Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapter 39: Merry Christmas (Babies 53, 54, 55 & 56)

As soon as I was back in the comfort of my own warm house, it was time to age up the kids and make room for some new ones! I was already pregnant with baby 53 with the donor being the doctor that took care of me in the hospital. 


Anubis grew up fairly handsome. I knew he would go out into the world and break the hearts of many. Hey, for the son of Death, he didn't turn out all that bad. 



Both Cara and Sarina grew up into lovely, but moody, teenagers. They both had many features of their father show through and were excited to enter the next stage of life.



Chase named both Terrence and Lexi as I was still in the hospital. 
Terrence looked almost exactly like me, in a boy form of course, while Lexi had her father's genes paired with my nose and eyes. 
They were both giggly toddlers, laughing at everything they heard or saw. They sure were a handful but fun kids to have as well. 


I started off the day teaching my toddlers some of their basic skills. As the waddling and babbling began, Chase brought out the video camera, dusted it off and recorded Lexi's first steps. Lexi smiled brightly as the camera was pointed at her. She was such a little movie star in the making.


Afterwords, I whipped out my paintbrushes and called over Sarina so I could paint her portrait. She whined and groaned as I had her stay still to capture her look perfectly.
"Mooom!" she moaned, moving her head.
"Stay still. Just a while longer!" I pleaded as I mixed a few different colors to create Sarina's skin tone.   
I hadn't painted in a while so I crossed my fingers as the first paint strokes stained the canvas. 


Painting done and drying on the dining room table, I relaxed on the sofa as I watched Terrence play  in the toy box. His little head peaked through the almost closed lid as it suddenly swung open and two little hands appeared, each carrying a toy. 
"We're ready!" Declan exclaimed, calling my attention to the front door. All my older children had apparently dug through old boxes and found costumes their size. Boy, were they adorable! 
"Where are you guys going?" I questioned, eyeing Sarina's incredibly revealing costume. 
"Trick-Or-Treating. It's supposed to snow tomorrow so today is the last day to go out and get candy!" Cara  squealed excitedly, pulling her short dress down a few inches. 
"Be home by 9. It's a school night," I said, giving my children a hug. "And wear a jacket. It's supposed to be cold tonight." 
Both Cara and Sarina whined as I made them go upstairs and grab a jacket, but Declan just smiled and whispered, "Llama man comes prepared. Llama man has a jacket underneath." 
"Be safe," I said, still laughing at Declan as my kids opened the door and went next door to gather candy.


"So it's supposed to snow tonight, right?" Chase asked as soon as my children had shut the door behind them. 
"I guess so. It is the last day of Autumn after all." 
"Dang, time flies doesn't it?" Chase ran a hand through his hair and he looked around the room. "Don't we need a Christmas tree then?" 
I imagined the room all decorated in Christmas lights, presents underneath the bright tree with the fire burning brightly, warming up the entire room. Just like oh-so long ago. 
"I think having a Christmas tree here would be wonderful." 


After moving the TV and the toy chest out of the way of the window, the tree finally had a place to rest. I breathed in the great pine smell, putting the last ornaments carefully on the tree.
Chase was busy organizing the presents, making sure they were all perfectly placed.


Little did I know was that in the midst of everything, Chase had set up a tiny mistletoe right in the center of the living room. He grabbed my hand and dragged me towards the center of the room, pointing up to the mistletoe. 
"May I?" Chase asked, winking. 


I blushed deeply and nodded as we kissed underneath the mistletoe, the cheery Christmas lights bouncing around in the room.


The next morning I sat in the dinning room, sipping my hot chocolate that I had just made. Although it did burn the tip of my tongue, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 
"Mom, can I have some?" Declan asked as he was gathering the dirty dishes. 
"Sure." I handed him the cup and he quickly downed it and patted his stomach.
"Don't you have school today?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. 
"Nope." 
"That's weird. Did it get cancelled?" 
"Probably because the bus never came." 
The bus never came. It seemed fishy to me but I didn't question it.


Sarina and Cara were still upstairs sleeping like teenagers do while Declan was downstairs entertaining Terrence as I finished up teaching Lexi all her skills. 
"Peek-a-boo!" Declan giggled, covering his face. 
Terrence mimicked Declan and put his hands over his face and laughed along with him.  


Near the end of the day, Cara and Sarina finally came downstairs, dressed in the best dresses they could find. What they didn't tell me was the school was cancelled because there was a dance tonight. They were both giggly and happy as they posed for one photo and rushed out of the door, Cara tripped on her heels and almost fell flat on her face. Luckily Sarina caught her before it became a nasty disaster.
"Be safe!" I insisted. They were growing up so fast. They all grew up so fast.   


As I put Declan and Terrence to bed, Chase read Lexi a story about a beautiful princess and her handsome prince. Lexi smiled and giggled when Chase used her name in the story and clapped her hands when the prince and the princess got married. He ended it with a 'And They Lived Happily Ever After'.
As he carried her to bed, Lexi laid her head on his shoulder and whispered, "I love you daddy." 
Chase stopped for a moment and held her close. "I love you too, my little girl." 


We woke up the next morning to a thin layer of snow covering the town. My kids pressed their faces against the windows and gasped in aw at the beautiful white frost. They had never seen snow before and you could certainly tell. 

Declan and the girls when to school and I got out some birthday cakes and went to age up my two toddlers.




As soon as they aged up, they quickly changed into their coats and boots and rushed outside, the snow falling into their hair.
"Ride em!" Terrence giggled as he raised his hand in the air. 
Lexi smile and rode back and forth on her 'ship' as she stuck her tongue out to catch some of the falling snow. 


As I was watching them through the window, a felt a sharp yet familiar pain shoot through my abdomen. 
I was in labor! Of course Chase freaked out as he never got used to seeing me in pain. 


I went into the nursery and gave birth to four wonderful babies. It seems that the artificial insemination was very strong. 
I welcomed 3 boys and 1 girl into this world.
 Baby 53, Dale, baby 54, Silas, baby 55, Bridie, and baby 56, Adam.


Chase helped me by putting Bridie in her crib. "She's a beauty," he finally said.
"They're all beautiful," I said in awe, looking around the nursery. Every crib was filled with little snores of newborns. Good thing I had just aged up Lexi and Terrence otherwise I wouldn't of had enough room to hold all my children. 


"You're right. They're all beautiful. Including you," Chase said as he pulled my close for a kiss. 
"In front of the kids?" I questioned, finally breaking away. 
"You're right. Want to head to the living room?" 


The music softly played in the background as we danced around the room, the Christmas decorations making the room merrier.
I gazed into Chase's eyes as he gazed into mine. I let my head rest on his shoulder as we moved in unison to the beat to the music.
"I love you, Chase," I said, planting a kiss on his lips.
Chase stopped dancing and took in a deep breath. "I love you too, Danielle." 


"I love you, a lot." Chase held up his fingers in the air and kneeled down on his knee.
What was he doing? 


"Danielle, you're the best thing that has ever happened to me. Just seeing you happy makes my world go round. I love you more than words can express. You're truly the love of my life." 


"Will you make me the happiest man on Earth by marrying me?" 
He took out a small box from his pocket and popped the lid open, revealing an amazing ring.
 I stood in shock, my eyes wide and my hands covering my mouth. 
I loved him too. I loved him probably more than I would love anybody else.


"Yes," I giddily replied. "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!" 
Chase pulled the ring out of the box and  placed it on my hand. He smiled as if he had won the war.


"We're getting married," Chase whispered in my ear as he pulled me into a tight embrace. 
"I love you Chase. I love you so much," I whispered back. 
He laughed and held me closer. "Merry Christmas." 


Merry Christmas indeed. 
~

Monday, December 24, 2012

Chapter 38: Part Three: Running Away with the Paris Extravaganza (Babies 51 & 52)




“It’s all your fault,” Chase spat. He glared at Paris and she cowered away, sitting farther back in her seat than before.
“No it’s not,” she finally stammered out. “She’s my sister, for god’s sake!”
 They sat in the waiting room, the cheap seats groaned and the air smelled faintly of death.  Chase leaned against the back of his seat, Paris sitting down. They both were silent for a moment, watching people after people walk by into different rooms. Chase recognized a few, some of them being Danielle’s children here to wish for the best. They didn’t want their mother to go so soon and neither did Chase. She was just a little over her halfway mark, a life full of promise ahead. She couldn’t go now!


“You showed up, she ends up in the hospital. Coincidence? I think not.” Chase sighed heavily; looking towards the room that Danielle was in.  A pink and black haired woman stood outside the door, contemplating whether to enter the room or just go back home to her kids. She knew Danielle would probably never forgive her for what she had done, so what was the point of going in?  Yet, she thought back to all those happy moments they had spent together. Danielle’s laughter rang in her ears as she looked down to the floor. Aria glanced up and saw Chase staring at her. Chase wondered why she was even here. Not that he had anything against her, but he had heard that Danielle and Aria had been having some complications. He always knew them as best friends and couldn’t picture what had pulled them apart. Chase smiled at Aria and she reluctantly smiled back, pushing open the door.


“Flirting with other girls now? And you’re the one that’s supposed to care for Danielle,” Paris scoffed.
“No,” Chase corrected, “I was just smiling at Aria, Danielle’s best friend. She’s going to go check up on Danielle. Like you probably should!” he sneered back.
“I would. But I don’t know how she would react to me. You know how she reacted last time.” Paris suddenly got quiet, her voice barely above a whisper. “I did some messed up things to her when we lived on our own. Things I’m not proud of. Danielle just kind of threw me out and made herself forget everything. She wanted a new start and I think that’s why she started her challenge. A fresh new beginning; away from me. I just don’t like her challenge. She’s just putting herself out there and people aren’t going to like it. It’s a whore job. By taking it, she’s just become one of them. She’s just becoming a whore.”

“She’s not though! You know she isn’t,” Chase interjected, his voice rising.  “She’s perfect. . . . “

“As much as you know. She’s broken and I just came back to say I’m sorry and I hope she forgives me.” Paris stood up and gathered her things, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. Can you tell her that?”

Chase nodded. Maybe Paris did have a nice side to her.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, leaving the room.


Flashback 


“Let’s get outta here,” Paris sighed, helping me off the hospital bed. The room spun around and I leaned against Paris for support. I really didn’t know what was going on. “Where are we going?” I asked slowly, trying to maintain my balance. Paris grunted under my weight as she walked me to the car. “Where’s my baby?” I asked, my vision becoming blurry.
“Right here,” she comforted, pressing on the accelerator.


 A few hours later and we were who knows where. Outskirts of Bridgeport I’m guessing. My head pounded and I asked Paris for a glass of water. My mouth was so parched and the burning sun glaring at through the car window didn’t help what so ever.


“Where’s my baby?” I asked, Paris parking the car. When she didn’t respond I repeated my question, “Where is he?!”
“The hospital I’m guessing,” Paris said, as she got out of the car.
“What?”
“You heard me. You sleep forever anyways. He was just a nuisance. We’re better off,” Paris retorted. She then pointed to the building in front of us, “I’m going to get a drink. Wanna come?”

No. I did not want to come. I just wanted to snuggle my baby boy close to me and I hoped with all my heart that Paris was just pulling a prank. A stupid, immature prank. Fists clenched, tears streaming down my face I sobbed, “You have to be kidding. You have to be.”
“I’m sorry sister, but I’m not. He was annoying and the hospital is probably freaking out as we speak. They’re looking for you and you aren’t there. Long gone.”


“I-I have to go back. I have to get my baby,” I cried. Paris just stood there, jiggling the keys in the hand. “I’m afraid not,” she sneered. “I did this for your own good, you know. You’ll be better off without it holding you back. Kids are just terrible little annoyances.”

“Paris!” I pleaded, “He was my life. His little smile. His little giggle. You have to let me go back!”

“Bridgeport is a mighty long way from Twinbrook. You can go back if you wish, but I’m not taking you there myself” Paris groaned.

“Paris, I didn’t even get to name him.”

“Kids ruin your life. They ruined mine,” Paris whispered. “They do no good. They’re worthless."

“Paris, he’s mine though. We need to go back, please!”

“No.”



“Why not?” I yelled, tears freely flowing down my face.

“It’s not like you’re going to make a difference anyways. There’s nothing you will ever do to make a change. Face it, you’re just a small, unimportant life that’ll do nothing,” Paris raged.

“I’m not and nor will I ever be. Paris! Can we just go back?” I begged, “Please! I just want to hold him in my arms one last time. Paris, please!”

“He’s no importance and neither are you.” With that, Paris walked into the bar, probably planning to get as drunk as she possibly could- like usual.

********************



 “Push away the thoughts, Danielle. Erase the memories,” I chanted, as I did some yoga. I found myself a nice little flat back in Bridgeport after Paris had dumped me on the streets of Twinbrook. My parents accepted me with open arms even though I refused to tell them what happened. They didn’t need to know. But the place I was currently staying at was ok, I guess. Oh, who am I kidding. This place wasn’t ok by any means. Just temporary house for a temporary problem. I thought of my baby boy again and it brought tears to my eyes as it always did.

I didn’t even get to name him.


 I pushed all the memories to the back of my head and focused on forgetting them. Focusing on creating a false reality, erasing the terrible truth. I chanted once more, taking a deep breath in. Paris had completely ruined my life. Just if I didn’t go with her that gloomy Christmas Eve, my life would have been so different. I focused on erasing those memories. The ones that flipped my life and the ones a little before. slowly ceased to exist.

What if I just graduated and moved on my own. Paris and I just got into a fight and she left. Claire grew up and my mother gave birth to a little boy. What if.


“Push away the thoughts, Danielle. Erase the memories.” I breathed in more time, and slowly exhaled, the memories leaving with my breath. 

False reality it is.

But one thing stayed. Paris’ words of kids being worthless and of me being of no importance. The words stuck with me in the back of my conscience without even me properly knowing.
My kids would not be worthless and I would someday be of some importance. Because just like that article I had read so long ago encouraged, I was going to take up the challenge. The 100 Baby Challenge was mine for the grabbing.

The motive? Not for the fame, the money, the glory. It was for the kids. It was for the love I would be putting into this world, but most importantly I was planning to prove Paris wrong.
Even if I didn’t know it.

Present


“Thank god,” Chase announced just as I gained consciousness. “I thought I had lost you forever.” He rubbed his temples, his face caked in worry. The nurse had a smug grin on his, “What did I tell you? She wasn’t going anywhere.” He laughed, his green eyes sparkling.
I laughed, looking around the small room. “Where’s Paris?” I questioned. She wasn’t anywhere around here. I thought for sure that she would be here, apologizing.  But then again, it was Paris.
“She left a while ago,” Chase said, looking down to the floor. “She said she’s really sorry about everything.”
So she was sorry. Maybe Paris had changed, just a bit.


 Sitting on the sofa near the hospital bed, I watched as the snow outside. The little window allowing some light to fall onto the  room.
“So, I heard you are a challenge mother. Correct?” The doctor asked. I nodded my head in response. Did he want to be a challenge father?
“Uh,” he stuttered. “Do you need a challenge father? We can do artificial insemination here in the hospital.”
“Really? You guys can do that here?” It seemed odd. But there is a first for everything.


 Back in the now empty room, I gathered my stuff and looked around one last time. Hopefully I would never have to go back to this place again.
“Danielle,” a silky voice said behind. I turned around and faced my bestfriend, Aria.

“I’ve missed you. A lot,” I stated. It was true. I had missed her a ton. She was my other half and without her I didn’t know where to go. I imagine she felt the same way too.
“Don’t die on me now,” she joked. She laughed and I remembered all the times we had spent together.
“I won’t. I promise,” I joked back. “Aria, I’ve missed you. A lot. Like a lot, a lot.” I confessed.
“Can we just forgive and forget. I don’t know what I would do without you. I love you Danielle. You’re my sister; my bestfriend,” Aria stated, pulling me in for a hug.
“Forgive and forget. Sounds like a good plan to me. I love you too." 
~



And this chapter (all three parts) revealed a lot. 
I know :3 
Merry Christmas Eve for those who celebrate. 
^_^

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chapter 38: Part Two: Running Away with the Paris Extravaganza (Babies 51 & 52)


Warning: 
Mature Themes Ahead
(not that bad) 
Please go read Part One before continuing

Everything I had tried so hard to forget. The troubles. The sadness. The tears. The hate. I remembered it all. The images of my past took over, against my own free will. 

~

 

The scent of Christmas: eggnog, gingerbread, cinnamon, pine tree, spiced apple, floated around the entire house. I closed my drawer, taking one last look around the room that I had grown up in. I sat on my bed one last time, absentmindedly folding the edge of the sheet over itself. I fell back on my twin bed, the dark green sheets comforting me. I didn’t really want to leave this place. I didn’t feel ready. Fresh out of high school, I decided to take one year off then start going to college. But no, I highly doubted that was the plan any more.


Warm tears falling down my cheeks, I walked over to mirror, staring at myself. What had I become? Just some immature little girl, running away from home on Christmas just so her sister wouldn’t be alone on the journey? I’d rather be with my parents; downstairs, munching on candy canes, playing with my little sister, Claire. Maybe even watch my parents dance around the room, the lights on the Christmas tree illuminating their joyful faces. With a new baby on the way, they couldn’t be happier, at least from my point of view.


 Paris appeared at the doorway, dressed in heavy clothing. I avoided her glare, looking instead to the falling snow outside. I took in a deep breath, imagining exactly how cold it was. I made sure my gloves were on tight one last time; I did not want my hands to freeze off on the journey.
“Ready?” Paris asked. It was more of a rhetorical question than anything else. She had been planning this for a while; I just sort of hitched on in the middle of it. Considering I didn’t have another choice on than “Yes,” I nodded my head and left my room. I looked back, probably the last time I’ll ever see it again. Heading down the back way, Paris and I slowly crept downstairs and then peered into the large, open windows.


 “They don’t see us,” Paris whispered, looking through the frosted glass. I knelt down beside her, the cold, hard snow underneath me immediately soaking through all the layers of clothing I had just put on. I put my hands against the glass and peered inside to my family: my mother, father and little baby Claire perched up against the Christmas tree, the holiday lights bouncing around on their faces and the furniture.
“They don’t even know we're gone,” I whispered, my breath making a tiny cloud in front of me. I watched as my parents danced around the room, my little sister Claire stumbled around, playing with her stuffed animal. Paris pulled me away from the glass, away from our parents, away from the life we once knew so well. We silently walked down the driveway and into the open street. My cheeks stung from the icy cold wind and my hands felt as if they were going to fall off. 
Who knew that on Christmas Eve, two teenagers would be walking amuck the shadowed streets of Bridgeport, running away from home?


My stomach growled in hunger and Paris shot me a threatening glance.
“Keep quiet. We don’t want to get caught,” she breathed. We continued on for a little bit, coming to the bridge that led into the main part of town. Putting my foot forward, I looked down to the black, gloomy water beneath me then back to our house, which was just a small dot on the horizon. Oh, how badly I wanted to just go home. Paris suddenly grabbed my hand and dragged me forward. She must’ve known I would be scared to cross the bridge on my own. My breath shaking, we walked forward, the silence soon becoming overpowering. I caught myself once more looking back to the place we were running away from. But the reason we were running away was nonexistent.


“W-Why are we running away again?” I shyly questioned, breaking the deathly silence. Paris groaned slightly, the wind biting at her cheeks, making them a cherry red.  
“They don’t want us. They’ve never wanted us,” she coldly stated. Her words hung in the air, frozen by the pounding snow. Did our parents really not want us?
“Christmas Eve and they didn’t even notice we were gone,” Paris continued, biting her lip. “Too busy playing with Claire and gawking over the incoming baby.” Her head hanging down, Paris continued walking, leaving deep footprints in the fresh, white snow. “How does that make you feel?” she asked, her voice choked as she turned around to face me. Tears streamed down her face and onto her jacket, her grey eyes clouded with water. The snow kept coming down strong, Jack Frost nipping away at our exposed skin. “How does it make you feel to know you aren’t wanted? That you aren’t cared about? That’s why we’re running away, Danielle. We aren’t wanted at home, so why bother staying? We were simply just a burden there!” Paris turned away abruptly, sitting down against the ledge, overlooking the main town, her legs dangling down above the murky water. A part of me thought she was going to jump, but I knew she wouldn’t.


“That’s not true,” I countered, slowly walking towards her. I was afraid she was going to suddenly whip out in a mad frenzy like she sometimes did at home. I sat down next to my sister and gently hugged her.
“Danielle, stop feeding yourself lies. They didn’t even know we were gone. It’s Christmas Eve, goddammit!” Paris retorted, looking away from me.  Suddenly a car zoomed by- a police car.  Paris sunk into the shadows, completely disappearing from my sight and I followed suit until the car had left the bridge.
“Let’s get going.” Paris stood up, almost hitting her head on one of the bars. I stifled my laughter, Paris glaring at me as I picked myself off of the snow covered ground.


 “Why do you think like that, Paris?” I said once we had got going again. We were only halfway across the bridge and we probably still had a ton left to cover before the night was over.
“Why shouldn’t I? All the facts lead up to that conclusion. It’s the cold, hard truth. No sugar coating- nothing but the bare reality,” Paris said bitterly. I could almost see the venom in which she covered her words.
“But that’s just not true!” I knew our parents did care about us. That police car was probably heading to our house. Our parents were probably worried sick knowing we were running away.
“They’re spending too much time planning for the next baby instead of taking care of the ones they already have! I’ve come home crying before. Do they care? No!” Paris yelled into the dark space surrounding us.
“Paris, they do care. You just never take in what they are saying. I love you to death, but you're stubborn as a mule sometimes.” It was true, Paris was a stubborn as you could get. She wouldn’t take other people’s advice. In her mind, she was always right even when everyone else knew she was wrong.


“They love us. Can’t we just go back home?” I pleaded as I stopped walking.
“We are not ever going back to that hell hole!” Paris snapped. She turned around and faced me, pushing me backwards. I fell into the snow, the white powder going all over the place.
 “What the hell was that for?” I fumed, dusting the snow off my pants. I shook my head, snow falling out of my hair and onto the already snow covered pavement.
“We are not going back, ever. Got that?” Paris ordered, her lips turning a light blue. Paris extended her hand and I hesitantly grabbed it, doubting that she would actually help me up. 
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push you into the snow like that.  Just. . . . I’m never going back to that place.” Paris gently brushed off some snow off my shoulder, avoiding any direct eye contact.
“So,” Paris said lamely, looking down to the ground, “should we get going? I kinda don’t wanna be out here for too long. I’m losing feeling in my hands,” Paris confessed. I nodded my head in agreement but also to get some blood flow going.  I could barely move my fingers let alone move my legs as we walked to downtown Bridgeport.


 Christmas day. A day supposedly spent with loved ones, full of happiness and joy. Not for us, at least. The strong smell of alcoholic in the stale air made me somewhat light headed. My head rested on the warm wood of the bar table, repetitive Christmas music blasting around the room, silencing any other noises. Paris pounded her fist against the table, spilling who-knows-what all across the floor.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” Paris slurred, waving down the bartender. “Another one . . . please.”


 “You sure you guys are legal? Don’t look like it to me,” the bartender asked, pushing his jet-black hair out of his blue eyes. He was cute- in a way. I pretended to be fast asleep, unaware of what was going on besides me until he shrugged his shoulders and turned his back to us.
The truth was we weren’t legal- barely 19 years old. Yet, Paris was getting as drunk as she possibly could. What else was there to do on Christmas day when you’re all alone, nobody to celebrate the day with? I imagined how lonely it would be to work a bar on Christmas Day, probably encountering poor, lonely, hopeless souls that were drawn to this place to drown their sorrows in an intoxicating liquid, even if it was only for a little while.


I spotted a strange man across the room, leaning against the back of a rundown chair- asleep. Empty bottles where strewn across where he was sitting. Documents fluttered to the ground as the man got slowly got up, and put them away. Ok, so maybe he wasn’t asleep.


As Paris gulped another drink down and succeeded to fall out of her chair multiple times. I silently sipped a bit of water, laughing at my sister’s drunken behavior. All of a sudden, she jolted to the restroom, holding her stomach for dear life. She slammed into the side of the doorframe, quickly falling to the floor. She picked herself up rather unstably, and drunkenly stumbled to the restroom. 


 I pushed through the bar’s bathroom doors and immediately regretted it. Paris was barfing her guts out, cowering over the toilet. She moaned slightly before hugging the cheap porcelain of the toilet. I sat down at the opposite end of the restroom, planning to wait until Paris was feeling somewhat better. Sitting in the corner of the shabby room, I dozed off, dreaming about how much better Paris and I would be if we had just stayed home.

~


 “Merry Christmas, my darlings!” my mother chimed, poking her head through the door. Claire toddled over to my bed, tugging the sheets until I lifted her up to my bed. She played with the sheets, giggling and clapping her hands. “Christmas!” she laughed.


 “Yah, it’s Christmas! Time to be with family. Enjoy the wonderful day!” I played with Claire for a little bit while watching the snow gleefully fall onto the bare trees. It was truly a white Christmas. I sighed, combing my hair with my fingers. Today couldn’t get any more perfect, could it?


 The warm, inviting smell of cookies dragged Paris and I out of our room and downstairs. With Claire in her highchair, we sat in the kitchen, surrounded by delightful smelling treats. My father brought out a pan of warm chocolate chip cookies. As my mouth watered at the sight of the treat, I heard my mother jamming out on her piano like she usually did. They only difference this time was that she was singing along to her Christmas music as well.


 Stomachs full and sprits high, we all crowded around the brightly lit tree. Paris smiled a bright grin. She seemed genuinely happy. It just all seemed too perfect, surreal.  Suddenly, my father drunkenly walked into the room. Looking directly at me he slurred, “Hey there, baby. You be lookin’ sexy today.”

Wait, what?

~



  My head crashed onto the marble flooring. Jolted awake, I looked around the room to find Paris. She was crashed out right besides the toilet, snoring away, the scent of vomit and liquor still strong in the air.
“You hear me, beautiful?” questioned a strange voice in a drunken manner. I heard the sound of a heavy lock click shut as I turned around, facing the queer voice. Every fiber in my body urged me to get up and run. But I couldn’t. Fear had total control of my body, besides I couldn’t leave Paris all on her own to face this man. Who knows what he would do to her.
Who knows what he would do to me?

 It was the man that I saw putting away his papers on a couple minutes ago. Or was it hours ago? Who knew how long I had been sleeping? With the sun blaring through the frost of a tiny window in the opposite corner of the room, it was hard to tell the time of day, let alone exactly how long I had been asleep for.


I cowered towards the corner of the restroom as the man advanced forward, nearly falling flat on his face in the process. He pointed his finger towards my directions, muttering a few untranslatable words.
“Come ‘ere,” he urged, “I won’t hurt cha at all. Nah, pretty baby. I just wanna play.”
Play. What a thing to call it. As badly as I wanted to scream- to shout for help- the cry got caught in my throat and stayed there even as he pushed me against the wall, putting one hand up my shirt, the other running through my hair. I kicked him in the stomach and tried running away only to trip on Paris’ unconscious body.


“No, no,” the man demanded. “Just wanna have some fun. I swear” He picked my up by the waist, and stood me right besides him. He put a cold, greasy finger to my face, moving a strand of hair away from my face. His fingers caressed my face while I stood there in fear. There was nothing else I could do. Fear consumed me. His stale breath made me cringe away as he breathed on me, insisting that this was all simply just ‘fun’. My body shaking uncontrollably, a tear made its way done my face as the man advanced even further.  He urged me not to make a sound, wiping away the tears from my face, a greedy grin plastered on his face.
“Why you crying? This is fun,” he whispered, our noses touching. I backed my face away only to have my body be jerked closer towards him. There was no use to struggle anymore. 
He had me trapped- cornered.
 My only hope was Paris.

Paris, please.


Paris lay sleeping across the room- knocked out cold, her limbs spread out every which way.
 If only she would wake up and try to save me from this terrible fate. But no, as my cries of pain and terror were mixed with desperate pleads for help, she remained sleeping. She slept soundly as my life was carelessly ripped apart, piece-by-piece, monotonous Christmas songs playing softly in the background.

~


Once again, Paris was passed out on the sofa, her breath stinking of alcohol. I walked over to her, picking up the fallen bottles of beer off the floor. I gently rubbed my swollen stomach, remembering the night that had set my entire life completely off course. 

Snatching the fake ID out of Paris’ hand, I wondered how she even got these. The one I had burned a hole in my pocket. I never thought I would be living like this. Living off nothing, a baby growing everyday in my womb. Who would of ever predicated this?


A light rain pranced across Bridgeport, making the summer day somewhat muggy and dull. An open, damp newspaper lay on the kitchen table, if you could even call it a kitchen for that matter. Just a couple of cheap counters accompanied by a shabby table. As I sat down, the old, wooden seats creaked as if the pressure was too much. Paris evidently had scribbled on the newspaper, her handwriting ruining the article. Why would she write ‘whore’ all over it anyways?


“100 Baby Challenges Booming” the article read. It featured a few challenge mothers, congratulating them on completing and another section encouraging those just starting up. Almost a mother, I pondered the thought of doing a challenge of my own.
Could I have the will power to go through 100 births? Would I have enough strength? Enough courage? I doubt it. This pregnancy alone- just one mere birth- already had me stretched thin. Or maybe it was the entire situation that had me stressed beyond belief. Seeing all these wonderful ladies complete their life goal sent a surge of hope through me. 
That maybe things would turn out ok. Maybe one day, things would go back to normal.


And who knows? I could oddly picture myself raising 100 children. Watching their grey eyes- my eyes- look up to me, filled with happiness and joy. Their black hair highlighted with green, just like mine, pushed back as they played together. Gosh, what a life. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like it could actually happen. I adored children like my parents and I just hoped I would be a good mom. Especially since my baby won’t ever know his father. 
Hell, I didn’t know who the father was.


 Oof. I pain shot down my abdomen. “Paris!” I gasped, clenching my stomach. “The baby’s coming!” Paris rolled over on the couch, sipping a bottle of wine.
 “You’re no help at all.” Finding the keys, I rushed my way to the hospital, the contractions becoming stronger by the minute.


 “Push, Danielle!” A handsome young nurse insisted. Chase stroked my hand, comforting me. “You’re a mother of 50! You can do this!”
A mother of 50.
I took in a deep breath, pushing with all my might. Clenching Chase’s hand, I prepared for the birth of my 51st child.


“First time mother?” a gentle voice asked.
“Yeah,” I barely huffed out. The pain was unbearable. How did those challenge mothers go through this?
“Challenge mother?” she asked, as I clenched her hand tight. I shook my head no. Being a challenge mother was the absolute last thing on my mind.
“Oh, I just thought because there is not fath-“ I glared her down, and she stopped speaking. She didn’t know the situation I was in. And evidently, I hoped that no one would know what I had gone through. I cried out in pain, my thoughts scattering.
And this was just one birth.


“Almost there, Danielle. Almost there, love,” Chase calmly soothed.
“Two babies!” the doctor announced- or was it the nurse? Everything seemed so far away. The voices echoed as the Chase asked what we should name the two new bundles of joy. I tried saying a name only to see that my lips couldn’t move. My head pounding, I slowly slipped away to unconsciousness.

“Sir, please get away from her. We have to check a few things now,” the doctor interrupted, pushing Chase away. I heard the beat of the heart monitor slowing down with each passing second.
“She’ll be ok? Right? She’ll be ok?!” Chase questioned, his voice intertwining with the cries of my newborn babies.
“We think,” the nurse flatly stated.


Sweat dripped down my forehead, I felt the pop of a blood vessel as I gave birth to my first-born. “A bubbly boy,” the nurse announced, her voice wrapped in awe. “He’s gorgeous.” She quickly disappeared, probably going to get him all cleaned up.
“Mother. Already? Aren’t you a bit young?” Paris joked, standing at the entrance to the room. Clothes tattered from last night’s affair and makeup smudged beyond repair, Paris smiled at me - a smile that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I weakly smiled back.



“Danielle,” Chase sobbed, “you have to stay with me. I can’t lose you. Not like this. Please!” he begged. “Danielle, for me! For your kids. Please . . . . .”

The steady beat of the heart monitor marched on.

~


I'm sorry for the terrible screenshots. My game seems to have a grudge against me.