted bum had stopped her move. She let loose a shrill scream in pure frustration, sounding like a dying bird, while yanking her hand back. Manny decided to step in before Kane made Isabel explode and she subsequently murdered Kane and maybe everyone else to vent her erupting temper. Manny flung his arm around Kane's shoulders and quickly walked the teen away from the stressed out fight choreographer.

"What about that breakfast you were trying to get?" Manny reminded Kane as he pulled the shorter male away from Isabel while she was too upset to have the presence of mind to tear them both apart like a hungry lioness.

"Breakfast isn't all that important when you got girls like that in my house," Kane remarked with a lecherous grin, having the nerve to wiggle his dark red eyebrows while speaking.

"Look, Kane, Iz is having a tough time right now, so try not to bother her. She's got a lot to prove with this movie and the actors aren't as competent as I promised her they would be, so she's really stressed and frustrated. Don't…" Manny was not sure what he wanted to say, so he trailed off at the command that he was attempting to get out.

"Be myself?" Kane offered coolly.

"Yeah! Don't do that," Manny implored his friend, desperately begging from what the purple-eyed teen could hear in his voice.

Kane laughed, not taking offense to the plea. He decided to go off and have his breakfast while Manny tried to gain some kind of control over his crew and the set. Isabel was still fuming, her stance tense and stiff as a marble statue while on the inside she was feeling something that equal to a solar storm. Everyone eyed her, just waiting for the flames of Hell to radiant off of her and destroy them all. Manny sighed as he cautiously approached the furious teenager and hoped that she did not take her anger out on him. Silently, he told himself that he had to learn to stop working with his insane friends.

"Isabel," Manny said in a calm, gentle tone.

She turned sharply to stare poisonous daggers at him. He gulped, silently praying that he would not get the beating that had been intended for Kane. He would never survive such a thing.

"Who the fuck was that?" Isabel demanded. Her hands were balled up into such tight fists that her manicured nails were biting into her flesh enough to draw blood. The pain was not even registering to her brain because there was no room for anything in her mind aside from her stress, aggravation, and rising ire.

"That's just Kane Go. He was supposed to be off mountain climbing for the next couple of weeks," Manny tried to explain.

She growled. "So? What the hell is he doing here?" she inquired. She sounded like a furious dragon, a dragon that no one around would even think to try slaying.

"Oh, this is his house," Manny replied as if he was surprised that she did not know, even though it was not common knowledge.

Isabel blinked a couple of times and appeared taken aback by that, even though Kane had already expressed that the place was his home. She obviously had not believed him when Kane said it. Who could or would believe that a boy that looked like him could own a place like this freaking castle? The house was like a palace and Kane was … well, a bum from what she could tell. He looked like a hobo. Manny would describe Kane more as a vagabond, but the idea was still pretty much the same.

"This is his house?" Isabel echoed in shock. Her eyes narrowed in more suspicion than her being incredulous. I wonder how he came across this place?

"Yeah, this is his house. He wanted to help out with my first movie, so he offered up his house for a lot of the scenes. Don't worry about Kane. He's harmless," Manny tried to assure Isabel.

"Harmless? He grabbed my ass!" she pointed out with her eyebrows bent in defiance and rage that he would dare describe that little filthy lecher as "harmless." It did not help matters that she had on shorts, so he grabbed meat, not cloth when he groped her.

"Yeah, he's relatively harmless. He's a weird little guy," Manny said with a chuckle and a shrug, as if that excused Kane's behavior. It more explained the short fellow than anything else.

"Well, keep your weird little guy the fuck away from me. He gets in my damn way again, I'm fucking beating his little, leprechaun ass," the emerald-eyed female declared with clear sincerity.

Manny shrugged again; he did not care if Isabel cracked Kane's skull really because he did not doubt that Kane would deserve it considering the fact that he had already been warned. Kane was tough, anyway. If anybody could handle Isabel, it would be that crazy little guy, Manny figured. He did not want to leave it all on Kane, though, and decided to throw in the one thing he could say.

"Just try not to kill him. He's not only offering his house and a few other locations, but he did give up a nice amount of money for us to make this thing," Manny explained to Isabel. If Kane died, they would lose a lot of financing and might have to stop production. Not to mention, he would have to take time out of his life to attend the funeral for his friend.

"Oh, you're fucking kidding me," Isabel groaned and she threw her hands up. "I'm not being nice to that little snot," she vowed, pointing at Manny. "There was no fucking way in Hell that I'd ever be nice to someone that actually fucking violated me!"

"I didn't say you had to be. Just don't kill him," Manny replied in a nonchalant voice, shrugging his narrow shoulders. "Maybe spit on him if he's on fire or something, which with Kane could actually happen, but nothing beyond that."

Isabel grumbled, but she did not make any promises. If she had to, she would take Kane down, snap him in half, and not lose a bit of sleep over it. No one just took liberties with her person and grabbed her ass as if it would go unpunished.

She huffed to get it out of her system and then turned to the idiots that Manny wanted her to believe were competent martial artists. They could barely perform a simple kick move! She was going to have to revamp her whole idea to make up for their shortcomings to avoid looking like she had no clue as to what she was doing. She wished that they had the money to hire some stand-ins, considering the fact that she knew a number of people that would jump at such a deal.

Things eventually calmed down and the crew went back to work until Kane returned a few hours later. He looked better, having taken a shower and thrown on some clothes that did not have holes in them, but he still had the air of a vagrant to him. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he had not combed his hair, so it was still going out in every direction. His outfit, though neat and clean, did not seem to match up. He had on a sleeveless t-shirt with a wild design covering the whole thing; it had an image of sailors fighting off some kind of sea monster in very vibrant colors. He had on cargo pants that were blue fatigues and then to top it off, he was wearing black flip-flops.

"Kane, get of my shot!" Manny pled in an exasperated tone while sliding out of his chair to the cool, tiled floor. He knew that the auburn-haired teen would be a pest, but he did not think it would happen so soon.

"Shot?" Kane muttered slowly as if he did not know what was going on and then he looked around, remembering that they were shooting a movie. "Oh, yeah," he said in a dazed tone with a low chuckle.

"You fucking moron, move!" Isabel hollered, even though she did not have anything to do with the scene going on at the moment. Kane just rubbed her the wrong way earlier and she took pleasure in getting a chance to scream at him again.

"My fault," Kane apologized with a sluggish, sheepish wave while walking out of the shot even slower than that. He seemed to move at the speed of molasses in everything that he did, even the way he talk kind of drawled out like he was stuck in a freeze frame if he had to say enough words.

Isabel growled, upset now with the fact that Kane was alive since he was acting like snails could move faster than he did. She stepped away from what she was doing, namely trying to correct the moves that she had wanted to use in an upcoming fight scene, to go yank Kane off of the set. He yelped when she grabbed him by the crew neck of his shirt and flung him into a nearby pillar. Kane smashed into the column, but grinned despite the pain in his back. Isabel wanted to let him have it again because of the stupid expression that he was wearing.

"Do you want me to kill you?" Isabel demanded to know. It seemed to be the only explanation for why the slow-moving young man was looking at her in the manner that he was, even though he knew what she could do to him by now.

"Well, I'd go with a smile," Kane replied, still smiling, even though it did hurt his bruised cheek. The area that she had abused earlier was already a deep, dark purple mark and throbbing at a steady rhythm, but he ignored it. Having had plenty of bruises in his life, he had learned to live with them long ago.

Isabel snarled, hating Kane more with every second that passed and every time that he moved. The crew had a feeling that shooting in and around Kane's large manor was going to get more interesting with him around. They were absolutely correct, too. Things quickly reached a point where Isabel's mood soured before she even saw Kane. It was just like she could sense him within a fifty foot radius and she would frown before he even got near her. Kane did not seem to notice; or he at least pretended not to notice.

Isabel was the only person in the crew that had grown to dislike Kane. When given a chance, everyone found that he had a boyish charm and was a wonderfully comforting presence because he was so easy-going. Many of the women especially found him to be cute and seemed to love when he came to flirt with them, which he did shamelessly with almost every female that happened to catch his eye. It was clear that he was not serious, but the ladies liked the attention nonetheless from the muscular, athletic young man, all except Isabel anyway.

Since Isabel seemed to have an early warning system when it came to Kane, by the time he came over to interact with her, she was pretty much steaming from her anger with his presence. So, he did not have much time to act or say something really perverse before she beating him over the head with the nearest object, finding her fists to just not be enough to knock some sense into him. Apparently, there was no getting through to him, though.

"Hey, Bella," Kane happily cooed as he slid up behind Isabel. He could already practically see smoke coming out of her ears after having to deal with him for over a week. He loved that Manny was using most of his house and property for his film because it gave him a chance to be around Isabel.

"I've told you not to call me that," Isabel growled through clenched teeth while not bothering to turn around to face him. He already knew from the past that her face was getting flushed scarlet due to her irritation of him just there and breathing. He wondered what it was about his presence that just infuriated her so much, but he knew that he enjoyed it. She was so absolutely gorgeous when she was upset, after all.

"You've told me a lot of things," he remarked with his usual grin. Everyone noticed that he grinned often and wide while around Isabel. When he was with other people, he smiled a bit, but the expression was never quite a grin. His violet eyes shined when he looked at her and sparkled when he grinned in her presence.

"Listen to me—" Isabel was interrupted by the little pest.

"Scream my name? I'd love to!" Kane practically howled and a delighted expression lit up his royal-colored eyes. It was inappropriate lines like that that got him clobbered by her.

Isabel's eye twitched in pure, burning irritation. She turned around swiftly, punching Kane right in the gut, her knuckles feeling some resistance while her mind was calmed momentary thanks to the blow. He coughed in agony and slid back while putting a hand to his injured stomach. He closed one eye from the agony and stared at her with a pained smile. It seemed like all he could do was smile at her, no matter what.

Oh man, she hits really hard, Kane muttered mentally. "You know, I'm starting to think that you're really trying to hurt me, Bella," he commented with a forced laugh.

"Will you just go the fuck away?" Isabel ordered him in a bellow, pointing off in the distance. Her face was bright ruby from the absolute rage that she felt toward him and if she could just devour him to be rid of him, she would have done it at that very moment. Actually, she would have done it days ago.

"I never walk away from a challenge or a beautiful woman," Kane replied. "Both of which, you are," he pointed out with a smile.

Isabel just curled her lip in disgust and went to sock him again. She swung on him, but he surprised her and caught her fist that time. She snarled like a troubled beast; he seemed to make it a habit to catch her attacks after an initial blow. The fact that he could catch her attacks only made her way to destroy him even more. How the hell can someone so slow be so fucking fast?

"You only get one, Bella," Kane commented with a smile and wiggled his burgundy eyebrows at her.

"You're infuriating!" Isabel screamed while violently snatching her fist back.

"I try my best," he replied, still in good spirits despite the fact that he was pretty sure he would be pissing blood later on.

The raven-haired martial artist only screamed again, leaving the area to avoid having to be around that pest anymore. Kane laughed, even though it was hurting his stomach. Manny came over once the coast was clear to laugh at his friend, as he tended to do after Isabel let the short fellow have it.

"Why do you keep doing this to yourself?" Manny asked curiously. He had never witnessed a person take such abuse all for the sake of trying to pick up a woman, no matter how sexy that woman happened to be.

"I love her," Kane answered with a laugh.

"Why do you always love things that will probably kill you?" Manny inquired in a puzzled tone while shaking his head slightly, being careful not to knock off the plain light blue baseball cap that he was wearing. He did not take his friend's declaration of love for Isabel as anything more than Kane's love for mountain climbing or sky-diving, which was how Kane meant his statement anyway.

"I don't know. How can you not love something that'll probably kill you?" Kane countered as if that made any sense. He honestly did not know what kept drawing him to Isabel aside from the fact that he had a taste for extreme, dangerous things and she was the very definition of extremely dangerous to him. She was like the opposite end of a magnet for him and he just kept getting pulled to her.

"Trust me, man, stay away from her. Her stress levels are only climbing with every scene that she's got to change now that she's figured out I lied to her about how good these morons martial arts skills are," Manny remarked. He had to tell one whopper of a lie to get Isabel to sign on for the project and he doubted that he would ever hear the end of it from her when the movie was finally done. Hell, she might never work with him again when the movie was finally done, especially if she associated him with Kane in her mind since Kane was his friend.

"Why do you always lie to your friends?" Kane asked more as a joke than anything else, even though it was a trend for Manny to lie his ass off when he wanted something from his friends.

"How else am I supposed to get you jerks to help me out? I know cool people who don't give a damn about helping me!" Manny chuckled.

"Maybe because you're always lying to us!" the shorter male countered. "Hell, you lie to me all the damn time and I do nothing but help your ass out if I have a chance and you ask. … And if I remember and I'm not lost in the wilderness or something." He was known for forgetting things and getting lost somewhere in the mountains much of the time.

"Shut up. Go take care of your stomach. I know it's killing you."

Kane only laughed, but that was the truth. He walked off to go take care of his abdomen while thinking of Isabel. He was genuinely attracted to her, even though it was easy to see that she disliked him. He figured that he should be able to wear her down somewhat, believing that he was already in her system, which was why she had such strong feelings toward him. Sure, they were negative feelings, but he had to start somewhere. Maybe her appeal came from the fact that she took his charm and threw it back in his face rather than eating it up like everyone else did. Maybe he wanted her because he could not have her … or maybe Cupid had gotten him. He did not know and did not care. He just wanted that very fascinating and dangerous woman.

Isabel, for her part, found herself hating Kane with a passion. And every time she thought that she could not possibly hate him more, he did something to prove her wrong. She doubted that she had ever detested someone as much as Kane, especially in such a short amount of time. She could not wait to get away from that annoying little pest. She especially disliked the way that he had a tendency of catching her punches. That irked her to no end.

How can someone that moves at the pace of a glacier react fast enough to catch my attacks? Isabel could not figure it out. Kane dragged around going slower than evolution for the most part, but she could almost never hit him a second time after catching him with the first blow. It was becoming beyond embarrassing. After all, she was master martial artist and he was … well, Kane.

Kane, to Isabel's observation, was a lazy oaf and that was being kind about things. He flirted with everything that had breasts and always managed to screw up a shot, usually by walking through it. Manny joked that he should hire Kane in as an extra and just have him as a running gag through out the movie. Whenever Kane ended up in a shot, it took over a minute to get him to realize his mistake and then it took him way too long to finally get out of the way. He always apologized, but that did not excuse the fact that he was a moron. So, how can such an obvious idiot catch my attacks?

Isabel tried to wipe Kane from her thoughts and get back to what was really important, namely mapping out the next fight scene. She was thankful that she had the peace to get everything together and she rather proud of what she had worked out. When it came time to shoot the scene, she had a wonderful feeling that it was going to be perfect. She smiled to herself as the actors got into position and then suddenly her smile vanished, but no one noticed.

"No, no, no," Isabel muttered in a panic while her wide eyes frantically scanned around as if she expected a bomb to drop.

"What's wrong?" Manny asked when he noticed the overwrought expression on his fight choreographer's face.

"He's coming. Don't let him walk in the shot," Isabel ordered harshly. Her face tensed and a snarl tugged at her full top lip.

"He? Who?" the director inquired. His face scrunched up and he scratched the top of his head as he regarded Isabel as if she was out of her mind. He did not recall Isabel suffering from insanity, but he honestly would not be surprised to find it ran in her family.

"Who else? Kane," Isabel growled in anger while making a fist, apparently ready to beat the tiny snot up before he had even done anything.

"Kane?" Manny looked around and then shook his head. "I don't see the little guy. I think he went out with a couple of assistances for some beer or something."

"No, no, no. He's coming and I know that dumb bastard is going to walk in the fucking shot and I'm going to have to beat the living shit out of the little bitch," Isabel stated soundly. There did not seem to be any talking her out of that one, but luckily for Kane, he was nowhere around.

Manny thought that Isabel was just being paranoid because they were about to shot one of the big fight scenes of the movie. Kane was nowhere around as far as he knew. The shot was safe … for ten seconds. It would seem that Isabel's prophecy of sheer doom was right on the money because Kane came in alone right into the shot, right into the middle of the fight.

Kane seemed totally surprised when he was almost kicked in the mouth. He reacted in a split second and avoided the hit, but found himself dodging other attacks. He had no idea what was going on, but he was doing his best not to get his jaw broken.

"KANE!" Isabel hollered in a tone that would have made the devil himself run for cover.

The crew would have all signed sworn affidavits that pure, blue flames rose off of Isabel as marched toward Kane. They all prayed for his soul and then took bets on how she was going to kill him, snapping his neck being the one favored by them. She certainly was wearing a "twist his head off his shoulders" expression.

Kane gulped when he noticed Isabel coming toward him, looking not-at-all happy and not in the way he was used to seeing, while the actors finally stopped attacking him. He appeared worried for the first time to all of his guests. He threw a big apologetic grin on his face, seeming to finally realize what he had done that was so wrong. He now knew that he was standing in the middle of her shot.

"Bella …" Kane started to say with a nervous laugh, but he did not make it passed the little nickname that he enjoyed using for her. That one word did not help his current situation, which the crew believed could best be described as "totally fucked."

"I told you, stop calling me that!" Isabel bellowed, her wrath coming out full force in her voice, as she glared at him with pure hatred. She came in for the attack that was supposed to be his death.

Kane yelped like a frightened puppy as he barely avoided a thundering straight right hand from Isabel. He was certain that he felt the pressure weigh from the force behind the blow. She kept coming and he just kept dodging, which only served to infuriate her further. Kane was starting to get the idea that he did not want one of her hits to actually connect with him fully, so along with dodging, he started blocking. His forearms were stinging quickly from that course of action, but he preferred that to his chest and abdomen being punched in and having his bones collapse into his torso.

Isabel only seemed to get madder with every block and dodge from the short male. Her pale face flushed a bright red and she scowled so deeply that it looked like the frown lines would cut her face open. She changed from throwing punches to some very powerful kicks. Kane made a panicked face as he ducked, narrowly missing having his neck broken with a kick. He flipped out of the way, but she kept coming at him, each kick more deadly than the last. He caught her leg, hoping that they could talk things out before she slaughtered him.

"Bella, I didn't mean it!" Kane apologized quite sincerely and his voice was laced with desperation for her to accept his words. His eyes pled with her to just believe him. He was tempted to throw his hands up in surrender, but he was certain that she would break his whole body as soon as he let her go.

"Stop fucking calling me that! And, goddamn it, stand the fuck still!" Isabel commanded while taking her leg back to continue her attack.

Kane looked ready to cry, which further shocked the audience that the pair had considering the fact that Kane had been nothing but jubilant since he showed up, even when Isabel was out to harm him. He blocked Isabel a few more times, but then she came in with her best kick. Kane was not sure what hit him, but he refused to believe that it was a human leg. The sound of her foot crashing against his skull was quite the disgusting crunch and everyone was certain that she had cracked his head open like an eggshell with that move. His head snapped to the side and he collapsed to the ground, blood oozing from his mouth and nose, dripping on the cold marble.

He fell to his side, but caught himself on his knees and with one weak hand that shook as it tried to support him. His eyes were wide as if he were in total shock and for the first time did not look at Isabel with his usual cheery playfulness in his regal eyes. He actually looked hurt, beyond the physical pain that he was in and he was in quite a bit of that. It was as if he actually viewed himself as a victim and she was the criminal who had wounded him on every level possible.

Isabel huffed, surprising everyone that coal black smoke did not come out of her nose. She felt odd about her seeming victory. She was not satisfied or sated with Kane being on his knees, hurt, and bleeding and it was not because she wanted to pummel him again. She was bothered by his expression and the fact that he was staring at her, not with bright, delighted eyes, but with agony, hurt, and despair.

Her throat tightened and went dry. Her hands uncoiled themselves without any commands from her brain. Her nerves relaxed in someway, not looking to harm Kane any further, but the nerves also tensed from her current circumstances. She turned away from him, not wanting to see his shocked and wounded eyes anymore.

"You're such an ass," Isabel muttered with a crack in her voice before walking away, hoping that the forming guilt would vanish when she could no longer see him.

Kane did not utter a retort and remained stunned on the ground. The physical anguish and mental shock kept him pinned to the ground, but even if those were not there, he still would not have been able to get up from the space that he was kneeling on. His emotions, tattered and shattered, cemented him to his place on the vast, lush lawn, which was where the filming had been taking place.

Manny went over to Kane and helped him up. Momentarily, Manny considered hitting Kane with an "I toldja so," but he could see that it was not the time for that. It was very rare for him to see Kane genuinely hurt, especially emotionally. Usually, the shorter fellow could laugh anything off and smile through the most severe abuse because it never fazed him.

Apparently, Kane actually felt something toward Isabel and was not just playing around with her for the simple fact that he was a pest of sorts or because she was just damn sexy. Has Cupid managed to shoot the wild man that was Kane? Manny was starting to believe that an arrow was probably in the dead-center of his friend's heart … or maybe right between the eyes, which would explain why his brain no longer worked.

"You okay?" Manny asked Kane with some concern in his voice.

"She hates me, doesn't she?" Kane muttered and his voice cracked as his eyes watered. He was disappointed and appalled with what he knew to be a fact. He did not even have to ask the question, but maybe he was looking for some hope that things were different from what he knew.

Manny wanted to let out a loud "duh!" but it was not the time for that. He helped Kane into the house, which the smaller male did need assistance in doing. Everyone else put the set back into place to do another take of the fight scene, pretending not to notice the brooding fight choreographer.

Isabel watched Kane go off; he was limping slightly. Blocking her lower kicks with his shins had already caught up with him. She felt a clenching around her heart; damn guilt, she thought with a huff. Wait, is it really guilt?

It has to be guilt, Isabel told herself almost immediately. Her heart felt like it was being wrapped in razor sharp barbed wire that was being gradually tightened. There was a burning in her throat that most people would have thought was nervousness, but she marked it off as symptom of guilt as she thought that was the illness that she was currently suffering from. A grinding, boiling sensation in her stomach followed and it felt like her insides planned to devour each other.

Why do I feel guilty about throttling Kane? The fool deserved it. He had ruined one of the biggest scenes in the movie that she had invested a lot of time, effort, and thought in. She was trying to prove herself and he continuously messed everything up.

He's such a fucking jerk. And why the fuck did he have to look at me like that! It was not like she had enjoyed giving him what he seemed to be begging for. It was just to teach him a lesson. So, he didn't have any right to look at me like I did something wrong! He was the one that was wrong, she mentally insisted. She had only given him what he deserved. Right, so there's no reason for me to feel guilty, she insisted. It did not stop her from being that way.

Isabel only began to feel worse when Kane resumed his pesky antics the next day while sporting a lot bruises, especially dark ones on his face. As he limped around, his smile seemed to be the same to everyone, except for Isabel. He was finally leaving her alone, which she swore she wanted, but it was suddenly bothering her. He no longer flirted with her, got in her way, or even grinned that stupid, almost lazy grin at her. He kept his distance and that aggravated her, which she did not want to acknowledge because she thought that was just plain crazy. Why the hell am I bothered by him getting away from me when that's what the hell I wanted in the first place?

Watching Kane from a distance, Isabel started to be consumed by the thought that the little guy was not so awful. He was pleasant to everyone, even though he flirted with all of the ladies. But, there did not seem anything real between him and any of them. He threw his money around like water, offering to take everyone out on the town every night, which most people took him up on. He never complained about anything, even if he knew that some people were hanging around him just because he paid for everything. He continued to make his usual mistakes, walking through the shots and things like that, but they did not seem so major anymore. And Isabel amazingly just felt worse about herself as she watched him.

She realized that Kane probably thought that she was a jackass. It would explain why he was now avoiding her. He probably hated her now and that idea did not sit well with her any more than her guilt did. She felt such turmoil inside of her, like her insides were forever falling into a bottomless pit while churning against each other. How the hell can such a pest of a man cause such a reaction inside of me? Maybe it's because he's not really be a pest, she dared to consider.


Isabel felt unsure of herself, which was not a common occurrence. In fact, it typically only happened when she was in the presence of her mother. But, her mother was thousands of miles away and there was a large ocean between them, thankfully. Kane was the cause of her current anxiety and it seemed like there was just as much distance between the two of them as there was between her and her mother. Yet, there was only a door between them; a rather elaborate, elegantly designed pair of doors, but only a door nonetheless.

The crew was gone, moving on to a new location. She had stayed behind, making up the excuse that she wanted to explore Italy for a few days. She assured them that she would meet them back in the States before they needed her again. No one argued with her, knowing Isabel to be a woman of her word and very professional when it came to her business. Besides, there was no way that she would screw up her first time doing her job on her own. She just did not want to leave on a sour note, which was why she was standing outside of the door of the room that Kane was currently in.

Isabel took a deep breath before she knocked on the door. Kane answered in his lighthearted voice, granting whoever was at the door permission to enter. Isabel wordlessly went into the room, finding out that it was little gym. Kane was on the far side of the room, kicking a heavy bag. He has good form, she noted. Apparently, he was not a total idiot, although she would have guessed that he had some intelligence in hand-to-hand combat if she had been looking to give him any type of credit in regards to anything at all.

"Oh, hey … Isabel," Kane said when he noticed who came in. Saying her full name seemed to come as an afterthought and it did not roll well off of his tongue. It was almost as if he was speaking another language that he did not know well when saying her name.

"I'm sorry if I'm interrupting," Isabel replied as he halted his exercise to pay her some mind, although she did not seem to have his full attention. His purple eyes wandered about the room, the ceiling, and floor before eventually resting on her briefly.

"Oh, no. I just thought everyone was gone and I needed something to do. Not much fun in this place when I'm the only one around," Kane explained with a half-smile and a shrug.

Isabel nodded; it was something that she could guess at, but not understand. She imagined that being alone in such a vast mansion was a lonely existence. It had not occurred to her that he lived there on his own until now. There were no servants around and Kane did not seem to have any family. She had learned through Manny that Kane's parents had died less than a year ago in a car accident and his extended family just left him to his own devices because he seemed to like it that way and he was a bit of a black sheep. He was actually known as "the wild count" by his friends and family. He seemed to like being on his own, but now that she thought about it, he had to get lonely sometimes if it was just him around.

"So, what can I do for you … Isabel?" Kane asked, once again forcing her full name out of his mouth.

Isabel shifted uncomfortably on the balls of her feet, her black sandals making a slight clicking noise because of the movement. His tone was making her feel uneasy and she felt like she had made a mistake coming to set things straight with him. As soon as that thought entered her mind, she gathered her resolve. She could not leave there, allowing him to believe that she was the devil incarnate. After all, she was actually pretty friendly if given the chance.

"I just came in because I wanted to say sorry," Isabel informed him, forcing out the apology as if it was offensive. Despite the fact that she could admit fault if it was necessary, she was not in the habit of apologizing and disliked it a great deal. Her tongue had to force the words passed her teeth, which also tried to offer up some resistance to keep her from speaking that dreaded, awful word.

"Sorry? For what?" Kane asked curiously with round, violet eyes, as if he honestly did not know what she might be apologizing for. Manny had him convinced that everything that happened was his fault for bothering Isabel after being told several times that she was under a lot stress and serious pressure. He agreed with that assessment. He was pressing her at a terrible time, a bad time that he was vaguely aware of and did not seem to respect, so she had been in the right to flatten him after a while.

"The way I've been treating you. I mean, you're annoying as hell. Don't get me wrong. You are fucking annoying. But, I've been really mean to you and you deserve most of it," Isabel said and she would have continued, but Kane cut in.

"Um … so, why are you sorry again?" the auburn-haired male inquired while scratching the top of his head. "After all, it sounds like according to you, it's all my fault, just like Manny said."

"Sorry, this apology isn't going the way I want it to either. I don't think you're a total jerk, though and I don't want you to think I am," Isabel explained, going simple to avoid getting into the fact that she did think that he was irksome and wanted him to very aware of that fact.

Kane shrugged nonchalantly. "I don't think you're a jerk at all," he tried to assure her.

"Okay, that's good. I don't want you to hate me or anything," she said with a small smile and a light in her emerald eyes that showed relief. "I mean, I'm not a horrible person or anything and I don't want anyone to think that … unless, of course, I hate them or something. But, the point is, I don't want you to hate me."

"Hate you?" Kane echoed, twisting up his mouth and regarding her as if she were insane. Hate her? Yeah, right. It was not possible. Someone that as interesting and lovely as she was could only be a matter of intrigue for him, and that was at the least. He did not even conceive what the most was that could have laid between them.

"You do hate me?" Isabel asked because she could not place his tone.

Kane did not respond. He marched over to Isabel and looked up at her; it was a bit embarrassing to him that she, the object of his interest, was so much taller than he was. It was bad enough that he thought she detested him, but to not measure up to her physically was not helping him as far as he was concerned. After she had dropped him that last time, he started considering that she did not respond to him as he would like because he was short, which he thought might be seen as a sign of being unmanly. Someone like her probably went for the tall, dark, and handsome type; well, two out of three can't be so bad, or so he hoped.

"You're kidding, right? Hate you? Yeah right," Kane replied with a smile and a scoff to brush that idea off.

Isabel almost sighed in relief, but she caught herself. With him standing so close now, she could smell the effort of his workout. It was subtle, but attention grabbing, in a good way; suits him perfectly actually. She eyed him studiously, finally taking in his complete form. Yes, he was short, but he was built wide at the shoulders. He was wearing a sleeveless tee-shirt, so she could not see his torso, but his arms were plainly on display and they were thick and cut with muscle. She suspected that his chest and abdomen was the same. As she recalled punching him in the stomach, she could remember her fist colliding with tight muscles. He's probably ripped under that shirt, she thought; she tried to ignore the excitement that rushed through her with that notion. It did not work.

Isabel flushed at the thought of Kane without his shirt and then she shook that away before the blush was very noticeable on her pale skin. To get that off of her mind, she did something awkward. She placed her hand on the top of his head and petted him, almost like a pet or a small child.

Kane felt the hand on his head and his jaw tensed. He caught himself before he frowned because he did not want to totally wreck the moment, even though she was doing a good job of without his help. He already thought that she looked at him as less of a man for his height and now she was petting him. He took a breath to remain calm and tried his best to smile at her, but found the expression less than forthcoming.

"Glad we cleared that up then," Isabel stated with a bright smile as she continued to caress his head.

She has such a pretty smile. Now, if only she'd stop fucking petting me like I was a goddamn toy poodle. "Now, we've got one other matter to clear up," Kane commented.

"What other matter?" she asked curiously, raising an elegant eyebrow.

Kane's mouth was on hers before she realized what was going on. Her first instinct was to push him away, but before she could act on that, she noticed that his lips were sweet and gentle against her own. It was not a harsh embrace in any way, but delightful, almost loving. So, instead of forcing him away from her, she returned the kiss, pressing his head to her since her hand was already resting on his head. The sensation caused a moan between them, but it was too low for them to know who the culprit was. They ended up pulling away for air after a minute.

"God, you are so damn hot," Kane said in a heated whisper.

"This is what you want from me?" Isabel inquired, her voice low and breathy. She did not sound insulted, only curious. She supposed that it made some sense; maybe he had been being a pest because he thought that she would find it cute. Somewhere underneath all of her annoyance, deep underneath it, a part of her did think that he was just plain adorable.

"If you don't want it, you're free to leave right now and never see me again, Bella," he pointed out. He would not attempt to force her into anything or even lead her on. If she did not want him, then he would accept it. Of course, I won't like it.

Isabel pondered the matter for a couple of seconds, mentally and sensuously. Her mind and body were not adverse to the idea of being with Kane. He was a fascinating little fellow with tantalizing body and interesting personality, even if he was a pest. He was not a bad guy from what she could tell. Plus, his kiss was just about the most pleasant thing that she could think of at the moment. It sent shivers through her that she never considered possible and she honestly wanted more.

The raven-haired beauty leaned down and planted a blazing kiss on Kane's soft lips. It was his turn to be shocked; part of him actually thought that she would walk away from him. That fear-induced thought was banished from his skull when her mouth was on his, kissing him fiercely, almost possessively. She cupped his oval-shaped face with her hands and gently rubbed his jaw as their mouths continued to move against each other in a passionate way like heated whirlpools mixing, sending warmth through out both of their bodies. They craved more and the touch became hotter, threatening to overwhelm them.

Kane began gently lapping at Isabel delicious, full lips like a cat taking in milk. She gave him what he desired, opening her mouth for him to enter. His tongue attacked hers with a vigor that she did not expect. The contact was intense, making it seem like lightning had shot through them. The energy that she felt thanks to him made her want to touch his skin, caress his body, and merge with him.

She moved her hands from his face and stroked his torso with some pressure. Mentally, she frowned because his shirt was in the way of the terrain that she wished to explore. She decided to move the cotton barrier without his permission, having to break the contact from their kiss to do so. He whined as her lips abandoned his until he realized what she was doing. As soon as the shirt was gone, her greedy hands were on his firm chest, her fingers loving the smooth, olive skin while her lips began pressing hot kisses to his jaw.

"Bella …" Kane muttered, panting slightly because of her attention. It felt like he was being massaged by cool river water on a hot day, even though the rubbing was serving to ignite his desire further. He was not too sure what he really wanted to say thanks to those distracting fingers of her. It would seem that her hands could do much more than bruise his form.

"What?" Isabel asked with a slight growl, almost as if she was annoyed. He was taking her from some rather interesting work in her opinion. He felt perfect; it was the only way that she could think to describe it. Touching him felt like she was touching a solid cloud, soft, but stable and strong.

"Should we go to my room or were you just expressing hatred for my shirt?" Kane inquired, hoping that she wanted the latter, even though he knew how she felt about his clothing.

"Room," she answered without thinking. It was what she wanted and she did not need to think on it. She was glad that he brought it up or she might have just jumped him in his home gym.

Kane grabbed Isabel by the hand, not having to be told twice. He pulled her out of the gym and they had to go down a long hall that was covered in several paintings; they had been his mother's decorating scheme, like the ivory and golden walls mimicking the palaces of ancient Rome, but he certainly liked all of it. They even passed a couple of marble statues. Entering his room was like entering a different world from the rest of the house.

Kane's bedroom was expectedly dirty, clothing thrown about the place, magazines littering the floor, and sporting equipment everywhere. Isabel did not care about the state of the room, not even taking in the setup. She just needed to know where the bed was and it was at the back of the room. She pushed him onto the messy king-sized bed, shifting the black, crumbled comforter more than before. Before he could even figure out what just happened, she descended upon him, burying him in a burning, hot, romantic kiss. Her hands returned to a place that they decided was great to be, Kane's ripped chest.

Kane surprisingly met her energy with … some of his own; it was more energy than she was used to him putting into something. He moved his hands to her shirt, taking apart the buttons, but he was going too slowly for her tastes. She pulled away from him and made short work of her own white blouse, flinging it somewhere behind her to become friendly with his dirty clothes. She also took off her lacy white bra because she did not want to wait for him to do it; it might have taken all night if left to him after all. She definitely would not be able to last that long.

Purple eyes opened wide with appreciation when they beheld the pale bounty that was Isabel's torso; his mouth followed suit. She smiled softly to herself, enjoying his reaction to her, although it was not an atypical response to her. It just meant a lot coming from him for some reason that she did not know and really had no intention of thinking on right now.

"If you like what you see, feel free to touch," Isabel whispered to Kane in a seductive tone before placing a small peck to his still-gaping mouth.

Once again, the auburn-haired male did not need to be told twice. He filled his hands with her, just holding her for a few seconds with an awed expression. His hands began to caressing her and it felt so good, inflaming her passion-fueled body, but he was agonizingly slow. God, was he a tortoise in a past life? He was overwhelming her with desire and ache from his pace.

"Kane," she said in a growl with burning emerald eyes.

"Yeah?" he asked in a distant tone, watching his hands move across her body. He was very intent on his current task and focused on her body as if she were some puzzle that he would solve come Hell or high water.

"I'm on fucking fire and you're only making it worse instead of putting it out. Stop being a bastard. More," she demanded with another growl.

"More? You want more from me?" he inquired with a wrinkled brow as if he were surprised, but she knew that he was teasing her. He chuckled and moved his thumbs to a pair of pink pearls crying out for his attention.

She hissed and arched into his touch. "Don't fucking joke around," she ordered with a snarl, getting more frustrated thanks to him and his smooth, heavenly touch.

Kane did not take offense to her commanding him and he tried to give her more. She noticed the effort, but he still was not going fast enough for her. He was adding the perfect amount of pressure and touching all of the right places, but dear god, he needed to go faster. She wondered if he was doing it on purpose, getting revenge for all of the things that she had done to him.

"Kane, you bastard," she hissed and she did not get a chance to scold him further because he was suddenly attached to her, hands and mouth. "You wonderful bastard," she corrected herself in a long breath.

Isabel actually whimpered like an enchanted puppy as Kane worked her out like he was doing his heavy bag before she showed up, but in a much better way of course. She had never experienced anything like Kane was doing, like he was turning her inside out and playing wonderfully romantic music with her body, making her feel like magic was coursing through her veins. Now, if only he could just pick up the pace to bring the music to the high point, she would never say another bad word against him … that night anyway. Kane continued to pluck her strings, gently and professionally, but never reached the speed that she wanted. She was too busy panting and whimpering to scold him for acting as if thick molasses flowed through his veins. She did cry out for more, but he never delivered. She suspected it was because it just was not in his nature to go beyond the pace that he was currently moving.

"Kane …" she actually whined. What the fuck? I did not just do that!

Kane was totally wrapped up in what he was doing, focusing solely on touching Isabel as if it would bring him the answers to the meaning of life. Her pleas never even reached his ears, let alone his brain. He was hell bent on memorizing the perfect, soft, creamy flesh exposed to him with his mouth and hands, especially since he had been granted exploration rights. He was especially drawn to the pebbled peaks of her supple breasts and his tongue and fingers played with each with extreme fascination. He wanted to take her all in.

Being so close to her, he noticed that she smelled like spicy strawberries; the spice undoubtedly came from his actions. As he tasted her, he was certain that he now knew what ambrosia was like or maybe even that he had gone beyond the food of the gods. In fact, as his tongue wrapped around a small, delicate light pink gem, he decided that the king of the gods himself would be jealous of the feast that Kane had before him.

Isabel moaned and the sound was divine to Kane. He wanted more of the noise, more of her flesh, more of everything. He feared that he might never be able to let her go, but could not bring himself to stop. He had to have all of her and he had to savor her for as long as possible.

In her frustration, Isabel took control before Kane could wind her any tighter and then just leave her more taught than finely played as he continued to strum her body like some masterful instrument. The auburn-haired young man merely smiled with a glazed look in his eyes, appearing like he was intoxicated, as Isabel forced him back further onto the bed and then ripped his pants away as if they had been warm-up breakaways that athletes wore. In any other situation, he might have wondered if he would ever be able to wear them again. Under current conditions though, he was glad to be rid of those damned pants. And much to his delight, she got rid of her own damned peddle-pusher pants, too, and her panties with them.

Kane's mouth practically hit the floor, having to go through the bed in the process, as she made herself bare before him. Isabel smirked like a predator when she saw his expression, although on the inside she was pretty much mirroring his reaction. She was a bit thankful that she could hide her emotions well because she did not want Kane to get full of himself for the simple fact that she was impressed with all that was him. It just would not sit well with her if he were aware that she thought that he was picture perfect. She guessed that he had been made short just to give him a physical human flaw.

"Bella … you are a goddess," Kane stated, sounding in awe of her, as if he actually wanted to worship her.

Isabel found herself doing something quite unlike herself, she blushed at his words. She did not know why or how Kane had gotten such a reaction out of her, but she did not mind it for the moment. She decided to just accept the compliment, flattered that he would openly say such a thing as if it was the stone-cold truth.

"You read that off a matchbook or something?" Isabel teased him when she recalled how to make words.

"Aw, you actually think I can read. Your opinion of me must be on the rise," he shot right back with a small smile.

"Shut up," she playfully ordered him and then leaned down to enthusiastically kiss him before he could say anything else.

Kane's reaction to the kiss was instant, returning it with fervor as if that was an instinct. The raven-haired female plundered his mouth with her tongue like an enthused bandit trying to steal all his riches. Kane, on the other hand, moved around her mouth like a beach bum looking for a place to take a nap. The two styles did not clash surprisingly enough.

Kane took the hint that he was deeply desired by her while Isabel understood that underneath Kane's sloth-like, annoying nature, there was a man that wanted to be sweet and tender with her. She mentally conceded that he could be just that with her, but she was taking the reins for what was happening that night. Kane did not object, giving into her as he often did when she went to strike him a first time. He just surrendered his will to his goddess.

"Holy shit!" Kane uncharacteristically cursed rather loudly as he was suddenly and seemingly unsuspectingly sheathed in her magnificent warmth. He had achieved Elysium without even knowing it; hell, he certainly had not expected it.

Isabel chuckled a bit, having to force the amused sound out considering the fact that she was really right with Kane on the feeling of their union. Her body was practically singing with joy from connecting with him. She shook slightly as every nerve ending in her body hummed with pleasure.

He figured there should be a "welcome to paradise" sign somewhere to have at least warned him that things would feel so incredible. Isabel thought that such a thing would have been a good idea, although the slight tremble in her leg just from mounting him was somewhat of a warning for her. Kane was glad that she did not start moving immediately lest he have a major cardio-episode from the shock and overload of pleasure; a heart-attack certainly would have ruined the night, after all. He had to adjust almost as much as she did to their newly discovered state of heavenly bliss. Unfortunately for him, she was quicker to get herself together and she began to rock her hips before his mind was ready for the ecstasy shooting through him like a high-speed rifle bullet.

"No, no, no!" Kane begged, putting his hand on her strong thighs with the hope that he would get her to cease her divine actions. His voice got stuck in his throat and he clutched her legs as his brain was overloaded with pleasure.

"Too slow, Kane," Isabel teased him, as if she knew exactly why he was pleading with her to stop.

Isabel persisted, moaning loudly as she did so, if only to get on his nerves while making her own nerves dance in elation. She did hope that the decision to taunt him did not come back to haunt her with him finishing before she had a chance to do so. It did not matter anyway since she could not stop now that she started.

"Oh," she groaned deeply and he squeezed her harder as the sounds escaped her throat.

"God, Bella," he growled. "I need … I need a second … I need … to gather … myself …"

Kane's begging fell upon deaf ears. He gave up after a few seconds and was lost forever in a delighted confusion, never able to catch up to her. He threw his head back, tried to keep his eyes open to watch her undulate on top of him. He could not even work up the energy to move his hands to her tantalizingly bouncing breasts.

For some reason, the fact that he just surrendered to her and also never seemed to reach her pleased Isabel. Mentally, she had to smile while verbally all she could do was moan and grunt, which seemed to be all he could do also. She pushed harder against him, possessing him, and took one of his hands from her leg and moved it to her torso. She used his hand to caress herself.

Isabel's movements stated soundly that she was the one in charge and Kane could not challenge that; he actually would not have challenged it if he could. He was not looking to compete with her, which was something new to her since the few lovers that she had in life were intimidated by her and tried to keep up or dominate her to prove their worth. Kane seemed to think that he did not have anything to prove. There was some odd form of confidence in his lack of trying, which she noticed and would never figure out why, but she found it sexy. He just lay there for her, presenting himself to her like a sacrifice, which ignited the fire in her veins to the point of boiling. She growled as she increased her rhythm and he groaned.

"God, Bella …" he voice got caught in his throat as sheen layer of sweat built up all over his body. She leaned down to claim his mouth and to keep him from saying that ridiculous pet name again.

The most that Kane did throughout their intense activity was reach up to caress Isabel whenever she stopped guiding his hands. She was quite all right with him doing that, even though he was still going at his same slow pace. She whimpered and whined as he kneaded and stroked all sorts of flesh bits on her body. A sweat built on her powerful form while she made sure to keep going, crashing her hips against his in a steady, mind-numbing rate while he kept on caressing her, revering her with his large, strong hands.

Kane could barely think as time pressed on, along with Isabel, and his body began to sweat even more from the heat blazing in and around him. He realized before anything was even over that he had been caught in a trap. He was snared and never getting away. She had him, had his soul within her; he was hers. She was now his goddess and he, a lowly, devote worshipper of the divine.

The auburn-haired teen was distracted from his own plight as he noticed Isabel shuddering above him, clenching around him, threatening to tear him from heaven before he desired to leave. She placed her palms on his chest, pressing in his ribs, to keep herself balanced. He did not mind, even though it caused him a little breathing trouble. It certainly kept him from moaning loudly and possibly following her over the edge. Seconds later, when she had finally managed to stop seeing nothing but white and feeling liquid bliss course through her body like a raging river, she realized that he was still there for her. She looked at him with tired, but amazed eyes.

Kane seemed to read her thoughts through her emeralds eyes and he just shrugged his shoulders, not sure if he needed to say anything since he doubted that she upset with him for being able to hold off. She frowned, as if she was vexed with him, but then smiled wickedly at him as she picked up her pace. Damn it to fucking hell, he hollered in his mind; she was a demon as much as she was a goddess. Kane gritted his teeth and an almost animalistic growl escaped his throat as he tried to hold on to what little sanity he had left since she was introduced to him. No such luck, though.

Isabel arched her body, came in at a different angle, and yelped in pleasure as she hit a new spot. Kane was so surprised by the noise that escaped her mouth that all thoughts flew out of his head while his essence escaped him in a heated rush. Isabel, feeling the full affect of her actions also, shuddered while throwing her head back before collapsing onto Kane in exhaustion. His stocky frame had no problem supporting her and he smiled. I wish she would never let go. He politely covered her with a sheet that was near his hands.

"Don't take this as meaning I don't think you're annoying or anything," she remarked with a smile that he could not see because she had her head buried in his comfortable, firm chest.

"Don't worry since I don't recall accepting your apology, anyway," he retorted while bringing a hand up to stroke her hair.

Isabel did not respond to that, having fallen sleep right after hearing that last sentence. He was just so comfortable, his heartbeat in her ear was soothing, and the way that he was caressing her head had not helped in keeping her awake. Kane stayed awake a little while longer, enjoying having her body pressed closely against his own. Part of him knew that what happened was a fluke of nature, once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing, but another part of him dared to hope that something more would come of things. After all, the woman on top of him owned him now and he was willing to bet that she was will aware of it. He would have been surprised to find out that she assumed that she was little more than a bit of entertainment for Kane and she could not fault him for that because she would later tell herself that he had been the same for her.


Eighteen-year-old Kane Go was having lunch with his good friend Manny. They were sitting at an outdoor café. They were dressed in shorts and sleeveless t-shirts because it was blazing hot, which was surprising for the end of the summer.

"So, what's the deal with the movie? You finished shooting and everything?" Kane asked curiously while jamming a fist full of fries in his mouth. It was hard to believe that the man was of noble birth.

"Yeah, finished that last month. It's a good thing, too," Manny answered while adjusting the brim of his white baseball cap. He bent it more, giving it more of a curve.

"Why is it a good thing?" Kane inquired as he picked up his soda to help the fries go down.

"The woman that hates your guts, remember her?" the taller man countered as he leaned forward a bit.

Kane sighed, a dreamy look clouding his eyes. "Bella …" he whispered fondly. He still had dreams about his night with her, and he lost a lot of sleep and had to do a lot of laundry thanks to them.

"Yeah … Bella,'" Manny commented dryly while shaking his head. "Still a glutton for punishment, I see."

"Especially when it comes to her. So, what happened with her?" Kane asked, sounding almost concerned. He hoped that his friend did not have bad news about his goddess.

"She started getting sick toward the end of the filming. She had to go back home. I heard a rumor that she's actually pregnant," the taller male explained with an awkward chuckle. "Can't imagine her with a kid, but then again, I couldn't really imagine her mom with a kid either when I met her. Just a scary-ass family, that is." He shook his head.

"Pregnant?" Kane echoed with his face scrunched up. Could it really be true? No, she would've said something to me, right? Come on; his brain pointed out that it was Isabel he was thinking about. Of course she's not going to say anything! She's going to be difficult, doy!

"Yeah, pregnant. I can't believe it. I mean, I can't imagine what kinda little monster Iz would have," Manny remarked with a laugh. He could imagine a mini-version of her walking about, scaring the shit out of people … sort of like she was with her own mother.

"How many months?" the auburn-haired teen asked curiously.

"I dunno. She's real secretive about shit. Rumors say she's not that far along, like three months or some shit like that. I dunno," Manny repeated with a shrug. "Good thing I finished my movie before this shit came up. The fight scenes she made are fucking awesome. You gotta see this movie." He beamed as he spoke, a large grin plastered on his face.

Kane was more thinking about the rumors of Isabel being pregnant than anything else coming out of Manny's mouth about his movie. But, he did manage to respond, "I'll be in the States soon. I wanna go rafting down the Colorado River, anyway."

"Well, you need to stop by my place first. See the movie before you try to kill yourself," the skinny, chocolate-colored male commented with a friendly, but teasing smile.

"I don't know about that," Kane said, considering what he was already planning. Death might be in the cards as soon as he touched down in the States.

Manny's face twisted a bit as he curled his mouth up. "Why?"

Kane answered quite honestly with a straight face and everything. "Well, my hope is that you'll drop Bella's address on me and I can see her before anything else."

Manny grimaced. "What the hell do you wanna see her for? She kicked your ass the last time you paid her a little attention," he pointed out in a frantic tone while moving his hands about wildly. "As crazy and annoying as you are, Kane, I don't want you dead or something and you know that's what'll happen if you bother Isabel again! She will fucking kill you and then eat you to make sure you're gone! I mean, don't get me wrong, she be sweet as hell, but she's demonic and she'll kill you. Fucking kill you. You don't want no parts of that."

Kane did not miss a beat and threw on his best insane grin. "I miss the attention from a very beautiful woman."

"Kane … the woman hates you," Manny reminded him bluntly. He was not looking to spare Kane's feelings because he wanted to discourage the smaller male from thinking about Isabel again. As far as Manny knew, the last time Isabel and Kane interacted with each other, Kane was almost beaten to death. The only reason he survived was because Isabel seemed to be disgusted with beating on an obviously defeated opponent.

"Hate is a relative term," Kane remarked with a laugh. His royal purple eyes had the nerve to shine.

Manny could not believe the man sitting across from him and openly gawked at Kane as if he was some kind of moron. "Relative? The woman whipped your stocky ass in your own home the last time she spoke to you."

Kane shrugged. "That may be, but I have unfinished business with Bella," he stated. "So, if you would just give me her address, I won't even tell her whodunit."

"You damn right you won't!" Manny hollered quite seriously. He could only imagine what would happen to him if Isabel knew that he told an annoyance like Kane where she lived.

The short male smiled. "So, that's a yes?"

Manny sighed. "I'm not coming to your funeral," he grumbled. "Gimme a goddamn pen and paper."

Kane smiled and supplied his friend with the requested items. Manny wrote down an address and tried to warn Kane that he would find Isabel there and someone much worse than Isabel, too. Kane waved him off; who could possibly be worse than my Bella?

"You are such a dead man. They'll probably never even find your body. I wanted you to see the movie too," Manny sighed miserably while shaking his head.


"Hold on!" Isabel barked as a rhythmic pounding was beaten on the poor front door. Heaven knew the damned thing took enough abuse from her and her sister, so it did not need strangers trying to murder it.

The knocking did not stop, much to her annoyance. She growled as she nearly ripped the door off the hinges when she opened it, not bothering to find out who was there first. Her eyebrow twitched as a scowl set in on her face and she was about to scream her head off at the dead man on her front porch, but she stopped when she saw who it was.

"Hey, Bella," Kane greeted her with his usual dopey grin. He looked a little less like a bum for once. He was dressed neatly in matching clothes, which were just some dark blue jean shorts and a basketball jersey with a matching cap. He was holding a surprise, too – a bouquet of flowers.

"Kane, what the fuck are you doing here? And what the fuck are those?" Isabel demanded as she glared at the flowers. She folded her arms across her chest as her stance became defensive and tense.

"Peace offering?" Kane said with a pathetic shrug, not knowing what else to say or do. A voice in the back of his head told him that flowers were not the way to go with Isabel, but he figured that it would be better than showing up on her door with an engagement ring. Flowers would probably just get him punched while an expensive ring probably would have more than likely gotten him sent to the hospital.

"I think we've had enough 'peace' between us, don't you think?" Isabel inquired, sounding a bit bitter, much to his surprise.

Kane blinked hard. "I don't think there'd ever be enough 'peace' between us if that's the case," he remarked, lecherous grin in place.

Isabel fell right in line, punching him hard in the shoulder. "Idiot," she grumbled.

"Izzie, who is that?" a voice called from the back of the house.

"Nobody!" Isabel replied, looking Kane dead in the eye.

Kane pretended to pout. "So mean to me!" he whined, making two tight fists. "Izzie, huh? That's a cute nickname, but I like Bella so much better." He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows at her.

Isabel growled. "Kane, if you don't get the fuck off my doorstep in the next five seconds, I'm shoving those flowers up your ass and punching your fucking teeth down your throat," she promised him.

The auburn-haired teen actually had to think about it, scratching the side of his face as he did so, which just annoyed Isabel further. What the hell is there to think about? What the hell is wrong with Kane and why the hell is he even here? Her eyebrow twitched again and then she turned her head sharply, looking into the house. She could hear footsteps approaching.

"Kane, leave me the fuck alone," Isabel order and was about to slam the door in his face, but he seemed to sense the move coming.

The short male put his foot in the door and grunted as he almost lost his toes. He caught the door with his hand now that his foot gave him some space to do so. He stared at Isabel with big, concerned violet eyes.

"Bella, why are you acting like this?" he asked in a rare moment of seriousness. He understood that they were not quite friends, but he thought that they had parted on better terms than Isabel was displaying.

"Kane, please," Isabel begged him in a surprisingly gentle tone. Her eyes pled with him to just leave, save himself.

"Bella," he repeated, not taking the hint.

"Izzie, what the hell are you doing? I thought you said there was no one at the door."

"Dammit," Isabel muttered and she turned around to face a woman that she pretty much looked just like, except they had different eye color.

Isabel's mother was a tall, pale woman just like she was. Her hair was black and down her back, just like Isabel's onyx mane. They looked so similar that it only made sense that Isabel would be named after the woman. They stood the same, like they could take out a bus at full speed. They even seemed to give off the same aura; a frightening, crushing air surrounded both of them. It was almost like it should have been against the laws of physics for them to be in a room together without blowing the place apart.

The only marked difference between the mother and daughter was that her mother's eyes were blue, like the sky, except just a bit darker. There seemed to be something just beyond the color in her eyes, something dangerous, almost mean. It was something that hid in Isabel's jade eyes as well.

"I was just sending this crazy man away, Mommy," the younger woman replied while making a hand movement as if she was shooing the teenage boy away.

"Crazy man?" Isabel's mother, Isabella, echoed curiously with an arched eyebrow. She then turned her eyes to Kane. Her sapphire gaze fell hard onto the auburn-haired teen and she studied him for a moment.

Isabella saw the look in his odd purple eyes, a pleading gaze, and the flowers in his hands. He did not flinch under her gaze like most people did. He was not paying much attention to her stare, actually. His eyes stayed trained on her daughter. She arched an eyebrow briefly because of his behavior. Interesting, she thought; well, slightly interesting, anyway.

"Yeah, crazy man," Isabel insisted, nodding to emphasize her point.

"Step away from the door, Isabella," her mother commanded without bothering to look at her daughter.

The use of her full name told Isabel not to argue with her mother. So, she wisely stepped away from the door. The older woman opened the door wider to fully take in Kane. She looked at him blandly, not impressed with the little man. He still did not react to her gaze.

"What can I do for you?" Isabella asked the male teen.

"I'm kinda here to talk to Isabel," he explained, nodding toward the aforementioned female.

"Why don't you come in then," Isabella suggested, motioning to the inside of the house. She was curious about the young man and wondered why her daughter was trying to so hard to keep her from finding out about him.

Kane shrugged. "That'd be great," he agreed, even though Isabel was cutting him a come-in-and-die look.

Isabel growled and threw her hands up in defeat. Then she decided that if he wanted to die, that was his decision. I am not the little idiot's keeper, after all.

"Take your shoes off," Isabella ordered while she walked deeper into the house, expecting Kane to follow.

Kane nodded and stepped in. He looked to the side to see there was a mat for shoes. He kicked off his sneakers and placed them next to the other shoes while Isabel closed the door. He then turned to her with his dopey grin back in place.

"I can see why you look so good. Your mom is fucking hot," Kane commented without shame.

Isabella heard the remark and whipped around just to in time to see her daughter punching Kane in the face. He fell back against the door, but continued smiling. Isabel frowned and it seemed like there was smoke coming from her head, but underneath that it looked like the faintest smile was trying to tug at her lips. Isabella just took in the sight instead of saying anything.

"Idiot," Isabel grumbled while walking into the living room after her mother.

Kane continued to grin, as if he missed being hit by the pale teenager. He removed himself from the door and trotted behind Isabel like a happy, proud puppy. The group retreated into the living room, which was painted a warm and very light blue. The carpet was almost white, but it was clearly a powder blue undertone to it.

He saw the mother and daughter sit down on the sofa, which was white. They sat in the same posture perfect, cross-legged manner. He scratched the side of his head while taking a seat in an armchair right next to the sofa.

"So, what business do you have with Isabel?" Isabella asked curiously while resting her hands on her knee.

"Um … well, it's kinda personal," Kane admitted. Apparently, he did have some sense of decency.

"I would assume so if you tracked her down at her home," Isabella commented dryly. "Not many souls would brave coming to our house, no matter what the reason."

"How did you get my address?" Isabel demanded, glaring at him. Her expression implied anger, but it seemed like she was forcing it.

"I've taken a vow to never reveal my source, even under threat of torture … no matter how sweet it is," Kane replied, toothy grin in place.

"Pervert!" Isabel huffed, knowing just what he was talking about. "How about I just beat it out of you?" she proposed with a wicked smirk, holding up a ready fist.

"You only get one, Bella," he remarked with a shrug.

"Last time I think I got more than one," she reminded him.

"I know, you got two, right? Or was it three?" he asked with a clever smile, referring to something else entirely. She got what he was implying.

"I will fucking kill you and bury you under the house," Isabel promised with a primal growl. How dare he say something so vulgar with my damn mother sitting right there!

Kane grinned, as if he was utterly delighted with that plan. "Wonderful! My ghost could haunt the place and I could watch you in your sleep. Or better still, I could watch you in the shower!"

And that earned the young man a solid punch on the top of the head from Isabel. He fell out of his seat and onto his flowers, crushing them. He frowned as he noticed rose petals falling onto the white carpet as he stood back up.

Isabella just took in the strange sight of her daughter interacting with the almost tiny young man. Isabel did not seem to be pulling her punches with him, yet he seemed to enjoy that she was hitting him. Isabella guessed that he enjoyed it for the simple fact that he was purposely saying things that he knew would get him hit. Odd fellow, she thought.

"Guess giving you a smashed bouquet is kinda stupid, eh?" he asked with a bright smile.

Isabel growled while her eyebrow twitched again. What the hell was wrong with him! "I don't want your stupid flowers. What the fuck are you doing here, Kane?" she demanded to know as she sat back down.

"I kinda figured you wouldn't want the flowers. Can I talk to you in private?" Kane requested in a serious tone.

Isabel glanced at her mother, who she could tell was not about to move. "This is about as private as things're going to get for us," she told him. They would get even less privacy if her sister came home sometime soon.

He chuckled a bit, sounding uncomfortable for once. Isabel cut him a look that said "I told you to leave earlier, idiot, and now look at your predicament." He was not so put off and decided to cut to the chase rather than playing around.

"Um … so, I heard a little rumor about you," he said; his voice came out in a grumble, despite his effort at sounding normal.

"There are a lot of rumors about me," Isabel replied smoothly. She was not lying. She knew a lot of people, but she was not really friends with any of them, so they were all inclined to talk behind her back whenever they could. They rarely said good things, thinking that their words never got back to her.

"This is one is about you being … um … pregnant," he informed her.

Isabel kept on a stoic mask, but on the inside her heart pumped at an uncomfortable pace. "Who did you hear that from?" she managed to ask in her disinterested tone.

"Doesn't matter who. Is it true?"

"What does it matter to you?" she countered with an attitude.

"Well, I was just—" he was cut off by the other teen.

"It's not yours, so you don't have to worry about it."

Kane's expression and how face actually fell from those words, which stunned the mother and daughter. They did not address how his whole mood seemed to come down. Kane tried to collect himself as he spoke again, but he sounded like a shadow of his former self.

"Oh … okay. Um … sorry I bothered you …" Kane muttered as he rose to his feet in an almost mechanical manner. He still clutched his crushed bouquet to the point where his palm was being torn into by the flower stems.

Kane started for the door and Isabella cut her daughter a glare. The look seemed to be demanding to know what all that was about, but Isabel was not paying attention to her mother. She was watching Kane leave and taking in his defeated his spirit. He reminded her of when she beat him up, except ten times worse.

Does he want it to be his? Isabel wondered. "Kane, wait," she called to him and rushed to his side.

"Yeah?" he asked in a low, sorrowful tone. His voice cracked as he spoke and he looked up at her with broken violet eyes.

"Um … maybe there's a small chance that it is yours," Isabel informed him in a low voice of her own. She glanced back to see if her mother was watching them. She gulped when she saw that Isabella was brazenly and intently listening in on their conversation.

"Small chance?" he inquired, sounding confused. He squinted a little, as if that would help him comprehend what she meant.

"Look, I never got the chance to explain to you, but I've got a somewhat steady boyfriend. The baby might be his," she explained to him, looking down as if she was ashamed to admit such a thing.

Kane seemed to perk up, even though he was just hearing about her having a boyfriend. "But, it might be mine?" he asked with hope.

"Yeah, it might be. Don't get your hopes up, though. Not like I want anything to do with you, anyway," she remarked, trying her best to sound like she meant that. "I mean, I don't even like you."

"Obviously," he commented with a laugh.

"Look, you little perv, I don't like you. This wasn't supposed to happen and the baby's not yours, anyway. You should just go back to your own country and leave me the hell alone," she huffed, holding her arms across her chest.

"We'll see about that," he replied with a smile.

"Shut up and get the hell out," she commanded, pointing to the door and forgetting that not even thirty seconds ago she actually felt sorry for him.

Kane saluted and did as ordered, surprisingly not saying anything to get his ass kicked on the way out. He did force Isabel to take the flowers from him. She rolled her eyes, but she did not get rid of the bouquet, even when he was out the door and out of sight.

"So, cheating on Jason now?" Isabella asked in her usual neutral tone from her space on the couch. She did not sound judgmental or angry, nor did she look it.

"It was just a moment of weakness," Isabel replied dismissively.

Isabella looked rather skeptical on that one. "This moment looks like it has two arms, two legs, a foul mouth, and odd fashion sense. The moment follows you around quite devotedly too, showing up at the house."

"I don't like him," Isabel stated soundly through gritted teeth.

"Yet he might be the father of your unborn child. It's not like you to even speak with someone you don't like … except that pig of a man you date anyway. Not that your tastes seem to have improved with this new pest," the mother remarked blandly. She was not too sure about Kane, but she did know that she did not like his comments about her looks to Isabel. There seemed to be something off about that kid.

Isabella did silently admit to herself that it would take more than some off-color comments to drop Kane down to Jason's level, though. Kane did not carry that horrible air of entitlement and condescending attitude that Jason held like it was a trophy. Instead, Kane came with an aura of strange delight, happiness, and adventure. The mix did not work well from what she could tell.

"You don't know the half of it," Isabel muttered while looking down at her bouquet of white and red roses. What new hell have I gotten myself into?


Kane was smiling despite the fact that he had just found out rather disturbing news. It was not the fact that he might be a father, no. In fact, that possibility was why he was smiling. The disturbing news was that Isabel was in a relationship.

"My Bella is taken. This is … distressing," he muttered to himself, but he continued on smiling.

His heart should have shaken in his chest, but it did not. Instead, he felt an odd sense of pride, even though he knew that he should feel shamed. He had slept with a taken woman, possibly impregnated her, but he did not feel that way. He felt like she chose to be with him, even though she had a boyfriend. She had picked him; his goddess picked him instead of pushing him away.

"And now she might even give me a baby." Kane sighed dreamily. "She truly is a goddess."

It did not even cross his mind that the baby might not be his, despite the fact that Isabel told him twice quite bluntly that the baby was not his. He was already thinking about names and clothes and just everything. Things are gonna be great, he thought with a big, silly grin.


"Have you told Jason of this little predicament you've worked yourself into?" Isabella asked her daughter curiously.

It had been a little less than a week when the older woman found out that Isabel might have gotten herself knocked up by a strange little Italian boy named Kane. She still could not decide if he was better than Jason being the father. She was starting to think that Isabel should just go with her other options, especially since a child would interfere with her budding career as a martial arts choreographer. Not to mention, a child would interfere with her martial arts training, which was beyond important to their family … Despite those things, Isabella did secretly want her daughter to have the baby.

Isabella would love nothing more than to have a grandchild. Despite how big, bad, and scary she liked to act, she did not mind children. She adored them actually. She had two of her own and treated them rather good in her opinion. Sure, they were scared out of their minds of her, but she felt that was more their faults than hers. They would argue much differently.

"I'm going to tell Jason today," Isabel replied with a sigh. They were standing on the front porch of their modest home and staring out onto the well cared for lawn. Isabel was would be moving out as soon as she found a place of her own. She was eighteen now, which in her opinion, meant that it was time to leave the nest, pregnancy or no pregnancy. She wondered how life would be on her own … with a baby. She did not think too hard on it, just allowing her natural confidence to carry her through things.

"I'd say good luck, but I'd be lying," Isabella commented banefully as she turned in an elegant motion, her ebony mane twisting around her like a meandering river, and went back in the house.

Isabella shook her head as she made her way inside. She did not care about the wishes that were currently running through her head, which were that Isabel ended up breaking up with Jason due to her current predicament. Isabella held no love whatsoever for Jason.

She had only met the young man once, but that was enough to last quite a few lifetimes. He did not say anything particularly offensive to her when they met, but everything about him rubbed her the wrong way. The haughty look that never left his eyes, the holier-than-thou attitude that was glued to every move that he made, and the pompous, almost patronizing way that he spoke screamed of reason enough to beat his head into his ass, as far as Isabella was concerned. Her younger daughter was in agreement, as was Isabel more than half the time.

Out of that one meeting, Isabella had to be restrained by her daughters from hurting Jason. He was banned from the house and Isabella promised the next time that she saw him would not be a good one for him. It did not seem like he took her warning seriously, like he thought she was a joke. But, he wisely never returned to the house.

"And to think, she might be making this jackass a part of our family if that baby is actually his," Isabella grumbled to herself, which let to an even more horrifying thought. "What if she marries the bastard?" Blue eyes went wide with terror and her mouth dropped open.

Isabella quickly shook that away. She would not allow Isabel to marry Jason if the idea ever entered her head, baby or no baby. There would just be no way for her to stand that.

"Dare I hope that the baby is actually that Kane boy's child?" Isabella wondered aloud. She still was not totally sure how she felt about Kane, but he was a step up from Jason, so she decided to go with that. At least Kane was not an arrogant, insufferable bastard.


Isabel expected as much from her mother, leaving while making a snide remark. She called for a cab, which showed up minutes later. She took the long ride to Jason's dorm. Usually, she would take the train to gather her thoughts and everything, but right now, the less time she had to think about things, the better. She would only piss herself off, thinking about all of the bad ways Jason could and would handle things.

Jason was a university student, and very proud of it. He threw the information around like it would get him laid, Isabel often thought. He tried to talk her into attending, sometimes implying that she was stupid for not going to college or at least that people might assume she was stupid for not being in college. She typically countered with the fact that people went to college to get good jobs, which she already had. He would then try to downplay her job since she did not have a regular, nine-to-five style career.

She supposed that it did not help Jason's attitude that he was a popular football player, too. Not being too engrossed in collegiate pastimes, she did not really know what position he played, even though she went to all of his games. As far as she could tell, the ball went up in the air, he ran, and caught it and people loved him for that. She failed to see the big deal, but other girls would beg to differ.

Jason was quite popular with the ladies around his campus. Isabel typically did not care, although on rare occasions a little green-eyed monster would pop up in her mind. It was a very scary sight for anyone to have to deal with an upset and jealous Isabel, but she usually reduced girls to tears for hitting on Jason if she was in the right mindset for it. Little did she know, but actions like that impressed him and made him swear that she loved him, like he loved her. Of course, there were times when she doubted he knew what love was and she doubted that he loved her.

"I think he confuses his want to possess me with the idea that he loves me," she muttered to herself. "Of course, I have to confuse something with something to still be with him most of the time."

Isabel arrived at his dorm a little over a half-hour later. She knocked and the door was opened immediately; she was expected. Jason stood in the room, smiling as she stepped in. She doubted that he would be smiling for long.

Jason looked quite like the football player that he was: tall, with broad shoulders, and muscular, which he was showing off with his clothing. He was only wearing a pair of basketball shorts, leaving nothing to the imagination as far his arms and chest looked. He had thick muscles and rock hard abs. Isabel found herself thinking a very chilling thought: she liked Kane's body more, even though she had only seen his body once.

Girls almost always swooned over Jason when laying eyes on him. His deep blue eyes and shiny ebony hair gave him a handsome look already, but then he had a strong jaw to go with it. He had almost statuesque features and he seemed to know it. There always seemed to be a knowing smirk on his face, especially when someone paid some attention to him.

"Hey, Iz," Jason greeted her with a smile and a small, sweet kiss on the lips. She barely returned the gesture.

"Hey, dearest," Isabel replied in a mumble. "We need to talk."

"About what?" he asked curiously while motioning to a chair for her to sit down. When she did not, he frowned a little and pushed the chair toward her. His frown deepened when she still refused his gesture.

"About the baby."

Jason grunted and nodded. "What about the baby?" he inquired, sounding a bit annoyed. There was a spark of irritation in his eyes, too. She had already told him that she was pregnant, which was a rollercoaster ride all its own and he had left it pretty clear where he stood on them having a child. It had almost led to his death in fact and he was well aware of that. Yet, he still could not control his reactions at the mention of the pregnancy.

"It might not be yours," she informed him, sounding almost as if that information was trivial.

Jason stepped back with his mouth gaped open. His deep blue eyes were wide. "What?"

She dared to repeat it. "The baby might not be yours." Why should he care, anyway? It was more than clear that he didn't want the baby when I told him.

"What do you mean the baby might not be mine?" he demanded through gritted teeth. The only reason he was not yelling because the last thing he wanted was for his whole dorm to know that he was dating a whore! Funny thing was that they were speaking about the very same issue that almost got him killed when he found out that she was pregnant. "I asked you if I was the damn father and you looked at me like I was evil and like you'd have shot me with a damn cannon for even suggesting that!"

"While I was away in Italy, there was this guy …" she tried to explain, but he cut her off.

"What the heck do you mean 'there was this guy'? You slept with some greasy, random Italian guy?" he hissed harshly. His whole body was tense, veins bulging from his neck and forehead, and his hands were balled up into tight, shaking fists.

"He wasn't random," she countered defensively, almost as if she were offended that he would suggest such a thing. She had gotten to know Kane a little bit before jumping in the bed with him … not that that makes things better, she mentally conceded.

"He wasn't me!" he roared in a fury. He glared down at her as if she was the lowest life form he had ever encountered.

"No shit," she concurred. That was probably one of the contributing factors in what happened, she remarked in her head.

"How can you do this to me? What the hell is wrong with you? You're like your sister, you know that!" he shouted in a fury. A rush of red shot up his neck and enflamed his face.

Isabel's eyes narrowed and she glared daggers at her boyfriend. "What do you mean by that?" she asked in a dangerous tone. Jason was too far gone to realize his life was on the line with his next response.

"You're a harlot! A whore! How many other guys have you opened your legs for since we've been going out?" he huffed and she did not try to respond. He just kept going. "I can't believe you're so easy! I should've known, though! I mean, look how you dress half the time! Look at the house you come from? You don't even have a father, so of course you wouldn't know a good man when you got one! You probably barely finished high school because you were too busy being on your back! What kind of diseases do you have? What the hell could you have given me? And then you try to pawn some guy's baby off to me! You're a lying whore at that! So, how many guys, huh?" he demanded.

Isabel did not bother to answer him, unless punching him directly in the jaw counted as such. A tooth flew out of his mouth as his head snapped back and he fell like a big stone. Guess his jaw isn't as strong as it looks. Kane would've taken that and fucking smiled at me right after. Isabel walked out of the dorm room, not bothering to check on him. She scowled deeply, unable to utter a word until she was well away from him.

"Fucking prick," Isabel growled.


Isabella could guess how things went with Jason when she saw her daughter's face. She did not bother with asking about it, but she did want to know one thing. Part of her again dared to hope that Jason was out of the picture. She had never met a more annoying man in all of her life, and she had met plenty of men.

"Fuck," Isabel groaned as she threw herself down onto the sofa.

"You killed him?" Isabella asked, holding her usual bland tone. She was ready to cheer on the inside if her daughter confirmed that Jason was dead.

"Just knocked him out … unless his skull isn't as thick as he makes it seem," the younger woman remarked.

Her mother nodded slightly. "So, what're you going to do?"

"Maybe having this baby isn't the best idea. I mean, Jason thinks I'm a whore and I lied to him about the baby being his and Kane … Kane's not ready to be a father from what I can tell. I mean, the guy's pretty much insane and really immature," Isabel answered and she felt like she was being nice just saying that. Something was definitely wrong with Kane, she believed.

Isabella would not argue that Kane was not insane. From what she could tell, he was very much that, especially considering the fact that he hunted her daughter down and came to the house. Instead, she went with saying something that she knew would bother her daughter.

"At least he's cute," Isabella commented with a shrug.

"Mommy!" Isabel shouted in horror. Her mother thinking some guy she slept with was cute was the last thing she wanted to hear.

Isabella was very close to laughing at her daughter's reaction, but she held it in. "You know, there are other options," she pointed out, keeping her usual tone. She had already made the suggestion that was on her mind.

Isabel nodded, but she was frowning. The other options did not appeal to her, which her mother already knew. After all, Isabel had insisted that she was having the baby when she found out that she was pregnant. She hated to even hear the word "abortion" and had only let her mother utter it to her once, but then she had practically cut her mother in half with her words when she had stated that she was having the baby.

"If I have to, I'll raise this baby by myself," Isabel commented as if it was no big deal. "You raised two children on your own, so why can't I do the same?"

"You should try to get the father in on the act if you can. A child deserves a good father and someone needs to take responsibility for knocking you up," Isabella stated quite seriously.

A good father, Isabel echoed in her head. She had to choice between Jason and Kane. A jerk and a madman. She started to weigh her options in her head, comparing Jason to Kane. Jason seemed like he would take responsibility for the baby, but only if he was the father, because he envisioned himself a gentleman and he thought of himself as a man. He knew that a man took responsibility for his actions. So, it seemed like he would at least stick around, but he would probably resent both her and the child since he did not want the baby in the first place. Not to mention, he did not seem to think too highly of her. She could not say the same of Kane.

Kane was a party guy, from what she could tell. He liked going out every night, drinking, dancing, and generally flirting with anyone who had curves. Hell, she had once seen him hitting on an effeminate looking guy without shame. His hobbies seemed to include trying to get himself killed, saying inappropriate things to her, and trying to talk moderately attractive people out of their clothes. He did not sound like he had the makings good father.

Isabel was taken from her thoughts by someone going crazy on the front door. She could guess who that was. Speak of the devil and he will appear, she thought with a chuckle as she got up to see who was there. She was not surprised to find Kane standing on the front porch with his usual stupid smile and holding some bags.

"Kane, what do you want now?" Isabel asked with a tired sigh.

"I bought diapers!" Kane explained with a large, happy smile, holding up the bags in his hands. He sounded so proud of himself a passerby might have thought he cured cancer.

"You bought … diapers?" Isabel echoed in a confused tone, like she had no clue why he might do such a thing. Well, really, she did not have a clue why he would do such a thing. It did not occur to her that a guy might take an interest in his child considering Jason had shown very little interest in the baby since finding out that she was pregnant.

"Well, I was gonna buy baby clothes, but then I realized I didn't know what we were having. So, I asked a girl that worked at the little baby store place what I should get and she told me that we'll need lots of diapers no matter what. So, now our baby is prepared for all the necessary wetting itself he'll probably do," he explained, still smiling.

"Kane …" she sighed and shook her head like he had done something wrong. She could not believe that in less than a week, he was already buying stuff for a baby that might not be his. Jason had known about the baby for almost a month and had not prepared in any noticeable way for the child. Jason also did not make it a habit to refer to the baby as "ours" either, as Kane seemed to adopt. Hell, Jason never even asked about the baby after I told him I was pregnant a month ago!

"I'll just put 'em down for you," he offered and did not wait for her to respond.

Kane invited himself in, making it past Isabel while she was still stunned, just incredulous because of his audacity. He slipped his sneakers off and walked into the living room where Isabella was still standing. He smiled at her and greeted her in quite the cheerful manner, to which she arched an eyebrow. It was a rare day indeed when a genuine, bright smile was thrown her way.

"I just realized I never introduced myself to you properly," Kane said to Isabella. "I'm Kane Go. Can I just call you 'mom'?" he requested, smiling all the way through.

"You do and I'll have no problem burying you alive in the cemetery down the street," Isabella answered in a smooth tone, folding her arms across her chest. "What's that you have there, Mister Kane?" she asked, being formal in a sarcastic manner.

"Diapers for our baby!" He grinned enthusiastically.

Isabella blinked, taken aback by the response and his eagerness. She turned her attention to her daughter, who was still by the door and frowning quite deeply. Kane looked over at Isabel, too, and did not seem affected by her expression or the fact that he could practically feel her sour mood from where he was.

"Where can I put these?" Kane asked curiously while looking around. He was not sure where the appropriate place was to drop diapers.

"Kane, sit down," Isabel ordered.

She almost sounds upset, Kane noted. He was about to say something, but the look in Isabel's emerald eyes told him just to park his ass. His butt quickly found the sofa while Isabel stormed over to him. She sat down next to him and looked him square in the eyes for a moment, searching for something from what he could tell.

Isabel decided that she wanted to see how serious Kane was. Maybe he was just playing around right now with the "our" baby and diapers and stuff like that. She did not want to have to deal with him, serious or not, if he was going to act so strange.

"Kane, I don't think I'm going to have this baby," she informed him in a business-like voice.

The young man's olive-toned face scrunched up. "What do you mean?" he asked, sounding as perplexed as he looked.

"I think I'm going to have an abortion," she said, forcing the words out of her mouth. She was not trying to toy with his emotions. She was seriously considering the idea now, even though she wanted so badly to have the baby. She was thinking about it because of the problem with Jason and Kane. I don't have a father for this baby and I don't have anything steady or stable in my life right now … beyond my mother and sister, who I can't ask to raise a child for me. I never thought life would or could suck this fucking much.

Kane's expression pretty much fell through the floor to the center of the Earth before shifting into an odd sort of desperate fury. "You can't do that, Bella!" he insisted with a growl.

Isabel was taken back by his passion in his words and was stunned silent momentarily. But, suddenly a familiar fire ignited in her eyes. "Who the hell do you fucking think you are to tell me what the hell to do? I can do whatever the fuck I want. I'm the one carrying the baby," she reminded him in an arrogant tone.

Kane was set to argue, but he stopped and dropped his head in defeat. "You're right, Bella. It's your choice."

The auburn-haired young man's heart clenched tightly in his chest, feeling like barbed wire was being wrapped around his most precious organ. No baby, no family, no nothing, his mind pointed out. No, I can't give that up, not now. I can't give up on her, on us.

Isabel's heart actually dropped to her knees when she saw Kane's dejected expression. She put a hand to her chest, trying to will the feeling away. She glanced over, noting that her mother was still standing right there. She forced down the pain in her heart and turned her attention back to Kane.

"It is my choice," she affirmed his statement.

"It is your choice … but, do you think that maybe you could just have the baby? If you don't want the baby, I'll take him and you don't have to worry about the kid," he said in a strong tone, shocking Isabel for the second time in less than ten seconds.

"You'll take the kid?" she asked in a skeptical voice, her eyebrows shooting up to make her expression match her tone.

"I will!" he promised in a rock solid tone, puffing out his chest somewhat. He put his head up and looked her dead in the face. His eyes showed no sign of lying or even hesitating. He did not believe in hesitation.

"Kane, the baby might not even be yours," she reminded him. "What if I have the baby and she isn't yours?"

Kane sighed and rubbed his forehead momentarily. She made a point. If she had the baby and it turned out not to be his, then she would be stuck with a baby that she did not seem to want. He did not have a right to do that to her.

"I'll take him no matter what," he stated. His voice did not waver and the look in his eyes remained the same determined expression.

"Kane, you don't know what you're saying," she argued, looking a bit concerned for him more than anything else. Why does he want the baby so badly, she wondered. What does he care? He could have ran off by now with nothing to worry about, yet he was there trying to take the baby from her. His reaction was the total opposite of Jason, who had all but insisted that she get an abortion when she told him about the baby. What the hell do I do with this little idiot?

He held his head high. "I do. If you don't want him and he's not mine and the other guy doesn't want him, I'll still take the baby."

"What the hell are you even going to do with a baby?"

Kane smiled. "Teach him to raise Cain, of course," he remarked.

Isabel laughed a bit. She reached over and rubbed the top of Kane's head, forgetting that her mother was watching the whole thing. He smiled a bit, looking shy; he was not offended by her petting him like he had been the first time that she did it. She was not doing it in an uppity manner like before, but in a sort of loving one. Isabel found herself thinking the strangest thought; he's so damned adorable!

"It was just a thought, Kane. You don't have to think that extreme right now," she said to him a low tone, as if she was trying to comfort him. She seemed to be looking to ease away his agitation, which was not something she typically did with people. Usually, she would leave a person to feel bothered and let the person work through it on his own.

"Well, in case things do get that extreme, I'm here. I know you might think I'm just a nutty, goofball, but I'm here for you, Bella. I mean, whether this kid is mine or not, I'm here for you and I'm here for the baby. I don't know what's going on with your boyfriend, but if you feel like you're in this alone, you're not. I'm here," he promised in a gentle tone. He decided not to say any more; the way things were going, he was liable to start babbling soon enough. He could not believe how emotional she could make him get, getting him to make such odd speeches, even put him in danger of ranting. Such power my goddess has, he thought.

"Thank you," Isabel muttered from the bottom of her heart. She did not know it, but she needed those words. She felt lighter physically and emotionally.

"No problem! So, what other stuff should I go out and buy?" Kane asked curiously, grin back in place. He was trying to get things back to normal now.

"Are you serious?" she countered with a raise eyebrow.

"Very much so. You can give me a list," he proposed.

"Well, you'll have to wait. You're not the only one that wants to buy stuff for this baby," she pointed out. Her sister had been going on shopping sprees for the child ever since she found out about the baby. Her mother had even been buying a few things.

Kane shrugged. "I can see your point. Well, is there anything I can get for you?"

Isabel decided to send Kane out for lunch since he was in such a helpful mood. She smiled a bit as he left. Her mother walked up to her when Kane was out the door and the door was shut.

"You know, I think you like him," Isabella commented. It was the only way to explain the behavior that she just witnessed in her opinion.

"I don't," Isabel insisted with a frown.

Isabella smiled, a downright wicked expression. She looked like someone that ate babies for a hobby with the look on her face. Isabel actually took a step back; it was a common reaction when her mother smiled.

"I must say, I like him more than Jason," Isabella admitted. For once, she was not looking to just tease Isabel, which she thoroughly enjoyed all of the time. She was being honest. There was something about Kane that was … almost likeable.

"I could gather that," the younger woman replied dryly. After all, her mother had not threatened to break his legs if he ever came back in the house; she had promised a much worse fate to Jason should he ever darken her doorstep again.

"He obviously wants the baby and is quite happy to do anything you say. I haven't seen signs that Jason even thinks about the child. So, with luck, out of our choices, he's the father," Isabella stated effortlessly.

"With luck, out of our choices, this baby was immaculately conceived," Isabel retorted, rolling her eyes.

Isabella chimed right back in. "I believe one has to be a virgin for that and considering the mess you're in, I think it's safe to assume you're no virgin."

Isabel rolled her eyes. She hoped that her mother did not have anything else to say. Isabella did seem to consider speaking, but she supposed that Isabel was suffering enough as it was, so she would hold off saying some of the nastier things on her mind. Still she had one last thing to add.

"At least Kane is cute and trying while Jason is just trying," Isabella stated before walking away.

"Mommy!" Isabel hollered. She shuddered in disgust; she really needed her mother to stop commenting on the looks of a guy that she slept with. It did not help matters that she had already thought he was adorable. She did not need her mother confirming those thoughts with her own input. She shook those notions away; she had bigger things to worry about.


Over the next few weeks, Isabel tried to get in touch with Jason. He was not taking her calls, so she stopped trying after a while. She refused to chase him. She never chased him. He was probably happy about that now.

She recalled over and over how Jason had not been too thrilled back when she told him that she was pregnant.

Jason's mouth hit the floor as he jumped to his feet. "What do you mean you're pregnant? You can't be pregnant! We can't have a kid now! I'm still at school and I want to play football professionally. This would be a PR nightmare for me. A child out of wedlock? How could this even happen? We use protection all the time so this doesn't happen!" Jason proclaimed as he paced a hole into his thin, dorm room carpet.

Isabel sat calmly on his bed. "We did have that accident remember?"

"Condoms should not just break like that!" he snorted through his nose. "My career could be over because of something like this. This is a scandal, I mean."

"Dearest, you are aware we live in the 20th century, right?" she inquired with an arched eyebrow, but he ignored her and continued muttering about how having a baby would affect his life.

He worried more about being able to finish school and how having a baby would affect his football career more than anything else. In fact, he ranted about that for almost an hour after she told him the news. So, he probably felt like he was off the hook now, she figured; the thought did cross his mind more often than not.

She had no desire to speak with Jason if he was going to act like a baby, anyway. If he did not want anything to do with her, then that was his issue. She was not lamenting it, especially since Kane was around.

Kane was more helpful than Isabel ever would have thought. His cheerful attitude was a little annoying and he still said very inappropriate things, especially around her mother. But, he was still … well, the best she would give him was "coming in handy." She did not want to give him too much credit.

"Hey, Bella, you ready to go?" Kane called, waiting outside, but sticking his head in a window of the house.

"Kane, stop doing that or I'll slam your damn head in that thing," Isabel barked. She did not like the habit he was working himself into with shouting in the house from the window. "You act like you were raised in a fucking cave."

He put a finger to his chin in mock-thought. "Hmm … that house had a lot of statues for a cave," he commented in a thoughtful tone with a smile.

Isabel raised her hand like she was going to punch him, but she did not. She opened the door and joined him outside. He grinned at her, pleased to just be standing next to her from what she could tell. He took her by the hand and led her to a car that he rented since he planned to be around town for a while and he had learned that Isabel did not know how to drive.

Kane opened Isabel's door for her and helped her inside. She did not say anything since it was not the first time that he had done that. She was not even shocked by it anymore. He made sure that she was secure in her seat before closing the door and going to the driver's side.

"So, how many apartments today?" he asked curiously while starting the car. He had gone for something simple when it came to vehicles, which surprised her. She thought that Kane would be a sports car, two-seater type, but instead he had gone for a small sedan.

"Just five," she answered with a sweet smile, just to be silly for a moment. She also knew that the number would get a disgruntled reaction from him.

Kane's eyes bulged and he gagged a little. Five? He had been out with her while she was apartment hunting; it was not a fun experience. She had such high standards and was not below getting into heated arguments with whoever was showing them the apartment. He did not have a say in the matter since she had made it clear that she was looking for a place of her own, no one else, except her and the baby. He was just acting as her chauffer to hear her tell things. He supposed that was for the best considering how he might tell things if anyone ever asked.

Kane liked to think that he filled more than the role as her driver. He was also the guy that was "definitely not her boyfriend" whenever a person asked while they were out, which was often; she always beat him to the punch when that question was thrown at them. He was the guy that brought her lunch, making sure that she ate, even when she swore that she was not hungry. He was the one that reminded her that she was eating for two. He was the one that took her for doctor's appointments.

The auburn-haired male was also the guy that made sure to say something stupid when she seemed like she was getting a bit discouraged for whatever reason. He was the guy that got punched in the face for saying such things, or worse. Yeah, there were worse things that he could do now rather than say something inappropriate. Not that Isabel would ever acknowledge what made most of those "worse things" worse than his improper words.

"Kane, where are your eyes?" Isabel inquired calmly when they were sitting down having lunch at a small café. It was a place that she admittedly enjoyed, even though Kane was the one that found it a couple of weeks ago by chance.

"My eyes … right on you, Bella," he answered with a huge grin as the objects in question returned to her lovely face.

"Funny, a moment ago they appeared to be glued to some young lady's ass," she commented dryly.

Kane laughed sheepishly. "Why would I look at some girl's ass when I have such a beautiful, wonderful, delightful—" he did not get a chance to finish.

Isabel wasted no time in leaning across the table and punching him on the cheek. Kane's head snapped to the side while Isabel turned her nose up and muttered the word "pig." He smiled at her as a thought floated through his mind; she was jealous … or so he would like that to be the case. Isabel would deny the charge.

She often got jealous if his eyes wandered or if someone showed an interest in him. Generally, she pretended not to notice if the latter occurred, but she would silently fume for hours when it happened. The former always got him hit. He was starting to figure Isabel out, though. She could not say what she was feeling unless he was bothering her. Everything else had to be read by her body language and actions. He was becoming fluent in "Isabel speak," but he did not make it a habit of showing what he learned.

"I think you're getting a bit slower as our baby gets bigger," Kane quipped while rubbing his cheek. He doubted that it would even leave a bruise.

"Shut up," Isabel grumbled while turning her attention to her chicken salad, which she was ready to devour. She then glanced at Kane's meal, which was a greasy double-cheese burger. "You should eat healthier," she stated in a mumble.

Kane shrugged. "One day," he replied as if it was no big deal.

Isabel only shook her head and then she mentally scolded herself for sounding like she cared about him. She reminded herself that she did not like Kane. He was an annoying little man that could only be stupid. He is not worth liking, she told herself.


Isabel was lounging on her mother's sofa. Her feet were killing her. She gathered it had something to do with the bowling ball that she was carrying in her womb. She was convinced that she was having a baby whale from the feel of things. There was just no way that a little baby human could possibly hurt her back and feet so much.

Where's Kane? Isabel wondered, close to a whine in her own head. He would rub her feet for her; he was the only person on the planet that would do such a thing. No one else even listened to her complain about her poor, swollen feet.

There was a knock at the door and a smile actually graced Isabel's face. Hopefully that was Kane at the door. And then she remembered that Kane did not knock anymore. So, who's at the door? She supposed that she would have to get off her ass to see since her mother did not believe in answering the door when one of her daughters was home, even if Isabel was seven months pregnant.

"Hold the fuck on!" Isabel hollered in a rage at the person knocking on the door as she slowly rose off of the couch.

Isabel waddled to the door with a frown etched deeply on her face and opened it without bothering to ask who. She was too annoyed to care. When she saw who was standing there, she wished that she had bothered to check.

"Jason," Isabel said with disdain in her voice.

"Iz," Jason replied in a neutral tone, even though he was somewhat glaring down at her.

"What the fuck do you want?" she inquired, still frowning. She had not heard from him in months, so she did not see why he was showing up at her mother's house at such a time. Especially since her mother could actually be home.

"To talk," he stated bluntly.

"So talk," she said. She was tempted to invite him in. She did not want to be on her feet if he was going to be there long, but him being inside the house was grounds for his death. Oh, well, that decides things nicely. "Come on in. I need to sit down," she told him.

Jason wisely hesitated, but went in the house anyway. Isabel ordered him to leave his shoes at the door while making her way back to the couch. She sighed when she hit the cushions. She was feeling better already and then he sat down next to her. She frowned while moving as far away from him as possible. She also noted that he left his shoes on.

"So talk," she repeated in the same bland tone.

He took a deep breath. "First off, you have to understand where I'm coming from. I've been so thoroughly and extremely pissed off with you. I mean, you betrayed me and you acted like it was nothing. You lied to me about the baby being mine—"

She cut him off. "I didn't lie," she growled. She hated to think about it, but she was almost certain that the baby was his.

"Look, let's just both admit to being wrong here. I mean, you led me to believe I was the only guy for you, only for me to find out that you slept with some random Italian dude, who might actually be the father of the baby. Your behavior hasn't been stellar at all, so it's only right that I react somehow."

"Jason, is there a point?" she snapped. "I don't have time for this shit. My feet hurt and my back hurts. If you're here to just cut into me, then get the fuck out."

"I know my behavior the past few months hasn't been the best, ignoring your calls and not seeing you and everything," he admitted.

"I wouldn't know how your behavior has been considering the fact that you've been nonexistent to me in the past few months," she remarked. "To be honest, you haven't really graced my thoughts. I've been busy." She had been trying to find an apartment, getting fatter, and abusing Kane, a fun but surprisingly tiresome pastime.

He frowned briefly, but shook the expression off. "The point is I've had a long time to think about what happened. I've also grown to miss you," he said, waiting for some reaction from her. There was nothing, though. "I mean, I still love you, you know," he added, figuring that would get a reaction. She typically gushed when he said that he loved her.

Isabel still did not react to his words. She was surprised by her own complete lack of response. In the past, if Jason said such words to her, she would feel her heart flutter and she would be putty in his hands for at least a few minutes. It was rare for her to hear such words from anybody; well, it used to be rare until a certain pervert showed up in her life. It was also rare for someone to display love toward her as Jason tended to do when he paid attention to her and in the past, that used to touch her. That was what kept her with him, but now, she felt nothing.

She chalked her lack of feeling up to the fact that Jason had left her alone and pregnant for months on end. He did not call to check on her or take her calls. He never made inquiries about the baby or how she was doing. He just fell off the face of the Earth and she moved on. She did not think about what it meant for her to "move on" though.

"You still love me? That doesn't mean you forgive me. Would you 'still love' me even if this baby isn't yours?" she asked, an eyebrow craned in curiosity.

Jason was silent for a few long seconds. "We don't know whose baby it is."

"The point is would you still love me if the baby isn't yours?" she inquired, even though she could guess the answer to that one.

Jason searched his mind for an answer that would not get him punched in the face, but did not come up with anything. He was certain that he loved Isabel now, but he was not sure about how he would feel about her having a child that was not his. He would have a consistent reminder of her betrayal of his trust. He was already having trouble thinking about how many men she might have slept with despite their relationship, especially since he knew how her little sister carried on. It was quite possible that her little sister had picked up the habit from her; Isabel was the younger girl's role model, after all.

"The point is I love you. Everything else will work itself out," he declared.

"What the fuck are you even talking about? A baby isn't going to just 'work itself out.' I'm having a baby and I'm going to be with this child until one of us dies, end of story," she informed him.

"It doesn't have to be that way, though. We could always figure out what to do later on."

"You're wasting my time, Jason," she pointed out with a tense frown. "You don't speak to me for almost five months and then you show up here without even having the proper speech worked out? You think an 'I love you' fixes everything? Not to mention you think the baby will just 'work itself out.' What the hell do you think, after the baby's born, she'll just go off, get a job, and have a studio apartment somewhere and you'll never had to think about her again? You don't love me, Jason. You only thought you did," she stated. The unspoken words there were that she did not love Jason either. She only thought she did.

"I do love you! But then you had to go and try to ruin us! I mean, God, how many guys have you slept with? How many guys are there that could possibly be this kid's dad! You're just trying to make a fool out of me! You're the one that betrayed me! You don't have any right to make light of my emotions and question me when you can't keep your damn legs closed! You can't keep trying to make a fool out of me!" Jason roared, climbing to his feet to literally look down on her. He had kept that pinned up from the last time they spoke.

"Why should I try when you do such a splendid job of it on your own?" she countered calmly.

"You act so high and mighty, but you're the one that's in the wrong here," he stated firmly while continuing to glare down at her. "You're calling my feeling into question when you're the one that cheated! You're the one that's a damn whore!"

Isabel frowned and her fist clenched shut of its own accord. She wanted to spring up and deck him in the mouth like she did before, but that was many pounds and comfortable feet ago. Right now, it was a struggle for her to get off of the sofa and she was sure that he would see the hit coming. She chanced it anyway, thinking that she might be able to put some knuckles on his cheek.

As suspected, Jason saw the hit coming. He frowned as she tried to launch herself at him. He sidestepped her while she sucked her teeth and fell back to the couch.

"You're a violent one, too. I don't go around hitting you, so you should have the decency—" Jason started to scold her, which was something that he did quite often, but she cut in.

"What the fuck do you know about decency? You're always getting into fucking arguments with me over bullshit! You come to my mother's house to fucking reprimand me like I'm a fucking child! You're not being an adult about this in any way!" Isabel hollered from her space on the sofa. Her pale skin was starting to turn a bright scarlet already from raising her voice.

"I'm not being an adult? How the hell do you want me to react anyway? You tell me you're pregnant one minute and then the next you're telling me it might not even be my baby! You're trying to take advantage of me. You're trying to get me to take care of a kid that's not even mine! I mean, I know I'd be a good dad and all, but you're just being plain dishonest! What, this is like my parents always said? You're just with me for the money?" he inquired with a frown.

To him, he could understand why she would lie to him about the baby being his. He was certain that he would be a good father and he figured that she knew that. He would also eventually be able to take care of a baby since he figured that he was either going to be a professional football player or a successful businessman. He doubted that any other guy that Isabel ever touched would be as high-powered as he believed himself to be.

"Fuck your money! I don't need shit from you!" Isabel informed him with venom in her voice. She had to take a deep breath after that. She was getting a bit winded and dizzy from the screaming; she was not accustomed to having yelling contests with people.

"Well, you're obviously not with me because you love me," he said in a heated tone with a serious and deep frown cutting his face.

"What the fuck is there to love about a prick like you!" she yelled at the top of her lungs. "All you fucking do is try to lord over me! You get a great deal of joy in acting high and mighty toward me, reprimanding me like I'm your fucking kid or your goddamn slave, and you always act like you're better than I am just because you're in college. I can only wonder now what the fuck I ever saw in you. What the fuck made me so deluded that I thought I could love you? I'm obviously some kind of idiot to even entertain that thought!"

He flinched and then clinched his jaw. "So, you don't love me? Good to know. I've had better women than you lined up for miles and I'm glad I'll be able to date them now. They're good, intelligent women, who do have a college education and dreams of a future that doesn't involve fighting in some filthy gutter! They're not argumentative bitches and they know they're lucky to have me!"

"Then get the fuck out and go to them!"

"I second that sentiment," Isabella commented in her usual tone as she came from the back of the house to the entrance of the living room. Her eyes were narrowed onto Jason, who gulped as soon as he noticed her.

"Mommy, I can handle this," Isabel insisted, eyes stayed glued to Jason. She was glaring chilling, poisonous daggers into his soul that did make him want to tremble. He knew better than to show weakness around the women, though.

"You don't need to. You don't need the stress. If Jason were the gentleman he always claimed to be, he'd recognize this. And if Jason were intelligent, he wouldn't be in my house, yelling at my pregnant daughter," Isabella said calmly, taking a step toward the young man.

"She invited me in," Jason argued, motioning toward Isabel.

"I don't give a fuck if God himself invited you in. Now, she invited you in and you pay her back by upsetting her, thus bothering my grandchild, too. You seem to be batting 0 for 3 in that case because you're bugging the shit out of me too," Isabella informed him, another step toward the football player.

"I've got a right to talk to my girl—" he tried to say.

"Doesn't sound like she's your girlfriend anymore and you haven't been acting like she is anyway. Now, let me show you the door and take into account that this is the last time you'll see this side of it or I'll throw you through it," Isabella said quite seriously.

"I've still got—"

"Does he still have business with you?" Isabella asked her daughter. She did not bother to turn to look at Isabel. They both continued to give Jason glares that probably would have murdered him if it were possible.

"No," Isabel answered bluntly.

Isabella did not need to hear more. She wanted Jason out of her house now. She glared at him more intensely and that was enough to get him moving. But, it was not enough to get him to shut his mouth.

"So, this is it? This is how you're going to leave it?" Jason demanded, speaking to his girlfriend … or was she his former girlfriend?

"This is how you're leaving it. You're the one acting like this is the end of the world or that the baby is just going to go away. You left it like this," Isabel replied.

"You slept with another guy! How do you expect me to react!" he inquired with an incredulous expression on his face. "How else am I supposed to react when finding out that I'm dating a wanton slut that slept with strange men in other countries?"

Isabel only shook her head. He was acting the way that she expected. She was not sure how she wanted him to react, though, considering the fact that expecting and wanting were two different things. In the beginning, she would have sworn that she wanted him to take it well and they would be able to stay in their strange, but cozy relationship. But now, there was nothing there that she wanted to hold onto with Jason. She chalked it up to the argument that they were engaged in, but something deep inside of her knew that was not the case. There's something so much more that freed you from him, her mind whispered to her.

"I hope you're proud of the whores you raised," Jason boldly sneered at Isabella.

Isabel would have winced for Jason if she were not so pissed at him. So, instead, she watched with devilish glee as her mother showed Jason out … through the door … without opening it. She had to lean forward for a better look of Jason lying on his face, on a huge bit of the door, on the front porch.

"You call my daughters anything, and I mean anything, that's not the names on their birth certificates and I swear to you that your fucking mother will weep long and hard when she sees your goddamn body," Isabella promised Jason in an uncaring tone.

"Your whole family is crazy," Jason muttered with a groan.

"Yeah, we're crazy; very, very crazy. So, do us all a fucking favor and stay away from my family. Talk to Izzie when you've gotten your act together and she wants to actually hear from you and not a moment before. Just to let you know, we do pray you're not the baby's father," Isabella stated in a cold tone before turning to go back into the house, never mind the fact that most of the front door was on the porch outside.

Isabel sat back on the sofa. Her mother did not look at her while she passed by and Isabel did not look at her mother either. There was no need for that. Everything that needed to be done was done.


Kane was humming some new song that he did not even know the words to as he came up the walkway of Isabella's house. He craned an eyebrow when he saw a body lying on the front porch, on a door if he was not mistaken. He rushed to the fallen fellow.

"You okay?" Kane asked while helping Jason up with no problem despite the fact that Jason was much taller than he was.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Jason grumbled as he pulled away from the auburn-haired teenager.

"You must've pissed off the head of the house," Kane remarked with a laugh. He knew that Isabel could not muster the power to knock someone through a door and he was also aware that Isabel's little sister was not home; she was rarely home if the sun was up.

"Miscreants. Every woman in that house is a harpy," Jason stated with venom.

"I wouldn't say that. I find them to be quite the pleasant band of ladies," Kane replied with a smile. Sure, they all seemed to delight in trying to put knots on his head, but they had not proven to be as bad as Jason's tone and expression implied.

"You're probably just as crazy as they are then," Jason accused with a curl of his upper lip.

Kane smiled. "I don't think it's a bad thing to be as crazy as them. They take care of each other in that house and I can't have you saying bad things about them. If you keep this up, I can't promise to stay polite," he quipped, still smiling. There was a bizarre glint in his purple eyes, though. Something dangerous was just underneath the cheery surface.

Jason scoffed. "Who do you think you are?" he asked with a growl. He was not about to be threatened by some midget after being embarrassed by the mother and daughter team inside.

"I'm just a guy trying to help you out," Kane answered with a shrug.

"And who are you going to see?" the larger male demanded. Is this tiny man the bastard that touched my Isabel? The bastard that impregnated her with another bastard? No, why would she be with such a small, obviously poor boy when she had me? It did not make sense. He assumed Kane was poor because the teen was dressed in a simply long, plain white t-shirt and baggy jeans with large holes in them. They were comfortable pants, Kane would argue if anyone asked about the holes.

Kane craned an eyebrow. "I don't see how who I'm here to see is any of your damn business."

Jason frowned. Is it possible that I'm looking at my rival? He scoffed because he could not believe it. Isabel had taste, had some level of sophistication, despite her crass language, lack of education, and violence. She could not possibly be with a guy that did not even know how to do his hair, Jason thought; Kane's hair was supposed to be brushed in a ponytail, but a lot of the hair had escaped and he just let it fall however it wanted to.

Jason looked over to the street, checking to see if Kane was driving a car. He saw a plain, little black sedan. He would probably describe it as a "girl's car" because of its size. It was parked right behind his own car, an expensive dark blue sports car. The car only further led him to think that it was impossible that Kane would be there for Isabel. Kane just did not seem right for Isabel in Jason's opinion.

"It doesn't matter," Jason said as he started toward his car with a word of thanks toward Kane for helping him up.

"Wow, what a prick," Kane muttered as he turned his attention to inside the house and stepped inside. "Hello, hello!" he called as he slipped off his shoes to walk further into the house.

"Kane!" Isabel said with much more delight than she had meant. But, Kane offered her three things that she greatly desired at the moment. The first thing being a foot rub, the second being an escape from the house as she had been inside all day, and the last was lunch.

"Oh, you know I love it when you scream my name," Kane remarked with a cheeky grin.

"Idiot," Isabel grumbled, a slight frown in place now. She turned her head up as if she were offended by his very existence.

Kane chuckled. "So, what happened to the door?" he asked curiously, pointing to what now amounted to a hole in the wall.

"My mother had to put out some unwanted rubbish," she answered.

"I can fix that if you want," he offered.

"Stop trying to get on my good side. I don't give a damn if you fix my mother's door or not," she informed him coldly.

Kane only smiled a bit, used to Isabel's fast changing moods, especially in regards to him. He walked by her, just looking to let Isabella know that he was in her house. He found out early on that entering her home and not acknowledging her meant a lot of pain. Now, he knew that the family swore to the high heavens he was a plain and simple masochist, but he would rather not get hit if he could avoid it.

"Hey, senior Bella," Kane greeted Isabella with his usual grin as he poked his head in the kitchen, which seemed to be Isabella favorite place in the house.

Isabella shooed Kane away without saying anything in return. She waved him off and he left, still smiling. He returned to his "favorite Bella" and sat down next to her. She wordless put her feet in his lap and wiggled her toes, silent orders that he needed to massage her feet. He quickly complied.

"Kane, I'm hungry," she informed him.

"Me too. Can I have one—" he tried to get in a joke, but she interjected before he could finish.

"I can kick you in the mouth, you know," she pointed out. Her feet were in his lap, after all.

Kane flashed her smile. He decided to leave her alone and just massage her feet. She closed her eyes and a content smile spread across her face without her permission. He smiled to himself while watching her. As a reward for his effort, when he reached up to rub her belly, she did not yell at him.

"Let's get some food for you and your mom, little guy," Kane commented in a low voice.

Isabel smiled wider at that statement. She wanted to say that the smile was brought on by the promise of food, not the fact that Kane addressed the baby as if it was his own without knowing if he was indeed the father. He never seemed to consider that the child might not be his, she noted.

Isabel tried not to let her mind go to where it wanted to go while thinking of Kane and how he might not be the father, but her mind went there. He probably was not the father. And she doubted that someone as immature as Kane would stick around when the baby was born and he found out that he was not the father. She was not sure what was going to happen with Jason either, but she refused to let him invade her thoughts.


Isabel gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She could look at the boy and already knew who his father was. She was surprised to find that her heart dropped because of that. She told herself that she should be happy just to have her baby, which she was. She was so glad that she had not had that abortion months ago in her moment of insanity, as she had come to think of it.

"Mommy's happy that she had you," Isabel cooed to the baby, who was sleeping in her arms. She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead.

The baby had been up not too long ago when his grandmother and aunt were fussing over him and awed by him. The ladies noted that the baby seemed to like the attention. The visitors also noticed something else about the tiny boy, but they did not say anything. They did not even want to put their thoughts in the air; maybe it was not be true. Or so was the hope that they left with.

"Hey, Bella," Kane said with a smile as he poked his head into the hospital room.

"Who invited you?" Isabel inquired, sounding bitterer than she meant to. She did not want to see his smiling face because she would start to think about how it would be gone soon. He would never smile at her again.

"The senior Bella, believe it or not," he answered truthfully as he stepped into the room. He had a bag in hand, which he held up. "I come bearing gifts," he added.

"So?" she huffed.

Kane continued to smile and she shifted from her space in the bed. Why does he smile so much at me, she wondered. Why is his smile so bright? Why did he actually stay by my side ever since he found out that I was pregnant, especially considering the way that I treat him? What the hell was wrong with him?

"Here, you take this and let me hold him," Kane requested, exchanging the bag for the baby.

"Wait," Isabel tried to protest, but the baby was already in his hands.

"What? I kinda know how to hold a baby," he remarked, thinking that she was afraid for the child.

Isabel was kind of thrown off by that response. "Make sure you support his head," she found herself saying.

"Gotcha," he replied with a smile and moved his arm to make sure that the baby's head was resting on his arm.

Isabel sighed and turned her attention to see what Kane brought her. She opened the bag to see a Styrofoam container, letting her know that he came with lunch for her; it was the afternoon. Her stomach growled as the smell of the food hit her nose and she licked her lips. She wasted no time in digging in while noting that Kane was very preoccupied with cooing at the baby.


Jason sighed as he pulled his car into the parking lot. He could not believe he actually got a phone call about Isabel having the baby. Maybe it was his baby and if that was the case, he would have to try to mend things with Isabel. He was still upset with her, though. He doubted that he would ever forgive her for her many transgressions.

"She tried to ruin my goddamn life after cheating on me. Tried to get me to raise some other guy's little bastard. But, if that's my kid, we have to come to some kind of decision. I could probably finish school and I won't let them mess up my chances for football. She decided to have the kid, after all. She can look after it while I finish everything and then I can take care of them. Seems fair enough after she betrayed and lied to me," he said to the air.

Sighing, he shook his head. He still had trouble wrapping his mind around the idea that Isabel cheated on him. He thought that despite her argumentative nature that she swore she did not have, she loved him underneath it all and was more than aware of just how fortunate she was to have him. But, obviously that was not the case considering what she had done, what she had probably done numerous times. He based his thoughts on how her younger sister behaved and figured it was probably the norm for their household.

Isabel's little sister was, well to be blunt about as he typically was, a whore. She tended to have at least three boyfriends at all times with each boyfriend thinking that he was the only one for her. Jason now believed that she learned that behavior from Isabel; after all, she learned a bunch of other bad habits from Isabel, like swearing and being violent.

He glanced around the parking lot and his blue eyes happened to fall upon a familiar car. He arched an eyebrow and went over to the small black automobile. He frowned as he realized where he had seen that car before. He rushed inside the hospital after that and found out what room Isabel was in.

Jason quickly made his way to the room, finding the door wide open. He did not walk in, but peered in. Isabel was on her bed, eating food that obviously was too good to be from the hospital. And then there was that disheveled young man from a couple of months ago and he appeared to be holding the baby.

Jason frowned as he took in the sight of Kane holding the baby. Kane looked peaceful and proud, smiling down at the little bundle in his arms. Jason turned to leave.

"I guess it was his baby. Why the hell would they call me up here then? Just to rub it in? to play me even more? Fine, whatever, I don't need this drama. He can have her and their little bastard," Jason decided as he returned to his car. He stopped outside by a payphone and leaned against it before taking the phone off of the hook.


Isabel growled in anger as she was taken away from her heavenly sandwich and soda by the ringing of the phone in her room. She suspected that one of her family members was calling to congratulate her, as that has been happening all day. She had been able to count on her mother or sister to answer it, but those two had gone to get their own lunch.

"Hello," she said in the most neutral tone that she had ever used on Jason over the phone.

"Hey, it's me," Jason said, forcing out a laugh that sounded almost like a sob.

She blinked in surprise and then glanced over at Kane, who was still busy with the baby. "Oh, yes. Hello," she muttered in a disinterested tone.

Jason actually waited a few seconds before speaking because he did not think that would be the end of the greeting. Usually the greeting was "hello, dear" or "hello, dearest" with some kind of warmth in her voice, even if they had been fighting. Now, there was nothing. She might as well have been speaking to a stranger, he noted. That drove his next blunt statement.

"It's over," he informed her gruffly.

"What's over?" she asked him curiously.

He snorted angrily. "Us. We're done. I don't need to deal with this."

"And the baby?" she inquired, making sure to keep her businesslike tone.

"What about the baby? Don't you already have a father for him?" he replied bitterly.

She frowned; his attitude influenced her next words. "Fine, then. I wish you the best in life." She then hung up on him. He did not bother to call back.

Isabel was surprised once again to find that she felt nothing over Jason ending them. She swore that she loved him not too long ago, but she felt nothing over losing him. The only man on her mind was the boy before her and she did not mean her son.

Isabel's mind and heart were focused only on Kane. She was about to lose him and that troubled her, but she hated to admit that to herself. After all, she did not like Kane. He was just some wild, insane man that she had a fun night with. So, why do I feel like my insides might fall out when he inevitably walks out of that door and out of my life? I feel like I would be so much poorer without him.

"Kane …" Isabel said in a low, nearly hesitant voice.

"Hmm?" he asked while turning to her. His eyes stayed focused on the baby, though. He could hardly believe the tiny life that he held in his arms.

"Don't you have to go home sometime soon?" she inquired, having to swallow to keep her voice from cracking.

"Um … no," he answered in a confused tone. "I mean, it's not like they close the hotel doors at a certain hour and even if they did, I doubt it would be this early."

A small smile worked its way on her face. "Idiot. I mean, don't you have to go home, back to Italy?"

"Oh." He chuckled lightly because of his misunderstanding of the question. "No. Why would I have to? Nobody's home and nobody in my family called to say the place burned down or nothing, so I'm guessing everything's fine. So, I'm here for as long as you need me," he assured her.

"Idiot," she stated much harsher than she meant to, than she ever had. "You do know that's not your baby, right?" she pointed out without any tact. It was almost like she did not care anything about his feelings.

Kane looked down at the baby. His eyes were blue, like a middle of the ocean. His hair was pitch black. He had thin lips and the makings of a square chin. Kane laughed a bit; a hallow sound. There did not appear to be a drop of him in the child that he held.

"Let's wait for the blood test to tell us that," he replied, a half smile tugging at his lips.

"Don't be an idiot. The baby's not yours. So, why don't you just get lost?" she huffed while her mind demanded to know why she was speaking like that. You're going to send him away if you keep acting like fucking bitch, her mind pointed out. Her pride, ego, and sensibility assured her that she wanted to send him away.

"If you want me gone, Bella, I'll do that. I wouldn't want to trouble things between you and his father," he told her in a low voice. He sounded as sorrowful as he felt. It was like his heart cracked down the center and was now crumbling, falling bit by bit into his stomach and being dissolved by the acids there.

"You wouldn't be troubling things," she accidentally confessed. It seemed that her mind kicked in and took control of her mouth again. How long that would happen remained to be seen.

"No?" Kane asked with a shocked tone. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"His father left me." She looked down at her lap where her unfinished lunch sat patiently, waiting for her to return.

"He left you? With the baby?" Kane asked in disbelief. How could anybody do something like that, he wondered. He did not understand it and he was actually happy that he could not understand it.

"Yes …"

Kane was over to Isabel in a flash. She did not even see him move, which was strange considering he usually moved slower than a slug. She was wondered how he covered the distance of her room without making a sound as he did. He was staring intently down at her; royal-colored eyes on emerald ones, letting her know that he was totally serious about the next words that left his mouth.

"I'll stay if you want me to. I'll help if you want me to. I'll be there for you and the baby if you want me to," Kane promised.

Isabel was silenced by his words. She looked away from him, not wanting him to see how touched she was. In her head, she was actually cursing him out for making her feel the way that she suddenly was. Her heart was fluttering and her head was swimming; she felt confused and delighted at the same time. She had never felt like he made her feel, even when she thought that she was in love and Jason was lavishing attention on her. There was something so different between him and Jason that she could not even begin to figure it out; she did not even want to try.

Kane seemed to sense her distress. "I'll fuck you crazy right now, too, if you want me to," he added with a lecherous grin.

Isabel's eyebrow twitched, her mind remembering how to work now. "Perverted idiot," she huffed, turning back to glare angrily at him. "And the only reason I'm not hitting you right now is because you're holding my son."

Kane smiled. "What a life saver this kid is. I'm never putting him down now," he declared.

"You'll be handing him back as soon as I finish eating," she informed him.

"We'll see. So, how about I name him since I'm never letting him go?" he proposed and she shot him a glare that would have stopped a lesser man's heart instantly.

"Like hell I'll ever let you name him or any other kid I have."

"Oh, so you plan on others? Can I help in that?" he asked with a hopeful smile.

A vein bulged from her forehead because of her anger with him. She wanted to holler at him for being a lecher and an idiot, but they were in a hospital. Like hell she would ever have kids with him! I don't even like him, she promised herself for perhaps the millionth time since she met him.

Kane smiled at her and then turned his attention back to the baby. Maybe it's too much to hope for kids of my own, he thought. But, I have this one for now and he is a prince. At least he could pretend to have a family for a little while … until Isabel had her fill of him anyway. He wondered how much time he had left before she was sick of him. He hoped that he would at least be able to get to know the baby a little, experience something that he was sure he would never have, at least not with the beautiful creature in the bed. He could pretend now and dream from the memories later.


Next time: Kane and Isabel try to raise Hadrian together while trying to make sense of each other.