Magic gets an unexpected roommate. Who is this kid? What did the note in the pink box say? Mitch throws the ‘M’ word leaving Christina stunned. Will she accept or make him do things in a traditional way? Heather makes birthday plans for Alon. Will they wait four days? Dirk wants to take the relationship to new heights. Darren’s on his way. Will he stop his son or let kids be kids?
“There you are.” Ruyb enters the room and watches him paint. “We have company coming, unless you want to cancel.” She tilts her head at the subject of his current piece.
Without a word, Cyd puts down the brush and turns to her. He pulls her in to his arms and holds her. He places a soft kiss on her forehead before leaning his against hers. She opens her mouth to speak and he closes his eyes. She closes her mouth, bites her lip biting back her concerns. “I need time.”
“Okay.” Ruyb continues to bite her lip. She has a pained look as she buries her face in his neck. She struggles with her need to speak and respecting his wishes.
He feels her body trembling and takes a deep breath. He stares off at nothing as he holds her. His expression is blank, haunted and distant.
“Did you open it?” He looks at her with earnest. He shifts his gaze to his left then right and shakes his head at her. “You didn’t… right?”
Heather peers at this whispering stranger. “What are you talking about?”
His eyes widen and he glances up the stairs. “The pink box!” He hisses. “You got the pink box, I’m sure of it. I saw him.” He recoils and looks around once again panicked.
Heather gasps. “You know about the pink box! Who is ‘he’ and why did he leave it? What’s in it?”
He winces. “Shhhh… you don’t want him to hear!” He peers at her. “You’re either brave… or stupid.”
Heather looks at him in utter confusion. “Huh?”
The stranger blinks. “You really don’t know.”
Heather huffs. “No, and I think you need to start talking before I start screaming about pink boxes.” Heather tries to keep a straight stern face feeling rather silly.
He peers at her. “You’re bluffing.”
She shakes her head. “Nope, not bluffing… so start talking.”
“I knew it was a mistake talking to you… I knew it!” He sneers. “Your ignorance is gonna get us both killed.”
Heather shrugs. “I don’t have anything to lose, buster, so spill.”
He paces waiting for the other end to answer. He sighs as it rings for the fourth time. He stops as the other party answers. He grins. “Hey-” Mitch blinks. His grin fades. He pulls the phone from his ear and stares at the reciever for a moment before putting it back to his ear. “What the hell?” He shakes his head listening. “Uh, ok I have no idea what you’re blubbering on about.” He bites back a laugh. His grin returns. “I didn’t say you are blubber, Dina. I said you’re blubbering.” This time he doesn’t bother holding back and laughs. “It means you’re crying and chattering a string of nonsensical ramblings.” He cringes and pulls the phone away from his ear for a moment. Carefully he puts the receiver back to his ear and shakes his head. “No, that’s not blubbering. That is screeching…”
Mitch rolls his eyes. “Is Nina… Dina? Dina, is Nina… Dina… Dina…” Mitch groans, his shoulders slump, he hangs his head and hits his head with the reciever.
“So, lemme get this straight. That pink box, the one with the envelope, the computer, the gift certificates…”
The girl nods with each word and Magic groans. “I should have known better than to open that. If it seems too good to be true…”
The little girl giggles. “It is!”
“What if I give the box back? I can just put that crappy computer back in the box… take the stuff back that I got and you can go away.” Magic peers at the little girl.
She grins openly, her bright eyes filled with humor. “You’re funny.”
“So am I.” She suddenly crosses her arms across her little body showing her just how serious she is. Magic laughs. The girl shrugs her shoulders. “You’re a push over. Listen… once you open pandora’s box, you’re stuck. There is no stuffing things back in.”
“That thing wasn’t Pandora’s box…”
“Nope, worse… you opened Mütevazi’s box.” The girl states this very seriously with an added nod for emphasis.
“You have got to be one of the weirdest kids I’ve ever met…” Magic just stares blankly at her.
“Oh this from the woman named Eek.” She scoffs and rolls her eyes.
“My name is Magic.” Magic bristles.
“Yup, still a dumb name.” Her eyes smolder as she squares off against Magic.
“And you? You haven’t told me your name yet.” Magic counters.
“Oh,” She blushes daintily. “My name is Lisa… Lisa Cuzican.” She tilts her head and smirks up at Magic. “I’d say it’s a pleasure to meet you but I was taught to be honest…”
“Why you little…” Magic pauses and stares blankly. “Cuzican? Like Christina Cuzican?”
“Yes!” Lisa’s smile is disarmingly sweet and sincere. The kind of smile that lights a child’s face causing her eyes to sparkle. “She raised a bunch of little girls, most of us took on her last name even though we aren’t related or anything… she was very good to us.” Lisa’s smile fades, her eyes lose the sparkle and she stares at Magic. “When we become the right age, Mütevazi came for us.” She shrugs. “We didn’t even get to say good-bye.”
“Name isn’t buster it’s…” He blinks and shakes his head. “Never mind, Buster works. Listen Mütevazi’s pink box is a trap. If you don’t open it, you aren’t bound to the contract. Just read the back of the first card.”
Heather tilts her head. “Why do you care?” I mean what is it to you if I open the box or not?”
‘Buster’ pauses and stares. “He’s evil.”
“Okay for argument’s sake, let’s just say this Mütevazi is evil. What does that make you?” Heather tries another approach. None of this is making any sense and suddenly she has a very strange urge to open this damn box.
“Me? Me?!” Buster is taken aback. “I’m not evil… I’m trying to help. I’m… I’m…” He shakes his head. “Yanno, open the damn box. Go ahead. Just remember. It’s binding.”
Heather continues to stare at him unsure of her next move.
“Try to be nice and this is the thanks you get… accused of being evil like Mütevazi.” He shudders.
“Well look at it from my point of view, Buster.” Heathr takes a deep breath. “A stranger comes to you whispering warnings and threats about binding contracts and pink boxes and I’m assuming someone named Mütevazi. Through all of all of this, this stranger refuses to give a name and if that isn’t enough this binding contract is as vague as his paranoia. Contract binding me to what? To who? What is in the box?”
He grins and nods. “You’re right. Name is Daniel and the box has a computer, a note, and some gifts to prepare you for what is to come… or more accurately who.” He smirks. “Open the box, Heather. Welcome her. Just remember… I warned you.”
“Oh thank the Gods…” He cringes. “Sorry, but your sister was giving me a headache. What in the nine hells is she rambling on about?” He starts to pace again and stops dead in his tracks. His eyes widen and he smirks. “I see. Well for a normal person I would say congrats but in her case…” He chuckles. “Okay, okay… so now what?” He folds his arms lets out a low whistle. “Interesting…” He catches a glimpse of the clock on the wall bringing his attention back. “Oh hey, so I called because it’s about that time… but I’m guessing you two aren’t in the-”
He listens and nods. “Fair enough. I’ll just meet you two there then.” He hits the end button, stares at the receiver and laughs while hanging it back up on the craddle. He turns towards the front door and groans. “I forgot to ask about tomorrow.”
“Let’s assume I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
“Because you don’t…” Lisa adds.
Magic ignores her and continues. “Let’s get these facts straight shall we?” Magic prompts Lisa. “Start from the beginning. Christina raised you and you were taken away…”
Lisa nods slowly. “Uh huh…”
“You aren’t related to Christina or the man that took you away? So who are your parents?”
Lisa bites her lip. “We aren’t told who our parents are… that way we don’t try to go and find them.”
“Aren’t you even curious who your parents are?” Magic is stumpped.
“You ask a lot of questions.” Lisa stares at her either refusing or unable to give answers.
“I’m an invistigative reporter, Sweetie… it’s what I do.” Magic grins triumphantly.
Lisa laughs. “Right, this from the woman who didn’t read the clues and had no idea I was coming… okay, ‘reporter’. What are the other facts? Hmmm?” She folds her small arms, challenging her.
“The card said: Treasure your ward, nuture and help it grow and your future is richly rewarded.” Magic shrugs. “Where in there does it say ‘expect a punk little girl to invade your home and disrupt your life?”
“It says: Treasure your ward, nuture and help her grow and your futures are richly rewarded.” Lisa sighs and rolls her eyes. “Lame.”
“Lame.” Lisa giggles. Her belly gurgles. “Oh hey, I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?”
Ruyb appears distracted and has trouble meeting his direct gaze. “Thanks for the, uh… Chinese food.” She cringes.
“Not a good choice, huh? Sorry, it was on my way. Figured we were showing up around lunch and instead of expecting you to entertain us and… ya okay so the girls usually bring a home cooked something, but we…” He glances over his shoulder. “It has been an odd weekend.”
Ruyb grins and nods. “Still the thought was very sweet. Thanks.”
“I know we just met and all, but uh… are you okay?” Mitch tries to catch her wandering gaze.
Ruyb is taken aback and does a double take. “I… uh… what? Yes, I’m okay. Why?” She feels her cheeks redden and lowers her gaze.
“I used to be an EMT…” He motions to his own eye and nods at her. “I’m trained to notice things others don’t want noticed…” He glances over his shoulder again towards the quiet hallway and back to her with a questioning gaze.
“Oh! No, no, no, it’s not like that.” She chuckles and shakes her head. “Cyd didn’t do this. He saved me from the asshat that did.”
Mitch nods and grins. “Glad to hear it.”
“I was distracted by the blond, she keeps going to my bathroom all urpy like. Is she going to be okay?” She watches as Dina dashes to her bathroom again. “Maybe Chinese was a bad idea for her?”
Mitch turns in time to see the bathroom door close again. “Nothing is good for her right now. Morning sickness…” He shrugs.
“Oh how exciting! When is her due date?” Ruyb is finally distracted from her own worries.
“No idea. I didn’t think to ask.” He shrugs.
“So are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” Ruyb’s enthusiasm is almost contagious until her words sink in.
Mitch’s eyes widen. “Woah, I’m not the dad…” He laughs. “Hells, I never even slept with the Caliente twins. Not my kind of girls. They’re fun to hang around with and sweet as pie, but I like the good girl… the kind you marry.”
“That’s right…” The sarcasm is dripping from her voice. “He doesn’t like fun, he likes innocence.”
Mitch sighs. “Nina…” Ruyb gives him an apologetic shrug.
Nina uncrosses her long legs and stands from the couch. She casts him a seductive grin. “There was a time, when we first met…”
Nina laughs. “I’m off to powder my nose, etc.” She glances at him again. “Don’t be too harsh with your words, Mitch.”
“Sometimes it is best to ignore her.” Dina groans.
“Um, I have some crackers I think… they help some. Oh and I have ginger ale.” Ruyb’s eyes widen. “Door to your right… the other…” She frowns at Mitch. “That’s my bedroom.”
Mitch shrugs. “She doesn’t steal.”
Dina pipes up from the couch. “Unless there’s a man in there.”
Ruyb’s eyes widen more. “Cyd.”