Disclaimer: I don’t own Final Fantasy VIII or Star Wars
The older woman paced back and forth in her tiny kitchen, hands wrought together in worry. The hard soles of her slippers clicked against the linoleum below her feet.
Mrs Dincht never paced as a rule, but as her eyes glanced toward the nervous looking teenagers sitting at the table, she was stepping so frequently that she worried she might wear out her kitchen floor.
Zell looked nervously at the silent woman before him. Usually so warm and approachable, she now seemed so distant. Zell wanted to say something, anything, but when he opened his mouth to speak, no words would come.
He felt a warm hand brush against his own beneath the table. He shifted his gaze over to the brunette beside him.
Adorned in light blue, her long, brown hair was tied back in its usual braid. Bella.
The girl offered a light smile, as their eyes met, but their attention was soon drawn elsewhere as the adult in the room released an audible, sharp, pent up sigh.
“I can’t say that I’m not disappointed in you both,” Mrs Dincht said, “and I wish you’d come to me sooner. So what are you two planning on doing?”
The teenagers exchanged blank glances. “We don’t really know,” Zell replied.
“Then you’d better make up your minds soon. Are you going to keep the baby? We can’t arrange anything until you decide that.”
“I don’t want to get rid of it.”
“Well then, the older woman smiled, ‘that’s one less thing to worry about.”
What?” Bella asked, seemingly confused. “I don’t understand. Is that it? I mean, aren’t you going to yell at us, punish us, tell us how stupid and irresponsible we’ve been?”
“I could,” Mrs Dincht replied, “but what good would that do?” We have to be practical. We’re all grown-ups here, taking grown up actions with grown-up consequences.”
“And making grown-up mistakes,” Bella retorted under her breath.”
“So what are you going to do now? Do your parents know about this?”
“No, and they’re not going to. It was bad enough trying to tell them about Zell and I.”
“Don’t you think they have a right to know that they’re going to be grandparents?”
“No! They don’t. I can’t go back there.”
“I think you might be overreacting, just a tad?”
Bella looked up at the older woman with desperation in her eyes. “You don’t understand!” she cried. “You don’t… nobody knows what they’re like! They were about to take up arms the minute they found out I wasn’t a virgin. What do you think they’ll do when they find out I’m pregnant?” The brunette looked away, head hanging, eyes rooted to the floor. Her next utterance was barely more than a whisper. “Especially with someone… someone outside of my class.”
Mrs Dincht then surprised them all with her volume. Her short, bark of a laugh startled the girl, causing her to sit up straight. “You really think the social class system carries any weight in today’s world? We’re all slum folk around here. We’re all the same. Well, all of us except for you and those childish parents of yours. Hoarding that big house to themselves when we have sick and dying holed up at the inn. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re thinking.”
Apparently, Squall wasn’t alone in his disdain of Bella’s family. “I know, I’m sorry. I’ve tried asking them to help the rest of the town, but… you think you know how stubborn they can be? You don’t know the half of it. I actually value my life, and the life growing inside of me. That’s why I can never go back.”
“So what are your plans? If you won’t go back home, where can you go?”
“Um,” flustered, Bella looked to Zell, and then to his mother.
“Well then, you’d better stay here for the night. We can sort out a long term plan in the morning.”
“Thank you,” the girl replied, standing and eying the older woman sincerely. “I really appreciate this. Is there a spare room or something?”
“You’ll find this is a very small house. We don’t have spare anything, let alone rooms. You can share with Zell. Ordinarily, he doesn’t let people up into his room, but I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to make an exception in this case. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m very busy. If you have any more questions, Zell will get you settled in.” Mrs Dincht then stood, and without so much as a smile, turned her back on the teenagers and left the room.”
A long moment of silence followed the plump woman’s departure, one that neither teen were prepared to break for quite some time. “That went well,” Zell finally chimed.
Bella sighed, resting her forehead on the table. “You’re kidding, right? She hates me.”
“No she doesn’t. She’ll warm up to you soon enough. You’ll see.”
It was a relatively peaceful night after the tense discussion with Zell’s mother. The two teenagers had remained in the kitchen long after the older woman had retired to her bedroom for the night.
It wasn’t late, barely gone eight o’clock, but then again, Mrs Dincht was a busy woman, and usually up before dawn.
The two had talked and listened, but mostly, the time had passed between them in silence.
It had been a pleasant evening, until…
“Oh no.” The brunette’s eyes widened. Her face was set, frozen. Horror and fear perspired from her in torrents. “How? How did they?”
“I don’t know” Zell answered, equally lost. How did they know where to look? How did they know where to go?
“Why? Why are my parents here?”
“You think they’ll make you go home?”
“I won’t. I’ll not go with them. They can’t make me.”
“Don’t worry. This is private property. They wouldn’t dare start anything. The entire village would be up in arms within a day.”
“I… I had no idea things were that bad.”
“Yeah. Your family are like villains around here. No offense.”
“I had no idea.”
“Your parents do respect private property, don’t they?” Bella nodded her head and Zell breathed a sigh of relief. At least that was something. They were fine.
“At least, they respect their own.”
Zell felt a chill run down his spine. Perhaps they were all in trouble, after all.
“What are we going to do?” Under the table, their hands met, and fingers intertwined in a meeting of comfort and warmth.
“Stay close to me.”