Expect the Unexpected (Part 3)
Location: Lake Michigan
Timeline: Friday, August 20, 2010/Evening
“I want nothing from you. I need you to provide nothing for me. You know that, right?” Talia asked, her own breaths heaving with the intensity of what she felt when she was in his arms. Feelings that had become so much more than base lust. The young woman had become somewhat cold over the years, truly feeling nothing for the men that she spent time with, forming no bonds with the women around her, out of necessity. But she had fallen hard for the carefree young noble and it had taken her completely by surprise. “I just want you, Xander.”
Xander shook his head. “Hey, wot do I even have, luv?” he told her. “A meaningless title? There’s nothing I could even give you.” He held her tightly, burying his face in her red hair. “Guess I’m the gold digger here,” he said with a wry chuckle.
“I don’t really mind, so much,” Talia teased softly, tightening her own embrace, her fingers still tracing gently through his dark hair. After a moment, trying to gather her nerve, she took a deep breath and said quietly, shakily, “I need to talk to you about something...” That was all that she got out before a familiar text tone interrupted her.
“Hold on,” Xander said. “Cece always has the worst timing,” he chuckled, giving Talia a quick kiss and stepping back, pulling out his phone. He moved a way, reading it, typing back, the moment gone.
“Damn it,” Talia muttered, then cleared her throat, shaking her head as she went back to the table and sat down as Xander talked with his sister. Sipping at her water as she started looking over the paperwork again, she had a hard time controlling the shakes that had suddenly hit her as she realized what she had been about to do. The less he knew, the better...right? She believed that, but couldn’t shake the feeling that he had the right to know some things.
“Sorry about that,” Xander said. “I missed check in,” he laughed, turning back to Talia. He paused, seeing her shaking a bit. “Hey, you okay?” he asked, coming over to her. He pressed a hand to her forehead as the other massaged her shoulder.
Talia looked up at the handsome noble and gave him a weak smile, nodding slightly. “Don’t worry, I’m not sick. Well, I feel sick, but I’m not,” the normally self assured young woman nearly stammered as she took his hands in hers. She squeezed her eyes shut briefly and took a deep, steadying breath, letting it out slowly before looking to her lover once again. There was a pause, then tears welled up in her worried eyes, her voice just shy of a whisper, as she told him, “I... I’m pregnant, Xander.”
Xander froze in shock. “You’re...how?” he asked with surprise, looking down at her, his dark eyes wide.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Talia answered, her gaze faltering and dropping to their hands. “I don’t really know, but apparently the shots failed me for the first time ever. I really debated on even telling you. I don’t want you thinking that I did this on purpose somehow; I promised you no strings and this was not supposed to happen. But I believed you have the right to know. When daddy finds out, he’s going to be furious.” There was real fear in her voice over that prospect.
Xander frowned. “You’re old enough he has no say,” he said. Or guessed, since he didn’t know Talia’s age and had never asked. “I...thank you for telling me,” he said. “Wot...Wot do you want to do?” he asked. His mind was whirling, trying to take everything in.
“I’m twenty-one, lover. So yes, I’m an adult. But I have far fewer choices in life than you might imagine,” Talia said sadly, then stood and paced a bit, biting back on the tears that wanted to fall. “I’ll be forced to return to Europe and I told you, I don’t expect anything from you, or of you. I’m keeping the baby, though. At least I’ll have a part of you with me when...” She choked up suddenly and fell silent, leaning on the counter, her head down as she struggled to regain that solid control that she normally exuded.
Xander came up behind her, sliding his arms around her and hugging her. “I’m glad,” he said. “Glad you’re keeping it.” He kissed the back of her neck, caressing her stomach. “I wish I was in a position to help you,” he told her sadly.
“I have plans. I swear to you, Xander, I have no intention of allowing our child to be born into the life that I was,” Talia answered quietly, her hands moving to her stomach as well, her long, delicate fingers intertwining with his and she sighed shakily, those tears finally falling. “Bloody hell, I don’t want to lose you. I know that life isn’t fair, but this... this is almost too cruel.”
Xander squeezed her hands. “If I could get you out, I would, luv, I promise,” Xander said. “But you know I’m dependent on you.” He sighed in frustration. Never had he so missed the fortune left to him by his parents. He used to view it as a way to fund his self-indulgent pleasures. Now he wished he could keep Talia, Cecily, and this new baby safe. But he couldn’t, and he felt so helpless! Not a man at all...
“I’ll get out or die trying, lover,” Talia said, then released his hands and turned in his arms. She looked into Xander’s eyes, tears streaking her face, and there was an intensity in her gaze as she continued, “Just promise me that I can send our baby to you if things go wrong; if I can’t get out. Please tell me that you’ll take care of my baby if something happens to me. I don’t want my family to...” The worried young woman couldn’t even finish the thought and she buried her face in Xander’s chest, the normally bright, cheerful woman shaking as she continued to cry softly.
Xander held Talia tightly, stroking her fiery red hair. “It won’t come to that,” he promised. “You have a plan. Why don’t you walk me through it, luv,” he murmured, turning her face up and kissing her tears, offering her the comfort of his body. “Or, you know, we could skip it and head to the bedroom,” he teased, trying to get her mind along more positive tracks.
Talia let out a quiet laugh and shook her head. “You are absolutely incorrigible. It’s cute,” she said, a gentle hint of a smile cast at him again. The upset redhead managed to pull herself together after a few moments and she reached up to put her arms around Xander’s neck once more. “As for walking you through my plans? Trust me, lover, the less you know, the better. Besides, we have our own business to see to so that I at least know that the father of my child is taken care of while I’m gone.” She pressed her lips to his gently, holding the kiss there for a moment before continuing on with a contented sigh, “Then we can go to bed.”
Xander’s hands slid to her firm bottom again as he held the kiss. “Then let’s hurry and get through the boring stuff, luv,” he smirked, gently bumping her back toward the table.
The fiery woman sighed heavily, much preferring the idea of Xander and a comfortable bed to the idea of paperwork, but Talia nodded and moved back towards the table, her arms still around his neck. “Just so you know, you make it very difficult to want to concentrate on the boring stuff.” When they bumped the table and came to a sudden stop, she laughed a bit, then looked into his dark eyes and said softly, “Thank you for not freaking out on me. I was really worried about telling you.”
“Oh, trust me, I’m kind of freaking out inside, luv,” Xander smiled at her. But then, he’d been visited by a so-called goddess. This seemed...normal.
Xander gave her firm bottom a squeeze and then lifted her onto the table before backing away. “Hands off! Boring stuff!” he grinned.
NPC Bethany Davies