Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Chapter 31 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

After helping Cherry to feed, bath and put the three toddlers to bed, we ate dinner.  A nice meal that Affair had cooked, which I was enjoying until their visitor turned up.  I made my excuses and make my way to my temporary bedroom.  The bedroom that I have to sleep in while I am at Cherry and Affairs house, where I am staying for a few days, while Lilly is in the hospital.

I am still very uncomfortable around other people, especially those who are not colourless, however, I really like Cherry, even though she looks very strange to me.  She is yellow AND red, what I am told is a mixed berry.  Her skin is yellow and her hair and eyes are red.  I did not even know that colour mixing was possible, until I landed in this town.  I have only ever seen people of one colour before, never two.   So seeing people that are more than just one colour is taking quite a bit of getting used to for me.

I would have liked to have stayed and watched the television with Cherry and Affair.  I feel quite comfortable with them, and they did try to get me to join them in front of the television, but I really do not like the other yellow and red lady who has come to visit them and is staying over.

Cherry's sister, Strawberry, she is grumpy and mean and she is spending the night here because she has split up with her boyfriend and does not want to go home tonight.  I do not like her and do not feel comfortable being around her so I told them I was tired and wanted to go to bed.  Even though it was far from the truth and it was just an excuse to get away.

I lie on the bed looking around the small red and white room.  I am bored, which is not anything new really, at the moment I think I would rather be lying on the bench outside the hospital, at least I would have something to do.  I could be sat watching the people coming and going, in and out of the hospital instead of being lay here staring at these four walls.  I suddenly feel a little suffocated, I am not used to being shut in a house, I am used to the outdoors.  I am far from tired and my head is buzzing and too busy for me to sleep.

I seriously do not even know how I ended up in this strange town!!!  It is full of strange mixed coloured and colourless people who are nothing but nice to me which suddenly does not make any sense!!  Nice enough for Mango and Lilly, who I do not even know, to give me a place to live.  I have moved into their house, I have my own bedroom and they have even taken me out shopping to buy me some new clothes and anything else that I might need.  Nobody complained about me being in their shop in this town, unlike in Rainbow Valley where even if I had the money to spend, they would not let me inside to buy anything, because I am colourless.

I have always been treated badly by EVERYONE so why do the people here in Sugar Valley treat me differently.  Everyone smiles at me instead of pulling horrible faces, everyone speaks to me nicely instead of hurling abuse at me.  Here I am treated like everyone else, it does not matter to anyone that I am colourless.  I have always thought  that I was the only colourless person, until I arrived here, I was pretty shocked to find out there are a lot more.  Affair, Lilly, Magnolia, Sugar and Moon are all colourless like me, suddenly I do not feel so alone.  I have also seen people with colourless eyes, and Coral, Lilly's daughter, is three different colours, purple, orange and has colourless eyes, it all looks like total madness to me!!

How did I even get to Sugar Valley??  Affair has told me that Rainbow Valley and Amber Meadow, the only two places that I know, are both thousands of miles away from here - on the other side of the planet he says - I am seriously confused.

Mulberry, the purple guy, who is Affairs Uncle and Lilly's brother, says he found me in Sugar Valley park, just lying on the grass unconscious, so he picked me up and took me to the hospital.  How did I get from one side of the planet to the other?  How did I get from Rainbow Valley to Sugar Valley? - did I fall down a hole in the woods and land here?  Or did the Bad Men bring me here?  That is what I thought up until tonight, now I am beginning to wander if that man did not have something to do with me being here.

Tonight I saw that man again, the one who I keep thinking about in my sleep and is in my head.  Only tonight, I have seen him, in the flesh, with my own two eyes and I have been told his name is Tapestry.

Since I woke up in the hospital I have tried and tried to think of the last thing that I can remember, and none of it makes sense!!  I keep thinking about that orange man with the colourless eyes in my sleep, stupid things that I do not remember doing, only in my sleep his eyes are orange, not colourless, and he is wearing glasses.  However, strangely, he is also the last thing that I can remember, in Rainbow Valley and in the cold strange place.

I remember lying on the bench outside the hospital, in Rainbow Valley, starving hungry and wishing I could just go to sleep so that I did not have to feel the constant hungry pains in my stomach, that I get sick of having to live with every day.  I had not had a good day, food wise, the only thing that I had eaten that day was an already half eaten apple that I watched someone toss into the gutter.

While I was wishing for sleep I just lay watching the people walking past me, cars driving on and off the car park, people going in and out of the hospital.  I was watching the dirty looks that people give me and listen to the nasty names they call me which are second nature to me, and now a days I just ignore them, I think I am way past being hurt by what everyone thinks and says about me.

Something bright catches my eye, as one of the cars drives onto the hospital car park.  A spirit.  A stupid spirit, who is standing up and half in and half out of the blue car that is pulling into a parking space.  I quite often see spirits doing things that the living people don't or can not do.  I watch the spirit as he jumps off the car laughing away to himself.  A blue and orange person get out of the car.  The blue lady, who I now know is Winter, goes into the boot of the car while the orange man stands talking to the spirit.  I sit up, because it is not normal to see living people talking to faded people.  I think I am the only living person that takes any notice of the spirits, I really do not understand why the living ignore and do not talk to the faded.  I sit and watch the orange man walk into the hospital with the blue lady, the spirit is playing him up, poking him and jumping around him and the orange man looks like he is getting very annoyed with the spirit.  After I have watched them go inside the hospital I lie back down and close my eyes.  That is the last thing that I remember about Rainbow Valley, I think!

The next thing that I remember, the cold, dark, stone place that stinks nasty!!!  I am not sure if that horrible place is here or in Rainbow Valley.  That man, who I now know is Tapestry, has his arms around me, he tells me he loves me, for a split second I feel happy, then .... nothing.

That memory is gone like a flash, then I get another memory, I wake up, still in the cold stinky stone place, and I see his face in front of me, he is holding me again, but this time I am scared of him, I do not know who he is, like he is a total stranger.  I scream and try to get away from him.  I try to run but something or someone jumps on me, I feel the ice cold hands of the Bad people, everything goes black and then that memory stops.  The next thing I know I am waking up in the hospital scared of all the people around me, especially the ones in the white coats, who call themselves doctors and the purple man who I now know is Mulberry.

The strangest thing that I really can not work out, besides not knowing how I got here.  How did I get from being dirty, dressed in rags and starving, to well dressed, clean and no longer hungry?!  When I woke up in the hospital and saw myself in the mirror I screamed because I did not recognize myself.  The reflection in the mirror was definitely not the same as the one I usually see, that I catch occasionally when I am passing glass windows or the reflection that I see on the surface of the water when I look into the lake. 

It is almost like a big chunk of my life or memories is missing, I am missing time because nothing connects together or makes any sense.  Silly things, like how do I know how to eat with a knife and fork, when I have never had to do that in my life.  How do I know what a television is and what it does, when I have never seen or watched one before.  I find myself doing a lot of things that I have never done before and do not know how or why I am doing them!!  It is all one big mystery to me!! 

When Affair told me earlier that we were going round to Lillys house, I thought she was out of the hospital already.  I was a little disappointed to find out that she was not.  While I love being with Affair and especially the triplets, I prefer to be with Lilly, she understands some of what I have been through and she is a woman like I am, I find it a lot easier to talk to her than I do to Affair.  We were going round to Lilly's house to see Affairs cousins, Lilly's and Mango's sons, Tapestry and River, who have returned home after being away for a long time, he did not tell me where they had been.

I was already feeling uncomfortable with all the people in the house that I do not know.  I thought about sneaking off to the triplets who were in the nursery playing with Cotton, Lilly's daughter.  Affair is talking to his Dad, who is a scary purple man, so I just stay quiet and stand behind Affair really wishing that we were not here with all these other people.

Then he walked in to the room - Tapestry.

It felt like my heart stopped working and all my blood drained away.  At first I thought I was seeing things, the minute I saw him, I knew him from my memories and my sleep.  As soon as he walks into the room, carrying the yellow baby, he looks and smiles at me.  I just dart behind Affair, a little shocked by all the bruises on both his and River's faces.  Every time I look at him, even when he is talking to someone, he keep glancing over in my direction, staring and smiling, almost like he is trying to attract my attention.  After a while Tapestry walks over to talk to Affair, who takes the baby off him.  I have seen that yellow baby with the colourless eyes before, at the hospital, Lilly took me there when she went to see, her son Tapestry's yellow baby.  I hear Tapestry tell Affair that he has called the baby Vanilla.  As he is speaking to Affair, I even know his voice, this confuses me, how can I know his voice when I have never seen or spoken to him before, only in my head.

Tapestry tried to talk to me.  He said  "Hello Crystal."  and smiled at me.  I panicked, I do not know why, I quickly told Affair I was going to check on the triplets and hurried away before Tapestry got the chance to talk to me again.  As I rushed away I heard Affair telling Tapestry that I am shy and not very good around people that I do not know.  I spent the rest of the time we were there playing with Cotton and the triplets and did not see Tapestry again, but I can not stop thinking about him and I do not know why.

I suddenly hear one of the triplets start screaming then crying, this snaps my head back to reality, so I quickly get off the bed and plan to go and see which one of the triplets is crying and why.  As I open my bedroom door, I see Affair walking into the babies room opposite.  I doubt it needs the both of us so I decide not to follow him into their room.  I go to shut the bedroom door when I hear Cherry suddenly shouting quite loudly, so I follow the noise and walk down the corridor to listen.  I can hear Cherry arguing with her sister.

I do not go into the living room where they are, I stand next to the door, leaning against the wall and listen.  I hate hearing people arguing, it always reminds me of one of the very few things that I can remember from my very early child hood, before the children's home.  Being constantly locked in a small room, with just my teddy bear for company, hearing a couple, who I presume were my parents, constantly shouting and arguing.   The only time I saw either of them was when they came into give me a bottle, then they would go again, most of the time it was her, rarely him.  I can not remember now what either of them look like and the only other thing that I can remember is she used to sing to me sometimes.  when I would not sleep, she used to sing to me, I still remember that song now, in fact it is still the only song that I know.

I wrap my arms around myself, really wishing that I had my teddy bear here, but it is sat on my bed, in my new bedroom at Lilly and Mango's house.  I was only meant to be staying with Affair, for a few hours, while Lilly went to the hospital to visit someone, but she fell and banged her head and has to stay in the hospital for two days.  I did not expect to be staying here so I did not bring my teddy bear with me.

This reminder of my parents and hearing Cherry and her sister arguing, makes me feel horrible.  I want to move away from the door and out of earshot of the argument, I really should go back to my room but something keeps me there listening.  I am curious because I can hear Tapestry's name keep being mentioned.  They are arguing over the baby.

"I am telling you now Straw, just drop it!!"  Cherry snaps  "You just leave Tapestry and Vanilla alone, she is his child!!"

"I do not care!!  He is an IDIOT!!  You know he can not even look after himself, there is no way he will take care of Vanilla properly.  I am still going to take her, it is what Honey would have wanted!!"

"NO STRAW!!  She would not!!  She would have wanted Tapestry to look after her, it is his child for berrys sake!!  You have no right!!"  Cherry sounds very angry  "There is only you going on with this rubbish, there are plenty of people around to help Tapestry with Vanilla!!  Everybody thinks you are in the wrong so just stop now Straw, before you cause anymore trouble!  Don't you think everyone has been through enough lately!!  That poor child already has to grow up without her Mother, and you want to take her away from her Father too, the only person you are thinking about here is yourself!!"

"I am thinking about Vanilla and her future well being!!"  she snaps at Cherry  "I am Honey's twin remember, I knew her better than any of you, and she would have wanted me to take Vanilla, not leave her with that idiot!!"  Strawberry laughs  "Tapestry is a moron!!  It is only a matter of time before he does something to put her into danger, I give him a week and he will have lost her wandering off and forgetting like he does!!  I have got half a mind to just take her now and move away before that happens!!  Berry Shores is supposed to be ten times better place than this dump of a town!!"

"I am WARNING you Straw, you can stop this nonsense NOW!!!.  First thing in the morning I am telling Dad and Mango what you are saying.  You lay one finger on that baby and you and me WILL be falling out - you will be shipping out to Berry Shores ALONE if you even try anything stupid!!  Carry on with this rubbish and you will alienate EVERYONE."  she snaps nastily  "If Affair hears you talking like this, you will be straight out the front door, with more than a flea in your ear!!"

"Oh here we go!!  I wandered how long it would take before you brought Mr Perfect Orchid into this!!"   Strawberry snaps at Cherry

"Back off Straw  Don't you start slagging Affair off just because you have messed up your own relationship and Parsley has dumped you!!  You had a good one there, Parsley is a good bloke, but you just couldn't keep your knickers up could you!!  I knew one day he would find out just how much of a slut you really are!!"  Cherry laughs sarcastically  "Gravel, I ask you!!  You and Coral both need your heads and eyes testing!!"

"Just shut up Cherry!!  Don't start with that again!!"

"No!!  You disgust me Straw!!  Who is the next victim that you are going to drop your knickers for, Slate? Tapestry? Affair?  I hear they are the only ones left in the extended family that you haven't been through ... or have you stepped it up to the oldies now?  Let's see who you have left to play with - Mulberry, Prelude, Mango, Alpine ... oh and River, and I hear Gravel's gay brother and his boyfriend are pretty cute!  Let's face it, not even the gay boys are off limits with you are they, you even managed to con Bayleaf into having a go!!"  Cherry starts laughing 

"Wind your neck in Cherry, now you are just being childish!!

I do not like where this conversation was going regarding Vanilla, but I am really beginning not to understand what they are talking about now.  They have stopped talking about Tapestry and Vanilla, they have moved their conversation onto something else, so I do not want to listen any more.

Affair shouts Cherry and I panic.  I do not want her to know that I have been listening to their conversation, so I slip quickly into the kitchen before anyone sees me standing there.  I need to get out of here and this house, I feel suffocated.  I need my teddy bear and I do not want to be cooped up in that small room alone with my thoughts, so I quietly unlock the back door and slip out of the house.

After I have run across the garden, I try the gate and it is locked so I just climb over it, and run out onto the street.  I do not stop running until I reach the end of the road.  I already feel a lot better just from being outside, it is all that I have ever been used to, a roof of endless sky and stars over my head.  I am not sure that I can be completely comfortable living in a house.

I slow down once their house is out of sight and start to walk at a leisurely pace.  I am not even sure that I know the way to Lilly and Mango's house.  I get the feeling that I might even get myself  lost, but I do not really care right now.

As I walk up the street I think about what Affair was telling me on the way back to his house when we left Lilly's house earlier.  I asked who Vanilla's Mother is and Affair told me that Vanilla's Mother, Honey, had faded when Vanilla was born along with her twin brother.  I think that is very sad!!  He also told me about his brother Storm, he also faded less than a year ago when he was a teenager.  He puzzled me, he looked at me strangely when I asked him if he see's his brothers spirit hanging around and talks to it.  He laughs at me and calls me a crack pot because he does not believe in ghosts.  How can he not believe in ghosts when they are everywhere?

I actually surprise myself as I walk down the next street, I recognize the houses that I am passing, but I guess it is second nature to me to take notice of my surroundings outdoors. We had walked with the triplets earlier, instead of coming in the car, we pushed them in their pushchairs, as Lilly and Mango's house is not too far away from Cherry and Affairs house.  I know I am going in the right direction, because I recognize things a long the way.

I see Lilly and Mango's house with relief, I have made it here without getting lost.  I run down the steps and am pleased to see that there are quite a lot of lights on in the house, I worried that I might have left it a little too late and there might be nobody around or up still to let me in.

This house is rather strange, it is very busy, there is always a lot of people here, coming and going, walking in and out, family and extended family who do not even live here.  Affair has tried to explain to me, the family connections and who everyone is, but it is too complicated for me to understand and there are too many names and people for me to try and remember.  That is why Mango thought it best that I stay with Affair until Lilly comes out of the hospital.  As I am not really comfortable around all these people that are constantly wandering around, even if they are nothing like the people in Rainbow Valley, because everyone here is always nice to me.

I try the door handle on the front door and surprisingly the door opens.  I am not sure that they ever lock this door.  While I have been here most people just walk in without knocking the door.  I walk in and close the door quietly behind me.

I stop in the hallway and stare down the basement steps.  I know that Tapestry is down there, that is where he lives, Lilly showed me around his apartment.

I am not sure why but I have a sudden urge to go down there so that I can see him.  I have questions that I need to ask him, I need to make sense of how and why I am here, and I am sure he must have something to do with it because I have seen both Tapestry and Winter in Rainbow Valley and it has to be more than a coincidence that they are now here like I am.

"Are you okay dear?"  Mango's Mom, Lemon calls me from the living room where she is sitting reading a book.  I like Lemon she is a really sweet old lady.

"Eeer yes, I just came to get something that I left in my room that I need." 

I smile at her nervously as she closes her book and gets out off her seat and walks to the archway between the hallway and the living room.

"Please tell me you have not walked from Affairs house without your shoes!"  she laughs at me.  "You know dear, you really need to start wearing your shoes when you go outside, you are going to catch a chill or step on something and hurt your feet!!" 

Lilly, Lemon and Winter have all tried to get me to wear shoes but every time I put my feet into them I scream. I can not stand the feeling of having my feet trapped in shoes, I do not think that I have ever worn shoes before, I have run around bare foot all my life.  The bottoms of my feet are hard and used to walking on the ground, I rarely feel anything uncomfortable that hurt my feet, not even in the woods.

Lemon starts to show concern about me wandering around alone outside late at night.
I walk up the stairs slowly with Lemon, who says she is just off to bed herself.  She is trying to convince me to let her get River or Tapestry to walk me back to Affairs house but I tell her that I am okay on my own, I have lived on the streets all my life and know how to look after myself.

When Lemon goes into her room she says goodnight and I make my way to my bedroom.  When I open the door, I realize, that I actually like this room a lot better than the room that I have at Affairs house.  It is much bigger so it does not feel so suffocating, I have a bigger two persons bed and there is a television in the room.  I think about staying here instead of going back to Affairs house, it is getting late and I never thought when I left I might not get back into their house.  I know they will lock the back and front door before they go to bed.  They think that I have gone to bed already so they do not even know that I am out of the house.

I pick my teddy bear up off the bed and stand there holding it, as I turn on the television, glad that the volume is very low so that it does not disturb anyone.  My teddy always makes me feel a lot better, it is the only comfort that I have every had.  I walk over to the window and stand there hugging my teddy, while I listen to the television as I look out onto the street.

I had not been stood there for long when I am shocked to see her coming down the street towards the house.  The yellow and red lady, I have forgotten her name already, Cherry's sister.

Why is she coming here?  To take the baby away!!

I drop my teddy bear on the floor in a panic and run out of my room and down the stairs, to the hall.  When I reach the bottom of the stairs I can see her through the glass of the front door walking quickly down the steps outside towards the front door.  I have to stop her from taking the baby away.

I quickly run down into the basement and open the nursery room door.  Luckily Lilly has showed me around down here, and I spent a few hours down here because Winter let me help her to bath and feed Ocean.  I really love babies and little children like Cotton.  The children are more on my wavelength, Mango thinks I have a childish nature still because I have never had a proper childhood like other children, instead of playing, learning, being loved and taken care of, instead of doing all the things that children do, I was living alone and almost feral in the woods just surviving.  He is amazed that I have managed to survive living the way that I have.

I open the nursery door quietly and only see Ocean in the cot closest to Winters bedroom.  The other cot is empty.  I know that the other door leads into Tapestry's room, Winter told me.  I have heard a lot about Tapestry over the last few days, I just did not know who he actually was.  I did not know the name of that man in my head until I saw him earlier tonight.

I open the door to Tapestry's room quietly and creep in.

I freeze for a moment as I see Tapestry curled up on the bed fast asleep.  Vanilla is in the cot by his bed.  I do not know whether to wake him up or not, I am scared that he might shout at me for being here.   I tiptoe over to the cot quietly trying not to wake him up..  I think about the bad lady coming to take the baby away and quickly take Vanilla out of the cot and tiptoe out of the door, into the nursery and out into the hallway.

As I close the nursery door quietly behind me, I am stood out in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and I realize that I should have left Tapestry's bedroom by the other door, the one that leads out into the kitchen.  Now I am stood there right in front of her, the bad lady, where she can see me.

I see the bad lady coming down the stairs to the basement, on tiptoes, she is trying to be very quiet.  She sees me with Vanilla and freezes for a moment as she stops and stares at me wide eyed.  A nasty look flashes across her face and I decide to run.

I bolt through one of the doors close by which takes me into the kitchen.  I run into the bathroom and lock the door behind me, if she can not get in, she can not take the baby away.  I lean against the door in relief that we are safe in here where she can not get to us.

The bad lady must have followed me and watched where I went because I hear her try the door handle and the bathroom door shakes a little behind me, so I move away from the door quickly and back away from the door.  Then she taps on it lightly.

"Crystal let me in you sneaky freak!!"

She says very quietly but loud enough for me to hear her.  I am a little surprised by her calling me that because it is the first time that I have been called anything horrible since I have been in Sugar Valley.

"NO!!  Go Away!!"  I shout at her.

"Give me the baby Crystal!!"  she says  "If you don't I will tell Tapestry you have got her!!"

"Go and tell him!!  I will tell him that you came to take the baby away to some other Berry town!!"  I shout at her  "I heard you telling Cherry!!"

"You was listening to our conversation, you nosy cow!!"  she snaps at me  "That baby is nothing to do with you so you need to give her to me, she is my niece!!"  

 It goes quiet for a moment because I do not say anything.  She can say what she likes, I am not opening this door and letting her in here.  I can not let her take the baby away.

"Now open the door and let me in, I want my niece!!"

"No Go Away!!  I am not coming out and neither is Vanilla!!"

I sit down on the white wicker chair that is in the bathroom, holding the baby, who is still asleep.  I laugh at the chair, I had been very fascinated with it when I came in here with Winter, because it is made out of exactly the same material as the clothes basket.  That is how I know it is a wicker chair, because Winter told me. 

I can do nothing now but sit and wait for her to go or for someone to come and see her here.  The time drags.  She hangs around for a while and bangs on the door a few times and swears at me, trying to coax me out, but I just stay quiet and ignore her.  Even after it goes silent and I think she has gone, I stay sitting there, scared she might be waiting quietly for me to open the door so she can pounce and take the baby.

I hear the door thud and shake really loudly, while someone is trying the door handle, which wakes me up.  I had nodded off to sleep and I do not know how long I had been sat on the chair with the baby.  At first I think it is the bad lady so I stay silent.

"River the damn door is locked or stuck!!"

I hear a female voice that I recognize, I think it is Winter.  I go to open the door feeling safe with Winter, when I hear another voice that I do not recognize, a male voice, so I freeze and do not move.  I hear the door rattling again and watch the handle turning backwards and forwards.

"Tap are you in there?"  he shouts as he bangs on the door.  I stay quiet.

"Use the toilet upstairs then go back to bed,  I'll feed Ocean."  he says  "I'll check the door in the morning and fix it if it's stuck."

"Okay."  Winter says  "Oh River, don't forget take the bottles off the bottom shelf.  The bottles on the top shelf are for Vanilla, I don't want Ocean getting hooked on vanilla milk."

I sit there not knowing whether to go out or not, but I am scared they might shout at me and I do not know River at all.  He scares me a little, so I stay where I am too scared to move.

I wait until it goes completely quiet before I brave opening the door.  I really have no choice now but to move when Vanilla wakes up and starts to grizzle a little, I think she might want feeding.

I remember what I heard Winter say and go into the fridge for a bottle, taking one off the top shelf and warm it up in the jug of hot water that River has left on the side.  I know how to do this too because Winter showed me and I have been helping Cherry and Affair feed the triplets.  Cherry says I am getting good at looking after the children.

I stay in the kitchen while I feed Vanilla her bottle while I watch the fish swimming around in the fish tank in the wall.  All the time I am worrying that someone might come in and catch me and shout at me.  I am also scared that the bad lady might come back.
After I have made the baby belch out wind, like Winter has showed me to do by putting the baby on my shoulder and patting her back, I creep into the nursery and take a nappy and go back into the living room to change her soggy nappy.

I do not know what to do then.  I am a little scared to put the baby down, who has now gone back to sleep.  I am scared to put her back into her cot in case the bad lady returns and tries again to take her while Tapestry is sleeping.

I decide to take Vanilla to my bedroom, where there is a lock on my bedroom door and that will keep her from coming into the room and taking the baby.  My room is better than spending the night in the bathroom.

I go out into the hallway and up the two flights of stairs to my bedroom.  The house is completely quiet and there is nobody around, I guess that everyone is now asleep.  I lie vanilla in the middle of the big bed after I have locked the door behind me.  Placing her on the bed woke her up, so I sit on the bed and watch her for a while, until she goes back to sleep.

I spend the rest of the night standing in the window.

I can not sleep, watching to make sure that the bad lady does not come back.


I stand frozen just staring at River who is just staring back at me with one of his worried faces.  I think he is even now starting to believe it, he has checked every room in the house and Vanilla is simply not here!! 

My baby has gone missing and I am not sure what all the emotions are that are running through me, half of them I do not really understand.

All I know is that I have never felt this scared in my life!!  Not even when I watched the vampberry draining Honey or when he started to drain me and I thought I was about to fade - I was not this scared.

Vanilla has only been a part of my life for less than 48 hours, but still I am terrified that I am never going to see her again - it is the weirdest feeling that I have ever experienced.

I watch as Dad pulls out his phone.  I stand there numbly watching him, I wander who he might be phoning.  I am pretty surprised when I hear him say the name Jazz.  I think it very strange that Jazz would be the first one that he contacts.  I listen to him explaining that Vanilla has gone missing, and we think that someone has taken her out of the house, then I hear him checking that they still have Manderine.  I laugh at Dad thinking it might be Manderine. 

Berry!!  I am so stupid, I know exactly who it is going to be!!  Strawberry!!  I snap open my phone and with River's help I call Strawberry's phone, she is not normally somebody that I would phone. I tell River to phone Sunny to let him know what has happened.  I am actually very surprised that my Dad did not phone Sunny first.

Dad sees me watching him, and he makes his way out of the room to finish his conversation with Jazz, which I am thinking is very suspicious.  It is not like Jazz can do anything in this situation, it is light, he can not go out and look for my baby, so why is he wasting time talking to him!!

Strawberry's phone just keeps ringing and ringing until it goes onto voice mail.  I start swearing at her and leave Strawberry a really nasty message, telling her to bring my baby back before I hunt her down find her and fade her.  When I cut the call off, River is watching me wide eyed, almost with a look of disgust,  I do not think he understands why I just know it is Strawberry that has taken Vanilla.  I have to explain to him what happened at the hospital, when she tries to take Vanilla off me and tell him what she said about the baby needing to be protected from me.  Then I think he understands, why I am so certain it is Strawberry who has taken Vanilla.

Dad walks back into the room with the phone still stuck to his ear and I think at first that he is still talking to Jazz until I realize he is now talking to Elderberry.  He is reporting Vanilla's disappearance to the police.  I wander why he chose to report Vanilla missing to El and not Gravel?  

Since Strawberry does not answer my second call to her phone, I try Parsley.  I do not need River's help to phone Parsley.  I have two P's in my phone P1 is Prelude and P2 is Parsley.

"Is Strawberry with you?"  I ask him as soon as he answers his phone

"Hell Tap what time is it?"  he moans  "No Strawberry is not with me!  I have ditched the bitch,  I have had enough!!"  he mumbles down the phone like he is still half asleep.

"Shit!!  I think she has taken my baby!!  I don't suppose you would know where she might be?"

"WHAT?!"  He shouts down the phone, almost deafening me.  I think he is awake now!

I explain to him that someone has come into our house, probably between midnight and 4am and taken Vanilla.  I tell him that I think there is only Strawberry who would do that, and explain to him what happened at the hospital.  He tells me that they had a massive argument yesterday tea time, because he has found out she has been sleeping with someone else and he has broken up with her.

"I'm sorry mate!!  I hate to ask but I need to find her, do you think she is with him?"

"I doubt it!!"  he laughs  "I think Coral might just scratch her eyes out if she is - it was Gravel who she has been screwing behind my back!!  Slate told me, he caught Gravel with Strawberry before he caught him with your sister!!"

"W.T.F!!  You are pulling my leg right!!"

"No I wish I was!!"  he goes quiet for a moment  "I'll get dressed and I'll see if I can find her for you!!  I'll phone you and let you know."

I shut off my phone not sure if I had heard any of that right!!

I am a little amused when Sunny comes tearing into the bedroom, in his bedclothes, he has not even bothered to get dressed before leaving his house, he must have run through the streets dressed like that.  I am half expecting him to say something along the same lines as River and Dad did about me losing her, but he doesn't.

Straight away he agrees with me in thinking that it will be Strawberry who has taken off with Vanilla.  He says that Strawberry was not home this morning when he checked.   Her bed has not been slept in so he presumed she was staying over at Parsley's.  Which I now know did not happen.

I have to tell Sunny what Parsley has just told me about them having an argument and breaking up because Slate has told him that she has been sleeping with Gravel.  Parsley has not seen Strawberry since yesterday tea time.  This did not seem to come as any surprise to Sunny or my Dad, neither of them reacted like I thought they would, I thought my Dad especially might start kicking off because of Gravel now being with Coral.  It appears they must have already known.

"I told you it would only be a matter of time before Parsley found out!!"  he mutters to Dad quietly  "Fudge!!  I would love to throttle that bloke for all the damage he's causing!!"

"Join the queue I'm first in line to throttle him!!"  Dad laughs  "I knew Slate wouldn't be able to keep it to himself, he told me he was struggle to look Parsley in the face."  Dad tuts  "Coral and Strawberry both need their heads testing, two good blokes they have lost because of that slime ball!!"

While I am amused by their conversation, I am getting irritated that this is not helping to find Vanilla is it!!  I lose my temper with them both and start yelling at them for gossiping about rubbish while my baby is missing!!  They both stand there looking a little sheepish and exchange a strange look that I do not understand while River just stands there chuckling at me.

Sunny starts to phones round all of his other children trying to see if he can locate Strawberry, but so far none of them have seen her and they do not know where she is.

I want to get dressed and go out looking for her but Dad will not let me.  He says I have to wait here until Elderberry gets here, and let the police handle it.  He tries to explain to me that I am just going to work myself up into a tizzy, which my head will not take, if I am running around the streets looking for her, he knows because he tried it when I went missing.  This does not help me, when I feel terrible just standing here doing nothing.

"I think we might have a bigger problem than we thought!!"  Sunny says suddenly as he snaps his phone shut  "I have just been talking to Cherry apparently she had a huge argument with Strawberry last night over her taking Vanilla..."

He starts to look a little sheepish as he starts to explain.  Cherry was going to speak to both my Dad and Sunny this morning because last night Strawberry was keeping on that she was going to take Vanilla, she is convinced that I can not look after the baby and it is what Honey would have wanted.  Strawberry mentioned to Cherry about taking Vanilla and moving to Berry Shores with her.  Cherry thinks that she was planning to snatch her and just take off with her.

"She should have told us this last night!!"  I snap at Sunny

"She knows, she feels guilty, she said it was very late last night and she thought Strawberry had gone to bed.  Cherry has just checked the spare room where she thought Strawberry was sleeping, but her bed has not been slept in."  Sunny rolls his eyes  "Also, I know now is not a good time to tell you this Tapestry, but Crystal has gone too, her bed has not been slept in either."

Sunny continues to explain that Cherry said she thought Crystal was a little quiet and fidgety last night while they were eating, she went off to bed really early, but must have sneaked off while nobody was looking.  She must have been gone all night.

This sends me into a total panic!!

River tries to calm me down as I start to hold my head and rock.  I can feel my head starting to  go.  It is bad enough that Vanilla has gone missing but Crystal too.  I was scared that something like this might happen, she is not used to being cooped up in a house, especially with strange people.  I am now scared that she might have run off trying to find woods to live in or make her way back to Rainbow Valley, the only place that she knows.

"Tap did you go to the bathroom at about 4am this morning?"

"No!!  I have told you I fed Vanilla at midnight and went to sleep and have only just woken up!!"  I snap at him, I am starting to get angry  "Why do you ask anyway?"

"Me and Winter got up with Ocean he needed a feed.  Win tried to use the bathroom but the door was locked, I called out to you thinking you was in there but when there was no reply, I presumed the door was stuck."  he starts to rub his neck  "I've just checked in the bathroom, so the door was not stuck, someone must have been locked in there ... probably whoever took Vanilla might have been hiding in there."  River stands there frowning  "FUDGE!!  I should have forced the door open, I could have stopped her from taking Vanilla!!"

I can hear Dad and Sunny talking in quiet whispers behind me which is starting to really irritate me.  I hear Dad mention Jazz quietly to Sunny which starts to make me suspicious again. They leave the room together when they see me watching them and close the door behind them.  I don't doubt so that they can talk in private where I can not hear them.

"Why do I get the feeling something is going on?"  I frown at River  "What are they whispering about, what are they trying to hide from me?"

"Nothing!!  You are just being paranoid."

"Why did Dad phone Jazz?  It is not like he can do anything in the daylight?"  I ask and River just shrugs his shoulders at me  "Don't tell me it is to check up on Manderine, because we both know she isn't getting out of that place and if she did, she would run like hell, she wouldn't come in here and steal a baby that she probably does not even know exists!!"  I frown at River  "Something is not right here I've just got a feeling, everyone is still lying to me about something!!"  River asks me why I think that.   "Well for a start I DO NOT believe that Honey had the same heart condition as Strawberry!  Why do they keep taking their conversations out of the room?"

River turns away from me and walks over to the window, probably to try and get away from my questions which he can not answer.  I think there is definitely something dodgy going on with Dad, Sunny and River.  I can tell just by the look on River's face, he is not very good at lying!!

Suddenly River bursts out laughing

"Oh Berry!!"  he keeps laughing which is irritating me.

"How the hell can you laugh at a time like this!!"  I snap at him angrily 

"Panic over!!  I think we have found your daughter, your girlfriend and our baby thief!!  Look outside Tap!"  he continues to laugh  "Oh Berry this is going to be interesting!!"

I storm over to where he is standing, he is now almost in hysterics.  I look out through the bedroom window.  It takes my mind a few seconds to process what I am looking at.  I can not quite believe what I am seeing.  A great wave of relief washes over me that almost has my legs giving way underneath me, I have to grab onto the window sill to stop myself from buckling.

Crystal is out in the back garden, sitting on the bench with Vanilla.

I bolt out of the bedroom and down to the garden.

Dad, Sunny and River all follow me.

Dad reminds me to go carefully because Crystal is still very frightened of everyone.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Chapter 30 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I knew I loved you ......

Well I never in a million years would have expected this!!

The little yellow girl that I am holding in my arms  ... is My baby!!

I have the strangest feeling washing over me as I stare down again at the cute little face and those colourless eyes that are staring up at me.  I am really happy that she is actually here, but can not help but cry at the same time.  She has now stopped crying and seems to be quite content to stare up at me as she throws her little arms around.

The poor kid doesn't know what she is letting herself in for having me as her Dad!!

I am still not sure I can take it in properly.  The very last thing that I would ever have expected waiting for me when I returned home is a baby ... it almost feels like I have dreamed her into life somehow.  All the hours I have spent grieving, thinking that neither of them got the chance to live their lives, wishing that they could have had that chance ... and here she is!!

Any minute now I think that I am going to wake up and I am going to find out that this has all been a really mad wacky dream.


Sunny says from behind me, as he puts his hand on my shoulder, which snaps me back into reality.  He stands there staring at me while he is scratching his head, wearing a worried expression on his face.

"The doctor says you can take Banana upstairs with you.   Your Dad is going to get you discharged later, so neither of you will have to stay in the hospital tonight."  he smiles at me as he puts his arm around my shoulder.  He can probably see the tears streaking down my face again.  "I am sure you will feel a lot better when you get home!"  

I frown at him because a few things are really starting to bother and bug me.  Particularly, why has Sunny's attitude towards me suddenly changed?  For the first time that I can remember he is actually being 'nice'.  Not that he has ever really been nasty, just offish.

Sunny has always disliked me, more than most, and has never had any patients with me or my problems.  He hated me being with Honey.  I half expected him to seriously fade me for getting Honey pregnant in the first place, especially now, as they know we actually did it on purpose.  I would love to know how they found that out, I can only presume that it was Honey who told them.  It was Sunny's attitude that drove me and Honey to the extremes that we did of getting pregnant on purpose, so he could not split us up by sending her away to Uni or her Grandmothers in Sugar Falls ... and look how that has all turned out!!  Honey has not just gone for the three years that we were worried about - she has faded and gone forever!!

I am actually surprised that Sunny is not blaming me for Honey fading, after all she faded when the babies were born!!!  Babies!!  A girl and a boy.  I really can not afford to think about the other faded one right now, I can hardly get my head around the one that I am holding!!

I have also worried a little about how Sunny would react to Crystal.   Nine months later and I have already moved on.  I do not expect him to like it and he must know about Crystal.  He along with Dad, Winter and Mulberry are the only ones that know the whole truth - but I am not about to ask him how he feels about me and Crystal, the last thing I want to do at the moment is set him off.

The other thing that is bothering me is why did Strawberry just come in here and do that?  Why does she want my baby?   It is total madness when she can have babies of her own, and why the hell is Sunny calling the baby Banana when only five minutes ago he said not to give her that name!!

"What is Straw's problem anyway?"  I ask him  "Why does she want my baby?"

"Honey fading has really knocked Strawberry around with them being twins. I think part of it is wanting to hold onto Honey and the other part Parsley has put his foot down he's decided they are never having any children." 

I laugh a little at Parsley putting his foot down!! I  really can not imagine it and him actually getting away with it, not with Strawberry!!  Strawberry is the one who wears the trousers in their relationship and if she tells Parsley to jump he usually asks how high!!  I have always thought that Parsley is a little pathetic where Strawberry is concerned.

"After what the pregnancy and heart condition did to Honey, Parsley says Strawberry is not taking the risk of the same thing happening to her ... besides, between you and me, I doubt their relationship is going to last much longer anyway."  he says looking pretty glumly.  I am surprised by him saying this, I thought Strawberry and Parsley were solid.   "Unfortunately their relationship is going downhill pretty quickly - Strawberry again - she started losing her mind even before Honey faded."  I ask him what he means.  "Oh never you mind, nothing for you to worry about!!  We need to get that little Banana upstairs."

"Banana??"  I frown at him and he starts laughing

"That's your Dad, he started it and it's sticking so you need to hurry up and find her a name ... and NOT Banana!!!"  he starts laughing as he opens the door to the baby unit and we start walking back up to my room.

I walk along the corridor and can not help but think that something is not quite right.  Honey having the same heart condition that Strawberry has really does not make any sense to me at all.  Strawberry has always been very sickly, she gets ill easily and if she runs she gets out of breath.  For that reason and because of the heart condition, she never did physical education at school.  Honey was quite the opposite to Strawberry, she was very sporty.  She used to love physical eduction when most of us did not.  We used to run and dance for hours and I was always the one to run out of steam before Honey did.  How could she have had the same heart condition as Strawberry?  I am very suspicious that they might even be lying to me!!  They lied to me about Honey being alive for the past eight months, so how do I know that they are not lying about this too!!  I seriously can not believe that Honey had the same heart condition that Strawberry has!!

As we walk down the corridor, I am concentrating more on holding onto the baby tightly, I am still really scared of dropping her, especially when she starts to wriggle around in my arms.  However, I can not help but notice, like earlier, all eyes seem to be on me, which is making me feel very uncomfortable.  Everyone we pass is staring at me and there is a lot of whispering going on.

We stop outside my room and Sunny pushes open the door and holds it open for me to go in first.  As soon as I walk into the room I hear a xylophone, and see Mosaic sat on the floor playing with Cotton.  I am a little alarmed to see that River is not here.  Mosaic looks up and smiles at me.

"I have been given the job of babysitting madam, she is a nightmare to keep amused."  he laughs at me  "She is a little monster this one, she is into everything and wants to know everything!!"

"Who da funny man wiv baby?"  she asks as she glances up at me  "Yakky face!!"

This makes both me and Mosaic laugh, I presume she is on about the bruises on my face ... well at least I hope she is!!  However, I can not help but feel a little sad, my own sister does not have a clue who I am!!  The last time that I saw her she was a baby, just like the one I have in my arms.

"Where is River?  I thought he might be back by now"

Mosaic explains, as he smiles at me, that Winter bought Ocean in to see him and he only went down for his scan about 10 minutes ago.  Dad told him to wait here for me, just in case I am still in a state when I get back.

"Dad does not really like the idea of Banana being up here, so he is getting you discharged. He is worried about your mental state.  He wants you home where he can keep an eye on you."  I roll my eyes at him. 

"Banana ... Banana.."  Cotton starts repeating

"Fudge!!  I wish everyone would STOP calling her Banana!!"  Mosaic and Sunny start laughing "Even Cotton is in on it!!  Will somebody let me in on the joke?!"

"It's Mom, since the day you went missing she's gone off her head.   She has been driving Dad crazy for another baby."  this makes me laugh a little.  "Dad says she's always had a problem around the baby area. She lost her first baby that faded before it was born and that mentally scared her, especially as she can't remember it, she's only got that picture of the baby already faded and a picture of that purple guy she was marrying."  This makes me laugh because I know he is on about Cosmic.  "Mom has also always struggled with not being around when we were born because of the coma and not seeing us until we were toddlers.   That's the only reason they had Cotton, Dad thought it might settle her down, but then you go missing, and you know you've always been her favourite, so it's set her off again trying to replace something she can never replace."  he smiles at me

"So what does Mom wanting another baby have to do with everyone calling my baby Banana?"  I ask because I am still confused

"I'm just getting to it ... Dad hoped with all the babies arriving, Banana, Ocean, Affairs three, Corals twins and mine coming, he thought all these babies would shut her up and give her something else to focus on, but it's made her worse!!  She wants another one of her own.  He thinks that Shadow has sent her totally off the rails again."  Who the fudge is Shadow?  Did Mosaic just say that he has a baby coming too?  "Anyway we have got bets on what you might call the baby and everyone's favourite is Banana because of it being your favourite flavour, and Dad stupidly joked with Mom that if you call that baby Banana she can have another baby, he said you are stupid but not stupid enough to call her Banana.  Mom's taken the joke seriously and she'll probably try and get you to call her Banana."  I start laughing

"Too right I'm not that stupid."  I laugh at him  "So what does Dad think I'm going to call her?  Who is Shadow?"  I see Mosaic and Sunny give each other a strange look.

"Dad thinks you'll give her a musical name, something short like Aria that you actually can spell, you always moaning about having a long name that you've got no chance of writing."

I notice Sunny and Mosaic exchange an awkward glance but, neither of them tell me who Shadow is. The door opens and Dad pushes River into the room in a wheelchair, they are laughing when they come through the door, but stop quickly when they see me standing there holding the baby.  Dad looks at me sheepishly, he probably thinks I am going to start yelling at him again.  He just stares at me for a moment before he helps River to sit on the bed while he tells us that everything is fine with River, it is just excessive bruising and nothing to worry about.

"So who is Shadow?"  I ask again.  Dad turns round sharply to frown at me.

"Tap, I am sorry, we had to give your baby boy a name for his headstone and ...."  Sunny stops suddenly and goes quiet for a moment like he could not finish his sentence, but I am guessing he was going to say death certificate.  "We thought Shadow was quite fitting under the circumstances."  Sunny says quietly.

I wish he had not done that!!  Told me the boys name.  I do not actually mind in the slightest that they have given him a name.  I have been trying not to think about him and now that he has a name it makes it real ... it makes him real.

I stare down at the baby in my arms, and only just realize, for the first time, that she does not have a Mother and that she has lost her twin brother.  I just stand there for a moment not able to say anything, while my stomach ties itself in a knot.

"What colour was he?"  I am not even sure why I asked that question, it just came out.  If I had thought about it properly first, I would not have asked, knowing what colour he was just makes him even more real in my mind.

"All orange except for his eyes, they were ... red."  Dad says quietly.  I see Sunny and Dad exchange a look but I do not understand why.  "He was the first one not to get your Mother's colourless eyes, he got Ruby's eyes instead."  Dad smiles at me, but awkwardly, why do I get the feeling that they are lying to me again?!

After being discharged from the hospital, Dad took me, River, Cotton and the baby home.

I really am not sure what I expected returning home would be like.  I certainly did not expect it to be emotional.  I felt like crying when the car pulled up outside our house.  Remembering the times when I thought I would never see home again.  Then when I knew that I would make it home one day, that day always seemed so far away!!  It does not feel like it has only been nine months, it actually felt like years since I was last stood looking at our house.

River was dragged straight off by Winter to meet our Grandparents, who were waiting in the living room.  While Dad took the baby off me and told me that he had something to show me, and took me down into the basement, where my bedroom is.  I stop dead at the bottom of the steps because everything has changed.  I am a little confused.  Two doors have suddenly become five doors and one of the doors I am used to has now totally disappeared.

Then I realize that this must be Dad's messing that Mosaic warned me about.  Dad tells me that the whole of the basement floor has now been turned into an apartment, so I now have my own living space.

He starts to explain that, to start with, I will not be living down here alone.  River and Winter will be living down here and sharing my space which they did not think that I would mind.  Obviously River has his own house in Sugar Valley but they are planning to sell it along with his two houses in Apple Hill so they can get a decent house built close by.  In the mean time River and Dad will get to spend time together and get to know each other properly, which I can quite understand.  I quite like the idea of River living here anyway because I think I would now feel lost not having him around.  In a way he has kind of replaced Storm and Honey, and we have become very close over the last nine months.  I like Winter and know I can live with her so it really is not a problem to me them living down here with me.

Dad then confuses me saying that my Granddad Orchid will also be living down here when he comes out of the hospital.  It will just be temporary until he gets back on his feet because everything is all on one level down here, which will make it a lot easier for him.  I ask if we are all sharing my room jokingly, but am actually wandering where everyone is going to sleep.  He laughs at me as he tells me there are now three bedrooms down here.

He points to the doors and tells me what they are.  My room obviously the only door that has not changed.  The other doors are a music room, River and Winters room, the nursery for the two babies, which can actually be turned into a fourth bedroom, and the last door he opens and walks through so I follow him.

I stand there a little shocked as I walk into quite a large kitchen.  The first thing that hits me is the huge fish tank in the wall just like in Winters house.  Dad tells me that Winter thought I would like that as she says I was overly fascinated with hers.

Dad points to the bathroom door which I am really pleased about, I finally get my own bathroom.  I always used to be irritated about my bedroom being in the basement, that if I needed the bathroom I had to run upstairs to use it.

I walk through an archway into a nice sized living room, which I could already see through the fish tank.  I start laughing at the size of the television.  I guess that is Winter again, it is as big as the one that she had in Rainbow Valley.  Dad usually has hissy fits over televisions, I had a hells game to get the small one that I have in my bedroom so I would love to know how she managed to talk him into bringing that into the house.  I don't bother to ask him because I am quickly distracted by something.  At first I thought the living room was just one square room then I notice a section of wall is missing so I go to look.  The living room is actually an L shape and my piano has now been moved and it has it's own space.

Dad points to the door that I can see in front of me and tells me that is the third bedroom, which the old man will be occupying soon, but he presumes it will be my daughters room eventually, unless I move into there and let her have mine because it is a bigger room and the only bedroom away from the music room.  My daughter - did he really just say that!!

Music room?  So why isn't my piano in the music room?  I frown at him as I walk back through the kitchen and back out into the hallway to check out the door that he told me is the music room.  When I open the door I am a little shocked.  It is a big room.  I spot my new and old guitars along with all the other instruments that I can play all of them brand new.  Drums, Bass, Violin and a portable keyboard.  There is even a karaoke machine in the room.  I smile at him a little surprised as he tells me there should be plenty of room for any of the other stuff that I might need for my music career.  I am surprised he is actually taking that seriously!!

Dad then shows me the nursery, there are two cots in the room and all the equipment and toys that you might need, for babies and toddlers.  At each end of the room there is a door, that is when I realize this room used to be my old music room and I am guessing that the door on the left leads into my bedroom.  I go over to investigate the door on the right.  When I open it I instantly start laughing at the four huge bookcases that are rammed full with books.

"It's a library!  That has to be River's room."

Dad explains that they have been and collected all his books from the two Apple Hill houses and his house in Sugar Valley.  I remember Winter telling me once that their house would be a walk in bookcase - she was not joking!!

There is only one room left for me to see - my bedroom!!  This is where Dad starts to get very nervous about me going into my bedroom.  I think he is expecting me to kick off proper when I see what they have done.

I open the door and stand there just letting my eyes sweep slowly around my bedroom.  I am struggling to take in the change around that has taken place in here.  My room has been completely moved around and now looks nothing like how I left it, nine months ago.  Twelve months ago I most definitely would have kicked off, I used to go mental at him for just moving my bag.   However, I actually even surprised myself with how calm I was about them messing with my room.

I stand just staring at it feeling a little numb.  While I do not like it, it does not unhinge me like it normally would have done, especially when I stand listening to the reasons why Dad thought my room needed a move around..

After Honey was taken from the vampberry den she was brought here, and this is where she lived for the last eight months of her life, in my bedroom.  Dad said she refused to go home, she was camped out in my room waiting for me to come home, I find that a little sad, especially after he tells me that Jazz wiped her memory and she can not remember anything about the abduction after the cemetery!!  So Honey was left completely in the dark about my whereabouts like the rest of my family.

The babies were born in my room, so here is where she and the boy faded.  Hence the new bed and the room being switched around, so that I would not have to sleep where it had all happened.  Dad did say that I could change rooms if I wanted to, but I chose to stay in here.

I can not help but think, that this room no longer looks or feels like my bedroom any more even though I can see all of my things in it along with the new bed.  The whole room has been switched around.  Where my bed used to be it is now a living area.  I have spotted the new coach to match the one that was already in my room, and my fish tank is no longer in here.  My bed is now where the living area used to be at the opposite end of the room close to the nursery door.

Not that I need to use the nursery when I have a cot right by my bed.  

Dad has put my baby into the cot by my bed and has left me alone in the room to get a feel of the place.  I think he was very relieved, as well as shocked, that I did not kick off.

I just lie on the bed watching the baby sleeping while I am trying to think of a name that I can give her.  I am still struggling to believe that she is even here, that she is mine and that me and Honey made her.  I try to concentrate on her to stop myself from thinking about Honey or the faded baby, I think if I let my mind dwell on them both too much I might just crack up and start grieving all over again.

After only a short time of being alone, River comes in and throws himself onto the bed next to me, I think he forgot about his broken ribs because he lies there moaning in pain for a moment, while I just laugh at him.

"So how do you like your new space?"  River laughs at me

"It is great, but we need a front door so we can lock the oldies out!!"  I smirk at him  "You know for a fact Dad is going to be down here every spare second he gets to check up on me."

"Why do you think he has installed me down here!!"  he laughs at me and I just roll my eyes at him.  Yes I guess that is something that he would do, use River to do his spying!!

"Dad sent me down here to tell you, your Grandparents are waiting to see you and Banana."  he smiles at me when I pull a face at him for calling my baby Banana.  "and the living room is slowly filling up, you have quite a few visitors."

"Like who?"  I frown at him wandering who would go out of their way to visit me.

"Your Uncles, Aunts, cousins, most of the extended family .... Crystal."

"Crystal is upstairs!!"  I go to shoot off the bed, but River grabs my arm and pulls me back.

"SLOW DOWN!!!"  River shouts at me  "She is with Cherry, Affair and the triplets.  Crystal is still very shy around everyone so I doubt they will stay very long."  he pulls a face at me  "You do not know her remember, so you will just have to ignore her unless she talks to you which is not likely, she is hiding behind Affair most of the time."

I get off the bed unhappily.  This is going to be very hard, being around Crystal and her not knowing who I am anymore.  It is going to hurt when she stares at me blankly, I just know it will!!

I take the baby out of the cot and follow River upstairs.


I stroll sleepily into the kitchen, a very niggly hungry baby in my arms, who has not let me have hardly any sleep all night.  Not that I could sleep very well anyway, Crystal really playing on my mind.  Seeing her yesterday afternoon and her totally not knowing me, hurt me more than I thought it would.  Watching her hiding behind Affair when I tried to talk to her was like having a knife twisted in my chest.

Every few hours, through the night,  the baby has woken me up screaming the house down.  It was not always feeding that she needed, sometimes she had filled her nappy, sometimes I think she just woke me up for the fun of it!!  Do babies not need any sleep?!  My first night at home with her was not much fun!!

I plod over to the fridge and open the door for what feels like the hundredth time in the night.  I stand staring into the fridge for a moment.  The shelf in the fridge where the row of bottles that Winter made up for me, is now empty.  Then I remember I used the last one only a few hours ago.  Now what do I do?  I stand scratching my head for a moment before I close the fridge door, a little too hard because the baby jumps with fright, she goes rigid in my arms and starts screaming the place down.

"Shusssh baby stop crying!!" 

I start to jig her up and down while I pull faces at her, which I have already worked out, she must like because, it stops her from crying, most of the time and I even think she has laughed at me a few times.

She promptly throws up all down my front.  GREAT!!

"OH GROSS!!!  Thank's baby, now I stink like you!!!!"  I laugh at her

My Dad, who I had not even noticed until now, is sat at the breakfast counter drinking coffee, he starts to laugh quite loudly at me.  So much for me having my own apartment and space.  He is down here invading my space already.  Why is he sat drinking coffee in my kitchen when he has one of his own upstairs?

I guess he is down here checking on me, making sure that I have not managed to lose the baby yet.  I think that is one of his biggest fears that I will put her down and wander off and forget about her. He does not trust me one inch to look after this baby properly!!

"You can't keep calling her baby, she needs a name."  he continues to laugh at me as he looks over the top of his mug in amusement.  He smirks at me when I start yawning.  "Did you not get much sleep?"

"NO!!!   She hardly shut up crying!!"

I start to moan because it was not just my baby crying.  Ocean also kept waking me up, I could hear him through the wall, in the nursery which is next to my room, but he did not cry as much as my baby did.  Dad laughs at me again and tells me that I will have to put up with the sleepless nights for quite a while, and says that I should try sleeping during the daytime while she is sleeping.  However, he did say as I am having to do the sleepless nights alone, my parents will have her one night a week so that I can get a decent nights sleep.  

"Where is Winter, I need her to make up some bottles.  She needs feeding.

"Don't think Winter is going to do it all for you Tapestry!!"  

Dad pulls his disapproving face at me as he gets off the stool and comes over to the sink to wash up his mug.  He tells me that he does not have to be into work until later, so this morning I am getting a crash course on how to look after a baby.

This amuses me a little because I think, ... I know how to feed her and change her nappy, what else is there to know?

I get one of my Dad's lectures, which I have not really missed.  A lecture about the responsibility that I have now dumped on myself stupidly having unprotected sex - a baby.  A responsibility that I am not to try and keep palming onto everyone else, it is my baby and I am the one who has to look after her.  I can not help but laugh at him, I still do not think that he believes that I have grown up any.  He is talking to me like I am still that stupid teenager that walked out of here nine months ago.

First he gets me to collect up the empty bottles from my room and shows me how to clean them and put them into the steriliser, which I had actually watched Winter doing last night.  She would have showed me how to make up a batch of bottles, but she had already made a load up, and there were no spare sterilised bottles ready so she was going to show me this morning.  That is where my Dad misunderstood me earlier when I asked where Winter was, kicking off his lecture, but I just kept quiet and let him carry on with it.

So I am now standing in the kitchen watching Dad, instead of Winter, who is showing me how to make up a batch of baby bottles. He is talking to me like I am a child as he is showing me how many scoops of milk I need to put in the bottle and how much water.  I would much rather Winter be doing this, because she does at least treat me like an adult!!

"Whatever you do DO NOT give her the bottle straight away!!  You will burn her mouth and throat!!"  he says frowning at me, a frown I know well - he really does not trust me one inch not to be that stupid!!  He places one of the bottles in a jug of cold water so that the milk that he has just made up with boiling water, can cool down enough for the baby to drink.   

"Do not put the vanilla into the milk until just before you give it to her either, just in case we get Ocean hooked on vanilla milk too."

"Dad I am not totally stupid you know!!  I would not drink boiling hot water myself so I am not about to give it to Banana am I!!"  

Dad starts pulling an indescribable face that has me in hysterics.  He looks almost like he is about to explode!!  I know why because I just called my baby, Banana, which I did on purpose and he must now be cacking himself!!

"DON'T YOU DARE call that child Banana!!"

Dad is really frowning at me now because I am doubled over almost crushing the baby in my arms laughing at the expressions washing over his face.  He starts to rub his neck.

"And you need to start putting that baby down before you suffocate her!!  Since leaving the hospital yesterday, every time I see you, you have got her.  You are going to spoil her and she will want it all the time!!  Don't come crying to me when she is clingy and screaming the house down EVERY TIME you try to move away from her."  then he says without even taking a breath  "You are NOT calling my grandchild Banana!!"

"Why not?  I quite like the name Banana!  Banana Orchid sounds quite nice.  We can call her Nana for short."

I smirk at him and watch his face start to do somersaults.  He thinks I am being serious!!  I let him stand there com-busting for a few more minutes before I really start to laugh at him.

"Don't worry ... You can chill out!!  Mosaic has told me about your banana joke with Mom!!  I will NOT be calling her Banana!!"

"Thank berry for that!!  And if your Mother tries to change your mind, don't listen to her!!  She is off her head ... us having Cotton at our age is ridiculous without adding any more, especially as your Mother can not be trusted to be left alone with her just in case she switches off!!"

Dad laughs as he tests the bottle, tipping a bit on the back of his hand then puts it back in the jug, it obviously isn't ready.

"When is Crystal coming back?"  I ask after I have checked that nobody, like my Grandparents, are not around to hear me asking Dad the question.  As far as everyone is concerned I do not know Crystal yet because she has been staying at Affairs house.

"When your Mother is out of the hospital then we will bring her back."  he frowns at the look on my face.  "Don't worry, her living with Affair is only temporary.  She is happy there with Affair and the triplets - she is not so comfortable here at the moment only when she is around your Mother, so she's better off with Affair for the time being."  But I do worry, she's not here where I can keep an eye on her, I'm terrified of her wandering off in a different direction and away from me.

The baby starts to cry again because she has been grizzling for her feed for a while and she must be getting hungry.  It beats me how Dad and Winter can tell so easily why either Ocean or my baby is crying, when I am only guessing this crying is for food as it has been four hours since her last feed.  Dad takes the bottle out of the jug and tips a bit onto his hand, then he tells me to hold my hand out.  He tips the milk onto the back of my hand so I can feel it, then he hands me the bottle. I think he forgets that I have been giving her bottles through the night, which I have had to warm up in a jug of hot water!!  I just humour him and take the bottle without saying anything.

I automatically just give the bottle to the baby.  She takes a few sucks on the teat, spits out the milk and her little body goes rigid as she starts screaming the place down.  Her little arms and legs are kicking all over the place as she continues to scream.  I frown at Dad who is stood there with his arms crossed laughing at me.

"What's wrong with her?"  I frown at Dad

"You've forgotten something haven't you!"  he says picking up the bottle of vanilla essence off the side and waving it at me.

Of course, I am an idiot!!  Winter had put the vanilla in the ones she left for me to take off the top shelf, so I would not have to bother to do it during the night, while I am half asleep and likely to forget.  Ocean's bottles were on the shelf underneath so we did not get them mixed up.  Dad takes the bottle off me, unscrewing the top and adds the vanilla to the milk, screws the top back on and stands there shaking it.  

"She won't drink plain milk, just like you wouldn't, but I think it's my fault she's got the taste for vanilla.  She wouldn't take her bottles at first, so I tried what worked for you.  I think she just likes it better - you were just plain awkward you wouldn't drink milk unless it was stone cold and had vanilla in it!!"  he starts laughing.

I give the bottle to the baby and she drinks it straight away without a problem or any more tantrums which makes me laugh.  How can adding just a drop of vanilla to the milk make a difference?

Vanilla!  I don't know why but I think about the vanilla milkshake that I drank in the hospital just before I found out she existed, and remember that Vanilla was actually Honey's middle name.

"Vanilla!"  I say and Dad frowns at me  "I think I will call her Vanilla.  I can not forget to put it in the bottles then can I!"  he starts to laugh at me.

"Well I guess Vanilla is a lot better than Banana and it has quite a pretty flower like Orchids and Lilly's."   I just laugh at his logic while he laughs at mine.  "Your Mother is not going to be impressed!!"

"What about Vanilla Banana Orchid?"  I smirk at him  "That might keep her quiet!"

"NOOOOOOOOO!!"  I start to laugh at him as he starts to combust again.

"Joking!!"  he rolls his eyes at me  "I guess it should really be, Vanilla Honey Orchid"  he smiles at me and I watch the relief washing over his face.

After feeding and winding Vanilla, I take her back to my room to change her nappy which she promptly filled straight after she had finished her milk.  I am slowly getting used to the nappy changing, even though I do not like it very much especially the stinky filled ones.

I place Vanilla down gently, into her cot, while I take my medication with the carton of banana milkshake that I have just grabbed out of the fridge.  I laugh, as I stand watching her.  While I am drinking the rest of the milkshake, she has fallen straight off to sleep, a lot better than she has been doing during the night.  Winter warned me that this might happen, apparently Ocean sleeps a lot better during the day time than he does at night.

I stand and let my eyes sweep slowly around my bedroom.  I am still struggling to get used to the change around that has taken place in here.  My eyes fall on my pot, that is sitting next to the cot.  The pot where I use to hide things.  I walk over to it and pull out the feathers.  I start laughing when I pick up the pot and stare into it, and see it is now completely empty.  I guess Dad has found my hiding place finally!!  I wander if he will have a go at me, especially over the half bottle of vodka that was in there.  

I spot my drawing pad lying on the computer desk, so I pick it up and sit down on the floor by the cot and start to draw.  I had not been sat there for very long when Dad comes into my room.

"I have made waffles."  he says as he stands over me quietly watching me drawing for a while.  He is making me feel uncomfortable watching me and he does not speak again until I glance up at him.  "Since when did you draw?"  he laughs quietly.

I explain to him that it was River's idea, just because I can not write or paint because of being dyslexic and colourblind, it does not stop me from drawing.  I tell him that I used to draw a lot while we were on the road traveling to Rainbow Valley, because it gave me something to do.  Dad asks to look at the pad, so I hand it to him, and he starts to flick through the pages slowly.  He comments that some of my drawing are pretty good, before he passes me the pad back.  He starts to laugh quite loudly suddenly, as he reminds me of the drawing I used to do all over the wall paper when I was a toddler. He says I didn't show a lot of artistic promise back then!

"Come and eat, while Vanilla is sleeping.  You know you do not have to sit in here and watch her twenty four seven!!" 

Dad laughs at me as he places the baby monitor in my hand.

I follow Dad into the kitchen.  Normally I would have kicked up a fuss if he had even suggested me having something to eat, but I am quite hungry.  Since the revolting meal of fish and potatoes in the hospital yesterday, I have not really eaten anything.  I think it amuses Dad when I sit down and start eating without kicking up a fuss first.

"So are any of your invisible friends around?"  Dad says as he looks around almost nervously, which makes me frown at him  "The Man!  I should have believed you, but you have to admit, it is a hard thing to believe if you can not see ghosts for yourself."

"Suddenly you believe in ghosts??"  I frown at him  "So do you believe Cosmic has been here since I was a child?"

"Yes, Jazz told me, and Cosmic proved to me that he was actually here."  he rolls his eyes as I laugh at him.  "What do they actually look like?"

"They all look the same, Storm just looks like Storm, but he is now bright white and transparent."

Dad starts to become very curious about the spirits and starts asking me a load of questions about them.  He thought that Cosmic and Storm are the only two that I have seen, so he is pretty shocked when I tell him that I see them everywhere especially at the hospital and in the cemetery.  I explain that I ignore them and pretend I do not know they are there otherwise they start to bug me, and follow me around.  They try to talk to me and keep asking me to do things for them, like passing messages onto living people for them. 

"Vampires, vampberrys, ghosts .... I dread to think what else is lurking about out there that we don't know about!!"

"Wereberrys and Witches are real too, so Cosmic has told me."  I smile at him  "But he says there are not any around here, they tend to stay where it is warmer, where the vampberry's are not."

After we have finished eating, Dad leaves me to wash the dishes while he goes to take a shower and get dressed.  When I have finished washing up the plates, I find myself distracted and become memorized by the large fish tank in the wall.  Like in Rainbow Valley, I just stand for ages watching the fish.   I spot quite a few different fish that Winter did not have in her tank. 

"Your cooking is getting better!!"  River suddenly laughs from behind me, as he is mumbling through a mouthful of food.  I turn round a little surprised that he is even sat there eating, when I had not realized he was even in the kitchen with me at all.  My mind so transfixed on watching the fish.

"Dad made the waffles."  I smile at him.

"Mmmm talking of Dad, I think he is expecting you to be showered and dressed when he comes back down here."

River laughs at me as I pull a face, he has just reminded me, after I washed up the plates I was meant to take a shower and get dressed ready for when Dad returns to give me my crash course on how to look after a baby.   

"You have just been switched off haven't you!"  I roll my eyes at him "Have you taken your medication?"

"YES!!  I have taken it!!"  I pull a face at him

"Where is Banana?"

"Her name is Vanilla, not banana!!"  he raises his eyebrows at me in surprise, then starts to laugh at me when I take the baby monitor out of my pocket and start waving it around in front of him  "She is in her cot asleep!"

There is a lot more to looking after a baby than I first realized.  All the do's and don't, especially as far as hygiene and safety go, I think there are way too many for me to take in all at once.  The for and against dummy debate that Dad practically had with himself, I found very amusing.

Dad got me to make up another batch of baby bottles on my own, so he can see that I took in earlier what he showed me and that I know what I am doing.  He showed me how to put the push chair up and down, how to fit the baby seat in the car and how to pack a bag for her for when we go out.  I stare at the contents of the bag, it is worse than a woman's handbag, it is hard to imagine that somebody so tiny would need so much stuff!!  Nappies, nappy bags, changes of clothes, bottles, cream, talc, wipes  ... I am not sure how I am supposed to remember all this stuff.

Bathing Vanilla I thought was going to be a piece of cake, and fun.  Boy was I wrong.  She hated it, especially having her hair washed, she screamed the place down the whole time.  I was scared of dropping her completely into the water, even after Dad showed me how to hold her tightly without hurting her.  She wriggled about so much while she was crying, it was hard for me to keep a hold of her, it felt like I was holding a slippery fish.  I think I was wetter than she was by the time I had finished.

It amused me that bathing her is only half of the job, making sure that she is properly dry, especially between her little fingers and toes that I could hardly get between.  Like an idiot I dropped the tub of talc, the top shot off it and I got covered in talc.  As my clothes were soaking wet, the talc stuck to them and I needed another shower and a change of clothes after I had finished bathing Vanilla which Dad found highly hilarious!!

I lay on the bed watching Vanilla sleeping, not sure what to do with myself.  I do not feel brave enough to venture out of the house with her on my own yet.  Still not sure why she is crying half of the time.  Not that I know where to go or what to do anymore, especially not now that I have to have a baby constantly in tow. 

I actually feel a little lost.  The last nine months being away from home has changed a lot of things including me.  I am a grown up now, well I am supposed to be, hanging around in the meadow and the other places we used to hang out is not really, at our age, what we should still be doing now anyway.  Both Honey and Storm are gone, from the real world at least, I did not really have any other friends that would put up with me for very long, so it is not like I have anyone I can go and visit anyway.

I wander for a moment if Honey is going to appear in spirit form like Storm has.  That is one thing that I clung onto, while I was away, thinking that Honey's spirit would be here waiting for me when I got home, something that still could be possible.  I need to ask Storm.  I am finding it a little strange that Storm or Cosmic, since I have been back home, have not put in an appearance yet.

River comes in to see what I am up to.  We lie on the bed together just chatting.

River tells me that Gravel has just left.  I did not even know that he had been here.  They have managed to shield me from any more of his questioning, saying that Honey and the faded baby have mashed my head up and I am not up to it.  River thinks he has finished with all of the questioning and they have a full scale man hunt on the go now, looking for Manderine as well as Maizie's body.  We both lie there laughing for a moment because we know he is never going to find either of them, they are both safely tucked away in the vampberry den.

"We only have one hurdle left now."  he smiles at me but I frown because I do not know what else there could be  "Rocky and Grape.  We have to work out how and what we are going to tell them."

"There is no point worrying about that anymore is there!!"  he frowns at me  "How am I supposed to do anything when I have to look after Vanilla on my own!!"

"Don't be stupid!!  Having a child doesn't stop you!!"  River laughs at me

"Rocky has told me, if I do take off like he thinks I will, there will be albums and tours which will mean I will be away from home for months sometimes."  I pull a face at him  "It is not like she has a Mother here to look after her!!  How am I supposed to do that?  It is not like I can even take her with me out into the coded world when I am orange and she is yellow.  Dad has made it perfectly clear she's my responsibility, I can not go dumping her on everyone and I won't be getting a lot of help in that department!!"

"Tap, Dad is only being hard on you at the moment because he is trying to make sure you understand what your responsibility is!!"  he smiles at me  "I know having Vanilla might complicate things a little, being a single parent, but it does not make it impossible!!"  he laughs at me  "We will work it out, there are ways round everything, which I'm sure Rocky will help you figure out, as he's been there and done it."  he thumps my arm  "If you do seriously have to be away for a few months at a time, you know me and Winter will always look after her!"

"What about if I don't want to leave her for that long!"  he just laughs at me

I am lying on the bed watching Vanilla in her cot, she has had a feed and is just lying there gurgling away to herself, she is showing no signs of going to sleep, just like last night, when she has slept quite a lot and without any problems during the daytime.

I start to replay in my mind the conversation that me and River had earlier about my music career.  It really worries me because I do not know how I am supposed to juggle being a single parent with a music career.  It was bad enough before, with my colourless eyes and mixed berry family, now I have a mixed berry daughter to hide.  I know that Rocky has told me I do not have to worry about hiding my eyes or my family, once I have made a name for myself, it will not matter.  Still I worry!!  Me having to be away from home for long periods of time too is also a big worry to me, how am I supposed to do that now?!

I can not help but keep thinking about Slate, Storm and Parsley.  All three of them struggled not having their Mother in their life.  Vanilla does not have a Mother.  Honey has faded just like Slates Mother did when he was born.  She only has me ... this makes me laugh for a moment, the poor kid has no hope!!

As soon as I see that Vanilla has gone off to sleep, I turn off the bedside lamp and close my eyes and try to do the same.

When I wake up I am very confused because I feel like I am just waking up from a good nights sleep.  I have not been woken by a crying baby, I have woken up under my own steam.

I lie there slowly rubbing my eyes as I roll over to squint at the clock on the wall which is telling me that it is 7.30am.  I rub my eyes again, because it can't be!!  Vanilla has not woken me up or had a feed since midnight.

I roll over quickly and stare into the cot which is now empty.

Seeing the now empty cot makes me scramble out of my bed in a mad panic.  As I stand staring at the empty cot I get a really nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I walk quickly into the nursery expecting to find her in there.  I automatically presume that she might have been crying, which did not wake me up, so River or Winter have fed her and put her in the nursery.

However, she is not in the nursery, only Ocean is in there.  The second cot is empty.

I bang on their bedroom door and River opens it fairly quickly.  I ask if they have taken Vanilla out of her cot and they both say they haven't.  When I tell River she has gone, he laughs at me and asks me if I've put her down somewhere and forgotten.  I lose my temper.  I tell him that I fed her at midnight and put her in her cot.  I lay awake watching her for ages then went to sleep and that I have only just woken up and she has gone.

River tells me to check that Dad has not taken her while he checks around the house.  He is laughing because he seriously thinks that I have put her down somewhere and forgotten her.  I have to remind him that if I have put her down and left her somewhere, she would be hungry and screaming the place down by now, as I have not given her a feed since midnight and they say they have not fed her either.  He then starts to look worried.

I run up the two flights of stairs and make my way to my parents bedroom.  The door is slightly ajar so I just walk in.  Dad is dressing Cotton, he is kneeling down on the floor fastening her shoes when I walk in.

"Have you got Vanilla?"  I ask and he really frowns at me in confusion as he stands up.

I think I know instantly that he has not touched her.  If he had fed her he would have left her in the cot in my room where he found her.  I suddenly get a flashback of the telling off I had for wandering off with Cotton without telling anyone when she was a baby.  So I know Dad would not have done it, he would not have taken her out of my room.

I start to feel really sick!! 

Dad says he has not seen her since last night and has not fed her through the night either.  When I explain to him that she has gone out of her cot and River and Winter have not moved her, he starts to laugh and says exactly what River had said to me.

"Are you sure you have not put her down somewhere and wandered off and forgotten?"

"NO!!!  For fudge sake!!  I fed her at midnight and put her back in her cot.  I have just woken up and she is not there!!  If you, River or Winter have not moved or fed her during the night, she would be screaming the house down now for a feed.  She has gone!!"  I yell at him  "SHE HAS GONE!!"

I start to panic, I can feel the blood draining from me as the shock sets in, I have an awful feeling in my stomach and am beginning to feel very scared.  I can feel my head starting to go. 

"Calm down Tapestry, we will find her ...."

River comes running into the bedroom.

"No she is not anywhere in the house, me and Winter have checked every room."  he says with a worried frown on his face.  "I've checked and our Grandparents have not seen or heard her either."

"She can not just disappear!!"  Dad mumbles

"She can if someone has taken her!!"  I start to panic again  "Someone must have sneaked in while I was asleep and taken her before her 4 o'clock feed!!" 

"But who would do that?"  River asks

I watch Dad and River exchange a very long and strange look.

Song ~ I knew I loved you ~ Savage Garden