Hey all. Thank you very much to all my reviewers from the last two chapters. I'm really glad you like the story so far! Hope this chapter keeps up your enjoyment. Had fun with this one first cause there's a bit of Zikki and second cause by the end of the chapter, the story will really be starting. I hope you like it!

Really would appreciate more reviews and feedback on what you thought of it. Thank you!
Enjoy the chap, CheddarFetta xx

Chapter 3: Sleep, Cower, Panic

Rikki's POV

Yawning as I walked out of the bedroom, my bubble of silence popped with the noises of a crying baby, the TV, talking and a boiling kettle.

"It's so loud!" I mumbled to myself, rubbing my eyes and resisting the temptation to cover my ears.

"Good afternoon" Will announced from the breakfast bar in the kitchen, where he was holding a coffee cup, next to Bella who was preoccupied, rocking her squirming, unsettled and crying son.

Looking at the clock on the wall, I realized Will was just teasing, although it was late in the morning.

Leaning against the wall and temporarily closing my eyes, adjusting to non-sleep mode, I felt someone come up behind me and hold me from the waist. Even though I knew who it was, I turned around to see my drowsy looking husband, resting his head on my shoulder.

As Zane & stood there leaning on each other in the middle of the morning havoc, the noises began to increase. The coffee machine was turned on, which sounded like it was dying, Matt's crying turned to screaming and Zoe began singing along with the song that was playing on the TV.

Groaning, I fled the scene, back to our temporary bedroom with Zane following close behind.

I flopped down on the bed and Zane walked in, closing and leaning against the door.

"You're really not a morning person!"

I awkwardly craned my neck up from the pillow it had sunk into, grabbing & throwing it at Zane.

"Tell me something I don't know you idiot!"

"Watch out world" Zane mumbled before walking out of the room and closing the door, sheltering me from the noise, behind the door.

Sighing & flopping my head back down, I closed my eyes, hoping for at least a little bit more sleep.

Around half an hour or so later, I started awakening again from my power nap.

Feeling a bit better, I opened my eyes again, got off the bed and walked out of the room.

This time when I walked out, there was a lot less noise I realized as I scanned the room.

Zoe was sitting on the floor by the lounge quietly playing with her doll. Cleo was lounging on the couch closest to Zoe with her feet propped up. Lewis was sitting at the end of Cleo's feet on the other side of the couch as he read the newspaper and drunk a coffee. Zane had taken Bella & Will's spot on the breakfast bar where he was biting into toast smothered with a brown coloured spread.

I noticed the absence of the Benjamin's and as I walked over to Zane, I swiftly took the piece of toast he was holding with one hand. After biting in and swallowing my mouthful, I saw the un-impressed glare Zane was giving me.

"What? You're my hubby. It's your job to provide for me!" I joked with a sweet smile, just getting an eye roll back in return.

Sitting down next to Zane and eating more of his toast, I went to grab Zane's coffee to wash the toast down with, but he was too quick.

"Not the coffee! That's just mean" Zane warned.

Letting my bottom lip droop down and getting my Bambi eyes out, I tapped Zane on the shoulder again who had turned his eyes away from me.

"Pretty please?"

Sighing, Zane passed me the coffee cup. "Fine. One mouthful. No backwash!"

Beaming, I sculled as much as I could before Zane tried to surgically remove the cup from my hands.

A few seconds later, Zane realized I was sculling and tried to stop me. Not wanting coffee all over my pyjamas & a mermaid tail, I handed the cup back to Zane which he looked into.

"RIKKI!" he exclaimed, with an annoyed look on his face at the lack of remaining coffee.

Smirking and kissing his cheek, I got up to get myself a glass of juice. The one thing Zane's breakfast didn't have.

Following me into the kitchen, Zane gathered the plate from his toast and coffee cup, putting them into the sink.

"Surprisingly, I'm still hungry. I wonder why!" Zane joked.

"It's called self sacrifice."

"It's called theft."

"Funny" I said sarcastically as I scanned the room. "Hey where are Bella & Will?"

"Matt was getting really grumpy and they couldn't settle him, so they went out for a drive."

"Oh okay."

"Yeah apparently they were up most of last night with him crying 'cause they couldn't get him to sleep. I slept right through it!"

"So did I. Anyway, what are you guys up to today?" I said walking over to the couches.

Looking at each other, Cleo & Lewis shrugged.

"We had no plans, why?"

"Just wondering. I like to keep up with these things ya know, cause if there was something planned, hubby over there would forget to tell me!" I said pointing to Zane.

Laughing, Cleo replied. "Oh actually I need to pick a couple of things I forgot to bring and a couple of things I was gonna get down here up from the supermarket so I'll do that in a bit. Do you want us to pick up anything for you guys while we're there?"

"No, we're all good. I picked some stuff up yesterday when we were in town before we got here" I said as I sat on the arm of the lounge next to Cleo.

"Alright" Cleo said to me, before she spoke to Lewis. "How long before you wanna go out?"

His blonde head pricking up from his newspaper, Lewis answered his wife's question. "I'm ready to go now if you want."

Nodding, Cleo got up from the lounge and picked up Zoe. "Let's go for a drive Missy."

Trying to squirm out from her grasp of her Mum's arms, Zoe started whingeing. "Don't wanna go car!"

Sighing and putting her daughter on the floor, Cleo tried to reason with and bribe Zoe who had resumed playing with her doll. "Come on sweetie. If you be a good girl for Mummy & Daddy at the shops, we'll get you a Kinder Surprise. Okay?"

Shaking her head, blonde hair cascaded all about.

Biting her lip, returning to her normal height, Cleo sighed again. "Maybe we should wait until she goes down for her nap and then we can put her in the car, Lewis."

Nodding, Lewis said "Yeah, but what about on the way home? She'll throw a tantrum then too."

Standing up as I thought of a solution to the problem, I spoke up. "Zane & I can look after her here if you want."

Looking at Lewis silently, Cleo smiled. "Are you sure you don't mind?"

"Yeah of course not. We've looked after Zoe before, piece of cake" Zane added confidently.

"Well that'd be great. Thanks guys!" Lewis added, smiling at the resolution.

"Well in that case, do you want to leave soon?" Cleo asked Lewis who nodded and got off the couch.

Smirking, Lewis objected "Nah, we should wait till Zoe's in a bratty mood and then ditch her with Zane & Rikki."

Hitting Lewis on the shoulder, I pouted. "We're doing you a favour!"

"Yeah Lewis, don't be mean to the babysitters!" Cleo added, before trotting upstairs to the second storey of the holiday house where her own and Lewis' along with Zoe's bedrooms and the small lighthouse are.

Just as soon as Cleo, got up the stairs, she was bolting back down them, grabbing Lewis' hand and dragging him up the stairs along with her, all without one word.

I looked at Zane weirdly and I was met with his own puzzled expression.

"What just happened there?" I asked.

"I don't wanna know!" Zane said smirking cynically.

"Oh gross Zane!" I said hitting him, knowing what his sick mind & mouth were referring to.

Chuckling, Zane walked off in the direction of our room, while I flopped on the couch keeping one eye on Zoe who was engrossed in her doll, and the other scanning through either Bella or Cleo's gossip magazine.

About 2 minutes later, I was half-heartedly looking over the best dresses at an awards night when Cleo & Lewis came back down the stairs.

"You're back" I stated obviously, not looking up.

"Yeah and we're gone again" Lewis replied, making me look up and see the couple holding hands, Cleo carrying her handbag along with another black bag.

Walking over to me, Cleo dropped the black bag onto my lap unexpectedly.

"Everything you'll need for her will be in there. There's a snack, there's clothes in case she gets those dirty, there's nappies so you don't have to take her to the toilet, there's a couple of blankets. Basically anything else you might need. If you have any problems or questions, just call me or Lewis."

Taking a look inside the bag, I had to fight with the zipper that was forced shut. When I eventually managed to open it, I gasped. "Hell Cleo! All of this stuff will be enough for Zoe until she's 6!"

"Better safe than sorry" Cleo shrugged.

"Less is more" I said, forcing the bag shut before sticking it next to the lounge.

"Alright, ready to go Lewis?" Cleo hollered into the kitchen.

"Mm-hmm" Lewis affirmed, walking into the room.

"Okay... bye Sweetie" Cleo said crouching down and hugging Zoe who couldn't care less.

Planting a kiss on her blonde curls, Cleo lectured softly. "Be a good girl for Uncle Zane & Aunty Rikki, okay?"

Getting a nod in response, Cleo passed her to Lewis next to her.

Giving his little girl a hug, Lewis held her small body in his arms. "Be good Princess. Love you."

Zoe kissed her Dad's cheek, making him smile, before he put her back on the ground where she resumed playing with her doll.

"Alright have fun!" I said smiling.

"Oh yeah heaps. Food shopping's our favourite thing to do!" Cleo exclaimed sarcastically, slowly walking out from the lounge room into the hall leading to the front door, kitchen, downstairs bathroom and both Will & Bella's and mine & Zane's rooms.

Walking behind them, Zane emerged from our room too.

"We'll try not to be too long and if there are any problems, just call us" Cleo reminded.

"Chill Cleo! We've got it covered!" I reassured her.

"Alright" Cleo replied hesitantly as she walked down the 3 stairs off the balcony onto the grassy front yard, followed by Lewis, headed for their car.

Opening the door, Cleo hesitated again before getting in, I think she stopped herself from reminding us about something else, but she continued to get in the car and as Lewis reversed and drove off, she waved.

Sighing, I felt Zane take hold of my hand, leading us to walk back into the holiday house together.

We walked through the hall, passing the bedrooms and kitchen into the lounge room again where Zoe was now transfixed with watching the fish aquarium in the corner of the room.

"So Zo..." I said, not realizing my accidental rhyming until after I said it. "Whatya wanna do?"

"Tee!" Zoe said turning around and smiling.

Knowing what 'tee' meant in her language, I picked up Zoe, carrying her to the lounge and sitting her down next to my husband who was going through messages on his phone.

I walked over to the TV, turning it onto the same kids channel that Zoe was watching earlier. I walked back over and sat down on the other side of Zane who put his arms around me almost instantaneously. Kissing my cheek, I relaxed and rested my head on his taller shoulder, watching the stupidness of the kiddy show.

"Wow! That drop of magic oil made the whole town better! Thank you Eliza!" A fluffy, colourful creature of some sort said in a imbecile-like tone on the TV.

Zane snorted. "Whatever. Kids shows are so corny that it's actually funny to watch."

"You can say that again!" I agreed.

There was a pause before Zane started gently playing with my wrist.

"How long before you want kids?" Zane asked me again... for the second time in under a week.

My heartbeat raised just a little. I was starting to feel the pressure; not feeling 100% ready, or certain that I wanted to take that big step in our lives yet.

"Um... I'm not sure yet" I said softly, cowering a bit.

"Why? What's the problem?" Zane said, sitting up a bit more.

"Uh... I..." I started saying, before Zane's phone went off in his hand with an incoming call.

Thankfully, I took a small, unnoticeable sigh of relief, before he got up, saying "Hold that thought. Just give me two minutes."

As he left the room, I relaxed a little, but I was left pondering the question 'Why was I so hesitant?' I mean money's far from a problem, I love Zane to death and I didn't even give a second thought about having kids with anyone but him, so why was there something stopping me? What was it stopping me? Why did I feel like this?

Sighing, I stood up and asked "Want a banana Zoe?"

Nodding her small blonde head, but not looking up from the TV, I walked into the kitchen, grabbed one of the bananas from the fruit bowl and peeled it apart, chopping it into about a dozen pieces. I grabbed a bowl and put the chopped fruit into it, walking out of the kitchen back into the lounge room.

Zoe was too short for me to see her head overtop the back of the lounge, so I walked around and saw that the seat that was occupied just minutes ago was now empty.

Looking around the room, I called out "Zoe. Zoe?"

There was no sign of her in the room, so I checked in the laundry which was the closest room to lounge room which was Zoe-less too.

I would've noticed her walking past the kitchen I thought, as I walked upstairs to Cleo & Lewis room, still calling her name.

I checked all around their room including their ensuite and under the bed and there wasn't a single trace or clue of the little girl that I was starting to worry about.

I contemplated checking the lighthouse, but the door was locked and firmly shut. There's no way in hell that a two year old would be able to find the key, open the lock, reach the tall door handle and push the heavy metal door which even I would've had to put muscle into.

There's no way.

I rushed downstairs still calling out to Zoe as I felt my heartbeat raise rapidly.

Zane walked into the lounge room again and seeing the growing worry on my face asked "What's wrong."

I was beginning to panic as the sickening feeling reached my stomach, making my insides twist & churn in fear.

"I can't find Zoe."

Uh-Oh! Bit of a cliffy, but be warned, it gets worse and more edgy. Where's Zoe? How did she disappear so fast? Will Zane & Rikki find Zoe?

Please, please review & then I'll update the story.

Thanks, and have a good day :)