Chapter 2 - Maddie
Nathan gave me a look, a look I had been getting off him a lot this week. A look of get of your ass basically. Id graduated last month it had been a challenge, but I had managed not with as high a grade as I should have got. The kids were all off for the summer holiday but none of us had the strength to move today. Jessica lay on the couch her chest raising and falling she was more asleep than awake lately. But she was making an effort to come the lounge to watch movies with the kids. The nanny had taken Oliva Greg and Derek out. so was just Ethan Avery me and the baby. The baby was asleep on my chest. She was more attached to me than her mother. I felt guilty for that. It killed Jessica to see it I knew that. “Mad?” Nathan said. I weakly smiled. He wanted alone time with his wife and kids? “I’m going.” I said standing. “No don’t go.” he sighed. He came into the room further and kissed Jessica’s sleeping head. “How longs she been asleep?” he asked me. “An hour.” Ethan told him for me. Nathan sighed. It was killing him. “Jess baby.” Nathan said worried. “mmm.” She said. “Do you want to go bed sweetheart?” he asked her worried. “no, I want to spend time with the kids.” Jessica said. “Would you be up for a trip out tomorrow?” Nathan asked her and me worried. “Sounds great.” I told him. “Yeah it does.” Jessica told him. Nathan looked at his eldest worried. He then went and sat between them and put his arms around each of them. I went over slipping out from Jessica. I handed him the baby. “I’m going out for a bit.” I told him. “where?” Avery asked teasing. “Someone has a date.” Jessica teased from the couch. “I told you, it’s not a date.” I said laughing. “Oh, one of those kinds of dates, the twins were.” Nathan started. “thought about.” Jessica said. I laughed. “Yeah defiantly not one of those types of dates. It’s just coffee with Maria to meet her boyfriend and he may be bringing a friend.” I said. “I don’t like him already.” Nathan said. I laughed. “you don’t like anyone I date.” I told him. “Not true.” He said. “oh, name the last guy you liked I dated.” I said. “Maxwell Jacobs.” He said straight faced. “I was 6.” I said swatting him. “Anyway, Tamsin’s just pooed your turn.” I told him. “nut uh Averys turn.” He said pointing at his teen daughter. “Nutuh Ethans.” Avery said. “Why is it always my turn?” Ethan sighed actually getting up. I shook my head. “Don’t worry I’ll do it.” I sighed. “honestly.” I said. “Be good on your date don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Jessica said. I pointed at the baby in my arms. “I think I got that covered don’t worry Jess you taught me birth control.” I told her. “Nathan hit my sister.” Jess said. Nathan stood up. “hey, I got the baby.” I said. Ethan took the baby and Nathan scooped me up in his arms. I went laughing as he hung me upside down. Jessica and Avery and Ethan laughed as Nathan and I play fought like we used to. When Nathan had won, and I called mercy I went to leave. Jessica looked at me. “You will date right?” she asked me. “if I can ever find a guy that matches the intelligent’s of a dog or cat maybe.” I assured her. “Hey.” Ethan said. “oh, hush you’re the child of a genius you don’t count.” I told him. “thanks, nice to know I’m a genius.” Nathan said. “I was talking about my sister.” I said sticking my tongue out at him. “Want me to take Tamsin?” I asked them. Nathan scooped me back up under his arm I laughed as he tickled me. “Who’s the genius?” He asked me. “Jessica.” I told him. he tickled me more. “Who’s the Genius?” he asked me. “All the kids.” I told him. he threw me on the couch next to Avery he scooped her up in his arms too ticking us both. “Who’s the genius girls?” he asked. I looked at Avery she grinned. “Mom.” Avery said and the same time I said “Jess.” Jess laughed watching. “Who’s the genius?” Nathan asked us tickling us more. “The kids.” We both said laughing. “I’m going to pee.” Avery laughed. Her dad took that as a challenge. I escaped. As her dad tickled her and carried her around the lounge upside down. It was nice seeing this. I snapped a few pictures on my cell. Nathan was all suits normally having him home and messing about, he was still in a suit but then the kids were in designer it was normal to them. He was in the moment which is what made today special. I didn’t want to go out. but I had promised Maria I wouldn’t stand her up. “Are you going in that?” Ethan asked me. I looked down at myself my tattoo sleeve showing ripped jeans and a grey tank saying come to the dork side we have π. I was clean “Are you not impressed with my outfit.” I asked him. “Least cover your tats.” Nathan said. “You never have liked my tattoos.” I said. “I told you not to get them.” He said. “good thing you’re not my daddy.” I said patting his cheek. “Dad can I have a tattoo?” Avery asked. “No.” he and Jess said together. I laughed. “Can i go get judged by a guy rather than you lot?” I asked them. “Take a jacket.” Jess said. “urg but mom.” I wined. “not funny the first few times.” She said but she did smile. I kissed her cheek. I then kissed Nathans cheek. “Be good.” I told him. “Never.” He said. I grinned I kissed Ethan and Avery and told them not to do anything I would do. Then left them all chucking taking Tamsin with me. I got to the door when Nathan appeared with a grin. “the baby.” he said. “what baby?” I asked him holding her in my arms. he gave me a look. “you can’t use my kids as birth control.” He said. “oh, so you want me to have.” I started he pulled a face. “what happened to the cute kid with the barbies?” he asked me. “She’s in that room, watching your twins.” I told him. he chuckled. “What time you going to be home?” he asked me. “not too late. Don’t worry about me.” I said. “the genius twins will be home about 6 the nanny took them to a birthday party at a soft play. She took Oliva with her to play at same time.” I told him. “thanks.” He said. “No props.” I said. “No Maddie Thanks. We don’t thank you enough.” He said I hugged him. “it’s okay Nathan well all be okay wont we?” I asked him. he looked torn. Hey, this guy was practically in my life my whole life. A lot older than me 17 years to be exact my sister and brother in law were practically grown up and together when Addie and I came on the scene high school sweetheart. “Ring me if you need anything.” Nathan said worried. “yeah, yeah dad.” I said sarcastically. He weakly smiled. “I won’t be too late. Where are you all going tomorrow?” I asked. “your joining us. We’ve not been to the lake for a while and im sure Richard would love it.” Nathan said. “Sounds good. Did you want me to get stuff for a picnic?” I asked. “its fine I’ll get the housekeeper.” He said. I shook my head. “Don’t be like that.” He said. “it’s hard not to be. Housekeeper nanny.” I said. “hey, we never struggled when you were a kid.” He pointed out. “I know Nathan, but we were never this rich. I know the business is doing great. Something right now has to be.” I said weakly. I looked back at the door to the lounge. “She doesn’t have much energy.” I said to him. “I know.” He said. “Just enjoy the time we have with her.” Nathan said I saw his anger that was the doctor’s words last month’s appointment. There was nothing more they could do, except make Jess comfortable. Jess had accepted that. “Jess and I have something important to talk to you about.” He said. “My plans?” I asked. “Yes and no.” he admitted. “I can’t pretend I’m happy you’re not going back to college, but you’ve graduated and to be honest with your qualifications you know I’d be happy to have you work for me.” he told me. “Well that’s good to know.” I told him. “For when Tamsin’s in kindergarten.” I said. he chuckled. “yeah for when the baby is older. Don’t wish away the years. They go to fast. I still can’t believe you’re the same tiny baby who fitted in one hand.” He said. I stuck my tongue out at him. “I got to go and fit in my dates hands now see you later.” I said. “eww don’t gross me out.” he said. “then don’t get sappy.” I said he shook his head laughing I slipped out. When I got out the house I turned around and looked at the house. My family was messed up. but they were mine. I think I knew what he wanted to talk about and I wasn’t sure that was a conversation I wanted. The when it happens talk.
I got to the café, Maria stood up and greeted me kissing me. “your late.” She said. “Apparently I was to get changed.” I told her. she raised an eyebrow and wagged it. “yet you choose that?” she asked me. “I got a jacket what more they want?” I asked her. she chuckled. I took my jacket of. The two guys took in my tattoo. I saw them both try work it out. I looked at Maria. “Alex I would like you to meet my best friend Maddie. Maddie this is Alex and his friend Toby.” She told me. “nice to meet you both.” I said. They both said hey. “Your tattoos different.” Toby said looking at my full sleeve. “Math humour.” I said. there were math symbols rulers a calculator a timepiece a sand timer. It had meaning to me, but I didn’t want to explain it to anyone. Chess pieces. I decided it myself when I was 17 then on my 18th birthday I had gone out and got it done. Without telling anyone I was. Jess had hit the roof when she saw it. It took 16 months to complete but I loved it. Nathan hadn’t been happy but when he asked me to explain it to them. I had, and I think they had got it then. Everything had a different thing attached to it. They just hated the fact it was so big. But I wanted more already. I talked to Maria and her date and the guy. He was nice don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t thick which was always a plus. But there was no spark, he didn’t give me butterfly’s. He didn’t take my breath away. romantic notion but it was true. I didn’t care if I saw him naked. I didn’t care if his hand brushed against my knee. Because he didn’t it twice and nothing. No spark. The chances I would see him again were short and to be honest I didn’t care. I wouldn’t go out my way to make anything happen. So defiantly not the one. Which was stupid I lived and loved logic. So, believing in someone taking my breath away and love at first sight was a romantic notion that there was no evidence towards. When it was over I declined a drink at the pub as a nightcap and went home. It was only 8pm. I would make it in time to do Derek and Greg’s Storytime. I got in the home. I heard laughing coming from the boy’s room when I got upstairs. I hadn’t met anyone on my entrance. I stood at the door listening as Jessica and Nathan told them all a story. Nathan looked up obviously seeing me. all the kids were in there. I wanted a picture. He indicated for me to join him. I shook my head instead pulling out my camera and snapping a picture whilst Jess read. Then I started recording as well. “Mommy.” Greg asked. “Yes sweetheart.” Jess asked. “Who will read to us?” Greg asked. “I will.” Ethan said. god I was proud of him at that moment. Tears started. Nathan indicated for me to come in again, so I did turning the recording off. I slipped into Greg’s bed with him. “So, will I.” Nathan assured his kids. “So, will I.” I told them stroking Greg’s hair. Jessica was laid in Derek’s bed doing the same. “Why don’t we all go bed, we are going to the lake tomorrow. That be fun. With Pawpaw.” Nathan said. “Not fishing that’s.” Greg started. We all laughed as he told us how many bugs he could get from the fishing. “you don’t have to fish.” Ethan pointed out. “Come on Pawpaw loves you all, he’s just getting old.” Jessica said. “he can’t even remember us.” Greg said. I run my hand through his hair. “He might not remember us. But we still remember him.” I told him. “Even when someone’s gone it’s the memory’s we need to hold on.” I told him. I looked at my phone I took the pictures on tonight. I constantly was taking pictures of the kids currently and Jessica and Nathan. “Even when someone’s gone there still there.” Jessica said. “every single raindrop that falls is a kiss from heaven.” She told us. It was the same thing she had said to me when Mom passed away. “Alright kids its bedtime.” Jess said trying to get up. Nathan was there instantly to help. I watched him knowing how tempted he was to help Jess, but she was being independent tonight and he wanted to let her. he just was scared. Jess kissed every one of her kids saying sweet dreams. She and Nathan went off. Taking the two little ones. Leaving me the boys Avery and Ethan in the boy’s room. “Alright lights out boys.” I said climbing up. “Auntie Maddie.” Derek asked. “yes sweetheart?” I asked. “are you really staying?” he asked me. I held out my finger. “Pinkie I’m here for the long run Babyboy.” I told him. he shook my pinkie. I then kissed both twins tucked them back in then went out the room with the older two. “I’m scared.” Avery said out loud she had silent tears running down her face I hugged her. “I will let you know something Avery. Ethan.” I said looking at them both. “I’m scared too.” I admitted. “It’s okay to be scared though.” I said. “it’s okay to be scared.” I said holding them both. “Now brush your teeth’s and go to bed. We are going to have a lovely day tomorrow and make memories because that’s one thing we will always get to keep.” I said to them. I then watched them go into their own bedrooms. Stood there torn on what to do. Nathan came out Olivas room. “Your home early from your date.” He said. “No butterfly’s.” I shrugged. “Yet you got butterflies for that guy when you were?” he started. “his name was James and yes, I had butterfly’s.” I laughed. “Maybe they were warnings.” Nathan told me. I laughed it was weak, but I did laugh. “Maybe.” I told him. “But then what girl doesn’t want a bad boy for her first love.” I told him with a smile. Nathan shook his head. “you do not give any of my kids dating advice ever.” He said. “Oh, and I planned to tell Avery everything.” I told him. “Never.” He repeated but he smiled. “I’m going the pool house ring me if you need me quickly.” I said. “The nanny quit.” He said. I froze. “Already we’ve only had this one a month and the kids have been good.” I said. “I know that was Jess’s reaction.” Nathan sighed. I peaked in the twin’s door and shut it to the catch. He indicated for me to come with him. I went. He peaked in all the rooms. He peaked in Avery’s. “Night princess not too much later.” He told her. “it’s only 9 dad.” She said rolling her eyes. “love you.” He said. “yeah love you too dad.” She said. I smiled as he shut her door. “When did she become a teenager?” he asked me. “her birthday.” I told him. “oh ha-ha.” He said. he opened Ethan’s bedroom door. “Night bud.” He said to him. “Night dad night Auntie Maddie.” Ethan said. “Night.” I said. “Not to late bud alright?” Nathan said looking at Ethan who was reading in bed. I wasn’t going to complain. “Na I’m just going to finish a few chapters.” He said. “I’ve heard that before.” Nathan said. “I’ve said that before. also, when you finish I got the next one in the pool house.” I told him. “na I grabbed it this morning.” He said holding it up. “That’s good. Don’t read chapter 8 before bed because then you’ll have to finish the book and it will be 3 days later when you come up for air.” I told him. “not to late bud love you.” Nathan said shaking his head at me and Ethan. “Night dad love you too.” Ethan said picking his book back up. We went towards the baby’s room. Jess was sat in the rocker holding her baby not really paying me and Nathan any attention. She was looking at her baby’s toes. I took a quick picture on my phone. “I wish you would stop taking pictures of me. I look awful.” Jess said. “We can’t ever have to many pictures I told her. the baby was still awake drinking her bottle. “Tamsin and Oliva are never going to have memories of me.” Jess said. “Just because the doctor said your dying it doesn’t mean you have to listen.” Nathan said he had tears. “None of the kids or us will let them not know you.” I told her. she opened her arms for me. I went and sat next to her. “I trust you.” Jess said. I wanted to joke and say took you long enough. But I knew it wasn’t how she said it and I knew it wasn’t something to joke about. “You’ll all cope.” She said. “I’m scared.” I told her. “So am I.” she said. “but then that’s okay.” She said. “it’s okay to be scared.” She told me, the same thing I had said to her oldest two. It was something from mom. “Can I borrow your phone?” Jess asked me. “Um sure.” I said handing it over. “not right now. after the lake?” she asked me. “sure why?” I asked her. “I want to look at all your videos and pictures.” She admitted. “I’ll email them all to you.” I said. “all them?” she asked me. I nodded. “all them except some of my private ones with James.” I said. “you better not still have contact.” She said. I laughed. “No, that ship sailed the day he cheated on me.” I told her. she shook her head. “You would have thought it would be the day he did armed robbery.” Nathan groined. “it did before that but that was the icing.” I assured him. Believe me a lot of my trust went with that guy. I never showed of my wealth and that’s why I think he didn’t know. He could have just come to me and asked, and I would have given him the money from my trust fund. I think that’s a reason Nathan and Jess were so happy I haven’t got access to it till I’m 25. I still don’t. I had been a stupid girl in love, my first year of college. He wasn’t a student. He was a bad boy that would be at a few of the student clubs I went to with my older friends. He’d got me a few drinks and flirted and before I knew it I was in over my head. The fact was I really had liked him. I had thought I loved him. but then he showed me I didn’t know him. I let him convince me into the tattoo. I designed it, but I let him convince me that it was okay. The strange thing was my tattoo was the only thing about my relationship with him that I didn’t regret. “Earth to Maddie come in Madeline.” Jessica teased. I blinked. “Sorry I zoned of then.” I admitted. “that’s rather worrying we are letting you be alone with our kids.” Nathan said. “The fire extinguisher works I checked it last week.” I assured him. “What?” he asked. Jessica chuckled. “the boys set fire to the nanny’s handbag.” Jess told him. “no wonder she bloody quit.” He sighed. Jess and I giggled. “I’m glad you two find it funny.” He said. “I promise I won’t ever allow the kids to burn the house down.” I said. “You won’t allow it not they won’t.” Nathan pointed out. “that’s why I worded it how I did, so if they do I’m not responsible.” I told him. “I will find a way to blame you.” He said. “Jess.” I wined playful. “Nathan stop picking on Maddie. Maddie stop all fires.” Jess laughed. “So, we need to hire a new nanny.” Nathan said. “Nathan I can cope. The kids would be better with just me. they won’t play up as much.” I said. “but you can’t be in 6 places at once.” Nathan said. “get me a bigger car.” I told him. “what’s wrong with your Honda?” he questioned me. “It’s not got enough seats. Get me an 8-seater. I’ll pay if you want.” I started. “You don’t need to pay I told you that Maddie you’re not to touch your money and when you get your trust fund I don’t want you using it until you really know what you’re doing with it.” He said. “I am not going to go give my money away. you’re the one that sounds guilty of that.” I said. “my money is as much yours.” He said firmly. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t roll your eyes at me young lady. I changed your diapers.” He said. “So, I change your kids diapers.” I said. “Jess tell her to listen.” Nathan wined playfully at his wife. She chuckled rocking her sleeping baby. “Why do you want a bigger car?” Jess asked. “exactly what Nathan said. I can’t be in 6 places at once unless I have a car big enough to have 6 kids on me at once.” I said. “The nanny should have one anyway. Even if we do get another nanny. But I promise I can manage. Between Rosie doing the cleaning and the cooking and me doing the childcare we can do it.” I assured them. “Maddie your one of the kids.” Nathan started. “I’m 20 I will be 21 in 4 months. I’ve finished college and graduated.” I started. “your meant to be going back for another 4 years.” Jess said. I shook my head. “So, I can do what Jess? I can get a job with the grades I got. I won’t struggle to get a job when the kids are older.” I pointed out. “Anyway, my brother in law says I would be an assist to the company.” I said. “did he now?” Jess asked me. “did I? I didn’t say an ass?” he asked me with a smirk. Jess chuckled. “She’s right though she’s always got a job if she needs it. Also, if she doesn’t waste her trust fund she’s got enough to never work and just stay at a country club drinking tequila her whole life.” Nathan said. “precisely. I would be bored stiff but.” I started. “wouldn’t watching the kids be too boring?” Jess asked me. “Jess have you met your kids? Today I discussed the Poincare conjecture, I discussed the fact that it may be possible to make clones and the mathematics and science that would be required. Then the ethical side.” I started. “Do you think I could find these conversations out that front door?” I asked her. she laughed. “hopefully not because they sound scary.” Nathan admitted. I laughed. “Your kids are scary, I pity the person who gets on their wrong side. People said I was clever, but I only skipped two years.” I pointed out. “Avery and Ethan are AP students who do college mathematics in their free time.” I said. “there only 13.” I said. “you did college math at 13.” Jess pointed out. “but I have the social skills of a gnat, the same trait all your kids share except Tamsin.” I said looking at the baby. “she’s anyone’s as long as they have a bottle.” I said. Jess chuckled. Jess looked at me looking worried. “You won’t regret it? If you do, we can get a new plan.” She started worried. “Hell, I won’t regret this. If I do get bored I can start working on some math problems. I can do a lot don’t worry.” I said. She looked worried. “About when it happens.” Jess started worried. “The question is Jess do you want to go hospital or not. Do you want to have the kids be able to say goodbye?” Nathan started tears falling. “I don’t know.” She admitted tears running down her face. “I don’t want them to see me die in pain.” Jess said. “it’s a memory of mom I wish I could get rid of.” She admitted. “I don’t.” I admitted. “you don’t?” she asked me. “I remember all the good things and then when I’m sad about losing her the memory of how much pain she was in near the end softens it slightly knowing she’s no longer in that pain. I wish she was still with me. but then I see dad to.” I started not able to stop. “every time I see him he’s less of the man I know and love. He doesn’t even remember me anymore.” I said. “what?” Jess asked. “I told you Jess this was possibly going to be one of the last times your dad would be healthy enough to go the lake himself.” Nathan said looking scared. “When I’m gone, and dads gone.” Jess started worried. Tears ran down my face. “I want you to know that we are all together and not in pain. That we are all watching you all and there whenever you need us.” Jess said. “Okay.” I said, I couldn’t say anything else and it was hard enough saying that. “It’s okay to cry and fall apart but your all not allowed to give up.” Jess said. “we won’t.” Nathan assured her. “you’re to look after them all, not bury yourself in work.” Jess told him. “I’ll try.” Nathan assured her. Jess took that though. “You’re to make sure Maddie stays sane.” Jess told him firmly. “That’s less easy than not burying myself in work.” Nathan moaned weakly. “shes already not sane.” He pointed out. “Hey.” I said. he wrapped his arm round my shoulder. “You two are sure you got this?” she asked us weakly. “It won’t be easy, and we wish we weren’t.” Nathan said. “but we got this.” Nathan assured her. Jess needed to hear that. “okay.” Jess said weakly. “Are you going to move into the house?” Jess asked me. I looked at Nathan. “Your more than welcome in the bloody house.” Nathan told me. “that’s not what I’m thinking.” I admitted. “well stop thinking move in the house.” Nathan said firmly. “I meant about the house. Are we staying here?” I asked. “What do you mean?” Nathan asked. “Talk to Derek and Greg.” I said. “Okay I will in the morning.” He said. “don’t they want to stay here?” Jess asked worried. “they grew up in this house with their mommy. There scared that you won’t be here, and they will expect you to be.” I said. “but then I see the other side as well. You’re here in this house always.” I said. “Is that how you feel about moms and dads?” Jess asked me. “I’m not ready to let it go. that’s moms and dads home. They raised us in that home. We learnt to walk in that house. Mom taught us to ride a bike in the drive. Dad taught me chess on the front porch.” I started. “Speaking of bike, you need to teach Greg and Derek without stabilisers this summer I promised them they would be without them by the time they go back to school, and we haven’t got long left.” I said. Nathan nodded. “got it will take the bikes tomorrow.” Nathan said. “Now can I have the pictures emailed me.” Jess asked me. “yes of course.” I said. “I love you both.” Jess said. “I love you both too.” I said kissing her head. Nathan did too. “I’m going to bed okay.” I said. “okay but you’re going to move in the house?” Nathan checked. “I’ll move into the nanny’s room. It would be good to be closer to the baby’s.” I said. “the nanny moves out in 3 days.” Nathan said. “So, she’s staying 3 days?” I asked. “she’s working her full month then not extending to next.” He sighed. “I can do it Nathan. I don’t need a nanny to help.” I said. “but if you do you’ll ask?” he made sure. I nodded. “Good girl. And Maddie.” He said. “your one of my kids.” He said. I rolled my eyes. “no matter what me and your kiddo.” Nathan assured me. he hadn’t called me kiddo since I was 9. I weakly smiled. “me and you giant.” I told him. Jess watched us with tears running down her face. “Night I love you both.” I said. “night Mads love you.” Jess assured me. I left them to go back to the pool house. I would pack to move in the house soon.