It was one of those days that Quantico had Will teaching in the evenings. This left Annabelle to her clients and other appointments. In such, they had established a routine, both in their careers and relationship. That is, until, they added to their family. Annabelle allowed Will to keep his dogs. His pack, after all, had their own uses and vices. In such, the dogs knew to stay to their one room that led outside into the yard. They never overstepped their boundaries when Will was away. The dogs knew a predator when they saw one.
The same could be said for Jameson. The girl practically vanished during the day. Annabelle had last seen her at lunch when she tiptoed into the study. The girl barely crossed into the threshold before Annabelle looked up from one of her reports to find her standing there with partially opened lips as if she were about to speak. Her eyes bore into Annabelle’s with agitation. She knew that look well.
“I am about to get lunch,” she muses, “would you care to join me?”
The girl visibly relaxed. Her shoulders sagged a bit as she trailed Annabelle like a baby duck into the kitchen. Lunch was eaten in tense silence as Jameson inhaled her sandwich before giving a curt thank you and running towards the room the dogs occupied. That had been four hours ago which alerted Annabelle that something was not quite right.
She couldn’t call motherly instincts, but she knew in her gut that the loud echo of her shoes was an unusual sound to hear unaccompanied by the sound of a child’s restlessness and dogs.
“Children laugh and dogs bark.” A voice spoke from one her mind palace’s many rooms.
Jameson was a quiet child, but amongst other things Annabelle knew that even a child couldn’t be but so quiet. Glancing at her clock, her next appointment, Franklin to be exact, was due any minute. Annabelle rummaged through the rooms of the estate (not in a panic of course) calling the girl’s name.
“And you said your name was?” That voice rose from the foyer just as Annabelle walked out the child’s bedroom on the second floor. She walked cautiously towards the stairs before descending it in a rather dramatic fashion- slow and steady making sure the click of her hears could be heard. Her blonde hair bounced against her shoulder at each step.
“Not much of a talker, eh?”
Franklin was bent down smiling at Jameson who didn’t respond. He continued talking until they both looked up alerted by the sound of heels tapping against cherry hardwood floors.
“Ah doctor,” his called standing up to his full height. He wore a grey suit and a blue tie. Formal wear as if their therapy was a date. It disgusted her how he still would advance abusing their time for his selfish pursuit. Annabelle always made a statement to wear her wedding band though he often tried to ignore it.
“Hello,” she says in a terse tone, “We agreed you are to come to the office and not the house.”
He rubs the back of his neck shyly before saying, “I apologize. I saw some movement from the front door and thought to investigate. Living out here alone can be dangerous ya know?”
She knew all too well the dangers that lurked out here in the middle of nowhere.
“I am not alone.” She states hearing the dogs growl from the closed door. Franklin gulps and nods.
“Yes, but I meant people.”
“I am aware.”
He looks at Jameson who walks towards Annabelle feeling the shift in the atmosphere. The girl clutches to her skirt before concealing herself behind the powerful, tall body.
“I didn’t know you were babysitting.”
Annabelle swallows a snort. Instead her neutral tone drawls into her accent making her words sound darker.
“It’s hardly babysitting if it is my child.”
The look on his face goes blank.
It doesn’t take a genius to know Jameson bears no resemblance to Will or the doctor. The child of deep brown curls and caramel skin contrasts greatly with her pale skin and Will’s tanned complexion, but the colors blend so naturally that they are easily an attractive family.
The rudeness of this conversation is enough for Annabelle to craft ten recipes as the urge to strangle him makes her hand twitch. Instead, she directs him to her office around back so they can discuss himself instead. Most of the remaining hour is Franklin asking questions.
“I didn’t peg you to be the family type.”
“Hm, do you feel as though you are the family type?” She directs the conversation back to him.
“No, but neither are you. A psychiatrist for a mother.” He huffs amused.
Annabelle doesn’t react as they speak, but the word mother hangs in the air like a knife hovering over her throat.
Is that how people saw her now?
The word doesn’t seem to fit her. Mother was intimate and something personal. It was a bond between two individuals that remained for life staining how the child would become. A foreign concept to her and Will.
“She’s beautiful though. Both of you share that trait.”
The compliment makes her shake her head making a noncommittal sound.
“What’s her name?”
“This is a session for you Franklin, not me.”
“She doesn’t speak.”
Annabelle glares a bit too harsh shutting the man up completely. He grabs a tissue wiping the sweat off his forehead before tossing it onto a table. Her eyes watch this action feeling her insides burn.
Oh, how rude!
But the session continues. All the while she plans the recipes best served for tongue or brain.