Skye silently cursed herself for not taking the Quartermaine jet to Chicago. Instead, she sat with a smile plastered on her face and added an occasional nod as the man next to her droned on and on about the importance of just about every type of insurance imaginable. He was just about to pull a stack of brochures from his briefcase when Skye interrupted.
"Excuse me, but I’d really just like to take a nap if you don’t mind," she said through clenched teeth, trying to hold on to her last thread of patience.
He pulled out the first pamphlet, as if he could convince her otherwise. "But if you would just…" he began.
"Can it!" Skye’s impatience finally exploded. She grabbed the briefcase and hurled it into the aisle, causing the multi-colored brochures to scatter everywhere. A hum of whispers and sidelong glances spread about the other passengers, but their words weren’t audible to Skye.
The insurance man was on his hands and knees, scrambling to gather his strewn belongings. He held his briefcase close to his chest, cast a startled and slightly frightened look at Skye, and hurried to find an empty seat in the back. Skye rolled her eyes. She had more important things to worry about. She gently rubbed her stomach and smiled, finally able to concentrate on the matter at hand. She was pregnant, and she could just imagine Dave Malucci’s face when she told him the baby was his. She sighed happily. He thought he could just leave with no strings attached. He underestimated her and now he would pay for it. They would be connected forever and there was nothing he could do about it. And now that the baby was on the way, well, Alan would make sure the family would stop trying to find excuses to throw her out all the time. A dark cloud hovered over her brief satisfaction. Ned’s words still gnawed on her mind, no matter how much she tried to push them away and laugh in the wake of her victory. Normally, she would just disregard his insults or Monica’s or Edward’s for what they were: jealousy and resentment. But, she couldn’t help but think there could be some truth behind his insults from this morning. The memory flooded back as clear as the present.
Skye practically galloped down the curved staircase of the Quartermaine mansion, her packed suitcase already waiting for her at the bottom. She paused in front of an ornate gold-rimmed mirror to check her appearance, primping her dark reddish-brown hair and smiling broadly. Her smile slowly faded into a scowl when she saw her cousin Ned’s reflection had also joined her’s in the mirror. He stood a few feet behind her, poised in the wide double-doorway of the sitting room. He flashed his dimples and shook his head.
"So, you’re really going through with this?" he finally asked, stepping forward towards the staircase. Skye spun around to face him. She was no longer scowling, but wore an icy smile with an air of superiority, ready for anything Ned was about to throw her way.
"I’m sure I don’t know what you mean," she answered, batting her eyes innocently.
"Even you know how fast news travels around here. See, I just ran into Reginald and it seems that someone is planning a trip to Chicago to deliver some news to a certain unsuspecting doctor," Ned grinned, gesturing to Skye’s suitcase. Skye let her façade go, and with one swoop grabbed her suitcase and headed towards the door. Ned cut her off and leaned against the middle of the door, preventing her from leaving.
"What’s your point?" she demanded impatiently.
"Just think a minute, will you? For once in your life quit being so self-absorbed and think about everyone else this will effect if you go gallivanting of to Chicago," he said seriously.
"I’m thinking about my baby," Skye replied indignantly.
"The hell you are! You just found out about this baby and already you’re using it to…"
"I would never use a child!" Skye cried out, cutting him off.
"Oh, spare me the woe is me childhood garbage. If you really feel you were neglected and used so badly, you wouldn’t be ready to do the same thing. But, I guess you don’t think about that do you? All you care about is being daddy’s little girl and making grandfather and the rest of us miserable….."Ned shot back, his eyes gazed upward and he pointed to the staircase. "Except maybe for Junior," he pointed to AJ, who was descending the stairs.
"Leave her alone, Ned. She knows what she’s doing," AJ said as he approached.
"Oh, she knows exactly what she’s doing. That’s the problem," Ned replied disapprovingly.
"Well, maybe you’re content with seeing your daughter only once or twice a year, but I’m sure Dave will want a more active part in his child’s life," Skye said with renewed confidence, knowing the insult would get to Ned. AJ smiled at his sister’s retort, but only wished he’d thought of it himself.
"You know what, I don’t care anymore. Go, go make Dave’s life miserable. I just hope your baby takes after him," He stormed off.
Skye stood silent for a moment until AJ spoke. "Don’t pay any attention to what Ned tells you. He has nothing better to do but to try and make you second guess yourself," he told her sincerely.
"Are you kidding?" Skye forced a laugh, and pushed away the idea that Ned could even remotely affect her. "Do you think I should plan this a little better, though? Am I jumping in too fast?," she asked her brother and often partner-in-crime.
"If Dave’s any kind of a man, he won’t want to be in the dark about his child," AJ said lowly. Skye could tell he was thinking about Michael. He had never been able to get past Michael being taken away by Sonny and Carly, and Skye’s situation only made him long to see his son even more. He forced a smile and added, "And it won’t hurt to have dad permanently in your court."
Skye gave AJ a quick hug and picked up her suitcase. "I’d better go before I miss my plane," she said as she heading out the door.
"Call me when you get to Chicago!" he shouted after her.
The words echoed in Skye’s head as she came back to reality. At least AJ was on her side. Ned never had anything kind or even decent to say to her, so why should she listen to any of his insults now? AJ was right. What harm could telling Dave about the baby possible cause?