Chapter 1: Prologue
College graduation for most students, was the most exciting accomplishment of their young lives. For Claire Dearing it was just another day. With being placed on the organizing committee, preparing for the opening on Jurassic World was heavy on her mind. With corporate meetings sitting beside Mr. Masrani she was tasked with taking his notes for him. He had given her full control of making sure current employees stayed on schedule with setting up their food carts, stacking shelves in the stores, and organizing merchandise on racks. She went over food menus with the chefs and handed them off to Mr. Masrani for the final approval.
Knowing her official job title would change once she graduated college, so made sure to take her online classes even more seriously than she did her campus classes during her freshmen year.
Taking up Mr. Masrani’s offer to stay on the island and work for him, she knew it wouldn’t be easy working with him full time and going to school. There were a handful of interns that were asked to stay along with Claire and begin their careers at Jurassic World.
Claire quickly fell into a natural routine with morning meetings, back to her room for one or two classes, and then made her rounds around the park depending on her orders from Mr. Masrani. Her months leading up to graduation were scrambled up when Owen Grady moved to the island.
He was a Navy man, spending only four years in the military before InGen hired him. His records of studying and working with dolphins impressed Mr. Masrani and recruited him to work close with InGen on a new project involving the very first set of Raptors to be born on the island.
With Claire going back and forth between the lab and the new Raptor paddock, she had to report the progress back to her boss. Claire and Owen quickly became smitten with each other. Though she was just a few years younger than him, he was still overly impressed by the fact that she was helping set up the most anticipated park opening in history while trying to finish up her senior year of college.
Graduating on the island with three other interns, the ceremony was small, but impressive. The four graduates were surrounded by their families who were also invited to be the very first guests ever to visit the new park before it officially opened to the public just a few months later.
Claire stood proud on the stage set up in the center of main street. The large volcanic building, set to be the innovations center stood tall as the backdrop. Her dark grey cap and gown matched the other three interns, but the gold stole draped across her shoulders had her standing out. She was top of her small class and though her peers already had jobs lined up on the island. Two were to be back in the lab as scientists, and one was gnawing at the bit to join the ACU team. Claire surpassed them all as well as many workers who have been on the island even longer than her. Mr. Masrani had chosen her to become his assistant.
The one person Claire’s eyes stayed locked with the entire ceremony was Owen. He stood beside her family, cheering her on proudly. They quickly became the trophy couple of Jurassic World.
As Claire’s position at Jurassic World rose, so did her relationship with Owen. It was only a year after her graduation, her and Owen were married right on the island. There was a luxurious bridal area designated for couples who could afford a wedding at Jurassic World.
With only some of their family members courageous enough to come to the island for their wedding, Claire and Owen promised to also have a wedding back in their home country for the remainder of their family.
Settling into their new role as husband and wife, they were given land on the other side of the island to build their home. It wasn’t until the birth of their first son, Nathan, just a year after they married, did Claire fall into her final position at Jurassic World. Becoming the Operations Manager with a toddler at home was stressful, but Claire was determined to make it work.
Both Owen and Claire worked hard to find a life that worked best for them and their son. Satisfied that he wasn’t the only child born among staff members, Mr. Masrani agreed on an employee daycare. Luckily for Claire it was in the same building as she was.
Two years went by after Nathan’s birth when Claire and Owen welcomed their daughter, Mia. Being more prepared this time, they quickly fell back into their normal routines.
Just a few weeks after Mia’s birth, Owen gained his fourth raptor. Letting Nathan name the final hatchling, the almost three year old immediately named her Blue. Claire pointed out that he was learning his colors and it was only because of the blue stripe on her back, but it didn’t bother Owen. He thought the name fit. As the raptors grew older and more aggressive, Nathan and Mia grew to love them just as much as Owen did.
With the kids at the ages of eight and ten, they were homeschooled on the island with a group of other kids.
Life of Jurassic World was a paradise for Nathan and Mia. Kids visiting the park envied them as they wondered the Innovations center, boasting about how their mom is the boss and their dad has four raptors. Which Nathan always mentions that he was able to name one. For the kids that didn’t believe them, both kids then would flash their badges that were always hooked to their clothes while on their own in the building. It had their pictures and names on it with a spot that could be scanned with Claire and Owen’s personal cell numbers. Claire had the badges made up mainly because they wouldn’t leave her alone about how both her and Owen had badges and they wanted one, too, but also for Claire and Owen’s secret way of making sure they were staying where they were supposed to.
Claire had chips placed in the badges so she could easily spot them on the park’s map while she was in the control room. When they weren’t in school they were allowed to go from Claire’s office after their homework was finished and go to the innovations center, but knew they were not to leave the building. Claire was always able to make sure of that as long as they wore their badges.
The family of four were completely happy with their life on Isla Nublar. Though many would see their life as an adventure, the Grady’s were in for the biggest adventure of their lives.
Mia and Nathan hurried through the halls, ducking around employees in suites with papers or phones glued to their face. The Grady kids chuckled as they made a game out of it on the way to their mother’s office. A sea of white lab coats emerged from one of the conference rooms and the kids bobbed around them and squeezing through some who paused at the door to talk. “Oh!” Mia giggled as she got caught between three adults in black suites. She collided with one of them and Nathan laughed at her.
“That’s ten points, Mia!”
“Sorry, Mr. Thompson.” Mia chuckled.
“Quite alright, Miss Grady.” He stepped aside and Mia rushed towards her older brother.
“You’re it!” Mia yelled and shoved her brother before turning to run away from him. “Oof!” She bounced off someone and stumbled backwards. Strong hands gripped her shoulders before she fell.
“Really, you guys?” Both kids looked up and met their father’s eyes. “How many times do we have to tell you this hall is not a human pinball machine.”
They both shrugged. Both had shocked looks on their faces since Owen wasn’t supposed to be there. He took in the surprised glances and folded his arms against his chest. “I stopped by mom’s office to see if you guys wanted to go grab a snack before homework, but you are late and fooling around.
“Ice cream?” Mia asked, batting her green eyes at her father.
“No, I want a popcorn bucket.” Nathan shoved her shoulder.
Owen shook his head. “Your mother isn’t happy. Get your butts in there and I suggest you get right to work.
“What about our snack?” They both asked at the same time.
“Should have thought about that before,” he leaned forward and placed one hand on each of their shoulders to lead them towards Claire’s office. “I had a ten minute break and you wasted that time horsing around in the hall. Now I have to go back to work and you get to face your mother.” He knocked on Claire’s door once and immediately reached for the doorknob. “Found these two playing pinball again with the lab rats.” He shoved the kids into Claire’s office and she rolled her eyes as she stood up from behind her desk.
“Scientists, Owen,” she corrected him and looked down at her kids. “Sit down and get to work.” Her eyes met her son’s hazel ones and she sighed heavily. “You swore to us that you were going to be responsible if we let you walk from school to my office. This is the third time this month you were caught horsing around. Do I need to start picking you guys up again?”
“No!” Nathan stood up quickly and shook his head. “I swear, we’ll be better.”
“That’s what you said last time.” Owen snorted. He glanced down at his watch and kissed Claire’s cheek. “I have to get back to the paddock.” He informed her and then turned back to the kids. “I’ll pick you up in the Innovations center later. If you two don’t behave I’ll take your butts right home and you’ll miss out on Lucy and Ella being introduced to the rest of the herd.”
“Oh, come on, Dad!” Both kids complained. Owen glanced at Claire and she nodded. Both kids were looking forward to watching the ceremony of the two Adolescent Triceratops graduating from the petting zoo to the Gyrosphere valley.
“Get to work.” Claire instructed and turned to peck her husbands lips. “All of you.” She smiled and playfully shoved his shoulders towards her office door. He waved at the kids and kissed Claire once more before leaving.
Knowing she had a few minutes before Mr. Masrani arrived to help prepare for the dinosaurs’ transition, she sat beside her daughter and looked through her papers. “Just math today?” She asked Mia.
“Mmhmm…” the eight year old hummed as she concentrated.
“Need help?” Claire already knew the answer. Mia was a hard worker and extremely smart. She shook her head without breaking her concentration.
Claire glanced over Mia to see what Nathan was working on. “What about you?”
He shook his head as he read through his history book before answering the questions at the end of the chapter.
Claire stood up and watched them for a moment before moving back to her desk. She glanced once more at them and smiled to herself as she turned her attention to her emails. She knew they were this quite only because of what Owen had told them, but she decided to take advantage of the moment and get some work done.
There was a knock on Claire’s door before it opened slowly. “Mr. Masrani is five minutes out.” Zara informed her boss.
“Can we come to the helipad?” Nathan asked, peeking up at his mother from his book.
“I guess,” She sighed and smiled as both kids leaped to their feet. “you guys have been quiet enough.” Mia immediately took her mother’s hand and they followed Nathan to the helipad.
Knowing the rules really mattered here, they both stood at Claire’s flank and watched as the pilot shut down the helicopter. “My favorite park rangers!” Mr. Masrani greeted the two kids peeking out from behind Claire.
“Hi, Mr. Masrani!” Mia waved eagerly.
He approached the family and Nathan immediately reached out to shake his hand. “Good afternoon, Sir.”
“Oh,” Mr. Masrani chuckled and shook his hand before looking at Claire. “what did he do?”
Claire reached out and ran her fingers through her son’s dark hair. “Nothing. He’s just trying to earn back the ability to attend the ceremony tonight.” The kids knew to be on their best behavior when the Owner of the park was roaming around, but Nathan definitely was trying harder than he normally did.
Mr. Masrani pursed his lips and nodded. “I see.” He placed his hand on Nathan’s shoulder and they started walking into the building. Claire and Mia falling in step behind them. “See, Mr. Grady, I need someone to help me deliver the Triceratops to the valley. It’s a big job and I need a well behaved boy to help.” He knew all too well the adventurous side the Grady kid’s had.
“I can be good!” Nathan bounced beside Mr. Masrani and grabbed his hand, pleading with the owner of Jurassic World. “Please, Mr. Masrani! I want to ride in the truck!”
Mr. Masrani shrugged. “Well, that’s in a few hours, so I will leave that up to your parents to make the final decision.”
Claire and Owen always had specific jobs while a new adolescent herbivore was introduced to the adults, so both kids were usually looked after by one of the other employees standing on the sideline watching.
Nathan glanced back at Claire and pleaded with his eyes. She shrugged at her son, but winked at him, knowing that was an opportunity she couldn’t take away from him.
“What about me?” Mia tugged at Claire’s arm. She opened her mouth to answer her daughter, but Mr. Masrani spoke before her.
“You, Miss Grady have an important job, but only if you can behave as well.” He told her as the kids eagerly followed him into his office. Claire immediately went to his desk and sorted the more important files for him to look through first.
“What is it?” Mia nibbled on her bottom lip waiting for him to answer her.
He reached into his desk and pulled out a camera. “I need someone low to the ground to get the perfect pictures of our girls. Think you can do it?”
“Yeah!” Mia’s eyes lit up and she reached for the camera. “Mama, that means I get to be in the field with dad!”
Claire and Mr. Masrani shook their heads at the same time, but Claire spoke before her boss. “Not by dad. He’s got to stay close to the Triceratops and make sure the adults don’t pick on them. You’ll be able to stand by me. How’s that sound?” Claire’s job was to follow close to the Triceratops and keep ACU informed of which direction they were headed in order for them to control the other herds.
“Yay!” Mia cheered.
Claire glanced at her watch and took Mia’s hand. “I have a conference call you guys, and you need to finish your homework before tonight if you want to participate.”
They both waved at Mr. Masrani and followed their mother back to her office. “So can we do our jobs tonight?” Nathan asked as they entered Claire’s office.
She pointed towards the couch, “Depends on how quiet you can be while I’m on the phone.”
Nathan grabbed his sister’s arm and hurried across the room to the leather couch. They both sat down and went back to their homework, keeping their lips in a tight line so no sound would escape.
It was forty-five minutes later when both kids were finished and starring intently at their mother speaking into the phone. Her fingers drummed her keyboard as she had the phone cradled between her right ear and shoulder. They quietly stood up and put their books in their backpack and patiently waited for their mother to get off the phone. She glanced up from her computer screen and held up a finger, letting them know she would be finished soon. While she was finishing up her phone call, she opened one of her desk drawers and pulled out the kids’ badges. They immediately reached for them and hooked them to the hem of their shirts.
With a final goodbye, Claire hung up the phone and immediately stood up. “Thank you, guys.”
They nodded and glanced at each other before their eyes fell back on their mother. “I’ll talk to dad and if he says there were no complaints downstairs, then I don’t see why you can’t be a part of the initiation tonight.”
Mia and Nathan hurried around Claire’s desk and they each claimed a side of their mother and squeezed tight. “We’ll be good!”
“I’ll see you at home in a little while.” She said and watched the two talk excitedly as they waited for the elevator. With a final wave, they disappeared and the doors closed. Claire gathered the kids’ backpacks and placed them next to her briefcase to grab on her way home.
Before leaving for the night, Claire always did a final round in the control room, which was also her way of keeping an eye on Nathan and Mia. She wondered into the room and was immediately greeted by the humming sound of the monitors.
“Anything new?” She asked Vivian. “No, ACU is down in the valley setting up the perimeter for some of the herds.”
She glanced quickly at the screen showing the Innovations center and smiled to herself. Mia wondered over to the hologram and was helping another little girl choose a dinosaur to display. Nathan made himself comfortable at one of the computers. Once she knew they were behaving, Claire checked on ACU in the valley. “What’s the wait time for the Gyrospheres?” She wondered.
“Twenty minutes.” Lowery answered.
Claire nodded. “Ok, go ahead and shut down the ride for the rest of the afternoon so we can make sure everyone is back before too many dinosaurs are blocked from view.”
“You got it,” Lowery said and reached for his phone to relay the message to the ride operator.
“How are the girls?” Claire asked and moved to the other side of the room. Her eyes fell on the screen displaying part of the petting zoo. Both Triceratops were separated from the other babies and snacking happily before their transport across the park.
“Feeding now and will be loaded up in an hour.” Brian, the zoo’s camera operator informed her.
“Owen’s here.” Vivian called out to Claire. She glanced back at the Innovations center camera and saw Mia rush over to him. Nathan wasn’t far behind her and just like every other day the two kids waved at the camera, knowing Claire was on the other side. Even though they couldn’t see her, she always waved back before they followed Owen out the door.
Thank you so much for the love this story is already receiving. It truly means a lot! Keep the reviews coming :)
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
On their way around the Innovations center to the back lot where Owen parked, the kids spoke excitedly about their meeting with Claire and Mr. Masrani. “We were good, Dad! Really, really good!” Nathan informed his father and nudged his sister to agree with him.
“Yeah!” Mia quickly added. “Mommy even said we were good. Our homework is all finished. So can we be a part of the ceremony tonight?”
Mia and Nathan each took Owen’s hands and making him stop walking. He chuckled as he looked down and saw his kids hanging on his arms, pleading with him to say yes. “I’ll talk to your mother when she get’s home…” he trailed off as he saw their faces fall. “but I don’t see why not.” He quickly added.
“Thanks, Dad!” They both hugged him and took off running towards Owen’s truck.
Though it was only an hour from the time the kids and Owen got home to the moment Claire’s car pulled in the driveway, Mia and Nathan spent the time sitting by the large bay window facing the driveway.
“She’s here!” Mia called out. “Daddy, tell her you said we can do our jobs!”
Owen shook his head as he walked over to the door to greet his wife. He pointed a finger at his daughter and shook his head. “I never said it was a definite yes.”
Nathan glanced out the window and noticed his mother throwing his and Mia’s backpacks over her shoulder, her own bag over her other shoulder and grip her briefcase in her hand. His eyes fell on Owen reaching for the doorknob and smirked as he leaped off the bench by the window. He pushed in front of Owen and swung the door open. Claire glanced up at him just as he reached for the backpacks. “I’ll help!”
“Perfect gentleman.” Claire smiled and quickly handed his and Mia’s backpack to him. She noticed him check over his shoulder to see if Owen was watching. “I’m assuming you guys talked to your father about tonight.”
“He said he’ll talk to you. We were good at the Innovations center. Did you see?” He bounced in front of Claire as she walked up the front steps.
She kissed Owen before turning to answer back her son. “I always see, Nate.” She reminded him. “You were good.”
“So…” Both kids stood between Claire and Owen. The adults locked eyes with each other, ignoring the kids’ pleas.
She slipped out of her stilettos and three sets of eyes followed her as she crossed the room. She reached for the banister and turned slightly to look back at her family. “If you’re going to be a part of the ceremony, you both need to change.”
“All right!” Nathan cheered and slapped his sister a high-five before they rushed around Claire to race up the stairs to their rooms.
Claire looked at Owen and motioned up the stairs. “Can you make sure he looks presentable.”
Owen nodded and followed Claire up the stairs.
The kids bounced impatiently on the couch while Claire and Owen finished getting ready. Just as Owen met them in the living room there was a knock on the door. He continued passed the kids to answer the door.
“Hey, Barry.” Owen held the door open for his friend.
“Hi Barry!” Nathan ducked under Owen’s arm and raised his fist for Barry to bump his knuckled against his.
“Hey, big man.” Barry rustled the boys dark hair and looked up at Owen. “Ready? The perimeter is set. Some of the girls out there are a little restless. We’re blocking them from their favorite grazing spot.”
Owen rolled his eyes. “Yeah we should get down there.” he agreed and reached out to lay his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Nate, here, is coming with us. We have to drop him off at the zoo.”
“I’m escorting the girls!” Nathan blurted out.
“That a boy!” Barry laughed and bunched Owen’s shoulder. “Starting him off young.”
“Dinosaurs, Barry,” Claire mumbled as she hurried into the living room, hooking her earring in place. “he’s mine until he’s thirty. There will be no escorting girls anywhere.”
Both men laughed and Nathan scratched the back of his head, confused. “Sorry, little man.” Barry shrugged.
Owen turned to kiss Claire. “We’ll see you on the field.”
She nodded and pecked his lips once more.
“Get some good pictures, Baby Girl.” Owen said and kissed the top of his daughter’s head.
“I will!” She held up the camera Mr. Masrani gave to her to use.
“Simon is here.” Barry said as he opened the door to leave.
Claire nodded and checked her lipstick in the mirror by the door before reaching for Mia’s hand.
Mr. Masrani quickly got out of the SUV when Claire and Mia approached it. He held the door open, waving the driver away. “There’s my two leading ladies.” He looked down at Mia and smiled. “You excited?”
She nodded eagerly and climbed into the SUV.
“Hey,” Claire reached for Nathan’s arm and fixed his hair before kissing his cheek. “Best behavior.”
“I know.” He said and Claire let his arm go so he could catch up to Owen and Barry. Normally both kids rode to the valley with her in the SUV and then were handed off to one of the other employees. This time each kid was overly excited that they had their own jobs.
Arriving at the Gyrosphere valley, Claire immediately made her way over to the platform to speak to the employees and small group of guests who were fortunate enough to purchase tickets to the event before they were sold out. Mia followed closely, sticking just behind Claire’s left hip.
She could hear the rustling of trees as some of the carnivores stuck close to the perimeter that was set up. Her hand slowly rose up Claire’s arm and gripped her forearm.
Claire glanced down at her daughter and lifted her arm to wrap it around her shoulder. “You’re completely safe. Dad’s out there keeping them away.” She reminded Mia.
“I see you, Baby Girl.” Owen’s voice crackled on the radio in Claire’s free hand. She glanced up to the spot where she knew her husband was stationed and smiled. Helping Mia find her father he waved and her shoulders relaxed.
She reached for the radio to answer him as Claire met Mr. Masrani at the microphone. “It’s scary out here without being in a Gyrosphere.” She whispered into the radio.
“You’re perfectly safe. Take those pictures and don’t worry about what’s going on back here.”
She smiled and nodded. He returned her smile and backed into the trees again to get back to work.
Just as Claire stepped away from the microphone so Mr. Masrani could take over, Mia handed her the radio back and hurried off the platform to take pictures.
She followed Claire over to the truck. Two ACU officers flanked Nathan as he walked around the truck. Claire’s breath hitched as tears stung her eyes. She watched her son move around like he’s been working for years. He had as much confidence as Owen when it came to working with the dinosaurs.
Seeing her brother getting to work, helping the ACU officers open up the back gate, Mia knelt on the ground and found the confidence she needed to get in the middle of the action and snap her pictures.
The two young Triceratops hurried out of the confines of the truck and halted just as they reached the open field. Claire took a quick step to the side, her boot up against Mia’s knee. Her right hand clutched the radio while her left hovered over her daughter’s shoulder, ready to move her out of the way if needed.
One of the Triceratops backed towards where Nathan stood and Claire subconsciously stepped towards him. Knowing that wasn’t a safe move on Claire’s part, the ACU officer on her right side held her in place. In order for Claire to make it to her son she would have to cross the only open path for the young dinosaurs to escape. This was something she knew could potentially send them off in a panic.
The two officers standing near Nathan had immediately stepped in front of him, creating a protective wall.
It was a few minutes until the girls took a few steps further into the field. She took her stance at the rear of the dinosaurs, giving them the full access of the valley in front of them. They stayed close to each other while they grazed on the grass.
Claire’s eyes fell on Nathan as he stayed focus, working along side the two officers. “Hey!” She hissed and motioned for him to come towards her.
He hurried to her side and tilted his head, throwing her a confused look when she handed him her radio. “What?” He whispered.
“You’re doing good. Give dad their location.” She instructed.
His eyebrow raised and a smile crept across his lips. “Really?”
Claire nodded and patted his back.
“Dad?” Nathan spoke and then held the radio to his ear to wait for the response.
“Hey, bud.” Owen sounded confused. He tried to see through the trees to see where he was. His shoulders relaxed when he saw Nathan with Claire’s hands on his shoulders, guiding him along the way the triceratops were going.
Nathan cleared his throat before giving the directions he’s heard his mother say a hundred times before. “The girls are grazing comfortably and heading Southeast, most likely towards the south falls.”
Owen stood straight, his eyes going wide as he stared down at his radio where his son’s professional voice came from. He started walking the permitter, making sure the young dinosaurs wouldn’t be spooked by any of the larger herbivores. “All Clear, Nathan, let them go.” Owen responded.
“Copy that.” Nathan said back and hooked the radio to his belt loop.
Since the falls were outside of the permitter set up, everyone stood back, waiting to see the first interactions.
Owen heard rustling in the trees beside him as three Triceratops moved slowly towards the falls. Once they were away from him he gripped his radio to inform Nathan.
“To your right, Nate you’ll have three guests. Stay back and let them meet the young ones. They’re not territorial.”
Nathan reached for his radio just as Claire tugged at his shoulders, following Owen’s orders. Mia crawled backwards to stay at Claire’s feet, but kept snapping pictures.
“We are secure.” Nathan informed his father once Claire stopped backing them up and patted his shoulder.
“Copy.” Owen smiled down at the radio in his hands.
They watched the interaction between the older dinosaurs and the young ones. They were immediately accepted into the herd and started to follow the older ones back towards the tree line.
“They are following the herd.” Nathan spoke quickly as he knew his father was somewhere in the trees.
“I see them, we are bringing down the perimeter and coming in.”
“Copy.” Nathan sighed. The introduction was over.
Nathan handed Claire back the radio and she hooked it to her belt loop. “I did it!” He jumped around his mother.
“You did great!” Mr. Masrani said once they made it back to the release zone.
“Thanks!” Nathan stood proud.
“Give it nine years and you’ll be running this park alongside your mother.” He said and reached out to pat Nathan’s back.
Nathan spotted his father walking out of the tree line with a group of men who were working the perimeter with him. With a quick glance up at his mother, he looked back at Mr. Masrani and shook his head. “I’m not interested in running the park. I want to be like my dad.”
Mr. Masrani nodded. “Come see me in a few years, Mr. Grady.”
“I will!” He smiled and reached out to shake his hand before turning to run towards his father.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
“Hey, buddy,” Claire knocked once on her son’s open bedroom door. He looked up at his mother and smiled from his bed. “All set?” She asked, stepping into his room as he pulled his blankets up around him.
He nodded, ready for her to finish tucking him in.
She sat on the side of his bed and ran her fingers through his hair, before leaning in to kiss his forehead. “I’m proud of you. You did great today.”
He smiled up at her. “Thanks. It was a lot of fun.” He tilted his head and pursed his lips. “Can I go to work with dad tomorrow?”
Claire raised an eyebrow and shook her head. “School.” She simply stated.
Nathan sat up and gave his best smile, his hazel eyes pleading with his mother. “Can I go after school? I’ll see if he can pick me up. Please! I’ll behave.” He begged.
“I’ll talk it over with Dad, but I don’t know, Bud. You know I don’t like you guys at the paddock.”
Nathan laid back down and pulled the blankets up to his chin. “I’ll go right to sleep! Please!”
“I said I’ll talk to your father.” She reminded him and leaned over to kiss his forehead once more. “Goodnight.”
“Night!” He said excitedly and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to prove to Claire that he was going right to sleep.
“Switch.” Owen said from the door. Claire nodded and stood up to make her way into Mia’s room to say goodnight.
“Now?” Nathan asked as Claire stood up.
She shook her head and walked out of his room. “Mom needs to talk to you.” She heard Nathan inform his father. With a roll of her eyes, she turned the corner to open Mia’s door.
“Goodnight, Sweetie.” Claire said softly when she noticed Mia’s eyes were already closed.
“M’hm.” Mia mumbled, half asleep.
Claire watched her daughter fall into a deeper sleep and quietly tiptoed out of the room. She yawned as she walked into her bathroom to get ready for bed.
Owen stepped in the doorway to the master bathroom and watched Claire take her makeup off. “So how much of what Nathan just told me is the truth?”
She looked up at his reflection in the mirror in front of her. With a giggle she rolled her eyes. “Probably none of it.”
Owen rubbed his fingers against his chin. “Did you say I’m picking him up after school tomorrow?”
Claire shook her head. “No, I said I will think about it.”
She caught Owen’s eyes in the mirror as he walked up behind her. His hands slipped around her waist and she leaned her back against his chest. His lips touched her cheek softly and slowly moved down to her neck. “Come on, Babe. You know I’ll keep him safe.” He whispered against her neck.
Claire closed her eyes and focused on Owen’s lips leaving her skin hot where he touched. “This isn’t going to work this time.” She warned him.
“You saw how well he can follow directions when he knows it’s important. Take Mia down to the lab. She likes it down there.” His hands slipped under her shirt and laid his palms flat on her stomach.
She slowly turned in his arms and reached up to peck his lips. “I’ll think about it.”
He brought his lips to her ear and let out a low growl. “So stubborn.”
The next morning Nathan was dressed and ready for school before Claire was finished getting ready. She opened his bedroom door to find his bed empty and made. “Hm..” she hummed to herself and opened Mia’s door. Like every morning, she was still asleep. “Come on, Mia.” Claire pulled back the blankets and continued to the window to open the shades. It was their normal morning routine.
“Ok…” Mia groaned, sitting up to stretch. She yawned loudly and slid from bed.
“Your brother beat you this morning, so hurry up.”
Mia tilted her head, confused. “He’s awake?”
Everyone in the house knew it was a battle between Claire and Nathan every morning. Getting him up and ready for school was a task Claire never looked forward to. It usually ended with Owen threatening the ten-year-old with no park time after school.
Not today. Today he was already sitting in the kitchen watching Owen prepare breakfast for the family. Claire peered around the corner into the kitchen to find her son sipping on Orange juice.
Nathan’s eyes fell on Claire and he jumped up from his chair. He carefully gripped the coffee mug in his hands and hurried over towards his mother. “Here! I made the coffee this morning.”
Owen stifled a laugh. His back towards Claire as he concentrated a little too hard on the pan of scrambled eggs.
“Thank you.” Claire smiled sweetly at Nathan and he watched her eagerly as she brought the mug to her lips. She choked it down and covered her mouth with her free hand.
“Hot?” Nathan wondered.
Claire nodded quickly, happy he didn’t understand the real meaning behind her reaction. “You made this all on your own?” She wondered.
Nathan nodded eagerly. “Yeah! I made it while dad was starting breakfast. He’s had two cups!”
“Oh,” Claire glanced at the back of Owen’s head and could see his shoulders shaking as he silently laughed. “Why don’t you make sure your backpack is ready and go see what’s taking your sister so long.”
“On it!” Nathan yelled as he ran from the room.
Claire put her mug on the counter beside Owen’s and grabbed his to smell if his was as strong as her’s. She elbowed his side and took a sip of his coffee. “You made another pot behind his back!” She accused.
Owen nodded. “He had already poured you a cup and he wouldn’t let it out of his sight.”
“Did he use any water to make the coffee?” Claire wondered.
Owen snorted. “Don’t think so.”
By the time Nathan walked back into the kitchen, Claire had dumped her coffee in the sink and was pouring herself more from the pot. Nathan’s eyes lit up. “You’re having more, too?”
“Yes! It’s really good. Thanks, Nate.”
Mia sat silently at the table and watched her brother do all he could to help out their parents. She stared, eyes gaping at him when he offered to carry her backpack to Claire’s car.
“He’s really sucking up.” Owen chuckled as him and Claire watched the kids climb into her car.
“One hour. He can be there for one hour.” Claire turned to jab her finger into Owen’s chest. “He does not go up on the walkway.”
Owen kissed her and nodded. “I know.” He waved to the kids and hurried to his truck.
“He’s taking his truck!” Nathan yelled from inside the car. Claire opened her door and nodded. Normally Owen would take his bike to work unless he needed to pick up the kids. Then he would drive his truck. “Yes!” Nathan bounced around the back seat.
“What is your problem?” Mia asked, leaning against her door to try and stay out of the way as her brother flailed around.
“I’m going to the paddock after school!” Nathan sang.
“I want to go!” Mia whined and crossed her arms against her chest.
“I have a meeting with Dr. Wu today. You can come down to the lab with me. We’ve got eggs in the incubator.” Claire said as they drove towards Jurassic World.
Mia relaxed and sat forward in her seat. “What are they?”
Claire met her eyes in the rearview mirror. “I’ll show you after school.”
“What is your meeting about?” Nathan wondered.
“The new asset.” Claire informed the kids.
“The one dad says is unnatural?” Mia asked.
Claire bit her bottom lip, not wanting to give too much away. The Indominus was the first hybrid on the island and Owen made it very clear that he didn’t want him or the kids to have anything to do with it. She understood to a certain extent. Agreeing that the new asset was too dangerous for the kids to be involved with.
Pulling into her normal parking spot, the kids rushed out of the car, leaving Claire hurrying after them. “Hey!” She called out as soon as they were inside the building. They turned around to face her. “Straight to the study room. No horsing around in the halls.” She said as she kissed them on the top of their heads.
“Straight to class!” Nathan repeated.
Claire chuckled and shook her head. “See you later.” She waved as the kids hurried off in the opposite direction she was going.
“Girls!” Owen snapped at the four raptors who seemed more interested in wresting with each other than listening to his demands.
“Get the pig!” Hoskins demanded.
Owen groaned, but ignored him. He focused on trying to get his beta’s attention. “Hey, Blue!” He yelled and squeezed the clicker in his hand. “Blue!”
She stopped snapping at Delta’s feet and turned to find her alpha. As soon as her attention was on his, Charlie snapped at her neck. “Charlie! Cut the shit! Leave her alone.”
“Run the test!” Hoskins was now at Owen’s side.
“I can barely get their attention right now, stop pushing a test they aren’t ready for.”
“Don’t you have two women running around your house? You should already know how to handle them.”
Owen turned his head slowly to look at his boss. “Did you really just compare my wife and daughter to the raptors?”
Hoskins shrugged and looked down at the restless dinosaurs. Speaking of your wife, I have a meeting with her this morning. She going to have paperwork for me?”
“Nope.” Owen couldn’t hide the tension in his voice. Claire usually mentions when Hoskins was going to be coming to see her.
“I need those signatures.”
Owen shrugged. “When I think the girls are ready for the next test I will sign. Until then, there is nothing you need to speak to me or Claire about.”
Hoskins smiled as he watched Owen grow more impatient with him. He knew using Claire to get to him was an easy attempt to aggravate him. “I believe she has some paperwork for me.” He showed him the voicemail list on his phone with Claire’s name at the top. “She called me, Son.”
“Do you not realize if you piss her off enough she can put a stop to Jurassic World funding your little project?” Owen asked.
Hoskins shook his head, grinning wide. “Not when her husband is running the project. I’m just your boss. She’s funding you, Son.” He looked down at his watch and turned to walk away, before calling over his shoulder, “I’ll tell your wife you said hi!”
Owen took a step in his direction, but Barry’s hand on his shoulder was the only thing that kept him from going after him. “Not worth it, man.” He warned.
“He’s such an asshole!”
Barry patted his friend on the back. “He knows talking about Claire gets under your skin. Don’t let it bother you. That woman of yours knows how to handle herself.”
Owen snorted as he laughed. “True.” He took a deep breath and focused back on the wrestling raptors.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
Sorry its taken me so long to update. Reviews= motivation and so I haven't really had the urgency to post the next chapter. I have a few chapters written, so review and I'll post the next chapter in a few days :)
Sitting in a room full of men never intimidated Claire. Usually the men were the ones intimidated by her. This time Claire couldn’t help but shiver from the eyes piercing her body as she spoke to the small group.
“Excuse me, Claire.” Hoskins slapped his palms on the table, aggravated by the way Claire was presenting his project.”
She let him know she was aggravated by rolling her eyes, but glared at him, waiting for him to speak.
Once he knew he had her attention, he was on his feet. “I don’t think you’re hearing what I’m saying. I need more tests pushed on these animals or they will be nothing but trained house pets.”
With the large oval conference table between them, Claire leaned over, placing her palms against the table and narrowed her eyes at him. “It’s called patience, Hoskins.” She reached for the folder containing all the reports from previous training sessions with the raptors. She slid one of the most recent report in his direction. “Owen clearly states in the paperwork that the raptors are not up to par. His notes tell me that they still need to work on basic commands before taking the next step.”
Hoskins held up his hand to stop her from saying anything else. “Come on, we all know you’re just following your husbands orders.”
Simon jumped to his feet and jabbed a finger towards Hoskins. “Excuse me, but that was out of line. I suggest you rethink your statement before you get yourself kicked out of my park.”
“Mr. Masrani,” Claire waved him off, her attention solely on Hoskins. “Whether these notes came from my husband or the street sweeper, I’d still be saying the same thing. I will not sign off to override Mr. Grady in moving to the next stage. When his reports start showing some change I will be more than happy to approve more tests. It’s the safety of the workers and the animals I’m worried about, not your rise to fame, Hoskins. These are velociraptors not German Shepherds.”
He looked at Simon for any sign of disagreement towards Claire. When he didn’t see it he let out a loud huff. “Looks like we get to do this again in a month.”
Claire rolled her eyes, “Looking forward to it.”
The two men there to represent InGen were up quickly once the meeting was over. It wasn’t Claire they wanted to avoid, it was Hoskins. With Simon’s phone ringing, he exited the room, patting Claire on the back as he left.
“Come on, Claire.” Hoskins stepped up beside her, his hand on the papers she was putting back in the folder. “Just sign. You know the news coverage would be a big ego boost for your precious park.”
She glanced over her shoulder to make sure they were alone and out of Simon’s earshot. Quickly yanking the folder from under his hand she leaned towards him. “Sweet talking me right now is only going to make you more of an asshole. Back off before you go back to that paddock with a broken nose. Then you can explain that one to my husband.”
“Hiding behind him? Come on, Claire. I thought you were tougher than that.”
She looked around the room a little confused. “I’m not hiding behind anyone. How about this— let Owen work up the raptors on his own time and stop harassing both of us,” she leaned back and folded her arms against her chest. “or I will shut this whole project down faster than you can say sexual harassment charges.” She held a hand up to stop him from interrupting her. “I will shut you down if you don’t back off of him. I’m not worried about Owen’s job, I’m not worried about placing the raptors.” Quickly shifting through her file she shoved a proposal against his chest. “I have clearance to add a raptor show with a very handsome trainer. Don’t test me, Hoskins.” With a click of her pen she snatched the paper back. “See this blank spot right here? This just needs my signature and you’re on the next shuttle out of here with your sorry ass dragging behind you.”
“Hey, Everything ok?” Simon poked his head in the door when he realized Claire didn’t follow.
She turned with a soft smile. “Yes, just going over some notes.”
He nodded and went back to his phone call.
“You’re bluffing.” Hoskins hissed.
Claire raised an eyebrow. “Try me.”
He opened his mouth to speak, but the look on Claire’s face had him snapping it shut and pushed by her. With a smug grin she made her way back to her office.
The rest of the day went by quickly. Claire was just finishing with a phone call when her kids quietly walked into her office. She looked up from her computer and silently motioned for them to sit down. They both quietly moved to the couch and started on their homework. Claire kept up with the conference call, but paid close attention to the fact that her kids were way too quiet. Usually Claire was balancing a phone call and throwing the kids a warning glance to keep quiet. She knew it was the after school activities that had them behaving.
“Thank you guys.” She said when she hung up the phone.
They looked up from their homework and smiled at her. “When’s dad coming?” Nathan wondered. He shifted excitedly on the couch.
Claire glanced at her watch, “A few minutes, Nate.”
“Like how many minutes?”
“Enough for you to drive me insane.” She couldn’t help but laugh at the way he was more antsy than normal.
“Do I have to wait for Dad? Can I go down to the lab now? Dr. Mark could come get me!”
Claire’s eyes fell on her daughter. The newest scientist had most of the women on the island swooning for him, including her daughter. She slowly shook her head. “Dr. Rogers is not a babysitter. And since when do you call him Dr. Mark?”
Mia shrugged, “Since he told me I could.”
There was a knock on the door and Claire’s shoulders relaxed. Owen had the door open just as Nathan jumped off the couch. “Bye!” Nathan called over his shoulder and tugged on Owen’s arm.
Ignoring his son, Owen leaned in to give Claire a quick peck on the lips. “Heard you had some meeting this morning.”
She rolled her eyes and turned back towards her desk. “He’s disgusting.”
Tugging his arm free from Nathan’s grasp he followed Claire, “He try anything this time?”
She shook her head. “Nothing more than normal, besides, I handled it.”
He snorted and sat down in one of the chairs in front of her desk, receiving an impatient moan from Nathan. “I heard about the proposal. He used it to threaten me.”
Claire paused as she sat down and bolted back to her feet. “How?” She grumbled.
“That InGen would fire me before you had the chance to move forward with the transfer.”
“That son-of-a—“ She glanced over Owen’s head at both kids listening with wide eyes. “Jerk” She grumbled and slumped down in her chair.
Owen couldn’t help but laugh at her choice of words. “Nice save.”
“Want me to talk to him? I can have the whole crew gone—”
Owen was on his feet and leaning over her desk. “Don’t try and protect me. I can take care of myself you know.”
Claire shrugged innocently. “Sorry, he just aggravates me.”
“Can we go now?” Nathan asked, stepping in front of Owen to block his view of Claire.
“Yes,” Owen sighed heavily and checked his watch, “just about the girls’ snack time anyway.”
“Alright!” Nathan threw his fist in the air and bolted towards the office door.
“Not on the walkway, Owen!” Claire reminded him.
“Will you relax. He’ll be fine.” He kissed her quickly and turned to follow Nathan out the door.
Claire stood starring at the now empty doorway and listened as her boys chatted while they waited for the elevator. “You know he’s going to be up there, right?” Mia broke through her mother’s concentration.
She looked down at Mia and nodded slowly, taking a deep breath. “Yeah, I know.” Claire turned back towards her desk to grab her phone. “Ready to head down to the lab?”
“Thought you’d never say that!” Mia was on her feet and bouncing by the door. She grabbed Claire’s hand and dragged her towards the elevator. As always, Mia’s face lit up as soon as the elevator doors opened and they walked into the lab.
“There’s the prettiest girl on the island!” Mark smiled down at Mia.
She shyly sunk into her mother’s side. “Hi,” she smiled.
He straightened up and nodded once at Claire. “Mrs. Grady.”
“How are the eggs, Dr. Rogers?”
He motioned for them to follow him and the three of them entered the incubation room. Monitors lined one of the walls with ultrasound images of the two eggs.
“Are those the unnat—” Claire clapped her hand over Mia’s mouth and smiled innocently at Mark.
“She means the new assets.” She laughed lightly.
Mark raised an eyebrow and Claire was quickly realizing that this may have been a mistake. Before she could come up with another excuse, Mark bent down to Mia’s level. “It’s ok, kiddo, they are called hybrids.”
Claire slowly removed her hand from Mia’s mouth and she nodded as she watched Mark reach for her hand and guide her closer.
“Claire,” Henry voice appeared behind Claire, making her jump.
“Hi, Henry, sorry I didn’t hear you behind me.”
He smiled politely. “You have a moment?”
She glanced quickly at Mia. “Go on,” Mark told her. she’s fine.”
“Be right back.” Claire threw her daughter a warning glare and Mia immediately nodded. She was not to repeat any more of her father’s words.
“She’s a lot like you,” Henry said as they walked to his office.
Claire rolled her eyes. “A little too much.” She changed the subject as soon as she sat down, not wanting to leave Mia alone for too long. “How much longer for the eggs?”
“Just a few more days. I’d say three tops. They are growing fairly quickly.” He slid the charts across his desk so Claire could look them over.
“This one seems to be bigger.” Claire pointed out, looking at egg A’s data versus egg B.
Henry nodded in agreement. “She’s been developing a lot faster than her sibling. Egg A could hatch at any moment now. She’s fully developed.” He watched Claire for a moment as she scanned through the charts. “How is the paddock coming along?”
“I have to check on the progress after we leave here, but it should be just about ready for them.”
“Very good,” Henry leaned back in his chair with a smile. “This is going to be big, Claire.”
“Indominus?” Claire pointed at the species name.
“Yes,” Henry laughed, “we decided to go with something easier to say.”
“The geno is?” Claire asked, noticing that the only thing filled in was T-Rex.
“That’s not important.” He waved his hand absentmindedly and took the chart from Claire. “The main thing is we created a species that will have guests and investors coming from all over to see them. This is gold, Claire.”
She scratched the back of her head, not sure she felt comfortable not knowing the exact makeup of the new assets.
Henry noticed her hesitation. “How about we check on them and see how your little scientist is doing.”
Claire met Henry’s eyes as she remembered she had left Mia alone. “Right,” she said and stood up quickly.
“Mom!” Mia squeaked excitedly when Claire walked back into the incubation room. “Egg A is moving around! We might have a baby tomorrow.”
“Hey, Mia!” Mark called out to her from the other side of the room. “We’ve got a Brachiosaurus.”
“Oh!” Mia hurried across the room and moved so she was standing in front of Mark as they watched the baby take her first breath. “She’s so cute.”
“Here,” Mark handed her gloves and Mia immediately put them on. She followed his motion and used her tiny finger to gently pet the baby’s head. “How about a name?”
“Me?” Mia asked, looking up at him with wide eyes. Another scientist was standing beside them with a clipboard ready for the name to be given.
Mark nodded just as Claire stepped up behind Mia and placed her hands on her shoulder. “Make it a good one.”
Mia thought for a moment and studied the dinosaur’s green scales. “Emerald!” She exclaimed.
Claire was surprised about the choice. She was mostly expecting something a little more childlike. “That’s actually perfect, Sweetie.”
The scientist with the clipboard waited for Claire’s approval on the name and jotted it down. Handing Claire the paperwork, she sighed it and knelt down beside Mia for a better look. “It’s official,” Claire showed the baby’s name to Mia and her signature clearing the new identity.
Mia wrapped her arm around her mother’s shoulder and leaned into her. “I named a dinosaur just like Nate did with Blue.”
Mia scrunched up her nose. “But mine is more sophisticated. I didn’t just name her Green.”
Claire and Mark couldn’t hold back their laughter.
It took a little persuasion to peel Mia from the lab and ‘her’ new baby. As soon as she heard they were going to view the Indominus’ paddock, Mia was quickly out the door.
“This is big.” Mia gasped as they stepped out of Claire’s car.
Claire looked up at the walls. “It’ll do for now since they are still little. We’ll build up more once we learn how big they will be.”
“How big?” Mia wondered as she followed her mother up the stairs to the viewing room.
“Probably around the size of the T-Rex.”
“Whoa,” Mia whispered. “that big?” She shivered as her imagination went wild on possible images of the dinosaurs who will be roaming around the paddock in front of her. Taking a quick step to her right, she was pressed against Claire’s side.
“What’s wrong?” Claire wondered, following Mia’s gaze out into the paddock.
Mia didn’t answer her mother.
“Nothing is in there yet.” Claire guided Mia closer to the glass and pointed at the crew planting trees and other shrubbery around the enclosure.
Not able to escape the images her imagination was flashing in her head, she stuck to Claire’s side.
“The eggs are just about ready to hatch.” Claire informed one of the paddocks engineers.
“We will be done by Thursday the latest. Just have to check all the security features.”
“Thank you, we will inform you once we are ready to move them into the paddock.” Claire kept a protective arm on Mia even though there wasn’t any danger. She was frightened and it wasn’t sitting well with Claire.
“They are going to be mean, aren’t they.” Mia asked once they were back in the car.
“Well, they are carnivores, so yeah, they will be aggressive.”
Mia slumped back in her seat and watched the scenery out her window as they drove home.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
“Eyes on me!” Owen called out from the walkway above the raptors. The four of them continued their playful fight, ignoring their alpha.
“They aren’t listening,” Nathan pointed out. He gripped the railing and leaned over to try and get a better look.
Owen was quick to grab the back of his shirt and yank him back. “Really, Nathan? You’re not even supposed to be up here. You fall in and your mother will kill both of us. The only reason why your up here is because I know she’s not in the control room.” He automatically glanced up at one of the paddocks cameras.
Nathan followed his gaze and rolled his eyes. “I’m not going to fall in.”
Hearing Nathan’s voice, Blue stopped the bickering with her sisters and looked up at the two men. She chirped, getting Nathan’s attention.
“Hi, girl!” Excitement taking over, he gripped the railing once more and leaned over.
“Have you met your mother?” Owen grumbled and fisted the back of his shirt once more to pull him back.
Nathan fought against his father’s grasp. Pointing down to the raptor, chirping happily up at him, “Look! I have her attention.” He grabbed the clicker out of Owen’s hand and clicked it. “Eyes on me!” Nathan tried desperately to make his voice deep.
Owen folded his arms against his chest and watched his son interact with the raptors. Blue looked around at the other three and barked her usual order to get them to stop. The other three hurried to stand by Blue. The four of them looking up at Nathan. “I did it!” Nathan cheered.
Owen motioned towards the bucket. “Now give them their treat.”
“Delta, here you go.” She stepped forward at the call of her name and caught the rat Nathan threw down to her. “Charlie—” he cut off when Echo leaped into the air and caught the rat before Charlie could.
“Hey!” Both Nathan and Owen called out at the same time.
The raptors were no longer listening. Charlie and Echo fought over the rat, both too angry to listen to Owen’s orders. He whistled as loud as he could, causing Nathan to cover his ears. “That’s enough!” He bellowed.
“Don’t lose control.” Hoskins yelled as he hurried up the steps towards them.
Owen shook his head and rubbed his hand down his face, “Shouldn’t you be gone by now? Your damage is done for the next month.”
“I was leaving, but saw your junior ranger taking charge. Must have gotten that determination from his mother.”
Nathan smiled at that. Though he knew his parents hated the man standing in front if them, he liked the name he used.
“No,” Owen shook his head and stood directly between Hoskins and Nathan. “Don’t you dare start your crap in front of my kid.”
“What? I’m just saying, he’s got determination. Hey, kid, you ever need to escape the tight leash your parents have on you, come see me. I’ll set you off in the right direction. You’ve got potential.”
Owen stepped towards Hoskins, his hands balled into tight fists, but it was Nathan that spoke up. “Leave my mom and dad alone!”
Hoskins opened his mouth to speak, but Owen laid a hand on his chest. “Walk away before you say something you’ll regret.”
Hoskins stared at Owen for a moment and once he realized just how much he wasn’t kidding, he sighed and turned his back on them. Walking away, he turned to call over his shoulder, “One month, Grady. These animals better be following commands a whole hell of a lot better than they are now. And Your wife better give me what I want, with that pretty little smile on her face.”
“You son of a bitch!” Owen growled and stepped towards him.
Barry appeared at his side and gripped his arm. “Nathan,” he simply stated, trying to get Owen to remember his son standing there. The three of them watched as Hoskins walked confidently away.
“Why does mom have to smile and give him something?”
Owen shuddered as his son’s words, placing a hand on his shoulder he led him back to the bucket of rats. “He’s talking about my reports. Mom signs off on them.” He handed the clicker back to a confused Nathan. “Here, try once more. It’s getting late.”
“But why did he say she needs to smile?”
Owen groaned. “He’s just trying to make me mad.” He pointed down at the raptors, now pacing impatiently below them. “Just feed them.”
Nathan did as he was told and turned back to Owen once the four raptors had their snack. “Does he like mom like a girlfriend?”
Owen stared, wide-eyed at his son. “No…” Owen scratched the back of his head. “No. He just knows that talking about her makes me mad.” He turned towards the stairs and Nathan followed silently behind him.
“But mom doesn’t like him, right? He’s not going to be her boyfriend?”
Owen froze in place on the stairs and spun around so fast that it startled Nathan. “Mom is married to me. We love each other. You know she doesn’t like him. You don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends when you’re married.” He turned to continue down the stairs and towards his office. He sat down at his desk and jotted down notes from the raptors snack session.
The two sat in silence as Nathan pondered over the conversation with Hoskins and then Owen’s reaction to his question while they were walking down the stairs. “Yeah you can!” Nathan spoke up, sitting in the chair across from Owen.
He looked up from his paperwork, raising an eyebrow. “I can, what?”
“Have boyfriends and girlfriends when you’re married. It’s called cheating!”
Owen dropped his pen, eyes gaping at Nathan. He let out an unsteady laugh and rubbed his temples. “We really need to start monitoring what you watch on TV.” He stood up and walked around his desk, kneeling in front of Nathan. “I’m sorry you had to hear Hoskins talking like that about your mother. There is absolutely no way either of us would ever cheat on the other. Got it?”
Nathan nibbled on his bottom lip as he thought about his father’s words. “No way?”
Owen shook his head slowly, “No possible way.”
“Ok,” Nathan sighed and glanced at the darkening sky outside the window. “Can we go see her now?”
Owen chuckled as he nodded. “I think that’s a good idea.”
“Mom!” Nathan yelled as he burst through the front door. “Mom!” He called out again when she didn’t answer. Pausing mid-step, he listened for her reply. Still no answer, panic gripped his chest. Was his father wrong in his assumptions? He ran up the stairs and into each bedroom, finding them all empty. No one was home. “Mom!” Nathan screamed, unable to hide the panic in his voice.
“Nathan, she’s out back with Mia.” Owen called up the stairs. He watched Nathan stumble down the stairs and through the house to the back door as quickly as his legs could carry him.
He made it to the kitchen just as Claire and Mia were coming inside, Mia holding a basket of vegetables from the garden. “Mom,” Nathan sighed and ran into her arms.
She hugged him back, but looked over to Owen, confused. “What’s this about?”
Before Owen could explain, Nathan looked up at Claire. “You’re not going to make Hoskins your boyfriend, right?”
Claire gripped his shoulders and stepped away from him so she could see his face better. Her own face crumbled up in both confusion and disgust. “Excuse me?”
Owen rubbed his temples and groaned, “Oh, Nathan.”
“What?” he asked, turning to his father. “I want to hear it from her.”
“Owen?” Claire stared at her husband, her hand on her hip and her fingers impatiently thrummed against the fabric of her skirt. “Care to explain why he would even consider asking me that question?”
Owen took a deep breath, “He heard Hoskins trying to get under my skin by saying you were to hand over the reports for next month, smiling.”
Claire’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. That did’t sound like a reason for Nathan to assume she was dating the creep.
“No,” Nathan shook his head, “he said she was to give him what he wants with that pretty little smile on her face.” He quoted Hoskin’s words perfectly, the statement etched in his brain.
Claire’s eyes went wide as she stared at Owen, Nathan’s words repeating over and over in her head. Her face turning red, both kids stepped aside the moment she moved to stand directly in front of Owen. Her finger jabbing into his chest. “He comes anywhere near our kids again I will have him fired. Now he has our son thinking absurd thoughts?!”
“So what dad said is true? You’re not cheating on him?”
“What?” Claire shrieked. “No! Nate, no…” She leaned down so their eyes were level. “I love your dad. Hoskins just like to try and make us mad.”
Owen stepped beside Claire and placed his arm around her waist, pulling her against him and kissed her temple before turning to face Nathan. “See, Buddy, told you.”
Nathan’s shoulders finally relaxed and he hugged Claire once more before turning to exit the kitchen.
Claire turned towards Owen, shaking her head. “Cheating? We really need to start paying attention to what he’s watching.”
Owen snorted, “That’s what I said.”
“Mama, the tomatoes are washed.” Mia informed Claire. Being too young to fully understand the conversation, she made herself busy at the sink.
“Well at least we have one that has no idea what’s going on.” Owen chuckled. He threw his arm out to stop Claire when she started walking towards Mia. “Hey,” he said softly, causing her to turn in his arms. “I love you.”
Claire reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Love you, too.” She sighed and Owen leaned in to kiss her.
“Ew!” Nathan said from the doorway.
Owen pulled back to narrow his eyes at Nathan. “Really, kid? After all this I can’t even kiss her?”
Nathan shook his head. “It’s gross.”
Owen rolled his eyes, “Go find something to do.” He said and leaned in again to kiss Claire. She giggled against his lips hearing Nathan groaning as he disappeared into the living room.
Chapter 7: Chapter 6
Claire leaned back in her chair, her stomach growling as she tried to hurry along her conference call. She glanced at the clock and stifled a groan. Her lunch break was almost over and knowing she had a meeting in half an hour, there would be no time for lunch today. “Yes, Mr. Osterly, the eggs have hatched and both dinosaurs are thriving. I look forward to our meeting in six months when we are ready to reveal the new assets to the public.”
There was a knock on her door and Owen stepped quietly inside. Claire’s eyes immediately fell on her favorite salad balancing in one hand, a fresh cup of coffee in the other. Thank you, Claire mouthed as Owen sat the container on her desk.
He checked his watch and tapped the face of it, signaling to Claire that she was behind schedule. She rolled her eyes and pointed at the phone cradled against her shoulder. Owen waved and started to turn towards the door. She quickly held up her finger, “I will be in touch within a few weeks to give you an update of their progression. Thank you again, Mr. Osterly.” She paused as he said his goodbyes on his end and hung up the phone with a loud huff. “I didn’t think that was ever going to end.”
Owen lifted his leg and partially sat on Claire’s desk, flipping open the lid to her salad and pushing it towards her. “I was going to grab a sandwich for lunch and Tony said you never came by to pick up your order.”
Claire nodded with her mouth full. “I had Zara order it for me before she went on her break, but the conference call went a lot longer than I expected. Thanks for bringing it.”
“You get cranky when you’re hungry, so I figured I’d save the crew you have to do your presentation to. Now they can have happy Claire.” He laughed and caught the tomato she chucked at him.
“Why didn’t you bring your sandwich up?” She asked, noticing he didn’t bring his lunch with him.
“It’s out on my bike. Going to bring it back to the paddock with me. I don’t have time to sit and have lunch today.” He stood up and leaned over the desk to kiss Claire’s pout.
“Sorry, Babe, tomorrow?”
She shook her head, “I have to be down in the lab all morning.”
“Ok, I’ll see you later. I may be a little late grabbing the kids from downstairs, so tell them not to worry if I’m not here on time.”
Claire nodded. “I’ll let them know.”
He kissed her again before leaving the office.
The rest of the afternoon went by quickly. Her presentation coming off without a single hitch, she was almost skipping back to her office. She swung open her office door expecting to be greeting by Nathan and Mia. “Hey guys…” her voice trailed off when the office was empty. She walked over to Zara’s desk, “Were my kids here?” She asked, glancing down at her watch. “They should have been here ten minutes ago.”
Zara nodded. “Mia came by looking for Nathan. She said she didn’t have homework and went down to the innovations center.”
Zara shook her head.
Clare groaned and turned towards the elevator. “Hold my calls. I’ll be right back.”
She hurried into the innovations center and quickly found Mia, sitting in with a small group of kids listening to a presentation. Her arm was raised, her hand waving desperately for Angelica to call on her to answer her question. Claire carefully stepped through the sea of kids on the floor and tapped Mia’s shoulder. “Cretaceous!” She called out and then realized it was Claire tapping her. “Oh,” she giggled.
“Yes, Mia,” Angelica laughed. “That was the correct answer.”
“Sorry,” Claire apologized for interrupting and motioned for Mia to follow her away from the crowd. She bent down so her eyes were level with Mia and asked, “Where’s your brother?”
Mia looked down at her feet.
Claire placed a hand on Mia’s shoulder and when she realized that she wasn’t going to look at her, she stood up and took her hand. “Where are we going?” Mia asked.
“Back up to my office until you can tell me where Nathan is.”
“I can’t!” She moaned.
Claire stopped walking and turned to face her daughter, folding her arms against her chest. “Why not?”
“He said if I tell on him I don’t get to go next time.”
“He better not be where I think he is!” She growled and took Mia’s hand once more, this time leading her to the control room.
“I didn’t tell! Please tell him I didn’t tell on him!” She pleaded as she half ran to keep up with Claire.
“He knows the rules!” Claire, mostly speaking to herself grumbled.
They barged into the control room, and Claire dropped Mia’s hand. Knowing how mad her mother was, she stuck close to her side, not wanting to aggravate her anymore. “Lowery, show me footage on the perimeter fences.”
“Sure,” he drummed his fingers across the keyboard. “What time?”
“Half hour ago.”
Lowery brought up the recorded feed and Claire stepped closer to the monitors to study them. “Damn it, Nathan.” She hissed and reached for the radio on Lowery’s station. “Paddock 11 this is control.” Starring at the screen displaying the cameras to the paddock she searched for Owen.
“Paddock 11 to control, we read you.” Barry answered.
“Is that Claire?” Owen called out, hearing her voice over the radio. Barry nodded and Owen jogged over towards him.
Trying to keep professional she kept her voice calm. “Owen is needed in the control room.”
Knowing Owen didn’t have his phone on him while working with the raptors, she hated that this was the only way to get a hold of him. Using the open airways for a personal matter was something Claire hated to do and only did it for emergency situations. This was not the first time Nathan had her paging Owen. Knowing this, Owen’s heart was in his throat as he reached for the radio. “Copy that, control. On my way.”
Claire turned towards Mia with her arms tight against her chest. “One more time, Where is he.”
Mia swallowed hard and shrugged. “Really? Gonna stay silent?”
“He made me swear!”
“Mia if he’s outside the park’s permitter it can be very dangerous! This is for his safety.”
Torn by what she should do, she shrugged and looked down at her hands. Nathan’s promise to her echoed in her head. She would be able to go exploring with him next time.
Fuming, Claire pointed towards the control room door, “Go sit in my office until I’m done here. I’m disappointed, Mia.”
She silently turned towards the door. With her head hung low she walked out and towards Claire’s office.
“Mia?” Owen called out when he saw her step off the elevator.
Her eyes went wide and she ran towards Claire’s office. He took a step in her direction, but paused when he realized she was coming from the control room without Claire. Stepping into the elevator he slammed his hand on the button to close the doors.
When he walked into the control room, Claire’s back was to him. She was studying the monitors as Lowery rewound the tapes of the permitter fences. “Oh Nathan,” he groaned and stepped beside Claire. “Did he go over the fence?”
Claire shrugged. Not taking her eyes off the monitor she answered, “I can’t see him on the tapes. Either he found a blind spot, or he’s somewhere else.”
“Security?” Owen questioned.
She shook her head. “They saw him leave the innovations center.” She pointed to the monitor frozen with the image of their son exiting the building.
“I’m guessing by the running away from me, Mia knows?”
This got Claire’s attention. She turned to face Owen. “You talk to her?”
“Nope. I called her name when I saw her get off the elevator and she ran towards your office.”
Claire sighed, defeated. “She’s not talking.”
“I’ll take my bike out and check the old buildings.” He patted her back and leaned in to kiss her cheek. “I’ll bring him back.”
“Just bring him home. I’ll bring my laptop home and just finish my work there.”
“See you at home.”
“Be careful.” She quickly kissed him and watched him rush out of the room.
Claire hurried into her office and silently gathered up her laptop. When she spoke, her voice was flat. “Let’s go.”
“Where?” Mia asked as she followed Claire out of the office.
“Went to go find your brother.”
Claire spun around, thankful that they were alone in the elevator. “I’m furious, Mia! At both of you!”
Mia sunk into the corner of the elevator, trying to hide her tears.
As soon as they walked into the house, Claire spoke without looking at Mia. “To your room until your father gets home.”
“He’s at the abandoned buildings.” She whispered.
“We already figured it out, but I appreciate you telling me.”
“Am I still grounded?”
Claire nodded. “Oh yes, Mia, to your room. Now.”
She wondered around the house impatiently. Glancing at her watch for what seemed like the hundredth time in the last two hours, she slumped down on the couch. The sun was setting and she was starting to get nervous.
She heard Owen’s bike coming down the street before she saw the headlights flash through the windows as he pulled into the driveway. Standing up with her arms against her chest, she stood just behind the front door.
Nathan got off the bike and dragged his feet towards the front door. Owen placed a hand on his shoulder to guide him forward a little faster. They both walked through the front door and Nathan jumped, startled by Claire standing silently in front of him.
“Was he there?” Claire asked Owen.
He nodded and stepped around Nathan to stand at Claire’s side.
“Not only did you break the rules, but you have your sister keeping your secret?” Claire paused as Nathan glanced quickly towards the stairs. “She’s now grounded along with you.” Her hands flying to her hips as her voice grew higher and higher until she was yelling. “You’re ten years old, Nathan! You’re old enough to know right from wrong. How many times do we have to tell you the abandoned buildings are off limits! They are unstable! You aren’t even allowed out of the park on your own, what makes you think you can cross the permitter fence?”
“It’s not dangerous out there. There’s nothing there!”
“What happens when the building collapses with you inside? What happens if you fall and we have no idea where you are?”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“You don’t know that!” Claire yelled. “You get caught sneaking over there again and your freedom is gone until you’re off to college.”
Claire fell silent as the fire burned in her eyes. This was the third time Nathan was found trying to explore around the old buildings of the first park. Since the family stumbled upon the site while they were hiking away from all the hustle and bustle of the park, Nathan had grown curious about the area.
Owen broke the silence when he knew Claire said what she had to say. Already giving Nathan an earful of his own on their way home, he dismissed his son. “Go shower and to your room.”
Nathan started walking away and Owen called him back. “Don’t you have something to say?”
He paused on the first step of the stairs. “Sorry,” he grumbled and continued his climb.
“You think it’ll be frowned upon if we implant a tracking chip in him?” Claire wondered, receiving a chuckle from Owen.
“Not a bad idea.”
Claire slipped her arms around his waist, her body relaxing now that Nathan was safe under her roof. “Thanks for finding him.”
“I get his need to explore. I’m itching to tear that place apart. So much was left behind. Imagine the items still inside.” Owen trailed off as his thoughts ran away from him.
Claire shoved his shoulder. “Don’t go giving him ideas. I’ll put tracking chips in both of you.”
Owen laughed and leaned down to kiss her. “Off limits, got it, mom.” His face falling serious as he glanced towards the stairs. “She in her room?”
Claire nodded. “She confessed to me where he was when we got home. But after I told her she was grounded.”
“I supposed it’s my turn.” He sighed.
Claire reached up on her toes and kissed him. “Tag, you're it. I’ll start dinner.”
Chapter 8: chapter 8
“Good Morning, Claire.” Zara smiled warmly as her boss strode towards her office.
Claire smiled back at her assistant and reached for the coffee she was offering. “Good morning, Zara. Thank you. Just what I needed this morning.” Zara focused on the other cup of coffee in Claire’s hand. Claire followed her gaze and shrugged, “It’s empty. Rough morning.” She grumbled. Throwing the empty cup away, she took a swig from the new cup.
Zara raised an eyebrow, “The kids?”
Claire shook her head.
She shook her head again and took another sip of her coffee.
“Ok,” Zara sighed, giving up. Claire wasn’t ready to talk about whatever was bothering her.
“Any messages?” Claire asked, her shoulders relaxing when Zara didn’t push for information.
Zara handed Claire a small pile of papers. The one on top had her blood boiling. Her eyes narrowed and she couldn’t hold back the groan.
“I’m guessing this was by his request?” Zara asked, motioning down to the message she jotted down from Hoskins.
Claire sighed heavily and shook her head. “No, I requested this meeting.”
Zara’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “What happened?”
Shaking her head, Claire turned towards her office. “He crossed a line and I’m going to take care of it.”
“I’m guessing Owen doesn’t know.”
Glancing over her shoulder she hoped Zara didn’t see her wince. “If he calls or stops by please tell him I’m in a meeting.”
Zara hesitated, concentrating on Claire’s body language. Knowing Claire was already on edge, she decided not to press any further. “You got it, Boss.”
Claire disappeared into her office and slumped down in her chair. Hoskins was due to arrive soon and she needed to prepare. Taking a few deep breaths, she turned on her computer to look through her notes. Though it’s been two weeks, Claire can still hear her son’s words echoing in her head. She shivered at the thought of him thinking her and Hoskins were together. She leaned back in her chair and reached for the folder on her desk. She smirked as she shifted through the papers inside.
She was calm when there was a rough knock on her door. Standing up, she walked around her desk, straightening her skirt out and tucking her hair behind her ears. The door opened before she could answer it.
Hoskins stepped inside and immediately shut the door behind him. The smile he flashed Claire had her nauseous. “So,” he looked around her office as he made himself comfortable on her couch, “we going to get this thing started?”
Clenching her teeth together, she fought to keep her cool. She had a plan and needed to stick to it. Without saying a word she turned back towards her desk to sit down.
“Why so far away?” Hoskins stood up and moved to one of the chairs on the other side of her desk.
Claire leaned back in her chair, crossed her legs and folded her hands on her lap. Hoskins look in how relaxed she was and smirked. Ignoring his wondering eyes, she asked, “Did you stop by the raptor paddock?”
“You asked me not to.”
With a snort, Claire rolled her eyes. “That doesn’t mean anything.”
He leaned forward, resting his hands on her desk, his eyes baring into hers. “He has no idea.”
Claire swallowed hard, trying to keep down her breakfast. She rolled her chair closer to her desk and followed Hoskins’ motion. She leaned in, trying her best to keep her voice calm. “Good, that means you will stay alive long enough for me to finish what I have to say.”
“Hey, sweetheart, I’m not the one who requested this top secret meeting.”
“It’s, Mrs. Grady to you.”
Hoskins rolled his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, Claire slid the folder across the desk.
“What’s this? Your divorce papers?” Hoskins asked as he reached for the folder.
“More like yours.” She couldn’t help the smug look as he shifted uncomfortably while looking through the papers.
“You’re not serious!” Hoskins jumped to his feet, tossing the papers across the desk. They fanned out across the clean space.
Claire stood up, resting her palms on her desk as she leaned towards Hoskins. “Dead serious.”
“You have no authority over me. You can’t fire me.” Hoskins jumped to his feet, pushing the mess of papers back towards Claire. Some falling to her feet.
Claire reached for one of the papers, “I have Mr. Masrani on board.” She said and pointed to his signature just below hers.
“Under what grounds?” Hoskins bellowed.
“I haven’t said anything to you, Claire!”
She folded her arms against her chest, “Not me, this time. My son.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Two weeks ago. My son was at the raptor paddock. You spoke out of line to my husband and in front of my ten-year-old.”
“Oh, come on,” Hoskins leaned over the desk towards Claire, but she didn’t move. “It’s called having fun. Nothing personal.”
“You talk like that in front of my son. You made it personal.”
“Going all Mama-Bear now?”
Claire nodded. “Yes! You mess with me, I can handle that. Start shit with my husband, fine. But when you mess with my kid? That was unprofessional and uncalled for.”
“So, what, you want me to apologize to the boy?”
“No!” Claire cleaned closer to him, her index finger pressed into his shoulder. “You have nothing to say to either of my kids.”
“Fine,” Hoskins held his hands up, palms towards Claire, “not even going to look at them. I swear. Just reinstate the project. Owen has gotten so far with the raptors. You barely see me anyway.”
Claire lifted the paper with Mr. Masrani’s signature and pretended to contemplate over tearing it up or not. She thought back to when he was visiting the new assets and she pulled him aside to inform him of Hoskins’ stunt that he pulled at the raptor paddock with Nathan. The two of them came up with fake papers to threaten Hoskins’ future on the island. Claire hid her smile, proud of the way her plan worked.
“Come near my kids again and security will escort you out of here.”
Hoskins gave one hard nod and his shoulders relaxed. “Thank you, Mrs. Grady.”
Claire leaned over and dropped the paper into her shredder. “You’re excused.” She motioned towards her door.
His hands balled into fists, fighting to keep his mouth shut. He gave a hard nod and stormed towards her door.
The office door swung open and Claire could hear Zara’s frantic voice, “Owen, I said she’s in a—” she cut off when Owen and Hoskins were face to face.
Owen silently folded her arms against his chest and stared at Hoskins. He raised his hands, palms towards Owen and spoke quickly, “Hey, Pal, this wasn’t my meeting.”
Claire took a deep breath, “I said you’re excused.” Her words were a reminder of the meeting they just had.
Hoskins looked towards Claire and reached out to shake her hand. A motion she knew he wanted to do just to piss off Owen. She raised an eyebrow and Hoskins quickly ducked out of the office and disappeared towards the elevator.
“What the hell was that about? I get to the paddock and no more than an hour later do I hear rumors that my boss—the guy we despise—is heading to your office for some meeting none of us at the paddock knew about!” Owen yelled.
Claire pulled him further into her office and threw Zara a look that her assistant knew to place her calls on hold. Shutting the door, she turned to walk towards her desk. Owen watched her silently, impatiently waiting for her to answer him.
“Well?” He asked, hurrying after her. He gripped her arm to turn her around to face him. Claire turned and leaned against her desk. She reached for one of the papers strewn across her desk and handed it to him. Owen looked up and met her gaze, “you fired him?”
Claire shook her head. “It was a bluff. He fell for it though.”
“Was this about Nate?”
“Oh, Claire,” Owen sighed and sat down in one of the chairs, pulling Claire onto his lap. “You do know I already talked to him about it, right? Did you not expect me to fix it?”
“So,” Claire shrugged, “you did what you had to do and I did what I had to do.”
Owen wrapped his arms around her waist and she leaned down to kiss him. “Did you have him shitting himself?”
Claire snorted. “He called me Mrs, Grady.”
Owen threw his head back as he laughed. “I pity the girl who breaks Nathan’s heart one day.”
Leaning in to kiss Owen she smiled against his lips. “Already have a plan for that one.”
Owen raised an eyebrow, “Really? Do share.”
“I’ve got a T-Rex that’s always hungry.”
Tightening his hold on Claire, he laughed along with her. “I’ve got four raptors ready to tear apart any punk who hurts my girl.”
Claire nodded, satisfied that they were both on the same page when it came to protecting their kids. “Perks of working at Jurassic World.”
Chapter 9: Chapter 7
Just finishing up her conference call, there was a knock on Claire’s door. “Come in,” She instructed and rose from her chair as the door opened.
“Here they are,” Zara sighed, opening the door wider for Mia and Nathan to enter the office. Both kids were quiet, knowing their parents still weren’t happy with them. As part of their punishment, Claire tore all responsibilities from them. They were no longer trusted to walk the short distance from their school room to their mother’s office. For the past week it was either Claire or Zara escorting them.
Claire smiled at her assistant, “Thank you, Zara.”
She gave a tight nod and closed the office door.
Claire watched as both kids moved to their normal spot on the couch and immediately started their homework. She took her own seat, eyes still on her kids. “How was school?”
They both glanced at each other out of the corner of their eye. Knowing the plot they had against Claire and Owen she huffed, having enough.
“This little silent treatment you’re giving your father and I is not helping your situation. You both know what you did was wrong. So I’m going to ask you again,” she took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves since neither child has even glanced in her direction. “How was school?”
“Fine,” they both answered in unison, their voices quiet.
Claire rolled her eyes, “That was a whole lot better.” Sarcasm drenched in her words.
Without any reaction from Mia or Nathan, she turned to her computer and started working on answering emails. Getting lost in her work, she jumped when she realized Mia was standing on the other side of her desk. They locked eyes and Claire silently waited for Mia to speak.
Claire smiled politely at her daughter, “That’s nice.”
She stomped her foot and jutted out her bottom lip. “When can we go to the Innovations Center again?”
Claire shifted in her chair so she was facing Mia directly. “When we can trust you guys again.”
Nathan jumped to his feet from where he was on the couch. “How are we supposed to earn your trust? You don’t give us a chance!”
Claire followed his motion, her chair rolling back from the quick movement. Her palms slammed down onto her desk. “Start showing us you’re sorry. Help around the house. You know what you should and shouldn’t be doing.”
“But I’m not sorry! You always tell us to stand up for what we believe in. Well we believe that those buildings are not dangerous. We’re surrounded by meat eating dinosaurs right now. Those buildings are no where near anything dangerous.”
Claire pinched the bridge of her nose, “Nathan, I don’t want to discuss this with you anymore. The old park buildings are off limits and that’s final! Now sit down until your father gets here to take you home.”
Nathan slumped down on the couch, his arms tight against his chest. Mia stood her ground at the opposite side of Claire’s desk. The eight-year-old just as stubborn as her mother.
Claire folded her hands against her chest, raising an eyebrow as she watched her daughter. “Please?” Mia whimpered, her bottom lip jutting out.
Claire snorted. “That may work on your father, but not on me.” She paused as she pointed at the couch. “Sit down.”
“Ugh!” Mia grumbled and stomped her feet as she walked over to where Nathan was pouting. In the end they both knew Claire would always have the final word. No matter how hard they tried.
The hours dragged on for all three of them. Claire groaning every time her phone rang. Mia and Nathan taking the opportunity to start a slapping fight on the couch, their shrieks echoing through the room. Even Claire’s silent glare in their direction wasn’t working. She fought with everything she had in her to keep her voice calm while speaking to the investor on the other end of the call.
Slamming her phone down on the receiver, she jumped to her feet. “Enough!” she bellowed, her voice freezing the kids in place. She glanced down at her watch, her eyebrows furrowing in aggravation. Reaching for her cell phone, she jammed her finger down on Owen’s name. She was yelling before he could get out his greeting. “You should have been here ten minutes ago!”
With Claire’s attention averted, Mia and Nathan continued their wrestling match.
Owen looked down at the clock on his dash, grumbling to himself as he slammed his foot down on the gas pedal. “The raptors were a little more cooperative today, so we ran a little over. I’m ten minutes—”
“I have work to do, too, Owen! I need to be down at the Indominus paddock in twenty minutes.”
“I’m on my…” Owen trailed off, concentrating on the background noise. With a heavy sigh he asked, “Who am I speaking to first?”
Claire stepped around her desk, yanking Nathan away from his sister and shoved the cell phone in his direction. Nathan grabbed in quickly and pressed it into Mia’s hand. “No way!” She shrieked and dropped the phone as if he handed her some sort of poisonous bug. “She handed you the phone.”
“So, I’m older than you and I say you talk to him!”
“NATHAN!” The room fell silent when Owen’s voice boomed through the earpiece on the phone. Both kids looked down with wide eyes. He wasn’t even on speaker.
Claire smirked as she bent down to pick up her phone. Handing it over once more, she knew whatever Owen was going to say to them before was going to be a lot worse now.
Nathan took the phone and slumped down onto the couch again. “Yeah?” He groaned.
“Are you kidding me, kid?! You think this behavior is going to fix anything?”
“But we—” Nathan started, but Owen cut him off.
“How many calls did you horse around for?”
“I don’t know! We would have been good if we can just go to the Innovations Center!”
“How many!” Owen demanded. Nathan glanced up at Claire who had moved back to her desk and was concentrating on her computer screen. He nibbled his bottom lip as he quickly considered lying, but knowing what his hesitation was for Owen threw out a warning. “You lie to me, son, and that’ll be the biggest mistake you could make right now. I will be double checking with your mother.”
“Three,” He huffed and leaned back against the couch.
“Good, that’s three more days you're grounded.”
Nathan jumped to his feet, “What?!” He yelled and startled Claire. She watched him as he pleaded with Owen. “Come on! That’s not fair!”
“We’ll discuss this more later. Give the phone to your sister.”
Before Owen could finish, Nathan dropped the cell phone on the couch beside Mia. “It’s for you.”
Trying her hardest to speak as innocently as she could, she greeted her father, “Hi, Daddy…”
Claire rolled her eyes.
“Oh no you don’t, little miss. Three phone calls your mother was on and you know what you should be doing! That’s also three more days added to your punishment, too.”
“But, Dad!” She dragged out his name as she slapped her hand down on her knee.
“Sit tight, I’ll be there in a few minutes and this discussion is not over with. I mean it, Mia. Behave!” Owen didn’t wait for her to protest. He ended the call and dropped his phone onto the passenger seat.
Claire sat silently behind her desk, watching the kids out of the corner of her eye. They were leaning close together, playing on her phone. She cleared her throat and held her hand out. “No electronics, remember?”
“We can’t even play a game while we wait?” Mia asked Claire.
She shook her head and shrugged. “You wouldn’t let me talk on the phone. It’s so unfair!” She complained, mimicking her kids. Nathan put her cell phone on the coffee table in front of him. “Can I have it, please?” She asked and glanced down at her hand, palm out, waiting for her phone.
The office door opened and Nathan jumped to his feet, grabbed the phone and rushed towards Claire. Her eyes were already on Owen as he glared at the kids.
x x x
It was a few hours after Owen got home with the kids, Claire walked through the door. She dropped her bag by the door and kicked off her heels. Dragging her feet, she wondered into the kitchen. She found Owen in front of the stove cooking dinner. Walking up behind him, she slipped her arms around his waist. “It’s awfully quiet in here.”
He turned in her arms and leaned down to kiss her. “They are in their rooms. Sorry I was late.” He said and kissed the tip of her nose.
Claire took a deep breath and let it out slowly before she answered. “It’s ok. I understand, but they were out of control. I probably would have been able to control the raptors better than those two.”
Owen nodded, glancing up at the ceiling. “That won’t be happening again.”
“How many phone calls did they interrupt?”
“Three.” She answered.
Owen nodded, the tension in his shoulders dissipating. “Good.”
Claire raised an eyebrow. “Good?” She repeated.
“No, I mean I asked them that and they both gave me the same number. I extended their punishment three days.”
“Oh,” Claire nodded, “now I understand the freak out on the phone.”
Owen turned to continue stirring the spaghetti sauce. “Yup, they aren’t happy about it.”
“This wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t keep sneaking out there,” Claire said as she reached for the garlic bread and salad bowl to place on the table. “I just wish he’d learn his lesson!”
“This is your fault you know,” Owen pointed out as he scooped a strand of spaghetti out of the pot and tossed it in his mouth. Concluding it was done, he turned the stove off and moved to drain the water.
Claire froze at the fridge, her hand reaching for the salad dressing. She spun around to face him, her eyes narrowed. “Excuse me?” She half shrieked. She went to argue more, but Owen spoke quickly.
With a chuckle he bumped her with his elbow as he brought the pasta over to the table. “They are just as stubborn as you are. This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t take after you.”
Claire slammed the dressing down on the table and folded her arms against her chest. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means this isn’t going to be the last time this happens. Come on, Claire when your heart is set on something you don’t stop until you get it.”
Claire shrugged. “Yeah, but not to the extent of doing something dangerous! That’s all you, big guy— Mr. Hot-shot-motorcycle-driving-cliff-jumping-raptor-trainer! They are just as wild spirited as you are, so I blame you.”
Owen rolled his eyes, “Ok, we can agree to disagree.”
“I’m not disagreeing,” Claire shook her head, “I’m simply telling you how it is.”
“See!” Owen yelled, jabbing his finger at her, “There it is! Stubborn until it’s your way.” He threw his fist in the air in triumph, “I win! Your fault.”
“What are you fighting about?” Nathan asked as he dragged his feet into the kitchen and slumped down in his chair at the table. Mia followed silently behind him.
“We’re not fighting, we’re debating.” Owen corrected him.
“Debating what?” Mia asked as she reached for the garlic bread.
“Who you take after.” Owen informed them and served them the pasta.
Both kids looked from Claire to Owen confused. “Everyone says we are a deadly combination.”
“Who says that? And what does that mean?” Claire asked.
Nathan shrugged. “A lot of the workers around the park. They say with your stubbornness and dad’s cocky attitude we were destined to be a handful,” Nathan paused to look at Owen, “so to conclude your debate, it’s both of your faults. Now that we discovered that, can we at least have our three days back?”
Owen snorted and shook his head. “Nice try, kid.”
Nathan glanced hopefully at Claire. She shook her head, “No.”
Chapter 10: Chapter 9
Claire’s morning was uneventful and surprisingly slow. She took advantage of not having to be stuck in her office or in a meeting, and spent most of her morning in the control room. Scanning over the monitors over and over again, even the dinosaurs were calm. No incidents for her to take care of. The park wasn’t busy since it was the end of August and kids were getting ready to go back to school. The park was preparing for the colder and rainy months to come. Peeking up at the raptor paddock, even Owen seemed to be poking around the pen. No big test was scheduled for the raptors today.
Forcing herself to keep her formal posture, Claire stifled a yawn and glanced over at Lowery. “Page me if you need me. I’ll be out of the office for the afternoon.” It was getting close to lunch and she wanted to take advantage of the quiet.
Lowery smiled and waved as Claire moved towards the exit. “Have fun!” She quickly waved without turning around and stepped into the elevator.
Claire moved along the quiet hallway where there usually is waves of men and women going in and out of the conference rooms. She smiled to herself, taking in the quiet, knowing it won’t last.
Pausing at a closed door, Claire knocked once and opened the door slowly. Peeking inside she was met my two surprised faces. Claire was met by the kids’ teacher, “Hi, Mrs. Stewart.”
The elderly woman smiled at Claire, “Mrs. Grady,” she motioned towards Mia and Nathan, “They just started math.”
“Any incidents?” Claire asked her.
“No,” Mrs. Stewart shook her head, “very good so far today. Actually Nathan had a science test and though I haven’t graded it all yet, he did very well.”
“Yes!” Nathan hissed and quickly blushed from making it obvious he was eavesdropping.
“That’s great!” Claire smiled at her son and looked back at Mrs. Stewart. “I’m going to excuse them for a few hours.”
Mia and Nathan’s eyes met and they quickly packed up their bags, pulling small groans from the other kids in the room.
“Where are we going?” Mia asked, bouncing at Claire’s side as they made their way to her office.
“Well, I was thinking we could drop your bags off and grab some sandwiches for lunch.”
“That’s all?” Nathan tried his best to hide the disappointment.
“How about we go pick up dad and take the gyrosphere’s into the valley for a picnic?”
Both kids cheered as Claire held her door open and they tossed their bags inside, turning to race towards the elevator.
The family had a designated picnic spot far off the gyrosphere path. They had to hike a little to get there, to be away from being stepped on, but no one seemed to mind the hike. The four of them often traveled that spot to be secluded from any human on the island. It was just them and the herbivores.
Claire dialed Owen’s number while they drove to the house so Claire could get changed. “Hey, Babe.” Owen answered on the first ring.
“Speaker phone.” Claire informed him and glanced over her shoulder to the two bouncing with excitement in the back seat.
“Where are you?”
“Just pulling into the driveway. I have sandwiches and the kids.”
“Ah,” Claire could almost hear the smile creeping across his face. “The valley?” He asked.
“Yes!” Both kids yelled at once.
Owen laughed, “See you in a few.”
Hurrying down the pathway to the gyrospheres, the kids followed Claire and Owen down to the Employees Only gate. Claire scanned her badge and waved to the security guard as the four walked towards where the spare gyrospheres were housed. Claire didn’t want to pull two from the ride’s circulation.
Mia and Nathan each claimed a different gyrosphere and the adults slid in beside them. Claire and Owen zigzagged through the valley, in and out of the guests moving along the paths slowly. It wasn’t long before they were away from the guests and moved along some of the herds that were taking a break from the public’s eye.
Owen sped up, pulling an excited giggle from Nathan as they zoomed under a brachiosaurus. He glanced over his shoulder to see Claire moving around the dinosaur and met him on the other side. The herd that was around them ran alongside the gyrospheres causing the kids to giggle with excitement.
Once they made it to the bottom of the rock hill, they began their trek up the small hill. Since the spot was hard for the large dinosaurs to climb, the family knew they would be safe.
Claire set up the blanket while Owen walked with the kids, pointing out some of the different plants in the area and quizzing the kids on some of the plant names and their purpose on the island. He knew Claire would appreciate a lesson squeezed in since they were pulled from school.
“Come eat!” Claire called out and watched as the three raced back towards her.
The family ate as they peered out into the valley. Their height allowed them to look out over most of the wide valley. The dinosaurs always seemed more relaxed out here. “It’s like we traveled back in time.” Nathan gushed, peering out over the open space. They were far enough away where they couldn’t see any sign of the park or guests.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?” Owen sighed.
Claire leaned into Owen’s side and nodded.
“Mommy, look!” Mia hissed. Her eyes locked on the brachiosaurus that wondered close to the rocks they were on. They were far enough up that the dinosaurs head was the only thing that was level with them.
“Go ahead,” Claire answered Mia’s unasked question.
Both her and Nathan inched close to the edge and Mia reached out to feed the dinosaur the apple she had in her hand. She lapped it up, leaving a slobbery mess on Mia’s hand.
“I want to feed her!” Nathan turned quickly realizing he had already eaten his apple. He rushed towards his father, snatching one out of Owen’s hand.
“I was going to eat that!” Owen called after him.
“She wants it more.” Nathan said as he stretched his arm out and the apple was taken from his hand.
With no more fruit to give, the kids pet her until she realized the snacks were no longer being offered and she moved on.
Claire curled further into Owen’s side and they watched the scene in front of them. Both knowing no textbook could ever give them this kind of lesson.
The radio on Claire’s hip crackled, “Mrs. Grady?”
Claire groaned and reached for the radio. “Yeah?”
“You are needed in the nursery.” Claire’s eyes went wide and met Owen’s.
“What’s going on?” Owen wondered.
Claire shrugged. “No clue.”
“Hope none of the babies are sick.” Nathan turned with sudden interest.
“I don’t know. I have to get back and check.” She stood up and bent down to kiss Owen.
“I’ll bring them back to school.” Owen checked his watch. “I should be getting back to the paddock anyway.”
“Awe!” Both kids complained.
“Sorry, guys.” Claire kissed them both and left them to clean up the picnic.
“Good afternoon, Dr. Rogers.” Claire said as she rushed into the nursery. The doctor looked pale. Her smile quickly faded. “Someone sick?”
“One of the indominus…” He trailed off as he scratched his head.
“One of them what?” She pushed by him not waiting for an answer. Peering in the observation window, she only saw one stalking around, pausing on it’s way by the window to look out at her. She backed up instinctively. “Where is the other one?”
Dr. Rogers motioned for Claire to follow him. “Playback for Mrs. Grady, please.” He instructed the security officer.
Claire concentrated on the screen watching as one dinosaur slept peacefully while the other stalked around much like it was doing now. Jumping slightly when one inched closer to her sleeping sibling and pounced, diving for her neck, killing her quickly. “Oh, God,” Claire turned quickly away from the footage and swallowed hard. She was silent for a moment before turning and gaining her composure back. “Keep an eye on this one. We can’t lose them both.”
“I don’t think we’ll have a problem with this one. She’s growing very quickly. She’s strong.” Dr. Rogers informed her.
“Thanks you, I’ll be in my office. Page me if there’s anything more.” She said and quickly exited the nursery. Making her way up to her office, her afternoon was now overflowing with tasks that would have her working late. So long for her peaceful day.
Claire sat down at her desk after successfully avoiding anyone in the hall. They were all too busy rushing down to the observation deck to take a look at the repulsing footage. She reached for her phone and dialed Owen’s number.
“Let me guess,” Owen said as soon as he picked up the phone, “you’re going to be late tonight.”
Claire leaned back against her chair and huffed loudly. “Knew I jinxed it by actually taking a lunch break today.”
“What happened?” Owen hesitated to ask since Claire’s tone was not happy.
“One of the Indominus… she ate her sibling.”
“Sibling rivalry at its finest.” Owen laughed.
“This isn’t funny! Do you know how much we have invested in those dinosaurs! I can’t afford them eating each other. Now I’m going to have reports coming out of my ears. I have to inform the investors one didn’t make it. I’m going to be living in my office forever.”
“I’ll grab the kids right after school so you can work on all the paperwork. We’ll hang around the park and bring you up some dinner.” Owen tried his best to take some load off her.
“Thanks.” Claire sighed.
Claire moved from her desk to her couch as she worked, trying her best to keep herself from getting overly tired. She contacted the investor, and they immediately withdrew their interest on the Indominus. Spending the next few hours, Claire went down her waiting list of investors and was satisfied that she had a few that were interested. She set up meetings and busied herself with the investment packets.
The sun out her large office window had long since set and Claire stood from her desk and stretched, giving in to a loud yawn. She opened her office door, her mind set on a snack and coffee from the employee lounge, since the fish tacos Owen brought her were long gone. She sighed heavily when she realized she missed calling home so the kids could say goodnight. She was definitely going to get heat from them in the morning.
“Hey,” Zara mumbled from her desk, not even bothering to keep a professional tone.
“Oh,” Claire jumped when she realized Zara was still here. “You don’t have to be here, Zara. Go home.”
“When you work, I work, boss.” Zara held back the urge to roll her eyes. Exhaustion setting in and she didn’t care. She hated when Claire had to work late, keeping track of her phone calls until she gave the ok to switch off the phones to the answering service.
“No, seriously,” Claire sighed, patting her assistant on the shoulder. “Go home. I will take the calls. The phones are dead anyway.”
Zara immediately stood up and stretched. “Need coffee or anything?” She said as she reached for her bags and turning her desk lamp off.
Claire shook her head and motioned towards the employee lounge. “On my way over there now. Go home.”
With a final wave, Zara hurried towards the elevator and was out of sight. Claire let out a sigh and smiled to herself. The entire office to herself. Just the way she liked it. Grabbing a bag of trail mix and a coffee, she settled back on the couch to finish writing her report for the investors.
Claire blinked a few times and jumped when she realized she was being moved. “No,” She gasped and let Owen continue to sit her up on the couch.
She met Owen’s eyes and he smiled as he nodded. “Mmhmm..” He hummed. “I knew you must have fallen asleep when you didn’t answer the fourth time I called.”
Claire glanced down at her phone and groaned. “Sorry, what time is it?”
“Just after midnight.”
With a roll of her eyes, Claire answered, “Great, I have to be up in four hours.”
Owen pulled at her arms until she was standing. “You’re all packed. Let’s go.”
Scanning the office, she noticed her briefcase neatly sitting by the office door. “My notes?” Claire asked.
Owen nodded and pointed his chin in the direction of the briefcase. “Packed.”
“Laptop?” She already knew the answer since it was no longer sitting on the table in front of the couch.
“All set, Claire.”
They walked silently down to the parking lot where Owen’s truck was parked beside’s Claire’s Mercedes. “You ok to drive?”
The cool night air waking her up enough, she nodded. Knowing the routine since this was not the first time Claire fell asleep after working late. She got in her car and pulled out, knowing Owen would be following close behind her. His headlights giving off just enough light in the dark to keep her alert.
Pulling into the driveway the front door of the house opened and Barry stepped out, leaving the door open for the couple. “Sorry, Barry. Thanks.” Claire flushed a deep shade of red, hating that Owen had to drag him out of bed so he could stay with Mia and Nathan.
“Naa,” Barry waved her off and reached out to shake Owen’s hand. “Get some sleep, Claire. Sorry to hear about the sibling.”
She waved as he got in his jeep. Owen placed his arm around her shoulders and guided her inside.
“How mad were they that I didn’t call?” Claire asked, eyes locked on the stairs leading up to the bedrooms.
He shrugged and followed her gaze. “They understood. No one gave a hard time.”
Claire’s shoulders relaxed and she leaned into Owen’s side. “Bed.”
“Come on,” Owen gripped her hips, pushing her up the stairs in front of him.