Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Forrest 4C

Underneath .............

I lie staring at Caramel, wandering if I am dreaming this.

Possibly ... she might consider having a termination!  Well that is new!!  Normally she won't even consider it for a second, no matter what the reason.  I suggest it and she kicks off and carries on with the pregnancy regardless ... that is the way it has always been.

        "You would seriously consider having a termination?"  I ask again, shocked that she might even consider it after all the arguments we have had over the years about this subject.
         "It's not like I planned this pregnancy or even wanted it ... I've done my bit, and now the kids have grown up and I've got my life and freedom back, and finally we have a future without HIM interfering ... more babies is the last thing I want or need, especially at my age, with you being no help to me."  she rubs her stomach again
         "So you are going to do it?"  I smile at her
         "After saying all that ... I still don't know if I can!!" she pulls a face at me as my heart sinks, I knew this was going to be too good to be true!!  "My problem is, now that it has been created, I can't bear the thought of destroying its life and not giving it a chance to live ... I don't know if I would sleep at night ..."  she pouts

          "You having this baby is going to cause way too many problems ... for a start you can forget all the plans we have made for our future, that brat changes everything!!  If you are going to have it, you should have just let me walk to put me out of my misery!!"  she frowns at me
           "Please don't start that again!!"
           "I'm sorry, but you really don't know the hell that I go through, I am sick and tired of living a dysfunctional life, and I don't know if I have the strength to spend the rest of my life doing it!!  I'm lonely Mel and I need a normal life ... before all this just drives me insane!!"  a pained expression washes over both of our faces  "There is no way that you could have a baby in the same house with Alpine now, it will never be safe, and I dread to think what this is going to do to his head when he finds out you are having another baby when he is still grieving Cinnamon!!"  I tut at her   "If I stay, we would have to continue with our dysfunctional life, living separately, because it is just going to kick off my phobia again and I couldn't live in the same house as the child, and Alpine will have to be moved out.  If you plan to go ahead and have that baby, you may as well move to Berry Shores now and put him into permanent hospice care, which is way before his time, and that really isn't fair on him!!"  she pulls a face at me  "It's not like he could live with me either, without me getting live in help,  for the same reason as I could never take a turn looking after Dad.  I get called into work on a minutes notice to an emergency and I'm stuffed ... I can't run out and leave him alone, and I don't have time to organise and wait for a sitter, I do and the patient is faded!!"  I pull a face  "Most importantly, it is not safe for you, the risks are greatly increased for you having a baby at your age, and it definitely is not fair on the child!  Me being in it's life, is only going to screw it's head up and it's not like we can protect it like we did the others!!   We will not be able to hide me away from the child this time, with the other three and everyone else knowing the truth .... there are just too many things that make having this baby wrong, and it's not just my phobia!!  What are the other three going to think, they are going to have to watch me performing and treating you badly!!  Which is probably going to wreck everything, especially my chances of Bay, Fudge and Mint not hating me, or them ever accepting me for who I am while they watch me acting like an irrational moron for the next thirteen years!!  Mel please, get rid of it, for all our sakes!!"  

        "That has always been very easy for you to say hasn't it - get rid of it ... but in my eyes it is murder!!"
        "It is not as easy for me to say as you think, I'm a doctor remember, I am programmed to save lives not destroy them!"  I tut at her  "In my eyes that foetus is still developing, it is not yet a fully formed or functioning, living human being that can survive outside the womb.  I won't even class it as being a living human being or baby until the pregnancy is 20 weeks in, and women have terminations every day up until the 24 week mark, for far lesser reasons than ours!!"  I raise my eyebrows at her  "I might have selfishly pushed for a termination in the past because of my phobia and from the shear panic of knowing what lies a head of me, but this time it's different!!  Now I have three grown up kids in front of me, don't think I don't feel it!!  Don't think I don't imagine and know that we have created another little Bay, Fudge or Mint who is developing in there ... who in thirteen years time I will be comfortable with and love like the others.  It is far from easy for me to say destroy it and if only we lived in a perfect world and my phobia had been cured and I could do it right this time and be a proper Dad to that child, I would be over the moon about this pregnancy, but even still I would have my reservations about you going through with it, because of your age!!  There is a greater risk of pregnancy related complications and health problems for both you and the baby, which worry me!!"
       "What sort of problems?"  she frowns at me
       "Your body is not as young as it used to be and there is a much higher risk to your health, because of the strain of pregnancy, which could causes all sorts of complications for you and the baby ... Raised blood pressure usually being the first thing.  There is a higher risk of still birth and miscarriage, which you have already experienced when you were young and health, so the chances of that happening again are even more increased for you.  That pregnancy is going to have to be monitored very closely, like Mint's was, and even more so because of your age and past history.  With you being so close to the menopause, there is also a higher risk of you conceiving twins or triplets, which in itself can cause many complications, especially at your time of life, two babies just adds to the strain, that your body might not be up to now, like it was when it was younger."

I cut my eyes at her and she just stares silently back at me blankly.  I have given her an opening to tell me, but still she does not tell me that she is carrying two babies and not one.

        "The baby having congenital abnormalities, or genetic disorders like down syndrome, are higher, there is more risk of pre-eclampsia which could fade both you and the baby as well as a higher risk of problems during delivery ... it is more than likely, especially if there is more than one baby, that you will end up having a caesarean ...."
       "But none of that might happen to me!" she jumps in and cuts me off
       "Yes if you are lucky, but still there is a much higher risk that it could!!  Do you really want to take that risk with your life or mental health of finding out, when that pregnancy was not planned, wanted or needed?"  I frown at her.  "What worries me most is you having another miscarriage, for you the odds are very high and remember you had a few scares with Mint, that pregnancy was far from plain sailing!!"   she pulls a pained expression  "What about if it has to be delivered early because of your health or you miscarry late on and we have to watch a premature baby fighting for it's life ... there are just too many things that could go wrong that will mess your head up just like losing the last one did!!  Forget my phobia, just because of your age alone, I am scared of what it might do to you, and it doesn't just end there if the baby arrives safely does is!!"  she frowns at me  "What if there is more than one or there is something wrong or abnormal with the baby - with my phobia you are going to be left for the next thirteen years totally on your own to deal with it, and this time you won't have Alpine to help you.  Do you really want to be nearly sixty before you get your life and a normal me back again ... when now is the age when you should be looking forward to our Grandchildren ... not more children of our own!!"
       "And as usual you are over thinking, when I will probably just sail through this pregnancy without a single problem."
       "Okay so I over think!!  I think about everything that could go wrong, because I am a doctor, and what I am telling you about the risk of you miscarrying, Granite, Mango, any other doctor after reading through your pregnancy history will tell you exactly the same ..."

She just lies there staring at me saying nothing.  I've dropped in a few times about multiple babies and still she has not told me, I can only think that she is too scared to tell me.

           "So, come on ... explain this ... pedophobia to me, what causes it?"
           "You are trying to change the subject away from the termination."  I laugh at her sarcastically
           "No, I need to know all the facts if I have to make that decision!!"  she smirks at me, which makes me laugh for a moment, knowing exactly what her game is.
           "People who have pedophobia, usually have an underlying cause for it connected with their own childhood ... A bad childhood, abuse, neglect, being bullied, a traumatic event - stuff like that.  Being around children brings back bad memories, feelings or flashbacks which triggers the disorder."  I smile at her  "My phobia is not very common, but it is no different to any other phobia, spiders, clowns, needles blood.  Mace has a blood phobia because of horrible stuff his Father made him watch when he was a child, he made Mace watch him slit someone's throat when he was about 6, he watched the man bleed out and fade - so Mace only has to see blood now and he freaks, because he gets flashbacks of that, just like I freak over children." 
            "So what is the cause of yours?"  she frowns at me  "What was so bad about your childhood that has affected you to have this phobia?"
            "That is just the thing - I didn't have a bad childhood, quite the opposite!!  All the memories of my childhood are happy ones.  To me that was the happiest time of my life and everything since has not come anywhere near close.  My problem seem to stem from happy memories, and my psychiatrist thinks its losing that happiness and  ... Granite."
            "Oh I might have known, HE would be in there somewhere!!"  she rolls her eyes
            "I'm unusual apparently, because I remember virtually all of my early childhood, from when I was a toddler and child.  My toddler years are very vivid in my memory where most people don't remember anything, or only have flashes of a few things, and those are generally the root of the problem.  However, I remember everything, my head is stuffed full of happy memories of being a toddler and child, all with Granite, while my teenage years are very sketchy and pretty none existent now in my head."  I roll my eyes  "He actually thinks, because that was the only happy time in my life, I am using that as a bench mark for the rest of my life, I'm holding onto it, along with the very strong emotional bond that we had  ... Granite is what has triggered the disorder ... losing him and those happy times that we had together."

            "I think you have seen that the emotional attachment that we had, was crazy, it was like an obsession and it consumed the both of us, even though we can now admit that we have both been very unhappy since we crossed the line and changed our relationship from just being best mates.   It was strong enough to keep us together even with our sexual differences, and to have us desperately holding onto each other during those twenty years when we were apart.   Because of my obsessive and compulsive disorder, I think it had a hold of me more than him, you've seen how totally irrational I have been over Granite."
             "Why did you two get so obsessed with each other in the first place - yes it is crazy, and really not normal."  she laughs at me
             "For Granite I think - when he was a toddler, emotionally I was a substitute for his Mother who wasn't in his life for the first two years.  I used to Mother him, hug and kiss him a lot apparently, and he clung onto me because that is what he needed, and we became very close and dependent on each other emotionally.  Granite does not give out his affection too others very often, but when he does, he becomes very needy and clingy.  Me and his Mother, he used to cling to for dear life, and now Mace is getting it.  He had a lot of problems when he was very young, because he was born premature, with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, basically he was born with an addiction to alcohol because his Mother was an alcoholic and drinking excessively during the pregnancy."  she stares at me wide eyed  "Mentally and emotionally he had a lot to deal with and he attached himself to me, and became dependant on me, he was a lot slower developing than I was, so I did a lot of things for him in the beginning and it just basically carried on in the same way as we grew up.  I think my OCD played a big part in it on my side ... I controlled him, spoke for him, made all his choices and decisions for him, I did everything for him - he couldn't function without me and I was exactly the same way, but for me it was different, I felt very lost when he wasn't with me, like a part of me was missing.  He never really learned to think or speak for himself or look after himself because I used to do it all for him.  The problems started when we became teenagers and I fell in love with him stupidly, even though I knew I was straight.  Looking back now we can both see what we were doing was very wrong ... I controlled our relationship into something it shouldn't have been, even trying to play gay just to keep a hold of him, too scared I would lose him, and he just went along with it, thinking that he loved me and he would lose me if he didn't.  Because of our emotional attachment losing each other has always been our biggest fear."  I roll my eyes at her  "When we were teenagers, now looking back, I can see we both mentally went off the rails, and when we did lose each other, while it screwed me up totally, it was the making of him, because he learnt to be himself and not the person I manipulated him into being."

            "So why would all that give you the disorder?"
            "I lost my happiness and our happy childhood when we became teenagers.  Our life from there was all wrong and it got to me and screwed my head up.  We both silently struggled, but we carried on because our love and emotional attachment held us together.  We both became a person that we were not meant to be.  I was trying to play gay unsuccessfully, which messed my head up, and I became cold, controlling, and sneaked around behind his back sleeping with women.  He started to hate the way I controlled him and our life, he coped by letting his addiction take him over,  alcohol, drugs which took him into a life of crime.  He went totally off the rails and was always too off his head to see what I was doing or to even care that together we didn't have a sex life.  We were both fooling ourselves into thinking we loved each other and that was enough. "  I laugh quietly  "And while he says now he has never loved me, I know I did love him.  I loved him obsessively so he totally broke me when he left.  You know that initial strong feeling of grief that hits you hard when someone fades that you love ...like how you would have felt when Cinn first faded  ..."  she nods  "That's exactly how I felt when he was in prison and refused any contact with me, him not being there felt like he had faded and that feeling never really went away.  He had been a part of my life from my very first memory and for him to not be there was a traumatic wrench and shock to my system, I felt totally lost.   Every time I thought about him I'd get that hard hit, the pain in my chest, the grief, even years later, I never got over it ... until he came back!!" I smile at her  "I have desperately craved for him and those happy times, almost like an addict would crave drugs or alcohol ... seeing small children gives me flashbacks of those happy memories and him, knowing they are gone gives me a terrible sense of loss, I feel that grief  which triggers the disorder. "  I look at her sheepishly  " I have basically driven myself crazy loving him and Slate kind of proved that."
           "You remember, I helped to look after him for virtually the first five years of his life."

I cringe, because I think I know by the sudden angry expression on her face, maybe I should have swerved this subject.

           "Yes I bloody well do, the arguments we had because you was looking after Gravels son when you couldn't look after your own!!"  she snaps at me  "And we both know why don't we!!"  I can hear the sarcasm in her voice.
           "Seriously Mel, don't even go there!!  I know exactly what you are about to say, so just don't!!"
           "Why not, I have touched a nerve haven't I!!"
           "No actually you haven't!!  I am not the only one here who has made stupid mistakes in the past, and been somewhere I shouldn't have been!!  Only Gran and Gravel have a right to be angry about it not you!!  I can understand you being narked over Wisty, but Amber was before you even landed in town. so why should it even bother you, or why even bring that up again?!"
            "I think you know why!!" 
            "And like I have told you a million times before ... you are very wrong!!"  I snap at her  "None of this or me paying an interest in Slate had anything to do with Amber, or the thing we had, and you need to forget it because the very last person I want ever finding out that I had a fling with his Mother before he was born is Slate ... I have already hurt him enough don't you think to protect my own children!!  If Granite can now laugh about what me and Amber were doing every time his and Gravels backs were turned, then so should you!!  I am not here to have a twenty year old argument with you all over again!!"  I snap angrily  "I am trying to open up and explain my mental disorder to you, which is very hard for me to do, even just talking about it is making me anxious, and the last thing I need is you going off on one and raking up old pathetic shit, which you have always been wrong about!!"  I snap  "So if you don't want me to clam up and shut myself off again, you best had just SHUT UP because I am sick of you throwing her at me!!"

           "Maybe I should start throwing T at you, then you might just understand!!"
           "I'm sorry!"  she mumbles as she slouches back on the pillow sulkily
           "I hated the situation that Gravel was putting me in, that is why I brought Slate to you and left him with you so much, because I couldn't cope with it, you saw the state I was getting myself into, I was permanently wrecked, puking, passing out and crying.  Without you, my parents and Meadow doing most of it for me, I think I would have had a total breakdown."
         "So why put yourself through it in the first place, it's not like he forced you!!  Why didn't you just walk away and leave Gravel to sort out his own shit!!"
         "Everyone forgets, he is my adopted brother, and has been since he was eight years old.  I couldn't just walk away from him!!  His wife had just faded, he genuinely did love her, he worshipped the ground she walked on - Amber fading was a total shock to all of us, but it nearly destroyed him, her fading is what warped him completely into an evil Berry Hole, and at the time he needed me."
          "Yeah like your Son needed you!"  she snaps
          "Bay had you and Alpine, I didn't have to worry about him, but I did worry about Slate!!  He was just a defenceless little baby, and I might have a mental problem being around children, but I'm not cold or heartless, I wouldn't be a doctor otherwise, I would never have hurt him or let him be hurt.  As much as it totally screwed me up being around him, I was totally torn because I couldn't just leave him there crying and being neglected like Gravel was.  At first Gravel blamed Slate for Amber fading, he couldn't even look at him, and I was very scared that Gravel might hurt Slate in some way, fade him even.  As you know, he is very capable and I even knew it back then how evil and twisted he is ... he tried to fade Granite pushing him out of a tree when we were kids, which broke both Gran's legs and arm, as well as my legs because he landed on me.  He suffocated and faded Granites dog just for stealing his sweets when he was a child ... and those are just two examples of many things I've seen him do!"  her eyes widen  "Look at what he did to Granite to steal and keep him away from his own baby ... so you can imagine, with Gravel blaming Slate for Amber fading, then I find out he is not actually Gravel's son but Granite's, I was very very scared for Slates life!!"
        "Yeah, I can imagine with that Berry Hole!"  she pulls a face

        "If anything I put myself through hell for Granite, I felt like it my responsibility to protect his son, because he wasn't here to do it himself, even if it was slowly destroying me!!  I highly doubted that Slate would have survived without me watching over him!!  As it was, Slate would never have been fed washed or changed if I didn't make sure that Meadow, my parents or you were doing it, he totally turned his back and neglected the boy.  If you had faded or dumped Bay on me and done one, I would have done the same for him, because I had no choice - but it would have made me mentally and physically ill in the process, just like Slate did at first.  How I never had a nervous breakdown during that first year beats me, I verged on crazy as you probably remember!!"  I smile at her
         "You could have told me about all this, and your phobia then, I could have helped you."
         "You did help me, more than you know ... but seriously, what would you have done, taken Slate in full time on top of Cin and Bay with all the arguments and problems we were having at the time.  I know how you have always hated Gravel, and I doubt very much Alpine would have stood for it, he struggled enough with taking on Bay at first, Slate too would have just tilted him!!"  I laugh  "Slate being visibly mixed made it impossible for me to take him out to Raspberry and leave him with my parents or Meadow ... but they came and did what they could.  However, if you remember it all blew up, because while me and Meadow weren't telling Mom and Dad about Bay being mine, Gravel opened his big mouth and caused holy hell, which you got dragged into."
          "Yeah I remember."  she mumbles as she rolls her eyes at me  "But what changed, because when Slate became older, you stopped bringing him to me ... you was taking care of him then, but still you didn't bother with Bay!!"
          "When Slate became a toddler, I surprised myself because something changed mentally, in my head."

        "I started to become interested in him, and being around him stopped upsetting me, I think it was partly knowing he was a part of Granite, and the only thing I had left of him.  I used to sit and watch him and he made me feel happy, he was so like Granite in my eyes, facially, his mannerisms and everything he did  ... to me suddenly he was Granite!!  I think my head went off for a while,  he was the toddler in my memories, I didn't see Slate - I saw that toddler from my past, and he gave me that time back that I was craving.  I even went as far as bringing Slate out here, to this place because here I have a lot of memories of me and Granite.  My parents and Shale brought us to this beach house together every year from when we were babies.  With Slate, I played in the sea and built sandcastles where me and Granite used to play together ... I guess I was just reliving the memories of Granite through Slate, and it made me happy, happiness being one of my biggest hang ups, because happiness is something I have not had since I was a child.  That is why Slate is the only child I have ever been able to be around comfortably." I smile at her  "Now maybe you can see what my obsession was with Slate, not the reason you think, it had nothing to do with Amber or what we were doing behind Gran and Gravels back!!"
        "Okay I'm sorry, I won't mention it again!!"  she looks at me sheepishly  "That is some deep shit!!"
        "Yeah I know!!"  I roll my eyes  "When I actually realised what I was doing with Slate, I tried to get myself sectioned, I thought I had lost the plot completely!!"  I laugh  "My psychiatrist thought it was a step towards me working through my problems to cure my dissorder, and I really hoped that Slate would help to cure me, but it didn't and I hated myself even more, because while I could tolerate Slate, every time Bay or any other child was around me I still freaked out."
        "Yeah I remember, I'd never seen anything like it before!"
        "I don't enjoy being this way you know!"

      "At the time, I wasn't helping myself, I was tearing myself apart with it.  After I found out Bay was mine and I left town, I should have stayed away and not come back until he was a teenager, then I wouldn't have put myself through the agony, and you wouldn't have put me through the hell of three more pregnancies!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "Now you go and spring a fourth pregnancy on me when I thought all that was behind us!!"
         "I honestly didn't plan this one!!"  she mumbles quietly  "You can blame me for the others, especially Mints, but not this one!!"

 I stare at her for a moment, wandering wether I should tell her everything, thinking maybe I should get everything out into the open while I have got the chance.  This is really hard for me and I know I will shut myself off again once we have moved away from this subject. 

       "I'll tell you something else, that only Alpine, my Parents and Sister know, just so you understand exactly how bad it got for me, and how badly Bays arrival messed up my head."  I look at her sheepishly  "When I did one and left town, I went to my sisters, and it is only thanks to Meadow that I am still here.  She stopped me from doing something really stupid ... I tried Slates miserable life cure ... booze and pills!!"  her eyes widen  "Luckily she found me in time, and I wasn't too far gone."
       "Alpine knows ... you tried to top yourself?"  she frowns at me  "Why wasn't I told ... how did he know and not me?"

       "Meadow obviously, when I was in the hospital, she called him over to Raspberry.  Alpine and Meadow managed to talk some sense into me eventually, and I didn't do it again, even though there were times when I wanted to."
        "Why didn't you tell me ... why didn't Meadow call me."
        "She blamed you for messing me up, why do you think she hates you so much ... not even Granite has driven me anywhere near close to me wanting to take my own life, but you and the baby did."  I laugh sarcastically  "My head was so far gone, and nobody could understand why, not even me, because I hadn't been diagnosed then.  I didn't want you to know at the time, because I didn't want you there, because it would have meant I would have had to deal with the situation, which mentally I couldn't do at the time, and I was trying desperately to hide his existence from my parents.  It was the baby that had caused me to panic and run, I guess I was scared you would bring Bay and try to force him on me.   I couldn't deal with him, myself or you at the time, because to me you had caused the problem by having the baby that I was terrified of .... "
        "Like you didn't play any part in his existance!!" she laughs at me sarcastically
        "I do know that now, you wally!!"  I laugh at her  "It takes two and Bay being here was just as much my fault - but at the time I wasn't thinking that, my head wasn't thinking rationally because of my phobia."
          "So why have you or Alpine never told me about this since?"
           "I am ashamed of it, it really embarrasses me now, knowing what I tried to do to myself!!  It is one thing that I never want the kids to find out, especially Bay, so it is just something that me and Alpine have kept to ourselves.  What was the point of upsetting you any more than I already had.  I already had Apline and Meadow watching my like a hawk to make sure I didn't try to do it again, I didn't want you on my back too!!"

        "Then why did you come back, after you'd been through all that, knowing you had the phobia?"
         "I ... I started to really miss you, more than I imagined I ever would.  All the time that Gran has been away, you have been the only thing keeping me sane and even way back then, I felt really lost without you."  I mumble quietly
         "And still he can't admit that he loves me."  she laughs sarcastically, I just ignore her, this is really not the time to get drawn into that conversation again.
         "Meadow was going ballistic at me, for not telling my parents and she couldn't understand why I could so easily turn my back on my own baby, but she did back down a little when she found out about my phobia.  She was the first one who knew about the phobia, she was with me when I was diagnosed, she didn't understand it straight away, but I did."  I roll my eyes  "With my medical training, I knew the moment the word Pedophobia came out of his mouth, that that was what my problem was.  I couldn't see what was happening to myself, until I was told."  I laugh quietly   "When my head settled down a little, and I had been diagnosed and was seeing the shrink, I did start to get very curious about the baby, I never imagined I would ever have a child of my own, and just knowing that he was mine, kind of got to me.  I am not as heartless as you might think ... I have always been totally torn, wanting to be something and someone that my phobia won't let me be ... his Dad!!"  I roll my eyes  "Meadow and Alpine talked me into coming back to at least try for yours and the babies sake."  I laugh  "You know I have always half suspected that Alpines has known all along about my phobia, I think Meadow must have told him about it."  he eyes widen
         "Why do you think that?"  her eyes widen
         "Well think about it, how lenient has he been with me over the years!!  You say you put up with my shit because you love me ... but why exactly has he put up with me and my erratic behaviour, when really, he didn't have to?!"  I raise my eyebrows

           "Any other man would have walked away from this situation, but he has made sacrifices and always stuck by the both of us and we have always stayed very good friends, even after everything we have been through ... he even takes my side most of the time against you, and he has never really thrown at me that I'm a cold hearted berry hole, running away from responsibilities, like you have.  My arguments have always been with you not him, not since Bay was born and my overdose."
          "Surely if he had known about your phobia, he would have said!"
          "Has he really needed to?  He would know how embarrassed and screwed up I am by it from Meadow, she rarely gets me to open up and talk about it, so he has probably never tried to discuss it with me.  With you, he might have said something if you had reacted differently, but you have never really given him a cause to tell you the truth."  she frowns at me  "We both know what you are like, at times selfish and blinkered, you go along in your own little world, as long as you are happy, regardless of what it is doing to those around you."  she pulls a face at me as I laugh at her  "You have just accepted all my shit without even questioning it properly, any other woman would have kicked me away or demanded an explanation after Bay, but you didn't!!  All you could see is that you loved me and you just kept on going regardless, even knowing about my obsession with Granite and thinking I'm an asshole who is running away from his responsibilities and son, still you have never tried to kick me into touch!!  The proof of that is right here and now, twenty years down the line, we are still together, have three kids, and you are only just being told the truth about my phobia.  You have never forced me into having to tell you the truth!!"  I laugh  "Alpine has also just accepted my behaviour, and at times even been sympathetic, which has made me believe he knows the truth about why I react so irrationally around children."  I laugh  "And then there is Cinnamon, if you remember he kicked off royal style when he worked us out ...why did he back down so suddenly after just one conversation with Alpine, I suspect because, amongst other things, he was told about my phobia."

         "Maybe, we'll have to ask him."  she smiles at me  "So Alpine actually helped talk you into coming back to me?"
         "Yes, because initially when I left, I never intended to ever come back.  He phoned me a lot after I left, as well as came out to Raspberry to see me, which you obviously didn't know about!"  I laugh at her for a moment  "When Bay arrived being mine, I think he was man enough to accept that you and him had been one big mistake, and it was over for you two without holding a grudge against either of us.  Anything he did from there was for Cinn's sake, and after I left he told me you fell apart, which he was trying to fix for both of our son's sake, and if it meant you being with me, then so be it!"
         "You two have way too many secrets!"
         "You only have yourself to blame for that!!"  we laugh at each other  "I came back for a lot of reasons in the end, but my main one was because Bay being mine was really getting to me, and I hoped he would help me get over my phobia and we could have a normal life, but in a way he made it worse for me, wanting to get close and not being able to, it totally tore me apart!!"
       "I really can't believe you have hidden all this from me, especially the phobia!!"  she frowns at me
       "It's not just you, I've hidden it from virtually everyone!"  I mumble quietly  "And I hate myself for some of the things I have done!!"
       "What do you mean?"
       "I've told so many lies and done some things in my time to avoid having contact with children, so that I could hide my condition and not let is show."  I laugh for a moment thinking about some of the the things that I have done.

        "Only you and Alpine have repeatedly seen me go properly, I gave up trying not to do it in front of you, in a hope that you might realise there was something not quite right about me, and like I've said I think he has always known about my phobia, so it didn't matter what he saw.  With everyone else I've always walked away quickly and had my melt downs and freak outs in private.  Meadow has seen me go a few times because of Holly and Ivy and Mace and Granite have seen me go a few times recently because of Jasmine winding me up and Clay screaming the place down."  I laugh  "Mace the twat, knowing I have the phobia and not thinking, brought Clay to me kicking and screaming, because he thought something was wrong with him, he thought he needed to be seen by a doctor and Granite and Slate were not in the house.  Mace ended up having to phone Granite to come home, because we both ended up in a mess.  I threw a wobble, cracked up, puked all over him and passed out.  I hit my nose on his chair when I fell and it started bleeding.  Me puking on him and him seeing my blood set Mace off, and Gran had to come home and calm us both down as well as clean both of us up."
        "So do they all know in your house now then?"  she frowns at me
        "Hell no, only Mace and Gran.  The three of us have had to keep up the act to protect Bay from uncovering the truth!!  Bay, Slate, Saffy. Atlas, even Shale, just think I'm a miserable ass hole who hates children and they think I am taking my jealousy spite out on Mace's kid because I'm losing Gran.  They don't know about my phobia or what is really going on with me, you, Gran and Mace, but I think they have a good idea, Gran and Mace sleeping together and me moving out, kind of gives the game away. "  I laugh for a moment  "Even Bay has given me a mouthful or two for losing it over the babies crying ... my phobia has been so much harder to hide since Amber and Clay arrived, and why I had no choice but, to move out in the end.  I would have moved out straight away, but me and Gran were worrying about Slate and Bay's relationship, I needed to keep an eye on them, and suffer the children for as long as I could."

      "So how do you cope with children at work?"  she frowns at me  "Being their doctor, I know you always struggled when you had to treat the kids when they were little, but surely Mango must have spotted it?"
     "Our three kids and Cinn are the only ones I've ever had on my patient list, and they were different."  I look at her sheepishly  "The hit and run on Alpine, as nasty as it sounds, it helped me in a way to put things into perspective, it helped me to separate my true feelings away from my phobia."  she frowns at me   "The way I felt when I heard that Bay and Fudge had been thrown from their pram and had been rushed into intensive care with Alpine ... it tore me up, I basically had a melt down on the spot.  I had never been so scared of anything in my life until that moment, the thought of them being seriously injured and fading.  You didn't phone me, I had to hear about it through gossip, I got a scrambled version of events and actually thought the car had hit the pram as well as Alpine.   I know what the impact of a car can do to a human body, it is hard enough for an adult to survive it, but a toddler and a baby ... in my mind they had no chance of surviving, all I could see in my head was their lifeless smashed up bodies and I couldn't deal with it, it hurt too much, more than anything has ever hurt me before, not even Gran.  I think that is when I realised, I could and did love and care about them, even with my phobia."   I roll my eyes  "They are my children, and I do get it even if you think I don't, being scared of them didn't stop me loving them, but it did keep me away from them, and you will never understand how that feels or how much that hurts."

       "You did kind of surprise me that day, the way you tore into the hospital in a right state, nearly giving the game away to Mango.  It was the first time you had remotely shown me that you cared about them.  Your face when Bay came running out into the corridor, you collapsed into a heap on the floor, I thought at first you had passed out again!!"  she laughs quietly.
       "It was the relief of seeing he was okay, my legs went from underneath me, and I did nearly pass out, my emotions went from one extreme to the other in a spit second, because then my phobia kicked in.  While Bay was stood in front of me busy showing off his stitches to me with that big cheeky grin on his face,  I was busy trying not to scare him by having a full scale panic attack ... which if you remember I did end up having eventually.  Its just lucky Mango had been called away so he didn't get to see my full performance, or he probably would have sussed me out right there and then, on both counts, my phobia and Bay."  we both lie there laughing for a moment
        "So every time they needed to see the doctor, I bet you must have been going through hell every time I brought them to see you."
        "Yes I was, on two counts!!"  she frowns at me  "Firstly I worried more about what was wrong with them, so it did help me keep my head together a little when I had to be their doctor.  The moment they came through the door my panic started, I used to force myself to remember how I felt after the hit and run, and it helped to take my mind away from the phobia, but it never worked completely, it just prolonged the inevitable breakdown which most of the time happened as soon as you left and closed the door behind you, but I did crack up a few times in front of them if you remember."  I pull a face at her  "I just hope, they don't remember it!!"
       "Surely you must see children in the hospital all the time?"  she frowns at me
       "Not really because I avoid the Children's wards like the plague!!"  I laugh at her  "Being in Neurology, I can avoid children in the hospital for the most part.  If we do get any, which isn't too often, I swerve them and dump them on Mango.  He laughs at me because I've made out to him over the years that suffering children cripple me emotionally, and it upsets me too much to deal with them ... helped by him watching me tearing into the hospital like a maniac and having a total breakdown over Bay and Fudge after the hit and run."  I laugh  "Avoiding Tapestry when he was a child and always at the hospital was my biggest worry all the time!"

        "Talking about Tapestry, didn't you do the c section and deliver the triplets?"  she frowns at me.
        "Technically yes, realistically no!!"  I laugh at her for a moment  "When Lilly was in the coma, the day Mango ran in with that pregnancy test, and we discovered Lilly was actually still pregnant was like my worst nightmare, because I knew I'd have to watch the babies!!  It was actually not too bad, because I'd done a stink in radiology and scanned a lot of pregnant women, but I learned to detach myself from them being real, seeing them as cartoon characters on the screen and not real babies, and there is a wall between us them being inside the womb.   Mango insisted I performed the C Section on Lilly and I nearly faded, there was no way of me getting out of it without telling him the truth.  After I'd done the initial incisions, we opened her up to start getting the babies out, a purple leg kicked out and I freaked.  I had to back away making the excuse I felt unwell and shouldn't carry on.  The other surgeon had to finish the C Section while I stood in the corner having a panic attack.  I still have nightmares over Corals leg now, a reason why I've never really liked her!!"  we both start laughing
        "Have you seriously never told Mango about this phobia?"  she laughs at me
        "Hell no!!  I've always played the OCD card with him to explain some of my strange behaviour, if he had known about the phobia, he would have had me straight down to psych in Sugar, not knowing I'm already a Raspberry psych patient!!  Besides Mango would have tried to get involved 'to fix me' you know what he's like, I could never have hidden our kids from him."
         "Would it have really hurt for Mango to have known from the start?"
         "I don't know, I have thought sometimes I should tell him, and I've wanted to at times ... but how could I tell him, when you did  not even know about it properly yourself!!"  I roll my eyes  "I know I could have trusted Mango not to say anything and he would have understood and been sympathetic to my condition, especially why we were trying to protect the kids from my irrational behaviour!!  He would have been someone for me to talk to, I've only ever had my shrink until Granite came back, and even Mace understands because of his own phobia which screws him up as much as mine screws me up."  I roll my eyes  "I've always been scared, the more people that know, the more likely it is that the truth would come out, and you know I have always been terrified of screwing up the kids and messing their heads up, they never would have understood me being their Dad and why I was acting like a crazy idiot around them!!"

         "How has he never sussed us out Forrest?  Can't he see in our medical records."
         "Yes which is why you was stupid to go to Ice instead of coming to me!!"  I snap at her  "I've had to do a lot of dodging to avoid him working it all out.  Mango has never been my doctor, so he's never had cause to look through my medical records and I am registered in Raspberry not here to prevent anyone from here accessing my medical records.  Of course it could be done illegally, like Granite did when he was in Cherry, but Mango does not tend to do that, as a rule everything he does is strictly by the book.  I've even had to break the law to hide it ..."  she frowns at me  "If you remember I used Gravels runner to cover up the paternity tests to stop it leaking out, and I should not have been treating my own children, it's against the rules."  I smile at her  "I know he is going to read me the riot act when I've come clean with him, over Bay, Fudge and Mint being on my patient list!"  I roll my eyes  "Something they might not be too happy about themselves when they have got their head around me being their biological Father and their Doctor, because of some of the things they have told me over the years since they became teenagers, in confidence."
         "Things like what?"  she frowns at me
         "Things I can't tell you!"  I laugh at her  "Nice try, but you know I can't tell you. - patient confidentiality, it is more than my job is worth!!"  she laughs at me.
         "So how could Ice work it out?"
         "It can be worked out quite easily if they spotted the kids blood group incompatibility with Alpines, but I've always been their doctor, for that reason, to stop him poking through the kids medical records, and you did us a favour, avoiding having Mango as your doctor trying to hide Coals existence."  I laugh  "I was totally bricking it when he said he wanted to test everyone for a kidney match for Slate - that is why I played up so much over them finding Granite, I knew Slate was Granites child and not Gravels, I hoped if they found Granite quickly he wouldn't have to test anyone else, because I knew Slate had Granites blood group, and would probably have been a good enough match."
         "But he did test everyone."
         "Yes, but thankfully he didn't pick up on anything, Bay having your blood group, and he over looked the girls because he didn't test Alpine due to his brain damage."

         "If he had tested Alpine, he could have easily spotted it.  Although I was still bricking it, even though he didn't test him, I half expected him to remember Alpines blood group, but I think he had that many blood groups thrown at him all at once that he didn't concentrate properly to work out the girls have incompatible blood!!  We are very lucky that Cinnamon also had your blood, so when Granites liver came up, he over looked the girls again, not testing Alpine.  If Cinnamon had had Alpines blood, then it would have blown us wide open!!"  her eyes widen as she stares at me  " It was bad enough me worrying about you and Bay having the closest kidney match for Slate, then I nearly faded when you suggested he test Cinnamon for a possible liver donation, I never expected it, and I went into shear panic mode until I double checked his blood type was the same as yours."  I roll my eyes
        "You know why we did that ... we knew they had to turn the machines off, he had a donor card ... we didn't want him fading to be a total waste ... especially if he could help someone else to live!!"
        "I know."  I mumble quietly  "Mango had a lot to do with Alpine if you remember when he was on life support after the hit and run, I was scared he might remember Alpines blood group when he tested the girls.  He is pretty acute, it's rare he misses or forgets anything!!  He spots and works out a lot of things he shouldn't - I'm just glad he's colour blind, or he probably would have worked out that Mint was mine just through sight!!  Mind you I think the whole town is colourblind as well as stupid, because how nobody has ever questioned Mint being mine because of her skin, eyes and she looks so much like me facially, it is beyond me.  If Granite could see it straight away, how does nobody else?!  I guess everyone thinking I'm gay has really helped us more than we realise!!  Of course, Gran has always known I'm straight, so he would suspect it."  she laughs

        "Will you ever be cured of this phobia?"  she mumbles quietly
         "I don't know.   I didn't think so, because of how long I've been seeing a shrink, but my psychiatrist thinks now Granite has actually come back, and I'm letting him go, I can actually now deal with all this shit, and get past it.  Granite thinks the same, but I don't know."  she smiles at me  "My shrink wants me to step my sessions back up to weekly again, but I don't see the point ... it's too late for my own kids.  I just have to live with it."
          "What about your Grandchildren ... and I can think of a very good reason why you should try!!"  she says as she rubs her stomach which makes me cringe, reminding me again that she is pregnant, and more than likely will not have a termination, even if her life depended on it!!
           "Oh yeah, that is going to go down like a lead balloon isn't it - sorry kids I wasn't there for you, but the psychiatrist is going to fix me now so I can be there for this one!!"
           "I'm sure they will understand if you sit down and explain it all to them.  This actually makes me feel a hell of a lot better about coming clean and telling them the truth.  At least you have a solid reason for why you are the way you are - which is a lot better than telling them you are an ass hole who doesn't like kids, which is what we would have been telling them, if you hadn't told me this!!"
         "Telling them I'm a nut job who has spent the whole of their life seeing a shrink - isn't going to make them feel any better about what we've done!!  It might have washed with them if only Bay was mine, but there are three of them  ... I should never have let that happen!!  All three of them are still going to hate me for not being there!!" I laugh  "Unless by some miracle they can actually see that what we did, hiding me, was the best thing for them, and that they got a better life and Dad with Alpine, without me and my behaviour mentally wrecking them and messing their life up!!  Even still we are going to wreck there heads, finding out the man who has loved them and brought them up since they were babies is biologically not their Dad."  I start chocking  "I'm scared Mel ... I am scared they are going to hate me!!
          "They won't hate you ... when we have explained it all to them ... they will understand!!"
          "How?!  When I don't understand myself half the time ... Mel they are going to hate me, I just know they are!!"

 I start to crack up

welcome to my world of truth ...
The flood gates open and I can't stop them.  I know now I will be like this for hours, I won't stop until I am all cried out, totally exhausted and have cried myself to sleep.

Finally she gets to see me, and I can't help but wander what she is thinking!!


Song = "Underneath" ~ Adam Lambert

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Forrest 4b

Secrets ....

After I have managed to calm myself down, and stopped myself from having a full blown anxiety attack, I get up from where I am lying and wander up onto the deck.  I need to occupy my mind, before I go crazy.  I am not really sure what I am going to do, because my head is still all over the place. 

I look through the glass in the door and I can not see any sign of Mel inside the beach house, so I presume she is probably in the bedroom crying.

My eyes fall onto the book that is sat on the table.  My mind suddenly starts to fight with itself.  I know I should just rip out Granites messages and burn them like I burnt the letter, but suddenly I want to read all the messages properly, something that I didn't do when I found them, I only skimmed over them.

I pick up the book against my better judgement and walk into the beach house.  As soon as I open the door I can hear Mel crying, and can now see she is lay on the couch.  I really can't deal with her crying right now, so I ignore her and go off into the bedroom, slamming the door as I go.

 I lie on the bed and open the book, finding the page where Granite wrote the messages.

I stare at the first message, especially the date.  I still remember the exact date that Granite was unexpectedly released early from prison, and it hits me like a punch in the stomach ... his first message was left less than a week after he left prison.  This must have been the first place that he came, and knowing that hurts!!  I should have known, he would try to get a message to me somehow, and here was the most obvious and the first place that I should have looked for him ... but I didn't!!  I should have known!!

I suddenly wander what I am doing to myself!!  I am supposed to be letting this go - not screwing my head up with it even more!!  I rip out the page, screw it up angrily and launch it across the room.

To shut my head off from having to think about anything, I turn over the page and start reading.  I don't even start at the beginning of the book, I don't really care what I am reading, I just need to stop my head from thinking about Granite and the pregnancy.

I hadn't been reading for very long before Caramel opens the bedroom door.  She hovers by the door, and I try to ignore her.  Her just being there watching me, starts to irritate me.

I glance up at her fleetingly before my eyes go straight back to the book.

        "We need to talk."
        "What is the point!"  I snap, not taking my eyes off the page.  "I've spent years trying to talk to you, but you don't listen.  You will just carry on regardless of what I think or how I feel, as long as you get your way, you really don't give a shit!!  So why should I waste my time and energy now, having the same argument we have had a million times already that I am never going to win!!"

Caramel comes into the room and approaches the bed.  She makes herself comfortable on the bed and just lies next to me saying nothing, so I do the same, while I continue to pretend that I am reading.

Even though I am trying to read, I can not really concentrate, I am reading the words but my brain is not taking them in or processing them.  I am just going through the motions of reading.  I can feel Mel staring at me, which continues to irritate me, because I can't switch off and ignore her being there.   I snap the book shut and throw it onto the floor before I turn to look at her.

        "You didn't tell me how Alpine is?"  I mumble quietly
        "He is having another good day.  He is building lego houses and doing jigsaws today.  He says he has finished your scarf."  she smiles at me and I laugh for a moment
        "He seems to be enjoying himself at the hospice, he has not had one bad day yet. "  I laugh  "Proving that I need to change what we are doing with him at home.  I've already told him I'll start taking him out more when he's having good days, but getting him lego, colouring books, jigsaws and activity stuff like that to keep him entertained will make him feel a whole lot better."  I pull a face at her  "I've been telling you for ages, just sitting him in front of the television is not really helping him!"
        "Okay smart ass!!  You can do what you want with him. he's your responsibility now remember!!"  she laughs at me, and I wander if she is trying to be funny.  "Did you know Meadow is visiting him every day?"
        "No I didn't!!"  I frown at her  "I swear she is a nightmare, I told her not to, because she is going to screw his head up and we are going to be the ones left to deal with it!!"
        "I know, it's worrying me too, he is already getting carried away with it!!"
        "I am going to kill her!!"  I snap  "I told her, to keep away from him unless she is going to commit to him properly and completely!!  I've explained how highly strung he is at the moment, and she knows it is not safe for Holly and Ivy right now!!  I know she still loves him, and I know exactly how it feels and how hard it has been for both of them, but I am going to swing for her if she messes his head up again!!"
        "Well you need to speak to her ... but I think the damage might already have been done!!"  she mumbles as she pulls a face  "Meadow is all he wanted to talk about!!"
        "I'll phone her in a bit and find out what she is playing at!!"

We just lie there for a moment quietly, I watch her rubbing her stomach, which makes me cringe.  It hasn't taken her long to remind me again about what is growing in her stomach.

       "Ice ... So I guess she has looked through your pregnancy records."
       "Yeah, she knows.  I had to explain it to her, she spotted the baby I had when I was thirteen."  she mumbles quietly  "She was shocked - I didn't tell anyone while we were at boarding school.  Besides you and Alpine knowing, I've only ever told Lilly, I told her when she lost Twilight, but she doesn't remember now because of the coma and amnesia, and I've never reminded her."
        "Did you tell Ice about T being the babies Dad or where Coal is?"
        "No!"  she shakes her head
       "I think its time you came clean Mel about EVERYTHING, and did something about your oldest son!!!  One more person knowing your secret, I seriously do not want Bay especially finding out through gossip on top of what we already have to tell him!!  If any of them are going to find out, it is going to be him first!!"
         "He is going to hate me enough because of what we've hidden, without him finding out that he has also got a half brother that I've hidden from them!!"
         "He will hate you more, and so will the girls, if they have to find out the hard way - which is inevitable now, it's only a matter of time.  Bay is going to be living with Granite, Turmeric, Slate ... Coal's Uncle, Dad and Cousin ... and Mace is his best mate and foster brother, they are closer than close.  All of the Rocks including Coal are going to be running around Cherry now, and there is only Slate, Bay and Coal who don't know  .... you can't tell me they are going to cut Coal off or keep him at arms length just to keep your secret, and it only takes Jasmine to over hear something, she's a child, she wouldn't understand she has to keep it quiet ... its only a matter of time before it gets out!!"
          "They have all promised they wouldn't say anything, because they don't want to upset him or Bay."
          "Him - you can't even say his name can you!!"  I tut at her  "That is easier said than done, it is not going to be an easy secret for them to keep!!  Bay and Coal could actually work it out for themselves, quite easily I think.  Have you looked at the photos Shale tried to show you?"
         "No."  she shakes her head violently.

        "Well, they look a little alike facial, when Bay and Coal stood next to each other, I could actually see it, and so did Alpine.  He has your slanty eyes like Bay, they were the first thing that jumped out at me.  He is skinny thin just like Fudge, which he gets from you  Coal knows his Mothers name, age and where she came from.  They all call you Mel, like we do.  Those two boys only need to start talking about their parents and they could work it out, especially as he has your hair.  Besides it's not just our kids that Gravel could advertise in the court room, he could announce Coals true identity too!!  Then there is T who is going to kick off big time when he finds out about us, he will be banging my lights straight out and he will probably give the game away without meaning too kicking off.  He will have me for lying to him as well as keeping quiet while I have had to sit listening to him banging on about you!"  she frowns at me  "He never shuts up going on about you, we all know he's shagging the red bike, but it's you he wants, and you wander why I'm paranoid!!  You know he thinks he is still in love with you."
          "He is pathetic, we were only 13 for berrys sake!!"
          "Well he's definitely messed his and Coals life up because of the way he feels about you!  You know Gravel only made Turmeric come to Sugar just to wind me and you up, like he didn't have enough on us already!! "  I laugh at her  "There is something else you haven't thought about, the most important thing in my book.  Coal plays gay and straight, what about if something happened between Coal and Bay, or even one of the girls, you know Mint and Parsley are very rocky right now, and I actually heard Fudge and Mint having one of their giggling fits, because they think Coal is cute, for berry's sake!!  It could be devastating for them to find out after something has happened, that they are half siblings!!"  I raise my eyebrows  "This is why you have to stop being selfish and CAN NOT keep it hidden any longer!!"
         "I don't know about the girls, but Bay wouldn't ... he has always loved Slate!!"
         "It only takes them to get drunk ... I have always loved Granite obsessively, but it didn't stop me did it, even before he left me!!"  I laugh  "Like Ruby loved Sunny, Maize loved Juni, Mango loved Lilly, Atlas loved Mace, Strawberry loved Parsley .. it didn't stop them either did it!!  We all got our leg over somewhere else - it happens, especially when alcohol is involved - just think about Bay and Strawberry!!"
         "I still can't believe he actually slept with Straw!!"
         "Me neither, but he did because he was hammered - just proving it is possible, he could well do it again, he is capable!!"

         "Stop him from going Forrest ... I don't want him to move to Cherry!!"
         "How can I stop him?!"  I laugh at her  "And don't think I'm even going to try either just to help you hoard this problem, because I'm not!!  I expect he will be too busy hating me anyway, to listen to anything I've got to say to him - he won't not go with Slate just because I or anyone tells him not too, you know how he feels about Slate.  Besides, I'd much rather him being in Cherry Hill than Sugar Valley, he will have a much better life!!"
         "I'm scared Slate is going to hurt him, that he's going to wake up one day and realize he's straight and shouldn't be playing gay ... it will destroy him!!"
         "That really worried me and Granite to start with too, but we don't worry about them now.  Honestly I don't think Slate will hurt Bay in that way now.  Don't think I haven't been watching them very closely, because I have, Bay is the only reason why I stuck it out in that house for so long!!"
         "So why doesn't it worry you now?"
         "They have gone straight back to how they were when they were kids, attached at the hip, constantly lying all over each other, they never stop kissing or mauling each other, most of the time it's Slate jumping on Bay, and there is plenty of noise coming from the bedroom ... morning noon and night, I don't know how Amber sleeps through it!!"
         "Oh stop!!  Tell me you haven't been listening!!"
         "Not on purpose, what do you take me for!!"  I laugh  "You can't help but hear it in that house, the walls are paper thin.  Another reason why I moved out, I couldn't hack it ... Granite and Mace, Bay and Slate, Atlas and Saffron are always at it, then there is Slate and Shale snoring so loud I'm surprised the roof has not come off!!  Shale sleeps with earplugs in and I hate to think what Jasmine must be thinking!!"  I start laughing  "If its not kids screaming its bedroom noise  ... I just can't hack it!!"
          "You are a weird one!!"  she stares at me for a moment then laughs. 

          "Forrest ... we need to talk about this baby."
          "I don't want to talk about it, I don't even want to think about it!!  If I do, my head is going to go and I'm going to run and you are going to end up doing it on your own again!!"
          "I really don't get you, how can you not love your own babies?"

          "It is not that I don't love them, now they are grown up, I do from a distance.  I just can not mentally handle being around them, when they are children, because of what they do to me!!"
           "Why do you hate children so much, it really doesn't make any sense to me!!"
           " FINALLY you ask me that question!!"  I laugh at her sarcastically as she frowns at me in confusion.  "It's not that I hate them, I just can't be around them because of what they do to me!!" 
           "You've said that twice now ... what exactly do they do to you?"
           "You have seen me go, so you know what they do to me ... I have major anxiety and panic attacks.  I get a feeling of dread and fear and start shaking, I feel physically sick, my heart starts racing, I can't breath, I get dizzy, start sweating, throw up and most of the time I pass out.  The only thing you don't see is what is going on mentally inside my head.  Unfortunately it is just who I am."  I pull a face at her
           "I have seen how you perform ... but why?  Why do you do it, it doesn't make sense!"
           "Yes you have seen how I get around children, and I don't do it on purpose, and it's not an act or because I'm selfish, heartless or mean, I don't want to be like this ..."

I take a deep breath knowing that I have got to do it, I have to finally come clean.

         "It ... it is a phobia ... I am scared of children."

At first she just lies there staring at me with a blank look on her face.

          "I don't hate them, I am scared of them."  I mumble quietly
          "A phobia ...."  she frowns, but I can tell she is trying to stop herself from sniggering
          "Yeah ... I have a phobia of children."

Suddenly she starts howling with laughter - I knew it was coming, and this is exactly why I am always too scared to tell anyone.  She is now reacting in exactly the same way as my parents and sister reacted when I admitted my problem to them, which scared me and has never really left me, and why I have always been so cagey about it.

        "A phobia!!"  she continues to laugh.

Her laughter is going through me and starting to make me  angry.  I can feel the dull ache building up in my chest, my heart is racing and I am having to take deep breaths as my panic starts to build up. 

       "Oh berry, I have heard you say some mad things in the past Leafy, but babe, that is the best one yet!!  You can be scared of a lot of things, but not children!!"  she starts howling again almost uncontrollably, and my head snaps.

I yell at her loudly and nastily, which shuts her up almost instantly.  She is shocked for a moment, then she starts to frown at me.

       "You might think it is damn funny and hilarious, but trust me, for those of us who suffer from it, it is far from funny!!"  I snap angrily  "You are scared stiff of tiny spiders, so maybe I should go and buy a big hairy tarantula and make you hold it ... then you might understand how I feel!!"

        "Sorry ... I thought you was joking!"
        "Hell, I only wish it was a damn joke!!"  I snap angrily
        "You can't blame me for laughing ... a child phobia ... it just sounds like madness!!"
        "Phone Granite, if you don't believe me, he will tell you, like Mango or any other doctor will  ... an abnormal and persistent fear of children is a phobia of children.  It is a genuine mental disorder and medical condition called Pedophobia."  her eyes widen  "I am a certified and registered Pedophobe.  I am and have been seeing a psychiatrist because of it for nearly twenty years!!  I basically have a mental illness, and you really don't understand what you are doing to me mentally every time you announce you are pregnant!!"  I laugh sarcastically  "The next time you ring me up squealing or you are screaming the house down for me to get rid of a spider, maybe I should just tell you to catch your own damn spider, then you'll understand - what being close to a spider does to you, children do exactly the same to me!!  I am petrified of children, just like you are of spiders!"
           "You have never explained it like that before?!  All you have ever told us is that you hate children."  she is really frowning at me
           "Because you never asked!!  In all these years you have not once bothered to sit down and talk to me or ask about me disliking children properly!!"
           "That's not fair, I am not a mind reader, if you have a mental problem, then you should have explained it properly!!"  she frowns at me   "Why do you keep yourself so closed and shut off?"

           "It is easier for me to deal with it that way.  I have a mental illness which is not something I can admit to freely, not even to you.  You should understand that, it is only like you, you don't tell anyone about your depression do you, not even the kids know.  You have only every told Mango, and I bet I only know about it because I am your doctor!!"  she rolls her eyes at me.  "I'm always scared about how people will react to it, and your hysterical laughter just, is an example of why I try to hide it and keep it to myself!!  I already feel like an abnormal freak, and I can not cope with being ridiculed or laughed at for it ... it sends me under!!"
          "I'm sorry ... if I had known ...!!"  she pulls a face
          "I know I have always looked like an asshole who is cold hearted and just running away from my responsibilities, but that is far from the case!!  The phobia is a mental disorder, which makes me act irrationally, like you have seen.  I really can't help it, stop or control it, just like my OCD!!  My OCD and phobia are very closely connected, the obsessive and compulsive behaviour is just one of my ways of dealing with it."
         "Babe you should have told me!!"  she frowns at me
         "It's been hard for me to tell anyone, because I'm embarrassed and ashamed!!  I hate myself because of it!!"  I start to choke  "I haven't enjoyed watching Alpine bring up my kids, them not knowing who I am, wanting to be close to them but I physically and mentally couldn't ... it has killed me!!  I hate being the way I am, and if I could change it I would, I've tried but nothing the psychiatrist says or does has made a damn difference!!"

            "When you told me years ago you went to see a psychiatrist ..." she frowns at me  "I thought it was just another one of your stupid excuses."
           "Exactly!!  I remember, you told me to get lost and come back when I had a better excuse, I was trying to tell you then, and you wander why I clammed up, shut myself off and didn't feel I could explain the phobia to you properly!!  Back then I doubt you would have listened or believed me anyway!!"  she pulls a face at me  "You can come to my next session with me if you want.  My psychiatrist will tell you, I started seeing him just after we found out Bay was mine, and I have never stopped seeing him since."
         "It's okay, I don't need proof ... I believe you!!"  she laughs quietly then frowns  "So when and where do you see the psychiatrist?"
         "I was seeing him every week to start with, and did for over sixteen years, I still see him now, but only once a month, it doesn't affect me so much now the kids have grown up.  I go out to Raspberry Hill, to see him, even though he does actually work at the Sugar Valley hospital now."
         "So why go out to Raspberry, why not just see him here?"  she frowns at me
         "Originally he was based in Raspberry, which was better, because I couldn't risk seeing one in Sugar Valley.  I doubt it would have taken people long, especially Mango, to clock me keep going down to psych and obviously I've had to talk about my own kids, and there was a risk of it getting out, which you know we couldn't afford because it would have screwed up the kids if they had found out about me being their biological Father, when they were young.  He understands the situation, with the kids not knowing about me, and he lives in Raspberry, so it's just safer to see him there."
        "So I bet you must see him at work all the time."
        "Yeah, we quite often cross paths in the hospital, but we never discuss my problem there."  I smile at her  "I think Bay arriving is what made me realise my problem was a mental one.  You could have told me both of my parents and Sister had faded in a car accident that day and I wouldn't have felt half as bad as I did just knowing that baby was mine!!  It was traumatic for me, it tore me to shreds - you really don't know the hell that I have been through!!"

       "So this phobia started when Bay was born?"
       "No!!  Looking back, I think I've always had a problem connected with children.  I can now see signs of it when I was a teenager, I hated Mango, Gravel and Meadow being anywhere near me when they were children, I spent four years hating and avoiding them like the plague, until they became teenagers themselves.  I have never liked being around them or wanted children, and at first I didn't really know why.  Granite always used to nag me about adopting some - he only had to mention it and I was off having a major panic attack ... I didn't understand it then .... now I know it was the first signs of the phobia.
           "Seriously why have you never told me this properly before?"  she frowns at me  "You have just sat there saying nothing for twenty years, letting us think where the kids are concerned, you are just a selfish asshole!!"
           "At first I couldn't say anything, I was too ashamed and could hardly handle it or deal with it myself, let alone admit it.  It took me years to even admit it to my parents properly.  Because we have always lived apart, it has been easier for me to hide it from you, because you haven't seen the hell I've been going through when I'm alone.  It was just easier for me to say I hate kids, and because you have just always accepted that, I've never needed to explain the phobia in depth ... you could see what it was doing to me ... I guess I just took the cowards way out."  I laugh quietly  "I know I'm an idiot, and Gran has told me as much, because if I had told you properly from the start, then maybe we might have only had Bay, and you would not have kept putting me though the hell that you have put me through, keep springing babies on me, that I mentally can't handle!!"

           "Oh so you have told Granite, but you couldn't tell me!"  she snaps at me
           "Not exactly ... he found that out for himself, because he illegally accessed my medical records when he was in Cherry Hill, before he came back.  So he knew already that I was a registered pedophobe, which didn't really surprise him."
           "Yeah but if he hadn't found out for himself, while you continued to keep me in the dark, you would have been quick to run and tell him, like you do with everything!!"  she snaps sarcastically  "Just like you told him and Mace about our three kids, when you have broken your neck to hide it from Mango and everyone else!!"
           "You need to quit sniping at Granite every chance you get!!  He is not a threat to you or getting in between us any more.  It is over and done with, I've sorted my head out, so stop sniping!!"  I snap at her   "And for your information, I had no intention of telling Granite or anyone else!!  I didn't have to tell Granite, because he already knew.  He found out about those kids being mine, before I came back with Atlas, before he even got shot, he already knew."
          "I don't believe that for a minute, how could he have possibly known?"  she frowns at me
          "He told me he suspected Bay, Fudge and Mint might be mine, before I came back.  The first time he met Bay, he was spooked, he had this nagging feeling in his gut.  Bay's eye colour, along with his and Fudge's hair spooked him, he could clearly see they had none of Alpines colouring, but he just thought he was going mad.  Then when he saw Mint he said he just knew she was mine, because of her eyes and skin, plus you know how much she looks like me and especially Meadow.  He could clearly see what nobody else has seen!!"  She laughs quietly

       "But he didn't know for sure ... you must have told him!!"
       "No ... when Gran had a run of the hospital, while he was covering for Mango during the police operation, he accessed mine, Alpines and the kids medical records - to check our blood groups, which made him believe his nagging feeling even more.  So he did a bit more snooping to see if he could find something concrete.  He read through my psych reports thoroughly.  The kids being mine, it is there, written down for him to read.  So I didn't have to tell him about the kids, or the reason why my true identity has always been hidden from them  ... he worked it all out for himself, and being a doctor he could, because he knows what pedophobia is and what it does to those who suffer from it."
        "So when exactly did you find out he knew."
        "When Mace thought he was being clever, when Gran woke up after the sepsis."  I start to laugh  "Mace thought he was grassing me up for sleeping with women on the sly ... Gran surprised both of us when he said  "Yeah I know, he's been playing dysfunctional families with Caramel, haven't you closet Daddy!!  Leafy has three kids who don't have a clue that he is their sperm donar!!" ... you should have seen Mace's face, he was so hacked off he didn't get to spill the beans and that Granite already knew and more than he did!!  He is such a drama queen!!"  I start really laughing remembering Maces face.
        "Why do you never tell me these things ... you keep everything to yourself, like that, all I got was Gran knows about you and kids, but don't worry he wont say anything, and that was the end of the conversation.  I have to interrogate you most of the time to get anything out of you ... you don't talk to me!!"
        "Force of habit I guess, because that is just the way that I am.  I have always kept myself very closed off, even before my phobia reared it's ugly head."
She lies there just staring at me, without really looking at me, I can tell she is deep in thought.  I watch her quietly, and I wander what she is thinking as I watch her face twist up a few times as she starts to rub her stomach again.   I openly cringe watching her doing it, the panic starts to well up inside me again and I have to look away.

           "I think you need to explain everything about your phobia to me properly ... like why do you even have it?  and what is this hell you have been through?  I need to know everything!!"
          "Is there any point in me digging it all up, when I doubt that it will make any difference to you having that baby!!  You will have it regardless of anything I have to tell you."
           "It might make a difference ... you have hidden it and shut me out all this time, so I didn't have a clue about what you have been going through or why.  I didn't know what I was putting you through, and if I had known, it would have all been different!"
           "So are you saying you might consider having a termination?"  I raise my eyebrows
           "Possibly ... "