April turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open. “Make yourself at home.” She said flicking the light switch. Carrie waddled in as best she could and sat down on the couch, panting slightly from climbing all those stairs. Leo walked over to the window and watched the outside world go by.
“Ooh.” Carrie squealed. “All that exercise has made the baby active.”
“Really? Can I feel?” April cried dropping her keys on the kitchen side and rushing over.
“Oh, that’s amazing!” April cooed. “It can really kick.” Leo turned and looked at the two women from the corner of his eye.
“Do you want to feel?” Carrie asked him.
“I’ll pass, thank you.” He replied returning his attention to the window. “It reminds me of Alien.”
April stood up and glared at him. “Have you eaten?” She asked turning to Carrie.
“Not recently, but I really fancy a Chinese.” She sighed sinking lower into the couch.
“Okay, I’ll just pop down to this great little restaurant and bring back a take out.” April picked up her keys and bag. She turned to Leo. “Are you staying?”
“Let’s see, go home, or spend the evening in your charming company.”
“Okay.” April said at length. “Carrie, what would you like?”
“Anything will be fine.” Carrie answered easing herself off the couch.
April turned back to Leo. “You?”
“Nothing for me, thank you.”
“Right, I won’t be long. It will give you two a chance to get reacquainted.” April waved before shutting the door.
Carrie looked over to Leo, whose attention was still drawn to the window. She hated moments like this; they were always accompanied by that uncomfortable silence. She picked up her rucksack that was sat by the door and started rooting trough it.
“Found it.” She said to herself.
Carrie walked over to April’s stereo system; perhaps some music from her favourite band would make her feel more comfortable. She removed the CD from its case and placed it in the open CD draw.
“Do you know how to work this thing?” She asked Leo. Leo walked over to the stereo and without a word hit a button. The stereo sparked into life.
“Smash Mouth? Fush Yu Mang?” Leo questioned.
“How do you know of them?” Carrie asked trying not to sound too surprised.
“I live in a sewer, not under a rock!” Leo shot back.
“I’m sorry, it just doesn’t strike me as the type of music you would listen to.”
“I have my moments.” Leo sighed as he un-strapped his katana and sat down in the armchair.
On the other side of town the two gentlemen weren’t having much luck.
“We’ve been looking for hours and still no sign of her. How can we be sure she even came here?” The younger man asked thrusting his hands in his pockets and dragging his feet as they walked along the sidewalk.
“I know her too well. She’s here, I can feel it!” The elder man sneered. “We’ll check the hospitals next. If she’s having a baby she will have to go to one sooner or later!”
“Do you know how many hospitals there are in New York?” The younger man groaned.
“All the more reason for you to get started now!” The elder man yelled grabbing his young charge by the lapels of his jacket.
April bustled through her apartment door carrying a large cardboard box containing many steaming cartons. “I didn’t know what to get so I got a bit of everything.” She called into the living room. After she got no reply she peeked over the top of the box to see Leo and Carrie sitting at opposite ends of the room. She walked over to the coffee table and set the box down. “Dig in!” She said handing Carrie a set of chopsticks.
“I can’t eat with these. Could I have a fork please?”
“Ha!” Leo snorted.
“Not everyone can do it!” April glared at Leo while retrieving a fork from the kitchen draw. “This is great, we can have a real girlie chat. I bet there’s lots you’ve got to tell me.”
“Not really.” Carrie took the fork and picked out a carton.
Leo sat back and let the voices wash over him; he was absorbed in his own thoughts. Why had Carrie come back to New York? Surely if this man was after her she would have gone to a place with no connections and why was she so evasive when asked about the previous seven months? Anyway, why was he questioning her actions? Maybe it is just paranoia setting in again. Bits of the conversation started to filter though.
“Do you want a boy or a girl?”
“I’m not fussed really, either one will do.”
“We could set you up in the spare room. Oh, we could decorate it like a little nursery. Then we could have a baby shower! This is so exciting!” April trilled the excitement apparent in her voice.
“Yeah, okay.” Carrie’s tone was less than enthusiastic.
Leo drifted away again, April always got like this when the arrival of a baby was on the cards. Leo remembered the last time one of April’s friends had a baby. His whole family had to endure months of ‘baby’ talk and when it finally arrived there were endless snapshots to look at. His thoughts turned to the events that had brought Carrie into his life.
“Did you hear me?” Leo looked up as April threw a bag of prawn crackers at him.
“I said, I’m going on an out of state conference trip with work the day after tomorrow. You’ll have to look after Carrie by yourself. Think you can cope?”
Leo sat for a while turning the words over in his mind. “When are you due?” He asked looking at Carrie.
“Not for another month yet.”
“Yeah I suppose.”
“I’ll tell you what.” April said searching through her bag. “I’ll give Leo my beeper, then if there are any problems you can reach him. I’ll write the number down and leave it by the phone. Okay?”
“Sure whatever.” Leo took the beeper and clipped it on to his belt. “I’d better get going, I’ve got practice in the morning.” He picked up his katana and left without saying goodbye.
“How long have you known him?” Carrie asked April as she tucked into her food.
“Urm, coming on for six years now.”
“That long?” Carrie nearly choked in surprise. “How did you meet?”
“I was being chased through the sewers by some blood thirsty robots. Leo and his brothers saved me.” April said in a ‘matter of fact’ tone.
“What did you do?”
“Fainted I ashamed to say.”