Victoria and Peter kept their faces forward and their eyes begun to stray aimlessly about the living room, the brunette teen refused to meet her [e/c] eyed mother's stare. As she reached out to pat her daughter's knee and offer her a small smile, but Victoria slapped her hand away and proceeded to get-up, and dashed out of the room – hurting tears drizzling down her tan cheeks.
The slam that followed was her bedroom door.
"Peter, you can go too, if you want…"
[Name] sighed and closed her eyes, leaning back in her recliner - running a vexed had through her messy and aging [h/c] hair. Of course there was an easy way to tell your daughter she's the 'mistake child', but [Name] decided that it would be for the better if she just revealed it in story form. She didn't expect Victoria to run off.
The youngest of her children simply gave his mother a disappoint look, and turned his gaze away then got up out of his seat on the couch and left for his own room – without so much as another word.
Groaning, [Name] slumped further down into her chair.
When the front door opened, a male voice hummed from the entry-way,
"[Name]! Kids! I'm home!"
"I'm in the living room, dear! There kids abandoned me in the middle of my story."
A tall man in a tanned trench-coat entered the room ad leaned over [Name], placing a tender kiss to her forehead.
He questioned with a slight smile, removing his coat and tossing it on the back of an unoccupied chair. Shutting his eyes for a moment he begun to loosen his tie, the same tie that [Name] had gotten him for their fourth wedding anniversary.
The [e/c] woman laughed, moving over to the couch as her husband sat down and kicked her feet up on his lap. His eyes darted to the stairs that led up to the bedrooms.
"Oh. I see why Victoria's so quiet, then."
"Yeah, she wasn't so happy to find out about Antonio."
[Name] groaned again, rubbing her tired eyes with the heel of her palm.
"I love her just as much as Peter, I guess she just doesn't realize that."
"I guess so. But, at least we got our happy ending."
He grinned and leaned over to kiss his wife on the nose. [Name] matched his smile with one of her own.
"I'm glad I chose you."
= = = = = = =
And now back to our story.
Approaching ever-so quickly was the baby's due date – December 13th. And still, [Name] was living with Romano. But, at this point, she wasn't sure what he was to her or what to call their relationship. Were they friends or perhaps boyfriend and girlfriend? God, it was hard to decipher this crap when the second party rarely ever wants to talk about it.
Since Romano came home from work one day, he's been a little off, like he would completely avoid talking about the baby or her pregnancy. [Name] found it suspicious and a bit unnerving; almost like he felt guilty about something.
He didn't tell her about his run-in with Antonio, he wasn't sure exactly how she'd react to him seeing the man that caused all of this shit she was in. But…in a sense he should be glad Antonio knocked [Name] up, because if he hadn't, then Romano never would have met her or even fell in love with her – he would still be the Spanish bastard's lap-dog.
So, yes, he was thankful for all of this but, all the things Antonio said struck a cord with him; were they going to get married? Have a kid of their own? Would he have to stare into this child's eyes and ignore the fact that they were the offspring of someone he absolutely loathes?
Romano's spine tingled at the thought. How would he live with himself if he had to lie and say, 'yes, bambino, I am your father.' When it wasn't true? He wouldn't. He just wouldn't and couldn't live with himself.
[Name] suddenly confronts him while he was cooking dinner one night; her gentle had fell on his taller shoulder.
"Romano, I knew something's wrong with you lately. You know you can tell me anything."
Pausing his chopping for a moment and held his finely-bladed chef's knife suspended – then continued.
"I've just been overwhelmed with work, lately. Don't worry about it."
But she did worry about it.
"No. Please just don't use that excuse. You haven't been that busy at the restaurant."
"How would you know, huh? I've been covering your shifts ever since you've been on maternity leave!"
The knife sliced harder through the tomato's slick skin as Romano's teeth clenched in the slightest brace of anger.
At this, [Name] removed her hand from his shoulder and rolled her eyes bitterly.
"Excuse me for being pregnant."
She hissed under her breath.
"What? I know something else is going on and you're just not telling me what it is!"
He shouldn't tell her. He wouldn't tell her. At least not where all the knives were kept.
Long, feminine arms found their way around his waist from behind, interlacing her fingers and pressing her blushing cheek to his spine; she squeezed gently.
"I promise you I won't get mad when you tell me."
Romano felt [Name]'s chest being pressed tantalizingly close against his back and a wave of heat crept up the back of his neck and across his cheeks. He felt the words bubble passed his lips and small, strangled noises rumbled his vocal cords. He felt himself slipping though [Name]'s fingers like putty.
"If I told you, you would get mad."
"Just drop it."
The harsh edge behind the Italian's voice caused [Name] to stiffen, and her arms retreated from around Romano's waist; the warmth disappearing. He had just stepped over the boarder line.
"I…I hope you have fun eating by yourself."
And then she left, without so much as another word, onto the streets with her cell phone clutched in her palm.
A number was dialed, it was Arthur's.
"Hey…can I see you for a second…?"
= = = = = =
Arthur didn't come.
He said he was out with some friends and he would meet her at the central park as soon as he could. Which probably meant, "yeah, sorry. I don't think I'll be able to make it."
[Name] began to wonder if Romano was out looking for her right now, or if he was really just sitting there on his butt and eating dinner like the little pansy he was. God, it was really infuriating to be with him, sometimes. It was so difficult to read him at times; like one minute they're the perfect description of a couple in love, and then he's yelling at her and upset over nothing.
Why couldn't she just not be in love with him? Yeah, he wasn't exactly the textbook definition of a boyfriend that [Name] wanted but, she learned that his flaws were what made Romano who he was, why couldn't he just see that?
Burying her head in her hands, the frustrated [h/c] woman slumped forward to rest her elbows as she fell back into the sturdy, wooden park bench. Sliding out her cell phone from her pocket, she scrolled through her contacts again.
Mathias…no, he was in Denmark, there was no way he'd help her. Elizabetta or Roderich? No, they were probably going at it in their own apartment, interrupting them would be a sin. And…Feliciano, Romano's brother? No, he would just bring her back to Romano's apartment.
Who else was there…?
"Oh! Hey there! Are you okay, señora? Do you ne—?"
A man dressed in a long, coal-gray coat approached [Name] – a Spanish accent painfully, irrevocably familiar to her ears. Antonio. [E/c] eyes shot up from the dimly glowing screen to meet a pair of dark, green hues.
"Oh. Hola, Quince. It's been a while."
"Should've been longer."
She retorted with a slight sneer and shoving her phone into her jeans pocket. Antonio grinned and fell into the open spot beside her on the bench, chocolate locks falling over his bright eyes as his head cocked backwards – glancing towards the night sky.
"Pretty, isn't it?"
"The sky, I mean."
A slender finger pointed to the blackened heavens above them, arms resting along the back of the bench. When [Name] looked at him, she furrowed her brows – wondering what exactly his angle to him being here was. And then she caught sight of a purple-ish, black bruise in between were his nose and his left eye were.
"…Did…someone punch you?"
The Spaniard blinked for a moment in confusion before a smile settled on his lips.
"Yeah, Romano did. Didn't he tell you? I would have imagined that he would have bragged to everyone he met at this poi—"
"He didn't tell me. He never tells me anything anymore."
A bitter frown curled [Name]'s mouth south and her hands were folded over top of her swelling belly, the faint kick of her child's foot drummed against her skin. Antonio's jade, green eyes softened and that mocking smile melted into a kind, considerate one.
"That's the Lovi I know, a stubborn little shit that doesn't like letting people in on what he's thinking."
[Name]'s mouth cocked to the side a bit and she tucked a small bit of her [h/c] hair behind her ear. No truer words have ever been spoken.
"How come you know so much about Romano? I knew you guys were friends but—"
"Actually, we were lovers, once."
Well, there was a real slap in the face.
The Spaniard chuckled a bit and closed his eyes; the soft night wind caressed his cheeks and wisped his caramel locks about his forehead.
"Nothing to worry about, though; that affair is long but over with. Lovino isn't my type; I prefer curves over length, now."
The way he phrased that made [Name] cringe a bit. Antonio caught this and his lips quirked into a smirk, dark eyebrows raised he judged her expression with a mirthful laugh.
"Don't worry; I don't go after the same woman twice."
A reassuring pat was received to her shoulder.
She wasn't sure if that was a promise or a reluctant assumption.
"You have no idea how much I want to rip your throat out right now."
"I think I do."
"No. Really. All of my hate. All of it. You have all of my hatred, Antonio."
"I don't think you do—wait, you know?"
Pausing in mid-sentence, [Name] turned to the man beside her with her [e/c] eyes wide. Was he really admitting to defeat so easily? Obviously he wasn't fully aware of his doings or else he wouldn't have screwed so many girls over.
Antonio nodded, forearms falling forward to rest on his knees – he stared into the tree-lined distance with a sullen expression.
"Si. After you, I stopped going to bars to meet women. Believe me, I tried to get back into the game but, I just couldn't. It was like I lost my…my magia."
[Name] wasn't sure she followed. Magia? What on Earth was that? It was times like these that made her wish she took Spanish in High School.
"Guess you realized how much of a dick you've been, huh?"
"More or less,"
He chuckled, glancing over to the flustered [h/c] woman – his eyes found her stomach, the swelling bump of her abdomen.
"Is it really mine, [Name]?"
Antonio's voice softened to an almost whisper, his gaze never flitted away from her baby-bump.
"Is the baby mine?"
"Y-yeah, why? You're not planning on taking her, are you?"
[Name] furrowed her brows and shifted away from the Spaniard's curious eyes.
"No, no, no. I'm just…you know what? It doesn't matter what I think, this little niña is going to grow up with a madre that loves her. But…I just want to see her at least once. Please? I don't care if it's just for a minute after she's born or when she's twenty years old, I just want to see my daughter…"
That was when [Name] snapped. Jumping up from the park bench, she shot to her feet and turned toward the seated man, [e/c] eyes blazing.
"Your daughter? You might be the one that helped create her, but you are not the father, Antonio. You're not here to nurture her, you never will be. So no, you're not the father of this child, not where it counts."
The battered Spaniard raised his hands up defensively, trying to usher her to use a quieter tone.
"[Name], [Name], please understand. What if you were in my position; what if I took your little girl away from you? Would you want to see her too? You were the mother that carried her; shouldn't you have a right to see the little when she's grown-up?"
"Well, yeah, but—"
"Then I should have that right, too. This child is practically the only good thing that came out of all of this…this…"
Antonio snickered a bit at [Name]'s nonchalant fashion of her wording.
"Yes, of all of this bullshit."
A small grin turned up the corner of the radiant young woman's lips, the Spanish inflection of his voice made the phrase sound completely foreign.
Wait a minute; was she actually starting to like him? As a friend? What, was the world going bonkers or something?
"You know, I could see us becoming good friends."
"Do you? After all the bad things I put you through?"
[Name] shrugged her supple shoulders, grinning wider as he thrust out her hand – an offering to shake. Antonio's eyes widened, eyeing her hand with an inquisitive brow.
"Only if you're willing to stay off my shit from now on, and you had better clean up your act. I don't want my daughter to grow-up beside a man that still sleeps around with women."
A smile curled the man's lips and his hand clasped [Name]'s, holding her palm for a few brief seconds.
"Si, I promise."
"Let's just start over; hi, I'm [Name]. A heartless, evil bastard got me pregnant. And you are?"
Antonio laughed; amused by the game she was playing.
"Antonio Fernandez Carriedo. I know of a guy that got a girl pregnant, that bastardo will taste my knuckles down his throat for hurting such a beautiful woman!"
It was good to know that they could be friends now.
At least [Name] was able to help pull Antonio's blackened heart out from the dark and towards the sun again. He seemed to be more human in her eyes, now; The way he's face lit up when his palm pressed to her stomach; he almost seemed to have a…childlike innocence. It was strange to see such a vial man be reduced into such a state. But now, her baby girl wouldn't be without her biological father; [Name] just hoped she wouldn't regret the choice later on.