Ninety-Eight: Heartache

Contains nudity (Lauren breast-feeds her baby).

Days passed since Aubrey’s memorial service. How many days? Lauren wasn’t sure.

She hadn’t seen Vaclav in as much time. He’d been hiding out in his bedroom… not feeding.

Lauren scooped Azura from her crib.

“Hey, sweetheart. Your daddy bought you a swing last night. Let’s go try it out.” Lauren smiled.

Sadly, Lucifer (or Louis as Lauren would rather call him) wailed from his crib. His father hadn’t so much as looked his way since his ‘birth’.

Such a shame. Louis was a beautiful little boy, exotic with the luminous, vivid blue eyes. He would make a very handsome man once he grew up. But if Vaclav kept treating him like an annoying stray animal, Louis would also grow up to be like Jakub. Once you treat someone badly enough, they start biting back. Or if one doesn’t get any love, they never know how to show love to others.

How sad.

She rushed from the room.

Lauren placed Azura in her new swing;

caressed her little, soft face. Azura’s lips curved to a slight grin.

“Aww. You are such a cutie,” Lauren gushed. Louis continued to cry inside the nursery.

His cries began with soft little noises, as if he were winding up for the big screaming finale.

It was actually cute, though Lauren was exhausted from tending to both babies. Not to mention Cody.

“Come on, Louis. Take your bottle.” Please… just take the milk.

Fussing, he smacked at the bottle and tore the nipple from his mouth. He cried again.

So frustrating. He refused to feed anymore.

Ironically, it was almost as if Louis detected his father’s pain, and was following in his footsteps by not feeding.

Enough was enough. Lauren took the child to Vaclav’s lair in the basement.

She sucked in a deep breath. Vaclav stood and stared right at her, as if challenging her to say anything to him.

“Something needs to be done for Louis—err, Lucifer. He refuses to take the bottle. He’s going to starve.”

Silence. Only a blank stare.

Lauren stifled a shiver.

He sat down.

Lauren’s anger replaced her fear of Vaclav. “Do something for your son! Aubrey’s dead, but Lucifer’s still alive!”

Several seconds expired. Then the scary one finally spoke.

“I killed Aubrey’s doctor,” he said, his words firing chills up Lauren’s spine. “However, it didn’t help. It only helped while I was slicing into his throat and watching the blood spill out.”

Lauren closed her eyes and tried to shut out such images from her mind. Aubrey’s death had turned Vaclav into a monster.

He rose from the lounger.

Pulling out a bloodied knife, he said “this is what I used on the good doctor. I wanted to kill him over and over. His death was too quick.”

Vaclav hurled the knife at a painting.

Thunk. The painting shook.

Once more Louis wailed. This time Lauren knew it was from fear. Vaclav had startled the poor thing.

But Vaclav didn’t give a shit. He merely covered his ears.

Bastard. Yet another part of her still felt sorry for Vaclav. He’d been through a lot.

But now there was an innocent child to think about…

Now I have to deal with Rez’s bullshit, she thought.

Lauren fed Azura as Reznik gaped.

“Do you have to do that in here? Can’t you at least cover up with a blanket or something?”

“It’s only natural. Now leave me alone so I can feed my baby.”

“What if Dad decides to crawl out of his cave? What if he sees your… boobs?”

She shrugged. “Vaclav has seen plenty of boobs before. Also, the guy’s been alive since the 1500’s or some shit. They didn’t have bottles back then. I’m sure he’s used to seeing women breast-feeding.”

“Sure. Whatever. Maybe it’ll give him a thrill anyway. He needs it,” Reznik said.

Embarrassed and irritated, she looked away.

When she looked back, he still seemed pissed off.

“I’m not going to cover up,” she said.

Reznik removed his shirt.

Then he threw it at her.

He chuckled. The shirt draped over Lauren’s midriff.

Lauren sighed. Oh my god, what a baby. Azura and Louis are more mature than you are.

She squirmed and wriggled until the shirt fell off.

Lauren’s eyes dared him to do or say anything further.

He didn’t.

Reznik got the bright idea to try to cheer up his father. He carried a small, rolled-up poster into the master bedroom.

It was self-adhesive. He smoothed it onto the wall.

He stood back to ensure it was hanging up straight.

No response from his father. Until he lunged from the chair.

Vaclav ripped the poster off the wall.

“Look Dad, I know you miss Mom…”

“I—miss her too. We all do.”

“I’m just trying to help. I don’t know what to do,” he said feeling helpless. “But you at least have to feed. You have to start thinking about the good stuff, like Lucifer. Like me, Kat, Azura, Tristan, Justin, Cody. We—love you. Think about what you do have, instead of what you don’t. I know it’s not easy, and it sucks.”

His father spun around and hugged him.

Later that night, Lauren played with Whiskers.

Louis began whimpering again. Poor baby was starving, no doubt.

I have to do something before he dies.

Lauren gently released the cat.

Louis cried hard. Tears always helped, but the sweet thing was too young yet to produce tears.

Lauren felt even more sorry for him. Maternal instincts gradually enveloped her heart, her entire body.

“Come here, sweet baby boy. I promise to take care of you.” She wiped away a tear.

Yes. I’ll be your mommy.

Lauren unbuttoned her blouse. It was worth a try. She prayed it would work.

She also knew Louis had tiny incisors budding from his gums. She would take that chance. Being bitten was better than his dying.

Louis ceased crying but still flailed his legs and arms. Lauren nudged his mouth to her breast.

He took it, greedily feeding.

Thank God. You’ll be okay now, little boy.

Growing satisfied, Louis nodded off. More tears rolled down Lauren’s face.