It was the middle of the night. That was her first thought as she gave a sigh and got out of bed, wondering why she had been woken suddenly.
Then she stopped and listened and then Sonia Rothwell was wide awake: it happened again. A door slammed. Then it bumped off the frame, did it again and she gave a sigh and got out of bed, wondering what she had forgotten to do now…
She went down the stairs, following the sound of the door. Then she froze…it wasn't coming from the house, it was coming from the garage…
She wondered if she ought to get her gun because she was still jumpy and Lexington was very much on her mind. Then she remembered how stupid she had felt when she imagined someone had broken in earlier on and it had been nothing… She thought about grabbing her gun, just to be safe.
Then she wondered if Lexington really was such a threat to her; she was the one who wanted to kill him, what could a cripple like him do all by himself? He could hardly drive over here and break into her garage in the middle of the night… No, that twisted bastard was at home, probably with his hands all over his teenage wife…
Then she heard something else: A cat mewed loudly from the direction of the garage.
She gave a sigh again, leaving the gun behind and hoping the stay cat hadn't peed all over the garage that smell would linger for days…
She went down the hall and through the kitchen, passed through the laundry room and then stopped, watching as a breeze filtered through and bumped the open door. She reached out and grabbed it, pushed it open and shook her head, guessing she had left it unlocked…
She walked into the garage and turned on the light.
The front door was closed down and her car was left untouched, but that mewing sound happened again and then she heard a sound like a scratching…No, it couldn't have got inside the car… She leaned over and looked under the car. Nothing. She grabbed the door and wrenched it open, staring at the driver's seat and the passenger seat.
Then something caught her eye. There was a folded piece of paper on the floor. Just by the driver's side. She got in the car and reached down and picked it up, frowning as she read the scrawled words:
"Boo?" She wondered aloud as her blood turned to ice.
Something moved in front of the garage door.
She looked up sharply and gave a gasp: Pandora Lexington was standing there looking right at her.
"This is for my Uncle Marv." She informed her.
As her words registered Sonia's eyes grew wider, then as she saw a shadow move in the mirror she gave a cry of fright that was choked off as he sat up sharply and wrapped his gloved hand around her throat, choking off her voice: He was in the back of the car, Lexington was behind her and he had her by the throat…
"Hi sugar…I heard you wanted to see me…"
He snatched the paper from her hand.
"I'll take that. I can't leave evidence behind!"
Then he laughed darkly and mewed like a cat, just to let her know it was him who had been calling her…
As he squeezed her throat the world started to go dark and she struggled.
As she fought him Pandora watched as Lexy kept hold of Rothwell's throat. His other hand slid over her hair, then he let go of her, pausing for a moment and then placing his hands either side of her head. As Pandora blinked he turned Rothwell's head sharply to one side – way too far – and there was a loud snap. Sonia Rothwell slumped back limp and motionless and Lexy reached down and pulled the lever that adjusted the seat, pulling it right back. Rothwell slid back almost gracefully, as Lexy's gloved hand hovered over her Pandora thought for a moment it reminded her of a scene from an old black and white vampire movie where the woman swooned in the vampire's embrace…
"Did you knock her out?" She said quietly.
"No, she's dead."
"Are you sure?"
Lexy looked up at his wife through damp hair that hung in his eyes as he leaned over the body.
"Yeah, she's dead. I just broke her neck."
He ran his finger around a slender gold chain that Rothwell wore around her neck, then he unfastened it and slipped it into his pocket. Then he drew out a knife with a thin blade. Pandora stared... No, it wasn't a knife, it was a scalpel…
"Were did you get that from?"
"Home." He replied, "I keep all sorts of stuff locked away…"
Then he reached down and rolled her over and slid her nightgown up her body. He ran his gaze over her flesh and then glanced at Pandora.
"You don't want to see this, honey. It's going to be messy. Why don't you go and wait in the car…I'll be about twenty minutes…no, make that forty…"
Pandora's eyes narrowed and she glared at him.
"Get on with it! There's no time for your weird stuff, Marv needs that kidney!"
Lexy sat there with the scalpel poised in his hand and gave her a sweet smile.
"I know that. Just run along to the car, Pandora. I won't be long…"
"Get on with it!" She said again.
Pandora shot him another warning glance and then walked out of the garage.
Marv was sleeping. Harry watched him laying there and felt his heart aching. Marv had been through so much, his battle against the poison had left him weak and damaged and as he looked at him he could tell he was still Marv but he looked so pale, it scared him to think about how much his body had gone through. Then Harry noticed a faint bruise on Marv's cheek that was still visible and he gave a sob…that hadn't been caused by the venom - that had been from the time he had lashed out at him…
"I'm so sorry, sweetheart." He said to him as he stroked the bruise and wished that love and regret could make it fade away before his eyes, "I'll never hurt you again… I swear I won't. You wait and see, you see how good I am to you when you're out of here…I'll show you how much I love you, I'll remind you of that every day for the rest of your life…"
Then he leaned over him and kissed his cheek.
"Harry?" Marv murmured, then he slowly opened his eyes. He blinked as the world blurred and partly came into focus.
Megan looked sharply at Harry.
"Careful," She warned him, "Don't drop the act – someone could come in…remember you're supposed to be Lexy."
Harry straightened up and carried on holding Marv's hand.
Marv blinked again and Harry felt like his heart was breaking as he said his name a second time, but he knew he Megan was right – he couldn't drop the act even for a second, there was too much to lose…
"No," He said quietly, giving his hand a squeeze, "It's me, it's Lexy."
Marv frowned and looked up at him, but his face was in shadow and his vision was still blurred.
As he said those words Harry used all his strength not to break down and cry again; Marv was so pale, he had shadows under his eyes and he could only guess at the scar that was beneath the dressing that covered one side of his head. He didn't know he was sick, he thought he was getting better - he didn't know he was dying at all…
"Harry just stepped out of the room for a minute, he's coming back soon. But I won't leave you; me and Megan will stay right here with you."
Marv's voice became tearful.
"I want Harry…I'm scared, Lexy…"
Megan looked away as she hid the tears in her own eyes while the man who was pretending to be Lexy gripped Marv's hand tighter.
"Harry won't leave you, Marv." He promised him, "He'll never do that, believe me…"
Pandora heard the gate squeak and looked up from the open car window to see Lexy leaning heavily against it. He dragged his legs forward slowly, pain was clearly in his eyes and he stopped for a moment and looked at her.
"Are you going to help me back to the car? I can't walk with these false limbs, it hurts too much!"
Pandora got out of the car and hurried over to him, putting her arm round him and supporting him as she helped him back to the car. Every step was a struggle but when she finally got him into the car he glanced back at Rothwell's garage.
"Now go around to the back door and pick up the box and the bag. Don't look in either of 'em, have you got that?"
"Is it messy?"
"Very." He replied.
She hurried back around the house and came back moments later with a box that was closed and a plastic bag that contained another plastic bag. She handed the items to Lexy and he carefully put them on the floor beneath the passenger seat.
"What's in the box?"
Lexy gave a sigh.
"But what's in the box, Lexy?"
"Well it ain't her head! Would you please start the car?"
Pandora started up the engine and pulled away from the house.
"When we come out of this street go back onto the highway, keep going until we see the first left turn and then follow it as far as we can go…"
Pandora stared at him.
"But that will take us off track – that will take us towards the old bridge, Lexy – the one where you crashed!"
"I know that." He said quietly, keeping his eyes on the road as she continued to drive.
By now they had reached the highway and Pandora followed his instructions.
"Why are we going back there?" She demanded, "You almost died that night – why would you want to go back there?"
Lexy glanced down at the plastic bag beside the box.
"It's thirty feet straight down into a dry riverbed full of junk. I need to throw something off the bridge before we get the kidney to Marv."
Pandora carried on driving. It started to rain and as the wipers moved back and forth she saw the turning coming up and slowed the car.
"Are you sure about this?" She asked him.
Lexy's gaze was like ice.
"You bet I am." He told her, "I've set up an alibi - the cops won't suspect me, they think I'm at the hospital, they've got me on camera - they don't know it's Harry. Even Kevin McCallister thinks Harry's on the way to see him- no one knows what's really happened tonight, I won't fuck anything up, that's why I have to lose this package."
Pandora drove up to the bridge and stopped at the edge of it, not daring to take the car any closer. There was still a hole in the side of it, from the night Lexy's sports car had plunged off the bridge and smashed into the river bed far below.
"Closer." Lexy stated.
Pandora gripped the wheel and tried to banish the memory of the car falling through the darkness and all she heard was her own screaming as she wondered if Lexy and her Uncle Marv were both dead… She moved the car forward, taking it right to the edge.
"Close enough?" She snapped, not wanting to think about the drop that was just ahead of them.
"Yeah that's fine." He said calmly, then lifted the package in the bag and tossed it out of the window, down over the bridge and into the darkness below.
"Now we can leave." He said to her.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she pulled back from the bridge and took the car back to the road. She turned it around and headed back towards the highway.
"So the kidney's in the box?"
Pandora continued to drive, heading for the hospital.
"So what was in the bag?" She asked him as they neared their destination.
Lexy glanced at her.
"You don't want to know."
"Yes I do!"
Lexy gave a sigh, realising he had no way to avoid owning up to this…
"I couldn't just take out one kidney and leave her like that it would have been a bit too obvious. So I took a lot more than just one kidney. The stuff in that bag was just…" He thought about it and then he smiled.
"Some pretty little pieces that we didn't need."
Pandora felt her stomach turn over.
"Okay," She said quickly, "Let's just forget about the bag!"
She looked back at the road and saw the hospital was just off the next turning on the right.
"I hope they let him have the kidney," She said quietly, "We're almost there now…"
Harry checked the time. He glanced at Megan.
"Call Kevin." He said quietly, "Tell him I'm going to be late."
Megan got up and left the room to make the call.
As the phone rang she waited.
"Come on…" She said under her breath.
Kevin picked the phone up.
"Harry said to tell you he's going to be late – he's got trouble with the van."
"I can bring Lexy Junior to the hospital- and Calvin, if Marv really needs to see them right now, I mean he is sick, it's no trouble, Megan."
She felt slightly guilty for lying like this to her own brother, but she remembered what Harry had told her and stuck to it.
"No, don't do that- don't even wake the kids… bring 'em over in the morning, that might be better."
"Are you sure?" Kevin wondered.
Megan looked up the corridor and saw her daughter walking towards Marv's room. Pandora smiled at her. Megan smiled back and took it that everything had gone well.
"I'm sure." She said, "I'll call you in the morning."
Then she put the phone down.
Pandora glanced at her Mom and walked past her, went into Marv's room and glanced at her Dad. He was still in Lexy's wheelchair and he had kept up the disguise.
"Let's go." She said quietly.
Harry stayed silent until they had left the hospital and were going through the parking lot.
"What happens now?"
"Lexy's in my car. He's taking the coat and hat and getting back in his chair. And you're going to clean the ink off your hands and take the kidney into the hospital."
Harry thought about the task that lie ahead and felt heavy in his heart- he didn't even know if the doctor would accept the kidney – she wouldn't take one of his own kidneys when he had begged her to do it…
"What if she says no?"
They had reached the car. As Lexy opened the door Harry took off the coat and hat and handed it to him and got out of the chair. He stood up, stretching his aching back as he felt glad to be back on his feet again.
Pandora handed him some wet wipes and he started to clean the ink off his hands. She still hadn't answered his question.
"What do we do if she says no?" He repeated.
"Then we shop around and find a surgeon who will do the operation." She replied, "And you can tell her that too – once she knows we're serious about that, I don't think she'll say no."
"I hope this goes the way we planned it." Harry said.
He looked down at his own hands and noticed they were clean now. Then he watched as Pandora helped Lexy into his wheelchair and as he looked at his tattooed hands he saw no trace of blood on them - although he was sure they all had blood on their hands now, even if it was the kind that didn't show on the surface…
Marv woke up as Megan took hold of his hand. It was still dark outside and Pandora was next to his bed now and so was Lexy.
"Are you okay, Marv?" Megan said gently, "We're all here, honey. Don't be scared."
Marv looked up at them and wanted to sit up but he was too weak to move. He thought about the way they had all been crying over him and suddenly fear registered in his eyes.
"Tell me the truth." He said slowly, fixing his gaze on Megan, "Am I dying?"
Megan looked back at him and tears filled her eyes as she felt torn between telling him the truth or lying to him and carrying that guilt for the rest of her life.
But she didn't need to answer that question because someone else had just walked over to his bedside…
"No you're not." Harry promised him.
He leaned over Marv and gave him a gentle kiss, then he smiled.
"They've got a kidney for you - the doctor said it's not a perfect match but it should work out okay. You're not dying, Marv – you're going to have the operation and get better."
Megan and Pandora hugged each other, then Pandora hugged her husband and gave him a big kiss.
Marv held on to Harry's hand tightly.
"I need a transplant?" Now he was starting to panic. "Why? What's the matter with me? I thought I got a snake bite…I don't understand…"
"Marv, its okay…just calm down, you'll be fine." Harry promised him, wanting to spare him the details because right now Marv had no idea just how much he had been through since he had been poisoned.
Marv wouldn't let go of his hand, so Harry stayed with him until it was time for his surgery, then he held onto his hand right up until Marv was taken into the operating room and as he let go of him Harry felt an ache as if half of his heart had been wrenched away.
"He'll be okay." Megan said quietly, "He has to be - we can't lose him now."
Harry looked into Megan's eyes and suddenly felt proud of her for the way she had pulled herself together. It had taken her a while, but she had got there in the end.
"We won't lose him." He told her, "He's got you and me and we're more than strong enough to help him through this."
Then he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly, not wanting to let go of her.
It hadn't been easy persuading the doctor to use an organ that, as far as she was concerned, had been bought illegally – but Pandora had been right –when he said if she wouldn't do it he would find someone who would, she had decided to go ahead and give Marv the kidney because she had a dying patient and she knew she had the means to save him right in front of her. But she had warned him, Marv was very weak to be going through such a major procedure – there was a chance he might not make it through the surgery.
But Harry didn't want to think about that as he hugged Megan.
"He'll make it." She said to him, "He has to…"
Harry was still holding her.
"He will." He promised her, "He's stronger than he knows - he'll get through this…"
Four Months Later
The last of the summer had faded away and the leaves had turned brown and been torn away by icy winds and now the trees were bare. The snow had come down early on Christmas Eve and as they pulled up outside the McCallister house that evening and Harry saw the place glowing with lights and covered with snow, memories of another Christmas hit him hard and he recalled sitting in the van with Marv and saying, Crow bars Up…
That had been a long time ago. Back then they were both younger and in those days Marv had taken a lot of punishment from Kevin and his traps and come through it with little more than bruises. After Marv had got sick from the snake venom those days had been on his mind a little bit, it was easy to angry at the thought that this was the guy who had once thrown bricks at his lover… but Kevin had cried over everything Marv had been through, he had been to the hospital and sat with him and done all he could to make him feel better. Harry didn't doubt that Kevin cared about Marv, he had been so helpful and supportive during what had turned out to be a very tough time, far tougher than he had expected…
Kate McCallister opened the door and Kevin was next to her. Harry gave him a hug and walked in. Then Megan came in with Calvin and Pandora walked in with Lexy Junior in her arms. Then she handed the baby to Kate and went back down the steps to help Lexy in with his chair.
They went through to the front room where the family was getting together for Christmas Eve.
Harry looked around at the house that held such memories- it all seemed so much closer with the Christmas decorations up, it seemed to bring the past back vividly.
"Are you alright?" Kate asked him.
Harry nodded. "I'm okay, Kate. But I miss him every day."
"I know you do." She replied, "But you're all such a close family, it must be hard to feel lonely for too long – you have Megan…"
At the mention of Megan Harry smiled and glanced across the room as Megan chatted to her Dad by the fire.
"I know I do." He told her, "When I think about our family, despite everything we went through, I feel lucky to have so many people around me who care. And it means a lot that after everything with me and Marv all those years ago, you still accepted us as family. That will always mean a lot to me."
As he spoke his voice trembled a little and Kate's eyes filled with compassion. At first it had taken a while for her to get used to the idea of Megan's relationship with two men; but she had seen how much the three of them loved each other – and she had also witnessed the pain they had gone through while Marv had been so very sick.
She tried to cheer him up by reminding him Marv wouldn't be gone forever…
"I know it's taken him a long time to get over what happened, but he's coming home soon, isn't he?"
That did make Harry smile.
"Yes." He said, recalling how hard things had been for Marv after the transplant. He had been sick for weeks, then stuck in the hospital for another three months just getting over it all. But he was coming home soon, any day now…
"And it's all I'm looking forward to; I just want him home again." He told her.
Then he stepped aside as Lexy moved his chair closer to Kate.
"Hi Kate." He said nervously, "I was wondering if I could talk to you about something – alone?"
"Sure." Kate replied, knowing nothing about his darker side.
Harry caught the way he looked at her and felt a flicker of alarm; he knew what that guy was capable of and even though he had saved Marv's life now he knew for sure, every time Lexy fixed his gaze on someone and it started to turn to some kind of stare, he worried. He went over to Pandora and asked to have a word with her – privately…
Kate had already gone out into the kitchen and as Lexy moved his chair into the room she closed the door.
"What's this about?" She asked him.
Lexy looked up at her. Then he looked away for a moment as he felt a little bit awkward.
"Just um…give me a minute I've never been much good at this kind of shi – stuff…"
Then he looked back at her.
"I've wanted to get you alone for a while." He confided, "I want to…."
He paused again, finding to hard to say – then he finally found the right words.
"I want to thank you for the way you looked after the kids when Marv was sick." He told her, "You're a really special lady, especially for the way you send so much time with Calvin. He's not too bright but you're so good for him, I think you're wonderful."
Then as he blushed he reached in his pocket and handed her a small black box.
Kate stared at it in surprise. She opened it and lifted out a slender gold necklace.
As he watched the light catch on the chain he took from Sonia Rothwell's neck he smiled and told her the truth – at least, as much as he could tell her…
"You have no idea how much that necklace means to me." He told her, "It's got…memories. But I'd like you to have it."
"It's beautiful!" She exclaimed, "Thank you so much. You're such a sweet person, Lexy!"
And she leaned over him and kissed his cheek. Lexy knew he was blushing now and he smiled back at her.
"Like I said, I just wanted to thank you."
Then he turned his chair around.
"I'd better get back to the party."
Harry kept his voice low as he stood in a corner by the window and looked at his daughter.
"I know what he did for Marv, I know he's a part of the family but I need to ask you something- is Lexy a psycho? I mean is he a real one? "
Pandora didn't even flinch as she thought about it while she held Lexy Junior in her arms.
"Well yeah, he's a psychopathic with a personality disorder. That's what they said about him when he was locked up. I thought you knew that?"
Harry glared at her as he kept his voice down.
"But what the hell does that mean? Is he gonna start killing people every time he feels like it? Is he dangerous?"
"No, Dad! He's got what's called a dependant personality. It means he can't live without the people he loves. He'd never hurt any of us, we're his whole life."
"But he'd kill for us if he thought he had to?"
"But wouldn't we all kill for those we love if we really felt we had no choice?"
Harry thought about the way he had pretended to be Lexy to cover up for him while he was out getting a kidney for Marv…his daughter had a point, even though he wasn't comfortable with the idea.
"I guess you're right." He said quietly.
Then he glanced at the doorway. Lexy came back into the room. Kate was already back and she was showing her husband the necklace he had given her. Then Calvin walked into the room with his thumb in his mouth. He had put his coat back on and he sat down on the sofa, kicked at the chair for a moment then got up again, stopped sucking his thumb and put his hat and gloves on.
"Hey Calvin!" Harry said, "What are you doing? Take your coat off."
The little boy looked up at his Uncle Harry with sad eyes.
"I don't want to stay here. I don't want anything."
"Sure you do! It's Christmas! Think about what you want from Santa."
Calvin got up and blinked away tears.
"I don't want this party!" He yelled, "I don't want any presents either!"
Then his voice became tearful.
"I just want my Daddy back!"
As everyone turned around and looked at him, Calvin ignored his Mom as she called him and went outside to the garden, where he started to make a snowman all by himself.
Megan glanced over at Harry and he just shook his head; he knew nothing would make that kid happy right now because he wanted Marv home, he missed his Dad so much he cried all the time over him…
Megan glanced out of the window. Calvin was still playing with the snow.
"He's okay." She said to Harry, "Just let him play, it might take his mind off how much he misses Marv."
Then Harry's cell phone rang.
As he answered it his eyes lit up and Megan recognised that look; no one could make Harry feel happy like Marv did…
"Hi Marv!" He said warmly, "How are you?"
Then he listened and as he smiled his gold tooth caught the light and sparkled almost as brightly as his eyes.
"You're what? No…we're over at Kate's….are you sure you want to do that?"
Then he listened again.
"Okay Marv. You do that, I'll tell Megan!"
Harry cut the call off. He grabbed hold of Megan and kissed her.
"Marv's out of the hospital! He went home- but he's getting a taxi, he's coming over here right now."
Megan gave Harry a hug, and then she laughed. Then she gave a squeal and put her hand on her growing baby bump.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked her.
She laughed again.
"Yeah, I'm fine. The baby just kicked like crazy!"
Then she gave another squeal and grabbed Harry and hugged him again.
"Oh my God!" She said excitedly, "Marv's coming home!"
A short while later the snow had started to fall lightly and Calvin had piled up the snow so high he could barely reach to put the head on the snow man. He reached up and slipped, dropping the snowball he had just spent a long time making. He fell to his knees and started pushing the snow back together. He remembered last winter, when he had made a snow man with his Daddy, it had started snowing again he had looked at him and said, "We should go in now, it's started snowing again. Its …" His Daddy had paused, thinking about how to phrase it, "Getting even more snowy." He had told him.
Calvin kept that memory in his thoughts while he grabbed at the snow.
Then the back door opened.
"Calvin!" Grandma Kate called out, "Could you come inside for a minute, sweetie?"
He thought about the party. He didn't want to be there, he just wanted his Daddy…
"No." He stated, then carried on pushing the snow together.
Then he heard footsteps coming through the snow. He guessed either his Mom or his Uncle Harry had come outside to tell him to come in so he carried on playing with the snow.
The sound of footsteps in the snow stopped. Calvin didn't look up.
"You should come in now." Said a familiar voice, "It's started snowing again. It's getting even more snowy."
Calvin dropped the snow. He looked up, all the way up because he was very tall. The snow had left a dusting on the shoulders of his coat and in his curly hair.
"Hi Calvin." He said warmly.
Calvin's eyes sparkled and he dropped the snow and jumped to his feet.
"DADDY!" He yelled as he raced to his father's arms, "You came back!"
Marv caught him as he ran to him and lifted his son into his arms.
For a moment all Calvin could do was hug him. Then as Marv carried him back towards the house he looked at his Daddy.
"Are you really better? Are you really home forever?"
Marv hugged him tighter.
"I sure am, son." He promised him, "I'm home forever now."
As they came back towards the house Kevin turned from the window and looked at his Mom. Seeing Calvin so happy to be reunited with Marv had brought back his own memories of something he hadn't thought about for a long time…
"Remember when you left me behind?" He said to her, "Do you know what the best part about it was for me?"
Kate looked at her son.
"What was the best part?" She asked him.
Kevin smiled and felt a rush of love for his Mom.
"The moment you walked back through the door." He told her, then he gave her a hug.
It was getting late when they left the McCallister house. As Harry drove home in the van he kept glancing at Marv, they kept exchanging smiles and Harry just wanted to stop the car and throw his arms around him and never let go – but Megan was tired and Calvin was hugging his Dad like he never intended to let him out of his sight again.
"It's so good to have you home." He said quietly as they drove towards the house.
Marv looked at him and smiled and Harry saw the look in his eyes and he smiled too; he didn't need to say anything, that look had spoken for him – they were back together and that was all they needed to be happy…
Pandora was close behind, but she turned her car into the garage beside the apartment she shared with Lexy and switched off the engine.
"I'm so glad Uncle Marv's back home." She said, "Did you see the look in my Dads eyes when he walked through the door? I don't think I've ever seen him so happy!"
There was no reply.
Pandora turned around.
"Yeah I know, it's great to have him back…"
Lexy wouldn't look at her. His voice sounded tearful.
Pandora reached out and put her hand on his shoulder.
"What's the matter? Why are you crying?"
Lexy slowly turned and looked at her. It had been on his mind long enough, something he should have mentioned a while back but he just couldn't face up to it. But now Marv was back and he was well again, owning up to the truth seemed like the right thing to do…
"There was a bit of a misunderstanding a few months back." He said quietly, "It wasn't my fault-not exactly… but I need to speak to Harry and Marv about it right now – and your Mom…"
Pandora's eyes clouded with confusion.
"What's this about? What have you done?"
Lexy's hand shook as he pushed his hair off his face.
"Just let me talk to them – I need to explain to everyone. I need to talk to them right now, Pandora."
Marv came down the stairs and went through to the front room.
"Calvin's asleep." He said, "I thought he was never going to let go of me, he just kept hugging me!"
Megan was on the sofa and Harry was beside her.
"He's just glad to have you home." Harry told him, "We all are."
Marv looked at the pair of them and smiled as he thought about sliding into that space between them on the sofa and hugging them both and just staying like that for a while – but then Pandora walked in with her son in her arms and Lexy followed in his chair.
Megan stared at them.
"What are you doing here? I thought you were going home to bed…"
"We were but Lexy's got something he wants to tell you." She replied, then she looked at her husband.
"What's this all about?" Pandora demanded.
Lexy looked at Harry and Megan. Then Marv sat down on the sofa too.
"Just tell us what's wrong." Marv said gently, wondering why Lexy was so upset.
"I was here the night you all…um…made the baby together. Pandora was asleep and I thought I'd come over and I used the door that links on to the apartment and I came through to the kitchen…I heard you all laughing and talking in the next room so I went up to the door…then I realised you were all fooling around together and…"
He stopped for a moment. They were all staring at him, except Pandora, who was glaring angrily.
"…and I know I should have turned around and gone back home but I got a little bit too excited and I…had to…you know, relieve my tension."
Pandora stared at him.
"Lexy, you pervert!" She said sharply.
But he just carried on explaining, guessing they would all be mad at him when they knew the whole story…
"I just grabbed the nearest thing – a drinking glass. I had to put it back on the table because Marv was coming back in the kitchen – I backed up the chair, I was going to leave but then he picked the glass up and I heard Harry say something about how they wouldn't know which one of em got you pregnant- I think he was talking about artificial insemination…that's why I'm very worried that the baby could be mine."
There was a silence as they all stared at him.
Then Megan glanced at Harry and Marv and then the three of them started to laugh.
"You thought – oh no, Lexy, we didn't do it like that! We conceived this baby naturally." Megan assured him.
"I remember picking the glass up." Marv replied, "Don't worry about it, I looked in it and I didn't even think what it could be, I just threw it away and got another glass for the wine."
Lexy breathed a big sigh of relief.
"I'm glad to hear it! I was so worried; I've been worried for months!"
Pandora was still looking at him with anger in her eyes.
"You spied on my parents having sex?"
"It didn't happen like that, I didn't mean to – you know what I'm like – I get over excited, I can't help it! I wish I'd never come in without knocking!"
As Pandora looked into his eyes she realised how scared he had been. Then she thought back to how quiet he had been around her Mom, how emotional he had become every time they had talked about the baby… she wanted to yell at him but she guessed he had already suffered enough by what his own imagination had put him through.
Harry was still laughing.
"Just forget about it, Lexy – and next time you come in you might want to knock first…"
Pandora got up. Lexy glanced up at her anxiously.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't plan it, I didn't mean to watch anything…"
The look in her eyes softened. She put her hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
"You have been such an idiot! I can't believe you thought that! Let's just go home now, Lexy." She said to him, "It's getting late."
A short while later Marv laughed as he lay in the dark, in bed with one arm around Harry and the other around Megan.
"I can't believe he thought we would have done that! I don't even want to think about how that guy's mind works!"
"Oh my God…as if we would have done that!"
Harry shifted over, getting in the middle so he could hug Marv and Megan.
"Harry!" Megan said, "Me and Marv are talking…"
"I don't care, I like being in the middle." He replied, getting warm between the two people he loved.
As he closed his eyes he listened to their conversation.
"Well it's definitely a girl," Megan was saying, "So I was thinking, what about Tabitha?"
"No," Marv said to her, "I like the name Lacey…"
"No, I don't think it'll suit her." Megan said, "I don't know what to call this baby."
Harry was just about ready to fall asleep between them.
"Could you two stop talking?" he said to them, "You'll keep the baby awake. Let Lola get some sleep."
"Lola!" Marv exclaimed, "I like that!"
"So do I!" Megan said.
Harry just smiled, then he settled down to sleep, feeling nothing was missing now because Marv was home and he was warm between the two people he loved.