Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chapter 76-Sins of a Father

My palms were sweaty as I walked up the driveway.  I’m sure they both knew why I wanted to see them.  Going to them, facing them was embarrassing enough but I would have to take that embarrassment to a new level in order to get the answers I needed.  Aric opened the door before I had a chance to ring the bell.
“Hello son.”
“Hey mom.  Bynni’s already here.”
“How are you and Nina doing?”  They had been trying to have a child for a few months now.  It was harder but not impossible for a vampire to become pregnant a fact neither of them knew when Nina asked to be turned on their honeymoon.  She was ready to be a mom and the delay was taking a toll on her.
“We’re good.”
“Hey mom.”  Bynni said standing to give me a hug.  “Happy to see you out of the house.”
“It feels good to want to leave the house.  Slowly things are taking on a new form of normal.”
We sat in a short uncomfortable silence.  There were both waiting for me to bring up the real reason behind this visit.
“Mom we were happy to explain things to the boys.”  Bynni stated breaking the silence.
“You mean lie for your poor confused mom.” I said giving a nervous laugh.
“Yeah something like that.” Aric said with a smirk.
I buried my face in my hands.
“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have put you two in that position.”  I was feeling like my life was a series of apologies.
“Mom it’s ok.  Things were stressful and all mixed up for you dealing with CeCe then the wedding.”  I gave Bynni a weak smile.
“But you don’t remember.”  Aric made it more of a statement rather than a question.  I shook my head.  The concern on his face was identical that that on Bynni’s has they exchanged worried glances.
“No.  I…um your father, Mulo.  Well he said I asked him to cloak them.  You know like he did with Ceula.”
“I wanted you both here because I need those memories back.  Even if they are painful I need to know.  The uncertainty is eating away at me.  Stopping me from being able to really enjoy anything.  It’s always in the back of my mind, the wondering and I don’t want that anymore.”
“As well as those missing days.”  Bynni added.
“Yes.  I know it’s a lot to ask of you both but…but I can’t ask him.  I don’t trust him to tell me the truth right now.” I added looking at Aric.  He had always understood me and he knew without having to invade my thoughts what was going on with me.  He had a grave look in his eyes; Bynni wore the same expression.  Something was telling me this wasn’t going to be as easy as I had hoped.
“Nevermind.  I was wrong to ask this of you.  I’ll go to him and hope he will be honest with me.  You both have done more than any child should have to for their parent.”  I stood to leave when Bynni grabbed my arm.
“It’s not that mom.”
“Then what is it?” 
She gave a quick glance at Aric as the secretly tried to figure out who wanted to deliver whatever bad news they were trying to tell me.
“We’re not like dad.  He’s older and more in touch with his abilities.  The only way we can tap into your memories, especially cloaked ones would be…”
“Would be to bite you.”  Bynni finished for her brother who was having a hard time with that idea.
Aric had only bitten two people that I knew of.  TK on that fateful night Bynni was turned and Nina when she asked to be turn.  Bynni I don’t think had ever gone that route.  They were both considered to be ‘new age’ vamps getting their meals through specially designed plasma foods or from blood banks. 
“Even then we couldn’t pick and choose which memories we see.”  She continued.
“Ah I see.  So you could possibly get access to everything I’ve ever experienced?”  I winced at that thought.  Aric looked away.  He was clearly as uncomfortable with that idea as I was.
“Not exactly.  The more we take the more we see.  We would only need to go back as far as the wedding.”  Bynni stated.
“So is this why you guys don’t feed off people?”
“No that’s a choice.”  Aric stated.  “It's something we can turn off and on and depending the needs we have at the time.  Most vamps keep it off because it can be overwhelming living through someone else, hearing them, seeing them feeling them.  It was a skill that evolved out of necessity over time.  I didn’t know this until TK.  Dad had to give me a crash course in controlling it.”
“So how long?”
“Would I feel your emotions?  Considering that we are related, probably longer than the average Joe.  I was feeling Nina’s mood swings for almost two weeks.  I felt TK longer only because I was still learning to get a handle on things.”
I stood there considering everything they were telling me.  When Mulo had released my memories of our first night together, it wasn’t done through biting me.  I was pregnant with the boys at the time and he said he wouldn’t bite me.  The idea of them having to carry around the burdens I was feeling was too much.
“I won’t do it.  It’s not that important.”
“Mom it’s ok.  It’s really the only way.  We both can feel how stressed you are.  If we can help, let us.”  Bynni’s words were very touching and sincere.  Our relationship had always been rocky but we still found a way to try to make things work.
“I can’t.  The stress, the mess of emotions.  I can’t knowingly let you walk around feeling like that.”
“Mom.  Don’t make us compel you to allow us to do this.”  Aric said looking very serious but I could tell he was joking, at least I hoped he was joking.  They both had very determined looks.  Maybe they wanted the truth as much as I needed it.
“Ok so who will be the lucky one to get inside mom’s head?”  I asked with another nervous laugh. 
“I think it’ll be best for Bynni to do it.  It could be less embarrassing for everyone that way.”
“You’re probably right.”  I took a deep shaky breath before sticking my arm out.  Bynni’s teeth lengthened .
“It might help if you think about Mulo.  Might give me more localized control.”
I nodded then turned my head, moments later I felt her teeth sink into my arm.
I thought about Mulo.  Our first meeting, finding out I was pregnant with Aric.  Then my thoughts flashed to the night Bynni was changed and the pain I felt when I learned the truth about him the next day.  My thoughts went to how hurt I was with his angry words when we saw each other at the kids’ wedding.  I tried to concentrate, she didn’t need to see all of that.  The wedding, my wedding.  Marcus.  I saw his smiling face clearly.  Then the happiness, the sadness.  The pain, the hurt, the lies.
I didn’t realize she had let go or that I was crying until I looked over and saw Aric hugging her.  She was crying.  I shouldn’t have allowed this; it was too much for her to be burdened with even if it was only temporary.
“Bynni, dear I’m sorry.”  I stepped over to them, she pulled away from her brother and gave me a hug.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”  She cried into my ear.
“Tell you what honey?”
“About Marisol.  You let me live with her.  You never said anything.”  Oh no.  My wandering thoughts went back too far.  I needed to concentrate better on the timeline and I didn’t. 
“Did you know?”  She asked looking at Aric who shook his head in response.
“I knew something was always between she and dad but I never knew what.”
“Well your father is working with her to use and torment our mother.”  That fire and anger I had encountered as a teen from her was bubbling back full force.
 “If you had said something to me, I would have left.  Yet you stayed quiet and let me live with her all this time.  Why?”
“If I had ever thought for one moment she meant to do you any harm I would have died trying to get you free from her.  But she didn’t and you two had some sort of bond as much as it pained me to see it.  My issues with her are just that my issues with her.”
“But still, what she’s asking of you.  What he did to you, to me.  How do you deal with it all?  Why do you continue to deal with him?” 
“I didn’t think I would ever forgive him for taking that choice away from you but to hold a grudge against him would mean holding one against your brother as well.  He did the same thing to TK.”  Bynni looked over at Aric and knew that as hard as it was for me it was harder on him.  "And I deal with it all one day at a time.  It's all I can do but as you have seen it gets to be too much.  A person can only take so much."
“Aric he’s your father.  You have to do something.  You can’t let her be forced to go through with this.”
“Both of you stop now.  Neither of you will fight my battles.”  I said cutting Aric off before he had a chance to respond.  “Regardless of the circumstances, my life is much richer because of the children that I have.  That has been the only good thing in all of this and that is what I hold on to in order to keep going until I find another option.”
“No Bynni.  Adult or not I am still your mother and I mean it.  Too many innocent by standers have already been hurt.  I’m not willing to risk any more.”
“Well it’s too bad Mulo doesn’t feel the same way.”
“He didn’t!”  Aric exclaimed.
“Yes he did.”  Bynni confirmed.
 “But they could have died.” 
I stood there watching the exchange waiting for them to fill me in on what they were talking about.
“Hello.  Guys someone please tell me what this is all about.”
“I’m going to see him.”  Aric stormed passed us heading for the door.
“Aric wait.  One of you tell me what’s going on now.”
“You didn’t cheat on Marcus mom.  Those three days were spent with Mulo.  He’s not their father Marcus is.  He bit you.  Infected you enough to change them but not you.”
When I was pregnant with the boys, he wouldn’t bite me.  Even in those thoughts or dreams he told me not while I was pregnant.  He knew what it would do yet this time he did it anyway.
“Wait you said they could have died.” 
“Yes.  With them being so tiny, even tinier than normal babies since there were three in there, their hearts could have stopped.  The stress of the change could have been too much for their bodies to handle.  They could have been still born.”
I could see the shame in Aric’s eyes as he spoke knowing his father could be so callus with the lives of his siblings.  This was too much.  My head was spinning; the thoughts going through it were too painful.  Was he tying to turn them or kill them?  And why, I was dealing with enough, why would he do that to me?
“I…I have to go.”  I felt like I was in a daze at this point. 
“You can’t go over there by yourself mom.  Aric go with her.  You two both need to talk to him.”
“What about you?  We still have things we need to talk about.”
“I’ll be fine mom, but man you are depressing.  TK is home he’ll provide me some distraction then we are looking for a new place to live.”  I know she tried to seem nonchalant for my sake however she couldn’t mask the sadness in her eyes entirely. 
Aric drove us over and the entire car ride he kept apologizing like any of this was his fault.  I wondered if he was getting some residual effects form Bynni. 
“Hello son.”  Mulo said as he opened the door.  Aric responded by punching his father.  A move I didn’t expect and by the shocked look on Mulo’s face he hadn’t expected it either.
“Well I guess I deserved that.”  Aric lunged for him again but this time Mulo stepped out of the line of fire.  “You get one but don’t push it boy.  I don’t want to hurt my child but I will put you down if need be.”  Mulo glanced over in my direction; the look on his face was one of contempt.
“His attitude is your fault.”  He stepped around Aric heading towards me, but his path was quickly blocked by our son.
“Stay away from her.”  I saw the fury in Mulo.  I didn’t think he would really hurt Aric but I wasn’t willing to take a chance.  I knew he wouldn’t hurt me, at least not physically.
“Aric, it’s ok.  Remember I can fight my own battles.”
“Yeah but he doesn’t apparently fight fair.”  He responded never taking his eyes off Mulo.
“It’s ok.  He can’t hurt me any more than he already has.”  I placed my hand on his arm, he glanced back at me then reluctantly stepped aside.
“Why?  Why Mulo would you try to kill them?  Why would you continue to hurt someone you claim to love in such a way?”
“Oh my love I wasn’t trying to kill them.  I remember how you were when you lost our babies.  I wouldn’t put you through that again.  I kept you here and safe to make sure they were ok.”
“Then what?  What did you hope to gain from this?”
“You already know the answer to that.”
I stepped closer to him.  I looked him squarely I the eye refusing to be used by him any longer.
“So you put my boys through extra stress and worry about my safety right after their father had gone missing.  Put my life, my sanity, and the lives of my unborn children at stake all so you could have a reason to continue to be a part of my life.”  He reached out to stroke my face but I swatted away his hand.
“I will always be a part of your life.  I love you Amari.”
Aric snorted from the side.  He was seething over his father’s actions but was not interfering.  He knew I needed to do this.  I gave him a loving look before turning back to Mulo.
“You don’t love me.  I don’t think you even know what that means.  Marcus loved me.  I can’t do this anymore.  I don’t have any energy left to spend on you.  If I thought you had a heart, I would put you out of your miserable existence by driving a stake through it.”  Mulo took a step forward and I heard Aric let out what only could be described as a low warning growl.
“Do you really think you can take me son?  I’m older, stronger and faster.”
“True but I’m a lot more pissed off.  I won’t stand by and let you hurt her in anyway any longer.  This ends today.”  Mulo glanced at Aric then back at me.  I could see he was working out his next actions.  Mulo took another step.
“Damn it dad!”  With fangs bared Aric pushed me back and stepped between us.  They were in a stand off.  “I won’t let you do it.” 
“I wasn’t asking your permission.”  Mulo snarled “Back off son I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Give it your best shot.”  I could only watch as everything seemed to happen in slow motion.  Aric lunged for his father as he attempted to reach for me.  I heard myself screaming Aric’s name as Mulo sent him flying through the air with such force he crashed through the door.  I heard the metal scraping across the hallway floor before colliding with the wall at the end of the hall.  I scrambled to my feet intent on getting to my son but I didn’t make it very far. 
“He’ll be fine.  He needed to be taught that lesson.  You on the other hand may not be so lucky.”
Continue Reading: "Chapter 76-Sins of a Father"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chapter 75-Letting it out

By the time Saturday arrived I was relieved it was the weekend.  Mulo has shown up everyday right after the boys left for school.  I felt dirty sneaking around like this; it was almost as if I was having an affair all over again.  Shirley hadn’t returned to work yet so I hadn’t had to come up with an explanation as to who Mulo was.  The hours he spent here were tough.  He had his faults but he was a good father, he always had been.  He treated Bynni and Ceula no different from Aric and was there for them when they both needed that father figure.  Now seeing him with the triplets and seeing how much they adored him left me conflicted.  On the one hand they should adore him, he was their father, but on the other I would rather them not be able to know their father.  The silence in the house was always my enemy. It left me with time to think and wallow in my own private hell. 
Dax was out practicing his driving skills with Carter while Dunham had gone to a movie with a friend.  I suspected he had a girlfriend.  He was wearing cologne, taking longer to get ready in the mornings making sure he looked ‘just right’ before leaving.
 He had almost missed the bus a few mornings.  I wanted to ask him but I figured it would be an awkward conversation to have with his mom.  Aric eventually let me meet Nina and Bynni reluctantly let me meet TK so I decided I would just wait it out.  Besides that was my only choice since my attempts to pry information out of Dax had failed.  He would simply smile and pretend he didn’t know what I was talking about.  Those boys were sticking together which made me happy in a way.  It meant their relationship was definitely on the mend so I didn’t mind too much if they were joining forces against me.  I laughed to myself as I remembered the look of absolute horror on their faces when I attempted to have ‘the talk’ with them.  It was a bittersweet moment since I’m sure that would have been a father/sons talk.  With five kids in the house, I was able to keep myself busy with cleaning.  Something was always dirty. 
I was finishing up as Dax and Carter returned.  Although he was busier now after his latest promotion, Carter still found time to help.  I would be lost without him and Jonas especially when it came to teaching the boys to drive.  They were a very important part of my life, my family and I cared for both of them deeply.
“Hey mom Carter thinks I’m ready to take my driver’s test.”  I cringed at that thought.  I hadn’t taught any of the kids to drive.  Mulo took care of with the older three.  I tried but I would get so nervous I thought I would get sick. 
“That’s great dear.” I croaked out.
Both of them laughed at my distress.
“It’ll be ok Amari.  He really is a good driver.”  Carter put a reassuring arm on my shoulder.  None of the kids had ever been in an accident so I’m not sure why I got so nervous about them driving but it was the only thing I refused to do.
“Sweet!” Dax exclaimed as he checked his text messages.
“Hey mom can I head out?  Couple of the guys are getting together over at the rec center for some flag football.”
“Yeah, go have fun.”
“Thanks mom.  Oh and can I have some cash?  We probably will grab pizza afterwards.”
I gave him thirty bucks, he gave me a quick kiss on the cheek then ran out the door.  Once he was gone Carter turned to me looking very serious.
“Can we talk?”
“Of course.”  We headed into the living room.
“You can tell me it’s none of my business but…”  He took a deep breath rubbing his hand over his face.
“Carter what is it?” 
“A few days this week I was going to stop by after my shift before heading home and I saw you with Mulo.  I know you two have a history and with Marcus--- well what I’m getting at is isn’t it a little soon, I mean do you think it’s wise to be…”  Carter was flustered and nervous.  I felt the shame and embarrassment over what he thought was going on.
“Oh, that.”  I said sliding onto the couch.
“Like I said you can tell me it’s none of my business, but considering…um your health I’m concerned.”
This is the situation I dreaded happening.  Someone seeing him coming around and getting the wrong idea.   Only I thought it might be one of the boys or perhaps Cece considering she also lived close now.  I chewed on my lower lip as I thought about what to tell him.
“Would you believe me if I told you it’s not what you think?”  I asked wringing my hands together while shooting him a side glance.
“Yes I would.” He answered without hesitation.
I twirled my thumbs as I considered telling him what I had done.  He and Jonas were my only friends and I had come to depend on them and that friendship heavily.  The idea of having their view of me tarnished was a painful thought but I needed to tell someone.  The guilt and secrecy was eating me alive.  I had found myself needing to have a glass of wine or three in order to sleep most nights.  I took a deep breath.
“It’s not what you think but it’s just as bad.”
“I don’t understand.”
“He’s here to visit the triplets.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Be…be…cause they’re his.”  I sobbed.  He didn’t respond, instead he pulled me close while I cried.  “Oh Carter I’m terrible.  I…I never thought I could do that, but but I must have.”  I continued crying letting everything I had been holding in come tumbling out.
“Shhh.  It’s ok.  Just take a deep breath.”  He gave me a few moments to collect myself.  “Now explain ‘must have’ don’t you know?  It’s not exactly something that could happen without your knowledge.”
“Yes but I…I don’t remember.  I told you Mulo was different and the triplets, their eyes.  It’s the only explanation.”
Carter rubbed small circles on my back as I started crying again.
“But you don’t know for sure?”  I didn’t know if that was a statement of disbelief to himself or a question directed at me either way I shook my head no.  Carter turned me to face him then wiped the tears from my cheeks.
“I don’t believe you would do that to Marcus I don't care how confused you were at the beginning of the marriage.  And for you to not remember something as big as committing adultery and the fact you also lost those three days are very troubling.”
I threw my arms around his neck.  I was relieved he was his usual logical self and didn’t rush to pass judgment or think the worst of me.
“Thank you!”  I said giving him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“For what?”
“For being you.  I love you Carter and would be lost without you.”
“I love you to Amari.”  He replied softly.
Cries came over the baby monitor interrupting our conversation.  When Jonas got off work he came over to join us for dinner.  Dunham walked in right as we were setting the table.  When I saw him I couldn’t help but to smile.  Dax saw him and burst out laughing.
“What’s your problem man?” He asked as all eyes were on him while we tried to contain our own laughter.
“Dude you might want to wipe your face.  Not sure if pink’s really your color?”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“You got a little something right there.” Dax said pointing at his cheek.  Dunham’s eyes widened as his hand flew to his cheek.  We all burst out laughing as he ran to check his reflection in the glass.  He shot his brother a death glare as he grabbed a napkin to clean off his cheek.  Dinner was fun and relaxed. 
Dax gave his brother more grief about his mystery girl which resulted in peas being thrown across the table.
“Dax leave your brother alone.”  I said smiling at Dunham while tousling his hair.
“Mom stop.” He said gently knocking my hand away before readjusting this hair.
“Aww hunny it’s cute really.  Your first girlfriend.  Hopefully you’ll let me meet this young lady soon.”
“Maybe.” He mumbled
After dinner Jonas helped the boys clean up while Carter helped me get the triplets ready for bed.
“Amari I was serious about what I said earlier.”
“I know.” I replied giving Elton a kiss goodnight.
“No I don’t think you do.”
I looked up at him confused as to what he was saying.
“What do you mean?”  I asked picking up Elphie to get her ready for bed.
He finished changing Edson before putting him in the crib.  He gave him a quick kiss then headed out of the nursery.
“Carter wait.” I said pulling him into my room.  “There is obviously something on your mind so just tell me.”
“It’s nothing really.  I just wanted you to know how I felt about you.  I mean about what we were discussing earlier.  Your situation.”  He added quickly
“Thanks Carter and I want you to know how much that truly means to me.”
“Yeah, well um the gaps in your memory really concern me.  I think you need to get scheduled for a CT scan just to make sure it isn’t something serious.”
“Ok if you think that’s best but I’m not sure it’s medical.”
“It has to be something, that isn’t normal.”
“Well you're the doctor.”  I knew it wasn't medical it was Mulo.  Why didn’t I think about his possible involvement earlier?  It could have been Marisol but with Marcus gone I didn’t really have anything she wanted right now.  No the more I thought about it the more I was convinced Mulo had to be involved somehow.  The only question is why, why would he do that?  Since I still didn’t feel right about this current paternity issue, I didn’t trust him to be completely honest and forthcoming about anything I asked him.  I was walking around with a pit in my stomach for a reason and it had to be more than just guilt.  Mulo claimed I asked him to cloak my memories but what if it was something else? 
After Jonas and Carter left I made the call I had avoided all week.  It was time to speak to Aric and Bynni.  Hopefully they could help me fill in the missing pieces.
Continue Reading: "Chapter 75-Letting it out"