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Chapter 23 : 23. Under Pressure
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It was one hell of a week.
Everywhere I went, he was there. Everywhere I turned, he was there. Everywhere I looked, he was there. He was everywhere!
"I cannot stand it!" I cried out, resting my head against the cool surface of the kitchen table. "I really, really can't, Theo!"
Theo watched me closely, his lips pursed. "You're starting to crack," he stated easily.
I glared up at him, the faint sound of Em playing with the baby in the other room. Another sound - probably a vase breaking - didn't even scare me anymore. I had realized that the baby had quite a habit for breaking anything he got his tiny hands on - and he was good at it, even as an infant.
"What?" I demanded, narrowing my eyes. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Never thought you'd crack under pressure..." Theo said with a shrug.
"Excuse me," I snapped, standing up. "But who wouldn't crack under the pressure of being watched 24/7 by some creep like him!?" I said, pointing in the general direction of the front door - where Marcus most likely was lurking. "Everytime I go through that door - he is there! God, I can't even sleep at night without wondering where the bloody hell he is lurking!"
"Touchy," Theo teased, but an anxious look crossed his face. "Does it really bother you that much? Then ask him to cool it for a while..."
"I ALREADY DID, YOU MORON!" I roared, and the playful voices in the other room stopped abruptly. "And you know what he said? 'No way in hell, Miss!' Can you believe the nerve!?"
"Actually, I can," Theo said.
I glared some more. Ever since Marcus had begun his constant watch on me, Theo had slowly grown used to him - even slightly attached. It was like some kind of insurance to keep me safe.
From what, was beyond me.
"Oh, shut up," I muttered, stomping away. I entered the living room, and confronted a sight that was almost too hilarious; a startled Em with am equally startled baby on the floor on the playmat. "What's wrong?" I automatically said, as I approached them.
"Nothing," Em said, sounding a bit offended. "We were doing just fine until you started--"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," I said, joining Em on the floor next to my son. I met his dark eyes, and felt a smile tug at the corners of my mouth as I recognized the all-too-familiar smile he had. "Did I scare you, boo?"
"Oh, please!" Em sighed, leaning back on her hands. "You're calling him 'boo' now?"
I stopped whatever I was doing, and looked up at her. "Any suggestions, then?"
Em looked down at the baby, and grinned. "How about Cosmo?"
I stared at her, appalled. "I am not naming my son Cosmo!"
"I hate to interrupt the happy moment," Marcus' voice startled us, as he stood leaning against the door. "But there's nothing to eat."
I turned my glare at him, feeling the sudden urge to punch him. I had never been a person with much self-control, but something held me back this time, and it wasn't the fact that I was holding a baby in my arms.
"Then go buy your own food, you parasite," I growled, turning my back to him. "Care for a walk, Em?"
Em gave me a radiant smile, already thundering past Marcus into the hall, and I heard a great ruckus as she struggled to get the pram out.
"I suggest that you--"
"Do you ever just..." I snapped, giving him a long look. "...shut the fuck up?"
He didn't answer, so I gave him a wide smile. "Ready when you are!" Em announced, appearing in the room again.
"We are going to take a walk," I told the scowling Marcus. "Whether you like it or not. Goodbye!"
"Okay," Em said, steering the pram away from me. "You've got to stop shouting that! It's freaking me and everyone else out!"
"PEOPLE THINK YOU'VE ESCAPED FROM A PRISON!" Em exploded.
Oh, well, that makes sense.
"Let me just enjoy this rare time of not being watched by that freak, okay?" I pleaded, glancing at Em. "We're enjoying our time, aren't we, kid?" I cooed, as I looked down at the baby.
"You're not seriously going to name him 'kid', right?"
Em looked seriously concerned, so I couldn't help but laugh at her. "Of course not, stupid," I said. "I'm going to name him Franklin."
"Seriously?" Em said, slowing down her steps, until she came to a full stop.
"Of course not!" I cried out, grabbing her arm and pulling her along. "Come on..."
We walked around the park in silence, laughing at the small noises of joy the baby made everytime something rmeotely exciting happened - which wasn't much; anyone who smiled down at him seeemed to throw him into gurgles of happiness!
It was a normal day in the city of Salem. The sun was partly hidden behind the clouds, and it was cooler than normally, making it a perfect day to be outside. I personally didn't like the sweltering heat, having endured a few hot days while being pregnant had promptly put me off. But even if it was slightly cooler that day, I still coudln't help noticing the two men sitting on a bench, wearing heavy, dark robes.
It wasn't that chilly outside.
And it looked suspicious - too suspicious.
We passed the two men in silence, my hand automatically grabbing a tight hold of the pram Em was in control over. She edged closer, her eyebrows knitted together. "What's wrong?" she asked quietly.
"Those two men," I whispered, glancing at them over my shoulder. "They... seem odd."
Em followed my gaze, and she bit her lip. "They're getting up now..." she told me, as she started to walk more briskly.
"Easy, now," I told her, looking staright ahead. "Okay, if they're still following us when we take a second lap around the park--"
"What, we'll run like hell?" Em suggested, panicked.
I glanced at her, frowning. "You're in no place to panic on me now, Em!" I scolded her, keeping my eyes on her until she sighed. "Okay, let's go."
We didn't talk, as we marched around the park again, passing all the same trees and benches as we had done earlier. I pretended to scratch my neck to steal a glance over my shoulder - and locked eyes with one of the two men.
"Fuck," I hissed, my hold of the pram tightening. I suddenly felt like a small child, as I looked around the park. There was no place for us to hide, and they would catch on us in a few seconds, and--
No. That kind of thinking was forbidden.
"Here's what we're going to do," I murmured, subtly steering the pram out from the park. "There's a bookstore a few blocks away. Enter that store, and tell the owner you have an order - he will take you to the back room, and show you into a room, that has a floordoor. If you go down there, you will eventually arrive to Theo's pub - stay there, until I contact you."
Em came to a sudden stop, and so did the two men, who were now a few feet away from us - they didn't even try to hide the fact that they were following us.
"And what about you?" she demanded.
"I'll lead them away," I said simply. "If they're after me, they'll follow me, not you. If they're after the baby..." I said, my voice breaking slightly. "Can't imagine why, though," I whispered, eyeing my son, who looked wide awake now. "If you don't hear from me--"
"Then I'll kill you myself," Em said hotly, her face darkening. "For leaving me with your kid. So don't get yourself killed, okay?"
I smiled swiftly, as we continued our way down the street. I gave Em's arm a squeeze, as we neared the bookstore. She made a sudden turn, and entered the little store, as I continued ahead. I disappeared around the corner, and looked behind me - only to see the two men following me.
I started jogging, and as I heard their steps close in on me, I decided it was enough with all this playing around, and sprinted off in full speed. I ignored the other people on the street, pushing and shoving them out of my way, as I took another turn, and yet another.
And suddenly, I was faced with a dead-end.
I swallowed, my heart thumping hard in my chest, as I swivelled around with my wand ready. The two men stood at the other end, blocking my only way out and pointing their wands at me.
"Hello, Miss Quency," said one of them, smiling wryly.
A/N: DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN! Sorry I didn't come up with anything better xD And no, I will not tell what the kid will be named - probably not Cosmo or Fiasco, though!
- Lily xxx
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