Scarlet didn’t know why her cousins had looked at her with a smirk when she had come back to the room they were staying in, to get her phone. She mumbled about how weird they were before leaving them again.
Katie was just looking at her with nervousness which the dark-haired woman ignored as well.
Who knew what their intentions would be if she stayed there any longer.
It was now about 7 in the evening and Scarlet was busy watching a movie on the TV. Grandma Payne had been in her room all day long, probably sleeping since no one allowed her to over-exert her body, while Pudding played with Samantha in the back yard now. Kevin watched over his daughter while he enjoyed peace and quiet, reading a book.
The other children of the Payne family were upstairs playing amongst themselves, more like Ed and Ed trying to impress Angelica, who kept playing with Greg.
The day had gone by peacefully for Scarlet, since she had time to focus on her magazine draft without being plagued by Clark’s annoyingness. She hadn’t talked to Lauren after the last time she did in the morning because she didn’t want to feel sad and down.
She had a responsibility and the sooner she finished all her work, the sooner she could live freely.
Scarlet was sitting on the sofa with her feet on the coffee table when the doorbell rang, signaling to her that there was a visitor.
She sighed before getting up from her seat. The bell rang again before it continued ringing, making it obvious that there was someone impatient outside of the house. She walked over to the front door with lazy steps, itching her arm on the way, not even trying to be quick, before opening the door.
Scarlet smirked when she saw Clark at the other side of the door with an annoyed expression on his face. He gave her a glare before pushing past her.
“Oh, hi.” Scarlet’s excited tone of voice was enough to make Clark angrier as she smirked his way, following him into the kitchen after making sure that the others were also with him.
Vanessa was the next one to enter the house as she sighed heavily with slumped shoulders. She had instantly regretted saving Scarlet from that torture by sacrificing herself.
“So, did you enjoy a whole day with my mother and aunts?” Scarlet seemed almost excited as she poked Clark’s shoulder, hoping to get some entertainment with how miserable Clark must’ve been the whole day.
The dark-haired man turned away from the fridge to give his boss a glare, “I have never wanted to jump out of a moving car so much.”
Scarlet muffled her laughter as the man turned around again to get something to drink from the fridge. He picked up a juice box with confusion before showing it to Scarlet, who shrugged, “For the kids.”
Clark nodded before settling on the juice box and closing the fridge door.
He poked the straw into the box before going to sit on the dining table, while the woman followed him with excitement. She wanted to know more, and how she had been lucky for not going with her mother and aunts, not to forget Vanessa.
“I swear, I am never ever going to go on a long car ride with women.” Clark began with an exaggerated statement, but the way he scrunched up his nose told Scarlet that he had gone through some real torture.
“What did they even do?” Clark stared at his boss as he remembered all that happened on their way to the first venue.
“Oh, I feel so hungry.” Vanessa whined as she rubbed her bloated stomach. Clark, who was no driving the minivan, gave her a glance before he hesitantly slowed down the car before parking me by the convenience store.
A smile spread over Vanessa’s face before she was practically slowly running out of the car.
“Be careful, dear!” Laura yelled after the woman as she herself got out of the vehicle. Clark sighed as he thought about how they had to reach at the first venue before 10 but now that they were stopping at a store, they may get there late.
They had to go to about three more venues before they could go back home and decide which one they really liked.
The worrying man got out of the minivan as well, followed by Aunt Judith and Aunt Wanda, who went into the store in search for some bubblegum.
“Clark!” The said man turned to see Vanesa holding a bag of chips that were big enough for six people even when they all added up were four. “Can we buy this?!” Half of the store was looking at the pregnant woman with stares that spoke louder than words.
“Yeah, do whatever you want.” He spoke, trying hard not to affiliate himself with the pregnant woman any more than that. Vanessa smiled largely before disappearing behind the racks again.
“I will never understand pregnant women.” Clark mumbled to himself as he browsed through the aisles filled with junk food. He wanted nothing more than to leave the store they had stopped at because of one reason alone.
“Oh, honey, stop stuffing your arms with potato chips.” Laura scolded her daughter with a glare, but Vanessa had no effect as she kept stuffing her arms with huge bags of chips. Maybe, it was some kind of mood swing because of her pregnancy.
No one knew.
Clark had never been left alone with women before, and not in a moving vehicle or a store, at that too. He didn’t know what to do except for the fact that he had to listen to everything that Vanessa said since she had a life growing in her and she was scary.
Wanda and Judith had parted ways with the other three as they went their own way to the bubblegum aisle, occasionally looking at pieces of chocolates in the back freezers.
“Are you guys done now?” Clark spoke from behind a magazine aisle as he looked at Vanessa, who looked conflicted on which bag of chips to pick. Her eyebrows were furrowed as she looked away from the racks to Clark, who gulped when she glared at him.
“After, I’m done deciding on which flavor to choose.”
“O-kay.” Clark moved away from Vanessa’s line of sight as he went over to the pay-out counter. He had gotten himself a drink and a fashion magazine to look at whenever he would get bored with the ladies.
“Oh, Clark, be a dear and pay for these too, thanks.” Judith left about 6 packs of strawberry flavored bubblegum on the counter, leaving Clark to stare at her retreating back with his mouth open and his eyebrows furrowed.
“Um, this too then.” He smiled awkwardly at the guy behind the counter, who looked bored. Only a minute had gone by with the store-guy and Vanessa was coming over to Clark with only a single bag of chips now.
He looked at her with a raised eyebrow but she just ignored him as she placed the bag on the counter before exiting the store.
Clark was left confused and a little pissed too.
Why the hell was he paying for them anyway?!
Even he didn’t know.
He paid for everything before leaving the store as well. Vanessa looked like she was excited as she snatched away the bag of chips from Clark, as soon as he crossed the distance from the store to the parking lot.
Judith and Wanda also took away their bubblegum with a smile and a grateful nod.
The only person not there with them was Laura, who came rushing to them only a minute later. Clark rolled his eyes when he saw how the older woman had bought Vanessa some more food which were clutched in her arms.
He just wanted it to be over with, and sadly it hadn’t even started yet.
“They ate all the way to the venue, well, Vanessa was the one that was doing all the eating, and the bossing around. She was the real pain in the ass.” Clark made sure that his voice was low as he said all this, so that the pregnant woman wouldn’t hear. He still found her scary.
Scarlet muffled her laughter as Clark continued, “Vanessa kept getting mood-swings. She’d want to eat something one minute then she’d end up crying about how she wanted her baby to be a boy, even when she’s having twins.” He frowned as he recalled how the woman would make him hold her hand so she wouldn’t feel so alone.
Apart from all of this, at least they chose a venue, which Clark and Vanessa knew that Scarlet wouldn’t dislike.
“I don’t ever want to revisit this day again. I’m tired, I’m going to go sleep.” Clark grumbled as he drank the last bit of his juice box before standing up from his seat. He didn’t know why but he had the urge to tell Scarlet about the few good things that had happened during the day with the four ladies, but then he dismissed it.
Scarlet would come to know herself one day, he thought.
“Okay, you go get some sleep, I’m gonna watch some more TV.” Scarlet waved at the man as he exited the kitchen with a smile on his face. He had to admit, even though he admitted all the negative things to Scarlet, that the four ladies that went with him to the venues were all pretty sweet and interesting.
Clark didn’t know what it felt like to have aunts or even a mother that cared but being with the women of the Payne family made him feel like he had a family that wasn’t only consisted of him and Angela. Vanessa felt like an older sister to him, one that he didn’t want but thought he needed.
He smiled all the way to the basement where he found his sister sleeping next to Greg, who was holding the teenager’s hand. He looked adorable, and Clark had to admit that anyone would easily fall in love with the boy even if they didn’t want to.
Clark just didn’t know how he would go to his own mattress because of the two boys that had their own mattresses practically joined with the girl’s.
He laughed silently as he went over to his sleeping place and plopped down with a sigh. Too much happened and he was too tired to even recall all of it, but a few snippets of the day’s happenings revolved around his head as he slowly fell into a deep slumber.
“Lauren and Scarlet are like the couple that I wanted Kevin and I to be but we can’t top a cool lesbian couple with all of our – straightness.” Vanessa sobbed as she held onto Clark’s hand, who looked like he was ready to jump out of the car any minute now.
They were parked by the first venue where the Payne women had gone to explore. They seemed excited as they went with the guide, while Vanessa and Clark were left in the car because of Vanessa’s frequent mood swings.
“It’s okay, you’re still cool.” Clark cringed as soon as he said it. He knew himself that Vanessa and Kevin were not cool. The only thing they were was weird. Vanessa herself knew this, but the hormones were all getting the best of her.
“I’m not! Scarlet’s practically the baby whisperer, she can speak baby in every language! I can’t even control Samantha correctly!”
Clark flinched as Vanessa began to speak louder, getting a few dirty looks from the attendants at the place. He shushed her lightly as he turned to look at the crying woman.
He got a few tissues out of the tissue box on the dashboard before handing them to her. “First of all, you’re just feeling all these emotions because you’re pregnant.” Clark pointed at her stomach which made her frown before he continued, “Second of all, don’t compare yourself to Scarlet. You both are different. She can speak…baby languages, but you,” He pointed at Vanessa with a smile that he hoped looked genuine enough for her to feel better. “You have a child already and another is on the way. You’re inspiring, and you’re a mother too. So, that’s like cooler than anything.”
Vanessa gave Clark a long look before she wiped her tears. A smile spread across her lips as she stopped her crying, which made the man sigh in relief.
“You know, Clark, you’re lucky to be working with Scarlet. She’s the best sister anyone could ever have. I can see that she’s a good boss too.” Clark didn’t know if it was her mood-swing talking or her real feelings, but he knew it was the truth.
Scarlet really was a good boss. She gave him days off even if she didn’t get much, but apart from being busy, she still made time for Lauren. He always admired that about the woman.
“Yeah, Scarlet is a good boss.” Clark agreed as he smiled at the woman sitting next to him on the passenger seat.
Vanessa reciprocated his smile before coming close to him and whispering in a low voice. “Don’t tell her, but I planned to name my baby girl Scarlet.”
Clark raised his eyebrows before they both ended up laughing hysterically.
They both knew how that was not going to happen in a million years, but one thing was for sure – Nothing would’ve been the way it was if it weren’t for Scarlet.
She made things a little bit better. Maybe that was why Clark was also a bit jealous of her. Because of the fact that she had everything he had always desired.
A loving family and a woman that she was going to marry in less than a month.