“Mommy!” Jade cheered in her usual excited bubbly self the moment she spotted her coming out of the elevator and into the lobby. She hopped down from the stool to the milkshake counter, leaving her chocolate milkshake and teddy bear sitting next to Brian, and she darted toward her mother. Ava laughed and opened her arms and bent over, just on time to catch the four year old who wasted no time in throwing her arms about Ava’s neck, wrapped her legs around her waist, and gave her one of her favorite Velcro hugs. Ava enveloped her in her arms affectionately and hugged her back, taking it all in.
“Hi baby. Are you ready to go shopping?” she asked while following her mother, Q, and Stefan over to the group sitting at the milkshake counter, which happened to be Brian, Raven, Zara, Demyan, Tierja, and Luke.
“Yeah!” Jade answered enthusiastically and Ava silently eyed her milk shake sitting there and wondered if it was really such a good idea. She already has so much of her daddy’s enthusiasm as it is and then some and to add sugar into her system is a recipe for automatic disaster for anybody who has her for the rest of the day. Shoving the thought to the side, she turned her attention on Brian.
“Brian will you do me a huge favor tonight after the concert?”
“Of course, you know I will honey, anything…what’s up?”
“I promised Nick that I would be there for his first performance of the tour, but right afterwards I am going to have Demyan and Stefan bring me back here. Will you keep Nick out later than usual for me? I will text you when it’s okay for him to come back.”
“Why, what are you up to?” Brian questioned, his eyebrow rising in curiosity. Ava shrugged innocently.
“Just keep him busy for me, please?”
“Sure…there’s a Backstreet Boys after party tonight. I wasn’t planning on attending, but I will do it for you” he answered after a moment of eyeing her and trying to figure out what she is up to. He leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek and she gave him a small smile.
“Thanks Bri,” she told him sincerely.
“No problem sweetheart, you know I would do anything for you” he told her, and she looked at her mother in order to avoid getting emotional for the third time in one day. It’s overwhelming how everyone is rallying around her and making her feel loved and protected. She’s grateful for it and loves them all so much, but it’s overwhelming nonetheless.
“Ready?” Denise asked and Ava nodded quietly, hugging her daughter close to her affectionately. Demyan who had stood when Ava came out of the elevator, grabbed up Jade’s teddy bear and handed it over to the small four year old.
“Don’t forget teddy, I’m sure he wouldn’t be very happy to be left behind,” he told her, offering her a smile just for her. Jade gave him a shy one in return, hugged her teddy bear close to her, and rested her head upon Ava’s shoulder.
“Thank you Demyan,” she told him softly and Ava smiled down at her slightly amused. It’s the first time she’s ever seen her daughter be so quiet and shy around anybody, even strangers. Being her daddy’s little girl, she loves the attention. She revels in it. If she had the opportunity to go up on stage and entertain all of his fans, she would do it fearlessly and undoubtedly steal each and every one of their hearts. “His feelings would’ve been hurted” she agreed.
“I can imagine,” he told her gently, playing along. Brian chuckled and handed her chocolate milkshake to her next.
“Have fun ladies,” He told them as Demyan, Stefan, and Q led them out of the building. When they were long gone, he looked at everyone else sitting around him.
“Well, I’m going to go check up on Nicky. Are you coming?” he asked Raven who was sitting next to him holding Zara.
“I was thinking of hunting Kat down, she’s been kind of quiet lately” Raven answered. “Tier do you want to come?” she added, turning to her only friend that is available at the moment.
“No, I’m going to stay down here and continue to drink my shake” Tierja answered while briefly glancing at Luke. She tried to be discrete, but both Brian and Raven noticed. Raven quietly eyed her for a few moments, and then sighed softly and leaned over and kissed her cheek before looking at Brian who shrugged.
“More time for video games with Nick I guess…or maybe some basketball, who knows. The two of them got up and walked away and Tierja turned her utmost attention on Luke. When the two of them arrived upstairs, Raven took Zara to the suite she and Brian share, while Brian went to the opened door of his best friend’s. He glanced inside and found Nick and AJ sitting on the couch talking about their discussion from earlier. He knocked on the door immediately getting both of their attention.
“What’s up Rok?” Nick asked, visibly happy to see him. He was hoping to get to spend the little time that they have before sound check with his best friend, since his other best friend is out for the day.
“I saw Ava leave and just came up to check on you. I know you get lonely when she’s not around, and that’s never a good thing. You’re like a puppy, the moment you’re alone and bored you do obnoxious things” He joked.
“And you usually join him,” An amused AJ added and Nick rolled his eyes playfully.
“Don’t you have a girlfriend you should be spending time with?” Brian asked, fixing a suddenly serious gaze on AJ while entering the room all the way. He went over and sat next to Nick so that he too sat across from their tattooed friend.
“I had my sister to take care of,” AJ insisted defensively, not liking the look the older man was giving him at all.
“Yeah well, you took care of her and now she’s at the mall with your mother. So I think it’s perfectly okay for you to go see Tierja. Do you even have any idea where she is at right now?”
“In our room getting ready to leave later,” AJ shrugged.
“Actually she’s been ready for a while now, Alex. And I think you would be interested to know that she is downstairs in the lobby drinking a milkshake and having the time of her life – with Luke.” He watched as the younger man stiffened. “All I am going to say is, you better step things up or you’re going to lose her, and it’s going to be no one’s fault but your own.”
“I had to take care of this thing with Ava and she knew I was doing that – it is not like I was intentionally ignoring her this morning, so quit looking at me like that” AJ snapped somewhat.
“It’s not just this morning, J, it’s all the time” Brian insisted. “You use Ava’s situation as an excuse to put Tierja second because you’re scared. And she’s not going to let you do that forever.” AJ opened his mouth to respond and Nick beat him to it, jumping into this conversation.
“I’ve got Ava covered, J, let me take care of her…Brian is right. Just focus on Tierja before you lose her.”
“I am NOT scared of anything!” AJ insisted stubbornly. “And I’m NOT going to lose her either!” He added, before getting up and storming out of the room. Nick rolled his eyes and Brian shook his head.
“McLeans…” he muttered in exasperation and Nick nodded.
“You definitely have to know what you’re in for when you fall in love with one, that’s for sure” Nick added and Brian turned his attention on him.
“So, what important thing with Ava did he have to take care of? Things seemed pretty serious earlier.”
“I can’t get into it because I promised Ava that it wouldn’t leave me, her brother, or Denise. Let’s just say every last bit of her skeletons came out of the closet today.” Brian nodded and could tell just by looking at him; these said skeletons brought him and Ava a little bit closer today.
“Video games?” He asked after a moment, and Nick’s whole face lit up.
“I love how you read my mind,” he told him, instantly getting up and fetching his x-box.
When AJ stepped out of the elevator and into the lobby, sure enough there was his Tierja sitting at the milkshake bar laughing at something funny Luke must have said. He felt an aching feeling twist at his heart, as it’s been awhile since he’s made her smile like that. Sighing softly, he made his way over there, walked up behind her, and gently slid his arms around her waist. She looked up at him, the smile still left over on her face.
“Hey,” He greeted gently and deliberately leaned in and kissed her lovingly right in front of Luke. He hopes to make his statement very clear: This is mine, so back off.
“Hey,” she responded when he pulled back leaving her breathless and she couldn’t help but give him a slightly surprised look. “Everything go okay with Ava and Nick, I take it?”
“Of course it did, she worries and gets upset over nothing sometimes. The woman is going to give herself an ulcer one of these days” AJ answered and he planted a kiss on her forehead and tightened his arms around her. “Go somewhere with me” he requested.
“You have sound check pretty soon here, what would we do in such a short time?” Tierja asked, not bothering to hide how surprised she is. Where did this come from?
“We have a couple of hours…just enough time to get a head start on playing tourist around Pittsburgh” he insisted while gently grabbing her hand, pulling her out of the chair, and after she grabbed up her milk shake, he patiently listened as she said her goodbyes to Luke, and then he gently tugged her out of the building and far away from the man as he could possibly get her.
“Mommy, I want to go to the toy store” Jade insisted as she followed her mother and grandmother around the home & furniture store in the mall, Ava holding on firmly to her hand while Jade held teddy’s in her other.
“We’ll get there soon honey, Grandma wanted to come in here first” Ava reassured gently. Jade gave an exasperated sigh.
“But this is boring,” she insisted. “Mommy I want to go now.”
“Well, I’m sorry sweetheart but you’re just going to have to wait.” Jade’s lower lip stuck out in an instant pout. “Why don’t you keep an eye out for a bed your size for the future if we should ever decide to give you your own room in the house? That will keep you busy.”
“That’s a good idea,” Denise agreed, meeting her granddaughter’s eyes and Jade couldn’t help but smile a little bit.
“Can I paint my walls pink, mommy?” she asked, turning her attention back on her mother and playing along. “If I should ever have my own room?”
“You can paint them any color you want; it would be your room.”
“I want a ballerina princess bedroom,” Jade decided after a moment. “Because Daddy calls me princess” she added and Ava smiled softly. She too is pretty fond of the new nickname Nick gave their daughter the moment he learned the truth. And it’s no secret why she would pick ballerina princess as her theme, because by the time she could walk that is all she has ever wanted to be. Nick has been teaching her to dance ever since and has taken her to every ballet you could possibly imagine. The Nutcracker is her favorite. David refused to put Jade in ballet classes no matter how much she begged and pleaded with him, but now that Nick is in her life, maybe the two of them can eventually get started on finally making their daughter’s dream come true. She wants it for her just as badly as she does. It’s the only thing she will ever ask him for.
“That would be pretty fun to put together; I already have lots of ideas flowing through my head. If you see any bedding that jumps out at you, let me know okay?” Jade nodded excitedly and immediately set to work on that. While she was glancing every which way around the store, Ava turned her attention back on her mother.
“Anyway mom, what are you in here for?”
“I thought I would completely redesign my house…and I thought I would let you do it all,” Denise answered after a moment. Ava looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
“Me? What for, you’re the one who has to live in it.” Denise slid her arm around her shoulders and hugged her close to her.
“Because you’re my daughter and I love you…and you’re really good at stuff like that. I just thought it would be something fun we could do together. I really missed having you around.” Ava rested her head against her shoulder and willed back her emotions the best that she could. “Momma you’re going to make me cry again. Everybody is being way too nice to me,” She insisted and Denise smiled softly.
“Well it’s the truth, and we’re your family. Families are supposed to support each other during difficult times” she insisted and she planted a kiss on her forehead. “Now what color combinations should I choose? Make it be something you would pick for you, I want it to be completely your touch.”
“Red, white, and black would be really beautiful…I myself personally love the cozy classic country home look. Everything would be wood and stone and have red, white, and black tones…think red roses, and romance” Ava answered after managing to gather her emotions, and thinking about it carefully. Denise and Ava walked around looking at stuff, Denise asking Ava her opinion on everything. While they did that, Q and Stefan stuck to their side like glue, while Demyan kept a trained eye on Jade who was still set on her mission of finding the perfect bedding.
All three security guards wore walkie talkies that kept them in contact with Officer Drake, who was hidden up high where he could see the entire store and prevent any danger that might come at them unexpected from afar. This would normally be Demyan’s job, as out of all of them, he is the best at making himself invisible in a crowded room, and he’s a very skilled sniper when it’s necessary, but he insisted on being the one to guard Jade. He won’t hand the job over to anyone else even for a little while, and that worries Stefan slightly.
“Mommy!” Jade exclaimed, gasping suddenly as she spotted the perfect bedding of her dreams.
“What baby, what’s so exciting?” Ava asked, pausing her detailed conversation with her mother and turning her attention on her and she gently gathered her up in her arms and hugged her close to her affectionately. Jade pointed toward the aisle across the way and Ava looked over there and suddenly became amused upon seeing the pink oval shaped princess carriage bed with pink sheer fabric and light pink frilly bedding and pillows. She wasn’t kidding when she said “ballerina princess”. Who knew she would find a canopy bed and all?
“It’s so perfect mommy, can we get it?” she gushed and Ava rested her cheek against hers lovingly while she held her close.
“You don’t have a room to put it in right now, and we are on tour at the moment. But how about we put it on hold just in case? That way it won’t go anywhere.”
“Okay!” she agreed happily and she returned her mommy’s hugs. Ava looked over at her mother and Denise immediately went to take care of it. As soon as she had, and the bed was on reserve for them, they started to head into the mall when Ava suddenly came across the kitchen section and came to an abrupt stop.
Denise quietly watched her as she eyed some white vintage china with three beautiful long stemmed red roses on them and a black border around the edges. There are plates, bowls, tea cups and even a cake and cupcake platter. She was always afraid to keep such nice things in her house with David, if you could really call it her house, but being someone who loves to cook and bake she’s always wanted it.
After a long moment of admiring them, and mustering up the strength to walk away, she turned and did just that and Denise wrapped her arm around her and quietly took note of her daughter once again trying to avoid tearing up.
“Toys now mommy?” Jade asked hopefully.
“Yes, we’ll go to the toy store now, you’ve been very patient” Ava answered when she was sure she would sound normal when she did and not like she was hurting inside.
“Where have you two been?” Nick asked AJ and Tierja curiously when he and everybody else met the two down in the lobby to go to sound check. The couple had just walked in the doors as they came out of the elevator. AJ slid his arms around Tierja’s waist and drew her near a bit possessively as he noticed Luke was among the crowd.
“Tierja and I managed to squeeze a little bit of sight-seeing in” he answered while planting a loving kiss on the tip of her nose and Tierja snuggled against him looking happy for the first time in a long time.
“He promised me more sight-seeing and dinner tonight after the after party,” Tierja added while sliding her arms around his neck and looking up into his chocolate brown eyes. He smiled at her and brushed his lips briefly, but meaningfully over hers wanting her to know she’s special to him. When he noticed their cars pull up, he began ushering her back outside with everybody else who exchanged looks with each other, wondering where this huge turn around with AJ came from. Brian and Nick especially, who had witnessed the tattooed man’s mini temper tantrum just earlier that day when the two of them got on him about neglecting her. When they arrived at the arena in their separate cars and were inside preparing for their first sound check of the tour, Nick pulled out his cellphone and snuck backstage with it, an amused Brian the only one noticing him.
“Mommy, can I get a toy??” Jade asked hopefully, as the two of them and Denise browse around the toy store together.
“Just one baby, okay?” Jade smiled excitedly and then took off ahead of them to look, Ava taking comfort in the fact that Demyan trailed her every move. Ava quietly continued to look too trying really hard to shake the upset mood she is in off when suddenly her cell phone rang. She reached into her pocket and pulled it out and Denise watched a small smile form on her face as she looked at the caller ID.
“Hey you…aren’t you supposed to be working?” She asked when she answered.
“I snuck away. I have a few minutes before Kevin notices…I just miss you and wanted to hear your voice, that’s all.” Ava laughed and Nick silently took in the beautiful sound.
“I haven’t been gone for very long; you act like it’s been days.”
“It feels like it’s been days, I don’t like it when you leave me” Nick insisted. Ava silently took in the love and affection she heard in his voice, soaking it up for all it’s worth and suddenly felt the pain in her heart that she feels every time David is on her mind lift.
“Well that makes me feel very loved, but you are going to get yourself in trouble.”
“I’m glad to hear that my lifetime goal of making you feel loved is working. What are you up to baby, are you having fun?”
“Yes, I’m having fun. It’s great to be out spending time with my mom. We were in the Home & Furniture store for her and now we are toy shopping for Jade.”
“Oh yeah..? What is my princess getting?”
“I don’t know yet, she’s still working on picking it out.”
“I can’t wait for her to bring it home and show me,” Nick responded.
“NICKOLAS GENE GET OFF THAT PHONE AND GET OUT HERE THIS INSTANT!!!” Kevin could suddenly be heard in the background. Nick cringed, and Ava giggled.
“Gotta go, I love you baby” Nick told her quickly, and Ava smiled.
“Please try not to give my Kevin an ulcer on the first day back on tour, okay Nicky?
“I will try not to, but I can’t make any promises” Nick joked.
“NICK, NOW!” Ava heard Kevin order much louder, telling her he had come looking for him and suddenly she heard Nick’s playful yells of distress, and then the phone go dead. Ava shook her head and looked at Denise.
“That man is crazy, Momma.”
“Did you expect anything less on the first day back?” Denise asked amused. She had to smile at the instant happy mood Nick put her in. He really couldn’t have picked a better time to call.
“No,” Ava answered and she looked to see what Jade was doing and found her happily browsing the many rows of toys looking for just the right one to be hers. She walked over to her and gently gathered her in her arms, feeling the strong need to have her daughter close to her at all times.
“Find anything you like yet baby?” She asked as Jade locked her arms around her neck, nestled her head against her shoulder, and snuggled into her.
“No, not yet – I want to check out the Barbie’s” Jade answered happily and Ava planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
“Well then let’s go check out the Barbie’s” She told her and rounded the corner to the next row of toys, finding herself in the Barbie section. The two of them and Denise then began a lengthy conversation over which Barbie’s Jade should pick. While she was doing that, Ava had half a mind on her surroundings, all of the sudden feeling a sense of foreboding that she can’t explain. She noticed a man standing in another aisle across the way. He was looking at baby dolls and not paying them any mind. He doesn’t appear to have any kids with him. He could be a father looking to buy something to bring home to his kid, but he looks completely out of place.
Like someone you wouldn’t normally see in a toy store. He has long blonde hair that is pulled back in a ponytail and dark brown – almost black eyes. He’s wearing a black shirt with short sleeves that reveal two arms full of tattoos and a pair of jeans with holes in the knees of the pant legs. She knows better than to judge a person by their appearance, especially since her brother could probably have a who-has-the-most-tattoos contest with this man and she knows a lot of good guys with long hair, her best friend being one of them at the moment, but she can’t shake the feeling of unease that she feels when she looks at him. She hugged Jade a bit closer to her protectively and gently linked her arm with Q, who gave her a small smile and planted a loving kiss on top of her head. She also discretely glanced over at Demyan and Stefan for double reassurance even though she knows full well that they’re there.
“Mommy I want that!” Jade suddenly announced enthusiastically and Ava looked to see what she was pointing at and discovered a box with a Barbie Fashionista Ultimate Limo inside it. Ava gave her a small smile.
“Sure baby, I know you and Zara will have a blast playing with that. What Barbie are you going to pick out to go with it?” she asked and while Q got the big Barbie Fashionista Ultimate Limo box off of the shelf to carry it for her, Jade happily pointed to the Barbie Doll that she wanted. Ava brought her closer and allowed her to grab it up.
“Good choice, she’s pretty. Let’s go pay for this now and get on with our shopping – mommy wants to look at clothes next” Ava told her and while they headed for the checkout counter up at the front, Denise slid her arm around her daughter.
“You know I’m going to want to buy both my daughter and my granddaughter these said clothes, right?” she asked her with a small smile and Ava looked up at her with a frown.
“Yes, ma’am, I am. You’re my daughter and I love you, let me spoil you a little bit.”
“Mom, I’m the one who should be spoiling you.” Ava protested and Denise rolled her eyes but otherwise didn’t even bother to acknowledge that nonsense. She knows she is still feeling guilty and won’t hear of it. And she’s spoiling her daughter today whether she likes it or not.
Meanwhile at the arena that the concert is being held at later on that evening, when Kevin had finally reined Nick in and had everyone in the same room, they invited the fans in for the sound check. While that was going on, Raven and Kathryn sat together having a lengthy conversation over anything and everything, Zara was out on stage with Brian charming his fans every bit as much as he was, and Tierja and Luke stood near the soda machine together.
“So, how was sight-seeing with AJ this morning? You looked happy when the two of you walked in,” Luke asked while focusing on getting a Dr Pepper out of the machine.
“I was,” Tierja responded with a small happy smile. “I really needed that time with him,” She added as he turned and handed her a Red Mountain Dew, already knowing those are her favorite.
“He didn’t seem all that thrilled with me when he came down from spending time with his sister earlier,” he commented casually. “Did I do something to offend him?” Tierja shrugged her shoulders and leaned against the counter.
“There’s a good chance he’s feeling a little threatened by you,” she told him, and didn’t bother to hide that this fact pleases her.
“He was in a pretty big hurry to get you away from me,” he agreed amusedly. “He should feel threatened. If he keeps leaving a beautiful woman such as yourself alone like this, I’m going to step in,” he insisted, moving a tad bit closer and Tierja had to force herself to avoid looking into his dark eyes.
“I’m in love with Alex, Luke.” She told him feeling the need to make this clear.
“You deserve better,” Luke informed while tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. “This was the first time he paid any attention to you in a while wasn’t it? And it happened because he was jealous.”
“He has his problems, but we’re working on it” Tierja insisted, feeling the need to defend AJ, no matter how true Luke’s words are and no matter how good it feels to have someone paying attention to her. “Despite his problems, he does love me and we’ve even got another date tonight.” Luke shrugged his shoulders.
“If you say so, you know him better than I do. You just look depressed all the time, and I don’t like it.” Tierja ignored the little flip her heart did at his words and gave him her best smile.
“Well thank you for being concerned, but I’m fine.” And with that she turned around just on time to see AJ come backstage. She walked over to him and he gave her a small smile and cradled her face in his hands before leaning in and brushing his lips lightly over hers.
“Hey Mister, what are you doing back here? Aren’t you supposed to be working?” she asked between kisses, and he brought his arms down and slid them around her waist, before pulling her close to him possessively. She buried her face in his neck and took in the smell of his cologne. He only wears it because it’s her favorite and she knows it.
“Come hang out onstage with me baby, I want you with me at all times today.” He rested his chin lightly on the top of her head and looked Luke’s way, with eyes that said ‘back off’. Raven had texted him and told him what was going on. Luke returned his look with a very clear ‘make me’, and when Tierja suddenly looked up at AJ, he returned his loving gaze on her before she could notice.
“Won’t I just be in the way?” she asked doubtfully, and AJ gently lifted her chin up and kissed her lovingly.
“You could never be in the way.” Tierja heard the honest to god truth in his words and suddenly felt a lump in her throat and was fighting back the urge to cry. She doesn’t care if part of him might be acting out of jealousy right now; she’s desperately wanted this attention from him for a very long time. And at least jealousy means he cares. He took her hand into his, laced their fingers together, and brought her out onstage with him and before she knew it, he had her sitting on a stool and was including her and doing everything he could to make her understand that she’s special to him.
“Mommy, can I have an ice cream?” Jade asked hopefully as the group currently shopping at the mall hung out in the food court. They went clothes shopping, Denise insisting on buying both her daughter and granddaughter new outfits despite Ava’s protests to the offer and then immediately went from there to Panda Express and Mc Donald’s. After they all finished eating their meals, they continued sitting at the table discussing interior design, though Ava never took her eyes off of her daughter all the same and noticed her not only eyeing the Cold Stone nearby but the carousel as well and knew it was coming.
“Sure baby,” Ava answered with a smile and she looked at Q. “Maybe if you ask real nicely, Q will take you to get some and let you ride the carousel too.” Jade’s eyes lit up in excitement at this offer and she looked at Q with an effortless angelic look, instantly melting his heart.
“Sure sweetheart, let’s go – I could use some ice cream myself” he told her readily and he got to his feet and gathered her up in his arms. She snuggled into him and he walked off with her, Ava feeling glad that both the Cold Stone and the Carousel are right in her eyesight so she will be able to keep an eye on her baby at all times. When the two of them had their ice cream, Q with a cone of double fudge brownie while Jade got cake batter with sprinkles, the two of them headed on over to the line for the Carousel, making it just on time as the guy controlling the ride was in the middle of letting everybody on right then.
“Which one should we ride on, munchkin?” he asked while glancing up at her while she sat upon his shoulder with a small smile.
“The Unicorn!” she exclaimed happily and Q chuckled softly as he approached it.
“You would pick that one. Good choice,” he told her while putting her on it. While she held on to the pole with one hand and her ice cream cone in the other, he buckled her up and placed his arm around her protectively while eat ate his ice cream with the others. She smiled up at him some and he smiled back at her.
“Are you sure Demyan and Stefan are going to take good care of my mommy?” She asked, showing a small sign of worry as she glanced over at her mommy and grandma at the table. She was relieved to see that Stefan sat in a chair next to her. Demyan on the other hand, stood outside the gate to the ride keeping an eye on things in case Q might need an extra hand. She knows Drake is around there somewhere too, she just doesn’t know where.
“Of course they are baby, they’re tough guys and know what they’re doing. You have nothing to worry about,” Q answered and he gave her a goofy look. Jade giggled, which was exactly what he wanted.
“Good…cause mommy needs taking care of, especially when daddy isn’t around to do it.”
“Your mommy has an entire team to take care of her baby, and so do you” he told her and she giggled some more when he tickled her slightly, but not enough to make her drop her ice cream cone. “Okay?”
“Okay,” she responded and he leaned down and kissed her cheek. Jade sat there patiently waiting as the man controlling the ride loaded the carousel, all the while eating her ice cream and she let Q’s words reassure her. Q has never let her down before. If he says Demyan and Stefan can be trusted, she will trust them.
“Here we go,” Q announced after a moment and suddenly the ride started. Jade giggled and enjoyed the ride, calling out and waving to her mommy and grandma with one hand and her ice cream cone safely in the other while Q held onto her. Ava and Denise would smile and wave back in return. The ride went around a few times and when it stopped she looked up at her favorite security guard ever.
“Can we do it again??”
“Maybe some other time baby, you have to finish your ice cream and then we need to get going. Your mommy tells us that she wants to do some quick grocery shopping. We still have to make it to the arena in enough time to see your daddy before the show.” Q explained. When he had her unbuckled he lifted her up and placed her back up on his shoulder where she likes to be and brought her back to the table.
“Hi baby, did you have fun?” Ava asked when they returned.
“Yeah! I got to ride the pretty Unicorn an’ everything!”
“I saw that. How lucky they just happened to have a Unicorn on there when they’re your favorite, huh?” Jade nodded happily. “Did you tell Q thank you?” she asked when the security guard brought her down into his arms and cradled her now that he was officially finished with his cone. She looked up at him and smiled sweetly.
“Thank you Q,” she told him and leaned up and kissed his cheek.
“Anytime sweetheart,” he responded and he gently handed her over to Ava who gladly took her and snuggled her close. She and Denise finished up on discussing plans while they let Jade finish up her ice cream and when she had, they gathered up all of their bags and headed on out of the mall to go do some quick grocery shopping.