SEVENTH CHAPTER HERE WE GOOOO!!! EEK!!! This was a doozy, and I was laughing so hard writing a part of it. Definitely one of my favorites so far. I hope you like it!
Chapter 7: Baby
“Could a scar be like the rings of a tree, reopened with each emotional season?” - Magenta Periwinkle
Seems like someone had graduated onto more scandalous nicknames. Amy wasn’t sure if she should still attempt to make a run for it and humiliate herself further, however, she did know that she should probably say something to keep that awful silence from getting any more awkward. Anything, really; a clever anecdote, or perhaps a comment about the weather - ooh, maybe even a humorous catchphrase!
But no, the only response that came to her lips was a bewildered, “Ian.” How eloquent.
The man in question raised a perfectly groomed brow and cocked his head to one side, as if to say, “That’s it?”
But the green-eyed woman didn’t know what else there was to say. The pair’s extensively shared history made words useless in these types of situations - situations that she never expected to face in reality, to be perfectly honest.
How long has it even been since she last uttered a word to the eldest Kabra sibling? Oh yes, five years.
Truthfully, she didn’t think that she would still care by now. Didn’t think that the mere sight of him would still have the capacity to render her totally speechless. But then again, Ian was always good on that front.
My life just got a thousand times more complicated.
“Amy darling, Nellie was wondering - oh, dear.” It was at the sound of Natalie’s voice that Amy realized that she was still completely spread all over the girl’s brother, and she hastily scrambled off of him with an ugly scarlet flush consuming her face. Ian got up with a bit more dignity, but unless she was mistaken, he also had a little rosy pink coloring staining his cheeks.
Natalie just stared at both of them with pity and a hint of mirth, like this was a laughable situation, god forbid. “Did I interrupt something?”
“No!” the two yelled.
“Everything is fine,” Amy added quickly, her face still looking like the envy of every tomato in town.
Natalie didn’t even attempt to look convinced. “Yes, I can see that.”
“Ian!” a sweet female voice called, immediately capturing the attention of the trio.
Amy didn’t recognize the woman, but she couldn’t deny that she was beyond stunning. Ethereal, tall, leggy, blonde, and sporting a tight orange dress that would have looked hideous on anybody else, the woman used the ballroom as her own personal runway, making any man nearby openly gawk at her beauty. She looped her arm through Ian’s and gave him a peck on the cheek. “Hi, gorgeous!”
Ian flashed her a tight lipped smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Hey.”
It was then that the blonde took notice of the women in her presence, one looking completely stupefied and the other just really annoyed. She quickly turned her attention to Natalie.
“Nat!” the woman screeched, flashing the younger Kabra a sickeningly sweet, yet somehow feral grin. “It’s been so long! You look great, whatever you’ve done with your skin is such an improvement, girlie!”
It took all of Amy’s strength to not drop her jaw to the floor. She quickly glanced at Natalie and saw a glimpse of murder in the girl’s eyes. Oh no.
“Aries,” Natalie managed to grind out after a long pause. “I’m so . . . happy to see you.”
The two girls exchanged air kisses, Aries looking blissfully content and Natalie looking like she would rather be anywhere in the world but Attleboro right now. Both pulled away with equally fake expressions on their pretty faces.
Finally, Aries turned to acknowledge Amy, though to her it seemed less like an acknowledgement and more like an evaluation of some sort. Amy had to admit that she felt a little bit . . . well, small under the woman’s gaze, and it wasn’t just because she towered over her like a giant.
“Aries,” Natalie started. “May I introduce you to one of my greatest friends, Miss Amy Cahill - ”
“Oh!” Aries interrupted. “You’re one of the hosts, right? Ian told me a little bit about you!”
Amy glanced at the dark haired man to find him suddenly really interested in his shoes. Strange, what did he say exactly?
“Yeah, that would be me.”
The blonde flashed a brilliant smile. “I’m so glad to finally meet you!” Aries leaned closer to her and mock whispered, “Oh, and congratulations.”
Amy frowned in response. What? Aries didn’t know about Jake, so it couldn’t have been another one of those ridiculous “I knew he had it in him!” sort of congratulations.
“I’m sorry?” she asked, confusion written all over her face.
Aries giggled, and Natalie rolled her eyes. “What are you talking about, Aries?” the brunette snapped.
Aries looked like she was going to burst, the poor girl was almost jumping up and down in excitement. Finally, it seemed like she couldn’t contain her secret any longer.
Amy would look back on this moment and wish that she had.
“Congratulations on the baby!” Aries screamed. Very loudly.
Heads turned. Natalie’s champagne flute shattered on the floor. Ian looked nothing short of horrified. And Amy just wished that the ground could swallow her whole.
“W-what baby?” she finally managed to let out after a long pause.
“Your baby, silly! This is what the party is for, after all!” exclaimed Aries, clueless as ever. “You must be what, five months along now? I have a knack for knowing these things, you know - maternal instincts. So, who’s the daddy? When’s the due date? Ooh, can I rub your belly, I hear it bring good lu - ”
“Aries,” Ian barked so sharply Amy and Natalie both flinched. He looked positively livid, but sadly, neither his tone nor obviously pissed off facial expression had the desired effect on his own date. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he said in the calmest voice possible, “Why don’t you go get us a couple of drinks?”
Aries smiled that vacant smile of hers, thankfully forgetting all about Amy’s non-existent baby. “Okay.” She gave Ian’s hand a squeeze. “See you soon, love.”
Ian couldn’t even manage to grace her with a semi-polite response.
“. . . What just happened?” Natalie asked, shock still written all over her face.
Amy couldn’t blame her. She also didn’t factor in a stranger barging into her old house and insisting that her outfit made her look so fat, the only explanation to it was that she must be carrying a child. She had to admit, that did sting a little, especially since she actually kind of felt a little bit pretty in that dress. Emphasis on felt. No matter, she couldn’t let it get to her. So, with a deep breath, Amy gathered her senses and quietly said, “I think Ian’s girlfriend here just told me I look five months pregnant.”
She walked away to the sound of Natalie’s feminine hand hitting the back of her brother’s thick skull.
“Ow!” Ian shouted, clutching his head in obvious pain. “What the bloody hell was that for?”
“Oh, don’t play dumb, Ian! It was never one of your more attractive looks,” Natalie retorted aggressively, arms folding in front of her chest in the process. “What were you thinking, you fool? Bringing her here? Her, out of literally any other girl on the planet?”
“Relax, Natalie,” Ian attempted to soothe. Unfortunately, his words had the opposite effect as his sister turned to give him another smack. Thankfully, he was prepared for it this time. “I couldn’t get a date on time, and she was the only girl in the area who was available - ow, stop it!”
“Go single then, you moron! You know that American ninny has no filter!” Natalie yelled. “Or brain!” The brunette took a deep, cleansing breath and rubbed her temples. “I cannot believe she said that to Amy.”
Ian sighed. Truthfully, he shouldn’t have put it past Aries Scott to say something so utterly thoughtless and rude - and untrue, for that matter. It was so in the female’s character, and Ian berated himself for not seeing something like that coming. The guilt and embarrassment he felt when thinking back to the image of Amy’s face deflating by the second at Aries’ “observation” was little too strong for his liking.
How in the world did she even come up with that? Ian thought to himself.
In his honest and completely unbiased opinion, Ian believed that Amy Cahill looked nothing short of radiant, and not at all in the maternal way that his date had suggested. Her auburn hair in waves, and her green eyes holding that mysterious sparkle, and that dress - oh, the dress! - pooling around her feet like some sort of lake of gray tulle . . . well, she looked like a bloody princess, anyone could see that.
“Looking for someone?” Natalie said, breaking him out of his reverie. Ian glanced at his sister and found her slyly smirking at him, clearly letting him know that she saw him scanning the crowds eagerly for the female Cahill sibling.
Ian just rolled his eyes in return, but said nothing as Natalie grinned in triumph. “You know, there’s this revolutionary concept called talking about the past. You two love birds should try it, maybe it could resolve some of your deep rooted issues.”
“Do shut up,” Ian grumbled. “And there’s nothing to resolve. Amy and I are fine.”
“Oh, I could see that from the way you two were clearly able to converse indifferently, and go on your merry way. Heaven forbid if you weren’t able to string two words together and just kept staring at each other like you were from different planets, now that would give people a whole different impression.” Natalie raised an eyebrow. “Let’s not tell lies, Ian.”
“I’m not - ”
“And let’s not forget that the last time you saw her, she ran away to New York forever without so much as a goodbye. An evening not too unlike this one, if I am correct. Suit and tie, fancy dress, Cahill mansion . . . history sure likes to repeat itself, doesn’t it? Must hurt.”
He didn’t have a witty retort against her statement this time - in classic Natalie fashion, she had struck way below the belt. Ian scowled deeply - he sure didn’t need a reminder of that blasted night. “I’m going to go find Aries.”
“Yes, you go do that,” Natalie said. “With any luck, maybe she’ll turn up in a body bag.”
“Only kidding!” she called as he started walking away from his pest of a little sister. “Gosh, some people are just too serious.”
As Natalie strolled through the ballroom, she contemplated what she was just bared witness to five minutes earlier.
Amy and Ian . . . Ian and Amy . . . A tale spanning over a decade with seemingly no positive conclusion anywhere in sight. Or at least, that’s what the sceptics believed.
Natalie, however, couldn’t agree any less. She still had hope that one day - and maybe one day soon - the two would work out their differences, accept their similarities, and build a life together, like they were always supposed to do. Natalie smirked to herself. She knew that her brother was still not as immune to Amy Cahill’s charms as he’d like to believe, just like she knew that with the glances the Cahill threw his way, Amy cared a little more than she would have liked to let on. It was absolutely insufferable the way their pride and distrust took priority over their own hearts. They could save so much time if they’d just stop taking those dumb little detours of theirs.
But what do I know? she thought sarcastically. It’s not like she understood even a little bit about love and loss herself, right?
God, how she wished that were true.
“Excuse me,” she said stiffly as she bumped into someone. Honestly, who’s bright idea was it to stuff so many people into one room anyway?
“Natalie?” The brunette looked up and met the eyes of one Dan Cahill. Wonderful, just what she needed.
She scoffed snootily. “I take it back - excuse you, not me, I nearly forgot that I don’t apologize to plebs.”
“Well, I see you’re just a ray of sunshine like always,” Dan responded in a monotone voice, sporting a very annoyed expression. Natalie rolled her eyes in response. Alright, so maybe Dan wasn’t as awful as he used to be - and not nearly as bad to look at, if she was truly being honest - but he was still Dan and she was still herself, so harmless banter back and forth was a given.
“Nellie’s looking for you, though I can’t imagine why,” she said scanning him up and down. “From where I’m standing, there’s not much to see.”
“Maybe you should change your point of view then,” he retorted.
“Touché,” she acknowledged. “Someone’s gotten a bit feisty.”
“Someone’s still feisty.”
Natalie sniffed. “I like to keep my tongue as sharp as my claws. Anybody with a brain knows that.” She looked at him with mock pity. “But then again . . . where did your’s run off to this time? It’s so hard to keep track these days.”
Dan rolled his eyes dramatically. “Well, this was enlightening. Bye, Natalie, I’m going to go find my f - ” He stopped himself suddenly.
Natalie narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Do go on, this is just getting interesting.”
“Girlfriend,” Dan quickly said. “I’m going to go find my girlfriend.”
“Daniel, you do realize that you cannot actually date imaginary people - ”
“She’s real, Nat,” Dan growled.
“Oh, really?” Natalie challenged.
“Yes, you devil incarnate,” Dan huffed. “Her name’s Veronica.”
And at the sound of that name, Natalie felt a chill creep up her spine. She briefly considered throwing up, right then and there. But then again, she was a lady, and a British one at that, and proper women of high stature did not make a scene, that was a rule she lived by.
It’s only a coincidence, she thought, attempting to calm down her racing pulse.
“Hey,” Dan’s voice called, actually sounding mildly concerned for her wellbeing. “Are you okay? You look kind of pale.”
Natalie straightened up right away at his comment. It’s only a coincidence. “I’m fine, I just . . .” She cleared her throat. “This was delightful, but I sadly, I have to go. You know, things to do, people to see . . .”
“Okay,” Dan responded, suspicion thoroughly laced in his voice. “Well, bye then.”
“Yes, farewell,” Natalie called as she rushed away from the incredibly confused Cahill man.
I have nothing to worry about, she thought. Veronica is a very common name.
SO MANY REVEALS! SO MANY SECRETS! Thoughts on Aries? What about Dan and Natalie? What about Natalie and Veronica? What happened there? Stay tuned faithful readers, the next chapter is going to be up on Friday, and it brings our love birds to a whole other level.