Chapter 20.

Dinner had followed soon after, and all former stresses had been washed away by a sea of gravy and laughter. A stranger watching the 3 of us dine together may almost mistake us for a family. It was that thought that brought me down to earth, I really did not know Aude and I was beginning to wonder how much I knew about Johnny. The real Johnny. I was living with two perfect strangers, two people who apparently cared about me in ways I never knew people could. I had been thinking about what Aude had said, about me and Johnny staying and taking classes. I had told my Mother I wanted to stay in Texas, but not for me, it was to protect them. I knew after my talk with Aude I had to start protecting myself and making decisions that would better my future. Johnny seemed to think we were both staying in Texas 'Permanently' which really surprised me, I had expected Johnny to drop me like a hot potato upon arrival. I had underestimated the level to which he and Cameron had really discussed this this plan and furthermore how well Johnny knew Aude. I was beginning to feel like a blind mouse surrounded by hungry cats. I was in love with Johnny before I ever got to know him, I always loved Cameron but now I do not think I was ever IN love with him. His death was still a raw wound, although we knew for months he was going to pass away nothing prepares you for the pain of it really happening.

"Kira? Hello?" Aude joked as she shook me from my one sided discussions with myself. "There you are", she smiled as I made eye contact with her. "Girl if you keep drifting off to another plane I may never find you"

I was beginning to feel like that may be true, I had lost sight of myself in all this tragedy and I was seemingly losing my grip on reality.

"Do you want to go out somewhere?" Johnny asked from the opposite side of the table as he laid his fork down on his licked clean plate. I shook my head with a clear no.

"Well if you two were to change your minds a friend of mine is having a garden party this evening, I know we just ate but we could pop along for the social aspect. And maybe a couple of stiff gin and tonics!" she winked at me. Johnny smiled at my hopeful, I could not tie him to this house.

"Sure, sounds good", I smiled shaking off my cardigan as beads of sweat continued to emerge from my skin.

"It is always very hot, hot or very warm here is Texas honey, we are going to have to update your wardrobe soon before you sweat away", Aude chimed in and I simply smiled in response because I honestly felt like I was about to sweat myself to death.

"So this garden party, will there be many people?" Johnny asked looking towards Aude.

Aude put a sass filled hand on her hip and said, "You mean is there going to be anyone at the party that was not born in the prehistoric era? Of course there will be", she giggled. I could not help but find Aude an intoxicating dose of joy in an otherwise black and white world.

"I might find myself a boy toy", I joked and Johnny looked rather unimpressed and Aude responded with, "Hey leave a good one for me!" I stuck my tongue out at Johnny to which he did an imaginary hair flick and scoffed in response to me. I laughed, I actually laughed out loud for the first time in what felt like forever. I could seem the smiles on Aude and Johnny's face explode, I really must have been worrying them as much as I was worrying myself. I hated to admit it but I was excited to get out of the house tonight, although I was not really 100% sure how pregnant I was I knew it had to be around the 5 to 6 month mark, probably more towards 6. The months had flown by, the ability to keep track of time had disappeared. What felt like a week had really been a month and even my own perception of how long Cameron was sick for was wrong. Aude had been a midwife so I knew I was in good hands for this last stretch, but I do think the fact I did not have an outwardly obvious bump was worrying her. Although she never asked me how far along I was, since Cameron was in a hospital bed for upwards of 4 months and assumedly out of action due to how ill he was, she had probably put two and two together and got a currently 6 month old foetus.

"Aude I did not get a chance to tell you how the phone call went!", I sparked up as she turned to me again and nodded for me to carry on. "Well I told Mom what you said about us staying here and me taking classes, she said if we have a solid plan before she gets here she will talk to you about it more".

Aude smiled, "I can do that, when will she be here?"

"Well, that was the other thing. She is sending my Brother Milo down to check up on me until she can get here as she can not get out of work commitments. Would it be OK if he stayed here for a week or so?", I asked shyly embarrassed that  I had to put more of a burden on her.

"The more the merrier right? We ought to get used to an extra face in the house before the little one arrives", she chuckled. 

"I am sorry to put so much pressure on you Aude, but I really appreciate it. Really", I smiled at her and then to Johnny. He did not look so good at the idea of Milo getting here, but  he knew he was going to have to face him eventually.

"Thanks for dinner Aude, it was super!", Johnny said rubbing his stomach.

"Right you two, go entertain yourselves I have work to be doing", she said brushing her hands together and leaving out of the kitchen taking a turn down a hallway I had not yet ventured too.

"Johnny, what does Aude do exactly? I know she was a midwife, but you said she left work.", I asked confused by the situation.

"Yea she is not a practicing midwife anymore but she works for some local University setting online classes for people who want to take certain modules within the nursing field online", he said standing up and brushing himself off. 

"I see", I nodded.  I of course wanted to know more but as always I did not want to pry, I wanted to let Aude tell me her own story. "What are we going to do until the party?"

"Want to go for a walk? If I do not walk off this food baby I may start to look like you!", Johnny said jokingly and I swung him a glorious middle finger to let him know how I felt about his smart mouth. Johnny responded with a smile and he reached his hand out to me and I took it willingly.

I was falling in love, deeply in love for the first time in my life. 

Bitter Sweet LoveRead this story for FREE!