Lost in London, a scary prospect by most people's viewpoints and yet the crowds of the street would overlook it, too wrapped up in their lifestyles to bother.
Modern London, a place of tourism, busy night life's, wild parties and overpriced goods. The homeless are nothing new, in fact quite the opposite, they huddle, in their groups, looking nothing more than a sorry state and doing nothing for themselves, having given up.
It�s December, snow and grit lines London and the temperature is low, below minus. Christmas lights glitter from trees and windows and excited, bundled up children excitedly wait for Santa. Little more than a typical December.
However, after weeks and weeks of looking and searching for someone she knows, a young girl stumbles across a few who tell her of an old friends location. With this knowledge, she spends the icy night staggering around, a sorry state to find his doorstep. However, with the rough nights in London, a certain event occurs.
When she arrives at her friend's door, her hands are blood, as well as her bare legs and arms. She does not explain anything and presses that she just needs a little help!
Maddie didn't want to go. She wanted to be around to look after her brother and make sure she was there to help him when he slipped up. She hugged Rachel and looked down at little Alice, what a bright future she had. Perfect parents, all the love in the world in her tiny hands and Maddie smiled fondly, almost sadly. Rachel seemed to sense it as she whispered, "Hey, everything will be fine." Maddie looked up at her sister in law, her friend. She sniffed a bit, shoving back the emotion that threatenee too overwhelm her and she grinned through it. They had to do what was right. Leaving was right. Mark watched his sister and smirked kissing his wife and heading out with Justin. Rachel walked with Maddie to the door, little Alice squirming in her arms.
The entire landscape seemed oddly more beautiful than Maddie seemed to first realise. The bright colours, the sounds and smells. She took in a deep breath and seemed hesitant to take the first step towards her future, her and Justin's future. Mark was checking over the car and he looked to Justin, smiling and eyeing his best friend, the man who had forged relationship like a brother with him. He was going to look after his sister and Mark was more than happy to trust him woth Mads. "Come on Mads." He said and smiledd over to her. His sister was fine, she looked a lot better than when Mark had first saw her such a time ago, laden down by court cases and worry. And Justin. He had beaten cancer, he had shown his strength. Mark couldn't have been prouder of them. He looked to Justin and flashed him a knowing smile before clambering into the driver's seat.
That was Madeline's cue, her curtain call and she glanced to Rachel, "Thank you, for everything." She whispered and Rachel just nodded, just as emottional as Maddie and she dabbed her eyes a bit. Maddie laughed a little and stepped down the path and grinned at Justin, eyes bright with emotion. He had been a marvel as of late. His patience and divine care had rescued Maddie all that time ago. He had made her the young woman she was, standing before him. She leant up and kissed him softly, before looking to Mark's home, so washed in light it looked magical. Birds took off from somewhere and Maddie watched them flit off to wherever their beating hearts saw fit to take them. Her brother was letting them take their time, he was relictant to leave for the second time as he looked out of the open window at his family. Things would be different this time around, he would make sure of it. He looked to his sister as she got in the car and he smiled at her, masking the veil of pride and emotional. He could see her face, the spark of life in her eyes. It was something he hoped to never see go out. She was their mother, all over and he knew that both parents, wherever they were, were probably the proudest parents right that moment.
Rachel waved from her perch at the nest with the newest Merniette addition, his future and he couldn't have been happier. Maddie returned the wave and drew in a breath as her brother started up the car. 'Let's go home ' Justin had said and the words meant everything to her right that moment. Home, anywhere was home so long as they were together and safe. She lifted her gaze to the dirt road and smiled finally, yes, they were going home to start anew. To start their own journey together and it wouldn't be easy but Maddie was sure the positives would outweigh the negatives.
The sun was beating down, across the outback plains and fear was gone. In its place was pride, hope and promise. Things were looking up and for the good of everyone. Too many tears had been shed where now laughter could fill. The past could never be erased but the future had new life on the horizion, new happiness and that was something to truly cherish after all the hurt and pain. No more now. Freshh eyes, wise to how things could go so wrong but that storm had gone, evaporated long ago and now there was just tranquility and peace. Paradise was not a place, it was anywhere that solitude could be found and they found in each other, things were promising. The car pulled off and down the road, Australia's sun beginning to set a littoe, casting an ethereal glow about and as the car headed away, a carriage for the future, dust kicked up behind it.
“My bed happens to be a lovely thing, and I believe it’s missed me,” Justin said, pouting like a petulant child being denied cookies, or in this case being made fun off for loving his bed with as much vigour as he did. Sure, he’d gotten a bit tired of just being stuck inside, but the Londoner believed wholeheartedly things would be different when they came back –aside from the amount of snow and cold, of course. Still, not having to fight off fevers, cancers and whatever else dared to impeded on his Christmas vacation was a nice change of pace. “I bet it’s become jealous,” he muttered to himself, checking to make sure everything was present and accounted for and noticed he was just one Maddie short on his way out of Australia.
Taking caution to cradle Alice’s body right, positioning her in the nook of his arm, Justin smiled down at the babe, walking off a bit while cooing nonsense at her. He was going to miss the laxness of being taken care off, and the banter between him and Mark, and between Mark and everyone in general, let alone dipping Maddie into the swimming pool fully clothes, something for which he believed the female Merniette still hadn’t forgiven the pool for.
“You’re going to have to teach Alice the number –in case she needs to be rescued,” the Londoner cajoled Mark, who was apparently self-proclaimed Lord and Master of the collect calls towards extended locations, but hadn’t taken into his calculations Rachel’s deviousness, or the fact that despite her wearing a dress, she did have the man under her thumb and ‘just how much do you love your bed, Mark?’ because Justin could imagine him being scoffed off to the couch if he did something the wife didn’t like.
Marriage was a frightening thing in some ways.
“Sure you will –one day you’ll wake up and go ‘wait, where did I leave Justin?’ and find me stuck in the doghouse –which we don’t have, so then, the fridge maybe,” the Londoner griped, toying with Alice’s hands as he muttered along to himself. “Next to the pickles,” he added for emphasis. “Hey, at least you admit we’re handsome,” Justin smirked mischievously and kissed the top of Alice’s head of red hair. “Be good, little girl. Sleep at night and such, but wake up in the middle if it’s Mark’s turn,” he whispered deviously. With an innocent smile he handed Alice back to her mother and raised an eyebrow at Mark.
“You sure you’re ready to take our relationship to the next level, dear?” Justin teased, kissing Rachel on the cheek, mimicking Mark’s gesture, “just kidding,” he winked, and then, more serious, “thank you for putting up with us –we can be a nuisance, I know, I bring out the best in Mark.”
Feigning some pride, Justin was mostly serious and sincere in his thanks, gathering his items from the couch and patting Mark’s back, “let’s go, chauffeur,” he teased and made his way outside. Dust plains and a sun strewn landscape awaited him, bright and pale, like reality had finally descended on their shoulders with the weight they were actually meant to bear. For a moment Justin felt inclined to go back inside and enjoy the cool tiles one last time –honestly, and then hide somewhere in a cupboard to never get out again.
London was far, and the journey would be less than pleasant undoubtedly, never mind the many obligations stacked up like some giant heap.
Strengthening himself, Justin tossed his things in the backseat and waited for Maddie, leaning on the door with a shy smile. She really looked different from before from a distance. More herself, and so alike her mother in certain ways. “Let’s go home,” he coaxed her, and pretended to be a genuine gentleman, holding open the door for her with a curt bow, hand in front of his stomach, palm up, gesturing her carriage awaited.
Maddie just smiled at the banter, Alice proving a better example of maturity than the two males. Nine months didn't seem long enough away to prepare for such a little miracle. Whilst the thought terrified Maddie with 'What if I get it all wrong?' There was also excitement. It was a challenge of course but somehow she welcomed it, maybe it was because of a certain curly haired Matthews promising to stick by her no matter what happene. Maybe it was seeing the joy and adoration on Alice's parents faces that spoke volumes and showing they wouldn't have changed the young girl for anything.
Mark scowled at Justin, "I happen to have wonderful pecks," he flexed as if proving his fact and he chuckled, "Suitcases are nothing." He nodded enthusiastically and grinned. He looked to his little sister with her niece and smiled to himself. It was certainly a heartbreaking image and Mark almost felt bad for her when Rachel retrieved her infant from the blond but Mads.gave her up willingly. He eyes Justin as he wenr to get a sweater, complaining about the cold and he rolled his eyes. "You're like a woman!" He smirked and looked to Maddie, "You'll need a jumper. Seriously." He said sternly and nodded to her. The last thing Maddie needed was to catch a cold.
"Mawe, look at little Justin. All ready for his own bed." Mark cooed and laughed softly at his friend, tickling under his chin and retreating before he could be smacked for such behaviour. Maddie got up and went to fetch her yellow sweater. She had put it aside somewhere and she found it lurking by the shoulder bag which contained passports and the likes. She paused, away from all the action in the main room. This was really it. Her life had taken a path and she was veering off without her brother, but with Justin. She knew if it didn't happen that day, it never would and Maddie didn't want to become a leech. It would only serve to cause misery. Her brother was happy. He had two loveky ladies to take care of. One of which was an infant who would demand mostt of his attention for the next goodness knew how long. Alice was fortunate both her parents mostly worked from home although Maddie had to supress a laugh for when she became a toddler and decided to go snooping around the boxes of snakes and spiders or saw fit to play with some of the creatures mommy and daddy brought home to play the role of her newst toys.
Maddie wandered back through and set the jumper down as she stretched. "Right. We set?" Mark chirped and Rachel handed Alice to Justin, letting him say his goodbyes too. She hugged Maddie and grinned at the blond. "You know we're a phonecall away. And I want updates so you can expect a phonecall." The brunette laughed a bit. Maddie smiled at her. She had no protests to them calling and Rachel was the best person along with Mary to help her out when it came to pregnancy. Mark and Justin would too but they would help each other out, Mark no dount giving Justin good escape routes when Maddie's mood changed, or ways to cheer her up. Or try to. Poor Justin wass sort of strapped in on the emotional roller coaster along with Maddie. Mark just smiled a bit, "Yeah. I'm in charge of the calls though, else you two will jibber for hours everyday to no end and forget about showering your handsome men with affection." He laughed. Heshook his head. It was true. Women chattered aboit the most pointless of things for hours on end, leaving their fellows on the sidelines dispondently watching on. Maddie just smiled at her brother, "You? In charge?" She giggled a little, "And we won't forget our lovely guys. No one could forget you two." Maddie.m grinned and looked to Justin with a smile.
Mark just tittered, "You say that now." He tapped Justin lightly and pointed to himself, "Me and Justin might end up having to make dirty phone calls to each other to replace you guys." He frowned like a disappointed teenager and then nodded. Rachel just exchanged a look with Maddie, both of them raising their eyebrows. "You two truly worry me." Rachel remarked with a laugh and Mark kissed his wife's cheek softly. "Kidding." He reminded her with a smile. "Well, mostly kidding." He chuckled and winked at Justin. Maddie rolled her eyes and stretched again. It was a long way home that was for sure.
“Very old,” Justin ceded, snorting a bit because it was the truth, right there, and ‘don’t blame my grey hairs for the added responsibility of getting older’, which would then perfectly top off his torture, though there was always the argument men gained charm as they aged, so much better than the female species, who appeared to have somewhere affronted gravity the way their skin sagged towards it. Drawn to the soil in which they were buried in advance –such cruel fate. Justin shivered instinctively, unable to stop the force of his imagination from afflicting his body with such response of dread. “Sure it is,” he said amiably enough when he recovered, “when you’re trying to hit every red light, skim all possible corners and create from your car a tin canned which is neatly compressed for easy carrying away,” Justin joked, sticking out his tongue at Mark.
Expectantly waiting for Maddie to accept another go at the chloride riddled water, recalling the drowned look she’d entertained from the night before if nothing to little else and ‘you looked pretty sexy –do it again?’ which Maddie was perfectly in her rights to decline. Her gaze could’ve killed, were it not Mark had gained some immunity over the years he’d later learned from his best friend –like the moments when best to ignore Maddie, or when to interceded. Maybe that was why he’d been able to pull the bedraggled Merniette back on her feet when she’d come to him those many weeks ago.
“I’m innocent,” Justin started in his defence, keeping his hands up as if surrendering, though his mischievous grin told Rachel that whatever chaos she’d been expecting would be doubled in size if she’d let them have their way, though it would most likely only serve to put some fire in the littlest of Merniettes.
He relaxed with a smile on the couch, reclining against the cushions while pondering what time it even was –not that he cared. Justin was pretty sure Rachel and Mark would keep him in temporal check to assure their privacy, seeing as between their guests and Alice’s wailing they must’ve been somewhat deprived. Hardly feeling guilty, Justin plucked a small pillow from the couch and toyed with the corners, feeling somewhat detached because of the medication, though it was a far cry from a few weeks ago. Steady progress had been made and ‘please make some more’, because he was nowhere near to contemplating climbing the six flights of stairs it took to get to his apartment.
Watching Maddie with Alice, listening to her words, made Justin fill with pride almost, though not as much as would’ve been when Alice had been replaced by their own little Matthews. He could definitely imagine her standing like that in a year, all lovey-dovey over an adorable miniature them, coddling and cooing, spoiling the little human far too much than was good for it. Obviously, young Alice was going to impart all her devilish wisdom to their babe, which would undoubtedly make the duo a pair to be reckoned with. Frankly though Justin couldn’t wait for their first mischief to occur –at first pretending to be angry and throw a fit, and then in the privacy of their departure laugh at the antics and history spun. Just like them.
“Finished already with those suitcases?” Justin piped up, raising his eyebrows some, though he quickly reasoned there wasn’t really much to take back with them, seeing as both had packed only the bare minimum.
“Blame me all you want –I rather like Maddie the way she’s now,” the Londoner chuckled, winking at Mark before wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, grinning madly as he knew Mark didn’t want to even go there with his thoughts. “Right,” Justin started, “better get that sweater seen to, don’t want to catch another cold driving back home from the airport,” he muttered under his breath. In just half a day their lives would do a complete one-eighty again, turning around quite literally.
He stood with some effort, lazy, and stretched before padding towards the bedroom and plucking the few items they’d left out of the suitcases from the bed. Justin figured he’s simply put them on over his regular Australian attire, found his coat splayed out and apologized to it mentally for neglecting it for so long. It must’ve been hot as well –all winter in such a warm country. There wasn’t much else: just a small bag with their passports, his phone and medication along with the papers to export such opiates.
Tugging everything close before sauntering back downstairs, Justin mentally said farewell to their room, since it wouldn’t be very likely they’d see it any time soon again. First time they’d see Mark and Rachel, they’d be coming to them to greet their new addition to the Merniette lineage and Justin figured they simply wouldn’t have the money for a while, what with buying a new house and things like those. He dumped everything on the couch, smiling wistfully, “well, I’m ready.”
Maddie shook her head at his childish manners before stepping downstairs. Mark was lounging about, sipping from a plastic cup and he glanced outside. Maddie smiled and messed up his hair before sitting down and watching events. Rachel frowned a bit at Justin as she took her daughter. "Feeding her too much? I think you're just getting old." Sh winked and Mark smiled brightly, applauding his wife, looking rather proud of her sharp wit. He scowled a bit as he couldn't get his hair to sit properly thanks to one blond female perched innocently away from events. He was going to miss her. And Justin. Hell, they were his family too. If he had thought any amount of words would have kept them here, he would have pleaded with them but at the same time, he needed to allow them to move on from things.
"Hey, my driving is perfectly fine, thank you." Mark abolished any doubts with a stout nod in Justin's direction. No offence was caused though, it never was when it came to Justin and Mark. They had almost never managed to argue. The odd scrape here and there but it had been quickly dealt with, especially with a set of blue, stern eyes making sure the two made up because she wasn't dealing with sulks and tantrums. It served her better when the two were talking, even if it dis mean relentless teasing. Her patience made sure she didn't take much of it to heart. She was still that girl, in Mark's eyes, just grown up. He grinned over at her.
"How about another dip in the pool before you leave, Mads?" He said and chuckled. Maddie frowned and wondered if her brother valued his life. Rachel tutted and looked to her daughter, "I wonder what chaos your daddy and Uncle Jay are going to teach you, hm?" She smiled a bit at the thought, little Alice was going to grow up gutsy and full of mischief, the brunette just knew it. "I am going to have my hands full." She concluded and Maddie smirked a bit. It was true. Rachel was going to have her hands full with Mark and a toddler scampering around to no end. Then again, so was Maddie when the little thing growing within her opened its eyes to the world and experienced his or her's first ever birthday and Maddie grew excited at the thought of meeting her and Justin's child for the first time.
Mark shook his head a bit and drained his glass, "Let's get these bags in the car. Leave it to me!" He said heroically and jogged up to the room. Maddie looked around, as if taking in the image of the house. "Here. One last cuddle before you leave." Rachel placed Alice in Maddie's arms, grinning a little. Maddie looked down at the infant, so innocent and dependant. She smiled softly and kissed her forehead. "You be good, keep your daddy in check." She smiled down at her, letting tiny fingers grapple with her golden fingers. She thought she saw a definite glimmer of Mark's mischief in little Alice as she tugged the curls, not enough strength in little limbs to hurt. Her eyes trailed the babe, how much she had to learn and she had the most wonderful people to teach her it all. She was going to be just fine. Mark and Rachel would bring thos baby up perfectly. Maddie strokes the soft, unscathed cheek of the child and grinned, "Even if your daddy is the silliest person in the world, he knows what he's doing. And your mother definitely does too. But you had best keep an eye on your daddy, for me, because he can do some crazy stuff." She said softly, eyes warm and bright. Rachel watched and smiled at the duo. Maddie looked like a mother. Justin had a way with kids, she could tell they would manage just fine.
"Stop corrupting Alice against me. It's not fair." Mark said as he reappeared and leant on a counter. "I blame you entirely." He waggee a finger at Justin, "My sister worshipped me before you came along." He nodded and Maddie just laughed quietly. She had done no such thing. If anything, Justin arriving had actually pushed the sibkings closer together. She looked to Alice, "And your daddy makes up stories." She added. Rachel was giving the counter a quick wipe down, nudging Mark's elbows out the way of her course, giggling. Mark harrumphed and folded his arms like a sulky teenager. "I'm not the bad person." He pleaded and Maddie grinned at her brother's joking around. He knew how to keep things lighthearted and off topic really. Although he was just as wound up to see Maddie and Justin leaving. It seemed they had just been there a few days.
Concluding his mind must’ve gone for a pretty entertaining stroll just after the surgery and extending such imaginary recollection for a few days on account of the voluminous amount of opiates running through his system making a white cotton ball park out of what was usually a pretty reasonable strain of thought occupying his mind. Blinking rapidly, Justin tried recalling the memory of events, but other than that he must’ve said those things while at home, just coming from the hospital, things were eerily blank and numbed out. Luckily, so was the pain, and Justin merely sighed heavily, shrugging with a sheepish grin. He still found though that when it came to pink or yellow, yellow was still the best choice, so at least his sanity hadn’t quite been as shaken as he figured it to be back then.
“Well,” the Londoner started, “first-off, we’d all turn gay, and then we’d have massive parties which involved no responsibility or obligation at all,” he snickered, though his murky brown eyes grew pensive. Without women no love, no purpose. Creating a toddling critter such as was in his arms currently was likely the best thing Mark had ever achieved in his life, no matter how you twisted things around.
“Right, let the hurricane take over the house –didn’t think so,” Justin teased in return to Rachel’s ‘mommy knows best’, because sometimes Maddie could be a true worrywart, not settling until everything was seen to and running herself ragged that way. In terms of those, Justin had always been a stable point for both Merniettes to return to, since Mark too sported such passion and energy. On some points, loathe they admit, Maddie and Mark were very much siblings and tightly knit family, which had obviously withstood the biggest of blows a family relationship could dare endure. From here on out Justin believed things could only improve, especially since Maddie had recently made the first move on coming clean as to events passing by she had prior believed were best kept from her older brother on account of not being a burden. Maddie though had started to respect herself more, fending for herself, and not just that, but also seeing to her unborn child.
Deciding to remain quiet in the face of red knitted Christmas sweaters with white dollops of wool tied at regular intervals and ‘look, they’re so lovely’, which made Justin absolutely shiver in disgust at the memory and recoil, pleading silence in his own little private corner.
Moaning his lament, Justin pursed his lips into a pout, slightly peeved only Alice was getting the attention he too craved for, and finally just sighed deeply, “well, we were serious about the jumpers back then as well,” Justin remarked, pointing out the fact that as soon as Mark and he were out of sight, the sweaters had been replaced by a few normal editions.
Hoisting little Alice a little higher, Justin reciprocated the kiss bestowed upon him with verve, breaking away on account of squashing the babe in his arms between their bodies and finally slinked to stand from the bed at Maddie’s coaxing.
Packing was done, the ride not too far off now.
“No,” he said childishly, “the damage to my reputation has already been done, you get to go ahead –besides, it wouldn’t be gentleman, wouldn’t want Rachel to scold me once more and you upholding her standard of ‘mommy knows best’, after all,” Justin shot, sticking out his tongue. The medicine was making him a bit more giddy, nerves twisting unrecognisable at the pit of his stomach to almost tickle their way upstairs and tease his brains.
“Right Alice?” Justin asked the young girl staring at Maddie and took her hand, waving at the female Merniette, “see, she wants you to go first as well,” the Londoner played. He sobered a little, “you realize I was just kidding, right?” He rolled his eyes, “like there’s anything I can do about my reputation on the last day, after spending most days waking up past midday.” His eyes though spoke different words than his mouth was ushering. They’d miss this place dearly.
“Are you sure we’ve got everything?” he asked, looking back at their empty room. Mark’s guestroom. Slight difference. Shaking his head, Justin decided to go down anyway, dismissing Maddie’s teasing for whatever they were, because females were confusing that way and apparently his remark had stayed in her mind for some reason he couldn’t dream of imagining.
“You’re heavy,” he murmured at Alice along the way, joining Rachel and Mark in the living room, where a carafe of juice stood on the table, dew condensing on the glass saying it was from the fridge and currently melting a horrible death. Bothering Rachel with Alice, Justin sighed in relief, “you’re feeding her too much,” he complained, “my poor back,” though it were his ribs which had grown warm with numbed out pain. “So, do we trust Mark to drive us there?” he inquired with a smirk.
Maddie just smiled at the two gentlemen. What wonders they were. It was a miracle how either of them had managed to cope by themselves, well, Justin had received a stern tutouring from Mary and Cindy and Mark had found comfort in Rachel, the lovely brunette who had found the key to his heart. "You have some warmer stuff." Rachel put in,rummaging around and smiling a little to Maddie. "What would men do without women, eh?" She smirked and Maddie just laughed quietky. She did remember her and Justin had worn warmer things for travelling over to the sunnier side of the world. She rifled some of the things out and nodded, satisfied it would do. "Yeah, Mads, you wore that yellow sweater because Justin didn't like the pink." Mark said, miming cracking a whip and winking over at them.
Maddie shrugged slightly and procured their passports, tucking them in a shoulder bag. "Mommy always knows best." Rachel looked to Justin, "And you best remember that when your littoe one arrives." She giggled and Mark rolled his eyes. "Mom doesn't always know best. Remember that winter, our mom got us both sweatere. They were the worst. Mads got a cardigan." He muttered to Justin and shook his head, "Mads and mom made us where them. Mine's was bright red... you could spot me five miles away when I wore that thing!" He bemoaned. His mother and Maddie's ganging up on them. "Dad had one too. You all looked so adorable." Maddie teased and smiled. Rachel grinned a bit and remarked, "Well, we know what to get Mark when we venture to England." She agreed and Maddie smiled. "Wouldn't want to leave Justin out either." Maddie added and grinned at him.
The bedroom was near enough bare and Rachel stood, "Right. I think that's it for now. I'll go make up some fruit juice." She nodded and headed downstairs. "I'll help you." Mark offered, scampering after his wife who had him well and truly on her leash. Maddie shook her head at her brother and smiled a bit. She got up and lookedbto little Alice, "Has your God daddy got you all confused? Mawe." She said softly and kissed the tiny girl's forehead gently. "Dunno about you, but I reckon I could do with some juice." Sh said, "And I was serious about that jumper." She added just for good measure, "I can see you and Mark in matching jumpers." She laughed. It was quite an amusing picture in her head. It was a long way off but the idea of Mark, Rachel and Alice all over visiting the littlest and newest addition to Justin and Maddie's lives, Justin and Mark in jumpers and trying not to grumble on fear of grievous bodily harm from two females. She his her laughter. She didn't think it was just Mark and Rachel Alice had tied around her tiny fingers. She had done a good job at having Justin wrapped around her fingers as well.
"Come on." She looked up at Justin and kissed his cheek softly. Maddie wouldn't have minded just inventing some sort of mahical instrument that let them fast forward the entire stressful endeavour of the journey back home, so they could just appear in the apartment and nestle up on the couch, more likely the bed and just play things over in their minds. She headed for the door, pausing to wait on Justin and his charge that seemed contently snuggled in his arms. It was a miracle how such a tiny being could bring such a massive amount of love and adoration. Maddie guessed it would be the same for her and Justin. It wasn't so scary now she had seen first hand how her brother had reacted even through being half way across the world. She had never seen her brother rush around so much and panic than when he had received the call about his wife going into labour.
Maddie stretched and ushered Justin to go first, "Redeem your reputation." She giggled softly. She rubbed her eyes and had to admit she was looking forwards to being back in Justin's bed, curled up and cosy. She wasn't too tired but she had no doubts that she would end up exhausted by the time she was on the plane heading home. She grinned to herself a little and looked to Alice, she would be wailing for food soon enough and Rachel and Mark would be all over her, quietening her and making sure she was seen to and catered for.
Pretty sure that if Justin had left the females to fend for themselves for any longer amount of time Armageddon hath spawned from such covenants, the Londoner just sheepishly grinned and shrugged, apologizing without so many words for obviously being of the opposite gender and thusly deemed incapable of certain meticulous chores, even though he was sure he would’ve had no trouble at all tossing a few things down his suitcase. Still, Maddie and Rachel had done a good job making swift of packing, which was better than them all fussing over some suitcase and ‘awe, poor things, look at how tightly packed everything is’, before trying to sit on the lid in attempts of closing them for safe travels. Justin slithered over to the nightstand which held the illusive white miracles absolving his pain with one stroke and a five minute waiting time and took one dry, swallowing the bitterness down in hopes of alleviating some of the tightness pressing against his ribs.
Leaning over Mark’s shoulder, Justin tapped against Alice’s nose, who appeared dazzled and confused at such rapid existence of fingers from seemingly nowhere, but finally recognized her godfather and sway her little hands at Justin’s presence, trying to catch one of those elusive curls from where they dangled from his scalp. “Aha,” Justin replied smugly, glad he was out of Alice’s range and at the same time clapped Mark on his shoulder, “you’ll be fine, Mark –I’m not going to argue, she called me lovely after all,” he teased mischievously.
“Oh,” Justin called out in surprise, suddenly recipient of one small baby and he smiled down at the young girl beside himself, though tried keeping her away from tugging at his hair too much. Her small fingers made for quite sticky octopi-like suckers, clutching anything interesting in range to test with a battery of saliva and moist lips.
“You know socks have the ability to spawn outside of the washing machine, that’s courtesy of the black hole they make in there,” Justin defended himself, smirking all the while and repositioning Alice so she wouldn’t accidentally be kicking at his already sore ribs, lowering himself on the bed as he waited for the medicine to kick in. It wouldn’t do for him to drop the little girl by a sudden loss of strength in his arms and ‘oh, she’ll just turn out like you after that hit to the head, Mark, no worries’, though Justin knew that just wasn’t going to fly with Rachel, who still kept a feral eye on their movements.
Afraid she would charge with a growl to match, Justin made himself a bit comfortable, lending his fingers to Alice’s eager hands, immediately clasping the much longer and bigger digits. “Did you leave out some warm clothes?” he inquired with the packing ladies, concerned they’d have to find a cab dressed in shorts and a shirt, and while Australia had been pretty kind to him, London wasn’t very likely to let him walk away without an pneumonia if he tried such madness. They could change clothes on London airport too, but Justin figured the long sitting would plain drain whatever energy he was running on currently and by the time he’d dragged their luggage from the conveyer belt they could all but shove his bedraggled form into a cab, or anywhere else without him noticing most likely. He couldn’t wait to just skip the entire journey and be tucked in his bed already, curled up to one Madeline Merniette.
Running a mental list by his consciousness, Justin realized he wasn’t even sure whether Maddie and Rachel had considered their passports, though come to think of it, he’d been so out of sorts on arrival and during the time at the airport the first time around the Londoner wasn’t certain where he’d stashed all those sorts of things.
“Well, little girl,” he sighed, “We’ll just have mommy solve that predicament, won’t we?” Because he didn’t really mind being dependant for another little while. It’d be quite the change in pace when they arrived back home, since he’d have to provide both of them with an income and search for new housing, get a baby room settled and whatnot else he couldn’t readily conjure up on account of being distracted by a yawning little miracle. The medication kicked in then, leaving Justin to heave a sigh of relief, noticing how bad the pain had gotten when it finally fled from his body. He’d managed quite long without though, so Justin finally felt he was actually getting somewhere.
Another few hours would find themselves on a plain, flying home. Excitement battled with fear and dread. The coming few months would be exciting for both Maddie and him.
Relief plastered itself over Mark's face. Justin had made things easier, if it weren't for Justin Mark knew that the blond upstairs wouldn't have been up there. He sighed a bit and gave Justin a nudge back. "Kiss and make up? Did you like it so much the first time?" He chuckled and shook his head at him. He got up to to fix himself something else to drink, seeing as thieving magpies had been on the loose thos morning. He yawned and eyed Justin. Sometimes, he truly managed to baffle Mark. So long as Maddie and Justinn were okay, he could have his mind at peace. He just smiled a bit at Justin.
"Oh, you babbled and slept." He told him, "In fact, like Alice." He nodded. He opened the fridge and found the desired orange juice lurking on a shelf. He poured out some of the liquid and kept it in his hand, safeguarding it from any waiting thieves. He just shrugged of the thanks, Justin was his best friend. He could never have just left him after discovering he had cancer. Plus Maddie would never have coped alone. She was delicate as ever, easily shattered. Mark was n't the type to run away. Although that said, he realised it was what he had done when it came to abandoning Maddie with their father. Yes, he had known how far things had got with his father, but he never expected his father to take his own life. Or get into such serious trouble.
"I'm coming." Mark smirked, following Justin up the stairs, clutching the glass in his hand and wandering into the room. He gladly sat on the bed and smirked. Maddie was knelt on the floor, carefully folding up clothes. Rachel was standing with Alice in her arms and she took advantage of her husband entering and she handed him the infant. "Oh, well." Mark cooed and smiked, "What have we here, hm?" He chuckled down at his daughter who squirmed and squeaked. Maddie smiked and stood up, hunting around for the occassional thing. She yawned softly and stretched a bit. "Right. Nearly done." Rachel said and Maddie set a few things away. "You two lazy bums, see what happens when women do the job?" Rachel laughed and Mark raised an eyebrow. "Least there were no hysterical tantrums, huh, baby girl?" He said to Alice and glanced to the other two females. Mark sat up a bit, letting the infant stare around with a look of bewildered surprise. Mark laughed a bit at her edpression, settling her down and Rachel grinned, "Your daddy is the silliest person. Good thing you've got a lovely aunty and God father." She said and Alice hiccuped and looked around.
Mark frowned and looked at Justin, "Little help?" He suggested, looking to Alice, "We're outnumbered now, cause of you missus." He said and Maddie smiled softly at proceedings. She was going to miss all of this. The bad attempts of humour on Mark's side, Justin always prodding fun, little Alice making sure she was center of attention and Rachel with her motherly clucking over all of them. Rachel had been a brilliant help to Maddie. She had been sure to let Maddie in on a few hints and tips when it came to dealing with pregnancy
Mark was glad the two seemed to be getting along so wonderfully. He wasn't sure what he would have done if the two hadn't got along. Two females bickering would have ended in World War Three. He didn't fancy mopping up the mess to that sort of thing. Female disputes were something men avoided like the plague. "Here," Mark said,, standing up and placing his daughter in Justin's arms. Maddie grinned a little and found a sock under the bed, "Justin how did this get under -" She shook her head and just smirked a bit, placing the sock neatly in the case, tittering a little. How on Earth Justin managed to get a sock so far away from its home, she would never know! Part of Maddie couldn't wait to see Mary and little Cindy again. It was goodbye sunshine and hello snow. London didn't seem too daunting now, the time spent in Australia had given Maddie the confidence to be able to face the world once more.
Starting to dimly wonder whether he’d not just bothered Maddie with his drunken rambles, but also Mark, and that the other had in some wave of self realization recalled the befuddled words, tainted with alcohol and dappled in opiates, Justin raised his eyebrows, slightly surprised at the sudden weight of the whole situation, toying with his toast dispassionately. The bread hardly cared for being pulled apart, much like its predecessor the other day, but his stomach complained such waste fervently, which made Justin’s brain remark on what’d happened yesterday, momentarily shutting up the fiendish growls stemming from his bowels and ‘stop ruining the moment already’.
Blinking at Mark’s vacant gaze trailing Maddie out of the room, Justin smiled ever so politely at Rachel, silencing at her chastising. Two PM didn’t mean that many more hours, no matter how early they’d risen on account of a lazy day yesterday and then there was the matter of packing, finding some warm clothes and packing themselves up for a cold London embrace. Shivers crawled up his spine at the thought of missing Australia, missing this, and trading it all off for a messy apartment, stacked books, drained laptops and pale afternoons spent fiddling with mechanical constructions behind his desk and his boss’ back.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Justin pondered with a wry smile, conveying, ‘hey, I only just cheated death, defeated cancer and rescued your sister from being convicted a murdered –what else can happen, honest? A plane crash?’ Knowing what Mark meant though Justin averted his gaze, going from the plate of breakfast to the vast skies outside, uncertain. Sure, there would be challenges, and yeah, he wanted them to be alright, but there was really no telling, was there? Promising something like that would only suffice to set up disappointment later.
“I know you have, Mark,” he finally came back to the conversation, steering his mind and ‘all hands on deck’, ‘hoist the main sail!’, because there really weren’t any words or thoughts flowing he felt would correctly soothe his best friend’s worries anyway. “I’m sure we’ll be fine too … things like that …” Justin shrugged, left the reply in the middle.
“They just happen,” like their misfortune, like Maddie’s pregnancy against all belief and faith and sure, it’d been his mistake and Mark’s peeve, but he was glad in the end there was going to be something of theirs tying them together forever. Even if that meant taking the risk of death. Life wasn’t just about playing things safe. Things just didn’t work that way.
They weren’t kids any more either, no matter how much they wanted and ‘bring on that joke’, because there was nothing more Justin wanted than for them to return to that moment where everything was at least reasonably alright still. When Maddie and Mark’s mother still lived and they weren’t yet weighed down by the corruption of the world and its malicious intent.
“What, you just want to kiss and make up, that it?” Justin joked, nudging his friend in the ribs with his elbow, “well, quick then, they’re not watching now,” he teased, pursing his lips while closing his eyes, facing Mark.
Carefully opening one eye after the other, Justin chuckled, “yes daddy, Mark, no daddy Mark,” Justin started, watching his best friend mischievously. Something had changed yesterday, or maybe the process had been a slow one but Justin finally felt he could leave the whole thing behind him once and for all. “I will take care of Maddie, and no, I won’t let her die –that is, if I can help it,” he expanded his replies, taking the juice from the table and stood, pushing away from the table and ended up staring through the window. Goodbye palm-trees, warm breeze and freedom, hello responsibility, life and all the other muck.
For a moment though things didn’t appear quite as overwhelming the way they had before but manageable, and while Justin knew Mark would be miles away, hoping and praying, it fell to him to see to things now. Sure, Maddie’s older brother would still be just a phone call away, but too distant to actively participate in their lives. The same went the other way around.
“Never really thanked you,” Justin piped up, smiling, slightly embarrassed. “For being there, I mean –at the hospital, though, honest, I don’t recall much from what happened after the surgery.” Scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably Justin cleared his throat, “Just –thanks,” he said, with a soft voice, putting down the glass on the table as he passed.
“I should go help Maddie pack,” Justin excused himself, making his way towards their room.
"Alright, Matthews! Watch it." Mark put in and frowned, "Is this steal all my food day?" He asked the air and looked to his wife for help. Rachel shrugged at him and smiled, looking to Alice who seemed enthralled at just how Justin had managed to procure that curious object from his mouth along with wondering if she would be able to do such magical yricks when she grew up. Maddie just smiled and shook her head at them, "One day, you'll both grow up." She said to them both. "Right, I'll pack, because you two lazy bums are useless." She smiled, betraying that she was joking. Mark grinned and handed her a piece of toast, as a reward for her actions as she finished the stolen juice and got up. She wandered back up to the room. Mark just watched her go and quirked a brow. Rachel tutted at them, "You two!" She shook her head and tittered at them. Mark smiled at her and then cast his gaze to Maddie's disappearing form. She looked much better. The sun and Rachel's crafty cooking had been good to both Justin and his sister. Racchel knew exactly what to give a pregnant woman to help her along and the brunette made a mental note to scribble some things down for her.
Mark looked to Rachel for the flight time, his wife being the more organised. "Two PM." She said. "You've plenty of time." She assured with a smile. Mark grinned at her and looked to Justin and leant back, "There, we'll drop you off obviously." He smirked happily to him. "Think you'll be okay?" He asked, tone getting a bit more serious. Rachel seemed to take the tone as a cue and she got up, heading upstairs with Alice, going to keep Maddie company. Mark sighed a bit, running a hand through his red hair and glancing to the stairs. "We've done alright, really. I mean, not everything's been perfect. But we've done okay." He murmured.
Despite everything, they had coped well. Justin and his sister and Mark knew they would have their happiness because no other couple deserved it more than them. Sure, there were still things to worry about, especially with the pregnancy and Justin still recovering from major surgery. They still had a lot to do but Mark wanted them to know he and Rachel were only a phonecall away should they need anything. He did feel a bit useless, being in Australia but he was doing his best to try and make up for all his misdoings and not being their friend or family. He just hoped Maddie and Justin could forgive him for it all. They had every right to act awkward and not want him to be the first person they called when things went wrong but he wanted to be a part of their life. He could see that sometimes his sister was distant from him, shying away. After all the horrors she had made him confront yesterday. He hadn't been able to laugh it off, what she had gone through had been serious and Mark had realisedhow close his baby sister had been to dying, without a soul to notice.
The eldest Merniette shook his head. "I just- " he cut off. There weren't any words that could make this right. His sister was in the care of another man, a man that wasn't a Merniette but a man Mark trusted entirely. He drew in abreath and rubbed his eyes. He wasn't going to lecture Justin with how he should look after Mads, that would no doubt cause offence and grief. That was the last thing he wanted and Justin had done a fine job, the best in fact, at looking after Maddie, even since they were kids. If Maddie had had a rough day, Justin would be there just as much as Mark. "I just wwant to know both of you will be okay." He finished and looked a bit contrite for a second. It seemed totally likely he would get a phonecall out the bkue,, 'Hey, yesh, we lost the baby.' Or 'Maddie's in Hospital.' He sighed again and slumped back in his chair. He had a family, he was happy abd he wanted to see his sister and friend the same way.
Waiting around for Maddie to find himself preoccupied with an insidious stare down with some proper shorts for a change, although a clean shirt tried to wheedle its way into the showing off of dominant willpower and strength but lost on account of being speckled with wild floral flowers –one of Mark’s, obviously, and shouting ‘I’m here’, instead of covertly whispering ‘you want to be presentable’ like the pants did. Eventually Justin surrendered and pushed his feet through the meagre holes provided, immediately regretting his action as the solar powered ball of gas up in the sky screamed bloody murder and heatstroke, making the Londoner cringe as sweat broke out. He hadn’t even realized what time it was before catching Maddie’s invigorated presence and concluded it couldn’t be late if he was both on time for breakfast and up before the female Merniette could concoct her evil scheme of mayhem, murder and cold water tossed across hung over heads. The kiss was mischievous, almost taunting him and showing off she was still the one commanding the scene, both in the speed with which she woke up and the pretences she obviously enjoyed keeping.
Justin smirked, “hey,” he said coyly, commenting on the fact that her going first would still make it seem like he was late instead of her, “you’re ruining my reputation on purpose,” Justin teased, snorting softly as he followed Maddie down the stairs. On the lower floor a soft breeze filtered through the mostly sandstone building, sun streaking in here and there, but with plenty of shadow to make things pleasantly cool.
“Morning,” Justin muttered softly in reply to Rachel, distracted.
The scent of food caught his senses, and for once his stomach agreed on whatever was put to the table: toast, pancakes, jam, tea and orange juice, eggs and ham, and bread. Cradling an appetite for everything Justin padded towards the sink and filled up a glass with water, thoroughly parched still after yesterdays abstaining and patted the cabinets down for his medicine and ‘give it up, your crooks, I know who did it!’, which was lacking in impressiveness on account of him snorting at Maddie’s lewd theft.
Finally realizing that the wayward box was most likely somewhere in the bedroom, Justin surrendered and took a seat of his own, close to Mark, stealing some of his breakfast as he was too preoccupied with dealing with Maddie. Unlike the blonde though, his theft went unnoticed by all but Alice, who couldn’t really call him out on it, but made little sounds to denote her malcontent anyway, quieted and shushed by Alice, which made Justin stick out his tongue in defiance.
Maybe she’d pick up on that and Justin pretended to be innocent when Rachel’s decide to hover in his direction.
“Hmm?” he started, growing aware the topic had landed to his name and he raised his hands, “I’m innocent, I swear,” and pointed at Mark, “blame him.” When he clued on they were praising him for being such a gentle presence around Alice Justin merely grinned mischievously, “well, now, that I can tell you. My name’s Justin, not Mark, and that’s the gist of it,” he shrugged, chuckling devilishly, waiting to duck one of Mark’s swings into his direction. “Though you’d expect him to be able to communicate better on Alice’s level,” he added injury to insult and reached over for some bread, gesturing he was eating and ‘wasn’t me, let me eat, thank you, because I know you’ve been worried about that lately’.
“It’s unanimous then,” Justin tossed in his two cents, deciding Maddie was better doing packing than him anyway, and frankly, clothes and the sorts hadn’t really been a priority, leaving the Londoner clueless on which clothes were actually his and which they’d inevitably borrowed from Mark. The current shirt he wore was loose around his shoulders, so Justin suspected it wasn’t his, though the shirt was bound to be the last to mind not going any places Mark went to –especially when the other went around cleaning out the animal cages in the back.
Somehow though the atmosphere between the two Merniettes appeared less strained than before, and though Justin hazily recalled the two had a conversation yesterday of which the topic was open for suggestion but clear to assumption, he wasn’t entirely sure what had passed between the two. He did know it’d taken them quite long enough. Maybe that’d been the last concern he’d before leaving; Mark secluding himself on his own private little island amid the sea again and them on theirs. The difference really was just the amount of affectionate sunshine and ‘a little less please’, opposed to ‘a little more, please’.
“Reckon packing won’t be long,” Justin tossed in, serious for a bit. “What time does the plane leave anyway?”
Mark had done a good job in waking up everyone, including his daughter who had started wailing the walls down. "That man..." she smirked a little and returned Justin's sweet kiss. She pushed herself up and yawned, rubbing her eyes and motioning to Justin she would be two minutes. She gathered up some clothes, making her way into the bathroom as she took care of things, changing into a t-shirt and jeans. She gazed at her reflection in the mirror, studying the woman looking back at her. She looked so different from the poor excuse for a human which had been wrapped up in some blue dress which had one day fitted nicely just a couple of months ago.
She was clean and had put a bit of weight on. Sure, she wasn't perfect but it was something. There was something else, too. She was happy. For the first time in years, there was a long lasting happiness which would not be so easily snatched away because she wouldn't let it be stolen from her. She was going to be a mother, and as she tied her golden ringlets back from her face, she couldn't help but feel a small amount pride. Pride for Justin, for Mark and Rachel but also pride for herself. A pride that resided in her like a lioness. And from pride came her confidence. Maddie folded the pajamas she had slept in and exited the bathroom, looking fresh faced and more awake as she smiked to herself. There was next to no worry to see in her eyes.
Maddie grinned to Justin and set her things down before heading downstairs and pausing to plant a kiss to Justin's cheek, a playful smile on her face. "Right, let's see of Mark's scoffed down everything or if he's found his heart and left us something." She laughed softly, making her way downstairs. Rachel was sitting with little Alice who had quietened uer wails down to pitiful whimpers. "Good morning." Rachel said with a smile. Mark was sat at the table, helping himself to his wife's marvellous cooking. Rachel had absmall plate beside her but was more focused on keeping Alice quiet and sertled, even making some hope that the little blighter would sleep soundly but she had slept a long while last night.
Maddie picked up some biits and pieces and sat down at the table, thieving her brother's untouched orange juice and she smiled at his offended expression. "Oi, you thieving minx!" He scolded and shook his head at her. "You pregnant women are all little sneaks." He accused and Rachel piped up, "Ahem, Mark Merniette, you're a sneak full stop and I'll remind you that you cannot get pregnant, therefore, you have no excuse." It was no surprise her husband soon busied herself with breakfast after that. Madddie smiled at him and took a sip from her stolen goods. Rachel looked to them, "Whatever you two did last night with Alice, you managed to get her to sleep through most of the night. Well, she woke up pretty early. About six." She beamed and Maddie looked to Justin, "Justin deserves credit for that." She said, seeing as Alice had already been asleep when Maddie had entered the scene. "Well, leave a piece of paper with your secrets written dowm, would you?" Rachel said. It seemed her and Mark had done a wonderful jon adjusting to Alice's demands and her own little timetable of when she wantd to be awake, when she wanted fed and when she wanted to sleep. She was a little marvel, with her parents wound tightly around her little fingers. Maddie smiled softly, it wouldn't be all too long before the same could be said for Maddie and Justin with their newborn when it arrived
"Have you packed?" Mark asked and Maddie shook her head, looking to him. "I vote Mads does the packing." Mark said and Maddie shrugged. "Only because I'm organised." She retorted, bemused and Mark smirked a little. He was going to miss his sister but he had made an agreement to phone her and ajustin once a week and they were going to fly over to Britain after Maddie had given birth to the baby.He didn't want to be excluded fom her life ever again. Too much pain had caused a rift between siblings and friends and Mark would rather see it pieced back together over tike.
It was like watching a soul be reborn and ‘please tell me you’re not required to recall past lives’, because Maddie sure could do with a few less bad memories on her part, though Justin decided he’d be awfully peeved if he didn’t quite find himself between the recollection Maddie had off all the events in which they’d performed mischief, the location of his missing spoon and lost phone. By some force unconsciously taking command of his body at the blissful sight of an Angel descending back into the body of Maddie as her bright soul, Justin smiled in return, utterly content to just watch the young woman all day long in attempts to assure she’d be just fine and nothing would harm her or their unborn baby.
It was a strange sensation, having the you’s and I’s turn into ‘us’ and ‘we’, in his head. Perhaps they were doing things backwards, but the Londoner was assured they’d catch up eventually, pressured or not by the child which would inevitably steal their hearts and ‘I didn’t take those cookies, mommy, honest’, before running away with the behind their backs. Justin didn’t really find himself caring though, not matter how intimidating the responsibilities. At least he got to play mischievous dad, teaching their newborn all sorts of tricks and trades assuring the toddler would manage to stand up against Mark, him, Maddie and life in general, which strangely aligned like that and made him feel decidedly adult already and ‘someone safe me, I’m growing up!’.
When finally Maddie woke sufficiently to find his presence in the plethora of awkwardly arranged realities, Justin kissed her lips, shaking his head some as he leaned over her, still sporting a goofy grin, “no, just went to freshen up,” he assured Maddie, who wasn’t usually lagging behind on the waking up part, especially since his surgery. Then again, he’d been sleeping pretty much all day yesterday, and the better part of last night, so he supposed it was fair he was up earlier than anyone would deem possible and ‘watch it, the world might end today’, alerting all newspapers to print the news Matthews got up before the clock struck twelve of his own volition. A miracle indeed.
Justin reached out to touch Maddie’s face, but his action was thoroughly interrupted by Mark, all but tumbling into their room with the wind like some weed across a desert plain dry as ice, though quickly melting into a waterfall of words. As if that paradox wasn’t enough to describe the waylaid Merniette, Mark started teasing them, observing the stunningly obvious once more.
Mouthing a ‘you’d expect him to grow up’, to Maddie, Justin smirked, turning to face Mark and toss the ball back into the Australian’s court. He wasn’t really swift enough however, as his best friend just left behind the collect call dialling food, and went to fetch his own before everything was wolfed down with vigour.
Groaning playfully, Justin closed his eyes, sighing at Mark’s departure, “best follow after, if we want breakfast, that is,” he suggested. His stomach agreed food was the best solution, agreeing with his mind as if struck by a deal, and not lightning, which would’ve been illuminating all the same. Justin stole a chaste kiss from Maddie’s lips before smiling and getting up, taking care to take things easy so as not to aggravate any complications between his body and mind, and the negotiations of peace lingering in the dawn of morning’s sunshine. It didn’t bode too well though as the dull pain stemming from his missing piece of lung couldn’t very well be communicated with and therefore the treaty was in remission for the time being.
Justin turned at the door, straightening his shirt as he ran a distracted hand through his sleep-tousled curls, smiling gently, “you coming?”
An easy nights sleep followed the light hearted chat her and Justin had shared previously, little Alice had been discovered by her mother whoo had unearthed her from blankets and no doubt settled her in her cot. For once, and unexpectedly, Maddie slept through the night. Her mind clear despite the troubling thoughts of going home and leaving her brother with his family. He would be alright, of course he would. He had a family to tend to. A wife and daughter who would take no prisoners and Mark, however much Maddie jested, had grown up a lot. Still the boy at times but Maddie had noticed the differences whenever he kissed his wife's cheek or held that little bundle of pink. He would manage.
The morning sunlight didn't stir her, too comfortable to shift from beneath the blankets but she did notice Justin's abscence and instantly wanted it back despite her eyes staying unopen. A little smile graced her features as she felt his lips brush her cheek. She could hear him pad off in sratch of the bathroom and she stirred a little, reluctant to actually get up. She knew they had to leave, for their sakes. Staying here any longer would just make things more difficult. Maddie needed to move on, with Justin because it was the right thing to do right then. She would never lumber Mark with her forever. That had been exactly what her father had done and look where it had gotten him, swinging bfrom the roof. Maddie knew things such as that would never be erased from memory, let alone forgotten anytime soon.
Justin returned and Maddie groggily opened her eyes. The blue hues took a while to adjust to the rush of light and new images. They sought out Justin and she smiled a bit. "Hey." She said softly and sat up, stretching a little and looking the curly haired man over. "Been up long?" She asked, she hadn't kept track of time all too well and hoped she hadn't slept through too much. She rubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand and stifled a yawn. So, today was the day. A plane lay waiting for them in some airport and Maddie blinked, freeing her mind of such things. She sat up a bit more and grinned to Justin, he looked a bit better than he had yesterday.
Quiet moment was interrupted by a familliar res head pokijg his head around the door, cheshire grin plastred on his face. "Oh-ho, Mads isn't up before Justin? That's a shock." He teased and Maddie shook her head. Her brother never did believe in knocking, ever. And he was forever putting on that brave grin of his. Maddie frowned at him, "Ever heard of knocking? Me and Justin could have been doing anything and we wouldn't want your poor eyes being stained, now would we?" She hid a small laugh from her brother's now less than amused face. Mark still had a bit of a hard time trying to get over that his baby sister was pregnant with his best friends child. He accepted it but it was still a little daunting to him..
His sister was still not at her healthiest and Mark worried what might happen to her. Miscarriage would topple his sister over the edge and he worried that would send her to a place where no one, not even himself of Justin could rescue her. He just shook his head at her and glanced between them. They certainly didn't look like they had been doing anything naughty or worth scolding. "Haha, you should become a comedian, Mads." Mark said, sarcasm dripping from him as he rolled his eyes. "Rachel's cooking breakfast. And I'm hungry, like really hungry so if you want a chance at food, you best move your butts." He chuckled and ducked out.
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