Interlude: A Pregnant Pause
"Pregnant"; Chris asked with shock; still sitting on the couch. "Pregnant? Is that... even remotely possible?"
"I believe that question has already been answered"; Layla said, still smiling.
"Oh, my God"; I finally spoke. "I think I'm going to pass out or something..."
Chris finally stood up and walked to me. He put his arm around me and led me back to the couch.
"It is a beautiful thing to be with child"; Layla continued. "I thought you would be..."
"Be what"; I said. "Happy? Excited? How about freaked out? Scared for my life? I think that better suits this equation."
A male... pregnant. That pregnant male being me... I just couldn't wrap my mind around it.
"Is there anything he can do to... get rid of it"; Chris asked nervously.
"You mean, like an abortion"; I interrupted. "Do we have to be that... harsh?"
"I know it's not the best option, babe. But... this isn't something that's normal."
"Our lives aren't normal. I think this just reciprocates that fact."
"This is a magical and very powerful child you're carrying"; Layla answered. "It cannot be harmed in any way."
"So, I'm guessing that's a no"; I nearly whispered.
"There is a way, however... if this is something you truly do not want."
Chris and I both looked at her to continue. She sighed and spoke on.
"There is a spell that can... transfer the child into another being safely."
"Well, there's our option"; I said hopefully. "Let's go with that one."
It was then that I noticed Chris' face. It didn't seem as hopeful as I was... in fact, he seemed a little upset.
"Chris"; I said. "This is something that could potentially help us. I mean... can we really handle having a baby? I mean, you are the one who brought up the word "abortion"."
"I didn't use that term exactly and I... I don't know"; he responded, somewhat sadly. "But, I mean... this wouldn't have happened if we couldn't handle it. I mean... it's something that fate brought to us. And I would be lying if I said I didn't dream of having children with you one day."
"One day, Chris. But not now... and not like this. We're not even 18 and we're in the middle of a huge fight. Demons are attacking us left and right. How would I be able to help with a huge belly in front of me?"
"In the child's defense"; Layla intercepted, "your stomach wouldn't grow as big as you would think... and as I have said, the child can defend itself."
"Look, don't get me wrong"; I said. "One day, I would love to have children. I mean, who wouldn't? But... it would just be difficult for the both of us. Not to mention... our parents don't even know Chris and I are together. And on top of that, a pregnant male might make things a bit weird and potentially reveal our relationship... and we're not ready for that just yet."
"I understand your problems"; Layla responded. "So... if you choose not to carry this child, I will perform the spell. But, it is a decision the three of you must make."
"The three of us"; Chris asked.
"I think she means Wyatt"; I said, somewhat confused. "But, what does he have to do with this?"
"This child"; she began, "would be a great help to the Charmed line... there are possibly greater dangers in your horizons."
"So... our kid"; Chris spoke, "would of course be a witch, too."
"Of course"; Layla responded.
"Then... I'm not too sure about this either. I mean... I've heard horror stories of when Wyatt was a kid. There were constant attempts to kidnap him or steal his powers. I mean, he could defend himself... but he was still just a kid. I'm not too sure I would want to bring an innocent life into that kind of fear."
"Does this mean you also wish not to have this child"; Layla asked.
Chris looked toward me for a moment, then answered.
"Yes, I wish not to have this child."
"And Peter, I already have your answer?"
"Yes, you do. I don't want to have this child, either."
Layla sighed once more and clasped her hands. "You have made your choice... but preparations must be accommodated before the spell can be cast."
"Anything I have to do"; I asked.
"No, Peter. But I must find another witch who is willing to carry this child. And if that can't be found, then I must find a human ally."
"Sounds easy enough"; Chris said. "There are so many people who wish they could have children."
"That is true, Christopher. But, when it comes to a baby whose power will be as great as yours, other magical families may find it hard to adapt with him or her. And as for non-magical humans, it is sometimes hard for them to connect with a child that is already not their own. It is not as easy as you may think."
Chris and I looked at each other once more, taking in what she said.
"But if this is your choice... I will return in one week's time. At that time, I will cast the spell to transfer the baby. Is it too much to hope that your minds may change by then?"
I gave her a look, pretty much telling her my opinion would be steadfast.
"Very well. Please make sure you consult with Wyatt by then. Blessed be."
She smiled once more, this time it wasn't so convincing... and orbed away.
Once she left, I stood up and walked to the window. I knew I was going to cry and didn't want to do so in front of Chris.
"You're not getting away that easy"; he said, making his way to me. "Talk to me, Pete... you're not alone in this."
"This is... just something I never would've thought of happening. I mean... being pregnant... having a kid. It's just a little too much, you know?"
He pulled me to him and hugged me.
"I'm just... so scared, you know"; I continued through my inevitable sobs. "How did I get pregnant?"
"Well... when two people love each other"; he started.
"That's not what I meant"; I said with a tearful giggle.
"I know that, baby. I'm just as confused as you are."
He held me while I cried, the metal of my "wedding ring" pressed against me.
"There's one thing we won't have to worry about"; he said after a while.
"What"; I said.
"Where the baby would've came from"; he responded. "That would've just been...a little hard to comprehend."
I laughed once more. "You always know what to say."
"Not always"; he admitted. "Right now, I'm as scared as you are."
"Can I ask you something?"
"Of course, angel."
"Can you... just not let me go for a while?"
"Let you go"; his repeated, confused.
"Can you just hold me?"
He gave me a light smile. "Anything you want... but I'm going to orb us to my room. I don't want us to get caught up here, OK?"
"OK"; I replied. "Besides, I'm an unmarried person with child. I might be banished from the town or something."
He laughed a bit and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "We'll get through this."
"I know"; I responded, although I wasn't too sure. I felt the tears coming again and just let them fall.
He pressed his arms tighter around me... not letting me go for a second. I turned my head and leaned it on his shoulder, closing my eyes. I felt us become weightless as we orbed to the safety of Chris' room.
Chapter 15: Happily Never After
"Pete"; Aunt Paige said happily as she opened her door. "This is an unexpected surprise!"
"Yeah... I'm sorry about not calling first..."
"Please. You can come over anytime"; she responded; opening her door wider for me to enter. I had decided that I needed to see another face other than the ones I was surrounding myself with.
"Don't mind the mess... you know how kids are; especially my kids."
I tried to smile at her comment, but my predicament wasn't really ready for that just yet.
"So"; she said, wiping her hands on her apron. "I was in the middle of cooking; what brings you here?"
I looked at her with mock surprise.
"Yes, I do cook sometimes"; she said with a laugh. "Anyway, what's going on?" She sat on her couch and patted the spot next to her.
"I... kind of need to talk to you about something"; I said, while sitting next to her. "Something I found a few days ago. Are the kids here?"
"No. Randy and Reina are out with Henry. What's wrong? Is everything OK with you and Chris?"
"Yeah; everything's fine."
"So, why isn't he with you right now? You two are usually like bookends."
"I just... I needed to talk to someone else about this. And you're the only other family member, other than Wyatt, that knows about our relationship."
"I'm not sure I'm liking where this is going. Pete, you're scaring me."
I sighed and felt the tears coming on. I closed my eyes tightly and pushed them back.
"Aunt Paige"; I said shakily, reopening my eyes. "Something's happened."
"Oh, God... are you... I don't even want to ask."
"Am I what?"
"Sick... you know. Like...."
I relaxed a bit. "No, Aunt Paige. Chris and I are fine."
"Oh. Good"; she said with a sigh. "Sorry to jump to such a damning point."
"I understand where you could get to that. But... there's something going on with me."
"Well, it's not the worst, which is great, by the way. So, whatever else is going on, we can handle it. It's not like you can get pregnant, so that's out of..."
I looked down when she said that.
"Pete... that's... are you.... are you pregnant?"
When I looked back up at her, the tears I had been holding back started to spill out of me. "Yeah... I'm pregnant, Aunt Paige."
She seemed to stare at me for a moment, before bringing a more accepting look back to her face.
"You do realize that men can't do that, right"; she asked, still in shock.
"That's what I thought, too... but according to Layla, I guess I was wrong."
"Layla? The Elder?"
I nodded as I wiped my eyes.
"What else did she tell you?"
I told her of the entire conversation that took place that Saturday; 5 days before.
"So, did you tell Wyatt yet"; Aunt Paige asked.
"No... I haven't figured out a way to tell him. I mean, it's scary and weird enough as it is. And he's going through all of this stuff with Caleb..."
"Caleb"; she asked.
"His boyfriend; but I can't tell you what's going on with him. It's really personal, OK?"
"I understand"; she said, holding my hand. "But, I'm not worried about him right now."
I don't know if it was the hormones or Aunt Paige's words, but my crying turned to sobs.
"I'm so scared, Aunt Paige. I don't know what..."
She put her arm around me and I leaned over as the cascade of tears continued to fall. I desperately wanted her to say that everything was going to be alright...
But even I didn't know that it would be.
I knew I didn't want to go home yet, so I decided to go to the beach to relax. Normally, I would've just orbed there, but it had gotten warmer as of late and I knew I wouldn't be the only one visiting the shores. Also, I didn't want to accidently turn up with a group of people wondering just how I had gotten there. I already was dealing with way too much drama.
Before I had left her house, Aunt Paige told me about when she was born and how she had to be hidden from existence.
Was I, in turn, doing the same thing: having a child that no one seemed to want? I was trying to convince myself that it was all for the best, but I was failing miserably.
I had turned the corner that led to the piers of the beach and noticed a group of people standing outside the small apartments adjacent to them. Also, there were some police cars and an ambulance. I guess curiosity had gotten the best of me and before I knew it, I had joined the crowd of spectators outside of the building.
"Hey, what's going on here"; I asked to an older woman.
"It's so sad"; she responded sympathetically. "A girl in the upstairs apartment was killed. Her boyfriend shot her."
"Oh, my God"; I replied. "That's terrible."
"I agree. She was so young... it's such a tragedy."
"Please! I didn't do it! Please...."
I looked over to the front of the building and saw the policemen bringing out a guy in handcuffs. He seemed to be crying his eyes out; blood splattered over the front of his wife-beater... such a fucked up name for clothing considering what had just happened.
They continued to lead him into the car; he wasn't really putting up much of a fight if he was so-called "innocent". Right behind him, the EMT workers followed with the body on a stretcher. It was like they were following him closely on purpose to make him feel more guilty of what he had done.
The police put the guy in the car and slammed the door shut. He faced forward; tears still streaming down his face. He then looked out the window and locked eyes... on me.
He looked not much older than me; short and spiky blonde hair with dark roots showing, a little skinny. His blue eyes were bloodshot from all of his crying. I couldn't help but stare back at him....
Suddenly, I felt a twinge in my stomach... and I knew what was happening. I closed my eyes and...
"I can't do this anymore, Aaron"; the young girl with long dark hair said. "It's never going to happen..."
"Laura, please! Baby, you can't end it like this... there are so many other things between us... and aren't they worth..."
"No, they aren't! I can never be who you want me to be, Aaron! I can never be who I want to be... ever! We'll always be stuck in this "happily never after". It has to end... now."
"No"; Aaron yelled, moving toward Laura. "Don't..."
A gunshot went off and Laura fell; blood pouring from the side of her head.
I came out of the premonition harder than I expected. I turned away from the group of people and suddenly vomited; my head spinning around and in pain.
"Oh, my"; said the lady from before. "Are you OK, son?"
"Yeah"; I replied; still bending over from my actions. "I'm...fine. Just a little sick."
"I understand"; she replied. "Things like this make me sick to my stomach, too."
If only she knew just how on point she was with that sentence.
"I'm fine, really"; I said, standing back up with a light smile. I nodded and walked off in the direction of Halliwell Manor.
"You know, you could stay a while, considering you do live here."
"I know that"; Wyatt responded as he put his jeans on. "But, no one knows that just yet." He looked toward Caleb; lying in the bed he had hastily just gotten out of. "So, until then, I still have to make appearances at home."
"I'm starting to know what that feels likes"; Caleb said, the covers pulled down to his torso. "It's like you're just making appearances here."
Wyatt sighed and sat back down on the bed. "Look... I know this sucks. I hate it, too. I'm just trying to figure out how to break this to everyone. My family is really close..."
"Baby"; Caleb spoke, looking Wyatt in the eye. "I'm not telling you to give up your family or your home. I just want you to realize... that this is your home, too."
Wyatt smiled in response. "I know that, babe. I just... need a little more time."
Caleb sighed. "I understand."
"No. You're upset and I'm sorry. Maybe I shouldn't have..."
"Shouldn't have what"; Caleb asked. "Shouldn't have agreed to live here? Is that what you were going to say?"
"No"; Wyatt responded, a bit flustered. "I just... I don't know."
"I know this is hard on you"; Caleb admitted, taking hold on Wyatt's hand. "But you can have your own life, too and still be a Halliwell. Is it too much to ask to be able to spend the day with my boyfriend in bed without having him rush home before his parents realize he's been gone too long?"
Wyatt sighed himself. "I guess you're right... I'll tell them soon. I promise. Besides, I'm tired of not being able to lie in bed naked with you all day long."
Caleb laughed before responding. "I knew that would be the swing vote."
Wyatt leaned over and gave Caleb a deep kiss; one full of passion. His tongue slowly massaged itself across Caleb's, his hand caressing Caleb's dark locks. He started to get deeper into it; his 9-incher slowly starting to come to life. He pulled himself away for a second to say one thing.
"Well, it's not like I have to go home right now..."
I walked into the Manor and into the living room, feeling somewhat exhausted from everything that had happened that day. It was definitely one of the most emotional days I had been through in a while... and yet, it wasn't even evening.
"Hey"; Chris said, coming out of the living room and giving me a quick hug. "Where have you been?"
"Oh... just around"; I said. "Who's here?"
"Just Noah and Mom, I think. Wyatt's still at Caleb's, even though he was supposed to be back hours ago, but then again, we are on break after finals; he can pretty much come home when he feels like it. Anyway, what's going on?"
I walked into the living room. "I had another premonition."
"What happened"; he asked, following close behind me.
"It was different... somehow. I mean; this one was from the past. Or the present. I don't know how to explain it..."
"You're confusing me"; Chris responded as he gestured for us to sit on the couch.
"I think I'm confusing myself here"; I admitted as I sat down next to him. "I mean... it was of something that already happened. Something recently."
"That's a little better. That would be the past, by the way. So, what did you see?"
I told him all about the premonition of Aaron and Laura.
"That's so weird"; Chris responded after I had finished speaking. "And I understand the whole confusion about time. Why would you have a premonition of something like that? For one, they weren't witches or demons, right?"
"I don't think they were witches. And although it was kind of en evil thing, they were definitely not demons... unless demons kill with guns now."
"So, Aaron shot this Laura? Damn, that's horrible. Do you know why?"
"Well, you're just getting used to these premonitions. It's probably just something you missed."
"Probably"; I responded. "And it's not me getting the premonitions."
"What about premonitions"; said a voice from behind us.
I turned around as Noah came into the living room.
"Hey Noah"; I said. "Oh, nothing. Just something I read... in the Book."
"OK"; Noah said slowly as he made his way to the couch.
"We should ask Noah about the premonition"; Chris said to me telepathically.
"Are you crazy? How would I explain how I got it?"
"Leave it up to me, babe."
"Noah, can I ask you something"; Chris spoke. I just stood there in total shock.
"Um... I guess"; he responded.
"When you have premonitions, is it sometimes of things that happened in the past? And sometimes, are non-magical people involved?"
"Sometimes"; he responded. "I used to have flashes all the time of things from the past and of just normal people. It's kind of a short circuit thing. They eventually went away as I learned to control my powers better. But why do you..."
"One more thing"; Chris interrupted. "With the normal people premonitions; did you ever have to save any of them? Like, were they actual warnings?"
"Every once in a while they were. I mean, the odd premonition of someone about to be hit by a car or of someone losing their wallet. I've been caught in the middle of that before. But then, there's also the times I got premonitions of my friends being cheated on by their girlfriends or of them having to use the bathroom. Those times, it wasn't so cool."
Chris smiled and stood up. "Thanks a lot, Noah."
"Anytime"; he responded weirdly, but with a smile. "Do you mind if I change the channel?"
"Knock yourself out. Pete, come on."
"Um... see you later, Noah"; I said, standing up to follow Chris.
"No prob, Pete. And no disrespect... but you're looking a little peaked. And kinda fat."
That little comment just totally made my day. With another sigh, I nodded to Noah and walked quickly to join Chris.
"He's such a fucking queen sometimes. Anyway, why did you tell him about that"; I whispered, a bit angrily. "What do you think he's thinking now?"
"It doesn't matter what he says about you... or what he thinks, by the way. I was trying to help you!"
I sighed once more and closed my eyes for a second. I definitely had a headache coming on. "Anyway, what did that teach us? Other than the fact that I'm growing like a balloon to him."
"It taught us that there may be a reason for your premonition earlier. Maybe there's something going on..."
"Didn't you hear what else he said"; I interrupted. "Sometimes, it's just not knowing how to control your powers. It's pretty much an open-and-shut case. Aaron killed Laura. End of story."
I started to walk upstairs when he grabbed my arm.
"What is it now"; I said through gritted teeth.
"You know what? I know it's just the hormones talking right now, so I'll let that one slide."
I bit my tongue and just listened. It so wasn't the hormones!
"Anyway"; he continued, "I wanted to say that he was right about something else. Your stomach is getting bigger."
I looked down and lifted my shirt. My stomach was becoming more noticeable. To the naked eye, it would appear as if I had been hitting the chips a little too hard... but Chris and I knew better.
"I thought Layla said that it wouldn't be so bad"; I said. "I'm getting huge."
Chris touched my stomach and smiled. "No, you're not. You're fine. Wow. I can't believe..."
I knew where his thought process was going and needed to stop it before it got too emotional.
"Chris, I know this is kind of crazy, but remember. We both agreed that this would be a temporary thing. When Layla comes back at the end of the week, it's going to be over."
He moved his hand away and I pulled my shirt down. "Remember?"
He sighed and responded, "Yeah, I do."
"Good"; I said. "Now, I guess I have to go to the attic."
"For what"; he asked. "I thought you said that the premonition was nothing."
"It probably was"; I answered. "But, I'm just going to make sure that it is." I turned around and continued up the stairs.
"You were going to check the Book no matter what, weren't you"; he asked telepathically.
"No comment"; I responded back.
I turned through countless spells and demons in the Book. There was nothing there about premonitions other than having it as a power. I was beginning to lose hope in the Book when it came to solving all of our "magical" problems; this wasn't the first time it had brought me to a dead end.
I realized that I was getting nowhere and it felt like my headache was getting worse. I closed my eyes and pressed my hands against my nose. I never understood how this helped with headaches, but I was completely at a loss.
I walked to the couch and sat down on it. Why was all of this crazy shit happening to me? I was pregnant and on top of it, I now had to deal with all of these crazy powers that came along with it... it was beyond frustrating. Not to mention this so-called "morning sickness". It was such bullshit. Who knew that it was more like "all-day" sickness?
"What am I going to do"; I asked out loud. "You know what? Absolutely nothing. The premonition was probably nothing and I'm going to treat it like that: absolutely nothing."
Then, the all-too familiar stomach twinge came along...
"Oh, no... not again"; I muttered.
I was alone in a room; one that I didn't recognize. I was sitting on a bed and feeling... happy.
"This is crazy"; I spoke in a voice that wasn't my own. "I can't believe I'm going to do this."
I stood up from the bed and walked to a mirror; connected to a bureau and pointed a gun straight out, taking aim at an imaginary target.
"Wicked"; I said... and realized that it was not my reflection there.
It was Aaron's.
I snapped out of the premonition and breathed heavily. It felt like I was going to vomit once more...
"God"; I moaned out, pushing the feeling back.
"Pete"; came a voice from ahead of me. I looked up and saw Wyatt standing in front of me. "What's going on?"
"Oh... hey, bro"; I replied, faking a smile. "Nothing... just not feeling too well."
"That food from a couple of days ago is still making you feel like this"; he asked. "That's not a good sign. Do you need to go to the hospital or something?"
"No"; I nearly shouted and calmed down quickly. "It's not that. I just... have a bit of a stomach flu-thing. I'll be fine."
"Are you sure"; he questioned, making his way to me. "You have me a bit worried right now."
"It's nothing"; I responded. "Anyway"; I continued, "how's Caleb doing?"
"He's fine. What makes you think I was with him?"
"Let's see. For one, your shirt is on backwards."
He looked down and noticed that his t-shirt was definitely on the wrong way. "I meant to do that. That's the new style."
"Sure, you did; just as I'm guessing that you meant to leave your hair looking that way."
He walked to the broken mirror in the attic and checked out his flattened and thrashed hair.
"Alright, I'm busted"; he said as he pulled his hair into a quick ponytail and reached into his pocket to pull out a rubber-band to tie it up. "Sometimes, it's just a bit too good."
"T.M.I. strikes again"; I said sarcastically.
"Anyway, what's going on here" he asked me.
"I wish I could answer that, but even I'm confused. I sort of had another premonition."
"Another one"; he asked, turning to face me. "What brought this one on?"
I told him all about Aaron and Laura.
"Wow. And you think this has some kind of magical thing behind it?"
"That's the confusing part. I mean, I understand the whole "protect the innocent" thing, but it doesn't seem to fit here. I mean, I saw Aaron with the gun. That pretty much puts him in the "guilty" column, if you ask me."
"I agree with that... but sometimes, things aren't what they seem."
"Maybe not, but again, this isn't one of those times. Besides, I checked the Book and there's nothing there at all about anything like this."
"Did you ever get to speak to Layla about why you're having these premonitions, anyway"; he said as he peeled off his shirt and turned it the correct way around. "I mean, there's got to be a reason why you're getting all of these new powers."
"Um... yeah, we spoke. She's as stumped as we are."
"Is this the time to start worrying"; he asked as he put the shirt back on.
"I don't think so"; I said, trying to get off the true subject at hand quickly. "Besides, they come from a place of good, I'm sure. It will all work itself out."
"Yeah"; Wyatt responded. "I'm sure it will. Look; I kind of need to talk to you and Chris about something... but not now. Are you doing anything later?"
"Nothing I can think of... and besides... we kind of need to speak about something with you, too."
"OK. Well, I got to go take care of something now, but is later OK?"
"You do realize we're probably both procrastinating about whatever we have to talk about"; I admitted.
He glanced down and smiled lightly. "We really are a bit too much alike."
"But, later is fine with me. We just both have to promise that we both will come out with whatever is going on with us. Deal?"
He looked up and smiled once more. "Deal. I'll see you later."
He turned around to walk out...
"Yeah"; he said without turning around.
"Love you too, bro"; he said and made his way downstairs.
I sighed and leaned back on the couch.
"What am I going to do"; I said out loud. It felt like my brain power had switched to the "off" position ever since I had gotten pregnant.
"Switched"; I said suddenly, realizing something that I had read in the Book.
I stood up and walked back to the pillar where the Book was. I opened it up and found something that had caught my eye earlier.
"Damn, I'm good"; I said to myself, re-reading the spell I had skimmed by just minutes before.
"Hey, Wyatt"; Noah said excitedly as Wyatt made his way downstairs. "I didn't hear you come in."
"Well, I orbed here from Caleb's"; Wyatt admitted as he made his way to the couch.
"And your mother tells me about not using my powers for normal things"; Noah quipped. "But, my lips are sealed."
"Good to know"; Wyatt responded. "So, how have you been? I know we haven't really been hanging out too much lately."
"That's true. But, there's a lot going on with you right now... I mean, with Caleb and everything."
"Did you read my mind"; Wyatt asked. "I thought I told you not to..."
Noah laughed and said, "Dude. I don't have to read your mind to know how new relationships are. They're a bit crazed in the beginning."
Wyatt sighed and relaxed. "That they are. Although, it's not that new anymore."
"That doesn't sound good. Getting bored already?"
"No, it's nothing like that. It's just... you know what. I don't want to talk about this. Not yet, anyway."
"Don't do this, Wyatt."
"Do what"; Wyatt asked, facing Noah.
"Keep things from me. Look, it's bad enough that Chris and Pete are keeping shit from me. I mean, I understand it's kind of personal, but there are things that are happening that I'm supposed to be a part of. I mean, that's why I was sent back from my time, you know? I'm supposed to be helping defeat this Pascal guy... I just don't understand why I'm out of the loop."
Wyatt gave him a look, but Noah continued.
"... and yes, I know that personal business and magical business are totally separated from each other, but... I just feel really alone here sometimes. It's like, they take extra measure to avoid me."
"By they, you mean Chris and Pete?"
Noah nodded in response, a bit sadly.
"Look... they just have their own things going on and sometimes, it's like they're in some little world we aren't invited to. But, it's not intentional. I mean, place yourself in their shoes."
"I could never do that."
"Exactly"; Wyatt said with a reassuring smile.
"No, I meant literally. Chris' feet are too big and Pete's feet stink."
"I'm trying to be serious here"; Wyatt laughed.
"I know. And I know what you're trying to say. It's about keeping everything about their relationship a secret. I'm sure it's not a traipse in the roses for them all of the time."
"I know I'm a senior, but I have no idea what a "traipse" is."
"A meaningless walk"; Noah responded. "You really should study more."
Wyatt nodded with a light smile. "Thanks. But my point was you can't blame them for not always being so open to you. It's not coming from a place of malice."
"I guess you're right"; Noah admitted. "I just wish that they would trust me more."
"I can understand that, but it's not like it's easy to trust someone who says they're from the future and seems to know it all."
"I don't know it all"; Noah said. "I just happen to know... a bit."
"Whatever"; Wyatt responded. "Just give them a little more time. And be a little easier on them. It's not all roses for them right now."
"You have no idea how right you are about that."
"Um... did you just let something slip about them?"
"No, not really. Besides, you'll figure things out soon enough."
Wyatt sat there for a second.
"And I won't be the one to tell you."
"I thought not"; Wyatt answered, while standing up. "Besides, you're probably more dense about the future then you let on." He stuck out his tongue and walked off.
"Wyatt"; Noah called out before Wyatt exited the living room. Wyatt looked back.
"Have you decided just how you're going to break it to Piper and Leo that Caleb wants you to live with him?"
Wyatt stood there, shocked. "How did you know..."
"I have no clue"; Noah responded with a grin. "I'm a little dense when it comes to these things, remember?"
"So"; Wyatt said as he stepped closer, "you know how she reacts?"
"And you're going to tell me"; Wyatt said as he stepped even closer. "Because we're friends, right?"
"Sure. She says..."
Noah suddenly orbed away, leaving Wyatt in the living room alone.
"Suddenly seeing why Pete hates him"; he said... somewhat jokingly.
After reading the spell, I closed the book and sighed. I would have to word it a bit differently, but it definitely would help things out with all that was going on. I knew that Chris wouldn't like it if I was alone when I performed it...
But why shouldn't I, I thought to myself. I knew how to handle myself and could reverse the spell, if needed. Besides, I had to know why I was having these premonitions about people who were in all other aspects, seemingly normal... well, other than the fact that the boyfriend had killed his girlfriend.
I had to go along and do the spell...
I only hoped that my "accelerated" powers would work the way I wanted them to.
I held out my hand and said, "Picture of Aaron!"
With a gleaming light, in my hand orbed a picture... of Aaron Carter from a magazine.
"Well, this would be fine if I was Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff."
I crumbled the picture and threw it on the floor. Then, I closed my eyes and concentrated on Aaron... his wild blonde hair, tears streaming down his face; his lanky frame.
Actually, he did look a lot like Aaron Carter.
Pushing that thought out of my head, I said once more, "Picture of Aaron!"
With another light, inside my hand orbed an actual picture. I looked at it and saw a picture of the Aaron I saw earlier that day. He was lying on a bed; looking upwards and smiling. His hair was a little less wild, but he had a content grin on his face.
"Mission halfway accomplished"; I stated with a grin on my own.
I opened the Book of Shadows back up to the spell I saw earlier and grabbed a notepad lying next to it and rewrote it a bit. I closed the book with a sigh and placed a free hand on the picture of Aaron.
"It's now or never"; I said to myself, before closing my eyes and performing the spell.
"Take me back; bring nothing here
Into the life of the man's picture I now hold near
24 hours before this time, take me into his life
So I may relieve his and my strife."
I felt a powerful wind surround me and it felt like I was moving... but I wasn't.
When the wind finally subsided, I found myself in a room, sitting on a bed that wasn't mine... or Chris'.
I looked around... and noticed that I was in the place from my premonition.
The spell worked.
"That's a relief"; I said to myself... but I didn't say it.
Neither did Aaron.
"Oh, God"; I thought. "Did I do something wrong?"
"Who said that"; said Aaron; looking wildly around his room. "Who's here?"
"Oh, no"; I said, realizing my mistake.
"Who the fuck is here"; Aaron nearly yelled, standing up and looking around the room. As he walked past the mirror, he stopped in mid-step and turned around to face it.
His reflection... was me.
"What the..."; Aaron started to say.
"Oh, no"; I said once more.
"Who the hell are you"; I heard Aaron ask.
"Um... hi"; I said feebly. "You... I mean, we, may have to sit down."
"Who are you? Where are you?"
"I think... I may have made a mistake... a big mistake"; I responded.
"Where have you been?"
Wyatt turned around from the dresser he was searching through. "Oh, hey, bro."
"Don't "hey, bro" me"; Chris exclaimed as he entered Wyatt's room, shutting the door behind him. "You've been pretty MIA for a few days."
"Yeah"; Wyatt said as he pulled some jeans from a dresser and placed them in a duffel bag on his bed. "I guess I've been kind of busy." With that, he turned around and walked back to the dresser.
"Wyatt, is everything OK"; Chris asked.
"Of course"; he responded with forced enthusiasm. "Why wouldn't it be?"
Chris realized he wasn't going to get anything out of him that way....
"Ouch"; Chris said suddenly, clutching his forehead in pain.
"What's wrong"; Wyatt asked, turning around with a couple of shirts in his hand.
"Nothing... just a little headache."
"I put a block up. Noah taught me how, remember?"
Chris realized he had been caught and smiled lightly. "Busted. But why are you blocking yourself? What's going on?"
Wyatt placed the shirt in his duffel bag and sat down next to Chris. "Look... I know I'm being a little sketchy, but... I can't get into it right now."
"Why not"; Chris asked. "We tell each other..."
"I know"; Wyatt interrupted. "We tell each other everything. And I will tell you what's up. It's just I promised to tell Pete and you at the same time."
"And supposedly, Pete has some kind of news, too... and of course, I know you know what it is. Feel like sharing?"
Chris just looked down.
"OK. We're all keeping things from each other... and that's not cool. When did we start doing this?"
"I don't know. We're going through some real crazy shit, aren't we"; Chris stated.
"I guess so. And I'm tired of holding it in. I mean, it's not like I'm ashamed of what's going on."
"Yeah"; Chris said sadly. "Neither am I."
"OK. Is Pete still in the attic?"
"I don't know"; Chris responded.
"Well, that's where I left him. Let's go up there and just get everything out, OK?"
Chris nodded and stood up with Wyatt in step behind him. They both walked upstairs to the attic.
"Pete, we need to talk"; they both said in unison. Pete was standing in front of the Book of Shadows, not moving.
"Pete"; Chris called out as he made his way to his boyfriend. "Are you there?"
Pete still didn't responded, his eyes locked into nothingness.
"Pete"; Wyatt said, moving forward quickly. "Are you OK?"
Pete stayed motionless.
"Baby"; Chris called out, waving his hand in front of Pete's face.
"What's wrong"; Wyatt asked.
Chris started to shake Pete, slowly at first, then more and more violently. "Baby"; he yelled. "Baby!"
Pete shook back and forth, but still didn't respond.
"What's wrong"; Wyatt asked.
"I don't know"; Chris said on the verge of tears. "Pete... talk to me! Pete!"
"Calm down"; Wyatt said, grabbing Chris and stopping him from shaking Pete. He moved forward and placed his hands on Pete's chest.
"What are you doing"; Chris asked.
"Trying to heal him... but it's not working."
"What do you mean it's not working?!"
"I don't know"; Wyatt said, full of frustration. He took his hands off of Pete and moved his ears to Pete's face.
"He's still breathing... he's just..."
"Just what"; Chris yelled. "Why isn't he moving? Why isn't he answering me?"
"It doesn't seem like he was attacked"; Wyatt realized. Suddenly, something fell from the pillar next to the Book of Shadows.
"What is that"; Chris asked as Wyatt picked up the fallen object.
"It's a picture... of that guy that's been on the news all day."
"What guy"; Chris asked, moving to take a look at the photo.
"His name is...Andrew, I think. Something about him killing his girlfriend..."
"Aaron"; Chris nearly whispered.
"Yeah, that's it"; Wyatt realized. "They arrested him..."
Chris walked slowly away; blocking out Wyatt words and faced Pete once more... and noticed a hand-written note on an open page of the Book of Shadows. He picked it up and read the first line.
"Take me back, bring nothing here... Pete did this himself. He cast a spell."
"What"; Wyatt asked. "Why would he do that?"
"The premonition... Pete had a premonition about Aaron shooting his girlfriend. We didn't know why he had it... so he came up here to find out."
"I'm still confused"; Wyatt realized.
"He wanted to know why he would have a premonition about a death that wasn't supernaturally related..."
Wyatt walked to Chris and glanced over at the hand-written spell and the spell in the Book of Shadows.
"He tweaked the Soul Switching spell. Rather than switch with someone else..."
"He went in and "brought nothing back""; Chris realized, looking at the unmoving Pete once more.
"This can't be good"; Wyatt said. "We need to get him back."
"I don't think we can. I think only he can say the reversal spell."
"He always was a bit too good at making spells stick."
"How are we going to fix this"; Chris asked, while reaching for Pete's hand.
"We need to tell Mom about this"; Wyatt answered. "Maybe she can help."
"No... we can't."
"Chris, we can't keep leaving her out of things like this; she would want to know."
"I know, Wyatt, but there would just be too many questions. She would want to know about Pete's premonitions and..."
"And what? We'll just tell her. They're just an extension of his power!"
Chris sighed. "No, they aren't his power." With Pete's hand in his, he orbed from the Book to the nearby couch, allowing Pete to be in a sitting position. "Sorry about that. I just want him to be comfortable."
"What... never mind that. What do you mean not his powers?"
"I can't get into that right now"; Chris responded, never taking his eyes off of his love.
"What do you mean you can't get into that"; Wyatt said angrily, making his way to Chris. "If it has something to do with what's going on..."
"It doesn't, trust me. It can't have anything to do with it..."
"Chris, what are you talking..."
"Wyatt, do me a favor. Go and get Noah... and Aunt Paige, if you need to. But, under no circumstances do you tell anyone else. Got it?"
"I mean it"; Chris nearly yelled, finally looking his brother in the eye. "Either Noah or Aunt Paige... both if you can manage it."
Wyatt sighed and orbed away without saying a word.
Chris turned and faced Pete once more, his eyes staring at nothing.
"What did you do"; Chris asked him. "And why didn't you tell anyone?"
"What did you do"; Aaron yelled at me, still looking in the mirror. "How did you..."
"Look, I know you're freaked out right now... trust me, I'm pretty freaked too."
"Funny"; Aaron said sarcastically. "You're the one in my body and yet, you're freaked out."
"Calm down a second"; I responded. "I can fix this."
"I still don't know what's going on.... or how you're going to fix this. And by the way, who the hell are you?"
"My name is Pete."
"OK, Pete... and what the hell is going on?"
I paused for a second and just thought, "To hell with it all".
"I'm a witch"; I answered.
Aaron started to laugh; placing a hand on his forehead. "Oh, yeah. I'm losing it. Thank God the other officers aren't around to see this..."
"Other officers"; I repeated. "What are you talking about?"
"You're in my head; why don't you figure it out?"
"I'm not in your head... I don't think. Look, I'm really confused right now."
"That makes two of us"; Aaron responded, moving away from the mirror.
"Hey, go back there"; I yelled. "I don't think I can fix this without seeing myself."
Aaron sighed and walked back to the mirror, his hands on his hips.
I gave out a sigh of my own and closed my eyes.
"I cast this spell to return to my life
Two people now clear of any pain or strife
24 hours ahead; send me back to me
My conscience clear; I persevere
I felt a wind pass through me and when I opened my eyes, I was in the attic... with Chris right next to me.
"I am so busted, aren't I"; I said.
"Pete"; Chris exclaimed, hugging me tightly. "What happened?"
"I sort of cast..."
In the middle of my sentence, I felt another whoosh of wind... and found myself back in Aaron's place... with Aaron still standing in the mirror.
"What happened"; I asked, looking back at him.
"What do you mean"; he responded. "Nothing happened at all. You haven't gone anywhere..."
"That's impossible. I was just talking to Chris...."
"Who's Chris... and what is going on?"
"Chris is my boyfriend... and I don't know...."
"What have you done to me? Some kind of freaky mumbo-jumbo or whatnot..."
"It's not mumbo-jumbo! I must be connected to you or your conscience or something. The spell hasn't run it's course yet... I really am getting too good at them..."
"Yeah, that's fine"; Aaron responded, "But while you're figuring out just how "good" you are, figure out how to get the fuck out of me!"
"I am"; I yelled. "I'm sorry, but obviously, the reversal spell didn't stick for a reason... and it didn't work the way I wanted it to..."
"Who are you talking to"; came a voice from behind me... from Aaron. He turned around and there stood the girl who would be dead in about 24 hours time; Laura.
"Hey, angel"; Aaron said, making his way to her. He hugged her tightly. "How was your day?"
"It was OK"; she responded weirdly and made her way to the bed. "Me and Wanda talked about a lot today."
I noticed just how little and beautiful she was. Her big brown eyes, trying to express some happy emotion, but not doing too well. Her long brown hair flowed freely; a single braid enclosed in it's mass.
"Who's Wanda"; I asked.
"Did you"; Aaron continued, ignoring my comment. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really"; she said with a slight smile. "I think I'm just going to lie down for a while... it's been a long day."
"I understand. I have to head out in a while anyway and pick up my uniform from the station."
She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "Congratulations again. I'm so proud of you, you know?"
"You've already said that... and so much more. Now, go ahead and rest. I'm going to go to the bathroom and then, head off. See you later."
She nodded and headed for the bed. Aaron turned around and walked out of the bedroom and into the bathroom.
"This is kind of pink for a men's bathroom"; I quipped.
"Whatever. Now, are you going to at least tell me what you're doing here?"
"Can you look in the mirror? It's kind of weird not being able to see who I'm talking to."
Aaron sighed angrily and faced the mirror. "So you can see me?"
"Yeah... and I'm guessing you can see me..."
Suddenly, I wasn't feeling very well; it felt like I was sinking or something.
"What's wrong"; Aaron asked. "You don't look so good..."
"I'm fine. But, like I was asking... who's Wanda?"
"That's none of your business"; he answered angrily. "Who are you to take over my life and ask me personal questions?"
"Look... this is not what I meant to happen. If this is what I get for trying to save two people's lives..."
"Saving lives? What are you talking about?"
I sighed and looked down...
"Oh, don't get untalkative now."
"Look, I had this premonition..."
"A premonition? What is that?"
"It's like a vision of a future event. Anyway, it was of Laura being killed... and you're the person behind it."
"What?! Me kill Laura? Oh, yeah, your magic is definitely out of whack."
"Well, that's impossible, because you had already done it! I had the premonition after it happened..."
"After it happened"; Aaron asked. "That doesn't make any sense. Isn't a premonition like a warning of something that may happen?"
"Look... I'm new to them, OK? I don't understand how I can see into the future... or the past. I just have them and I had this one after you had shot her."
Aaron sighed and sat on the edge of his tub. "I would never do anything like that to Laura. She's already going through hell. Why would I murder her on top of that?"
I sighed before responding, "Look, I don't know. And I'm really sorry about all of this. All I wanted to know was why I was having premonitions about something that was a human killing, not a supernatural attack."
"Don't ask"; I interrupted. "All I know is that by tomorrow, Laura dies and it's from a gun you were holding. Why would you have a gun if you weren't going to kill her?"
"How did you know I have a gun anyway? I just got it this morning. Not even Laura knows that."
I just gave him a "are you really that dumb" look.
"Oh, yeah... your so-called "vision" or whatever. If you must know"; Aaron said, standing back up to face me in the mirror, "I just got hired as a police officer. They issued me that gun... I would never use it to hurt anyone who didn't deserve it."
I just gave him another odd look.
"I mean criminals; hello?!"
"Baby"; came Laura's voice from the other side of the door. "Are you done yet? I have to pee."
"I don't understand too much of what's going on, either"; I told Aaron, "but maybe the spell didn't break because I haven't done was I was meant to do yet."
"And what is that"; he whispered. "To stop me from killing my fiancÚ?"
"I don't know"; I admitted.
"Look; just hurry up and find a way to fix this... I'm telling you, I would never hurt her, so maybe this premonition is wrong."
With a sigh, Aaron turned around and opened the door.
"Sorry about that"; he said with a smile as he exited the bathroom. "It's all yours."
Returning his smile, Laura walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
He glanced at a small table in the living room where a pill bottle laid. He sighed and walked toward the door that led outside.
"Those pills make her piss like a waterfall"; he said as we stepped out of the house.
Yeah... I really wanted to know about that.
"What do you mean Pete was here"; Paige asked her nephew. He wouldn't let go of Pete's hand. "He hasn't left. Sorta."
"I mean, he was really here"; Chris responded. "He came back for a second... and then, he was gone again."
Paige waved her hand in front of Pete's face. "I don't understand. Why would he do this?"
"He was trying to figure out something about a premonition he had"; Wyatt answered, standing in front of them. "At least, that's what I could gather from everything."
"Premonitions? Since when does Pete have premonitions?"
With a sigh, Chris said, "For a couple of days now."
"And I'm guessing only the three of you knew about it."
Wyatt and Pete said nothing in response.
Paige sighed in frustration and sat down next to Pete and Chris. "Look, I understand that the three of you are pretty tight. But, you can't keep secrets like this from us. They don't just affect the three of you. They affect the entire family."
"We know that, Aunt Paige"; Chris said, "but... there really is no "but" that will help this situation."
"There really isn't, sweetie. I get the fact that there's a lot going on with the three of you. And everyone is entitled to their secrets. But you have to realize that secrets like this only hurt people, not protect them."
Chris looked away, realizing just how right his aunt was.
"We're sorry, Aunt Paige"; Wyatt responded. "We'll try to be more open in the future."
"Definitely"; Chris said. "But, what are we going to do now?"
"I don't know. I guess we wait for Noah to come back from..."
As if on cue, Noah orbed into the attic.
"I did not see that one coming"; Paige said with a light smile.
"Did you find out anything from the Elders"; Chris asked Noah.
"I did... but it's not the best news. According to them, only Pete can reverse the spell."
"We knew that... and he tried to, according to Chris"; Wyatt said.
"I told her that, too and she said that the spell probably hadn't run it's course yet, which would explain why he didn't stay in his body."
"That makes sense"; Chris realized. "So, we have to wait it out..."
"Unfortunately, that's the only thing you can do"; Noah continued... then, he looked away.
"What is it"; Paige asked. "This really isn't the time to hold things back."
With a sigh, Noah continued. "She also said that... a body cannot live without a soul inhabiting it; which is why Phoebe was able to come back into her body easily after casting the spell that one time."
Chris stood up and let go of Pete's hand and walked to Noah. "And?"
"She explained that a soul is much more than just a person's personality and whatnot. It's the body's essence and that... if Pete doesn't figure it all out...."
"He'll die"; Chris continued.
"How much time do we have?"
"About a day."
Wyatt walked up to Chris and grabbed his hand. "We're going to get him back, OK? Don't even let your mind go there."
Chris tried to nod, but nothing happened... he felt tears coming to his eyes, but he pushed them back.
"OK... we need to figure this out"; Chris said, with resolved ambition.
"What can I do"; Noah asked sympathetically.
"Unless you can't tell us something about the future, I'm not sure there is much you can do"; Paige said, standing up herself, leaving Pete still unmoving on the couch.
"In my time, Pete... I mean, I know him."
"So, that means he'll be fine, right"; Chris said, picking up a little. "I mean, it works itself out, right?"
"I really don't know. He never told me that he cast any spell like this... for all I know, this could partially be my fault."
"You think you somehow altered the future, don't you?"
Noah looked away and said nothing.
"Even if you did, I don't blame you"; Chris said. "And yes, I know that comes as a shock."
Noah smiled a bit.
"You're only trying to help out this family... although, I still can't figure out why. When Pete puts his mind to something, he does it... and that has nothing to do with you. Anyway, you've done a lot of good here, so I know your heart's in the right place."
"At least someone finally sees that"; Noah replied with a light smile, also holding back tears.
"All right, not to end this overdue moment"; Wyatt said, "but we do we do in the meantime?"
"I guess all we can do is wait"; Chris answered, walking back to his beloved.
"I've never been a fan of waiting."
Chris sat back down and held Pete's hand once more. "Come back to me, baby. We need you."
"Speaking of babies"; Aunt Paige said, "is there something else you need to say?"
Chris looked at his aunt and smiled. "Nope. Nothing else."
Paige took the hint and smiled back.
"What did I miss"; Wyatt asked.
"I have no idea"; Noah replied... but the look on his face said something different.
"What happened to "no more secrets"?
Chris sighed. "I promise I will tell you later... just let me be here for Pete right now."
"So, we'll get this tested and sent through"; said the police captain. "Are you sure there aren't any drugs we should know about?"
"No, sir"; Aaron responded. "That's not my kind of game."
"Good thing to know, Sloane. We still have to ask anyway, just to be on the safe."
"I understand, sir."
"Welcome to the team and we'll see you bright and early Monday morning."
Aaron shook his hand and smiled. "Thank you, sir."
He turned around and left the office and hurried back to his car.
"Do you ever shut up"; Aaron asked as he looked in the car mirror.
"Well, if you responded to me, I wouldn't keep talking, would I?"
"What the hell do you expect me to do? Answer to a conversation that no one else can see and really set off someone's looney alarm?!"
"Fine. Whatever. This isn't important, anyway. You need to tell me about Laura, so I can figure this all out. "
"I really don't know what to tell you"; Aaron said as he stuck the key in the ignition. "Other than I'm not going to kill her."
"OK. You're not going to kill her"; I said with an edge of sarcasm.
"I realize that you don't know me from a hole in the wall. And that your so-called "powers" tell you otherwise... but I could never do that. I love her."
"It's obvious that you love her"; I responded, realizing that the tone in his voice was real sympathy.
"Then, if it's so obvious, why are you keeping this up? Why aren't you gone yet?"
"I don't know..."
Suddenly, I felt really out of it.
"Pete? Pete, you still there?"
"Yeah... where else am I going?"
"I don't know, dude. But you weren't in my head for a minute. I thought maybe you were gone or something."
I took in what he said for a moment. Other than feeling a little weak, I didn't remember being back in the attic.
After a second of silence, Aaron put the car in gear and drove off.
"So, what do you wanna know?"
"Know"; I questioned.
"About Laura and me."
"I don't know. How about Wanda? Or those pills that make her use the bathroom a lot, which by the way, I didn't need to know that."
Aaron smiled a bit. "Jumping right in with the incrimination, huh?"
"I don't mean to, but I have to start somewhere if I'm going to figure this all out."
With a sigh, Aaron started. "About 2 years ago, Laura and I started going out. It got really intense really fast. I mean, we were both young, you know? I just turned 22 and she's only 20. She's been through a lot in her life."
"That's kind of personal."
"I've seen your penis, Aaron. I think we're past pleasantries."
"You were looking?!"
"I didn't mean to... but I'm inside of you... sorta. What else was I going to do?"
"This is all I need..."
"If it makes you feel any better, Laura's a lucky girl."
With a sigh, he continued.
"When she was younger... her step-dad... he did things to her... horrible things...."
"You don't have to go any further with that"; I said out loud, catching his drift.
"Thanks. Anyway, because of that... doctors told her it would be may be hard for her to conceive. Ever."
"Oh, my God"; I said sadly. "I'm sorry to hear that. I didn't know..."
I glanced at Aaron as he looked towards the rear-view mirror. He was holding back tears.
"Anyway, I met her in high school... and we became really close. But, we were both in relationships at the time, but we stayed in contact. After I broke up with my boyfriend..."
"Boyfriend"; I asked. "So, you're bi?"
"I really hate labels. I've never had a problem being attracted to both sexes and the label makes it seem wrong."
I nodded for him to continue.
"Anyway, we reconnected and got closer over time... and when my mother died last year, Laura was there for me. I mean, she was going through her own shit. She was great. Anyway, about a year ago, her step-dad had died and... it was weird. She didn't really know how to handle it... that's when Wanda came into the picture."
"Wanda's her therapist. She's been amazing for Laura. I've met her a couple of times and she's really nice. Anyway, Laura started these anti-depressants since she started seeing her and for a while, things we're definitely getting better. Those are the pills I was talking about."
"You said she was fine "for a while". What changed?"
With a sigh, he forced himself to continue. Something told me I wouldn't like what was coming next.
"About 6 months ago, Laura got pregnant. And it was like, a miracle for the both of us... we both always wanted kids and we we're really happy."
I wanted to smile for him, but...
"Anyway, because of that what that asshole did to her... it was really hard.... and...."
He broke off and he didn't need to finish.
"She lost the baby in her 3rd month"; I said for him.
"It was like her step-dad was rearing his ugly head again, even though he was dead. It sent her into a tailspin..."
I looked at him through the mirror, letting his tears fall. It brought on something inside of me...
"Anyway"; he continued, wiping away a tear, "Ever since then, she hasn't really been herself. She would stay in bed for days at a time; just crying... she would stare at the walls... and one day, I got home from training... and she wasn't there. I had figured she went out or something. I thought the worst was over and she was finding her way back..."
"And I'm guessing it wasn't..."
"I went to the bathroom... and there she was... in the tub... all I saw was blood.... fuck..."
He pulled the car over to the side of the road and cried some more.
"Aaron... I'm so sorry."
He nodded a bit.
"Nothing... I just felt really warm... like someone was hugging me or something..."
I didn't know if I had done that, but I definitely was going to take credit for it.
"Thanks"; he said lightly. "I really should head home. Traffic is a bitch at this time..."
He turned the ignition back on and continued to drive in silence. For his sake, I didn't say another word... although that didn't stop my mind from working itself around all I had learned.
"You didn't come down to eat, bro"; Wyatt told Chris that night as he entered Chris' room. Chris had moved Pete down with him and he lied in bed, still looking at nothing.
"Yeah... I wasn't hungry... I want to be here when he gets back."
"Pete would want you to eat something... so I brought you up some dinner."
"I'm not hungry"; he said while lying on Pete's chest.
Wyatt walked in with a plate of food and placed in on Chris' dresser.
"I'm guessing nothing has changed..."
"He hasn't moved or anything since... earlier."
With a sigh, Wyatt sat down on the edge of the bed. He angled his body and held Pete's hand. "You haven't slept either, have you?"
With a light smile, Chris responded. "I haven't really slept well for the past couple of days. I'm used to it by now."
"Why haven't you been sleeping? Are you OK?"
"Just added drama... we're teenagers. Isn't this supposed to be normal?"
"I guess"; Wyatt answered. He looked over at his two brothers and realized... that he needed to say something.
"I know this isn't the best time for this, but... I agreed to move in with Caleb."
Chris nodded lightly, never moving his head from Pete's chest and not looking directly at Wyatt. "I kind of figured that out. Are you happy?"
Wyatt paused for a second and said, "It's weird, but... yeah. I'm really happy."
"Then, I'm happy for you and you have my blessing. I just don't know how Mom and Dad are going to take this news."
Wyatt leaned back and laid down with his two brothers; reaching out for Chris' hand, which was circling Pete's stomach. "I don't know either... and that kind of scares the hell out of me."
Suddenly, Pete breathed in heavily. Chris' hand stopped moving for a second... until Pete's breathing resolved a second later, a little more lightly than before.
"He's been doing that for hours"; he said, with a wet voice. "I'm so terrified..."
Chris started to sob once more and Wyatt grasped his hand harder; continuing to caress Pete's stomach.
"He's going to get through this. He's strong and you know that... he's a Halliwell before anything."
Pete nodded and turned his head into Pete's chest.
"That's not all I'm afraid of."
"What do you mean"; Wyatt asked. "What else is going on?"
With a sigh and a whisper; Chris gulped and said, "I'm going to be a dad."
Wyatt's eyes widened a bit. "What do you mean? You've been cheating on..."
"No, God no"; Chris answered, turning his head back toward Wyatt. "Pete's... Pete's pregnant."
They were both silent for a moment. Chris cried some more and Wyatt just stared at Pete's stomach.
"How is that..."
"That question has been asked way too much, believe me"; Chris interrupted. "I've learned it's better to just not think about it. But according to Layla, Pete's pregnant. Although, not for long..."
"Don't say that"; Wyatt answered. "He's going to be OK."
"No, you're misunderstanding me. Pete... doesn't want the baby. He wants to have some kind of magical abortion thing where the baby gets transferred into someone who actually wants to have a child."
"This is... sort of making my head spin"; Wyatt responded.
"Tell me about it. But... even if he gets through this, the baby won't. We have until the weekend to decide... but Pete already made his decision."
"And you supported him"; Wyatt realized.
"Of course. How couldn't I? It's his body; his choice... and whatever makes him happy, I've got to go for it."
"You do realize that there are two of you in the relationship, right? I mean, not to be mean, but you have just as much say-so as Pete does."
"I know"; Chris said. "But... I love him more than anything..."
"I know you do"; said Wyatt. "But something tells me... you love this baby, too."
With a light tear-filled laugh, Chris continued. "You know, it's funny. This is possibly the last thing I thought I would ever have to deal with. But once I knew of the possibility... I just didn't think I would be this attached. Over the past few nights, I've lied awake and just rubbed his stomach and thought, "Wow. Part of me is in there.... and how am I ever going to be OK with giving this up?" "
Chris then started to cry harder and moved his head toward Pete's belly.
"And now... I may lose everything."
Wyatt moved his hand to Chris' hair and caressed it through his tears saying nothing.
After a while, Chris simply said, "Thank you."
Wyatt didn't even have to reply... he knew that he had just helped his brother by just listening.
"Look... it's getting late. And I know you want to be rested for when Pete comes back... and he is coming back, OK?"
Chris nodded and said, "Yeah."
"So, get some sleep. I think it's time I took some brotherly time and stood watch. And no arguments and no negative responses accepted."
Chris smiled lightly, which broke into a yawn.
"See? A brother always knows... even without being able to read minds."
Chris smiled once more and moved over and kissed Wyatt on the cheek. "I love you, you know that?"
"I love you, too. Now... no more sappiness. Get some sleep."
Chris moved back down to Pete's chest and closed his eyes.
"And you"; Wyatt said, moving up to Pete's ear, "when you do get back, we are going to talk. You may not want to listen, but you will hear me."
Wyatt leaned over and hugged him tightly.
"Hey"; Aaron responded. "Did you just wake up or something?"
"I don't know... I don't think I ever slept."
"I've been calling your name for almost an hour now and you didn't say anything."
"I don't remember hearing you"; I admitted. "That's weird. I'm really not feeling too great right now, either. Who knew morning sickness would affect me even when I'm not in my body?"
"Morning sickness"; Aaron asked while putting on his shoes. "Don't tell me that males can get pregnant in the witch community? Or is it coven?"
I sighed, realizing what I had just said. "Look... my world is severely complicated. It would take too long to explain it all."
"Not to be rude or anything, but I think the less I know, the better."
"Yeah"; I answered. "Where are we going this morning? I thought you didn't have to work until Monday."
"I don't, but I work out every morning. I jog a couple of miles, do some cardio... you know."
"Of course"; I said, "to be an upstanding officer of the law."
"Ha, ha"; he responded.
"You do realize that today is the day that you... I mean, that Laura dies, right?"
"So you say"; Aaron said, standing up. "But, I still have my doubts. I'm not going to kill her.."
"Look, I know what I saw..."
"And I know who I am"; he yelled... as much as he could through gritted teeth. "So obviously, you're wrong... so shut the hell up and work on a way to get out of my body, OK?"
He walked to the mirror to face me.
"Not that I care, but you don't look so good."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you're... kind of faded."
"Faded"; I repeated.
"Yeah. I can hardly see you. Does that mean you're going soon?"
"I don't know"; I responded, feeling worse by the second. It was like I almost had no energy. "Look, I know you don't believe me, Aaron, but please... just stay with her. Even if it's not you, there are a lot of crazy people out there."
"You're right. I don't believe you. How do I know it's not you trying to kill her?"
"Why would I want to kill some girl I don't even know? I protect the innocent, not hurt them. I would never..."
"Baby"; came Laura's voice. Aaron turned to face her and I took her in. She looked so pretty... her dark-blonde hair tied up in a bun, grey sweats and a baby t-shirt.
"Hey, angel"; he said, walking to her. "I didn't even know you were up."
"I got up just a few minutes ago"; she said with a light smile. "About to go on your jog?"
"Yeah, but I won't be long, I promise. Do you need anything?"
"Yeah... there's a shopping list on the kitchen table. Can you pick some stuff up for me?"
"Of course, sweetie"; he said, while hugging her. "I'd do anything you'd ask."
I made the sound of a whip, but of course, Aaron didn't respond. Oddly enough, I could feel Laura hugging him back... it felt like she wasn't putting too much into it.
"Thanks"; she said with a tinge of sadness.
He let her go and walked to the table to grab the list, then headed for the door.
"See you in a bit"; he said, turning to face Laura, who stood in an archway.
Laura smiled, this one even less meaningful and turned to walk away.
"See. She's fine. And I'm going out, so, you're wrong"; Aaron said as he headed to the stairs.
"For both of your sakes, I hope I am"; I said.
"Hey, Caleb"; Chris said, leaning his head off of Pete's chest. "When did you get here?"
"Last night, while you were sleeping"; Caleb responded. He was sitting on an airbed Wyatt had set up right next to Chris' bed. "Wyatt called me and told me what was up. I hope that was OK."
Chris looked toward Pete, lying on the bed. He looked a bit discolored and his breathing was more shallow than ever. "It's fine. Where's Wyatt?"
"He went to sneak up some breakfast for the three of us... and some coffee."
"I'm not hungry"; Chris said. "I can't eat. I can't do anything... not until I know he's OK..."
Caleb moved toward the bed and looked at Pete. "This is so weird. It's like... he's right there, you know?"
"I understand what you mean. It's just that... I have no idea what to do..."
Caleb took Chris' hand and held it.
"You're going to figure it out... and if you won't, Pete will. He's special."
Chris smiled, trying to hold back tears. "I just wish there was a way I could get to him... just to know if he's alright... and to make sure he stays that way... for the three of us."
"You, Wyatt and Pete will sit back and laugh at this... well, no time soon, but it will happen"; Caleb said with a sympathetic smile.
"I meant, the three of us"; Chris said, pointing to himself, Pete and Pete's stomach.
"Wyatt told me about that, too... and something about not asking how it happened."
"Yeah, it's a bit weird. I'm having a baby... and my baby can't enjoy it with me. He doesn't want to, anyway... and he's not even here to try to change his mind about it..."
Caleb stared at Chris, saying nothing.
"What? Is my morning breath that bad?"
"No... something you said."
"About the baby?"
"No... about Pete not being here. If he's not here, that means he had to go somewhere, right?"
"Well, figuratively, yes. He's with Aaron... yesterday. It's odd."
"Wyatt told me something about "24 hours from now" or something... it's all about time, isn't it?"
Caleb stood up and Chris snickered. Caleb looked down and saw that Chris had noticed his "Family Guy" boxers with Stewie's head staring right at him.
"Shush, I like the show... and I think I'm onto something."
"It seems today that all you see..."
Caleb glanced at Wyatt standing in the corner with a tray. "The "Family Guy" theme song... Sorry. I thought it would be better to orb in with a bit of a pick-me-up. What's going on?"
"I think I'm onto something"; Caleb continued. "If Pete's essence wanted to inhabit Aaron from 24 hours from now... who's to say that he still isn't there?"
"I don't get it"; Wyatt said.
"I do"; Chris said. "Oh, my God, I do! I'm so dumb. We need to hurry." He jumped out of bed and ran to his dresser to put on a pair of jeans.
"What's going on"; Wyatt asked as Chris ran around getting dressed.
"Pete's still in Aaron's body"; Chris nearly yelled. "Why can't we get him out?"
"Because you said Pete tried already... and it didn't work... and the Power of Three might be a better shot..."
Wyatt put the tray down and ran toward the door. "Meet you downstairs in 10"; he yelled back.
"I guess he got it, too"; Caleb responded.
Chris threw on his sneakers and walked back to Pete's body; his lifeless eyes still staring at the ceiling.
"We're going to get you back, baby"; he said with the only hope he had felt in 24 hours. He kissed Pete lightly and walked quickly out the door.
"Oh, wait. Caleb... can you..."
"I'll watch over him. Good luck."
Chris smiled back at him and ran out into the hall... suddenly, he turned around in mid-step.
"I'm going to need something else"; he said... as he ran toward Noah's room.
"We're here to see Aaron Sloane."
"And you are"; asked the desk sergeant.
"I'm his representation... Zachary Efron"; he said with an odd smile and handing him a business card. "And these are my assistants, Dan Radcliffe and Peter Wentz."
The desk officer gave them all a lookover... and shrugged.
"Lawyers are getting younger and younger these days. Hold on one second"; he said, before stepping up and walking to the back of the precinct.
"Interesting names"; Chris said, walking up to Noah.
"Sorry... but those are the only names that were coming to mind. I hope he has no idea who they are."
"Be glad it's not a young girl working here"; Wyatt continued. "Or else we'd be barraged with autograph requests for having the same names as three heartthrobs. And nice touch with the business card."
"I try my best."
The desk officer walked back to the "lawyer" and his "assistants".
"Right this way"; he said, continuing to walk past them. They followed behind him closely as he led them into a corridor of cells.
"This is really creepy"; Wyatt whispered in Chris' ear.
"Tell me about it"; Chris responded. "But, that's not such a pressing issue right now."
They continued walking until they entered a conference room.
"I'm sorry there aren't enough seats here"; the officer said; his voice full of gruff. "Do your assistants really need to be here? They can wait out in the lobby."
"Um... unfortunately, yes, they do. It's kind of like a tutorial of things to come... for them."
The desk officer looked them over once more, somewhat confused. "Beats me. I've never really had an interest in the whole "lawyer" thing. Anyway, your client will be in here in a minute." He nodded and walked out of the room.
"A tutorial"; Wyatt asked. "Couldn't you come up with something better than that?"
"Well, it worked, didn't it"; Noah responded. "I mean, we got in."
"OK, shut up"; Chris said to the both of them. "If they catch on to us, we're all fucked, including Pete."
Wyatt sighed and sat in the chair on one side of a desk. Noah responded similarly and walked to a corner.
"This is such a "Law and Order" episode"; Wyatt commented.
"Dun-dun"; Noah joked, parodying the infamous noise of the show. "You know, in my time, that show is still going on."
"Why am I not surprised to hear that"; Chris said.
A few moments later, Aaron walked in handcuffed; a police officer escorting him.
"So, you're the state representation"; Aaron spewed. "It's about time."
The officer pulled back a chair
"Thank you, ma'am"; Noah said to the officer.
She nodded as walked out.
"OK, so how are you going to get me out of here"; Aaron asked. "I didn't do it."
"Aaron, there's something you need to know"; Noah said. "We're not... exactly lawyers."
Aaron laughed sarcastically, before saying, "I knew it. You're reporters, aren't you? I knew you'd come along eventually..."
"No, we're not reporters"; Chris said, walking toward the desk. "Look, this is going to sound a bit weird... My name is Chris Halliwell... I'm a witch."
"Wait a minute... Pete's Chris Halliwell?"
"You know who we are"; Wyatt asked.
"Yeah. I mean, sort of. Pete mentioned you...before... well, he's not talking now. I had hoped that maybe he had made his way back."
"Back"; Noah asked. "You mean, he's not with you?"
"He was... inside of me, I think. Like, my conscience or something."
"When was the last time you saw him"; Chris asked. "Was he OK?"
Aaron stood up slowly. "I don't... remember. I mean, after what happened with Laura, it was all kind of crazed..."
The day before...
Aaron was jogging along the beach; taking in all of the scenery and listening to his MP3 player.
"Aaron, I know you hear me"; Pete said loudly. "I'm going to keep talking until you answer me. Aaron. Aaron!"
"Fuck"; Aaron yelled and stopped jogging. "What do you want?"
"You really aren't going to do anything?"
"I told you"; Aaron said, walking to a small puddle. Although muddied, Aaron could make out Pete's face in it... barely. It was almost like the vision was smoky at best and his voice was just above a whisper.
"But the pre..."
"I'm not going to kill her and she's not going to die today. You need to leave us both alone and especially me. I've got to be in top shape for training on Monday."
"Obviously, this spell is sticking for a reason"; Pete responded. "Which means I'm here for a reason. Something's wrong and until you go and do something about it, I'm not going anywhere."
"Then I guess I'm going to have to turn up my music louder"; Aaron answered and reached into his pocket for his MP3 player. While pulling it out, Laura's grocery list dropped into the puddle.
"Damn it"; Aaron said, picking up the paper. He shook off the excess water and opened the list up.
"What the hell"; Aaron asked. "We've got this stuff already. I just went shopping yesterday."
"Wow... you're quite the housewife"; Pete said sarcastically.
"Fuck you"; Aaron responded. "And damn, I don't have my cell phone to call her and ask her what she needs. I gotta go back to the house..."
And with that, he stuck his headphones back in his ears and turned the volume up on his player. He broke off in another jog, back toward his apartment.
Aaron opened the door into his apartment, pulling his headphones off as he entered.
"Baby"; he called out. "Where are you?"
There was no response to his call.
"She probably fell back asleep"; he said to himself as he walked toward the bedroom door. It was slightly open. He pushed it open all the way, prepared to wake Laura up.
Instead, Laura was already awake. She was sitting on the bed... crying.
"Hey"; he said, walking slowly behind her. "What's wrong?"
She responded with nothing but more sobs. He continued to walk up to her.
"Baby, talk to me..."
It was then that Aaron saw something that stopped him in his tracks.
In Laura's hand was his gun.
"Laura"; he said shakily; "what are you doing? Where... did you get that?"
"It was in the closet, behind the baby box"; she responded. "I wasn't looking for it or anything... I just happened to find it."
She stood up and slowly walked to the mirror; gun still in her hand. She seemed to look over every inch of the gun, rubbing over the cold metal with her free hand.
Aaron moved forward slowly and as calmly as possible. "Laura... please put the gun down. That isn't safe..."
"I just wanted to look at the things we got for the baby. You know, the clothes... and the little toys... what he took from us. What he..."
Aaron automatically knew whom the "he" Laura was referring to was.
"It's not your fault"; he said, stepping closer to her. He was two steps from her. "You can't blame yourself for what he did."
"He took away so much from me... from us"; Laura responded, turning around; her hair flipping around with her. "Our baby..."
She moved her hands down to her stomach. Her brown eyes; completely reddened from tears.
Aaron came directly face to face with her. "I know, honey... but you can't take it to heart..."
"How am I supposed to take it"; she screamed; her body shaking. "Because of him, I'll never be able to be a real woman... to be a mother...."
She walked away and stepped to the window. Aaron looked up and saw Pete's reflection in the mirror; more faint then ever. He was moving his lips, but he couldn't even hear him.
"I didn't mean it that way"; Aaron said, walking to Laura. "I would love you even if we never have kids."
She looked toward him; the sun shining across her saddened face.
"But... can I ever love myself?"
She sobbed harder and Aaron took this as an advantage to try to disarm her. Laura realized what Aaron was trying to do and pointed the gun at him.
He stepped back slowly; his hands raised.
"Calm down"; he said sympathetically. "We'll get through this together. Just please. Put the gun down."
"I can't do this anymore, Aaron"; Laura said. "It's never going to happen..."
"Laura, please! Baby, you can't end it like this... there are so many other things between us... and aren't they worth..."
"No, they aren't! I can never be who you want me to be, Aaron! I can never be who I want to be... ever! We'll always be stuck in this "happily never after". It has to end... now."
In a flash, Laura had the gun pointed at her temple; tears still streaming a mile a minute.
"No"; Aaron yelled, moving toward Laura. "Don't..."
Laura pulled the trigger... the gunshot blocking out all other noise, almost deafening... she fell to the floor, her eyes locked onto permanent despair.
Aaron stood there, shocked, unable to breathe. He fell to his knees in front of Laura.
He knew that it was too late... she would never smile at him again, never hold his hand while they watched TV...
Never be anything again but this... dead.
He trembled heavily and yelled, "Why didn't you stop this?"
There was no response.
He stood up and walked to the mirror.
"Why did you let her die"; he yelled to a misty looking Pete.
"Didn't... let... die...."
"Yes, you did! You knew what was going to happen and... you let it?! What kind of fucking protector are you?!"
Pete tried to talk, but couldn't. His lips were moving, but no sound emitted from them.
Frustrated and confused, Aaron walked back to Laura and fell to his knees once more. He picked her up from the floor; her blood pouring from the open wound in her head. He pulled her closed and cried and rocked... rocked and cried... knowing that she was gone forever.
He glanced over and saw the gun lying next to them. He slowly reached out for it and picked it up.
"Oh, my God"; came a voice from across the room. In the doorway stood one of his neighbors; an older lady.
Before he could even plead his case, she turned and ran from the apartment.
He didn't even care to chase after her or explain what had happened. As far as he was concerned, his life was already over...
Back to the present day...
"I haven't seen him since then"; Aaron said, tears falling down his face.
"Why didn't you tell anyone about what happened"; Noah asked.
"Like anyone would believe me. They think it's an open-and-shut case. I killed my girlfriend in some kind of rage over her not being able to conceive."
"Just like a "Law and Order" episode"; Noah realized sadly. "Always going with what's the most obvious."
"So, what about Pete"; Wyatt asked.
"Like I said, I haven't seen him since... it happened. I thought that he figured out a way to get out of my body."
"No, he hasn't"; Chris said. "We have a feeling he's still there; inside of you."
"So, how do we get him out"; Noah questioned. "I mean, only he has the reversal spell. Only he would know it."
"You mean that rhyme he said"; Aaron interrupted.
"Yeah, it would be a rhyme"; Chris said. "Do you remember it?"
"Kind of"; he said. "Do you have a pen and paper?"
"Not on me"; Chris responded. He looked at Wyatt, who shrugged in response.
"I guess this is where I come in...again"; Noah said. "Pen and paper!"
He held out his hand and in it orbed a Post-It pad and a pen.
"Where did that come from"; Aaron asked, backing up a little.
"Long story"; Chris said. "Can you write down the spell?"
Aaron moved closer to the desk where Noah laid out the pad and pen. With a sigh, he began to write, stopping every few seconds to scratch something out. Within seconds (although to Chris, it felt like minutes), Aaron stopped writing and hand the pad to Chris.
Chris looked it over and nodded for Noah and Wyatt to join him. "I'm going to have to change the wording a little bit..." He took the pen himself and made a couple of changes.
"I don't know if it will help"; Aaron said, standing up, "but..."
He walked over to the corner of the room; where a sink and mirror stood.
"What's going on"; Noah asked.
"I was able to see him... when I looked in the mirror."
Chris, Wyatt and Noah walked up to where Aaron stood and looked into the mirror.
"I don't see anything"; Chris said.
"I sort of do"; Wyatt said, pointing. "He's really faint, though."
Chris looked closer and squinted. Although very faint, he saw a silhouette of Pete, standing there.
"We need to do this fast"; Chris said. Wyatt and Noah stood next to him.
"Wait"; Noah said. "You said the Power of Three might help to do this, which means you need Pete. What makes you think that I'm going to be a proper substitute?"
"I don't know"; Chris said, "but I'm willing to try anything."
He looked in the mirror and touched it.
"Pete, if you can hear me, I want you to say the spell with us, OK? On the count of three, we're going to start..."
It was hard to see, but Chris swore he saw Pete give him a nod.
Wyatt and Noah looked at the small Post-It note as Chris counted.
"One... two... three...."
The three of them then performed the spell.
"We cast this spell to return him to his life
Two people now clear of any pain or strife
To his normal time; send Pete back to Pete
His conscience clear; he perseveres
Without warning, the room seemed to fill with wind. As they all looked in the mirror, Pete's reflection got clearer and clearer... then quickly disappeared... along with the wind that accompanied the spell.
"Did it work"; Aaron asked. "What just happened?"
"I don't know"; Chris said.
"Do you think we were..."; Noah said. "I don't even want to finish that sentence."
Chris walked away slowly, making his way back to the desk. Were they too late?
"Baby"; came a weak voice into Chris' head. "Where are you?"
Chris broke out into a huge smile as tears ran down his cheek.
"I'm always happy to hear your voice"; Chris answered back telepathically, "but I think this is the happiest I've ever been."
"Is Aaron OK"; Pete asked.
"He's fine. And we know he didn't kill her..."
"I know... I saw everything"; Pete said sadly. "Are you coming home soon?"
"As soon as possible. I love you."
"I love you too, babe"; Pete answered. "I'm so tired..."
"Chris"; Wyatt yelled once more. "Are you OK? We've been calling your name for a minute now!"
Chris turned around and smiled through his tears. "I'm more than OK... we need to get home. Someone's waiting for us. Pete's home."
Wyatt and Noah returned the smile and walked to Chris, putting their arms around him as they headed for the door.
"What about me"; Aaron said from behind them.
Chris turned around and faced him. "I think you have some packing to do. Something tells me you won't be here for much longer."
"Do we have to do this right now"; I asked warily as Chris and I walked upstairs to the attic. "That spell took a lot out of me."
"Yes, we have to. Layla's going to be here in a little while. Noah went to get her."
With a heavy sigh, I continued up the stairs. I pushed open the attic door and saw that we had company.
"Do we really need an audience for this"; I said sarcastically to Aunt Paige, Wyatt and Caleb.
"This isn't really for support"; Wyatt said, pointing to an empty chair. "Consider this an intervention of sorts."
"I think you're missing the point of that word"; I said, walking to the chair, but not sitting. "I don't have a drug problem."
"No, but you are getting addicted to something"; Aunt Paige spoke, "and it needs to end now before it gets more serious. Sit... and no smart-ass responses, got it?"
I knew I was pretty outnumbered and was too tired to even try anything, so I just sighed once more and sat down in the chair.
"What you did"; she continued, "was a really stupid thing. You could've been killed, you know that? Or if the spell would've worked the way you wanted it to, you could've killed Aaron."
I nodded and said nothing else.
"I'm not upset with you... too much, Pete. I've been in that "lone witch" predicament before, but it never works out right. That's why you have family members in this same situation who can help you... you could've come up with another option had you just taken the time to work it out."
"In my defense"; I said, "I didn't know what exactly I was working out. I mean, the premonitions were really weird and I always thought I would be able to come back. I know I screwed up, guys, and I'm sorry."
They all looked at me and nodded.
"That kind of made no sense"; I continued. "Other than the spell, I didn't really do anything wrong."
"Actually"; Chris said, "the intervention isn't just about you. When everything was going down, Aunt Paige found out we were lying about a lot of things to our parents and her and Aunt Phoebe."
"Which ended up turning into lies and secrets between the three of us"; Wyatt continued. "I thought we promised to tell each other everything? We're all going through this together."
"Including this"; I asked, holding my stomach.
"Definitely including that"; Wyatt backfired. "I understand that you being... pregnant... God, I'm never going to get used to saying that... anyway, it has to do with all of us. Because it affects all of us. In the end, it doesn't come to us being witches. It comes down to us being family. Brothers, nephews... plain family, bro. And you don't hide things from family. And I understand that you're not ready to tell Mom about you and Pete... but there are other members of this family that you can let inside and trust. We're going to be there for you, no matter what... so, keep us in the loop, OK? And especially me...."
I hadn't even realized I was crying until Wyatt had stopped talking.
"I'm sorry... I don't know what to say except... I'm sorry."
Chris walked up behind me and put his arms around me.
"I'm sorry, Chris"; I said, leaning my head on his shoulder.
"It's going to be OK"; he responded, kissing me on the forehead. "I forgive you."
"Me, too"; said Wyatt, stepping up and hugging me as well.
"I forgive you too"; Aunt Paige said with a smile, kissing me on my cheek.
"OK, OK"; I said jokingly. "This is becoming too much of a Partridge moment."
They all laughed and that was when I remembered something.
"Wait... Caleb, anything you have to say?"
He looked at me and with a shrug, commented, "I'm just here with Wyatt. But, the next time you try to die on me again, I'm going to kill you."
"I'll keep that in mind"; I said with a smile.
"Again"; Aunt Paige asked.
"Um... yeah"; I responded. "That's a story for another day, though."
"You're definitely a Charmed one if you almost die more than once in a week"; she said sarcastically.
"OK, now that's out of the way, we need to talk about something else"; Chris said.
"I figured you might be next"; I responded.
Before Chris even had a chance to speak, two people orbed into the attic.
"Seems like the entire family is here for this"; Layla said with her usual smile... although once more, it didn't seem that convincing.
"We kind of all needed to speak to Pete"; Chris responded.
"Oh, no, take your time"; Layla said politely as Noah walked away from her to join the group.
"No, we're done for now"; I said, standing up. "I'm ready. Were you able to find someone to care for the baby?"
"We have"; she said lightly. "Do you want to have a moment alone before we begin?"
I looked around and everyone's face was on me. I glanced over all of them before landing on the one face that mattered most... Chris' face.
He reached for my hand and held it tightly.
"I'm not going anywhere"; he said telepathically.
"Good to know"; I responded.
I looked over and Layla and closed my eyes; bracing myself for what was about to happen.
"I'm going to keep the baby"; I said in one breath.
"What"; everyone said in unison. Some said it more shocked than others.
I opened my eyes and smiled. "I'm going to... keep the baby."
"Oh, my God"; Chris said happily. "Are you sure?"
"In this family, are we ever sure of anything"; I said with a smile. "I mean... if you're OK with it..."
"If I'm OK with it"; he said, before pulling me into a huge kiss and an even bigger hug. "I'm going to be a dad"; he said over and over again. "Don't get mad... but if you had gone through with it, I was going to object to it."
"I'm sorry I tried to push you away from this"; I said. "You're just as important to our kid as I am."
"Say that again"; Chris said, still not letting me go.
"I'm sorry"; I started.
"No... the "our kid" part."
I giggled and repeated slowly, "Our... kid."
He hugged me even tighter and I felt his tears fall onto me.
Suddenly, I heard a whole bunch of happy squeals and looked over to see Aunt Paige, Wyatt, Caleb and Noah smiling widely.
"OK, OK, let's get this over with"; I said, pulling my arms apart. Everyone seemed to jump at once and ran to hug me. I had never felt so much love in my life and it caused me to start crying once more.
Maybe Chris was right... maybe it was the hormones.
Suddenly, I remembered who was standing there.
"Wait, everyone"; I said and they all let me go. Layla stood in the corner with an unreadable look on her face.
"Layla, I'm so sorry"; I said sympathetically. "It's just after what happened with Aaron and Laura... I can't give this baby up. It may be a bit weird to me... but it's a gift and it's one I can't let go of so easily. I hope the other family understands."
Layla's looked turned into one of happiness and a smile that was much more convincing appeared on her face. "It's more than fine, Peter. Congratulations."
She reached for my hands and held them tightly. "Blessed be, Peter... to you and your little one."
"I'm still not sure if I'm ready for that title yet... and consider yourself warned. I have a lot of questions."
"And they all will be answered in due time"; she responded. "Now, I assume everything with Aaron is OK?"
"Everything's fine. After the police accepted I was his alibi and they tested the gun for prints, he was released. It's going to take some time... but he's going to be alright, I hope."
"As do I"; Layla responded.
"OK, enough of this"; Noah said. "I think it's time for a celebration!"
I turned around and saw a glass bottle with some plastic flutes on a tray filled with the liquid.
"Don't worry"; Noah said when he caught my eye. "It's ginger ale."
"Of course"; I said, walking forward.
Everyone, minus Layla and Caleb (who was still sitting on the couch), grabbed a flute and lifted it in the air.
"To family"; Chris said, while looking directly at me. "We may not always get it right... but eventually, we do get it."
I smiled and repeated, "To family."
"To family"; Wyatt and Aunt Paige said. We all took a drink.
"Now, I don't know about you"; I said, removing the flute from my lips. "But I'm starving... can we get something to eat, please?"
"Anything you want"; Aunt Paige said. "I'm buying."
"Great, cause I'm craving some McDonald's"; I said, leaving the attic.
"Here come the cravings"; Wyatt said behind me.
"Shut up or you'll be the first person I call at 3 in the morning when I'm hungry."
Everyone laughed as we all left the attic.
Caleb stood alone in the attic; letting the family have their moment.
"Welcome back, Joshua"; Layla said as she stepped forward with a smile. "You've been a hard one to come by."
"You know who I am"; Caleb asked.
"I know all about you"; she said. "You've been written about for a long while..."
"Oh"; Caleb said suddenly. "I'm not even sure who I am. I mean, I know that I'm a witch and all... and that I knew Wyatt before... but other than that, it's kind of all muddled."
Layla moved next to Caleb and took his hand. "I know things are very confusing, but trust me when I say you are more than just an average witch. All I can tell you now is that you are important to the Charmed Ones. An ally."
Caleb looked at Layla, full of surprise.
"Now, I really must be going now"; she said, releasing his hold. "I promise that I will be within reach and we will speak again soon. Blessed be, Joshua."
"Uh... thanks"; he responded.
With a polite nod, she orbed away.
"I am so sorry"; came Wyatt's voice from the door. "In all the excitement, I kind of forgot about you. We're all going to get something to eat. Wanna come?"
"Of course"; Caleb said with a forced smile. He walked toward Wyatt and reached for his hand.
"What's wrong"; Wyatt asked him while taking his hand in his own. "You seem a bit distracted."
"Oh, nothing"; he said, waving off Wyatt's question and smiling idly. "I guess it's just been a long couple of days for all of us."
"I guess it has... but all's well that ends well"; Wyatt responded, walking down the stairs.
"Yeah"; Caleb said... although his ending, his had a feeling, wasn't ready to be written yet....