Chapter 1 - Maddie
I was going to be late. I thought as I run down the corridor. I was always late they needed to expect it. I skidded down the corridor past two students that looked at me like I was a walking disaster I was a walking disaster but hey I was coming todays lecture dressed. What else could they want from me; half the class didn’t do that. Hey, half the class didn’t even turn up! “Made it.” I said falling behind my desk onto the floor. A lot of laughter followed it. The professor looked at me as I pulled myself up. “And now my teachers aid has finally turned up with the print outs.” She said. I pulled out all the print outs I printed out last night. “You got throw up on your shoulder.” My professor said quietly as I handed them over. “the baby wouldn’t settle.” I admitted. She sighed, we both knew what I was thinking. I had been thinking of dropping out, but I couldn’t my last year apparently, I had been working too hard for this to throw it all away with 5 months left. The hour lecture took a long time. I was in my final year and until about 5 months ago I hadn’t ever been late for class. I had been one of the best in class and not just that. I had planned another 3 years. But now I didn’t know what I wanted. Even worse the baby in question she wasn’t mine. She was my niece and I loved her. hell, I loved all my nieces and nephews and I loved my sister and brother in law. My sister though she wasn’t managing anymore. Earlier she could barely get out of bed. Chemo was taking it out of her, the cancer was slowly killing her. in fact, I and her husband didn’t want to say it. But we didn’t even think it was slowly. Every day after college and sometimes before like today I would go around and help as much as possible. Not that my brother in law hadn’t been trying to find a nanny. But the moment they saw the 6 kids and sick mom and dad who loved them a lot but was always at work. They fled. I didn’t blame them. Jessica didn’t even want her kids being raised by a nanny. She wanted to be there, but she couldn’t be fully currently. She did have a nanny, so the baby was with her now. the toddler was throwing a temper tantrum when I left, and the nanny looked overwhelmed. It was a long morning. “Coffee?” Maria asked me coming over holding something in her hands she wouldn’t have been my lecture as we had no classes together this year. Oh, she wasn’t asking she had one for me. I took it. “thanks.” I said downing it. “it’s cold.” I told her. “I got it you before your class thinking I would see you.” She said as we made our way towards our next lectures. “So, you got sick on your top.” She said. I looked her over she was in sweatpants and a baggy hoody was she really going to question my choice of baby sick today. “Yeah we are both having one of those can’t be fucked days.” I told her with a smile. She chuckled. Maria and I had been friends since we were in middle school. She now lived here with a few of the girls from her pre-med classes whilst I lived with my sister and her husband. Maria was going to med school next year and I was extremely proud of her. Having my best friend become a doctor was amazing. But I was slightly jealous. I was 20 years old having graduated high school early, I was a math genius according to a lot of people. I took after my father with that. But I was so distracted lately that I wasn’t even sure if I could graduate. “So, Tamsin not well?” she asked me to look at the sick. “Na just trapped wind. I was burping her and obviously missed the cloth.” I moaned. I would stink all day. “Some guys like it though.” Maria lied to me. I chuckled. “they like baby sick on a girl, who knew.”
I laughed. “How’s Jess?” she asked me. I shook my head and sighed. “Nathan and I were talking with her.” I started. “Ut oh.” She said looking at me worried. “We are trying to ready everything in case the worst.” I said truthfully. “do you really think. I thought the chemo.” She started. “the new doctor said it’s just prolonging the tumours not shrinking and they can’t remove it.” I said I wanted to hit something scream. But Nathan and I couldn’t afford to break down. He already had 2 13 year olds and 2 7 year olds breaking down. To add me to that mix wouldn’t be helpful. I needed to be strong. “So, what were you deciding?” she asked me. “we got nothing sorted. She doesn’t want to think about it. I don’t blame her I don’t either. But we want to prepare the kids just in case.” I sighed tears started. Maria pulled me in her arms and I cried on my best friend’s shoulder breaking down. We just stood there for a while. We had an hour between classes today thank god. When I was done we carried on walking. “If worst happens?” she asked. “Nathan said he won’t allow me to drop out. we would hire another nanny.
But I think the one we got is going to quit. But if the worst happens I told him I’ll stay at home with the kids and be the nanny. I said. “what?” she asked me. “Jessica doesn’t want a stranger razing the baby’s. They both know me. I’m their aunt. I would rather be there for all there milestones at least until Tamsin can start kindergarten.” I told her thinking of the 2-month-old baby in kindergarten. “not even Oliva?” Maria asked me, thinking of the 2-and-a-half-year-old toddler. “I wouldn’t want to leave either until kindergarten. Jessica’s always been there for the kids. She was there for me.” hell Jessica and Nathan practically raised me since mom passed. My dad bless his heart had been useless at anything but helping me with my homework and teaching me chess. He tried his hardest. But he got diagnosed with altzimers two years ago. I was a late in life child. Mom had passed when I was 15 so god I got what it was like for the kids to see their mom getting sicker in front of their eyes. I had already lived this. But it was even harder this was my sister and if I lost her, it wouldn’t just be me and her and dad it be her husband 6 kids and me. I wouldn’t even know what to do. “Maybe the chemo will work.” Maria said encouragingly. “Maybe we can’t lose hope.” I said, and I meant that. We made it to my computer lab well outside the building. “I’ll see you tomorrow alright?” I asked her. “you not got another break?” she asked me. “Not today and I’m going straight home. I promised Derek and Gregory I would help them with their science fair projects.” I admitted. “what the evil genius twins doing?” she asked me. That was putting the two of them down a peg, Genius was an understatement. But social skills of gnats except with each other. But then they were 7 and identical twins. They had never been apart and not many could tell them apart, except the family. Derek was slightly more a cuddlier and Greg was more forceful with his opinions. Both were OCD and had scared of more than their fair shares of nanny’s. It’s only been 4 months since we got our first one and we had been through 9 already. “ones doing about the 5 second rule.” I started. “Excuse me.” A guy grumbled from the door. He was trying to get in and we were in his way. I had never seen him before. “Oh, sure sorry.” I said moving to let him past me and holding the door. well he wasn’t the normal geek that went into computer lab.
But in his tight almonry suit, because unfortunately I could tell the real deal having my brother in law in almonry every day. He reeked of money. He was hot, but I knew that kind way to well. Rich workaholic also wouldn’t look twice at me anyway until they knew who I was, so they would want to know me for who my family was not who I am as a person. I went back to Maria. “The other?” she asked me. “whether identical twins have the same fingerprints and DNA and what makes him and his identical twin different.” I said. “Ah so I’m not going to see you until after the science fair got it.” She told me with a smile. “Love you.” I said waving realising I got to go. “love you.” She said and walked off. I walked to my lecture. My professor was talking to the guy who was unloading his suitcase. Oh yeah guest speaker. “Miss Prescott.” My professor said when he spotted me. what I done now? Shit please tell me he got my paper. “yes professor?” I asked worried. “Did you get my paper?” I asked worried. “yes, I got your paper.” He assured me. “Was there something wrong with it?” I asked worried. There weren’t many people in yet, but Victoria and Jenson were at our usual bench and the hot speaker was looking up at the professor as if waiting. “nothing was wrong with your paper, I am sure it will be fine. It normally is. I haven’t marked it yet mind you.” He assured me. “I just thought I would tell you I also got the permission form for the class trip to the museum.” He said calmly “and a letter excusing Greg from PE this week oh and a letter excusing Avery from gym.” He said. “oh, shit thanks were trying to do millions of things at once with a toddler on my hip who was screaming.” I admitted blushing. “Its fine. It did make me chuckle when I tried to think what field trip.” He said. I shook my head having to smile. “you realise you have sick all down your back.” he started. “yep it’s been one of those days.” I said. My phone started ringing. “Sir I’m sorry.” I started. “its fine.” He assured me. I went to my desk answering it. “This is her?” I said as the woman on the phone that sounded too much like the older twin’s principal secretary asked if I was Madeleine Prescott. She told me it was the school and I said okay what is the problem. Knowing the order of contact for the school currently. Nathan me then their mom was last to be bothered as we all wanted her to not stress. “There was a small incident with Ethan.” She told me. Ethan was one of the 13-year-old twins. Until recently I would say he was the easiest. “What’s he done now?” I asked. the class weren’t in yet. “He was in a small fight.” The secretary said. “omg is he okay?” I asked worried. She started explaining that Ethan had punched another student? “are you sure this was Ethan?” I asked. “Ethan?” I asked her. She explained more. “is he being expelled?” I asked her. “We need his father and mother to attend.” The secretary started. “His father is away on business in Germany for the rest of the week and his mother is unable to come.
Is he being expelled do I need to come down or can I send the nanny?” I asked. “I am afraid you need to attend.” She said. “When?” I asked weakly. “As soon as possible.” She said I stood picking up my bag. “I will be at the school in 45 minutes. Thankyou.” I said weakly I hung up. I went to the professor he was talking to the guest speaker. So, I waited for him to finish. When he turned and looked at me. he looked slightly torn. Id missed a lot of lectures lately. “Everything okay?” he asked me. “I’m sorry sir, I need to go to sort something out. please may I makeup the class today?” I asked worried. “I shall email you the notes and questions. but you would have found this interesting miss Prescott.” He said. “I know.” I admitted looking at the guy. “Miss Prescott there are only so many exceptions I can make. Attendance is worth 60% of your final grade and your already low this quarter.” He said to me. “You’re looking at redoing this semester.” He admitted to me, shit was I that far behind. “I’m trying to be accommodating.” He said. “I know your all going above and beyond.” I admitted. “I will email you todays notes.” he said. “thank you, sir.” I said then I run out the door as a few of the class came in.
When I got to the middle school I wanted to scream, the principal himself meet me in the hall. I was taken in, I was told what had happened. I made Ethan apologise and he was given a month’s suspension. I grabbed Avery for the day too, so the nanny wouldn’t have to go and loaded them both in my car. I didn’t talk to either as I started my car. “Are you mad at me Auntie Maddie?” Ethan asked me worried. “How can I be mad at you for standing up for your sister.” I sighed. “I’m just cross how you went for physical violence over brain.” I started. He looked out the window as I looked in the back at him. “your father and mother might have a different response. It’s not my job to discipline you.” I said. “But I will tell you this, if you’re at home.” I started. “you are to help the nanny. You are not lazing in your room.” I told him. “but you and your mother can discuss it when I get you home.” I said. I pulled into a McDonalds drive through. Ethan looked at me he was trying so hard not to cry. “What do you two want?” I asked them. Avery gave me a funny look but made her order. Ethan gave me his giving me a matching look. For unidentical twins they gave the same looks and had the same eyes and hurt expression. I ordered all the kids a meal that I knew they would want. I also got my sister a meal she loves. If she was up to eating today. I then drove us home. Avery and Ethan holding the food. “Did I make you miss an important lecture?” Ethan asked me. “it’s not important, you kids are more important.” I assured them both. I scanned my id to get on the property. It was huge. Nathan was loaded I knew that. “Is dad really in Germany till the end of the week?” Ethan asked me. I nodded. “Yeah he emailed me last night. He couldn’t get out of the meeting and he sends his apology.” I said. “he’s always sending his apologies lately.” Avery said. I looked at them both as I pulled to a stop. “he loves you all.” I said seriously. “then why is he burying himself in his work.” Avery snapped at me. it wasn’t a question she was angry. “Because he doesn’t know what else to do. We are all trying, we just.” I started I couldn’t finish we just couldn’t cope ourselves. “Your daddy loves you all. Never forget that.” I said. “Moms not going to eat this.” Ethan said looking upset. “You never know, she might be craving it like last month.” I said. “The doctor said she wasn’t going to make it didn’t he.” Avery said. Shit had she heard us talking. I took a deep breath. Then my words dried up in my throat. “What’s going to happen to the 6 of us?” Ethan asked me angry. “Hey, don’t be like that. Your moms fighting. We can’t give up hope.” I snapped at them both close to tears rather than angry. “We don’t give up hope. I will always be there anyway. I moved in didn’t I. I’m failing fucking college.” I started. “your failing college?” Ethan asked me. “Yeah don’t tell your mom she’ll kill me then I won’t be here.” I said. “but guys I’ve got two terms left. When I graduate I will stay at home with the kids as their nanny until they start kindergarten. Your dad mom and I have already planned it. Don’t worry you 6 will always have me and your dad. Even if the worst does happen but we can’t give up hope. Now give me a hug and stop hitting people.” I said. they both gave me a hug. We took the food in to the kitchen. The nanny was there with a screaming baby and a screaming toddler. I scooped Oliva up from the floor. “What’s up princess?” I asked. “She no.” Oliva told me pointing at the Nanny. The nanny explained shed said no to Oliva drawing on the walls. I stood up for the nanny. I told her she would be having help at home for a month from Ethan as he was suspended. I then went into my sister’s room. She was asleep. I watched her sleep for a few minutes. Her bold head shone in the light. Her skinny frame was almost a skeleton now. “Jess?” I said worried afraid to wake her but afraid not to. “Jessica.” I said. Jess woke. “Did you fancy anything to eat?” I asked her going further in her room. She lifted her covers and I climbed into her bed with her. she sniffed me. “you smell like baby sick.” She told me. “Yeah I’ve been told that a lot today.” I told her. She threaded her hands in my hand. I squeezed gently. Hearing squabbling children the evil genius twins were home and found their happy meals. “Why did the school ring?” She asked me. I explained Ethan’s fight and suspension. She said to send him in. I knew she wouldn’t tell him off really. “Did you want your meal?” I asked her worried. I told her about her McDonalds. “Yeah sounds good.” She said. “I’ll send it in with Ethan.” I told her. “Maddie.” She said as I wiggled out her bed. “Yeah?” I asked her. “Thankyou.” She said. “No need to thank me Jess I love you all.” I told her. “Dad said that he wants to play chess with you soon.” I told her. “Did he remember you’re not still dating that loser this time?” she asked me. “James wasn’t a loser he was just a bad boy.” I said with a grin. “A loser with no future.” She said. “hey, he only got 5 years.” I said. she gave me a look. “you wonder who my twins get it from.” She said. I laughed and left. I went back to the kitchen. “am I in trouble?” Ethan asked me worried. “Ask your mom, take her meal in with you let me just nuke it.” I told him, shoving her meal in the microwave. “She’s going to eat?” Avery asked with a grin. Gregory started telling us all about his mom should be eating a more nutritional meal then McDonalds whilst he ate his chicken nuggets. Derek told him it didn’t matter what mattered was there mommy keeping it down. I sat in silence, watching the kids eat for a while when Ethan went off. Avery went to her room. Oliva sat on my lap. I then helped Gregory and Derek with their science fair projects whilst the nanny gave the baby a bath. I handed Oliva over and swapped for the baby and fed her a bottle. Ethan still hadn’t come out his mom’s room. I could hear them talking. He needed it. I just didn’t know what the future would bring. I was scared I wouldn’t even pretend I wasn’t.