Chapter 18

"What?" Leon thought he'd heard wrong.

Sora took a slow, shaky breath, "I said," she paused, trying to steady her voice, "the father of my baby, is you." Leon's heart sank and he suddenly felt lightheaded. He sat down on the couch and stared at his cup of tea, letting the information set in. His silence scared Sora.

"Leon?" she said softly, he didn't respond. "Leon, talk to me!" she said more urgently.

"How is this possible?" he whispered, mostly to himself. He had never so much as spoken to her with any intention outside of performances, let alone did anything that could produce a child; he may have thought it but that's beside the point.

"You and I both know how something like this happens." She sat next to him, trying to stay calm; her hands were squeezed into fists hard enough for her knuckles to show white, she had visibly paled.

"It's impossible," he looked directly into her eyes. "I can't be the father." He said incredulously. "We never-"

"Apparently we did." Sora snapped as she cut him off; the hormones were still all over the place. She felt a little sorry, she knew he was in shock but he didn't need to look at her as though she was playing some cruel joke on him.

"When did this-" he gestured toward her belly, was still in shock.

"Remember the night of the party?" the look on his face said he did, at least parts of it, "You decided to walk me home and, well, I never made it home that night." She could feel her cheeks heating up, she couldn't believe she was trying to convince the man she was in love with that they had in fact slept together and the act produced the child she was now carrying.

He just stared at her for a minute, "I think I would remember something like that." He said clearly, it looked as though the shock was wearing off.

"We were drunk." She said, still trying to remain calm. "You even said yourself you didn't remember that night."

"And you did?" Sora didn't like the way he said that. Now she'd just dug her own grave.

"N-not exactly," she stuttered, looking away, her chest felt heavy. She picked up the tea which was now getting cold.

"What do you mean 'not exactly?'" he stood up behind her. "Sora, answer me!" he said when she didn't respond.

"I was drunk too!" she cried, almost spilling the tea.

"Then how do you know?" he said, his eyes turning a dark stormy violet.

"I got a paternity test." She whispered, her composure slipping.

Leon looked confused, "How did you…" he trailed off.

"I had to know." she said softly, "No matter what, I didn't mean to break in but I was desperate!" she suddenly stopped, she'd let something slip that she didn't mean to.

Then something in his face indicated that something was suddenly made clear.

"You were in my apartment?" He said in disbelief. It made sense now. His dressing room was always locked and only he and Kalos had the keys and she hadn't been close enough to him to get any DNA from him directly. This also explained the bracelet. "Is that where you got the bracelet?"


"Why didn't you tell me?"

Sora was silent, she wouldn't look at him.

"Sora," he said firmly, "Why did you lie to me?"

"You couldn't know." she said softly, her voice threatening to crack.

"Why?" he was getting angry. "Do you not trust me?"

"That's not-" she began.

"Does anyone else know?" he was mad now. "Does Fool know? What did you think this would all be some great joke?!" He grabbed her by the shoulders causing her to drop the tray, sending the tea shattering to the floor. Sora cringed, he was hurting her, but one thing stood out to her.

"You can see Fool?"

"That is not important! Why did you not tell me?"

"Leon, you're hurting me!" she said.

"Answer me!" Sora looked into his eyes, behind the anger, she could see that she'd deeply hurt him and it was breaking her heart. "Please." He pleaded. "Do you have any idea what I've been through?"

"What you've been through?!" it was Sora's turn to be incredulous. "What you've been through?! You have no idea what this was like for me!" she screamed, pushing his hands off her shoulders. "To be alone for this! To have to explain to my parents why they couldn't meet the father! To have everybody looking at me like I was some sort of whore!"

"Well why didn't you just tell everyone?!"

"I couldn't!" she yelled. "I couldn't tell you! I didn't want to ruin your life!"

"How would this have ruined my life?" He said a little softer.

She didn't want to say it. Making her say it, acknowledging it righto his face, it would be the equivalent of ripping her heart out. She was silent.

Leon slowly released her; Sora got one last look at the hurt expression that broke her heart before he replaced it with his stone mask. He turned his back on her and walked to the door.

"Leon?" Sora said softly as he stood in the open door. He said nothing. "Leon, where are you going?"

"I need time to think." He said gruffly before shutting the door behind him.

Sora kneeled down to pick up the broken pieces of the teacups, she felt numb. He knew. Her vision grew blurry as she tried to collect all of the broken pieces. Tears were threatening to fall. It was over. She wiped her eyes and took a deep, shaky breath. She was done crying, no more. She was going to get through this, alone. No more tears, she wouldn't let herself.

Leon didn't remember most of the ride but seemed to suddenly wake up as he neared an insanely expensive looking Hotel in Los Angeles at nearly three in the morning. He didn't really have the intention of driving all the way to Los Angeles, but there he was.

He entered the glass doors and walked across the lobby. How much is he getting paid? Leon thought as he observed the interior of the hotel. There was a glass fountain below a chandelier in the center of the lobby, the sculpture on the fountain must've been some form of abstract art because Leon had no idea what it was. The floor was waxed almost to the point of being a mirror with some darker tiles at regular intervals. He walked up to a modern looking desk with a young blonde receptionist sitting behind it.

She looked to be about 19 and wore entirely too much makeup, she looked as though she would be ready for a scout to recruit her at 3 a.m., but then again, this was L.A.. She looked up and saw Leon; he was sure he looked like hell warmed over but he definitely recognized the look she gave him.

"Can I help you?" she sounded all too peppy and twirled her hair around one finger.

"Demerchant please." Leon said, it looked like his tone may have scared the poor girl but he was in no mood for stupid flirty teenagers.

"Suite 2318, 23rd floor." She said nervously, all pretense of flirting gone.

"Thank you," he said rather coldly, but he was in no mood for pretenses.

He stood before suite 2318 and took a deep breath, he was suddenly nervous. He knocked on the door and waited. There was the sound of footsteps on the other side, a pause as the inhabitant looked through the peephole and the sound of maybe three different locks being disengaged. The door opened and a young man about the same age as Leon opened the door. He had shaggy blond hair and deep blue eyes; he was a few inches taller than Leon and had a slight figure. The young man smiled at Leon.

"Welcome back to the land of the living, my friend." Pierre Demerchant joked; Leon couldn't help but smile despite his mood. He wondered what Pierre was doing up so late. "You have come with good timing, I just finished speaking with my parents on the phone, time zones can be tricky, no?"

"Hello." Leon said. Pierre opened the door and let Leon in. Pierre must've been making quite a pretty penny if he could afford to stay in the penthouse suite of one of the most expensive hotels along the California coast. He entered through what appeared to be a small kitchen full of metallic and chrome appliances, there was a glass topped bar with stools lined up beneath it, the living area was sunk down a few steps. There was a plush leather couch and glass topped coffee table in front of a fireplace with a flat screen TV mounted over it. There were large picture windows covering a whole wall giving a view of the city at night, Leon could see the illuminated Hollywood sign in the distance.

"Acting sure pays, doesn't it?" Leon joked.

"Of course, how else would I have been able to get that car of yours?" Pierre laughed.

"I still don't feel right about that, but I love it." Leon said. Pierre had bought the car for Leon a few years ago; he said it was a thank you gift for remaining his friend through tough times.

"Ce n'était rien, you deserved it!" Pierre smiled easily. "Would you like something to drink?" he made his way to the bar, "the producers are paying for it!" he laughed and pulled out a beer for himself, he offered one to Leon who would have liked one but thought better of it. Pierre took a seat at one end of the comfortable looking leather couch and motioned for Leon to take the other. Pierre had been Leon's friend since they were just children, they had gone to school together where they had met Annette and the three had been inseparable since, though Leon had to leave them for spells of time now and again, especially when he and Sophie had been in training, but they always stayed in touch. Pierre and Annette seemed to have been dating since a time when they'd both been models, Leon was happy that they were finally engaged. "So, what brings you here, friend?"

"I came to visit you." He lied; he didn't really know where he was going until he got there.

"Leon," Pierre said flatly, "We have been friends for how many years? You do not need to lie to me, I know something is up. You never just 'come visit.'" He said with air quotations which looked kind of funny with a beer in one hand.

Leon sighed, he could feel his anxiety rising again; there was no use trying to hide anything from Pierre. "I'm… I'm going to…" he wasn't quite sure how to say it.

"You can tell me." Pierre said gently, though Leon knew he wouldn't push more than that.

He took a deep breath and tried to regain some composure. The shock still hadn't completely worn off. "I'm going to be a father." He said in one breath, barely believing it himself as the words passed his lips.

"Congratulations!" Pierre cried as he jumped up from his seat and went straight to the bar, pulling out a beer for Leon, thinking he deserved it now. He popped the cover off and handed it to Leon, all the while beaming about how he 'never knew he had it in him' and 'it's about time he settled down.' Leon wasn't sure what to say.

"Why do you not appear happy?" Pierre asked, agasp. "What is the matter?"

"I left." He whispered, staring at the table at the walls, at the window, anywhere but his friend's eyes.

"What do you mean, 'you left?'" Pierre sounded concerned.

"She told me and I left." Leon then explained the situation to Pierre.

"Why would you do such a thing? She obviously said something for a reason!" Pierre said in a thick French accent.

"I was shocked!" Leon sounded defensive. "I needed to think!"'

"Yet you abandoned her!" Pierre was disappointed in him. "What kind of a man are you?"

"She lied to me!" Leon retorted.

"And probably for a reason!" Pierre called back, "judging by your reaction, she may have been right! You left her there! Leon, you do not give her enough credit!"

"But, I-" Leon stammered but Pierre cut him off.

"You love her, do you not?" He said simply.


"It is a simple question; do you not love the girl?"

"I do." Leon said clearly, he felt as though a weight had been lifted off his chest as he finally admitted out loud that he loved Sora.

"Then what is holding you back?" Pierre asked simply. That was a question Leon did not have an answer for. Leon remembered, under the feelings of hurt because she'd lied, as though she didn't trust him, Leon also felt an overwhelming sense of relief which he only realized now. He was the father of the baby. It was him that whole time! He was in love with Sora, and from what he'd overheard when she was speaking with Ava, she loved him back, and they were having a child!

Leon suddenly smiled. "I'm going to be a father!" he cried, jumping up and pulling his friend into a crushing hug. "Oh, Pierre, you would love her, she is kind, beautiful, and just amazing."

"Yet you left her there." Pierre said flatly. Leon was suddenly hit with an over whelming sense of dread. He'd been a total ass! He left her there after what she'd gone through to tell him, he'd been one of those people who looked at her that way, at least at first, he left her alone, he was that good for nothing father who just let her go through all of this alone. He'd left her there, alone, while he through a tantrum!

"What have I done?"

Sora walked through the halls of the Kaleido building, just wandering from one wing to the next, seeing anything and everything. She stopped in every practice room and classroom, she visited the wardrobe department and even went to say hello and Jean and Marion, but they noticed that something was up. Finally she made it to the stage itself where people were busy as usual preparing for the night's performance.

She could see May swinging over a temporary practice net and she eventually spotted Ken up in the rafters, sneaking about like the phantom would; his acting was really coming along. She stopped and talked to Cathy about what she thought of the new phantom; Cathy had replied that she was satisfied and that was great coming from her. She gave Ken a thumbs up, which he returned. Anna and Mia were practicing their roles as dancers along with Rosetta who was trying a little too hard to act the part of the diva. Sora had to laugh; she waved as she walked by, but thought better of it, she ran over and gave them all hugs, then walked away; she wouldn't disturb their practice more than that. She would have probably regretted it if she didn't do it. Marion must've been with her father, so she wouldn't disturb.

She walked down yet another familiar hall and came across Kalos's office. She knocked lightly, and when she didn't hear an answer, tried the knob; it twisted easily under her hand. She poked her head in, checking to see if Kalos was in; he wasn't. She wondered where he was, but he didn't need to be there for what she was going to do.

She walked over to his desk, pulled an envelope from her purse and placed it on his desk where he would see it. She turned and walked out, taking one last look at the office which was illuminated by midmorning light before silently shutting the door behind her.

Leon was back in Cape Mary by early afternoon. Pierre had insisted that Leon stay the night, saying something along the lines of being too emotional to drive and what not, basically "You're staying hear whether i have to chain you to the couch or not! Don't sass me!" He had to make a few stops along the way but they had seemed absolutely necessary. He felt a little better now that the news of his impending parenthood had a chance to settle in, but he still dreaded the confrontation he was about to face.

He pulled the new BMW up in front of Sora's dorm building, its silver body shining in the afternoon light. It felt strange to be driving a larger vehicle after having the Aston Martin for a few years, but he knew that Pierre would understand; you can't drive a family in an Aston Martin sports car. Leon had come across this revelation on his way back that morning when he drove by the dealership at which he spent a good part of the morning.

He stopped the car and picked up the flowers he'd gotten for Sora, hoping that the small gesture would at least give him a chance to properly apologize for the previous night, he knew it wouldn't be that easy though; he acted like a totally ignorant, self-centered ass, and she needed to know that he'd acknowledged that and that, no matter what, he'd do anything to make up for the biggest mistake of his life; leaving her alone. He'd never even stopped to think of the toll everything had taken on her. How could he have been such an idiot?

He knocked on her door and waited; there was no answer.

"Sora?" he called, but was only met with silence. "Sora?" he called again, louder this time. There was no answer. He tried the door; it opened easily under his hand. He let himself in. The apartment was completely silent; there wasn't even the sound of a ticking clock to keep him company.

"Hello?" he called; it wasn't like her to leave the door unlocked if she wasn't home. He took a quick look around the room, something seemed off, then he noticed; there were no pictures on her walls.

Rosetta went to Kalos's office; she had a question for him. She was surprised to find it empty, had Kalos gone into town? Was he somewhere else in the building? She didn't know. She remembered spending quite some time in this office, getting hired, being partnered with Sora, getting lectured, the usual stuff. She walked around Kalos's desk; there was something she'd always wanted to do.

She sat down in his chair and put her feet up on the desk, relishing in the power she imagined she'd have if she had a desk and chair like that, she heard a noise and jumped, knocking some papers off the desk. It must've been a door closing down the hall.

She hurried to pick up the papers that she'd knocked down. One envelope particularly stood out to her. She held it closer and quickly inspected it. Her heart sank. She ran out the door and didn't even bother to pick up the rest of the papers, let alone close the door when she left.

He went to the stage, the only other place he could think of where she'd be. Leon had asked if anybody had seen her and he got the same answer every time; he'd missed her by a couple of hours.

"How are you today, Mr. Leon?" Marion asked from behind him as he quickly surveyed the rehearsal.

"Good, could be better, could be worse." He smirked a little.

"I guess," she paused for a second, "Leg still hurt?"

"A bit," he said, shifting his weight off of it. "I still have a bit of a limp but I've been worse."

"Marion!" Cathy called, "You're up!"

"Coming!" she answered. "See you later!" she took off in the direction of the trampolines.

"Yes, see you." Leon walked out, maybe Sora had gone to visit Ava and her new baby, but why did the fact that he hadn't found her yet give him such a sinking feeling in his chest. He felt uneasy.

He was walking around a corner when something hit him, almost knocking him off his feet; his balance was off due to his injury. He looked down to see that it was Rosetta that had run into him. She looked a little shaken up.

"In a hurry?" Leon asked as he steadied himself.

Rosetta looked scared. "Sora's gone!" she panted, handing him the envelope which read "Resignation."