Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chapter 12 Carrying Twins

"Are you alright?" Hunter called through the door after Aria had mysteriously fled in the middle of eating breakfast. 

Aria almost groaned, wiping her mouth that now tasted distinctively of grape pancakes. 

"This all your fault," she told him, walking out the door again.
 "How?" Hunter asked her confused.
 Aria glared at him, "You got me pregnant, the one time we don't use protection and this is the result," she grumbled. 
Hunter just smiled as she took a seat, he knew that even though Aria was pretending it was a bad thing she was ecstatic. Maybe twenty was a little too young, but neither of the Zions would change their decision for the world. 
"We have a doctor's appointment soon and then you have lunch with Alicia," Hunter told her, staring disapprovingly at her still dressed in her night clothes. 
"Don't mention her name," Aria grumbled. As soon as she had found out about the pregnancy Alicia had been so excited, claiming that she would be the best great auntie ever. Aria hadn't worked out anyway to get her out of her child's life. They were due for their scan it was fifteen weeks and they were hoping to find out the gender this time, they had another at ten weeks but it was to early. 
"I'm really happy at the moment," Hunter told Aria, giving her a kiss. 

This was enough to make Aria smile, "Me too," she agreed.  

Aria hated ultrasounds they seemed to do a lot without actually telling you what they were doing.

 "Just excuse me a minute," the nurse told them not explaining why. 
Aria reached out to grab Hunter's hand, "It'll be fine," he promised his eyes on the screen that showed their child. A doctor came in to have a look, leaving Aria more worried than before.
 "You're expecting twins," he announced quite suddenly and both Aria and Hunter looked at each other in shock. 
"Now they're identical and they share a placenta," he said after a few moments giving them time to recover. 
"Is that bad?" Hunter asked. 
"No it just means they run the risk of developing twin to twin transfusion, which is an unequal flow of blood to each twin, which affects growth," the doctor explained to them, "but don't worry it only happens to one out of ten. You'll just need to have scans every two weeks from 16 weeks to 24 weeks. Its also normal in all identical twins that one won't grow to the same size which I'm already seeing so you're probably going to be looking at an early birth before 37 weeks as your smaller twin may stop growing." Aria nodded, looking down at her stomach for the first time afraid for the life in side. Hunter gently squeezed her hand, trying to reassure her it would be okay.
 "So would you like to know the gender?" the doctor questioned them. Both Hunter and Aria nodded eagerly the seriousness of their condition forgotten in their excitement. 
"Looks like a girl," he informed them 

Hunter and Aria were scared at first at the thought of having twins, all they responsibility heaped onto them but they quickly decided it was a blessing. The first thing they focused on doing was setting up the nursery meaning Aria's salon station had to gone.

 Which was fine since Hunter C had just lost his job at the bistro after they had to make cutbacks, so he quickly agreed to take over Aria's business until she was ready to come back. 

They could easily afford to live off the fashion designs Aria was selling and Hunter's book royalties

"What do you think about Cameron?" Aria asked one night. 
Hunter made a sound, "You can't turn down every name," Aria snapped. 
"I'm not," Hunter protested. 
Aria just gave him a look, studying the name book again, "How about we name one each," she proposed. 

Hunter considered if for a second, "Alright," he agreed. 
Every name that the other one came up with they hated, so finding two names they both liked would be a mission. Aria decided on Cameron, Hunter on Violet. Neither really liked the name the other chose and while Aria was very vocal about it, Hunter was careful not to be. The hormones were getting to Aria and the fact the twins had developed early signs of TTTS which meant weekly ultrasounds. She had had just about had enough of Alicia and the family and was prepared to stamp on her phone. She didn't want them near her children, and Hunter was the only one stopping her from telling them. 

They finally finished the nursery and looked at their handy work with pride, two cots stood waiting to be filled. 

Aria's specialist had carried out a procedure that would hopefully help the second twin, but he wasn't happy at how small it was looking. By 34 weeks it had all but stopped growing, they wanted to see if they could hold out a little bit in the hopes it would continue its growth but no such luck. Aria was booked in to be induced at 35 weeks, lucky for them everything was prepared. 
"Call as soon as their born," Constance, Hunter C and Buck demanded. All of them were already parents so they knew how it went. Aria was at least glad her babies would have mates to play with. 
"It's going to be okay, isn't it?" Aria asked Hunter, before they left. Hunter pulled her into a kiss, "Of course, their confident." 

Aria hesitated she loved her unborn children more than she thought possible she couldn't even begin to imagine the pain she would feel if she lost one of them. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chapter 11 Two Years Gone

"It's the red one," Alicia called out to Aria snapping her out of her thoughts.

 "What?" Aria asked confused, she hadn't really been listening to what Alicia had been saying. 
Alicia just shook her head, "Never mind, are you coming to visit the family in summer?" Alicia questioned her. 
Aria internally groaned, "Um I don't think so, we just don't have the money for it," she said shrugging. Alicia gave her a look, one that Aria was very familiar with, "They'll pay your flights." 

"No it doesn't feel right, I like making my own money," Aria countered smiling. 
Alicia sighed, "Your loss, so what were you thinking about?" 
Aria looked down, "I was just wondering what Hunter had planned for Love Day," she admitted.
 Alicia smiled, "It'll probably be a picnic at the park, he's a romantic like that." 

"And Norman's not?" she asked. 
Alicia rolled her eyes, "If you count the flowers his assistant brought romantic then yeah. To be honest I think he's flying us over to Sunlit Tides." 
"Well that's good, isn't it?" Aria asked confused. 
"He has a business meeting there," Alicia informed her.
 "Oh," is all Aria said in reply. Once again Aria found herself wondering if Alicia and Norman were really in love, she doubted it, the family needed some of his business, so they had married off their daughter like she was just a business asset. Thinking that made it easier to stay in the same room with her, but not by much. Aria remembered clearly the conversation she had with Hunter that led her to this moment.  

"What am I going to do they killed my parent's, for what?" Aria screamed at Hunter upset, it had been a few days after her parents funeral. Hunter stood there calm as anything but Aria could tell that inside he was secretly fuming, "Aria you need to calm down," he told her.

 "Calm down? I can't I don't know what they want, it doesn't make any sense. Nobody that evil cares that much about their family," she said continuing to scream. 
"I don't know either Aria but," Hunter started pausing on the word as if unsure if now was the time to bring the subject up. 
"What?" Aria hissed. 
"You know this isn't the end," he finally said. 
"Why like killing my parents isn't enough?" she snapped. 
Hunter sighed before he said, "You got a text from Alicia today she said that she hoped you'd had enough time to come to your senses." 

Aria exploded, "What right does she have? I hate her I hate them, this is my fault I never should have looked for my bio mother, I ruined everything."
 Hunter hugged her, "No Aria, this isn't your fault. I don't know why they doing this but its not you," he assured her. 

Aria sniffed feeling a fresh lot of tears coming on, "I have a brother and a sister Hunter, what if they're next." Hunter didn't say anything, this wasn't something he could fix. Aria let the tears fall, the crying exhausted her as she fell asleep in Hunter's arms. Hunter moved her to the couch and a few hours when she did come back down she had made her decision, "I'll join their family," she announced in a whisper.  

The first time Aria met the family she wanted to be sick. They acted as if they were so excited to meet her, as if they hadn't blackmailed her to be one of them. Aria had learnt to hide her feelings well in the last two years, but she hated them all. She hated the fact her and Alicia lived in the same town and the fact she had to see her.  It didn't take her long to understand the reason why they wanted Aria as part of the family so much, and just this once it wasn't her fault. As Aria learned in the criminal business it was all about respect, the Amador family were at the top because they were ruthless and unrivaled. Ariel after what happened to James, started working with the FBI to bring them to down from the inside. Somehow the family found out, unfortunately Ariel wouldn't back down and she had to be taken care of. However some of the family's employees the ones a step away from the inner sanctum starting questioning them, if they couldn’t handle their own family, how could they run the business? They couldn't even order the daughter who was going to ruin them to be killed. Enter Aria, she was the perfect example to prove Ariel was a one off a bad shot in the line, so to speak. It took Aria a while to realize but she was being used to advertise the family, prove they were as strong as ever. She was the only family member that hadn't had a part in the family, and by forcing her in they appeared unified and her hatred of Ariel proved the point even more. Aria hated herself for what she was doing, but two years had started to numb her to it. 

Things her in life were going well despite this, she never accepted the family's money and her styling business was better than ever. Hunter had more books and best-seller's to the list. 
"You're home," Hunter said cheerfully as Aria walked through the door after getting back from seeing Alicia.
 "Yeah," Aria said tiredly.
"That bad?" Hunter asked. 

Aria rolled her eyes, "When isn't it?"
 "It'll get better," Hunter promised. 
"I doubt it," Aria replied sadly. 
"Wait, I have good news," Hunter declared thinking of something that would cheer her up. 
"What?" Aria asked a tad excited at seeing Hunter's smiling face. 
"Hunter C called and said him, Constance, and Buck have all decided on Egypt for a summer holiday, which means we're going to," he told her.

 Aria grinned, she hadn't heard anything better. Constance and her husband Buck much to Aria's surprise were now her other two best friends and Hunter C got on with them as well to. Aria had indeed grown up, her selfishness although still part of her, had been put firmly in the past. She didn't have time to be selfish when someone else controlled her life, it was this thought that made Aria's smile disappear from her face. 
"We can't," she told Hunter. 
"Why?" he asked confused. 
"Because we're meant to be going with the family and I told them we couldn’t afford to go anywhere," Aria informed him. 

"I'll call the others," was all Hunter said there was no argument or discussion they didn't need to.

 The Amador family was not one you messed with, for anything.  

A coupe of days later Love Day arrived and Hunter took Aria to the spring festival the perfect distraction for her. She sometimes wondered why Hunter stood by her side life would have been easier with someone else. For the first time in ages, Aria remembered what it was like to be young and careless. Aria and Hunter skated like they use to as kids, but Aria couldn't remember how they got so out of practice as she fell on her face. 

The did things they hadn't since they were teenagers and Aria wished she could just rewind to that time.

 They both thought it was pretty funny when she sneaked behind the kissing booth and Hunter pretended he was a customer. 

The night ended with them watching the stars, as Hunter pointed out some of his favorite constellations and they whispered about the people around them. 

Although it would be inaccurate to say the night exactly ended there. 

Aria had never been more happy in her life, but as they saying goes there's a calm before the storm. If Aria had thought life had dealt her, her dish and she could move on she had never been more wrong. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chapter 10 The Price to Pay

Aria started on the salon set-up as soon as she had officially sent in her resignation to Alicia. A part of her regretted that it didn't turn out differently, if her family hadn't been who they were, she knew they would have been close. The second bedroom was styled into Aria's salon room, something she felt bad about because the reason the room was there was for any children they might have. However they couldn't afford to expand yet, so it was their it had to be.

 Hunter and Aria had considered moving, but they decided what's the point? This place was theirs and to be honest they both loved it. Aria lost a few customers with the switch over which hurt but most of her list came over with her. Most of them were impressed and pleased she had dared to open her own business so young, Aria thought that she forgot most of the time that she was only nineteen. It seemed so much had already happened to her in such a short space of time. Hunter was still busy with his books and he had now surpassed his own goal of earning 4,000 simeloens worth of royalties a week. It was 4,222 to be exact, he kept writing but didn't really feel the need for so much press as he was such a renowned author. His newest book The Thief who Stole Everything was a best-seller as well. Constance told Hunter she had, had an offer to buy the manuscript for a movie but Hunter politely declined saying movies always ruined books.  

Spring was coming to its ends and it was on one of the simmering hot days that Aria was relaxing on the couch when the doorbell chimed.

 "Maybe's it’s a customer," Hunter called from his desk.
 "On a Sunday?" Aria asked in disbelief, regretfully moving her body away from the couch.
 Opening the door she was surprised to see her Aunt Alicia on the other side, a sense of dread sunk itself into Aria's heart. 

"Hi Aria, you don't mind if I come in do you?" she questioned, walking through the door anyway. 
Hunter looked up, "Oh this is my husband Hunter, Hunter Alicia," she introduced them. 
Hunter stood up giving Aria a worried look, "Nice to meet you," he said. 
"You too," Alicia replied cheerfully but something about it felt fake to Aria. 

Hunter must have sensed something to because he quickly made an excuse to leave, "I have to meet Constance," he explained before leaving. 
Aria turned to Alicia, "So can I get you something tea, coffee," she offered feeling self-conscious of her home as Alicia inspected it. 
Alicia shook her head, "No Aria that isn't necessary," she said taking a seat. 
Nervously Aria sat down next to her, "So what brings you here?" Aria questioned Alicia lightly. 
"Look I hate to be the one to do this but sometimes things just work out that way you know. My sister Ariel bless her soul had a thing about our family and I only hope she didn't pass it onto you," Alicia told her looking at Aria's reaction. 

Aria remembered the one and only conversation she had ever had with her birth-mother and remembered her exact words. "Aria I love you, you’re my daughter but I can't see you, if they know you exist they'll get their claws into you and they won't let go. My family never forgives Aria and they never forget." 
Now all of a sudden Aria could see the wisdom in her words and she didn't hate her quite so much. "Look, I went looking for my biological mother and I found Ariel and that satisfied my curiosity. I'm quite happy with my real parents and my real family," Aria told Alicia emphasizing the key words. 

Alicia sniffed obviously not impressed, "Aria come now, we're blood you carry our genes we just want you to be part of the family. Just give us a chance," Alicia said to her. 

Aria could hear her bio mother's words ringing through her head no she wouldn't let them get her claws into her. Alicia already proved she didn't like Hunter, she would not let them control her life.
 "I'm not interested, thank you for everything you've done but I didn't ask for it. I just want to live my life as I have been," she told her firmly. 
"Aria, I am sorry my father tried very hard to gain custody of you but Ariel made sure you completely disappeared, she changed your name and everything. We only just found you again, you were father and mother's first granddaughter and they just want to meet you," Alicia explained to Aria and Aria was certain she was trying to guilt her into meeting them. 

"I'm sorry I can't," Aria repeated looking away. 

Alicia's features hardened and she stood up, Aria followed her to the door. 
Alicia turned to face Aria, "I hope you realize what you're doing, you can't just leave this family."
 "I think I just did," Aria responded. 
"There's always a price to pay are you sure you're ready to pay it?" Alicia taunted. 
This stopped Aria in her tracks, she knew what they were capable of. No Aria thought, they're just trying to scare me.
 "Of course, it was nice seeing you Alicia," Aria said coldly shutting the door. 

The dread increased when she told Hunter what had happened. "You did the right thing, they have no right to play with our lives," Hunter assured her, but Aria didn't think they were the type of people to make empty threats. As much as she didn't want to she decided to do some research, what she found shocked her.  Apparently the Amador family, her family funded every criminal organization on the mainland. In fact any drug deal, car jack, anything like that happened, you can be sure the Amador's money was behind it. However they couldn't jail them with anything solid, lots of lesser people took the blame in the ranks and apparently nobody could get into the inner sanctum, for only family resided there. It increased Aria's worry ten fold for maybe Alicia was right there was going to be a price. 
A phone call a couple of days later from Maria confirmed it. "Aria, I'm sorry I didn't know what to do they just barged in and took him, I tried calling the police but they have custody," Maria said through the phone, so fast Aria could barely understand her but she got the gist of it. 

"Maria calm down, what happened?" Aria asked worried. 
"Joseph Ariel's family took him, he's gone to live with them," she replied.
 I closed my eyes, if they couldn't have one of the children why not take the other one. Aria spent the next half an hour trying to calm Maria down and at the same time control her own guilt.  

"I'll just go to Alicia tell her I want to be part of it," she told Hunter. 
"Are you sure?" Hunter questioned. 
Aria considered it, it was like selling her soul to the devil but she had been selfish all her life but this time she couldn't chose herself over Joseph. 
"Yes, I have to," Aria said to him. 
Hunter nodded, "Good because I think it’s the right thing to do, but Aria you have to make them promise to leave Joseph alone." 
"I know," Aria replied, before her phone ringing stopped the conversation. 
"Hello," Aria said nervously since it was a number she had never seen. 
"Are you Aria Zion?" the man's voice asked. 
"Yes," Aria replied worried now because she knew that voice it was a pity voice. 
"I'm sorry but theirs been a terrible accident your parents were involved in a hit and run, I'm sorry they didn't make it," he informed her. 

Aria dropped the phone not understanding or processing what had just happened. She curled up on the floor replaying the man's words over and over, I'm sorry they didn't make it. 

She didn't know what possessed her to check her phone when it buzzed in her pocket but she wished she hadn't. The single sentence struck her with anger guilt and fear, she didn't have to ask who it was from. If we can't have our family, you can't have yours.