Chapter Twelve: Argument
“He’s an orphan, then, if his dad neglected him.” that made me so sad. No wonder his eyes are filled with sadness. I watch as he helps Oscar put on his shoes, showing him how to tie them. I couldn’t help but smile at him sweetly. Ciel is bent in front of the chair, while Oscar sat on it.
“So you make rabbit ears, and loop around here,” he said. Oscar looks very concentrated on the task.
“Mama, is this okay?” Evanly asks, sliding a piece of paper towards me. I look down to the table, to see that Evanly wrote the word cat in a tree, in a very sloppy handwriting. I smiled at her, and rub her head.
“Good job.” I smiled gently at her. Evanly claps.
“Look, Isabella, mom said that I did well.” she shows off her paper to Isabella. Isabella frowns at that, but nods. As they started to talk, I took notice that Lilly is quiet, in her own thoughts. I move to pick up Sophy.
“Lilly, can I speak to you?” I asked. Everyone turns their head towards me, as Lilly snap of whatever she was thinking about.
“Yes?” she asks.
“In private.” I simply said, turning around. Sophy looks up at me.
“You stay with your big brother. Okay.” I whispered to her. Sophy nods, as I reach Issac.
“Watch her,” I said. Issac nods, taking his sister. Then Ciel arched a brow.
“Oscar, can you keep an eye on Ciel. He needs to learn how to write his name.” I winked at him. Oscar’s eyes widen as though I just told him that he’s in charge of the world.
“Really, mama?” he asks. I nodded, and went up to Ciel, and look down at his blank paper. He looks up at me, for a reason, he looks like a lost child. I couldn’t help it, it made me giggle.
‘He’s very adorable,’
“I don’t need to write my name, I’ve been fine these last thirty years without reading and writing.” His defend system plays.
“Well, you take this class every day Ciel. Might as well start learning something, right? It won’t hurt. I don’t mind teaching you. Remember the Abc’s we practice a few days?” I asked him. He slowly nods, noticing that he looks embarrassed. I cleared my throat, now feeling bad.
“Don’t feel bad, I don’t know math,” Lilly said, as she stood up,
“To tell you the truth, I’m only teaching the basic Ciel. I’m not that smart, nor do I know a lot. Most of these I learned from books. I can’t take the children to a regular school either, they don’t allow them in.” I frowned, looking sad. Ciel looks up at me with a strange look.
“Don’t worry mom, I will break that one day. I’ll show them that we can go to school as well.” Issac said with a determined face. I nodded, feeling proud of his determination.
“I know, that’s why I support you completely.” I encourage him. Issac nods.
“So don’t feel ashamed Ciel. We all here aren’t here to judge you. Even I don’t know many things. We all learn from each other, plus, you’re teaching my children how to do other things, that I can’t teach. Like tying a shoe and you’re starting to teach Issac how to fix things around our home. You know more than I do in that department. I just improvise on it. So you’re like a teacher to them,” I move my hand without realizing it, I start to caress his back head, smiling gently at him, my heart racing like crazy.
‘Just like two nights ago, when we danced. I had so much fun. It felt nice and strange. I like hugging him. I love his smile and laughter. Also, it felt nice to be hugged by him. If I dare to say it, I felt warm and protected. He’s warm and big. For the first time in my life, I felt protected by someone that is at least a year older than me.’ I suddenly felt my cheeks turning red.
‘Was he going to kiss me? Why would he? I have no experience on the subject. I’m not one of those girls he used to.’ somehow that made me feel frustrated and pained. Yet, why would I care? He’s my friend, nothing else.
“Mama!” I heard someone scream my name, snapping me out of my thoughts. Somehow, we were just staring at each other.
“Oh? Sorry.” I remove my hand.
“Force of habit, I tend to do with the children.” I excused myself with. Ciel nods very slowly as I cleared my throat. Issac gave me a strange look, while Lilly couldn’t help but smile broadly.
“Come, mom,” Lilly walks up to me and takes my hand. I nodded, while she pushed me away, only to have Armando get down from his chair, running towards me. I stop looking down at him.
“Yes?” I bend down. I took notice his eyes are red.
“Mama, c..can I.. go,” he asks with a stutter. I wrap my arms around him and pick him up.
“Oi, you’re getting big,” I said with a giggle. He lays his head on my shoulder, as I turned to see everyone.
“Keep working. Issac, keep an eye on everyone and Ciel if anything happens. I’ll be in the living room.” I told him. Both males nod. I couldn’t help but smile at them.
I place Armando on my lap as Lilly sat next to me, as soon we entered the living room.
“Lilly, is something the matter?” I asked, now getting into the business.
“Nothing is the matter,” she avoids my eyes. Armando sat up, looking at his sister.
“Don’t...Lie,” he said. I went still at this, while Armando turns his gaze at me.
‘Something is the matter. I was right.’
“Tell me this instance. Did something happen? Did someone hurt you?” I gently asked, trying to not push it. She stares at me for a long minute before answering me.
“Nothing is the matter,” she stood up, but I took a hold of her wrist.
“Lillian James Hart. It’s been a month already, if you can’t tell me what’s wrong, then I will feel as though you don’t trust me. When have I given you a reason to not trust me?” I trusted my voice harder, not liking this. Lilly snatched her wrist away from me.
“You have enough on your plate to care what’s wrong with me. I do trust you, but I don’t want to be a burden to you as it is.” I blinked rapidly at her words, trying to let it sink.
“A burden to me? Since when you were a burden to me?” I asked confused.
“You have seven other kids’ mom. I am not going to bring my problems to you because you ask me. Please mom,” she starts to move. I place Armando down and rushed towards Lilly.
“You aren’t a bother, honey, you and Issac are my first children I had. You two are the reason why I took everyone in. You know how much I love you guys.” I’m not sure why, but our voices started to rise. Lilly’s eyes turn hard.
“Yes, I ruined your life. Let me not worry you anymore. Is my life mom. I’m old enough to know.” she turns and opens the door and leaves. Armando starts to cry.
“Lilly, you may not leave while I’m speaking to you, I’m your mother! Don’t you get that? I’m worried,” I rushed out, to have Ciel and Issac come out of the dining room. Lilly turns to face me. I have no idea what has gotten in this child. I want to help. She suddenly stops, fisting her hands tightly.
“You’re not my mother! My real mother died because of you!” she shouts out of nowhere. I went still, as Armando rushes to me, crying harder.
“Lilly,” I gasp out, while Ciel came to my side and picks up Armando.
“Is okay, buddy,” he whispers to him, rubbing his back.
“Watch your tone, Lilly,” Ciel said in a tight tone, while Lilly death glares at me.
“For who? For this woman? She’s not my mother. My mother died because of her. She killed her. She killed our mother.” she cries out, while Issac rushed towards her, grabbing her arm.
“Lilly enough. You know it wasn’t her.” Issac tries to reason with her.
“Ha, don’t make me laugh Issac, you as well feel the same way as I do. Not only I lost my mother, I lost my leg that day as well. I can’t take it anymore.” she turns her head, but Issac pulls her back a bit harder, making her jerk back.
“Apologies to her,” he demands. I felt my chest rising.
“Issac is okay. She’s emotional. I don’t want to push it.” I wanted to cry, to scream, to hold her, and tell her that is okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. She misses her mother, I can never replace that.
“Don’t play saint with me, Issac, you felt the same. You told me one time that you hated her as well. Because of her, we lost our mother because of her, I lost my leg.” she screams out with anger.
“Lilly, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I didn’t know you felt that way.” I took a step forward, but she threw a dark laugh.
“You never want to push, you always the good guy, so naive. I told you, I don’t want to burden you. Now leave me alone.” she turns around, heading up. I stood there unable to move.
“Issac. Do.. Do you think the same? Do you think I let your mother die?” I asked. Issac turns his gaze towards me. I felt Ciel moving closer to me.
“I love you, Zara, I truly do, but I can never forget that night. Sometimes, I wish you would have died instead of mom,” He says. I felt like he just pierced a knife through my heart. He went to follow his sister.
“Lady?” I heard Ciel asked, now so confused, but worried. I started to pound on my chest.
“I... I didn’t kill her. She.. She pushed me. I couldn’t do anything.” I mumbled.
“Damn it,” He cursed, placing Armando down.
“Mama?” I heard the other children come out of the dining room, towards me. I felt myself being picked up. I look up lifeless, as Ciel rushes his steps towards the living room. He gently places me down on the sofa.
“Breath, okay.” He calmly says to me. I nodded, while the children rush towards me. I blinked, trying to hold my cries.
“Mama, why did Lilly scream at you?” Oscar asks worriedly, while Isabella looks like she’s ready to cry. Evanly held Sophy hand. Armando and Daniel are close to Ciel.
“She’s hurt, she missed her mother. Is normal.” I assured them.
‘How did we end up in this conversation? I just wanted to know what’s wrong with her.’
“She shouldn’t yell at you,” Isabella said with a pout. Evanly nods in agreement.
“That girl never ever reproached me like that. She must have held it in for so long.” I said, feeling someone rub small circles on my back.
“I’ll go and talk to them,” Ciel said, I turned my head, noticing that he’s the one rubbing circles on my back. I shook my head, taking a hold of his hand.
“No, please don’t, let Issac handle her.” he didn’t seem convinced.
“After what he told you?” he asks. I nodded, holding his hand a bit tighter.
“I.. I’m not mad at them. Just in shock. Is all,” I simply said.
‘I did my best to save her. Maybe Lilly is right, is my fault that their mother died.’
The children fell asleep, after a long awkward day. I sat on my bed, with my legs up, my arms wrap around them. I stare at Lilly and then at Issac.
‘If you only knew Issac,’ I wipe my cheek, as a tear fell.
“You shouldn’t stress yourself out,” I heard to my left. I jump in fright, to see Ciel sit on the edge of the mattress.
"Can’t sleep? Is midnight, you should rest Ciel..” I told him. He shrugs, looking at the kids then back at me.
“I’ll sleep soon,” he assures me. I leaned my cheek on my folded arms and stare at him.
“You know, they don’t hate you, right?” he asks. I nodded at him.
“I know, neither do I. ” I whispered to him. He moves closer,
“I’m sorry for bringing you into this. You must think that we are crazy or something since you never seen us in an argument.” I said. Ciel shrugs.
“Is family. I’m not too familiar with it, but I think is normal. No family is perfect.” he shrugs. I nodded at that.
“Yes, you’re right. Lilly will take some days to back to normal. Issac as well. I have already forgotten our conversation.” I told him.
“Hmm,” he only said, as to say, ‘Sure, you have,’ I licked my dry lips.
“It must have been tragic the loss of their mother, for them to say those words. I didn’t know that Lilly and Isaac were real relatives.” Ciel whispers. I nodded, lowering my legs down and move closer to him. Aching to take a hold of his hand.
“You have no idea. One day I’ll tell you. Also, yes, they are blood relatives. Why do you think Issac almost never leaves her side? She’s his only blood family. They are inseparable.” I told him.
He nods, as I suddenly heard a whimper of a cry. I turned my head to my right and my heart jumps in fright to see a dark shadow floating above Armando body. My heart jumps in fright.
“Armando!” I yelled. Jumping out of the bed, already Ciel half way there. The shadow turns its head towards us, showing its white eyes, we both stop at the midway, but then disappeared.
I shook it off, and I finally reach them. Armando is covered with sweat, crying hard.
“No.. No..” he cries out, thrashing around the bed.
“Is alright, is alright,” I chanted, as Ciel stood there, not sure what to do. Armando cries out, waking everyone up.
“Mama, mama, don’t die!” he cries out, as soon as I sat on the bed, he jumps into my arms, crying hard. I wrap my arms around him, holding him tight. My heart leaps painfully at this sight.
“Mama? What’s going on?” Oscar asks with a yawn. I look down at Armando.
“Armando had a nightmare, is all,” I assure them. Armando, held me tightly, as I rub his back.
“I’m here, my little one. I’m here,” I whispered into his ear. He kept crying hard.
“B...Blood. Mama, be..bleeding. H..Help... Ciel.” he cries out, looking at Ciel. Ciel frowns, looking at me, then back at Armando.
“She’s fine kid. She’s not hurt.” He assures him. He shakes head.
“No..No. mama hurt. B..Back.” I went still at his words, as Oscar rushes to our side, as well for Daniel.
“Oh, does he mean when you brought him here with blood last year?” He asks. Ciel raised a brow.
Lilly rushes to our side, she gasps, as she looks at me.
“I.. I forgot. I forgot. Armando, she’s fine. She’s not hurt. Please calm down.” Lilly started to cry. I felt my heart clench.
“Did. Did you dream about that again Armando?” I asked him. Armando nods, kissing my cheek.
“Mama, D.Don’t. Diee!” he stutter. Lilly takes a hold of my shoulder.
Ciel looks very lost on this.
“Mama, I’m sorry. I forgot about that. I didn’t mean to say those horrible things to you earlier. Oh God, I’m a horrible person.” she starts to cry, while Issac rushes to her side, not getting why she said that.
“Lilly, what are you hiding?” he asks, as I cleared my throat.
“Nothing. She’s hiding nothing. What argument? I don’t remember one. Sleep in peace, I’ll be sleeping with Armando for tonight. I love both of you.” I gave them an assuring smile. Issac frowns, noticing guilt plaguing his eyes but takes his sister away. I turn to face Ciel.
“Sleep, I’ll be alright plus, we need to speak of what we just saw.” I mouth him. He nods, leaning forward and pat Armando back.
“Don’t cry, I’m a call away,” he assures us. Armando and I nodded, watching him go to his bed, which is near the entrance. I look down at Armando, only to feel a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see Lilly with tears in her eyes.
“Can I sleep with you?” she asks. My heart swells at this. I couldn’t help but to smile at her.
“Of course. We just need space. Want to sleep with me and your sister?” I asked Armando. He nods, noticing his body still trembling in fear. About a few minutes, Lilly manages to put her bed next to Armando. We manage to fit, as I held Armando in my arms, tightly, I felt another hand on my shoulder. I turned to see Daniel.
“Come on,” I said. He smiles and jumps to the side, and gets next to Armando. I extended my arm out, as I felt Lilly wrap her arms around my back.
“Sorry.” she hiccups. I shook my head, and move my body so I can lay on my back, so I can see everyone.
“Sleep, I’m here to protect you all. Aren’t I mama bear?” I said as Armando nods and Daniel takes a hold of my fingers.
“Mama, I want to sleep with you too,” Evanly said. I lifted my head up, to see the rest of the children huddling their pillows pouting. I actually laughed.
“Look Armando. Tonight, you’ll be safe. Everyone wants to join in.” Armando nods with happiness. They all jump in, and made their own way to sleep, with their own space.
“God bless you all,” I said.
“Night mama.” they all said. Isaac stood on his bed, with regret in his eyes, while Ciel watches the scene. I cover my eyes, letting a few tears leak out, feeling happy, yet so sad.
“Mama, can. Can you take me to the doctors?” Lilly suddenly said. I turned my head and nodded.
“Of course, why?” I asked. She buries her head under my shoulder.
“My prosthetic leg is starting to hurt my knee, and, I think you need to go and check your back.”