30. 19 - Extract from the Notebook of Queenie Shadownight
I couldn't stop laughing. I just couldn't. First I beat Bex in our mock-fight over whether my scythe was a weapon or not, and now this!
It was hilarious! I can't remember the last time she was - so to speak - "great with child", but she was going to get fat.
And now I'm laughing again.
I went up with Bex to see her (and mock her a little) but I heard giggling from inside her room.
“Oh, please don't let Thomas be in there,” I muttered under my breath.
“Yeah, remember the last time?” Bex snorted.
I sighed, “My eyes will never be clean.”
Bex knocked and we waited.
Mum opened up the door and raised a brow, “What are you two up to?” she asked.
“Just checking on Aunt Midnight,” Bex said.
“Oh, let them come in, Georgie. I can handle them,” Midnight laughed.
“What's she so happy about?” I asked Mum.
“Oh, just telling old stories, that's all,” Mum replied, going back inside and sitting on the end of the bed.
“Hey, Midnight,” I smirked at her.
“Ahoy, Queenie. Here to leave your comments, I presume?” she smirked back.
Good God, she was prepared?
That was no fun.
“You don't look pregnant,” Bex mumbled, “Mum said you were like four months in.”
Midnight shrugged, “Some people are blessed. Though, if only you'd seen me this morning. Thomas thought I was dying.”
“What were you laughing about?” I asked her.
“Oh, that. Nothing. Just old women gossip you wouldn't be interested in. About your father and your uncle.”
Bex scoffed, “Why would you think we wouldn't be interested? We are going to end up like you two one day, you know.”
“She has no idea, does she?” Mum rolled her eyes.
Midnight laughed again, “You don't want to hear about your uncle and father on the subject we were talking about. Believe me.”
“What? About-” I began.
“Queenie, don't get so eager,” Mum snapped.
“So,” Midnight said, “What are you two ungodly louts doing here anyway?”
“Really? You're really going to call us that now?” Bex scoffed.
“What can I say? Your uncle's an expert in making sticking nicknames.”
“We just wanted to see you, since Mum told us about you being pregnant,” Bex explained.
“You saw me earlier today, what makes this different?”
“You're going to get fat, Midnight,” I said, “Really big and heavy. And there're going to be angry hormones leaking out of your pores.”
“Yes, well, at least I won't be so embarrassed by it that I'd force a miscarriage,” she replied.
“I was not embarrassed!” I retorted. She really had prepared. I was almost flattered, “I just... I didn't want a kid getting in the way of my job!”
“You know they pay you a double bursary for maternity? You would get more money not fighting and being pregnant, than fighting and being not pregnant,” Midnight folded her arms.
“It's not about the money! I like my job!”
“Whatever you say, Queenie,” Midnight laughed, “And, for the record, I might get fat during but I lose it all double-time afterwards. Whilst keeping my pregnancy rack. I'm not worried.”
“What?” Bex said, “How does that work?”
“Breast-feeding,” Midnight said.
Urgh. The woman just sucks the fun out of everything.
After a bit more laughing and joking, I left the room to wander around the house. I was about to head into my room, when I heard weird noises from the basement.
I opened the hatch and went down. I heard Thomas muttering to himself, and saw him drinking from a collection of bottles.
“Oh, hell. Midnight is going to kill you!” I yelled.
“Queenie!” he pulled me in, shut the hatch and levelled me against a wall, “Ye'll not speak of this to a soul. Promise me!”
“Oh, no ho-ho, I'm not promising anything,” I shook my head, “How much have you been-?”
“Shh!” Thomas said, slapping both hands down on my mouth. He sighed and murmured, “Alright. What's it goin' to take t'keep your mouth shut?”
I pushed him away and considered my options, “You let me drink some.”
“And you stop calling me a gardener.”
“Not a soul, Queenie, not a soul - else I'll make ye a teetotalin' farmer yet,” he let go and walked some way off.
“So this is what you do, when Midnight's busy? Drink by the barrel?” I asked him.
“Not all the time, no,” he said, sitting down. He threw me a bottle.
I caught it and I uncorked it with my teeth. Taking a swig, I was taken aback by its strength. This wasn't anything that would keep me sober after a few drops, let alone drinks. How did Thomas even...? Doy. Stupid question.
“This is the first time, actually, after we left the El Tívu,” he said, drinking from his own bottle.
“So, why are you doing something that your pregnant wife will literally kill you for?” I asked him.
“You mockin' me?”
“No, no. God's truth.”
“Shut up, Queenie,” Thomas said, curling his lip.
“Wow. You really are a sour drunk.”
“I don't need t'explain myself to ye.”
“And yet you're still talking...”
He gave me a curt look and then drank again, “How Midnight does it... I'll ne'er know...” he muttered.
“Manage this house! And ye confused ruffians!” he exclaimed, “Everyday, it's Queenie don't kill Bex, Bex don't kill Simon, Simon don't throw a menstrual tantrum and rip both Bex and Queenie t'pieces - for God's sake! I grew up in a broken home, I understand what it's like t'resent a half-sibling, but this!” he shook his head, “Is pure madness! And then there's those goddamn twins!”
“Edward and Rose? Come on, Thomas, they're only kids.”
“I was talkin' about Alex and Ted!”
“I completely agree that Des and Topaz deserve nice husbands, but - dammit - I hate them! Bex's vampiric consort is so much better just t'look at. And-”
“With all due respect. Ish. Thomas, shouldn't you be telling this to Midnight?”
“I should, but...” he looked away, “I don't want t'bother her, Queenie.”
“Love is so stupid...” I shook my head.
“You're poisoning your blood in a basement because you're completely stressed-out and you need a break - and you could (and should) tell Midnight. But you won't. Because she'll worry, because you'll bother her.”
“And where was I t'be bothered when your aunt was stress'd-out and needed a break?”
“There's a difference. She never drank as much as you.”
“There's so much, Queenie, that ye don't know about your aunt...” Thomas sighed, “Maybe love is stupid.”
“Then why commit to it? Why are you hiding in a cellar?”
“Why does anyone commit t'anything? There doesn't always have t'be a reason. But since you're lookin' for one - I ne'er want to disappoint Midnight, but I do it almost constantly. She took a sour drunk - against everything she thought she hated - and made me much better than I was. And I...” he sighed and put his bottle down, “I was ne'er there t'be that better person when she needed it the most... I have to do this. And if drinkin' is the only way I'll manage it all - so be it.”
“She'll know, Thomas.”
“It might be. But you'll not tell a soul. You promised me, Queenie.”