Sunday, 23 July 2017

Chapter 60 a - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I walk into the bedroom, and can't help but be amused by Mace, who is already sat where he seems to live these days, on his drawing table, pencil in hand scribbling away and oblivious to time as well as the world around him.  I wander for a moment if he hasn't been sat there all night.

I can't help but regret buying him that drawing table sometimes, especially when I can not get any sense out of him.  This week he has been particular bad, constantly working, doing single covers and TShirt designs for Tapestry, as well as taking on some free lance work.  I now understand what Thyme meant when he said Mace is a workaholic and never knows when to stop.

I have just come in from working the night shift, and he hasn't batted an eyelid, he has just glanced at me then continued to scribble away.  Normally he would have jumped on me, these days I don't even get an hello or a kiss, I'm beginning to think he's going off me!

          "Mace where are Saffron and Atlas?"
          "At Tapestry's, with Vanilla and Poppy."  he mumbles without looking up.
          "Okay, I'll be back in a sec."

I laugh as I walk out the door without any reaction from him.

I laugh as I run up the stairs, thinking if he didn't have that damn table and that pencil in his hand, he would have interrogated me before I walked out the door, wanting to know where I was going and why.  So I guess there are some perks to him having that drawing table, sometimes, it keeps him off my back a little, he is not suffocating me, which in the past has really irritated me, but now that he is suddenly not doing it, I don't like it!

I walk into Saffron and Atlas's room, not knowing where Slate and Dad are, so I lock the door behind me.  It doesn't really matter if any of them catch me right now, but there is still something that I want to keep hidden, mine and Forrest's divorce and the papers.  I really don't want the surprise that I am now planning for Mace spoilt, by anyone slipping up and telling him that we are now divorced by accident, so it is better that only me and Forrest know for now, that our divorce has come through, and what I am up to.

When the divorce papers came through the door yesterday morning and landed on the mat, I'm glad I was the one to pick them up.  If anyone else in the house had picked up the mail, they would automatically have given my letter to Mace, who probably would have opened it.

I have not told Mace yet, that our divorce is final, because I can just imagine what his reaction would have been, he would have screamed the house down with excitement and gone all hyperactive on me.  Me on the other hand, I needed time to absorb it,  It has taken me the day to get my head around it.  Even though it is what I wanted, to be free of Forrest so that I can marry Mace, I didn't expect it, not so soon, I thought it was going to take years, and today, it has just come out of the blue and it has knocked me for six.  It is finally over, after nearly thirty years of marriage, and even though I am happy to now be divorced from Forrest, it still hurts, even more so now that he seems to have forgotten everything about our lives together before the day we got married, due to this strange memory loss that he has since he woke up.

Forrest has had our marriage Annulled, due to abandonment, without even telling me .... which annoys me a little, because that is what I asked him to do from the start, but he dug his heels in and told me if I wanted a divorce, then I would have to be the one to do it.  Of course he could get our marriage annulled because I am the one who abandoned him, but I couldn't, me being the one applying for a divorce had to go the long winded way.  What annoys me the most is all the money that I have waste at the Solicitors, and he knows it ... then he goes and does this, but that is Forrest all over, he has to do it his way, how and when it suits him!!

Mace thinks it will be years before mine and Forrest's divorce comes through, so he will get the shock of his life when I spring on him the surprise marriage that I am now planning before the trial begins.  Which is going to be tight, because I only have two weeks to do it.

Hopefully it will make him feel a whole lot better knowing that we are married before he gets his sentence.  I know that is one thing that has really been upsetting him, he thinks we won't be able to get married until after he has served his sentence, however long that might be.  I don't think I have helped to ease his worries very much, by not putting an engagement ring on his finger yet.  I still don't think that he completely trusts that I am not going to go running back to Forrest after he is sentenced and especially that I will be there waiting for him to be released ... not that a wedding ring and marriage certificate will guarantee that ... but he thinks it does, and it will put his mind at rest a little.

I stand nervously, staring at the cupboard, because a conversation about ghosts existing, that I had a few days ago with Tapestry, has really been playing on my mind ever since.  I stand there almost too scared to look inside my hiding place, afraid of what I might find, and that what Tapestry was actually telling me is true.  I have played our conversation and the events of the day in question, over and over in my mind and I really can not find any other explanation for how he would know everything that he told me, if he isn't telling the truth ... that ghosts really do exist and Sunny in spirit form was actually watching me that day!

I look around the bedroom stupidly, even knowing that I am not going to see anything, almost creeped out by the thought that there might be a ghost here now watching me ... I honestly think that I am starting to believe it.  I laugh at myself as I try to pull myself together and knock the stupid thoughts out of my head.

I move the heavy cupboard, which is difficult without making too much noise for anyone to hear.  This heavy cupboard being here is annoying, but on the other hand, it helps to keep my hiding place pretty much from being found.  One thing I know for sure, Mace will never find my hiding place, as he can't and has never been up the stairs.   I laugh again wandering how Forrest has never found this place over the past twenty years.  I always thought he would discover it when he changed the carpet in this room, which he obviously has done since I lived here, but he obviously didn't spot the broken floorboard or try to move it.

Since I have been back I had not even given a thought to the hiding places that I have around this house, not until I needed somewhere to hide Mace's ring from him until I propose to him.  Over the years I have tried to blot out and forget my criminal past, and my erratic behaviour of being an addict, so my hiding places have not crossed my mind once.   This is not the only hiding place that I have in this house ... there are two others.

I sit down on the carpet quite heavily and wander if Forrest has found the other two.  My blood runs very cold when something suddenly hits me, a flood of memories slam back into my head and I remember what should still be in one of my other hiding places, the one in the bathroom, if Forrest has not already found that hiding place.  Why am I so stupid?!  I have been back in this town and house for long enough, why haven't I even thought about them or their contents at all before now!!

At first when I was sentenced, I worried about what I had left hidden in the bathroom, and especially Forrest finding it, imagining that the hidden contents might come back to bite me and even extend my sentence, if he was stupid enough to hand them into the police.   However, thinking I could never come home, I just had to hope that it stayed hidden and try to forget all about my past, and hope that it never catches up with me one day.  Over the years, getting comfortable in my perfectly legal life,  I have gradually wiped my bad life from my mind and forgotten completely about what I have actually hidden in one of the hidey holes ... it has totally slipped my mind until now.

I can't help but think that the hiding place in the bathroom, must still be a secret and it's contents have to still be there and hidden, because if Forrest had ever found them, he would have said something and probably gone totally ballistic at me by now!!

My mind flashes back twenty five years to the job that went totally wrong.  Thankfully I had not taken part in it, I was too hammered to go with them so they left me behind, sleeping it off.  A simple raid turned into a massacrer, and I was given the job of disposing of the evidence ... the guns.  We lost three of the mob that day, but the group of a dozen police officers that swarmed them, had come off worse, because Fudge's mob had totally wiped them all out.   I suddenly realise, I do still have a skeleton in my cupboard that could well bite me in the ass - I didn't take part in the raid, but I did hide the evidence and none of the mob were caught or charged with that crime, which was lucky for us because of the severity of the crime, murdering twelve police officers would have had us all locked up for the rest of our lives, even me, because I was an accessory and to this day, I still have the evidence ... I think.  The realisation of it suddenly hits me ...this could still catch up with me!!!

I remember that day quiet clearly, now I think about it, and it is just one of many things that I have pushed to the back of my mind over the years.  I remember how I had been abruptly woken up from my drunken slumber, ironically by Mace of all people, screaming the place down because Fudge was giving him a leathering.   I had jumped up to try and stop Fudge, Mace was only a kid, probably about six and I couldn't stand to watch a grown man battering a defenceless child.  Fudge blamed Mace for the raid going wrong, I'm not sure why or what he had done, and I didn't ask, because in my book, the child shouldn't have even been there or taken part in it.   Fudge never liked me interfering when he was battering Mace and Tarragon, which I always did, I couldn't just sit there and watch him doing it like all the others did.  Fudge turned on me then for interfering, and I let him batter me, but I didn't really mind if it stopped him from battering Mace.  That was when he told me to dispose of all their guns ... I remember his worlds as clear as day  "Dump the evidence in Apple Lake, after you have wiped off all the prints."  he had then shoved Mace towards me quite forcefully  "You might as well dump this useless runt in the lake while you are at it, I can see he is going to be a waste of space just like you are.  I'm sick of his snivelling face, his sister has got more balls than he has!!"  At the time, Fudge was so angry with Mace, I honestly think he meant it!!

Obviously I was never going to do it, and I didn't dump anything in the lake that night, I took it all home with me, the guns and Mace.  Mace being six years old, after having a battering from his Dad, a grown man, understandably was in a mess, physically and mentally.  I was more concerned about him than disposing of the guns, which I hid in the back garden, in the middle of an overgrown bush before we went into the house.   I chuckle quietly thinking about Forrest, the minute I went through the door carrying the little boy he started to go ballistic at me for bringing Mace home again, because it wasn't the first time.  I should have seen back then that he had his child phobia, but not being medically trained at the time, I didn't even know such a phobia existed.

After Forrest's initial kick off, he did show concern over the state of the both of us, I had a bloody and swollen face and so did the little boy, who was pretty badly battered and bleeding, he needed stitches, and he had a broken arm.  After I cleaned us both up the best I could, we had to sneak Mace into the hospital, during the middle of the night, so that Forrest could get Mace stitched up and his arm put in plaster.

I had to break into the plaster room, which thankfully was empty and locked up for the night, we couldn't afford to let anyone see the state of him, because if social services or the police had been called in, they would have been down on Fudge like a tonne of bricks and it probably would have dragged us all down with him, especially if they got wind of what the mob had been up to that night.  At the very least I would have been at the bottom of Apple lake for grassing him up, or being responsible for social services and the police on his back   After we got home, me and Forrest had the mother of all arguments, because yet again he said I had dragged him into my shit,  He packed a bag and went to stay at his parents, refusing to set foot in the house again, until I had got rid of Mace.

My conscience was very torn at the time over Mace,  I could see how soft he was, unike his sister who was already as hard as nails and a typical Brownie in the making.  She was loving her life, while Mace visibly wasn't.  The environment that they were both being brought up in was very wrong.  While I wanted to get them out of there, there was nothing that I could do about it - I would never have lived to tell the tale if I had even tried.  I didn't want to take him back to his parents and the hell that I could see he was living through, but I knew I couldn't keep him, or at least get him some proper help.

He stayed with me that night, and the very next day Fudge came banging the door down looking for his son.  I laugh remembering he gave me another battering for taking his son - even though he had told me to, even watching me walk out with him.   Luckily I didn't dump him in the lake like I had been told to, or I would have ended my days at the bottom of Apple lake along with many others who have met there end there.

I'm not sure why at the time, but I kept the guns as insurance, not that I ever used them as such, when there were plenty of times that I could have done.  I had watched them all dropping their guns into a large clear plastic seal-able freezer bag, their fingerprints still all over the guns.  I remember thinking at the time, how stupid are they to trust that I will wipe away their prints, and dispose of them properly.  I also could not help but notice that there was one too many guns going in that bag, especially after I watched Fudge dropping two guns into the bag, the bag which was sealed and has never been opened by me since.

The extra gun really spooked me, and I couldn't help but keep staring at it, and I think that is why I initially hung onto the bag of evidence, because of the extra gun - it looked just like the gun my Dad used to have.  It was quite distinctive, it had a marble pattern on the grip.  I've seen plenty of guns during my time of being mixed up in the criminal world, but to this day, I've never seen a gun like the one that my Dad had.

Even though I kept telling myself it couldn't be my Dad's gun, he was long gone and so would have his gun been, it was just one that looked like his ... but I still kept them.

I guess at the time, I was being sentimentally stupid, even though on the surface I hated the man who had faded when I was twelve years old, the man who I blamed for all my problems and screwed up head, he was still my Dad and that gun meant something to me, his or not, and I found myself holding onto it, even though I knew I shouldn't have been.

Thinking about that gun now - alarm bells start ringing in my head.  I now know that Gravel was behind the mob - he must have known about that raid and especially the officers who were massacred, he worked with some of them!!  I remember panicking a little that night, worrying that he might have been one of those officers, and I made a nonsense phone call to him on the way home with Mace and the bag of evidence, just to check that he wasn't one of them.  That extra gun had really bugged me back then, like it is stating too again now ...  where did it come from and who used it ... I am now starting to wander - could it actually have been Gravel ... but how could he have had Dad's gun?!

I now think I'm in a right mess because I kept that bag of guns.  I need to get rid of them, but first I need to check my hiding place in the bathroom to see if they are actually still there.  I could just be sat here worrying about nothing, but highly doubt it.  I stare at my watch, knowing I only have a few hours left before I am due back at work, I know I don't have time to be disposing of them now ... not that I would now even know where or how, I'm too many years out of practice!!

There is nothing I can do now, so I just have to try and forget about my new dilemma until later.  I laugh at myself as I remember why I am actually sitting on the floor in Saffron and Atlas's bedroom.  

After crawling to the corner of the room, I pull back the carpet and take a deep breath as I lift up the loose floorboard and stare down at the rusting metal tin, that is sitting between the rafters underneath the floorboards.  I pull out the tin and place it on the carpet in front of me, taking another deep breath before lifting off the lid.

I stare down, almost numbly, at the contents of the tin.  I did get the ring box out of here before my shift last night, but I closed my eyes and didn't look, only wanting the ring, not wanting to see what else was in there, just in case Tapestry wasn't joking and he was telling the truth.  I didn't want to see the contents of the tin before my shift, worrying about Forrest and if there was going to be anything wrong with him when he woke up, I didn't want to burden my mind with all this ghost stuff.  I had brushed something that felt like cold glass when I was feeling around for the ring, I hoped and presumed it was the bottle of vodka, and that Tapestry is just having a laugh with me.

I now have my eyes open and can't take them off what is actually now in there, seriously not believing what I am looking at!!   The vodka and drugs have gone, just like Tapestry said they would be, and in there place is a jar of Honey.  I stare at it and can't help but laugh - wandering if I am going mad.  I take the jar of honey out as I throw the envelope containing Forrest's divorce papers into the tin, along with my own.

After I have quickly put the tin, floorboard, carpet and cupboard back in it's place, I sit back down on the carpet turning the jar of honey over, taking a good look at it.  It is not a brand that we usually buy, so I doubt it has come out of our fridge.   So where has it come from .... more to the point, who took away the vodka and drugs and put this here in their place?!

I think about what Tapestry said for a moment  "Oh and he's left you something in place of your stash, he says you'll enjoy that a lot more ... something only you and Mace know about apparently!"

Yeah, this is something that only me and Mace should know about, if applied to our private use of honey ... unless Mace has told someone, what we actually do with it.  I wander for a moment if he hasn't told Atlas, in the past he has confided in his best mate about our sex life.  Atlas, Saffron, Tapestry, Mace, they are all very close these days ... I wander for a moment if they haven't found my hiding place and this is just one big joke?!  It could be ... but it still wouldn't explain some of the things that Tapestry said, that nobody could have seen because there was nobody around me to see, I was totally alone, especially when I was in this locked room on my own.  Either Tapestry has to be telling the truth and ghosts really do exist, or I am going totally mad!!

I jump to my feet, and after putting the jar of honey into my pocket, I go over to the door, and stand listening to see if I can hear anyone on the landing.  It is deadly silent so I unlock the door and slip out of the room.

I automatically think about the contents of my hiding place in the bathroom, as I stare at the bathroom door, and decide I really need to check right now.  My nerves are already jangling, and I nearly jump out of my skin, as I go to grab the handle on the door, the door opens suddenly and unexpectedly ... my Dad is just coming out of the bathroom.

           "Hell ... you gave me a fright."  he just stands there laughing at me as I try to catch my breath.
           "So what are you doing, sneaking about up here?"  he frowns at me
           "I'm not sneaking!"  I laugh at him
           "Really?!"  his eye brows raise "You forget I can read your face like a book, and you don't have any reason to be up here, seeing as you live downstairs, unless you are up to something!"  he laughs  "I followed you up the stairs, and you've been in Atlas's room for quite a while, I heard you bumping and banging about it there ... so?!"
           "Okay ... I was sneaking!"  I laugh at him, he is just like Gravel, he rarely misses anything!!

           "Should I be worried?"  he frowns at me
           "No!  I hid something in there a few days ago so Mace didn't find it."  I smile at him as I pull the ring box out of my pocket  "He is very good at snooping, finding things and spoiling surprises."
           "Is that what I think it is?"  his eyes widen
           "Yeah."  I mumble as I open the box and show him the ring
           "That is a ring for Mace I take it ... not Forrest!"  he frowns at me
           "Obviously, it is for Mace!"  I laugh at him  "I think you should have gathered by now, with Forrest's latest confessions, Mel and the kids, that we are over, it's done!!  I even have the divorce papers to prove it!!"  I bite my tongue the words are out of my mouth before I realise what I've said.  So much for keeping it a secret!!
            "Divorce papers ..."  he frowns at me  "You kept that quiet!"
            "They only came yesterday, I wasn't even expecting them myself, after all the arguments we have had Forrest goes and does what I asked him to do in the first place and he refused to do!!  He has filed for an annulment. ... so it's over, we are now divorced."  I smirk at him
            "I bet Mace is happy!!"  he grins at me
            "He doesn't know yet."  I laugh at him  "And you are not to tell him either ... only you know besides me and Leafy .... I am planning to spring a surprise on Mace ... we are getting married before the trial begins, and Mace doesn't know it yet, and he won't until it happens."
            "While I'm happy Mace is getting what he wants, I just hope you are doing this for the right reason!"
            "Of course I am ... I love him."
            "Ahhh light dawns on marble head!!"  he starts laughing  "You finally realise what we have all seen since the day you woke up after the shooting!!"

Him mentioning the shooting makes me think about his gun again.

            "Dad ... what happened to the gun that you had when I was a kid?"  he frowns at me  "The one you caught me trying to shoot Forrest with ... it had a marble pattern on the grip."
           "Oh berry, I remember that!"  he starts to really laugh  "I should have known you would turn out to be a little criminal when you was older, the way you lifted my gun without me even feeling you doing it.  I've never fallen asleep with my gun on me since that day!!"  he is really chuckling  "I nearly had a coronary when I walked out into the garden and saw you and Forrest playing cops and robbers with that gun!!  I can laugh about it now, but it was far from funny at the time.  You even manage to lift the bullets out of my other pocket, its just a good job you didn't have the sense to load the gun with them, or I dread to think what might have happened!!  Forrest would have been a gonner, you was actually stood there aiming perfectly and continuously pulling the trigger ... and all I got from you was the normal ...  "leafy told me to." 

We both stand laughing for a moment

           "So what happened to that gun, because I have noticed the one you have now is different."
           "Well it would be after over thirty years soft lad, they don't last forever."  he laughs at me  "But as it happens, I gave that gun to Gravel, not long after he turned up on my doorstep." he smiles at me  "Like you, he was always fascinated with that gun when he was a child."
           "Yeah, it was very distinctive, I've never seen one like it before, but I guess in your day it was just a common make of gun."
            "The gun itself yes, the handle no."  he laughs quietly  "That gun was pretty much a one off."
            "Really!?"  my stomach starts rolling

            "Yeah, my Dad had it made specially for me when I joined the force.  Probably why I hung onto it for so long."  he smiles  "My brother had one too, but the pattern on his was different, his was zebra print."
            "It's funny, I don't remember seeing Gravel with that gun."
            "No, he told me he kept it locked up and didn't use it ... one of the reasons was so you didn't see it, I was a bit stupid giving it him really ... I didn't think about you seeing it at the time.  I doubt you will ever see another one like it, so you would automatically know it was my gun."  he starts to look thoughtful  "I wander what happened to that gun?  I was actually expecting it to turn up in amongst all the seized property from his house, but it didn't!!"
My blood runs cold for a moment as my head starts to spin.  I am suddenly now thinking that the gun in the bag probably was Dads, and Gravel must have gone along on that raid and been the one to use it.  A little ironic that Dad should wander where it is, after he just walk out of the bathroom where it is hidden, I think.

           "Why are you asking about that gun Granny?"  he frowns at me suspiciously, as he must have just been watching my face twisting.
           "Oh no reason."  I mumble
           "Something must have made you think about that gun!"  he is still frowning at me and I have to do some quick thinking.
            "Just a conversation I had with Mace ... Clay will never be able to have any toy guns, play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians like little boys do ... or we will have Mace screaming the place down."
            "No I guess not."  he laughs.

After Dad leaves me to use the toilet, so he thinks, I close the bathroom door behind me, lock it then lean against it.  I stare at the bath, my head now in turmoil, thinking that has to be my Dad's old gun!!

I have to think about that for a moment.  Dad gave Gravel that gun, Gravel who ran the mob, and I was given the gun by Fudge to dispose of it ... obviously Gravel did do that job with them, and he must have used it and been responsible for shooting someone to be having his gun disposed of.

I drop down onto my knees, and stare at an old familiar bath panel - not quite believing that Forrest has never replaced this bath or bath panel.  I prise the bath panel off with my bare hands, knowing just how to do it quickly.  It comes off without a problem.

A cloud of dust suddenly flies up and I start choking as I wave my hand around trying to disperse the cloud.  Once I can breath again, I start to laugh ... seriously has he NEVER removed this bath panel even once in the past twenty years?!

I look into the dark space underneath the bath, and all I can see is years of dust and cobwebs, the odd faded spider and moth.  To be honest I never expected this space to be completely untouched, and judging by the state of it, I would say it is.

As I duck down a little more, I put my hand on the floor underneath the bath to steady myself,  while I lean in looking for the nail in the lino, which is sticking out a little.  I laugh at myself, because of the clever little thing that I did, glued the nail into the lino, so when I pull up the nail the lino comes with it in a perfect square, which I had cut out of the lino.  As I sit back to put the lino square down at the side of me, I spot my hand and finger prints on the floor in the dust .... that is not good!!

The last thing that I need is to be leaving finger prints under the bath, so I start to look around for something to wipe the hand print away.  I laugh grabbing a damp face cloth off the sink, as I spot a few unopened boxes of brown hair dye on the shelf.  Slate and Bay have been dying their hair and going out into the coded world, no doubt this hair dye is here ready for their next trip out.  I grab one and tear open the box to get out the plastic gloves that I know are always in with hair dye.

Now that I can no longer leave fingerprints everywhere, I go back under the bath, I pull up the broken floorboard with the help of another glued nail.  I have to go right under the bath now to stare into the hole.

HELL!!  I feel sick ... my eyes fall upon the bag of guns, because it is still there, exactly where I left it!!"

Now I SERIOUSLY am in trouble!!

I come out from under the bath, quickly replace the floorboard and lino, trying only to touch the nails.  I take off the plastic gloves, screw them up and throw them into the peddle bin.

After I have replaced the bath panel and cleaned up any mess I've made, only then can I sit there thinking, while I'm having a slight panic attack.

Now I have a new dilema ... do I hand the guns in so that Gravel can finally take the rap for taking part in that job, or do I dispose of the guns quickly to save my own skin?!


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Chapter 59 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I run out of Forrest's room chasing after Dad, a little confused by what he is doing.  He has vanished out of the corridor already, so I head for his office, presuming that is where he has gone.

He is in his office like I thought he would be, on the phone, trying to get Forrest in for a CAT and MRI scan as soon as possible.  I have to sit and wait for him to finish on his call.

          "Dad why are you running a load of tests on Forrest?"
          "We have to."  he laughs  "I can not just say, he has lost his memory then leave it at that!"  he smiles at me  "Forrest will want an explanation, and I know for one Granite will be demanding every test possible to try and get to the root of it.  He is going to be imagining permanent brain damage and all sorts!!   Medically, it has to be done properly."

          "It seems like a ball ache when we know ..."
          "Yeah I know, and I am still not really comfortable with it."
          "I have already had one close shave, Caramel deciding that she should have a termination before Forrest woke up, and I had to talk her out of it!!  I must have needed my head testing to agree to this!!" he pulls a face
           "You stress too much!!"  I laugh at him
           "It's not only all the lies I am having to tell again, but knowing he is going to struggle for the rest of his life because of the memories he has lost.  I don't know how I am going to sleep at night."
          "Yeah but won't it be worth it!!  It's not like we remember that much about our childhood anyway, and his phobia will be gone and he won't be struggling around children and especially not his Grandchildren and the two new babies."
          "That is if it has even worked Tapestry .., there is no saying that it will!!"  he frowns at me  "You need to hope this has cured his phobia, or I will never be sleeping ever again!!"
          "We should test him ... Snow is downstairs."
          "No!!"  he snaps at me  "It's too soon to be springing a toddler on him without a reason ... let us get the tests done first, then I can plant the idea into Granite head that he's lost all his childhood memories, which might make him think about the phobia."
         "What about Scarlet's baby ... have you said anything to Ruby?"         
         "No.  I doubt that woman will ever come clean until the proof is there for everyone to see, and I will probably just be wasting my breath trying!!"  he pulls a pained expressed  "Besides Scarlet is so close now and if I go telling her she will be distraught, being in labour is hard enough for any woman, without be emotionally upset while it is happening, she already has to contend with Cinnamon not being here."

         "Even though I think it is not fair on the rest of his family withholding this information ... I think you are right about one thing, NOT upsetting the apple cart unless it is necessary - because it is going to cause destruction when it does come out!!"  he rolls his eyes  "We are just going to have to sit back and wait .... and PREY none of his colouring comes out in the baby, to buy us a little more time until everything has settled down!!"
          "How likely is it, the baby having his colouring?"
          "More than possible ... look at Mo, he has your Grandmothers hair, Clay and Amber both have their Grandfathers hair, Poppy has your Mothers hair, Shadow has Ruby's eyes."  he frowns at me  "Another reason why I haven't said anything to her yet ... what about if Cosmic has got it wrong, what about if he is not even Scarlet's Dad and I go making a fool of myself, as well as seriously upset everyone for no reason.  I think that is why we need to wait until the baby is born to be one hundred percent sure."
          "I guess, I never thought about that.  She does sleep around so she could be anyone's"  I laugh  "But if Cosmic has got it wrong then so has Ruby, because she said his name quite a lot apparently when she was trying to off load her guilt, she thinks he is the one."
          "Unfortunately he probably is.  I have had a poke in their medical records, his blood type is exactly the same as Scarlet's ... I hoped it would be different, because anyone other than him would be better for everyone!"
          "So if the baby doesn't have any of his colouring, are you going to just keep the secret to yourself and never tell them?"
          "Hell no!!  After what Maizie did to me not telling me about River, I couldn't live with myself hiding it!!"
          "Shadow ... "  I mumble
          "Tapestry please don't start with that one again.  I was doing what I thought was best for you and Vanilla!!"  he rolls his eyes  "Us hiding Shadow from you, is a totally different kettle of fish and you know it, because of our cold friends with fangs and the world they live in.  I really think that we have talked that subject out don't you!!"

            "So you are going to tell Scarlet the truth."
            "Yes, obviously we might have no choice when the baby is born.  As much as Scarlet is going to hate what we have to tell her, she has a right to know, and so does he and his family!!  Unfortunately this will have to come out sometime, and if the baby doesn't show any signs of him, then I am going to wait until after the trial, and let things settle down first.  They have enough to deal with at the moment don't you think, they really don't need this too."
           "Maybe we should warn Granite and Forrest, they can at least help us with the fall out, if it happens."
           "I don't think so!!  They are no different to the rest, they have enough going on, and don't forget the trial is coming up, that is going to put them all through enough hell, without me adding to it.  Granite will feel like I do, he had Slate hidden from him remember, and do you honestly think he will be able to sit on this secret without reacting to it!!"  he smiles at me  "It's best just kept to me you and River at the moment ... we will deal with the fall out, if and when it is necessary.  Just thinking about what we all have coming, it is knocking me sick, I can honestly see this tearing the extended family apart, we have had drama in the past, but nothing like this ..." 
          "Why is everyone so yampy in this town?!"  I laugh at Dad suddenly  "Rocky and everyone else that I know who live outside of this town - have quiet and normal lives without all this drama ... with us it never stops!"
         "That's a very good question."  he starts laughing  "We used to have a quiet and normal life here too.  I blame myself sometimes, because I brought most of it home from boarding school with me!!"  he is really laughing now
         "Trust you to blame yourself!!"  I laugh at him
         "Yeah well I do ... if I hadn't brought most of my school friends home with me, our lives would have been a hell of a lot quieter!!"  he laughs  "Of course Gravel was already here waiting to go off and cause his mahem, but when you basically have a handful of already very troubled teenagers coming together, things are never going to be quiet or normal."

         "What do you mean by troubled?"
         "Most of us were sent to that boarding school for a reason, and not very nice ones.  I was the only one who didn't have a bad reason for being there.  Everyone else basically, had a troubled life, family background or reason for why they were sent there, including your Mother."  he laughs  "They were all very troubled and messed up mentally .. which is part of what has caused all the drama.  While most of them have dealt with their troubles and settled down, Lime, Ruby and Sunny in particular, I don't think ever dealt with their issues.  They are all pure berries too which hasn't helped, who have tied themselves down to this town with mixed berry children, so they feel caged and frustrated.  Those that had parents were disowned for their colour mixing which added to their troubles.  I doubt Ruby will ever stop her stupidity, I'm not sure any of us really know why she was sent away to the boarding school."
          "Remind me never to send my kids to a boarding school!!"
          "Yeah and I hope you don't, especially not one like the one I went to!!"  he frowns at me  "Although, you do have the means and opportunity to give your children a far better education, than what they will ever get here ... not all boarding schools are bad and full of trouble teenagers, especially those that you pay for."
          "Didn't the same apply to you with us?"  I frown at him
          "Not really!! The means yes, the opportunity, not like you do.  I might be a well known Neurosurgeon in the medical world, and a mixed berry that can go freely out into the world and shout about it without getting arrested and locked up, but my power over the authorities is not like yours being world famous.  I was limited to the schools in Berry Shores or Cherry Hill ... I would never have got away with sending any of you out into the coded world to be educated."  his eyebrows rise a little  "Vanilla is already accepted out in the world, just like you and Crystal are, she is your daughter, and she will be famous just because you are.  So you have the opportunity to get her the best education money can buy ... I doubt she will ever be caged in a colour mix town, so she has the world of opportunity at her feet."

           "So why didn't you, send at least Mo and Coral to either of the other colour mix towns, they would have had better education .... I know there was no point you sending me, any education would have been waste on me!"  we both laugh for a moment
           "Our own experience of boarding schools was the main thing that stopped us, it was very hard for me being away from my parents, and your Mother would never have been parted from any of you ... if one of you had gone to Berry or Cherry, we all would have had to go, and there was too much to keep us here."  he smiles at me  "Besides the education we got here has never stopped me or Forrest and especially Granite, from achieving something with our lives.  Sometimes it is not the education, it is what the individual does with it."  he laughs quietly  "Granite, you and Coral are actually the perfect examples of just that."
           "What do you mean?"  I frown at him
           "If you had know Granite growing up, you would never believe he was the same person that you see today.  Now that was one off the rails teenager, and he was the one who caused all the trouble in this town, along with his criminal mates.  He was always destined to get locked up, I'm surprised it took so long."  he chuckles to himself  "He rarely went to school, especially after his Father faded, drink and drugs, it was very rare to see him not high or hammered!!  He didn't even bother to turn up to take his exams.  Look at him now, career wise he is on a level with me, Head of Neurology ... just proving, anyone can do it if they try, even with a bad education."  he starts to really laugh  "You are just like Granite .. Mr I don't even want to bother trying to learn anything, so he didn't ... I bet you still can't even count above 10 with out struggling can you?!"
           "No ... twenty actually!!"  I smirk at him
           "Exactly, and look at you, with not a grade to your name ... Mr famous Rock Star who will probably achieve the most out of life and is already earning more then we ever could, or dream of."  he laughs quietly  "On the other hand we have Coral ... the straight A student, who walked through school and academically was definitely the cleverest one.  She could move to Berry or Cherry, even spend some time at university, and get herself a very good career if she had a mind to. ... and look what she is doing with it ... absolutely nothing, and the way she is going, I doubt she ever will!!  She is going to have to marry a rich man just to keep her, that is all I can see!!"  he tuts

           "Yeah well, she is taking being Daddies Spoiled Princess too far ... she thinks that is a career in itself!!  She won't get a proper job just in case she breaks a nail!!  And I hope you know she is teaching brat princess number two how to follow in her footsteps!!"  I laugh at him and he pulls one of his disapproving faces at me.  He hates the nicknames that I have for my two sisters.  "Berry help them if they teach Vanilla how to become a brat!!  Maybe I should send Vanilla away to boarding school, so they don't rub off on her!!"
           "Vanilla will be fine, she's already very head strong, I've heard her a few times telling Cotton to stop being a drama queen!!"  he laughs  "It is Snow that I am more worrying about, with his problems."
           "Well he definitely WON'T be going to school!!"  I tut  "If only you knew the hell I went through for being different!!  Snow is traumatised enough without sending him to school, I'm going to make sure he never has to go through what I went through!!"
           "You can't not send him to school, just because you didn't like it!!"  Dad laughs at me
           "I know, I'm not totally stupid!"  I laugh at him  "We are going to get him home schooled, so he doesn't get picked on, bullied and ridiculed like I did!!"
            "And who exactly is going to be home schooling him?"  he frowns at me
            "Not me, that's for sure!!"  I laugh at him  "I'm going to hire a properly qualified teacher to do it ... I'm surprised Daddy Clone hasn't told you, I've already discussed it with him, and he is going to help me find a decent one.  He is actually thinking about Ocean being home schooled too."
            "Seriously!?"  he laughs  "No he never said."  this seems to have amused him for some reason.
            "I'm surprised, doesn't he usually tell you everything!!"  I laugh quietly
            "No, he probably wouldn't tell me about this, because I think he knows what I'll say!"  he laughs  "He is always going on at me for spoiling the girls and wrapping you in cotton wool, but he can not even see he is doing exactly the same things with Ocean!!"  he starts really laughing

             "So I guess you don't approve of home schooling?"
             "Not for Ocean!!  It is not a bad idea, as far as Snow goes, and probably what he needs, to stop the bullying and his social anxiety ..."  he pulls a face  "However, isn't that isolating him just a little too much.  He needs to be encouraged to socialise with other people, not shut him away from other children his own age which will just feed his condition.  We need to encourage him out of it not isolate him which will probably make him worse."
            "River said that, but if he goes to school and is picked on, it could make him more troubled, and he could just withdraw into himself even more, or send him off the rails like it did me."  I smile at him  "It is not like he will never socialise with children his own age, or other people, our house is like piccalilli station most of the time and I've always got somebody elses child to mind ... he already has a lot of cousins and he'll be getting another four play mates pretty soon, along with Vanilla."
            "I guess, it is worth a try with Snow at least."  he smiles at me  "It can't go any worse than it did when we tried it with you!"  he starts laughing
            "I was never home schooled."  I frown at him
            "You was for about 12 months - but it didn't work out."  he laughs  "You constantly played up, because you wanted to go to school with Storm and Honey ... you bit most of the teachers the agency sent, in the end they refused to send any, because they said you was too uncontrollable.  So we had no choice but to send you to main stream school, there being no schools for special needs children in any of the colour mix towns."
            "I don't remember that!!"  I laugh at him
            "No, probably not, you was only five."  he laughs at me

            "While I'm here, I suppose I should warn you about the live in Nanny, in case River hasn't told you about that either."
            "What live in Nanny?"  he frowns at me
            "I'm going to be hiring one soon, to help Crystal with the kids."  his eyebrows rise a little  "You know I have got that tour coming up soon - I'm going to be away for three months, and I can't just leave Crystal on her own in her condition to look after Vanilla and Snow."
            "She won't be on her own."  he frowns at me  "You know there is enough of us in the house to help Crystal look after Vanilla and Snow while you are away!!  You don't need to hire a Nanny!!"
            "I know but, it just takes the pressure off everyone, with Mom to look after as well.  You can see how Crystal has been since River told her everything that could go wrong if she doesn't look after herself because there are four babies ... she is now too scared to move, she is terrified that something is going to go wrong!!  The only reason I am here now is because Sunny is with her and I have Snow here."  I roll my eyes  "She is worrying and doesn't want me to go on tour, but I have no choice, I have to go ... having a live in Nanny just takes all the worry away from her."  I laugh quietly  "It will also help me to sneak out more often to see Shadow."
            "I suppose that little monkey is going to be a total nightmare while you are away, constantly demanding mine and Rivers attention."  he laughs 
            "Yep!!  He is really not happy about me going on tour, and it is not helping that I am struggling to see his so much at the moment because of how Crystal is."  
            "I have noticed how quiet Crystal has been lately, every time I see her she is lying on the bed watching tv, which is good because she is getting plenty of bed rest and at least she isn't bouncing around."
            "Yeah she is driving me mad with it, she is worrying over the top and way too much!!"  I laugh

            "I think having a Nanny is going to have to be a permanent thing anyway."  I roll my eyes  "Crystal is never going to cope with four babies and two toddlers on her own, when I'm away working.  She is going to need help until they start school at least, and a live in Nanny is the best way to do it."
            "Well you seem to know what you are doing."  he chuckles to himself  "But, you need to be very careful about who you are employing, both the teacher and the nanny.  Your fame could attract all sorts of trouble."
             "Don't stress it is all under control ... River and Crimson are going to sort it all out.  River has contacted a few agencies out of town, he's doing it all in his name and Crimson will be vetting and police checking the applicants.  They won't even know about me until after they get the job."
             "You say live in Nanny ... so where exactly will they be living."  he laughs quietly
             "That is something we need to sort out."  I roll my eyes  "Granddads room would be the best place, but I can't really turf him out ... suddenly my space is not nearly big enough ... Vanilla, Snow and Ocean will soon be needing their own rooms and I don't know where the hell these four babies are going to sleep!!"
             "No, neither do I!!"  he starts to really laugh  "When we built your space, we only really had you and Vanilla in mind!!"

The door opens and Granite comes strolling in holding a very grizzly Snow.

          "He wants his Dad."  he laughs as he passes him to me  "I have left his buggy out in the corridor ... I had to get him out of it because he was having a screaming fit when he woke up."
          "He always does when he wakes up, sorry I should have warned you."  I laugh at Granite

          "I don't think he likes me very much."  Granite laughs at me  "Every time I try to speak to him he just screams at me."
          "It's not you, he's just very shy."  I smile at him  "I shouldn't have left him for so long, he was probably scared waking up to a strange face."
          "He doesn't say much, I only heard him say Dad when he was crying for you, is he still not speaking."  he frowns at me  "I can't say I've ever heard him speak when he's with Saffron either."
          "No, not really .... "  I mumble  "Unlike Vanilla who never shuts up."
          "He is going to speech therapy isn't he?"
          "Yeah, although it is not really helping him very much"  Dad laughs at Granite
          "Is there something wrong with him medically?"  Granite frowns at Dad as he sits down.
          "No.  He has had every test going, and there is nothing wrong with his brain, vocal chords or anything else ... he is actually quite a bright child when he wants to be.  He just refuses to speak ... we have put it down to Selective Mutism."
          "Oh, that's a tough one!!"  Granite pulls a face
          "Yeah ... he is going to be very hard work growing up, especially if he doesn't grow out of it, and as you know, most don't, it continues into their adult life."  Dad mumbles as he glances at Snow
          "Is he not talking at home either?"
          "If we put him in a room with Vanilla or Ocean and walk out of it ... he does talk to them a little, but the minute any of us adults are around he totally clams up ... even Tap and Crystal struggle to get a lot out of him most of the time."  he laughs quietly  "It's actually the other toddlers who are teaching him to talk, not us adults."

          "It's horrible to see children with these sort of problems."
          "We think it is probably due to his awful start in life ... social isolation, which is probably what happened to him, if Crystal was anything to go by - shut up in a room with no or very little human contact." he smiles  "I think he suffers from a lot of anxiety, social and otherwise, which is probably a reason why he also has sleep deprivation.  Berry knows what he went through before Tapestry found him!!"

While they continue to talk about Snow and his condition, Snow starts to grizzle a little, and I hear his stomach grumbling.  He needs feeding, so I quickly grab him a bottle out of the bag on his buggy out in the corridor.  I am glad that he never has a problem drinking cold milk, I think he actually prefers it.

          "So have you checked on Forrest?"  Granite mumbles
          "Yeah and I think you are right."  a pained expression flashes across Granites face  "I have already got him booked in for an MRI and CAT scan."
          "His last scan was all clear, he has no brain abnormalities, so I really wasn't expecting this."
          "Me neither."  Dad mumbles  "His scans are booked in for 11am ... so before then, you can access his reflexes, immediate, short term and long term memory capability and take bloods and urine, if you want to make yourself useful, before you clock off."  Dad laughs at Granite, who laughs back at him 
           "Yeah I'll do that before I shoot off."  he smiles at Dad

           "So, do you have any ideas about what might be going on with Forrest?"  Dad asks Granite and I am glad I have my back to them, because I am finding it hard not to laugh.
          "No, at the moment I can't think straight or see past the worst.  I don't think there is anything wrong with his immediate or short term memory - we had quite a lengthy conversation about a lot of recent stuff, before I even noticed there was a problem ... it only seems to be his long term memory that is affected."
          "Yeah I get that impression too."  Dad mumbles  "As his last scans were clear, his memory loss looks very cut and dried to me ... he doesn't seem to remember anything before the day you two got married, but he can remember everything after that day ... I think we might even be looking at a case of dissociative amnesia, which as you know results from a  psychological caused as opposed to physical damage.  Forrest does have a long history of psychological problems."
          "Hopefully that is all it is."  Granite mumbles thoughtfully  "So what did you ask him."
          "He didn't remember how he got the scar on his leg from your tree fall and the compound fracture, and I asked him about Garnet too and he had no recollection of him or how he faded."  he laughs  "He didn't remember your space cakes either, that me and Gravel ate."
          "Oh fudge ... now that was funny!!"  Granite starts laughing
          "Not from where I was standing it wasn't."  Mango laughs
          "You weren't standing Mango, you was rolling around on the floor with Gravel having absolute hysterics."  he sniggers

         "It is actually funny you asked him about the space cakes because we were laughing about that only last week because Mel has got a crab and chocolate cake cravings and Forrest got Saffron and Atlas to cook her some chocolate and crab brownies."  Granite rolls his eyes
          "what ... crab flavoured brownies?"  Dad laughs
          "Yeah they were disgusting, but Mel loved them!!"  he laughs  "Anyway, Forrest remembered the space cakes last week, he actually told Mace the story."
          "Yeah, he reminded me last week about his legs, when he walked into a bed and his leg niggled him for the rest of the day because he hit the scar pretty hard. "  Dad laughs  "He always blames me when he gets any pain in his legs."
          "He has definitely lost a lot of his long term memory!!"  Granite mumbles
          "All of it I think!!  I had to tell him who Spot was."  Granite pulls a face  "He says the first thing he can remember is you two getting married and nothing before that."

Granite sits there quietly just staring at Dad, he looks like he is starting to get upset.

          "I can't help but think ... if he has lost everything before we got married, he won't remember what we were about any more."
          "Yeah he did say something that amused me, after the fuss I've watched him creating for the past twenty years ... he said he couldn't remember why you two even got married when he is straight."  "Dad rolls his eyes  "He seems to have forgotten the fact that he loved you."
          "Exactly my point ...."  Granite chokes

      "You know this memory loss might not be such a bad thing if their is no physical brain damage attached to it."  Dad laughs which makes Granite frown at him 
          "I wouldn't say having amnesia is a good thing!!"  Granite is still frowning
          "Dissociative amnesia can be .... just like Lilly, she has shut out everything before the coma, so she does not remember the bad thing that used to upset her.  Forrest seems to have forgotten or shut out the first eighteen years of his life ... aren't they the year that are screwing him up and causing his phobia.  Wouldn't it actually be better for him if he did forget what you two were about."
          "Yeah ..."  he mumbles as he stares at Dad first blankly, then his eyes widen  "Oh Fudge!!  His phobia ... if all his childhood memories have gone ... logically his phobia should have gone too."
          "Yeah that is exactly what I was thinking!!"  Dad starts laughing
          "We could take Snow into his room to see how he reacts to him."  Granite suddenly grins at me
          "No!!"  Dad laughs  "I've already had Tapestry suggest that!!  Impatient the both of you ... we need to get these tests done first ... what about if we are wrong, we could have missed something, or something could have changed since his last scan ... we need to rule everything else out first and the last thing he needs is a toddler springing on him without any warning."  he tuts  "We really don't need him freaking out and scaring Snow half to death either!!"
           "Yeah, I guess you are right."  Granite laughs as he stands up and looks at his watch.  "I'll get these assessments done, so I can shoot off for a few hours, Mace will be onto me if I'm late home."

We watch Granite walk out of the room.  As soon as the door closes behind him, I laugh at Dad who stares at me for a moment then just closes his eyes and shakes his head.

           "You should go home."  he smiles at me  "I'll call you later so you can bring one of the toddlers in, then we can see what damage you've done."
            "Damage!"  I laugh at him  "More like the miracle I've worked curing his phobia!"
            "Let's hope so ... or I might just be heading for a nervous breakdown!"

I laugh at him as I leave his office, thinking he stresses too much!!


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Chapter 58 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I wake up abruptly with a violent jolt in a blind panic ... from a bad dream.

I lie there trying to catch my breath, while I stare up at the ceiling, as I am thinking about the horrible nightmare that I was just having, glad that it was only a dream.

When I've calmed myself down I start to look around, and take in my surroundings.  I can see that the night lights are no longer on, but I don't feel like I have been asleep for very long.  I glance over towards the other bed at Bay, who is now wide awake, and just lying there watching me, the expression on his face is blank.

I really don't know what to say to him.  I can not even imagine what he might be thinking or feeling right now.  While the last four days have been none existent for me, he has lived those four days and had plenty of time to think, while I have been unconscious.

I hold my breath, even though Granite says they are okay about me and the whole situation, I think I am still expecting the worst, I'm expecting him to start having a go at me.

Then he smiles at me.

          "Was you just having a bad dream?"  he finally mumbles quietly
          "Yeah."  I smile at him
          "You talk in your sleep ... a lot!"  he laughs quietly
          "Yeah I know, so your Mother is always telling me."  I smile at him even though I'm now worried, I had been dreaming about Wisty when I woke up.  "I dread to think what I've been saying."
          "You was mumbling rubbish mainly, that didn't really make any sense, you shouted Mom and Granite quite a lot."  he laughs quietly
          "Have I been doing it the whole four days while I've been out?"
           "No only since last night, it started after they took you off the stuff that was keeping you out."  he smiles at me then frowns  "Are you going to be okay now?"
           "Yeah I will be fine after a few days rest, my brain has stopped playing up and doing stupid things ... it was only concussion, nothing to worry over."
           "Yeah right - they rushed you into theatre because your brain was bleeding and you was having those fits like Slate did, and you say don't worry!!"
           "Seizures - my brain basically hit my skull and it is swollen and bruised, which disturbs the brains ability to function properly for a while - that's all it is.  There shouldn't be any more seizures, and I don't have blurred vision or slurred speech any more.  Granite said it was only a slight bleed which they fixed in theatre, so I will be fine."
          "Slate didn't bruise his brain, so why did he have seizures like you did."
          "The alcohol poisoning caused his, but there are a lot of different reasons why people have seizures - they are caused by abnormal, disorganized and sudden electrical activity in the brain."
          "Yeah I guess it does help you being a doctor."  he laughs
          "Not always, I know everything that could have happened when I hit my head - which is a lot more frightening, so I'm very relieved it is only the effects of concussion that I'm suffering from right now.  A few days and I'll be as right as rain."  I smile at him  "Although I can't say the same thing about my hair."

          "Yeah you do look funny without your dreads."  he laughs at me
          "Who is responsible for this?"  I laugh as I wave the plait about
          "Me."  he grins at me  "You are lucky it's just a plait.  Granite was looking for pink ribbon, he was going to tie it in pretty pigtails. Luckily for you Tap had one of Vanilla's hair bands in his pocket, or you might just have freaked out when you looked at yourself in the mirror, if Gran had had his way."  we both start laughing
         "He can't help himself, he turns everything into a joke."  I laugh  "I bet he's been bouncing around here like an idiot for the past four days."
          "No he has actually been pretty quiet, he's been really worried about you."

There is suddenly an awkward silence between us that has never been there before.  We have always been pretty close as mate, now it suddenly feels very awkward, because everything has changed.  I can't help but wander if we are going to lose the relationship that we had and he will start speaking to me and treating me differently.

         "So has anything interesting happened while I've been out these past four days?"  I ask for the sake of it, not really knowing what else to say to him.
         "Oh Fudge yeah!"  he starts laughing  "Tap and Crystal are having QUADS!!"
         "What?!"  he laughs as my eyes widen
         "Yeah FOUR babies, they found out on her scan.  They are having two sets of identical twins too."  he laughs
         "Two sets ... that's very unusual!"  I laugh quietly
         "Yeah Mango said."  he laughs  "Tap's head is all over the place."
         "Yeah I can imagine - four babies is a little too many to be having all in one go!"  I laugh quietly  "Has Scarlet had the baby yet?"
         "No not yet, we are still waiting."  he rolls his eyes

          "Mint has dumped Parsley."  he laughs sarcastically  "I really don't get her!!  She has been moping over him for years, they have hardly been back together for five minutes, then out of the blue she dumps him ... I think she's gone mad suddenly!!"  he pulls a face
          "Yeah Granite told me when I woke up earlier.  To be honest, I saw it coming."   he frowns at me  "She has told me a few times lately, it wasn't good, they've been arguing because they both want a few different things out of life.  She wants the move to Berry and he doesn't, I think that's what has put the final nail in the coffin."  I laugh quietly  "I have never thought Mint and Parsley were well suited anyway, he's too laid back and lazy where as she has a lot of energy and drive ... I've always said to your Mom, Crimson is more Mint's type - they both very alike, and have the same ambition and drive."
          "Oh fudge!!  I hope you are not going to try matchmaking!"  he starts laughing "I am not sure they even fancy each other."
          "They probably don't, and no I'm not doing any matchmaking!"  I laugh  "I wouldn't be surprised if they both stay single now for a long time, they are both more interested in their career than their love life."
          "Yeah ..."  he laughs  "Just like we thought you were ... because we didn't see what you and Mom have been doing on the sly all this time."
          "You do understand why we hid it from you don't you!"
          "Yeah."  he mumbles
          "Can you phone your Mom for me, I don't know where my phone is."
          "It's only 5 am."  he mumbles then laughs  "I don't think they will be too impressed down in maternity if her phone starts going off and waking everyone up."
          "Yeah I guess it is a bit too early."  I frown  "I thought it was later than that ... the night lights are normally still on now."
          "I turned the lights on ... you woke me up shouting and screaming about an hour ago."
          "Sorry ... "  I mumble

He lies there just staring at me and I still can not imagine what he might be thinking right now about me or this whole situation.  We have pretty much avoided the subject up until now.  Finally he knows that I am his Dad, and it is hard enough for me to get my head around the fact that I now have to openly be his Dad if he wants me to be, so I can imagine taking it in has been hard for all three of them.

           "Who do I look like?"  he asks suddenly
           "You have your Mom's slanty eyes obviously." I laugh quietly  "Facially you actually look a lot like my Dad more than anyone else.  You have a lot more Leaf in you than you realise, we both have him to thank for our OCD."
           "So who do you look like."  this makes me laugh a little
           "Both me and Meadow take more after my Mom, facially anyway ... I have all my Dad's colouring, but my looks come from my Mom, as well as her ears."  I roll my eyes  "I bet you are glad you escaped those."
           "Yeah just a bit."  he laughs quietly
           "I guess you've seen Holly and Ivy, Gran said they've been here and staying with Fudge."
           "Yeah."  he laughs  "They don't like you very much do they."
           "No, because we couldn't protect them from me and my phobia like we could you three."  I smile at him  "But it hasn't been so bad for them, because most of the time they have only had to see me once a month.  I've had to keep my distance.  A lot of the time when I've stayed in Raspberry I've had to book myself into a hotel, so I didn't upset them too much." 
           "What am I supposed to call you now?"
           "Leafy or Forrest like you've always done."  he frowns at me in a wierd way
           "Why not Dad, because that is what you are?"
           "It's not that I don't want you to or wouldn't like you to call me Dad, but Alpine has always been your Dad, I've never been that to you and I don't think I deserve it.  Under the circumstances, it's not wise around your Dad anyway, he is feeling insecure enough, without us making it worse and upsetting him.  You have always called him Dad, so really that shouldn't change."

           "He is getting bad isn't he."
           "He has been a little unstable for a while.  His medical condition hasn't really got any worse, and he has been a lot better since the hospice and Meadow is helping him a lot mentally."  this makes him snigger  "I just think he is taking a lot longer to deal with his grief and it has been unhinging him a little.  It's made worse for him because he forgets sometimes that they have faded, so when he does remember, it knocks him about, he has to keep reliving the grief."  I smile at him   "Cinnamon and Sunny are still really weighing him down, and telling you three the truth about me was always going to upset him.  He has always been scared that he would lose you, and I think as soon as he see's this isn't going to change anything with your three's relationship with him, he will settle down again."
        "But it does change things doesn't it." he mumbles  "For me at least, not so much the girls probably."
        "How does it?"  I frown at him
        "I think I have always known deep down he was not my Dad, or I hoped at least."  I frown at him  "I am actually relieved he isn't my Dad, and I don't have to take any of his shit any more!!  We have never been close, he's always treated me and Cinn differently, and me differently to the girls.   I think I've always been his least favourite, and now I know why!!  I was the one who ended his marriage ..."
         "Don't talk shit ... me, Mel, Alpine and Meadow are the ones who ended their marriage you wally!!  Even if you had not come along, it was going to happen anyway, your Mother fell in love with me and Alpine with Meadow.  Their marriage was on the rocks even before Cinnamon was born, before me and Meadow started interfering in it.  Their separation was more than amicable, both of them knew they should never have got married to each other in the first place, and the only real argument going on between them was who was having Cinnamon."  I laugh at him

        "So why did he beat you up so badly if he wasn't bothered."
        "Pride mostly, not because he loved your Mom.  It would have dented his ego if anyone had found out his wife had gone off sleeping with somebody else behind his back, especially when they had not been married for very long, and part of it was because I was his mate.  I actually hurt him more than your Mother did.  He was a little shocked, it was probably the last thing he expected because he knew I was married to Granite, and he thought I was gay!!"
        "Yeah, didn't we all!!"  he laughs sarcastically
        "I was also a threat to his world which unhinged him a little."  he frowns at me  "You know he has been in care all his life, he has always felt very alone and your Mother and Cinnamon were the only family that he has ever had, and he didn't want to lose it.  A part of why he tried to hold onto his marriage before you arrived, and why he has been happy to put himself into this dysfunctional situation, when most wouldn't have."  I smile at him  "So please, don't blame yourself for anything!!  Me and your Mother are the ones who caused most of the mess, and Alpine wasn't so innocent himself, he was sneaking around with my Sister at the same time as I was sneaking about with your Mother!!"
        "Well he dislikes me for some reason!!"
        "Why do you say that?"  I frown at him
        "I never felt like he loved me, or even liked me most of the time.  I was the one who always got the blame and into trouble even when it wasn't me, they could do no wrong when everything I did was wrong.  I felt like I was an irritation to him most of the time, and we all know that he didn't like me because I am different."
        "Are you talking about you being gay?"
        "Partly, and of course, I'm not even his kid, he was always telling me I wasn't his son!!"
        "Only probably because of his brain damage, you know this has been very hard for him, having to watch what he is saying all the time, so that he didn't give the game away."  I laugh quietly  "You know as well as I do, he's not very comfortable with the whole gay thing and you are hard to live with because of your OCD, like me, your Dad struggles to live with me sometimes, it has probably just been a class of personalities."

        "He threw it at me a lot of times that I wasn't his son, which he didn't do to the girls, and it was really starting to play on my mind especially when there has never been any love there for me from him, and I have always been closer to you and Mango than Alpine."
        "Seriously Bay, please don't call your Dad by his name, especially not for him to hear!!"  I frown at him  "While I am very happy that you seem to be accepting me for who I am, he will always be your Dad, he loves you regardless of what you think, he raised you from a baby when I couldn't and he didn't have to.  He had the chance of a life with my Sister which he gave up for you and Cinnamon.  You probably don't realise the sacrifices all four of us have had to make to give the four of you a good and stable upbringing, one that didn't mash your heads up, which I would have done if he hadn't taken my place, and it wasn't just you three, Cinnamon would have been affected by my behaviour too.   We had to do what was best for all four of you, even though I know it hasn't been perfect, especially because of your Dad's brain damage - but please understand that we have done what was best for you in the long run, especially your Dad.  Me and your Mother had every reason, you being our kids, to want to protect you, but he didn't, he could have walked away with Cinnamon and left us to it ... so your Dad is the main reason why all three of you have grown up to be happy and mentally stable and not messed up in the head like Slate and Saffron are both now because of their parents and upbringing!!  If your Dad hadn't taken my place and been your Dad, I would now be no better than Gravel or Sunny, because I seriously would have messed you up. "

He just lies there saying nothing, he is not even looking at me now and I can see him twirling his thumbs in circles around each other, just like Mel does when she is troubled or has something on her mind.

        "Bay you need to tell me what is troubling you."
        "I just feel ... I don't understand why you even told us, when you keep ramming Dad in our faces saying it changes nothing ... but it does!!  It's like you don't want to be our Dad and are still trying to keep us at arms length ..."
        "Is this just how you feel or do the girls think this too?"
        "I ... I don't know exactly what they think, as usual they exclude me, they are too busy still giggling over you and Mom having a sex life!"  he pulls a face  "Mint doesn't seem bothered about any of it, and if she is, she isn't letting it show, she is like you, she keeps herself shut off."
        "What about Fudge?"
        "She ... she's very upset over Alpine not being her Dad, she's always been Daddies girl and his favourite after Cinn."  he laughs sarcastically  "I don't know how she feels about you being her Dad."
        "And how do you feel about me being your Dad?"
        "Relieved ... confused .... okay I guess ... but does it really matter how I feel when you are acting like you don't want to be our Dad and are still trying to keep us at arms length!!"
        "Bay that is the very last thing I am trying to do!!"  I smile at him 

 I can see he is starting to get upset, he has surprised me, here was me thinking that he would take this in a completely different way.  I expected him to be angry and hate me, but he seems to be struggling with this in another way.  He is suddenly giving me the impression that he has always felt unloved and unwanted.

I motion for him to move closer to me, and he comes over and sits on the edge of my bed..

       "If you want our relationship to change, then it can by all means, I would love nothing more that to finally be your Dad, it is what I've always wanted, but my phobia has always prevented me from doing."  I smile at him  "Don't think I don't love you, because I do, all three of you, it has almost destroyed me, you not knowing who I am, and having to only watch you from a distance, especially since you have all been teenagers."  he laughs quietly 
         "Why has it taken you so long to tell us."
         "Honestly, I have been trying for the past six years to get your Mother to come clean.  Neither of your parents wanted your teenage years to be ruined by this situation, especially if you took it badly, they thought it might mess your heads up.  They were probably right about waiting until you were all adults, even though I haven't been happy with it."  I smile at him  "I am only standing back now because I am scared, I didn't know how any of you would take this, or react to me.  I expected all three of you to hate me for not being here while you were growing up, like I hate myself, and the only reason I am going on about your Dad, is because there has always been the three of us in this and that will never change!!  The last thing I want to do is push Alpine out, take him away from you or cause any more trouble, after what he has done for me and the three of you.  He is the reason we have been able to hide me and protect you, without him I dread to think what I would have done to the three of you, mentally.  Obviously the three of you love him as your Dad, and this shouldn't change that, regardless of how you do eventually feel about me.  Under normal circumstances it might have been different, he could have coped with it better, but unfortunately we do have to accommodate his mental state, just like since the day you was born, we have had to accommodate my mental state."
          "Yeah isn't that just peachy, I end up with two Dads, who are both nutters!!"  he starts laughing
          "Better nutters than twisted like Sunny and Gravel."  I mumble  "You might not be happy right now with this situation or me, but honestly it could have been a hell of a lot worse than it is now!"

          "We are actually pretty stupid!"  he laughs sarcastically  "How have we never seen that me and Fudge have your hair, and that Mint looks just like you.  How have we never seen what has really been going on with Mom and Dad, especially you and Mom."  he rolls his eyes  "If I had thought about things properly over the years, I could have worked it out, I've seen you doing things ..."
          "What things?"  I frown at him
          "Since I was a child I can remember, when there was any trouble, you always seemed to suddenly appear from nowhere to take our side and sort it out.  I have seen and heard you having a lot of fights with Gravel, Sunny and Dad especially over me ..."  he laughs  "I over heard you once, telling Dad he had no right to hit me, you both said things in that argument that make perfect sense now, you even sent me to my room and grounded me.  I thought you was mad at the time, taking looking out for your mates kid too far ... but now I know why you was doing it.  Like the time you layed into Parsley when he was messing about with Strawberry behind Mint's back.  All the hassle with Dad, Sunny and Prelude over me being gay that you sorted out .... if I had thought about what you was doing properly, I could have worked it out."
         "We are really glad you never worked it out, because you knowing I was your real Dad while you was growing up would never have done you any good."
          "So what are you going to do about the new babies?"
          "Bay ... I really don't know."  I mumble "It depends on what your Mother decides to do."
          "Mom says you want her to get rid of them."
          "Yes, but you don't need to worry, I doubt that will ever happen, we have had this argument over three other pregnancies and your Mother won't budge, she will have those babies no matter what."  I roll my eyes  "Even though I mean it at the time I'm glad eventually that she doesn't go through with it ... like now,or you three wouldn't be here now."

          "So, you wanted her to get rid of all three of us?"
          "Actually we didn't argue over you, we weren't sure if you was going to be mine or Alpines ... it was Fudge, Mint and the baby she miscarried that we argued over.  Don't think I like what I am asking her to do, because I don't!!  It is only because of my phobia and the fear of what I have to face, the hell we have to go through."
          "If you say you are happy with us being here now, why would you want her to get rid of the new babies?"  he frowns at me
          "Obviously because of the hell that I have a head of me, but this time more for the fact that it seriously is not fair on any of us, especially not them!"
          "We are not going to be able to protect them from me and my phobia, like we did you three.  I am going to mess their heads up and ruin their lives, because we won't be able to hide me being their Dads with you and everyone else knowing."  he pulls a face  "Besides your Mother is at a really stupid age to be having more children, which is what is worrying me the most."
          "Why is it stupid?"
          "She is getting too old to be having more babies.  There is more of a risk of miscarriage because of her history, and more risk to hers and the babies health because of her age, and if they do arrive safely, she is going to have to bring these two babies up on her own.  We will have to continue living our dysfunctional lives separately, and just like with you three, I won't be any help to her, if anything I will just be a hindrance being around."  we pull faces at each other  "This time she won't even have Alpines help, it is not safe to bring up babies in the same house as him now, so he is going to have to be moved out, and probably into permanent hospice care before his time, which really isn't fair on him.  Then there is you three, how are you going to feel having to watch me acting like an irrational idiot and treating your Mother badly, because I do, not because I want to, because my phobia makes me."

         "Do you hit her?" he frowns at me
         "Hell no!!  It is only verbal, I've never hit her ... although she has hit me a time or two because of what I have said to her!  You will soon see it is your Mother that wears the trousers in our relationship not me!!"  this makes him laugh  "I shout and scream at her, I blame her for putting us through it, especially when she has the child around me ... I upset her, at the time and I can't help it, my head goes and so does my tongue, I don't know what I'm saying but it's never pleasant.  After I've walked away and calmed down, it upsets me, especially knowing I've upset her, I know she doesn't deserve it ... I really don't know why she has put up with my behaviour all these years or would want to go through all this again!!"  I roll my eyes
         "Probably because she loves you."
         "She must be totally mad!!"  I laugh  "And if you three don't understand me and my phobia now, trust me, by the time these two have grow up, you definitely will, and you will probably hate me!!  You will get to watch all the hell that they and I am going to have to go through for the first thirteen years of their life, because of my phobia, and it isn't going to be pleasant."
           "Granite thinks you should be able to cure your phobia now."  he smiles  "He has explained to me why you have it and what has been screwing you up so much.  He thinks now you are moving on and getting over it and him - your phobia should go."
           "Yeah that is what he thinks, and so does my psychiatrist.  I think that is what your Mother is also pinning her hopes on too, but I doubt I would ever be that lucky!!"  I pull a face at him  "I've been suffering with it since I was a teenager and I would give anything to be rid of it ... but it's just not happening."
           "But you are trying"
           "Of course I am!!  I have been trying unsuccessfully since the day I found out you was my Son!!"   I start to choke as I can feel myself starting to get upset 

The door swings open.  I glance towards it expecting it to be a nurse or Granite, but am very surprised to see both Mango and Tapestry walking in.  I doubt it is even 6am yet, so I am very surprised by them being here, especially Tapestry.  I could really do without this right now, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry over what I can see I have coming to me again, if Mel decides to go through with the pregnancy.

          "Daddy Leaf is awake!"  Tapestry starts laughing at me.
          "Yeah, and I hear Daddy Tap has been very busy!!"  I laugh half heartedly back at him.

I really am not in the mood and especially don't feel comfortable with him being here, now that I know he knows about Wisty.  If I know Tapestry he will be grilling me over it the first chance he gets, when I would much rather be forgetting all about it. 

         "FOUR babies ... you need to bottle it Tap.  They would love you down in the sperm bank."
          "Very funny!!"  he laughs at me  "Anyway it's Crystals fault there are four not mine!  Poly Cystic Ovaries, fertility treatment and all the identical twins in her family."
          "If you say so."  I laugh at him

Tapestry amuses me, he hands Bay a sandwich and a coffee that I can tell have come from the cafe and he tells him to eat it.  Bay jumps off the bed and goes to sit in the chair next to Tapestry, who just sits grinning at me.

          "It's nice to see you awake finally."  Mango smiles at me
          "It is still very early, have you two wet the bed?"  I laugh at them
          "No."  he laughs at me  "I have had a stressed out and upset Granite on the phone, waking me up and Tapestry was up anyway with Snow who doesn't sleep too well unless he's riding in the car or being pushed around in the buggy."
          "What is Granite stressing and upset about."  I frown at Mango
          "You!"  he smiles at me.

I don't ask why, as Mango checks me over then he walks to the end of the bed to take a look at my notes.

          "Where is Granite anyway?"  I mumble
          "Down in the coffee shop watching a sleeping Snow.  I had to give him some time out, so he could pull himself together."  I go to ask him what is upsetting Granite but he doesn't give me a chance to ask.  "So how did you get that nasty scar on your leg Forrest?"

Mango asks in a matter of fact way, while he is still looking at my notes.  I stare down at my legs and at the scar he is asking about ... my mind suddenly feels blank, it's almost like I'm looking at the scar for the first time, even though I can tell by the look of it, it has been there for years.

          "I ... I don't know?"  I frown as I continue to stare at the scar
          "You don't know or you can't remember?"  Mango asks as he puts down the notes and walks back up to the bed.
          "Isn't that the same thing."  I frown at him and he chuckles for a moment
          "I guess."  he laughs at me  "So you can't remember why your leg is so badly scarred?"
          "No."  I frown at him then back at my leg. I really can't remember.
          "What if I was to remind you ... me and Gravel were climbing a tree ..."  he mumbles as he just stares at me  "Does that help to jog your memory?"
          "No."  I mumble as I continue to stare at my leg  "Something is wrong isn't it ... I really can't remember."
           "Yes, I think there might be ... Granite is concerned, and now so am I."  he frowns at me  "You didn't recognise your Mothers engagement ring, or remember proposing to Granite.  You don't remember who Spot is, you don't know how you got that scar, you didn't remember Granites Mothers name ... Lost River Elf."  he laughs for a moment as he watches my face twisting  "You don't remember any of it do you?"
           "No."  I mumble

           "Can you remember anything from your childhood?"

Mango stands there frowning at me as I stare blankly back at him while I'm trying to think.  My head feels just as blank as my stare.  Mango suddenly starts really laughing

            "You have to remember the time when Granite got me and Gravel stoned?"  he continues to laugh
            "Dad SERIOUSLY?!"  Tapestry suddenly starts howling with laughter at Mango  "Please tell me after all the lectures you have given me, that you was a naughty boy yourself and have been smoking dope!"
            "Seriously Tapesty it was not through choice, and I didn't smoke it exactly."  he laughs but continues to watch me  "You don't remember do you?"
            "No, I don't .... should I?"  I frown at him
            "Yes you should as we laugh about it quite often."  he pulls one of his troubled faces  "Especially when we see a particular cake."
            "I want to hear how you got stoned Dad!"  I can't help but be amused at Tapestry and Bay, who are sat really laughing at each other.
            "Granite made some chocolate brownies and Gravel decided to pinch a handful.  We were only about ten, and we didn't know what Granite was up to, or that one of the ingredients was cannabis, not that we probably knew what it was at the time."
            "You ate space cakes!"  Tapestry starts howling
            "Yes we did, not knowing what we were eating, and it wasn't pretty, me and Gravel were both totally off our heads.  I was sick for days."  he laughs quietly  "Granite thought it was highly amusing, especially because Gravel had stolen the brownies, but he didn't laugh for long because mine and Forrest's Dad ripped shreds out of him, for making the space cakes in the first place and especially for leaving them lying around for us to eat."  he laughs  "They were actually meant for Forrest as a joke, but he never got to eat any."

I just stare at Mango blankly, not remembering any of it.

            "Mango, I really don't remember that."  I frown at him
            "According to Granite you don't remember proposing to him, so what about getting married?"
            "Yeah I remember us getting married ... but I don't remember why ... when I'm straight."  I mumble and he laughs at me for a moment.
            "What about her?"
            "What colour was she?  Who was she? How did she fade."
            "Orange ... Gravel's wife and she faded when Slate was born."
            "What about Garnet?"
            "Who's Garnet?"
            "You don't remember Garnet?"  he frowns at me
            "No ... should I?"
            "Yes seeing as he was one of your class mates and school friends when we were kids, until he faded."  his face twists  "He was Cardinal's older brother?"
            "No I don't remember."  I frown at him  "He faded?"
            "Yeah, he went swimming in the meadow pond ... he got his legs tangled up in some rubbish at the bottom and he drown."  his eyebrows rise a little  "It was actually you who found him.  It messed you up for months ... and that is the reason why you have such a problem with the colour red."  he raises his eyebrows a little  "I wouldn't be surprised if that isn't another phobia that you have on the quiet."
            "I really don't remember that ... or him."  I stare at Mango wide eyed.  "There is something wrong with my brain isn't there!"

           "It looks like it.  Your present day memory seems fine according to Granite - but your past ... he thinks there is signs of significant memory loss ... and I am beginning to think the same."  he just stares at me thoughtfully  "So Doctor Rock, how would you suggest we treat this?"  he asks and I have to laugh - he is testing me.
           "Blood, urine and nerve tests ... CAT and MRI scan."  I mumble
           "Right ... I will get that all arranged for today ... and in the mean time I suggest you get some rest, while you have the chance."  he smiles at me
           "Mango ... who is Spot?"
           "Granite's dog ...  and you really should remember him, as Spot was around for as long as I can remember.  You used to moan constantly because the dog slept in bed with Granite all the time.  Granite had him when he was a toddler, and the dog was about sixteen when he faded, just before you got married if I remember rightly."  he pulls a face  "Gravel again ... he suffocated the dog with a plastic bag just for the fun of it."
           "How did I get that scar on my leg?"  I frown at him
           "It happened when you was Fifteen.  Me and Gravel were eleven, and we got stuck up a tree that we were climbing ... Granite came up to help us down and while he was up there, Gravel pushed him out of the tree, we think on purpose."  he laughs  "You like an idiot, tried to catch him and break his fall.  He landed on you and you both ended up with smashed legs."  he points at my leg  "That particularly nasty scar was as a result of a compound fracture."
           "I really don't remember."
           "Yeah ... and that is what is worrying me."  he frowns at me  "Seeing as over the years, that is one of the things that you have never let me forget, we were laughing about it only last week!!"

We just stare at each other, and while I am madly trying to think, nothing is coming back to me

           "Is something wrong?"  Bay asks
           "There could be.  It is looking very much like Forrest is suffering from some kind of memory loss."  Mango mumbles
           "Oh fudge, he is not brain damaged like Dad is he?"  Bay starts to panic  "Will his memory loss come back?"
           "Until we have ran a few tests Bay, we can't really say.  Hopefully it is only temporary amnesia."  Mango mumbles .

I think maybe he said that to make him feel better as we can both see he is starting to panic a little.

          "Don't even think about worrying your Mother with this right now Bay!"  he laughs at Bay as he watches him pulling out his phone, like I do.  "We are having enough trouble keeping her blood pressure down.  We should really hold off telling her anything until we know for sure, otherwise she is going to get herself worked up into a tizzy which won't do her or the babies any good."
          "Mel is okay isn't she?"  I frown at him
          "Yeah, she is fine other than her blood pressure which is on the high side, and not coming down, so she could really do without any added stress!!"  he rolls his eyes  "I'll get on and organise these tests, the quicker they are done, the quicker we will know what is going on with you."

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't a doctor, and this is one of those times. 

As I watch Mango walking out of the room, my mind is running through everything that could be causing this memory loss ....

Now I'm worried!!!