I was a bit taken aback, and Trip immediately went to reprimand our child, but I held him back with a hand. "Yeah. I did, didn't I, hon?" I picked up my first-born child and cradled her in my arms, in a maternal fashion, for perhaps the first time in my (or her) life. She naturally snuggled into the crook where my neck met my shoulder, and yawned. "What do you say we head home?" I asked into my daughter's bushy hair.
I felt her nod, and I sent a look at Trip, who took the nearly sleeping kid from me. "Sky," I breathed quietly, as she handed me a snoozing Allen, "thank you so much. For this," –I inclined my head at my children—"and for keeping that from anyone. You know what I'm talking about."
She nodded briefly. "That secret has actually helped me a bit, Shania," she whispered back. "I've been…well, less than happy here with Devan…and, well…I dunno. This might have helped me in more ways than one as far as my romantic life goes…" she trailed off, and I smiled back. I didn't know her as well as I used to, but I was pretty sure that being on this case would help.
"We'll see you soon," I muttered, and she nodded again, opening the door for me. "Bye," I whispered as she shut the door.
Trip and I got the sleeping children into our car, and as soon as we started driving, he said slowly, "Good people."
I grinned and responded, "Yeah. Skyler and I go way back…she and Devan have been together since high school. Long time, eh?"
"Yeah, when you think about it. They only have the one kid, right?"
"Well, if you think about it…in comparison. They've been married for at least ten years, right?"
I nodded. "About."
"Okay well, we aren't even married and we have two kids. They're hitched, and they've only got one. Hah," he chuckled. My breath hitched for a moment when he mentioned our not-being-married-ness, but I picked right back up on the conversation.
"Yeah. Well, we're a bit more fun-loving than them if you know what I mean."
He laughed openly at that and nodded back. "Ironic though," he muttered after a minute.
"Lot's of things are," I said. "When I was in high school, I wanted to be on Broadway. I wasn't ever going to have kids, and I was definitely marrying this guy my family had all picked out for me. Well, look at me now. Not a show in years…two kids….not married, and who am I not married to? A guy that pretty much no one in my life but I know."
He laughed there, too. "I know exactly what you mean. I was going to have a steady job with a nice little family and a happy home. We were going to continue living in my parents house, and the kids'd grow up in the same environment I did. That didn't exactly work out, now did it?"
I thought for a moment. "It did, if you think about it. You do have your parents' house, and a nice little family…and a steady job," I added as an afterthought.
"Yeah…but in my fantasy, I always had a wife."
I smiled. "I'll bet you did."
I stifled a scream and blinked. "What is that?" I asked, pointing rudely to the furry animal in Gwyn Howell's arms.
"This is Bramble…my fennec fox. He's my best friend. You can pat him," he added, stepping closer.
"Will he…will he bite me?" I asked anxiously, taking a step forwards nonetheless.
"Nope." He smiled slyly. It was suspicious, but I wanted to pat the adorable animal.
Bramble sat up in Gwyn's arms, and his huge ears perked forward as I gingerly stroked my hand over his tiny head and body. He leaned into my touch, and I found myself smiling despite myself.
"Wow," Gwyn breathed, "that's a first."
"What?" I asked, taking the fox out of his arms without permission. I cuddled him close to my face. He was too cute.
"I thought he would've bit you. Bram doesn't usually like strangers."
I looked at him flatly. "Are you telling me that you wanted him to bite me?"
"Maybe…" Another sly smile wove its way onto his face. "Okay, so I thought I'd freak you out. But…but he likes you." He shook his head and looked at Bramble. "Never cooperate, do you, man?" The fox nipped at his fingers when he went to pat him.
I shook my head nervously the next day, as I was doing the dishes and needed to stop daydreaming. A small grin crept onto my face as I remembered how Gwyn and I had spent the whole day joking around and talking. He talked his way into going food-shopping with me, and even took me out for lunch. I remembered laughing harder than I had in years, and smiling like crazy the whole time.
It was just as I started thinking about just how much I was thinking about Gwyn Howell that my daughter ran up from behind me and clung to my legs. "Mommy! I'm going to school now!" she called up to me. I smiled and looked down at her as I dried my hands on a dishtowel.
"And I know you're going to have a great Monday," I responded, kneeling down and planting a kiss on her cheek.
Devan walked into the kitchen and shook his head. "I don't think I can take her," he mumbled, looking around franticly for something or other. "I'm already late for my class, and I can't…find…" he trailed off as he shoved his hand in between two couch cushions, searching for whatever he was searching for.
"Can't find what?" I asked warmly, smiling at my husband's insane methods of searching.
"Honey, don't…don't smile and laugh like that when you know that I'm in the middle of a crisis!" he shouted suddenly, looking under the couch.
I was startled, but snapped back, "A crisis, dear? Oh, and what exactly are you missing?"
"My tie!" he exclaimed sharply, standing up and scouring the counter.
I rolled my eyes when I saw that his tie was in his left hand. "Devan. Look at your hands."
"Hon, there's nothing special about—" he stopped when he looked at his hands and found his tie. "Right." He pulled it around his neck and said, "Let's go, Kam."
She nodded and replied, "Whatever you say, dad." She ran out the front door, and as Devan went to give me a peck on the cheek, I swiftly dodged it and went back to my dishes. I think he took the hint because he left without another word.
"Woah! WOAH!" I yelped, hopping up from the alien couch and looking franticly around the unfamiliar room. I winced as my head gave a nasty throb, and I shook my head.
I ran into the next room over, and found a pajama-clad Arya, flipping pieces of French toast on the stove. She had a large tee-shirt on and a pair of boxer-shorts, making me tingle a little in a few places I'd rather not be tingling.
She looked over her shoulder, and smiled widely. "Good morning, sunshine," she cooed softly, pointing to the table, behind which I sat.
"Mmph," I grumbled, setting my head gently down on my folded arms. "Mind explaining to me how and why I'm here?"
"Sure thing," she said, setting a plate of steaming breakfast food in front of me, "but not until you eat." She sat down opposite me and began eating her own food. I grinned sleepily, and dug in.
"Well, last night we all went out bar-hopping, and you got a little…drunk. So, since none of us really knew where you lived, I opted to take you home. The guys didn't mind so much. You sang a few songs, and then you got me to dance a few times with you." She shrugged simply.
"Oh." I drained my glass of orange juice. "So…what's today?"
"Monday," she replied, smiling.
I gulped, and then panicked. "WHAT?!?! I have to be at work, right now! Ahh!" I clutched at my now-throbbing-again head. "AND MY HEAD HURTS!"
I ran full-tilt into the room in which I had slept and started pulling on my socks and shoes and my button-up shirt that I HAD had on the day before…
"Can't you call in sick?" Arya called from the kitchen.
Jeez, we had been on one date and this woman was acting like she was my girlfriend…again.
This thought made me pause for a minute. Arya and I had gone on a date. After not seeing her for years…ever since I moved to California, when I was sixteen or fifteen. It was a long story; we had been dating for a while, and then I moved to New Jersey. And then…and then my aunt made me move to California….which is an even longer story. See, my parents had both died by the time I was fifteen. I moved to Massachusetts to live with my god-mother, Paulina, who had recently divorced from my uncle Marc, and was unrelated to my family by blood. So…yeah. I hadn't seen Arya for a long time.
"No," I sighed, "I can not call in sick. My job is…different."
I hopped on one foot as I tried hard to tie my shoe and get to the door at the same time.
"How so? You're a police officer, aren't you?" She stood with her back to me, putting her dish in the sink.
"Well…in a sense," I replied vaguely, moving on to my next clothing item; my tie.
When she noticed that I was having trouble with it, Arya made her way over and tied it for me, giving me a swift peck on my cheek. "I expect to see you here for lunch at two o'clock," she said demandingly.
"Alright, dear," I answered automatically. She simply glowed and smiled wider, then pushed me gently out the door.
I growled and made my way to the elevator. I feel like I'm fricking married.
I woke up the next morning at around twelve and was breathing heavily. I was drenched in sweat, and my sheets were all tangled up around me. "Jason," I said out of habit, leaning over to wake my slumbering boyfriend…who wasn't there.
I shook my head as tears started forming in my eyes. Jason was gone, remember?
Which reminded me. I needed to get in touch with the FBI, or the police, or whoever the hell was handling this case.
So, I got to my phone, and dialed…nothing. I had no idea who to call. I called Logan, so as to get some advice.
He told me to get my information at 9-1-1 by asking the woman who was handling the Jason Truce case. So I did, and she gave me a telephone number, which, naturally, I called.
A man picked up. "Dirk Wappo's office," he said, with a tone of voice that told me he did not want to be there.
"Yes, hello. Uhm, what is your name?" The man's voice was familiar; I had to ask.
"Tyrese Clare," he responded, just as regretfully.
I smiled and responded, "I knew I recognized that voice. You're Shania's cousin, right?"
"Wha—yeah. Who is this?"
"It's Kaelyn Hewitt," I replied cheerfully, sitting down on my living room couch. I hugged a cushion to my chest. "Jason's girlfriend."
"Wh—Oh! Oh! You…so you're looking for the Wapp-master?"
I laughed. "Yeah, I am, T-man. Know where I can find W-dog?"
"Right here. Hold on a second, I'll let him know you're on line one."
I was suddenly listening to the 'hold music', and I was having a good ol' time jamming away, and then Mr. Wappo interrupted.
"Wappo speaking," his deep voice boomed.
I cleared my throat and sat up. "Yes, this is Kaelyn Hewitt," I said.
"Oh, yes, Miss Hewitt. I would like to thank you personally for calling in this morning. I was having a bit of trouble trying to reach you."
"No problem," I replied as warmly as possible. "Listen, I was just wondering how this case was going. I mean….my boyfriend is missing. I'd kind of like him back sometime soon."
He chuckled on the other end, and then stopped abruptly. "We've got a few leads, but we're going to need a few more days to go anywhere with those. We'd also like to have Kelli Sadler in here a second time for another inquiry."
This startled me. "Kelli Sadler?"
"Yes. Her alibi didn't exactly check out with us. Though, it would be convenient if we could have you all back in…with the exception of Skyler Jessop. She's fine."
"Kent," I corrected him. "She's Skyler Kent…and she probably will be for the rest of her life."
"That's not what Agent Bansi said," he mumbled, so quietly I almost didn't hear it. In fact, I kind of pretended I didn't hear it, and asked another question.
"Do you know how I can get in contact with Shania Clare?"
"Yes. She is staying at Trip Plait's house of residence." He gave me a phone number, and I thanked him and we hung up.
I got fired that day, for becoming a total jerk to the kids I was supposed to be teaching. I had stopped for a beer…or three, on the way to work after my fight with Sky.
As I walked away from my work for the last time ever, I kept thinking that I should never have been so impatient with Skyler.
I knew that if I kept it up, I would lose the love of my life.
I also knew she was getting fed up with my drinking problem, which had recently started increasing to a dangerous level; and I knew it was happening.
I was slowly watching everything I ever wanted slip away…and I wasn't doing anything about it.
Well, another chapter finished. Kind of a filler..'cept it shows more Skyler-Gwyn action/info. So…yeah. Another one just around the corner.
I just need to point out that not everyone in this story is getting a happy ending. If you want everything happy-peppy-sunshine, TOO BAD.
Kelsey, SJ, one of you is NOT getting a happy ending!!! And I think we ALL know Dustin isn't. poor guy.