Chapter 25 – Assault With A Kitchen Weapon
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Chapter Twenty-Five – Assault With A Kitchen Weapon

“Wait, don’t kill me just yet!” April shouted, frozen in place. He would have put his hands up, but he felt completely immobilized. “You’re Jay’s mom, right?”

The sharp thing at his neck pressed a little closer to the skin, and April gasped. It would have been pretty stupid to end up bleeding to death on the kitchen floor before being able to tell Jett the truth. And a little funny if he were into dark humor, which he wasn’t.

“Who the fuck are you, and why do you have Jay?” the woman asked.

He needed to think and fast. His phone kept ringing hysterically.

“Carina?” April said tentatively, hoping that he wasn’t committing another blunder, one that his assailant would take as another offense.

There was a small moment of hesitation right there. “How do you know my name?”

“If you just stopped trying to stab my neck, I would tell you everything I know. I promise I have no intention to hurt Jay. And he’s about to cry.”

“How would you know when Jay’s about to --”

On cue, Jay started to bawl. The contact of the sharp object against April’s neck eased. “I will just turn slowly, and you can take Jay.”

The woman hesitated for just another moment, but then she removed her hands and the deadly weapon she was wielding abruptly. “Turn,” she ordered shortly.

April turned slowly and kept his hands high so that Carina could see them. He came face to face with the woman with the spiky hair he had seen in that picture with Jett. It was her all right; however, her hair was no longer spiky, but long and straight, and the bewildered expression on her face made her look vulnerable, yet still a little dangerous. As he looked closer, April noticed the object in her hand.

“Seriously, did you just try to stab me with a fork?”

Carina threw him an unnerving look. “Do you want me to see if I can do it?” She waved the fork at him.

April pointed at the kitchen utensil. “It’s made of plastic.”

His phone stopped for a second and then started again.

“Kill that shit and don’t look who’s calling,” Carina ordered.

April knew he could just answer quickly, but it wasn’t a good idea to do that since Carina seemed like she could be deadly even with a plastic fork. He saw Jett’s name, but he turned off the phone nonetheless.

Carina watched him like a hawk, and, as soon as he was done, she tried to pick the crying baby from the harness. Jay just started to cry louder.

“Wait, let me help you,” April offered. “It’s a little tricky,” he explained as he began to unlatch the straps.

Carina was impatient, still trying to pull Jay free from the harness.

“You could just put down the plastic fork,” April said. “And I think we should talk more quietly.”

Carina finally managed to grab Jay and hugged him tightly. At the same time, she was still clutching the fork in one hand and had a wounded look in her eyes. Jay was as disconsolate as before.

“It’s fine, Jay,” April whispered, but without daring to get too close. “Your mommy’s here.”

“Did Jett put you to steal my baby?” Carina asked.

April tried to hush her. “Please, a little less loud, okay? Jay is not crazy about shouting adults.”

Carina frowned. “What do you know? And who the fuck are you?”

April made an appeasing gesture with his hands. “I’m just the babysitter. And Jett didn’t steal your baby.”

“Really? And how the fuck do you explain Jay being here?”

“Please, easy on the word ‘fuck’. I’m afraid Jay is picking up enough bad words as things are. Not that I don’t protest when people around,” he was unclear on purpose, “use such words.”

“Don’t tell me how to talk in front of my child!” Jay began to fret, as he was obviously upset with his mom’s distress. “Hush, baby, I’m here. Your mommy’s here.”

“Just what I said,” April added promptly. Carina threw him a pissed off look. April put his hands up again. “Would you just listen to what I need to tell you?”

Carina continued to coo, gently this time, at Jay, preoccupied with the crying baby. “Are you really the babysitter?” she finally addressed April again.

“Yes. Jay might be upset about his diaper situation, too, if I think about it.”

Carina examined April carefully, some of her agitation from earlier slowly dissipating. “Do you have any spares?”

“Upstairs,” April said. “I also have a changing pad and other clothes, just in case.”

Carina’s upset was slowly turning into stupefaction. “You really are the babysitter!”

April shrugged. “I am. Would you like to come with me and change Jay? We can talk after. Let’s just take care of the baby’s needs first.”

Carina nodded. She still looked a bit harshly at April and didn’t let go of the fork in her hand, but she seemed to understand the situation better now. April walked up the stairs first, followed by Carina, who was talking to Jay, keeping him tightly in her arms and kissing his head.

April pointed Carina to the room dedicated to the baby, and they entered.

“Did Jett let you use his father’s room?” Carina asked, as soon as they were inside.

“It looks like it,” April said matter-of-factly.

Jett’s father’s room? That explained why the room had been clean and kept much better than the rest of the house when April had first arrived.

Carina began to take care of Jay, who was now a bit calmer and appeared to recognize his mother a little. “No one is allowed in here,” she said, seemingly still surprised.

“Well, Jay is some VIP guest, so I guess it’s fine,” April said.

Carina snickered, and she turned a little to look at April. “I’m impressed at how many things for babies you have here. You must be one hell of a babysitter. Did you come highly recommended or something?”

April exhaled. It looked like the storm was averted for now. The plastic fork had been abandoned on the chest of drawers, and it looked like Carina no longer considered him a threat. “It was one of those things that just happened.”

Carina looked closely at him and then returned quickly to dressing Jay. April hurried to take the used diaper and put it into the pail.

“Wow, you even have one of those expensive models,” Carina said, pointing at the pail.

“Jett does nothing by half when it’s his son involved,” April explained. “And, just to make it clear, he didn’t steal Jay. He had no idea you’re the mother.”

“Really? And how come you knew who I was? You were still with your back to me.”

“It was sort of a lucky guess,” April admitted.

Carina chuckled and shook her head. “You’re one strange guy.” Then she looked at him again. Her eyes seemed interested in finding something, as she searched April’s face. “You look familiar.”

April shrugged. The last thing he needed was another person to confuse him for Theo. No, confuse wasn’t the right verb, but those were details. “I just have one of those faces,” he said quickly, waving like it wasn’t an essential detail that Carina thought she knew him from somewhere.

“Nah,” she said. Her voice was throaty, and she was attractive in a rough way. April could understand what Jett must have seen in her. “I feel like I’ve seen you before.”

Could it be that Carina had seen the same picture as Zane? April could still remember when the photo was taken, and the circumstances, but he wouldn’t have expected Jett to keep it. His father had been right; he had postponed telling Jett about who he really was, and now, with Carina in the picture, it felt like it was too late.

“That’s not important,” he said. “What’s important is that Jett found Jay one day in front of his house, strapped to a car seat, with a message that he was an asshole. I suppose you didn’t write that note, right?”

Carina frowned again. “I’ve never called Jett an asshole. Even when I’ve been pissed at him.”

April just nodded. “Who did, then? And who could have taken Jay from you like this?”

Carina seemed embarrassed for a couple of seconds.

April realized what was going on right away. “Wait, weren’t you in prison?”

“You know about that, too?” Carina asked, alarmed.

Now it was also April’s turn to become panicked. “You didn’t escape from prison, right?”

Carina snorted. “Are you watching too many movies or something? I got out on good behavior. And, so that you know, I wasn’t in for something bad.”

April thought better and gave up on asking what she had been in for. “Carina, who did you leave Jay with?”

Carina’s face changed. “That bitch,” she said through her teeth.

“Who?”

“My fucking stepsister,” Carina said. “She must have been the insane asshole who took my baby and brought him here.”

April exhaled in relief. “So, you believe me now? Jett wouldn’t do something like this to you. He didn’t even know he had a son. Why didn’t you tell him?”

Carina looked away. She grabbed Jay again and held him close. Jay leaned against her shoulder, but he stretched one arm toward April. “Appa, Appa,” he repeated.

“What’s your name?” Carina asked as she stared at her son with fondness on her harsh face.

“It’s April. April Summer.”

“Is Jay calling your name?”

“Yeah. He just started talking a little.” Carina made a small sound that sounded like a sob. April put one hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay. And Jay, this is your mommy, so be good to her, okay?”

April knew Jay understood much more than adults thought. The baby looked at him with his bright eyes, and then he turned his face toward his mom, staring at her. He circled her neck with his arms, and Carina sobbed again.

For lack of anything useful to do, April just continued to rub her shoulder. “You couldn’t have known. But how did you know to search for Jay here?”

Carina seemed able to rein in her emotions. “I went home, and Jay wasn’t there. My stupid step sister said someone just grabbed him on the street. I yelled at her, asked her who did that, and she just played stupid.”

“Really? Something like this happens, and she doesn’t go to the police to report it?” April snorted.

Carina sighed. “I know. I wanted to kill the bitch on the spot, but I had to find my baby. So I came here to ask Jett to help me find him.”

April pondered for a moment. “Were you going to tell him about Jay being his son?”

Carina appeared uncomfortable. “I didn’t think things through. I just knew that if anyone in his whole shitty world could help me, it would be Jett. So I just let myself in, and I was ready to wait for him, when I saw you walking in from the backyard, with Jay in your arms. Ah, sorry about the fork thing. I tend not to think things twice. I guess that might explain how I ended up in the can. And with a baby, but I don’t have any regrets about that.” She was talking quickly and nervously now.

April waved. “It’s all right. And I’ve never been assaulted before with a kitchen weapon. It should count for some crazy adventure to recount when I’m old and gray. And I understand you completely about not having any regrets about Jay. He’s a wonderful kid.”

Good-natured as he was, Jay was already playing with his mother’s hair, trying to munch on it. Carina laughed and pulled her hair away. “I guess I should be thankful he was in good hands. Not that I don’t trust Jett, but he doesn’t seem like the responsible type if you know what I mean.”

“Having a child taught him a lot, I believe,” April said. “And I guess he was responsible enough to hire a babysitter.”

Carina looked around some more. “Quite a dependable babysitter. Was Jay all right? How much time has he been here?”

“Around two weeks, give or take,” April replied. “He’s been great. We had a little bit of an episode with a fever caused by some pesky teeth that want to grow, but, otherwise, we were fine.”

Carina smiled as she looked at him. Then, the dawn of realization lit her face. “I know where I saw you! In a picture!”

“What picture?” April asked with dread and tried to act naturally.

“A picture of you and Jett. But, wait,” she appeared confused, “your name is April, right?”

“And it has been since the day my mom decided to name me,” April said. He couldn’t just blurt out the truth. Not before he talked to Jett, and now that Carina was back into Jett’s life and the mother of his kid, April didn’t hold much hope that he would stick around for too long. There was no need for him anymore. Carina was there to take care of Jay, and, probably, once she cleared the skies with Jett, not only of Jay.

“That’s weird,” Carina said. “That guy’s name was Theo, Jett told me. He was some childhood friend.”

“It’s a bit farfetched to think I’m that guy,” April replied. “After all, it must be some old photo.”

“Really weird.” Carina shook her head gently. “Fun fact, I’ve always thought Jett must have been in love with that kid when they were little.”

April’s heart squeezed painfully. Talking about missed chances. But no, he needed to think of Jay, who now had his mother back, of Jett, who had Carina back and had a shot at real happiness, and not of himself and his own selfish needs.

“Carina, I don’t want to annoy you, but why didn’t you tell Jett about Jay?” He chose to change the subject and pretend all he was learning about Theo and Jett’s feelings for him didn’t matter. After all, neither Zane nor Carina could really tell what was in Jett’s heart. That was something only Jett knew.

Carina sighed deeply. She sat on the bed, cradling Jay in her arms. “If you only knew how many times I grabbed the phone to call him. But it didn’t feel right. I was upset with him, but the news that I was pregnant didn’t come as some kind of curse, as most girls my age might think it is. We were usually careful, and I was on the pill while I was with Jett. I was careless a few times, and it happened. And I was afraid, I think, that he might just tell me to, you know, get rid of … my baby. God knows plenty of people around me told me as much. And I didn’t want to, and since I took that decision by myself, I didn’t want him to think, for one moment, that he owes my baby or me anything.”

“Jett is better than that,” April said.

Carina seemed weary. “Now would be a good moment to tell me that I should know Jett and don’t just presume how he would react.”

“I wouldn’t tell you that, but, in a way, I guess that, yeah, as his girlfriend, you must have come to know him.”

The immediate reply was a derisive snort. “If he only let me. But that’s a coward’s answer to everything, isn’t it?” Her voice sounded self-deprecating and sad.

April leaned against the wall and watched Carina, taking in how happy Jay looked in her arms. It hurt a little, not much, but it showed him how he couldn’t be part of that picture. The only person missing from it was the dad, and he should be home soon.

Carina continued, as her eyes became misty and unfocused. “I did love him.”

April noticed the past tense immediately, but it wasn’t like he could count on that. He wasn’t that kind of person, or, at least, he could keep up the appearances, and not allow the jealousy he felt inside get the better of him. “What happened?” he asked as the silence stretched.

“He was never mine,” Carina said matter-of-factly. “I suspected that he might be in love with someone else. But he wasn’t a two-timer. It was just in his heart. Don’t ask me how I knew it. Just blame it on the good ol’ female intuition.”

“Did he ever tell you anything?”

“There was no need. He just kept things to himself. I knew that there was a place inside him I had no access to, where I wasn’t welcome. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t compensate, you know, for the love that’s always been missing from his life.”

April just nodded.

Carina laughed sadly and pushed away a tear with the back of her hand. “But why am I telling you all these? You’re just the babysitter, right? It’s not in your job description to comfort me.”

***

“Man, slow the fuck down!” Zane shouted at him while holding to his seat with what looked to be all his might.

“April turned off his phone!” Jett could feel the adrenaline pumping in his blood. “Why would he turn off his phone while I’m calling him? That fucker DeLouise better not got to him already, or I’ll be pissed!”

“I think I’m going to be sick,” Dan complained from the backseat. “Maybe he just needed to put Jay to his nap or something!”

“April never turns off his phone! Anyone who has a problem with my driving, get out!”

“At eighty? Are you fucking nuts?” Dan yelled. “Just stop the car, and I’ll get out!”

“I don’t have to deal with your shit! Zane, why is this asshole with us?”

“Hey, easy! And if the police catch us, we won’t get back to your house for hours. So slow the fuck down and don’t call my boyfriend an asshole!”

“April could be in danger, and you’re worried I’m hurting your feels?” Jett shouted at his best friend.

“Slow the fuck down, and we’ll get there!”

“That’s it; I have to open the window!” Dan lowered the window and stuck his head out.

For a couple of seconds, Jett and Zane just listened to Dan retching.

Jett shrugged. “At least, he didn’t do it inside.” He knew Zane had a point. With a curse, he slowed down. The last thing he needed was to get pulled over.

The rest of their wild trip was spent in silence. Dan’s face was pale. Zane just stretched one arm between the front seats to grab his boyfriend’s hand. Dan just took it meekly. Jett had no idea why he paid attention to all that stuff. Maybe he needed to distract himself from the fear he felt inside. If anyone hurt April, they would be in a world of pain.

Half an hour later, they were in front of the house, and Jett got out and broke into a sprint. Like a tourniquet, he was inside. On the kitchen table, April’s phone lay, dead. Jett took it, stared at it, and then threw it back on the table.

“April! April!” he called out loudly.

Zane and Dan hurried into the house, calling for April, too.

April appeared on the top of the stairs. “Hey, guys, what’s with all the noise?”

Jett exhaled. He jumped the stairs, three by three, his eyes set on April. “Why the fuck did you turn off your phone?”

He was just happy to see his boyfriend; Jett stopped in front of April, and then he noticed the strange look in his eyes. The sense of high alert kicked in. April wasn’t asking him where he had been; he didn’t even seem worried, like before. He just stood there, motionless, and his face was unreadable.

“What’s wrong?” he asked aggressively.

“There’s someone here to see you, Jett,” April said and pointed at the door behind him.

Jett frowned. “Fuck. Don’t tell me; my old man is home.”

April just shook his head.

The door to his father’s bedroom opened. “Hi, Jett.”

For a moment, the world stood still. He stared in disbelief at Carina, who was holding Jay in her arms.

Zane and Dan were on the first floor now, too, and witnesses to all the drama.

“Carina,” Jett said. “What are you doing here?”

***

April just made himself busy in the kitchen, preparing a tea for Dan who looked a little bit worse for wear, and something to eat for Zane. It was much easier to do that rather than feel depressed.

“Would you please sit?” Zane said. “Why is she here? Is she Jay’s mom?”

“Yes,” April admitted.

“And why did you turn off your phone? Your boyfriend almost killed us on our way back.”

“There’s been a bit of a misunderstanding,” April replied. “And I should ask you where you all were. Dan is sick; you’ve spent minutes without teasing me or joking, and …” April trailed off.

“We just took care of some business. By the way, you won’t have any trouble with that DeLouise dude. It’s over.”

“Why is that?”

“Jett took care of it. You should have seen your boyfriend, telling the Z brothers off for you. I should have recorded that stuff. If you hadn’t been love with him already, you would have fallen for him now.”

“How did he take care of things?”

“He paid the Z brothers to close the deal with DeLouise without giving him squat. Ah, and he quit.”

April turned and looked at Zane in disbelief. “What? Why? I mean … I know it was dangerous, and I’m glad, but, for him --”

Zane put up one hand. “Any complaints you have, take them with him. And I quit, too. Not that it looks like that is making anyone happy.” He threw one meaningful look at Dan.

“Seriously, dude?” Dan complained. “I’m green in the face. Your pal drove like a madman here.”

“Is that why you’re sick?” April asked Dan.

Dan just nodded. And then, he looked at Zane. “And I’m glad you no longer work for the mafia or something.”

Zane smiled. “April, my man, what can you bring to my boyfriend here? I’d kiss him, but he looks like he might puke again at any moment.”

“I keep all the medicine upstairs,” April said anxiously. “But I guess the worst came to pass. Dan just needs a tea that’s good for his stomach, and I have that right here.”

“Ah, you don’t want to overhear them talking,” Zane said and nodded thoughtfully. “So Carina is the kid’s mom, eh?”

“It looks like it,” April confirmed. “I mean, she threatened me with a plastic fork. I don’t see why she would have done that unless she was afraid I was hurting her baby. Also, Jay knows her and is happy in her arms.”

“Carina,” Zane said and shook his head. “Kind of a wild beast, that one.”

April was torn. On the one hand, he wanted to hear more about her, while on the other, he preferred not to know anything at all.

“So, this dude is straight? Why is he fucking April?” Dan intervened.

Zane threw his boyfriend a brief look, and Dan mumbled something under his breath. April felt pretty much out of the loop; apparently, everyone around knew more than him.

“Jett loves April,” Zane said matter-of-factly.

April pretended to be busy with the tea and didn’t say a word.

“Carina is here, so it’s good that little Jay has a mom, after all. But that doesn’t change anything,” Zane continued.

Those words should have been like a balm to his soul, but instead, April felt more depressed. The person who should have said them wasn’t present. And, regardless of Zane’s good intentions, there was no way any of them could know what Jett was thinking right now.

***

Jett closed the door behind him and stared at Carina for a few long moments. “Care to tell me why on earth you didn't tell me you got pregnant and had our kid?”

Carina sighed and sat on the bed. “Care to tell me why the hell there’s a guy who looks just like the boy you used to love under your roof?”

That was going to be a long and painful conversation, Jett thought.

TBC

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