Life As We Know It

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Chapter 12

TW: This chapter contains scenes of character death that might be triggering to some readers. Read at your own risk.
~~ Tiffany POV ~~
The day after we helped Kat and the girls get settled back home, I get a text from Trey saying that the results for the paternity were in. I texted him back, saying I would be back from my walk in about 10 minutes and not to open the results until I go there. I immediately turn around and walk uphill back to the house my brothers and me are sharing. I rush into the house, slamming the door behind me, running into the living room to find not only my brother’s but Sabrina and Kyler in there as well.
“What the hell are they doing here?” I ask, looking Trey dead in his eyes.
“They showed up with the results right before I texted you.” He says, not breaking eye contact with me.
“They couldn’t have texted you the results?” I ask in a snarky tone.
“We haven’t opened them yet,” Sabrina says in a quiet tone.
“I- hmm. Well, are you gonna open the envelope?” I say, taking a deep breath and using the nicest tone I can muster for these two.
“Uh, yeah, yeah,” Sabrina says, fumbling with the envelope.
“Well, what does it say? Am I the father or not?” Trey says after Sabrina stares at the paper for a few minutes.
“The father is Trey. I am so sorry, Kyler.” Sabrina says as tears stream down her face.
“I’m the father?” Trey says breathlessly.
“Give me those papers?” I say, snatching them from Kyler’s hands.
I read over the papers and realized that I was gonna be an aunt. I look up at my brother with tears in my eyes, confirming that he is going to be a dad. I hand the papers back to Sabrina as I fall into the chair closest to me. I start sobbing as the reality of this situation finally hits me. I look up to see my brother staring at Sabrina’s bloated stomach with so much love for his unborn child. He looks up and makes eye contact with me, and that’s when I see how scared shitless he is. I mouth “you got this” to him with a teary smile. He mouths “thank you” back with a slight smile on his face.
“It’s ok, Sabrina. I’m still here for you, babe.” Kyler says while trying to soothe Sabrina.
“Huh, babe. You wasted no time with that, Kyler.” I say with a scoff.
“Tiff, can you not? Like this is a serious situation.” Kyler says, glaring at me.
“I am taking this serious, Kyler. I just find it hilarious that not even a week after we broke up, you’re fucking the whore who isn’t even pregnant with your kid.” I shoot back, standing up from my seat.
The next thing I know, I’m lying on the floor clutching my cheek, which feels as though it’s on fire. I can barely hear my brothers yelling over the ringing in my ears. I finally get my bearings and look around to see my brothers beating the dog shit out of Kyler, who’s trying his hardest to fight back. I hear Sabrina yelling at my brothers to stop before they kill him. At that moment, I jump into action, standing up and walking over and pulling on Trey’s arm to get him off of Kyler.
“GET OFF OF HIM RIGHT THE FUCK NOT!!” I yell after getting nowhere with pulling them off him.
My brother’s begrudgingly step away from Kyler, and I check them out to make sure they are fine as Kyler gets off the floor painfully. I walk into the kitchen and grab some ice packs from the freezer before walking back into the living room and chucking one to each of the three dumbasses. I stare at them in disbelief, trying to get my head around what happened, when all of a sudden, I get this intense urge to throw up NOW. I jump up and rush to the bathroom and proceed to puke my guts out. After emptying my stomach contents in the ceramic bowl, I flush and rinse my mouth out with mouthwash. I walk back into the living room to see everyone staring at me in concern.
“What?” I ask confused
“Are you ok, Tiff?” Sabrina asks with a concerned look on her face.
“I’m fine, and shouldn’t you be asking your boyfriend that question?” I ask snarkily.
“I was just trying to be nice. But since you hate me so much, I think it’s time we left, Kyler.” She says, standing up and gathering her things.
“Yeah, you should leave. And Kyler, if I were you, I would get checked cuz it seems like she sleeps with everyone.” I say with a small smile.
“You know what, Tiff. You can hate me, but you should quit acting like you’re better than everyone when in reality, you’re no better than me. You’re a lying, cheating bitch, just like me. The only difference is you didn’t get caught.” She says, glaring at me from the doorway.
“I never cheated on Kyler or any other boyfriend I dated,” I say with venom.
“Oh really, you didn’t cheat on Kyler? What about Tyrone?” She says with a smug look on her face.
“What about Tyrone, Sabrina? What do you think we did that night?” I ask angrily.
“Not what I think, what I know you two did that night. I know for a fact that when Kyler left, you and Tyrone hooked up in the Jacuzzi.” She says with a look of triumph on her face.
“You slept with Tyrone?” Kyler asks his quiet voice carrying throughout the room.
“Who told you I slept with Tyrone, Sabrina? Was it Tyrone’s lying ass? And no, Kyler, I didn’t sleep with your best friend. Can you both get out of my house, please?” I say, tired of the conversation.
After Sabrina and Kyler finally leave, I give my brother a hug showing my support and excitement for the baby. I walk upstairs to take a shower and relax after the day I’ve had. After I get out of the shower, I put on my favorite unicorn onesie with a pair of pink and white knee-high socks. I lay down on my bed and grab the remote, turning on Netflix to resume my binge-watch of Supernatural. I’m watching intently as Sam does pull-ups at the beginning of season 6, episode 3, when my phone buzzes beside me. I pick it up, seeing it’s an incoming call from Kat.
~~ Kat POV ~~
I’m making dinner while the girls sit at the bar color when I get a phone call. I answer the phone, putting it on speakerphone, after seeing it’s from Trey.
Me: Hey, Trey. What’s up?
Trey: I’m the dad.
Me: What are you talking about?
Trey: I’m the father of Sabrina’s baby.
Me: Wow. Um, congratulations? I don’t know how to react here.
Trey: Me either. Like, I should be excited, but I’m honestly scared shitless that this is gonna make me lose my sister.
Me: I’ll call her later and check on her. But how are you doing?
Trey: I’m happy cuz I’m having a kid. But I’m also crazy nervous cuz I’m having a kid, if that makes any sense.
Me: It makes complete sense to me. I felt the exact same way when I found out I was having the twins. But look at me now; I have two beautiful girls I love more than life itself.
Trey: Do you ever stop feeling like this?
Me: Scared shitless? I wish I could say yes, but then I’d be lying. There are nights I still stand in the girls' doorway and just watch them sleep because I feel like if I don’t see them their gonna disappear.
Trey: So I can look forward to this for the next 18 years, cool.
Me: 18 years more like until you die. And even then, you’re gonna be in the afterlife worrying about them.
Trey: This kid is gonna run me into an early grave.
Me: Probably, but it’s better they bury you than for you to bury them.
Trey: I don’t even want to think about having to bury my kid.
Me: You have to be practical. At least that’s what I read in my pregnancy and post-birth books.
Trey: Do you still have those books? I wanna be as prepared as possible.
Me: Yeah, come over tomorrow, and we can get them out of the attic. Just make sure you call me before you come over.
Trey: Thanks, Kat. You’re saving my life and my wallet.
Me: I’m saving you on what’s going on with her body, but you will still need to buy some daddy-to-be books.
Trey: Can you come with me to get them?
Me: We can go tomorrow after we get the books out of the attic. That’s good because the girls have been asking me when they can go to the reading group at the bookstore again. So while we look for parenting and pregnancy books, they can play with their friends.
Trey: Thanks, Kat. I owe you big time.
Me: Yes, you do. Now get off my phone, so I can call and check on your sister.
Trey: Troy told me to tell you hi.
Me: Hey, Troy. Bye, Troy. Bye, Trey.
Trey: Bye, Kat, see you tomorrow,
Me: See you tomorrow.
Ends Call
By the time I get off the phone with Trey, I have finished making dinner which consists of homemade beef ravioli in tomato sauce and breadsticks. I make plates for the girls and me and set them on the table while they wash their hands. I give them each a cup of apple juice mixed with water and grab a glass of wine. As we eat our food, the girls tell me all about their days as if we weren’t together all day, but I listen to them with a smile on my face. When they finish eating, they put their plates in the sink and rinse them off before running upstairs to get ready for their shower. I wash our plates, put the food in the fridge, and put water in the pans to soak before heading upstairs to help the girls with the nighttime routine. Once the girls finish brushing their teeth, I turn on a movie with the instructions that they need to go to bed once it goes off. I head back downstairs to finish cleaning the dishes and call Tiffany once I finish my task.
Tiffany: Hey, Kat.
Me: Hey, T. How are you doing?
Tiffany: I guess it’s safe to say one of my brothers called you already.
Me: Yeah, Trey called scared shitless he was gonna lose you.
Tiffany: He’s not gonna lose me. I just don’t know how to react to this information.
Me: Ok, well, what are you feeling?
Tiffany: I’m happy for my brother, of course. And I’m excited to be an aunt. But I just don’t know how to feel about this whole situation with Sabrina.
Me: Well, what are you feeling towards, Sabrina?
Tiffany: I hate her so much to the point that my blood boils at the thought of ever being her family.
Me: Ok.
Tiffany: But I understand why she did some of the things she did, like sleeping with Trey. She felt as though she was losing me, and she wanted some type of attention. I get that, but I don’t understand why she had to sleep with Kyler. I would have never hurt her like that, no matter what my feelings were.
Me: Well, did you ask her why she slept with Kyler?
Tiffany: I did; she said it just happened. Like, do I look that stupid that I would believe some bullshit like that?
Me: Why do you think she did it, then?
Tiffany: I honestly don’t know. I thought everything was good between us, and this whole time, she’s been laughing with Kyler at my expense. And I think that is what hurt me the most. The fact that my best friend would do this just for shits and giggles.
Me: I understand how you feel. Can I tell you a story about me and my best friend?
Tiffany: Sure.
Me: My best friend, Olivia, was like a sister to me when we were younger. She was there for me when I was raped, there when I found out, I was pregnant, there when my mom kicked me out. She’s the reason I call Mrs. Kathy my mom. Because had it not been for Liv, I would’ve been on the streets, pregnant at 14. She told my mom that I had nowhere to go and that I was staying with them. After I moved in with them, we were always together, went to school together, ate together, took showers together, hell we even slept in the same bed. I would have done anything for her and vice versa. Everything between us started going downhill in our junior year. The twins were almost two, and we both were on the varsity cheerleading squad at our school as co-captains. We were having a great competition year when we were practicing a move we could do in our sleep one day at practice. But I guess that day we were tired, and she ended up tearing her ACL when she went to land. She was rushed to the hospital and was told she wouldn’t compete for the rest of the season. She scheduled her surgery for a few weeks after that. After her surgery, the doctor prescribed her some Oxycodone to help with the pain. At first, it started with a pill or two missing here and there, and we just thought it was because the doctor didn’t write the prescription right. Then the prescription ran out, and she was still in pain, so we got it renewed. When that one was out, she kept taking pills saying it was for the pain, but we knew that she was addicted. So my mom and I called ahead and got her a spot at rehab, packed her a bag, and dragged her to the building to make the check-in. After she had finished the program, we thought she was better, so we decided she was ready to get back to her life pre-injury. Boy, how wrong we were. Things were good for the first six months after she started going back to school. Then one day, she was supposed to watch the twins while my parents were out, and I went to a doctor’s appointment. When I got back to the house, the twins were lying in their play pin, not breathing, and Liv was lying on the couch unconscious after overdosing. I immediately called 911 while I went and grabbed the first aid kit we had if she relapsed. By the time the ambulance got there, she and the girls had been unconscious for about 5 minutes. They were rushed to the hospital and treated for opioid overdoses. I almost lost my kids and my sister at the same time. When my parents got there, they lost it and told her she either had to get sober or get out of their house. She ended up packing her bags and leaving the day she got out of the hospital. I haven’t seen my sister in almost four years, and I hate that I would prefer to cut her out of my life, but I know I’m doing it for the right reasons. I know how you feel about her betraying you as she did. I feel that same betrayal every day because I know that if given a chance to Liv wouldn’t change anything she did. After all, she feels as though she did nothing wrong.
Tiffany: I’m so sorry you went through all of that, Kat. Your story gave me something to think about.
Me: I just want you to think about how you will feel in 5 years if you decide never to forgive Sabrina.
Tiffany: I will, thanks. I will think about that tonight. I’ll talk to you later.
Me: Talk to you later and talk to your brother. He’s happy, but he’s also scared he’s gonna lose you.
Tiffany: I’ll talk to him tomorrow. Give him time to stew, haha.
Me: Haha, ok. Get some sleep, T. You’ve had a long day, and you need to rest.
Ends Call
After I get off the phone with Tiffany, I get off the couch and wash the leftover dishes before heading upstairs to check in on the girls. I peep into their room and see them passed out in their beds with their pillows on the floor. Chuckling, I step into their room, grab the pillows off the floor, and set them on the chair in the corner. I walk out of their room and head towards my bedroom, taking the hair ties out on my way. I take my clothes off as I walk into the bathroom to take a shower. I turn the water on to a comfortable temperature and step under the soothing spray. I get out of the shower after I’ve washed and conditioned my hair and washed my body. I get out and grab my towel from the rack on the wall across from the shower, wrapping it around my body. I grab my cocoa butter lotion and apply it to my moist skin before walking into my closet to grabbing a purple sports bra, purple shorts, and a purple cropped sweatshirt. After dressing, I head back downstairs to do a final sweep making sure everything is where it should be, before walking back to my bedroom to get some rest.
~~ The next morning ~~
I wake up at 5 am earlier than I usually do but think nothing about it when I get out of bed. I check on the girls as I head downstairs to start breakfast. I start a pot of coffee and grab the ingredients for some maritozzi, a traditional Italian breakfast food made primarily in Rome. As I cook, my mom, sisters, and I would spend in the kitchen making traditional Italian foods ranging from breakfast foods to dinner and desserts. I have the maritozzi sitting in the refrigerator chilling as I make some bacon and eggs. I look at the clock on the wall in the kitchen and see it’s almost 8 o’clock. I wonder where the girls are because they usually would’ve been jumping around the kitchen at the thought that breakfast would be ready. I finish cooking and put everything in the oven to keep it warm before I head upstairs to check on the girls. I walk into their bedroom to see them still sleep, so I decide to tickle them awake. Starting with Abigail, I walk around her bed and tickle her under her feet, her weak spot. She doesn’t so much as much, so I roll her over to see she’s not breathing. I immediately run over to Savannah’s bed and check to see if she’s breathing, but she’s not. So I call 911, trying to stay as calm as possible.
Operator: 9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Me: Hi, I live at 530 Gemini Lane, Dallas, TX, 75004. My daughters aren’t breathing, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t lose them. Please help me!!
Operator: Ok, first I need you to try and calm down. Second, I need you to check if you can find a pulse on your daughter.
Me: I can’t find one on either of them. Oh my god, their lips are starting to turn blue.
Operator: Ok, miss, is there anyone else at the residence with you?
Me: No, it’s just my daughters and me. Sassy, Abi, mommy needs you to wake up. Please, wake up for mommy. I can’t lose both of you too. I need you to wake up for me, ok?
Operator: Miss, the ambulance is pulling up now. I need you to let them in so they can help your daughters.
Me: Ok, can you stay on the phone, please?
Operator: Of course, miss.
Me: I just let them in. They’re helping them now. Thank you so much. Wait, I never got your name.
Operator: My name is Suzan.
Me: Well, thank you, Suzan. My name is Kat. I really appreciate you helping me.
Suzan: It’s my job, Kat.
Ends Call
The paramedics load Savannah and Abigail into the ambulance, and I hop in my car to follow them. We get to the hospital within 10 minutes, and they rush the girls into the ICU. I try running back with them to make sure my daughters are ok, but the nurse says I can’t come back right now. I sit in the waiting room and start crying because this makes me think about the last time my babies were in the hospital after I found them non-responsive. As I’m sitting there, a nurse comes up to me and asks if I can fill out some paperwork on each of the girls. I take the papers and start filling them out when I hear my name being called. I look up to see Troy, Trey, and Tiffany walking down the hallway in my direction.
“What are you doing here, Kat?” Troy asks, hugging me.
“The girls weren’t breathing when I went to wake them up, so I called 9-1-1, and they were rushed here about an hour ago. I don’t know what happened. Everything was ok last night when they went to sleep.” I whimper as I cry into his shirt.
“Oh, you poor baby. It will be ok, Kat.” Tiffany coos as she pulls me into a hug.
“Has the doctor said anything to you about their condition?” Trey asks as he and Troy pace in front of Tiffany and me.
“Not yet. They’ve been working on the twins since we got here.” I say quietly.
We sit in the waiting room and wait for the doctors to give us any update on my daughters. They don’t try to talk to me; they just sit with me and hold me when I start crying. We sit in the waiting room for about 2 hours before a doctor comes out to talk to me.
“Hi, Ms. Jackson. My name is Dr. Everson, and this is my colleague Dr. Williams. We were the doctors who worked on your daughters.” Dr. Everson says as a way of introduction.
“Are they gonna be ok. Please tell me they’re gonna be okay, please?” I say as a new wave of tears streaming down my face.
“Well, right now, they are both doing ok. But we found something in their bloodwork that we find concerning.” Dr. Williams says quietly.
“What did you find?” I ask.
“Do you or anyone in your family have a history of cancer?” Dr. Everson asks as I gasp.
“Are you saying my daughters have cancer?” I ask, trying not to sob.
“We won’t know for sure until the pediatric oncologist comes in, but that seems to be the case. I’m sorry, Ms. Jackson.” Dr. Everson says as I break down at the thought of losing my babies.
Troy picks me up and carries me outside to get me some fresh air. I curl into his chest and cry harder until I pass out from crying too much. When we get outside, he sets me on a bench and wakes me up, holding me as I start crying again. We sit outside for 30 minutes until I calm down before he helps me walk back into the hospital. Once we get back to the floor, the ICU is located on I walk up to the nurse’s desk and ask what room the girls are in. She tells me and me, and the three T’s grab our things and follow the directions the burse gave us to the room. When we get to their room, I take a steeling breath before placing my hands on the doorknob and walking into the room where my daughters are hooked up to machines that are keeping them alive. My breath hitches when I see how pale my beautiful girls look lying in these two hospital beds. I walk over to the space between their beds and take a seat before grabbing each of their hands and holding them in my lap. I stay there with them for about 2 hours before Dr. Everson walks in with another doctor, who I presume to be the oncologist.
“Hi, Ms. Jackson; this is Dr. Myra Atkinson, one of the best pediatric oncologists in the country. She’s here to determine if your daughters have cancer and, if so, what type.” He says as I get up from where I’m sitting to stand on the side of the room with Tiffany.
Tiffany and I walk out to the waiting room to give the doctor some space. When we get into the waiting room, the guys come walking from the elevators and take a seat. We sit for another 30 minutes before the doctor comes out to give us the results of her test. I jump up and crumble just as fast when she says the words no parent ever wants to hear. My babies won’t be alive at the end of the night from lack of oxygen and the compromise to their immune systems from cancer. I won’t be a mom by this time tomorrow.
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