Sydney woke up the following morning with a headache and hazy memories of the previous night. Squinting from the sunlight in the room, she recalled what happened. Her heart thudded, as the horrible dream she had, flashed through her mind. A chill run down her spine and she knew that she had to go and see her mother today. As she moved to get off the bed, something stopped her in her tracks. Unsure what was holding onto her waist, she looked down and saw an arm.
Sydney glanced backwards and was surprised when she saw Anderson in her bed. Her eyes swept over him, admiring his sleeping figure. He looked very cute at that moment, with golden locks falling over his forehead. His lashes, thick and unbelievably long, swept over his cheeks, while drawing attention to his beautiful lips.
A sigh escaped her lips as she stared at him. She felt some peace settle within her and she smiled. “There’s nothing hotter than watching a man sleep, isn’t it?”
Sydney, who was not expecting the sleeping man to speak, got startled at his words. Then felt her cheeks flush. She tried to get off the bed. However, Anderson fastened onto her waist and drew her back. She fell beside him, to her previous sleeping position, and buried her face into the pillows out of embarrassment.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were awake?” She said, into the pillows and then a throaty laugh echoed through the room, making her stomach churn.
“And, miss the beautiful moment my fiancée was checking me out, no way.” Her cheeks burned even more. This was it! She would not be able to look him in the eyes again without feeling embarrassed. She heard him heave a long sigh, and then she asked.
“Is something the matter?”
“Tell me Sydney, what made you cry last night?”
At the mention of it, she tensed up. Anderson felt it and then questioned. “What is it?”
“It’s mother.” She said, recalling Mary’s words in the dream.
“Sydney,” Anderson sat up. “Your mother is fine. The doctor says she is making progress. Do not worry too much about her. She is in good hands.” He tried to make her feel better. However, she was not. She was more worried about what his mother might do, than her own mother’s health. “Will seeing your mother make you feel better?”
“Yes,” she forced a smile for him for his effort to make her feel better, although she was not.
“Alright, we will leave after breakfast.” He left the bed and moved to the door. Before her left, he said to her. “And please do make your delicious pancakes for breakfast.”
Sydney chuckled after the door closed behind him. Anderson had grown quiet fond of her pancakes, more like he really loves them. She had no one except her mother to thank for that. She had once told her that that recipe would win over a special heart- and it did. Her boyfriend loves them!
A smile was on her face when she got into the shower and later when she was making breakfast. Breakfast was lovely too. However, her smile disappeared when they got to the hospital and the doctor told her that she could not see her mother.
“Why?” She asked.
“Last night, the patient attacked a nurse.” That came as a blow to Sydney. “The nurse sustained serious injuries and is currently at the intensive care unit. We put the patient under sedatives.”
“Can I see her?” Sydney asked.
The doctor was reluctant for her to see her mother, but she promised not to take too long and he agreed. Sydney entered her mother’s room and saw her curled under a blanket, on the bed. As she approached the bed, she braced herself for the worst. However, when she got there and saw her mother’s condition, she felt more than worse.
Adeline’s hair was messy and fell all around her pale face. She had lost weight from the last time she saw her. Sydney lifted a trembling hand to touch her mother, but did not have the guts to. She looked so fragile that she was afraid she would break her if she touched her.
“Mother,” she spoke in a tiny whisper, a lump inside her throat. “Why?” She asked. “Why did all this have to happen to us? We were just fine eighteen years ago. Dad was still alive, you still had your job, Caleb was in school and everything was all right. However, what happened? Why did dad have to die? Why did you lose your job? Why did Caleb stop schooling? Why is life so unfair to us?” Thick droplets of tears rolled out of her eyes and fell on her mother’s face.
Adeline stirred. Sydney quickly wiped her face with her palms, but not before, her mother opened her eyes and saw them. “Mother,” There were tears in Adeline’s eyes.
“I am sorry. It’s all because of me.” Adeline said in a throaty voice.
“No, no. It is not you.” Sydney moved the blanket so she would take her mother’s hand. However, she saw them bonded to the metal edges of the bed. Was this what they did to patients who misbehaved? She asked herself.
“Yes, it is me. It is all me.” Adeline’s tears fell out of her eyes. “I did something very horrible more than twenty years ago, and life is paying me back like this. I am sorry you and your brother got dragged into my punishment.”
Sydney shook her head. She did not want to believe that her mother was capable of doing something very horrible and she would have said that she was speaking rubbish, if she were drunk. However, she was not. Her mother was more sober, now, than she has ever been in years.
Taking a deep breath, she asked. “What did you do?”
Adeline shut her eyes, making more tears fall out. When she finally opened them, Sydney saw many emotions among which included; regret, love and remorse. Her heart started pounding, afraid that what she was about to hear could change the perception she has about her mother.
“I had my best friend back in the days. It was always she and I. We did everything together. I loved her like a sister and would do anything for her.” Adeline paused to take a long breath. “We did something very horrible.” Her tears fell out in long strings.
“What is it?” Sydney asked.
“It was bad. I did not realized that it would come back to haunt me.” At that moment, the door opened and Anderson brought his head in, through the small opening. Sydney’s attention moved to him for a split second before Adeline spoke some words, which brought it back to her. “One of her sons isn’t hers.”
“Who?” She was now confused.
“Jenny.” Adeline replied, confusing Sydney even more.
“Who is Jenny?”
“My childhood friend. We stole a child.”
“Mother, I do not understand what you are saying.” Before she could speak, Anderson said.
“Sydney, the doctor says your times up.” She glanced back at him, and then returned her gaze to her mother.
“Is that the horrible thing you did?” She asked, as Adeline nodded. “You helped Jenny steal another woman’s child?” A look of horror crossed Sydney’s face. She was trying to comprehend what her mother just said, but her brain seems to have become numb.
Her mother stole someone’s baby for her friend. This was a grave deed! How could she do that! A competent nurse like her should not have done that. She was disappointed in her.
“Of course,” Sydney thought. It all made sense now. Her mother was fired from her job because the hospital might have probably found out what she did.
“Sydney,” the mention of her name, brought her mind back to the woman lying before her. Now looking down at her, this woman was nothing like the mother she used to know.
“How could you?” She said, staring daggers at her. “You stole someone’s baby!” This part was louder than she had wanted. Taking a deep breath to control her raging anger, she added. “I am disappointed in you.” With those words, she turned on her heels and stormed out of the room, moving past a confused Anderson.
When they got back into the limousine some minutes later, Sydney felt even worse than she did this morning when she woke up. She had thought seeing her mother would make her feel better, but boy was she wrong. Her eyes swelled with tears as she looked out the window at the buildings swooshing past.
“Sydney,” Anderson called her name. “What happened in there?”
She did not think she could tell him. How on earth, was she going to start anyway? My mother stole someone’s baby, at the hospital? Or, my mother committed a crime against humanity? She could not tell him.
“Uh,” she blinked back her tears before facing him. “It was just a slight misunderstanding.” She said the first thing that came to her mind.
“Aw, Sydney, come here.” He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned into it. Shutting her eyes, she tried to think of anything but what her mother told her. However, it was not easy. Her mind played the horrible words to her repeatedly. “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright.” He whispered to her.
Sydney hoped that everything would indeed be all right, but things only got worse for her. Since that day, she has had nightmares about it and even some not so dreamy daydreams. She was exhausted and frustrated. Because she should be happy that her wedding was coming in a few days, but instead she was worrying about her mother’s sin and Mary’s threats.
Yes, that devil has not stopped pursuing Sydney. She has raised her offer more than three times and offered tempting propositions. However, Sydney was not changing her mind about marrying Anderson. She was in love now and that was what mattered to her.
“My love,” Anderson whispered in Sydney’s ear, startling her out of her thoughts. “I wonder what is going on in that pretty head of yours.” He kissed her forehead, while entwining his fingers with hers.
“You will be better of not knowing, I assure you.” He chuckled at her words, but she said it in all honesty.
“I think I will be. If there are problems in there, then I want to share it with you.” He said, gazing into her eyes.
“I don’t think you will like them.”
“I have to like it by force. Tomorrow you will become my wife before man and God. Therefore, your problems shall become mine as well.” Sydney smiled, while pressing her lips to his. The kiss was short and not too deep, as she did not want to smudge her lipstick, because the rehearsal dinner would start in a few minutes.
“Aw, would you look at that.” They broke apart when a voice spoke to them.
“Lady Willow!” Sydney gasped and threw her hands around her in a tight hug. “I have missed you so much.” She said, drawing back to kiss her cheek.
“And so have I.” Lady Willow replied.
“I can’t believe you made it!”
“I have to honor the invitation, at both the rehearsal and the actual wedding, right?”
Nodding, Sydney moved backwards to linked her arms with Anderson’s. “It’s good to see you two so happy.” Lady Willow said, while Anderson glanced at Sydney with loving eyes. They shared an intense look before Lady Willow added. “Alright, I will leave you two to it.” Looking around, she asked. “And where is Jenny? I have not seen her around.”
“She hasn’t arrived yet.” Anderson replied.
“Won’t she come?”
“She will be coming with my brother, Hansen.” Lady Willow nodded. And with a last greeting, she walked away.
Looking puzzled, Sydney asked. “Who is Jenny?”
“It’s my mother. That was her name before she married my father.”
As soon as Anderson finished speaking, a memory flashed through her mind.
“Jenny, Jenny, Jenny,” These were her mother’s words the night she had the panic attack. And if she remembers correctly, her mother became like that when Mary showed up. Just like a jigsaw, the pieces were coming together.
Mary was Jenny. The same Jenny her mother mentioned in the hospital, her childhood friend. Her mother said they did something bad.
“We did something very horrible.” The words came back to her. “One of her sons isn’t hers. We stole a child.”
It cannot be! Sydney thought bitterly. It could not be possible. That moment, Mary and Hansen entered the hall, arm in arm. Sydney’s gaze locked with Mary‘s for a split second and she felt like running over to them, and then tearing her hand from Hansen’s, because he was not her real mother.
That woman lied to them! She stole someone’s baby and then came up with a story about adopting a dead friend’s child. She was the devil himself. How could Adeline have done something so horrible for her friend? This was pure evil.
Hansen and Mary were now making their way towards she and Anderson and her breathing turned rugged. She felt like the oxygen in the room was becoming less and less. Air was not filling her lungs anymore and she gasped for breath. Her glass slipped from her hand and fell to her feet, shattering into pieces and spilling wine on the floor.
“Sydney,” Anderson’s voice seemed faraway, although he was just right in front of her.
The room started to spin, as her surroundings blended into a blurry circle around her. Before she knew it, the spinning stopped and the only thing she saw was the blurry lights in the ceiling. She heard her name, but could not respond. She has become unconscious.