Thanks to everyone who read chapter 1, here is chapter 2, and thanks to my beta and friend, Laura, who was halfway through beta-ing this chapter when her laptop broke. So this is un-beta-d, but I've spend hours looking through it myself and it's as good as it's going to get.
Someday I'll Be Saturday Night – Bon Jovi
A Thousand Years – Christina Perry
Hear Me – Imagine Dragons
Amsterdam - Imagine Dragons
The cruiser turned off the road and rolled onto a driveway, the tires crunching on the gravel like someone rather noisily eating crisps. Aiofe looked up, away from her fingernails and smiled inwardly, Chief Reynolds's house was big, two storeys tall with a wooden exterior painted cream, and it has a sheltered porch at the front, proudly sat on which, was a bench swing. The chief parked his cruiser beside an old, cherry red Volvo saloon. He cut the engine and looked at Aiofe, she didn't know what to say, his house was amazing, and, compared to her fathers' house, huge. She looked at the Volvo again, "Uh, nice car." Chief Reynolds chuckled wholeheartedly, "That? It's not mine, thankfully, it's my girlfriends." He reached into the passenger foot well and pulled out Aiofe's rucksack, slinging it over his shoulder as he stepped out the car.
Aiofe untangled herself from the seatbelt and heaved the door open. She pushed it shut behind her and jogged to catch up with Chief Reynolds. Together, they walked down the well-groomed, weed-less path and across the patio. He pulled the front door open and held it for her. She smiled her thanks to him and stepped through the threshold. Charlie closed the door behind them and bent down to remove his shoes, once they were off, he placed them in the corner, under the coat rack, and he then hung up his coat and gun. Aiofe look around for a chair to sit in so she could take her shoes off, she settled for the stairs and sat on them and began to untie her battered old converse. She looked up to see the Chief trying smiling sympathetically at her. She returned his smile and put her shoes under the coat rack, where they looked very out of place amongst his work shoes and expensive-looking trainers and high heels.
She followed him through a door and into the kitchen, it smelled amazing. "So you're finally home. You should have called me, I was worried about you!" The chief smiled,
"I'm sorry, dear. I was incredibly busy with the shooting at the park. And you might want to grab an extra plate, we have company." The woman that was standing over the stove turned around, she was flushed from cooking and some loose tendrils of hair were escaping the bun she'd tied them back in, the very picture of domestic bliss. She smiled at Aiofe. "This is Aiofe, I told her she could stay with us tonight. Her father was killed today in the park." The woman's face instantly morphed into a mask of worry and care for the young girl. She pulled a plate from the cupboard beside her and placed it on the counter. "Oh, sweetheart. Go and make yourself at home, dinner will be ready in twenty minutes. Charlie, take her bag upstairs and show her where she'll sleep. And, since I haven't been introduced yet, I'm Charlotte." Aiofe smiled politely at Charlotte,
"Thank-you." Charlie patted her arm and motioned for her to follow. He led the way up the stairs and down the hallway. He stopped in front of a door and pushed it open. "This is my daughters' room. She moved out a few years ago, but she still comes over sometimes." Aiofe stepped into the room; the walls were a light blue and covered in pictures and posters. The furniture was a light oak colour and the duvet cover was blue with white spots. There was a window seat covered in plush green cushions.
He put Aiofe's bag on the desk chair and turned to leave the room. "The bathroom is directly across the hall. I'll leave you to get settled and freshen up if you like. Just come downstairs whenever you're ready." She nodded and sat down on the edge of the bed. She reached over to her bag and pulled out some clean clothes. She slipped out of her dust-covered jeans and jumper, before pulling on another pair of jeans. They were tight around her hips and enlarged stomach. She looked down at her stomach and prodded it, it was hard. She sighed and rubbed her side, and in reply, she felt a slight flutter. It was faint; and just felt like gas. But it was definitely there. She grinned, "Junior, you're not supposed to kick mommy. It's rude." She heard a soft chuckle from behind her and turned to see Charlotte standing in the doorway, with a quilt in her arms. Aiofe blushed and ducked her head. "I thought you might need this, it's supposed to be cold tonight, and this old house isn't the warmest." She spread the quilt over the top of the bed and patting it flat. "Dinner should be ready about now." She smiled at Aiofe, who returned it and followed her out of the room.
In the kitchen the Chief was setting the table and serving dinner as they entered the room. He turned to Aiofe, "Aiofe, could you go and tell Seth that dinner is ready? He's in the living room." He pointed to white, sliding doors and Aiofe wandered through them. There was a teenage boy sitting on the couch, playing a video game. Aiofe stood behind the couch and coughed, "Uh, dinner's ready." He paused his game and smiled at her,
"Thanks." He jogged past her and into the kitchen, where he went to the stove and pulled out garlic bread. He cut it and put it onto a platter before placing it in the centre of the table. He sat down and patted the seat next to him, and nodded to Aiofe. She walked over and sat next to him.
Chief Reynolds scooped some lasagne onto a plate and placed it in front of Aiofe. She nodded her thanks and took a piece of garlic bread. She took a bite of her food and smiled. "This is amazing. What is it?" Charlotte beamed at the compliment to her cooking,
"It's lasagne, it's an Italian dish."
"Aiofe? Would you like some ice cream with your pie?" Aiofe nodded and Seth scooped some ice cream into her bowl.
"Thank-you." She smiled at him. He took his seat next to her again and they began eating their pudding. Everybody sat around the table, eating as a family and discussing their day, Aiofe couldn't help but feel like a red t-shirt in a drawer full of blue jeans, this whole thing was completely alien to her, she's never had a proper family and the amount of love and respect that encased the dining table surprised her. It was something she'd never experienced before, but what surprised her more was that she liked it, she liked the atmosphere, and she liked being treated and respected as a person.
Aiofe had started to feel relaxed and comfortable around the Chief's family; they were really nice and treated her with great kindness. But the his home was the polar opposite to her father's, the atmosphere her was warm and friendly, and the house was large, spacious and nicely decorated. The couch was incredibly comfortable; Aiofe sank into the cushions and watched Seth play his game. She smiled at the expression his face wore as he concentrated.
Charlotte sat on the other couch knitting, and Charlie sat beside her, typing quickly on a laptop. Charlotte finished her last stich and reached behind her, pulling a huge pile of wool out of a box, she laid it flat on the coffee table and smoothed it out. It was a patchwork blanket, made out of lots of squares, all of them were different colours and they all had a different pattern. But there was one square missing, Charlotte placed her freshly made piece into the hole and picked up and needle and thread. Aiofe watched, mLaurenrised, as she sewed the blanket together.
Charlotte sewed all around the new square and tied off when it was attached, making sure the stiches wouldn't come undone. She leaned back in her chair and tapped her boyfriend on his knee. Charlie peered over the top of his laptop and smiled brightly, pride consuming his face. "It looks great." Charlotte nodded,
"I don't know why I finished it, because it was pointless. What am I even going to do with it? It's too small to go on the bed and there's no little Adam to sleep in it." She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. The Chief wrapped his arm around her in a half hug and kissed her temple tenderly. "Don't get upset over it, there is nothing you could have done. But I do know what you could do with it, if you're willing." She looked at him and he nodded in the direction of Aiofe, who was siting Indian style on the couch beside Seth, with her hands on her enlarged stomach, watching the TV. Charlotte smiled at him stood up, "I'm getting tired, so I'm just going to go upstairs for a while. Seth, you better be upstairs in an hour, you have school tomorrow." She turned and walked slowly up the staircase.
Aiofe sat on the sofa for another minute before following Charlotte's lead, "I'm tired out. I might as well just head to bed." The chief smiled at her, "Goodnight Aiofe. If you need anything, please don't be afraid to ask me." She nodded and turned in the direction of the stairs. "Night, shorty." Seth laughed at her.
"Night, Seth." She grinned.
She wandered into her room and stopped in front of the mirror. Although she felt completely different, she didn't look completely different. There definitely was a baby bump sticking out of her stomach, but she still looked like herself. She still had her dark, curly hair and her dark eyes, and she was still pale, and still skinny and short. She sighed and yanked the bobble out of her hair, it got stuck and she worked to untangle it. Once it was free, she set it on the desk and brushed through her hair with her hands, when her fingers caught on a tug her curls bounced like springs.
There was a knock at the door and Aiofe's head snapped up. "Come in." The door swung open a bit and Charlotte poked her head around the frame. Aiofe smiled at her and she walked into the room, in her arms a bumble of neatly folded, fluffy, white towels. She placed the towels on the foot of the bed, "Just in case you wanted to take a shower or a bath. And I would like you to have this." She pulled the blanket she had been knitting from behind her back and held it out to Aiofe. Aiofe shook her head, "I couldn't, and you've clearly put a lot of hard work into that, so you must have made it for a reason. Use it for that reason." Charlotte sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed, she patted the space next to her as a motion for Aiofe to sit. "You're right Aiofe. I made the blanket for my sister; she has a baby a month ago. When she told me she was pregnant I started to make it, and I was going to give it to the baby when he or she was christened. But the baby, Adam, was born a month early and didn't survive. When I learned this, I stopped working on the blanket, even though at that time it was almost finished. But about a week ago, I found it behind the couch, and I decided to finish it. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I finished it. And I am one of those people who believe everything happens for a reason, and my reason for finishing the blanket, unknown to me then, I think might be so I can give it to you, for your baby. Aiofe, I would be honoured if you would accept this; it would mean a lot to me to know that it has a purpose." Her voice was laced with sadness and her eyes were damp with tears. Aiofe took the blanket from the woman and smiled in what she hoped was a comforting way. "Thank-you, so much, for everything. I mean that. Nobody has ever been as kind or as friendly towards me as you, it makes me feel loved and cared for and safe, and those feeling have made realise something. I realised that those feelings are what I want my baby to feel, and I'm the one who's actions ensure whether that happens or not." Charlotte nodded,
"Sweetheart, I know. And it's a lot of stress and responsibility for one girl. But you should always know that I'm here for you, and I will try to help you, all you have to do is ask. Now, it's getting late, I'm going to head to bed, and I suggest that you do the same".
Aiofe's eyes fluttered open and flittered around her surroundings. There was blues, and greens, and whites and large oak furniture. She was still in the Chief's daughter's room. She could hear people moving about in other room, their bedrooms, she assumed. She sat up, and as she did so, she felt a lurch in her stomach. She scrambled out of the bed, yanking her feet free of the blankets. She crashed through the bedroom door and leaped across the hall and fumbled clumsily with handle on the bathroom door. The pulled it down and shoved hard against the door, it flew open and she could have jumped for joy. Her stomach lurched again as she knelt in front of the ceramic bowl. The walls seemed to be moving. The sides of her mouth were starting to water and she could taste last night's dinner all over again. She gagged, her throat burned and the contents of her stomach splashed into the toilet water. She spewed again and again until her stomach was empty and her ribs were beginning to hurt. She reached up and flushed the toilet. She leant her head against the cold tiles on the side of the bathtub and closed her eyes.
"You feelin' any better now?" Her eyes flickered up until they reached Seth's worried face. She nodded,
"Yeah, I feel much better. I'm just tired; I've not quite woken up yet." She smiled sheepishly at him. He reached out a hand to help her up and she stared at it for a minute before accepting it. He pulled her to her feet easily, wrapping his arm around her waist to support her once she was up. He led her back to her room, "I was actually sent to see if you're up. Charlie wants to take you to the station with him today. He plans to leave in an hour and a half." Aiofe nodded,
"Thanks. Would anyone mind if I took a shower?" Seth laughed,
"No. I'm sure nobody will mind. I've got to go and get ready for school, but I'll see you when you come downstairs." He patted her arm and walked out of the room.
She grabbed the towel from the desk and headed towards the bathroom.
Aiofe wandered down the stairs, clad in faded grey jeans with a hole in the left knee and a black and white over-sized Thor t-shirt. Her wet hair hung in loose curls around her shoulders and down her back. Seth pulled out a seat for her at the table beside him. She sat on it and smiled her thanks at him. He passed her a plate with a stack of 4 brown, circular things on it. She leaned towards him and whispered, "What are those?" He looked at her with a look of confusion and disbelief, but, seeing her face, he realised she was being serious. He burst into a fit of laughter and Aiofe blushed. He looked at her, "They're pancakes, Shorty. The best damned food you'll ever taste. Eat up." He put some golden syrup onto her pancakes and handed her a fork and knife.
The chief finished his breakfast and smiled at Aiofe, "You ready to go, kid?" Aiofe nodded and swallowed the last of her pancakes. Charlotte stood up, "No Charlie, she is not ready to go. You can't go out with wet hair Aiofe, especially not in winter, you'll catch your death. Come on upstairs and I'll dry it for you." She piled up the dishes and handed them to Charlie before starting up the stairs and motioning for Aiofe to follow. Aiofe scrambled out of her seat and up the stairs after the kind woman.
Aiofe followed Charlotte into her room, the walls and the furniture were a warm chocolate colour and the bed clothes, the carpet and the curtains were cream. It had a nice, homey feeling to it. There was a picture on one of the bedside tables, of a pretty brunette in a wedding dress, standing beside the Chief. It was the same photo that Aiofe had noticed in the Chief's office the previous day. Charlotte saw her looking at the picture, "That's the Chief's daughter on her wedding day. Her name is Bella."
"She's really pretty." Charlotte nodded,
"She is. This is his granddaughter." She pointed to a picture of a child with long, curly red hair and brown eyes, smiling brightly. Charlotte patted the back-less stool beside the desk and Aiofe sat in it. Charlotte ran a brush through the girl's hair, untangling it and freeing it from tugs and snags. She then blow dried it and brushed it so that it sat nicely. "Your hair is so long." Aiofe twirled one of her dark locks around her finger, "it looks short though, it's like springs." Charlotte smiled at her and passed her something grey. "Here, wear this. It's one of Seth's hoodies. He said you can borrow it so you don't get cold. I put your hoody into the washing machine and it isn't dry yet." Aiofe unfolded the hoodie; it was lined with fur or wool and had the words, "Super dry Japan" across the front of it. She shrugged into it and zipped it up halfway.
When Aiofe had her shoes and was ready to go Chief Reynolds was already standing by the door in full uniform, even with his gun belt on. She followed him to the car and climbed into the passenger's door. The Chief's car was already running and warmed up. Someone had already scraped the ice from the windows. They reversed out of the drive and were on their way.
Charlie sat behind his desk, sorting out the huge stack of paperwork that had appeared since he had last been in his office. Aiofe was kneeling on the couch, watching people come in and out of the station, she mentally commented on their cars and their choice of clothes, and trying to guess who they were, what they were like and why they were here. A shiny black Mercedes pulled into the parking lot and perked just outside the window. Aiofe sat back to make it less obvious that she was watching. A tall man with blonde hair stepped out of the drivers' side of the car and a man with red hair stepped out of the passengers' side.
She recognised the blonde man as the same man that Chef Reynolds had been talking to the previous day. She moved herself so she was sitting normally on the sofa and began tugging on loose threads on one of the bright cushions that littered the sofa. "Aiofe, would you please sit still. Your fidgeting is distracting."
"Don't be harsh on the kid Charlie. Watching you do paperwork must be very boring. So boring, in fact, that she has resorted to stalking people from your office window." Aiofe's head snapped up, she hadn't even heard the men come into the office. The Chief chuckled, "Take a seat." He pointed to the sofa and Aiofe leaped from it and went to stand against the wall. "Where are you going, Aiofe?"
"I was just giving them a seat." Aiofe blushed and looked at her converse clad feet. The two men sat on the couch beside each other, leaving half of the couch for Aiofe. She couldn't help but think that they were a guy couple that the Chief was going to let adopt her, because they couldn't have children of their own. She tried not to laugh out loud at the idea of living with gay men. What if she overheard them in the bedroom? Aiofe chocked out a laugh and had to cover it up with a cough. "Aiofe, this is Christopherand his son, Albert. Gentlemen, this is Aiofe." The man, Carlisle, smiled kindly and stuck out his hand for Aiofe to shake. She stepped forwards cautiously and shook his hand, she noticed that he had a strong grip and muscled hands, but her was gentle, and held her hand like it was something precious. This man must work with his hands. He gestured to the empty space on the sofa next to him and Aiofe felt pressured to sit, so she sat.
Chief Reynolds brought out a large file filled with lots of sheets of paper, all different colours and sizes. "This is Aiofe's file. It contains everything, birth certificates, death certificates of family members, information on family members, school reports, reports about arrests on family members, everything." He handed the file to Carlisle, who opened it and started to look through it, not missing a single piece of paper. His son read over his shoulder. They discussed in hushed whispers, too low for Aiofe to interpret what they were saying.
They had been reading for just over half an hour when something made them stop, and Aiofe knew instantly what it was. They were almost at the end of the stack of papers. She wrapped her arms around her stomach protectively and shot the Chief a worried look. In return he gave her a look that said "It's okay, just trust them". She leaned back in the couch and let her eyes wander around the room.
Christophersnapped the folder shut when he was done reading and handed it back to Charlie. "That's one heck of a life story you have there, Aiofe." Aiofe nodded and shuffled her feet around on the plush carpet. Albert leaned around his father and looked at her, "So, how far along are you?" Aiofe looked down at her bump and shrugged,
"I don't really know." He arched a copper eyebrow at her,
"What do you mean? Didn't your doctor tell you how far along you are?" Aiofe looked down and shuffled uncomfortably around in her seat. "I, well, I've never been." The three men's faces showed their surprise. Christopherturned his body so he was facing her, "If you don't mind me asking, why you didn't go for a check-up?"
"I was too scared to, in case Joseph found out, because I knew people would judge me, and because I was afraid, afraid there might be something wrong with Junior." She blushed and ducked her head to hide it,
"There's no need to be embarrassed. Those are perfectly rational fears. But I'll tell you what, if you're up to it, on Tuesday I'll take you to the hospital with me and we can make sure Junior is okay, and I might even be able to get an ultrasound machine." He smiled comfortingly at Aiofe and she beamed back at him, "You mean I could get to see Junior?" He nodded.
"Time has flown; it's 2 O'clock already. We've missed lunch. Aiofe, are you hungry? I'll go and see what I can find in the fridge." Chief Reynolds disappeared out of the office, leaving Aiofe sitting on the couch alone with Christopherand Albert. She rubbed circles on her stomach and hummed gently, and in response she felt a small nudge. At the sensation, a smile spread across her face, filling every crevice and making her glow. "I think Junior just kicked me." She whispered it, to nobody in particular, but it was heard by everybody in the otherwise silent room. Charlie appeared again with a plate of crackers with cheese on them and grapes, "It's not really much of a meal, but it's all we have. I'll take you out for dinner in a while. Carlisle, would you like to come with us?"
"I would love to Charlie, but we have to go to an engagement party this evening, which includes a fancy dinner, and my wife would kill me if I ate dinner beforehand. But if you like, we can go with you, and leave for the party straight after?" The chief nodded, "What time shall we say? Around six?" Christophernodded and pulled his phone out of his pocket.
"I'll just phone my wife and make sure it's okay." He stepped outside the office door and closed it softly behind him.
Aiofe stepped out of the Police cruiser and pulled Seth's hoody tighter around her as protection against the sting of the cold. They hurried into the restaurant, where Christopherand Albert were already waiting for them at a table, Christopherhad brushed his hair so it was swept back and his tuxedo was crease-less and crisp, Albert's hair was tousled like it had been earlier and he was also wearing a crease-less tuxedo. Aiofe and Charlie took the two seats opposite them, "I feel very under-dressed now." Charlie grumbled, he straightened his police uniform and sat down. Christopherlaughed, "If it's any comfort to you, I fell very over-dressed."
A waiter came over to take their orders, Charlie ordered without having even glanced at the menu, "Could I have a cheeseburger, fried and cola please. Aiofe, what would you like?" Aiofe blinked and looked at the menu,
"Uh, I'll just have the same as you." The waiter nodded and scribbled their order down on her notepad,
"Your food should be ready soon." She walked away back behind the bar.
Christopherand Charlie were soon immersed in an enthusiastic discussion about something and Albert was politely staring out of the window. Aiofe slouched down in her chair and fiddled with the lace on the table cloth. She felt herself zoning out from the world around her and did nothing to stop it. She watched as her finger nails cut through strands of lace to make a design in the repetitive squares on the lace. She felt a tap on her should and looked up to see three curious faces watching her. She smiled sheepishly. "Food's here."
Aiofe ate as politely as she could, she used all the manners that she knew and she was careful to hold her cutlery in the right hand and hold it the right way. She knew that Charlie was trying to persuade Christopherto adopt her, and she liked him, he seemed nice. And even though she didn't want to be forced upon him and his family, she did want whatever is best for her baby, and at the moment, a family seemed to be that thing.
Christopherparked his Mercedes in the garage and shut the garage door. He walked up the stairs to the main house and found his family sitting in the living room, around the TV. He walked towards the stairs and motioned for his wife to follow; she stood up from her space on the couch and followed him into their bedroom. "So, how did it go?"
"It went well, actually. Aiofe is really nice, and Charlie seems to really believe that we are her only option, or a home. But I can tell that he doesn't want to see her g into a home." She nodded,
"And what did you think of her?"
"She's a good kid. She's polite, and friendly. But I think she's more pregnant that he let on. I persuade her to come to work with me on Tuesday so we can find out."
"You care about her. I can tell, you wouldn't have asked her to go the hospital with you if you didn't. And the way you speak about her. Do you think we should adopt her?" He sighed and sat down on the bed.
"I don't know. She needs someone to look after her and help her, and we could do that. But what if she gets hurt? She is only human. I don't want to see her get hurt, Lauren." Lauren took his hand in hers.
"And have you asked your children what they think of this?" He nodded.
"Albert says that he likes her and she's nice. He thinks he would be willing to give her a chance." She nodded,
"That's all I need to hear. I want to meet her."
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, please leave a review.
Aiofe meets Lauren.
Aiofe and Seth talk.
Important decisions are made.
Don't forget to review!