Sunday, 8 March 2015

Chapter 40 - part 2 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I stand staring at the pizza wandering what the hell it is.

I had ordered a ham and cheese pizza, big enough for us all to eat, and when I opened the box, it looks far from a ham and cheese pizza, and it even smells a little bit fishy.  I can see what I think looks like ham, but I stare down at the mushrooms and the little rubber rings, that should not be on the pizza.  The rubber ring things look almost like thick elastic bands, I am wandering if someone is having a joke!

I had phoned the pizza shop and used Forrest's name, so nobody knew that it was me.  When the pizza arrived I was the only one around to receive and pay for it, everyone else had been down on the beach.  The moment the pizza delivery boy spotted me, he started having a crazed fan fit.  He wanted my autograph and a photograph and then he would not let me pay for the pizza.  

This is the most amusing part of being famous, people keep giving me things for free, I really do not know why.   Now that I am seriously earning enough money to pay for whatever I want, half the time, they will not let me spend it, or pay for things.  They are almost beginning to make me feel guilty about going shopping!!   I am always being sent free stuff, that I have not even asked for.  I even have a brand new car sat on the drive at home that was delivered out of the blue by the manufacturers - it is seriously stupid!!  Rocky tried to explain it to me, by using their stuff out in public, I am basically advertising their stuff for them and that is why they send me freebies.  Like me driving around in their poxy car is going to help them sell more!!??

They have definitely sent me the wrong pizza and because I have not paid for it, I do not feel like I can phone them up and complain about it.

"Tap!"  Forrest runs into the beach house giggling  "Oh it is here already.  I guess you have noticed it is not the ham and cheese you ordered."

He stands there giggling and tells me that he is playing Granite up.  We had ordered a pizza yesterday and Granite had phoned up on the sly as a prank to change the pizza for something so spicy and hot that none of us could actually eat it.  Granite had sat and watched me, Crystal and Forrest start eating the pizza with amusement, which we thought was just a plain ordinary chicken pizza.  However, it was not!  Our mouths and throats suddenly started burning, it felt like they were on fire and the three of us ran for the sink, fighting over the water tap with tears streaming down out faces because of how hot and spicy the pizza was.   Granite just sat and laughed at the three of us, he did not even attempt to try the pizza himself, because he had got them to make it extra extra spicy.  After he had finished having hysterics he made us cheese toasties instead. 

So today Forrest, is getting Granite back, and has phoned and changed today's pizza to one that Granite hates.  He tells me he has ordered us a ham and cheese pizza that is on it's way.  I laugh because Granite is always doing stupid stuff and pulling pranks on people, I find it amusing to see Forrest, who usually always appears to be as stuffed and sensible as my Dad, joining in with the stupidity.

"What the hell are those rubber ring looking things?"

"Squid, it is a seafood special with added mushrooms, which he hates.  He really is not going to like this pizza!!"   he laughs.  "Hopefully this might tempt him into putting his tight hand into his tight pocket and taking me out for a decent meal!!"

Granite is always moaning about money which tickles me, it is not like Granite and Forrest are short of it either, they both have very good jobs and are both loaded.  Granite just hates spending it, and he does not like Forrest spending it either.  Once I had picked the mushrooms off my slice and I had tried the squid, which was actually not too bad to say it is fish, I find I can actually eat the pizza just about. 

When Granite walks into the beach house saying he is starving, me and Forrest are both sat munching away on the pizza with a huge grin on our faces.  He grabs a piece of pizza and is just about to take a bite out of it when he stops and looks at it.


"Okay ... so who has messed with the pizza?"  Granite moans as he stares down frowning at the piece of pizza in his hand.  "Who wasted money on this awful crap?"

"It was a freebie, the pizza boy would not let me pay for it."  I mumble, which makes Granite laugh.

"Tapestry thought he would try the seafood special!  He has never tried squid before."  Forrest says almost laughing.  "You know when in Rome do as the Romans do."

"What did you go and let him do that for!?  If he wanted to try squid, he should go to the bistro!!   You know I do not like this one Leafy!!"  he whines  "Since when did the seafood special have mushrooms on it, and I am not stupid, I definitely heard him ordering ham and cheese!!"  me and Forrest both start to snigger.  

"Oh I get it this is you isn't it Leafy!!"  Granite starts to laugh.  "Payback for yesterday!"

Suddenly all hell breaks loose as Granite starts to pick the squid and mushrooms off the pizza in his hand and starts throwing them at Forrest.  Forrest surprizes me by diving up out of his chair and he slaps his pizza in Granites face and rubs it in.  Granite's face is covered in mushrooms and tomato sauce which has me in hysterics.

That's it then, they go off on this mental food fight, which I just stand back and watch, a little in disbelief.  Pizza is flying all over the place and they are making a right mess of the kitchen area as well as each other.  I had to dodge to avoid a few pieces that came flying in my direction.  Granite holds Forrest down and rubs a piece into his face.  I can not help but laugh at them, they are both the same age as my Dad, Forrest is usually so sensible, Granite not so much, but they are here having a childish food fight like a pair of kids.

Once the pizza is all over the place and the box is empty, Granite opens the fridge, the contents of which start flying across the room at Forrest.  I can hardly see for the tears rolling down my face laughing hysterically at the both of them, who have been running around like idiots and are now rolling around on the kitchen floor together, Forrest is pining Granite down and squirting mayonnaise all over him, they are both now totally covered in all sorts of food stuff.

They both lie on the floor hysterically laughing when they have emptied the fridge and wrecked the kitchen.  Granite looks the worse, thanks to the box of cornflakes that Forrest tipped all over him that are not stuck to him because of the mayonnaise.

After cleaning themselves up in the shower, and cleaning up the kitchen and the mess they have made, we ate the ham and cheese pizza that arrived during their food fight.  Crystal had walked in and was shocked by the food everywhere and the mess, which tickled me a little, remembering the day when she emptied the fridge all over the kitchen floor biting chunks out of everything.  Trying to explain a food fight to her was harder than I thought it would be, especially as she had walked in after it was all over and did not see it.

Me and Granite settle down on the coach and are playing xbox together.  Vanilla is taking an afternoon nap, the sun and her play session in the sea and on the beach seems to have washed her out.  Forrest and Crystal have gone into town to do some grocery shopping, seeing as they emptied the fridge, and Forrest is dropping into the airport to see if he can get them an earlier flight home, in light of the Gravel baby news.

I was surprised when Crystal wanted to go with Forrest, I half suspect that Crystal was so eager to go into town without me, so that she can sneak off to the chemist to get a pregnancy test kit or two.  Her own fame is slowly growing and a lot of the time she is recognized and left alone by people, but then she is usually holding my hand.  So I am now worrying that she might get a lot of stick out in a coded town without me next to her.  When I mentioned it to her it did not seem to bother her, I think because she is so hell bent on sneaking pregnancy test kits that I would not let her buy if I was with her.

Crystal so adamant about going into town had made it awkward for Granite and Forrest to pop into the shop for me to collect what I had paid for.  So Granite hung back for a while and is going to slip into town on his own so that he can collect it for me, without Crystal seeing him doing it.

"So have you got your head around Gravel's baby yet?"  I ask him

"Not really, I think I am still in shock!!"  he laughs  "After everything that I watched Gravel and Amber going through, and all the fertility treatment they had trying to make a baby without success, and now he has just gone and done it naturally ... it is very scary!!  Hell he couldn't even manage a child with AI when he was trying with Amber, berry knows how he has managed to create this child!!"

"AI?"  I frown at him

"Artificial Insemination ... basically they plant the sperm with the eggs inside the womans body, then they should do the rest naturally.  In Gravel's case his sperm was too weak to even make it to the eggs, so AI gave them a better chance, but even then he still could not manage it."  he laughs then frowns at me  "You and Crystal should put in for AI."

"They did actually mention Artificial Insemination, but they did not explain it to us.  They said that is a few years down the line yet, they are hoping with the fertility treatment that she is on, that we will manage it ourselves."  he smiles at me  "So has Gravel having this baby increased the chances of Coral's babies being his?"

"Without actually testing Gravel, I don't have a clue Tap!!  This little boy could just be a one in a million shot miracle!  After seeing his medical records, we thought it was virtually impossible for Gravel to father a child naturally, that is why we are so set on Corals twins being Slates."  he rolls his eyes at me  "They probably still will be Slates, but I am scared more that Gravel's fertility problem might have improved itself a little over the years, Berry help us if your sisters babies do turn out to be Gravels!!"

"It is going to destroy Slate if they do turn out to be Gravel's, won't it!!"

"Slate is what is worrying me the most!!  Now he is playing gay and with Bay, he thinks this is his only chance of having kids of his own, and you are right it probably will destroy him, if they are not his!!!"  he mumbles  "Those twins are fraternal, so I highly doubt very much that Gravel has created both of them.  Me and your Dad have not ruled out Heteropaternal Superfecundation and if Gravel has suddenly stopped firing blanks, we need to pray and hope it is just the one child and the other one is Slates."

Now I am seriously confused!! 

"Hetero ... Super what?  How can one be Slates and one Gravels if they are twins?"  he laughs at me as I put down my control pad and frown at him.

"Heteropaternal Superfecundation - twins born with different fathers."  he repeats laughing as my eyes widen.  "Fraternal twins do not share a placenta, so they are none identical and were created from two different eggs and two different sperm.  So those two girls might not even have been conceived on the same day, they could have been conceived up to seven days apart.  As Coral was sleeping with both Slate and Gravel at the same time, it does not mean that only one of them is responsible for the pregnancy, they both could be!!   So one baby could be Gravels, the other could be Slates, they do not necessarily have to have the same father.  Until they are born, we can not tell."

I just sit there with my mouth open, not quite believing what I am hearing, I did not even realize that was even possible.  All this sounds ridiculous when me and Crystal are struggling to even create one child, knowing my sister was sleeping around and is having two girls that she does not even want.  After all this trouble with Gravel, she is now hoping, like the rest of us, that they are Slates babies, but for her it is only so that she can be shot of them, she says she does not want them at all - which really annoys me!!

"That is just madness!!"  he laughs at the look on my face.

"It happens a lot more often than you think, I have seen a few cases of it in Cherry Hill.  We need to prey that this is not going to be the case with your sister, we need them both to be Slates or it is going to cause all sorts of complications for both of our families and those little girls!!"

"How has Slate taken the news of Tarragon's baby?"  I know he has been talking to him, he sat for ages down on the beach on his phone talking to Slate and some of the other members of the Rock family earlier, once Forrest had broken the baby news to him. 

"Not good!!"  he rolls his eyes  "It is a complication we really could have done without, it has sent him into a right tizzy!!   We had all forgotten about and virtually dismissed Tarragons pregnancy, not imagining in a million years that it would actually turn out to be Gravel's baby!!  Of course this has now put doubt in our minds about them being Slates babies, as well as Slate will be living with me, under the same roof as Gravel's baby and that has not gone down too well with him as you can imagine!!  However, he understands that I have no choice but to take the baby."

"So you are definitely going to be looking after him then."

"Yeah.  None of my other brothers want the kid because he is Gravel's and my Dad is too old to be taking care of babies now!  Mace is going to be in prison, so that only leaves me and Forrest.  I feel sorry for the kid, none of this is his fault, he did not chose his Father and he is still at the end of the day, my nephew and Slate's cousin.   He is family I could never let him go into care!!"  he starts to laugh  "In a way it is poetic justice for me.  He stole Slate from me illegally, and now I am getting to legally take his son away from him.  He is going to have to miss out on his son's life, just like I had to miss out on Slate's, but it will be his own fault!!  I know this is really going to eat Gravel up, it could even destroy him!!   All he ever wanted was a kid of his own, now he gets one when he will be spending the rest of his life behind bars and can not play any part in the boys life."

"Are you going to take the boy into see Gravel when he is older?"  I seriously do not know what Coral will do if those babies do turn out to be Gravels, it is going to make life very complicated, especially with her now not wanting them, I have a nasty feeling, that if they are Gravel's, my parents are going to end up with them.

"Hell no!!"  he laughs  "I never planned to set eyes on that brother of mine again after everything he has done!!  However, this baby changes things and once Corals twins have arrived, I will now be paying him just one visit.  Hopefully I will only have one of his offspring to rub in his face, I will be letting him take just one look at his son, and that will be the very last time he ever sees me or his son again!!"  he smirks at me.  "He stopped being my brother and threw away the chance of being that boys Father, the day he shot me!!"

Vanilla starts to do her attention 'I'm awake' screaming so I go in and get her out of her cot.  Granite gets dressed and pops into town to collect that thing for me, while I feed Vanilla.

I know she has got up in an awkward mood when she starts demanding chocolate pudding straight away, then will not drink her milk or eat anything else.  She sat and watched me for ages mashing up a banana with a fork then when I gave it her she sat there with her arms crossed, refusing to eat it and demanding chocolate pudding.  When I told her off and tried to get her to eat some of the banana, the dish went flying onto the floor.  Not even the promise of chocolate pudding after she has eaten the banana worked.

She is getting a right little madam, and I am scared that she is going to turn out like Coral!!  Sometimes I think that she is my payback for the hell that I put my parents through, especially my Dad, when I was an extremely awkward and naughty toddler.  I also think that she is being spoiled a little too much.  She has everyone wrapped around her little finger, including me and especially Ruby, Sunny and surprisingly Saffron, who spoil her rotten and let her get away with murder, I think because she is the only thing that they have left of Honey.

I know I am no better than them, Vanilla starts yelling that she is hungry and wants chocolate pudding, so I give in to her, for a quiet life, just like I know I should not!!  I give her the chocolate pudding that she wants.  A huge smile washes across her face when I put the dish down in front of her and her hand goes straight into the dish.

"Nilla, use your spoon!!" 

"Me no like spoon!"  she says as she picks it up and throws it across the room. 

After telling her off, I stand and watch her just grinning at me, wandering if she is this awkward with everyone, or if it is just me she plays up.  I get a clean spoon and try to feed her with it, but she will not have none of it, she keeps pushing the spoon away and continues to use her hand.  She is making a right mess.

Crystal and Forrest walk in.  I am amused when I see that Crystal has a bag in her hand which she quickly takes into the bedroom, while Forrest starts to put away the shopping.  There is no guessing as to what she has in that bag!!  I ask Forrest if she went into the chemist and he just laughs and says she did.  Crystal comes back out of the bedroom pretty quickly.

"Tap make her use a spoon!!  Don't let her eat it with her hands!!"  

Crystal laughs at me as I wave the spoon that I am holding and tell her that she won't use it.  Crystal takes the spoon off me, tells me I'm too soft with her and don't shout at her properly.  Crystal moves me out of the way so she can sort her out.  I stand and watch in amusement thinking, Crystal is just going to get what I got from Vanilla, but surprisingly she doesn't!!

Crystal tells her off, quite sharply, for eating with her hand and at first Vanilla just laughs at her and carries on using her hand.  Vanilla refuses to take the spoon off her so Crystal takes the dish of chocolate pudding away from her, which really does not please her.  Vanilla screams then sits there pouting with her arms folded.  Her attitude always makes me laugh, which has Crystal telling me off for laughing and encouraging her.

It does not take long for Crystal to get Vanilla eating with the spoon.  Vanilla is demanding the chocolate pudding and Crystal refuses to give it her unless she uses the spoon.  Crystal feeds her a few mouthfuls, then gives her back the dish and the spoon, which she takes and uses without any more fuss.  Crystal makes it look so easy!!  Although I notice Vanilla is no longer smiling while she is eating, she is pouting instead, while she shovels the spoonfuls of chocolate pudding into her mouth.  Vanilla tries it on again after a few more mouthfuls, Crystal shouts 'use your spoon!" at her quite sharply as she stands infront of her with her arms crossed.  Vanilla does as she is told.

"Why doesn't she do that for me?"   I mumble

"She plays you up because you give in to her, you need to put your foot down and tell her off properly!!"  Crystal smiles at me then laughs  "She is already running rings around you because you are a soft touch, berry help us when she gets older!!"

Well this is just great!! 

Forrest had managed to get them on a flight leaving later tonight, so Granite and Forrest shoot off home a lot earlier than they expected to.  This has left me, Crystal and Vanilla alone at the beach house for virtually the whole two weeks of our vacation.  This I really do not mind because it will be nice for the three of us to get some alone time together without outside and constant interruptions.  This place has suddenly gone very quiet without Granite here.

The news of Tarragons baby being Gravel's has not gone down very well with anyone at home, definitely not Dad, and especially not Slate who is now really upset and in a tizzy thinking that, knowing his luck, the twin girls that Coral is carrying are going to turn out to be Gravel's.  Granite thought it best they go home, he did not want to leave Slate on his own to deal with the news, they still do not trust Slate's state of mind since the alcohol poisoning, overdose and everything else he has had to go through mentally because of what Gravel has done.

They also have to arrange taking custody of the baby and sort out who actually is going to adopt the little boy.  It is a dead cert that Granite will be having the boy, but they need to iron out whether Tarragon will let Forrest adopt him instead of Mace, with Mace having a stretch of prison time ahead of him, they doubt that social services will let Mace adopt the boy anyway.

I am trying to relax on the beach, the sun has now gone in and it is starting to get a little dark, but it is still very warm.  Crystal and Vanilla are playing close by, quite noisily with stuffed toys.  That is the amusing part about Crystal, Vanilla always has a constant play buddy, Crystal being childish herself, she will play the stupidest of games with Vanilla quite happily for hours.

♫"Do you want to build a snowman?" ♫ 

Suddenly Crystal starts singing.

I shoot up and watch Crystal who is singing away and Vanilla is joining in with the odd word here and there especially 'snowman'.  I stare at Vanilla who, since we have been out here seems to be speaking a lot more words than I have ever heard her saying at home.  Of course Cotton, who is still addicted to that Frozen movie, has got Vanilla and Ocean watching it all the time.  

I start to get a little irritated by them singing that song.

"Crystal can't you teach her to sing something else.  That song is so annoying!!"

"Tap you are funny!!"  Crystal laughs at me  "You are always singing it yourself!!  Especially in your sleep!!"

This shocks me for a moment, but then I guess it shouldn't really, because it is a part of my nightmare, and I do catch myself humming and singing it quite often, when I am awake, not realizing at first that I am consciously doing it.  

I have only really spoken to River about my nightmares, I have not really told Crystal what is going on in my head, because I doubt that she would understand, and she still has her own nightmares going on to contend with.  All she knows is that I am having nightmares, but she does not really know what about

"Daddy me wants a snowman."  Vanilla says

"We can build a snowman when it snows."  I say to her as I laugh. 

"Me wants snow now."  she says as she looks up at the sky.  This makes both me and Crystal laugh.  She is not stupid, I guess she has learned where snow comes from watching that movie, because it has not snowed since she was born.

"The snow will come in the winter, it is not time for snow yet!!"  I tell her

"Make it snow Daddy!"  she starts pouting  "Me wants a snowman!"

"I can not make it snow."  I laugh at her  "We will go shopping tomorrow, we might be able to find you a snowman teddy!!"

"Me no want teddy!!"  she pouts at me  "Me wants SNOWMAN!!"  she says the word snowman so loud and dramatically.  "Snowman cold!!"

"Okay, we'll put the snowman teddy in the fridge, then he will be cold!"  I laugh not knowing what else to say to her.

"Silly Daddy!!"  Vanilla laughs at me.

"Tap you idiot!!  Don't start to put silly ideas into her head!!"  Crystal tuts at me  "If she starts putting things in the fridge or freezer now, it is going to be your fault!!"

I roll over onto my back laughing at myself, knowing I was a little stupid to say that too her!!  This is the part of Vanilla growing up that I have been looking forward too, when she becomes her own little person, but it is also the part that I have been dreading a little.  Knowing  that I am more than capable of answering her questions stupidly and saying stupid things that are going to confuse her and cause stupid situations like I did when Crystal was feral and learning how to live a civilized life.

I close my eyes after I have put the radio on low, hoping that it will distract them away from the subject of the snowman and especially away from singing that 'snowman' song again.

I lie there and my mind automatically wanders to the day of Cinnamon's funeral and that little boy in the cemetery again.  I had sat and sang that snowman song with him.  My mind is still in turmoil over it, while I keep being told by Dad, River and Sunny, that that night in the cemetery was just a drunken hallucination and I should forget about it, my own mind is still trying to convince myself that it was real, and I really can not stop thinking about it.

River's disproving face had been the first that I had seen along with Dad's when I first woke up in the hospital with a very sore throat and stomach, after having my stomach pumped.  Of course neither of them had been impressed with my antics of the night before, especially my drinking, which they had both given me a good telling off for doing!! 

Sunny had appeared not long after I had woken up and had started to slap me with a newspaper.  Mint had followed through with the newspaper article and the whole town had seen the picture of Strawberry dancing naked in the dive bar and her clothes flying high on the flagpole outside the town hall.  Sunny was seriously not impressed by Strawberry being arrested and charged with indecent exposure.  Wally and Mint were quick to tell them about my involvement in that night, so of course, it had to be my fault!!

It did not take long for the three of them to work out that I had compelled her to get naked, but they were pretty shocked when I told them why I had done it.  I am not sure that they believed me at first, them knowing how much me and Strawberry hate each other, when I told them she was coming onto me and she would so easily have let me ride the bike.  So I thought I would teach her a lesson for even thinking that I was stupid enough to fall for the game that I thought she was playing!!  Trying to split me and Crystal up, and creating something she could blackmail me with to help her take Vanilla away from me.  

The last thing that I remembered about the night before was being sat in the cemetery talking to Shadow, and in my mind that boy was and still is real.  So when I woke up in the hospital I had automatically asked them what had happened to the little boy that I was talking to.  Shadow they told me was not real, I had been hallucinating so they said, when Sunny had found me there, he said I was sat totally alone and talking to myself just before he watched me pass out.  That definitely is not what I remember!!  They say I was totally off my face drunk, but I am not so sure that I actually was!!  

River says that in my drunken state I had imagined the little boy being there, because I wanted him to be real, it was just a stupid trick that my intoxicated brain had played,  because I was there grieving over my faded baby. 

Although all the time that the four of us were talking about it, I could not help but notice how uncomfortable that Sunny seemed to be, and the strange glances that the three of them kept exchanging from time to time, which I thought was suspicious.  Dad especially looked a little more upset that day than he normally would have done, and it was not so much being upset with me, it was more like he was washed out and emotionally wrecked.  River a lot of the time struggled to make eye contact with me when we were talking, which I know means he was lying and probably hiding something from me.

I have ran my mind through that night so many times over the past three months.  I have played it over and over, trying to make sense of what little bits that I can remember, trying to find something to prove that it was real, because no matter what they say, I still believe it was real, and that little boy was really there.  I touched him, I felt him with my own hands, he touched me with his cold hand, surely I could not have imagined that!!  

I have talked it through with River and he laughs at me, firstly for imagining Honey was there playing me up and secondly because I am imagining this boy called Shadow to be real and even more so thinking he could be a vampire, when he says vampire babies just do not exist, it is impossible.  River says there are just too many things that make it so obviously just an hallucination.  Me hearing Honey laughing and saying something to me that she used to say when she was alive, the name I gave the boy, the colours I made him, the mention of the name Lime, me thinking he was reading my mind, how cold he was and his shiny eyes.  Of course then there is the fact that I imagined Shadow as a toddler, when he should have been a baby still just like Vanilla.  River keeps trying to assure me that night was a result of my subconscious mind with the alcohol muddling things up that I have been through, which are playing on my mind and creating nothing more than a drunken dream.

So why the nightmare?  Why do I keep having the same repetitive nightmare that involves that little boy and me digging up my Shadow's empty grave, every single night?  Why has my mind put these two things together and is telling me that boy was my Shadow.  Every night this nightmare is constantly bugging my sleep.  I seriously do not understand what the nightmare is supposed to mean or why I keep having it, some of it make sense, but a lot of it does not.

"Daddy singin!!"  

 Vanilla squeals quite loud which makes me jump and pulls me away from my thoughts.   

♫build a snowman♫

Vanilla sings which makes me sit up and look at her. 

"See Tap you was just singing that snowman song again!!"  Crystal laughs at me.

I just lie there watching them playing with their toys.  I am actually starting to think I have gone or am going mad!!  I did not even know that I was doing it, as far as I am concerned I was just lay there thinking about my nightmare, and I definitely was not thinking about that song!!  

Why was I singing it and why do I keep doing it?  I think maybe Dad is right, I think I might need to see a shrink to sort my head out!!

As I just lie on my stomach watching them, I realize how late it is getting, the moon has now replaced the sun and the stars are starting to twinkle brightly in the nights sky.  The seagulls have gone quiet and all I can hear, besides Crystal and Vanilla's quiet nattering, is the gentle waves crashing onto the rocks and beach.

"It is getting late, I think it is way past somebody's bed time!!"  I say looking at Vanilla.

She amuses me when she looks at me and starts to shake her head defiantly in a dramatic way.  I had a feeling we might have trouble getting her to bed tonight because she had an extra nap during the daytime that she does not usually have at home.

"Not me!!"   she says pointing at Crystal  "Mommies bed time!"

"No not Mommies bedtime!  You cheeky little madam!"  I laugh at her  "It is Vanilla's bed time."

"NO!!  Me no want bed times!!"

"Why can't she stay up a little longer, we are on holiday!"  Crystal smiles at me

"You and me need some alone time, and if we let her stay up late, you know tomorrow we won't be able to do anything or go anywhere because she will be sleeping all day!!"

"Shadow sleepin all day."   Vanilla mutters as she tries to pull the leg off the stuffed toy that she is playing with. 

I just stare at her for a moment, thinking I must have misheard her.

"Show Daddy how you know your colours."  

Crystal seems to jump in quickly, not even giving me time to think about what, I think, I have just heard Vanilla say.  The bed time request also seems to have been completely forgotten and ignored.

"Me lellow Daddy"  she grins at me

"Yes you are yellow, like banana's and custard."  I laugh at her, knowing that is one of her favourite things to eat.

"Tell Daddy who else is yellow?"  Crystal says to her

"Gangy Sunny ... Unkie Saffy ... Mommies teddy."  

Vanilla grins at me like she is proud of herself.  I smile back at her, and tell her that she is a clever girl.  I am amused at her calling Saffron, Unkie Saffy.  She spends a lot of time with Saffron and out of all of Honey's brothers and sisters, Saffron is the one that Vanilla is closest too.

Then Vanilla totally floors me by what she comes out with next.   

"Honey lellow."

"What colour is Daddy?"  

Crystal jumps in quickly again, she is starting to look suspiciously awkward.  Now I know I am not hearing things, Vanilla has just mentioned both Shadow and Honey.

"Daddy owange."

"STOP!!  She has just said Honey!"  I frown at Crystal   

"She meant the honey you eat."  Crystal mumbles quietly  "She eats it on toast."

"No I don't think so, she mentioned both Shadow and Honey!!"  I frown at Crystal "What does Vanilla know about Shadow and Honey?"

"Honey sleepin wiv Shadow."  Vanilla answers the question like I was asking her and not Crystal, as she carries on playing with her toy and Crystal looks at me very sheepishly.

"What in berry's name have you been telling her?"  I frown at Crystal  "Crystal, I can't believe you just tried to lie to me!!"  

I am actually pretty shocked, not just by what Vanilla has said, but this is the first time that I have known Crystal to lie, I did not think that she knew how to.

"I'm sorry, I didn't want you to get mad!!"  she pulls a face at me  "It is not just me, Sunny and your Dad have told her all about Honey and Shadow!!"  she looks a little sheepish.  "She has been to the graves and ... she has seen photographs."

"You had better take her to bed now, so we can talk in private!!"  I snap at Crystal, a little annoyed by what she has just told me.

Crystal comes back out to me when she has put Vanilla to bed.   I am just sat now on the beach staring out at the sea while I am thinking.  I am a little annoyed because I do not think, that at her age, Vanilla could possibly understand what they have told her about Honey and Shadow 'sleeping'.  I think she is way too young to understand it properly or to have even been told about her real Mother and Brother yet.

Crystal puts the baby monitor down on the sand and sits down next to me.  We both sit quietly and listen for a while, to Vanilla nattering away and trying to sing that damn 'snowman song' to herself inside the house.

"Are you mad with us for telling Vanilla?"  Crystal finally plucks up the courage to speak.

 "Just a little!!  It was not yours, Dad's or Sunny's place to tell her about Honey and Shadow!!  It was mine!!"  I frown at her  "I was not going to tell her until she was a lot older and would understand it better!!  She is way too young to understand what faded is!!"

"She understands our three spirits are faded!!"

"But does she really though?!"  I frown at her  "We can't even make her understand that only the three of us can see the spirits and that she is not supposed to be talking to them in front of everyone, so how can she really understand?!"  I snap  "At her age she can not underestand the difference between sleeping and faded!!"

"I'm sorry, but she kept asking questions, especially why is she yellow.  She is not stupid when she is the only yellow person in our house!!!  All the different colours was confusing her, she can see Ocean is the same colours as his parents, she can see the triplets are the same colour as Affair, she sees Cotton and you are the same colours as your parents, and she knows she is a different colour to all of us."  she smiles at me  "She asked why she is not orange."

"Is she really that clever to be thinking like that already?"

"Yes she is!"  she smiles at me. 

"You should have told me!!"

"You was away with Rocky, so Sunny and your Dad dealt with it." 

"Yeah then conveniently forgot to tell me and warn me about it!!  Which is just SO TYPICAL of them!!"   I frown at her  "You said she has seen photo's, so what photographs has she seen?"

"Ones of Honey mostly when she was a teenager and some of her grown up."  I stare at Crystal not realizing there were any of Honey grown up.  "There were a few of Shadow too."

"WHAT!!??  Tell me you are joking!!"  I almost yell at Crystal

"Don't shout at me!!"  she starts to look upset

"I am sorry I didn't mean to shout at you!!"  I pull an apologetic face at her.  I know that it is not her that I should be shouting at.  "I am just shocked finding out that there is a picture of Shadow, I did not know there was one!  They have never shown me a picture of him!!"

"Yeah there are a few that I have seen - there is one of Vanilla and Shadow together and one of him on his own."  

I stare at Crystal wide eyed and a little shocked.  I can not help but think it is a little too morbid to be taking photographs of a faded baby, that is why I never expected there to be any of him.  Also the thought of them having Vanilla lay next to her faded brother turns my stomach.

"Who has the photographs of Shadow, Crystal?"  I ask her quietly


Suddenly I am angry!!  I jump up to my feet and snap open my phone.  I ask Crystal to dial Sunny's number, because I am shaking too much to even try to find it out for myself.  She passes me the phone with a worried look on her face.  I ask her to go inside and check on Vanilla, because I know I am going to start yelling and she is just going to get upset.  

I watch her walking slowly towards the beach house while I wait for Sunny to answer his phone.  As soon as he does, I lay into him.

"I want to know what gives you lot the right to hide things from me STILL, and why I have never been shown the photographs of my son!!???"

"Tap stop yelling!"  Sunny says  "What are you talking about?"

"Crystal has told me, you have photographs of Shadow.  So why have I never been shown them?"  I snap at him

"Errr ... Tap, what good would it do you to see them?!"   he mumbles quietly   "We did not want to upset you anymore than you already are!"

"You know not getting to see him before you buried him is one of the things that has been screwing my head up!!"  I yell at him  "I am upset more by the fact that you have photographs of him that you could have shown me, but No!!  Yet again you lot have been hiding them from me!!  STILL treating me like the idiot!!!"  I snap at him   

"We thought it would upset you more to see the photographs, that is why we have never showed you."

"Who has seen the photographs of Shadow Sunny?  I guess everyone has seen them, all except for me, and you are all laughing at me behind my back"

"Nobody is laughing at you!!"  he snaps "Just me, your Dad, Crystal and River have seen Shadow's photographs, and Winter was there when he was born..  Nobody else has seen him or the photographs!"  he mumbles quietly

"Don't forget Vanilla ... you have shown the photo's to her too, haven't you!!!  Which I am not very happy about!!  You and Dad have NO RIGHT to go telling her things about Honey and Shadow without asking me first!!!"  I yell at him  "She is my child and not old enough to understand properly for a start!!  I just nearly faded when Vanilla told me Honey is sleeping with Shadow!!"

"Tap calm down please!!"

"No I won't CALM DOWN!!!  Text those pictures to me NOW Sunny - I want to see them!!"  I yell at him  "And some of Honey grown up, because I know you have shown Vanilla those too!!"  

Sunny starts to try and talk me into waiting until he has spoken to my Dad, and to wait until I come home to see the photographs, which makes me angrier.   

"No Sunny, send them to me NOW or do I have to get on a plane and come home ... you and my Dad, seriously would not want me in your faces right now!!  You will be lucky if I have calmed down by the time this vacation is over!!!  Berry help the pair of you when I get home!!"

"Okay Okay, just give me five and I will send them to you!"

"MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO!!"  I yell at him before I snap my phone shut angrily.

I pace about impatiently on the beach waiting for the text to arrive.


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