This is how I feel. The bereft renders me speechless, immobile and stoic. I’m trying to wrap my head around it but it proves harder each time I try. My head splits with a major headache but I barely acknowledge it, nothing compares to the pain consuming my soul.
The hollowness, the dread, the meaninglessness. Everything around me dulls in comparison to the darkness threatening to eat me alive inside. The darkness that rips me from the happiness in my life, that makes nothing meaningful. The darkness that intensifies my pain and anguish by a tenfold making me wish the numbness taking over wouldn’t be just physical but emotional.
I crave the numbness of emotions, to not feel this lost, hurt, confused and worse of all guilty.
How can such a sensual and elated night fall into one of distress and dread in only the blink of an eye? How can this world be so cruel?!
It all happened on the night Johnattan proposed to me. The happiness, love and joy I felt seeing him on his knee; the brightness that illuminated his eyes when I said that three letter word, Yes. We’d been in utopia that night making love on the kitchen counters and island, consummating our engagement and finding an outlet for this happiness and love pumping through our veins. It was like fire smothering us in its flames.
We were feverish, hot, possessed and lost in each other. The air was combusting around us as his heated palms moulded my heavy breast. Electric pulses ran the length of my body sparking the lust and passion in our movements. When he kissed me it was like no other, the raw want I felt, the energy flowing through us and igniting every nerve ending in our entangled bodies. It was bliss, it was heaven and we were on cloud nine... but like all things that go up they must fall down.
That call. That one fucking call made our fall to earth brutal and painful. It made my heart almost cease its beating and it left us frozen in our entanglement for mere seconds.
Izzy! Fuck, Izzy pick up! Lexi, something is wrong with her... she stopped breathing!
After hearing that we separated from each other like our heat had scalded us and haphazardly made our way to the hospital with heavy hearts. It wasn’t just one call, it was twenty and one by one I listened as Chev screams and cries as Lexi’s state became worse by the minute.
My mind hadn’t fully registered the situation yet, the shock was still settling in. How could she seem so fine earlier today and fall into death’s bed mere hours later? She was doing fine all week long. Why now? Why the day before her release?
Even though my body was dormant, tears flowed from my unblinking eyes. My body was rigid as we drove and made our way to the hospital. No one but Lexi could get me out of that state. Chev and Shan met me as I approached her door. They’d been heaving cries into Vini’s and Dimitri’s chest but pulled away as I ventured further. Their words were jumbled, almost silent but one word rang alarms in my head, one word cracked my resolve and one word broke me. Dead.
“Izzy, she’s –she’s dead!” Chev had wailed as she hugged me soaking me with tears.
My mind took in the words she’d uttered and as each second passed, it became clearer and clearer. Chev pulled away from me noticing my rigidness but before she can utter another word I fainted.
Hours later when I came to on a hospital bed of my own, I willed it all to be a dream. I didn’t want to believe my best friend, my other half, my pair of a tie was dead. I wanted to hear that this was all a joke, that she survived and would grace us again with her presence but it wasn’t to be that way. It was one hundred percent real and that wasn’t the worst part of it all. While I was unconscious, the hospital had a mix up in the d-dead bodies, a female similar to Lexi’s description was to be cremated but instead they sent Lexi in her place. The others were so focused on worrying about me fainting that when they found out about the mix-up, it was too late.
At that moment everything cracked, I cried, wailed, kicked and cursed the loss of my best friend. The woman that had been with me through the worst moments of my life; the woman that never put up with my bullshit and always pushed me to do right; the woman that opened her home to me, that welcomed me into her family; and the woman that through thick and thin was always my companion through the tantrums of that bitch called life.
My heart was aching, my mind dull, my body numb and my emotions lost in a sea of pain.
Days went by and all I did was mourn. I couldn’t eat anything solid, they had to blend it all for me to drink and even then it was hard to keep it down. My GYN recommended nutritious drinks that’d provide the nutrients my body needed for the growth of the babies and for those days I lived on them never putting a piece of solid food to my lips.
I didn’t want to see anyone, sometimes even the sight of Johnattan had me bursting with anger. I’d cuss him, blame him and say things I shouldn’t have but like the man he is, he allowed me to vent knowing the pain was causing me to cast undignified blame. At nights he’d hold me as I break down. In the day he’d ensure I was fed, washed, cleaned and dressed, things I couldn’t do since my mind had shut down only allowing one voluntary action, mourning.
One month had passed with me repeating the same cycle and today was the day we’d celebrate the life Alexis lived and pray for her soul wherever it may be. Today was her funeral.
As I look at the people around me in the memorial room I feel like bursting into tears. Lexi’s aunt, Clarissa, along with her sons David and Avon are here mourning her death. Clarissa hadn’t been involved in her niece’s life for the last two years but that doesn’t mean she didn’t love her. Lexi never hated her aunt for shutting down and moving on after her mother died, that was her way of mourning and Lexi respected that.
Clarissa loved Alexis like her own child but seeing a physical representation of the twin sister she lost made her suffer each day inside. So she decided to provide for her from a far, sending money monthly, sending gifts on special days and they even sent postcards to keep each other updated on important events in their lives.
Her death being one of the most important yet the most devastating of all.
I couldn’t speak during the funeral ceremony or even after. People came up to me extending their condolences but I wanted nothing but to tell them where to stuff it. I’m tired of hearing people who know nothing about the people I love extend false appreciation for them. I don’t want a sorry, I don’t want anything but my best friend back. Johnattan was with me each step of the way though, holding my hand and comforting me as my emotions fluctuate. He is one of the steadiest things in my life right now and I really appreciate everything he’s done.
I slowly look away from the sight of Clarissa crying in her boys’ arms while staring at the framed photo of Lexi to Chev holding out the only living part of Lexi. Dylan.
“Wanna hold the little bugger?” She asks with an encouraging smile.
I didn’t say yes but instead I hold out my hands gesturing for the baby... I just need him close, he reminds me so much of her and I just need at least a piece of her right here to help me through this. Cautiously, she hands me Dylan who is yawning softly with his hands rubbing his closed eyes.
Since my meltdown Shan and Dimitri had taken Dylan in and Chev and Edward had helped to take care of him on a daily basis. They had trouble switching him to formula for the first two weeks after Lexi’s death but thankfully he is accustomed to it now.
He’s in a black monkey suit with a Danny Phantom on it, a black and white bib rests on his chest and a white tom hat atop his head.
As I cradle him those beautiful blue-green eyes capture me and I break down in tears. He looks so much like her... His face starts to scrunch as he stares at me as my tears wet his face and clothes and soon he too starts to cry.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper as I rock him, trying to soothe his cries.
He’s too young to understand what I’m saying. I’m not only apologizing for making him cry but for indirectly taking his mother away from him.
“Christina,” I stiffen at the sound of the deep, baritone voice that slices through the baby’s cries.
I didn’t expect him to be here... The dread I feel softens a little knowing that he’s here to help me through this and it makes a feeble smile lift onto my lips and a whimper leaves them.
“I’ll take him,” Chev says staring at the man behind me with a small smile. “I’m sure he’ll want to meet his grandaunt.”
Chev smiles at me before taking Dylan and walking towards Clarissa leaving me alone with him.
Clarissa had met little Dylan during the service held at the church but she didn’t get much time with him. She’d be going home to Georgia soon so she should get as much time with her grandnephew before she goes home.
Taking a deep breath, I slowly turn around and his dark gaze looks at me sympathetically. He’s in a black, sharp suit with a white rose in its jacket pocket. I can’t believe he’s here...
“Daddy,” I say in a frail voice, tears streaming down my eyes.
My father wastes no time taking me in his arms. Again I break down in tears, hugging him tightly while he whispers soothingly in my ear that it’ll be okay.
“I want to believe that so bad Dad, but I know it’ll take a lot of time and strength to get through this and I don’t have that strength. When mom died Lexi was there to piece me back together and now that she’s gone... I just want her back!” I sob and my father pets my braided hair as I shake.
A cold breeze blows against my black, long sleeved dress making the frills dance and I shiver.
“I know, Chris,” he whispers, resting his chin on the top of my head. “It’s hard and we all deal with it in different ways but you’re not alone mia bambina. You have those fascinating friends of yours that thought turning my hall into a porno was fun...”
At that I sneak a laugh in my sobbing and he pulls back, urging me to look at him.
“You have Cheverlie and Edward, who I had the pleasure of meeting when they informed me of the ceremony... and you have Johnattan. He loves you very much Chris and he’ll stick by you and help you through this. After all, isn’t that the reason why you’re marrying him?”
“How’d you–” I ask looking up at him with wide eyes and he grabs my hand bringing the band to eye level.
It’s a white gold ring with small clear diamonds within the band and at the top lies a light yellow, pear cut diamond lined with similar small diamonds. He’d selected the colour nearest to my eyes and I thought that was romantic.
“According to colour psychology, Chris, Yellow is the colour of Knowledge Intellect and Wisdom. It is uplifting, illuminating, cheerful and fun - it is the best colour to provide optimism and enthusiasm. All great features to go along with a newly established life together. Johnattan wants you to be happy and no matter the condition you’re in he’ll always try to ensure your wellbeing... as they say, for better or worse.”
I nod my head with a small smile and dad wipes away my fallen tears, looking at me with a concern gaze. “Along with them, you’ll have me Chris. I may not have been there for you when your mother died but I’m here now... and I’ll be here till my dying day.”
“I love you daddy,” I say hugging him tightly and I feel his body relax as he takes in my words. It’s been years since I’ve said that to him.
“I love you too Chris,” he whispers cradling me. “... and I always will.”
I sit shaking my leg impatiently as the man before us searches through his briefcase.
Johnattan places his hand on my thigh which is exposed thanks to the khaki shorts I am in – and I cease the movement looking back at him.
“It’ll be okay Christi. Just stay calm,” Johnattan states wrapping his arms around my midriff and I shake my head.
“Why does he have to be here?! What could Lexi have left for him?” I ask looking over at the revolting human to our left.
Clad in a white Versace suit, an expensive gold Rolex on his wrist and a leg propped on the other as he reclines in the one-seater is Charles Silvestre, also known as Charlie, Dylan’s ′sperm donor’.
His brown curls are gelled back exposing his sharp features and strong jawline. A faint moustache lays above his upper lip and a goatee on his chin. He was a looker, that I had to admit but he was like an amphibian, the prettier he is the more poisonous.
His brown eyes are narrowed at the movable baby cot beside us, housing a sleeping Dylan. He stares at the new-born intensively but there is no warmth in his eyes only a calculative look. One that makes my stomach feel uneasy.
“Okay, we’re ready now,” the lawyer states as he pulls out a document.
“Finally,” I hear Charlie mutter as his eyes drift to the short, bald and stoic lawyer. “Let’s get on with it.”
The lawyer looks to us and we nod telling him to go on.
“Okay. Well, here lies the final will and testament of Alexis Dylan Jacobs. The words written in this document are final and have been witnessed by both Mr Blake and I and was drafted while Ms Jacobs was of sound mind and body...”
Mr Blake? He was there when she wrote it.
I look back at Johnattan and he squeezes my thigh in a way of saying we’ll talk about this later. I want to ask him about it now but the lawyer, Mr Moore calling my name diverts my attention.
“Our first recipient is Christina Hase, to you she has left her possessions located in a warehouse in California. She requests that you clear it out taking the things you find useful and donating the rest to charity. Alexis has also left you full ownership of her apartment in California to do as you please. Her money is also left in your name until her son, Dylan Cristiano Jacobs–” at the mention of the baby’s last name I swore I saw Charlie tense. “– is age 18. There is also a trust fund in place for the child that will aid his future education and will be only available to him also at age 18.”
The lawyer clears his throat continuing on with her will. There were a few things of her mother’s that she passed on to Clarissa but she was too tear up to be here today.
During the rest of the will I was barely listening but as the part of interest came up, all ears perked up.
“As for the guardianship of her child, Dylan Jacobs... Mr Silvestre...”
My eyes widen as he calls his name. Lexi couldn’t have left the baby to him could she?
Johnattan rests a comforting hand on my shoulder and I look back at him questioningly. He shakes his head and my nerves relax... she didn’t do it.
“–because of your absence in the development period of the baby and your lack of care during this period Ms Jacobs who is written as the sole parent of this child has decided to give guardianship to Christina Hase and Johnattan Blake–”
“You have to be fucking with me!” Charlie yells standing to his feet. “That bitch thinks she has the right to take my child from me? She didn’t have the decency to give him my name and now she’s taking him away from me!”
“You didn’t give a shit about Lexi or this child Charlie,” I state standing from Johnattan’s lap. “You got her pregnant and then got up and went home to your wife. She tried to tell you about the child but you didn’t even take the time out to listen to her! You cut her off and now that she’s d-dead you think you have a right to claim her child?!”
“That baby is partially mine and I will get guardianship of my own child!”
“You will not take our last piece of Lexi. I won’t allow it!”
“Ms Hase and Mr Silvestre!” Mr Moore yells. “There is more to it. Now settle down and listen!”
This quiets us both down and we wait patiently for the man to continue.
“Full guardianship may go to Ms Hase and Mr Blake but at age 18, Dylan Cristiano is free to choose who he wishes to stay or live with. Mr Silvestre is allowed to see his son for birthdays and special pilgrimages in his life, if he so chooses but one guardian must be present at all times. Any violation of this may cause legal actions to be taken against you, Mr Silvestre.”
He pulls another document from his briefcase and places it on the table so we can all see it.
“Not too long ago Ms Jacobs and Mr Blake had signed an agreement making him a legal guardian of Dylan Jacobs. He now has the power to elect Ms Hase as another or through marriage she will legally become so. This was done to ensure there would be no interference with the will... Now, if Mr Silvestre would like to adhere to the set rules supplied in the will he will sign these–” he pulls out another set of papers, “– and Ms Hase if you wish to become a guardian to Dylan Jacobs sign the papers in front of you. By doing so now, you will have as much privileges as Mr Blake does in the life of Dylan but if it is done through marriage he holds more legal rights than you.”
“She gave him full custody?! A fucking stranger?! The audacity of that– I will not sign that–!”
“Then go,” Johnattan says in frustration, standing from his seat. “If you are so selfish and prideful that you can’t even be happy with being a part of your child’s life in in this way then leave! Firstly, you didn’t even want him and secondly, if you can’t accept this then you don’t deserve to be in his life...”
Charlie goes to argue but the look on Johnattan’s face makes him cave. The look of a man that is tired of all the bullshit and disrespect spouting from his lips. He can’t stand Charlie and I’m worse. Knowing what he did to Lexi and seeing him here cursing her name, it makes me want to–
“Fine.” he says abruptly grabbing the papers and rushing his signature before huffing.
He straightens his suit casting us a glare. He says a half-hearted goodbye before exiting the room. As the door slams, I look back at Johnattan who makes his way towards me with a smile and flicking a pen between his fingers.
“Here you are Christi,” he says placing the pen in my palm. “Lexi wanted you to have full custody of the baby but she dreaded telling you about her near death, because of that she decided to give me so that Silvestre couldn’t interfere. Now, it’s your time to sign this and fulfil her wish...”
He guides me to the papers and rests his hands on my shoulders. “I’m right here Christi and I will always do what’s best for you. Don’t ever doubt that, I’m going to be in this, for better or worse mi diosa. Now sign and let’s work through this together.”
I smile at him with tears running down my cheeks and sign my name on the dotted line, sealing the deal. I then wrap my arms around my man kissing him for the first time in the last month and whisper the words that now mean so much to me.
“I love you,” I say between our lips and he smiles pledging his love for me.
“Okay, so that’s all.” Mr Moore says breaking up our kiss and we stare at him with smiles.
“I’ll send a copy to you both soon. Farewell, Ms Hase, Mr Blake...” He says making his way towards the door but stops before exiting the room. “... and congratulations, you’re now the legal guardians of Dylan Cristiano Jacobs.”