"You were scared?!" Ella hops up from where she was sitting and Riddle hops onto my lap; she buried her head into the crook of my neck. "You have a kid, and you were scared?! Max what have you gotten yourself into?! How old is she?!" she was screeching and Iggy was yanking on her arm trying to get her to sit and calm back down and act civilized.
I growled, "Ella, stop. I was scared because I thought you guys would judge me for getting pregnant so early." Riddle looked up at me then around at the flock; she said nothing just like Fang would in this situation. Suddenly, she slid off my lap and ran to the fireplace mantle to grab a picture in a golden frame.
She grinned as she looked from the picture to the flock, "You're the Flock! And you're my grandmother! Which means, Daddy's here!" she started to scan the flock while they all look stunned but I clapped a hand over her mouth first.
"Honey, why don't you let me talk, and you go play with your Barbie's for a minute?" I ask slowly in the voice she knew not to argue to. Angel stood up with a grin while I could feel Fang's gaze trying to burn a hole into my head.
Angel came over to Riddle and asked excitedly, "Hi! I'm Angel, Max's sister in a way! What's your name? You want to go play?" Riddle and Angel ran off to Riddle's bedroom and I leaned back in my chair, groaning.
"Okay," I sighed into my hands, "I'm ready for your questions," I took my hands off my face and looked at all of them.
Nudge was first, "How old is she?" her eyes were wide and she was obviously in shock by all of this. Her black hair reached past her shoulders now and it was curled into thick ringlets. Those big, brown doe eyes were as familiar as I was to Fang and his touch and his kisses. It was obvious she's been in the sun for a while and she caked on the sunscreen too, so she could get that tan she has. She was older and it was surprisingly sad to see her look so grown up while I wasn't there to help her through the girl stages, which I have thank you very much.
"Four," I reply instantly and Nudge nods slowly as if thinking something through; she stands from the couch. I watch her take Riddle's scrapbook from the shelf on the wall and she goes through it with a smile.
"And who is the father?" Iggy spoke up with a large grin because he knew I was glaring at him for the question. He knew exactly who the father was, I bet they all did just because of her age; four years was when I was kicked out.
I sigh and reply, "I didn't know I was pregnant until two weeks after I was kicked out and I realized my stomach was bigger. So I went to the doctor and was told I was going to have a little girl; she's Fang's," I mutter the last part. Fang looks down to hide his startled yet relieved expression; I stare at him until he looks up again and we locked eyes.
"What's her full name?" Mom asks quietly and I can see she's struggling not to jump up and scold Fang and I. We were immature to do it at such a young age but we were almost fifteen and we loved each other. The flock was out at a victory dinner since it was the night after we saved the world, together. And I just guess Fang and I got a little too wrapped up, but I didn't regret anything and I never would because now I had a beautiful little girl.
"Riddle Nikki Ride," I say and smile slightly as I think about my cleaver naming skills and Fang did always want a Nikki for a daughter. But I wanted something more original so I decided I would use the name Fang wanted for the middle name instead. Who better to have a daughter named Riddle then Maximum Ride? Fang was now smiling at me, and I looked down as a light blush for the first time in ages took over my cheeks.
The questions continued until the point Jeb asked what I told Riddle about her dad and the rest of the flock. I smiled slightly as I looked down and recalled what I told my daughter when she asked about her dad during dinner. "She asked me one night during dinner after she came home from pre-school looking all sad. I told her that her Daddy was off fighting bad guys to protect her from the bad men. After that she wanted to know more about her family and I told her that her whole family couldn't wait to share their stories with her.
"And I started telling her about me and the flock when we were younger; she was ecstatic when I told her the flock was coming earlier today. I've never seen her so happy before to finally meet her dad, and I loved the way she just smiled. So that's why I mostly wanted you guys to come down here. The other part was she was in a lot of pain where she was screaming and I had to make her go to sleep with forced medication. It was terrible and she was crying but then the Voice told me all she needed was her dad. So that's where the letter idea came in, and I realized she was missing her family and I want you guys to be closer to us."
Nudge was pretty much bouncing in her seat, "You want us to be part of her life and, you know, get her to be awesome like us?" I smiled and nodded at her and I suddenly thought of something that would make her squeal.
"Also, Nudge, I wanted to know if you wanted to be her godmother," then, before she can answer I turn to Fang. It was time to share Riddle with her dad, "As long as it's okay with Fang," I add and Nudge squeals loudly.
No matter what I will always love Fang, and, as he nods and gives a squealing Nudge a smile, I feel like he will be what Riddle needed all along. "Iggy should be the godfather, though," he says seriously and I voice my agreement to this. Nudge hugs Iggy in a death grip and he's slightly startled but hugs her back none the less; I smile at the two.
Suddenly Angel is following a running Riddle into the living room; Riddle runs full speed towards Fang. I watch in amusement as she jumps with all her weight and makes Fang and the chair and her fall back to the floor. I laugh as Riddle squeals and hugs Fang around the neck; he tenses for a second then hugs her back. It takes a minute but I finally pry Riddle off of Fang and introduce the rest of the flock to her and her to them.
Four hours later Ella, Mom, and Jeb were leaving with the rest of the flock staying to spend the night. I decided no matter how fast this might be going that I wanted Fang in my bedroom for the first time. We weren't together again, no, but still this would be fine because we used to snuggle as kids anyways. Angel and Nudge shared one guest bedroom and Gazzy and Iggy shared the other guestroom. Fang followed me upstairs to put Riddle to bed; she had pre-school tomorrow while I had to go to into work until three.
"Night, baby doll," I murmur with my arms crossed and balanced on one side of the bed; I had my knees on the floor. Fang was in the same position on the other side of Riddle's double canopy bed; he smiled at me from across the bed. "Love you," I kissed her forehead before standing up to leave when I noticed Fang wasn't following me.
He tells me quietly, "Go on, I'll be there in a minute," and I nod before walking back downstairs and into my bedroom to change into my bedroom.
Riddle looked at me with a small smile; her hand latched onto mine and she turned on her side to face me. "Why are you here, Daddy?" she asks quietly and I'm pretty shocked to realize she's already calling me that. Her black hair was falling into her eyes and her olive skin tone looked a lot like mine along with her dark eyes. The only way you know she's Max's was the nose, mouth, jaw, and her shape of eyes with the framing long lashes.
"I wanted to see you and Mommy," I say quietly and she reaches out to touch my black hair as if she couldn't believe I was here. At the moment I was angry Max kept her from me, but just knowing I'll be here now told me I wanted to be a part of her life. I wanted to play the protective Dad role, I wanted to be dragged through toy shops, and I wanted to see those Bambi eyes that came from my eyes instead of someone else's.
She smiles at me a little, "I love you, Daddy," she says quietly and I hug her tightly to my chest. Under her command I sit back with my back to the wall beside her bed and stroke her hair as she falls asleep. It isn't long before she's breathing softly and I couldn't help but kiss her forehead before leaving the bedroom to go downstairs to Max.
Standing in the doorway, I watched through a crack in the door as Max pulls a black tank-top over her black lacy bra. She pulled on really short short-shorts over her matching underwear then pulled her hair into a bun. After a moment she goes into the bathroom and I hear the sink cut on and Max bustling around. I shift through the suitcases Max directed me to put in her room from Dr. M's car and I pull out my black pajama pants. It was freezing outside here and it's so hot in Arizona I didn't think I'd get to use the long cotton pants.
I change in record time and throw my dirty jeans, socks, and shirt into my suitcase but don't bother pulling on another shirt. Max emerges from the master bathroom and stares at me for a moment before shaking her head slightly and switching on her bedside lamp. Looking at her huge bed I realize that half of the bed was made while the other half looked thrashed around in. She had the right half open just like she always did for me back at the E-House; she'd been waiting.
"Hey," she smiles and then she's suddenly hugging me and I freeze just for a second before wrapping my arms around her. "I'm sorry I left like that and I'm sorry I didn't try to get in touch until now," she was tearing up. Her tears trailed down my bare chest and I moved us so I was sitting on the bed with her in my lap and her arms wrapped around my neck.
I whisper things in her ear until she's fast asleep and I put her under the comforter on her bed. Hesitation was evident in my movement but I finally climbed into the right side of the bed and almost fell asleep. That is, until I felt Max curl into my side and I instinctively wrapped my arm around her waist. Her hair fell over my bare chest and I ran my fingers through it as she fixed her head in the crook of my neck. She seemed so peaceful and I decided it wouldn't hurt to try and get closer to her again.
Four years ago the flock forced me away from Max before I could help her and I regret letting them. I should've fought harder and claimed my case, which had to do about her never turning on us. That look on Max's face told me everything that night and I almost ripped Iggy's head off since he wouldn't let me get to her. It pained me at first to know Max had a kid, but I realized that she was mine and I'd almost never felt so… happy before.
The soft beating of Max's heart was pressed against the side of my chest and she was breathing softly. I love Max, and I always will no matter what she does to try and get me to hate her. And I already love Riddle; we were going to be an actual family no matter what happened between Max and I. Life was finally looking up for me… yeah, I know, surprising.