Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Rock 31

I lie quietly, helplessly and painfully watching Mace as he struggles to heave himself out of his wheelchair and onto the bed.   At one point, he nearly falls onto the floor, his chair starts moving from underneath him because he had forgotten to apply the brake on the wheels.   He struggles to move his heavy and dead legs around so that he can lie on the empty bed next to mine.

My heart nearly breaks watching what he has got to spend the rest of his life living with.  Knowing how losing the use of his legs is going to affect his life, which will now have to change completely.  His love of dancing, working out, jogging, sex, have all been stripped away from him.  I really do not know how he is going to cope with losing a big part of himself, along with everything that lies ahead of him, especially his impending prison sentence. 

I can not help but feel guilty and think it is all my fault. 

     "Baby you should have asked T to help you before he went off chasing after Forrest."
     "I am okay, I have to get used to doing it.  I keep being told I have to learn to do it for myself. "  he laughs sarcastically  "Apparently if I don't stop wallowing in self pity and buck my ideas up I am going to be a burden on Jasmine and ruin her life ... her now having only half a Dad to look after ... like I asked for this!!"  he snaps as he starts to thump his leg repeatedly in frustrated anger.
     "Hey stop that ... your legs can still bruise and break, even if you don't feel it!!"  I shout at him  "Half a Dad is better than no Dad at all, which is what she could have been facing right now!!"  I tut at him  "Who said that anyway?!"
     "Who do you think!!  That green thing of yours!  Insensitive twat ... he is not even giving me a minute to get my head around the idea of being a permanent cripple, or anything else that is going on!!  He thinks I should just accept it, be up and off with a big grin on my face!!"  he tuts  "He has been giving me hell, trying to tell me what to do as well as rearrange my life, I do not know who the hell he thinks he is!! "
     "Ignore him, he can be bossy, insensitive and selfish sometimes!!  The trouble with Forrest, he is a control freak!!  He will be as nice as pie when things are going his way, the minute they are not, the roof comes off ... and he has to be the worlds worst sulker.  After what I said to him earlier, I wouldn't be surprised if I don't see him now for a few days"
     "Oh, so what's this ... you telling me HE has faults!!  I thought he was Mr Perfect!!"  Mace laughs at me sarcastically.
     "Okay so I exaggerated a little to keep you in check."  I laugh at him trying to make light of the conversation, but it doesn't go down too well because Mace just glares at me.  "I'm sorry!!  Seriously ... I guess I just concentrated on the good things about him and pushed the bad things to the back of my mind!!  Only coming back has reminded me of his faults.  I think you know, nobody is perfect ... only me!!"  I grin at him.
      "So full of yourself ... you have plenty of faults Mr!!"  he laughs at me  "I know nobody is perfect ... but I think it is more a case that you are only just seeing him through sober eyes!!  Were you not constantly pissed and high as a kite all the time you two were together!!  Mr Perfect was just a smacked up drunken dream!!"
       "Ha ha very funny!!"  I stick my tongue out at him trying to laugh it off.  However, I can't help but think he has actually just made a very good point.  "Baby I'm sorry if he has been getting at you!!  I thought he was feeling for you, but obviously I was wrong."
     "He doesn't really give a toss about Jasmine you know, its me being a burden to you, that's his real problem!!  He wants me out of your life permanently and as quickly as he can make it happen."  he grunts as he throws his head back on the pillow and lets out a big sigh.  "I really hate this Gran, I want my legs back!!"
     "Mace I am really sorry!!"  I mumble quietly

     "What are you sorry for?"  he frowns at me as he lies there staring back at me.
     "It is my fault ... I should never have left the house and left you alone with him.  If I had stayed in bed with you, he never would have hurt you."
     "Don't be silly, it wasn't your fault!!  He did this to me, not you!!  It is not the first pasting I have had off him, he's been paling me since I was a kid, this time he just took it a little too far."  he smiles at me  "Where did you go that night anyway?"  he frowns at me  "I was confused, he just woke me up yelling and dragging me out of bed, I didn't know what the hell was going on, or where you had gone."
     "I bet he wanted to know where your sister was didn't he?"
     "Yeah, he thought I knew where she was and had something to do with her going awol."
     "I guess you know now, the police took her and Jasmine into a safe house after they recovered Aniseed, Basil and Tamarin's bodies out of the lake."   I watch him wince  "They didn't realize that Tarragon was his partner in crime at the time.  Gravel was stressing over Tarragon doing a disappearing act on him ... have they told you she is pregnant?"
     "Yeah, I am not allowed to see or speak to Tarragon, but El told me.  She says Tarragon recons it is Gravel's baby.   Gran is that a joke?"  he raises his eyebrows  "That is not likely with his medical problems is it?
     "I wouldn't have thought so."  I smile at him  "Pregnant with his child is what she has been telling Gravel and he didn't believe it.  He thought she had been messing about behind his back and had done one because they had a huge row!!  He asked me if I could get his swimmers tested again on the sly."  we both laugh for a moment.  "I guess we will just have to wait until this baby is born to know for sure.  Either way you are definitely getting a new little Nephew."
     "Oh Berry ... I have been too busy worrying about Jasmine, I haven't even given that baby a thought until now ... Tarragon is spending the rest of her life inside like Gravel ... what the hell is going to happen to the kid!?"
     "I guess that all depends on who the Father is.  If he doesn't or can't take it then the baby can only go into care if you don't take it ... you don't have anymore family on the Brownie side do you?"
     "No!! ... Gravel has single handedly wiped all of my family out!!  Gran, how can I take the baby when I am in prison."  he starts to look distressed  "How can I let the kid go into care, besides Tarragon, that baby is the only Brownie family that me and Jasmine have."

      "Don't stress!!  If that situation arises, we will deal with it.  If you decide you want to take the baby, then I guess I could look after it until you come out of prison, I'm looking after Jasmine anyway ... and you never know, IF by some miracle it does turn out to be Gravels, then I suspect it will be my door they will be banging down first anyway with you having a stint inside." 
      "If it is Gravels, would you take it and look after it?"  he frowns at me
      "I think you know I would.  I can't spite the kid because of who and what his Dad is, and the kid will be my nephew, he will be our family."  I smile at him  "It is definitely a boy by the way."
      "How the hell do you know?"
      "Between me and you, Mango told me ... he has had a poke around in your sisters maternity notes.  The baby is due about a month before Corals twins."  I laugh a little  "You know in a way, I really hope your sisters baby is Gravels ..."
      "Karma, for what he did to you and Slate."  he grins at me
      "Exactly ... he robbed my boy because he thought he would never have any of his own.  Just imagine how he will be feeling when he finds out he does actually have a child of his own ... knowing that he has gone and got himself locked up for the rest of his life, and he will never be able to play a part in his son's life ... it will destroy him!!  It will crucify him just knowing that I have got Slate as well as his son."
      "See I told you he was going to seriously burn in hell didn't I!!"
      "We can but hope so!!" 

We both lie there laughing for a while.  His laughter dies a lot sooner than mine.

     "Gran ... are you really okay about having Jasmine while I am inside?"
     "Yes of course I am."  I smile at him  "She is my Niece remember and her and Slate seem to be getting on like a house on fire!!"
     "Yeah, Slate is loving all his new family, even me!!  Unlike that green thing of yours!!"  he laughs  "I still can't get my head around Slate being yours!!"  he grins at me
     "Me neither!!  I am never going to forgive Gravel for robbing me of 20 years of his life, or what he drove him to do to himself!!"
      "Yeah like he robbed me of 5 years of my daughters life and he has not finished yet, I am going to have to miss even more when I get sent down!!"  he starts to look upset
      "Don't worry about Jasmine, I will look after her!!  You know I have always wanted kids ... and Jasmine will give me something to focus on instead of moping about you being inside.  She will keep me grounded and stop me from going off the rails, just like you have for the past five years."

     "You still haven't told me ... where were you when the berry hole was breaking my back and caving my head in?" he frowns at me  "When I phoned you, which he made me do before he started laying into me, you said you had a headache and were just walking."
     "I didn't have a headache, I'm sorry it was just an excuse because I had sneaked out of the house, I didn't think you would understand if I told you where I was going.  I broke into Forrest's house to get Slate some photographs of his Mother."
     "You broke in?!"  he looks at me wide eyed.
     "Well not exactly ... "  I look at him sheepishly.  "The key hanging around my neck ..."
     "You don't have to tell me!!" he cuts me off  "I knew all along that was the front door key to your house here and your engagement ringGravel told me!!"  he squints at me.  "Which reminds me ... engagement rings ..."  his face twists up and straight away I know he is talking about our bogus engagement.
     "I am really sorry!!  They made me do it ... the ring was the best way to bug you 24/7 without you getting suspicious.  I am sorry if it hurt you!!"
     "Obviously it did, and when they first told me the truth it nearly destroyed me!!"  he starts to look upset  "Dad made me feel a whole lot better about it!!  He says that ring is what saved my skin ... even though it hurts, really I am grateful, without it they would never have uncovered the truth.  Gravel would have never come clean so I would have taken the wrap for his shit and been looking at a life sentence, while Gravel was still out on the streets causing his evil madness!!"
    "I am glad you see it as a good thing!!  They know the truth about you and Gravel now, which is far more important."  I start to laugh at him  "All the sex we was having at Gravels ... you do realize Cinnamon, El, Crimson, the police officers here and in Apple Hill ... they were listening don't you!!"
     "Oh Fudge!!"  his eyes widen  "I never even gave that a thought!!"
     "It's okay for you ... while you was totally oblivious, I had to perform KNOWING they were listening and not only to the ring, the whole house was bugged ... even the bathroom!!"  he starts to laugh  "Half the time, El turning up for you, was their way of separating us when they couldn't take it any more!!  We were knocking them sick.  I have never been so embarrassed in my life, especially when Cinnamon kept ribbing me about it in front of Mango and the the other police officers!!"   

Mace starts howling with laughter and I can't help but join him.

    "Please tell me, I did not imagine what I heard you saying to Forrest!!"  he frowns at me once our laughing fit is over.  "You did actually tell him that you are not dumping me to go running back to him?"
     "No, you didn't imagine it, that is exactly what I said!!" 
     "I swear I am going to wake up from a dream in a minute!!"
     "I saw you pinching your arm quite a few times, you tit."  I laugh at him  
     "After the way you have carried on all these years, I can not believe that you have chosen to stay with me when you have the chance to go back to him!!"  he frowns at me  "Gran ... please tell me you are not staying with me just because of pity!!"
     "NO!!  You can get that thought right out of your mind!!  You heard everything that I said to Forrest and I didn't just say it for the sake of saying it!!  I meant every word and I do need you just as much as you need me right now, I told you I would look after you didn't I, and I meant it!!" I smile at him  "Besides, he is being very unreasonable if he thinks it is so easy for me to forget the last twenty years and just turn my back on the life we have, my job, our home, and especially you.  He is acting like I can just walk straight back into my old life like our life now does not mean anything ... baby I am sorry he had no right to tell you we were over!!" 

Mace squints his eyes and just stares at me for a while  

    "What?!"  I laugh as I ask him
    "Did something happen to your head when you was in that coma?"
    "No why?"  I laugh at him 
    "You have gone all weird on me, but in a good way!!"  he smiles at me.  "You have been saying some strange and unexpected things since you regained consciousnessI don't think you even realize you have been doing some of it either ... you keep calling me baby when you never have before, I've never heard you apologizing to me so much, and you actually told me you love me earlier, freely and out loud in front of everyone.  The way you are acting, the things you are saying, the decisions you are making, the way you keep looking and smiling at me, it is starting to show ..."
     "What is starting to show?"
     "I am beginning to think you actually do love me.  I know you probably will deny it, but you are not doing a very good job of hiding it anymore ... and I am not the only one who has noticed it." 

We just stare silently at each other for what seems like ages.  I do not know what to say to him because I honesty do not know what is going on with me myself anymore.  I have felt a little strange and confused even, since I woke up from the induced coma.  I do suddenly have a load of new, strange and surprising feelings that I have never felt before, and I don't have a clue why I am feeling them. 

I have known for quite a while that I am going to struggle to let Mace go, now I am not sure that I want to or actually can let him go.  I can not get the image of him lying lifeless on the floor not breathing, the way I felt terrified me, the desperation I felt trying to get him breathing again and the medical attention that he needed.  The though of losing him was unbearable, just like the thought of him no longer being a part of my life is becoming.  Suddenly I am totally confused about how I am feeling, and it is not just Mace.  As far as Forrest goes, after our earlier conversation, old memories, unwanted feeling and the reality of my old life has all come slamming back.  The initial excitement of seeing him again has died away instantly, I feel deflated and let down, almost like he has already shown me that the twenty year fantasy that I have been having about returning to Forrest and my old life was a whole lot better than the reality of it or what I now face.  
I hear the door open so I automatically break eye contact with Mace and turn to look to see who is entering the room.  I am grateful for the interruption so that I don't have to react to what Mace has just said to me.  Hovering in the doorway is the brown man that I have seen before, who I now know is my brother Shale.  I can not help but think that he looks a little like Slate.

     "Brownie, what are you playing at bro?  I can't believe you are chilling out in here while Dad is spitting feathers next door waiting for you.  He wants to know just how much longer you are going to be?  You know how impatient he is."
     "Oh yeah, Gran I forgot."  Mace smirks then starts to laugh  "Dad sent me in here to ask you if you are up to seeing him yet?"
     "Seriously bro ... you haven't even asked him yet!!"  Shale laughs at Mace  
     "I forgot didn't I ... I got distracted. "
     "Yeah, T says you always have your head in the clouds these days, and now I can see it!!"  he laughs then smiles at me.  "Granite is it okay if I come in?"
     "Yeah sure."  I mumble

Shale walks into the room and stands by the bed.  I just lie there smiling at him and he just smiles back not saying anything.   I don't have a clue what I am supposed to say.  It is hard enough getting my head around Turmeric being my brother and I've known him for a long time, this feels awkward because I don't know Shale at all.  For a start I do not like his name!!

     "Hi, I am Shale, I guess you know by now, I am one of your brothers."  he smiles as he holds his hand out to me.  I just stare at it for a moment thinking that is not the normal brotherly thing to do - shaking hands
     "Well this is very awkward!"  I start to laugh at him as I take his hand and shake it. 
     "It has not exactly been the best way for you to find out about your extra brothers and family, but hey, Gravel has never done anything conventionally it seems!"
     "No it has not really been the best way!!"  I smile at him  "All I need to know is that you, Silt and Thyme are more like Turmeric and nothing like Gravel, then we will be okay!!"  he starts to laugh at me.
     "You do not have to worry on that score, Mace will tell you, Gravel has always been the bad apple and the thorn in everyone's side!!   He is one on his own that one, I doubt there is another like him!!  Dad says he gets his evil streak from his Mother."  

That upsets me a little, my Mother did not have an evil streak, in my book it has always been my Dad.  However, I keep my thoughts to myself because I do not want to upset this new brother of mine already, they all seem to be close and very over protective of Dad for some reason.

     "So what job do you do Shale?"  

I ask him because I really do not know what else to say to him, without snapping back to defend my Mother and upsetting him.  I am finding this extra specially awkward.  This is not just like getting to know some random person that you have just met.  This is getting to know my brother who I should have known all my life.
     "I am in the force.  I'm a Detective Chief Inspector over in Orange Falls."  I laugh at him
     "I guess that figures, I bet you are all in the force like Dad!"
     "Oh no, it is just me, and of course you know Gravel was only playing at being a police officer!!"  he laughs  "Silt is the musical one, Thyme is the arty one, Tamarin was a school teacher, Coal is a doctor and I doubt I have to tell you anything about Turmeric or Macey boy."  he laughs quietly   "Gravel is the evil one ... so what are you?  Shale raises his eyebrows at me. 

     "I am the one with all the brains and beauty naturally"  I smirk at him
     "He is the tight arsed joker!!"  Mace laughs
     "Hey boyfriend, what happened to me being a sexy surgeon, that is how you usually describe me!?"  we just laugh at each other for a moment, but I can see Mace looks a little uncomfortable.   "What's up ... are you going off me now you have finally got your label?!"  I laugh at him
     "Seriously Gran, give them a chance to get used to the idea of us ... they are used to me being with Tami remember.  Dad, Shale, Thyme and Silt, are struggling to get there heads around us being together for the past five years."
     "I'm sorry, I didn't think!!"  I mumble quietly, and try to change the subject quickly  "So Shale, I guess you want to know if I am the person that Gravel has been telling you all that I am?  The unapproachable evil, junkie, drunk criminal."
     "No, we know now that you are not!!  Turmeric, Atlas and Mace have pretty much filled us in on who you really are."  he smiles at me  "I am just sorry we have listened to Gravel all these years and that we didn't try to find you sooner."
      "Yeah and I am guessing you have already checked out my criminal record, you being filth.   I think you can see I have been a good boy for over twenty years!!"  I smirk and Shale laughs at me.
      "Naturally!"  he laughs  "Dad is very impressed by how you have turned your life around!!  I have to say the change from being a convicted addict to a very highly respected Neurosurgeon, is quite an achievement!!"  he smiles at me and I laugh wandering where the 'highly respected' has came from? "We are very angry with Turmeric and Mace, them knowing you all this time and not telling any of us, especially what Gravel has been doing to the three of you." 
      "Yeah you aren't the only one who would have loved to have known what was going on, I have lived the last twenty years totally blinded and in the dark.  I still can not get my head around T being my brother!!  I have known him for over 15 years, he was my best mate for most of them.  I really don't know how he kept it to himself all that time!!"

      "Yeah well Turmeric is very good at hiding things, especially his thoughts and feelings."  Shale rolls his eyes   "I guess you and Slate will get on well with Coal, the three of you being doctors.  Coal is a trauma surgeon."
     "Who is Coal?  Turmeric hasn't mentioned him before."
     "I am not really surprised T hasn't mentioned Coal."  Shale glances in Mace's direction and they both start laughing  "Coal is officially your nephew, he is Turmeric's son.  However, Dad adopted him when he was a baby and has brought him up as one of his own, so we see Coal more as a brother rather than our nephew."  he smiles at me  "He wanted to be here, but Coal and Turmeric do not get on very well.  There is enough drama going on here already without adding their carry on to it, so Coal stayed home, but he can not wait to meet you."  Shale smiles at me and Mace starts laughing again.
     "Coal is older than me."  Mace tells me.  My eyes widen because I am surprised by that.  "T was a very naughty boy when he was thirteen."
     "THIRTEEN?"  I am shocked
     "I think you know what T is like where women are concerned, a dirty dog.  Well he started very early."  Mace laughs  "The situation with the babies Mother is the reason why he is the way he is.  I don't think he has ever gotten over it."
     "THIRTEEN!!"  I say again, not quite believing it, and especially that Turmeric has a child at all!!  "Why do Coal and Turmeric not get on?"
   "Coal has nothing to do with either of his parents if he can help it, he has never actually seen his Mother."  Shale smiles at me.  "Turmeric doesn't even acknowledge Coal as his son, which obviously upsets the boy.  T left home and did one when Coal was five, he went on a fools mission trying to find Coal's Mother ... I swear the idiot is still in love with her, but he has never found her."
     "So what happened?  Why has Coal never seen his Mother?" 

     "They thought they were loves young dream apparently, both just kids at school and both thirteen when Coal arrived, and neither of them were mature enough to know what they were doing let alone take care of a baby.  Dad says her parents were totally furious and took control of the whole situation.  A baby at that age would have ruined their daughters future they thought, which they totally blamed Turmeric for.   Her parents decided to split them up, they banned her from seeing T, and actually took out a restraining order to legally keep T away from their daughter.  They sent her away to a boarding school after the baby was born, and T never saw her again.  It broke him and messed his head up, Dad says T has not been right ever since.  
       "I guess this is the reason for T's commitment issues."
       "Yeah, we think it is."  Shale rolls his eyes at me.
       "So did they give the baby to Dad?"
       "No.  Her parents put the baby straight into care and up for adoption, they didn't discuss it with my parents and they didn't even bother to give him a name!!  Dad went totally ballistic and had to fight the system to get custody of him.  There is no way he would have let that boy stay in care, when he had a perfectly good family to take care of him.  My parents finally got custody of the baby and adopted him.  
       "So doesn't the Mother or her family have anything to do with Coal?"  I frown at Shale  "You said he has never seen his Mother."
      "No, her family moved out of town the following year and they have not been seen since.  She never came back after boarding school looking for T or the baby."  Shale smiles at me.
      "I bet that messes Coals head up!!"  
      "Yeah it has a bit, but he has always had us lot."  he smiles   "Like Mace pointed out, Coal is actually older than me, Silt, Mace and Tami, so we have always seen and treated him as an older brother, there is only Thyme and Gravel who see him as a nephew, and I guess you will too.   Coal calls our Dad Dad, not Granddad, while he calls T all the names under the sun, none of them very pleasant.  Turmeric totally blanks Coal, and every time they get together it always ends up a slanging match or punch up.  As you can imagine it causes a lot of tension between us all, especially at family get together's."

     "Wow!!  I am really surprised at T."  I smile then turn to Mace  "The baby being put in care, I guess that is why you said Dad would rip Forrest's head off for suggesting Jasmine be put into care."
     "Yeah that is part of it, you say Social Services to Dad and he goes off on one."  Mace laughs  "but it is mainly and more to do with you, when you was a baby."
     "What?!"  I frown at Mace, but something springs instantly into my head, something that Mango has told me about my Mother and Social Services, something that I have tried not to think about.
     "Okay Mace, blabber mouth ... let Dad tell Granite!!"  Shale pulls a face at Mace  "Talking of Dad ... bro you really need to get your gay but back next door with an answer to Dad's question, or he might just come in here and ask for himself.  Leaving Granite with no choice but to see him."
     "I don't want to see Dad!!"  I jump in as they both look at me.  I can feel myself starting to panic inside, at the thought of seeing Dad again.  "Are Silt and Thyme here?"
     "Yeah they are next door with Dad."  Shale mumbles
     "I want to see them first.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to face that so called Dad of mine!!  My extra family I am fine with, just not him!!"
     "Baby, you really need to hear your Dad out."  I pull a face at Mace.
     "I don't know if I can!!  Between Gravel and Dad, they have turned virtually the whole of my life into a lie ... I don't know if I can take hearing any more, especially his pathetic excuses!!"  I pull a face at Mace.  "Mace, you know how I feel about that man!!" 
     "Oh don't I just!!  Having to sit listening to you bad mouthing him for the past five years has nearly killed me, not being able to say anything or put you straight!!  Seriously you really have got Dad all wrong!!"  he smiles at me.
     "I don't know how!!  You didn't live through the hell I did when I was a child, I was actually relieved when he faded, that's how bad it was!!  He might have been a Father to all the others, but he has never been one to me!!"  I snap  "For berry's sake he has left me thinking he has been faded for the past 34 years ... what kind of Father does that to his son!!??"
     "Granite he has a very good reason for everything!"  Shale mumbles
     "Go on then brother, you tell me!!"  I stare at Shale  "You tell me why he just went off and left me when I was 12 years old!!  You tell me why he fake his death and I am the only one who has been kept in the dark!!  The truth is he hates me just as much as I hate him!!"
     "He doesn't hate you - far from it!!  I'm sorry, I can't tell you, it really needs to come from Dad."

      "Mace you tell me!!"
      "Baby I can't ... like Shale said, Dad needs to explain everything himself!!"
      "Dad!?  Why do you keep calling him Dad!!"
      "Because he has been much more of a Dad to me than Fudge Brownie ever was!!"
      "Since when?  Since you married Tamarin?"
      "No!"  he looks at me sheepishly  "Since I was eleven nearly twelve, when he took me in!!"
      "WHAT!?"  I frown at him  "You need to explain how the hell that happened!!"
      "My Mother faded when I was eleven, only a few months after Fudge was sent down, she was stabbed to death, and I was the one who found her."  he starts to choke  "Who ever murdered her was never caught, but I have always suspected it was Gravel.  They had evil arguments after Dad was sent down, and he wanted her out of the way just as much as my Dad and his brothers.  I think you know yourself, she was just as involved in the criminal underground as Fudge was."
      "Fudge, I never even gave your Mother a thought!!  Baby I'm sorry!!"  I frown at him  "Have you told the police what you suspect about Gravel murdering your Mother?"
      "Yeah, they are looking into it."  he mumbles  "El has dug out her old case files, she says they are hopeful that they will be able to charge Gravel with her murder, as well as a few other unsolved cases, in that area around the same time." 
      "At least that's something!"  I smile at him  "So come on, how did you end up with Dad?"
      "I think you know now that Gravel was the 'hidden one' controlling the mob while you was there.  Gravel stepped out of the shadows after he had you, my Dad and his brothers banged up.  Tarragon stepped into Dad's shoes and together they continued running the mob.  Tarragon didn't want the hassle of looking after me, I was useless to them and getting under their feet She was always complaining about how soft I was, and how I was going to make a useless criminal, especially when it came to fighting.  I think you know she got the balls not me!!"  this makes me laugh  "I think Gravel took me out to Orange Falls to get rid of me ... he virtually dumped me on Dad ... and before you ask no he did not adopt me officially, I am just one of his foster kids."
      "Just one of?!"  I frown at him  "Besides you and Coal, are there more?"
      "Yeah ...."  Mace mumbles quietly as he exchanges a nervous glance with Shale.  "There have been quite a few foster kids over the years."     

     "Well isn't that just great!!  He takes in all sorts of strays and plays happy families with them, while he leaves his own son ... me ... totally alone and out in the cold!!  Way to feel unloved!!"  I snap  "And you wander why I hate the man!!" 
    "Please Gran, you really need to hear Dad out to understand!!  What he has to tell you, will make you feel a whole lot better about everything, I promise!!"
    "I don't think so Mace, how can he ever justify it?! ... after what you have just told me, now all I can see is he dumps me and takes in a load of other kids.  This has just made it a whole lot worse for me!!"
    "Granite, this is why you need to sit down and let Dad explain it all, once and for all!!   After that it is entirely up to you what you do with it and if you let him back into your life or not."  Shale mumbles  "We are all having to walk on egg shells, we have to be careful about what we are telling you, in case we upset you, just like this has.  We are scared we might make the situation worse between the two of you, and that is the last thing we want!!  We are hoping that you two can work out your differences, and this whole mess can now finally be resolved!!"
     "That is easy for you to say Shale, you have obviously had a Dad, unlike me!!   You are not the one who has been hurt, dumped and lied too for most of your entire life!!"
     "Please baby!!"  Mace says in his sickly voice  "You will have to face him soon anyway whether you want to or not.  I doubt we will be able to keep him away from you for very long, he is breaking his neck to get in here to speak to you!!"

     "He can break his neck all he likes!!  I don't want to see him and I don't want him in here!!"
     "Baby please!!  If I am going to get bail, it will be because of El and DadDad will have to become my chaperone, and be everywhere that I am ... If you refuse to see or have anything to do with him, if you don't at least try to work through your differences so that you can be civil with each other - how can we be together??"  he starts to get upset.

 I can already see the tears welling up in his eyes, it takes him seconds to start crying.  My automatic reaction is to go to him.  I try to get off my bed, even though I am still feeling a little weak and unsteady.  Shale helps me to get off the bed and stand. 

     "Baby please don't cry!!"  I mumble as I reach his bed.
     "For once in your life, stop being stubborn and pig headed!!"  he mumbles through his tears.  "It will not hurt you to hear him out and if you will not do it for yourself ... do it for me.  Please, because if you don't, we can not be together!!   Forrest will get what he wants, us split up, and if that happens they may as well just bang me straight up now, because my life will be over either way!!"

I stand there thinking for a moment while we stare at each other.  I know he is right, as much as I don't want to, I have to at least hear what my Dad has to say and try at least to keep the peace.  If I don't I will be playing right into Gravel's hands, by being the person he has been telling them that I am.  I don't want to be the one rocking the boat and alienating my 'new' family before I have even got to know them.  

 The time that me and Mace have left before his trial and imprisonment, is going to be hard enough for the both of us without me making it any worse.  I hold Mace's hand as I sit down on the bed and try to wipe the tears off his face.  I start to feel the exact same feelings as I did during the police operation ... that our days are numbered again.  I get that horrible niggling feeling again, just thinking about being separated from him.


      "Okay!!  Okay!!  I will do it for you!!"  I smile at him.  "I will hear him out and try to be at least civil ... but don't blame me if it doesn't make a difference to the way I feel about him and what he has done!!" 



1 comment:

  1. I actually feel really bad for Gran. He has so much being thrown at him right now. I don't blame him for how he feels about his dad. At this point I can't believe there's a good enough reason to abandon your kids and start a new family.