"Who?" It wasn’t surprising that Edie couldn’t place the name with a face. She had only been in Neverland for three years, and this girl looked to be older than that.
How was he going to word this? He probably should have thought about it before he’d decided to bring it up. James was probably the only one who was going to have a normal reaction to this.
“So – um – you know that girl I told you about before; the one that disappeared for no reason? Well apparently she had a very good reason. And her name’s Hazel.”
"No shit, Sherlock."
Edie had to refrain from shaking her head immediately at his request, the term “aunt Edie” sitting way too uncomfortably in her head. She wasn’t anyone’s aunt. She was twenty years old and she didn’t want to be a role model or a family member to any kid that was now going to be wandering around a gang territory that was filled with drugs, guns, and anything else that was definitely not supposed to be around kids.
"Who is her mom, even?"
Still aware of Edie’s disapproval, he averted her gaze to the confused little girl in his arms instead. He’d had hoped the mom convo wouldn’t come up; to be more accurate, but maybe if he whispered low enough she wouldn’t ask again.
“Um – Tay.”
"And the mom just decided now was the right time to tell you?”
Edie didn’t understand it. Raising a kid in Neverland seemed strange by any standards but to bring a kid into this life for the sole reason of personal validation seemed downright ridiculous.
"Wow." Edie simply raised her eyebrows but refrained from saying anything else. As much as she didn’t see any reason in it, there was still a kid present.
Marko sighed, composing the words to explain it in his head and still managing to come up short.
“It wasn’t in the plan.”
Well, he didn’t really know the plan but as far as he was concerned, he got one of the most important people in his life back in the process and got a whole family as an added bonus. There should be some points given to that plan, right?
“I know this might not be the smartest decision I’ve ever made. This could easily bite me in the –“ He covered Hazel’s ears as he whispered ass. “ – I know but you’re my best friend so you know – say hi to her at least? She’d never met her Aunt Edie? Please?”
Edie could tell that Marko was expecting her to be happy for him, and maybe somewhere deep down she was, but at the moment? All she felt was another twinge of irritation at yet another person being slowly dragged away. This already happened with Josh, and now with Marko too. Ace was around but he was always working, Vaeda she hadn’t seen in days, Gabe was sulking more often than not, and she had gotten sadly used to the fact that she rarely saw Mason.
"And you have a DNA test to prove that or you’ve just decided that apparently after what looks like years of not knowing you’ve had one, clearly she has to be yours?"
He had been prepared for this. In fact it was all he’d been expecting since he’d found out but it didn’t really make it hurt any less in the process. Breathing in carefully, aiming for something that felt like calm but still bitterly tasted like disappointment.
He lifted Hazel off his shoulders and carried her in his arms, her eyes wary of the argument Marko hoped he could avoid.
Edie looked up at the sight before her strangely, narrowing her eyes as she looked between the kid and Marko. “Did you steal a kid?”
"What do you say, kiddo? Did I steal ya?"
Admittedly, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he did and in some way he probably did steal her since they should be home now and he snuck her out against her mother’s orders but he figured saying that would make him sound like a bad Dad. But then he wondered if there was any other simpler way to tell people that he was actually a Dad. Hazel leaned over till he had to hold her up to keep her from falling over him and answered with a sure and proud ‘No.’
"That’s my girl."
"Sold out already and now I can officially give a shit that it’s the weekend." Edie smiled as she pocketed a baggie of dust.
"Someone’s gonna have a good night." He commented off-handedly, looking up at the little girl on his shoulders tugging on his hair. "To bad you’ve got a bed time, buddy."
"Honey I am home…" Ben threw the kesy of the car aside, as well as his phone, checking it but already knowing there would be nothing there for him. "Or whatever the fuck."
"Language." He hissed, only partly meaning it as he immediately cupped Hazel’s ears with both hands and subtly tried to whisper ‘Don’t tell mummy you heard that here.’