Carrie Ryan & K. Darblyne
“…Breathe into me and make me real….”
“I knew you could do it.” Brian raised the glass in his hand. “Here’s a toast to all parents to be. May you enjoy life now, before the pitter-patter of little feet disrupts your life.” He winked at Brooke and chuckled. “I’m sure you know what life I’m referring to.”
“Enough of that,” Mable quickly put an end to the chuckles. “I’m so happy for you. I’m sure you’ll make excellent parents.”
“Oh, I just love the feel of new life.” Randi closed in on Sam’s stomach. “Congratulations, Sam.”
“Hey!” Brooke slapped her older sister’s hand away. “That’s OUR new life,” she wrapped her arms around Sam in an effort to shield her. “Go find your husband and make one of your own.”
“Been there, done that. It ain’t going to happen again.” Randi smiled over at Brian and made her fingers imitate a pair of scissors in motion. “We took care of that right after Julie.”
Instinctively Peter crossed his legs. “Yikes!
Maybe I should think twice about marriage.” He looked over to
Hearing Peter’s reaction Sam turned to address him. “Are you getting a little serious about my cousin, Peter?”
“I…I…” Peter gulped looking for something to take the attention off of him. Seeing Elaine slumping to the floor, he lowered his head. “Geez! There she goes again and we haven’t even gotten the first toast out.”
“Oh, Mother!” Sarah’s eyes were fixed on the figure slumped on the floor as she inched her way through the crowd. “Let me through. I’ve got to help her.”
Peter stepped aside feeling the tap on his shoulder. “Ho! Wait up.” He put his arm around Sarah’s shoulders and reeled her in. “Let the medical people do their thing.”
“I forget, is that the same as a code
“Code blue, Dr. Death, Condition C,” Terri muttered under her breath, “It’s all the same.”
“This is getting to be more like work than a family gathering,” Rick muttered. “You stay sitting there, Terri. I’ll take care of it this time.”
“Don’t worry. I couldn’t get down on the floor anyway.”
Rick looked over to his wife and smiled. “You could, dear, but you’d never get up again,” he said in a playful manner.
“I think you’re right.” Terry winced, giving her tummy a little rub then resettling herself into the overstuffed chair. “Damn this used to be so comfortable.”
“What’s wrong? Did she fall?” Sam’s attention turned to her mother.
“Oh God, tell me she didn’t break her hip.” Brooke held onto her wife a little tighter. “She’s alright, isn’t she?” Brooke asked her brother-in-law. Not getting any answer in return, she yelled a little louder to be heard above the rest of the group. “Mother Moleson, tell me you’re okay.”
“She fainted, Brooke. She’s not deaf.” Terri joked before turning her attention back to the efforts of her husband and Crystal. “Don’t look now, Brooke, but I think your mother-in-law is waking up.”
“Mother…” Brooke’s blue eyes glazed over as the word brought back to mind the present her wife had given her. “Sam, we’re going…we’re mothers.” Brooke wiped a tear from her eye and reached out for her wife. “This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had.”
“I’ve heard that before,” stated Henry with a sarcastic grin on his face. “I remember hearing you say that after a certain set of drums were unwrapped on your seventh birthday.”
“Drums are no comparison to this,” Brooke sounded indignant. “Besides, I couldn’t share those with anyone. But this,” Brooke look euphoric. “A baby I can share with the whole family.”
“Oh my! Family,” Elaine muttered. “Samantha,” she looked to Brooke then back to her daughter. “How?”
“It’s okay mother,” Sam tried to lessen the woman’s fears. “It’s not like we did it alone. Eddie helped us.”
“Eddie?” Elaine’s terrified voice screeched out before she wavered and clutched at her husband’s arm. “Oh my! This can’t be,” she muttered, then locked gazes with her Samuel. “I never dreamed this would happen.”
“Don’t worry Mrs. Moleson, it’s not like we did a three way or anything like that,” Eddie blushed.
“Yeah, in your dreams.” Brooke tightened her hold on Sam.
“Whoa!” Peter’s eyes grew as big as saucers. “That would have been even too much for me and I’ve had some wild dreams.
“Hey dude, you might have had the dreams, but reality came and asked me,” Eddie gloated.
Elaine scrambled up onto wobbly legs and forged through the crowd. “Samantha, I demand to know what is going on here. You say you love Brooke and now you’re telling me Eddie is the father of your unborn child. Please,” Elaine pleaded with her eyes, “tell me it isn’t so.”
“Which one mother?”
“Which one do you want me to deny? My love for Brooke or that Eddie is the father of our unborn child?” Sam rested her hand over her lower abdomen.
“This has nothing to do with you loving Brooke,” Elaine sounded indignant.
“Excuse me!” C.C. bullied her way into the conversation. “You know how I hate to be the one to intrude.” C.C. smiled contritely. “But lady you don’t have the vaguest idea what you’re talking about.”
“Cjersti Chase Gordon!” Mable said in aghast.
Brown eyes leveled a determined gaze at her mother. “Trust me here mom, just this once.” C.C. turned her attention back to Elaine. “What you don’t seem to understand is that ALL of this has to do with your daughter loving my sister. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you want or what anybody else wants. It’s about Sam and Brooke. Now instead of screaming and going all crazy, what exactly is it that you have a problem with? Is it the fact that Sam is a lesbian and married to my sister? Is it the fact that they’ve decided to start a family?” C.C. said as she balled up her fists and placed them on her hips. “Or, is it the fact that you and your warped perverted sense of self has absolutely no say in what she does anymore?”
All eyes grew larger as the room fell silent.
“I…I was only…” Elaine searched for the right words.
“Really Mrs. Moleson, what is it that you have a problem with? This is my sister’s birthday, and finding out that her wife is pregnant should make it one of the happiest days of her life. Why are you trying to ruin this? Is it because you don't agree with their choice of sperm? ‘Cause if that’s it, I can think of a whole lot worse than Eddie to be the biological father of my newest relative.”
“Phew!” Randi blew out a long held breath. “Never thought Chase would be the one to save the day, but at least that’s cleared up now.”
“What do you mean cleared up, Randi? The only reason to clear anything up would be if you actually thought that Sam chea…” C.C. looked around at all the faces staring at her. “Fine! If everyone wants to act like they’re in grade school, let’s do it. By a show of hands, how many people in this room are under the impression that Sam cheated on Brooke with Eddie?”
Silence reigned supreme. The only movement in the room was the subtle shifting of eyes, waiting to see who would be the first to raise a hand.
Shocked by the solidarity of the room, Elaine voiced the tally of the vote. “Sam didn’t.”
“Damn right I didn’t,” Sam put her stamp of approval on the subject. “I don’t know about the rest of you but I take my marriage vows quite seriously. Brooke and I made the decision to use Eddie as our donor and now we’re pregnant. I can’t see why that’s such a bad thing.” She looked around the room on many a thoughtful face. “Let’s face it. There are no male siblings in either family for us to have asked. What’s the big deal? This way we at least knew…er…I mean know whom the father is.”
“Uncle,” Eddie hastily interjected. “I’m kind of scared of all this family stuff now. I just want to be Uncle Eddie.”
“And that’s exactly how it’s going to be.” Brooke raised an eyebrow in Elaine’s direction. “You got a problem with that?”
Elaine’s mouth dropped open, but nothing came out.
“I think it’s time we leave, Elaine. We’ve got some things to discuss at home.” Samuel turned his attention to Sam. “I’m sorry, princess.”
“But I wasn’t trying to…” Elaine attempted to explain. “I was just….
“Elaine! I think you’ve said enough.” Samuel’s gaze pinned his wife for a long moment. “Sarah, we’re leaving now.” He turned to address their reason for being there. “I’m sorry for the trouble we’ve caused. I sincerely wish you a happy birthday, Brooke.”
“What do you mean we’re leaving?” Sarah questioned. “The party hasn’t even started yet.”
“You can’t go.
Brooke hasn’t even blown out the candles yet,”
“Yeah!” Peter shouted out in an effort to rouse the crowd. “We came to par-tay!”
“Calm it down, big boy.”
“It’s a family party,” another voice added into the melee of reasons being thrown out before everyone converged into the conversation all at the same time.
“QUIET! EVERYONE QUIET!” One voice struggled at full strength to be heard. “I don’t want to hear another word from anybody about this subject. Everybody just needs to calm down.” Mable turned her attention toward the woman who had started the ruckus. “Elaine, give me a call tomorrow and we’ll sort this whole thing out. Due to miscommunication on several levels, I think there is a massive misunderstanding making us all jump to conclusions. Give it a night. Give it a rest and I’m sure things will look differently in the morning.”
“That sounds like a good idea. What do you say Elaine?”
Elaine looked at every face in the room before casting her eyes down toward the floor. “Perhaps you’re right.” She took in a deep breath before sheepishly gazing into the eyes of the crowd. “Good night everyone. I truly am sorry for ruining your party. Happy Birthday Brooke, I’m glad you made it back home safely.”
“Thank you. Mr. Moleson, Sarah,” Brooke gave a nod at each one, “thanks for coming.” Feeling the stiffening in Sam’s back, Brooke’s grip tightened on Sam’s shoulder. “Have a safe trip home.”
Sam held her tongue until her family was out the door. “Oh! I can’t believe her. She’ll never change.”
“Now Darlin’, don’t get all upset.” Brooke rubbed her wife’s shoulder in an attempt to calm her down. “Let it go for tonight.” She swung the woman around to face her. “Hey, I just got home and I don’t want the mood to be all poopy.”
“Yeah!” C.C. struck a triumphant pose. “Now that the party poopers are all gone I say we Par-Tay!”
“Well, party or not, I have an early court date.” Randi turned to her husband. “Brian, I think it’s time we should go.”
“What’s the matter, Sis, can’t hang with the spring chickens no more or have you joined the dead poopers society?” C.C. taunted her oldest sibling.
“No, I just take my job seriously, like everyone should. Terri, don’t you agree?”
The sound of panting interspersed Terri’s words. “Yeah, whatever you say, Randi.” She took time to pant a little more. “Brooke, I really hope you weren’t too fond of this chair cause I either pissed myself or my water just broke.”
Brooke made a face. “Either way, Terri, I see a new chair in our future.”
“I know you’re not in labor.” Rick shook his head. “You can’t be or you would have said something sooner.”
Terri mocked her husband. “You can’t be?” She doubled over and started to pant again. “Then I guess this is just a twisted fart giving me all this pain.”
“My poor baby.” Mable sympathized with her daughter. “Why didn’t you say something earlier?”
“And miss all of this action?” Terri panted a little more. “Are you kidding me, Mom? I’m in labor. I’m not stupid. Where else was I going to see live action theater in the making?”
Rick looked up to the ceiling and muttered. “It’s got to be a Gordon gene.”
“It looks like the ball is in your hands now, Rick.” Brian chided, “Are you going to run with it or are you gonna punt?”
“My wife’s in labor.” A fretful expression contorted Rick’s face. “Why in the hell are you talking about balls? You should be calling a cab or an ambulance or something.”
Immediately a roomful of people all whipped out their cell phones and started dialing while Rick tried to comfort his wife.
Henry leaned in to Brooke and gave her a nudge. “Listen up, Brooke. I’d pay close attention so you know what to do when your turn rolls around here soon.”
“Trust me,” Brooke met her father’s gaze head on. “I already know what to do.”
“You do?” Surprise painted Henry’s expression. “What’s that?”
“I’ll just shut up and take it like a man.” Brooke flashed a toothy grin.
“By the gods, she was paying attention,” Henry muttered in utter astonishment.
“Good night, Sarah.”
“Night, Daddy.” The teen returned and slipped into her room.
Samuel stood vigilant in the hall until his daughter’s light was turned off. Sighing heavily, he turned and faced his own closed bedroom door. “Might as well get this over with,” he muttered.
After opening the door, he stood watching the nervous fidgeting actions of his wife as she readied herself for bed. When their eyes met, neither spoke until the door was pulled shut behind him.
The high strung woman looked up from what she was doing. “Go ahead, tell me how disappointed you are in me for disrupting the party.”
“Disrupting the party isn’t all you’ve done, Elaine. You’ve completely destroyed our oldest daughter’s one moment of happiness. Couldn’t you see how excited she was to be able to tell her wife they were pregnant?”
“Yes, I could tell. Why do you think I had to say something.” Elaine plopped down onto the bed. “Samuel, they need to know about Eddie now, while it’s still early enough to take care of the entire situation.”
“And I agree.”
“Yes, but you’ve jumped to conclusions. It almost sounded like you believed Sam slept with him.”
“Slept with him or used him as a donor, does it really matter?”
“I’m sure in Brooke’s mind it would. Why are you so hell bent on ruining something so precious?”
“Damn it, Samuel!” The woman’s ire raised ten degrees. “They’re brother and sister or at least they could be.”
“And that’s the question here. I guess we’ll just have to find out for sure, won’t we?” He advanced on her, stopping inches away. “I suggest you do exactly that before even daring to bring up the subject to me, Sam, or anyone else. I won’t have my little girl’s heart broken over something we think may be.”
“Fine!” Elaine held her head up indignantly. “I’ll make the arrangements first thing in the morning. You’ll see, I’ll get to the bottom of this.”
“You are the bottom of this mess.”
“We both are. We conceived him together or did you forget that little fact?”
“As a struggling college student with a girl just out of high school, I remember it quite well. We were so stupid then.” Samuel cast his gaze to the floor. “I was so stupid then. If I’d only used some protection then I could have prevented all this agony now.”
“We’re not any better now than we were then, are we?” Elaine glanced over to see a questioning gaze from her husband. “We’re still struggling or at least I still am.” She looked away, reflecting on her private torment.
“If it wasn’t for you and your father, I’d have my son.” Samuel turned and walked over to his side of the bed. “I’m surprised your mother let it happen. But then again, the man’s word was the rule back then.”
“She had her two cents of input.”
Samuel slid in under the covers. “What?”
“She’s the reason why our son wasn’t aborted. My father wanted to do nothing more than sweep the whole situation away. She’s the one who got me out of town and gave our son a chance at life. Perhaps,” Elaine bit her lip and took in a deep breath. “Perhaps I should start my quest for the hard cold facts with my mother?”
“Believe me, Elaine, if it is true and Eddie is our son I’ll do everything in my power to be the father to him I never was.”
“And if he is, I guess you expect me to be the one to tell Samantha her baby is a product of an incestuous relationship.”
“No, Elaine.” Samuel laid his hand over his wife’s. “We’ll do it together.”
“Hello, Gordon Residence.”
The male voice coming through the telephone line startled Elaine. “Henry, it’s Elaine Moleson. I was wondering if Mable was available. I…uhm…what I mean is…Mable did say for me to call her today.”
“Yes, I do remember hearing that. Let me go get her. You’ll have to excuse me if I’m moving a little slow, we didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“No hurry on my part, Henry.” Mable thanked God for the few minutes reprieve until the voice on the other end broke her concentration.
“Hello, Mable. It’s Elaine.”
“I’ve been expecting your call. Are you feeling any better today?”
“I feel numb and at the same time have a
thousand things running through my mind.
I don’t even really know where to begin.”
“Well you could say congratulations.”
“Okay.” Elaine’s reply was tentative. “Congratulations. Now tell me, why am I congratulating you?”
“Well, for one, I’m a new grandmother, again.” Mable giggled like a schoolgirl.
“And that’s exactly the source of my concern. I really don’t know how you do it. I mean you have one daughter pregnant and a daughter-in-law who’s now expecting.”
“No dear, I don’t think you understand,” Mable explained, “Terri had her baby last night. Now, I’ve only got a daughter-in-law who’s expecting. Or should I say that we both do.”
“Terri had her baby? That is wonderful news.”
“Yes, it is. I’ve got a new little granddaughter to dote over. She’s a preemie albeit, but she’s here.”
“How sweet. You must be so happy. What did they name her?”
“Michelle Rae. It’s Terri and Rick’s middle names combined.”
“They named their daughter Ray? You mean like that blind singer, Ray Charles?”
“R-A-E,” Mable enounced each letter clearly. “They took creative liberties with the spelling. She’s absolutely beautiful. I had a moment of déjà vu when I first saw her. She looked a lot like Brooke did as an infant with those blue eyes like her father’s.”
Elaine hesitated. “Speaking of Brooke and babies.”
“Mable, I have to admit I’m concerned about Samantha’s part in all of this.”
“You mean her pregnancy? Sam’s young and healthy. I suspect she won’t have a problem with the pregnancy.”
“I’ve found myself in a bind here, Mable. I’m not quite sure how to get myself out of it.” Elaine fretted. “This may come as a shock but I’m just going to come out and say it. No use in putting it off. I mean, I might actually figure a few things out while talking to you and…”
“Elaine,” Mable interrupted her.
“What’s the problem? We’re friends, aren’t we? We’re family, Elaine. Just say it already.”
There was a moment of silence as Elaine steeled herself for what she was about to say. “Okay here goes. I believe,” she took in a breath. “That is… Samuel and I believe… Eddie is our son.” She paused, waiting for a reaction, but none came. “You must think we’re horrible. It’s actually kind of a long story,” she said rather nervously.
“Well, why don’t you just start from the beginning.”
Elaine thanked God for the non-judgmental tone in Mable’s voice. “Okay. Samuel and I were high school sweethearts. We were so in love. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other.” Elaine felt the heat of a blush creeping up her cheeks. “I knew when I was sixteen, we’d eventually marry.”
“That sounds a lot like Henry and me. We got married the week after I graduated
from high school. I was eighteen by the
mere grace of two days,” Mable said with a
chuckle. “Before the minister could say,
“You may kiss the bride,” I was pregnant with Randi. The next morning, Henry was shipping out for
a tour of
“You poor girl.”
“I’m a tough one, Elaine. There was no need to worry. I had plenty of family behind me. Besides, it made that newlywed year last forever.”
Elaine chuckled. “I can see why. It was a little different for Samuel and I. We attended my senior prom together. He was two years ahead of me in school and already attending college when I found out I was pregnant the summer before I started college. Samuel had such a promising career lined up ahead of him. I couldn’t bear the idea of taking it away from him.”
“That was very unselfish of you, Elaine.”
“I didn’t have a choice. I still lived at home with my parents. They weren’t too thrilled with the thought of their unwed daughter raising a bastard child.”
“I’m so sorry, Elaine.”
Hearing the empathy in the other woman’s voice, Elaine continued on. “My father wanted me to get an abortion but my mother was dead set against it. Eventually, they compromised if I’d agree to attend college out of state until after the baby was born. I guess I should say, my mother agreed. I pretty much kept to myself while I was away. I concentrated on my classes and making it through the pregnancy.”
“That must have been tough.”
“Things were awkward to say the least. For the first time in over two years I was away from my beloved Samuel.”
“You were gone and Samuel had no idea why?”
“He didn’t know I was pregnant. I told him that I was going to take care of some pre-requisite courses. I never declared my major until the end of the year. I thought I was doing what was best for Samuel and for our child. Professor Hardy was kind of my surrogate mother while I was there. To this day, I still have no idea why she took me under her wing in the first place. She didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was about six months along and showing so much that I couldn’t hide it any longer.”
“Maybe she saw a young, lost, and frightened girl who had nobody.”
“Such an amazing woman. Do you know that Professor Hardy made sure I ate right and got plenty of rest?”
“Yes, she took me to pre-natal appointments and even attended Lamaze classes with me. She asked me what I intended to do after the baby was born. That’s when I discussed it with my mother and we had agreed that I would give the baby up for adoption. Professor Hardy offered to take the baby and raise it as her own, so I contacted my parents and my mother came for a visit. My mother and professor Hardy worked out all the details of the adoption.”
“Then why were you so surprised with Eddie at the dinner when his history came up?” Mable asked with an undertone of hesitance.
“I never told Samuel about the pregnancy until years later after we were married and Samantha was born. I was still so frightened of how he would react to me giving up the baby. I told him the baby was gone a couple hours after he was born. I never said the baby had died, I said he was gone. I wasn’t even supposed to see him but the nurse thought it might help give me closure if I could at least see him one time to make sure that I knew he was healthy and whole. Once I told him about the pregnancy, Samuel was under the impression that the child had died. I did nothing to dissuade that impression. Needless to say, Samuel was both hurt and quite angry, as one would expect. He was also grieving the loss of a son he never knew. I had lied to him for so many years I began to believe it myself. All of a sudden, here’s our son, alive and all grown up into a man.” Elaine took in a breath and blew it out.
“So your problem isn’t with Sam and Brooke wanting to have a child together, is it?”
Elaine didn’t quite know how to answer. “No, but you can see why I’m concerned with who’s about to become the father of his sister’s child, can’t you?”
“Mable, how do I tell Samantha not only does she have a brother, but this incestuous child can not be born? I will admit that I am relieved in knowing they didn’t sleep together. I do apologize for leading everyone to believe that was the case. As much as I’ve tried not to, I’m finding myself growing quite fond of your daughter. Believe me, I mean Brooke no ill will.” Elaine started to pace. “I know the months ahead are going to be hard enough as it is but we all have to think of what the years down the road would be like with a child whose birth parents were brother and sister?”
“The first thing I think you need to do, is find out as much about Eddie as you can. You’re a very lucky woman, Elaine. Not everyone gets the opportunity to know the child they gave up twenty-four years ago.”
“I know, I should be thankful for that alone.”
“As for the baby issue, no matter how the child came out, Brooke would love it. Trust me Elaine, things have a way of working out. We just have to have a little faith. The only ones who know every detail of this pregnancy are Brooke and Sam. Besides, if there had been a problem, I’m sure the doctors would have caught it.”
“I can only hope and pray. I’m sorry, Mable. I’ve taken up so much of your time already. I should let you go. Thank you for listening and congratulations on your new granddaughter.”
“It’s not a problem, Elaine. Thanks.”
“Same here, Mable.” Elaine pulled the receiver away from her ear. “Okay, now it’s time to call my mother.” She poked at the numbers and waited. When no one answered the phone, Elaine hung up disgusted.
“My mother’s hip on everything else, why can’t she be up to date with modern day technology? You’d think that a woman who gallivants all over the world would have a cell phone on her hip.”
Mable sat down at her kitchen table and ran a hand through her hair as she thought about the conversation she’d just had. “Okay, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Elaine thinks the fetus is a result of Eddie’s sperm and Sam’s egg. I can’t tell her that it’s actually Eddie’s and Brooke’s if I’m not supposed to know, now can I? Sam’s upset because she thinks her mother is being unreasonable about the entire pregnancy and I can’t tell her and Brooke that it’s because Eddie is really Sam’s brother.” Mable stared without focusing on anything in particular as she rethought out what she’d just said. Suddenly the Gordon matriarch came to the only conclusion she could.
“This family has more twists and turns than a soap opera,” Mable muttered. “Lord, I need a drink.”
Lyrics from this week's installment by Amy Lee.