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Fiction: You, Me and Karma [Part 3] (857 words)

Getting home was the best feeling in the world.  I waved good-bye to Directions Man, and then ran directly into the outstretched arms of my brother.  He picked me up, and spun me around a hundred eighty degrees. Coming home wasn’t going to visit our childhood house—it was getting to see him.  It had been months since I had seen him last, since right after the triplets were born.  I didn’t have to be his twin and good friend to see that having the triplets had definitely taken a little bit of a toll on him. He was a bit thinner, and he had dark circles under his eyes, but he looked happy. “You have no idea how good it is to see you.”  He said, setting me back down on my feet.

“Likewise,” I laughed, scooping my backpack off of the curb where the bus driver had been pulling out luggage.

“No, Serious face time.” He used too fingers to point from his eyes to mine, out sign for a momentarily serious conversation, “Katie and I are through the roof that you are coming to help us.  I don’t think we’d be able to survive without you.”

“You would be able to survive, but still, I’m glad to be able to offer my assistance.”

“Your faith in me is high, Sister.” Adrian took my bag before draping a heavy arm over my shoulders. “Let’s get home, huh?”

While I still believed that my brother and his wife would have been strong enough to survive, I could see why they were going insane.  Katie is a kindergarten teacher, who had just started back to school the month before I got there.  Adrian, the boy genius that he is, is a doctor, who was barely out of med school, and paying his dues working odd, and long hours.  They had a nanny to come be an extra set of hands for a couple of hours each day, but even still, it was a lot to bear.

The two girls, Rowan and Joss, would only sleep at the same time, and their brother, Oliver, wouldn’t seem to go to sleep unless they were both awake.  I thought Adrian had been exaggerating when he said that they hadn’t all been asleep at the same time since the day they were born, but after living in my old house a week, I was starting to believe him.  I started back at my high school part-time job at a little locally owned movie theater, so that I wasn’t completely bumming off my doctor brother, and I was beginning to long for the annoying stupidity of customers during the long hours of the night, rocking a crying niece or nephew back to sleep.

Friday afternoon, a week and a half after I had moved back in with Katie and Adrian, was one of those very strange days when all three adults were home, and none of the three children were screaming. Granted, if Katie stopped rocking Joss in her arms, then she would wake up and start crying, which would wake up Rowan as well.  Oliver, still awake and looking around with bright blue eyes, seemed to be content laying in the little cradle that Adrian was rocking with his toe.  I stood near Rowan’s crib, afraid to move from where I’d laid her down, and just taken in the moment of complete silence before it passed.

To both Adrian and my surprise, there was a quick knock on the door, and Maggie came into the nursery.

“I thought Maggie had the day off?” Adrian questioned.

“She did.  I asked her to come in for the night so that you and your sister could go out and be twins.”

“Be twins?”  I laughed, “Adrian, did you know that we weren’t twins unless we went out?”

“Oh, that does explain a lot.”  Adrian grinned, and Katie gave a little huff of frustration.

“Oh, you know what I mean.  Go out, watch a movie, eat some dinner, laugh at jokes that no one else find funny, speak in a language that no one else understands.  Breath, relax.  Stop driving me up the wall with your stress.”  She pointed an accusing finger at her husband.  “You promised me you’d be less stressed when Elliott got home.  You have not been less stressed.”

“I’ve been calmer—“Adrian started weakly, and Katie and I shared a look.

“You have been freaking out a bit, Adrian.”  I acknowledged crossing my arms over my chest.  Adrian gave me a betrayed look.

“Excellent.  I have your sister on my side, so stop arguing with me, Adrian Hill.  A movie, and dinner.  Do not come back to this house until at least later than eight pm. Understood?”  Katie ordered as she transferred the sleeping Joss into the nanny’s arm, and I mock saluted her.

“Let’s go, Ri-ri,” I teased, grabbing my brother’s arm, and pulling him ineffectively towards the door.

“Don’t call me that, Lotte.”

“Don’t call me Lotte, RI-RI.”

“See, you two are more like your old selves already. Shoo, Shoo.”  Katie quite literally shoved the two of us out the nursery door.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in You Me and Karma

 

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Fiction: Between Twins (167 Words)

“What did Grandmama want to tell you?”  Timothy had finally worked up the courage to ask Anna.  She’s just seemed so upset when she first came back, he was hesitant to push any buttons.  But, in the end, curiosity won out.

Anna got a look on her face like she’d just sucked a lemon, and Timothy immediately regretted asking.  He was very aware that Anna could easily kick his butt whenever she wanted to.  But then the sour look was gone and she smiled at her brother.  “Nothing.  Well, nothing that you need to be concerned with.  Just a little girl talk.”

“Okay.  Because—you’d tell me if it was important, right Anna? We share everything important.”

Anna gave him a bright smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.  “Right, Timmy, of course. We share everything important.”

Timothy tried to smile back as naturally as he could.  It was the first time Anna ever lied to him, and they both knew that the whole world had just changed.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Family Way, Epilogue (1051 words)

“Man slave’s home,” Marta yelled back to me from the kitchen unnecessarily, because Bradley was already crossing over to my desk set up in the corner of our bedroom to drop a kiss on my head.

“I thought we agreed that I wasn’t going to be called that anymore,” Bradley complained half-heartedly.

“We also agreed you’d stop using your Irish accent against Marta in the house.  If I enforce one, I have to enforce both,” I grinned, saving the e-mail I’d been typing to my advisor.  While Marta had decided that she would rather forgo college to start at the bottom ranks of party planning company and work her way up, Bradley and I had scheduled ourselves into a one-on one-off college plan.  I went to school in the fall, working part-time while he worked full-time, and he went to school in the spring, working part-time as I worked full-time.  It wasn’t ideal, but it paid the bills, and with Marta still living out of the third bedroom and helping split the rent, we were comfortable enough.

Bradley weighed the two options in his head before grinning. “Man slave it is.  How was your day?” he sank down onto the edge of the bed to untie his shoes.

“Fine enough. We got another call from Arthur’s first-grade teacher,” I smiled as Bradley sighed melodramatically and let his footfall back to the floor with a thunk.

“What’s he done this time?  If he’s talking while the teacher’s talking again, I swear, we should just give the school permission to duct tape his mouth shut.”

“Well, in a strange turn of events, it’s not Arthur’s fault.  It’s ours.”  I made my way to the bed next to Bradley, and let him slip an arm around my waist.

“Ours? Well, that is a new one.  How is it our fault?”

“Well, apparently they were doing a family tree lesson plan today,” Bradley groaned, but I carried on, “And Arthur had his own interesting interpretation of what a family tree should look like.”

“Is it perhaps because his dad is not his dad, his mom and aunt are his aunt and mom, his grandmother is not his grandmother and his non-grandparents are his grandparents?”  Bradley laughed, remembering the way Arthur had tried to explain his family to the people in his Sunday school class.

“Something like that, which means we have to go talk to the guidance counsoler.at the school and explain the situation with the adoption and all that because our son may have accidentally implied that we have some sort of big love sister brides harem going on here and they are concerned.”

Bradley slumped against my shoulder and let out a groan, not unlike the one Arthur made when I tried to get him out of bed for school every morning.  “But I hate the guidance counselor.  They’re going to ask me what I want to do with my life and try to stare into my soul.”

“Bradley.  You’re a grown man, and this the elementary school.  I doubt they are going to start questioning you about your major.” Still, I patted him on the head sympathetically, “Can you get out of work early Friday so we can get this taken care of?”

“Yeah, I can.”  Bradley kissed me on the neck then pushed himself back up into a sitting position to resume taking off his shoes.  “I suppose we should just be happy that they haven’t called social services like that one lady at the park did when Arthur was yelling that his mommies were sisters.”

It was the third time we said his name, so like magic, Arthur appeared.  Six years old, he still had the same bright blonde hair from when he was born, and his eyes had settled into the blue-grey color that Marta and I boasted. He was tall and thin and fast for his age and I still had no idea who his biological father was, but I’d since stopped caring.  All things considered, his real father was sitting next to me on the bed. That was re-enforced by a scream of “Daddy!” and a flying leap that knocked Bradley to his back and earned me a sneaker to the shoulder.  “Did Mommy tell you that I didn’t get in trouble but you got in trouble?”

“She sure did—oh come on buddy, shoes off the blankets—but I don’t know if it was really my fault either.  I think we need to find a simpler way to explain your family, huh?”  Bradley scooped Arthur up and held him slightly over the edge of the bed so his dirty sneakers weren’t staining our comforter.

“Nope. I like my confusing family.  No one else in the world has a family like mine.”  Arthur smiled and I could see that a tooth was starting to push through his gum where he’d knocked it out playing soccer almost a month ago.    Bradley gave me a look like ‘The kids got a point.’

“Oh, my boys.  It’s true, there is no one in the world quite like the two of you.”  I pushed up off the bed and headed towards my desk.  “Now, go be unique somewhere else for a little while.  I’ve still got a bit of homework to finish before dinner.  Go bug Marta.”

“Master Wilson,” Bradley said royally, “Shall we leave Mrs. Wilson to her peace?”

Arthur stood up as tall as he could, and with too much of a laugh in his voice to sound properly regal he replied, “Yes, Mister Wilson, we shall.” Then he abandoned all pretense and ran up and gave me a kiss on his cheek before running back to Bradley, pulling on his arm asking, “What are we going to do until dinner, Daddy?”

“Is all your homework done?”

“Yessir.”

“Well,” Bradley gave me a look, mouthing man slave, before looking back down to Arthur, “Do you want to practice Gramma Wilson’s accident on Aunt Marta?”

When they left the room, I counted slowly to thirty in my head before I heard “Avery! They’re doing it to me again! Control your family!” and I couldn’t help but smile a little bit wider. I put some headphones in to drown out Marta’s protests.  Some things never change.

Here ends the (weekly) story of Avery and Marta and they’re a little family.  From time to time, I’ll probably revisit them for little scenes of Arthur growing up or whatever if there is interest in that kind of thing.  I’ll make sure to include Family Way in the title section so you’ll know they’re around.  Hope you enjoyed it anyway.

~BBK

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: The Family Way Part 31 (492 Words)

“What do you think we should do?”  Marta looked up at me wide-eyed.  Bradley had Arthur, sitting in the corner of the room in a big armchair, silently staring at him like he’d never see enough.  Marta sat at the edge of her bed, her feet hanging off the side, and I stood nearby, too full of nervous energy to sit.  I’d just explained the whole Dad situation, and was waiting for her input.  Apparently, she’d rather have mine.

“Honestly.  I miss him. I know this sounds harsh, but Dad was never the problem, was he?”

“We rebelled against them as a unit because they were the parents—but…” Marta trailed off.

“Dad wasn’t the problem,” I repeated.  Marta nodded slightly and gave me a sad look, too similar to the one I’d just seen in the waiting room, before the mischievous grin and the Avery story kicked in.  And then it hit me like a sack of bricks.  “Dad knew.”

“What?”

“Dad knew what we were doing. He had to. He knew that the parties we went to weren’t the wholesome things we claimed they were. He knew I wasn’t alone in my room when you went to friend’s house for the night or to the after parties for school events.  He was always the one to come ‘check’ on me but never actually came into the room. He’s the one that kept us out of that awful private school and made sure we were allowed to date.  He ran interference for us. He protected us from Momma.”

Marta processed that for a moment and then sat up stick straight. “He must have unlocked the window.”

My turn to be confused. “What?”

“I know I locked our window before we went down to our party.  You shouldn’t have been able to get in through the tree.   I thought you would have to shimmy the lock or something, but you never said anything about it and I kind of forgot—“

“The window wasn’t locked.  In fact, the window was open.”

“Momma would have been too afraid of bugs, illness, or robbers to have left that window open.  It had to be Dad.” Marta took a deep breath and folded her hands in her lap. “He knew.”

“He Knew.”   In the silence as we processed that, I could hear Bradley humming something to Arthur, and I made the mental promise to not do to him what my mother had been doing to my dad over the last several months.  “This is going to get complicated,”  I turned back to Marta, “Dad and Momma and Arthur and Bradley—It’s going to get really complicated.”

Marta gave a little laugh.  “I’m a teenage mother whose child is going to be adopted by her identical twin.  I don’t think any of this was going to be uncomplicated.”

“You make an excellent point.”

“So,” Marta sighed, standing up, “Are you going to go get him, or should I?”

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: The Family Way Part 30 (955 words)

Arthur was a beautiful little boy.  He had just little wisps of fair hair on the top of his head, and the biggest blue eyes I’d ever seen.  Marta held him, and I sat at her side and stared at the both of them in awe, true proper awe.  I’d never understood the meaning of the word until that moment. “You know, if his hair was just a little bit darker, he’d look a lot like our baby pictures,” I whispered.

“Oh, no—he’s more beautiful than that,” Marta whispered back, “We were good. He’s perfect.”

“Yeah,” I answered as he scrunched his nose and yawned, and I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

We sat in silence for a moment longer until Marta came back to some of her senses.  “Someone should tell Brad.  And Marie’s probably here too by now.  Maybe the Wilsons—whoever is here, someone should go tell them.”

“And, by someone, you mean me.” I laughed, sliding awkwardly off the side of the hospital bed while trying not to upset Marta’s blankets.

“I’d prefer that, yes,” Marta smiled up at me, and I think it was the first time she’d looked away from Arthur since they put him in her arms, “After all, I did most of the heavy lifting of the last couple of hours.”

“Okay. Fair enough—but I’d like you to know that the heavy lifting excuse is only going to last so long.  You can’t keep using it when he’s six.”

“Well, then I might as well use it as much as I can now.” Marta’s attention was already back to Arthur, so I didn’t even bother to respond, and just headed towards the maternity waiting room.

I’d barely made it through the swinging door when Bradley pulled me by the waist and hid us in a little alcove by the vending machines, out of sight of the rest of the waiting room.  “First of all, everyone okay?”

“Yeah.  Marta is great and Arthur is healthy.”  Bradley smiled and kissed me softly on the forehead.

“Secondly, Your father’s here.”  I blinked up at Bradley for a second, sure I’d misheard him.  “Yeah. I know.” Bradley whistled softly, “But yeah, your dad is here.  I thought I should warn you before you went out there and saw him.”

“Okay.” I gave my head a little shake like I might knock something into place and this would make sense, “Okay, yeah. Thanks for the warning.”

Bradley pulled his arm from my waist, and I stepped back out into the waiting room proper.  Marie saw me first, jumping up to hear what I had to say.  I tried to focus on her and Mrs. Wilson standing behind her as I smiled, not scanning the rest of the room out of the corner of my eye.  “It’s a boy.  Arthur Martin Andersson.”   Marie bounced on the balls of her feet and clapped her hands.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilson hugged each other then hugged Bradley who’d materialized at their side.

And then I saw him.  He sat in the corner of the room, watching us carefully, not sure if he should get up and join us or stay out-of-the-way.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how I felt seeing him.  There was too much there to even begin to process.  So, I was level-headed by way of denial when I approached him. “Hi, Dad.  What are you doing here?”

“Chuck Wilson told me that Marta went into labor—and I don’t know.  I felt like I had to be here.  I came, and I’ll go if you or Marta want me to, but—I love your mother, but I don’t think she’s right about this. I want to be as involved in your lives, in the life of my grandchild, as much as possible, as much as you’ll allow me.”

“Does Momma know you’re here?”

“She knows I’m at the hospital, and if she thinks about it, she’ll do the math, but no. I—I don’t mention you two anymore to her. I’m sorry, you probably didn’t need to know that but this is—“

“Grandson, Dad.  If Marta and I agree you can be a part of your Grandson’s life.”

Dad stood up slowly, and I could see he was trying not to tear up.  “It’s a boy?”

“Right now, he’s Arthur Martin Andersson. We might change it to include Wilson if Bradley and I adopt him legally.  We haven’t figured all that out yet.”

“Arthur.”  My Dad nodded slowly.  “That’s what I wanted to name you if you had been a boy. Arthur Martin.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Well—uh. Your mother didn’t like it.  Didn’t like the connection to Merlin and magic.  Said it’d put weird thoughts in your head.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Doesn’t Avery mean—like, Queen of the fairies or something?”

The look my dad gave me was the almost spitting image of Marta planning to pull something over on our parents.  As weird as it sounds, sometimes I forgot that Dad gave us half our genes.  He was more like us than I gave him credit for. “Ruler of the Elves, actually.  But—in the baby name book I bought your mother it says ‘variant of Aubrey or Audrey.’   And as far as she’s concerned that’s all it ever meant.”    He offered me his hand, and I took it.  “If you and Marta will take me back, I’ll figure something out with your mother.  I always have.”

“Okay.  I’ll talk to Marta.”

Dad gave my hand a small squeeze and dropped it before sitting back down in his chair at the corner.  “Take your time, make your decisions.  I’ll be here whenever you’re ready.”

 

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: The Family Way Part 29 (492 words)

It took us a second to figure out which of the bags that Bradley packed we actually needed, but once we had that sorted out, we got going.

We lost Brad at the first hurdle, the waiting room. He’d calmed down since leaving the house—but he and Marta had agreed that as much as they were a family because of all of this, he wasn’t ready to see that and she really didn’t want him to see.  So, his job was to be the command center.  He called his parents, Marie, and anyone else who needed to be informed of the goings-on.  I was to be the go-between whenever there was something to be told.

Mostly, I stuck with Marta.   There was some paperwork to be filled out, and a few decisions to be made, but for the most part, we were still playing a waiting game.

To be perfectly honest, I was underwhelmed. Marta probably wouldn’t have appreciated to hear me say that, seeing she was in a state of intermittent pain for those couple of hours, but it was a lot of me just sitting at Marta’s bedside talking about whatever came to mind to distract her, occasionally interrupted by a silent wave of pain for Marta or a doctor coming in to check up on us—her.  Granted, I wasn’t the one about to push anything out of my anywhere –but all in all, it didn’t seem like this was going to be too bad.

But then, the screaming started.  Marta—who had spent the last two weeks of her bed rest reading articles about the horror of drug complications, coupled with eighteen years of subliminal programming from a mother who assumed the worst was always going to happen to us—had decided to do this naturally.  More power her to her, I suppose, but I had no desire to do it.  But—when the time came to kick things into gear, Marta did an awful lot of screaming and yelling to make herself feel better. And it put us all a little through the wringer. Especially when Marta opted to use my hand as a squeeze toy.

To save Marta’s decency—I’ll skip over the gruesome bits.  To sum up—Dr. Janet through that Marta handled herself extremely well especially considering she’d opted out of the epidural, Marta decided that God was kind of a dick for making this the way that human’s reproduced, and I refused to complain how badly my hand hurt when Marta squeezed it, only to learn a couple of hours later when my wrist still hurt that she’d hyperextended something or other and the ER doc Dr. Janet called in suggested I keep it a brace for the next couple of weeks. But on August 12 at 1:37 pm, Arthur Martin Andersson was born, healthy and more perfect than we ever could have imagined. Marta was a mother, I was an aunt.  It was time for our little family to begin.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Bonding (251 words)

I couldn’t hate her.  They wanted me to–but their own programming was working against them.  They’d spent so much time telling me that I needed her, expecting me to rely on her, reminding us both again and again that we were the opposite sides of the same coin, one couldn’t exist without the other.

Well, I didn’t rely on her anymore, that was for certain.  She was a traitor to the cause, I saw that, and if she didn’t change her ways we’d end up working against each other.  I was disappointed the way any brother would be to see his sister throw her life away. But I couldn’t hate her the way they wanted me to hate her.  And I hoped that she held the same for me too. No matter what the other side told her about me, no matter how ‘evil’ they said I was, I hoped she couldn’t properly hate me.  It was likely to be the only way we’d both survive this.

Because they wanted me to kill my twin sister–and the other side wanted my twin sister to kill me.  We were well-trained–equally matched–it would only take a second’s hesitation to allow the other one to get the hand up–but if we couldn’t hate each other, if we both hesitated to act–we might be okay.

The only way–my only hope for surviving tomorrow was that my sister would hesitate.  I knew I would.  But if she decided she couldn’t hate me, we might be okay.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Lydia's Stories

 

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