Generation Three: Alaina: Part Four
Warnings: partial nudity, implied sex
Leo had been a gardener, true, but what he really wanted to do for a living was become a scientist.
He’d been preparing hard for it in his spare time, but just hadn’t been able to find the position he wanted. As he said to Alaina, his job kept him from finding work. Alaina had giggled at that, but she knew what he meant. He’d put in such long hours every day gardening around the neighborhood, that by the time he was finished, all prospective employers would be closed or else he would just simply be too tired for a job search.
However, she assured him now he did not have to worry about that any more. “No more gardening for you,” Alaina told him. “Well, except for ours... you should know that I kill every plant I ever come in contact with.”
Leo laughed at that, promised to still take care of their garden, and immediately began looking for employment as a scientist.
He had already prepared himself so much, honing the skills he would need, he was able to land a job right away as a top secret researcher in conjunction with the military. Finally, he thought... Finally I can do this! I can devote my time to the field of science! My life’s dream!
However, what he wanted to do above anything else was become Alaina’s husband, and the two of them said their vows together one beautiful evening surrounded by happily approving family and friends.
Leo was astonished to meet his wife’s uncle-by-marriage, Count Destry, and spent a lot of time talking with him during the reception. Alaina was likewise thrilled to see her cousin and best friend Carmen again, and began grilling her as to how things were going back at school.
“Oh, it's the same old same old,” Carmen said breezily. “Still trying to avoid my Drama prof, you know... the guy’s an idiot. Thinks he’s in love with me or something. I mean, puh-leeze! As if!” She rolled her eyes.
“Well, are you seeing anyone new?” Alaina asked. “Any of those cute guys from the dorm?”
“Well, actually,” Carmen said with a giggle, “Daddy’s been playing matchmaker for me.” She cast a glance at her father, who was animatedly talking with Leo, and rubbed her hand nonchalantly over her neck. Alaina’s gaze was drawn to her cousin’s throat, and she saw the half-healed bite marks there.
She gasped with shock and brushed Carmen’s hair away from her neck for a better look.
“Carmen...” Alaina breathed, amazed, “Are you dating... a vampire?”
"Well, he’s one of Daddy’s old friends,” Carmen explained. “Very old,” she laughed. “...and it’s more than dating. We’re engaged to be married now.”
“Oh, Carmen, that’s fantastic!” Alaina enthused, hugging her cousin. “I can’t wait to meet him! Oh, but... your poor neck,” she worried. The pale, crescent-shaped scars stood out lividly against her cousin’s velvety dark skin.
“It goes with the territory,” Carmen grinned, flipping her chestnut hair back into place. "Actually,” she shrugged, “most of the time I don’t even realize he’s doing it until afterward. It’s very sensual for them, you know, and it's a big part of making love with --"
“I’ll take your word for it.” Alaina interrupted with a shiver. She could think of other things to do during lovemaking, thank you very much!
Speaking of which, she thought dreamily, looking around the throng of wedding guests for her new husband. She saw him still talking with Count Destry, and even though she hadn’t spoken, he looked up quickly, as though she had called out to him.
Alaina’s breath caught in her throat as Leo's eyes met hers, and she felt a sudden thrill of anticipation creep over her body. In an instant, her husband was at her side.
“Ready to get out of here?” he whispered, reaching for her and nuzzling her neck.
Alaina felt gooseflesh rising all over her skin, and she pulled him close and laughed.
“You read my mind.”
Time passed. Despite her happy marriage to Leo, Alaina continued to find it difficult to live in her family home, now that she knew her mother had died there and how.
Almost against her will, she found herself standing below the trap door to the attic and staring up at it several times a day. There were still no stairs leading to it, nor would there ever be. Seeing the inside of that attic was the last thing Alaina ever wanted to do.
However, it seemed she could not help standing below the sealed trap-door, gazing up at it, and wondering...
“Honey, are you all right?” Leo asked as he walked up behind Alaina one afternoon about five months into their marriage. He wrapped his arms around her waist, smiling as his hands curved around the swelling bulge he found below her belly button.
Alaina was in her second trimester with the baby she had conceived on their wedding night, and Leo couldn’t be more thrilled.
He had just gotten home from work, and, not finding Alaina in the living room, bedroom, or kitchen, he knew just where to look for her. It hadn’t been the first time he had found his wife standing below this trap door, staring up at it, as though mesmerized.
Leo kissed the back of Alaina’s neck and rocked them slowly back and forth.
“You really shouldn’t do this to yourself, Alaina,” he chided gently. “I know how much it bothers you, and you shouldn’t be getting yourself upset. The doctor said...”
“I can’t help it,” Alaina whispered, her lips trembling. “I just keep thinking about how it must have been for her, left up there... dying... ” her voice trailed off and she took a deep breath. “...and myself, just a baby, so helpless! Not able to do anything for her at all!” She stroked her own rounded abdomen while tears ran down her cheeks. “Leo, what could I have done?”
“Nothing!” he insisted. “Alaina, you weren’t even three months old!” He turned her to face him and made her look into his eyes. “I want you to stop thinking this way, Alaina. Please. It hurts you too much! I hate to see you like this...”
Then, to distract her from her abhorrent thoughts in the only way he could think of, he kissed her fervently and pulled her into the bedroom nearby where he carefully left no part of her untouched, and left no room in her thoughts for anything but him and what he was doing to and for her.
It worked for a time. Alaina forgot herself in Leo’s embrace, and she fell asleep the only way she could in this house now, with her husband curled closely around her, listening to the sounds of his breathing.
“You did great, honey, I mean it! You really did!” Leo could not keep the pride from his voice as he praised Alaina after the birth of their baby girl.
They were in her postpartum room in the hospital maternity ward after a mass of enthusiastic visitors had just left; simply enjoying their first afternoon together as a family.
“Which part was the best?” Alaina asked with a grin, “the part where I told that nurse she didn't know what the hell she was talking about, or the part where they told me it was too late for an epidural and I threw that thing across the room... what was that thing again?”
“Hmm... an IV pole?” Leo chuckled. “Luckily it wasn’t the one attached to your arm at the time.” He cuddled his new baby daughter and she gurgled. “Seriously, Laney, you were fantastic. Not many women do it without medication these days.”
“I can see why,” Alaina giggled, then she grimaced, clutched at her abdomen and groaned. “Don’t make me laugh, Leo! I swear, everything between my rib cage and knees hurts like hell. And I do mean everything. Going to the bathroom will be a totally new experience the next time it happens… and I don’t even want to think about having sex!”
In spite of her discomforts, however, she laughed again. She felt too exhilarated to hold it in for long.
She couldn’t explain it, but the pain she was feeling was good pain. Oh, it hurt like crazy... her stomach muscles felt as though she’d spent an entire day doing sit-ups and her nether regions felt as though she wouldn’t be able to sit down properly for a month, but it was good pain. It was pain that meant something.
It meant she was a mother… a mother to the most beautiful baby girl in the world; Margaret Hope Standish, to be called Hope, for that was what she brought to Alaina.
Hope that in spite of everything, life sees fit to go on.
Leo gently gave their baby to Alaina to feed, and sat in a chair close by his wife’s bedside, watching his new family. Alaina gazed lovingly at her new daughter’s tiny face as the baby suckled, and examined her tiny fingers and soft skin.
Then, as she cuddled Hope close and looked into her bright green eyes, so much like Leo’s, Alaina felt something within her heart gently change. What it was, she couldn’t describe or explain; all she knew was she suddenly felt peaceful and brimful with happiness. She looked joyfully at her husband, and his breath caught as he looked into her glowing face and gently touched her cheek.
Although Alaina couldn’t see it, Leo could have told her that the haunted expression he had noticed about her so long ago had finally left her eyes.
To Be Continued...