Sunday, 27 November 2016

Forrest 3a

I am woken up quite abruptly by something hitting my head, not hard but it was the shock of being hit, along with the loud shouting that I can hear.  Whatever hit me is still on my head, and I feel like I'm buried under something.  I try to knock whatever it is off and I can now hear Alpine laughing quite loudly.

When I open my eyes the bright bedroom light, that he has obviously turned on, makes me squint for a moment until my eyes have adjusted to the brightness.

Mel groans and rolls over towards me, but continues to sleep.

   "Get up Leafy you idiot!!"  Alpines snaps  "What have I told you about leaving all your clothes lying around the house and all over the floor, for the kids to find!!"

Mine and Caramels clothes, that is what has just hit me, Alpine has obviously picked them all up and has just thrown them all over me.   I struggle to sit up as I knock all the remaining clothes off me, and onto the floor, wandering when he has ever told me this before.  This is the first time that I can recall us being this careless, but where is the stress when the kids have all moved out and it is just the three of us in the house.

He hands me my phone, which I put down on the bedside table.  Alpine suddenly runs off, over to the window and I wander what he is doing as he starts mumbling while he is tugging forcefully on the curtains like a complete idiot.

     "Alpine STOP!!  Just leave them, you are going to pull the curtain pole down, then you'll have Mel going off on one!!"  I shout at him quietly trying not to wake her up.
     "Then you should have closed them shouldn't you.  The stupid things are stuck!!"  he mumbles as he really yanks at the curtain  "Anyone can see you in here from outside, you know not to leave them open!!"  I hear the curtain tear quite loudly  "Oh Boy!!  Now look what you've made me do!"
      "Alpine just leave them before you do any more damage!"
      "Oh Berry, she is going to give me a damn headache now!!"  he scratches his head as he starts laughing at the torn piece of curtain in his hand.

I lie there laughing at him laughing at himself, while I retrieve my underwear from the pile of clothes and put them on underneath the bed clothes.  I notice how dark it is outside.  We normally do make sure the curtains are drawn, but last night we had been too preoccupied and in too much of a hurry to get onto the bed to even think about closing the curtains.

Alpine tosses the piece of curtain onto the floor like a naughty child and comes over to me.  I am sat chuckling at him as he smirks at me.

       "You know I'm blaming you for the curtain, don't you leafy!"  he laughs at me
       "If you must."  I laugh back at him 

      "Come on, you need to get your gay but out of bed, the kids are going to see you sneaking out of the house if you don't hurry up!!"
      "Hell Alpine!!  What time is it?"  I laugh at him
      "I don't know, but the kids will be getting up for school soon, so isn't it time you went home!!"
      "Seriously Alpine it is still the middle of the night!!"
       "While I think about it, your boy needs a new bike, he's knackered his completely and broken the stabilizers and I'm sick of listing to Cinnamon having a go at him for pinching his."  this really makes me laugh for a moment  "Bay, Slate, Storm and Tapestry have been riding their bikes down the stone meadow steps like idiots, and smashed them up.  They could have broken there necks, falling down those steps, if they had come off their bikes, Mango has gone totally mental at them and so did I!!  I've grounded him because he should not have even been in the Meadow in the first place, or doing something so stupid!!"

I frown at him for a moment, he's obviously reliving something that happened in the past, but I wander with him mentioning the stone meadow steps and broken necks, if this memory hasn't been triggered by Sunny fading, due to him breaking his neck on those very same steps.

       "Mate you are living in the past again!"  I laugh at him  "Bay did that when he was about ten, and the stabilizers was years before that!!"
       "Wake her up, she needs to fix their breakfast, or they are going to be late for school."  I rub my eyes as I glance over at the clock and it is 3am.  "Come on Leafy, it's time you did one before they see you!"
      "Alpine, it is only 3am, and the kids don't go to school any more.  They are not even in the house, to see me or my clothes, they are all grown up and have moved out remember."
       "Have they?"  he frowns at me as he scratches his head
       "Yes!!"  I laugh at him   "So no, Bay doesn't need a new bike, he's a big boy now, and I don't really think he would appreciate me buying him one now, especially with stabilizers, do you!!"  he just grumbles as I start howling at him which makes him start laughing.
       "Yeah, I remember now, it's cars you are having to fork out for now, not bikes!"  he starts howling, I think more at himself for his forgetfulness
      "We need to get you back to bed, it's still the middle of the night."
      "I don't want to go back to bed, I'm hungry, I need feeding, wake Mel up."  he mumbles as he glances over in her direction  "Hell the curtains are open!"

He barges off over to the window again and I have to jump up quickly,and run round to the other side of the bed trying to stop Alpine from doing any more damage to the curtains or waking Caramel up.  I can't help but laugh at him, he seems to be having one of his forgetful sessions, which can get pretty amusing at times, for me at least, Mel just gets really irritated and ratty with him.

      "You should shut these curtains anyone can see you from outside!!"  he snaps
      "We have already been through this!"  I tell him as I pull him away from the window  "Look you ripped them remember!!"  I point at the torn curtain on the floor before I pick it up and throw it into the bin.
       "Oops!!"  he starts laughing and I can't help laughing with him.  "Mel GET UP!!"  he yells as I draw the curtains closed before he starts tugging on them again.
      "Leave her!!"  I laugh at him  "She needs to sleep - she's not feeling too good."
      "What's up with her now?"  he laughs  "Tell me you haven't knocked her up again!"
      "Don't be stupid!! That will never be happening again, and do you think I'd be this calm and normal if I had!!"  I laugh at him as he starts howling at me  "She is just exhausted from looking after you!!"
      "Judging by the trail of clothes that started in the living room, I'd say it's more like you keeping her awake all night!!"  he starts laughing
      "Chance would be a fine thing!!  We are past all that now, don't you think!"
      "Not judging by the clothes trail, you are not."  He starts howling really loudly  "I seriously didn't enjoy picking your undies up off the stairs and landing, or hers!!"
       "Alpine Shush!!  You are going to wake her up."
       "Good because I'm hungry, and it will teach her for banning me from using the kitchen!!"
        "The kitchen ban is only because you keep breaking things and trying to set fire to the place."  I laugh at him quietly  "Just come with me, if you need feeding, I'll do it."
      "Well if you are making breakfast I don't want any of your shitty toast!!"  he snaps
      "It's French toast, not shitty toast ... so what do you want to eat?"
      "A ham and tomato butty will do!!"

We make our way down to the kitchen and I can't help but laugh all the way down the stairs, remembering what Bay told us yesterday about his outburst over the ham and tomato sandwich that he was given, now he is asking me for one.   I hope I am not getting a repeat performance and he is not just about to try and break bones or start caving my head in, like he did to Bay.

Alpine sits down at the table, while I start to make him the sandwich that he wants.  He starts drumming his fingers impatiently on the table behind me.

      "You know, you need to be more careful, Cinnamon is a detective, it's not going to take him long to suss you two out, especially if you keep sleeping over like you have been, since all the kids moved out.  You are being careless leaving your clothes about for him to find."  he mumbles  "And I noticed she was washing and drying your clothes the other day."
      "It's not like we leave clothes around often, and Cinn is not likely to come round at 3am in the morning to inspect the contents of the washing basket, is he!!"  I laugh at him, he has obviously forgotten again that Cinnamon has faded, so I just humour him.

Trying to remind him that his son has faded generally sets him off and puts him in a mood, its almost like he is hearing it for the first time and has to start the grieving process all over again, so we try to change the subject away from Cinnamon whenever he talks about him like he is still alive.  I have noticed that he has a really hard time with Cinnamon in his mind.

       "How many sandwiches do you want?"
       "Just one, I've got that half a pizza from last night to finish off"  he laughs  "Leafy put some cheese on with the ham and tomato, and I'll have ketchup too, seeing as Mel is not looking.  I seriously don't know why she moans about me putting ketchup on everything."
       "Well you do put it on some odd things, like your cereal for instance - it must taste rank!!"  I laugh  "You used the last of the ketchup on your pizza last night.  I didn't realize it was running low when we did the shopping, I'll have to get you another bottle later."

I glance back at him and he is playing musical chairs.  Sitting in one for a few seconds then getting up and moving to the next, I wander what he is doing but don't bother asking him.  I notice he has sat in all of the chairs except one, the chair that Cinnamon always used to sit on.


He starts laughing quite loudly as he points towards the unopened bottle of wine on the side.  Im glad his mind has moved away from the chairs, he sometimes gets a little fixated on the chair that Cinnamon used to sit on, which can set him off, especially if anyone sits on it.

       "She didn't touch her favourite wine after we went for that ride out to Apple to specially get it for her!"
       "Yeah I know, she said she didn't fancy it ... she wasn't in the mood to drink alcohol she reckoned."
       "What did she do with the flowers ... batter you with them?"
       "Yeah, you got it!"  he starts laughing
       "I told you not to waste your money!!"
       "I should have listened!!  I got rose thorns stuck in me everywhere, and she made me clean up the mess that she made!!"  we both start laughing at each other.  "She hardly touched her dinner either, she just played with it, I don't know why I bothered to go to all the trouble of shopping or cooking, if I'd known, I'd have just given her half your pizza!!"
        "Huh!  I told you, there is no point even trying to butter up a sulky Mel, it never works especially when you are the one who has upset her!!"  he frowns at me  "You still didn't tell me what you two were arguing about?" 
       "It was over text messages that someone sent me yesterday, even though I've told that person to stop and leave me alone.  Mel just had a paranoid fit."  I laugh at him  "But it's all sorted now.  I managed to talk her round, so I'm back out of the dog house again."
       "Yeah I guessed by the clothes trail!!"  he starts laughing
       "So you remember which decade you are in at the moment?"  I laugh at him
       "Yes, I know the kids have all grown up and moved out, I was just half asleep!!"
       "Was you dreaming about Bay and his broken bike?"
       "I must have been."  he shrugs

I put his sandwich down in front of him and he starts to tuck into it straight away.  I pull the pizza box out of the fridge and leave it on the side before I sit down watching him, a little amused that he is eating the sandwich without a problem.  I am careful not to sit down on the chair opposite where he has finally settled to sit, because that was Cinnamons chair. 

       "Where is the ketchup?"  he frowns at me
       "I told you, we ran out, you used the last on your pizza last night."
       "Oh yeah!"  he mumbles before he continues eating.

Alpine had woken up from the sedation in a pretty good mood yesterday afternoon.  So after me and Caramel had finished thrashing out the future in theory, she had a sleep, while I took Alpine for a ride out to Apple Hill so that I could do some food shopping.  He now still seems to be having a good day, he remembers our trip out and the pizza we put in the fridge last night, other than having his initial forgetfulness and forgetting Cinnamon has faded, which he does all the time anyway, he is appearing to be pretty calm and sane.

     "You need to have words with that boy of yours ... he tried to poison me yesterday!!"
     "Yeah he told us you had accused him of it."  I laugh  "What made you think he was trying to poison you, when it was actually Mel who made the sandwiches?"
     "He thinks I'm stupid, I saw him switch our plates around after he'd been messing with them."  I frown at him for a moment
      "What did he do ... lift up the bread?"
      "Yeah he did!!"  I laugh, half tempted to ask him how he thinks Bay was trying to poison him and what with, but I don't bother.
     "If I know Bay he was probably just checking the sandwiches to see which one had tomato on it, you know he doesn't like tomatoes.  I think you know Bay wouldn't hurt a fly and he definitely wouldn't be trying to poison you, he loves you, you are his Dad!!"
       "So he thinks!!"  he laughs quietly  "He is gay that's why he couldn't hurt a fly ... I wander where he got that from?" he smirks at me
       "Mel, because he didn't get it from me that's for sure!!"  he just laughs as he carries on eating  "You fractured his arm you know ..."  he looks up at me and stops chewing  "... and you told him he's not your son."
     "I didn't did I?!"  he frowns at me  "So does he know now?"
     "No we told him you didn't know what you was saying because of your head."
     "You can't blame me for slipping up, I can't think straight most of the time - without having to worry about what I am and not saying!!"
     "Yeah we understand that you can't help it half the time, and they know not to take too much notice of what you are saying when you have a bad day, but if you say it too often, he might start thinking about it.  I think it narked him a little."
     "Isn't it about time you two came clean?"  he frowns at me  "It is ridiculous that we are still hiding everything!!  Is she still refusing and digging her heals in?"

      "We are going to tell them soon - I've finally talked her into doing it, and I'm not letting her change her mind this time either!!"
      "Good luck with that one, you know what she's like!!"  he laughs
      "I've told her I'm walking if she changes her mind."  he frowns at me  "I've threatened to leave her and I've told her this time, I'm doing it whether she likes it or not.  We should have put our foot down with her and out voted her six years ago!!  You will back me up if I have to tell them on my own, won't you?!"
       "Yeah, of course I will.  She can't keep putting it off forever!!"  he smiles at me  "They are going to hate me aren't they!"  he starts to look upset
      "Don't upset yourself!!"  I smile at him  "You are their Dad they could never hate you, even when they know the truth, It is me they will hate not you!!"
      "When are you doing it?"
      "In about three weeks, once Mel has had a break away and is feeling a bit more herself."
      "Is she sick?"   he frowns at me
      "No she is just mentally and physically worn down.  You have been hard work lately for everyone, and not just Mel.  You have appeared to be very frustrated lately and have been lashing out a lot more, so until Mel goes away, I'm going to be around a lot more to help her and I need to keep an eye on you, because if it gets any worse we might have to get you back into hospital for reassessing.  I'm hoping its just grief and nothing medical."
      "Is that why you had blood and pee off me yesterday!"
      "Yeah, I told you, I'm just giving you a check up, to make sure you are fit and healthy!"  I smile at him, I don't mention the bed wetting because I know it upsets and embarrasses him.

He doesn't say anything he just continues to chew on his sandwich thoughtfully.  I sit watching him wandering if I should make the most of his mental stability.  We need to talk to him about a few things, but it is always hard because some of the time he is not mentally stable enough to take it in properly, and everyone is always having to walk on egg shells with him, because the slightest thing unhinges him and he starts to lash out.

    "So what is upsetting you lately, is it anything in particular?"
    "I'm sick of all this fading, Cosmic, Jazz, Honey, Storm, Cinn now Sunny.  I can't handle it, and I'm sick of being caged in this house being baby sat all the time, feeling useless!!"

     "Yeah, I thought Sunny fading might have triggered you off."  I frown at him, the name Jazz rings a bell in my head but I can't think why.  "Who is Jazz?"
     "One of our school mates - that green bitch faded him when she cut Ice's face.  You've never seen him, he didn't come here with us."  he mumbles  "Mango, Jazz, Cosmic, Sunny and me, there is only me and Mango left out of the boys."
      "You must be having a really good day if you are remembering so much about your school mates."
      "I guess."  he mumbles  "Its funny, I have thought about Jazz a lot lately.  I saw him."
      "What do you mean you saw him?"  I frown at him
      "In the cemetery.  I was lying on the floor crying, and Jazz helped me get up ... his eyes were shining really bright, he actually hurt my eyes, and he was so cold!!"  he shudders dramatically which makes me laugh  "He hugged me and he said the strangest thing!!"  he laughs  "He told me not to cry because Sunny is with him and he.s okay.  He also told me not to be scared of fading, because it is not the end, and when my time comes, he, Cos and Sunny would be waiting for me.  Then you turned up and he flew off through the bushes so quick I hardly saw him go!!"
       "Was that the night I found you in the cemetery a few days after Sunny faded?"
       "Probably."  he mumbles as he shrugs
       "Mate, you was very confused and lashing out that night, you was angry and upset because Sunny had faded.  You had gone out wandering during the night and I had to go out and find you.  You lost it in the cemetery and I had to get Prelude and Mulberry out of bed to help me get you home.   It was your mind playing tricks on you, you know you hallucinate sometimes, you are always saying you've seen a ghost, you are as bad as Tapestry!!"  he laughs for a moment
         "I do see them, I used to laugh at Tap like everyone else does, but not any more!!  I see Cos and Storm here all the time!!  I've even seen Tapestry shouting and wrestling with Storm and Cos in the cemetery at someone's funeral, I can't remember who's - the one where he was digging up graves!!  I think Cos and Storm were trying to calm him down."

 I cringe because he is talking about Cinnamons funeral, but I don't remind him of that.

       "Alpine, we all saw him yelling at an invisible Storm and Cosmic."  I laugh  "He was just having one of his emotional outbursts because he was upset."
       "Ahhhh but they weren't invisible to me - I could see them just like Tap obviously could - you know Tapestry is not mad, he does see them, they actually were there, because how else would Tapestry know Cos, he never saw him living!!"  he laughs 

 I just stare at him and think about what he just said.
        "I saw Sunny last night, with Cos, they were sat in the living room watching you and Mel messing about like a pair of kids on the sofa while I was playing that racing game.  I can see they are talking to each other, I just wish I could hear what they are saying!!"  I start laughing at him.  "You know I swear they are following you, they seem to be listening to and watching you and Mel very closely.  They always appear when you do, and Cos came with us when we took our ride out to Apple!!"  he laughs  "You know Cos is actually sat over on the working surface over by the sink right now watching us." 
         "Mate ghosts aren't real, they are just hallucinations that you are having, and you said this Jazz faded years ago, so I think you know he wasn't really there in the Cemetery, just like Sunny and Cos were not here yesterday."  I glance over to the sink  "Just like Cosmic is not here right now."
       "Leafy, normally I would accept you saying that, my head does get really scrambled and according to you and Mango I hallucinate, but I don't think I do!!  I swear Cos is sat there right now!!"  he looks over towards the sink and smiles, waves then laughs.  It makes me shudder wandering if there really is something there that I can't see.  "See he just waved!"  he carries on laughing.  "Jazz is different to them, Jazz didn't look like the other ghosts, he felt and looked real - I don't think he is faded!!  He was definitely there, he hugged me really tight, and nearly broke as well as froze my bones!!  He put something in my hand and told me to look after it."  he mumbles as he goes into his pocket.  He drops what looks like a pink button on the table, its a strange pink, I can't think of anyone in this town who is actually that colour.
      "Are you sure you didn't just pick that up when you was on the floor?"
      "No, look at it closely."  he pushes it towards me so I pick it up.

I turn the button over as I look at it, and notice there is an A scratched on one side and a J scratched on the other.  I frown at him and he laughs.

      "I haven't seen that button for years, not since we were at school, Jazz always used to keep it.  That was how me and Jazz decided who's turn it was to shag the school bike - Ruby!"  I start laughing as he takes it off me and flicks it up off his thumb, it lands on the table spins a bit then falls flat A side up.  "It looks like its my turn tonight ... but I think I'll pass, she's got to have been through the whole town by now!"  he starts howling and I sit laughing at him because I haven't seen him this calm, sane and happy for ages, even if he is talking about seeing ghosts that I don't really believe in.  He suddenly stops laughing  "Have you been there?  Have you taken a ride on the red bike?"

       "Hell No!!"  I smirk at him  "I'm gay remember."
       "Yeah, my ass!!"  he laughs as he puts the button back in his pocket.  "Seriously have you?"
       "No way!!  She is red and you know how I hate that colour!!  You are right, she has been through most of the town, Turmeric has been riding that dirty bike for years, I keep telling him he's mad, because one of these days he's going to catch something, because he's not the only one!!"   he laughs  "Remember everyone thinks I'm gay, so I have always had to behave, so I don't give the game away!!"
       "Ahhh but you have not been behaving have you!"  he smirks at me and I cringe  "I heard you and Mel arguing ... Wisteria ... tut tut tut!!"
       "Seriously you need to forget you even heard that, and whatever you do ... DO NOT repeat it to anyone!!  The last thing I need is the kids, Crimson, Mango or Prelude ever finding out!!  It's over and done, it won't be happening again - I was stupid to even go there, and I've been beating myself up over it ever since it started!!"
       "Then why did you?"
       "I was off my head and at breaking point!!  Mel was driving me mad and I was sick of living a dysfunctional life and being lonely because Mel wouldn't come clean so we can change things.  I bumped into Wisty in Rainbow, a few years back, when I was out there covering at the hospital.  You know she and Crimson are having a long distance relationship, because she's at Uni, and she was feeling like I was, sick of being lonely, and not sure if their relationships is ever going anywhere.  She was really down and needed someone to talk to, so we went out, I was only trying to be a friend and cheer her up, but it backfired on me.  We drank a bit too much, and in my stupidity, when she came onto me I didn't stop her, and any time she is in town, I carried on being stupid!!"  I roll my eyes at him  "I ended it, months ago, I've told her it's not happening anymore, but she's been stalking me ever since, and I can't shake her, even Granite, Mace and Mel have had to tell her to back off!!  I shit myself every time she comes to Sugar, I'm scared she's going to say something.  She's already blabbed to Mace."
       "Well you need to get rid of her, and if she does say anything, just deny it, she can't prove it can she, and you are gay remember."  he smirks at me then starts howling  "And I wouldn't bother riding the red town bike either, because she is seriously not worth riding!!  We only rode the bike because she was so easy."  he smirks  "Now your sister on the other hand ..."
       "STOP!!"  I put my hands up as I laugh at him  "I really don't want to hear any details about yours and Meadow's love life."  he starts howling at me 
        "Can we go to the cemetery?  You never know Jazz might be there again, then I can show you I'm not hallucinating!"
        "Seriously Alpine, it is the middle of the night.  I'll take you in the morning, if you get upset and start lashing out, I'll have to wake up one of the Orchid thugs to help me carry you home. "

         "I want to visit Cinnamon's grave and see Jazz.  I miss Jazz and I'm sick of being cooped up in this house.  I enjoyed our little trip out yesterday, and when was the last time we actually went to the dive bar together and got plastered?"
         "I promise I'll take you to the cemetery in the morning, as for the dive bar, it's been years because you know you can't drink on your medication, but we might be able to do something about you feeling caged in this house."  I smile at him wandering where this sudden fixation with Jazz has come from.  "I'll have to start taking you out more when you are stable, I guess we could go to the dive bar and play pool, as long as we stick to drinking pop."  he laughs at me  "I'm sending Mel to Sandy Shores for two weeks on vacation, she deserves a rest and the break away will do her good ..."
      "So who is going to be looking after me - you?"
      "Not exactly, I'm going to Meadow's, to help her sort out my Dads things, and to save burdening the kids, who also could use a break, we thought you could spend a few weeks out in Raspberry Hill, having your own little holiday away."

I don't tell him the truth about me going with Mel in case he repeats it.  He just sits there staring at me, I'm getting nervous because I am expecting the hospice to set him off, this is the thing that we most dreaded talking to him about.

      "So what's in Raspberry?"  he frowns at me  "Are you taking me to see Meadow?"
      "No, that's not very wise is it, when it's only going to upset the both of you!"  he pulls a face at me  "You know you need 24/7 care, so we can't just send you anywhere.  We are going to book you into the hospice for two weeks, where there will be plenty of medically trained people to look after you and keep you safe ..."
      "Hospice ... oh I get it, she is finally trying to off load me!!  She is going to dump me and just leave me there isn't she!!"  he snaps  "I guessed this might be coming after Cinn faded!!  After all, Cin was the only reason we stayed together living in the same house, in the first place."
      "No that is not the case at all, honestly.  You will only be there for two weeks, while we are both away, as soon as we come home, we will be picking you up to bring you back home, I promise."
       "Yeah."  he snaps sarcastically  "So what are they going to do sit me in a chair and drug me up, so I don't cause any trouble."

       "No don't be stupid!!  The hospice in Raspberry is a really nice place, it's a properly run medical facility, me and my Sister used to send my Dad there, when Meadow needed a break, and we wouldn't have left Dad there if they did that kind of thing."  he laughs  "You can treat it like a holiday, it will get you out of this house for a few weeks, and it's more like a hotel than a hospital.   You will get your own room, get to meet new people, and they keep you entertained with lots of different activities, there is always something to keep you busy and amused all the time ... my Dad used to love his stays there, he went regularly for years, sometimes he asked to go."
      "He's faded now isn't he?"  he frowns at me  "What was wrong with him."
      "Old age and Dementia."
      "Why did you not look after him, why was it left to Meadow?"
      "My job would have made it awkward, I don't have set shifts, they are all over the place and I am often called in for emergencies, I couldn't have just left him alone.  Besides you know the situation, he couldn't be in Sugar Valley because of the kids, it broke my parents not being able to have anything to do with them - something they will never forgive me for.  I'm actually angry with myself, and Mel, six years ago we could have come clean, and I've sat here giving into her and letting her have her own way.  They could have had six years with their Grandchildren, now they are both gone and there isn't anything I can ever do to fix it.  I thought my parents would be around longer, and I've let this situation go on for far too long and now it's too late."

I see a pained expression flash across his face, and I am now kicking myself for letting the conversation get carried away.  Mentioning parents always upsets him, as he's never known his, he was put into the care system when he was a baby and lived his whole life in foster care and childrens homes.  I can't help but feel sorry for him, in the grand scheme of things, he has had a very shit life, and more thrown at him than anyone deserves!!

      "How is she?"  I frown at him  "Meadow."
      "Oh she's okay I guess."  I smile at him 
      "What does Cinnamon think about all this hospice stuff?"  he says out of the blue
       "He thinks its a good idea, he can see Mel needs a break and he thinks it will do you good, especially the change of scenery."  I smile at him, fobbing him off again.  "We are taking you out to Raspberry tomorrow so you can check it out and see how you like the place."
      "Okay, I'll take a look, but I'm warning you Forrest, you better not leave me there!!  I am still not completely stupid yet, I can break out of there and find my way back here still - they are my kids as well as yours remember!!!"

        "Do you think I don't know that!!  We would never take you away from them, it would hurt them too much,  and even when they know the truth, you will still always be their Dad, I'm just the sperm donor!!"  he starts laughing  "We are trying to do what is right for all of us, so when we get back off our holidays, the three of us need to sit down and make a few decisions."
       "Like what?"  he frowns at me
       "We can't carry on living like we are, Mel needs help, she can't carry on looking after you on her own.  So we have decided that I'm going to help her, and I owe you that much don't you think, after what you've done for me all these years.  You will always have me and Mel to look after you, no matter how bad it gets."  he smiles at me  "We need to change the living arrangements, the three of us will be living together from now on.  After we've come back off holiday and told the kids the truth, we need to decide where the three of us will be living, here, at mine or somewhere else."  I smile at him.
       "So what is happening with you and the gay one?"
       "We are getting divorced."  I glance up at him  "He's divorcing me so he can marry Mace.  However, because our relationship did not restart when he came back, I can divorce him for abandonment, which will basically annul the marriage and make it a hell of a lot quicker.  Now he's stopped being a dick over the house, I have been to see my solicitor to get the ball rolling, I just want it over and done with now. 
       "So I guess you will want me and Mel to do the same, I presume you two will be getting married.  It is very long overdue don't you think."
       "We haven't thought that far a head yet."  I laugh at him  "We need to sort out the kids first, they could very well react badly to what we have to tell them.  Besides have you forgotten, you divorced Mel for adultery years ago, before Fudge was born!!"
       "Oh yeah, I did didn't I!!"  he starts laughing

I'm grateful for the break in the conversation because that is all I am saying for now, I've given him enough to think about, and he hasn't kicked off so I'm not pushing it any further.  He gets up just to come round the table and give me his plate which amuses me.

      "Are you going to eat that pizza?"
      "Maybe later, when you have got the ketchup."  he mumbles
      "I guess we should go back to bed, it's still only 5am."  I laugh as I glance at the clock, not quite believing that we have been sat here for nearly two hours having a mostly sane conversation. 

Alpine starts to make his way into his room quietly without another word.

I watch him get into bed then turn off his light and close the door, very relieved that he seemed to take all that in without him having a kick off.  But I guess there is still time, once he's had a think about it, especially if he is unsure about taking my word, about him only being in the hospice for two weeks.  Caramels main worry is that he would start kicking off because he might think we are trying to get rid of him completely.

I hesitate before I start to run up the stairs to go back to bed.  Thinking that if what I have just said to him does unsettle him, he might get back up and start wandering around, and he might well try to creep off to the cemetery, now he has that in his mind.

I've never been very comfortable about his bedroom being downstairs, while everyone else's is upstairs, especially as he does tend to get up during the night and escape the house, without anyone hearing him.  He has been found, many times, wandering around town during the night confused and not knowing where he was.

       "What are you doing down here?"  Mel asks me as she comes down the stairs and puts her arms around me  "I thought you had sneaked off home when I woke up and you wasn't there, until the 5am alarm went off on your phone!"  she frowns at me  "I saw your clothes in a messy pile on the floor, which is very unlike you Mr OCD!"
       "Alpine woke me up, throwing our clothes at me, he was hungry.  I didn't have a chance to tidy them up trying to stop him from pulling down the curtain rail and waking you up."  I smile at her  "We've been sat down here talking for a few hours, and he's only just gone back to bed."  I frown at her  "Have you heard Alpine talking about Jazz lately?"
        "Jazz!?  No, I haven't hear him mention Jazz for years."  she frowns at me
        "What colour is he?"
        "He is the pink boy on the school photograph in Alpines room, why?"
        "He wanted me to take him to the cemetery so he could see Jazz."
        "Jazz faded years ago, before Lilly and Mango got married and he's never been to this town, so he's not going to find him in the cemetery!"  she starts laughing  "He's not even buried here ... actually, he's not buried anywhere, they never actually found his body, just a pool of his blood, but Ice saw Lime stab him three time."

        "So if Ice watched him being stabbed, how could they not find his body?"
        "Jazz told her to run when he was lying in the gutter fading.  She had to leave him and leg it, because Lime was going at her with the knife, that's when Lime slashed her face up, luckily she managed to escape, so she didn't suffer the same fate as Jazz.  No one knows what happened to his body, its a mystery."
        "Seriously!?  Now you have spooked me, because Alpine reckons he's not faded and was in the cemetery a few nights ago talking to him. and you know I swear I've heard Mango talking to someone called Jazz a few times lately on the phone."  I frown at her  "So he could actually still be alive?"
         "Seriously Babe, if Jazz was still alive, trust me, he would be here, or at least in contact with all of us, and Mango would have said if it was our Jazz, he was just like the rest of us, one of the gang!!  Besides he has not been seen since he was stabbed, not even by his parents."  she laughs  "He couldn't have seen Jazz in the cemetery, you know what Alpine is like, I bet you have been sat listing to him talking rubbish for hours!"
         "Actually he has been the happiest and sanest that I've seen him in a long time, he hardly spoke any rubbish."  I smile at her  "So has Alpine always had that pink button that he carries around."
        "What pink button?"   she frowns at me in confusion  "I haven't seen a pink button." 
        "He has got a pink button with an A and J scratched onto it, he showed it me, he said him and Jazz used to flip it to decide who got to ride the red school bike."  she starts really laughs  "Alpine reckons Jazz gave it him a few nights ago in the cemetery and told him to look after it."
        "Seriously I've never seen the button."  she frowns  "So I guess he has been talking about seeing ghosts again." 
         "Jazz isn't a ghost according to Alpine, he is not faded, but he has been talking about seeing Cosmic and Storm again, and Sunny has now joined the mix, he saw Sunny here last night apparently, with Cos.  Cos is here right now according to Alpine."
         "Take no notice, he's a fruit loop and has been driving me mad going on about seeing Cos and Storm a lot lately, but I haven't heard him mention Sunny yet."  she rolls his eyes  "You know he is seeing things, trust me Jazz is faded, and Alpine has probably just picked that button up from somewhere seeing it is the same colour as Jazz!"  she laughs
        "The ghost thing is starting to really bug me, I'm even starting to believe it ... Alpine keeps saying he sees ghosts and Tapestry has since he was a small child ... Alpine said he actually saw Cos and Storm at Cinn's funeral, when Tap was shouting and wrestling with them.  He swears the ghosts were there and both him and Tap were seeing them."

        "They both have damaged brains Doctor Rock!!"  she starts howling at me  "You of all people shouldn't be listening to his mad rambling and especially not over thinking it!!"
        "Normally yeah but - it can't be a coincidence that they are both seeing exactly the same two ghosts - Mango told me Tap talks to and sees Cos and Storm all the time - and so does Alpine, and why would Alpine be seeing Storm, it's not like they were close in life.  Alpine seeing Storm and Tapestry seeing Cosmic - just doesn't make sense!!"  she rolls her eyes at me  "Alpine actually said something that makes total sense, something I've not really thought about properly before ... we all heard Tapestry quite clearly shouting out Cosmic and Storm's names at Cinn's funeral didn't we?!"
         "Yeah we did."  she frowns at me in confusion
         "Think about it - how the hell would Tapestry know Cosmic?  He can't, unless he is actually seeing him now as a ghost.  Cosmic faded before Tapestry was born."  she stares at me a little wide eyed
         "Oh berry!!  I'm not sure any of us have thought about it being impossible for Tap to know Cos - because it is, he would never have seen him ... Cos faded 3 years before the triplets were born."
        "Exactly, and I can still vaguely remember what Tap was shouting ... he said something like  "Get off me Storm you Jerk!! You and Cosmic need to back off and mind your own business!! Go polish your headstones or haunt somebody else!! If you weren't so busy bugging me and Crystal you might have stopped Honey and Cinnamon from passing over !!"   I smile at you  "Something there is bugging me too ... how can they be bugging Crystal unless she can see them too, and you would think wouldn't you that if Alpine is going to imagine seeing anyone it would be Cinnamon, but he doesn't does he, he hasn't once said he's seen Cinn.  What did Tap actually mean by passing over ... does that mean that Honey and Cinn are not here as ghosts because they have passed over to another place?  To us he looked like he was fighting with the invisible man, but according to Alpine he was wrestling with both Cos and Storm - they were trying to calm him down."
         "Stop, you crack pot!!"  she starts howling at me  "You need to stop even thinking about this, it's stupid ... you are definitely over thinking again ... ghosts are NOT real, and you know they aren't!!"
         "I'm really not so sure any more!!"  I mumble
         "I think I need to take you back to bed, before you have me out ghost hunting!!"

As she stands there laughing at me Alpine comes walking out of his room.

       "Couldn't you sleep?"  I laugh at him
       "I don't have time to sleep!"  he laughs at me  "I'm late."
       "Late for what?"  I frown at him
       "I'm meeting Jazz and Sunny in the cemetery."  he tuts  "I have got the button, and we need to sort out who's turn it is to ride the school bike."

       "Oh Fudge!!"  Mel bursts up laughing and I can't help but start laughing with her, until she starts laying into Alpine  "Go back to bed you STUPID IDIOT!!  Jazz and Sunny have faded so you won't find them in the cemetery, not even their bones yet, and before you even start with all your ghost crap ... THEY DON'T EXIST!!"  she shouts at him
       "Mel stop!!"  I snap at her  "Just shut up and let me deal with him."
       "Yes Mel SHUT UP!!"  Alpine snaps at her  "Make yourself useful for a change and watch the kids, while I pop out, I won't be long."  he frowns at me.  "Leafy it's time you got dressed and went home, before the kids see you, they'll be getting up for school soon!  Cinnamon is going to arrest you if he sees you stood there like that mauling his Mother!"  I notice his head is all scrambled again.
       "Alpine, you can't go outside dressed like that, you need to get dressed first!!"  he looks down at himself and laughs  "Mate you are living in the past again!!  The kids have all moved out remember and it is the middle of the night still, we need to get you back to bed."
       "Leafy I need to get to the cemetery, Jazz is waiting for me!"
       "Jazz isn't waiting for you you stupid idiot!!"  Mel snaps  "He's faded!!"
       "Mel stop!!"  I frown at her  "Alpine, I said I would take you to the cemetery in the morning, I'm sure Jazz understands you should be asleep right now."
       "There is no need - Sunny is there with Cos, waiting for me.  They can take me."  he points behind me, and  I automatically turn to look and of course see nothing.
       "Well Sunny and Cos need to sling their hook and come back at a decent time - it is the middle of the night still, and just because they don't need to sleep, it doesn't mean we don't!!  Besides won't the school bike be asleep now, so you three should really wait until in the morning."  I smile at him and he rolls his eyes.  "While you are waiting, I want you to show me the pictures you have of Jazz and your school mates."
        "Okay, I'll go and sort them out."

Alpine smiles at me and goes back into his room.

       "Shit me, you are starting to sound as nuts as he is!!"  Mel starts laughing at me   "I thought you said he was sane and you was having a sensible conversation, that just sounded like nuts to me!"

      "He was, but you know how quickly he switches and how easily his past and present thoughts get jumbled up."  I frown at her  "What the hell is wrong with you right now, you've turned into a right ratty bitch and you need to change your attitude with him!!  I know you are tired and worn down by it all, but you are serious going about it the wrong way and making it harder for yourself!!"  she frowns at me
      "How so?"
      "You don't humour him enough, you should be talking him round, not yelling at him!!  You just shout at him and call him an idiot, which makes him worse!!  I bet you keep reminding him Cinnamon has faded like you kept telling him Sunny and Jazz have."  she just looks down sheepishly  "It's no wander you never get a decent conversation out of him and he's kicking off all the time!!  Just go back to bed  ... I'll sort him out!!"
       "Fine!!"  she snaps  I'll leave you to sort the nut job out then!!  Let's see how long it takes you to get fed up of it when you are dealing with it full time!!" 

I just stand there and watch her as she stomps off up the stairs and slams the bedroom door.      


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