**Authors Note: In playing this game and writing stories based off that game play, we have at times, a wrench thrown into our plans. A hiccup if you will.
The game gave me one of those moments just the other night and I just wanted everyone to know, it was not my doing. I love that so many people yelled at me in the comments on the last chapter and over private messaging. It really made my day, so yell at me anytime. But just so you know, this was not my plan.
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Chapter 9 – My Major Hiccup in this game:
I couldn’t stop shaking.
With every memory, with every thought my mind had just begun to shut down until all I felt was pure raw emotion that left me terrified in every imaginable way. Was I shaking due to shock or was I cold? It seemed my body had transformed into a block of ice, with stiff joints that kept me frozen in place, unable to move. I had been crying, crying from depths of my soul, just as Mama had done with those screams. Oh, those screams! Each new memory shoved a rod of terror straight up my spine. My poor Mama. Mama, sob. My mama. I would never ever forget the sound of those screams. Those incredibly soul ripping sounds of someone clawing at life to hang on.
More tears fell from my eyes, but my arms were too tired to reach up and wipe them from my cheeks. I couldn’t move and all I wanted was someone to wrap their arms around me, to tell me it was all going to be okay. I wanted Jin.
Jin, where are you?
The sun was high in the sky and I just knew that if I could move, get outside, the sun would begin to warm my body but instead, sleep finally overtook me.
I don’t think I was dreaming, yet something woke me with a start and I leaned up to listen for any sounds in the house. No footsteps, no voices, just the ticking of my clock on the wall of my room. But no, there it was. The low buzz that was all so familiar.
I shot up off the couch, tore open my patio doors to my room and raced across the grass. Tears had begun to fall onto my cheeks, that ran faster down my face with every step I took.
I had just reached the dock stairs when he pulled up to tie off the boat. He turned just in time to catch me as I launched myself into his arms. He held me tight and I could feel the swift beating of his heart seemingly trying to leap from his chest. His rhythm matched mine and in my brother’s arms I felt warm, I felt safe.
I was not letting go.
“Jade, talk to me.” When I didn’t move, he gently pushed me back to see the tears on my face. Fear spread from his eyes and he seemed in shock till he said one word.
“She’s resting. I have her tucked up in bed and the last I saw, she was fast asleep.”
He seemed relieved at first, till he looked at me again. “What about the baby?”
I took a breath in an attempt to calm my racing heart. “JADE! What about the baby?”
“I think Mama should tell you.”
Jin tore off towards the house and I turned to see my Grand-mere approach with open arms.
“Ma petite fille douce. You look like you have had quite a time, especially if your messages to Jin are of any indication.”
“Grandma, after the fright and the night I have had, I don’t think I can be called sweet or little anymore.”
“Come, tell me all about it as we walk back. We shall give them time to be alone.”
“Sun. Sun, wake up. I’m home.”
“What happened? Are you okay?”
“I’m okay. I feel very weak and I’m really sore, completely sore all over. I feel like my body was stretched in every different direction. I’ve never experienced pain like that Jin and I never want to again. But Jade and I got through it and we are all okay.”
“We? The baby?”
“We have a son Jin. Alexander. He’s completely perfect in every way.”
“A son! I knew it! See, I knew painting the nursery blue was the right move. A son!”
“Where is he? I want to see him.”
“I’m not sure,” Sun said glancing at the cradle. “The nursery maybe, or Jade may have him.”
Jin got up to make his way to find his son in the nursery. “Are you coming?”
“Yes, but you go ahead. I’m not walking too good yet and I want to change my gown. I will meet you there.”
Jin burst into the nursery in giddy excitement, only to stop dead in his tracks.
“Did I forget to mention you have three daughters as well?”
“What…. how…..I think…..I think I need to sit down.”
Jin went to sit in the rocking chair, when Sun said,” You need to sit down! I just gave birth to four babies!”
Jin shot out of the chair, “Oh my gosh, here you sit,” he said pointing to the chair.
Sun laughed. “I was only kidding Jin. As you can imagine, sitting is really not my favourite thing to do right at this moment.” Seeing his face, “Oh no! Jin I’m fine really I am. You sit, before you pass out. I’ve had five hours to get used to this idea.”
“I feel faint. What are we going to do,” Jin asked shaking his head.
“Just breathe Jin. We will all be fine.”
Jin looked around the room. “Well, this room is way too small now for a nursery. I’m going to have to blow out that wall I guess.”
“Jin we will work it all out in time. Right now we have much bigger problems. I was able to name two babies with the names we chose. This is Anna and this is Bonnie. But I’m just not sure what to name the last baby and oh here comes Alex.”
I walked in at that moment, figuring it was okay to interrupt. “Time to meet your son, daddy.” and I placed Alex into his arms. I watched as he looked into Alex’s eyes, marveling at all his tiny features.
“You know, Jin. I’m not sure about this, but haven’t I heard you tell stories about the Alula children? Weren’t they a big family with multiples? Several sets of multiples all close together in age if I remember correctly. I mean, the way you’ve told it, you were an expert at handling large families. Am I wrong?”
Jin looked at me for a second seeming to consider what I said, then back down at his son, Picking Alex up under the arms, he held him up in front of his face. “Alex, surrounded by all these females in the house is going to be tough, so I figure, you and me buddy, we got to stick together. Cause if your sisters are as beautiful and incredibly smart like your aunt here, we are both in really, really big trouble!”
Then he turned and smiled at me, a different kind of smile than I had ever seen before. It made me feel really good at that moment. I felt like I had accomplished something and I had, I knew I had. But even though Jin had no idea what we had been through without him all night long during the birth, he was proud of me. I promised myself that I would remember this moment and bring it out at times when I would need it in the future. Looking down at my three little nieces, I figured I would be needing that memory a lot in the next little while!
Later that evening when the babies all had full tummies and were tucked up sleeping in bed, Jin came to me and asked if I would like to take a walk with him. I looked at him like he had grown two heads of course, but I followed him down the beach where he sat down and stared at the tides rolling up onto the sand. He was quiet for a while, so I too watched the water, waiting for whatever it was he wanted from me.
“So I think I’m ready to hear what happened now,” he said and I stared at him unsure of what he was referring to exactly.
“I need to know what happened last night. I don’t want to ask Sun, for she has been though enough trauma.”
I couldn’t help it when “snarky Jade” popped into my head in silent response. She’s been through trauma? What about me?
“Oh,” was all I replied while I continued to stare at the water. I didn’t really want to relive this all over again.
“Well, I’m not sure if the fall started it all or if-”
“Whoa! Wait. She fell?”
“Uhhh, yes. She fell in the kitchen, at least I think anyway. I didn’t see it happen and we really haven’t had time to talk about it. But she was complaining about back pain earlier so maybe she was already in labour and the fall just brought it on so fast.”
“She’s been complaining about back pain for the last couple of days. Course, now that makes sense doesn’t it? Go on with your story.”
“I ran to her when I heard Sun screaming my name. Alex was born first and it all went so well. Just five pushes and out he came, so easy that she made it look like a piece of cake.” I closed my eyes then, wanting to push the next memories back, but Jin wanted to hear it all and so, I remembered.
“Next thing I knew she was on her back screaming.” I shuttered. “Horrible screams and then, then blood just started pouring out of her. I wasn’t sure what to do at first. I froze in place, but then I remembered reading in the birth book about this exact thing. So I started massaging her tummy, but it wasn’t soft like the book said it should be. Then I felt movement and I realized there was another baby in there. But the baby was laying sideways, not head down so I began trying to help the baby turn. She was in so much pain and I thought I was hurting her, so I stopped. But when I did, the pain got worse! She was arching her back and her eyes were rolling back in her head. Eventually Anna was born. She held her for maybe two minutes and she seemed to be in much less pain. Then she started arching her back again and yelled at me to take the baby.”
I swallowed and looked at Jin. “She started yelling I need to push, but I was telling her not to. I was worried with all the blood on the floor that something was really wrong and pushing would make it worse. She rolled to her side and pulled up her legs, gripping her stomach. She altered between deep intense moaning to sharp cries of pain. I didn’t know what to do Jin. Even if I called for help, they wouldn’t have gotten here on time and you weren’t answering your phone!”
Jin winced when I said that and the look that crossed his face, made me feel terrible. “Next thing I knew, Mama reached down and said she felt something. Baby girl two was born then. Bonnie followed after, almost sliding out of Sun with little effort, which was good because she was barely conscious then. When she was fully born, Mama passed out. I thought, I thought she was dead Jin. I thought I had lost her and I did something wrong. I spent two hours placing cool cloths on her head. She would come to only briefly and pass out again. I didn’t want to leave her. I cleaned up the babies best I could and placed the girls in the crib and Alex in the cradle. Thankfully they were all sleeping. I cleaned the floor and washed up Mama’s legs but I never left her. Around seven this morning she woke up and I was able to get her to the shower and tucked into bed. She was barely conscious while I held her up in the shower and basically passed out again as soon as I got her into bed.”
Jin continued to stare at me. “You must have been terrified Jade. I’m really so sorry I wasn’t here. Where did you learn…..to do all of that?”
“When you told me Mama was going to have a baby, I started thinking about mom. If she didn’t have me, she may still be here now. I think about that a lot. I lost one mother Jin, I didn’t want to lose another, not if I could do something to help prevent it. So I started reading everything I could get about birth and I watched a lot of medical videos too.”
“Jade you have to know mom dying was not your fault. Mom was sick long before she became pregnant with you. It was off and on for years and I remember worrying a lot about her as a child.”
“I don’t feel guilty. I know it’s not my fault, but I would have liked the opportunity to know her, and dad too. I didn’t want this baby to grow up without their mom, the way I did.”
“Well, we should probably get back. I could be mayhem in there right now and Sun is very weak. You and I are going to have to do more than our fair share till she feels better.”
Jin pulled me to my feet and then hesitated before pulling me in for a hug. “I’m so very proud of you Jade.” Then he walked back towards the house.
Proud. Jin was proud of me. Funny how one simple statement could truly mean so much and I was going to hold this feeling close to my heart until the next time we bumped heads like stubborn rams. It’s just too bad I didn’t have long to wait…….
Needless to say, looking after 5 dogs and four newborn babies is an unending relentless responsibility. If we weren’t feeding the babies, or changing dirty diapers, we were walking the floor burping fussy, gassy babies who just wouldn’t sleep.
The dogs weren’t much better really. I never knew dogs could feel jealousy, but sure enough we had some little black noses that were definitely out of joint, causing the dogs to act out of character. They began destroying furniture and peeing on the floor even more than they had before.
As bad as that seemed, Biscuit’s behaviour was worse and really made me feel guilty. Even though I still managed to give him attention, he began to demand it all the time.
As soon as I got a moment to myself: simply managed to get into the bath, or sit to play on the computer for half hour, there he would be barking at me till I stopped what I was doing to give him what he wanted. Jin told me all I was doing was rewarding his bad behaviour, yet I didn’t have the heart to ignore him. But then, then he started doing it while I was sleeping, and after that, I was so very much not impressed.
I coped with the behaviour as best as I could, stumbling from one responsibility to another in a state of half awakeness. We were all basically doing our best, until Biscuit completely blew it and threw the house in an emotional uproar.
You see, when I started ignoring Biscuit’s bad behaviour, as Jin suggested, Biscuit decided he was going to get attention in other forms. Like howling at the music boxes and then the tv when anyone tried to watch it. Which usually resulted in waking at least one of the babies. But, when he started going in to bark at Sun and Jin in the middle of the night, Jin completely lost it.
“That’s it, I’m so done. The dogs have to go!”
“What? Nooooo!” I yelled back at him. “Not Biscuit!”
“Especially Biscuit! That dog is out of control and I don’t want to deal with it anymore.”
“You can’t get rid of Biscuit. He doesn’t belong to you. He’s mine. You gave him to me as a gift, or don’t you remember?!”
“Jin,” said Sun. “We’re all just tired and I think-”
“Damn right we’re tired! And we would be a lot less tired, if that dog behaved himself. I thought you trained him better than this!” he yelled at me.
“Oh, so this is my fault now? It wasn’t my decision to have a baby now was it? And whose bad luck was it that we ended up with four? Huh?”
Mama looked like I had just slapped her and I immediately felt bad, till Jin opened his mouth to speak again. “Jade, you are crossing the line here. Perhaps we don’t have four babies in the house, but five!”
“You are not getting rid of my dog. If you do I will never speak to you again!” I screamed at him.
“I will do whatever I damn well please in my own house young lady!”
“Fine! Then maybe I won’t live in YOUR house.”
“ENOUGH!” grand-mere screamed over top of us both. Everyone just stood there with a wide eyed look staring at Margot!
“I am getting far too old to play referee between the two of you! Screaming at one another is not going to solve anything. We are all tired, and stressed out. The dogs are stressed out too. It’s no wonder they are all acting up.” Then she turned to me and said, “Jin is right. We have too much going on to keep five dogs. It’s just too much and it’s only going to get worse as the babies get older. Jin, you can’t get rid of Biscuit. He is not yours to give away. As senior member of this household, I won’t allow it. Now Jade apologize to your parents.”
“No. Not until he promises he won’t give away Biscuit.”
Jin threw his hands up in the air. “Fine, I won’t give away Biscuit, but you had better get him under control and-”
“Jin,” said Mama, stopping him from speaking. “Jade, he is just tired. You know how grumpy he gets when he is tired. He would never give away Biscuit, would you Jin?”
Jin let out a very loud sigh and rubbed his face. “No.” was all he said.
“I’m sorry, MAMA. I’m happy the babies are here. Really I am.”
“I know Jade,” said Mama. “How about you take Biscuit for a walk and give him some much needed attention. Jin, go take a nap!”
“So that was my first week as an aunt. I’m exhausted, frustrated, mad at Jin, worried about Mama and very quickly learning about infant care.”
“Good grief! I think you need a vacation!” Jilly texted back.
“LOL! I don’t think I could handle the responsibility. It’s a good thing they’re cute!”
“I will send you pics as soon as we can get all four in a happy mood at the same time!”
“It is a lot of work. I’m only getting this break to talk to you because Sun told Jin off! He can be such a bully sometimes. I get what he is saying, but we can’t just give the puppies away to just anyone! What if they are mean to them or live in an apartment with no back yard. I just wish we knew someone to give them to, like a friend of Jin’s or something.”
“Hey, wait a minute! If you want, I could make a flyer on the computer and pass it out at school. Maybe my dad would even put it up where he works. Storybrook is really nice and most of the kids I go to school with live near me.”
“Actually, that is a good idea! And Storybrook isn’t too far away I think for people to travel. They are purebred puppies. We have the paperwork to prove it. Do you think your dad would mind?”
“I’d have to ask before I could promise anything for sure. You know how parents are about that kind of thing – so annoying. But I don’t think he’ll mind.”
“Tell him thank you for me okay! And if Jin gives away Biscuit, I’m coming to live with you! Tell him that too.” I laughed out loud and Biscuit stopped digging to look at me.
“LOL! I’ll make up the spare bed! One more kid in this house won’t even be noticed!”
“I can help you keep Leo in line. You can tackle him and I will sit on him till he agrees to do his homework, LOL.” Then I laughed even harder.
“You’re hired! He’s in for a rude awakening when our report cards come out. Hey! Maybe we can keep a puppy and he’ll stop sleeping with that dang guitar of his! I think a puppy is a much better cuddler.”
“You are too funny Jilly. My stomach hurts from laughing. Oh ouch. I’m sorry we can’t Skype today but the internet signal isn’t strong enough all the way to the beach. Can you text me when you have an answer from your dad?”
“You know it!”
“Oh NO!” I groaned. “Jin is yelling for me to come back. So much for the nap he is supposed to be taking. SAVE ME JILLY!”
“Oh I wish I could!”
“I will talk to you soon! Whine some more to you when I get a chance to breathe again. Bye.”
“I’ll be here! Bye”
I shoved my phone in my pocket and looked to where Biscuit was busy digging to China.
“Are you coming with me Biscuit or are you going to stay here and dig for treasure?”
He looked at me considering what I said, then turned back to his mission.