Right, so this is a sequel to my version of Burned, so don't read this unless you've read it! Again, I just want to say that I'm not copying the ideas of any of the other stories, I've read them and LOVE them and mine will be much different, I promise :) Anyway, let's face it, in the real series Zoey is eventually going to get pregnant at some point :L
"Congratulations, Z!" my friends were saying, crowding around me. I nodded, trying to find my grandma.
"Zoey," Damien said suddenly. "What's wrong?"
I met his eyes. He looked really concerned. I felt the blood drain from my face. Everything started to feel surreal and everything was blurry. That was when I passed out.
When I woke up I was lying somewhere really familiar ... my grandma's sofa? But ... why was I here? Why wasn't I in Italy trying to - ?
"Zoeybird?" It was my grandma's voice.
"How are you feeling?"
Then it all came rushing back. Making Kalona disappear - but for how long? -, Neferet turning good, A-ya leaving my body for some unknown reason and ... and the thing I suspected was inside me. Great. I just wanted to go back to my unconscious state on the sofa and never, ever wake up. But of course my wish was no one's command.
"Is she awake yet?" I heard Stevie Rae twang as she came into the room with some other people I couldn't see from where I was lying. I didn't care enough to sit up and see.
"Yes, dear, she just woke up."
"Z? You okay?" Jack asked.
I groaned, turning over to face them.
"Zoey, you look really pale," Shaunee said worriedly.
"Yeah, and your eyes are bloodshot," Erin said.
I didn't reply. I looked at each of my friends before clearing my throat and saying, "Where's Stark?"
My throat sounded like there was a rock perched on it.
"Sleeping," Damien said, his eyes never leaving mine. "It took some time, but we finally got him to go to sleep."
I frowned. Not because of Stark, but because of Damien's behaviour. Why was he looking at me like that? It reminded me of when they all hated me after I kept Stevie Rae from them.
"So how did you do it?" Aphrodite asked from her seemingly permanent spot next to Darius.
"Get rid of Kalona, thicko."
"Oh ... I don't think I did."
I expected an angry outburst from my friends, but the stunned silence that followed was worse.
"You - you didn't?" Erin stuttered.
"No. I can't be sure. I just have that feeling."
"I hate it when she gets that feeling," Shaunee muttered.
"As do we all, Twin. As do we all."
"GUYS! Can you just shut up for two minutes to let her explain?" The outburst came from Damien. The Twins glared at him.
I carefully studied my friends' faces before saying slowly, "As I said, I'm not sure. I just didn't get the feeling that he's totally gone."
"So how to we see to it that he will be?" Damien asked.
"I don't know. We wait, I guess, until we find out something."
"Great." It was a depressed chorus from my friends. Damien was still looking at me with that strange, calculating expression.
Stark came into the room. His hair was sticking up in random places and he was rubbing his eyes tiredly. He looked like hell.
"Hey, Arrow Boy, Zoey's awake," Aphrodite said.
He looked at me and smiled. "Hey."
"Hi." I thought fast. Should I tell him? Shouldn't I? Should I wait until I knew more or what? He was my Warrior. He had said it himself, several times. I could trust him with anything. I took a deep breath. "Stark, can I talk to you for a minute?"
"Ooh, that's the break up tone," Shaunee murmured.
"Shut up," I snapped. She held her hands up, palms facing out, in surrender.
Stark followed me outside into the hall. I looked over my shoulder to the room we just left and found exactly what I expected. Aphrodite and the Twins straining to hear us. Darius was looking at them with a slightly amused expression. Damien had his back turned to us, but I knew he would have that really creepy look on his face. Jack was looking at him too, clearly worried. Stevie Rae was glaring at the three girls.
I sighed. "Come on," I said, taking Stark by the hand and leading him to the kitchen, away from listening ears.
"Z? What is it? You're really nervous."
"No, I - I just ... " I broke down then, sobbing into his chest.
Startled, he comforted me, murmuring, "Shh .. It's okay, Z, you're going to be okay."
When I finally pulled back and looked at him, I immediately wished I hadn't decided to tell him; it would crush him. But now it was too late. I had to.
"I think I'm ... pregnant."
He was speechless. "Zoey, we didn't even ... "
He didn't say anything else. He didn't put his arms around me when I started crying again. He just stared at me like I was a stranger, like he was seeing me for the first time.
"When you first came to Tulsa," I whispered. "Did you notice that my friends were mad at me?"
His eyes softened, but just for a moment. "Yeah, I thought something was weird."
"Well it was because Erik had just - "
"What? Erik? Are you saying that - ?"
"NO!" I said automatically. "Although the truth is worse."
I saw Stark preparing himself out of the corner of my eye. Erik was a lowlife scumbag. If it was worse than him, Stark knew it would be pretty bad.
So it all came out. How Loren was a stereotypical vampyre, seducing me ... And I was stupid enough to fall for it.
When I finished, I watched him carefully. He stared not at me, but through me. I knew he was upset. I had no right to hope for anything else.
"He's dead?" he finally whispered.
"Yeah. But, Stark, I mean, I don't even know if I'm actually ... you know ... yet. I have to, umm, check."
He nodded, pressing his fingers to his temple.
"I'm sorry," I whispered.
His head snapped up and he glared at me. "Why would you be sorry?" he asked abruptly.
"Well, why wouldn't I be? This is hurting you."
"It has nothing to do with me, Zoey. I love you. But I just didn't think you were that kind of girl."
"I'm not!" I wailed. "I'm not. It's just ... Oh, Stark, it's so hard to explain. He was so sincere, so good at it. I guess it made sense, in a way. Erik's the one who took over from him after he was killed. He had to be a good actor."
After blowing out a big breath, Stark said, "How did your friends find out?"
"Oh." As I looked at him, I wondered if Stark was on Erik's side. Not that there were any sides, but if he understood Erik more now. And understood me less.
"When was it?"
I knew what he meant immediately, and I wasn't about to embarrass both of us by pretending not to. "Not even a week before you came."
"Are you mad at me?"
"No." But he didn't elaborate, and he said the word without emotion.
"Stark, I - "
"Stop. You don't need to apologize to me, Zoey. Just ... well, just find out if you're right."
"Then what?" I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answer.
After what seemed like an eternity, Stark forced a smile and said, "Then tell me."
I didn't deserve him. He was angry with me, I knew it deep down. He loved me, and I loved him, and he was willing to try and live with this. But I knew that things wouldn't ever be the same between us.
So with that, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas :) This is my present to you :) See how nice I am? Now it's 3.32 p.m. and I didn't get to sleep til about 2.30 a.m last night .. And my brethren (I love that word) woke me up at 7, so I'm gonna go to bed for an hour or two :L
Hope the big fat man in the red suit got you all some great gifts! I'll try to update asap!
~Total Obsessive Bookworm