Chapter 32: Edge of the Ocean
Rick sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and at his side was Sarah, eating her breakfast and reading a magazine. They both were quiet, until the peace of that early morning hour was broken by the loud shout of a woman. Knowing that hell was going to burst, like it had been doing for almost a week, both father and daughter looked at each other and tried to hide behind their respective reading materials.
“HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN!!” said the voice of an angry Lisa Hayes from the bathroom. Sarah grinned from ear to ear and looked at her father.
“Your turn,” she said feeling relieved that she was off the hook this time. Rick made a face at her and sighed.
“Sorry honey!” he said with a tremble in his voice, but he tried to control it. He didn’t want Sarah to notice the obvious, that an angry Lisa Hayes was a scary…very scary…woman.
“Sorry? SORRY?! I AM TIRED OF YOUR SORRIES!” she said storming inside the kitchen without looking at them. She walked over to the sink and got a clean glass, then went to the refrigerator and opened it.
“Where is the juice? I bought a bottle yesterday!” asked Lisa visibly irritable, tapping her foot on the floor. This time Sarah gulped and looked at the table. There it was, the last of the orange juice. She bit her lower lip and Rick smirked as he hid himself behind the newspaper.
“Er… I’m sorry mom… I didn’t know…” said the girl, but stopped when Lisa closed the door of the refrigerator hard and stormed outside.
“Of course you didn’t know! Nobody has any consideration for me in this house! Like father, like daughter!” she shouted and then slammed the door of her bedroom hard.
“What it is wrong with her?” asked Sarah raising an eyebrow at Rick.
“I don’t know, I guess it is “that time of the month”… again,” said Rick drinking the last of his coffee wondering why this time Lisa’s PMS was stronger than usual.
“I really don’t want to get like THAT when I’m older,” commented Sarah as she drank the last of the orange juice.
A door opened and closed in the distance, some angry murmuring was heard, and then another door closed hard.
“Trust me, I hope you don’t get like that either…” said Rick imagining for a second how he was going to survive having both, mother and daughter, with similarly bad humor and all their killer instincts focusing on him. He shivered.
Suddenly a splash sound was heard and the angry scream of Lisa again. Rick and Sarah looked at each other with big scared eyes.
“Want a ride to school?” Rick said quickly, standing up and grabbing his jacket behind the chair, already walking outside the kitchen before hurricane Hayes hit the ground.
“YES PLEASE!” said Sarah jumping from the chair, taking her bag and running outside. The front door closed softly just when Lisa walked outside the bathroom shouting loudly about who left the water in the bathtub running.
“SARAH!!” shouted Dana happily when she saw the girl exiting Rick’s car. Sarah smiled widely when she saw the older girl coming.
“Hey Dana, what’s up?” she said and the girl walked next to her.
“Not much. The Trio invited us to go on a “shopping trip” in the afternoon,” said Dana enthusiastically. Sarah raised an eyebrow.
“I already have enough clothes Dana, no thanks,” she said picturing how the “Trip” was going to end… like it always did, with Sammy and Kim trying to transform her into a bio-doll, as Sarah called it. They found her so cute that they couldn’t stop themselves from playing doll with her, while Dana and Vanessa laughed their lungs out every time Sarah came out of the dressing room wearing some girly-girl outfit.
“C’mon… let them have their fun with you. It is harmless. Plus, we can go to that veritech model store you like so much,” said the older girl looking at Sarah out of the corner of the eye. The smaller girl was so easy to read, she immediately smiled at the idea.
“Mmmm… well, it won't kill me… yet,” answered Sarah grinning. Both girls walked into the school in silence. Sarah looked around her surroundings at all the people that she now knew, and places she could relate with.
In the months since Sarah settled down in Macross City things had been more than all right. Her relationship with her father was blooming beautifully. She found in him something she never wanted to admit she missed, in part because she didn’t want to upset her mother, and partly because she didn’t want to feel sorry for herself. But now that she had him in her life, everything somehow made sense. First, she found recognition in him. Finally all those details in herself had an origin. The way she smiled, the color of her eyes, but mostly, her love for flying, and her own free spirit had a root in Rick. When she admitted him into her life, all those missing puzzles parts clicked perfectly in place in her own self. Somehow she felt complete. In other aspects, she had some, just some, reconciliation with the male gender. Sure she still didn’t get boys, and she had the feeling that she wouldn’t understand them ever, but with her father around she realized than men weren’t such an alien gender. With the passing months, and watching the interaction between Lisa and Rick, Sarah discovered that a relationship was indeed possible. Difficult, but not impossible. She was glad to see that her mother never changed her ways around him and that Rick was always… well, Rick. She laughed with them and learned that their fights were an odd type of affection. In the beginning she felt uncomfortable when they fought, but after catching them in “reconciliation” a couple of times, kissing and hugging like they were glued to each other, she realized they were crazy… for each other. Since then, she even enjoyed their discussions because, in her own way of thinking, they were just being silly.
Sarah looked at Dana and the two shared one of the strangest moments when they read each other's minds and Dana knew Sarah was simply happy. She was happy her friend was feeling more comfortable and less an outsider. Dana had a special ability that she didn’t exactly know how to define, a better developed sixth sense or something like that, but she knew since they found Sarah that she was going to be a special part of her life and that she, Dana, had a lot to do with this girl. She felt affection almost immediately for the younger girl and found in her a sister and a friend. She didn’t care that she was younger; she simply knew she had to protect her and that brought some worries to Dana Sterling.
For a couple of weeks, she felt something different in the air. She knew something was going to happen, but couldn’t put her finger on it. Dana felt protective around Sarah and tried her best not to leave her alone, but she couldn’t be there all the time. She told Sean her fears, and even when the sarcastic boy laughed at her non scientific feelings, he promised to keep an eye on the stick.
“Well, see you at lunch then,” said Sarah at Dana and she came back from her thoughts. They were in front of Sarah’s classroom.
“Sure! We are going to plan the shopping trip for later,” she said and winked at Sarah who rolled her eyes, but before the girl stepped into her classroom, Dana asked her suddenly.
“What classes do you have today?”
“Math, Spanish, Biomechanics and Protoculture I, and Gym,” answered Sarah. Dana frowned.
“Just do me a favor and be careful…’k?" said the blond girl and then turned around and waved goodbye, trying to look casual and carefree.
Sarah smiled and replied a “Yes Mom” and entered her classroom, not sure why Dana was so acting so oddly. “Maybe she will get her own PMS soon,” wondered the little girl, hoping she wouldn’t have to go through that thing herself anytime soon.
Lisa couldn’t stand herself anymore. She felt angry with the world. She had a bad time controlling herself, but she was one of those people whose face showed her mood. And she looked scary. Sure she was just a Lieutenant, but her attitude was that of a General. And a pissed off one at that. She walked around the halls of Macross Base stepping hard. She could use a punching bag right now, she thought.
The problem was, for her and everybody, that she didn’t have a reason to be so angry and she knew Rick was just on the edge to losing patience with her. She sighed at the thought. She was losing patience with herself, too.
“Good morning Lisa,” a deep male voice said from nowhere and Lisa jumped out of her skin.
“Jesus Christ you scared me to death Rob!” she said angrily and then regretted her tone of voice. “I’m sorry… I didn’t see you,” she apologized.
Rob smiled and nodded understanding. “It’s ok… Vanessa complains all the time about it, that I scare her because she don’t know I am around. She says I sneak around like a cat,” he explained and scratched his blond head feeling like a little boy. Lisa couldn’t stop smiling at him.
She looked at him for a moment, wondering where that old arrogant attitude of his that made Rick crazy with jealousy went. Robert indeed changed with the years, even his face relaxed in a way that made him more welcoming. Lisa was sure that had to be the presence of Vanessa, who was so sweet and such a calming person. Vanessa was humble, and that was a lesson that Robert needed to learn. He talked to Lisa and she answered back but, in the back of her mind, she wondered about this man. She observed the relationship he had with everyone else. The trio surely welcomed him into their lives, probably because Rob was as good as them with gossip; Roy, Rick and Max welcomed him warmly and they had a great time when they hung around together. The kids loved him, because he was funny with them. The only one who was not as warm around him was Miriya. The Zentraedi woman was reserved around Rob. She never said or showed any bad feelings to him, but she was careful, and Lisa noticed it. She wondered why.
“… so have you considered it?” said Robert and Lisa realized she wasn’t listening to him.
“Mmm…What? Sorry…” she apologized and turned red with embarrassment.
“I said, have you considered going to the see a doctor? I don’t want to be disrespectful but…” he said and stepped back, fearing the temper of Lisa Hayes for what he was going to say, but he promised Vanessa to tell her, “… me… and Roy… and Max too… we realized you look a little…different."
“What?!” she said, not understanding but feeling a rush of anger inside her.
“I mean it in a good way… you look… well… curvy,” he said and stepped back, certain she was going to hit him.
“Are you saying I am fat?!” said Lisa indignantly.
“NO! No, I mean… curvy, you know… like a guitar… more…curves,” he said and turned red. Lisa put her hands into fists.
“Look, maybe I am a little fat but that’s nobody's business, especially not yours and the rest of the “boys” and by the way, why are you even looking at me, anyway?!”
“No, actually we commented on it the other day, and the girls were around! And they agreed! I told Vanessa to tell you but she said no way and made me promise to tell you…”
“So, now my “friends” are afraid to tell me they find me fat and sent you?!”
“Damn it! You are not fat Lisa! You have more breasts, that’s all!” said Robert losing patience and regretting his comment. “Ok…I’m doomed! I fulfilled my promise, so see you in the next life!” he said and ran away before Lisa could chew his head off.
“Who the hell does he think he is!” she said aloud and a felt a hand on her shoulder. She jumped scared again.
“WHY THE HELL IS EVERYBODY SCARING ME TODAY!!” she said and turned around to face a smirking Roy Fokker.
“Who knows, maybe it's because it is a nice change,” commented the blond.
“Smartass,” she murmured and walked again, and he followed her.
“Don’t be like that, he was just doing what he promised V to do. They are worried about you… I am worried about you!”
“Look… maybe I am a little fat, but that’s all,” she said facing him.
“That’s not it… you have almost been hitting people, Lisa, and that’s not right. Maybe you have something wrong, why don’t you go to the doctor?”
“BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO! Leave me alone,” she said and walked away again, but Roy turned her around hard.
“Don’t give me that look Hayes. You can scared everyone else but not me. You are going to see the doctor and that’s final,” he commanded, holding her wrists.
“I am NOT going to do ANYTHING I don’t want. I AM FINE!” she said and freed herself from his hands and walked away. This was just freaking PMS, that’s all, she thought to herself.
“Or maybe you are pregnant,” said Roy aloud, reading her thoughts. Lisa stopped in her tracks.
The blond man looked at her with a smile, walked up and put himself in front of her. He didn’t expect to see what he saw.
Lisa’s face was unreadable. She trembled like a leaf in the wind and she lost all the color in her face.
“Hey, hey, don’t faint on me!” said Roy worriedly as he held her.
“I thought about it…” she murmured suddenly. “But I don’t… I can’t…”
“Easy… easy. It could be a possibility,” said Roy holding her closely and protectively. Lisa put her head on his chest and tried to breathe.
“No… I can’t… it would be absolutely irresponsible for me… not again,” she said feeling tired all of the sudden.
“Why? It's not like you are so young Lisa,” Roy tried to joke but she didn’t laugh or hit him.
“Why? Because of Jake… it is already too painful to be afraid not just for me and Rick and everybody else, and also for Sarah. I can’t give him another reason to hurt us, I can’t face that pain again… not again."
“C’mon… let's walk, I think you need it,” he said and looked at her wondering if she actually could walk. He guided her outside to the gardens around the base. They were on their way outside when Max saw them. He wondered why Roy was holding Lisa and he rushed over to them.
“Is everything all right?” he asked worriedly when he saw Lisa’s pale face.
“Yeah, I think so, she is… I don’t know… I think we need a woman here,” said Roy feeling a little out of place.
“No, it’s ok,” said Lisa calming them both. “I am fine.”
“That’s been your favorite line since I've known you,” said Max sweetly and Lisa smiled softly. Roy felt a little better.
Max got on her other side and held her left arm, while Roy held her right. Lisa grinned a little, feeling dumb.
“I can walk, you know?” she said with a little more color in her cheeks.
“Nah, it’s ok. It's nice to have you like this,” said Roy.
“Why are you so pale?” asked Max with concern and Roy made a gesture so he shut up, but Lisa intervened.
“It’s ok… I bet everybody is thinking the same thing… everybody except Rick of course,” she said raising an eyebrow.
“Ohhh… that you are pregnant?” asked Max innocently and Roy rolled his eyes. Lisa sighed.
“It is that obvious, eh?”
“Well, at least for those of us who have seen morning sickness and hormonal unbalance, yes,” answered Max smiling.
“I’m scared,” said Lisa truthfully, her eyes filled with tears. Both men helped her to sit down and they sat at her side.
“I bet you are, but I guess it is normal,” answered Max.
“No, you don’t get it! It is dangerous. What if Jake…”
“You can’t know that,” Max stopped her seriously, but as always, sympathetically. “You can’t know what is going to happen in the future. You can’t stop enjoying your life because of his threat, because every time you do that, he wins a battle."
“But…” said Lisa worriedly.
“Max is right Lisa. You didn’t enjoy your previous pregnancy, you were on the run…alone… you gave birth to Sarah alone and thank God nothing happened to the two of you in that situation. I understand you are scared IF you are pregnant again, but this time will be different, you have us,” said Roy sweetly and Lisa bit her lower lip.
“But what about Rick? He is just getting to know Sarah, he is just getting used to the idea of being a father. What if he is not ready to have a baby?” she asked feeling the worry that was always there, the worry she just didn’t give herself the chance to say aloud.
“I think no man is ready to become a father until you see your child in your arms,” said Max wisely. “When Dana was born I was thrilled and scared to death at the same time. Imagine her, so little and vulnerable, half human and half alien… we didn’t know if she was going to survive. And half of the planet hated her for what she was. Do you think we weren’t scared when Miriya got pregnant? We were almost teenagers back then, playing house. It was scary,” explained Max holding her hand. Lisa listened to him, feeling that he understood her.
“But look at her now. Fear is a natural response. I wouldn’t change a thing in my life as a parent, not even the fact that I was very young when she came into our lives. And I know it will be the same way for Rick, too."
“Are you sure he don’t have any idea?” asked Roy, and both Max and Lisa looked at him with the same expression in their faces. Roy sighed and rolled his eyes. “Sorry, stupid question."
“Do you want the baby? Forget about the problems and dangers for a minute and just think about what you want. Do you want the baby?” asked Max suddenly.
Lisa was taken aback by the question. She didn’t think about it like that before. She was just scared about the consequences. Lisa looked the grass in front of her and repeated the question over and over again. The wind blew and brought the sweet smell of the first blooms of the flowers, a sure sign that spring was coming. She closed her eyes and let the smells fill her senses, calming her.
Do you want the baby?
“Yes,” she answered with her eyes closed. Feeling suddenly calmer, she felt something inside her, a force she didn’t let herself feel before. It was strange, it wasn’t coming from her. The energy she was suddenly aware of was different, calming, warming and gentle. Lisa realized she considered the possibility of being pregnant, but now she felt safe and secure, she really felt this new energy around her. She remembered when she was pregnant with Sarah, how she couldn’t feel her until the girl kicked her in the guts. She smiled, so like Sarah. Lisa was so stressed back then that she wasn’t aware of the energy of her daughter until she made herself notice. Then she realized Sarah was a strong being from the beginning, a fighting force, full of energy, demanding of attention. But this one was different, this new energy was soothing. If Sarah felt like a savage fire out of control, this one was like the calm fire in a fireplace in winter. Lisa concentrated on this little presence and she knew. Sitting there outside the base, with her two surrogate brothers guarding her, she knew she was pregnant. And she knew it was a boy.
Lisa smiled widely.
“Yes… I want him,” she said strongly, opening her eyes. Max saw her first and noticed the new shade of green in there. He smiled happily and hugged her.
“Him?? Isn’t a little soon for that?! You haven’t gone to the doctor yet! Don’t get all mushy, you never know, maybe it is not…” said Roy but Lisa put a finger over his mouth and shut him up.
“I am,” she said with a smile, simply knowing the truth she was so scared to accept before.
“C’mon Stick! One more goal and we win the match!!” shouted Sean, running close to Sarah who was quickly evading the members of the other soccer team. Sarah looked like she was going to break any second, because she was so thin, but her movements were fluid and none of the other team players could catch her. Then a redhead boy stood in front of her and blocked her way. Without thinking Sarah took a step forward but let the ball slip between her feet. She hit the other player hard, and they fell to the ground, but the ball had already reached Sean, who smartly took it and kicked it into the left corner of the goal. The goal keeper couldn’t do a thing. Sean celebrated it by screaming, and the girls who weren’t playing cheered for him from the bench.
“Are you ok Sarah?” asked the redhead boy a little worriedly. She fell over him and felt a little dizzy.
“Yes Ray… I am so sorry,” she said as she tried to stand up but fell over him again. Ray helped her sit on the ground and looked over her.
“I think you need to go and sit down,” said the redhead.
“I guess…” said Sarah focusing her eyes. All she saw was 3 Seans running around celebrating his goal, like a kaleidoscope.
“He's never been much of a team player, you know?” commented Ray as he watched Sean.
“Who? Sean? Nah, how can you think that!” she joked sarcastically and the boy laughed hard. The sound brought Sean's attention to them and as soon as he saw them sitting on the grass, laughing, he raised an eyebrow, feeling strangely annoyed.
“You all right Stick?” he asked as he walked towards them with his arrogant aura. The children went quiet.
“Stop calling me Stick!” she said as she stood up, barely.
“But you are! Look at you, you are like a marionette, all skinny and bony… you hit one person and almost died! You are way too weak,” smirked the blond boy, obviously picking a fight with her. Ray smartly stood up and went away. The class was now used to the ways of the Hunter/Fokker dynamics and learned that it was better to stay out of the war zone for their own good.
“I am not weak! To be thin doesn’t mean I can't kick your ass… and I think you KNOW that, or do you want a reminder, Fokker?” said Sarah stepping closer to him, her hand in a fist.
“What-ever,” said the boy rolling his blue eyes and turning around. “Go and pick up the ball, Stick. It’s your turn, plus the game is over,” he commanded, knowing that she was going to hate it.
Sarah become livid and turned around angrily. She walked around looking for the ball. After Sean’s goal, the goalkeeper of the other team threw the ball angrily into the bushes and went to the showers, so now Sarah had to go around and look for it.
“First, I am going to kill Sean,” she said aloud to herself while she walked inside the bushes, trying not to let them scratch her. “And then I am going to kill Tommy for throwing the ball this way… OUCH!!” she complained when she got a nasty scratch on her upper arm.
“Damn it! Where is the stupid ball!” she said looking around, hands on her hips, kicking the ground.
“Hurry up Stick!” shouted Sean, still waiting for her on the field.
“STOP CALLING ME STICK AND GO AWAY!! I DON’T NEED YOU HERE… YOU… ASSFACE!” she shouted back, still angry with him.
Offended, Sean looked in her direction and replied with a harsh “FINE!!” and walked away in the direction of the gym building. Sarah looked at him while he went away and felt something inside her, like pain mixed up with a lot of anger, but denied the feelings and just chalked it up to being bothered by Sean".
“Stupid boy,” she murmured and again went looking for the soccer ball. She walked on and passed the trees around and ended up on the street outside the school area. There was nobody around, except for a person a few feet away from her.
“Excuse me sir, have you seen a soccer ball?” she said approaching the man.
“Yes, it hit me in the head,” said the man showing her the ball in his hands. Sarah gulped.
“I am so sorry, we were practicing and… it slipped away,” she lied, not wanting to create more trouble for her classmates.
“All right,” said the man looking at her. “Here it is,” he said and gave the ball to her. Sarah extended her hands and took the ball, giving the man a smile.
“Thank you sir, and again I'm sorry,” she said kindly.
The man observed her carefully. “What happened to your arm?” he asked.
“Oh… nothing much, a scratch from the bushes back there,” she said pointing from where she came out.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said and grabbed her arm softly, looking at it. Sarah felt a sudden chill all over her body “Maybe you should get it checked out,” he said and looked at her in the eyes.
Sarah felt glued to the man’s eyes the second their eyes met. Dark green met baby blue. Sarah couldn’t breathe properly and felt an oppression in her chest, like something was wrong… like her body was screaming danger at the same time.
The man, still grabbing her arm strongly with his thumb touching the skin around the scratch on her arm, felt the shiver of the little girl. He smirked in a menacing way.
“You know you look just like your mother,” he murmured and Sarah felt like she lost her own voice. The man gave her a nasty smile and his blond hair fell over his shoulder, moved by the wind, giving him the look of a dark sinister figure, considering his pale face. “But you have so much of your father in you I can smell it… and I don’t like that,” he said now grabbing her arm strongly and pressing his thumb inside the scratch, making it bleed. Sarah felt a strong pain in her arm, but the terror she felt was overwhelming and she couldn’t react.
Jake had her. After years pursuing Lisa, her own daughter came freely straight into his hands. He never expected Lisa to have a child and when he found out, he lost any piece of sanity he had. He felt betrayed. She hurt his pride, as the hunter, when she kept living and not just surviving. It was killing him slowly that Lisa was back with Rick. He couldn’t stand it, but the fact that they had a child together was a living nightmare. That kid, that girl in front of him now scared to death, was a bond between them nobody could break. Not even him. Jake hated not being in control anymore and that girl, that little clone of Lisa, was something he could not manipulate. She wasn’t in his plans. He looked at the soft skin of her neck… just one hand over it and he could twisted it like a stick… he could feel the blood of that small creature and her heart pumping with adrenaline. She was useless, a memory he wanted to erase with blood, her own blood, he thought.
“DON’T TOUCH HER!!” said the voice of a boy who tried desperately to come out from the bushes. At his distance, Sean couldn’t see the man clearly, but he saw him kneeling in front of Sarah, grabbing her arm.
Jake looked in the direction of the bushes and saw the movement of someone coming. He looked at Sarah again, who had tears in her eyes. He came closer to her face, making the girl become chilled, and murmured into her ear with a deep angry voice, “I will see you again… soon."
“SARAH! SARAH!!!” shouted Sean at the top of his lungs, finally coming out from the bushes with scratches all over his face, legs and arms. He was breathing hard from the effort of fighting with the tress and bushes. He ran until he reached Sarah who was shaking uncontrollably. The man was already gone, and the ball was next to her as a reminder of who she was with.
“Are you all right? Sarah?! Sarah?? Talk to me!!” he said and shook her hard, but Sarah screamed in pain. Sean then looked at her arm where he was pressing and saw the blood on it.
“Fuck,” he said aloud and let her go quickly. He didn’t know what to do. He never saw Sarah like that. She was visibly shaking with tears coming out of her eyes. She looked scared to death, and somehow smaller. Sean wanted to know what happened, but she was very affected by it. He took a breath…he was scared too.
“Sarah…” he said softly, putting his hands softly on her shoulder, careful not to touch her wound. Sarah looked at him, aware that he was using her name, her lip trembling “… I need you to tell me if that man did something to you."
Sarah looked at him and suddenly she came out of the trance she was in. She nodded a no with her head and began crying aloud. Her crying become stronger, louder and she shook in terror and the only thing Sean could do was hold her in his arms.
“What happened?” he said, holding her safe.
“He was so scary. He looked at me like wanted to… hurt me. He said I look like my mom and then he mentioned my dad and got angry. I think he wanted to kill me… I think he is the man everybody is so afraid of,” she said sobbing, holding Sean. Sean swallowed hard and held her even stronger.
“We need to tell your parents,” he said once she stopped shaking so much. Sarah looked at him thinking.
“No. I don’t want to scare them," she said cleaning her tears away with the back of her hand. The other arm hurt like hell.
“WHAT?! You have to tell them! This man has been around your family for more years than we have been alive!!” said Sean.
“That’s why!” answered Sarah trying to calm herself. Suddenly she realized they were hugging each other. She looked at him in the eyes and Sean became aware of their closeness. They let go of each other quickly and felt the loss of the warmth of each other, but they were so ashamed and confused that the only thing they could do was look at the ground.
“Mmm… what was I saying… if this is the man, now I know how what he looks like and I can be aware of him. Remember what I told you, if this is the same man, he was the cause of my mom running away from everybody last time… even Rick. What if she wants to run away again?”
“That’s idiotic Sarah!” said Sean. “Your mom is not going to run away with you again!”
“But she will get all scared! I don’t want her to be worried for me! She already had enough troubles, I don’t want to give her more problems,” she said looking at the ground again.
Sean sighed in frustration, understanding her point, but still thinking it was better for them to tell the adults what happened.
“Look, Sean, I saw him, he can’t hurt me now because I saw his face. Please help me in this… I don’t want to risk what I have! I don’t want to lose my family again. I don’t want my mom to go day by day feeling scared, she is just coming back to her old self. Please Sean, help me… I need you to help me,” she begged him.
Sean looked at her and lost himself in her baby blue eyes. He knew she was being serious and somehow, he understood her. He sighed, hoping his decision wouldn’t make things even worse.
“All right, I will not say what happened. But you have to do exactly what I say,” he commented and Sarah raised an eyebrow.
“It's not what you think! What I mean is you are NEVER, ever going to be alone again. I am going to go with you wherever you go, and if it's not me, then Dana… we are going to tell Dana. I understand your reasons, but now there is nobody except me, us, to help you,” he corrected himself, feeling a little ashamed. Sarah looked at him and realized how serious he was. She knew he was as scared as she was. She nodded, accepting his conditions.
“Let’s go now, or we are going to get into trouble,” said Sean walking back and getting into the bushes. Sarah followed him silently.
“What about the bruise on my arm? How I am going to explain it to my parents?” she asked trying not to hurt her arm to much. Sean stayed quiet until they reached the soccer field again.
“Here… hit me,” he said standing in front of her. Sarah looked at him like he had lost his mind. He frowned.
“We are going to say we had a fight and we got carried away with it. That way, they will think I hurt your arm and you punched me because of that. Everybody here noticed our previous fight. It would not be odd that we kept fighting and we ended up hitting each other in the bushes,” he explained.
“But you will get grounded,” she said.
“And so will you. Now… hit me,” he said preparing himself. Sarah looked at him oddly.
“C’mon Stick! This a free hit, you are not going to get this chance again, so take it!”
“But Sean… I can’t…”
“Of course you can you… you flat-chested tomboy, bird brains! Or are you sooo scared that you can’t react you little ugly, stinky piece of…” said Sean in a rush, but before he could finish Sarah’s fist met his face, hard.
“DAMN IT!!! Why the nose! Why is it always the nose with you!!” said Sean feeling all sore in the face and his nose bleeding. Sarah gasped, not exactly sure when she hit him.
“I am sorry…” she said and tried to look at him but he pushed her away.
“Nah, it’s ok... this will work,” he said touching his bleeding nose. “Now, let’s go and get detention… again."
“I really can't deal with this right now, Mir,” said Rick holding a bunch of papers, exhausted with so much in his mind. Miriya sighed.
“I am just saying what Dana told me over the phone. Sean and Sarah had another fight and they ended up with the school nurse. They have detention, Dana will stay with them and the girls will pick them up after school."
“God! When are those two going to stop?!” he said losing his patience. Miriya observed him closely.
“I know it's none of my business but… are you all right?”
“No, I am not!” said Rick holding his head. “Lisa is a living nightmare. I don’t know why she is so… so… bitchy!” he tried to explain. Miriya nodded.
“Yeah, I noticed,” said the Zentraedi woman sitting in the chair next to him.
“I don’t know what to do! Because I am sure I did something wrong,” he said matter of factly. Miriya laughed softly.
“I am sure you haven’t done anything wrong Rick… maybe she is just preg… preparing for something… on the bridge… more… work… to… do,” said Miriya feeling stupid, trying to cover almost saying “pregnant”. Max warned her that Rick should not know that until Lisa told him herself. Gladly, Rick was so self-absorbed with his issues that he didn’t realize Miriya's near mistake.
“Why… why don’t you do something nice for her? Aren’t you close to your anniversary anyway?” asked Miriya changing the subject. Rick stayed there thinking.
“Well… it is like two months away, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do something nice for a change.”
“If I remember correctly, didn’t you stand her up once?”
“And how is THAT going to help me, Mir?” asked Rick raising an eyebrow.
“You stood her up!! Yes, I remember it. It was around this time… and I remember because it was the first time Max referred to you with a bad word in front of me,” she said aloud and Rick felt embarrassed. With more than a decade on Earth, Miriya Parino still didn’t understand how and when she should stay quiet.
“Again Mir… thanks for the reminder, but how is this going to help me?”
“Easy… take her out on that date. Tell her you are… err… making up for past mistakes,” she said smiling. Rick looked at her oddly, but slowly the words hit him and he found some sense in them.
“But how can I take her out? She is all angry and scary… I really don’t even want to be around her much lately. She doesn't listen to reason,” he explained a little sadly.
“Then don’t give her a chance to argue. Just take her and go to the place of the date. Surprise her, in a good way,” commented the woman.
Rick looked at her and wondered for a minute. His mind went back in time, when he left Lisa waiting for hours while he was having a drink with Minmei. And he remembered when he realized his mistake, she was still there waiting in a coffee shop, holding what was their food for a picnic.
“I really was a moron, eh?” he said aloud and Miriya nodded strongly.
“Yes, I think you are still a little stupid sometimes,” she added and Rick felt a cold shower over his head.
“Mir… remind me to explain to you what a white lie means,” said Rick smiling and closing his eyes. Miriya looked at him not understanding.
He stayed there, holding his head in his hand and thinking, when his eyes went down and saw Miriya taking a pen and starting to fill out the reports of their morning patrol.
Then it hit him.
“OF COURSE!! THAT’S IT!” he said standing up happily. Miriya looked at him like he was crazy and then Rick grabbed his things and kissed her soundly on the cheek.
“You are a genius!” he said and winked at her.
Miriya saw him storming off, and smiling took her pen again and kept writing.
“This is kidnapping!” protested a frowning Lisa while she sat in the back of Rick’s personal plane. He counted to 10, then to 20 and finally reached a hundred, trying not to get into a fight with her. From the moment he tried nicely to get her to go to the hangar, it was a nightmare. First he couldn’t find her for a couple of hours and got worried, until Roy told him she was in a meeting. Then he had to wait for her to come to the bridge. He told Claudia, Lisa’s superior officer, about his plan and she gladly got permission so they both could skip the afternoon, but then he had to convince Lisa to leave her job behind, which was not as easy as everyone thought it would be. Practically with a lie, he took her into the hangar and once there, he tried romantically to put her into his arms and place her into the plane, but it ended up more like grabbing her and pushing her inside the damn thing.
“You are getting me in serious trouble!” she complained looking around. “And where the hell are we going! I have a lot of work to do… but of course, who is going to understand me? It's not like you care much about all the paperwork I have to deal with every…”
“Would you shut up?!” said Rick from the pilot seat, finally losing his patience. Lisa looked at him, or more to the point looked at his back, because that was all she could do, and stayed quiet.
They stayed there in tense silence until Rick began making preparations to land. Lisa looked outside the window and saw green ground with a lot of small rivers around them. She frowned, feeling something familiar about that place.
Rick finally landed the plane and they both jumped onto the ground. The place was nice, all the green she saw from the sky was grass and trees. The sun was up, warming the environment and the birds were singing.
“What is this?” asked Lisa looking around, not understanding what the hell was happening.
“This,” said Rick looking inside the plane and grabbing a picnic basket, “is a date I owe you,” and he smiled innocently at her. Lisa was speechless. She never saw this coming. After her talk with Roy and Max, she went to see the doctor and after a blood test, she found out she really was pregnant. Happy and scared at the same time, she walked back onto the bridge to find herself face to face with her husband. Not someone she was expecting to see at that moment. She was thinking about how she was going to tell him the news. No matter what Max and Roy said, she was still worried about his reaction, after all it wasn’t exactly like they planned to have another child. She was so immersed in her thoughts that she never realized what Rick was trying to do. To give her a date… a date?
“What date?” she asked suddenly not knowing what he was talking about. He raised an eyebrow. Now it was his turn to think about how he could remind her without bringing back all the dirty details.
“Er… remember when I asked you out on a date?” he asked her carefully.
She thought. “Did you? Of your own free will?” she said sarcastically at him. Rick felt offended.
“Of course I did! And of course it was of my own free will… but things didn’t go the way we… planned,” he tried to explain, trying his best not to touch a nerve. Lisa’s eyes grew wider when she remembered and turned dark when she remembered the next part. Rick gulped.
“Ohh, THAT date… the one where you stood me up because you went to see Miss Macross. I DO remember now,” she said darkly, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Look, don’t remember THAT part much, ok? It was a mistake… but I want to fix it, you see?” he said showing at her the picnic basket and giving her his best puppy dog face.
Lisa breathed hard and raised an eyebrow, trying not to show any interest. It really wasn’t her fault that her hormones were upside down. She turned her back on him and Rick sighed, feeling frustrated. This was not the date he was hoping for.
Not knowing what else to say, he took the basket and went behind the nearest tree. He opened it and took out a red and white tablecloth, put it on the grass and looked inside the basket. He didn’t have much time, so basically the Trio filled it with what they could find. Some sandwiches, cola drinks, some fresh fruit and a bottle of wine. Rick wondered for a second where on the base they found a bottle of wine.
Looking at Lisa, who was still giving him her back, Rick sighed and opened the bottle of wine. He looked for one of the plastic glasses and put some of the red liquid inside. He took a sip of it. It wasn’t bad at all.
Lisa looked at the sky from her position. It was like an invisible hand was pushing her to tell him she was pregnant. There he was, trying to do something nice for her and she was there, answering him only with sarcasm. But she couldn’t help it either. She had so many fears inside her right now. Her head was full of ideas and questions and expectations and she didn’t know how to let them out. She remembered her first month being pregnant with Sarah, how scared and alone she was, and felt that pain again. Then she suddenly remembered the date Rick missed and she felt that pain too. Her head was a mess going from one thought to the other and all she could do was stay there, feeling sad and her eyes watering with tears.
“Damn hormones,” she murmured before she let herself cry. Rick saw how her shoulders went down and she began sobbing. He quickly got up from his place under the tree and ran over to her.
“Hey… hey, what’s wrong?” he asked her and she hugged him and cried her heart out. Rick held her and let her cry. He patted her back tenderly, not understanding why she was so crazy.
“I’m…a…mess,” she sobbed into his chest “I don’t know what to do… I can't control my bad temper and I know I yelled at you and Sarah and everybody else, and you are all right in hating me,” she said and cried again. Rick held her closer and without her seeing him, held in his laughter.
“Baby… look at me,” he said and made her look him in the eye. “I have no idea what’s going on, but I do know that nobody hates you. Especially not me or Sarah,” he said and Lisa sniffed again. “I've been thinking about why you have been so… emotional, and I realized that even with all my efforts, I am always missing something with you,” he explained and now Lisa could not understand what he meant.
“I've been trying to be a good husband and a good father and a good pilot and it is a lot to deal with. I am new at this… even if we are going to celebrate our 10 year anniversary,” he said and smiled at her. Lisa's eyes filled with tears because now she felt guilty for not being there for the past 8 and a half years.
“No, no, no, don’t cry again… just listen to me. I love you so much and sure, I would love to know what happened in those 8 years, but I can’t… we can’t… we can’t turn back the clock. We have this now… this is us. You and me, together. No more guilty feelings, no more sadness. We are making this… us, work! No matter what happened at the beginning. No matter how we ended up together. I don’t care about it, and you should not care either. The past is the past,” he said and Lisa looked at him, feeling all emotional, but in a good way.
Rick left her for a second and Lisa watched him go to the airplane, do something and come back in front of her.
“Just listen. I found it the other day and I couldn’t stop thinking about us. Maybe this will give you a better idea of what I feel,” he said and then a strong electronic guitar filled the air and a scream of a male singer broke the peace and solitude around. Strong rhythm, with a hard beat, like Rick's feelings, like Rick’s thoughts. Lisa closed her eyes and let the music talk to her. With a remote control, Rick played the song.
Should've seen this coming
should've known this
shouldn't have let it happen
my mistake allright
doing my thing
too alike yet far apart
what felt so good once
is breaking me
and tearing us apart again
Don't you see
we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
Don't you see
we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
Lisa bit her lower lip, knowing what Rick meant with the words of the song. She opened her eyes and fixed her gaze on his, letting both of their souls have a very honest conversation
I know it's self inflicted
we're way to desperate
way too addicted
but I can't help the way I feel
I know it's time to be strong
now when all hope is gone
and when what felt so good once
is breaking me
and tearing us apart again
Don't you see
we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
Don't you see
we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
“Turn the volume higher,” Lisa said to Rick. He smiled at her, knowing the message he wanted so badly to give her was received and welcomed in her heart.
…and in your troubled eyes I see
someone who carried me somehow
like footprints in the sand
you've been behind me all along
we got it wrong from the start
now it's you and me let's hit it on
don't you see it's you and me
against the world
'cause we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
Don't you see
we're in this together
you and me
one on one forever
The song faded away, and so did a lot of Lisa's worries. She stepped closer and kissed him strongly, letting him know she understood and that she thanked him for his concern.
Rick smiled widely at her and stepped back a little. “I want this date to be the first of many. I want this day to be number one again. You are my wife and I adore you!” he said aloud looking at the sky and Lisa laughed at his silliness. “And I want to give you something I should have gave you a long time ago… but today I will mean it, really, mean it,” he said and put his hand in his pocket. Lisa followed his hand and when he took out a small black velvet box, she felt her heart going faster and faster.
Rick enjoyed looking at her so nervous and excited. He just never thought about what this little gesture would mean for him and for her. Slowly, he got down on one knee in front of her. Lisa was barely breathing, not knowing what to do.
“This,” he opened the box and showed her a delicate gold engagement ring with one small diamond, “this is what I couldn’t give you almost ten years ago. This ring, this was the symbol I could not give you then, but it is the symbol and the promise I want to give you now." Rick extended his hand and took Lisa’s in his. She was cold to the touch. “I never gave you an engagement ring. I know that if I bought it back then, it would probably be bigger and more expensive than this, but with this one… with this one I can truly say that I am engaging myself to you. It’s been a long journey that somehow ends today, because now I am promising myself to you, TO LOVE YOU, adore you, be with you, heart and soul, for all my life and beyond. I promise to fight with you, and then make love to you until you can’t breathe,” he said and winked at her, causing Lisa to smile. “I promise to hug you, be your support when you need me, and basically, love you. I, Rick Hunter, am in love with you, Lisa Hayes and I will be yours for the rest of my life, no matter what,” and when he finished, he put the ring on Lisa’s finger, next to their wedding band.
Lisa couldn’t take it anymore. She threw herself at him in a hug and they ended up on the grass hugging each other. She laughed and she cried at the same time. His words, those unprepared words, were exactly what she needed to hear right then. She never knew how much she wanted him to say those words aloud. She knew he loved her, but it was damn great to hear them out loud.
Rick hugged her and they both sat down on the grass, laughing.
“I know I am not the best man for you…” he started but she silenced him with a kiss.
“But you are the one I want, you idiot!!” she answered back smiling at him.
“You like the ring?” he asked her wonderingly.
“Of course! It is amazing,” she said looking at her hand.
“It's the best gift I could give you, you know?” Rick explained shyly, knowing it wasn’t the most expensive of the rings.
Lisa looked at him and smiled, knowing the time had come. “No, the best gift is something else and you already gave it to me… twice,” she said looking at him in the eyes, smiling. He looked at her not understanding. “This ring is amazing. But you already gave me a gift… and now another one… and it is a gift for the both of us… forever,” she tried again, opening her eyes trying to give him some clues, but Rick couldn’t get it. She sighed.
“9 years ago you gave me a gift you recently found out about. Now I can give you the experience of knowing what you missed then,” she said losing a little her patience.
“What are you talking about?” asked Rick absolutely lost with her words.
Lisa realized she had two choices. One: shout it at him and make him fall onto the ground, or not. She decided to go with the second. She took his hand in hers and put it over her stomach. Rick followed the movements and when his hand rested on her still flat stomach, he got it.
“Rick, you are going to be a daddy,” she said softly as she smiled at him.
Rick could not react. His mouth was wide open and he looked at her in amazement. She laughed softly at his reaction, really priceless. He kept his hand on her stomach and looked from there to her face over and over again. Lisa laughed aloud waiting for the news to sink into that stubborn head of his.
“Earth to Rick … hey… are you ok?” asked Lisa and then finally Rick reacted. His eyes filled with tears and his throat closed with emotion. He come closer to Lisa and carefully pulled her in his arms and hugged her. He cried in silence, happy tears and kissed her head, not holding any emotion back. There he was, hoping to give her a gift and there she was, giving him one he never expected.
“I love you… so much,” he said and held her closer to him. Lisa felt completely safe and simply happy.
“I love you too,” she replied, feeling calmer now that he knew.
“You make me, so happy… I never thought I could be this happy in my life,” Rick said looking at her, holding her face in his hands.
Softly, he kissed her, his mouth and hers becoming one in the sweetest kiss they could ever share. Inside Lisa, a small, almost invisible heart beat strongly and happily, knowing he was wanted and already loved into a home, a family and into a new life.
To be continued…
For little Vanessa and little Ariana, welcome to this world little girls! That this life brings both of you love, health, safety and a sense of belonging that helps you grow into the beautiful, strong, compassion and intelligent women you will become someday. That the two of you bring joy to your parents and that life treats you with equality, respect and love… so much love.
Your “Aunty” Carla.
Review PLEEEEEEEEEEASE!! :) you know reviews are my energy!
To know the song title and song inside the chapter, go here.