A sudden brightness filled the dark corners of the room as she stretched out like a cat on the satin sheets where she lay in nothing but her undergarments. She turned to face the man who occupied the rest of the bed, duly noting that he had managed to snag most of the blanket in his sleep.
He must have been tossing and turning, She thought quietly as she knew that he was prone to nightmares. Quickly, she untangled herself from the sheets and as quietly as she could and got dressed. She pulled on a white blouse a black pencil skirt and was fixing her hair in the mirror when she felt a presence behind her. Her instincts kicked in and she spun around, prepared for an attack. Someone grabbed the arm that swung towards the offending person.
"'Morning, love." Ian smiled, releasing her arm. Emily couldn't help smile back at the man. It was at least once in a while where she'd forget why she was there, where she'd forget that this man was a terrorist, a murderer, her target. Sometimes her head was so groggy that she just thought of him as what he thought he was, her fiancé. A pain shot through her chest as she logged all her rational thoughts away for the time being. She traced the man's arms with her fingertips before kissing him lightly, although he quickly deepened it. She pushed him away, giggling.
"Ian, you forget, we can't stay in bed all day today. You have work to do and I promised Declan a picnic." She said, her tone light, she was too good at this sometimes. Sometimes she wished she wasn't. Maybe then It wouldn't be so hard to lie to him, the man who loved her with all his heart, while although at times she felt the same way, she had to compartmentalize more than when she was adolescent, which was saying a lot.
Ian growled his disagreement, but knew she was right.
"I need to finish up a deal, I'll be back tonight sometime. Don't wait up, love." He told her, softly, it was hard to imagine that Irish drawl barking orders, but she knew how he spoke when it came to business. Times like that she would usually leave for fear of blowing her cover. She knew the man was a killer, she'd seen his scars, heard of his nightmares, and yet, she had still broken the biggest rule. But, that didn't mean she wouldn't be informing Clyde that Doyle was finishing up a deal today.
"Je t'aime, Lauren." He told her, his voice almost a whisper before his lipsbrushed hers softly.
"I love you too." She whispered back, smiling at him as he gave her one final kiss before leaving. She fingered the glittering gold ring that hung from the chain around her neck. How much longer did she have to keep this up?, she wondered. How much longer did she have to live a lie?
She assumed Ian had gone to say goodbye to Declan, as he always did and navigated her way through the villa down to the kitchen where the happy four year old was eating breakfast. Louise was making pancakes and Emily walked in, ruffling Declan's blond curls and kissing the boy on the cheek.
"Lauren!" He giggled, smiling at her. She smiled back at the young boy, taking the seat next to him. She was glad he'd called her Lauren, it physical hurt her when he'd called her "Mommy" one day while they were playing. She ran up to the bedroom and cried for hours because the consequences of her actions had finally weighed down on her. She didn't like to think what would happen to Declan when this was all over. Well, one thing's for sure, he would be going to orphanage or put in the system, she'd take him herself if she had to, although she doubted the higher ups would like that, but yet again, was she ever one to follow authority?
"Lauren, Lauren, when we gonna' play?" She realized that he had recently learned how to say her name correctly, hence the reason he kept repeating it, he wanted to show off to her.
"After breakfast, sweetie." She told him, just as Louise set two plates in front of them each with stacks of pancakes. Declan reached for the maple syrup, splatting a big glob of the stuff, some trickling over the sides of the plate.
"Declan!" Louise scolded as Emily grabbed napkins to clean up the syrup that had dripped onto the hardwood. Declan pouted, surely thinking that he did nothing wrong. She couldn't help but smile at his childhood innocence.
After the syrup mishap, Emily cut Declan's pancakes into bites size pieces and the four year old ate them quickly, leaving Emily to clean off the syrup all over his face when he was done. She too had eaten most of her pancakes, plain, as she liked them.
Afterwards she had promised she would play with Declan and he told her he wanted to play outside so she let the four year old pull her by her hand to the inner courtyard where she often gardened to pass the time. There were these lovely purple flowers that grew everywhere around the villa that she loved, although she didn't know what they were called.
Declan and her played tag for a long while, until Emily's body didn't seem to want to keep up with her childish mind.
"What's wrong, Lauren?" Declan asked, as Emily panted from all the running around. She smiled at the boy.
"Nothing, sweetheart. I'm just tired, and it looks like it's almost time for lunch. So, how about that picnic I promised?" She smiled at the boy. The genuine love she had for him was immense. She loved the boy like he was her own. Ian had told her his mother died in childbirth, after she found out that Declan was Ian's son she felt she'd earned enough trust to ask about more personal matters. She still wondered about what Ian had wanted her to do. She drew the line. Ian let it go after that, but the question still haunted her. She knew she could never do it, but there was a part of her that wished she could. It was the same part that loved Ian Doyle, the same part that wished they could be normal, that she could be normal. That they could be happy.
She'd realized that Louise seemed to be the boy's only caregiver since he was a baby. She was sure that the older woman liked that Emily spent most of her time entertaining the boy, giving her time to do her job as a housekeeper. Although, as seen this morning, Declan was always up for making a mess.
She decided upon sandwiches for their afternoon picnic, and instructed Declan to go play in his room. She told him she'd call him down when the picnic was ready. She made his favourite, peanut butter and jelly. She was not practically a big fan, and made a peanut butter and butter sandwich. Her favourite foods included macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets, which were thankfully easy to come by in this house, since Declan loved them too. Ian called her childish for her choices in food, but also told her that he loved her childishness.
She found a delightful surprise in the fridge, strawberries! Another of Declan's favourites. She didn't have a picnic basket so she settled on a large container that she found in one of the cupboards. After she was done with the food portion of the picnic, she went upstairs to her and Ian's closet to find a blanket. She found a big enough one and pulled it around her neck, making it trail behind her like a cape as she walked to Declan's room.
He was playing with his action figures, sitting cross legged on the floor. She appeared in the doorway, makeshift cape on and struck a pose. Declan exploded in a fit of giggles as she told him that he could be a prince if she could be the queen.
"And daddy can be the King?" He asked, jumping up into her arms, the blanket dropped to her feet and she swung the little boy around.
"Yes!" She replied, putting him down so that they could go have their picnic. Emily couldn't help but giggle as the boy ran down the stairs.
Declan suddenly stopped and Emily nearly ran over the little boy. She glanced up at why he had stopped. The bay windows ahead of them were cascaded with rain, and Declan began to cry. Emily kneeled in front of the boy.
"Hey, hey, hey, don't cry, sweetie." She cooed softly, as he looked up at her, his big blue eyes watering.
"But we can't have our picnic…" He whined, and she smiled at him.
"We don't need to be outside to have a picnic, sweetie. Come upstairs to get more blankets and you'll see." She told him, wiping away his tears. He didn't understand what she had in mind, but she clasped his tiny hand in hers and headed upstairs.
"I love you, Lauren." Declan told her after they ate their feast in their 'castle' they had made together. They had taken all the blankets from upstairs and built a fort in the living room. They had also made paper crowns, even one for Ian.
"I love you too, sweetheart." She told him, kissing him on his forehead. On his crown was a misspelled, "Prince" and on hers a misspelled "Queen", Ian's of course said "King" which was somehow properly spelled. They stayed in their castle for the rest of the night as Emily told Declan fairytales and other stories of princes and princesses and of dragons and spells.
Eventually the four year old had worn out, and curled into her side, fast asleep. Her eyelids were heavy, and soon she found herself drifting into sleep as well.
Ian crept though the house, closing the door as he assumed that Lauren and Declan would both be asleep in bed by this hour. He was about to head upstairs when he spotted what was in the living room. He ventured in, letting out a hearty laugh before pulling away the makeshift blanket door. He nearly had to crawl to get into the small fort but he did, only to see Lauren and Declan, sound asleep with paper crowns on. He smiled widely as he nudged the sleeping brunette, trying not to wake Declan.
Lauren stirred awake, glancing into Ian's piercing blue eyes, a smile playing on his lips.
"Hi." She mumbles, smiling at him. "We made you a crown too." She says, plopping the paper crown of his head. He laughed and laid down next to her.
"Can we stay in here forever, love?" He asked, kissing her.
"Of course." She whispered back, kissing him.
God, how she wished they could, she thought as she a single tear rolled down her cheek. She brushed it away quickly before the King, his Queen and their little Prince fell asleep.