Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chapter 74-The Truth Hurts

Over the next several days the only thing that kept me from retreating back into a depression was the promise I made to the boys.  If they thought something was different about the triplets they never mentioned it.  Watching them interact should have warmed my heart but I had a constant knot in the pit of my stomach that prevented me from enjoying my children.  I wanted to love them; it should have been easy; a natural thing to do yet each time the looked at me with their innocent faces I wanted to cry.  There was no one I could talk to about this because I was too ashamed.  
  Not even in therapy did I breathe a word about my problem.  I was talking to her now and I knew her job wasn’t to pass judgment on me but it would be too hard to explain how I couldn’t remember cheating on my husband.  The fact that I was gone for three days with no memory of anything after leaving my house already had her questioning my mental state.  I truly believed if it wasn’t for great support system I have she would have called social services in order to have me investigated.  No, telling her was out of the option.  Instead I suffered my doubt in silence while trying my best to pretend everything was ok.  I kept my mind off of things by trying to keep busy.  I got a tutor for Dunham.  
 I spoke with all of his teachers at a conference as well as Dax’s just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  Trig was the only thing Dunham struggled with.  His grade never managed to get above a D in that class.  Dax’s only real struggle was keeping his mouth closed and his eyes open.  I couldn’t really fuss at him about the sleeping thing since I knew the cause of it but he promised to stay awake and talk less.  Overall they were both good students.  Dunham’s teacher gave me a list of possible tutors.  They were college students who were his previous star students.  After talking to a few of them we settled on Embry Weston.  
 She was working on her bachelor's degree in childhood education in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher.  She was sweet and polite, her class schedule worked best with Dunham’s and they seemed to get along.  Shirley, the nanny, continued to come a few hours each day and I was grateful to have her.  She was a nice lady who was excited about the upcoming arrival of her first grandchild.  Although I was expecting it, the day she actually called out because her daughter was in labor I panicked.  It would be the first time I was completely alone with the triplets.
“You can do this, you can do this.”  I chanted to myself as I stood outside their nursery door.
“Ma-Ma.” Elphie said reaching out for me as soon as I entered the room.  I only hesitated a moment before picking her up.
“Hey pretty girl.  Did you sleep well?”
She giggled in response as I changed her then sat her down to get Elton.  Wash, rinse, repeat; after getting them and myself all dressed it was time for the fun task of carrying them down the stair for breakfast.  I placed Edson back in his crib, which he was not happy about, while I took the other two downstairs to put them in their high chairs. 
Once all three were fed, it was potty time.

Edson and Elphie were a breeze, but
Elton didn’t mind sitting in a soiled diaper so he would fight me.   Breakfast-check, potty-check, next outdoor play time.  Shirley had worked hard to get them on a schedule and I didn’t want to ruin it, plus I had no clue how to really interact with them so sticking with the schedule worked well for me.  Just as I was getting all the toys together to take outside the doorbell rang.
“Hey guys do you think it’s Uncle Carter or Uncle Jonas?”
They all followed behind me as I headed for the door.
“No, it’s daddy.” He said as I opened the door. 
“Hello Love.”
“Why---what are you doing here?”  My heart was pounding and my hand gripped tightly onto the doorknob as I tried to keep my entire body from shaking.
“I came to see my kids and to see how you were doing.”
I stood frozen.  It had been a good few hours.  I hadn’t once had the chance to think about who their father might be; instead I simply had been a mother taking care of her children.  Then he shows up and ruins that.
“I would have come sooner, but your house was a beehive of activity with people constantly coming and going.  I thought it best to wait.” 
He walked into the house and I absentmindedly closed the door behind him.  Edson crawled over to him putting his hand up in the air signaling he wanted to be picked up.  Mulo bent down scooping him up as if it were a perfectly natural thing to do.
“I’ve missed you Love.” He said giving me a quick kiss on my cheek. 
Elton and Elphie had gone back to playing with their toys completely oblivious to what was going on around them.  I wandered into the living room not wanting to acknowledge his statement.  They weren’t his, they couldn’t be his.
“Come now my love.  Do you have any other explanation?”
“No, no, no no.” I muttered to myself.
“Look at them!” He ordered.  “You and your human couldn’t have done this.”
The truth was literally staring me in the face as I looked into the eyes of my son. 
“They are mine, ours Amari.  No amount of wishful thinking is going to change that.”
He was right.  There was no way they could have ended up like this unless I had cheated on my husband but something wasn’t right.  Something felt off. 
“Why don’t I remember?”
“You asked me to cloak them.  You had terrible guilt over what we had done and it pained me to see you so distraught so against my better judgment I agreed.”
His answers seemed plausible.  I would have been guilty, I am guilty over this.
“But you were in France.”
“The benefits of owning your own plane.  I come and go a lot.  I came back for you.  You needed me and wanted me to.”
I thought back to the phone calls we shared.  Although I never said anything directly, I did miss him early on and wished he wasn’t so far away.  Oh dear God he was right.  I could have done this.  How would I explain this to the boys?  What would they think of me?
“You don’t have to worry about that.  Your oldest children told them so story to explain the differences.”
Oddly I was not comforted by that fact.  Aric and Bynni had to lie to protect my reputation with my boys. 
“They did it freely.  They love you and wanted to spare both you and them any additional pain considering what you are going through.”
One small step forward, ten giant leaps back.  The triplets were starting to get fussy.
“It’s time for their nap so I think you should go now.  Please.”
I needed him gone so I could curl up and lock out the world for a few moments.  I didn’t want him near me serving as an even more painful reminder of yet another failure in my life.
“No.  Let me help you.  I’ll leave before your sons come home.”
I didn’t get a chance to object as he picked up Elphie and Edson then headed towards the stairs.  I could only follow behind carrying Elton.
“I missed out on this with Aric.  I won’t do that this time.” He commented as we walked into the nursery.
“You can’t expect to just step in and start playing daddy to them.  I can’t…I can’t deal with that.  With you.  Not now.”
“I’m their father and I have a right to be in their lives.”  Mulo kept his voice low but the anger still came through loud and clear.  Taking me by the arm he all but dragged me back down the stairs.
“Let go!” I said yanking my arm free.  “I am barely holding on as it is.  I don’t need you coming around adding additional complications to my life.”
“I’m not a complication, I’m their father!”
“You were more than happy to leave the parenting of Aric to me so why can’t you do the same now?”
Mulo stepped closer to me clearly very angry but stopped when he saw I was scared of him.
“I’m not unreasonable.  I know you don’t want to explain this to your sons.  If it makes it easier I will only come by when they aren’t home.”
Nothing about this was easy.  I had betrayed the one man who loved me in spite of all my faults.  Easy would be having a time machine that would allow me to erase all my mistakes.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to have that option.
“Mulo, I need some time.  Some space.  Looking at them daily is enough of a reminder of what I have done.  Having you here, I don’t know if I can handle that.”
He reached out for me but I recoiled away from him.  He clenched his jaw and curled his hands into fists at his side.“I’ve been patient giving you time to grieve.  They are my children and I will not lose anymore time with them.  You are thinking of yourself, but do you really think it’s in their best interest to not have their father around?”
Damn him for being right.  I couldn’t deprive them of the right to know their father because it was a harsher reminder of my mistakes. I learned that the hard way with Ceula and I know Bynni still wishes she had met her father.
“Only when the boys aren’t here.”  I conceded.
“You’ll see this will be good for everyone.”
Mulo looked as if he wanted to reach out for me again but he stopped himself.
“I’ll go now, but I’ll see you tomorrow.”  He let his fingers brush across my arm as he walked past me.
“Mom.”  Dax called out to me as he walked into the house.  I quickly wiped the tears from my cheeks as he entered the living room.
“Hey honey how was school?”  I asked hoping to sound a little cheerful.
“I stayed awake.”
“Well that makes for a great day."  I joked.  "Where’s your brother?”
“Oh he said he was meeting up with Embry.  Something about a test and needing to see her.”
“Um, he didn’t mention anything to me.”
“He said he texted you.”
“Ah, ok.  It’s been a busy day.  I’m not even sure where my phone is.”
Dunham was out past dinner.  Once Embry dropped him off he barely said hello before he ran upstairs.  He did make a reappearance to help Dax and I get the triplets bathed and ready for bed.  The house was quiet, too quiet as I lay there staring at the ceiling.  Sleep was eluding me tonight.  Every time I closed my eyes I got images of me with Mulo.  It was disturbing so after tossing and turning for a while I headed downstairs.
 I hated myself for thinking it, but for the first time since he went missing I was relieved Marcus wasn’t here.
Continue Reading: "Chapter 74-The Truth Hurts"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chapter 73-Baby Steps

The next few days were very strange.  Mom acted as if her world hadn’t been shattered.  Dad tried to talk to her but she refused.  He packed up and left that day saying they would straighten things out once she returned home.  I tried to talk to her about it, but she would always change the subject.  She spent her days cooking, cleaning, and spoiling her grandchildren.  As her daughter, I knew I should have pushed harder to get her to open up.  I was the one person that could understand what she was going through, but honestly I didn’t know if I could deal with it if she did.  I knew it wasn’t healthy for her to be holding it in and I feared she was going to have a melt down at any moment. 

There were times I would find her crying, but she would always say she was fine and not to worry.  Things with Dax were still strained but we were trying.  My house became a revolving door of visitors with all the kids coming and going not to mention Jonas and Carter continually stopping by to check on me.  I truly believed people kept coming to make sure I didn’t run off again.  I still had no idea where I had disappeared to for three days and anytime I tried to remember, my head would hurt.  The babies were born five weeks early. We had triplets.  Marcus would have been thrilled, he got his little girl.  We had two more boys as well.  Edson was born first,
 then came Elphie,

 and lastly was Elton.

 It was a long and painful labor.  I barely cared for the babies while I was in the hospital.  Everyone assumed it was because of the delivery, but I knew differently.  Mom stayed with me for a few weeks after they arrived for which I was grateful.  These were the first set of grandkids she got to see at birth.  If they woke up in the middle of the night she would be the one to see about their needs. 

We still never talked about Dad and I wasn’t sure how she would function after she arrived home.  She told me not to worry and everything would be fine.  I tried to get her to stay with me, we had plenty of room but she said she wasn’t a city girl.  I was thankful she stayed as long as she did because seeing and caring for the babies made me sad.  My heart still ached for Marcus and I felt myself sinking further into a depression.  I needed him, I wanted him home.  He needed to meet his children; they deserved a chance to get to know him.  After mom left the care of the babies fell a lot on to Dax and Dunham.  I hired a nanny for when they were at school because the first day I was home alone with them I felt overwhelmed and I ended up locking myself in my room and crying.  I managed to call CeCe and Trey.  They had moved into our old house and were the closest option.  They came and cared for them while I stayed in my room.   Carter suggested I go to counseling but I rejected the idea at first.  As the weeks went on, I became more and more distant from everyone.
 If I wasn’t in my room, I was in the basement painting. Every time I closed my eyes I saw his face.  It was such a happy day, and I wanted to be back there so desperately.
 He would still be here if it wasn’t for my insistence he be turned.  If I had just accepted his fate he would have been with us still.  We would have had a chance to say goodbye.
 Watching him die would have killed me, but this not knowing; the lack of an answer to knowing if he was safe or not was a million times worse than facing his death.  I did this to him; I did this to our family.
 I couldn’t look at the faces of Dax or Dunham without seeing him.  My selfishness cheated them out of time with their father.  How could I expect them to forgive me for that?
 I finished the painting and spent two days curled up under it crying or sleeping.  When I finally came out of my fog, I was upstairs in my bed with Ceula curled up beside me. I called Carter and had him set up an appointment with the therapist.  The first couple of sessions I spent either not saying a word or crying.  Arriving home after my sixth session, I found Dax and Dunham in the dining room doing homework.
 “Hey guys.  Can I talk to you for a sec?”
Both boys looked annoyed but put away their notebooks as I sat down.
“Where are your siblings?”
“Sleep.  We fed them, changed them, played with them and now they are sleeping.” Dax supplied the information.
“Thank you.”
“Is that it?” Dunham asked.  “I’m tired and really need to try and finish my math.”  Looking into their green eyes I saw their disappointment and frustration.  I was letting them down.  Dunham was even finding it hard to maintain his patience with me.
 “Not really.  I want to; no I need to apologize to you both.  Your dad being gone has been hard on me but it’s been hard on you two as well and I haven’t handled things well.”  I took a deep breath before continuing.  “I’m sorry for the stress I have put on you both.  You are teenagers and should get to act like ones, instead you have been taking care of your siblings and well me too.  I promise you both I’m trying to get better.  It won’t be perfect and I will probably still screw up, but I’m going to try.  You guys deserve it, and the triplets deserve it.  I hope in time you can forgive me.”  They sat there looking at me, trying to decide what to say.  
 “It’s sucked around here for a while now mom.  I think you have been more than a little selfish in how you have acted.  We miss him too but you seemed to have forgotten that.  It’s been like we lost both parents and the rugrats don’t even know who you.”
“Dax, I know…” he put his hand up to stop me.
“Let me finish.  I’ve acted like a jerk a time or two so I get it.  You say you’re going to try, so we’ll let you try.”
“Thank you.”
“Yeah I guess I agree with Dax, especially about him being a jerk part.”
“Whatever dude.”
 Even though I hadn’t spoken a word in therapy it was helping more than I could imagine.
“If you really want to try, you can help me with my homework.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“It would really help to have your dad here.  I suck at math but he loved the stuff.  Dax can’t you help?”
“I’ve tried and I’ve learned he’s not a very good student.”
 “More like you’re a crappy teacher.”  It warmed my heart to see them joking around.  I prayed for their sakes I was able to find it within myself to be the parent they needed.
 “Ok.  Tomorrow I will contact your teacher to see if she knows of a good tutor.  For now give Carter a call.  He’s a doctor, surely he can figure out trig.”
Turns out he was on call at the hospital but Jonas came over and brought Pebbles with him.  Dunham was really struggling with his math; it took the two of them almost an hour to complete his homework.  A tutor would be first order of business tomorrow.
 “Thanks for your help Jonas.  We would still be sitting there if it were left to me.”
“Glad I could help.  I was a little rusty, since it’s been years since I even looked at a math book.”
We stood in an awkward silence for a little while.  Jonas stepped closer to me, I could tell by the look on his face he had something he needed to get off his chest. 
“Um, Amari—“
“Would you like some coffee?”  I interrupted him not wanting to hear the lecture I was sure would be coming about my appalling behavior. 
“No.  If I drink coffee this late I will be up all night and I have work in the morning.”
“Oh, ok.  Jonas, I want to thank you and Carter again.  I’m sure you two are both wishing you’d never met me at this point.”  I tried to make light of the situation but I meant what I said.
“My running away threw me into Carter’s life which has now thrown me into yours.  I bet you didn’t think you would be taking care of five kids and a whack job of a neighbor when you moved here.”  I was so tired of crying.  At some point I had to run out of tears, but I hadn’t reached that point yet as I felt them rolling down my face again.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered wiping them away.
“It’s ok.” Jonas whispered pulling me into a hug.  “You’re right this isn’t what I expected when I moved here, but it doesn’t matter.  I care about you and I’m happy to do whatever I can to make things better for you.  And I know Carter feels the same way.”
Jonas wrapped his arms tighter around me; for the briefest moment I allowed myself the comfort of him holding me and life almost felt normal again.
“I, um I should probably go.”  Jonas broke from our hug.  When I looked at him he had a peculiar look on his face.  He quickly scooped up Pebbles, gave me a peck on the cheek then left.
That night I moved the baby monitor out of their room and into mine.  Around 2 am I heard one of them cooing and making noises.  I walked into the nursery and Elphie was awake and playing quietly in her crib while her brothers slept.  The moment our eyes met my heart sank. 
 “No, no no no no” I muttered stumbling out of the room.  I sank down onto the floor hugging my knees tightly to my chest.

 There was no way, this wasn’t right.  Her eyes as soon as they were on me I flashed back to Aric as a toddler.  They were the same but they couldn’t be. 
“Please be dreaming, please be dreaming.”  I shut my eyes tight hoping to wake up from this nightmare.  I wouldn’t have cheated on Marcus.  I couldn’t have done that to him.  I know I was confused at the beginning but I promised to be faithful.  I was faithful.
“This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening…”
Elphie’s coos were turning into cries.  I didn’t want her waking up her brothers.  I took a deep breath and went back into the nursery.  She had a sweet smile on her face when she saw me.

 “Ma-Ma” She said reaching her arms out for me.  My hands were in fists my by my side.  I couldn’t hold her, I was scared to hold her. 
“Ma-Ma.” She repeated.  Her little face was now wearing a frown as if she sensed my reluctance to go near her.  I continued to stand there frozen in place.  Even when she threw her head back and started wailing I made no more to go comfort her.  Elton and Edson were awakened by the noise; I was faced with two more pairs of those same eyes.
“Mom.  What’s wrong?”  Dax came walking into the nursery rubbing his eyes.  He walked over to the crib to pick up Elphie.
“Shhh…what’s wrong Fi-Fi?”
“I…I’m sorry.  I came but…she, um”
 “She just has to get used to you mom.  That’s all.”
Dunham came in shortly after Dax, as if on auto pilot he picked up one of the boys, changed his diaper gave him a quick kiss and put him back in his crib them repeated the process with the other boy.
“I’m sorry guys.”
“It’s ok mom.  We got this.”  Dunham said while in the mist of a big yawn.  Edson and Elton both went back to sleep quickly.  Elphie had other plans as she reached out for me again.
 “Guess she wants you after all Mom.” Dax said shoving her into my arms before I could protest.  She looked up at me with those eyes which sent a shiver down my spine.  How did they not see it?  Was I going crazy?  Maybe I was imagining things.  Maybe I would wake up in the morning and this would all be a bad dream.  My babies, Marcus’s babies would be normal.  They have to be Marcus’s babies because the alternative was a reality I didn’t want to face.

****A little note.  Thank you for the patience and understanding about the delay in getting this chapter out.  Things seem to be working although I am still dealing with crashes.  For game purposes I have changed worlds although for story purposes it will remain the same.  Just wanted to let you know that in case you note differences in the backgrounds and such.  Hopefully I won't have such a long break between chapters again. 

Thanks for your continued support of my stories.
Continue Reading: "Chapter 73-Baby Steps"