Okay, so starting tomorrow, updates will not be as often. I'm very sorry about that, but I am starting orientation, eight hours a day, five days a week. I can't promise daily updates on both of my stories, or even daily updates on one of my stories. I'll try to update as often as possible, it just won't be as frequent.
Also, in case I came off as critical in my last AN, I was not pointing fingers at anyone, I swear! I welcome constructive criticism, and I love to hear what you guys want to see/don't want to see. I was simply addressing a common concern, and I most definitely did not mean to sound accusing, so I'm sorry if it came out that way. I don't think it did, but just in case!
The day started out normally enough. Well, normal enough for how things had been lately. Another quick round of nausea, followed by the sinking pit of guilt in her stomach, as soon as she left the house and saw Alek lingering by a tree, or on a roof, waiting for her. She knew that she would have to tell him eventually. Soon. After all, she was pregnant. It wasn't exactly like she would be able to hide it for long. But she didn't want him feeling guilty.
And she knew that he would. Chloe knew that the second Alek found out he impregnated her, he would immediately start beating himself up, and blaming himself. And while it was indeed, partially his fault, it took two to make a baby, that much Chloe had gathered from seventh grade health class. Apparently she hadn't been paying well enough attention to learn how to prevent a teenage pregnancy.
Besides, she did not want Alek to feel like he was obliged to be with her. Chloe had come to terms with her deep feelings for Alek, which were much deeper than she had even thought was possible. She had come to the conclusion that all she wanted was for Alek to be happy. No matter what that meant. Whether he was with another Mai, or single, she wanted the best for him. And of course, she wanted more than anything to be a part in making him happy. She wanted to be a big part, but if it wasn't in the cards, then it just wasn't meant to be.
Chloe wanted Alek to love her naturally. She wanted real love, the fairytale romance. Not some warped love that came out of a sense of duty towards her and his unborn baby. Chloe glanced around the classroom, before placing a flat palm protectively over her stomach. She had taken to resting her hand on her stomach; thankfully no one but Amy and Paul had noticed, and they were quick to point it out.
Chloe had never been more grateful for Amy, then when she learned that she had told Paul. Another girl might have been upset, but Chloe only felt indebted towards her closest friend. Paul was a part of their odd trio as well, and Chloe wanted him to know. She just hadn't wanted to tell him. Thankfully, Amy had done the telling for her, and now all that was left was Alek, her mother, and oh yeah, the rest of the world.
The bell overhead rang, and Chloe slid out of her seat easily, and quickly made her way to the door. She was beginning to feel fatigued, and she wanted to take a nap before going to training; today was Alek's day to train her, and she knew he wouldn't let her off, unless she provided a valid reason. And while 'hey, I'm pregnant with your offspring' was a perfectly legitimate reason, Chloe couldn't bring herself to tell Alek yet. It was her burden to bear for now. Thankfully, today was her day off, so she didn't have to go to work.
So walking quickly, she pushed open the entrance doors, and was greeted by the bright California sun. Despite it being December, it was always shining brightly. The air was still cold on her skin, but it didn't feel bad. Taking a deep breath, and inhaling the fresh oxygen, Chloe began making her way home, her shoes making an interesting 'clacking' sound against the pavement.
At first, she noticed nothing out of the ordinary. She was making good time on her way home. However, she noticed the tail of a black coat disappear down a narrow alley, and she drew her arms around herself. She glanced every which way, taking in her surroundings.
Chloe immediately noticed several alarming things. Besides the two men following her, Alek was nowhere in sight. She had no idea what had happened to her overprotective stalker, but she was imagining the worst; what else could get him to abandon his stalking routine?
She knew that neither of the men were Alek; she had grown attuned to him. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she took a deep breath, and began to run, just as the two men began to close in on the young Mai.
The two men caught wind of what she was attempting to do, and before she knew it Chloe was running as fast as her legs could take her, feet pounding across the pavement, her heart practically exploding out of her chest at its frantic beating. She was breathing heavily, and she felt the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Where was Alek? Where was Jasmine? Where was anyone? She was being chased by some deranged, psycho, where was that constant guard that she had?
But she realized no one was coming. And a part of her didn't want anyone to. She was in danger, she always would be. But at the moment, she was in mortal peril. She had eight lives, she would gladly spare one of her own to save the one life that another Mai had.
Yet, as she was literally flying across the streets of San Francisco, it dawned on her that she didn't just have eight lives to protect. There was another one, far more important than any of her own, and she had to protect that little underdeveloped life as well. She had to run as fast as she could, to escape this fate.
Too bad the figure that had been chasing her dropped right in front of her.
Chloe skidded to a stop, her hair flying in front of her face. She immediately turned to backtrack, but the other man approached her from behind. Upon closer inspection, she realized that the features of the second figure, were distinctly feminine, despite the short, boxy haircut.
"Chloe King. We have been waiting for you."
Okay, creepy. And as much as Chloe wanted to ask the creepy people in black what the heck they were talking about, she knew that it would be foolish. It was better to strike while the iron was hot.
Bringing her foot off the ground in a single, deadly movement, she managed to clip the man in the jaw, and send him sprawling on the dirty alley floor. The woman made a move, diving at Chloe, but she swung around, bringing her left shoulder smashing into the woman's head, and elbowing her in the gut, causing her to yelp.
As the black haired woman went tumbling to the ground, her counterpart seemed to recover. However, Chloe was ready for him, parrying each of his hits, and even getting in a few of her own. Yet he managed to land a blow on her cheek, and one dangerously close to her stomach. It was this that sent Chloe into a fury, swinging her foot up to knee him in the groin, and then kick him in the ribs. She pushed him into the woman, and they both collapsed on the ground. She grinned at the sorry pair, but then looked up. She was happy to have taken herself, but there was still one important question.
Where the hell was Alek?
Alek was dashing across the streets of San Francisco, breathing in as much air as he could, while maintaining the same speed. How thick could he have been? He had left Chloe alone. Sixty seconds. A single minute was all it had taken, and now she might lose a life. And it was entirely Alek's fault.
It wasn't even over anything truly worthwhile! Mimi had stopped him in the hallway, and asked him what he was doing the next Saturday. He had flirted and teased her mercilessly, before finally cinching in plans for a date that day. However, she was not his priority. A date with a Mai he didn't even truly care about was not even close to his priority.
Chloe was. And now she was in danger. Because he had neglected his duties. Alek didn't know why he had even talked to Mimi. Sure, she was attractive, but she wasn't radiant. She had a nice body, but she could never compare to Chloe's lithe frame, her smooth, pale skin. The two were not comparable in Alek's mind. But he was a teenage boy.
Of course, he had more respect for Mimi, and more self respect than to go seeking a quick hook up, however, he craved attention just as much as the next person. And if he couldn't have the woman he loved, he was content to enter a relationship that would be mutually beneficial to both parties. Mimi wanted more than he could, or would give, but she was content to call themselves a couple, and simply make out. And that was all he was looking for.
Yet somehow, in his twisted mind, he had allowed that to take precedence. Over Chloe. Valentina would kill him, and then Jasmine would raise him from the dead, so she could kill him again. He had left the Uniter unguarded. She could be hurt, she could have lost a life. It was a very real possibility. Alek had failed her. Whether she was alive or not, whether she had a single scratch on her, was irrelevant. Alek had not put her first in his mind, and he had failed her.
Pushing himself to run faster, he finally caught scent of her sweet fragrance. The smell of strawberries and vanilla was heaven to Alek; it meant Chloe. However, he also smelled something else in her natural scent; something distinctly different. He couldn't place it, but he would question her later. Right now, his main focus was the two Order members who were scrambling off the ground, and away from Chloe.
"We will meet again Mai. And we will get your little one eventually."
Alek had no idea what they were talking about, but Chloe seemed to turn deathly white. She made no move to chase after them as they began running away. Alek desperately wanted to ask her what they meant, but he had more important things to do first. Namely question Chloe, to make sure that she was perfectly alright. But he was a second too late, because Chloe rounded on him, and glared at him.
"Where the hell were you? I thought you were always watching! Lord knows you're there when I don't want you, or when I want to sleep, or hang out with Brian, but when I'm actually attacked, you aren't even here! What the hell Alek?"
Though Alek was chastising himself for the very same thing, a part of him bristled. What had he done to make Chloe so mad? "I already know that I failed my task. I will get an efficient lecture, I don't need one from you as well." He said coolly, and Chloe seemed to grow with rage.
"You think a lecture is going to fix that? I'm improving in my training, yes, but I am nowhere near ready to take on two Order members!"
Alek raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Really?" He drawled sarcastically. "Because I was under the impression that was exactly what you had just done. Impressive, though I could do without the angry outburst." Alek knew that he was the wrong one here. Chloe was right. He should have been watching her, following her. He had placed her in unnecessary danger.
"I thought you were watching me!" Chloe all but shrieked, and Alek was shocked to see some tears gathering in her eyes. "I trust you Alek, I trust you with my lives! I don't want to die again, okay! I know it's selfish of me, but I don't want to die again! Last time I was thrown of Coit Tower, the second time is supposed to be worse! I can't…I'm not strong enough."
Chloe was shaking her head, her blonde curls trembling, along with the rest of her body. Alek was shocked at the sudden outburst of emotions. He decided Chloe must be PMS'ing. That would explain it. Her arms was wrapped around her middle, as if sheltering herself from the cruelties of the harsh world.
Not knowing what else to do, Alek walked over to her, and wrapped her in a tight hug, acting completely on instinct. "You're right. And I'm sorry. I should have been watching. I…I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you Chloe." Chloe practically melted into the hug, and for a brief second, Alek could pretend that she was his, and her heart belonged to him. But he knew that wasn't possible.
Tilting her chin up, so that she was looking into his eyes, he spoke again. "I will do everything possible to make sure that you do not have to die again. Including dying myself. But you are strong enough. Chloe, you are the strongest person I know. You are the Uniter, and you do have the strength to do it. With the assistance of your lovely protector of course."
Chloe smiled, and nudged him slightly. "Oh of course." Alek grinned at her, and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
"Come on, let's get you home. No training today, yeah?" Chloe grinned widely at him, and he knew that it was worth the lecture he would get from his Aunt Val, just to see that beautiful smile lighting up her face.
The two walked to the King house in that position, completely oblivious to each other's emotional dilemma regarding the other, and especially deaf to all the comments around, about what a cute couple the pair of them made.
Preview for Chapter Five:
"All I'm saying Chloe, is that you should go in. I mean, who knows? Maybe you'll even find out that you aren't pregnant after all? Wouldn't that be a relief?"
"Ames. I had unprotected sex, I'm having morning sickness, cravings, and mood swings. There's really not a chance that I'm not pregnant. Besides, as relieving as it would be, it would be kind of disappointing too. I mean, I've grown a little attached already. I don't know what I would do if I found out that I wasn't pregnant."
"Wait, you want to be pregnant? And you shouldn't grow attached. I mean, you have options, you should at least consider them."
"Of course I don't want to be pregnant. I'm sixteen! But the fact is, I am, and that isn't going to change. I know I have options, but the fact is, I have grown attached. There is a bean sized baby in here, that I've been carrying for three months. A little piece of Alek, you know? And I'm not giving that up."