“Indie!” I hear my little two-year-old son sing as he chases his sister into the bedroom, the door slamming against the wall as they force entry.
I rub my eyes, lazily watching my children run up and down the room before closing them with a sigh.
“Mommy! Tell Cistan to stop!” my little by girl whines climbing onto the bed I was a few minutes ago peacefully sleeping in.
“Indiana, for the last time,” I yawn sitting up wiping the drool from my face as she jumps into the safety of my arms. “Your brother’s name is Christan... not Cistan.”
She scrunches up her face in confusion looking up at me and I pinch her nose earning a giggle.
“Can you say Christan for me, sweetheart?”
“Cis-tan!” she pronounces with a gappy smile - she lost her incisors a few days ago in a slide accident at the park- and I shake my head at her response.
“I just can’t get through to you,” I say with a playful huff and she giggles jumping up to wrap her hands around my neck.
“You’re strangling me,” I cry hysterically gasping for breath grabbing onto her Doc’ McStuffin pyjama top, causing her to giggle before relinquishing her hold.
She sits on top of the sheets in my lap and I ruffle her short dirty blonde curls before looking up at my son, who stands in front of us with his hands behind his back and a grin on his face.
Raising a brow, I observe him cautiously. These children are never still. Not in the shower, not at church, not at school, not even in their sleep... So seeing my son standing absolutely still with no one reprimanding him is one of the seven wonders in this world.
“So what’s the problem this morning?” I ask as I look at both my children.
Christan is about to open his mouth when Indiana yells out a reply. “I was in my bed sleeping and Cistan threw his pillow at me so I threw mine back and then we started fighting with a pillow ... then he started to chase me with his smelly sock!”
She says all this in one breath mispronouncing her words now and again but I understand most of it.
She points at him with a scrunched up face and glaring hazel eyes. “He has it behind him!”
I cast a look at Christan and he blushes, causing the cutest look to cross his face.
Christan uncannily resembles his father. That dark long mess of dark waves upon his head, those piercing blue eyes and that strikingly handsome face. Even at age two my baby’s a looker.
“Is that true Christan?” I ask with a raised brow.
“No...” he says stretching out the ‘o’ and I give him a sceptical look.
“Fine, yes...” he murmurs, earning a scowl from me. He regards me with his puppy dog eyes and pouty lips before uttering an apology in his cute baby voice. “I’m sowry mummy.”
I raise my brow once more and he sighs. “And I’m sowry Indie.”
“What yah say angel do we forgive your brother?” I ask looking down at my toddler.
She looks at Christian with a calculative look and he blinks those baby blue eyes at her, begging for forgiveness.
“Yeah... I accept Cistan’s appalogic...”
“Apology sweetheart...” I correct and she looks up at me confused.
“That’s what I said... appalogic.”
I shake my head before playfully rolling my eyes at her. “Sure honey, that’s what you said.”
I look over at my son as he stands at the foot of the bed in his Paw Patrol pyjama set, staring at us.
Sighing, I pat the bed gesturing to my baby boy. “Get up here Smelly sock boy.”
He grins as I say this tossing the sock behind him and running onto the bed. He wraps his arms around me from my right, kissing my cheek sweetly.
“Good morning mummy,” he grins sitting down beside me and nestling into my side.
“Good morning my little troublemaker,” I reply kissing his temple.
“Good morning momma,” Indie says hugging my midriff and I pat her back before placing a kiss atop her head.
A yawn from the threshold catches our attention and I look up to see little Dylan rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
He peeks at us with one beautiful blue-green eye before removing his hand from his face and opening his other eye, blessing us with the sight of those enchanting orbs of his.
“Good morning auntie,” he says sleepily and I smile.
“Good morning little D,” I say as I gesture for him to join us. “Did the twins wake you again?”
“Ahuh,” he whispers as he sits on my left, snuggling against my body. “I miss my room... They’re noisy...”
“We are not!” The twins protest and I shoot them a look which causes them to blush and murmur a sorry for their outburst.
“I know and we’ll be home soon. We’re just going to send a few more days here,” I says ruffling his dark curls. “Plus it’s your Mommy’s day and we’re going to celebrate her life.”
“But isn’t she dead?” Dylan asks and I nod solemnly.
“She is but we’re keeping her memory alive... Your mommy was a wonderful woman and we want to continue to remember her okay?”
“Okay, auntie,” he says with a nod of his head.
“Momma, is daddy going to be there?” Indie asks looking at me with her bright Hazel eyes.
“Of course angel. Daddy couldn’t come with us yesterday because he had to work but he’s coming today.”
“Yay!” she cheers bouncing on the bed. “He said I would get a new Barbie dream house!”
“Did he now?” I ask disappointedly. Bribing our daughter with gifts, shame on you Mr Blake.
“Ahuh, and a new toy for Roxie,” she says before frowning. “Why couldn’t she come with us?”
Three children and one playful dog on a private jet... Who’d wish such misery on themselves?
I loved my kids and Roxie but together they could push any sane person to jump off a cliff. Thank god for Tía Iris, if it wasn’t for her becoming our nanny after the twins’ birth I’m sure I would’ve gone mad. She helped out with the housework, babies and pets and I’m eternally grateful for her. Especially for her help with the kids...
Roxie took a unique liking to my babies and day by day they’d slowly wreck each room in the house. I remember once they’d snuck into Johnattan and I’s bedroom and covered the entire room with baby powder and Roxie had on my lipstick.
I kid you not people...
Marley was the only helpful pet in the house and that’s because he lives in a cage and reports on each member of the household. Given there are times when he sings songs of Johnattan and I’s sex endeavours to Iris and it was awkward to say the least.
“Nana Iris wouldn’t want to be alone in that big house so Roxie is keeping her company...” I reply and before she can question anymore I shoo them out the bed and down the stairs where we make breakfast.
We’re all alone in the vacation house this year. The others had things to take care of in town so they couldn’t make the journey but we’d all meet up at Christine’s Place at ten.
“Momma! The pancake is eating Cistan’s face!” Indie cries and I turn around to see my son’s face covered by the strawberry pancake and syrup dripping onto his pyjama top.
“Mummy, help! It’s eating me,” he cries hysterically causing Indie and Dylan to giggle uncontrollably.
Shaking my head, I turn my gaze to the cup of coffee on the counter. I grasp the cup, blowing away the steam before sipping.
I’m going to need ten more of these to make it through today.
“Give me the strongest drink you have,” I say to the bartender as I settle on the black leather stool.
“Coming right up,” she says before proceeding to mix different types of alcohol.
It’s already three in the afternoon and the kids have worn me out. When they reached here the first place they went was the pool, then the play room, then the diner to wreak havoc and I had to monitor them everywhere they went ... and that’s not as easy as it sounds.
My kids are animals when they start to play... and to add to all that Johnattan is not here as yet.
“You look like hell,” Chev chuckles as she walks up to me with a cranberry water in hand.
I look over at her taking in her shoulder length kinky hair, beautiful green sundress and that nurturing glow brightening her skin.
“I feel like hell,” I say bluntly as I lean back against the counter. “This is the second time I’ve sat down since I got here.”
“The twins?” she asks with a chuckle.
“The twins.” I confirm thanking the bartender who hands me my drink and I take a sip, the liquor burning my throat. Fuck, that’s really strong.
“I wonder if it’ll be like this for me too... I mean you and I both know I’m not a patient woman... I don’t think I could handle twins,” she states rubbing her protruding stomach absentmindedly, her big ass diamond wedding ring sparking in the lights.
Yes, people I kid you not, Cheverlie Black is married and very much pregnant. She and Edward tied the knot a year ago on a beach in Hawaii. It was an underwater bikini wedding, exactly what you’d expect from Chev.
Her mom was enthusiastic when she heard of the wedding... I mean why wouldn’t she be. Charlotte Black has been trying to marry off her daughter for years and after that New Year’s holiday, she had been team Edward all the way.
Edward’s parents however, weren’t that happy, they didn’t even come to the wedding... but nevertheless that didn’t dampen the wedding’s mood. Chev was marrying the man she loved and Edward was marrying his Care bear. They are happy and that’s all that matters.
“... so how’d you get away from twin duties?” I hear her ask after a few minutes later.
“That I owe to Daphne and Shan,” I say with a thankful sigh. “You know those two adore children. They were all too happy to take them off my hands.”
Daphne is new to our little group, seeing as though she and Chris started dating a year ago. She’s a mother of three teens, her first born son will soon matriculate to college while her girls are juniors.
“So where are they at?” she asks slowly leaning her body onto the marble counter top.
“At the roller rink,” I reply taking another sip of my drink. “They’re teaching them how not to end up on their faces.”
Klan’s Diner has upgraded over the last couple of years. For one there are two floors added on, there’s a pool room, roller rink and bowling alley, a dining area with a mini bar, a lounge and a small theatre.
It has been modified and personified and is now a teen and family hotspot. Which we get to rent for the day... thanks to our well-paying jobs...
My phone vibrates in my pocket and I fish it out staring at the screen with a frown.
JBear: Meeting ran late... Be there soon, mi diosa. Te amo...
I roll my eyes placing the device back into the pocket of my jeans shorts and take a swing of my liquor downing it.
“Johnattan?” Chev asks noticing my frown and I nod.
“What’s going on with you guys?” she asks taking a seat beside me.
“He’s working double overtime since the kids started to walk and talk and basically stop needing him for major things... and I’m stuck raise three troublesome toddlers on my own. He’s barely home and when he is it’s late in the nights. We barely see each other and when we do it’s mostly quick sex, we rarely take the time out to enjoy ourselves anymore. I’m starting to feel like we’re drifting apart...” I confess with a sigh and Chev hums understandingly.
“Is that why you’re postponing the wedding?” she asks and I remain silent. “It’s been two years Chrissie.”
“I know, it’s just that I didn’t want to rush into a marriage only for it not to work out in the end. I wanted us to have a taste of life as parents, of life with each other before we tie the knot, but now it’s like we’re not as infatuated with each other as we once were. I miss us... and sometimes I feel like I caused this by prolonging the engagement ... by giving him a chance to back out.”
“Chrissie, anyone with eyes can see that Johnattan is in love with you,” Chev says with a roll of her eyes. “I mean the guy took a bullet for you, courtesy of you and yet he’s still here, isn’t me? I mean it’s been two years now, if he wanted to dump your ass he’d do it a long time ago.”
“That’s reassuring...” I say sarcastically before requesting another drink.
A minute later I receive a tequila shot and I bring it to my lips only to be stopped by Chev who gives me a glare.
“Christina, you and that man have been through too much for you to start doubting him... Talk to him and sort this shit out,” she says without a hitch and I nod solemnly.
You know she’s right Tina, you’re overreacting. Just talk to him... Tell him how you feel...
“You’re right,” I say placing the shot on the counter with a defeated smile. “I’ll talk to him... Thanks hon.”
“No prob... Couldn’t let you throw away a good tumble in the sheets now could I?” she grins and I chuckle giving her a hug which only last for a few seconds.
“Christina!” Shan yells and I pull away from Chev to look in the direction of the voice.
Shan’s hair frames her face in burnt umber curls and her eyes are wide with shock. Her white T-shirt with an image of Lexi -a replica to mine- is covered in blood and that sight causes the muscles in my stomach to clench.
“Christan, he fell,” she mutters quickly and my eyes widen as I run pass her towards the roller rink.
A few minutes later, I have my little baby boy cradled in my arms and I observed his bloody mouth with a scold as he cries blood dripping onto his little Lexi T-shirt.
Moving quickly while ignoring the people around me, I bring him to the bathroom sink rinsing the blood from his mouth. After the bleeding has stopped, I place him on the counter and look into his injured mouth examining the extremity of his injury.
“You lost a tooth,” I say sadly as my baby hiccups, tears streaming down his face. “My poor baby... Come to mummy.”
I hold out my hands and he wraps them around my neck, his face buried in my shoulder and his legs wrapped around my waist.
I step out of the bathroom to find Vini, Lisa - Vini’s date, Chris, Shan, Daphne, Edward and Cheverlie staring at me, anxiously waiting on the prognosis.
“He lost a tooth,” I say as I pat his head putting their worries to rest. “He’ll be okay.”
They all breathe a sigh of relief before coming forth to soothe the crying boy. The girls coo and kiss his cheeks while caressing his little head and his hiccups become softer as he calms down.
“It’s okay champ,” Chris states as he pats his back in a comforting way. “Battle scars show that you’re becoming a man.”
With that he leaves us and I turn to Vini who smiles at me probably happy that I managed to do something decent to my hair. My waist length hair is now braided atop my head falling mid-back with an elastic band holding it in place. I’d gotten tired of him calling my hair órible so I decided to put more effort into doing it.
“Ah, little bambino... Come on I’ll clean you up and get you a little ice cream. Make you feel better,” Vini says holding out his hands as I bounce Christan, hushing him.
Christan dries his eyes and nods his head, reaching for Vini and I hand him over with a thankful smile on my face. He winks whispering a welcome before bounding away.
“Momma is Cistan going to okay?” Indie asks pulling on my leg and I look down to find Dylan hugging my other leg with a frown on his face.
“Of course angel,” I say softly stooping down to ruffle her hair before looking at Dylan who holds his head down with a frown. “What’s the matter little D?”
He looks up with a frown and mutters a few words that are barely audible.
“Speak up sweetie,” I say pinching his affectionately.
“I pushed him,” he mutters and I look at him shocked. “It was an a-accadent... he was tewsing Indie...”
I look at him sympathetically before giving a little hug. “It’s okay honey. You didn’t mean to do it... Just tell Christan you’re sorry and it’ll be okay... and I’ll talk to him about teasing his sister, okay?”
He looks up at me with those beautiful eyes of his and nods with a small smile before pulling Indie along as he moves towards where Vini and Christan went.
Standing up, I purse my lips with a frown.
Tending to my injured baby boy, relieving the guilt in my little two-year-old nephew, reassuring my baby girl of her brother’s state and all without Johnattan... Yuppi-fucking-doo.
Sighing, I stare out at the starry sky remembering better times.
Best friends for now...
Best friends forever...
Through good times ...
Through bad times....
“And through the tantrums of that bitch called life,” I whisper as a tears slips from my eye.
It’s nine o’ clock in the night now... The memorial went well, excluding the Christan’s incident.
The kids were happily reunited with their dad - or uncle in Dylan’s case - a few hours ago and refused to leave his side. Johnattan was concerned after seeing Christan’s busted mouth but played it off with a joke not wanting to scare the toddler. The others greeted my fiancé with smiles and joy at his arrival and as much as I was happy he was there I couldn’t bring myself to say much to him.
Johnattan and I didn’t really speak, the only time is when we are conversing with the others. Other than that I didn’t utter a word to him... not through the memory videos- that had me crying in the girls’ arms, not when Shan and Dimitri decided to take the kids sensing our tension and not during the drive back to the vacation house.
He’s currently in the bathroom and I’m sitting here sulking on the balcony - the same balcony he proposed on two years ago.
That’s right it’s been two years and I still can’t wrap my head around how my best friend died. The doctor explained that her condition before birth was critical and that it wasn’t a high possibility she’d survive... but what happened a week after the baby’s birth was unexpected. More so it was heart wrenching, tragic.
Sniffling, I wipe away the tears that fall onto my thighs as they hang through the balcony rails.
Watching all those memories we had recorded always brought forth tears. We had dreams, we had each other and she had a son but she was taken from us way too soon...
As Johnattan had told me once before it’s always the most beautiful flowers that get plucked, leaving the garden behind.
The warmth of a soft, fluffy blanket touching my skin causes me to look up in surprise and my eyes connect with those beautiful electric blue eyes that broke down my walls and captured my soul.
Johnattan smiles softly at me, fixing the blanket around my shoulders before taking a seat beside me and placing his sweatpants clad legs through the rails.
I pull the blanket closer inhaling the muskiness of his scent and use it to dry my tear stained cheeks.
“Are you ready to talk with me Christi?” he asks with a hit of tiredness behind his words and I close my eyes willing myself not to succumb to the deepness and huskiness within his voice.
“No,” I whisper faintly, snuggling into the fluffy softness wrapped around my body.
“Christina,” he scolds placing his hand on my chin but I ignore him.
“Christina,” he calls again trying to get me to look at him but I shake my head and I stare out at the stars, a frown on my lips.
“That’s it!” I hear him mutter before getting up. I guess he’s given up... Expecte-
I yelp in surprise holding on for my life as I find myself hauled off the floor and flung over Johnattan’s naked chest.
The blanket starts to fall unto the ground and I grab it holding it between my chest and Johnattan’s ripped back. I frown instantly slamming my fists to his toned butt cheeks.
I mean he can’t find time to spend with us yet he has time to renew and exert a gym membership.
“Johnattan I swear to God... Put me down!” I yell pounding my fist against his back. “I’m not a fucking child!”
“Well you sure are acting like one!” he retorts throwing me onto the bed and climbing on top of me. “Now stop being a brat and talk to me!”
I try to push him off me but he grabs my hands reprimanding me. He looks me dead in the eyes and I feel my anger well up as I notice a flicker of annoyance in his.
“I’m being a brat, am I?” I chuckle humourlessly. “Johnattan I am not the one flying away to a different country every week nor am I the one coming home late every night.... Your kids barely see you, you barely spend time with them and you’re not there to experience things with them. The twins were so happy to see you today Johnattan, so happy they didn’t want to leave your side. Why do you think that is?”
Johnattan’s hold on me slackens and I push him to the side sitting up. “They miss you Johnattan. They need you...”
“Christina, I have to work-”
“Johnattan, you don’t have to be the only bread winner here!” I say with rolling my eyes. “I want to work too... Do you think I want to be cooped up playing house? No, but I can’t leave my children alone... They’re barely seeing you, they can’t lose their mom too.”
Johnattan looks at me solemnly for a few minutes without saying a word and I shake my head with a winded laugh.
“Johnattan, I just need you to take time out of your busy schedule and do something with your children please...” I say with a sigh of defeat. “Look, if the reason you’re not coming home is because you want to subtly hint to me that this engagement has gone on too long and you want to end it... fine but just don’t make that interfere with you and our children.”
“What?” he asks looking at me taken aback and I shrug. Guess he thought I couldn’t figure it out.
“Johnattan, it’s okay. You can live your life with whoever you want and we can just be friends... We owe it to the-”
I yelp as I find myself pushed back onto the mattress and Johnattan hovering over me with anger, want, confusion and strangely understanding in his eyes.
My words are cut short as his lips descend on mine kissing me with raw animalistic hunger and I groan cupping his rigid jaw, loving the taste of him in my mouth. His tongue thrusts forward exploring and ravishing my moist, heated cavern as if placing each groove and crevice in memory and I find my body temperature rising as his heat smothers me.
He pulls away after a few minutes looking into my eyes and my heart clenches as I see the adoration in those misty blue eyes.
God, I’m so stupid.
“You said it Christi not me,” he whispers with a faint chuckle and I give a lopsided smile noticing that I said that out loud.
He caresses my face, observing every feature like it’s a fine piece of art. His touch is tender and as his fingertips touch my skin, a heat resonates around my entire body making me feel alive. I close my eyes focusing on that feeling I’ve missed the last couple of days.
“I’ll always love you, mi diosa,” he states and I open my eyes feeling his warm breath fan my face. “I agree I am neglecting my fatherly duties and I’m sorry for that. I will make it up to you... Just please don’t ever think that I’d leave you or our angels. I love you and I love them... I may not have been around much but don’t ever doubt that.”
My eyes drink in his features and my heart sings out to his, luring him closer. My lips part as his mouth comes closer and my eyes flutter as his nose affectionately rubs mine.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper solemnly. “I was over thinking... I was just plain stupid.”
He chuckles accepting my apology as his lips find my jaw, trailing down to my neck. My body goes on high alert and I can’t hold back the pleased moans that escape my mouth as Johnattan worships my body. Those heated pecks, electrifying open mouth kisses, the nibbles and the marks he leaves behind reminds me of who I belong too.
He nibbles my fingers and I laugh. He kisses the engagement ring that sparkles in the dim lamp light while looking into my eyes and I rake the fingers of my other hand through his hair affectionately.
“How does a winter wedding sound?” I ask suddenly and he freezes, his eyes gleaming with joy.
"Lo me gustaria, mi diosa y quiero casadarte muy pronto. Me haces muy feliz...” he whispers huskily to me and I grin as he kisses down my body slowly pulling my night gown with him.
“And I’m going to show you how happy you make me... Slowly, rigorously and breathtakingly,” he says as he pushes himself onto his knees giving me a beautiful view of his toned chest.
Looking into his eyes I see the want to pleasure me, the want to please me, the want to submit to my every desire and me to submit to him... And who am I to tell him no?
"Ya, papí,” I say and that famous joker grin pulls on his lips.
He grabs my thighs pulling me toward and I gasp as I find my legs on his chest. They’ve gotten thicker over the years so they cover three-quarters of his chest
"Te amo, J-oso,” I say as I look into those electric blue eyes.
"Y, te amo tambien mi diosa,” he replies before starting his torture on my thighs.
And so... Up my thighs his lips will go and where he stops only I know.