Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Chapter 34 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I do not know what else to do other than to lie silently on the bed holding Crystal, who is sobbing her heart out.  While I am trying not to let the way that I am feeling show.  I actually feel like crying myself!

It is at times like this that I do really feel like the idiot, because I never know what to say!!  So it is best that I just say nothing!  I am scared of putting my foot in it, saying the wrong thing, and making her feel even worse than she already does.

The hospital was pretty grueling as well as frightening for Crystal.  I was a little shocked by what she had to go through, and here was stupid me thinking it would be just a simple x-ray!!  Some of the things they were doing had my eyes watering and I was only watching what they were doing to her.  I am glad I am not a woman and I never have the worry about having to visit, or have my body invaded by the gynecology department at the hospital!!

I had no choice but to watch most of what they were doing to Crystal, even when I did not want to, because she would not let them anywhere near her, or touch her, unless I was right next to her and holding her hand.  Winter ended up having to do a lot of the tests because Crystal felt more comfortable that way.  Luckily Winter being a doctor, she could do most things, otherwise I dread to think how much longer we would have been at the hospital, because of the performance Crystal might have put up, like she started to do with one of the other doctors she did not know.

It has shocked and surprised me by how quickly she has reattached herself to me, she is clinging to me almost like I never wiped her memories away in the first place, and we have just carried on from where we left it in Rainbow Valley.  She has also adjusted quite quickly to life in Sugar Valley, in that she does not get hysterical around strangers anymore, I think she understands that everyone in this town will treat her like a normal person and not a colourless freak.  While she does not scream at everyone like she used to, she is still very shy around anyone that she does not know.

I was the one who actually felt like the freak on show today.  This is the first time that I have ventured out of the house since the day of our return, and I really should have thought about that before I left the house with Crystal and Winter.  Of course, everyone knows who I am, if not personally, they know who's Son and Grandson I am, especially here at the hospital where my Dad and Grandparents work and where I am pretty famous amongst the medical staff, my baby pictures, STILL being on the wall in the baby unit.   I have always got very annoyed with it all!!

Mine and Honey's abduction is all that the whole town has apparently talked about while I was away.  The abduction, Honey being found and not me, and then the tragic loss of Honey and the baby, my return and of course all the gossip and speculation around River.  We have kept the town fairly entertained in our absence.

So of Course, now all eyes are on me again, especially my bruised and battered face, and it is making me feel very uncomfortable.  At one point I felt like screaming at everyone to just leave me alone.  Total strangers and people who have never bothered to even speak to me before, have something to say suddenly.  Something about my loss of Honey and the baby, asking after Vanilla, saying they are glad to see me home, mention of Manderine or River ... Blah blah blah.  I wish they would all shut up and mind their own business, it is over now and I just want to forget about it all, not be constantly reminded, especially about Shadow, by wagging tongues.

Even the nurses and one of the doctors would not shut up, River being their favourite topic of conversation within the hospital, nobody can believe that he is my Dad's long lost Son.  I think that Winter could see that I was getting a little annoyed with it, like she was herself.  I am a little astonished by it all.  No doubt tongues will be wagging later - did you see him with that colourless girl.  Maybe coming out in public with Crystal to this hospital appointment so soon after my return was not such a very good idea, after all!!!  I wish something else would happen to take the attention off me.   Berry help me if my music career does ever get put into action and take off, I am going to HATE the attention that it will attract.

I was a little upset by what the doctors told us, as Crystal was.  While they say, as far as they can see from the internal scan, that all of her reproduction organs are perfectly formed, they are basically dormant and not working, hence the lack of periods that have never started.  It might be because of the years of malnutrition that her body has suffered, but there is a further complication, she has cysts on her ovaries which bring their own set of problems, and this also could be the reason why she is not having periods.  

At the moment they can not say if her periods will ever start, or what is causing her not to have them at all, however, if her body stays like it is now, then she will never be able to have any children.  They are running a load of blood and other tests and have put her onto a special diet and a course of medication to see if they can kick start her ovaries into action and start her menstrual cycle off.  All we can do now is wait until her next check up when they might have a better idea of what is causing her not to be having period.  On her next visit she will also have to have another internal scan so they can have a look to see if anything has changed.  Of course, we might see something happening before her next check up, hopefully she might have a period - IF she is lucky, but Winter says not to hold our hopes up.

Crystal understood everything that they were telling her at the hospital.  I could see that it was really upsetting her and the flood started while we were inside the hospital and she cried none stop all the way home.   All I could do was hold her because I know there is nothing I can say or do to make this any better for her!!  The journey home seemed uncomfortable and felt like it took longer than it has ever taken before.  Winter, who stayed fairly quiet, while she was driving, kept taking quick glances in the drivers mirror at us sat in the back of the car.  I began to get the feeling that she was actually watching me and how I was coping with it all, rather than Crystal.

I phoned Sunny to let him know that I am back but told him there is no hurry for him to come rushing round if he and Ruby want to keep Vanilla for a little longer.  I could do with a little space to talk to Crystal uninterrupted, but I did not like to ask Sunny to actually keep her for an hour or two longer.  I feel a little like Vanilla, being a baby, might be rubbing Crystal's face in it a little, so soon after her news, and Vanilla crying is probably the last thing she wants or needs to hear right now.

I took Crystal, who was still crying, into the bedroom and lie down on the bed with her.  I really do not know what to say to her so I stay quiet and just hold her.  She asks for her teddy bear, but I have to remind her that Vanilla is looking after her teddy, which starts her crying even more.  I noticed when we walked into my room that Sunny had swapped the teddy bears over.  He had put my orange teddy back into Vanilla's cot and taken Crystal teddy with Vanilla.  I wander why he is so interested in Crystals teddy bear!?

Suddenly Crystal starts thumping my chest, I think in anger.

"Your Mom said now I am in Sugar Valley, my lack of colour does not matter anymore!  She said I can live a normal life like everyone else!"  she snaps at me almost like she is shouting at me because I have done something wrong.  "She said I could have a better life, get married, have children, follow my dreams, and do all the things that very few of us colourless people get to do."

"And you still can!"  I smile at her. 

"No I can not!! I still am not normal!!  How can I do these things when I am broken inside!!"

Oh Berry!!  I guess that is one way to describe it.

"Things get broken all the time, and they get fixed."  she frowns at me  "Which is what the hospital visits and medication should do hopefully, mend your inside."  I smile at her again.  "IF your periods do not start and you can not have children, it does not stop you from doing all the other things."

"It does, I am broken!!  I want my own babies and who will want me if I am broken!!"  I laugh at her doe keep saying that she is broken, which annoys her.

"I am broken in the head, that is why I take so much medication every day, my problems can not be fixed!!  Hopefully yours can."  I smile at her as she pulls a face at me.  "I do not care if you are broken inside and we can not have any babies, I will still want you!"

"Well I care because I do not want to be broken, I want my own babies!"

She starts to cry again

"Hopefully you can have your own babies when your problems are fixed!  You just need to give the medication time to work and the hospital to find out exactly what is wrong with you inside, then hopefully they can make it better!!"

Whatever I say to her it does not stop her from crying.  I have to be very careful with what I do say to her, Winter has already warned me not to give her false hope, not to tell her that her problems will definitely be sorted out and she will be able to have children, because Winter says she does not know if that will happen.    

"Crystal please stop crying!!  You heard what they said at the hospital - getting stressed out can also stop your periods."

She lies there shaking her head and says that she wished she was still in the woods.  This surprised me a little, and I ask her why she would even want to go back to that life?  She says that this life is too complicated and upsetting for her, she liked it when she was ignorant before I showed her this new life.  The only worry she had back then was finding food and the bad people chasing her around in the winter. Crystal thinks that she was never meant to have a normal life and that is why she is colourless and now broken to stop her from being normal.

"Crystal, that is just rubbish!!"

I snap at her because I am a little irritated.  She has now given me something else to worry about, that she might try to run off back to her old life again, if and when it all gets too much for her.  She tried to go back to her homeless life once before in Rainbow Valley, last time I knew where to go looking for her, but if she tries to do it here, I do not even know where I would even start looking for her!

"You heard what they said at the hospital, you are still a little under weight, they think it could well be just the malnutrition that has stopped your periods and they will start when your body is stronger.  That is what your special diet is for, to build you up.  It is probably your not normal life that has caused this problem!!" 

"What about if they can not fix me?  Are you going to run off and find someone who is not broken when you want more babies?"  this makes me laugh a little.

"No Stupid!!!"  I laugh at her  "I love you!!  We have Vanilla, and if you can not have babies, we can adopt them, there are lots of colourless children out there that get dumped like you were, that need a home."

I think that Crystal is going to start protesting to something that I have just said, she starts to pull a face, so I start kissing her so that she can not say anything.

We had hardly been alone for very long, when there is a knock at the door, which really irritates me.  The moment we start kissing, we are disturbed, I feel like telling whoever it is to get lost and leave us alone for a while, I jump off the bed a little annoyed.  This is supposed to be my bedroom and I can not get a minutes privacy in here!!

The door opens and Sunny walks in.

As soon as Sunny walks into the room with Vanilla, I notice that he also has Crystal's teddy bear in his other hand.  Crystal also spots it and leaps off the bed and snatches the teddy off him then throws herself back on the bed and continues with her crying, which she had only stopped for a short time.

"Tapestry, I am not in a hurry to dump Vanilla back on you, but we seriously need to talk about that teddy bear of Crystals."  Sunny says quietly as he stares over at Crystal now lying on the bed again crying, or is it that damn teddy bear that he is staring at.

"Can it not wait until later.  Crystal is very upset, she has not had very good news at the hospital."  I pull a face at him and he frowns.

"It is nothing too serious I hope!!"   he says and I roll my eyes at him   

"Women's problems, she might not be able to have any children in the future, it has upset her obviously."

"I am Sorry."  he glances over at Crystal sympathetically

Sunny is quiet for a moment then he goes and places Vanilla down in her cot.  I thought maybe he would go and leave it for another time, however I was wrong, he glances at Crystal again before he turns his attention back to me.  He looks a little awkward, embarrassed even.

"I'm sorry Tap, I know this is probably not a good time, but I am not going to rest until I sort this out!!  I seriously need to know where she got that teddy bear from?!"  he glances over in Crystals direction again.  "I had a good look at that teddy bear while you was away and I nearly fell over, because this is not the first time that I have seen that particular teddy bear before."  I frown at him   

He starts to explain that he had an identical twin brother, who faded when he was a teenager, Saffron broke his neck falling out of a tree that they were both climbing, trying to untangle a kite from the tree branches.  As they were identical, their parents used to treat them sometimes like they were one person, especially when they were younger, and it used to drive them mad because they were two totally different people personality wise. They used to be bought identical things, dressed in identical clothes and had their hairs cut in exactly the same way and nobody could tell them apart most of the time, even their parents used to get them mixed up sometimes.

The teddy bear being a perfect example they both had the same identical teddy bear.  He says that if I take the dungarees off the bear, I will see it has a name embroidered on the shirt.  He says his Grandmother did that because Sunny and his brother used to get their teddy bears mixed up so she embroidered their names on the shirts. 

Sunny hands me a photograph, that he pulls out of his pocket, and I stare at it for a moment.  The photograph is of two little boys, who I presume are Sunny and his brother, who look identical and are holding two identical teddy bears.  I glance over at Crystals bear, and it does look like it is the same bear that is in the old photograph.

"That actual teddy bear was my brothers."  he points over at Crystal's bear.  "The name "Saffron Shine" is embroidered on his shirt, mine obviously had "Sunny Shine" on it.

This makes Crystal sit up, she obviously must have been listening to our conversation.  She frowns at Sunny as she wipes the tears off her face, then she starts to undo the buttons on the dungarees and undress's the teddy bear.  What he has said also sends my head spinning because I have heard the name Saffron Shine before.  Not only does one of Sunny's boys have that name, but it is also the name of the teenage spirit that used to hang around Crystal when she was a child, I am not sure why I have never thought about that before.

"Do you know Saffy?"  she frowns at Sunny  "He is my friend, he used to look after me, but he has gone now, he went away to find someone and never came back."

Sunny gives Crystal the strangest look, he is highly confused, especially by Crystal knowing that everyone called his brother Saffy instead of Saffron.  I start laughing for a moment, even though my head it doing somersaults.  This is very bizarre!!

Crystal sits rubbing her hand on the shirt, then she holds it up so I can see the shirt.  I can see that there appears to be two words sewn onto the shirt, but I can not read the words, I just have to take Sunny's word for it.  I doubt very much that Crystal can read the words either.  I know that River is teaching her to read and write but she is still on very basic words, she still does not know the alphabet properly yet.

 I have to explain to Sunny that Crystal sees and communicates with spirits just like I do, she also sees Cosmic and Storm.  I tell Sunny that when she was a child she says she had a spirit looking after her who's name she says was Saffron Shine, she called him Saffy.  The spirit used to help her fight off the vampberry's that were chasing her, Jazz thinks they were trying to catch her because she is silent to them like I am.   I know that I can have this conversation with Sunny because he knows about Jazz and the vampberrrys and that Cosmic and Storm are lurking around in spirit form, just like my Dad does. Sunny looks a little shocked for a moment.

"So how did you find out she sees and talks to ghosts like you?"  he frowns at me

"Storm was with me in Rainbow Valley."  I smile at Sunny  "Crystal had a right go at Storm for bad mouthing her, he was being quite nasty about her dirty homeless appearance thinking she could not see or hear him."  we both laugh for a second

I explain that I chased her all over town, trying to catch her, because I have spent my whole life knowing and see Cosmic and being told that I am an idiot and ghosts do not exist.  I have never come across anyone who sees them before so I wanted to speak to her because she is like me - she can see and hear them too.

"Did you say vampberrys have been chasing her since she was a child?"  he frowns at me  "So she knows about the vampberrys?"

"Yes, but I do not think she understands what they actually are!!  She just calls them bad people, and that is not going to give them away is it!!"  I start laughing  "Actually, I doubt you would know but, my spirit friends are not around at the moment."  he frowns at me  "Jazz has sent Cosmic and Storm ghost hunting in Rainbow Valley and Amber Meadow, trying to track down this spirit of Crystals.  Jazz has got it into his crazy head that he is your brother's spirit, and if he is and he has not passed over, I expect he will come back with them." 

"This is just TOTAL madness!!"  Sunny is very confused as well as head blown.  "My brothers teddy bear and his spirit with Crystal, do you not find that just a little too mad to believe!?"

I do, but I am beginning to wander if the spirit was following Crystal because she has his teddy bear, which is just stupid!!  Crystal would not have been able to read the name embroidered onto the shirt because she can not read, she has never been taught to, so I doubt she even knew his name was there.  It is even stupider to think that the spirit could actually be Sunny's brother.  That would be one mad coincidence, too hard to believe. 

"So HOW and WHERE did she get my brother's teddy bear from?"

"As far as she knows, her parents.  When she was dumped outside the childrens home in Amber Meadow, all she had was that teddy bear and a note saying her name is Crystal."  Sunny is really frowning at Crystal now.  He is screwing up his face and shaking his head.

"What is wrong?"  I ask him

"I don't know, but I have got bombs going off in my head!!  Her name, her coming from Amber Meadow, her having my brothers teddy bear, now possibly his spirit."  he glances over at Crystal for a moment  "How old is she Tap?"  he asks me without taking his eyes off her, I wander why he is asking me instead of her.

"She does not know how old she is, when she was born, her surname or even what colour her parents were, it is only presumed they are yellow because of that teddy bear."  Sunny pulls a face at me  "However, Winter told me earlier, her age has been estimated medically, they think she is in her late twenties, possibly thirty."

I guess his brain is ticking, his forehead screws up into frown lines as he starts to count quietly under his breath.  This confuses me a little, his eyes widen for a second, he says twenty eight, then walks over to the bed to where Crystal is now sat just quietly listening to our conversation.


"Crystal I need to know everything you know about yourself?"  she frowns at him suspiciously.  "I need to know HOW you have got my brothers teddy bear."

She sits there telling Sunny nothing that I have not heard before, about how she thinks her parents threw her away because she was colourless, and how she was left in the pouring rain all night outside a children's home in Amber Meadow by him, with just that teddy bear and a note with her name on.  Him I presume being her Father.  She tells Sunny she ran away from the home when she was about six because of how they treated her, they kept her locked up in a room and would not let her go to school like the other children.  She tells him when she ran away from the home she went to live in the woods.

"There are no woods in Amber Meadow."  Sunny frowns

"She is talking about the woods in Rainbow Valley, that is where I found her living."  I tell him  "River worked it out, like the geek he is, while we were out there.  There is a children's home right on the edge of Amber Meadow.  River thinks, when she left the home, that she crossed two fields which back onto the woods in Rainbow Valley.  He says she only actually ran a short distance from the home, just over a mile, but to her as a small child it probably would have seemed like she had traveled a long way."

"You know this is spooky, those fields are where we used to go in Amber Meadow to fly our kites, a tree on the edge of those woods, that is where Saffy faded."  he mumbles quietly  "We usually stayed in the top field because that is Amber Meadow, the second field was the boundary between Amber and Rainbow, it was not often we ventured into Rainbow, unfortunately that day we did!"

"Saffy showed me his tree."  Crystals says suddenly and Sunny starts choking as he stares at her wide eyed  "There are faded flowers tied to the tree he fell out of.  He said his friends and family put them there.  I used to clean the faded flowers away, but it has been a long time since any new ones were put there."

Fudge!!  Does that mean that her spirit is actually Sunny's brothers spirit.  I thought Sunny was going to crack up for a moment, I can see the tears welling up in his eyes.  Sunny asks Crystal then, if she remembers anything about her parents.  She shrugs her shoulders at him.

She starts to tell him that all she can remember is being locked away in a room constantly, all she had was that teddy bear.  She can not remember her parents much other than the arguments she used to hear all the time coming from another room.   The only time she saw them was when they gave her a bottle, changed or bathed her and most of the time it was her.  Sometimes she used to sing to her and he used to shout at her for crying, but she can not remember what either of them look like, not even what colour they or the room was.

The singing was something new to me, she has never told me that before.  I laugh at her as she just suddenly starts to sing the song that I had heard her singing to Vanilla outside.  Sunny stands there wide eyed for a moment then joins in, singing the song with her.

When they stop singing, Sunny just stands there staring at Crystal for a moment.

"This is starting to get really stupid!!"  Sunny has the strangest expression on his face "Crystal HOW do you know that lulaby?" 

"She used to sing it to me, but she did not pick me up, she used to sit close and sing it."  Crystal replies quietly.

Sunny just stares at me for a moment.

"I feel like I am going totally mad ... that lullaby, my Mother made it up for me and Saffy.  So nobody else should know it!!"  he frowns at me in confusion as he scratches his head.  "How on berry's earth can Crystal know it?"

I frown at Sunny, wandering if Crystal has not got a little mixed up, she has never mentioned the singing to me before in all the time we were in Rainbow Valley, I never heard her singing either.  I wander if maybe Crystal has gotten a little confused about where she has heard it, she has been spending a lot of time with Cherry, Sunny's oldest daughter lately.  

"Crystal has been helping Cherry with the triplets.  Maybe that is where she has learned it from and just got a little confused."

"No, none of them know it, I have never sang it to any of my kids.  I have not heard it for years, I had actually forgotten about it until she just started singing it."  he frowns at Crystal again like he is really confusedHe stands there again shaking his head and frowning.  "Berry this is stupid, I think I am going mad!!  I can not believe what I am starting to think  ......." 

He screws up his face and without finishing his sentence Sunny takes out his phone and starts to dial a number.  He puts the call onto loud speaker, I do not know why.  It does not take me long to realize that he is phoning his mother.

"Mom, do you remember that lullaby you used to sing to me and Saffy."  the woman laughs and says she does.  "You told us you made that lullaby up."

"Yes I did why?"

"So nobody else would know it?"

"Well no, not unless you or Saffy have taught it to anyone."

Sunny amuses me for a minute as he covers the phone for a moment and frowns at Crystal asking if Saffy has sung it to her.  I am a little taken a back that he believes in the spirits and would seriously ask her that question  She shakes her head violently.

"Saffy shouted at me, he told me to forget her and NOT to sing it again, but he has gone now!!"  Crystal pulls a face at Sunny  "Only she sings it he said!"     

"Mom, sing it for me."  Sunny takes his hand away from the phone and speaks into it, his Mother laughs and asks Sunny if he is feeling alright.  "Please Mom, humour me, I want to hear you sing it, I have forgotten how it goes."

Sunny winks at me which I think is strange.  His Mother starts to sing the song that I had just heard Sunny and Crystal singing.  Crystal pulls a face and puts her hands over her ears, like she is trying to block out the woman's singing.  Sunny is watching Crystal carefully and I do not know why.

"Mom, what happened to my teddy bear?"  he asks as soon as she stops singing, his Mother asks what teddy bear?  "You know the one that Gran embroidered my name onto the shirt.  Saffy also had an identical teddy bear with his name embroidered on the shirt."

"It is up in the loft I presume boxed up with the rest of your old stuff.  All the boxes from yours and Saffy's room have never been unpacked since we moved from Amber Meadow."  there is a short silence.  "Why do you ask dear?"

"I just wandered, where is Saffy's teddy bear do you know?"  the woman laughs

"It should be in the same place as yours.  Why Sunny?   What is the sudden interest with those old teddy bears?"  she laughs  "I should imagine they are moth eaten by now!"

"I had to ask because I wandered if you had given them to a charity shop or given them away to someone, or thrown them out with the rubbish."  he pulls a face when he says the last part which makes me laugh because I know he is using Crystals words.

"No dear, we have thrown nothing away.  Remember I have been nagging you for years to come and sort out what you want and don't want, so that we can get rid of the rubbish!  Our loft is stuffed to the rafters with yours and Saffy's old stuff!"

"Very Strange you saying you have not thrown anything out, because I know for a fact you do not have Saffy's teddy bear anymore."  Sunny suddenly snaps  "I am with the person who now has Saffy's old teddy bear!  She has had it since she was a baby and she is nearly thirty now.  I recognized it the moment that I saw it."

"Don't be silly Sunny, that is impossible, it can not be the same teddy bear!"

"As I live and breath I HAVE Saffy's teddy bear right here in my hand. Embroidered on the teddy bears shirt is the name Saffron Shine,"  he snaps at his Mother  "It now belongs to a woman, called Crystal, who was born in Amber Meadow.  Are you sure you have not conveniently forgotten who you gave that teddy bear too?"

"No!!  I ... I ..."  the old woman seems to stammer and is a little lost for words.

"Maybe I should tell you about the woman, who has the teddy bear now, it might just jog your unbelievable forgetful memory."

Sunny is snapping quite nastily at his Mother.  He is making me feel very uncomfortable because I do not understand why he sounds so angry with her.

"She says that teddy bear was given to her by her parents.  That teddy bear is the only thing she had along with a note, telling anyone who found her that her name was Crystal.  Crystal was left outside a children's home in Amber Meadow.  She thinks she was thrown out like rubbish, by her parents, because she was colourless."  there is only silence coming from the other end of the phone now  "And get this Mom, not only does she have Saffy's old teddy, she even remembers and knows that lullaby that you just sang to me!!"

I hear the old woman choke.

"What colour was Magnolia Mom?"  he suddenly shouts down the phone.  Who is Magnolia?

We can hear the old woman choking and there is a weird nose, she is now openly sobbing and I think she might even have dropped the phone.  Sunny just laughs sarcastically, I think to himself.

Suddenly a man has the phone.

"Sunny what the hell have you just been saying to upset your Mother?!"  the man shouts quite angrily down the phone.

"I just asked her what colour Magnolia was."

"What damn colour do you think she was idiot!!"  the old man shouts so loud Sunny moves the phone away from his ear for a moment.  I frown at Crystal as I watch her flinch.  "You know any mention of your sister really upsets your Mother, so why did you even bring her up Sunny!!"  he snaps  "I do not want you to mention that girl again do you hear me!!  Especially not around your Mother!!"

The old man sounds very angry.  Crystal covers her ears and throws herself on the bed crying, so I go to lie down with her, not sure what has upset her.  Sunny is also watching her carefully, in fact he has hardly taken his eyes off Crystal since he started to make the phone call.

"Dad, why have you never shown me a photograph of Magnolia?"

"You know why Sunny!!  We do not have any photo's of her!  What is wrong with you Sunny, why are you digging all this up now!?"  The old man sounds very annoyed.

"I have never really believed that, everyone takes pictures of their babies the day they are born, and Magnolia did not fade the day she was born did she!!"  Sunny snaps quite nastily  "I think it is because Magnolia CRYSTAL Shine was colourless and not yellow!"

"WHAT!?"  the old man snaps  "How did you even know her middle name was Crystal?"

"Well, you was stupid enough to put it on her headstone for the world to see!!  Did you think that just because you had up sticks and moved to the other side of the planet that  I would never go and visit Saffy and Magnolia's graves?!"  Sunny snaps  "My kids might be confined to this colour mix town, but I am not!!"

"Son, what is this call about?  Why the sudden interest in your sister?"

"I have a woman sat in front of me, her name is Crystal, well that is what the note said her name was, that she had on her when she was left outside a childrens home in Amber Meadow with just a yellow teddy bear.  The teddy bear, which she still has,  just happens to be Saffy's teddy bear, you know the one Gran embroidered his name on.  Crystal also knows Mom's lullaby, and there is only one reason why I can think that she should remember that lullaby being sang to her when she was a baby and toddler!!  Spookily, now I take a good look at her, she does actually look a lot like Mom!!"

Now it is the old mans turn to choke.

"Magnolia did not fade, did she Dad!!  YOU dumped her at the children's home because she was colourless, Didn't you!!"

There is no answer coming from the old man.

"WELL Dad??  Tell me you didn't!!  Tell me my sister was not colourless!!  Tell me the woman that is sat in front of me, with Saffy's teddy bear singing Mom's lullaby, is not my sister!!"

Silence still comes from the other end of the phone.

"Now I get it!!  Now I get why you sent me away to that boarding school and did not let me come home for nearly two years!!  Now I get why you suddenly up sticks and moved as far away from Amber Meadow as you could get!!  Now I get why you are not interested in Cherry's colourless husband and triplets!!  Now I get why you showed some interest in Vanilla until you found out she has colourless eyes along with a colourless Grandmother, now you don't want to damn well know!!  Why is that Dad, because it reminds you of Magnolia, or Crystal or whatever you are calling her these days?!"

Sunny sounds like he is getting really angry, I am not sure that my head is keeping up with this conversation any more.  Did he just say that he thinks Crystal is his SISTER!!??  This is just mental madness!!

"Sunny ..."

"I do not want any of your bullshit excuses, just a yes or no will do!!  But, I think I am right aren't I, or you would have denied it all by now!!"  Sunny snaps  "Just tell me or Berry help me, I will come over there and shake it out of you!!"  Sunny shouts at the phone  "Was Magnolia colourless and did you leave her outside the children's home in Amber Meadow and tell everyone she had faded?"

"Yes ... okay!  You are right ..."

Sunny half yells half screams and launches his phone full pelt at the wall without ending the call or switching it off.  His phone made a horrible squealing noise as it shattered into hundreds of pieces and scatters all over the floor.  He starts to crack up then storms out of the room in tears.

I just stand there in shock for a moment, staring at the pieces of his phone on the floor.  Did I seriously just hear that conversation, or is my stupid brain just getting it all wrong?!  I can see how upset he was when he left the room, I should really chase after him but I can't.  When Sunny had screamed so did Crystal and Vanilla, they both reacted to his screaming.  I do not know where to go first!!  Thankfully Vanilla stopped crying virtually straight away because Crystal jumps into my arms and starts to cry. 

My head is totally blown and I am not sure if Crystal really understands what has just happened.  I am actually not sure that I did myself!!

River comes rushing into the room demanding to know what is going on and what all the racket is about, because we have just woken up Ocean and it had taken him ages to get him off to sleep.  He frowns down at the smashed up phone that is scattered around the floor.

"It was Sunny doing the yelling, and that is his phone.  I think you should go after him."

"What the hell have you done now Tap?"  River frowns at me.  I am very amused that he would automatically jump straight to the conclusion that I have done something to upset Sunny and make him kick off.

"I have done nothing!   It is actually his parents who made him kick off."  I laugh at him  "I think Sunny might have gone off to have a nervous breakdown, because we think we have just found out who Crystal might be?"

"How?  Who is she?"  River frowns at me

"Go ask Sunny.  He probably needs somebody to talk too right now!!  He needs to tell you himself because I do not think you would believe me if I told you!!"

Without another word River goes running out of the room in search of Sunny.

Crystal does not say anything, after River leaves the room she just bursts into floods of tears again.  I am not sure why.  At first I just hold her, I can not ask her exactly why she is crying because my head is now totally in a mess and hurting, there is too much for my brain to process, first we have what they told us at the hospital, now this.

Did I just imagine all that with Sunny because it would make more sense being a stupid dream than actually being reality.  Surely it can not be possible that Crystal is Sunny's sister!!  Can it?!

There is a knock at the far bedroom door.

I am beginning to lose my temper, because today I am not being given any time to think.

"WHAT NOW?!"  I shout out.

The door opens and Winter pokes her head around the door and just laughs, she seems to be very amused by something.

"Tap, you have a visitor."  she says as she holds the door open and steps aside.

I nearly fall over when I see who walks into the room.


I am a little shocked to see Rocky standing there.

Hell!!  Me and River have not sat down and sorted out how we are going to tackle Rocky and Grumpy Grape and the time that they know we were in Rainbow Valley.

I am seriously not prepared for this, it is way too soon.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Chapter 33 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


Vanilla starts screaming which jolts me awake really quickly.

I roll over and squint at the clock on the wall which says it is still only 6am.  I rub my tired eyes, a little irritated because I was up with Vanilla less than two hours ago.  I was not expecting her to wake up this early, I hoped she would not wake up for at least another few hours yet.  I get out of bed quickly and take Vanilla straight out of her cot, hoping to stop her crying quickly so that she does not wake Crystal up.

As soon as I pick Vanilla up she stops crying and stares up at me.  The little madam probably does not want feeding or a nappy change, she probably just wants some attention, while I just need more sleep!!  As I stand by her cot rocking her I stare over at Crystal, who is lay curled up on the bed, still fully clothed and fast asleep, she is actually snoring quietly.  I laugh at her.

Crystal has spent all night in my room, as she puts it, helping to keep the baby safe.  At first I slept on the couch, I did not think that she would let me share the bed with her.  Even though it is my bed and we have spent many nights sleeping in a single bed together in Rainbow Valley, because she always used to get into bed with me when she was having her bad dreams.  However, I was not sure if she remembers us sharing a bed before, so I did not push it.

I did actually struggled to sleep at first, being on the couch was pretty uncomfortable.  Also Strawberry trying to take Vanilla away the night before was really playing on my mind.  I just lay there at first, too scared to sleep, while I lay listening for the slightest noise, and when I did hear one it made me jumpy and had me sitting up worrying and waiting.  I even went upstairs a few times to make sure that the front and back doors were locked and bolted.  I have decided for my own piece of mind, I am going to get locks fitted to my bedroom doors.

Every time that Vanilla started to cry, during the night,  it was a race between me and Crystal as to who got to her first.  It amused me a little because even though I kept telling Crystal to go back to sleep, she insisted on staying awake with me while I did Vanilla's feeds and nappy changes.  I ended up having to let Crystal see to Vanilla a few times because she was getting a little ratty that I would not let her.  Crystal actually takes care of Vanilla quite well, which surprises me a little, she says that Winter showed her how to change nappies, feed, wind and bath Ocean and she has been helping Cherry and Affair to look after the triplets.  I really had to laugh at her when she told me that she loves babies and wants one of her own.

It was Crystal screaming, not Vanilla, that woke me up one time during the night.  She was having one of her bad dreams so I ended up sleeping on the bed with her.  Just like she had in Rainbow Valley, she wrapped herself around me and I had to hold her until she went to sleep.

I glance over at Crystal again and she is still fast asleep.  I start to tiptoe out of the bedroom quietly to let her get a little more sleep, she has been awake as much as I have during the night and I am shattered and feel like I have had hardly any sleep at all, so I guess she must be feeling the same.  She must be shattered because the slightest noise usually wakes Crystal up, Vanilla crying this time did not even make Crystal stir.

When I tiptoe sleepily into the kitchen, from my room, Vanilla starts to grizzle a little so I decide to try her with a bottle.  As I make my way over to the fridge, I am really very irritated to see that my Dad is camped out in my kitchen again, sat there drinking coffee and he has made waffles, which are sat steaming on the side.  He seems to be spending more time down here than he does upstairs in his own kitchen!!

"The kettle has not long boiled if you want to warm up that bottle."  he says to me.

"Is your kettle broken upstairs?"  I smile at him as I pour the boiling water into the jug that I have just place the cold bottle into.   "You know you do not have to keep on checking up on me ALL of the time!!  I am perfectly capable of looking after Vanilla!!"

"I know, but it is early days ...." 

I am not sure what he was going to say but he does not finish his sentence and changes the subject pretty quickly. He starts to explain that he is missing Mom, it is like a morgue upstairs, Cotton is on a sleep over at Affair's and my Grandparents are on nights so he is rattling around upstairs on his own and he is not used to it.  I guess it must be a little strange for him, this house is usually so busy, I have noticed myself how much quieter it is upstairs, especially now that Mosaic and Coral have moved out, there was always a stream of their friends here, when they lived here.  Mom not being here has not helped either, because there is always a rota of people around to sit with her, because of her black outs, while Dad is at work.

He tells me that Mom should be discharged later, so she should be home by tea time.  This I am glad about because then it might keep him off my back a little more.  He also warns me that my Granddad Orchid is being discharged from the hospital today, so he is about to land on us down here.  That is why my Grandmother Orchid has now moved in with Prelude because her ex husband will be living here.  This amuses me that they are refusing to live in the same house now, when they have lived together all the years they were married up until only recently, well nine months ago  - since Storms funeral and the day me and Honey were taken from the cemetery,  when my Grandmother Lavender stayed here and refused to return back to Rainbow Valley.

I am a little surprised when he pulls something out of his dressing gown pocket and hands me a set of what I can see are car keys which I just stare at in confusion for a moment, mainly because the key ring has a big T on it.  He tells me that they are my car keys.  I just stare at him wide eyed.  He has bought me a car - I am shocked!!  I am not sure what shocks me most, that he has actually brought me a car after he has done all this down here, or that he trusts me to drive at all!!  However, I should have known that there would be a catch and it was a little too good to be true.

"You do not drive that car until you have passed your test AGAIN in your real name!!"  he smiles at me as I pull a face at him, I had not even given that a thought.  "River will 'pretend' to give you a few driving lessons then you can put yourself in for your test."  he smiles at me  "If you do drive anywhere, you take either me, Sunny, Mulberry, Winter or River with you until you have officially passed your test!!  Remember as far as everyone is concerned you have never driven a car before."  I suddenly start laughing and he frowns at me.

"That is not strictly true is it, remember that time me and Storm lifted Preludes car keys"

"Don't even go there Tapestry!!"  I laugh at him as he washes up his mug.  "If you do not want me to carry on treating you like a child, don't act like one!"  he tuts  "If I catch you driving that car, without supervision, I will take those keys back off you until you have passed your test officially."

Vanilla starts to cry so I play with her a little bit while the bottle warms up some more.  I carry on laughing at the look on Dad's face, I almost suspect that he is testing me giving me the car keys.  I think he is going to be watching me, very closely, to see if I am actually listening to him or if I am going to misbehave like I would have done before.   In the past giving me car keys would have been like handing me a loaded gun and telling me not to pull the trigger, the minute his back was turned I would have done, just because he had told me not too. Now I am not so sure why I gained so much pleasure out of being so disobedient and winding him up by doing exactly the opposite of what he told me.

River walks into the kitchen, mumbling that he has had hardly any sleep all night because of crying babies and he is starving.  He grins at the waffles on the side and grabs a plate.  Dad tries to take Vanilla off me and says that he will feed Vanilla while I eat.  This amuses me because it is probably his crafty way of getting me to eat.  I tell him that I am not hungry and I will feed Vanilla, he just rolls his eyes at me, for once he does not argue with me.  Instead he makes us both a coffee, but he makes sure that he reminds me it should be my only one today.  River laughs suddenly.

"Actually, I disagree with that."  River mumbles  "Coffee actually helps to keep Tapestry a lot calmer with his condition.  He knows how to drink it in moderation."

Dad pulls a face and starts to carry on about coffee and blood pressure.  This sparks off a caffeine debate between the two of them and they start spouting their medical rubbish at each other.  They have me in stitches, especially Dad when he stops mid sentence, has a go at River for talking with his mouthful, then continues with what he was saying.  I watch them for a while with amusement, they are both so alike, only River is just a tad more open minded than Dad is, but only slightly.

"I am sick of the coffee debate already!!  While I have got you two here I need to ask you something."  I mumble trying to stop their medical debate, as I start to feed Vanilla.  They both frown at me, probably for interrupting their conversation.  "Has Jazz been messing in your heads, wiping memories away?"  they both look at each other a little awkwardly I think  "I do not want to know what he has wiped away.  Storm has told me you have both had something wiped ... It is important that I know if he actually has."  they both frown at me  "Dad I think you know why I am asking - the dream thing."

"Okay, yes, Jazz has wiped some stuff out of our heads why?"  Dad mumbles quietly

"I need to know if you are having strange dreams, that might actually be memories that Jazz might have wiped away."

They both look at me a little puzzled.  I think Dad is probably trying to think about his dreams, but River just does not have a clue what I am on about.  So I start to explain, more so to River, about Crystal's memory being erased of our time together in Rainbow Valley  However, her dreams are helping her to remember things that have been erased.  I tell them that, if the same thing is happening to them, then I think that there might be a flaw in the vampberry's memory wiping, that the vampberry's do not even realize themselves.

"You know I have been having some mad wakey dreams lately, especially about Maizie."  River starts laughing through a mouthful of food.  "I know that Lime faded her months ago, and you have not seen her since you were a teenager Tap, but I keep having dreams about you pulling a silly thumb sucking compelling prank on her when we were in the den, but you are an adult in my dream.  How stupid is that!!"  River looks up as he starts to point his fork at Dad while he is chewing food.  "Which reminds me, I know they have not found her body yet, but do you think we should get her a headstone."

I start to choke, then pretend I have got a cough when River frowns at me.  I thought I was the stupid one!!  He has just answered my question perfectly as well as told himself that his Mother is not faded!!  I am not sure he is even thinking about what he has just said properly.

"Okay River, he asked if you was having silly dreams, he did not want to hear them!!!  And that by the way is just that a stupid nonsense dream, not what Tapestry was talking about!!"

Dad laughs awkwardly and when I glance up at him, he is pulling sly faces at me.  I had forgotten that Dad did tell me that River had demanded that Jazz have Maizie faded in his head because he swore he wanted nothing more to do with her, because he was never going to the den again.  Jazz has rewrote his memory so he believes the lie that he told the police about Lime fading his Mother.  Yet he is, like Crystal, dreaming about something that actually did happen with Maizie, that he has had wiped from his memories.

"We will talk about a headstone for your Mother later."  Dad mumbles quietly.

Dad turns away from us and faces the wall while he washes his hands, probably for no other reason than to take himself away from the conversation and where River can not see the faces he is pulling.  I am finding it very hard not to laugh, and I would not be surprised if Dad is not doing the same.  For once I am not the idiot in the room, River is!!   He has answered my question though.  It appears that it is not just Crystal who is dreaming about memories that have been wiped away.  River obviously is and I think Dad hinted at it yesterday when I first spoke to him about it.

"Anyway, we have a problem, Crystal is remembering things that we don't want her too, through her dreams."  River rolls his eyes at me  "Like I have said, I think there is a flaw in the vampberry's memory wiping.  I think we should keep it to ourselves, the last people we should be telling is the vampberry's."

River puts his fork down noisily, it sounds almost like he has just dropped it on his plate.

"Oh Fudge!!  Tapestry, you are right!!  No, we can not tell Jazz!!  He is likely to come round here and fade Crystal to keep her quiet, especially about them.  Hell, Winter and Mulberry have had the vampberry's completely removed from their heads.  If Jazz knows that they might be dreaming and remembering, he might finish them off."

"Don't be so dramatic!!  Jazz is not like that, he wouldn't!!"  Dad says quite snappily as he turns round to face River.

"Dad, Trust me!!  Jazz is a vampberry - yes he would!!"  River mumbles  "He faded his own wife without a second thought to save his own skin, so don't think he would lose any sleep over Crystal, Winter and Mulberry or any of our feelings!!"  River frowns at Dad  "He is not the Jazz you used to know, you have to remember he is a cold hearted blood sucking creature now, and okay, he might have stuck his neck out a lot for us because of you and Sunny, because of your special friendship and he knows he can totally trust the pair of you to guard his secret, BUT I suspect he has stuck his neck out only because he thinks he has the capability of wiping memories away that will be forgotten for ever!!"

"River is right!!  If Jazz found out his memory wiping is not working, it will change everything!!"  I join in  "Storm has made me promise NOT to trust them, not even Jazz! or go anywhere near them without either him or Cosmic in tow!!  He also told me most DEFINITELY NOT to tell him about Crystal dreaming, because it could be putting us all in danger, exactly like River just said."   I pull a face  "I'll tell you something else too, Storm has warned me, Jazz has Storm and Cosmic watching me like a hawk.  If I blab about them to anyone outside of you, Sunny and River, they are to tell Jazz.  To their faces he is saying I will be getting a major rollocking for blabbing, behind their backs he is saying something totally different!!  Storm has overheard him talking to Omri on the sly, if I talk he will be finishing me off on the sly even behind Storm and Cosmics back!!  He seriously can not be trusted!!"  

I tell Dad, worrying that he might think we are over reacting and speak to Jazz about the dreams.  River squints at Dad as he tries to convince him that he seriously needs to keep his mouth shut.  Dad starts pulling faces at the pair of us, I think because he trusts Jazz just a little more than he should!!

Finally we manage to convince him and we agree to keep Crystals dreams to ourselves and we are to tackle the problem that we now have with Crystal remembering me being in Rainbow Valley ourselves.  All of the things that she is remembering I am to tell her they are just silly dreams, and that I have never been to Rainbow Valley. Dad thinks that when she starts filling her head with me here and a load of other memories she will soon stop dreaming about Rainbow Valley and over time it will be forgotten.  I just hope he is right!!

After she has been fed and winded I take Vanilla back into my room and leave Dad and River who have started talking their medical jargon again.  Vanilla has fallen asleep, so I place her down in her cot carefully so that I do not wake her up.  I glance over at Crystal who is still fast asleep and feel tired.  I decide to try and get a little more sleep while I can, so I lie down on the bed next to Crystal and close my eyes.

I am not sure how long I had been asleep for when I am woken by something touching my face.  I can feel fingers gently running across the skin on my face, carefully avoiding my bruises.  I know it is Crystal, I can feel my skin burning underneath her finger tips.  Her fingers run down my neck then across my chest.  I wander what she is doing and why?  When I feel her lips softly touching mine, my eyes spring open.

Crystal jumps back away from me. She is leaning over me and  looks a little scared, I am not sure that she expected me to open my eyes when she kissed me.  She sits there frozen like a timid mouse, like the day in Rainbow Valley when I turned my head and she kissed my lips by accident.  That time I had quickly moved her off me, pretending it had not happened.  This time I do not want to pretend like it did not happen.

I smile as I pull her towards me, she automatically tries to kiss me again and I do not stop her.

I start kissing her back.  My head switches off a little then, as we really start getting into the kiss, she is virtually lying on top of me now and it is driving me crazy, my hands start to travel slowly up her leg that is draped across me, up and under her top as I pull her closer.

She stops kissing me and pulls away as she sits up.  At first I thought I had gone too far and she is about to kick off at me, but she shocks me by moving herself so she is sat over me, she grabs the bottom of her top and pulls it off over her head.  She is now sitting over me wearing just her skirt and bra.  She runs her hand gently up my chest and onto my shoulders like she is trying to take my dressing gown off.  Does she even know what she is doing?  I wander if I am reading this all wrong!!

"Crystal ... what are you doing?"  I frown at her

"I kiss you a lot in my sleep, I wanted to see if it feels the same."  she smiles at me 

"No not the kissing, the undressing?"  I can not help but laugh at her as she sits over me wearing a confused look on her face.

"You said you loved me and in that dark, cold, nasty place, you said we can do more than kissing."  she grins at me shyly.

I sit up and laugh at her before I start to kiss her again. I should really be telling her that these dreams of hers are not real, but I know they are real memories.  It is almost like she is remembering everything and confusing her dreams with reality.  She should not be remembering the conversation we had in the vampberry den about doing more than just kissing, because I wiped that away, but she does remember it.  Selfishly I do not want to tell her it is not real.  I know that she can keep secrets, she never told anyone about my colourless eyes while we were in Rainbow Valley, instead of trying to make her believe the dreams are not true, maybe I should be telling her they are a secret instead so that I do not get her totally confused. 

While we are kissing, I let my hands wander over her naked flesh.  I undo her bra, which is getting in my way, at the back and slowly remove it.  She does not try to stop me, she actually helps me by slipping her arms out of it and she throws it on the floor with her top.  I know I should not be doing this yet, but I can not help myself, I start to kiss my way slowly down her neck and onto her chest.

Suddenly the door opens.

"Tap have you seen ..."   River says as he walks into the room   "Oh Fudge!!  I'm sorry!!"

Crystal dives off me trying to cover her naked chest up.

"Don't you know how to knock!!" I snap at River "You would kick off if I just barged in on you and Winter!!"

"Hell Tap!!  Now I see why her bed has not been slept in!!"  he looks a little irritated  "I did not expect you two to be at it ALREADY!!"  he frowns at me  "Me and you need words!!"

"Oh don't you start!!  You are like a Daddy Clone!!  I have already had Dad on my back about taking precautions!!  Do not stress - my idiot head gets it!!"  I snap at him  "For berry's sake we were just kissing!!" 

"Yes and getting naked and we all know where that was leading to!"  he snaps back at me. 

"What do you want anyway?"  I am seriously annoyed that he has interrupted us.  I am definitely getting a lock for that damn door!! 

"I was looking for Crystal.  Winter wants to remind her that she has an appointment in two hours time."

"What appointment?"

I frown at River then Crystal who has jumped underneath the bed clothes and is holding the sheet up to her neck,  This makes me laugh for a moment, thinking about all the times that she has not seemed to get modesty and that my body is private, and now she sits there doing that, trying to hide her body from River.

"Crystal has a hospital appointment which is what we need to talk about.  Get dressed and get yourself into the living room so we can talk!!"  he snaps as he walks out of the room and closes the door quietly behind him.  I half expected him to slam the door but he did not.

I frown at Crystal and she starts laughing as she drops the sheet.  I ask her about her appointment and she just shakes her head and looks down glumly.  I do not fancy a game of 101 questions to get the answers that I want from her, which is what I think I might get.  I pick her top and bra up off the floor and pass them to her.  I tell her that she needs to go and start getting herself ready for her hospital appointment, reminding her that she needs to eat breakfast, take a shower and change her clothes as she has slept in the ones she is wearing last night.  I pick up the baby monitor and do not bother to get myself dressed, instead I go in search of River.

When I get out into the kitchen I see Winter but not River, she is cleaning the counter top.  I ask her where River has gone and she tells me he has gone to get dressed, he will be out to talk to me as soon as he's dressed.  I do not want to wait for River so I ask Winter about Crystals hospital appointment.

I am a little amused by how Winter described it to me, as Crystal having "women's problems".  She has been medically aged as being in her late twenty's and has not yet had a monthly period, but that might just be because of the malnutrition that she has suffered from for most of her life.  Winter has arranged an appointment with Gynecology and Crystal has to have a load of tests done.  I am a little shocked, I do not really understand the 'women's problems' and I can not even start to think about them because her age is bouncing around in my head.

"That can not be right!!  She is not THAT old!!"  I laugh at Winter.  I think that is what shocks me first thinking that she could probably be nearly ten years older than me, that she might have been living rough before I was even born!!  She looks so young to me, I remember at first I could not work out whether she was a teenager or an adult, because of how small, thin and timid she was.  Even though she has started to put on a little bit of weight and is now clean and tidy, she does look older, but I never would have said she was as old as that!!

"We think she is, she had a thorough medical examination when she arrived at the hospital that estimated her age, which ties in with what Denim said.  She was a child when he was a teenager, I am a few years younger than Denim so she is not far off my age probably!"   she smiles at me.

She explains to me that River with Cinnamon's help is searching birth records around that area to see if they can find out who she is, and her exact date of birth.  However, it is not likely we will ever find out, most people who have colourless children hide them and throw them out without registering their birth, especially if they were born at home and not in the hospital.  She says that they are also trying to track down the children's home that she says she was left outside, but then again, they do not hold out much hope.  They kind of expect that the home would probably have been relieved when Crystal ran away, so they would not have had the hassle of her, she doubts her disappearance would even have been reported to the police, and there probably was never a record of her even being there.


Society really turns it's back on colourless children,  they are basically thrown out onto the streets on purpose to fade like animals, most never make it to teenage out in the coded world and nobody really cares, they turn a blind eye to a colourless child out on the streets.  Crystal is just one of probably thousands to be abandoned, however, she is one of the very few, who has been lucky enough to survive and make some kind of life for herself out on the streets even though it was not ideal.  This makes me think, everyone thinks that my Mother was hard done too, especially by the old man, but in the great scheme of things, my Mother was one of the very lucky ones!!  She was not thrown out onto the streets, she at least had a decent roof over her head.

"So these "women's problems" what does that mean exactly?"  I frown at Winter  "Are these problems fixable?"

"Tap, we do not know until we have had a look to see what is going on with her inside."

"So is she just having an xray?"  

"No!"  Winter laughs at me for a moment.  "She will have to have a physical internal examination, smear test and swobs, to make sure there are no infections or diseases and an internal ultra sound scan, blood tests etc."  she smiles at me as I pull a face.  "There are quite a few reasons why she might not be having any periods at all.  They usually start for girls from the age of 12 to 17, she is nearly 30 so she should have been having them for the past fifteen years at least."  she pulls a sad face  "Unfortunately, I am inclined to think that there might be major problems going on for her not to have a period at all."

"If she does not have periods, does it mean she can not have children?"

"As it stands at the moment, no I doubt she can have children."  she frowns at the expression on my face.  "However, I really can not say for definate, until we have been to the hospital and we know what is going on and what is stopping her from having normal periods.  We will have a better idea this afternoon, so don't start worrying about it until we know all the facts!!"

"Does Crystal understand what is going on with herself?"  I frown at Winter. 

"Yes I think so, she got very upset over it when we spoke to her about it."  I pull a face at Winter.  "Your Mother brought her sanitary towels just presuming she would need them.  That is when we realized and she told us that she has never had a menstrual cycle."  she rolls her eyes at me  "You know I never gave it a thought during the short time I was in Rainbow with her and neither did River."

No and neither did I, because obviously I am a bloke, I do not have periods so I would not have thought about them.  They are a woman's problem, which I guess Crystal knew nothing about herself. 

This is not good!!

I decided that I am going to the hospital with Crystal and Winter for her appointment. I want to hear what the doctors say, I do not want to be sat here worrying and have to wait to hear second hand information which will probably only be toned down for my benefit, because they do not think that I can handle bad things.  I think Crystal might get a little upset, scared even of what they might have to do to her.  I can only imagine what they might do to her while they are running their tests.

Besides, this might affect my future too - now that I have one child, I do not want her to be an only child.  Slate has been playing on my mind a lot over the last few days, Vanilla is basically in the same situation as he has been, his mother faded at the birth, and only having a father.  He found it very hard growing up with out a Mother and hates being an only child, he always used to carry on to Coral about how horrible she was to me, he used to tell her she was lucky to have brothers.  Slate was one of the very few that did not treat me badly because of my problems.  I do not want Vanilla growing up feeling like Slate does.  Lonely having no siblings.

My mind starts to wander a little, I wander if this is why Crystal asked me if she could be Vanilla's Mommy, because she thinks that she might not be able to have children of her own in the future.  Then I get a horrible thought, what if she is just trying to get close to me because of Vanilla!!  She wouldn't would she?!  I do not have a clue about what is actually going on in her head, because we have not really had the chance to talk properly yet, which we obviously really need to do.  She must have known this appointment was coming, but she has not mentioned it to me at all.

When River comes out to talk to me there is nothing that he can say that Winter has not already told me.  However, he does ask me something that Winter did not ask, if I had slept with her last night or this morning.  I laugh at him and tell him it would serve everyone right if I had with her having this appointment today, which I did not have a clue about, because YET AGAIN, I am the last one to know!!  I should have been told about this straight away, but as usual it is kept from me until the very last minute!!

River says that we can talk about what problems Crystal might have when the hospital have told us what is happening with her inside.  He tells me not to get upset over it, it is not the end of the world if she can never have any children in the future.  That is easy for him to say!!  I begin to wander if they do not think that Crystal having problems is a good thing.  They think I am not capable of looking after Vanilla, so I can just imagine what they might be thinking about me and Crystal having children together!!  She is primitive and childish and me with all my problems.  Neither of us can read and write, yeah I can just imagine they might think me and Crystal raising kids together might be a joke.

I can not really take Vanilla to the hospital with me, so I asked Sunny if he can baby sit for me for a few hours while I attend the hospital appointment with Crystal.  I did not want to go looking for a baby sitter so soon, but I have been very surprised by River, he is still all over the place with Ocean.   Ocean only has to start crying and River starts flapping like an idiot.  He struggles to cope with just one baby, so I dare not ask him to look after Vanilla as well.  I think that Dad is also very amused and surprised, even though he has not said it directly to me, I have actually overheard him telling my Grandparents that he thinks I am coping a lot better on my own with Vanilla than River is with Ocean even with Winter's help.

Sunny came round to collect Vanilla quite happily,  I had to make a bag up for her because Sunny wanted to take her round to his house, so that Ruby can spend some time with Vanilla, which she has not really done since she was born.  Ruby has especially not coped very well with Honey's fading.  The bag I struggled with at first, having to remember everything that needs to go into it, but Sunny helped remind me about what I needed to put in the bag.  This aggravates me a little because it is not like I can write down a list to remind myself, because I would never be able to read it, or even write it in the first place!!  Sometimes I hate not being about to read and write.

At first I was a little worried about Sunny taking Vanilla out, I just presumed he would stay here with her.  I worry not because I do not think that he can look after her, but it is Strawberry that worries me.  He laughs at me when I mention Strawberry to him, he tells me not to worry, she is at work and Vanilla will be back here before she gets home.

As Sunny runs his hand through his hair, which I think is a habit of his, because he is doing it all of the time, I can not help but notice that, as normal, he has his sleeves rolled up, and he has weird marks, that look like bites and scratches, on his arm.   One of the marks looks like it is bleeding.  I point it out to him, in case he does not realize that he has blood smeared all down his arm.  He looks down at his arm and laughs.

"Oh that's Sha ... dow"  he stops, stumbles mid word, then finishes the word Shadow off slowly.  Almost like he has just put his foot in it and said something that he should not have said.  Just hearing the name makes my blood run cold.  "Honey's cat, he's a little biter."  he mumbles awkwardly as he looks down at Vanilla.

"Honey didn't have a cat, did she?!  She always told me that she hates cats!"  I am really confused.  Sunny just laughs at me.

"She had him while you was away, stupid me thought it might make her feel better, but like you said, she didn't like him, she did not want anything to do with him!!"  he rolls his eye.  I frown at him, and am just about to ask him why they would give the boy baby the same name as a cat, when I am distracted when the door opens. 

Crystal walks into the bedroom to ask me if I am ready to go, because Winter says we are due to leave for the hospital in five minutes.  I laugh at her as she is standing there holding her teddy bear like a scared and nervous child.

When I ask her if she is planning to take her teddy with her she just smiles and nods.  I tell her that she can not take the teddy to the hospital because people will laugh at her, she is a grown woman, they would not understand why she is walking round with a teddy bear.  I know she wants her teddy because it is her security blanket, and she is scared about what will be happening to her at the hospital, but joe public will not understand that.  She starts to protest when I try to take the bear off her.

"I am scared, I need him!"  she mumbles as she pulls faces at me.

"I will hold your hand so you don't need teddy."  I smile at her  "Leave teddy with Vanilla, she will look after him for you."

She hesitates for a moment then goes to give the teddy to Sunny who is holding Vanilla.

As Crystal holds the teddy bear out to Sunny, his eyes widen and focus on it and I swear for a moment he went as colourless as Crystal as he stands there staring wide eyed at the teddy bear.  He looks a little shocked.   He tells me, without taking his eyes off the teddy bear, to take Vanilla off him which I do and I put her down in her cot. 

Sunny has taken the teddy bear off Crystal and is just stood there holding it at arms length while he turns it over and inspects it carefully while he looks at it almost in amazement.

"Where did you get this teddy bear?"  he frowns at Crystal  "I had a teddy bear identical to this one when I was a kid!!"

Crystal starts screaming, when Sunny starts to try and undress the teddy bear, almost like she thinks he is hurting the bear.  I am not sure why he is trying to take the teddy bear's clothes off!!  I start to laugh at him, but then soon stop when I see how upset Crystal is getting.  She snatches the teddy bear off Sunny quite forcefully and quickly starts to fasten the buttons on the teddy bears clothes that Sunny has undone.

It takes me a few minutes to prize the teddy bear back off her again, but first I had to convince her that Sunny was not trying to steal her teddy bear, which is what she thinks.  She is acting very childishly!!  Sunny also has to reassure her that he does not want her teddy he was just saying he had one like it once.

I take the orange teddy out of Vanilla's cot and put Crystals teddy in it's place.  I hand Sunny my old orange and white teddy and tell him he can have my old teddy bear instead.

"Well thanks Tap!"  he smirks at me while he is trying hard not to laugh.

I have to hug her to calm her down because she has gotten herself really upset.  I can understand the attachment that she has with that teddy bear, but I think Sunny is getting a little amused by how childishly she is acting.  Sunny does not understand or probably even knows half of what she has had to go through all of her life.  That teddy bear is the only possession that she has ever had.

Winter opens the door and asks us if we are ready to go, because if we leave it much later we are going to be late for Crystals appointment.  She frowns down at Crystals bare feet and asks her where her shoes are as she sighs with irritation.

"I am not wearing my shoes because they strangle my feet."  Crystal tells Winter.

This makes me laugh, not because of what Crystal has just said, even though it is funny, but because if Winter thinks that she is getting Crystal to wear shoes, I know she is going to be here all day trying to convince her.  She played a right game with me in Rainbow Valley, screaming the house down when ever I tried to put shoes on her feet.  She hates it, and can not stand to wear shoes, I think she is going to walk around bare foot forever.

"You are wasting your time even trying to make her wear shoes!"  I laugh at Winter.

"Come on ... or we are going to be late!!"  Winter tuts

I seriously am not looking forward to this appointment, and it is not even mine!!