December 18 (20 days since Shawn ended up in a coma)
A few weeks ago, two or so, I would tell you that I cried myself to sleep a decent amount and walked with a half-broken heart. One of the worst parts of this is the isolation almost everyone’s feeling as we sit in these seats for hours upon hours, thinking about Shawn leaving whether it be what he wanted or not. No matter how different our ways of doing it are, we’re each grieving him even if he’s not gone and still fighting.
Every night I walk past his bedroom to see he’s not there but our faces litter the walls, portraying our lives together before and after Aaron even came into the picture. All of it preys away at my hopelessness that leaves me close to empty, desiring to throw myself in his position so he could be awake. Shawn deserves to be home and come to school with the guys or as a group we each decide to blow off the rest of the day.
He should be able to tuck Aaron in at night with a bed-time story, or make him laugh by saying the smaller things in life.
“Have you been getting any rest?” Mrs. Harper asks while staring down at the side of my face.
“Is it that obvious?”
“You’ve got bags under your eyes and you also look like you’ve aged a fair amount in these past almost three weeks.” I haven’t noticed, but it could be because I’m too disappointed in myself to look in the mirror. “You should take a nap, I can watch Aaron.” I cross my legs in front of me before leaning back in my seat.
“Each attempt only makes me more restless, I’ll go to sleep when I black-out within the next couple of hours.” She shakes her head at me, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“That can’t be healthy, Amaya.” I know it’s not a healthy habit, but I can’t help the fact that I have insomnia. “Honey, I’m worried about you, a lot actually. You can’t neglect your needs like this,” her voice stays low, most likely for three reasons: Aaron, Xavier, and Eli are each asleep, two of which are beside us while Aaron is on the bed with Shawn.
“You’re not only neglecting yourself, but you have to remember the twins too.”
“Trust me, it’s impossible for me to forget, especially knowing that I’ve started to show already.” I went to sleep a few days ago and woke up in the morning with it there. It wasn’t small or anything either, hence one of the reasons Aaron was staring at me weirdly until I put on a sweatshirt. I wonder if he knew what it was.
“I’ve noticed. Do you plan on making an appointment with the obstetrician?”
“Yeah, but I’ve got to decide when the time is right.” I let out with a shaky breath.
“I know all of this is hard on you, it’s got to be, but I promise you aren’t alone in this. You’re never going to be alone.” Mrs. Harper wraps her arms around me and I relax into her. “You’ve always had Xavier and I in your corner whether Shawn is here or not.” Mom should be here, but I don’t want her to be near me right now with the knowledge of what she’s done.
Her job is to protect her children, but she let me get hurt. She let Jonah get hurt.
“I’ve known that, and I’m grateful for all that you’ve done, truly, it’s just that every time I think about making that appointment Shawn crosses my mind. He told me that one day we were gonna have a daughter who might just be another perfect balance between us.
“We said that this time around was going to be different, we were gonna make it through everything together when it came to Aaron and other future children we might have. One of his biggest regrets was not being there for Aaron from the get-go, though in my eyes, and Aaron’s too, he has always known Shawn is a person to lean on.
“Going to the obstetrician feels like I’d be betraying him, and maybe that’s stupid of me.” Mrs. Harper holds me tighter while glancing across the room to her son and grandson. “Shawn was supposed to be there when I found out, let alone with twins. We were supposed to look at that sonogram together.
“I- I just don’t want to deprive Shawn of everything again,” I choke out before she starts to rub small circles on my back. It feels like all she wants to do is shelter me from the hell that comes to bite me from every which angle as she always has done.
“Honey, that wasn’t your fault, and neither is this.”
“Before Aaron was born it wasn’t my fault, but when Aaron’s eyes turned this deep green instead of brown, blue, oer even staying grey, that should’ve set something off inside of me, but it didn’t. When Shawn met Aaron for the first time, I don’t know, it felt…” I trail off, not knowing the right word for the whole situation is.
“Meant to be.”
“Yeah, meant to be,” I hum out with a soft smile.
Aaron was this tiny three and a half month old baby. Derrick told Jonah and I that we couldn’t be at the house since he had things he had to do but refused to elaborate on anything, the one thing he did make sure to speak long and hard about is that we have to bring Aaron with us. Jonah didn’t like the idea much as he never does get happy when he’s “stuck” with the baby.
There aren’t many places you can take a baby so young, especially when you’re forbidden to let people know I’m the one that welcomed Aaron into this world. But the guys wouldn’t ever tell my secret, that leaves them to be my only option the majority of the time, so we ended up at Shawn and Xavier’s house, which isn’t exactly rare.
Aaron’s things are packed away in my backpack as I wear him on my front along with a sweater that shields him away from the small breeze since he gets cold easily. The doors fly open before we even make it on the doorstep, but when we do make it we’re each pulled into these bone-crushing hugs.
“I love you, Mrs. Harper, but you’re going to crush the baby.” Her eyes go wide before they narrow in clear confusion.
I smile as I move my sweater so she can see Aaron fisting my shirt as he sucks on his red binkie.
“You finally brought him over.” A smile crosses her face before Aaron gurgles. “He’s a cute little guy, isn’t he?” she coos out to him. I nod while taking his hand that fists my shirt into my own.
“Well, I think he likes you. Isn’t that right, Kangaroo?” Aaron only gurgles again before burying his head in the crook of my neck. “I think he’s still a bit tired though, he just woke up from his nap when we were told to come over here.” That’s when I remember that Jonah is still there and he hasn’t said a word since we were told to leave the house, it doesn’t help that he’s also just wearing this scowl and looking down.
“Hello, Mrs. Harper,” Jonah says.
“Hey Jonah, you feeling okay?” he nods. “You aren’t seeming like yourself.” Jonah shrugs but doesn’t say anything. “Well come inside, the boys are in the living room goofing around somehow.” The both of us smile before walking off towards the living room and finding the boys each doing push-ups.
“Uh, what are you guys doing?” I ask. The guys instantly stop before looking up with smiles on each of their faces. Cody and Dylan stand before wiping their sweat away and walk over to us.
“We were having a push-up competition, obviously,” Cody says before gesturing to themselves.
“Okay. You guys were having a push-up competition. The better question is why were you doing it?” The guys look to each other before Xavier now stands and walks over to us and places an arm around my shoulders.
“We wanted to see who was the strongest out of us.” I chuckle to them and they each give confused looks.
“I just think it’s funny that you guys did that without even including the two strongest people in this friendship. Jonah and I.” Shawn smirks and moves forward.
“Amaya, beautiful, I’m stronger than the both of you.” I raise an eyebrow before walking over to Xavier and opening my sweater and handing him Aaron who was now kicking his feet and cooing to himself. “I was wondering where he was,” Shawn says taking me by surprise.
“Never thought I’d hear you say that.” he shrugs.
“We’ve never met him, only saw pictures so I just wonder,” Shawn almost quickly explains. I nod before looking back to Xavier and Aaron who was now resting on his stomach cuddled up into a little ball.
“He’s so tiny,” Dylan says.
“Of course, he’s only three and a half months old and he’s a preemie.” The boys were almost all watching Aaron beside Shawn and Jonah who both had their attention on me. “You actually believe you’re stronger than us?”
“Hell yeah.” I narrow my eyes.
“Jonah? You think he’s stronger than either of us?” he quickly shook his head and sat on the ground. “You boys think you can hold onto him for a while?” Each of the other guys nods making funny faces at Aaron.
“We’re doing this right now?” Shawn asks.
“Yep,” both of us say before we each get into a push up position. “You ready?” Shawn nods and the boys begin to count as we begin to do our push-ups. Shawn lasted longer than I thought and made it up to fifty push-ups but then he stopped and it was between me and Jonah.
“How you doing sis?” he asked as we continue.
“Oh, just peachy seeing as I’m going to win against you, and if I do, know that I’m working off all that baby weight still. Shows I’m the superior sibling,” Jonah laughs as we begin to pick up the pace instead of either of us slowing down. There was going to be at least another 10 minutes of this so I decided to add in a bit of style and quickly transition into handstand push-ups and Jonah switches to behind the back push-ups.
“We get it, the both of you are stronger than us,” Shawn says with the sound of loss in his voice but neither of us stops but continue doing the push-ups and we’re both well past a hundred.
“Nah, now it’s about seeing which sibling is stronger. How you d-doing sis?” I yawn as I continue on.
“Fine. Now just fall down already, this is getting a bit boring.” Jonah shakes his head but not even 30 seconds later he collapses and I continue for 10 more before stopping and pushing myself into the air and landing flat on my feet.
“You won t-this round,” Jonah says tiredly. I laugh before helping him on his feet and over to the couch. “Thanks.” He gasps in air, trying to catch his breath. The boys chuckle before looking down at Aaron. Even Shawn watches him.
“So… you never told us his full name.” My cheeks turn a deep red as I take Aaron from Xavier and move over towards Shawn. Aaron fists my shirt once again and rests his head on my shoulder as I stare down at him.
“Aaron Matthew,” I say his name while beaming. Shawn looks at me shocked before looking to Aaron with a loving look in his eyes.
“You named him after me?” he asks; his voice cracking at the end of his sentence. I nod with a smile before taking his hand with a blush on my cheeks as we both look down at Aaron.
“I wanted to name him after someone that actually means something to me. Getting to choose his name is one of the few liberties I’m allowed with him so I chose to name him after the one guy that I actually love and care about.” He looks ready to cry but looks in the other direction to wipe his eyes.
“That means a lot, Amaya, thank you.” I smile before shaking my head.
“It’s no problem, it means a lot to me to have him share a name with you because, quite honestly, I hated the idea of how he came to be. That was until the day I met him, I wish it happened another way but he’s gonna be worth it all.” Shawn nods before scratching the back of his head.
“C-Can I hold him?” I smile before holding Aaron out for him. He takes him before bringing him to his chest and swaying side to side and whispering little nothings to him. I watch the moment between the pair as do the guys.
“You’re a natural with him,” Dylan tells him.
“I’m not even doing anything, just holding him and swaying. I know it calms other people,” he looks at me as he says this, “so I just thought it’d work with him also. Little Aaron’s at peace with me, aren’t you buddy?” Aaron gurgles in return, holding a hand out for Shawn. “I knew you would be.”
“Who knew, Shawn’s got a sweet spot for babies,” Cody says with a smile.
“I don’t.” We each nod. “Whatever,” Shawn says as he holds one of Aaron’s tiny hands in his own and his little hat slips off his head but Shawn catches it real quick. “Well don’t you have a full head of dirty blonde hair and those amazing eyes. One day when you’re older, each of us are gonna get you a date, but when it happens, we don’t let your mommy know until it has reached a serious point. That’s the key.” Aaron giggles in return; Shawn’s smile spreads.
“What are you teaching my kid?” Shawn looks to me before looking down to Aaron.
“How a wingman works. It’s going to be useful for when he’s older.” The boys shake their heads before Xavier steps forward and places a hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“You can’t say that when he’s only three and a half months old, you’ve gotta wait until he’s three and a half or four that way so he remembers.” Shawn nods before I jump forward and streak Aaron’s cheek.
“Well, he doesn’t need to know about it on his own. We’ll teach him the ropes,” he says with that golden smile.
“No, neither of you are doing that. Ever. He doesn’t need to end up like you guys.” Shawn gives me an offended look before stepping closer holding Aaron in his arms and bringing his lips to my ear.
“Like how?” he asks.
“A man-whore and player,” I joke around with him.
“I’m not a man-whore or a player because I’ve only slept with one person… you,” he whispers in my ear. “And even if I was… I got you to fall in love with me, and if I can do that, then maybe he should be a bit like us because I choose right. Especially with you.” That’s when he steps back and looks back down to Aaron.
“You guys sure there isn’t anything still going on there?” Dylan asks. Shawn and I look to each other before looking back to him.
“No. We aren’t,” the both of us say at the same time and that’s when Aaron decides to cry but it isn’t just any cry but his hungry cry. The boys look to me including Shawn.
I step forward and take Aaron before reaching into the backpack and pulling out a blanket. I cover my chest and place Aaron under it but don’t allow any of the others the chance to see anything; he immediately latches on.
“Are you doing what I think you’re doing under that blanket?” Xavier asks in awe; I only nod.
“That was his hungry cry.” They each nod before Shawn sighs.
“Damn, I wish I was under that blanket.” I shake my head before walking a bit closer to him and punching his arm. “What was that for?” he asks while rubbing where I punched. I can’t help the small smile that creeps onto my face.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know.” He pouts before nodding.
“I’m sorry.” I nod to him.
I bite down on the inside of my cheek, but not hard enough to make blood pour. I thought this time would be different, and now, well now I don’t know.
“Daddy?” My head flies up quick enough to give me whiplash.
My eyes flutter open, taking a moment to change my vision from pixels, to blurry, before I’m actually able to take in the world surrounding me. I slowly bring my hand to my face as a small beeping echoes through my head, sounding like a jackhammer pounding away at the cement. The throbbing becomes almost unbearable. A weight on my arm stops me from lifting my arm up more.
What the hell is that?
My eyes drop down to my arm until I’m watching this little boy with dirty blonde curls snuggling up to my side. His own arms hold me as though I’m his teddy bear. His skin is a tan, sun-kissed complexion that gives off the idea that he enjoys outside, or maybe that’s just his normal skin tone. All I know is that he seems so warm and something about him makes me curious. I want to just observe him.
I move to get a bit more comfortable since my arm feels dead tired with pins and needles starting at my fingers and working their way up to my shoulder blade. My movement stops with a single thought. Who is this boy?
I transition my eyes to everyone else in the room but before I can identify them I notice where I am.
How in the hell did I end up in the hospital? Maybe if I ask someone they’re tell me what’s going on.
I look to Xavier, noticing how his head rests on a man’s shoulder of whom I don’t ever recall meeting even if he does look familiar. Why does he look so familiar? I wish I knew something.
Mom sits in her seat with an arm wrapped around a woman with flowing dirty blonde hair, an oversized sweatshirt, and a pair of tan Tims. I lean forward a bit more, noticing that the woman’s voice is a more mature version of Amaya’s, but I wonder how it happened.
Why does she look so different than I remember. She looks so grown and like she’s truly grown into herself.
I feel the boy start to move around before he looks up to me, I’m not even staring at him, but I can feel it with every fiber in my being. I glance down to him, seeing this bright light of innocence in this big ball of green eyes. A single look from him is enough for me to decide that he has to be one of the most pure people I’ve ever come into contact with.
“Daddy?” he shrieks out while jolting up.
I flinch at how high his voice manages to get on that single word. Now my head hurts that much more.
Mom and Amaya’s eyes move over to me, their eyes go wider than day.
“Daddy?” the confusion must be heard in my voice. There’s no way that I’m a father. “I- I’m not… a dad.” I reach my hand up, feeling a tug before I glance over to the back of my hand, noticing a tube that sticks out of it. I move slowly so I can run a hand through my hair, though it gets stuck halfway from the nappiness. “Kid, you’ve got to be-”
“Yes, you are! You’re Daddy.” The boy jams a hand in my chest. Well that hurt. “I’m Aaron. Why don’t you remember me?” The little boy that I now know as Aaron starts to lose his temper with me. Damn, I didn’t want him to get angry.
Amaya jumps up from her seat to try and take him into her arms, but his hand reaches out to my own, clasping onto it for dear life. His grip is firm and unwavering.
I watch the light leave his eyes to be replaced with a little boy that only seems to break more and more in front of me, but I don’t say a word. I don’t want things to get worse, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen if I open my mouth. I glance over to Mom, seeing her sudden interest in the ground instead of this heartbreaking moment.
“Daddy please,” he whimpers out, “Daddy.” I tightly close my eyes.
I remember people telling Xavier and I that, sometimes, it’s best not to say a word and I know that’s the better option for everyone.
“Come on, Kangaroo. It’s time to go,” Amaya whispers out as she watches Aaron bawl his eyes out. Kangaroo?
Her arms wrap around him from behind before she lifts him up, tears streaming down her own cheeks. She places a kiss on his forehead while lightly patting his back.
Aaron twists in their arms so now they’re face to face.
“H- He doesn’t remember, Mommy. Daddy forgot me. H- How could he forget?” he hiccups out, refusing to even look in my direction.
“I know, baby, I know,” Amaya consoles Aaron who I’ve just learned to be her son, and for some reason, it hurts. I’ve never been in such an intimate position to end up with a child, but the thought of her being on that level with someone, someone other than me, it bites me, a lot. She looks so natural with him and it would seem that I’m a natural at breaking his heart.
The first time I look into his big green eyes I hurt him.
“I want- I want Daddy back,” he sputters out; Amaya pecks his temple before wiping away his fallen tears.
“I know,” Amaya says as she moves with him still in her arms to Mom. “We- We’re going to head out.”
Mom nods in understanding before wrapping her arms around them for a short embrace.
“I’ll see you later.” She kisses the top of Aaron’s head; a hand pushing some hair away from his face at the same time.
“Bye sweetheart, and don’t you go quiet again.” Aaron stares at her.
“I hope you feel better soon.” Amaya walks out of the door. I watch as she goes, waiting a few moments to turn to Mom with a face of confusion. I think I’ve been displaying an awful lot of that since I woke up.
“What the hell?”
“I see you have amnesia,” she sighs, “that makes everything better. I’ll go get your doctor and-”
“Hold up, before you tell my doctor that I’m awake, I want some answers. Amaya’s a mom? That boy, he’s not mine, is he? And what was that whole ‘Don’t go quiet again’ ordeal about?” Mom takes a seat at the foot of the bed but doesn’t reach out to touch me or anything, granting a fair amount of space to stay between us.
“Okay, ripping off the band-aid, yes, Amaya is a mom, and yes, Aaron is your son. He’s four and-”
“How old am I?” I point my thumb to myself.
“I’m 18 with a son by Amaya?” Mom nods and makes it seem like this isn’t in the slightest bit news to her. “How the hell did I get her? What are we to each other?”
“You’ve always had feelings for each other as long as I can remember, as for that second question, it’s not my business to tell. You’re gonna have to speak to her at some point to get any information surrounding your relationship status and any questions about your past that involve her and manage to come to mind.”
“Alright, now what about that quiet thing?”
“That was the first time Aaron has spoken in twenty days, it started after he made the 911 call that saved your life. I pray he doesn’t go back to not saying a word after all this.” She stares at the door, as if she’s waiting for something, but I guess neither of us are getting what we want.
Shit. Aaron hasn’t spoken in twenty days and the first thing I say is that I’m not a dad. I shouldn’t have spoken. I should’ve stayed silent.
“It’s my fault he wasn’t speaking.” Did Aaron feel this way?
“I think it was everything he went through in general, it wasn’t just you being in a coma. The only person who can give you a definite answer walked out of that room.” I can’t decipher if she’s speaking about Aaron or Amaya. Most likely Aaron, but I don’t think he’d want to speak to me after what happened anyway.
“I messed up, didn’t I?”
“You didn’t know anything about this, Shawn, so it doesn’t fall on you.” I look down at my hands, flicking my IV drop twice. “Nobody blames you for this. You were a victim in this entire situation.” Mom takes my hand in a firm grip. “Amaya doesn’t blame you for this either.”
“Well maybe she should.”