Tempestuous Ch. 01byredwitch©
It was a beautiful day; the sun was out, casting its warm beams on the city below. There was a cool breeze that complimented the warmth and carried the heady smell of the lilacs through the air, filling the hall of the big brick church on Gotham Street. The sun shone through the stained glass windows casting different tones on the walls and the floors, illuminating the entire church.
It was the perfect day for a baptism.
The Stone and the Rush family stood before the magnificent alter inside of the massive church. The four adults stood teary eyed as the minister baptized the tiny baby, Tempest Darleen Rush. She was a beautiful baby; with a head full of deep russet curls, almond shaped eyes that were the darkest shade of gold, framed in thick inky lashes. At only a month and a half old she already had the aura of a queen; she was a natural born diva.
Antoinette and Ezekiel Rush had tried for many years to have their first child and after a horrible and life altering miscarriage, they had finally given up. Antoinette took advantage of her 'God sons', Darleen's three boys, and showered them with gifts and love, treating them like she would treat her own children. Davis and Diago loved her and relished the star treatment, only Dante kept his distance; But than again, Dante kept his distance from everyone. Years later their prayers were answered and Antoinette gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
The three Stone boys sat in the first pew as all of the adults faced towards the elaborate alter; only the minister stood facing them. Dante, the eldest, was 10 and sitting straight forward with his naturally scowled face contorted in suppressed fury as he elbowed his middle brother Davis in the ribs. Davis, who had just turned seven, had been a permanent knife in his elder brother's side since the day of his birth. Dante was repulsed by his obnoxious middle brother and had tried everything in his power to reform the 'soon to be hoodlum' and make him more like himself. Of course it didn't work, if anything it backfired and each year Davis grew more and more outrageous, to the point where Dante could barely stand to be in the same room with him.
The reality was, Davis was charismatic and funny where Dante was reserved and already one of the grouchiest children to walk the face of the earth. Dante had no time for fun and games and abhorred the pranks that Davis liked to pull. Davis was a natural jokester and Dante hated jokes, finding nothing remotely funny about his brother's sense of humor.
Davis knew better than to even cry out in pain, regardless of the fact that he was sure the blow had cracked his rib. Instead he elbowed his youngest brother in a similar fashion, just not with as much force.
"I told you to stop." Davis whispered to Diago, "If you keep getting me in trouble I'm going to hide you in the basement of the church where they will never find you." he repeated the words Dante had threatened him with on numerous occasions.
Diago, who was only five years old, was never one to be intimidated; so he frowned hard than slugged Davis in the stomach. Davis shoved him down the pew and Diago came back swinging his clenched little fists. It would have been an all out war if Dante hadn't of leaned forward; all he had to do was look at them and they both instantly stopped and leaned back in the pew for fear of their young lives. Their elder brother was a cruel leader who, at only ten, already had his own sense of justice and his own form of punishment. Since he was the eldest, his family often put him in charge of his two little brothers. When his father was out of town on business and the boys were being particularly incorrigible, Darleen would be forced to ask Dante to help, since they always listened to him.
Dante looked up to see his mother and his god mother, Antoinette crying up a storm; his own father and his god father Ezekiel were equally misty eyed. Dante frowned and the tick in his cheek went haywire for a second. He was ready to get out of here; he had things to take care of and places to be other than the baptism of a baby who was already proving to be a nuisance. So he took advantage of his current situation and said a silent prayer that they would hurry up and get it over with soon.
"You're her God mother now." Antoinette cried as she passed her beautiful baby daughter to her best friend, Darleen.
The two sobbing women had grown up together and had been the best friends since the first day of kindergarten. They were both creative, stubborn, highly intelligent children who grew up to be savvy, strong willed, highly intelligent women. They were more like sisters than friends, each knowing the others deepest secrets. There was no one else in the world that Antoinette trusted more with her child, than Darleen.
"Yes I am." Darleen smiled with pride looking at the tiny infant in the long white christening gown.
"So if anything happens to me-" she gave her best friend 'the look'.
"Nothings going to happen to you." Darleen stopped her, but saw the worry in her friend's eyes "Stop it Annie, it was just a bad dream." she whispered. Antoinette held her frown for a moment before she plastered a smile on her face. She refused to spoil this wonderful event with her anxieties over a dream.
But what a dream it was, a horrible nightmare filled with long, dark never-ending roads, explosives and ending with the demise of her and her husband. It was a dream so real; she woke up in a dead sweat, screaming. It took Ezekiel over thirty minutes to calm his wife down and get her back to sleep.
"Your right," she shrugged "but just in case." she said in a way that gave Darleen cold chills down her spine. Darleen didn't want to answer her, she couldn't even think about that horrible dream or even the possibility of it coming true; but she could see the worry on Antoinette's face and realized she needed to reassure her friend.
"First of all your way to spoiled for anything to ever happen to you, and secondly, I have 3 equally bad boys, who would rather wrestle in the dirt than sit down and talk to their mother." she looked back at the boys arguing in the pew. "This is my only god daughter, so naturally she will be spoiled." she finished and Antoinette smiled from ear to ear. "And you have my solemn oath that I'll never leave her side."
"Thank you Dar." Antoinette said with a smile full of relief.
Dante was to find that they had one last mission to accomplish before he would be able to go home. Unfortunately it was one of the things Dante never did care for, getting his picture taken. The rickety little photographer snapped picture after picture of his family and his god parents with the baby, than it was time for the children.
"Do I have to?" Dante asked he watched his brothers excitedly sit on the bench for the picture.
"Yes you do." his mother smiled, realizing how hard this was on her photograph hating son.
"But-" he was ready to give the reasons on why he shouldn't be in the pictures but she cut him off.
"Absolutely no buts, you're getting your picture taken Dante." Darleen said directing him to sit in the middle. To add insult to injury because he was the eldest, he was forced to hold the baby and sit between his two irritating little brothers.
Than to top it all off, they actually expected him to smile! They were crazy! These people were stark raving mad and he desperately wanted to stand up and voice his opinion and let everyone of them know what he thought about this predicament they were forcing upon him. But alas, doing that would only result in him having to stay longer, because no matter how much he ranted, his father would force him to sit back down and take the picture anyway.
At only ten he already knew his family was teetering on the edge of insanity, he just needed to make it to his eighteenth birthday than he would leave the mad Stone house and the crazies that inhabited it. He honestly could not tolerate these people.
The photographer had a fuzzy, pink bunny puppet on his hand and had decided to waive the offensive object at the children trying to get them to smile. The baby looked like she was ready to cry, Davis was smiling at the photographers beautiful assistant, Diago was squirming and ready to jump down from the bench and Dante wanted to grab the pink puppet off the old mans hand and smack some sense into him with it. What made him think that any child would want a fuzzy fake bunny shoved in their face? Did the man have no concept of the germs he was happily spreading?
"Just take the picture." he said in a very controlled voice, to much control for a ten year old the old man thought. "Obviously no one is going to smile." he continued, to the shock of the photographer. He had been taking childrens pictures for years, he had met hundreds upon hundreds of children and never had he met a child like Dante Stone.
After he snapped the picture Davis and Diago instantly jumped down but Dante was forced to wait for his mother to pick up the baby before he could go, than just as his mother bent to take Tempest, he felt it.
The warmth spread over his lap like a broken balloon.
"She peed on me!" he yelled at the top of his lungs and for the first time, Tempest smiled hard and all four parents ran over to look at her, forgetting the disgruntled and irritated ten year old who stood looking at them like they were escapees from the local mental ward.
"She is just soooo beautiful!" Darleen gushed.
"If only she had of done that gorgeous smile for the camera." Antoinette said kissing the babies chubby cheek.
Dante watched as they all rushed to see Tempest's wide smile; ignoring the fact that he was soaked and smelled like urine. Than he turned to his right to see they were also ignoring Davis and Diago who had now taken over the portrait studio. Diago had found a fake plastic sword and was swinging it intently at the photographer who had rubbed the awful pink toy in his face. Davis on the other hand was talking to the photographer's assistant, smiling up a storm, his gigolo skills developing rapidly. Dante mumbled some choice words under his breath as he turned around and left the studio, opting to wait out in the hot car.
The moment Dante stepped out of the Portrait studio doors the weather took an unexpected turn for the worse. The sun that had been shining so brightly earlier was now gone. The wind began to whip and the sky seemed to just burst open, spewing cool rain on the city below. Dante frowned and cursed under his breath as he walked to the car.
The incidents that took place at the baptism would speak volumes for the disastrous tone of Dante and Tempest's relationship in the years to come.
TO BE CONTINUED...