Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chapter 78-Revelations

“She’s really gotten big and she seems just as spoiled as Bam-Bam is with Aric and Nina.”  I commented to Carter as I watched Pebbles play in his backyard.  Life was starting to settle down again.  Aric and Bynni had been trying to teach me how to block out Mulo.  It was hard and a little draining.  I could only do it if I really concentrated.  Once I was feeling better I was still nervous that things would change with Carter, Jonas, and I.  They said they understood but it was a lot for anyone not really living it to deal with.  They continued being great friends as always.  Carter however did start to act a little more nervous around me.  I would catch him staring at me but he would try to deny it.  I guess he was waiting for me to grow a second head or something.  I didn’t blame him; I was waiting for the same thing.  I had discovered additional changes.  I was able to eat normal food again but every once in a while I would crave the plasma fruits or juice.  Also when my temper flared my incisors grew.  Not as much as Aric or Bynni’s but enough to make me look a little more menacing.  I was not comfortable with that change. 
“She is quite spoiled.”  Carter said coming to stand with me.  He was looking nervous again causing me to self consciously run my tongue across my teeth to make sure they were normal.
“Carter what’s going on?  You have been acting strange these last couple of weeks.”
“Strange?  Strange how?”  He asked, his voice going up an octave which was another dead give away he was nervous about something.
“Strange as in you getting all jumpy around me.  You not holding eye contact with me for long.  If you aren’t comfortable with me now, just say so.  I’ll understand.”  I would be a little hurt.  Not having him in my life would be a huge adjustment but honestly I wouldn’t blame him.  Having me for a neighbor and friend couldn’t be easy considering how my life was going.  He ran his hand through his hair then let out a sigh.  Walking over to the bar he fixed himself a drink.  Now I knew there was a problem.  Carter rarely ever drank, he hated the taste of the alcohol. 
“You’re right I am a little nervous around you.  But, but not for the reason you think.” He added quickly when he saw me getting ready to speak.
“We’ve been friends for a long time now.  I’ve been wanting to say something but it was never the right time, and it just felt wrong to bring it up.  And…”
He was so flustered.  He was rambling on and I was unsure of what he was trying to say.
“I care about you Amari.  I love you Amari.”  I walked over and put my hand on his cheek. 
“It’s ok Carter.  I know and I feel the same way.  Whatever has you so nervous it’s ok.  Just tell me.  We’re friends and I…” My words were cut off when he kissed me.
 I was shocked, that was not what I had expected.  It took me a few seconds to realize what was happening before I pushed him away.  My hand flew to my lips as I stared at him in disbelief.
“Why, why did you do that?”
“I’m sorry Amari.  I shouldn’t have.”  He reached out for me but I backed away.
“No, don’t.  You’re my friend, we’re just friends.   Why would you do that?”
“Because I’m in love with you.”  He said softly.  “I have been for a while but you were with Marcus and happy so I was content to just be your friend.  But now, I want to take care of you.  I want to…”
“NO!”  I screamed.  “Don’t say that!  You can’t say that.  We are friends why are you trying to ruin that?  I can’t be with you Carter.”
He looked so hurt when I said those last words.  The last thing I wanted was to hurt his feeling but this was wrong, I didn’t understand why he didn’t see how wrong this was.
“Because of how I look?”
“Is it because you can’t see yourself with a person that looks like me?”  It was my turn to have hurt feelings. 
“You really think I’m that shallow?  Maybe you don’t know me as well as I thought you did.”
“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it like that.  I know you aren’t that you wouldn’t be like that.”  I felt my temper rising followed by the uncomfortable itching of my gums.  I pressed my lips together then took a few deep breaths to try to calm myself.  Why was he doing this?  I didn’t need any more changes in my life right now.  His timing couldn’t have been any worse.
“Amari I know I’m not Marcus but if you give me a chance I could make you happy.”  He said quietly. 
“Don’t you see Carter?  What we have, our friendship does make me happy.  It’s what I depend on but now…”  I looked down at the wedding rings I still wore.  “Do you see these Carter?  These are why.”
His eyes followed my gaze as I twirled them around my finger.
“I don’t expect you to not still love him Amari.”  He took my hands in his; the soft loving expression on his face broke my heart.
“I know that.  That’s not what I am talking about.  The last man that professed his love for me, wanted to be with me vanished.  I can’t risk—“ I slid my hand free of his.  “I need to go.”
“Amari wait please.”
“I can’t, not now Carter.  I can’t.”  I walked out of the house but I heard him still calling for me.  I couldn’t believe he had done that.
I walked home slowly mourning the loss of the person I considered to be my best friend.  I didn’t see any way for us to get back to how we were before he confessed his feelings.  Even if we managed to remain friends things would be strained.  By the time I got home I needed a drink.  My nerves were shot and I would normally call Carter to talk these things over, but this time he was the reason for this situation.  I walked into the living room and saw Embry and Dunham in what looked like an intense discussion.  Their body language wasn’t that of a disagreement between teacher and student.
“What’s going on?”
Dunham had a look of confusion and fear on his face.
“Mom, sit I need to talk to you.”  This didn’t sound good and after dealing with Carter I didn’t need any more surprises.
“Um, ok.  What’s wrong?  Are you still failing?  I thought things were improving since you started seeing Embry.”
“Mom!” he said interrupting my string of questions.  I took a seat in the chair while they sat on the sofa.
“Mom, you’ve raised me to be the kind of person to take responsibility for their actions right?”
“Yes.  Why what have you done?  Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“I’m pregnant” Embry blurted out.
I was confused as to why she would say that until I saw Dunham take her hand.
“Excuse me?” I said slowly standing up out of the chair.
“She’s pregnant mom.” 
“And what the hell does that have to do with you?”  I asked with my anxiety level rising.
They gave each other nervous glances.
“It’s mine.”
“Come again?” I couldn’t have heard him right.  I didn’t hear him right.  There was no way my teenage son was sitting here telling me he was about to be a father.
“Embry’s baby is mine.”  Those were the last words I expected to hear come out of his mouth.  I took several deep breaths trying to keep my temper under control but I was seething.
“Dunham Robert Smith this had better be some sort of twisted joke!”
“Mom, I’m sorry it…it was an accident.  We didn’t mean to…”
“To what Dunham?”  I yelled at him.  “You didn’t mean to sleep with your tutor?  Or you didn’t mean to get her pregnant?  And you!”  I said turning my attention on Embry who was as white as a sheet.  “You are an adult, he’s a minor!  What the hell is wrong with you seducing my son and then being too dumb to use protection?”
“I didn’t…he, he”
“If you are about to tell me that the child was in control of this situation, that he seduced you, save your damn breath.  I don’t care if he showed up at your house in nothing more than his birthday suit as the adult you should have put a stop to it!  If he was flirting, then you should have either found a better way to handle it or you should have quit!”
“Mom, please”
“Don’t mom please me boy.  I can’t believe you could do this!  How in the hell can you take care of a baby?  You don’t take care of yourself.  Everything, EVERYTHING you have I pay for!  I do your cooking, your cleaning.  You're a child.”
I pulled out my phone and started dialing.
“Mom what are you doing?”
“I’m calling the cops what the hell do you think I’m doing?”
Dunham pulled the phone out of my hands. 
“You can’t do that.  I won’t let you.  I love her mom and she loves me.”  I stared at my son in shock.  Embry was still sitting on the couch too afraid to speak or move. 
“What she did was illegal and immoral.  I don’t care anything about you claiming to love each other.  You are a minor she is an adult.  If she really loved you she would have waited until you turned 18.  If she really loved you she would have been on some sort of birth control and made sure you used a condom.  If she really…”  I couldn’t even finish.  My eyes darted from Dunham to Embry and back again. 
“Mrs. Smith, I’m so very sorry.”  She said timidly walking over towards us.  The look I gave her stopped her in her tracks.
“You’re sorry?  You’re sorry!  You being sorry doesn’t mean crap at this moment.  Were you sorry when you decided to have sex with my teenage son?  Do you have any idea how you have ruined his life before he even gets a chance to really live it.  He will be a father before he graduates high school.”  I started pacing.  I needed to wanted to hit something and if I stood still for much longer I would have lashed out at her.  I couldn’t believe how irresponsible they both were for getting into this situation. 
“It was her!”  I yelled as the realization of the secret girlfriend hit me.  “All this time I thought it was some high school girl you were dating and it’s been her!”  Dunham didn’t have to speak, the look on his face confirmed I was correct. 
“GET OUT!”  I screamed.
“What?”  Dunham asked unsure of who I was talking to.
“I want that child molesting pedophile out of my house this instant!”
“Mom, you can’t put her out.”
“The hell I can’t and you are grounded.”
“If she goes, I go!”  I knew at that moment he had truly lost his mind. 
“Don’t test me right now boy.  If you even think about leaving this house with her I will not only have her arrested for statutory rape, but for kidnapping as well along with anything else I can think to have her charged with!”
“Dunham, it’s ok.  We’ll talk later.”  I was in her face before she even finished getting those words out.
“You most certainly will NOT be talking later.  You best leave now and be happy you are doing so without handcuffs.”
Embry gave one last look towards Dunham before quickly retreating out of the house.
“Go-to-your-room.”  I said slowly through clenched teeth.

“Now Dunham!”  I needed him out of my sight before I did something I would regret later.  My entire body was shaking when I collapsed onto the sofa.  I was so angry and hurt I wanted to scream.  I had three grown children, two of them married, yet it was my teenage son that was going to make me a grandmother.  And Embry, how could she do something like this. 
“Oh Marcus where are you?  I need you.  I need you so much right now.”  I cried sliding to the floor in tears.  One step forward, two steps back.  The story of my life. 
“Mom are you ok?”  Dax asked as he walked in finding me on the floor.
“No sweetie, not really.”  I said picking myself and wiping off my face.  “Dax.”
“Yeah mom?”  I started to ask him if he knew but decided against it.  I needed to figure out things with Dunham and I didn’t need to bring Dax into it.
“Nevermind.  Well do me a favor please.  I have to get the triplets fed can you get in touch with one of your older siblings and ask them to come over.”
“Does it matter who?”
“No just whoever you feel like hanging out with.”
I went to prepare dinner for the triplets.  Dax came to help me get them all settled.
“Aric’s coming over.”  I knew he would call him.  He loved hanging out with Aric.  “What happened this time?  When I went to the room Dunham was in there and not looking very happy.”
“Yeah he’s grounded.”
“Really?  What’d he do?”
“Dax don’t sound so happy that your brother is in trouble.”
“Hey it’s usually me so it’s a refreshing change.”  I smiled at him then gave him a hug.
“You two never seem to give me a break.”
“We’re boys mom, what’d you expect?”
When Aric arrived he helped get the triplets dressed and ready for bed.  Dax when down to watch the game on the TV in the basement since it was the bigger screen.
“So why am I here?”
“Because I need to get out for a few hours if you don’t mind and your other brother is on lockdown.  I need you here to make sure he doesn’t try a jail break.”  I filled Aric in on what transpired today with Embry and Dunham.  He was just as shocked to find out.  He said he would attempt to have a ‘man to man’ talk with him.  I got dressed and headed out.  The last time I was at any kind of bar was the day Marcus and I reconnected in Riverview. 
I settled down at the corner of the bar.  It wasn’t too busy but it had a nice live jazz band playing.  I sat listening to the music, replaying the events of the day.  I couldn’t believe I had two bombshells dropped on me today.  I was so lost in my thoughts staring into my empty glass, I didn’t pay any attention to the fact someone had slipped into the space next to me.
 “Can I buy you another?”  I looked up and smiled at the friendly face.
“Sure why not.”
Continue Reading: "Chapter 78-Revelations"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chapter 77-The Final Insult

When I woke up I had a splitting headache and my body felt like it was on fire.  Once my eyes were able to focus I saw that I was home in my bed.  It was dark outside and I heard soft breathing coming from the direction of the chair.  I squinted in the darkness to make out a figure.  Why was I so hot?  I tumbled out of bed wanting, needing to take a nice cold shower. 
My neck hurt, as I reached up to cover the throbbing pain my fingers came in contact with a bandage.  I stumbled a bit knocking into the side table.  The sleeping figure jumped up.
“Amari?  Are you ok?”
“Yeah.  Carter was here but was called to the hospital.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s about 7 or so.  You’ve been sleep since yesterday evening.”
“I need to shower.  I’m hot so very hot.”  I started stripping free of my clothes with him standing there.  Jonas quickly turned his back.
“Um, I’ll go get one of the girls.  They are downstairs.”  Jonas put his hand up to block his view as he exited the room.  I was stripped and sitting on my shower floor when Bynni and Cece came into the room.
“In here.”
“Mom you ok?”
“No, I’m running a fever I think.  Ceula you should stay back in case I’m contagious.”  Bynni shut off the water and got me a towel. 
“You’re not contagious mom.  You’re changing.”  Bynni stated helping me up off the floor. 
“Changing?  Changing into what?”  She gave me a sympathetic look. 
“The shower won’t help and it will get worse before it gets better.  Here let me check your bandage.”  Slowly she peeled it away.  “Looks better.” She commented as she removed it completely.
 “Where’s Aric?”
“He’s downstairs and very pissed off.”  Ceula chimed in.  “He’s mad at himself for not being able to help you and he’s mad at Mulo for what he’s done.  We all are.”  Both girls looked tired and scared.  They were holding something back.  I went to my dresser to pull on some clothes then headed downstairs.  Fred and Wilma were cowering in the corner Nina seemed to be trying to calm him but I could tell he was a bomb ready to blow.
“Where are the boys and the triplets?’ 
“My house.”  Ceula chimed in.  “We still have the nursery set up and toys so they took them there when Aric brought you here.”  I looked at them both, they were definitely hiding something.
“Well out with it!  What aren’t you saying?”
Aric looked up from outside then was instantly by my side.
“Mom I’m sorry.  Things got out of hand and I tried to control my temper but I couldn’t.”
 “Son it’s ok.  None of this is your fault and you can’t be held responsible for your father’s actions.”
“True but I am responsible for my own.”
“Baby it’s not your fault.”  Nina said
I was still clearly missing something in this exchange.  My head and neck were throbbing and I felt like my insides were on fire.  I grimaced against the pain willing it to hopefully go away.
“Aric sweetie, whatever you did isn’t your fault.”  The memory of them fighting popped back into my head.  I remembered Mulo standing holding me back from him but not much after that.  I was suddenly worried that he had done something to his father that he was now feeling guilty over.
“If he had been there when I found you I just might have.”  He said answering my thoughts.  “He was gone and you were bleeding a lot.  I should have taken you to the hospital but there would have been too many questions about that bite marks on your neck.”
“It’s fine, I’ll be…”  I doubled over as a pain shot through my stomach.  Aric carried me over to the couch.
“I’m sorry mom.”
“Quit saying that.  You have nothing to be sorry for.”  He dropped down on the couch beside me and the rest of them also sat. 
“I’ve been like this” He said pointing to his face “since I brought you here.  Carter, Jonas, they know what happened.  I wasn’t in the right mind frame to use a compulsion and plus I’ve been too upset to go back to looking normal.”  Oh it all was making sense now why they all looked so solemn.  Aric’s fangs were still fully extended and his eyes glowed.  He was a scary sight.
“Thanks mom.”
“Sorry honey.”
“It’s ok.  I know I am.  In fact my brothers thought I had done it to you.  They can be quite a team when they put some effort into it.”  There was a hint of amusement in his voice.
“I’ll deal with Carter and Jonas later.  I assume your brothers are ok now.”  Another wave of pain washed over me.  This was worse than labor and at least then I got drugs.
“I’ll get the morphine.”  Nina said.  They all seemed to be in my head.  It was more than a little unnerving. 
“Carter and Jonas took things surprisingly well or they are in a state of shock.  It was hard to really tell.”  Bynni stated.  “One thing was clear, they both were overly concerned with you and asked very little questions.” 
That sounded like them.  Once I was better I would sit down and explain it all.  He always managed to mess up my normal. Things were getting to a good place for the boys and now they have to deal with yet another disaster involving their mom.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved out the moment they turned 18 sooner if they thought they could.
“So how long will this process take?”  Since both Nina and Bynni had gone through this they would be the perfect people to help me through this.  There was another uncomfortable silence as everyone seemed to know something I didn’t.  Aric let lose a string of curses that shocked me.  He was always so calm and reserved yet he was emitting so much anger.
“Well…um we don’t think you are completely changing.”  Nina whispered.  Now I was more confused than ever.  Either I was going to be like them or not I didn’t think there was an in between.
“What are you talking about?  Bynni said I was changing.  Mulo bit me right?”
“Yes he did but he left a note.”
“Where is it?  Let me see.”
“I sorta ripped it to shreds.”  I doubled over once more and Nina ran to go get the morphine.  She came back ready to inject me.
“Wait will that make me sleep?”
“Then no, not until after I hear the whole story.”  I said through clenched teeth.  “Aric what did the note say?”
He looked at me and I could tell he felt defeated.  The anger started to subside and his eyes started to glow a little less.  He sat back down next to me.
“When we change a person we have to give more blood than we take in order for the change to be effective.”  He said explaining how the process was supposed to work.  Aric let out a heavy sigh.  “He didn’t do that.”
“So what does that mean?”
“It means that you are somewhere in between.  Your body still has enough of your blood going through it to make the change even more painful as it tries to fight it.  When it’s over you won’t be completely human yet you won’t be a vamp really either.”  Bynni stated.
“This isn’t making sense.”  I said starting to panic.  “Why would he do that?”
“To keep you tied to him.”  Aric said.
“What?  I don’t understand!”  Now I was really panicking. 
“Well,” Bynni started “I had to ask Marisol about all of this when Aric called and told us what happened.  She said as long as you are like this, in between you two are connected.  He can tap into your mind and you can tap into his.  Also no other vamp, meaning us, can complete the change.  He started it, he has to finish it.  Mixing of the bloods could mean death.  Your death.”
“Well shit.  Isn’t that just great?  Where is he, call him over to finish me off please.  I want to be free of him and move on.”
“He’s gone.”  Aric said.  The pain was getting worse causing me to tremble slightly.
“I’ll take the morphine now.”  Nina injected me and I started feeling sleepy.  “Where’s Jonas?”  I asked remembering he was there when I woke up.
“He went to my house to help Trey and the boys with the triplets.”
“Oh that’s so nice of him.”  I mumbled as I drifted off to sleep.
It took three days for the pain to lessen to the point I no longer needed the help of the morphine.  I tried to fight through it as much as possible since I didn’t want to spend my time drugged up and useless.  I found however I was only in pain and still useless for the most part.  Shirley had given her notice, but stayed through the two weeks it took me to be better.  They told her I had a serious stomach flu.  I don’t think she bought it, but with the generous severance package she received, she didn’t voice any opposition.  As the pain started to fade I became aware of subtle changes. 
My first attempts to eat were met with me emptying my stomach contents shortly afterwards.  Bynni suggested I try the plasma fruit on my second day of not being able to keep things down.  It had a weird taste but I was able to keep it down.  No one was sure what that meant but I was getting nourishment on some level that didn’t require Carter hooking me up to an IV so I didn’t complain.  I didn’t experience any physical change in my looks but I did have some improvements.  My hearing was a little sharper and I found when I woke up in the morning things weren’t fuzzy.  I could see without the use of my glasses. 
On the downside to things I felt that connection they said I would have with him.  At first I wasn’t sure what I was feeling.  It was like having someone there but when you turned around they were gone.  It made me nervous and jumpy until I figured out what or who it was.  He hadn’t made actual contact and I had made no attempts to contact him.  Once my body was through fighting itself I only wanted to try to get back to the place I was before he scrambled everything up again.
 Aric took on the responsibility of explaining everything to the boys.  He didn’t want to lie to them, but he did omit the details we both agreed they didn’t need to hear.  They were told I had a history with Mulo prior to meeting Marcus and that moving on was something he wasn’t ready to do.  Naturally they were upset especially seeing the pain I was in although we tried to keep them out of my room when it was at its worst.   They were kept on track with school.  I made sure that they weren’t allowed to skip, well at least not too many days.  They did stay home the first two days because they were too upset and would have been unable to concentrate anyway. 
Once I was better the house starting finding its rhythm again.  I asked the boys if they had any questions or wanted to talk about what happened but neither did.  They were both happy to know I was not going to die and Aric saved me.  Dunham continued his tutoring and his secretive dates with the girlfriend.  He had stayed home more those days I was sick just in case I didn’t pull through.  They did admit to being scared I was going to die.  I would never forgive Mulo for putting them through that.  Dax did pass his drivers test and wanted a car.  He felt driving his dad’s Prius wasn’t the cool thing to do.  Dunham had also passed his drivers test and didn’t mind driving his dad’s car.  I think he liked the idea of having it.  Aric and Nina were the ones to take Dax car shopping.  They were given strict guidelines on what they were allowed to buy him.  They also convinced me to trade out the shuffleboard table for a much cooler pool table.  The triplets were all walking, talking, and using the potty.  My talk with Carter and Jonas went well.  They have to be the most understanding men on the planet.  They did say it helped to see it for their own eyes otherwise they probably would have believed me to be a crazy woman.
On the surface things were going well.  Each day I got better but that connection also got a little stronger or he was using it more.  Still no actual contact but I was sensing things, him and it made me angry.  I wanted to dull it as much as possible.

**thanks Karima for her photo editing of the opening shots. :)**
Continue Reading: "Chapter 77-The Final Insult"