(Short filler chapter, because short filler chapter. Actually, I don’t know if it’s filler…It’s something, I guess.)
Annette was about to continue speaking to Harwood, when the bedroom door flew open.
“Okay, Mystique! Storytime’s over! Get lost!” Sinbad was annoyed as he dragged a crying Marc behind him. “You’ve overstayed your welcome!”
“Sinbad!” Annette tried smiling to appease him. “Good to see you not becoming a feral animal when you see a woman now.”
He just snarled at her. “Fuck you! Haven’t you wrecked enough lives for one millennium?”
Harwood turned to face him, his face stony. “Sinbad, don’t be rude. She hasn’t done anything wrong, besides breaking in.”
“Yeah, she also killed that fat moron Bill a few months ago! Now she’s probably about to do the same to you!”
Stepping closer to Harwood, Annette frowned. “That wasn’t me. And for your information, all I wanted to do was listen to his story.” She didn’t mention her exact motives for wandering around the house.
Behind them, Marc slid out from Sinbad’s grip, and cried even more as he curled up into a ball.
“And…What’s with him?” Annette asked as Harwood bent down next to him.
“None of your business!” Sinbad pointed angrily at her now. “And you’ve got a lot of nerve coming back to Twinbrook after the shit you started!”
She tilted her head in response to his accusation. “Come on, Sinbad. Am I really as bad as Emma was?” She didn’t want to use that example, but she didn’t know who else to use.
Pulling back, Sinbad gave her a bamboozled look. “Who?”
Annette raised her hands to indicate he should know the name. “Emma! You know, your mother?”
The word ‘mother’ caused Sinbad to become upset all over again. “You get hit upside the head with a sledgehammer, lady? My mom’s name was Maria!”
When Harwood heard the name come from Sinbad’s lips, he repeated it with a sort of quiet recognition.
Annette didn’t seem convinced. “Her name was Maria? And I suppose you’re going to tell me she wasn’t in the military, either?”
Sinbad just shook his head in frustration. “Where the fuck are you getting all this shit? I told you, she was a prostitute! A filthy, junkie prostitute!”
Hearing the word again just made Annette want to puke now. “Okay, prostitution aside, was she really that bad to you?”
“Of course she was!” Sinbad yelled. “That bitch is the reason I’m never having kids!”
By this time, Harwood had had it. Pulling Marc back up to standing height, he pushed the other two away from each other.
“I think I’ve heard enough.” He pushed Sinbad back towards the other room, and looked behind him towards her. “I think it’s best you leave now. Don’t want a repeat of what happened earlier.”
“Um…” Annette admittedly did like how Harwood was calm under duress. “Okay. So…thanks for the tea and chit-chat.”
Harwood casually brushed her off. “Think nothing of it.” He then led Sinbad and Marc back into the bedroom.
After she was left alone, Annette waited a few moments before leaving the property.
“Now where do I go?” She asked to no one in particular. She turned to look at the horizon, shocked that she could no longer see Racket Mansion.
With morbid curiosity, Annette went to check it out.
Shark and Dennis were quietly staring at the stars when they heard footsteps behind them. Initially, they thought nothing of it, and kept their gazes up at the night sky.
Then came the clattering of little feet, accompanied by a dog panting. Shark was jolted out of his stargazing when he felt Sagebear jump into his lap.
“Oh! Hi, puppy! Come to see what Daddy and Grandpa were doing?” Sagebear gave him a big, slobbery dog kiss on the cheek.
Blaise came up behind her. “Alma had to go to bed early, so I thought I’d look for the both of ya.” She sat down in between them. “So what are ya doing here?”
“Oh, nothing much, madam,” Dennis answered as he tried to pet Sagebear. “I thought I’d keep my son company, is all.”
He then directed his talking to Sagebear. “Did you enjoy bonding time with Grandma and Alma? Did you?” He cooed to her, which was returned by his own dog kiss.
“She’s such a sweet dog,” Blaise announced as Sagebear rolled onto her back for a belly rub.
All three were happy to oblige, and indulge her canine wishes.
From behind a tree, Annette watched as her dog got her belly rubbed. The other three were happily laughing and chatting while fawning over Sagebear.
Part of her wanted to approach them and say hi to her dog, but another part of her decided against it.
She was simply happy at how much joy Sagebear was bringing the little family, especially Shark.
Trying to keep from doubling over in pain, Annette then stepped out from behind the tree, and discreetly left the property.
It was a long walk to the grocery store, but she felt it was worth it. When she entered from a hidden door, Annette made sure there were no hidden security cameras.
“Guess I need to get something to thank Ox-Head for when I get back,” she whispered to herself when she eyed the produce section.
“Hope they won’t mind I resorted to the five-finger discount here…” Sneaking over to the fresh pears, Annette reached up, and grabbed the best-looking ones.