39 days, 16 hours and 12 minutes since Dexter Morgan killed his brother. Since Hailey had had more than one minute alone to her own thoughts. Since Doakes had started following Dexter around everywhere he went, like his own personal bloodhound. Dexter was tense and abnormally quiet, but a constant presence in her everyday activities nevertheless. He wanted to look normal and apparently normal to him was to go everywhere with her. Even, much to her dismay, shopping, which had always been a dedicated time for her to relax. But now, not only did she have an impatient serial killer insisting that they hold hands, but also a beefed up distrustful cop never more than 20 feet behind.
"This is getting ridiculous." Hailey commented as she glanced outside their apartment window. The familiar ominous black car parked outside of the building, "I thought he would have let up by now."
"Yeah. Me too." Dexter responded.
"Doesn't he have a life?" She hissed.
"Can't we report him?"
"To who? The police?" He scoffed. She ground her teeth together as she fixed the collar on his bowling shirt.
"I gotta say this is pretty much the lamest hobby you could have come up with." She teased, "But I kind of like the team name. Bowl Till You Bleed. Very… you." Hailey giggled and pressed her lips to his briefly before backing away. He rolled his eyes and picked his stuff up from the kitchen table, "Oh, if I don't see you tonight remember that I have my first doctor's appointment tomorrow at noon."
"Right, I'll swing by to pick you up at a quarter to okay?"
"Sounds good." She suddenly got overcome with a sense of routine, "Oh my god." She said under her breath, looking up at Dexter with wide horrified eyes, "When did we become so domestic?" He approached her with a wicked smirk on his face and pulled her towards his body roughly.
"I can tell you with absolute assurance that nothing about me is domestic." He whispered in her ear seductively, before biting down on the sensitive skin there. She moaned a little as his hand moved under her short skirt and between her legs predatorily.
"Oh gross, fuck." They turned to see Deb standing in the doorway with a disgusted look on her face, "Can you guys like get a room?"
"We would if you weren't occupying mine." Dexter shot back. Deb gagged and went to the kitchen.
"This would be easier if we didn't get interrupted every time I try to—" Dexter stopped himself midsentence, and shook his head, frustrated, "I'll see you later tonight." He pecked Hailey on the lips and bid farewell to Deb as he exited his apartment.
"Have fun at bowling." Hailey chimed sarcastically, locking the door behind him. She turned to Deb, "So, what's the plan for tonight?"
"Well I was invited over to Rita's for dinner." Deb responded, "You could come too if you wanted, I know you've never met her before." Hailey shifted on the spot uncomfortably and refused to meet Deborah's eyes.
"Having dinner with Dexter's ex and her kids?" She pretended to contemplate it for a moment, "I think I'll pass."
"Good call." Deb chuckled, "Fuck that would be awkward."
"Awkward indeed." Hailey agreed. If only Deborah knew half the extent of what it would mean to go back home for dinner, "So does this mean that I have a night to myself?"
"Well yeah, unless you wanted me to stay—"
"Shh." She pressed a finger to Deb's lips quickly, "Please, go. Never before in my life have I just wanted to lie here and watch old Sex and the City reruns by myself as much as I do right now."
"Noted." Deb smiled and Hailey collapsed onto the couch in satisfaction. She let out a deep breath as she watched Deborah gather her things and head out the door. Yes, it was lovely to be friends with Dexter's younger sister, but she couldn't stand the monotony anymore. She sprang up as soon as Deb had left the premises and grabbed the phone off Dexter's desk, dialing a familiar number.
"Hey Anthony, you busy tonight?" She asked, biting her bottom lip, "Great, there's this new club opening up downtown I was thinking—Anthony I'm fine, I won't be drinking I promise, I just need a night out." Anthony finally agreed and Hailey grinned, "Perfect, pick me up in 30 okay?"
The club was crowded, sweaty and loud. Exactly what she needed to forget all her problems. Anthony was trying to maneuver them towards the bar but some tall dark stranger stopped her. His light brown hair was skillfully disheveled, blue eyes glittering in the strobe lights, shirt undone a few buttons to show that the top of his tanned and muscular chest. She raised an eyebrow at him.
"Hey." He greeted.
"Can I buy you a drink?" He asked, she could barely hear him over the pounding music.
"Sorry, designated driver." She tried to move past him but he put his hand on her shoulder to stop her.
"How 'bout a dance then?" He persisted. She thought about it for a minute, looking up at his handsome feature contemplatively.
"Sure, what's the harm?" She agreed, waving at Anthony as the man took her hand and moved her to the middle of the crowd. He was close, their bodies were pressed against each other and his hands were on her hips.
"So what's your name?"
"Hailey." She shouted over the music as they danced, "You?"
"Joey." He answered, "Joey Quinn."
"Nice to make your acquaintance Joey Quinn." She teased and wrapped her arms around her neck lightly. She slapped his hands away when they started getting friendly, moving down to her ass. He put them up in surrender.
"My bad, sorry." He winked, "C'mon let's grab a booth." He pulled her away from the other dancers and towards one of the red leather booths in the back of the club, she looked around for Anthony and found him at the bar, chatting up some guy in a wife beater, "Now tell me about yourself Hailey." The sentence sounded so familiar and she was brought back to a time when Dexter asked her the exact same one.
"What exactly do you want to know?" "Do you work, go to school?"
"I'm taking a gap year actually." She told him and flagged down a server, "Can I please get a ginger ale? Thanks." Joey ordered a beer before turning back to her with a captivated expression.
"And what do you plan on doing in this gap year?"
"A lot of things." She thought for a moment, "And at the same time, nothing at all." She smirked, "What about you? What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a cop actually." He said, "Narcotics." She nodded, why was everyone she talked to now a days a cop? He laughed, "What? Does that turn you off?" She shook her head.
"To say I'm turned off would be assuming that I was ever turned on in the first place."
"I just know an awful lot of cops, that's all." She scrutinized him for a second, "To be honest, I wouldn't have guessed that you were one."
"Good, I don't try to give off that narc vibe."
"You don't." She smiled. The server came back with their drinks and she started sipping on her ginger ale.
"So how does a girl like you not have a doting boyfriend?"
"A girl like me?"
"You know, beautiful, coy… the whole package." He clarified. She nodded and rolled her eyes.
"I do have a doting boyfriend actually." She answered, "Well I wouldn't call him doting exactly, but a boyfriend nevertheless." He only smirked.
"Then why are you sitting in the back of a club with a guy like me?"
"Maybe I'm just trying to protect the next girl you were gonna ask to dance from waking up in the morning alone and disappointed."
"You think I'd do that."
"A guy like you." She laughed, "I know you'd do that." They stared at each other in silence for a while before Joey cleared his throat.
"Well you definitely ruined my game tonight." He remarked off handedly, "If you leave me here all alone now, I won't be able to think of anyone but you for the rest of the night. It's almost as if you have an obligation to go home with me." She scoffed incredulously.
"You're delusional." She shook her head in disbelief, "But it's quite an endearing quality."
"I never got your last name." Joey said.
"Hailey Bennett." He muttered to himself, "I think I like you, Hailey Bennett." She didn't answer only looked at her watch and sighed, Deb was probably home by now and wondering where she was.
"I think I have to go now." She looked around the club to find Anthony was nowhere in sight.
"Well at least let me drive you home." He insisted, "I won't try anything, I promise. Just let me take you back to your lucky boyfriend in one piece."
"Okay." She agreed, "Thanks Joey."
"No problem Hailey."
The moment she stepped into the apartment, Deb was on her.
"Where the fuck have you been?" She demanded.
"I went out with Anthony." Hailey explained, "Why what's wrong?"
"You gotta see this!" Deb exclaimed, running back into the apartment where the television in the bedroom was still blaring. Hailey watched in shock and dismay at the footage. Dexter. Her breath quickened as she saw the man in diving suits, excavating what they were calling "an underwater graveyard". She remembered being on Dexter's boat and sailing out far into the sea to get rid of her own father's body. She had been crying and he had held her hand as they hauled the black garbage bags over the edge of the boat. How much do they know, she wondered. Deb was looking at the screen in awe, ecstatic that there was another serial killer out there way worse than the Ice Truck Killer. Yes, he was worse than Brian, he had killed Brian. Dexter came into the room moments later, confused as to why his sister and his girlfriend were both staring at the television screen transfixed. Hailey looked up at him and he saw fear in her eyes. He sat down next to her and took in what the news report had to offer, "Maybe I can finally get some peace." Deb said, "Isn't that great?"
"Yeah." Dexter responded, his hand to his heart, "It's amazing." Hailey lowered her eyes to her hands. They were shaking violently.
"I'm so tired." She announced out of the blue, "Deb do you mind if me and Dexter take the bed tonight."
"Yeah sure." She answered and practically jumped up with an enthusiasm that neither Dexter nor Hailey had seen since she had found out that her fiancé was trying to kill her. The couple was left alone in the room.
"Oh. My. God." Hailey whispered, barely able to form any other coheres thought.
"My heart." Dexter said, "It's beating out of my chest. I've never felt anything like it before." Hailey turned to him and hesitantly placed a hand on his chest to feel the rapid thumping inside.
"What are we going to do?"
"Nothing." Dexter responded, exhaling slowly, "There's nothing we can do now." They sat in silence for a moment, "I had the opportunity to kill two people in the last two nights. I couldn't do it."
"I don't know."
"Maybe it has something to do with your brother. I mean, he was the last person you killed and I know how hard that was for you." Hailey suggested, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder, "For the first time ever it was personal. Maybe you still feel guilty." Dexter shook her off.
"It had to be done."
"Yeah but… he was still the only real family you had. He was the only one who could ever fully understand you, what you've been through."
"Don't do this to me now Hailey." He hissed at her, "I've had a hard enough day already."
"I know, I'm sorry." She sighed, "I was just trying to help." She stood up and pulled off the dress she was wearing along with her heals.
"Where did you go tonight?" He asked as he removed his shirt and carefully folded it back up into the drawer, "You're all dressed up."
"I went out to a club with Anthony." She answered.
"Anything interesting happen?"
"Nope." She turned and smiled shyly at him, "Nothing at all."
"Well this whole thing kind of puts a damper on the plans I had for us… now that we're finally alone that is." He stood behind her, engulfing her body with his own and swayed her back and forth soothingly, kissing up and down her neck softly, "I'm afraid my burning desire has kind of been dimmed."
"It's okay." She turned to him and pressed her lips to his, "We'll get through this somehow. Doakes, the plastic bags in the ocean, Deb the cockblock, all of it." She leaned her forehead against his and breathed in and out deeply, "At this point, I don't think things could get any more fucked up."
Despite her reassurances, Dexter tossed and turned all night, trapped in a waking nightmare. Bringing her with him in his sleeplessness.
The Bay Harbor Butcher, that's what the press was calling him. It was rather catchy. She had to admit.
"I will not kill my sister. I will not kill my sister. I will not kill my sister." Dexter mumbled out loud as Deb rushed out the door, leaving in her wake some unlooked at photos of new apartments and an opened container of orange juice.
"Are you going to work today?" Hailey asked as she walked into the living room clad in only a towel wrapped around her.
"That was the plan, why?"
"No reason, just remember to pick me up for the doctor's."
"You've reminded me 20 times in the last 30 minutes." He pointed out.
"I know, I'm just… nervous, that's all." She took a deep breath and opened the fridge, "Where's the orange j— oh." She padded over and grabbed the container from his desk, searching around in the cupboard for a clean glass, of which there were none to be found, "How did Deb ever survive on her own without ever doing the dishes?"
"Not a clue." Dexter answered, "If you could clean up while I'm g—" Dexter took one look at Hailey's expression and stopped what he was saying, "Never mind." She took a swig of the orange juice from the container and then put it back in the fridge. Dexter's cell phone went off, he looked at it oddly for a moment without answering.
"Who is it?"
"Your mother." He responded. Hailey raised her eyebrows in astonishment, "Hello? Astor? Sweetie what's the matter? What kind of weird? I'm on my way." He hung up.
"You're on your what?" Hailey demanded.
"Astor said Rita was acting strange, something about your dad. It must be bad for her to call me."
"So?" She exclaimed, "Dexter you're not a part of their life anymore!"
"Kids don't get that, you can't just suddenly abandon them."
"Uh, well she didn't call me."
"You had been disappearing from that household for years." He remarked, "I had dated Rita for months before I even met you." Hailey glared at him angrily and crossed her arms over her chest, "Astor said your mother keeps yelling on the phone with people about your dad and crying. Last time I checked you stabbed your father, and since I'm definitely a part of your life, I think I am well within my boundaries to figure out what the fuck is going on."
"Fine Dexter." She practically snarled, "Go running back to my mom, whatever, but if you're not back in time to pick me up for this appointment you may as well beg her to take you back because I sure as hell won't be." She stormed into the bedroom and slammed her door behind herself. Dexter muttered something under his breath about women being confusing and unreasonable, grabbed his keys and left the apartment, bringing the door shut equally as loudly.
When he was five minutes late, she was annoyed. When he was 10 minutes late, she was pissed. By the time he got there, 20 minutes later, she was livid.
"I got caught up at work." He said as she got into the car. She didn't respond, just stared in front of with a stern expression on her face as he drove her to the doctor's office. The silence continued as they sat in the waiting room, a magazine in her hand, which she flipped through aggressively, "They brought in some kind of FBI superstar and his entourage to help with Bay Harbor Butcher case, he's putting a taskforce together and everything, I had to go to the briefing." She continued to ignore him, "They've started IDing the victims and letting families know. Your father was one of the lucky first to be identified." Her head shot up from the ad spread, "That's why your mother was so upset." She opened her mouth to speak when a nurse beat her to the punch.
"Mr. and Mrs. Morgan?" She asked kindly.
"Yeah." Hailey responded quickly, not feeling up to correcting her.
"The doctor is ready for you now. Please, come this way."
Dr. Lane came highly recommended; as Hailey had found out after Dexter did extensive research on the subject during one of the nights Sargent Doakes had trapped him inside. She was a portly woman but had one of those kind faces that make you feel instantly soothed. She introduced herself and asked about medical histories, previous pregnancies and family illnesses, all very standard. Hailey had been at her mother's doctor's appointment, when they spread the orange goo on her stomach and looked for some signs of life before Astor was born. However, this was a very different experience for her. The gel was cold to the touch and the metal instrument roaming around her stomach felt highly unnatural.
"Well you're definitely pregnant." Dr. Lane announced joyously. The joy that only came from a woman who had never been knocked up by her mother's ex serial killer boyfriend. Hailey swallowed and nodded nervously, Dexter smiled and grabbed Hailey's hand, squeezing it. She didn't know if it was a genuine gesture or just for appearances sake, "Looks like you're almost 3 months in now, so you should be noticing some early symptoms…"
"Her breasts are bigger." Dexter offered, Hailey blushed a little and nudged him, "I read only that that could happen."
"Yes." Dr. Lane smiled, "That's common. Any morning sickness yet?"
"No not really." Hailey answered.
"Maybe a little…"
"Dizziness? Fainting spells?"
"I feel rather dizzy right now actually." Hailey sputtered out. Dr. Lane laughed.
"Sorry, I shouldn't just be throwing symptoms at you. This is a big step in anybody's life and you're so young. On the bright side there's a much higher chance of a smooth and healthy pregnancy at your age." Dr. Lane grabbed some papers and pamphlet from her desk, "Read these, it should help you understand what to expect. I'll ask that you please make another appointment for next month at the front desk on the way out."
"We will." Dexter said. He shook the doctor's hand, "Thank you so much."
"I'll see you both again soon I hope." She responded with a large smile.
The car ride back to the apartment was uncomfortable to say the least.
"So Paul Bennett is officially dead." Hailey said rather solemnly, leaning her head against the passenger window.
"And Hailey Bennett is officially pregnant." Dexter responded with a nod of his head, "I'm sorry I was late."
"I'm sorry I was such a bitch about you going to see my mom." Hailey suddenly burst out into hysterical laughter.
"What is it?"
"Her breasts are bigger." Hailey mocked him and Dexter chuckled.
"It's true, I've noticed." He put his arm around her and brought her head against his shoulder. She relaxed against him and smiled. The first genuine smile she'd been able to manage in weeks it seemed. For once they didn't have to worry about anything, they were just enjoying each other's presence, like they used to before everything got so fucking complicated. They walked up the apartment together hand in hand and Dexter had just put the key into the door when someone stepped out from behind the corner. They both looked up and Hailey's eyes widened in shock.
Maybe things always had been complicated.