Authors: Clara Moore
Tags: #BBW, #Paranormal, #Suspense, #Romantic Suspense, #Romance, #Bear Shifter, #Soldier, #Military, #Western, #Shifter Creek, #SciFi, #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Short Story, #Bear Cubs, #Au Pair, #Human, #Woods Vacation, #Family Kidnapped, #Brother's Friend, #Fated Mate, #Protection
“Why didn’t anyone tell me this?”
“I only know because Doran told me this morning before he left. I thought your dad was a nice guy.” She took another long drink. “I thought Mario was such a nice guy with a nice daughter and a nice dead wife. And I was so wrong.”
“My mom was nice,” Isadora frowned. “I’m nice.”
Angela touched her stepdaughter’s hand and mournfully said, “Oh honey, no you’re not.”
With that, Angela finished her drink and stumbled outside to the patio. She pulled a cigarette pack from inside her favorite lawn chair. She smoked in the sun, lounging on the chair and seemingly untroubled. Isadora frowned, drinking her Bloody Mary slowly. She’d been hit with too many punches to comprehend; the wind had been knocked out of her, and she wasn’t sure she could suck it back in again.
Had her mother known the truth about her father? Was she part of it? Maybe she too was a part of some Italian mob family, and they were married off. Maybe that was why he moved on so quickly. Isadora couldn’t imagine her beautiful, hard working mother being a mob wife… of course, she hadn’t imagined Angela would be a mob wife either. Could Isadora imagine Doran being a mob member?
She felt a twinge of sadness and shame. Angela always told the truth - something Isadora liked about her. If that woman thought Isadora was mean, perhaps she was. She hadn’t even noticed a coworker she’d worked with for many years was gay, and she’d met his boyfriend multiple times. She just assumed Victor was Adam’s roommate because she wanted to be with Adam. Then, when Doran showed her kindness, she dismissed him.
And now he was gone.
She poured more vodka in her Bloody Mary and walked upstairs to her room. Tess walked with her, meowing kind, consoling words. The sorrow guided them both to Isadora’s old yearbooks to look back at those first years of she and Doran’s relationship. She found a picture of herself during her “Bohemian phase” with flowy white dress and multiple necklaces. She smiled genuinely, hearing a joke about some teacher she could no longer remember.
A few pages away showcased a picture of Doran looking clean cut and serious, with his black leather jacket, the portrait of the high school bad boy. She remembered hating him so much that she thought of tearing out that page, but she thought it would upset her father. She couldn’t remember, though, a time Doran had really been cruel to her. He could say cruel things to others, and he was a troublemaker, but he had been kind enough to her.
She kept flipping, taking in all the nostalgia. She stopped upon one of the pages with assorted posed “category” pictures. In the center, she and Doran stood together - he smiling, and she close-lipped and wide-eyed. “Favorite Siblings” spelled above their heads in a banner. She recalled taking the picture and not wanting to be in a picture with him. Beneath their picture read in swirling cursive, “Iz, I’m so happy we met and now are ‘favorite siblings.’ You’re the coolest chick I know, so I look forward to many Summers, Autumns, Winters, and Springs with you. Yours, Doran.”
She sighed, leaning against her bed and petting the cat tenderly. Her feelings exploded inside her - she wasn’t sure of where the emotions came from, but she felt horrible. She crawled into bed and began to cry.
Things weren’t going well
But, she figured, it couldn’t get much worse.
“Has Doran’s mom told you anything else about his dad?” Fiona asked a few weeks later. “I’m finding it hard to find any more on him.”
“Not really,” Isadora answered, leaning over her desk with her trash can next to her chair. “She gets more angry about Doran being gone like every week. Excuse me, I think “m going to be sick..”
Fiona turned her face away as Isadora picked up the trash can. “What is going on with you? That’s the second time you’ve puked today..”
“I don’t know. I think I might have the flu or something,” she said. “My period’s late too.”
“That’s not the flu, you idiot,” Fiona said. “It sounds more like a nine month problem.”.” When was the last time you went out on a date?”
“I had a one-night stand a few weeks ago. Forgot to wear a condom.”
“How could you be dumb enough to not wear a condom?” Fiona said, but it was lost on Izzy who was currently studying the contents of her trash can.
“I have to go out for a second. Cover me.”
“No way, I’m coming with you.”
Isadora walked swiftly, not waiting for Fiona to catch up. She nearly ran to the nearest convenience store, running down the rows until she found the pregnancy tests.
“You’re like a racehorse, Jesus,” Fiona panted, sliding in next to her.
“These are all so expensive,” Isadora frowned.
“If you can’t afford a pregnancy test, you shouldn’t be having a kid.”
“I shouldn’t be having a kid anyway. I don’t know how I’ll explain this to my dad and Angela,” she paused, thinking over the repercussions. “Or Doran. Shit.”
“Why would you have to tell Doran? He’s probably not even coming back.” Isadora didn’t answer. “Dora, why would you have to tell him?”
“Well, he’s the guy I…”
“You slept with your brother?!”
A woman in the aisle looking at feminine supplies gave them a funny look. Isadora gave an awkward smile.
“He’s not my brother,” she said plainly, then pulled Fiona in. “I was sad about Adam, and Doran was being really nice and cute and handsome and one thing led to another.
“That is some West Virginia stuff right there.”
Isadora grabbed a few tests and hurried to the register., Fiona criticizing Isadora the whole time..
“You have to get rid of it. Its dad is a murderer!”
“I might not even be pregnant, Fiona. Let’s leave it alone for now.”
They returned back to the office carefully. Georgia and Adam looked to be busy in a meeting (
), so Isadora and Fiona hurried past for the bathroom. Fiona waited outside the stall as her friend took each test. They shared a meaningful, worried look as they made their way back to their desk.
“I have to wait a little bit. I’m just going to hide them and get my work done,” Isadora said softly. “I think I’m not prepared for this today.”
“I think most people aren’t prepared for such a thing.”
They sat quietly, pretending to do their work but not getting much accomplished. Finally, after Georgia left for the day , Isadora pulled each of the tests from the bag she’d put them in and looked hard at all of them. They all read the same result.
“This is bad,” she said. “This is really bad.”
“Maybe they’re all false positives?” Fiona offered.
“What am I going to do?”
“We could go get a drink.” Isadora gave her a look. “Or a lot of ice cream?”
“Ice cream. Lots of ice cream,” Isadora said, gathering her things. .”
They left together, talking quietly about what could be done and what ice cream they’d get. Isadora felt distracted - she’d never even actually thought about having kids. She figured she’d one day move out, get a big dog for Tess to befriend, and have a nice spinster life. She never even really wanted to get married - being in a relationship put too many restrictions on her. Even when she dreamt of being with Adam, she figured one day she’d get bored of him, but the relationship would teach her much about herself.
After getting ice cream with Fiona, Isadora slumped home, feeling lower than low. In the weeks after Doran left, she had tried to keep herself together. Though she felt sad about his leaving, she also looked at her life with a more suspicious lens. Her father looked over his shoulder for some unseen assailant at all times, and Angela seemed to be falling apart.
Isadora thought of Fiona’s research. They’d both started looking into Doran – Isadora mostly to cool her guilt – and found even more inconsistencies with his record, as well as the self he presented. Angela revealed he’d wanted to stay with his father in the divorce, though his father was a “drunk, selfish criminal.” She expressed her concern that her ex-husband had manipulated Doran into wanting to stay so he could teach our him “the family business.” She did not reveal exactly what the family business was, however.
Fiona has some magical contact in high up in the government who somehow got her a peak at Doran’s SEAL record. The only thing that it showed was that though he did happen to disappear from time to time, he always got his man. He worked for a weapons smuggling taskforce, oftentimes undercover. Yet, sometimes he’d reappear in Italy (most often Sicily) with information on illegal activities. Once he took leave to visit his father in Ireland – looking into local news at the time, a number of Irish mobsters turned up dead that weekend.Sounds like great father-son activities.
She thought of the growing pea in her stomach. Would it be better to get rid of thing now or go through with it? She didn’t want her child to have similar activities with his or her father. She could put it up for adoption. Maybe she could give it to Adam and Victor, have it all do a full-circle. They’d be good, unbelievably beautiful parents.
Her mother’s face came into her mind. The hazel eyes she shared, the dark hair, the smile Gaea never lost (even in her sickness). Isadora’s mother never complained. She led her life from moment to moment, appreciating every second of it. Once, when she was young, Isadora asked what Gaea thought when she found out she was having a child.Isadora was in her baby doll phase and liked to pretend it was her baby.
“To be honest with you, my sweet, I was terrified,” Gaea answered after thinking for a long, long moment. “Your father and I were young. We kind of led this forbidden romance.”
“Like Romeo and Juliet?” Isadora asked.
“Not exactly. We were a little older than that; my parents just thought he was trouble because of his family.”
“Did you run away together?”
“No, we didn’t have to. It took me a long time to work up the courage to tell him the truth. By then, I felt you in my stomach, and I knew you were my greatest gift. But I was still scared of what he would say. What my parents would do.”
“He was scared too, but we loved each other and stuck through it.”
“What about your parents?”
She shrugged, “Sometimes your parents don’t make the right choices. I think one day they’ll let it go.”
“Are you sad?”
She shook her head, “I have you, Izzy. I could never be sad.”
Isadora took a deep breath, wishing she had her mother to talk to. Even then, she wished Doran were there. He had a calming presence about him. He made her feel safe when she was with him. She walked slowly to her room and reclined on her bed. She wanted to close her eyes and forget about everything. She wouldn’t remember her mother or Doran or the baby – everything would just be fixed and fine.
She wondered why life never went the way she wanted it to. She rethought the decisions she’d made – had she brought it all upon herself? She never really wanted to connect with anyone (besides Adam) after her mother died. She couldn’t forgive her father for climbing out of the hole of misery and still resented him.
What would he say? Would he want her to get rid of the child?
she get rid of it? The more she thought about it, the more she didn’t want to. But then again, she also wanted Doran there with her. Though he hadn’t been the most upstanding teenager, he seemed to love his family. He always talked fondly of his father and took good care of his mother.
She didn’t know what to do. She felt stunned, unable to make a good decision. And her heart longed for the man she’d single-handedly sent away with her own stoic disregard. What could she do?
In the next few days, Fiona and Isadora stuck close to each other. Isadora missed Doran, thinking and talking of him often. Fiona tried to convince her that he wasn’t a great man, and she shouldn’t miss him, but Isadora couldn’t stop. “I’ve been looking into the Roselli incident,” Fiona said. They were finishing up the long morning sickness filled week. “I’m wondering if Doran had anything to do with it after all.”
“Remember he had that blood stain on his shirt?” Isadora said. “He must’ve been involved.”
“That might have really just been sauce. Some people I interviewed said they liked to do that. And you said there were two guys there with you, right?”
“They were at the bar.”
She showed her a picture of the two middle-aged men who’d been at the restaurant that day. “Is this them?”
“Yeah, that’s them. Why?”
“They’re hitmen. They get orders straight from Sicily.”
“Who told you that?”
“I can’t reveal my sources,” said Fiona, tucking the photo away.
Isadora’s phone started ringing in her pocket. It startled them both, but they played it off. She pulled it out, expecting Georgia, but a different name blazed across the screen. “Oh no.”
“What? Is it Georgia?”
“No. It’s Doran.”
Fiona swatted the phone to the ground. “Don’t answer it!”
They just stood there, staring at the phone as it rang on the floor.“I’ll call him later,” Isadora said.