2.20. Love Is Patient
Lark frowns as she runs her fingers over her jawline. A series of fresh pimples meets her touch. She rustles through the vanity's drawers, cursing under her breath as she searches for cotton balls and a bottle of witch hazel. She soaks a cotton ball and touches it to her face. The cool of the astringent is temporarily soothing, until Lark angrily rubs the cotton over one particularly prominent pimple. A sting accompanies the pop, but she feels no relief. She’s nearly 30 and way too old for breakouts like this.
In fact, the last time she had a breakout this bad was when she was pregnant with Fenrir.
She turns to the side and looks herself up and down in the mirror. That bump could be bloating, she tells herself. But bloating accompanied by acne, weird dreams, mood swings, and nausea is too much to ignore.
So this is happening again.
Her mind spins as she trudges out to the kitchen for breakfast. This isn’t exactly unwanted, but it is a bit of a surprise. She thought she would have a little more time with Dom before they even thought about having children of their own. A happy accident--the third of its kind--never occurred to her beyond a dim possibility on those days when she forgot her birth control.
She freezes when she reaches the dining room. A strange brunette girl is sitting at the dining room table, eating a bowl of cereal.
Lark blinks and the air around the girl flickers. She shakes her head. It’s just Raven, she reminds herself.
“G’morning,” Raven mumbles with a mouthful of cereal. She glances up at Lark, “did it trick you again?”
“Yes,” Lark sighs, “every damn morning. You think I’d be used to the illusion by now.”
“You’re mundane,” the girl says matter-of-factly, “it’s okay. It happens to Bjorn, too.”
“Has he eaten yet?” Lark glances at the clock. Despite the gloom outside, it’s almost 7:30. The bus will be there soon.
Raven shakes her head. “He’s upstairs with Fen.”
“I guess I’ll pack something extra in his lunch,” Lark thinks aloud. There--another pregnancy symptom.
“Oh! He said he wants PB and J.”
“Peanut butter,” Lark puts her hand over her mouth as she gags. When she was pregnant with Bjorn, she’d had a terrible craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She’d also had terrible morning sickness, which she ignored as she scarfed down the sandwich in record speed. The resulting vomit was sticky, almost choking her as globs of tacky, half-masticated bread clung to her throat. Her eyes burned with hot tears as she forced out the remnants of what was once comfort food.
She barely makes it to the toilet in time.
Despite the volume of her retching, Dominic fails to notice her from the adjoining shower.
He’s completely oblivious.
At least until he glances in the mirror.
“Oh no,” he touches his newly pink hair, “not again!” This is too reminiscent of his dreadfully embarrassing punk phase, and he’s in no mood for it.
“Bjorn!” He bellows.
Upstairs, Bjorn smirks. He leans in closer to his younger brother and turns the page of the book he is reading to him.
“This is green,” he gestures to a shape on the page, “and that’s pink. Dom should be pretty pink right now.”
Fenrir giggles. “Pretty pink, pretty pink,” he repeats.
Bjorn ruffles his brother’s hair and laughs. He may not have magic, but he has a few tricks of his own.
That evening, the household makes their way to the newly erected Spring Festival. The outing had first been presented as a treat, a reward for Bjorn and Raven’s good behavior. When they misbehaved--as Bjorn had that morning--it was converted to a bargaining chip, used as leverage to garner an apology. Really, though, it was simply an excuse for the kids to burn off their excess energy while the adults enjoyed fresh air.
“I hate running,” Raven whines as she trots half-heartedly across the playground.
“Well that’s tag,” Bjorn jogs after her then taps her shoulder, “and you’re it.”
“I don’t get why I can’t just fly!”
“Because you can fly faster than I run and that’s unfair! Plus Dom said you’re not allowed to.”
“He’s not my real dad,” Raven fumes, “he shouldn’t be able to tell me what to do.”
Bjorn doesn’t disagree. And without a parent immediately supervising them, temptation starts to sway the fairy.
Meanwhile, the dance floor is completely open, and Lark takes advantage of it. She has always liked dancing, and there’s a lot she would like to distract herself from right now.
Fenrir finds similar satisfaction in movement--specifically, the movement of clawing at every damn thing he can find. In this instance, a marquee sign has drawn his attention.
“Graw,” he practices a growl. It comes up from his stomach, traveling through his spine and out his mouth. It should be deep since it comes that far, but it’s still a pitiful noise.
He resolves to keep practicing.
“Graw,” he growls again as he swipes at the sign. Deep gouges lay in the wake of his attack, and a sense of fulfillment fills his belly.
The fulfillment is pulled from him when Dom picks him up firmly around the waist.
“Hey buddy,” he says softly, “you know you’re not supposed to do that. Especially outside the house.”
“I scratch,” Fenrir scrunches up his nose, “my paws hurt.”
“Next time you want to scratch, come get me, okay? We’ll figure something out together, right?”
“No,” Fenrir pouts, “I want mommy.”
Dominic glances over at Lark. She’s throwing her arms wildly from side to side and grinning like a madwoman.
“I think we need to give your mom a break.”
“I want mommy,” Fenrir insists, sticking his lower lip out farther.
“Do you want to play on the spring rider instead?”
“Yes!” The pup brightens up, “yes, yes, yes!”
Of course, Dominic may be overestimating his supernatural parenting ability.
“Unfair,” Bjorn pants. Raven cackles as she floats after him.
“So what? You run faster than me. I’m just leveling the playing field,” Raven sticks out her tongue.
“Stop it,” he hisses back at her, “you’ll get us in trouble.”
A flash of fear strikes Raven, knocking her from the air and to her clumsy feet. A white hot hole bores through the back of her head, and prickly goosebumps spread across her arms. It’s an primordial sensation, one that must have been felt by her ancestors who were savvy enough to pass their genes down: she’s prey. She glances cautiously over her shoulder. A man stares back at her, his brow furrowed in confusion and irritation.
Bjorn whoops in delight as he sprints across the park and well out of her reach. “Can’t catch me,” he yells.
She ignores him. “Do--Dad,” she calls out, her voice trailing upward with panic, “I wanna go home!”
Dominic scoops up Fenrir and rushes over. His sights fall on the man staring at his daughter: he’s nothing more than human, he can tell. But something has his attention, and Dominic has a pretty good idea what. The man’s eyes dart to Raven, then to Fenrir, then to Dom, then back to Raven. It doesn’t help that Fenrir’s eyes are catching the light at any moment, further fueling the man’s suspicion. So Dominic quickly gathers up the household and ushers them home.
The next family outing will be more structured, he decides. They can't risk the wrong people noticing them.
She finds Dominic outside in the ever-growing garden, filling shallow holes with a new batch of seeds. She hovers nearby, waiting for a break in his routine.
“I’m almost done,” he glances up at her, sweat glistening on his brow, “if you’re waiting for me.”
“Yeah,” she kicks at the ground, “no problem.”
He drops the last seed into the ground and gently covers it with a mound of dirt. He then wipes his hands on his jeans as he stands up. “You want to tell me something." It’s a statement--not a question--accompanied by a knowing smile
She nods. “It’s kind of a big--”
“You’re pregnant,” he interrupts, placing his stomach on her belly. Even through her thick clothes, his hand radiates warmth. Calm washes over her.
“You knew. I should’ve known you knew,” she smiles. He’s called it every other time she’s been pregnant, so this one shouldn’t be a surprise.
“I had my suspicions.”
“Because my aura changed or something?”
“No, because you’ve been moody. And I found a receipt for a pregnancy test on the kitchen counter.”
“Oh. Then why’d you wait for me to tell you?”
“I wanted to pretend to be surprised,” he looks at her shyly, “but I guess I got too excited. We’re going to have a baby! Maker, we’re having a baby.”
“We? Your part of the baby dance is over, dummy. The rest is up to me.”
“Of course,” he laughs, “Is she kicking yet?” Dominic puts his ear against her stomach.
“No, that won’t happen for a few more weeks. Also, her? Now that sounds an awful lot like a psychic prediction.”
“Just a guess,” he grins, grabbing her hand. He spins her around then catches her in his arms.
“You do realize that basically all my body wants to do right now is barf, like, all the time?” She glares at him.
“Sorry,” he leans in and kisses her deeply. His lips are dry from the heat, and his body is sour with sweat.
She exhales as they part. “Um, I was just talking about barfing you know. And you smell like a gym bag.”
“Sorry,” he blushes, “I guess I got carried away. Again.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Promise?” She searches his face.
“Yes, Lark. Like I’ve said a million times, I promise,” the corners of his mouth twitch upward.
“There’s something else I wanted to talk to you, actually,” she takes a deep breath and falls to one knee, “Dominic Tremaux--”
“Trémaux,” he interrupts her.
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you’re drawing out the ‘e’ too long. It’s accented: Trémaux.”
“That’s what I’m saying! Tremaux!”
“No, Trémaux. You’re still hanging on the first syllable way too long.”
“For fuck’s sake, Dominic! Just listen, okay?” She pulls a velvet hinged box out of her back pocket. Inside is her mother’s engagement ring, which had been gifted to her recently with a loving but heavy handed comment: “I like him, Lark,” her mother had said, “he’s a keeper.”
She snaps the box open. The ring--freshly polished--sparkles in the setting light. “I’m not good at this kinda stuff, Dom. You know that about me. But I’ve been thinking--I think we should get married. I want you to marry me. Marry me?”
Dominic stares at her unblinkingly before nodding slightly.
“Is that a…?”
“Yes. It’s a yes,” he replies. She grins as she removes the ring from the box and slides it on his finger--to midknucle at least, where it refuses to budge.
“We can get it resized, if you want. Thought technically it is my ring. I just wanted to do this right, and that required a prop.”
“It’s yours. You should wear it,” Dominic admires the ring, “It’s just--I should be the one proposing, right?”
“That’s sexist. Besides, if I waited for you to propose it would never happen.”
“You’re pregnant, Lark. If you’d given me a couple of days I would have bought a ring. How else could we have a shotgun wedding?”
“Well if you’re in such a rush, we can go to the courthouse tomorrow.”
“No,” Dominic pulls her to her feet, “let’s have a real wedding.”
“Seriously? That’s a lot of work, and weddings are so expensive.”
“They are,” he kisses her forehead, “but this is worth celebrating.”
The sun sets on the happy couple and their ecstatic audience.
Author’s note: So I know that gif looks like farts. I tried to increase the quality but my patience only lasted for, like, ten minutes.