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Bedlam and Broomsticks by tiberiusirius
Chapter 14 : Commiseration
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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Trying to get out of the Hospital was an absolute nightmare. Kenzie was still a bit loopy from the pain-numbing potion, but having the press yell about her non-existent unborn child was a sobering experience and killed whatever buzz she may have had. On the plus side, while getting the stitches out had been enormously painful due to the still tender unhealed wound, the Healer was able to reduce the scaring to a minimum. The only place where evidence of the injury was even really noticeable was where it passed through her left eyebrow and hair would no longer grow.


Kenzie could deal with the minuscule marring of her face, it wasn’t a huge deal and it was honestly the least of her worries. She was more concerned with thinking about her friends and family and the fact that were bound to freak out tomorrow when they read that she was pregnant. Even so, that wasn’t what was dominating her thoughts at the moment. She had Oliver on the brain.


He stayed with her through the whole shit show. He never left her side despite her unfounded, offensive accusations concerning his motives for wanting to be with her. Maybe he didn’t really seem ecstatic about being there, but that was her fault.  Who in their right mind would readily want to deal with her horrible attitude regarding attempts to persuade her to seek the necessary medical attention, or her insecurities about getting to know someone again? Especially after she had questioned his moral compass.


Sure he may have only stayed because the press herded him back into the examination room after she tried to chase him off, but she still had a lot to thank him for. For instance, calming her down when she thought she was going to hyperventilate, and then letting her try and mutilate his hand when the pain numbing potion wasn’t enough to impede the skin receptors in her forehead from causing her extreme discomfort. He was a godsend really, but it appeared he was still resolved to leave her questioning where they stood.


After flooing her back to Fredericks house, Oliver said not one word to her before turning his back and heading for the door. She didn’t try to stop him either. He had dealt with enough of her crap. He deserved better than a girl who would subconsciously sabotage their relationship because it was too hard for her to believe her luck in finding him. Merlin she was an idiot.


She was almost resolved to wallow in her own pity when she realized one important thing—the reason she had girlfriends was so she didn’t have to wallow alone. Of course Daphne was still upset with her, but that just presented her with the opportunity to make things right as well as receive comfort in the form of ice cream and best friend hugs. Instead of screaming into her pillow all night, she got up and Apparated over to Daphne’s building.


She was feeling a bit self-conscious about knocking on the door, but she was glad she did. Daphne answered holding a gallon of some type of chocolate ice cream under her arm while resting it on her hip. When she saw it was Kenzie looking helpless, she sighed and held out an arm to usher her in for a side hug.


“C’mere you.” She told Kenzie before embracing her then letting go to walking into her flat’s kitchen to grab a second spoon. They both sat down on Daphne’s comfy loveseat, the ice cream between them “I s’pose I owe you an apology. Kane told us about Africa and your encounter with the twenty-meter leadwood tree. Said it looked like someone tried to carve a headband across your forehead with a dull knife. Foolish me to think only Quidditch could give you life threatening head injuries.” She snorted bitterly before adding sincerely. “I’m glad your okay and I’m sorry for being such a bitchy prat.”


Kenzie smiled slightly, if a bit sadly, “You’re not the only one who needs to apologize. I was extremely insensitive about the whole D’masi Dangle bit. I should’ve figured it’d bring up bad memories, and I should’ve just been thankful people cared about me enough to throw a fit when I did something dangerous. I know you guys care…perhaps a bit too much, but I love you tossers.” She said chuckling slightly.


Daphne smiled and leaned over to give her another hug. “Thank Merlin you’re here Kenz. It’s been torture trying not to talk to you.”


“I know. It really has been horrible.” She agreed. “Speaking of which, why are you indulging in this chocolately goodness?” Kenzie asked referring to the ice cream she was also enjoying.


Daphne grimaced taking another spoonful. “Things with Darren have gone to shit.” She confided. “I’ve been such a sour bitch lately because I was salty with you. He thought I was over reacting. Says that in Quidditch you have to take risks if you’re taking it seriously.” She sighed. “I’ve been snipping at him every chance I could because I didn’t appreciate his nosy arse sounding off on my stance. He finally had enough yesterday and told me he hadn’t bargained for dating someone with the temperament of a Hungarian Horntail.”


Kenzie’s mouth fell open. “That wanker! How could he say that?!”


Daphne just shrugged and waved it off. “I deserved it. I really have been a git. We’ve been bickering like mad. Every chance I get I’ve been making insulting comments about the intelligence of Quidditch players.” She looked at the affronted frown on Kenzie’s face and quickly changed the subject. “Anyways, why have you come to join my pity party?”


Kenzie sat back against the couch, letting out a breath while preparing herself to divulge the story. “You’re not going to be happy with me…I’m not even happy with me.” Kenzie laughed bitterly. She braced herself as she came out with her confession. “I’ve mucked it up with Oliver.”


Daphne’s eyes went wide and she leaned over and slapped her friend on the shoulder. “Bugger me! Why? How could you?”


Kenzie let her head fall into her hands. “Merlin I know! I’m such a prat. I got it in my mind that all we were on about was physical. That I was jumping into a relationship when the last one threatened to break me, and now it was with a bloke I knew nothing about! Seriously though, I really know little about him besides Quidditch. I got scared that he was keeping me at arms length to let me off easy once he’d had his fun. Truth was I didn’t know anything about him because I never asked. I was the one keeping him at arms length and trying to save myself the pain later on.”


When she paused Daphne shrugged. “It sounds like you realized your mistake and your feelings, although it may have been a bit late. Still, he’s clearly he’s into you. That’s undeniable at this point. I can’t blame you for freaking out though. I kind of expected it at some point after the year you’ve had. No one wants to get hurt…do you think you could make it up to him, or is he not willing to talk to you? What happened?” she questioned in succession trying to get ahold of things while digging into the ice cream.


Kenzie bit her lip nervously. It didn’t help her self-loathing that her friend figured she’d have issues getting back into the dating scene. Was she that predictably damaged? She knew Daphne was going to yell at her for her actions towards Oliver after she told her what went down. She divulged anyways, she needed to talk to someone. “Oliver came to Frederick’s looking for me after I arrived home from the Africa trip a day late. He was wondering why he hadn’t heard from me…But when he saw me and my stiches, he greeted by blurting out ‘what happened to your face’ before saying anything else.” She was still dismayed thinking about it.


Daphne snorted, “Definitely not the most tactful hello.” She agreed getting a spoon full of chocolate. “Do go on.”


Kenzie squirmed a bit. “I kind of lost it.” She confessed, regretful for her behavior after the fact. “I was already thinking he only cared about my looks, but his reaction to seeing me somehow confirmed it. He didn’t even ask if I was okay!” She scratched the back of her neck knowing what she had to talk about next. “…So I kind of told him we might as well call it quits if that’s all he care about. If all he wanted was a romp every now and again. When he objected saying that wasn’t the case, I asked why it was I didn’t know anything about him. He lost his temper. Said it was because I wasn’t interested in finding out about him myself by asking…” She sighed trying to collect herself but her voice cracked a bit when she continued. “I realized then that he was right. I never did try to get to know him. By then it was too late, he was already trying to leave. Told me I wasn’t ready for a relationship, that I didn’t want one.”


Daphne dropped her spoon. “Please tell me you stopped him!” she asked pleadingly.


Kenzie grimaced. “I tried at first, but then I realized he was right. He deserves to be with someone that isn’t going to be insecure about trusting someone again.”


“What is wrong with you!” Daphne screeched getting to her feet and pacing. “He deserves to be with you! You’re practically made for each other! I don’t understand how you could just let him walk away!”


Kenzie held her hand up. “Slow your roll there love. I’m not done. He didn’t end up leaving. My stitches conveniently started to bleed and he insisted on taking me to St. Mungo’s”


“Thank Merlin for head injuries!” Daphne said taking a seat. “Did you actually let him take you to the hospital? You nearly murder me with your eyes every time I suggest it after your test flights.”


Kenzie managed to chuckle a bit. “I really didn’t have a choice in the situation. He scooped me up in his arms and flooed me to Mungo’s. Didn’t leave either because he figured I’d bolt once he was gone. Even came with me to the examination room because I was being difficult. He was being an insufferable git though. He made it clear that he wasn’t changing his mind about us, so I told him I would behave and let the Healer do his job if he left and went home. He was happy to comply, but when he went to open the door to the examination room we were assaulted by camera flashes.”


No!” Daphne cried in stunned disbelief. “Those sodding bloodsuckers came to the hospital?!” She was incredulous.


Kenzie nodded, “Yeah and the nurses couldn’t control them enough to get them to leave, but that’s not even the worst part…” Daphne looked skeptical that it could get any worse, and the build up was driving her mad. Kenzie explained it to her. “When Oliver opened the door, I had my shirt rolled up and the Healer was giving me a pregnancy test. The tosser told me it was a necessary precaution before he could give me a pain potion and remove the stitches. They definitely got pictures.”


Daphne looked absolutely flabbergasted. “You’ve got to be shitting me.” She was shaking her head to herself before she came back to reality. She pushed the gallon bucket of ice cream towards Kenzie. “You need this more than I do.” She told her. “Seriously though, this could only happen to you. Everyone is going to think you’re pregnant! Lola and Frederick are going to flip! Oh and Decimus is going to be sooo livid.”


“You’re supposed to be comforting me you arse!” Kenzie snatched the bucket and dug in.


“I know, I know. But before we get into any of that mushy, girly, consoling crap, please tell me you didn’t floo home from Mungo’s.” Daphne beseeched her friend.


Kenzie was confused as to why she sounded concerned about that of all things. “Yeah we flooed back to Frederick’s. Why?”


Daphne rolled her eyes at her friend’s cluelessness. “Kenz, when you floo you yell out you’re destination. Were there journalists around?” The horrified expression and loss of color to Kenzie’s face was enough of an answer for her. “Merlin! Bad form mate! They’re going to be all over you.” She informed her unnecessarily, once again not offering any consolation. That changed though with the uttering of her next words. “If worse comes to worse and you can’t find a flat to escape to in two weeks, and the bloodsuckers are still camped outside of dear ol’ dad’s, my lease is up. I was going to renew it, but if you want to be my flat mate I know of a nice two bedroom three floors up. It’s affordable and would be perfect for us.”


That was all it took for Kenzie to be convinced, and after that she could hardly wait for those two weeks to end. She wanted to be in her new apartment and away from prying eyes. Especially considering the harassment she was getting from the press.


Daphne was completely justified in thinking that the media would camp outside of Frederick’s because that’s exactly what they did. So instead of Apparating to work like usual, she took to flooing so she didn’t have to go outside and make an appearance for the cameras. Of course that meant she usually ended up covered in soot, but that didn’t matter considering she now enjoyed showing up in to sweat pants and old Quidditch shirts. She knew she could get away with it because she had done it before when she was still trying to get over Decimus. Plus she had the extra excuse that she was testing out Beater models, and sympathy because everyone now believed she was pregnant. The latter reason she didn’t really lend credit or give voice to, though she knew others did. That being said, no one really approached her about it.


Funny thing was, not even her loved ones broached the subject with her. While Daphne had informed Fergusson and Kane about the circumstances, Frederick was still in Boston and Lola was on holiday with her newest bloke in the Cinque Terra. Out of sight out of mind.


 She had initially been worried that Decimus was going to freak out and lecture her once he read the paper, but for some reason he made himself scarce. She hadn’t seen him since Africa, and she didn’t know if she should be grateful of the fact or terrified for when they actually did speak to one another. Suffice it to say she wasn’t looking forward to it.


Actually she wasn’t looking forward to much of anything anymore. She had so much on her plate, and she was spread so thin, she felt like she could barely keep her head above water. Thank merlin for Kane, Fergusson, and Daphne. They had been with her through the Keeper and Seeker model projects so they needed little direction when it came to the Beater model. They just followed her notes and double-checked their progress with her.


What was challenging however, was trying to prepare the production facility for the Keeper brooms. She had to find, test, and teach witches and wizards skilled enough in the realm of charms and enchantments to work on the assembly line. Luckily, Lazarus had a hefty amount of qualified people on payroll considering they were the premier broom contractor in the world. Still, she had to find the right people among the large file of them and then conduct interviews.


Kenzie had every intention of selecting all individuals qualified for initial interviews by the end of the day. She wanted to rest easy considering she had Seeker trial participants coming in at then end of the following week. She needed this to be taken care of and well on it’s way to completion before then for her own sanity.


She was sick of sitting in her office, so rather than going home, she decided to take her work to a local pub called The Seven Sisters. She was sat down, leafing through a pile of dossiers as she sipped Butterbeer, picking at some chips, when someone sidled up next to her causing her to jump. It was Darren.


“Fancy seeing you here.” He greeted with a twinkle in his eye, happy to have caught her off guard. “I hear congratulations are in order. Is it a boy or a girl?”


Kenzie rolled her eyes but began moving papers so he could take a seat. “Very funny Guadinino. You know damn well I’m not pregnant. Anyways, what are you doing here? Can I buy you a pint?”


For answer Darren lifted up his takeout bag. “Actually I’m headed back home. I live close by. I just thought I’d say hello since I saw you all alone.”


“Oh.” Kenzie said frowning. She was hoping to have words with him since he was here. “Do you mind if I walk you home? I was hoping to talk to you about something.” She was already packing up her belongings and fishing out coin from her purse for her tab. She wasn’t going to take no for an answer.                                                                    


Darren just shrugged, “I’ve never had a girl as lovely as you offer to walk me home safely. I don’t see how I could say no.” He grinned smugly and offered his arm.


She shook her head exasperatedly, but looped her arm in his and they headed out the door. They made it a half a block, and Kenzie was still trying to find words to begin with, when he stopped suddenly.


“Well this is me.” He laughed motioning to the building door he was standing in front of. He smirked seeing the shocked look on Kenzie’s face. “Don’t look at me like that! I told you I lived close by.” He watched as her face fell and added. “Why don’t you just come up and we can talk over some drinks.”


Kenzie felt relief, “Merlin I thought you were having a go at me!”


He grinned as he fished in his pockets. “I was, but I wouldn’t be that mean.” He paused looking frustrated. “Damn it I can’t find my keys. I must’ve left them in my flat.”


Kenzie didn’t know what she expected him to do but was surprised when he reached over and ran a hand down the all call buttons for the residents. When she gave him an odd look he just shrugged. “Someone is bound to let us in.” When he heard the click of the door he just smirked and pulled open it open. “After you my dear.” He led her up to the fourth floor and stopped to knock on a door. She was a bit confused as to why until someone answered it.


She was stunned and mortified to see the face of Oliver looking back at her. He seemed just as surprised, although more so angry. He slammed the door in both of their faces.


“Oi! Wanker!” yelled Darren pounding on the door. “This is my flat. Let me in.” He bellowed. Nothing happened.


Kenzie was feeling thoroughly embarrassed. “I should probably just go home.”


“Nonsense.” Darren insisted. “You wanted to talk, so we are going to talk. Don’t let Wood bother you…just stand back for a second will you?” He guided her off to the side and stepped backwards away from the door before he used the heel of his shoe to kick his way into his flat. “I’ve drunkenly lost my keys once or twice and this usually works.” He said as explanation.


Kenzie lifted and eyebrow. “You do have a wand don’t you?”


Darren just smirked, “Yes, which is how I fix the door frame in the morning.”


Kenzie chuckled and followed him in, although a little reluctantly.


“Food’s here Woodsy. Guess who I saw at the pub while I was there?” Darren asked rhetorically while giving Kenzie a wink. Oliver came over and started to take his food out of the bag. “Aren’t you going to say hi?” Darren prodded him.


Oliver stiffened angry, and lifted a stoic gaze to Kenzie. His eyes lingered on her momentarily before moving over to his friend. “Is there a reason you brought her here?” He asked drolly, seeming disinterested.


Darren rolled his eyes. “She said she needed to talk to me mate.”


They both turned eyes on Kenzie as if they were expecting her to begin immediately. She flushed slightly while fidgeting. “Uh right.” She began nervously as both men dug into their dinner. Darren fished in the fridge and came back with three brews and handed them out. Kenzie snatched hers readily and took a large swig. “Thanks.” She told him.


Darren’s eyes glittered. “You’re welcome. I have a limited supply though so try not to chug too fast.”


Once he was done sniggering, and had tucked back into his food, Kenzie felt like it was safe to talk. “It’s just…I think…Merlin how do I start this?” She asked herself, rubbing her forehead. Finally she resolved herself to just come out with it. “It’s about Daphne. I think you should give her another chance.”


Oliver snorted. “Of course you do.” He said sarcastically.


She frowned at him but disregarded the comment and turned her attention back to Darren who only seemed interested. “I really do think you should give her another chance. It’s not her fault she’s been acting like a bitch. It’s mine.”


Oliver laughed derisively. “What, does bitchiness just diffuse from one person to another now?” He snapped.


Kenzie couldn’t help herself. “Let’s hope not because if it does, Darren and I are currently at risk from you.” She was seething after his snide remark. She couldn’t stop her response, it was reflex. Darren laughed at her gall, almost spitting his food out in the process. “Anyways,” Kenzie went on after noticing Oliver stabbing his dinner a bit too aggressively. This already wasn’t going well. She had to try and fix it for Daphne; she tried to explain. “Darren, you don’t understand about my accident. You don’t realize how hard it was on Daph, and, admittedly, she doesn’t understand about Quidditch and injuries. I was insensitive about what my loved ones had to go through and that’s what she was pissed about. It didn’t help that you sided with me because you do see it from the Quidditch perspective and understand you have to get back on the broom.” When Darren only knitted his eyebrows together in thought she added. “She is sorry for how she acted. She knows she acted like a prat and she regrets it. But in her defense, you did tell her she had the temperament of a Hungarian Horntail.”


Oliver snorted once more. “She’s not the only one.” He muttered smirking.


Kenzie just rolled her eyes choosing to ignore the comment. “Please Darren, consider it. You were so good for each other. I couldn’t stand it to think a rift developed between you guys because of a misunderstanding concerning me. Neither of you were wrong in this situation.” Before she went one, her eyes flickered to Oliver and then back to Darren. “Its just…I’ve sabotaged my own happiness enough because I’m a wreck, I don’t want to inadvertently sabotage anyone else’s as well.”


Darren looked from Kenzie to Oliver momentarily. He sighed before turning back to Kenzie. “I did badger the hell out of Daphne to forgive you. It was clearly bothering her that the two of you weren’t talking. Maybe I should’ve just left it alone.”


Oliver rolled his eyes. “So Daphne punished you because you cared enough to try and get her to talk to her best friend?”


Kenzie rounded on Oliver angry at his interference. “Would you bloody well shut it!” she bellowed incensed. “I get it, I fucked up! I hurt you! But it wasn’t intentional, you have to believe that…” she almost pleaded. “It was my own insecurity and mistrust and stupidity coming to the surface. It was a defense mechanism for Merlin’s Sake! I was scared at how fast I was falling, and what that would do to me if it all went south. I couldn’t go through that again. Not so soon. I’m sorry okay. You’re a damn good bloke and a catch I’m not likely to ever come across again. The way things are between us is my fault entirely. I didn’t really leave you with a choice but to step away. But Daphne and Darren…they have a chance at happiness and I won’t let that go to waste because of a misunderstanding over me. And if you’re a good friend to Darren, you’ll do everything in your power to help me out now.” She was slightly out of breath as she finished her diatribe and was looking into the wide eyes of both men. They appeared taken aback by her outburst.


While Darren was still staring at her, Oliver seemed to collect himself. With a gulp he turned to his friend. “She’s right mate.” He said begrudgingly. “You should give Daphne another chance. You deserve a great girl and that’s what she is.”


Darren blinked, looking back and forth between the two of them. After a moment a sly smile came over his face. “Listen, I’ll do you guys a favor and agree to see her if you guys will do one thing for me.”


Kenzie and Oliver shared a nervous glance, but it was Oliver who answered. “We’ll do anything within reason.”


Darren’s smile turned devilish. “Well then it’s settled. You guys are coming on a double date with us.” He totally disregarded both of their flabbergasted looks and open mouths and kept right on making plans. “Next Friday good for you guys?” He questioned.


Kenzie barely remembered objecting weakly, “Next Friday is the Seeker trials and Daphne and I are moving into our new apartment after work. I suppose if you want…”


“Oh you’re going to be flat mates then?” Darren said not really expecting an answer. “Well Friday it is then! Mark your calendars boys and girls we’re going for dinner then back to Pariahs.”


By the time Friday rolled around Kenzie was a nervous wreck. The stress of trying to manage all her tasks at work was really getting to her. She must’ve seemed like an absolute scatterbrained mess in front of the Seekers. She flitted from one topic to another, only half listened to their suggestions, and almost let them leave with their brooms. Luckily Daphne halted everyone from doing so by standing at the door, checking serial numbers, and confiscating brooms from grumbling Quidditch players on their way out. Decimus would’ve killed her had they left with their test models.


It was so obvious that she wasn’t all there, Krum actually came up to her after everyone left and asked her if the pregnancy hormones were starting to kick in. She set him straight but couldn’t help to feel a bit agitated. The day was not going very well, and the Decimus’s noticeable absence wasn’t appreciated and didn’t bode well for future professional situations. Even so, she was glad the Seeker trial was over. Hell, if she played her cards right after going over the notes from the players and implementing their suggestions, she could conduct interviews for the Seeker production in tandem with the Keepers. That was for another day though.


Now she had to gather all her stuff and make her way over to her new place before unpacking and getting ready for tonight’s sure to be disaster of a date. She just knew it was going to be miserable, there was no way Oliver wouldn’t give her the cold shoulder. Regardless, she wasn’t going to back out. She would do this for Daphne. She deserved to be happy with Darren.


She was just throwing the last of her belongings into a box that she outfitted with an extension charm, before she planned on saying her goodbyes to Angus. She didn’t prolong the send off knowing that would only make it worse. Besides, she still had to get ready for the evening.


When she arrived at her flat, Daphne was already inside charming her things to unpack and taking the liberty of decorating a bit. The flat was twice as big as anything either of them had previously had, and even between them they wouldn’t have enough furniture to fill the space. Especially the kitchen considering both of them refused to cook and had no utensils. Kenzie because she was crap at cooking, and Daphne because she thought it was beneath her magical talent—she wasn’t wrong.


When Daphne saw Kenzie she smiled. “Finally! We only have two hours before they come fetch us and we have to make the place look homey. You also need to unpack still! Do you know what you’re wearing?” She stated in succession.


Kenzie nodded. “Yeah, I just need to find it again in the mess of all my crap. More pressing however, I have to find my bath stuff. I definitely need to shower.”


Daphne chuckled. “Go shower and use my stuff. I’ll get started on unpacking all your belongings since I’m pretty handy with a wand.”


“You sure?” Kenzie asked not wanting to force her friend to help her out even if it was convenient.


Daphne just nodded. “Of course! And don’t worry, I already know you want your room Puddlemere blue with as much paraphanalia as possible to make it look like you’re obsessed. Just like home!” She teased.


Kenzie blushed but chortled as she made her way into the bathroom. Daphne knew her a bit too well. She took as quick a shower as possible because she felt bad for making her friend do her unpacking for her. When she came out however, her box was sitting in the hallway and Daphne was relaxing on her bed.


“Damn your good. That was quick.” She told Daphne impressed.


Daphne just smirked. “Well, you and I both know there was a reason why you hired me. Anyways, all your clothes are in your closet. I wasn’t sure which dress you were planning on wearing. Although I saw a scandalous green number that I was hoping you were referring to.”


Kenzie knew which dress she was talking about and definitely wasn’t planning on wearing it. It had been a gift from her mother and it was absolutely revolting. Granted the tiny white tube dress she had in mind didn’t cover much more, but she still felt comfortable wearing it. “I think I’ll still with Plan A.” She told Daphne pulling it out of the closet and holding it up to herself.


Daphne nodded in approval. “White makes you look tanner than you actually are, if that’s even possible. If my skin wasn’t so creamy white and delicious I might be jealous.” She laughed.


Kenize joined her while grabbing some kinckers and pulling them on under her towel. “Shouldn’t you be getting ready?” She lifted an eyebrow towards her friend.


Daphne got up begrudgingly and went to her own room to start the process for herself. Half an hour later they were both dressed. Daphne outfitted in a sleeveless black leather top, and short, emerald green A-line skirt, while Kenzie had managed to struggle into the little tight white tube dress with a neckline that plunged to just below her breasts. They both looked great, and ahead of time too.


Rather than just sit around nervously waiting for their dates for the evening, they popped open a bottle of champagne to celebrate their new place and unwind a bit. It was a nice change of pace from a hectic week, that is until there was a knock at door the same time there was a tap at the kitchen window. Daphne went to let in their guests as Kenzie headed towards the owl at the window.


Kenzie heard the voice of Darren behind her just as she recognized her mother’s owl on the sill. Even worse she saw he was carrying a Howler. She immediately began fumbling at the owl’s leg trying to detach the letter, but she was shaking a bit. The Howler looked to be growing close to explosion, and by the time she managed to unhook it, she was running for her bedroom and privacy. Unfortunately she didn’t make it in time. She had only reached the mouth of the hallway when her mother’s voice exploded for everyone to hear.


Kenzie Aurora D’masi! Would you care to explain why I have to return from Italy to find out you are PREGNANT!” The strident screeching and scathing tone made her flinch. She didn’t dare look to her friends as the lecture continued for fear of breaking down. “Did you learn nothing from me? You could’ve at least married the bloke so when he leaves you’d be secure in receiving alimony! I can’t believe you could be so stupid! Getting pregnant was the single worst thing to ever happen to me! I regret it more than any one thing that has happened in all my years! It ruined my life! It took away my freedom! I can’t believe you’ve gone and ruined yours. You aren’t ready for this responsibility. I hope you have the courage to do what I couldn’t and get this taken care of before it’s too late. I know I wish I had. I am very disappointed in you young lady. I thought you had more sense!”


The silence that followed was chilling. She knew her mother said the words in fury, and she probably didn’t think about what she was saying, but Kenzie would be lying if she said it didn’t feel like a knife to the heart. She was her mother’s biggest regret in life? Lola wished she had been ‘taken care of’ rather than born? She felt herself stop breathing as a black hole developed where her stomach should’ve been. She didn’t come out of her trance until she felt a hand on her forearm. It was Daphne.


“Kenz…” She said trying to find words, a look of aggrieved commiseration twisting her features.


All of a sudden Kenzie was back to reality. The whole reason she had agreed to this was for Daphne and Darren. She wasn’t going to disappoint them. She should be used to her mother’s carelessness by now. She forced a watery smile onto her face and looked to all three of them. Their worried compassionate expressions almost caused her to break down right there. She just managed to hold the emotions back. “Shall we get going then?” She asked them, her voice only cracking slightly as she headed out the door, desperate to escape their sympathy and the hurt she was experiencing.


They all shared a look but followed her.  

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