Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Chapter 24 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

Life has become pretty amusing ... I think!!

I am now totally in charge of looking after an adult sized toddler, who is skittish, ill mannered, heavy handed, bad tempered, and totally clueless about how to interact with people or anything inside the house,  while she continues to recover from her illness, because other than me and Storm, Crystal won't let anyone else anywhere near her.

Winter gave up in the end trying to even get close to her, Denim too keeps his distance, I'm not sure why but she really doesn't trust either of them at all.  River she peers at with curiosity but she still keeps her distance from him, sometimes she will just stand in the doorway of his room quietly watching him, I'm really not sure why.

Crystal might look like a woman, but her mind definitely doesn't work like one!!

Screaming is definitely her specialty, I wander how she doesn't break the glass in the windows sometimes it's so high pitched, and I'd say she almost has tantrums when something is happening that she really doesn't like.  Storm says she reminds him of me when I was a toddler, which he says he can remember quite vividly, screaming, tantrums and biting chunks out of everyone is apparently all I ever used to do ... although Crystal hasn't bitten anyone yet ... but Denim came very close I think, getting a little too close to the bed and frightening her, she flew at him like a wild animal scratching all his face and I had to drag her off him.

They are still convinced, because of how wild she is, that when she is well enough she will just take off back to the wild life that she's always been used to because it's all that she knows ... but I'm not so sure ... I think she is beginning to like this new life and I think they might be a little disappointed.  I know now that she's here River won't tell her to go or throw her out on the street, he won't send her back to her old life, deep down he feels exactly like I do, but he has to be sensible and he says it's better for us if she isn't here ... so he says if she goes I'm to just let her go.

Things have changed quite a lot over the last few weeks for all of us.   River is now home laid up in bed in Winters room and Winter is no longer here, she left yesterday, she is now living in Sugar Valley with my parents waiting for the baby to arrive, as well as for me and River to get home.  Denim has started his new job and me and Denim are run off our feet working and juggling looking after River and Crystal.

Storm is even having to pitch in ... in fact I don't know how we would have managed without him, especially for a few hours every week day between 6 pm and 8 pm where we are both at work at the same time and neither of us are home. Storm has to look after them for those two hours ever day as well as Crystal when I'm not here.  Denim has now been left in no doubt that ghosts exist,  he believed what River told him, which had miffed me a little because he didn't believe me when I tried to convince him, but hes seen the proof for himself as he's had to watch Storm fetching and carry stuff as well as me and Crystal having full blown conversations with him.

"You need to take a shower Crystal."  she starts moaning that she doesn't want one she had one yesterday, so I tell her again that she needs to have a shower every day she just frowns at me.  She is not used to washing herself at all ... so it's kind of hard getting her into the habit of doing it all the time.  Brushing her teeth, taking showers, washing her hands, hair and face, she really doesn't like any of it.  "You also need to change your clothes ... remember I told you clean clothes every day!!"  she just lies there scowling at me ... she is not having any of it.

If they are right and she does take off when she is well enough, I sometimes wander why I'm even bothering to do this ... but if she does stay then she really needs to learn how to live properly.  I wander if toddlers are this hard to teach their life skills?!

"Okay you lie there and stink ... but you will have a shower before I go to work even if I have to throw you in myself!!"  she laughs at me as I walk out of the room telling her I'm going to take a shower instead.  Most days she's fine, but some days like today she seriously pushes my buttons.

I'm singing in the shower, minding my own business like you do, I stop singing and close my eyes because of the water running over my face while I'm washing myself when I suddenly think I hear Crystal coughing closeby, which shocks me.

My eyes spring open and she is standing there just staring at me, eyes wide ... Oh Berry!! ... I really don't like the part of my naked body that her eyes are fixed on.

"What the fudge!! Crystal GET OUT!!"  I shout at her and she looks surprised as I dive out of the shower grabbing the towel to cover myself.  She mumbles that I told her to take a shower which nearly makes me laugh  "So you suddenly decide to do as you are told while I'm taking one!!"

"What's that?!"  She says pointing at the towel  "Let me see"  Oh fudge!!  This is ridiculous!!  I am getting a horrible feeling she's never seen a male body before and probably doesn't know the difference between men and women ... why else would she just barge in here like nothing when she knew I was taking a shower - I told her.  Obviously she didn't listen to what I told her about modesty and privacy.   She just said let's me see like it was nothing ...This isn't funny!!

"GET OUT Crystal!!"  I shout at her quite nastily, she looks at me in shock then runs out of the bathroom, not even bothering to close the door behind her, which I have to do before I can start getting dressed.

I found her in the bedroom just sat staring and giggling at the blank television screen.   Even though she has gained quite a fascination for watching it she still hasn't got the hang of how to turn it on.  We have to keep the TV controls hidden from her because she is very heavy handed with everything, she bangs and bashes things when she can't figure out how to make them work and has already smashed up two remote controls this week.  Like me she is already at a disadvantage because she can't read, and it does not help that she doesn't seem to be getting the concept that things break if you start smashing them in temper.

"You can't just walk into the bathroom when someone is using the toilet or having a shower!!"  she asks why not and carries on laughing.  "I've already explained to you why, modesty and privacy remember ... "  I wander if she is actually getting any of what I'm telling her.  She is starting to irritate me because she won't stop laughing  "... and what's so funny?"

"You ... down there"  she points at my trousers ... Oh Berry!!

"You do know the difference between men and women don't you?!"

"I think I do now!!"  she starts laughing even louder  "You have a snakes and I don't"
A snake!!??  She can call it whatever she likes I'm not about to tell her otherwise, I wouldn't know what words to use without getting embarrassed!!

"Shut up ... it's not even funny!!"  I flick on the television and tell her to shut up and watch it, I've never been so embarrassed in my life!! Her continuous laughing is seriously not helping me!!

I really need to get her to feel comfortable with River, he's a doctor he should know how to explain these things to her better than I can ... I don't have a clue what I'm doing here ... this girl seriously knows nothing!!  I wish I'd listened a little closer to Dad's lectures!!  I sit wandering how I learned the rights and wrongs of everything because I don't remember learning it ... how do parents teach this stuff to children?!

We can never sit quietly while we are watching anything on the television because she asks 101 question, but I don't mind so much because she is at least learning something all the time,  it's surprising what she doesn't know and she has actually learned from the television.  If I'm not really interested in the program her constant questions don't bother me, I do get a little aggravated if it is something that I do want to watch.  Most of the time she sits giggling at the children's TV programs, they keep her quiet for hours.

Crystal has now quit laughing and as usual has constantly kept asking questions all through the film ... I'm not really getting to watch the film because I'm constantly having to answer her never ending stream of questions and I doubt she actually understands what she is watching anyway or listening to what I'm saying half of the time.

"What are they doing?"  she asks frowning at the screen

"They are kissing."  she sits there watching her head tilted to the side like she does sometimes when she is trying to work something out.

"Can we do some kissing?"  she suddenly turns to me and asks when the couple on the screen stop kissing each other and the film moves onto something else.

"No we can't do some kissing!!"  I laugh at her thinking she's joking ...

"Why not?! ... I want to try it!"  I soon stop laughing when I see she's being serious!

"Crystal you can't just go around kissing anybody ... you only kiss someone when you like them romantically, like your boyfriend or girlfriend ... we can't just start kissing each other it isn't right!!  Anyway I don't want to kiss you!!" she starts scowling at me ... oh here we go ... I've probably just started tantrum time ... she sometimes throws tantrums until I give in and she get's what she wants ... but not this time!!!  It's not happening!!

"You said you would teach me how to do things ... so why can't you teach me how to do kissing?!"  she snaps at me angrily ... Oh Fudge!!

"You don't have to be taught how to kiss someone ... and you and me can NOT do any kissing so don't ask again!"  I snap at her thinking it's probably a very good job right now that she won't go anywhere near River or Denim or I've got visions of her going off to try kissing them!!

"Why don't you want to kiss me?"  she snaps at me angrily again 

"Because I don't okay ... Don't ask again!!"

She is now continuously staring at me in a weird way, I don't think she understands, I've got my eyes fixed on the television trying to ignore her constant staring.  I suddenly don't like where this film is heading either as I watch the couple start undressing each other ... this film is getting a little racy for this time of the day ... and I'm definitely not prepared to answer any of Crystals questions about what they are up to, if she sees what they are doing, like with the kissing, she will probably be asking me to have sex with her next!! 

I need to get out of here quickly before she looks back at the screen.  I tell her I need to speak to River flicking the TV over quickly onto the cartoon channel and get up making my escape and head for Rivers room ... he's going to have to deal with all this stuff because I seriously don't know how to!!

River is howling the house down with laughter while I am telling him about the shower invasion and the kissing ... I'm not sure he's ever going to let me forget it ... especially my snake!

"I did warn you didn't I ... you've taken on way too much trying to tame her ... Tap I think she has been wild for too long to be tamed!!"  he frowns at me, he stops laughing and his face goes deadly serious  "Seriously bro ... you need to stop what you are doing, you really haven't thought any of this through have you?!  I've told you to stop with this but you are not listening ... you are probably ruining her life even more like it isn't bad enough already!!"

I frown back at him not quite understanding what he means by me ruining her life, how can I be ruining her life when I'm trying to make it better.

He explains that we are not here forever, if we were it would be different, what is going to happen to her when we leave, Denim is only just pulling his life back together he is not going to want the stick that Crystals presence in this house is going to create for him from society, stick that could well drag him straight back down again.  It breaks most families, Grape Orchid is the perfect example, and it's not fair to lay the responsibility of Crystal on Denim's shoulders when we leave.

I am showing her a life that she can't have ... society won't let her have a normal life ... it is inevitable she will end up back out on the streets with no family around to protect her ... she will never survive alone in the colour coded world.

When we are gone and she is back on the streets, how is she going to feel ... she's never seen our life so she has never had it to miss, all she knows is how to be wild ... now I am showing her the life she should have, she is going to miss it when she is homeless again, she is going to want, need and miss the life I'm showing her ... I am ruining her life even more not making it better.

"We take her back to Sugar Valley with us ... problem solved!!"

"WAKE UP TAP!!!"  He shouts at me quite angrily  "How the hell are we going to do that exactly ...  Us getting back home already is sitting on a knife edge ... if ONE thing goes wrong with how they are planning to do it - we are all going down - You, Me, Winter, Dad, Mulberry, Sunny - we will all be spending time in prison Me and Dad especially - think about what that will do to the rest of your family - especially your Mother if she ever has to find out your Dad has known where you are all along while he has had to let her believe that Manderine has you - it will kill her - she is already not coping since they found Honey and not you - they are all falling to peices back home Tap - they have given up any hope of you coming home alive - while you on the other hand are running round like you don't have a damn care in the world!!!"  I can see he is getting very angry and upset with me "All these things you keep doing - Denim - Rocky - Grape - Grape Orchid - Crystal - they are all giving back home a damn migraine - because all of these things have to be hidden or explained when we are back home because you are not supposed to be here remember ... and now you want to take a time bomb home with us and you don't even see what you are doing do you!!!!"  he's getting really angry now  "Trust me, if I wasn't confined to this damn bed you would have done none of these things!!  I sure as hell don't want my son growing up having to see me in prison!!  but if you carry on like you are that is exactly what is happening!!"

"Time bomb?!"

"She is a child in the head ... she will blow our cover straight away ... she won't understand that she has to pretend she doesn't know you ... like you and Winter will have to do when we get home ... you are liability enough all on your own Tap without you bringing an even bigger one home with us ... she can NEVER come to Sugar Valley ... END OF!!!"

"Jazz!!"  he frowns at me and asks me Jazz what?  "He can wipe her memory ... can't he!!  Back to when she was sick in the woods."  his eyes narrow as he stares at me for a moment.  "I understand what you've just said, but I will find a way to get her to Sugar Valley if it fades me, and you can shout all you like!!"

"What's going on Tap .... you are not falling for this girl are you ... because you are damn well acting like it!!  Why else won't you let it go?!"

"No I'm not falling for her ... I just won't be able to live with myself letting her go back to that life when I CAN do something about it!!!  You wouldn't treat an animal the way you want me to treat her!! It's okay for Denim just a roof over his head puts his life back together ... Crystal is colourless ... she stands no chance in this coded world - you know she shouldn't be treated like this and all she has to look forward to here is fading in the woods alone like an animal ... I doubt Dad would just leave her here to rot and I sure as hell know my Mother and Affair wouldn't ... I can't either!!  When just moving her to Sugar Valley gives her the life she should have and deserves because she definitely doesn't deserve this!! ... I'm sorry I can't just leave her here to fade in misery ...  So you need to speak to Jazz and find a way round this or I'm not going home until you do!!"

Storm floats through the wall laughing telling me I'm needed in the kitchen, there is a naughty child on the rampage ... I know he means Crystal.  I start getting off the bed and River calls me back, obviously not hearing Storm.

"Tap this conversation is far from done!!"  he says as he grabs the back of my jacket.

"It is in my book ... I meant it River, phone Jazz , plot with Dad, I don't care what you do but I'm not going home without her!!"  I tell him as I walk out of his bedroom.

I walk into the kitchen, my mind is spinning from everything that River has said to me.  I stop dead in my tracks at the sight that greets me and I stand staring in disbelief.

Crystal is on her hands and knees pulling all the contents of the fridge out all over the kitchen floor - some of the food she has bitten into.  After I've shouted at her I tell her to sit at the counter while I put back what I can, which isn't a lot because she's broken all the packets containers and boxes open.  I have to throw most of the food away because it's had chunks bitten out of it or it's been opened and the food has touched the floor.  She says she hungry, I'm not sure how when she's sampled most of the contents of the fridge ... I notice she hadn't touched the contents of the salad draw ... so that's what I made her to eat, a plate of salad.

The very first time that I put a plate of food in front of her, she attacked it like a maniac.  She scooped the food into her mouth with her hands like an animal and it went flying everywhere, I think she was wearing more of the food than she actually ate, while I just stood watching in astonishment.  When she'd eaten it she licked the plate clean and sat there grinning at me asking for more.  I couldn't help but laugh at her, she had spaghetti and sauce all round her mouth, all over her hands and clothes, it was even in her hair.  She reminded me of my cousin Blueberry sat in his high chair grinning with chocolate pudding everywhere except for where it should have been ... in his stomach.

It took me quite a few days to get Crystal to even hold a fork and spoon properly and she won't use them at all if I don't keep reminding her she needs to eat with a fork and not her hands.

"Table manners!!"  Storm starts laughing

We both sit and watch as Crystal starts licking her plate clean after she's wolfed down a plate of salad very quickly using her hands.  One good thing about her, she doesn't complain about my cooking, she will eat anything and there is never any food waste on anyone's plates, because she eats what everyone leaves.

"I give up ... she's being an awkward cow today!!  I'm just leaving her to get on with it!!" I laugh at Storm  "I'll try again tomorrow if she's in a better mood ... Storm is this what toddlers are like because she's actually putting me off having any kids!!"

"I guess you'll find out what toddlers are like when you get back home."  he laughs and I frown at him  "Cotton ... remember your little sister!!"  he laughs at me

"Oh fudge!!  Yeah I guess she will be a toddler now!"   I laugh at myself  "I still think of her as a baby!"

I laugh when Denim opens the fridge and things he's going mad, he starts moaning that he could have sworn he'd done the shopping ... I had to explain to him that most of it is in the bin because it's just been attacked by Crystal, he suggests we put a pad lock on the fridge as he moans about having to go shopping again.

"Now what is she doing?"  Storm starts laughing  "You know I am beginning to think she has a screw loose in that head of hers!!  You know she asked me earlier if she could kiss me ... I nearly faded AGAIN!!"  We both start laughing ... that is just wrong on so many levels!!  He's a teenage gay ghost ... But I suppose she isn't to know that!!  I tell him that she had done the same to me earlier and where she had got the idea of kissing from.

I glance up at Crystal who is now making one of her stupid noises, she's stood staring at the plate, she rubs it with her finger, licks it with her tongue and stares back at the plate again ... she seems to be getting really irritated.

I can see what she's doing, we went through this routine a few days ago, she is trying to eat the pattern off the plate, she thinks its food ... it doesn't help that the pattern on the plate is a picture of food, it confuses her.

"Crystal you are trying to eat the picture inside the plate again!!!"  she glances at me then half throws half places the plate down on the kitchen floor, it hit the floor with quite a clank, I'm surprised it didn't break.  She then just stands there staring down at it in disgust.

I don't know if Crystal is just being thick, forgetful, naughty or awkward.  Some days she gets it, some days she doesn't ... today she is definitely not getting it!!  I stare down at her plate in the middle of the kitchen floor, I don't get why she had done that when yesterday she washed her plate up like I've shown her too without even being asked.

"That plate doesn't live there does it!?!  You know you are supposed to wash it up in the sink!!"  she smirks at me  "What the hell is wrong with you today?  Are you just being awkward on purpose, because if you are Crystal this isn't funny!!"

"I don't want to wash it up."  she says as she runs off leaving the plate on the floor, I hear the bedroom door slam ... she is a right moody cow today!!

Crystal has definitely pushed my patients today, she's gone out of her way to be awkward over everything and all I've heard all day is "I don't want to ..."  

For once I am actually glad to get a break from her and go to work and leave her for Storm to deal with ... I just hope he has more joy with her than I have had today!! 


When I returned home from work, I walk into the bedroom and Crystal is not in bed like I expected her to be, so I look around the house and I can't find her anywhere.  River and Denim are both fast asleep and Storm isn't around.  I get a sinking feeling thinking that they have got their wish ... she's gone.

I sit down in the living room feeling a little lost, we have had a bad day I wouldn't be surprised if she hasn't legged it.  Storm floats through the wall and I ask if hes seen her, he tells me she's out in the garden refusing to come in, he says she's had one on her all night and he thinks she ready to run.  I go outside and she doesn't even look up at me as I approach her and sit down beside her.

"You are thinking about leaving aren't you?!"  I ask her and she doesn't say anything at first, I have to ask her again before she answers me.

"I think I should go home!"  she says really quietly

I look at her for a moment, I presume home to her is her hideout in the woods ... I am wandering why she would want to leave here and go back to the life that she had before, when nobody has told her that she has to leave, they just secretly hope that she will go, she just doesn't know that ... I hope.  

"Why would you want to leave and go back on the streets?"

"Nobody wants me here ... not even you!"  she snaps at me.  I tell her that isn't true I don't want her to leave and go back to the life that she had before.  "You keep shouting at me!!"

"I have to sometimes, when you don't listen ... but that doesn't mean I want you to leave!!"

"Why are you nice to me when nobody else has ever been?"  she asks me looking at me in a really strange way.

I start to tell her about Sugar Valley where I'm from, mixed berries and the way that they treat colourless people, a lot better there unlike here.  I told her we don't have homeless people there, the people are so much nicer in Sugar Valley, they wouldn't let it happen, we all look after each other and I hate the thought of anyone having to live on the streets like they do ... I don't understand why people are so nasty to colourless and homeless people in this town because they aren't in Sugar Valley and it's not in my nature.

She thought she was the only colourless berry until she saw my Mothers photo and my eyes.  She was surprised when I told her my Mom was born here in this town and treated badly by her family and my Dad moved her to Sugar Valley.  She didn't even realize that Denim had been homeless until I told her he was living on the streets until Winter let him move in here.

I also told her that other people would be nice to her if she gave them a chance, she's okay with me and Storm, but Denim and especially River will be nice to her if she didn't keep screaming at them.

"Crystal, where are your parents?  How did you end up on the streets?"

"I don't know where they are ... Amber Meadow I think ... they threw me away."  I frown at her, I've never heard of Amber Meadow, she tells me she thinks that is where she was born.

She explains that all she can remember is that she was left outside a childrens home, when she was a toddler, in Amber Meadow with a teddy bear and a note telling them her name is Crystal.  She remembers being cold and frightened sitting in the rain in the middle of the night when it was very dark all alone.  She sat there all night alone until someone picked her up in the morning.  She says she still thinks about it when she sleeps ... this made me laugh for a moment she doesn't even know what a dream is called ... if she is having nightmares about it still that is probably the reason why she can remember it.

She doesn't remember her parents now, she doesn't know her surname, how old she is or even what colour she is supposed to be ... but she was told she probably should be yellow because of the colour of her teddy bear.

She was treated badly in the children's home by everyone, especially the other children, they used to call her names and beat her up.  The adult people were always shouting at her for everything especially wetting the bed.  She thinks nobody wanted her there, she wasn't even allowed to go to school like all the other children did.  So she ran away, in the middle of the night with just her teddy bear, she thinks she might have been about 6 when she ran away and she can hardly remember anything about her life up until then other being shut in a room and everyone being nasty to her.

"So you have been on the streets since you were about 6?!"  I ask pretty shocked and she says she thinks so  "How did you manage to survive?!"  I can't even imagine how a child so young could survive out on the streets ... I can't even remember being that age!!

"I don't know ... I just did ... watching the other homeless people and copying what they did."  I can't help think it's amazing that she learned to survive and has lived this long, after hearing the stories that Denim has told me about how hard it is especially in the winter months, if Winter is right about her age she was on the streets before I was born.  "Not even the homeless people wanted me, they used to chase me away."

She can't read or write because she never went to school ... she's had no education and doesn't know much of anything other than how to survive on the streets.  When I told her I couldn't read or write either she makes me laugh asking if i didn't go to school either, so I had to explain my medical problems, not that I expect her to understand.

She surprised me when she told me she still has the yellow teddy bear, so Storm hadn't been seeing things after all!!  She says she buries him in the woods, she keeps him in a metal box with a few other things so the bad people can't find and take them. I start to tease her for still having a teddy bear at her age, I don't think she gets it's because she gets a little cross and says he's the only friend she's ever had.

She says I'm the first person she's spoken to forever, nobody has ever wanted to talk to her only the bad people who shout at her .... she's never had anyone to explain anything to her and she sees a lot of things on the streets and she doesn't even know what they are called.

"Who are the bad people Crystal?"  I'm a little disturbed because she keeps mentioning the bad people ... the smile goes off her face for a moment

The bad people are the nasty men that come to get her in the middle of the night, especially when she is asleep, they beat her up, even try to fade her she thinks and they steal all of her things, her food or anything she had managed to find.  Sometimes they are the other homeless people, but most of the time they are not, she doesn't understand who they are or why they won't leave her alone.

She can only sleep in busy places where there is a lot of light, like outside the hospital, most of the time because they don't come after her when she in those places, it's when she's in dark places or in the woods when they come to get her.  I told her that Storm had seen her sleeping in the woods the night before we found her there.

"I haven't slept there for a long time but I was feeling sick.  I saw you there in the day time ... I heard you coming I thought you were the bad men, so I crawled into the bushes and you didn't see me."  she glances up at me for a moment  "You shouldn't have come back, you should have just left me there to fade ... I'm getting tired of running and fighting, I hate living! I just want it all to end"  she shocked me by saying that. 

"You don't need to feel that way anymore ... you have a roof over your head, you are safe here with us!!"  she looks at me, I can't really read the expression on her face.

"I might not know much of anything ... but I'm not stupid, I'm always going to be treated this way, even if you put me in a pretty dress and make me wash every day it won't stop them from hating me because of what I am ... You won't want me here for long, I am always going to end up back on the street, there is no other life for me!"  she looks up at me  "So it's best I go now... you showing me this life is just making it harder for me."  She's just basically repeated what River told me earlier, I know River has told me if she wants to go I have to just let her go ... but how can I when she's told me she's sick of living and about the men that attack her at night, I am going to take her to Sugar Valley if it fades me!!

"Crystal you are wrong!!"  she shakes her head  "You can stay here with me ... I am going to take you to Sugar Valley when I can go home, they will treat you better there, you will get to live like a normal person ... like my Mom and Storms brother ... you never need to live on the streets again!!"

She sat there quietly for ages not saying anything.

"Come on, we need to go inside and get some sleep!"  I say as I get up off the grass, she carries on sitting there so I grab her arm and pull her up onto her feet.

"Do you even like me?"  she asks which makes me laugh

"Yes of course I like you!"
Suddenly our lips are stuck together ... she has just lunged herself at me, she came at me so hard and fast I didn't see it coming.  Now our lips are crushed together, her arms are around me tightly and she's completely still, her lips aren't moving ... maybe she doesn't know how to kiss anyone?!  Why has she got this mad fascination with kissing?!  I think for a mad moment maybe I should just kiss her like she wants then she might stop ... no that is just stupid!!!

I push her away from me angrily and she looks shocked.  I have to bite my tongue really hard to stop myself from shouting at her ... I'm sick of her not listening ... she is like a naughty child all the time.

"Fudge!!"  I touch my lip which is throbbing, she hit me so hard when our lips collided, I now feel like I've got a thick lip, she's so heavy handed over everything she does.  She stands there nervously staring at me, I think she can see she's made me angry.  "Why did you try to kiss me Crystal?"  I snap at her  "Didn't I tell you this afternoon ... we are doing NO kissing!!"

"You said people kiss when they like each other ... you just said you like me!!"  I have to laugh for a moment ... I seriously am not doing a very good job of explaining these things to her.

"I like you as a friend ... people kiss when they like each other romantically there is a difference."  she frowns at me  "Which I'm going to get River to explain to you because I'm not doing a very good job of this!!"  she pulls a weird face I presume because I've mentioned River, so far she hasn't wanted to go anywhere near him, she didn't even want him in the bedroom with us and that is why he ended up in Winters room.

"This life is too complicated for me!!"  she says as she starts to run off.

Crystal runs across the bottom of the garden and scales the 8 foot wall like a cat and is gone before I can stop her.

Now what do I do?!

I can hear Rivers voice in my head telling me just to let her go, while my own voice is shouting at me to run after her.  All she is wearing is a very thin night dress, how can I let her run around town in that ... and it's blue!  She's been living in some of Winters old clothes. I will never forgive myself if I just leave her to suffer her old life when there is no need.

I tear across the garden, through the house and start running down the road in the direction of the woods.  I am hoping that is where she is headed, if she isn't there she could be anywhere ... I might have to let her go until I can catch her again, because I don't know where else she might go other than the woods.

I run through the woods feeling really uncomfortable, the dark still scares me and I don't think that is ever going to change, the vampberrys again spring to my mind which makes me run faster and I can't help keep looking back over my shoulder to make sure nobody or nothing is following me.

When I get to the bushes that hide her hideout, I just leap straight through them, she is going to hear me coming if she is here so I make my way through them quickly.  When I get into the open I see her straight away, she is on her knees digging away in the dirt with her hands like a dog.

She glares up at me as I approach her.

"Go away and leave me alone!!"  she shouts at me as she carries on raking up the dirt, I stand closeby watching her, I think I already know what she is doing ... digging up her metal box.  "Go Tapestry I don't want you here!!"

"No!!  I've come to take you home!"  she laughs and says THIS is her home  "Not anymore it isn't!!  I'm not going to let you live like this anymore!!"  

She starts pulling a metal tin out of the hole that she's dug with her bare hands and shakes off the dirt.  She opens the tin, pulling out the teddy bear, I start to worry what she might be about to do next ... run again, that is what I'm expecting.  She doesn't she reaches into the pocket of the teddy bear's clothes and pulls something out, it looks like paper which she starts to unfold.  Then she throws it at me.

"Here have this back ... it's no good to me!!"  she snaps, I grab her wrist tightly to stop her from going anywhere as I stare down at the two $20 notes that I'd given her, lying on the ground unspent by my feet.

"I gave you that money for food!!"  I frown at her, wandering why she didn't spend it  "Crystal why didn't you buy food with it?!"

"I'm colourless remember, nobody will let me in their shops, they don't let me buy anything!"  I frown at her, and tell her there are lots of none colour shops that she can go into to buy food.  "You know nothing do you ... NO SHOP let's a colourless person through the door!!  I'm scum ... a freak ... a mutant ... a monster ... a deviant ... abomi - abomina ..."  she struggles to get the word outI am guessing that she is shouting at me all the horrible names that get shouted at her.

"Abomination ... I get the picture!!!  And you are not any of those things that they call you!!"

"Only you says that ... but even you don't like me!!she shouts at me  "You are a liar!!!  You don't really like me!!"  I frown at her and ask her how she works that out!!  She's really confusing me now.  "I've seen you kissing other people ..." 

Oh fudge not that again!!!

"You kiss River and I've seen Denim and Winter kiss you ... you let them kiss you and you smile and laugh - because you like them ... but me ... you don't like me!! you went mad at me."   she now yelling at me.

Suddenly it clicks and I start laughing ... I've seriously messed this up more than I thought ...

My mind flashes back to when River came home from the hospital and she watched me kiss his cheek a few times and she had asked me what I was doing ... I told her I was kissing him.  She has been watching me kissing River since, she's been watching Denim keep grabbing my head and kissing it ... Fudge!!

I have totally confused her!!

"For Berry's sake!!"  I pull her towards me and kiss her cheek  "I kiss River on the cheek because he's my brother"  I kiss her other cheek  "Winter kissed me goodbye when she left"  I kiss her head  "and Denim kisses my head as a joke because he's my friend and he knows I hate it!"  I step back and look at her, she stands there staring at me with a strange expression on her face.

"Those are friendly kisses ... those kisses are okay ... if you want to kiss me like that you can and if you want me to kiss you like that then I will."  I kiss her head again and she smiles at me  "Kissing someone on the lips is romantic kissing ... which is what you wanted to do earlier and what you just tried to do back home.  The romantic kissing we can't do!! and that's why I went mad at you."

I can't help but laugh at the expression on her face as she stands there hugging her teddy bear really close to her, she actually looks quite sweet like a timid child.   

"You know you are too old to be hugging teddy bears!!"  I laugh at her.

She frowns at me and quietly repeats the word hugging.

"Can we do hugging?!"   she asks ... Oh fudge now what have I started?!  "Nobody has ever hugged me."  she says looking sadly down at her teddy bear before she starts to cry.  

Finally I think I get it ... the way that she is clinging onto her teddy bear, she was upset so she came here specifically to get that teddy bear ... for comfort ... she has never been shown any affection of any kind not even friendship ... she must be very lonely in this world of hers ... going her whole life without a single hug.

The kissing thing, I had got it totally wrong and confused her not explaining properly ... all I've been thinking about is romantic kisses.  She has somehow worked out that kissing is a sign of affection and she's been watching us kiss each other but not her ... yet again she's been feeling isolated and left out.  She's just been craving for something she's never had ... someone to show her that they care about her, and its alright me saying it but sometimes words are never enough.

Today too ... today she has been naughty and awkward on purpose, me and Storm have both upset her refusing to kiss her, so she's been playing up just like a child would craving attention and affection ... I used to do it myself, scream and throw tantrums because I know one of my parents or grandparents would hug and hold me tightly until I had stopped and fallen asleep.

She is crying really hard now, I grab her hand gently and lead her a short distance towards the stone pit fire so I can sit down and lean against it.  She follows me her head down still crying.

I sit down on the grass not letting go of her hand and tell her to sit down by me.  I put my arm around her and pull her close to me, she looks at me in surprise as I tell her she can put her arms round me, I kiss her head and she smiles at me and rests her head on my shoulder.

I stare down silently at the ground for a while before I close my eyes as I lean back against the pit fire holding her in my arms, wondering how is anyone supposed to make up for a lifetime of missed affection?!  Crystal slowly goes quiet as she stops crying, every so often she tightens her grip on me almost like she's trying to crawl inside me and doesn't want to let me go.

I can't help but start thinking about how badly she's been treated by everyone, starting with and especially her parents ... which makes me think about my own family, and all the bad things that I've thought about them in the past, when I thought I was being hard done by because of my disabilities ... boy was I wrong!! 

I start singing quietly more to pass the time away because of the silence, to stop myself from thinking and getting all maudlin about wanting to go home, back to Sugar Valley, which is all I really want to do right now.

After a while I know she has fallen asleep on me, her grip loosens slightly and I can hear her breathing change. 

Not wanting to disturb her now she is asleep.

I guess I'm in for a long night in the woods.

Traffic Light ~ Daughtry


  1. Aw, I feel so bad for Crystal! That snake bit was hilarious!! River is in for a shock when he finds out that Crystal can in fact keep a secret...she has known this whole time that Tap is part colorless and hasn't said one thing about it.

    It will be exciting to see them go home.

    1. Yeah Crystal has had it bad!! Lol - I laughed myself for hours at the snake!!
      It won't be too long now before they go home :D

  2. "Men have snakes and I don't" LOL that part had me laughing so hard my sides hurt ^_^. I knew Tap was in over his head. But at least he's being patient with her, even though he yells and snaps at her allot. Crystal in IMO is a very smart girl even though she has little idea of how to live in a home situation. She observes her surroundings and mimics what she sees (sometimes not the best idea lol). River is right though Tap is gonna have to be on his guard when they go back to Sugar Valley, Crystal CAN be tamed but it'll take some time. I know for a fact that Lilly will just adore her :D Excellent chapter!

    1. Thanks - glad you enjoyed it and had a giggle :D

  3. Where did you find the last two poses you used with Tap and Crystal?

    1. The head kissing pose is one of knightys who does the Until my Colour Fades Away rainbowacy

      the last pose is from - one of my friends on tumblr who I think makes the best poses
      this is her pose page - the pose you want is on page 2.

  4. This color coded world you have created is so sad and touching. You go into the basic human needs so well, the simple concept of human contact, which Crystal only got from her teddy bear before Tap came along. Her life has been so sad, I hope that she can find something good, I have no idea if Tap can make his wish to have her move to Sugar Valley a reality, but I hope for her sake he can. I like that Crystal is making Tap see his own life in perspective, that having his dad yell at him all the time is still a form of love, which is way better than anything Crystal ever got.

    1. Yes her life has been very sad up to now - but it will get better as you will soon see :D Yes Crystal and this colour coded world is helping Tap to see his life is nowhere near as bad as he thought it was!!

  5. How sad that the only comfort that she's found has been from a teddy bear. Taps right, they need to take her home with them. To leave her there would be cruel and pretty much a death sentence. I hope she learns to let others be kind to her and realize that not everyone is unkind.