Rylan overheard a conversation, two of the senior executives discussed expenses. They were laughing, the pair suggesting a significant fortune of falsified receipts were keeping them in high-end shoes and suits. He called Ziva to help him check over the budget for his department. He discovered the dishonesty was limitless even his manager was in on the fraud. Rather than approaching the CEO, Rylan took the evidence, names and copies of receipts to the authorities. His contact at the local paper had suspicions, pleased when Rylan shared the information. Honesty is costly; he should have considered the consequences, Rylan packed his belongings, security unceremoniously escorted him from the building, the CEO yelling to the street the reasons for his firing. At least Rylan had a clear conscience, and his reputation would be undamaged by the upcoming investigation.
Emilie made light work of preparing a bedroom, with bright colours and toys, the baby would be spoilt for choice. The lounge saw changes, Emilie took inspiration from the internet to create the perfect learning environment with blocks, educational tablet, and books to stimulate the imagination, all in separate sections. Her childhood, the few memories she had, were simple things, she loved to read, and her nanny ensured she had a library of books at her disposal. Emilie’s parents worked, their commitments kept them busy, avoiding time spent with her, except for museums and art gallery trips. When they died, they were working in Strangerville, leaving her in Newcrest with neighbours, she recalled the smart Military man, the accident was a story which seemed unreal. Staring at the spaces she created, the thoughts of her youth made her shed a tear, Emilie would be an active and hands-on mother.
Trolling forums still held some appeal for her, the occasional chain letter, inappropriate emails, they were part of who she was, the actions subconsciously railed against her parents, failing to get their attention. Her interest in these waned, Emilie caught up on her reading, learning nursery rhymes and in private practised holding her teddy bear baby. She imagined taking trips to the beach, coffee with Ziva; hopefully she would also settle down and give her a niece or nephew, another thing they could bond over.
Emilie felt alone in her pregnancy, Rylan was home and distracted and focused on writing. Screenplays seemed to demand his time, numerous rejected ideas for scripting existing books, hours creating new and exciting works. Rylan ploughed through redline edits to his work which made him increasingly grumpy. The royalties were generous but were only one-off payments that covered the bills and expenses, their remaining wants and needs were eating a hole in their savings. He grunted through conversations, half-listening to Emilie, irritated that his wife talked of nothing else except the baby. Another issue was the morning sickness, despite the second trimester, it had continued, four ‘o’clock was the favourite time, Rylan grumpily tossed in the bed as Emilie stumbled in the dark, guilty for waking him.
Without Emilie, the Mischief Makers enjoyed subdued evenings, they sat drinking, arguing over computer games and watching movies, on rare occasions they went bowling. Emilie would often find them asleep on the sofa, waking them up with the smell of bacon, eggs and maple syrup pancakes. There would be awkward phone calls, angry wives and girlfriends, Emilie tempted to make some off-hand remark to get them in trouble but she resisted, well, some of the time.