“Don’t forget the banner!” Margaret called after the group of teenagers that ran around the house. “Ok Mags.” Michelle turned back and smiled at her aunt, her blonde hair glowing golden in the sun and Margaret gasped.
She looks so like Jessica….
She shrugged the thought from her mind, now was not the time to be thinking of things that would make them all sad. Margaret had done enough grieving for her sister-in-law in the first two months after her death. Killian was still in pieces almost three years later, and Michelle….
Margaret shook her head. Michelle she just didn’t know, she barely spoke to the girl about her mother because even the mere mention of the topic and Michelle would automatically change the subject or end the conversation and leave the room.
“Mags, could you help me with this stuff?” Killian arrived into the room, his arms full of towels and bottles of sun cream.
“Sure.” she smiled as she took half of them off him and they both walked out to beside the pool. “So do you think Mike will come?” Margaret asked offhandedly and Killian’s face split into a grin. “He said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.”Margaret felt a grin slowly spread over her face as she tucked the towels into the cupboard on the decking and placed the sun cream on the top shelf.“That’s great, he comes to see her on her birthday every year.” she tried to avoid Killian’s eye as he stood and laughed at her. “He’s a very dedicated godfather.” she continued, taking towels from his arms and tucking them away on the shelf.
“And he’s also single and funny, and successful and good looking and I have so much fun watching you blush every time we mention his name.”
Margaret straightened up, he ears burning. “I do not!” she protested and Killian laughed. She glared at him with her hands on her hips and he just stuck his tongue out at her as he tried not to drop the towels from cackling. Suddenly Michelle popped up behind her and grabbed her shoulders. “You do though Mags.” she put both hands on her Aunt’s head and messed up her hair before she ran off giggling.
“As soon as she turns 18 I’m kicking her ass.” Margaret began to laugh at herself then and they quickly put away the rest of the towels before traipsing back inside.
“He’s probably gay anyway.” Margaret sniffed and Killian burst out laughing again.
“He’s not, let me assure you. He’s definitely not gay.”
Margaret looked up, her eyes bright. “Positive?”
“Mags, I’ve known him for almost thirty years. He’s not gay. Oh and Jack Denning is coming too.” Killian said slyly and Margaret’s face lit up.
“Oh goody, more good looking guys to ogle.” she rubbed her hands together and ran off, leaving Killian standing in the living room laughing until his sides hurt. “You’re just like a teenager Mags.” he yelled after her.
“Shut up douchebag!”
It only made him laugh even harder and he lay on the floor and rolled around the room giggling.
“Daddy have you gone crazy?” a small voice cut through his mirth and he looked up to see his youngest daughter, Molly, standing beside the couch, her dark hair framed her face in a mass of flyaway curls, her jeans were dirty and scuffed, her t-shirt was on back to front and she had traces of jam and biscuit crumbs at the corners of her mouth.
“No I haven’t gone crazy sweetie. I’m just laughing at your Auntie Margaret.” Killian grinned and Molly’s face lit up in a huge smile. “Can I join in?” she sat on the floor beside him and he smiled.
“If you like, but you have to find something funny first. Oh and by the way….” he paused and looked at her with a puzzled expression. “Do you know what happened to all the Jammy Dodgers that were in the biscuit tin?”
Molly looked a bit guilty. “Em.. I think Scrappy ate them Daddy.”
Killian looked at her and raised his eyebrow. “You think Scrappy at them?”
“Yes?” she said uncertainly and Killian wiped a finger across the corner of her mouth and looked at it. “Hmm. Biscuit crumbs!” he held his finger up to his nose and sniffed it. “And Jam!!”
Molly looked panicked “Daddy I was hungry and I only took one or two.”Killian grabbed her and began tickling her. “No telling lies Molly, lies are bad!” he grinned as she squealed in laughter. After a few minutes he let her sit up and the two of them stared out the window at everyone preparing for the party.
“Much ado about nothing.” stated Molly grandly as she pretended to dust herself off.
Killian looked at her and she caught his eye and the two of them burst into hysterical laughter and began to roll around the floor.
Killian thought about what people would think if they saw him now. The 3rd most powerful man in the world, rolling around the floor and laughing with a grubby 8 year old sitting beside him. It only made him laugh even harder.
Molly stood up and walked over to him, giving him a big hug. “I love you Daddy.” she kissed him on the forehead and then ran out of the room, leaving Killian sitting alone on the sitting room floor with a smile on his face.
That was when the phone began to ring and Killian reached over to the coffee table and picked it up. “Hello? Killian Briar speaking.”
There was silence on the end of the phone. “Hello?” Killian ventured again, wondering if the person had been cut off. “Hello? Is there anyone there?”
He was about to hang up when someone spoke. A man’s voice, harsh and heavily accented.
“How much do you love your family Mr. Briar?”
Killian’s blood ran cold. “Who is this?”
There was a click and then Killian heard the familiar beeping tone that told him someone had hung up.
Margaret came down the stairs at that moment and walked into the room. “Killian I think that…” she paused as she took in the sight of her older brother, phone clutched tightly in his hand as his knuckles slowly began to turn white, his face pale and a mask of fear.
“Killian what is it?” she was at his side in a moment, her hand on his arm.
“I think someone just made a threat against the family.” he muttered, his eyes wide.
“You think?” Margaret grabbed the phone from his hand and dialled in the number for the police.
“There is no ‘think’ about it Killian. I can see it in your face. What did they say?” Killian looked down at his hand, still clawed as though he was holding the phone.
“He asked me how much I love my family.”
Margaret’s stomach twisted.
Just like the Denvers….
Someone at the other end answered and Margaret insisted on talking to the highest person available to take her call. Once they knew who she was she had no problems.After they had explained everything a car was dispatched to the house with two undercover agents and Margaret, content to wait for now, hung up and turned to Killian.
“Are you still going to go ahead with tomorrow?” she asked him.
“Yes.” he shook himself out of his stupor. “Shelly has been planning this for months and looking forward to it for just as long. Besides, nobody would try anything with a full house and grounds of people.”
Killian felt assured of this fact and he nodded firmly and repeated it just to try and convince himself that it was true.
Margaret wasn’t so sure.