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


  1. Tap is back! Woooo!
    The last time we had one of his chapters I wasn't even a member on Simpletons yet XD

    I'm so happy I can finally call Vanilla by her real name ^^
    That whole part about Mango's deal with Lilly and calling Vanilla "Banana" was hilarious, as was Tap teasing Mango about it XD I love snarky Tap.
    I'm also happy to see that he's willing to be patient with his father even when Mango keeps talking down to him. Hopefully this will change Mango's attitude around soon. Tap is becoming responsible, so he needs to learn that.

    [sarcasm]Hmm, I wonder who could have taken Vanilla. It certainly couldn't be the one last chapter who was trying to take her from Tap and swore that she would protect Vanilla from him.[/sarcasm]

    1. OMG!! Has it really been that long (blush) Oh well - Tap is back :)
      Mango has to learn that Tap is now half way sensible - hopefully he will get it one day!!
      LOL!! You watch that sarcasm might just bite you in the ass - lol he!! he!! Is it Strawberry?? LOL!!

    2. Yeah, if you go back to Chp 29 you can see us discussing in the comments the problem I had with my account not being activated ^^

      Strawberry was one of the most logical one I thought of. I'm also contemplating that it could be Lilly since the chapter mentioned she had not been all there since Tap disappeared. Perhaps she's still a little confused and thought Vanilla was hers or something.
      The only other person I can think of that might possibly do something like take Vanilla is Crystal, but that is more of a stretch for me to explain.

  2. I think Tap is doing remarkably well taking care of a baby. He seems to want to put her best interests first. Hopefully Mango will wake up to the fact that Tap has grown up from the teenager he once knew. My first thought was Strawberry took Vanilla but now I wonder if I'm on the right track. I hope they find her soon.