Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Forrest 5b

The room has gone deadly quiet all but for Alpine quietly laughing.  The three of them are sat staring at me and each other, still wide eyed and in disbelief.  I am holding my breath, waiting for a reaction, that is taking a long time to come.

I glance at Caramel and she smiles at me, a much more relaxed smile than she gave me earlier, a smile that I generally only see when we are alone and in private, so I smile back at her in the same way.  I am very relieved that it is finally out, even if they haven't actually reacted yet.

It feels like time has stopped or it is moving in slow motion, with the continued silence in the room.  Why have they not reacted or said anything yet?

When I turn back to look at them, they have been watching me and Mel smiling at each other.

      "So now you know.  Leafy is the Jerk!!"  Alpine says quietly.
      "What!?"  But he can't be ... don't mess about,  Leafy you are gay!!"  Bay is the first one to speak
      "We are not messing Bay honestly!!"  I mumble quietly  "I am the Jerk with a child phobia, and your biological Father."
      "Oh Berry!!"  Mint starts laughing
      "Seriously, this has to be a joke!!"  Bay really can't believe it. 
.     "Bay we seriously are not joking!!  If you can not tell that Leafy is not gay - you need to get your gaydar checked!!"  Alpine smiles at him.  "He has never been gay or you three wouldn't be here.  Forrest is your real Dad honestly."
        "Don't be stupid, this is nuts!!"
        "Bay and Fudge you have his hair, Mint is the biggest give away, she has his skin and eyes, she looks the most like him facially, and Bay you have got all his neurotic and finiky ways  - I seriously don't know how you kids or anyone else have never seen it!!   Mint is so obviously his daughter it is seriously beyond me how nobody has never seen it, besides Granite, he saw it straight away!!"  he starts laughing  "I'm sure you have noticed you all have Leaf as a middle name, and like Leafy said it was done for a reason ... so when you knew the truth, if you wanted to, you could drop my surname Forrest and take his surname, without actually changing your name."  Alpines starts to really laugh  "It has always amused me no end that his first name is the same as my surname and that your names backwards are Forrest Leaf ..."
Mint amuses me by actually getting up and putting her hand on my arm to compare our skin colour, which she can see is identical.  For a moment I worried when I saw her coming towards me, I thought she was going to be the first one to punch me, I am actually half expecting Bay to fly at me still, because of the look of sheer confusion on his face.

          "Have not one of you thought all the time that I have been sat here talking, that I know way too much information, especially about how the Jerk feels, to have not been the the Jerk and the one involved.  I even slipped up a few times, which you didn't spot, saying I, we and our."  I laugh
          "No because you are supposed to be gay!!"
          "Bay, I thought you at least would have sussed me and my phobia!!  Think about how I am around Jasmine, Clay and Amber, you have seen me in action.  Kicking off, storming out the house, slamming doors and yelling shut up and covering my ears every time one of the babies cry.  Why do you think I don't go anywhere near them or have anything to do with them ... because I am terrified of them."  I smile at him  "You see how nasty I get with Jasmine, just for walking into a room, I call her a brat and go off on one and she doesn't even need to speak, and when she speaks and squeals, I lose it completely."  I laugh at the expression on his face  "You have even kicked off at me yourself, over my behaviour a few times, and I'm not nasty to Jasmine because I want to be, it is what my phobia does to me, I seriously can't help it.  Those kids being in my house is why I've had to move out and into yours."
        "Oh fudge and we all thought you was just being a miserable berry hole because she's Mace's kid!!"  Bay stares at me wide eyed
        "Yeah I know what you all think, and I have had to take a lot of stick lately, over Slate, Mace and Jasmine, and I've had to let it happen, and just stand there taking it.  I've had to let everyone think I am the total ass hole to protect you three, rather that telling the truth.  Telling the truth would have exposed me and your Mother, my phobia, me being your real Dad, which would have hurt you three in the process, without us getting the chance to sit you down and tell you properly, like we have today."
        "Oh Fudge!!"
        "And I'm the same with any children, as Holly and Ivy, my two Nieces, your cousins, will tell you - they hate me with a passion and I can't say I blame them.  When they become teenagers, I have a hell of a lot of making up to do with them, because I have put them through exactly what we have protected you three from."

           "No you can't be, this doesn't make sense ... you are gay!!"
           "Bay, I have never been gay!!  Okay so I married Granite, when I was a stupid mixed up teenager, because I loved him, it was just my bad luck he was male.  I was in the same position as Slate.  He loves you for you, not for what sex you are and while he obviously doesn't struggle playing gay ... I always did.  Trying to play gay is a big part of why I am so screwed up!!  Mine and Granites relationship was never about sex, we didn't really have a sex life because I seriously couldn't hack it, and it didn't really matter to either of us, while he was breaking the law and getting high and hammered and getting his thrills that way,  I was being who I should have been, sleeping with women, not that he knew at the time.  I'm in your Dad's camp, as straight as they come and you couldn't pay me to sleep with another man.  The only thing I'm comfortable doing is kissing them and even then that only applies to Granite."
          "So why tell everyone all this time you are gay?"
          "Everyone presumed I was because of Granite, and I never put them straight.  Letting everyone carry on thinking I was gay is what has helped us to get away with this for so long.  Me being gay was a good cover for me and your Mother, because who would ever have suspected us, and it helped to keep the truth hidden from you three.  I have sat in front of you telling you our story and not one of you have suspected me once, because you think I'm gay."  I laugh at him   "Everyone thinking I am gay is what has helped me and your Mother hide the fact that we have been together since just after Cinnamon was born.   Look at Mint, it is so obvious that she is my daughter, it is hysterical that nobody has ever questioned why she looks so much like me, and why has nobody ever questioned it ... because they think I'm 100% gay."  I laugh   "I've been living here for weeks and not one of you have been remotely suspicious of me and your Mother, if you knew I was straight then you would have been very suspicious." I smile at them  "We go out in town together, for a drink, a meal, to the cinema, even bowling in front of you kids sometimes, and nobody bats an eyelid, or gives a thought to us being together or how much time we spend together openly, because I am gay, everyone thinks we are just good friends, they never see us doing anything of a romantic nature, and we always have the excuse, that I'm your Dads doctor so we are discussing his condition.  You have even seen us at the gym together Bay and not too long ago."  Caramel starts to really laugh
           "What's so funny?"  Bay frowns at his Mother, then me
           "Your Mother even being at the gym in the first place!"  I smirk at Caramel  "Nice try babe, but it's not happening!!"

I laugh at Caramel as I throw the cushion at her that she launched at me earlier, she was trying to embarrass me just then, thinking I would tell Bay why she is really laughing.  I smile at Bay who starts laughing.  If only he knew, if he had walked into the steam room just a few minutes earlier, he would have caught us messing about!!

        "Obviously Granite hasn't been here, and we didn't want our relationship out in the open or anyone especially you finding out the truth, because I was being such a jerk because of my phobia when you were little, and we didn't want you getting hurt or screwed up by me."  I roll my eyes  "I am seriously screwed up psychologically, and that is the the last thing I ever wanted for you!!  It seriously would have messed your heads up and wrecked your lives knowing I was your biological Father, when I had to keep my distance because every time I was around you I freaked out.  Bay maybe now you might be able to understand a little more, I would have treated you like I treat Jasmine, and you never would have understood that especially with me being your Dad.  Think about what Saffy has been through because of how his Dad has behaved towards him ... unfortunately he is scared for life and not just physically, mentally too."  I smile at him
         "Oh Berry ... Saff is really messed up in the head because of Sunny."  he mumbles
         "Exactly, so now can you see what we have protected you from.  The way we did it was way better for you and Granite could have come back at any time and your Mother was under no illusion that if he came back, in my delusional screwed up stupidity I would have left her, until I came to my senses, which would have wrecked your heads even more so it was better you didn't know about me.  I have always been a physiologically messed up time bomb waiting to go off and I didn't want to drag you down with me!!  Trust me you have had a much better life without me being the fatherly figure in it, even though I've hated having to watch Alpine brining you up, but I have tried to spent as much time as I could with all of you in one way or another especially since you were teenagers, I just couldn't tell you who I was!!"
         "No!!  I don't believe it!!"  Bay mumbles  "You and Granite ..." he looks at Caramel then at me

          "There is no me and Granite, and there hasn't been for well over twenty years.  Even though we have lead everyone to believe that we still have a relationship and he is just humouring Mace until he is locked up ... that is far from the truth.  I know I acted a little crazily when Granite did come back, but he is a big part of why I have psychological problems and am so screwed up!!  Him coming back is what we both needed to sort our heads out, it is what I needed to help me start clearing away my physiological problems, which I will explain to you properly when you have got your head around me being your biological Dad."  I smile at him   "In reality and behind closed doors, I'm with your Mother, which I have been for over 20 years, and Granite is with Mace.  He loves Mace not me, we are getting divorced and as soon as that comes through, they are getting married and when you lot move to Cherry, he will finally be out of my life for good."  Bay stares at me wide eyed  "Everything we have led everyone to believe, and anything you have seen since he came back, was part of an act, not even Shale knows what we were doing.   We had to keep up the pretence of our relationship, with Mace's help, which your Mother knows all about, because of how crazily we both acted when Gran came back, we did it to stop everyone, and you especially because of you living with us, from uncovering the truth, until we could sit down and tell you the truth properly."
          "This is insane ..."  Bay frowns at me suddenly  "Leafy ... where is your wedding ring?"
          "Floating about somewhere in the sea."  I laugh  "I haven't been wearing it since the first day me and your Mother went out to Sandy Shores."
          "You lost it?"
          "No, I threw it .. I didn't need it any more.  Since Gran came back, and we both sorted our heads out,  we have only worn our rings for show.  Granite isn't wearing his ring now either, which you obviously haven't noticed."  I laugh at him  "I knew me and your Mother were coming clean when we got home ... so I chucked my ring to finally get rid of it."
          "Leafy ... but you can't be our real Dad!!"
          "Well I am Bay.  Look at Mint and tell me she doesn't look just like me and Meadow, she has my face, skin and eyes.  Look at yours and Fudges hair ... it's my hair, the same as my Dad's and Meadows.  You have my eye colour, and you take more after my side of the family than you think Bay, with your OCD and all your neurotic and finiky ways which comes from my Dad which I've got and given to you, and the blushing thing you do, you get that from my Mother, she was always permanently red cheeked and blushing just like you do.  Fudge, even though she is the most like your Mother, she still has my hair, my eye shape and my blood type."

I laugh, as all three of them just sit staring at me, while I think the girls are quietly accepting it, Bay is obviously struggle to take it in.  I reach into my back pocket, I guessed they might struggle to even believe I'm actually straight and not gay, especially Bay, he is the one that I have been closest too, as a mate, and I guessed I would be more of a shock to him.  I imagine it is going to be hard for anyone in this town to believe that I am not actually gay.

          "But if you can't take our word for it .... we have something to prove it, which will leave you in no doubt, that I am your biological Dad."  I laugh at him still, not taking it in.  They accepted pretty quickly that Alpine was not their biological father, it is me that they are struggling with ... because to them I have always been gay.

I hand the three of them the paternity test results that tell them in black and white that I am their biological Father.  Luckily we had one done on all three of them, in my mental state when they were born, it was the only thing that helped me accept that they were mine, otherwise I would have just convinced myself they weren't.  I jump up and go over to the sideboard and remove an envelope that I had hidden in the bottom of the draw earlier.

          "Why do you think things like your bank accounts, driving licences and passports sprung into existence when you became old enough to have them, even if you didn't need them."  I laugh as I take their birth certificates out of the envelope.  "We had to get certain things done for you, before you tried to do it yourself, so that we could hide your birth certificates from you." 

I pass them their birth certificates and watch them quietly as they stare at both pieces of paper, and I am wandering why they are not kicking off about any of this, especially me.

         "Why now?  Why only just tell us now?"  Fudge looks up wide eyed from the piece of paper that she was staring at.

        "We were always going to tell you one day.  I wanted to tell you when the three of you were teenagers, ever since the day Mint became a teenager, but your Mom and Dad didn't, I was out voted.  Their reasoning being that everyone's teenage years are hard enough, without having something like this dumped on you - so we waited until you became adults so you can rationalise and deal with it better"

           "What do you mean you was out voted?"
           "Just because you have never seen me here as your Dad, it doesn't mean I haven't been here, because I have always been here in the background and have had a lot of say in what has gone in your lives.  All of the decisions made for you three kids, the three of us have always made together.  In reality you have always had three parents."  they frown at me and I laugh  "When you were both playing up to have your noses pierced Fudge and Mint, your Mother didn't want you too, but me and Alpine didn't see the harm in it - so your Mother was out voted and you had your noses done.  And like I told your Mother at the time it would just be a passing fad, which it was as it's been years since I've seen either of you wearing nose studs."  I laugh quietly  "Like you Bay, when you wanted a motorbike, while Alpine was all for letting you have one, me and your Mother thought they were too dangerous, so Alpine was out voted, and you was told you couldn't have one.  I bought you a car instead, hoping it would stop you from getting yourself one."
           "You bought my car?!"
           "Yeah."  I mumble quietly, wishing I hadn't mentioned the car.
           "Forrest bought all three of your cars."

 The three of them just look at each other, then back at me, and I really don't know how they are taking it.  I glance at Alpine and know he will be feeling very uncomfortable with the subject of money and hope that Mel just leave it there ... but she doesn't.

          "One thing you three have always been very blind too!  Money and where it was all coming from!"  Caramel laughs at them

           "You have never wanted for anything have you, and most things you've asked for over the years, you've got, including Cinnamon, he was never left out, Forrest has been supporting all four of you financially.  How did you think I afforded it all on my small wage with your Dad not working because of his brain damage?  I could barely keep a roof over our heads most of the time, which Forrest has had to help me with."  she laughs at them as they sit there blankly looking at her.  "Computers, TV's, game consoles, stereo's, skateboards,  bikes, mobile phones, tablets, the piles of presents on Birthdays and Christmas, and all the other endless things you asked for, even your clothes, expensive trainers and pocket money - if it had been left to me, you would hardly have got any of it, because I seriously couldn't afford it ... if you ask me he spoiled you and it was lucky for the four of you that he has a well paid job!!"
          "You paid for it all!"  Bay says to me and I just smile.  I suddenly feel uncomfortable.
          "None of that matters now ... I was only doing what I would have done if I'd been here as your Dad like I should have been.  Like I said, I have always been in the background of your lives, I've done everything that I've been capable of doing, I just had to stay hidden for your sakes."  I mumble  "And I'm sorry, if I could have done something to fix my phobia, I would have done."
         "So who paid for my wedding?"
         "Who do you think!"  Caramel laughs  "And the deposit on your house."  she smiles at Bay 
         "Can we just shut up about money!!"  I snap, I know more than anything this will be denting Alpine and I can see it is making him feel uncomfortable, because he has always been frustrated that he could not provide for his own family, especially Cinnamon.  "Babe, you are making it sound like I am trying to buy their approval."

        "Don't be stupid ... off he goes, over thinking again ... I swear Leafy's brain will still be thinking way after he has faded!!"  she starts to laugh at me  "I am just trying to make them understand that even though they have never physically seen you here,  that you have always been here for them!  They are never going to know these things unless we point them out to them."
         "I think they might be able to work that out for themselves, when they think about it.  They have known me for the whole of their lives, as their Dad's friend and their doctor.  I have always been there for them to see."  I smile at the kids  "I have done little things, like teaching them all how to drive, and all three of them, at some point in their life have had me digging them out of a problem or hole, on more than one occasion .... and it really wouldn't surprise me if  they can even remember seeing me having a melt down in front of them when they were very little, if I frightened them enough doing it, because I did lose control in front of all three of you at one time or another.... "  I laugh  "I lost it the worse in front of Bay once, the day Alpine was hit, and I rushed into the hospital thinking the car had faded you both.  I collapsed in the corridor and had a full scale panic attack when Bay ran out into the corridor straight up to me showing off his stitches ..."  I laugh  "He even asked me if I wanted a lick of his lollipop, while I was on the floor trying not to throw up all over him."  Bay starts to really laugh  "And you girls were a nightmare, because you were both little terrors and kept going for my ears!!  You trying to touch them had me freaking right out in front of you."
       "Oh Fudge!!  Your ears ... my baby could have had your ears!!"  Fudge starts laughing
       "Yeah, but I made sure he wasn't, otherwise we would have had to come clean sooner, before he was born."  she frowns at me  "I muscled in on your scans if you remember, I had a good look to make sure he wasn't getting my ears."  I grin at her  "I had to keep a close eye on all three of your ears before you was born, because if any of you had had them, it would have blown it right open, but thankfully that never happened, for your sakes.  If it had happened you would have always known I was your Dad, which really would not have done you any good!!  By rights, being girls you two should have had my ears, it has always ran on the female side of our family - berry knows why I got them, and you didn't.  Meadows two girls has them, and every other female relative I've had."  I smile at them

        "Fudge!!  This is messed up!!"  Bay is staring at me, still with a look of confusion on his face, while he is still not getting it, both of the girls seem to now believe it.  "You are supposed to be my mate ... not my Dad!!"
        "I still am your mate, I am still the same person I was yesterday.  You knowing I'm the jerk who created you doesn't have to change anything unless you want it to.  I don't even expect you to call me Dad, because Alpine is your Dad, I've never been that to you and I'm not trying to fill his shoes, take his place or turf him out ... we just needed you to know the truth, so me and your Mother can get on with our life in the right way, instead of all this hiding, now that I can no longer mess your heads up with my phobia."
        "So what actually is going on here?"  Fudge frowns  "You are living here ... are you and Mom actually still together, together?"
        "Yes we are - we always have been behind closed doors, since before Bay was born.  Now you know the truth, we won't have to hide it any more, from you or anyone else."  I smile at Mel  "So we can finally live a normal life."
         "So, you haven't been sleeping in the spare room at all have you."  Fudge laughs at me
         "No."  I laugh  "I've been sleeping in your Mother's bed, exactly where I have been for the past twenty years, only you never knew it."  Fudge and Mint look at each other and giggle.  I can't help but laugh at them knowing what they are like  "So I guess now you know who I actually am, I am not going to be privy to your giggly conversations about your favourite subject any more?"
         "That depends on if you are going to turn all stuffed shirt on us!"  Fudge laughs at me
         "Oh fudge!!  The day we found him sleeping on the couch!" Mint starts to really laugh
         "Yes madam, now you might understand why I was getting so grouchy and annoyed, because of the direction you two were taking the conversation in!!  It was wrong on more than just one level!!"  the three of us start really laughing.

          "What's this?"  Mel is frowning at me
          "Nothing for you to worry about!"  I laugh at her
          "Have you been running and telling Mom everything that we have been saying or doing that she doesn't know about?"
           "No!!  Your secrets are still pretty much safe with me, especially anything you've told me as a doctor."  I laugh  "But I will warn you, from now on, I've had my orders from Mango, you three have to change doctors - I've got into serious trouble being your doctor since you were babies, I'm lucky I haven't lost my job over it."
           "So how did you do that, be our doctor with your phobia?"
           "With great difficulty, especially when you were children and I had to try very hard not to let you see me cracking up, which I did every time you left!!"  I smile at them
           "Then why do it?"
           "Me being yours and your Dad's doctor is something that I had to do to stop anyone from accessing your medical records and working out that your Dad is not your biological Father from your blood groups.  You girls have my blood type which is obviously different to both your Mom and Dads."  
         "What about Dad?"  I frown at Fudge  "What is happening to Dad now?"
         "Nothing.  Like we said nothing changes.  Me and your Mother will continue to take care of him for as long as is needed.  The three of us will be living together permanently from now on.  Just because I'm here now openly, it doesn't mean we are ever going to take him away from you, or you from him, he will still always be your Dad.  And like your Dad said, there has always been three of us here, the only thing that will change from now is that I am no longer in hiding."
        "That is just crazy!!"  Mint laughs

        "This whole situation has been crazy from the beginning.  My phobia and his brain damage has helped to shape this to what it is, and regardless of what you might think, me and your Dad have always been good mates, even with the initial agro of him nearly beating me half to death,and him totally messing my Sisters head up!"  I laugh  "He did a big thing for me taking care of you three and being your Dad while I couldn't, so the least I can do for him, is take care of him."
        "How did you and Dad become such good friends after everything that you told us happened in the beginning?"
         "Me and your Dad were already good friends before the crap started."  I laugh as I look at Alpine, who smirks at me. "It was a green thing ... for your Dad anyway.  The minute that Mango introduced him to me, he latched onto me, because I am his colour.  He was brought up in the coded world, and the colour code was very much ingrained in him and if the truth be told, he has never really been too comfortable with the whole colour mixing thing, and that was a part of his problem about being with your Mother.  Even though I am a pure berry, I was born and raised in this town, so the colour code and the green thing has never really applied to me."  I smile for a moment  "We hit it off straight away, he used to come round to mine and we used to go out drinking, he even put up with me being gay, or so he thought!"  I laugh  "It was actually a while before I even saw your Mother, and your Dad had already made me believe that their relationship wasn't too good, and he'd hinted that he had a bit on the side, I just didn't realise it was my own sister at first."
         "So you jumped on your mates Mrs."  Bay laughs
         "Basically in the end I guess I did, but it was never my intention, even though I knew there marriage and relationship was rocky, but sometimes you meet someone and you just can't control these things.   Granite was still here, not that I saw him much, he was always over in Apple with his criminal mates getting high and hammered ... and it was your Mother who did the initial jumping."  we both laugh at each other.

          "Granite was still here when you met Mom?"  Bay frowns at me wide eyed
          "Yeah he was, just about and like I said, our relationship was never about sex and I ... I had quite a few affairs behind his back, before and after we got married, I'm not proud of myself, but my head was all over the place, I loved him, but I was a straight man struggling in a gay marriage ... it was never going to work and stupidly neither of us could see it, not until he came back.  I have always been very blinded by Granite, and I think if he hadn't got locked up when he did and been absent for as long as he has, we would have worked it all out twenty years ago ... especially with you arriving Bay.  Me holding onto Granite in his absence has blinded me, especially to what me and your Mother have together ... we are still together, even with my delusional head and after everything we've been through, which shows, it was always meant to be that way.  Granite has done exactly the same with Mace, it took him to come back to wake us both up.  Sometimes love isn't enough, when everything else is wrong in a relationship."
          "How did you know he wasn't gay Mom."
          "I didn't."  she giggles  "I fancied him, and he was winding me up just walking around in shorts.  I wanted to see how far I could push him, and I expected him to push me away, and I got the shock of my life when he didn't say no, and I could tell, by how easily he is turned on, he was so not gay ... "
          "Mel stop!!"  I snap at her  "Do they really need to be hearing this."
          "Lighten up!"  she laughs at me  "They are grown ups, I am sure they know how we made them."
           "Still, you don't need to spell it out to them, I know what you are like, they will be getting a graphic description in a minute."  she laughs at me and Alpine starts laughing mischievously  "And don't you even mention anything about us leaving the bedroom curtains open either!"  I laugh at Alpine
           "I wasn't going to ...." he smirks at me  "Or the trail of clothes between here and the bedroom that you two quite often leave for me to pick up!"  he starts howling and all I can do is put my head in my hands as I hear all three kids laughing with him.
           "I think I should tell them the other stuff."  Caramel says suddenly
           "No Mel!!"  I frown at her, I glance at Alpine who is pulling faces, probably thinking the same thing that I am ... it is too soon.
           "They have taken this so well, we should just do it all"
           "Babe no, you seriously need to let them get there head around this first ... they might be taking it okay now, but they might not when it sinks in and they have had a good think about it, especially me!!"

          "But ..."
          "But nothing!!  Let them deal with one thing at a time!"  I smirk at her   "I think we should go into the kitchen and make something to eat, to give them some space, to talk and get their heads around it."

I stand up and grab her hand pulling her up off the couch.  I need to stop her for blurting out the rest too soon, and I think she might be trying to play a very clever game.

          "Kitchen now!!"  I laugh at her  "I'm hungry."

Caramel sticks her tongue out at me, pinches my backside as she kisses my face, then goes off into the kitchen laughing her head off.  I laugh at her as I watch her go, knowing she is going to be impossible from now on, when we are around other people I get a break from her mischief,  now she can do it openly, she is going to be embarrassing me no end.   I smile at Alpine, who is also laughing quietly, I hadn't noticed until just that he has been pretty quiet for a while, he stands up and starts walking across the room.

        "I think I'm going for a lie down, I'm tired."  Alpine mumbles
        "Okay, I will bring your food and meds in."  I smile at him as he walks past me and pats me on the back.

I watch Alpine walk into his room, I can see he is already starting to get upset.

We worried that this might unhinge him today, and that is why Meadow is coming later to distract him.  I know he has always been very worried that when the kids know the truth he will lose him.  I glance over at the kids and they are all just sat there staring at me, I don't think they know what to do, say or even think.

          "Can you do me a favour.  Your Dad needs reassuring, by all three of you, that this is not going to make any difference to him.  He's always been scared that when you found out the truth about me, that he would lose you.  He will always be your Dad even if I am here, and he needs to know that."  I smile at them  "I can see he's already getting upset, it would help if one of you went into him and put his mind at rest."
         "I'll go."  Fudge smiles at me as she gets up.
         "Take his meds in with you, and leave the door ajar, just in case this sets him off."
         "I need to phone Slate, I told him I wouldn't be long."  Bay says suddenly as he pulls out his phone.
         "Bay, you don't need to phone Slate.  Granite and Mango, have Slate, Parsley and Mosaic round at mine, they have had pretty much the same thing explained to them, so they know already, and they know you might be here a while, getting your heads around it."
        "Mango and Granite know?"  Bay is now staring at me wide eyed.
        "Yes and Mace."  I mumble quietly
        "How long have they known?"
        "Granite already knew before he came back, he illegally accessed my medical records when he was in Cherry Hill, so he found out about my phobia.  He was spooked by Bay and Fudges hair, but when he saw Mint he guessed she was mine.   He knew, she could be my daughter because he has always known, I am straight.  So he read through my psych reports, which gave him the proof because you three appear in them, obviously I have had to talk about you to my psychiatrist."  I smile at them  "I only found out he knew after the sepsis when he was still in hospital.  Mace caught me and your Mother out, messing about at the hospital, I thought he was still unconscious after his spine operation, but he wasn't, he was awake.  Mace couldn't wait to grass me and your Mother up to Granite ... so I came clean with Gran and Mace about you three, and why I have been sneaking around for twenty years, to stop them, especially Mace, from telling anyone about me and your Mother, so you didn't get hurt by it until we had told you properly ourselves.  Mango was told about a week ago."

      "Who else knew about your phobia and us?"
      "My parents and Sister obviously, but that is a bit complicated, it got very nasty in the beginning because of the circumstances, they too had to step away and hide themselves from you to protect you, which they didn't like, it really hurt them. You asked early why Meadow would make that sacrifice for your sake ... because she is your Aunt, and she did it to protect you too, like your Dad was trying to protect Cinnamon, as well as you.  Everything they did was protect you from me and my phobia.  I'll explain it all to you properly when you have got your head around this."  I roll my eyes  "Tapestry, has known for about a month ... but DON'T go having a go at him, I knew I could trust him to keep the secret and he has only kept quiet so you three didn't get hurt, he knows we are doing this today, and it was our fault he found out!"
      "How did he find out?"
      "Gran and Mace sat with your Dad so we could go out.  I was walking your Mother home, it was very late at night and we got careless, because as usual your Mother can't behave herself!"  I laugh for a moment  "Tap caught us kissing in the alley way."  Mint starts laughing  "And Gravel, unfortunately, he's known since just after Bay was born.  I couldn't hide it from him because I was on the verge of having a nervous break down."
       "Gravel knew all that time!!"  Bay is shocked
       "Yes, unfortunately, and I seriously regret him ever find out.  At the time I was very weak, I was struggle to deal with you Bay when you was born, I couldn't deal with you being mine, and I couldn't hide it from him.  He has seriously made me pay over the years ... because you three are the gun that he has been holding to my head all this time ... the reason why I couldn't tell Slate the truth or find Granite,  I had no choice but to toe the line because if I didn't he was going to expose us, after he had told you the truth about me being your real Dad, and wrecked your heads and lives!!"
       "Shiiiit!!"  Bay shouts quite loudly

          "Now maybe I can sit down with Slate and explain to him properly why I had to sit and hide everything from him, not that it will help him, but it might help him not to hate me so much."  Bay is just sat looking at me wide eyed.  "I will leave you three to talk, Fudge don't forget your Dad, he needs reassuring."  I say to her as she stands there staring at me  "I'll help your Mother make something to eat."  I mumble as I slope off to the kitchen quickly.

I stand against the wall in the kitchen, and let the relief flow through me.  I can't believe they didn't kick off - they seemed to just take it, which I never expected.  Granite was right, he told me to tell them the story from the third persons prospective, and not reveal myself until the end.  He said that they would be distracted by the phobia, and are sensible enough to be sympathetic with it, as well as understand that we did the best thing for them.  I hope this continues and they don't start kicking off at us, when it has sunk in properly and they have had a chance to think about it.

      "Well that went better than I expected!!"  Caramel laughs as she puts her arms me.  "I can't believe they didn't kick off."
      "Me too!!"  I smile at her  "But there is still time, it probably hasn't sunk in properly yet!"

          "Don't think I didn't spot what you was trying to do there!!"  I laugh at her sarcastically
          "What?"  she frowns at me
          "You was going to tell them about the pregnancy wasn't you."   I raise my eyebrows at her   "That is one sure way to swerve having a termination."
          "Don't be stupid!!"  she laughs at me  "I was only going to tell them about Coal."

She starts to kiss me, I suddenly think about the kids being in the living room.

          "Mel stop!!"  I push her away a little  "They might see us." 
          "You need to relax!"  she laughs at me  "We don't have to hide us any more."  She smirks at me  "So we can do this whenever and wherever we want to from now on!"
          "Yes I know, but just let them get used to the idea of us first!!"  I laugh at her  "we can't go rushing them, and you as usual are worse than an impatient child!!"
          "They will never get used to us if you still keep hiding from them!  I doubt Meadow and Alpine will be hiding it later when she gets here."  she laughs  "Besides they are probably too busy talking and getting over the shock!"  she forces me backwards and pins me up against the wall.
         "You are impossible!"  I laugh at her  "Just keep your hands above my waist, I don't need you winding me up right now!!!!"

She giggles as she comes at me and starts kissing me.

At first I have to grab her hands to stop her from taking it too far, because I knew she would try to now, just because I have told her not to.

Caramel mentioning Meadow and Alpine starts me thinking.  I am really worried about what is going on with them.  Under normal circumstances, I would be happy that they have finally got their act together, but I am worried that his condition might get a little too much for Meadow to handle, and she backs off and messes his head up.  Meadow is yet to see Alpine at his worst, so she really does not know what she is letting herself in for.  

I'm not really sure how long we had been kissing for, when I am jolted back by someone clearing their throat loudly, probably to get our attention, then laughing, I hadn't even heard the door open.

          "Sorry!!"  Fudge laughs as she and Mint are stood having one of their giggling fits in the doorway.  "Dad needs a cold drink!"
          "Well you know where the fridge is."  I laugh at her trying to cover my embarrassment.

Suddenly I feel a little uncomfortable, them already catching us kissing.  We have spent so many years hiding our relationship from everyone except Alpine, it is going to take some getting used to, doing it openly in front of anyone, and not just the kids.

Caramel laughs at me before she makes her way to the other side of the kitchen and opens the fridge.

 Fudge follows Caramel to the fridge

           "I need to ask you something ... is your phobia catching?"  Mint amuses me for a second  "Only Bay has got your OCD ..."  I start to laugh at her
           "Oh berry!!  No!!"  I laugh at her for a moment  "Bay has inherited the OCD partly from my genes, but phobia's are totally different!!  A phobia is not genetic, they arise from an individuals physiological problems, you can't inherit a phobia."  I smile at her for a moment   "You are asking because you don't like children very much aren't you."
            "Yeah ..."  she mumbles
            "Well don't worry, you not liking children is just like me not liking the colour red.  We all have our own personal likes and dislikes."  I smile at her  "Its not like you are scared of them, throw wobbles, have panic attacks and run off when you have children around you, do you?"
            "No."  she laughs at me
            "Well then, there is nothing for you to worry about.  I've seen you with both Amber and Clay, so I know you don't have a problem, not like me anyway."  I smile at her
             "So, are you moving to Berry Shores with Mom when she goes?"
             "Yes of course I am."  I smile at her  "Now you probably know the reason why I have stayed in this town ... your Mom and you three kids is what has kept me here.  Personally I can't wait to get out of this town, the move will be good for all of us, as long as we all go."

              "So when do you think you'll be moving?"
              "I'm not sure yet, but I hope as soon as we can - it all depends on you kids and how quickly we can sell both houses.  As soon as everything settles down, after the trail, we are going to start seriously looking into it.  I've already started house hunting, and after the trial, I'm taking your Mom and Dad out to Berry, so we can have a look around ... you should come with us."
              "Yeah I think I will."  she grins at me
              "I know Mosaic has virtually said he is up for the move to Berry, because Mango has chewed my ear off over it, so how is it going with Parsley?"
             "It isn't."  she rolls her eyes  "I told you didn't I, he won't even think about it, he is too tied to his Dad's apron strings, he doesn't want to move away from Prelude and Affair, he even used Storms grave as an excuse for not wanting to go."
             "So what are you going to do?"
             "I want to move, I think you already know I want the better job opportunities, and I'll be damned if I am staying here just for him, especially if Fudge is going too!!  So I am definitely going, whether he wants to or not, he can stay here and rot for all I care?"
            "Are you two still not getting on?"
            "Not really, we are still arguing over kids, he still won't move out of his Dads, he's been really narky with me since I suggested the move to Berry Shores, and Strawberry is bugging him again .... the way I am feeling at the moment, she is welcome to him, because I'm just sick of his lazy ass and all the hassle as well as living in that house!!  I think we are done anyway, and something you said earlier made a lot of sense to me ..."  I frown at her  "you said ... sometimes love isn't enough when everything else is wrong with the relationship."  she smiles at me  "I can already see that I was just kidding myself going back to him thinking we would work out the second time around, just because I love him."
         "It sounds like you two need space and a break from each other to sort your heads out.  You moving out might give him the kick up the backside that he needs ... you know there is nothing stopping you from moving back in here ... I know you said you wanted your own space, but you have missed out on Bay's place, he's renting it out to Carmine and Fern until they can find something bigger."

          "Yeah I know ... " she glances at Caramel  "I was actually going to ask Mom today if I could move back in, because I don't know how much more I can take living there."
          "It's fine by me, you know I didn't want you to move out in the first place."  Mel laughs from the corner of the room  "Your room is upstairs ready and waiting, just how you left it, all you have to do is go and get your stuff."
          "There you go."  I smile at her  "If he gives you any trouble when you are getting your stuff, just phone me and I'll be round."
          "I doubt Parsley will bat an eyelid over me leaving - it's Prelude who scares me!"
          "Don't worry about him ..."  I start laughing  "I'll come armed with sedative."
          "You wouldn't!"  she laughs at me
          "Oh I would!!!"  I laugh   "And it wouldn't be the first time."
I am very amused when I glance at Fudge who is now laughing while she is sat at the table, quietly listening and watching me while she is drinking the carton of juice that she was supposed to be getting for Alpine.

          "Isn't that juice supposed to be for your Dad?"  I laugh at her
          "Err ... yeah!"  she laughs at herself
          "Did you speak to your Dad and reassure him that nothing was going to change as far as he is concerned?"
          "Yeah, I started too but Meadow phoned him, so I left him to it."  she laughs  "She soon put a smile on his face."
          "Yeah I know she does."  I laugh for a moment  "What is Bay doing?"
          "Oh you might guess ... he is on the phone to Slate."

Fudge gets up and pulls another carton of juice out of the fridge and after another giggling fit, the girls make there way out of the kitchen.  I can't help but laugh at them, especially at their none stop giggling.

As I stand and watch Mel cooking, I keep seeing her rubbing her pregnant stomach.  I can feel my chest tightening and my head starts to spin as I try to catch my breath.   I suddenly start to have a panic attack.

I am not sure why I am doing this now, they now know and it has gone a lot better than I ever could have expected.  I should now be able to relax, they have even just caught us kissing and found it amusing.   I'm not sure if its the relief or if I am still expecting the worst to come.  However I suspect, Mel rubbing her stomach, and thinking about the two babies developing in there, is what has taken me off guard and set me off.  I stand there trying to fight off a full blown panic attack that I know is coming.

      "Are you okay?"  Caramel frowns at me
      "No, I'm having a panic attack!"  I mumble as I lean over holding my stomach trying to catch my breath. 
      "Babe, you can relax, there is no need to get yourself worked up into a state!!"  She comes over and rubs my back as she laughs at me.
      "It's not over though is it, you still have something to tell them, and those babies could blow their heads to pieces, it is going to spoil everything, because they are going to have to watch me acting like an irrational idiot!!"  I snap at her  "What are they going to think Mel?!"
      "This pregnancy is neither of our faults, and I'll make sure I tell them that!!"  she mumbles  "It is going a lot better with the psychiatrist you said, because you are working through your Granite issues, so by the time these babies comes, you should be okay!!"
      "STOP talking about the babies Mel my head is going!!"  I start to choke  "I really can't believe you have done this to us YET AGAIN!!"  I snap  "More babies - you know I can't handle it!!"

      "What babies?"  I hear Fudge ask

I glance sidewards and I see all four of them standing there, Alpine has his arm around Fudge and all eyes are on me, which is the last thing I need, it makes me panic even more.  Alpine starts laughing.

     "By the looks of Leafy, he is throwing a wobble.  I'd say your Mother has just told him you have another brother or sister on the way!"  he is laughing
      "Mom are you pregnant?"
      "Yes, we've had another accident."  she mumbles  "My coil moved
      "I think you are just about to be educated and see Leafy at his finest, and they call me a nutter."

Alpine is really laughing, I know he is only trying to make light of the situation, because he knows about the baby and that we weren't telling them today, but at this moment he is really not helping me.  His laughing is echoing loudly in my ears, I can feel the tears streaming down my face, and I can now hardly breath, I'm there gashing for air and going dizzy, knowing they are watching me make a fool of myself, just makes it worse.

      "Finding out he has a baby on the way always freaks him out!!"

That does it, I feel myself throwing up, as I clutch my chest, I'm already struggling to breath and the vomit coming up is choking me.  My eyes start to blur, the room is spinning.

I feel myself falling.  I feel the excruciating pain in my head as my body jolts because my head hits something on the way down.

Everything goes black.

I start to come round, and I realise I am lying on the couch.  While my head is swimming, I can feel my ears being flicked, I know that it is Granite leaning over me, because I can hear him laughing.  I open my eyes and my vision is very blurred.

      "Get off me Gran!!"  I snap at him as I try to slap his hand away from my ears  "You always have to be an aggravating berry hole!!  Leave me alone!!"
      "Leafy is back!"  he laughs  "You stink of vomit, you are slurring your words like a drunk and your kids now think you are a fruit loop!!"
      "That's probably because I am a fruit loop!!  I wouldn't blame them if they have done a runner!!"  I moan as I try to feel my head which is hurting, he grabs hold of my hand and moves it away from my head.
      "You banged your head pretty hard apparently when you passed out, you bounced it off the table, then off the floor.  I don't think you've damaged anything other than you head, there are no signs of factures or breaks.  You have split your head open and need a few stitches, so don't mess!!"  he laughs  "I think you knocked yourself unconscious as well as passed out, so we need to get you to the hospital, you was out a little too long for my liking. "  I see him frowning at me as he leans right over me.  "That hollow head of yours needs to be scanned I think you've dented it."  he laughs  "You never know we might just find your pea brain in there!"
      "Sod off!!   Why is everything always such a joke to you?!"  I snap at him  "What are you doing here anyway?"
      "Bay phoned me, you was out cold and he didn't think you was breathing, so I legged it round."  he raises his eyes at me  "It was a good job too, you was choking on your own vomit, I had to clear your air way and apply CPR.  What are you like ... a few more minutes and we would have been saying goodbye Leafy!!"  he leans right over me again "Leafy follow my finger."

He frowns at my eye movement which worries me a little.

          "What is your vision like?"
          "Very blurred.  I can hardly see you." I mumble
          "I thought it might be.  Mango is at the hospital waiting for us, I think you've given yourself a severe case of concussion, bouncing your head off the table and floor."  he mumbles and I ignore him.
          "Oh Berry!!  I have made a right fool of myself, haven't I!"  I cover my eyes with my hand to stop him from frowning at them.
          "Not really, you can't help what you are.  We all have a phobia, and I've seen Mace doing exactly the same thing over spiders and blood.  At least you didn't pee yourself like he does sometimes!!"  he laughs  "What set you off?"
          "Mel stood there rubbing her stomach.  It just hit me hard out of nowhere.  I've been so preoccupied worrying about how the kids would react to me being the one who created them, I've shut those babies right out of my head.  I thought I was coping with it, but obviously I'm not!!  I started panicking, knowing there is two of them, and I can't even cope with one at a time."  I start to choke  "Gran what am I going to do?  I doubt she will have a termination and I can't go through all that hell again."  I start to cry
         "Leafy please, don't upset yourself, the last thing we need is you working yourself up so you throw another wobble!!"  I close my eyes and everything feels like it is spinning and I start to feel sick.  "Just don't think about it now, take deep breaths and try to calm yourself down."
         "Oh Berry!!  They really didn't need to see me doing that, especially not today!"
         "I disagree - I think it is exactly what they needed to see, it will help them to understand you better.  It's one thing hearing about it but something else actually seeing it.  It's actually shocked them, as well as opened their eyes to your phobia."
         "How can I expect them to understand me when I don't understand myself half the time?"  he starts laughing at me  "Where is Mel?"

           "In Alpines room.  She is calming Alpine down, because he got a bit upset.  He said he's seen you throw these wobbles hundreds of times, but he's never seen you nearly fading yourself in the process."
           "She is not in there alone is she?  If he's upset he might lose it and start getting violent." 
           "Don't stress, Coal is with her."  this makes me panic
           "Why did you bring Coal Gran ... you know ..."  I don't get to say anything else because he puts his finger on my lips
           "Shhhh  Leafy you need to stop stressing yourself out.  Coal is a doctor remember, he is going to stay with Alpine for as long as is needed, so you don't have to worry about him or Mel!"
           "Where are the kids?"  he starts to laugh loudly as he points with his finger

I gingerly follow the direction of his finger.  The three of them are sat on the other couch just silently staring at me.  I close my eyes and start laughing at myself knowing how close I was to just blurting something out about Coal for the kids to hear.

           "Way to make a fool of myself ... Again!!"  I just lie there laughing at myself  "Gran you are a berry hole, you could have told me they were there!!"
           "You know me, I just love watching you make a fool of yourself, which you hate!!"   he starts howling  "Remember the time you farted out loud in assembly at school for everyone to hear - it traumatised you for a month!!"  I hear the kids start laughing  "He made it worse for himself, if he'd sat there acting ignorant nobody would have known it was him - but he just had to get up and storm out in tears like a big tit, advertising the fact to the whole school that it was him!  He got ribbed for weeks after!!"  they are all really laughing now  "Leafy has always been so preoccupied with not making a fool of himself, he general does in the process!!  Oh I could tell you some stories!!"
          "Just shut up Gran!!"  I laugh even though I don't feel like laughing, a horrible feeling washes over me.  "I feel sick!"  I mumble as I start heaving.
          "We need to get you up, to stop you choking again." he helps me to sit up.

        "I have phoned for an ambulance, they shouldn't be too much longer."
        "Cancel it, I don't need to go to the hospital."  I mumble
        "Leafy, I think you know you do!!"  he laughs at me  "You are severely concussed."

I sit rocking for a moment then put my head in my hands because my vision is very blurred, I feel dizzy and my head is banging painfully.  I can smell myself, as I try to look down at all the damp patches on my top and trousers, which I can't see properly because my blurred vision seems to be getting worse.  I'm fighting back the vomit that is coming up into my throat, trying not to be sick again.

          "Gran ...."

I try to tell him that I feel like something is wrong,  my head now is becoming too painful for me to bare,  but I can't get the words out because I heave and can't hold it in.  I watch Granite, who is now just a dark shape in my vision, jump backwards and away from me as I start to violently throw up all over the carpet again right by his feet.

I can't help but think ... way to make a fool of myself times three.

I feel myself going, I am fall forward and I feel myself fall into someone's arms as I black out again.

          "Fudge chase up the ambulance we need it here NOW!!"  Granite shouts across the room
          "What's up with him Gran, why does he keep passing out?"  Bay mumbles
          "I thought it was just concussion, but I am beginning to think it might be a little more than that now."


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