Chapter Twenty Nine
“Do you know the man that was chasing you, Kimmey?” asked Michael.
“Uh-huh,” murmured Kimmey burying her head in Michael’s shoulder and sticking her thumb into her mouth, something he’d never seen her do before.
“Can you tell me who he is?” asked Michael.
“He’s the bad man that hurts my Mommies. My Mommy’s ’fraid of him,” said Kimmey around her thumb as she reverted to baby talk.
“I see,” said Michael. “Your name is Kimmey, your brother’s name is Billy. What is his name?”
“His name is Daddy,” said Kimmey, trembling with fright as she pressed in closer still to Michael. “He’s awful mad! Don’t let him get me Michael!” She whimpered, clutching at his shirt in terror, as big silent tears rolled down her cheeks.
“It’s okay baby girl, said Michael, patting Kimmey’s back gently. “I have you and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep your mother, brother and you safe.”
Then he laughed, “I heard that, is that your belly growling at me? He asked, trying to make her laugh. “I’ll bet your hungry, I know I am. What do you say, let’s call the cafeteria and ask Connie Malone, to bring us some supper? How would you like a big juicy cheeseburger, curly fries and a chocolate milkshake,” asked Michael.
“Michael,” said Kimmey, forgetting her fright, and in her best Mommy imitation said, “now Michael, don’t you dare order me the triple cheeseburger, because they’re making me fat! Remember? That’s what Mommy would say every time we went to the Play and Eat in Beasley.”
“I remember, squirt,” said Michael grinning. “Your Mommy would say that, then she’d order the biggest, fattest, juiciest, cheeseburger on the menu, along with the extra-large curly fries and a double strawberry banana milkshake, then - - -
“Eat the whole thing!” Kimmey said as she finished his sentence and giggled. “Boy, Michael, my Mommy sure eats a lot, her belly’s really getting fat!”
“That’s because your Mommy is going to have twins,” said Michael. “Do you know what twins are?” he asked her.
“That means two, right Michael?” she said thoughtfully. “I remember a long time ago, my Mommy, teasing Mommy Martha, about being really fat, before she had what you said, twins? That’s two babies at the same time, right, Michael?
Mommy Martha named the boy Joey and the girl Jo-lee. They’re my bestest friends in the whole world! Except Mommy, she’s my very best friend like you Michael,” said Kimmey, throwing her arms around him, and giving him a great big hug and a smacking kiss on the cheek.
“That settles it, its cheeseburgers, fries and shakes for supper tonight,” said Michael, sitting her on the large comfortable couch, in the combination office-lounge, and picking up the phone.
After placing the order, they assured him that Connie would personally cook then deliver the order to the office conference room. It should be there in approximately twenty minutes.
“Well, I guess we’d better go to the conference room if we’re going to eat tonight,” said Michael, lifting Kimmey into his arms to carry her.
“Put me down Michael,” Kimmey said solemnly. “Mommy says only babies get carried and I’m not a baby Michael!”
“No, I guess you’re not a baby,” said Michael, wondering if indeed she’d ever been a baby or a child for that matter! He remembered it had taken him over an hour, the first time he taken them to the Play and Eat child-oriented restaurant, to convince Kimmey and her brother that it was okay to play and have fun. Now it was their favorite place to go.
“Michaeeeel,” squealed Kimmey, tugging on his arm, “you’re not listening to me!”
“I’m sorry, Kimmey,” he said, checking the door to make sure it was securely locked, before closing the one between his private rooms and the conference room. Not wanting to take any chances that someone was spying on them, he sat her in an overstuffed chair away from the door.
“I’m sorry Kimmey, I was thinking about those yummy cheeseburgers we’re having for supper, he said, but I’m listening now.”
“I asked where you got that picture of Joey and Jo-Lee.” She asked pointing to a photo that was one of the hundreds hanging four deep on his wall.
Surprised, he looked at Kimmey, as his mind tried to wrap around her statement.
“Doctor Patterson, it‘s Connie Malone, I know you’re in the middle of a conference, but I have your order. Do you want me to leave it in the hall for you?”
“No, I’m coming,” he said, putting a finger to his lips so Kimmey would know to be very quiet. To her credit she curled into such a small ball in the middle of the chair that Michael couldn’t even see her.
“Good girl,” he said, by way of approval before opening the door, and retrieving the cart.
“I didn’t really think you were in conference,” Connie whispered, winking at the doctor. “I only said that, because that old snoop, Harriet Mitchem and her new buddies, were hanging around your door. I saw them when I came down the hall from the kitchen.”
“When I asked what they were doing, she said, they had a very important business proposition for you. I told them that you’d be in conference most of the night, and didn’t she have better things to do then to pester you.”
“She got all huffy and the three of them stalked over to the atrium to smoke one of their disgusting cigarettes.”
“I heard that old man yelling at that little girl, that’s who one of the orders is for isn’t it? No, don’t answer that, just in case that old snoop is back from her cigarette break. Anyway, I put some coloring books and crayons, along with some other things on the cart, just in case. If I were you, I’d have security put that whole bunch under lock and key, until the sheriff could get here to haul them off to jail!”
“Thanks Connie,” he said winking at her. “Remind me to give you a raise come morning.”
“Oh! Go on with you, go feed your face and I’m betting hers too,” she said, pushing the cart into the room. “Make sure you lock this door, you never know when the snoop might be hanging around,” she said, closing the door behind her.
Michael didn’t question Kimmey about the photo, until after they’d eaten. It would seem they were starving, the way they tore into their burger, fries and shake. After they’d finished, Michael loaded the dishes onto the cart, and quickly put it outside the door.
Kimmey excitedly went through the stack of reading materials, coloring books, assorted mini games and other things that Connie had put on the cart.
“Michael, please read me this story,” said Kimmey, holding up a book about a lost little bunny.
“I sure will”, said Michael, “but could I get you to answer some questions first?”
“What questions?” she asked, looking at Michael with a puzzled expression. "OH, you mean like my teacher asks me after we study things?”
“Well yes and no,” said Michael scratching his head, as if that would help him decide how best to answer her question. “Do you remember asking me about one of the pictures on the wall there,” he said, pointing randomly at the wall.
“Of course, I do Michael,” she said in mock exasperation, “but it’s that picture over there, and not the one you’re pointing at.”
“Oh! My mistake you’re princess’ness,” he teased.
“Your silly, Michael,” she said, laughing delightedly at his antics.
“Why do you think that’s a picture of Joey and Jo-Lee?” He asked, looking at the photos of his twin brother and sister, Joseph and Jolene, who’d died of whooping cough three weeks after their fourth birthday. Martha had nicknamed them Joey and Jo-lee almost from the time of their birth.
“Because it is,” she stated simply. “I know it’s them by that little brown spot on Jo-Lee’s chin. That’s the only way Mommy Martha could tell them apart, but they’re not babies now, they were five two days after I was.”
Oh, Michael,” she exclaimed. “That’s my Mommy Martha! See, in that picture right there. Michael! Why isn’t she with her babies? I didn’t know you knew my Mommy Martha too!” she said, pointing to the photo of a beautiful young lady, taken on her seventeenth birthday.
He knew his parents had named his sister Martha Shay Patterson in memory of his great grandmother. Michael looked at Kimmey, dumfounded! Could his sister actually be the Mommy Martha Kimmey was always talking about? If so, then what about the others, Casey, Casety, Clara, and Mary-Lou? Had they also been ‘Mommy’ to Billy and Kimmey? The possibilities were overwhelming! “Where’s that book?” asked Michael, changing the subject.
“Michaeeeel,” said Kimmey, “you didn’t tell me how you know one of my other Mommies and my friends.”
Michael not knowing how to answer her question, said “I knew the lady and children in those pictures a long time ago, Kimmey. Now where is that book? It’s way past time for little girls to be in bed.”
“Are we going back to my Mommy's room, after you read me the story? I want to tell her you know my Mommy Martha, Joey and Jo-Lee.” Then dramatically throwing her hand over her mouth,” she said, “Oh Michael! I bet my Mommy's awful worried about us. Maybe we should go right now so she won’t be too upset.”
“Now hold on a minute,” said Michael, catching her before she made it to the door. “Your Mommy knows you’re here and said to tell you she’d see you in the morning.”
“But, where will I sleep and what about my jammies?” she asked.
“Grab your book and follow me,” said Michael, opening the door between the office-lounge and the conference room. “Do you see that door over there?” he asked, pointing to a door off to his right. “That’s the bathroom and this,” he said, going to the door next to it, “ta-dah, is princess Kimmey’s bedroom for the night!” Sweeping her a low comical bow, he opened the door and escorted her inside. Going to a closet, he pulled one of his tee shirts off a hanger and handed it to her, saying, “Your gown my lady.”
“You’re funny, Michael,” she said, laughing at his antics. Less than twenty minutes later, Kimmey had been tucked into bed and was sound asleep.