September 9, 2017

Raven: Week Thirty-Seven, Day One

Raven huffed as she slid out of bed after listening to Onyx call for Daryl.  Where the hell was heHe was supposed to be taking care of the stupid brats!

She knew she would find her bed empty.  Not long after Pyro was born, Daryl had moved his desk into a spare bedroom and conveniently began sleeping in there alone, "so he could hear the kids better."   Well, he wasn't hearing them now! she thought with immense irritation.
She stomped up the stairs, uncaring if she was loud.  "Fucking toys everywhere!" she swore under her breath, kicking at the boat on the top step.  It fell down the stairs a short ways, clanking as it hit each new step.

Raven grinned.  That had felt good! She should kick all the stupid toys more often!
The little dinosaur plush toy was kicked across the room the moment she came upon it in her walkway.  Everything needed to move the hell out of her way!
Onyx stopped mid-cry when he heard his mother come in.  Closing his mouth, he dropped down to his bottom and blinked at her. 
 "What do you want?" she snapped angrily.  "You're going to wake the baby with all your crying!"

Onyx shook his head quickly, struck mute. 

"Listen you little brat! You got me out of bed at 5 in the morning! What the hell is your problem?" she demanded, her voice growing louder as she ranted.
Pyro startled awake and immediately began crying.

Raven flung a hand out to indicate the newborn.  "See!!" she screamed nastily, glaring at Onyx in his crib.  "Look what you did, you brat!"
"...Just... stop... crying!" Raven said through gritted teeth to Pyro, irritated beyond belief that he was bawling and she had to take care of it.

She shook him slightly.  "STOP!" she demanded just as Daryl flew into the room.
Daryl hit the lights.  "What are you doing?" he asked, his gaze darting between his newborn Pyro and his seething wife.  Cautiously, he held his hands out.  "Do you want to giv..."
"WHAT?" Raven asked snidely, sensing the waves of worry and disgust that emanated from her husband.  "You don't think I can take care of this puny punk by myself?  You think I'm going to hurt him?  Your precious, little baby?!"

Daryl's mouth dropped open as he floundered for a reply.

Raven glared at the weakling she'd picked as a husband.  He'd been more trouble than he was worth.  She already had a plan in place to get rid of him. 
"...step outside so we can talk?" Daryl was saying when she turned her attention back to him. He reached for Pyro and soothed him in short order, then set him back in his crib.  "Everything's okay, Onyx. I'll be right back," he said quietly before following his fuming wife out the door.

"You can't keep treating them like that!" Daryl started.  "Onyx is scared of you, for plumbbob's sake!"  He threw his hands up in the air, his frustration with Raven finally exploding.

"I can talk to them however I want. They're my children.  Onyx isn't even your son!" Raven said, crossing her arms and glaring at him.

At the unwelcome reminder, Daryl deflated.  Sometimes it was easy to forget since he loved Onyx like his own.  But, it reminded him...

Daryl took a breath and worked up the courage to confront Raven.  "I know," he told her, unable to say anything more.
"Good," Raven snapped, not realizing the change in subject.

Daryl shook his head.  "No," he clarified. "I know about your husband, Hector Landgraab," he paused for dramatic effect.  "Lacie..."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Raven screeched, striking him in the face.

Daryl stared at his wife in shock.  It almost felt as though this confrontation was happening to someone else.  Only the slight sting from where her palm had cracked his cheek kept him rooted in this bizarre scene.

"You can't tell anyone!" Raven demanded, panic setting in as her reality blew apart into little pieces.  He knewHe knew she was Lacie.

"Our marriage is a farce.  I'm filing for divorce," he told her remotely.  "I'm taking Pyro, and Onyx if you'd let me."
Raven shrieked with rage.  "You can't tell anyone!" She reached for Daryl, desperately clinging to him.  "You can't tell anyone!" she repeated, breathing erratically, uncaring of whether she was hurting him or not in her frantic need to shut. him. up!

"Raven! Let go!" Daryl snapped, reaching for her wrist and trying to jerk her hands away from him.  He tried to shove her away, but Raven just surged forward into his body.

"Promise me!" she shrieked as she collided with him, knocking him off-balance.  "Promise you won...." she trailed off, watching in horror as Daryl staggered backwards, losing his balance and careening down the stairs.
"Oh my plumbbob," she whispered.  "Promise you won't tell. Promise," she mumbled, her trembling hands covering her mouth as her breath caught.
She flew down the stairs and felt for a pulse.  Not again, she seethed.  "Not again!" she wailed. "I can't go through this again!" Angrily, she hit his shoulder.  "You incompetent moronLook what you've done!"

Tears threatened to spill.  Not from the loss of life that was laid out at the bottom of her stairs, but because she would need to call police... again.  And there would be an investigation... again.  And the public would cast stones at her again...

She smacked his shoulder uselessly again.  "You idiot!" she whispered.

Rose glanced across the room towards the deceased's wife.  "I don't know boss, something doesn't feel right about this case," she confided in a whisper.  "I took her statement, but she's one cool customer."

Lieutenant McCray followed her gaze to the woman standing off to the side, crying delicately as the department processed the accident.  "I'll go have a chat," he assured Rose, striding across the room purposefully.
"Mrs. Knight," he said in greeting, reaching for her hand.

Raven shook her head.  "Knight-Fell," she corrected automatically.

Royce blinked.  For a moment, all semblance of grief and despair had leeched from the widow's voice as she corrected him matter-of-factly.  Rose was right.  Interesting.  He watched her carefully for any other signs of deception as he continued on.  "My apologies. My condolences, Mrs. Knight-Fell. If we could just step out of the room, I'd like to ask you a few questions."

Raven held back her annoyance with the observant officer.  Damn that nosy busy-body rookie for being suspicious in the first place! Her gaze cut to the female officer who was trying to act like she wasn't watching them before she pasted on a wobbly smile and focused on the officer in front of her.  "Of course, Officer.  Although, I don't know what else I could tell you that I didn't tell Officer... oh dear, I'm afraid I didn't catch her name..."
Raven allowed Lieutenant McCray to lead her into the sitting room off the side of the stairs.
"So, Mrs. Knight-Fell," he paused.  "May I call you Raven?"

A small flinch at the mention of her name.

"Of course," she replied tightly.  "I'm so sorry, I'm just so out of sorts right now... my dear Daryl..."

Royce purposefully looked down at his notebook and pulled out a pen.  "So, please walk me through me what happened.  Where you there when Mr. Knight fell?"
"I... yes.. we were in front of the nursery," she told him.

He cocked his head.  "Any reason you weren't in the nursery?"

"No, no, of course not."

"6 in the morning. Were the kids sleeping or awake?" he paused and watched her.

"Sleeping."  Raven's eyes shot to the floor and to the left.  A telling sign, Royce noted.

"If they were sleeping, why were you both upstairs on the landing?"

Raven began to worry.  She buried her face in her hands.  "Oh, I don't know. I guess the kids were awake and we'd just put them back to sleep! I'm sorry, it's just... I'm so... "  She buried her face in her hands and sobbed uncontrollably.
Royce just waited until she calmed down and then continued asking her questions about her husband's fall.
"Thank you ma'am.  I believe that's all I need for now. Again, my condolences," he said, touching the brim of his hat.

Raven breathed a sigh of relief as he turned to leave.

Raven was standing by the nursery window when Nathan came crashing up the stairs.  "Raven! Sweetheart, I came as soon as I could!"
He was across the room in a few strides, tugging her into his arms.  "I'm so sorry," he told her in a tortured whisper, kissing the top of her head. 
Raven sobbed, then turned around in his embrace.  "I was going to leave him... but not like this," she told him.  Nathan squeezed her tighter as she whispered, "Not like this..."

Nathan helped Raven to bed after her emotional day.  "Don't worry, sweetheart.  I'll take care of everything," he promised.

Raven wept delicately into her pillow.  "Thank you, Nathan," she told him sweetly.
Nathan knew that being in a relationship would include two other children - Onyx and Pyro.  But, until presented with the care of the boys, he hadn't really considered that they existed.  He frowned at the baby in his arms when the smell wafted upwards. 

After tonight, he would need to encourage Raven to enlist the help of a nanny.  He and Raven would be far too busy for hands-on childcare.

When night fell, Nathan slipped into bed beside Raven and pulled her into his arms. He fell asleep, content in the knowledge that he no longer had to share Raven's attentions with an estranged husband.  Everything was going to work out just fine.

Much later that night, a car drove by slowly.