Friday, 28 March 2014

Chapter 23 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

Lying on the bed, where I have been for most of the day, I keep switching off into my own little world while I'm silently watching the homeless girl who still hasn't woken up properly yet.

She has been drifted in and out of consciousness while she has been delirious because of her high temperature, but now her temperature is coming down a little she is sleeping quietly.

I'm not sure that she is even aware of where she is yet.

According to Winter she has a chest infection, just a normal chest infection that wouldn't have worried a healthy person, but because the homeless girl is so malnourished, it has made it worse, her immune system and body is far too weak to fight the infection properly.  Winter says it's a good job I found her when I did, she doubts she would have lasted the night or another day without medical attention, her temperature in particular was dangerously high.

She's been lay there for two days now and it looks like she is starting to get a little better, thanks to the constant fluid drip that she's on, antibiotics and other stuff that Winter has been giving her, I suspect she might even be keeping her a little sedated, one of the bottles that she keeps drawing liquid from and injecting into her arm looks a little too familiar.

It took Winter hours to scrub her clean, even more hours to wash and untangle her hair and comb out all the bugs and nits crawling through it.  Her clothes shocked me, the dress, that I thought was a dress wasn't, it was actually just an old sheet that she has wrapped around herself and tied up.  She had no other clothing, not even any underwear according to Winter.

The door opens and Denim walks in and laughs at me when he sees me lying on the bed staring at the girl. "You're not even dressed yet you idol git!!"  He slaps my leg playfully as he stands by the bed  "What's the fascination Tap... it's not like she's going to run off anywhere!!"  he says laughing at me  "Winter says she might be out for a while longer yet, so you don't need to keep sitting in here and watching her!!"

"That's just the point I do, when she wakes up I'm half expecting her to scream the house down and try to do a runner!!"  I sit up from my lying position  "I've been chasing her around town for a month now, she only has to see me and she bolts, I don't want her to get away again!!"  he laughs at me as he throws my clean clothes at me, and tells me that she'll be too weak to even walk let alone run when she does wake up.

I pull faces at him and he just laughs at me as I walk out of the bedroom to take a shower and get dressed.  I really like Denim, we get on like we've known each other for years, it's like I've suddenly gained a best mate over night.

When I stroll back into the bedroom Denim is sat on the couch watching a game on the sports channel, with the volume turned down very low which I can hardly hear, probably so that it doesn't disturb the sleeping girl. I sit down beside him and he grins at me.  He still feels a little awkward about being here and he's finding it hard to readjust to living back in a house again instead of on the streets.

Denim had turned up at 10 am as we arranged, it amused me that the very first thing he did when I opened the door was to give me my watch back.  He stood in the hallway like he had the day I'd brought him in to feed him, looking embarrassed and awkward.  As soon as Winter walked into the hallway he started laughing, she looked at him for a moment, frowned then said  "OMG!!  Denim Clay, it is you isn't it!?  I haven't seen you for years ... where have you been hiding yourself!!"  On the streets obviously!!  I had said which made us all laugh.

Winter and Denim knew each other already!!  Their parents had been good friends apparently, both being from blue families ... in the world ruled by colour all of the same colour families do tend to know each other and socialize more than with other colour families.  They used to play together when they were kids when their parents were visiting each other, they half suspected that their parents hoped they would start dating but that never happened.  They lost touch when Winter moved to Apple Hill because of her job and Denim didn't even know that she was back in town or the reason why.  He got a little upset when Winter told him about her Mothers illness and that she faded recently.

I was a little confused at first, I couldn't quite work out how they could have played together as kids, I thought Winter was about the same age as River, but she isn't, Winter is actually quite a bit older than River ... she is more than 10 years older than I thought she was!!

So there was nothing to discuss, Winter didn't even have to think about it, she was actually a little upset and said if she'd known he was in that situation she would have had him off the streets way before now ... she told Denim the spare room was his if he wanted it ... which of course he did.  She went straight out to buy him some new blue clothes and after a good scrub, shave and hair cut he looks like a completely different person.  He still has the dark rings round his eyes like the homeless girl but they will fade over time, once he gets a few decent meals inside him and a few proper nights sleep.

I sit watching the game with him even though I'm not really interested in sport, I don't really see the fascination of watching grown men chasing a ball around a field and beating each other up in the process.  He must have spotted me looking over at the homeless girl.

"She's still there!"  he laughs at me  "What did she steal from you Tap?"  I look at him a little awkwardly "Is it really so important?"

"She didn't actually steal anything ... you put that idea into my head, the first time I spoke to you in the park ... it was easier than telling the truth ... sorry!!"  I smile at him a little embarrassed.

"So why have you been chasing her round?" he frowns at me

"I just need to speak to her about something ... something you wouldn't understand!!" 

"Try me ... how do you know I won't understand?!"  I roll my eyes at him, I wish I hadn't said anything now, I should have just stuck to the stealing story!!  but when she wakes up she'll tell him she didn't steal anything.  "Go on ... tell me!!" and I get the feeling he's just now going to keep on until I tell him.

"How did the job interview go?"  I asked him trying to avoid the question and steer the conversation in a different direction.

"I know what you are doing ... trying to change the subject hoping I'll forget!"  he laughs at me then tells me that the job interview went okay, a lot better than he expected.  Luckily there are still quite a few people working at the stadium who remember what he was like before he fell apart, and they are willing to give him another chance but he has got to start right at the bottom again and work his way back up and any sign of him drinking and he's out.

He isn't bothered by having to start from scratch or alcohol, he knows that was his downfall and he swears he's never going to touch another drop.   He's just happy that he can return to work at the stadium again, he thought they would send him packing and not even consider giving him another chance.  So he starts his new job at the beginning of next week which he's quite excited about.

He also tells me that he bumped into one of his old mates and it has upset him a little.  One of his so called mates who totally turned his back on him while he was on the streets, he's been walking past him for the last five years like he doesn't even know him, he's even seen him change direction and walk the other way just to avoid him.  He was outside the stadium when he came out after his interview and his old friend just came up and started chatting to him like the last five years had never happened.   

"So I told him to take a hike!! he's got a nerve I don't need friends like him!!"  he laughs quietly  "When it takes a total stranger to pick me up out of the gutter!!"  I just smile at him.  I half expected him to go into his routine of thanking me over and over and telling me how much he appreciates what me and Winter have done for him ... giving him the chance to get his life back together ... but he didn't, he asks me the question again, I had been hoping he would forget  "So come on ... why have you been chasing her around town?"  I roll my eyes at him, I thought I'd got away with it!!

"Have you ever seen me talking to myself?"  he laughs and says he has a few times, he just thought it was part of my medical problems  "Well I'm not mad like people think and it's not part of my medical condition either, I am actually talking to someone you can't see ... a ghost."  he starts howling with laughter like I knew he would

"Tap ghosts aren't real!!"  he's almost hysterical now

"Denim they seriously are as real as you and me!! I can see and hear ghosts and so can she ... that is why I need to speak to her ... I've never met anyone before who can see ghosts like I do."  he continues to laugh  "and I said you wouldn't understand!!"

"No I don't ... and you'll never convince me they are real!!"

"Your sons name is Levi right, he was about ten when he faded."  he stops laughing and frowns at me  "Your wife's name is Saphire."  he smiles and says I can't blag him I've seen their graves  "Remember I don't read and you've never told me their names have you, so how else would I know ... I've seen them both."  he frowns at me again.

I am not about to tell him that his son is sat over in the corner of the room with Storm right now because that will probably freak him right out.  He's been hanging around here a lot with Storm since Denim moved in.  It really upset me the first time he showed up, its bad enough having to look at Storm being a teenager forever, Denims son is just a kid, he's about 10 years old, it breaks my heart just to look at him knowing he was way too young to fade, he'd hardly had any life.

"I haven't seen your daughters because they have passed over, but your wife and son are still here, I've spoken to Levi a few times, he told me the girls were twins and younger than him."  he just sits staring at me, I'm not sure if he believes me or not.  So I start telling him about the fire when I was a child, the first time I saw one, I told him about Cosmic and all about Storm.  He just sits quietly listening no longer laughing.  "I can prove it to you if you really want me to!!"  he looks at me wide eyed without saying anything, before he starts laughing again.

The door opens and Winter walks in putting an end to our conversation, she has come in to check on the homeless girl, she smiles at both of us especially Denim who is now continuously laughing.

I remember that they have just come back from the hospital, Winter said she would take  Denim to see River after his job interview, I am just about to ask how he is when she walks over and snaps at me "Your brother wants to see you!!"

"Yeah, I bet he does!!"  I start laughing, I'm expecting an ear bashing over the whole homeless girl situation, and it's not because he doesn't like the lack of colour, he told me to keep away from her because it will attract attention to us.  I didn't go to see him yesterday too busy helping Winter with her and getting an ear bashing off her for bringing the girl home. I still need to speak to him anyway before I go back to work tomorrow just in case Grape does really turn up to talk to me about a music career.  "I'll go later, I'm going to do some busking in the park then I'll go see him."

"Just make sure that you do!!"  she frowns at me  "I don't have a clue who she is, I've run a search through the birth records at the hospital and I can't find trace of her, the last registered colourless baby born in this town was male, over 20 years ago, the one before that a woman but that was over 40 years ago, they were both from the same family ... the woman is the boys Aunt."

Winter is looking at me with raised eyebrows, I think she's talking about Affair and my Mother, Storm told me they were both born here.  Winter thinks the girl is her 20's but its hard to tell because of how malnourished she is, and she thinks if she was born in this town then her parents probably hid her until she was old enough to throw her out on the streets or she was even dumped in this town.   

"Did you say she's been running the streets since she was a child Denim ... because I've never seen her!!"

"Yes, I think I was about 16 the first time I saw her ... "

He starts to explaining that he remembers he was still at school, he used to hang out in the woods with his mates at lunch time and after school, smoking and drinking like boys do ... she scared the life out of them when she jumped out of the bushes at them ... she was just a very small child ... none of them had ever seen a colourless berry before ... they saw her a few times, she freaked them out so they kept well out of the woods after that!!

"I was really surprised to see she was still running the streets when I landed there ... I hope you know she's wild ... she's almost feral ... I doubt she'll stay she's spent too many years living wild, when she's well enough she'll probably just take off ... I doubt she can even talk, I've only ever heard her screaming and she fights like an animal."

"Oh she talks alright!!"  I start laughing and so does Storm, he's probably remembering the mouthful that she gave him like I am.  "I've had a few conversations with her."  Winter frowns at me and asks me why would I even have been talking to her, she has a disgusted look on her face which worries me for a moment ... she forgets that where I come from berry's who lack colour are treated like human beings.  I roll my eyes ... here we go again.

"She can see Storm like I can ... "  she interrupts me

"Oh not Casper again!!"  she looks at Denim  "I bet he's tried to convince you ghosts are real too hasn't he!!"  she says to Denim and he just laughs.  I see Denim and Winter rolling their eyes at each other ... both of them seriously don't believe me.

River has told her about Storm and she really does not want to believe any of what either me and River have tried to tell her ... she seriously does not believe in ghosts, if she wasn't so heavily pregnant I would have proved it to her by now but I'm scared I might frighten her.  "I suppose it's a good job we don't have to find Casper a bed too!!"  she says and they both start laughing.

"He doesn't like being called Casper!!  His name is Storm!!"  I snap at her.

She carries on laughing and walks out of the room saying she's making some lunch.

We hear the homeless girl coughing behind us so we both turn to look at her, I am hoping she's waking up but she isn't she just mumbles in her sleep for a few minutes and then quickly goes quiet again.  Denim's eyebrows raise because he heard her talking in her sleep after saying only moments ago that he doubted she could talk, he carry's on watching her like I do.

"She's pretty don't you think?"  I just blurt it out like an idiot, he starts laughing at me.  I hadn't really meant to say that out loud, even though I've been thinking it since yesterday, now that Winter has cleaned her all up, washed and tied her hair up, I can see her face properly and I think she has a really pretty face

"If you say so Tap ... I still can't see past her lack of colour yet!!"  he keeps laughing at me

Denim is really struggling to get his head around the colourless thing.  He seriously can't believe that there are towns out there that treat colourless berrys like human beings and not freaks.  He's been brought up here so he wouldn't know any differently because of what he's always been taught.  He doesn't understand it when I tell him to me her lack of colour means nothing, she's just a normal person like everyone else.  If I could tell him the truth about my Mother and cousin he might understand better, but I can't tell him.

"Is that the real reason why you've been chasing her round town?!  Because you think she's pretty?" he's now looking at me with amusement.

"No you idiot!!"  what he has just said makes me a little mad for a moment and I shout at him quite nastily.

I nearly told him about Honey, even though Winter has told me I need to keep that to myself, I can't tell anyone anything that might connect me to back home, especially not Honey and the babies, which I find a little strange, but I don't question it. Denim sits there uncomfortably I think he can see he's made me angry.

"I'm sorry ... I haven't taken my meds yet ... I'll be okay in a minute."  I say to cover up why I was just so nasty to him, River has explained my medical condition to him and he's been warned that I can just blow at the slightest thing, he smiles at me awkwardly, I'm not sure he knows what to do  "When she wakes up she'll tell you ghosts exist ... I've already told her why I want to talk to her, but for some reason she thinks EVERYONE can see them, I don't think she realizes everyone can't!!"  I say to him quietly, now kicking myself for blurting it out like I did and starting this whole conversation.

"Okay I believe you ... thousands wouldn't!!"  he says laughing nervously as he gets up  "I'm going to see if Winter needs a hand."  he smiles at me, and he starts to walk out of the room, he stops for a moment when he gets to the door.  "You coming, she also wants to sort out the bed situation!"  he laughs at me.

I tell Storm to keep an eye on the girl and follow them out to the kitchen.  With River coming home, the homeless girl and Denim here we do have to sort out where everyone will be sleeping ... another problem I've caused apparently by bringing the colourless girl home.


I'm standing alone in the park busking, it seems a little strange not having Storm around it's the first time I've been out in town without him. I'm out while he is at home keeping an eye on the homeless girl.

Even though Winter and Denim say they are okay with her, and I can see they are getting there heads slowly around the colourless thing and seem to be treating the girl okay, I've left Storm keeping an eye on her while I'm not there, not completely sure that I can trust them while I'm not there watching them.  I'm half expecting them to send her packing when she wakes up while my back is turned, neither of them really want her there ... and if I don't stand up for her nobody else in this narrow minded town will!!

I needed to get out for some fresh air and also to get myself mentally prepared before I go to the hospital to see River ... I'm not looking forward to the ear bashing that I think I'm going to get from him.

I glance up and see a familiar figure standing not too far away watching me, I don't know how long he's been stood there listening to me playing.  When he sees I've spotted him he starts to stroll across the park towards me. I have to do a double take and blink my eyes quite a few times to make sure I'm not seeing things.

Rocky!!  He has his guitar with him ... surely he wouldn't be busking in the park!!??

I feel like I'm going mad for a moment.  As he is walking in my direction he keeps being stopped by various people and I am watching him signing autographs and having his photo taken.  He glances at me and smiles a few times.  I laugh when he looks over and rolls his eyes when a young girl starts screaming at him, acting like she's about to pass out. I think he's getting irritated by all the attention he is getting.  I swear he's not really here I'm imagining it or dreaming, I'm going to wake up in a minute.  Rock God's don't just stroll through the park with there guitar do they!?

"One drawback about being famous ... they NEVER leave you alone!!"  he laughs as he stands in front of me ... is he seriously talking to me?!  He holds out his hand  "I'm Rocky Giggs by the way"  I laugh as I shake his hand telling him my name ... like he really has to introduce himself to me, or tell me who he is!!

"Grumpy said I might find you here!"
  he says smirking at me.  I stand staring at him, he said that like he has actually come here looking for me!  "So Tapestry, I hear you sing and play my songs better than I do!!"

WHAT!?  I frown at him

"Blaze ... you sang it to Grumpy Grape here in the park the other day."  he says smiling  "According to him a lot better version of it than I do!!"


I start laughing to hide my embarrassment when I just want a big hole to open up in the ground and swallow me whole ... I had the day Grape asked me to sing those two songs ... both of the songs I'd sang had been Rocky's  I hadn't even thought about it, but then I didn't know that Rocky is Grapes son or I never would have done it!!

"I'm sorry!! If I'd known he was your old man ... actually if I'd known who he was period ...."

"Don't be embarrassed ... you are not from this town are you?!"  he smiles at me as I shake my head  "I didn't think so ... so are you in town chasing a music career, this town is always flooded with wannabe artists because of Apple and Grape being here?"

"No, me and my brother were just travelling around, he's in hospital, he's broke his back, so we are stranded here for 6 months ... as for a music career I've never really thought about it."  he frowns at me and almost looks surprised for a moment, just like Grape had when I'd said the same thing to him.

"Well you should, I haven't seen Grumpy this excited over anyone for quite a while, and it's not often he gets it wrong ... I hope you know he's going to keep chasing you round until he's got you!!"  he scratches his head as he looks at me  

I just standing staring at him like an idiot again, he smiles at me, I guess he must have people acting strangely around him all the time being so famous ... I seriously don't know what to do or say.

"So ... Blaze, he says you twisted it up a bit ... I want to hear how, if you don't mind playing and singing your version for me!!"  Oh fudge!!  This is awkward!!

I start playing and singing it for him and it just feels really weird standing here performing one of his songs that I've messed about with.  He just stands there smiling at me. When I finish playing it he starts clapping and laughing  "Grumpy was right, that is very good!!"  ... is he for real?  I was half expecting him to have a go at me for messing about with one of his songs.

"Do you twist a lot of songs up?"  I tell him sometimes when I'm bored which makes him smile, he asks me if I've twisted up any more of his songs, I smile at him awkwardly and tell him probably most of his songs because I can play everything off all of his albums, he laughs and asks if he can hear a few I've twisted up ... so I play him a few more of his songs.

"Have you ever tried writing your own stuff?" I tell him I haven't really tried, which I haven't ... thinking about it I'm not really sure why ... but it's probably because it's not like I can actually write anything down.  "You know you should try it ... I think you might surprise yourself!!"  he smiles

He starts getting his guitar out of it's case and I'm wandering what he's doing, I already know he has exactly the same guitar as mine only I presume his is in whatever colour he is ... teal or green.

"Grumpy says you are dyslexic, you don't read sheet music and play by ear?"  he raises his eyebrows  "Do you mind if I test you out?"  I just smile at him but can't help laugh in my head at him keep calling his old man Grumpy  "I want you to listen to this .."  he says as he starts playing something that I've never heard before.

I ask him to play it again because I'm not too sure I've completely got it, he smiles and plays it again.  When he's finished playing it for the second time he looks up at me and I tell him I've got it.

 I play it back to him and he surprises me by singing while I play.

"Amazing!! Note perfect ... that's some talent to have!!"  he says as he starts laughing  "That is supposed to be my next single but I'm far from happy with it!  I was actually on the verge of scrapping it, but I think you might be able to help me save it."

He pulls a CD case out of his back pocket and hands it to me, I take it off him and stare down at the blank CD case in my hand with what just looks like a blank CD in it, the CD has a word scribbled across it that I can't read.  Wandering why he would be giving it to me.

"I've got a job for you if you want it ... I'll pay you obviously ... a cut of the royalties."  my eyes widen ... I seriously am dreaming now!!  "Try and fix this for me!  I'm happy with the lyrics, its the cords progression especially in the middle - it's too flat - I've spent hours trying to alter it."  I stand staring at him with wide eyes

"You want ... ME ... to fix your song?!"  he laughs at the expression on my face

He says I've made a pretty good job of mixing up the songs he's heard me playing, so he doesn't see why I can't make this one better to save him from scrapping it!  I already know he writes all of his own songs, but he says he's got quite a collection of songs that have never seen the light of day because he's not happy with them, if I make a good job of this one, I can take a look at the others and maybe help him save some of them.

I swear I'm tripping ... did I take two lots of medication today?!!

I stare down at the CD case in my hand again without saying anything, I spot the Apple logo etched into the cd case, which confuses me for a moment, then I remember that Rocky's CD's do all have apples on them and not grapes.  I've never really thought about it before because I didn't know that Rocky was Grapes son.

"I don't get it ... why are you with Apple if your old man owns Grape?"  I frown at him.

"Its a long story which I'll tell you sometime ... basically Grumpy is a control freak especially where I'm concerned, we fell out when I was younger we didn't speak for years, I went off to get my own music career, contrary to what most people think ... I didn't get it handed to me on a plate by my old man ... I thought Grumpy was going to have a coronary when he found out I'd signed to Apple."  he starts laughing  "He's still constantly on at me for not switching labels, but I'm not giving him the satisfaction!!"

I remember what Grape had said about me hanging about on the streets that it won't take long for another label to pick me up, I wander for a mad moment if this is what is going on here, there obviously is some bad feeling going on between them and they both work for different labels ... I wander if they are playing games with each other try to see who can get to me first ... I think I'm slowly starting to believe what they are telling me about myself.

"So you don't have anything to do with your old mans label at all?"  he laughs at me

"Don't get me wrong, I've got a vested interest in Grape obviously, I'll inherit it one day, and that will be the day I switch labels ... I might be with Apple myself, but I don't encourage anyone to follow suit ... I push them in Grumpy's direction."  he smiles at me  "I'm looking out for my kids future."

I didn't know he had any kids, when I asked him he says he hasn't yet, his first one is on it's way, its due in three months time.  That felt like a punch in the stomach ... just about the time mine should have been due.

We stand chatting for ages, I'm a little amused that I now keep forgetting who he is for small periods of time then it comes slamming back and I start feeling nervous and star struck again ... oh berry ... Mulberry would be so jealous right now!! and so would Prelude for that matter.

He asked me about my guitar, because you don't see them often and definitely not busking in the park, and we had quite a laugh after I told him how much I'd paid for it and how I'd actually gotten it out of the green shop, I think it amused him more for the fact that Grumpy had broke his neck to buy Rocky's as it was originally red, his guitar has had a spray job too, and it cost him $15,000, Grumpy would be well pissed if he knew I'd only paid $300 for mine and it was just sat in a second hand green shop that Grape could have just walked into being green himself.

"So are you going to give that song a go for me?"  he says smiling, I told him I would, obviously I didn't want to miss an opportunity like this ... I'm interested to see if I'm actually capable of doing it and also what happens to this song if I mix it up and it does get released ... and he's definitely got me thinking about TRYING to write my own music.

We exchange phone numbers ... he had to put his number into my phone, he says he'll probably tag along with Grumpy tomorrow night when he pops into work to see me, then he shoots off because he's got an interview and photo shoot with one of the big Rock magazines.

He leaves me standing there in a total daze, firstly that Grape really does seem to be serious about this and I'm still staring down at the CD case, not quite believing any of what just happened actually did happen.

River was not impressed over the homeless girl situation like I knew he wouldn't be, but like everyone else, he knows that I did the only thing I could do ... I couldn't have just left her there to fade once I'd found her and the hospital wouldn't have treated her.  They are all hoping that when she is well enough she will just take herself off back to how she is used to living ... on the streets, which I don't like one little bit, River doesn't like it very much either, but its the best thing for us right now, having her hanging around especially if I take her out, will just draw attention to us, attention that we really can't afford.

"Can't we send her to Sugar Valley ... she would be treated better there"  he rolls his eyes at me

"Tap you've seriously got to stop this!!  You can't fix everyone's problems, we have enough of our own right now don't you think!!  I'm going to get very angry with you if you bring anymore strays home!!"  I pull faces at him because he's starting to talk to me like I'm a naughty child, just the way that Dad does.  "Anyway I doubt she'll want you to fix her problems!!  Living on the streets is all she's known since she was a small child ... You need to let this one go Tap!!"

"Only because she hasn't been given a choise!!"  I snap at him "You know she wouldn't have been treated like this in Sugar Valley!!"  he starts rolling his eyes at me again.  I just stand there quietly while he is having a go at me, not really liking what he is saying.

"I hope you are keeping well away from Grape Orchid!!"  I start laughing and tell him he's the very least of my worries right now, he eyes me suspiciously, asking me what I've done now!!  Oh ye of little faith!!

We sat for hours talking after I'd told him about Grape and Rocky ... I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head at one point.  He knows as well as I already do ... this is one very big problem that we really could do without!! If there is anything that is going to expose our whereabouts, this is definitely it!!

We are stranded here for at least another eight to twelve weeks so this will need sorting out before it gets out of hand ... if I continue to hang about especially with Rocky the paparzzi only have to catch a picture of me with Rocky, like they could very well have done this afternoon in the park, and I may as well just put a advert in the paper telling everyone where I am.

One thing he has made very clear I'm to try and avoid both Grape and Rocky as much as possible until he's had time to think ... phone Dad more like ... but I didn't say anything.  He thinks I should definitely stop busking in the park and he wants me to quit my job, he says I don't need to work.

This caused another argument, I can live without busking, but I don't want to quit my job, I've got visions of him confining me to the house next, and I'm not having it!!.

When I return home from the hospital I go straight to my room, throwing myself on the bed and I feel like crying ... so I do ... I let the tears start rolling down my face.

I now totally know where Mosaic is coming from ... a few months ago I would have been happy spending my life just playing piano's in bars and doing other stuff musically around Sugar Valley to earn a living, it is all I thought I was capable of.  Now Grape and Rocky have shown me there is a whole new future that I could have and am probably capable of ... only I can't have it ... because I'm a mixed berry with a colourless Mother from Sugar Valley, hiding out and on the run from a bunch of blood suckers and the police.

I want something that I can't have ... and I know Dad can't even fix this one for me!!  So now, just like Mosaic, I'm going to spend my future sat in Sugar Valley resenting what I am, because I can't have what I want and what I could just grab so easily because Grape is there throwing it at me ... throwing at me the chance of a music career that a lot of people chase their whole life and never get the chance of.

My medical conditions, Storm, Honey, the babies, the vampberries, having to be away from home ... now this ... why is my life always so unfair?!

The girl in front of me is also upsetting me ... when she wakes up if it's what she wants I've just got to let her go ... back to the life of living like an animal on the streets, back to the torment she's been having just because she's colourless.  How am I going to sleep at night letting her go back to that when I can do something about it ... but I can't do anything about it because it will attract attention to us ... the wrong sort of attention that River says can get us all into a lot of trouble.

If she lived in Sugar Valley she could have a much better life, she would be treated better, they wouldn't let her live on the streets like they do here ... but there is no way of getting her there right now.

Too busy lost in my thoughts and self pity, I lie there letting the tears roll down my face, I haven't even noticed that she is now awake, her eyes are open and her head is turned in my direction, she's lay there silently watching me.  She starts to cough which makes me glance at her.

"You again!!"  she says which makes me laugh. "You cry a lot!"  She says before she starts coughing again, when she goes quiet she continues to silently stare at me. I stay where I am staring back at her too scared to move and wandering when she's seen me crying before, then I remember sitting outside the hospital on the bench crying for the whole world to see.

I just lie there for a while, worried if I move it might provoke her into running, then I remember what Denim had said about her being too weak to walk let alone run. I know I can't lie here all night so I start to sit up slowly expecting her to scream or try to get up but she doesn't move.

"Please don't scream and definitely don't try to run off, you'll pull the drip out of your hand and trust me it will hurt!!"  she carries on just watching me not reacting to me speaking to her.  "I'm not going to hurt you ... I just want to show you something."  I tell her as I reach across my bed and into my draw pulling out the photograph of my family, all the time I'm keeping my eye on her and moving slowly so I don't frighten her.

I need to get her to trust me and there is only one way I think I can do it.

I hold the photograph out to her as I slowly inch closer, she snatches it off me and studies it.  I see her eyes widen in amazement as she draws the photograph right up close to her face, then she moves it away and starts rubbing at the photograph quite madly, when I lean closer I can see she's rubbing my Mom's image.  I don't think she can believe what she sees and even that there might be something there that she can rub off, she turns the photograph over to look at the back before she looks back at the front of it again.

"That's my Mom ... she is colourless like you"  I tell her and she glances at me, I point to myself on the picture "and that's me."  she glances up at me and starts shaking her head.

"Orange eyes ... that's not you!!"  she says looking back at the photograph bringing it close to her face again.  I smile at her and take my glasses off then remove the orange contacts, praying that Denim doesn't walk into the room.  I hold out the orange contact on the tip of my finger but she's not interested in looking at it, too busy staring at my eyes.  She grabs my jacket quite roughly and pulls me closer and stares into my eyes for a moment before she pushes me away just as roughly.

"You have colourless eyes!!"

Well I now know she's not colour blind, I had wandered if the combination of the colourless and colourblind eyes might be what makes me see spirits.  Mom, Affair, Mosaic and Coral are the only ones with colourless eyes but none of them are colourblind or see spirits, I'm the only one colourblind and seeing spirits.  I thought if this girl is colourblind too that might confirm what I thought, but I'm wrong, it can't be that at all.  She has the colourless eyes but she's not colourblind but she can still see spirits.

"Yes like yours  ... my eyes are a secret you can't tell anyone about them!!"  I say to her as I start putting my orange contacts back in, she is still staring at me wide eyed as she watches me.  "I need to put that photograph away too ... that's also a secret!!"  I say to her thinking I have to put it away before Denim comes in and sees it, or I'm going to have a lot more explaining to do.

She hands the photograph back to me and smiles at me. Oh berry!!  That smile just killed me ... what the hell is wrong with me!!  She made me think about Fern and the first time she smiled at me, I get lost in my own thoughts for a moment remembering how I walked into the school lockers and made a right fool of myself.

"What are they called?" she asks frowning and pointing at my face, I frown back not quite sure what she is pointing at.  "Those things on your face! what are they?"  I point at my glasses and laugh as she nods her head.  I tell her glasses ... is she simple?!  How does she not know what glasses are?!  She tells me to take them off because she doesn't like them, she doesn't look too  happy when I tell her I can't take them off because I can't see without them.

"Why am I here?"  she says now looking around the room wide eyed, she looks at her hand following the line up to the bag of fluid.  She suddenly starts coughing again quite badly.  I try to help her sit up a little, and she doesn't fight me or try to pull away like I thought she might.  I tell her she's sick, she's got a chest infection but because she's malnourished it's made it worse because her body couldn't fight it properly.  She smiles at me before she starts coughing again.  "What's that?"  she asks pointing at the bag of fluid.  So I explain its to help feed her and build her up, to make her body stronger ... I'm just repeating what Winter had said to me.

She starts to amuse me then she keeps pointing at different things in the room, asking "What's that?" like a child who's never seen something before. Stupid things like the computer, the stereo, the television, she says she's never seen them before, she wanted to know what they do so I have to show her, all but the computer because I don't us them.  She nearly jumps out of her skin when I turned the television on, she sits there wide eyed staring at it ... I don't know how she's never seen a television before!!

I ask her what her name is, she tells me Crystal.

The door opens and Winter walks in  "Tap you should have told me she is awake!" she says as she approaches the bed smiling at Crystal who suddenly curls herself into a ball and tries to move away from Winter, she looks terrified  "It's okay I am not going to hurt you ... now you are awake we can take the drip out of your hand."

Winter starts reaching for her hand and Crystal starts to scream, loudly, Winter backs away from her quickly.  The door bangs open and Denim rushes in, probably because he's heard the screaming, this just makes Crystal scream even louder.  Oh Fudge!!

I rush over to her, thinking she'd probably carry on screaming even more, but strangely she stops and grabs me trying to cling onto me  "Tell them to go away!!"  she says trying to hide her face under my jacket like a scared child.  I hear Denim laughing  "Tell them to go away!!"  she says again and I can feel her shaking.

"Crystal they are not going to hurt you!!"  she looks up at me wide eyed for a moment  "Winter has been looking after you, she's a doctor."  she shakes her head and tries to hide herself again  "You have to let her take the drip out of your hand ... I don't know how to do it."  she carries on shaking her head.

Crystal won't let Winter anywhere near every time she tries to get close to her she starts screaming the house down.  I look at Winter, she explains she'll take the needle out when she's not so frightened.  She tells me how to pull out the line and close it off.  Crystal sits clinging onto me until well after Winter and Denim leave the room.

"Why are you so scared of everyone?"  I ask and she says the only time anyone comes anywhere near her normally is to hurt her, she doesn't trust anyone.  "So why do you trust me?"

"Your eyes and nobody has ever wanted to talk to me before or give me money!!"  she says as she starts to look around the room awkwardly  "I need to go outside!!"  she says as she tries to get up, I think she's trying to do that runner like they have all predicted.  I tell her she can't go anywhere, she's too sick to go out  "I need to pee." she says which makes me laugh ... and she thought she had to go outside to do it!!

"I'll take you to the toilet."  I know I'll have to do it, I doubt she will let Winter anywhere near her. Crystal frowns at me but she doesn't say anything, I help her too her feet and she stands there quite wobbly while I hold her up, I end up carrying her because she's still weak.

Taking her into the bathroom was comical to start with, she stands looking around the bathroom  "I need to pee"  she keeps saying looking confused, she's staring down at the tiles on the floor and I think for a moment that's where she thinks she's got to do it ... on the floor?!

I point to the toilet and she frowns at it asking what she's supposed to do with that.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry, how can she not even know what a toilet is or how to use it?! I really needed Winter here I shouldn't have to be doing this.

"What's that?" she asks pointing at the toilet roll on the wall.  I have to explain the basics of how to use the toilet including the toilet paper as she's a girl which is a little embarrassing for me ... I'd hardly got the words out of my mouth when her underwear is down round her ankles, which she frowns at, and she sits down on the toilet ... I shout at her, in shock, telling her to wait for me to leave the room as I quickly spin round away from her ... she asks why? ... then uses the toilet anyway.

I'm stood there with my back to her, in shock, having to listen to her taking a pee, not quite believe what is going on.  Winter seriously needs to have a word with this girl ... I don't think she even knows about modesty ... she just pulled her underwear down in front of me like she doesn't give a shit!!  Like she doesn't know it's wrong!!  I can hear the toilet roll holder continuously spinning, I'm starting to get irritated wandering what she's doing.

"When does this paper stop?" she says  Oh Fudge!!  I turn round nervously to look and she's just pulling the roll out continuously and there is quite a pile of paper gathering up on the floor  I end up having to stop her and give her some toilet paper ... this isn't happening!!

She's worse than a child!!

"How do you seriously not know how to use a toilet?"  she says she doesn't remember using one before as she was too young and has spent too many years on the streets just peeing in the woods.  She stands up just staring down at the underwear round her ankles like she doesn't know what to do with them either, I tell her to just pull them up ... I'm sure as hell not doing it for her!!

She nearly jumps out of her skin when I flush the toilet, she's mesmerized staring into the toilet with fascination as she's watching the water with her eyes wide, she tries to put her hand into the toilet and touch the running water and I have to shout at her to stop and explain that toilets are not very hygienic.  This girl seriously knows nothing ... I dread to think what else she doesn't know!!

"What's that?"  she says pointing at the shower.  I stand staring at the expression on her face ... it's almost like she's got the mind of a toddler in the body of a woman.  How has she managed to keep herself alive for so long.  She must have lived like an animal ... at least she can talk and seems to understand what I'm saying even though I've noticed she's very childish when she speaks.

I end up having to carry her out of the bathroom, she didn't want to leave too busy trying to play with everything and asking what everything is and what it does.  She saw herself in the mirror and nearly jumps out of her skin again before she starts touching the mirror, then tries to pull it forcefully off the wall to look behind it ... she is seriously acting like she has never seen any of these things before.

Oh Berry I can see this is going to be fun ...


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Chapter 22 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

When I open my eyes and wake up on the couch the next morning, I just lie there for a while not sure I'm ready to face the day, yesterday seriously gave me way too much to think about!!

The first and only thing on my mind is the purple old man, the Grandparent from hell, who slept in my room last night.  How can the world be so small and me so unlucky to end up crossing his path?!  I really don't know why I've never been told about him ... surely they should have warned me about him, especially with us landing in the town where they know that he lives.

I really don't like anything that Storm told me about him either and if I never see him again it will be too soon!!  I am just hoping that he has woken up sometime during the night and taken himself off home so that I don't have to see him ...

... but I am never going to be that lucky am I!!

When I do finally motivate myself into moving, I am far from happy when I stroll into the kitchen to find he is still here and sitting quite comfortably at the kitchen counter.  After what Winter had said last night I am even more surprised to see an empty plate sat in front of him like he's just eaten breakfast.  He's sat drinking coffee while he casually chats with Winter like they are old friends ... when I know they are not.

I certainly didn't expect to find this, I thought she wanted him gone first thing!?

He glances up at me and smiles as soon as I walk into the room, I don't worry about my eyes because I'd slept with my orange prescription contacts in just in case I forget to put them in like I do sometimes.

"Oh ... it's the piano man!!"  he says and starts laughing as I walk slowly across the kitchen feeling his beady eyes on me.  Dad has always said that he can see some of my Mother in me, I really don't know what he sees, but I just hope that the old man doesn't also see it!!

I walk straight over to the coffee machine ignoring him.

"Thanks for picking me up off the pavement son, most would have just left me there!!"

After everything that Storm had told me last night I am quite surprised he even has thank you in his vocabulary, but I guess he thinks I'm a pure orange berry, I know his attitude towards me would be totally different if he knew who I really am!!

"I'm not your son ... and maybe if you didn't drink so much you wouldn't find yourself on the pavement with your head split open in the first place!!"  I snap at him as I pour myself a coffee, I glance over in his direction and he looks at me in surprise, so does Winter who then frowns at me disapprovingly as she tries to hands me a plate of pancakes which I ignore, sitting down at the counter.

"What's up with you this morning ... the couch too lumpy for you?"  she laughs trying to lighten the atmosphere that I'm creating, as she places the plate of pancakes on the counter in front of me.

I tell her I don't want the pancakes and sit drinking my coffee while I stare at the old man ... I only have to look at his face to see Prelude and Mulberry ... now I know, I can actually see it ... I can't see my Mother though!!  I presume she must look more like the Grandmother, but too much has gone on for me to even remember what she looks like, I only saw her briefly at Storms funeral.

I can't get out of my head how Storm said he had treated Affair and my Mother and the things he's said about her ... I'm really not surprised that all of his children and his wife are together and away from him in Sugar Valley ... rebelling ... probably doing exactly the opposite of what he would have wanted ... I'm one of 10 Grandchildren that he doesn't give a shit about ... so why should I give a shit about him, especially not after the hell he must have put my Mother through ... it's no wander she has blocked out her whole life before her coma, I shouldn't imagine she wants to remember it!!

"So Winter tells me you are lodging here for about 6 months with your brother ... are you planning to put down your roots in this town?"  he asks me, I wander what Winter has actually told him about me and River and what's with the small talk ... I thought she wanted him gone first thing!

"Not if I can help it ... I really don't like this town or the people living in it ... I can't wait to move on!!"  Winter cuts her eyes at me  "Although as landlady's go ... I guess you are the best we've had so far on our travels"  I smile at her, she just rolls her eyes at me.  "It's the first time we've ever had our own colour room before!!"

"I have to say, I was a little surprised to wake up in an orange bedroom and walk out into a blue house!!"  he says laughing  "I thought I was still drunk!!"

"I always like my long term tenants to have there own colour room, it makes them feel more comfortable ... lucky for me when these two turned up on the doorstep ... my last long term lodger was orange too ... so I didn't need to decorate!!"  Winter smiles at the old man.  I like her little white lie, I know that she decorated that room orange because of River, so that when he's here if anyone questions their relationship, it looks like he has his own room.

"Winter was just telling me about your brothers accident ... it could have been very nasty!!"  I look over at her for a moment, I can't even imagine what she might have said to him.  I am really not enjoying this, it's bad enough that I have to sit here talking to him in the first place, without not knowing what I'm supposed to be saying!!

"Yeah, the worst thing is we are now hauled up in this town for way too long because of it ... we would have been long gone by now!!"  I say as I take a sip of my coffee glancing at Winter.  I look down at the old mans hand which is irritating me, he is drumming his fingers on the side of his mug which is now sat on his leg.  I spot the wedding ring on his finger.

"Won't your family be worrying about you stopping out all night?  I bet your wife and kids must love you being hammered all the time ... you have been propping up that bar like a professional every time I've been into work!!"  he just laughs at me, he finds it amusing.

Winter doesn't find it the slight bit amusing, I catch her out of the corner of my eye pulling faces at me.  I'm guessing the mention of his family has panicked her ... this is when it could all come out ... and she doesn't know that I already know exactly who this man is and that I don't have the slightest intention of telling him that I'm related to him.

"All of my children live miles away from here in some dead beat town and the wife ... actually she's left me, she's gone to live with one of our sons or daughter, I'm not sure which."  he says as casual as you like as he takes a sip of his coffee, looking at me over the top of his mug ... yeah if only he knew who he is talking to!!  How dare he call Sugar Valley a dead beat town when its a hundred times better than this town!!  This town is full of berry holes like him who just abuse each other!!  "So I live alone now."  he mutters

"Shame ... but that kind of serves you right for being a bad tempered drunk doesn't it!!"  I say putting my half empty mug down in front of me as I'm getting up off the stool.  I walk off out of the kitchen and into the living room ... probably a bad move on my part, I should have just gone to my room, I can still feel his beady eyes on me as I can see him watching me through the fish tank glass.

I'm not sure I could have stayed in the kitchen for much longer without saying something I shouldn't and the very last thing I want him to find out is who I really am.  I can't get my Mother out of my head ... just looking at him sitting there so innocently is making me angry, it's been a long time since I've had an outburst but I can feel my head starting to go, if I let it go I will definitely be saying way too much, so I have to walk away.

 I sit down on the piano and start playing it quite angrily.

Storm sits down on the couch by me and is laughing his head off but he's telling me I really shouldn't be trying to rile that man up.  I hadn't realized he was even around to hear any of that, he said he didn't want to spend the night in the same house as that man and said he'd go out and see if he can find where the homeless girl is sleeping now, she no longer sleeps outside the hospital, I think we have scared her away from there.

"So did you find the homeless girl?"  he starts smirking at me and says he has, she has quite a cosy base in the woods which he nearly missed because its quite well hidden, he says he'll show me later.

"Guess who I was talking to last night!!"  he smiles at me  "Levi ... your blue homeless friends son ... he wants you to pass a message onto his Dad for him"

"Oh No Storm, I'm not starting that shit!!"  I start to have a go at him, I don't care if Winter and the old man are still watching me, I explain to Storm that he shouldn't have told the spirit that I can see and hear them, I told him what they do when they find out about me, they don't leave me alone asking me to do stuff.  "If I get a string of spirits pestering me I'm going to fade you!!"  I snap at him, he starts laughing ... he's already faded, I suppose that was a silly thing for me to say!!

"I didn't tell him, he's seen us talking ... all he wants you to say is that him and his Mothers spirit are getting very upset watching him sat there in the cemetery all the time ... they want him to pull himself together and move on."  He told me that Denim's wife and sons spirits are still here watching him and neither of them can rest until they see he is happy again.  When I ask about his two daughters spirits, Storm says they aren't there anymore they have passed over.

After we finished out conversation I decided to take a shower, as I walk out of the living room Winter is just seeing the old man out, she closes the door behind him.  Straight away she calls out to me and comes tearing across the hallway towards me stopping me from going into the bathroom, she looks angry.

"Are you always so rude to people??  There was seriously no need for any of that!!!"  she snaps at me quite angrily "I don't get you sometimes, you pick him up out of the gutter last night like you care ... then you snap and snipe at him this morning like he disgusts you ... what the hell was that all about??"

"Don't pretend like you don't know!!"  she frowns at me

"No I don't know ... you tell me!!"  she snaps at me

"You know as well as I do just exactly who that man is ... Grape Orchid ... it doesn't take a genius to work out that I'm related to that purple berry hole!! ... but then you knew that already didn't you ..."  she just stares at me saying nothing  "I can just imagine it ... you and River have had strict instruction off Daddy to keep me well away from that man and not tell me anything about him!!" 

"Something like that."  she mumbles

"See that's where you are all stupid ... and if everyone would just stop treating me like the idiot child and just tell it to me straight instead of hiding everything from me ... I wouldn't get myself into half the situations I get myself into!!!"  she looks at me wide eyed "A bit of warning would have been nice ... If I'd known sooner that the Grandparent from hell lived in this town then I might have been able to have avoided him ... I wouldn't have brought him home ... I'd have just left him in the gutter!!"

"I don't get it ... how did you find out?"  she asks looking very confused  "You haven't been speaking to him in the night have you ... he doesn't know who you are does he?!"  she starts to look worried.

"No and if he had found out who I am - it would have been all your faults!!  Storm told me all about him last night before it became way too late to stop a disaster happening!!"  I see her frowning at me and she mutters Storm? " ... and if you don't already know who Storm is yet, ask River!!"  I snap at her quite angrily.

I already know she probably isn't the one I should be getting angry with ... it's Dad ... but she knew and she's been hiding it too ... as has River ... I dread to think what else they are hiding from me!!!

As I go to open the bathroom door I hear her cry out.  I turn to look at her, she has her hand on her stomach and is pulling a face.  Oh Fudge!!

"What's wrong?!"  I frown at her worrying now something is wrong with the baby.  My mind flashes back to my Mother when Cotton came early.

"Nothing, he's just playing football with my insides again ... he's got an evil kick on him!!"  she grabs my hand  "Here you feel."  she says and places my hand on her stomach.

At first I wasn't too sure how I felt about it ... it made me feel sad wandering what Honey would have looked like with a huge stomach like Winters.  Then I felt a constant thumping underneath my hand which started to fascinate me because I can feel the baby kicking my hand ...

Then Winter distracts me saying she is really worrying about him coming early, she knows she's probably being silly but if that does happens it could end up disastrous for all of us especially with her cutting it fine by staying here until she is eight months pregnant because of how long River is going to be bed bound.

I know why they are doing this and taking this risk ... again it's because of me ... there is nobody here but me to look after River when he comes out of hospital and they don't think I am capable of looking after River here on my own.  I'd also put money on the only reason River is actually coming out of the hospital to finish his recovery at home is so that I am not left alone in this house on my own.  They seriously don't trust that I can look after myself.

"I might have a solution that lets you go to Sugar Valley as soon as you need to, now even!!"  she raises her eyebrows  "You don't trust me to look after River on my own so all I need is someone here to help me right?!"

"Well yes, but who Tapestry there is no one, nobody is going to want to drop their life to help look after Mango till he is back on his feet!!"

"I know someone who would be more than happy to drop his life ... just to get a roof over his head so he can sort his life out!!"  she frowns at me  "He's homeless ... he has lived on the streets for five years ... he's a really nice guy ..."

"Are you joking?  A homeless guy?!"  she starts laughing

I explain to her about Denim, what happened to him to put him on the street, the loss of his whole family in a horrible accident and how he ended up on the streets because he couldn't cope with the loss and from what I can see he still isn't coping with the loss because he doesn't have a life ... if he had a life he could move on ... he just needs to be given a break!!

"Do you enjoy collecting hopeless cases!!"  she laughs at me when I've finished telling her about Denim "You can tell you are a doctors son!!  I bet you used to bring all the injured animals home for your Dad to fix when you were a kid didn't you!!"  she continues to laugh, I'm getting a little irritated because I don't think she is taking this seriously.

"Denim isn't a hopeless case, well he might be right now, but all he needs is a break ... a roof over his head, then he can get himself a job and put his life back together ... without somewhere to live he can't get a job ... he's stuck in a viscious cirlcle ... he seriously is a nice guy ... and you do have an empty spare room and he could help me with River, so you can get off to Sugar Valley and I'll pay for anything he needs out of my wages, I've got nothing else to spend it on!!"

"You are serious about this aren't you!!"

"Meet him at least ... let me bring him round ... please!!"  she stands there for a few moment like she's thinking about it "He's blue ... you should help your fellow blue people!!"  she laughs at me and calls me an idiot.

"Okay ... I'll meet him ... but I need to speak to Mango about this first ... so don't get carried away ... I haven't said yes yet ... I'll think about it!!"  she smiles at me

She tells me to bring him round tomorrow because she doesn't have work.

I head straight to the hospital to speak to River about Denim and have the Grandfather situation out with him,  I know he's probably not the one to be getting angry with either, but he's been hiding it too and he must have known about my Grandfather living in this town since the beginning of our trip.

If only they had told me about him in the first place, who he is and what he's done, his aversion to mixed and colourless berries, and that it's dangerous for him to find out who I am.  I could have caused a load of trouble without realising because once again I'm being kept in the dark ... if I'd known he was in this town in the first place I would have made a point of completely avoiding him.  Now it's too late ... the initial contact has been made and I don't know how I'm going to get rid of him, he is one of the regular drunks that I see every day when I go into work he is bound to talk to me now from time to time ... the only way for me to completely avoid him now is to quit my job ... and I enjoy that bar and that job!!

River told me he was sorry ... he had to trust what Dad told him because he knows me better than River knows me himself.  As far as Dad is concerned I don't know my Mothers parents still exist and as long as I didn't bump into Grape Orchid to get to know him, neither of us would ever have known each other exists. Dad didn't think I could be sensible enough to keep away from him if I knew I had a Grandfather in this town ... he thought I might get curious and even go looking for him.

Dad really does think I'm an idiot doesn't he!!

Dad was far from happy when he found out Jazz was sending us to Rainbow Valley, he tried to get Jazz to send us somewhere else but Jazz wouldn't have none of it ... this is the safest town vampberry wise for us, it is far too hot during the summer months even at night for them to entertain coming to this town, besides Winter is here to put a roof over our heads, we have a safe house to live in until we can go home, there was always the risk of us running out of money or being caught out in a motel if we had gone elsewhere ... it has also worked out for the best because of him being laid up in the hospital for this long ... this is the best place for us to be right now, regardless of Grape Orchid living in town.

I asked him what else they are hiding from me ... he says nothing ... he looks uncomfortable when he says it ... I don't believe his nothing, I know there is more ... there always is!!  but I let it go because I don't want to start arguing with him now, I need to talk to him about Denim.

"I've been talking to Winter, she's worried about the baby coming early with her not being able to go to Sugar Valley when she needs to ..."  he interrupted me laughing

"I wandered how long it would take you to bring that up!!"  he starts laughing at me  "She's just phoned me  ... I hear you've been making friends with a homeless guy!!"  he raises his eyebrows at me, I thought oh here we go, I'm in for a lecture!!

I was quite surprised that he didn't lecture me, he actually likes the idea in principal, he's been trying to talk her into going anyway he thinks we can manage on our own but she's just over fussing.  He's never been happy about the risk they are having to take especially with her flying when she's eight months pregnant, she really needs to be going in a few weeks time and he says he's coming home on Tuesday which surprised me because they hadn't told me.

He is just worried about whether Denim is really going to be okay.  It's easy to say Winter is moving to Apple Hill where the babies Dad is supposed to be until after the baby is born, the only other thing that worries him is my eyes ... he can't find out about me being a mixed berry.

I left the hospital in a better mood ... I thought I would have to fight them both and the answer would be no straight away, but they are both thinking about it, and they both want to meet him which is a good sign.

I found myself wandering around the streets looking for Denim ... I need to find him to tell him about coming round tomorrow to see Winter.  He wasn't in the park or on Main Street with the other huddle of homeless folk who tend to hang out behind the shops waiting for food to be thrown out ... I suppose I should have known where I would find him ... sitting in the cemetery.

"You still not found that colourless girl yet?"  he laughs at me when I sit down next to him, he made me laugh telling me that whatever that girl had stolen from me would probably be long gone by now, of course she hadn't stolen anything from me that has just been my excuse for looking for her I couldn't tell anyone the truth.

"No, actually I was looking for you!!"  he frowns at me  "Just fancied a chat ... I guessed I might find you here somehow!"  he just smiles at me and tells me that he visits every day and even sleeps here sometimes when the weather is nice and the grass is not too damp.  This seriously can not be healthy for him ... he's prolonging his agony spending way too much time here ... he is not letting go and I'm sure he should have done by now.  I remember what his sons spirit had said to Storm.

"You know I'm not sure this is good for you spending all your time here ... I know your wife and kids wouldn't be happy seeing you do this to yourself ... they would want you to get on with your life, they would want to see you happy!!"  he looks at me for a moment.

"I guess you are right but that's easier said than done!!  I don't have a lot else to do with my day!!  I suppose if I had some sort of life I wouldn't be sat here all the time" 

"I might be able to help you with that!"  I smile at him  "I've had a word with my landlady ... it's not for definite but there is a good possibility ... she's thinking about letting you move into the spare room so you can sort your life out."  he looks at me really shocked.  "She wants to meet you tomorrow to check you out."

"Are you serious?!"  his eyes are really wide which makes me laugh, he sits there just staring at me I don't think he knows what to say.

We sat chatting for hours while I explained to him about Winter being pregnant and needing to move to 'Apple Hill' where the baby's father is very soon and about River being in the hospital and he's due out next week and that I will need someone to help me look after him especially when I'm at work because he'll be bed bound for another 2 months and I'm not completely reliable anyway because of my own medical conditions which I also had to explain to him.

He said he was more than happy to help me with River even if she doesn't let him move in ... it will give him something to do to occupy his mind.  I believe he would too, even if he cant move in, I can just feel that he is a really nice guy and doesn't deserve to be where he is - I just hope Winter agrees to put a roof over his head to give him the stepping stone he needs to sort his life out.

I gave him some money for food, which he didn't want to take off me at first, and my watch so he could tell the time to be round our house at 10 am in the morning.

I left him in the cemetery standing there a little dazed.

I hope to berry Winter and River both say yes!!

Storm is showing me where the homeless girls hide out is hidden in the woods.  We walk quietly through the woods, between the trees, trying to avoid stepping on any twigs or anything that will make a noise which might alert the homeless girl that we are approaching her hideout.  Of course this only applies to me, Storm floats he doesn't actually touch the ground, but he has to stay completely silent, we can't talk to each other because she can hear the both of us.

Storm waves to me and points at some bushes, which he floats through, I follow him, it's not so easy for me, I'm having to try to fight my way through the bushes quietly.

"It's okay, she's not here."  Storm says suddenly appearing in front of me.  I continue to fight my way through the bushes now no longer caring about the noise that I am making because she isn't here to hear it anyway.  "This is where she slept last night ... she had that rug over her and she was sleeping with a teddy bear"  he starts laughing.  I think his eyes must have been playing tricks on him ... a teddy bear!!  She is a grown woman!!  I think ... I still haven't managed to work out if she is a teenager or an adult because she is so thin and delicate.

I stand staring around and can not really see what he means by it being cosy.  She has built herself a camp fire which looks like it hasn't been lit in a while. I can see what looks like a really dirty rub lying on the floor under the trees which Storm says she sleeps on, the small area is surrounded by a circle of bushes that hide it's existence, you wouldn't know it was here without coming through the bushes. There really isn't anything cosy about this.

We don't hang around, planning to come back after dark, and spend the rest of the day until I'm due into work walking the streets looking for her again without success.

I look over towards the bar when I walk into work, and as I suspected there he is, Grape Orchid, propping up the bar as normal sitting in his usual seat slurring his words.  I had hoped that after last night the landlord would have barred him from coming into the bar ... but there he is as large as life sitting in his usual spot and I can imagine that he's probably been sat there since he left our house this morning.  I don't even go over to the bar to get myself a drink, I don't want to give him the slightest opportunity to talk to me again.

I sit down at the piano straight away and start playing, trying to get lost in the music so that I don't have to think about Denim sleeping out on the street again tonight, wandering if Winter will let him move into the spare room, the homeless girl who has the worst of both worlds being homeless and colourless, Honey, the babies, home, and especially not Grape Orchid!!  They are all pushing my buttons and I'm worried my head is going to go.

I am managing to shut everything out quite successfully until I am disturbed.

"Well Tapestry ... it seems you have more than two strings to your bow."   I hear a male voice speaking to me over the music.  I think I recognize the voice behind me but can't think who it belongs too.  I look up and see the over dressed flash git from the park now standing next to the piano ... great this is all I need!!  

"You surprise me you are also quite the pianist ... I didn't put you down as a flavored water kind of guy either ... the guy behind the bar told me ..."  he says as he places the glass of water down on the piano ... what the hell does he want now.  This is the last thing I need after the day I've already had!!  I'm already not in a good mood and I really don't like this bloke!!

"Thanks ... Did he also tell you that I'm busy working?!"  I tell him hoping he'll clear off, I don't know why but he gives me the creeps.  "So don't even ask me to start singing again!!"  he starts laughing and continues to stand there ... great!!

"I know you are more than capable of playing and talking at the same time so I'm not going to stop you working!!"  he says as he puts his hand on my shoulder  "However, the landlord says you are due a break so I can pinch you for ten minutes while we have a chat!"  I don't believe his nerve!!

I look over towards the bar and the landlord smiles at me and puts his thumb up.

I jump up off the piano stool a little irritated, first that he's touched me and secondly that he has the nerve to arrange a break for me when I don't need or want one yet.

"So is it just the guitar and piano you play?" he asks me before I have a chance to say anything.

"No, bass, drums, violin ... "  he asks me if I play them as well as the guitar and piano "Pretty much so I'm told."  he pulls a strange face then laughs saying I must have spent my childhood constantly having music lessons  "I've never had a music lesson in my life ... Look I'm supposed to be working, is this conversation going anywhere?"  I ask him wishing he would hurry up and get to the point.

"Well Tapestry ... I'm still waiting for your phonecall ... I don't usually have to chase people around or remind them to phone me!!"  that guy behind the bar talks too much or this one asks too many questions ... he even knows my name!!

"I've been busy!!"  I frown at him  "Anyway what do you want with me exactly?"  I ask him quite irritated, he just laughs at me for a moment.

"I'm sure you must know, I can help you put your musical talent to far better use ... it's wasted on the park and a place like this!"  he puts another one of his cards on the piano next to the glass of water, telling me just in case I lost the last one.

"You're wasting your time mate, I can't read it, I'm dyslexic, so you can give me as many of those cards as you want but I ain't going to be phoning you so you may as well just spit it out while you've got me here!!"  he starts laughing at me quite loudly telling me I've got some attitude.

"Did you just say you are dyslexic?!"  he frowns at me ... I know exactly what is coming out of his mouth next ... I'm sick of having this exact same conversation with everyone.

"Yes ... and before you ask no I can't read sheet music ... I play everything by ear."  an expression crosses his face that I can't really read.

"Interesting ... Maybe I should introduce myself seeing as you don't appear to know who I am."  he's so up himself, he looks quite miffed that I am not acting like I know who he is or licking his shoes like I should imagine most people do, that is of course if he is who I think he is.

"I already knew who you are ... Gilbert Grape"  I smile and he smiles back  "I just don't get what you would want with me!!"  his eyebrows raise for a moment.

"I'll just cut to the chase shall I ..."  his face goes really serious  "I'm not sure you even realize just how well you play the guitar and piano, I have some famous artists signed up to my record label that don't play half as well as you do ... or sing for that matter ... son if you keep hanging around on the streets like you are doing it won't take long for one of the other labels to pick you up ... I want to make sure it's mine ... I want you to come to my studio's ... I can do a lot with you ... I think you have a good recording voice and you play your own instruments better than most ... I can put you a band together or turn you into quite a successful solo artist."

I look at him for a moment like he's gone mad!!  Is he for real or is this some sort of joke?!  I couldn't have heard that right!!  When I don't say anything he smiles at me and I just continue to stand staring at him.

"You do want a career in music don't you son? ... you'd be stupid not too!!"  he says frowning at me.

"I've never really thought about it ... you're having me on right!! ... You have to be ... this has to be some big joke I'm nothing special!!"

"You let me be the judge of that!!  I say you've got something ... and it's not often I'm wrong!!"  he laughs at me quite loudly again as he watches the expression on my face saying it makes a refreshing change to find someone who doesn't realize how good they actually are when he has to fight his way daily through a load of delusional people who think they are good when they really aren't.

I'm stood again like an idiot looking at him like he's gone mad, while he just keeps laughing at me.  I swear he's had too much to drink or something ... he can't be talking about me!!

"You've got my card ... I'll let you have a think about it ... Do you work here every night?"  he asks and I tell him I'm just here on weekday nights. "I'll pop by in a couple of days then and we can talk more, if of course you don't call me first!!." he smiles at me

I'm a little speechless, my head is still reeling from what I think he has just said.

This has got to be some sort of a joke!!

"Well, I'll let you get on ... my son is waiting impatiently to eat, he's always hungry that boy!!"  he laughs as he tips his hat at me. "I'll speak to you soon"  he says as he walks away.

I carry on standing there in a daze for a few moments wandering if I have just made all that up in my head, as I watch him walk away, he tells the barman to shout him when his table is ready and sits down on a chair not too far away from the piano.  I notice there is a man standing by him looking in my direction who I presume must be his son.

His son is just standing there staring at me, he smiles at me when he sees me looking at him then sits down next to Grape.  I can't help but stare at Grape's son, he seems ... familiar ... like I've seen him before but I can't quite put my finger on who he is.  Have I seen him somewhere round town?

I sit down and start to play the piano again, but can't help keep glancing over at Grape and his son occasionally, I'm trying to work out who his son is ... I know I've seen him before!!  It is really starting to bug me because I feel like I should know him.

They are busy talking most of the time when I look over at them, but I notice sometimes they are just sat watching me, or glancing at me while they are talking.  They are starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable.

I am glad when I hear the barman shouting them to tell them their table is ready and they go off to eat.  I don't even look to see where they are sitting hoping that I will be able to forget about them so that I can relax.  Who am I kidding!?  How am I going to forget about them ... Grape has filled my head up with things that I seriously can't believe I heard him say to me.

Storm sits down on the nearby table, he's laughing  "Ewww get you!!"  he thumps me pretty hard in the arm and I swear at him quietly under my breath "I told you you could sing!!  You should phone him, in fact ... don't be an idiot ... if I was you right now I'd be over there snapping his hand off!!"

"Slow down ... I don't believe he actually said what he did yet!!"  he laughs at me

"Oh he said it alright!!  Man you are so jammy ... Grape chasing YOU around!!"  he starts laughing  "I hope you are not going to be stupid ... Tap you need to phone him ... you need to go for it!!"

"How can I?!  Think about it ... I'm not really in a good place right now am I ... and I'm a mixed berry with a colourless Mother from Sugar Valley remember and it's not like I can keep that a secret forever ... as soon as he finds that out he'll run a mile anyway, so whats the point!!"  I hate talking to him while I'm in public just in case anyone sees me.

"You should talk to River!!"  I told him I plan too first thing in the morning  "I didn't know that Rocky was Grapes son did you?!  That's really surprised me!!  I can't believe ROCKY is in here!!!! Isn't it funny how they always look different in the flesh ... Rocky he's a lot taller that he looks on the tv!!"  

Fudge!!  Rocky!!  I knew I'd seen him before!!  Now my head has totally gone!!  How did I not recognize him straight away.  I should have!!  It's not like I don't know who he is or don't have any of his albums back home ... I've actually got all of them.  I would never have expected to see him in real life and especially not to walk into a bar like this!!

Storm goes off on one rattling his head off  "You know he's always bugged me ... you cant see it, but now I see him in the flesh, I think it even more ... I swear he's a mixed berry!!

"Don't be stupid!!"  I laugh at him

"Straight up Rocky's eyes and hair ... they are more teal than green ... Grape is as green as ... stood together they look like they are two totally different coloured berry's, except Rocky has Grapes skin colour"  I ask him what colour is teal, I've never heard that one mentioned before  "Teal is a strange colour, it's like a mix between blue and green, some say its a shade of blue, some say it's a shade of green ... his clothes are black and teal too, I don't know how he gets away with it in a colour coded town!!"

I shut my head off to his rabbiting ... all this talk of colour really doesn't mean anything to me not being able to to see it and I really don't like all the stupid rules in the colour coded world, so I stop listening to him.

It doesn't take long before I'm disturbed again a pint glass is put down on the piano.  What now!!??  I think I can already guess who it is going to be by Storms mouth ... a string of fowl language starts flying through the air as he moves off the table and onto a nearby chair.  I look up to see the last person I want to see.  Grape Orchid.

"There you go son, I thought you might be getting thirsty, you need a proper drink ... water is for girls!!"  he says as he stands behind me, I hope he doesn't plan on standing there for too long.  Storm reminds me just to humor him and not to wind him up, hopefully he'll soon clear off ... I think he's worried I might wind him up and we end up fighting.

"Don't touch that beer either ... there is vodka in it!!"  Storm tells me, I didn't intend on touching it anyway. I look up at the pint glass sat on the piano and start laughing, it's no wander he's always so wasted if he is mixing vodka with beer.

"Thank's, but you'll have to drink that pint ... I don't touch your poison ... I'm happy with the water."  I say to him and he just laughs at me

"You are a 'girly wuss!!  Look at you with your long hair, I bet you are gay aren't you!!!  You should drink it ... it will put hairs on your chest!!  Men don't drink water!!!" 

This makes both me and Storm laugh for quite a few reasons ... especially him saying 'girly wuss' which is one of Preludes favourite saying, he constantly calls it Parsley because he thinks he is too soft!!   It is pretty obvious where Prelude got that saying and his bad drinking habit from.

I carry on playing trying to ignore him, hoping he will get the hint and go away, but he doesn't.

"You in a better mood now?" he asks and I tell him not really, I presume he's on about the way that I acted with him first thing this morning.

"That blue woman of yours says you're a grouch when you first wake up!  How would she know, that's what I want to know ... I hope there isn't any colour mixing going on there!!"  Oh Berry!!

Blue woman ... he knew Winter's name this morning?!  Is that how she explained my bad attitude with him this morning.  It actually reminds me that I did always used to be a moody git when I first woke up, but I haven't done that for a long time ... and I hadn't even noticed!!

"She's definitely not my woman ... she's my landlady and I'm a grouch all the time, I'm surprised she said only in the mornings!!"  I start to worry about his colour mixing comment, and remember Storm saying he would dob me in if he knew I was a mixed berry - that's the last thing we need the police sniffing around if he really is suspicious and says something  "And you're right by the way I am gay!!"  he starts laughing and calls me a wuss

I turn to look at him when he shouts out quite loudly suddenly, He's hopping on one leg while he's holding the other because he's just walked into the table Storm tells me.  The old man is paying more attention to the glass he has in his hand, trying not to spill his drink.  I laugh at him as I watch him hop backwards hitting the table again, which makes him fall backwards and he ends up landing on his back on the table, the pint in his hand spills all over him.  he sits up and wobbles a little then almost falls off the table, he manages to steady himself then just sits there clutching his pint glass staring at it angrily because there is only now half a pint in the glass, the other half is dripping off him.

"Wow!!  I've wasted half my pint!!"  he starts swearing and arguing with himself because of the beer he's lost ... I think he's more wasted than I thought he was.

"Oh Berry!!"  Storm bursts out laughing  "The guys a FOOL!!  How can we be related to that!!  It's no wander my Dad is demented!!"  he is sat there having hysterics at the old man who is still sat swaying on the table muttering to himself.

I'm struggling, it hard not to laugh with Storm because the guy is a fool!!   I'm also finding it seriously hard to believe that this man is my Mothers and Mulberry's Father!!  Prelude I can believe ... he's already half way like him when he goes off on his drinking binges.

"So do you know Grape?  I saw him over here talking to you?"  he asks and I just tell him he might have a job for me  "You want to watch that one, he's a very slimy green fella ... he only see's $ signs that one!!"  he starts laughing which turns into a five minute coughing fit before he sits quietly for a while drinking.  Why doesn't he just go!!

"You are a strange one ... you talk to yourself a lot don't you!!"  he starts laughing at me.  "Are you a fruit cake?"  He must have been watching me to see me talking to Storm, probably this morning at home, and here tonight.  I hope Grape hasn't seen me doing it!!

"I prefer my own conversations, I don't feed myself bullshit like everybody else does!!"  he starts howling at me, he sits there for ages chuckling away to himself before he goes quiet too busy drinking

"Never trust anyone who's green, blue or orange!!"  he says suddenly

The stupid old berry hole!!  Does he not see I am orange?!  The bar man had said last night he was sick of him coming in here causing trouble ... I should imagine his mouth starts all the trouble, he really doesn't seem to care what he says to anyone!!

"I wander why he said green, blue and orange?"  Storm says, I just frown at him  "Think about it ... Mom is green, Ice is blue, your Dad is orange!!  I wander!!" He could have a point, I'd not even thought about it.

The old man just sits there on the table for ages waffling rubbish, sometimes he's talking to me, most of the time he's talking to himself, most of the time what he is saying doesn't make a lot of sense either ... I'm not even sure he's still on this planet!!   I just pretend that I'm listening and make the odd comment, but most of the time I just ignore him hoping he will go away.

When his beer glass is empty and he's also drained the one he brought over for me he gets up and staggers off over to the bar to order himself another drink and thankfully stays there and doesn't come back.

I'm secretly sitting here hoping he will start another drunken fight so I can try and help persuade the landlord to bar him permanently ... if Grape Orchid keeps insisting on bugging me every night, I'm seriously going to have to consider quitting this job and finding another one.

I seriously don't want to be around him and I definitely can't afford him to find out who I am.

Storm has been quietly sat watching Grape Orchid making a fool of himself at the bar for ages because he's arguing with one of the other drunks accusing him of drinking his pint while he wasn't looking  "It's coming!!"  Storm says and laughs ... I've been listening to him shouting waiting and hoping for a fight to start. "You are being watched again by the way!!"

I look up and Grape and Rocky are stood close by just watching me.  They both smile at me.

"Do yourself a favour son, don't encourage Orchid ... he's a wrong one that one!!"  Grape says to me  "Even his own family have all legged it because they can't hack him!!"  I can't help but laugh in my head ... this is getting silly!!

I can't help but think there is a third strike for me ... being a mixed berry, having a colourless Mother, Grape Orchid being my Grandfather ... actually four strikes if you throw in my brain disorder ... Grape is definitely going to run a mile when he finds that lot out!!  For the first time I think I can understand where Mosaic is coming from when he resents our parents for what he is ... being a mixed berry, he can't go off to Uni and chase the career he wants, because he's trapped in Sugar Valley like the rest of us having to make do with what is available to him which is far from what he wants!!  I would love a music career, it is probably the only thing that I can do with my future, but I've never really thought about it because realistically it's never really been available to me.

Grape and Rocky walk past me on their way out and they both say goodnight and Grape reminds me he'll pop by in a few days to speak to me.  Now I'm a little star struck watching Rocky walk out of the place, not quite believing he would be in here in the first place, let alone speak to me ... he only said goodnight and smiled at me ... but he's a rock god!!!

I can't believe that Grape seems to be serious about this either ... and I definately wasn't hearing things, Storm heard it too!!  I really need to talk to River about this!!

I played the rest of the night until midnight in peace.

After work is finished me and Storm set out from the bar, its after midnight and we make our way to the woods.  I'm not messing about anymore this has gone on way too long, if the homeless girl is there tonight, she is going to listen to me whether she wants to or not, I'm hoping she'll be asleep so we can pounce when she's not expecting it, even if both me and Storm have to pin her down to get her to talk to me, she can scream all she likes in the middle of the woods I doubt anyone will hear her.

The darkness is making me very nervous, and I'm really not comfortable especially going into the woods where it is even darker ... I can't help but think about the vampberrys, I think they are always going to haunt me after dark.

It's getting pretty dark as we make our way deeper into the woods, I keep my eyes on Storm, his bright transparent figure almost shines in the darkness. It is almost impossible for me not to make a noise, because of the darkness, I can not see the twigs that I can hear snapping under my feet as I tread on them.  We get to the bushes that her hang out is hidden behind, Storm holds his hand up, telling me to wait while he disappears through the bushes silently.  He isn't gone for long when I hear him shouting.

"Tap you need to come here ... QUICKLY!!"  he shouts.

I make my way blindly through the bushes, trying to push them aside as I move through them, some of them springing back hitting me pretty hard.  I stumble out into the clearing tripping over some low branches, almost falling on top of the homeless girl who is just lying out cold on the ground close to the bushes.

"I think she's sick!!"  Storm says as I stare at her.  "Or faded!!"


She is lay flat on her back on the ground, she doesn't appear to be moving at first.  I look at Storm wandering if she is still alive.  I crouch down close to her nervously and try to find a pulse in her neck like I've seen my Dad do loads of times.  It takes me a while but I find one eventually.

"She's still alive!!"

I touch her forehead and she feels really hot like she's got a fever. I slide my hand under her neck planning to pick her up off the floor, as I lift her head slightly she starts to cough a little and I can feel her start to shake slightly as she starts to mumbling almost like shes delirious ... she looks really sick ... she opens her eyes and looks at me for a moment, her eyes almost roll to the back of her head before she closes them again, she definitely is not capable of running anywhere and she doesn't even struggle as I scoop her up off the floor.

"I need to get her to Winter quickly!!"  I say to Storm as I stand up with her in my arms, she's as light as a feather, I'm not even going to struggle carrying her home, there is nothing to her but bones.  She suddenly throws up all over me  "OH Gross!!"  Storm starts laughing at me as I pull faces at my jacket which is now covered in her vomit.

"Winter is really going to love you, especially after last night!!" he starts laughing at me

"I've got no choice, I can't take her to the hospital, she's colourless, they won't treat her they will just turn us away ... you heard what River said about how they treat people who lack colour in these colour coded towns!!"  We start making our way out of the woods and back home.

I walk past a few people who stop and stare disgustingly at me, giving me really strange and not very nice looks for carrying the colourless girl through the streets.  All I can think is ... Morons!!  I think I know they would have just left her there to fade!!

I can't help but wander how Winter is going to react to the colourless girl, she's been raised in a colour coded town, she's even said herself she'd never seen a colourless person until recently ... she's going to make me angry if she reacts badly to her because of her lack of colour, I wander if she realizes when she moves to Sugar Valley she will be living in the same house as my Mother?!

When I walk through the front door I can hear that the television is on, I'm really surprised that Winter is still up, lay on the couch watching a film.  I make my way quickly into the living room still carrying the homeless girl.

"Winter she needs your help ... I think she's sick!!"  she looks up, automatically jumping to her feet when she sees the homeless girls in my arms.

"Tapestry .... NOT AGAIN!!" she shouts

Rocky belongs to Whitewaveldc