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12: Novak 2 – ‘Creep’

Paula Novak (Young Adult), Stefan Novak (Young Adult), Gwendolyn Mosley (Young Adult), Stella Mosley (Child)

“I can’t believe you’re seriously considering this.” Gwendolyn Mosley had a flair for the dramatic, but in this case, her arm flailing and disbelief was warranted. Her friend and roommate, Paula Novak, had clearly lost her mind.

“He’s my brother,” Paula replied with a sigh, “everything I’ve done has been for this. Now he’s free. I have to bring him back.”

“Are you sure that’s such a good idea? What about Lola?”

Paula hesitated a moment. Lola was a problem. Still, Paula had come this far, she wasn’t going to turn back now. Whatever happened next, she was going to meet it head-on. There was no turning back no.

“I have to bring him back, Gwen. What about Stella? He doesn’t even know.”

“Maybe it’s better that way.”

Paula glared at her, “stop being selfish. I’m going and that’s it. Try to be a decent mother while I’m gone…”

The plane ride had been a task and a half. Paula was pretty sure her limbs had atrophied by the time it touched down and she was free to disembark. She hadn’t prepared for the humidity and heat that greeted her upon leaving the air plane. She certainly wasn’t dressed for such a tropical location.

Stefan hadn’t given her any details. In fact, he hadn’t even asked her to find him. She’d done it of her own accord, with the help of Clark and his connections. Stefan had just wanted to let her know he was okay and not to worry.

What Paula saw next certainly caught her off-guard. Stefan had obviously been enjoying his little ‘vacation.’ She barely recognized him.

“Stefan?”

“Oh, Paula,” he replied casually, giving a small rock a toss. He watched it skip across the surface of the crystal clear waters before turning to greet her properly. “Wasn’t expecting to see you here. I guess you’ve gotten smarter since I’ve been gone.”

“I had some help.”

“Still ‘in the game’, huh? That’s a shame. I thought maybe you’d wise up and go straight.”

“I didn’t have a choice! Lola was using you as bait. She wanted me to infiltrate Clark’s organization and help her take it down. You were the collateral.”

“On a first name basis now, are you? I see you’re moving up in the world.” Stefan grinned and shook his head, amused at how everything was coming together. “It all makes sense now. I was never in prison, Paula. Lola was keeping me at some secret location, guarded by a bunch of guys… I never got processed or anything. As far as I can tell, it was all pretty sketchy, an independent operation to prove herself to her superiors.”

“So you can come back, then?”

Stefan laughed. “Are you kidding? I’m not going anywhere, this place is great. C’mon… I’ll show you around.”

Paula ended up staying a tad longer than she’d meant to. The island life was just so addictive, though. There was something simple and carefree about waking up and going to the beach to relax. There was no worries about crime or death or anything serious. It was no wonder Stefan didn’t want to leave. Of course, Paula hadn’t forgotten about Stella. She was determined to usher her brother back to the real world.

“See, I told you–this place is great.”

Paula didn’t disagree. It was great, but there were more important things than beaches and umbrella drinks. She turned to her brother and gave him the most serious expression she could muster while wearing large sunglasses and a bikini that barely left anything to the imagination.

“Stefan, there’s something I have to show you…”

“Why are you acting so weird all of the sudden?”

“Just look at the phone.”

“Uh, okay,” he began, clearly not getting it, “so you’re telling me you got yourself knocked up or something? We knew it was going to happen eventually with how you carried on–”

“No, damn it!” Paula snapped, pushing the phone closer to his eyes. “Look closer! She’s not mine.”

“…what?” He blinked and then stared at the phone, disbelief washing over his face before quickly being replaced by anger, “what the f-”

“…is wrong with you?! Didn’t you think that was important information to share?” Stefan raged at Gwendolyn, barely seconds through the door. Paula had known that their reunion wouldn’t be pleasant, but she hadn’t expected it to escalate this quickly.

“Are you kidding me right now? I TRIED to tell you, but you kept ignoring my calls, and then you got arrestedWhat else was I supposed to do?!”

“For your information, I was never charged, Lola is insane,” Stefan barked back, “and secondly, how about that conversation we had when I got free? ‘Oh, by the way, my stupid ass got pregnant’ would have been nice to know!”

“Asshole!” Gwendolyn snapped, her hand cutting him hard on the cheek. She was nothing if not feisty. “I’m not the only one at fault here!”

Stefan momentarily wiped away his indignant rage long enough to make one adult comment: “You could have at least told me!”

“I already said that I TRIED! I guess I was just under the impression that you wouldn’t even care.”

“Well, I do.”

“Whatever, Stefan. What do you want, a freaking medal or something? I can’t even look at you right now,” Gwendolyn huffed, turning dramatically away from him. “I didn’t even want Paula to bring you back. We were doing fine without you here being a selfish jerk.”

“And you’re just such a saint, aren’t you, Gwen?”

Paula finally stepped in and had them call a truce, at least for now. The arguing and fighting wasn’t getting them anywhere; Stefan still hadn’t met Stella.

“She’s in her ‘room’,” Gwendolyn said coldly, barely glancing at Stefan. “I don’t get why you want to meet her, anyway. You got off scot-free. Why come back? Why even bother?”

“You really are a frigid bitch, Gwen,” Stefan remarked, eyes narrowed slightly. “Just go away, okay? I can handle it from here.”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever. I’m over this whole mess anyway.”

Surprisingly enough, Stefan wasn’t awkward with Stella at all. Paula apparently had been telling Stella about her father all the while, so she wasn’t even surprised when he approached her. She turned and greeted him, a little apprehensive at first.

Stefan was relieved to find out that Stella was pretty intelligent. Whatever she had inherited from Gwendolyn, it wasn’t her flair for the dramatic or her poor decision making. She seemed to take more after Stefan than anyone else, which was kind of dangerous in its own right.

There was just something about having a daughter that pulled him back here. He couldn’t stay away knowing that she was here. He barely knew her and yet he felt an innate connection to her. He’d never really felt protective of anyone before until now.

Paula had spent plenty of time with her niece, telling her about their exploits. Stefan wasn’t sure if that was wise–children were impressionable, after all. Still, he was glad for it. Stella had grown up knowing she had a father and he hadn’t willingly abandoned her. He wasn’t quite sure he would be able to take her hating him for something he had no control of. If he’d known she was even a possibility, he would have been more cautious.

Stella was an active child. Her intellect was keen, but not in the typical way. Stefan recognized something inside of her immediately–she was a master manipulator and had a certain manner of speaking that just made anything she said seem completely okay.

She was certainly going to be trouble when she got older. For now, though, she was a lot of fun.

While Stefan and Stella pelted one another with snowballs, Paula was taking care of business. She met up with Lola at the park, Stefan in full view. It was a gutsy move, but Paula wasn’t afraid.

“I hope you’ve brought me here because your brother is turning himself in.”

“Ha! Not at all. Quite the opposite, actually. You’re going to leave my family alone.”

“Don’t be stupid. Why would I do that?”

“Because I know the truth about what you did.”

Lola should have known better than to meet with Paula, but she’d been hoping against hope that Paula’s less-than-stellar intelligence would prove her wrong. Paula had her dead-to-rights, however. If she truly knew everything that was going on, Lola was in trouble.

“This isn’t over, Novak,” Lola hissed through her teeth as she sprinted off, “I’m not going to just disappear.”

“I win, Lola.”

Paula didn’t waste any time meeting up with Clark to give him the good news. All of his helped had aided her in not only retrieving her brother and reuniting him with his daughter, but they’d also gotten rid of Lola.

She was a little surprised when she arrived and only Clark was present. Usually the kids or Asha were around, but the house was eerily quiet.

They moved to his underground bunker. It was the only place he would conduct business. It was the safest. The police didn’t know about it yet, so they had no way of bugging the place. Clark was visibly on edge, his eyes darting around constantly. It was unnerving. Paula explained everything, but Clark hardly seemed relieved.

“She’ll be back.”

“To do what? She’s helpless, now. Stefan told me that she’s not even technically an agent anymore. Her record was purged. She was ‘let go’.” Paula couldn’t help but be giddy at the thought of all of this being over. “I owe you a lot. I know you helped Stefan get out.”

Paula didn’t let him respond. She’d never been much of a talker when it came to showing her appreciation. It was hard not to wonder about vampires. Paula didn’t particularly want to be one, but she certainly wouldn’t mind sleeping with one. Clark was married, sure… but did that even matter to vampires?

It had never really mattered to Paula. It wasn’t like it would go anywhere, anyway. Besides, he looked a little stressed and Paula knew the perfect way to get rid of that.

Meanwhile, Stefan and Gwendolyn were trying to learn how to share an apartment without ripping out each others throat. Poor Stella was just along for the ride.
Gwendolyn had been particularly snarky since Stefan’s return.

“You need to chill out, Gwen.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t get to go hang out on a tropical island for over a month!”

Stefan rolled his eyes, “yes, because getting kidnapped and held hostage for years is my idea of a vacation.”

Eventually it got to the point where Stefan was the one to make peace. Unlike Gwendolyn, he wasn’t a big fan of drama and would have much rather preferred to go on without all the sniping and eye rolling. Gwendolyn was less-than-impressed with his halfhearted reasoning for why they needed to stop fighting in front of Stella.

“You’ve got to stop being such a bitch,” Stefan began, “especially in front of Stella. You were never this bad before! What the hell happened to you?”

“An unexpected pregnancy and uncertainty about everything! I don’t need lectured by a criminal, okay?”

We’re both at fault, we just have to accept that and move on.”

“Then stop calling me a bitch!”

“Then stop being one.”

Clearly, this was not something that would be solved overnight.

The stress was manifesting itself in odd ways with Stella. She had become increasingly paranoid that there was something lurking beneath her bed. She’d taken to checking it obsessively.

Poor Stella wasn’t sure what it was, if it was even anything at all, but it certainly scared her enough to sleep with her father for awhile. Gwendolyn was staying in Paula’s room and Stella wasn’t exactly a big fan of her mother at the moment.

——————————-

Whew. Long update. Stefan is free and clear… for now. Stella and Stefan get along amazingly. I was actually surprised by his response to her. As soon as I put him in the household and introduced them, he spun up a lot of wants for Stella. I’m so proud! At least ONE of her parents doesn’t suck.

Unfortunately, Gwendolyn is a Diva and her relationship with Stefan has plummeted, whereas Stefan is a careless flirt. So, he tried to flirt with her and she went BANANAS. She slapped him and their relationship went down to almost enemies. It was insane. All they did was fight. I’m not sure where this is going to go. Stefan had the option to apologize… but Gwendolyn isn’t really keen on it.

Paula spun up this wish immediately upon seeing Clark and I ran with it since the house is empty:

It certainly wasn’t planned on my part! I was kind of shocked, to be honest with you. I expected him to turn her down… but he didn’t.

4 comments to 12: Novak 2 – ‘Creep’

  • Woot for Stephan! So proud of him! He totally just became more attractive too. Gwen is pure drama, sheesh, poor Stella. I’m glad Paula and Stephan are there for her now.

    Wow on the kissing! Paula is trying to make some rounds here. I was a little surprised that Clark went for it… And am so curious about what is happening to make Asha so tense. I can’t wait to see what happens with Lola, she drives me crazy! Glad she is getting what she deserves.

    • Mao

      I’m so glad that Stella has at least one partially responsible parent. I was so glad when he took an interest in her. :)

      Paula gets around, that’s for sure. As for Lola… she’s definitely not in a good place right now!

  • Yay, Stefan’s back! I’m actually a little surprised Stefan cared enough about Stella to come back so quickly as well, so I can kind of see why Gwen didn’t try too hard to inform him! But I’m impressed and it looks like they get along too. Hopefully Gwen will let them develop their rapport.

    I liked the bit about Stella not inheriting Gwen’s poor decision making. It’s a good thing she didn’t inherit that quality from her aunt either, because I feel like this thing with Clark and Paula cannot possibly end well!

    • Mao

      I know! I was really shocked, too… but so glad. Stella needs at least one functioning parent. Gwen really is not going to win any parenting awards anytime soon! I never thought I’d see the day where Paula was the responsible one. ;)

      Oh, you know it won’t!

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