Generation One

Chapter Nineteen: Gen 1 Finale – No One’s Laughing

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

As the weeks passed, the number of individuals who were gunned down in Bubbleport increased.  Mr. Prelude had been the first, though he had somehow survived the shooting – a real miracle, according to the reporters. The bullet that struck him had missed his vital organs but pierced through his spin upon exiting, restricting him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life as a paraplegic. Still, he was a lucky man compared to the dozen other uprising supporters who could now be found in the local Bubbleport cemeteries.

No one was ever arrested in the shooting of Mr. Prelude. No one was arrested for killing any of the other Berries, either. The media claimed that the police were vigilantly inspecting the cases for evidence. I knew better than to believe those lies. Many of the shootings were done in public, with several eye witnesses to the murders. Numerous witnesses would not stand trial or speak to the police, either out of fear of becoming victims themselves or out of hate for the dead, but many did speak up. They were just turned away or quickly labeled as an unreliable source.  The police, though they would never admit it, had no desire to lock away the criminals that had ended so many lives.

The strings of violent crimes against members of the uprising caused its membership to fall off. Loyalty to the cause was all but forgotten when their own lives were at stake. Suddenly everyone was afraid of the resistance’s influence, of what gratuitous actions might be taken against them. It stayed that way for years and an uneasy peace settled over the city of Bubbleport.

Then, one night, the resistance re-emerged as a faceless organization. The revolution worked at night, under the veil of darkness. No longer able to spread their thoughts and opinions through open media outlets, they began painting the city in posters. Posters that depicted my sculpture, the image that was leaked to the resistance and slogans were soon plastered on every building of every street. The city would clean off the ‘defecation of private property’, as the media liked to call it, only to have it slathered back on again the following night. The city tightened its night patrol and declared martial law in attempts to gain control over the situation and, for a while, it seemed they had won. Then slowly, the reports started back up. One poster here. Another there. It was nowhere near the scale as it had been but it was the beacon of hope some needed. The beacon of hope I needed.

No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

Of course, I watched these events unfold over the past three years via my television. The photograph that had been leaked was never traced back to my family. It was never traced back to anyone, to be honest. While I suspected it was Cephei who had slipped the image into someone’s hands, I couldn’t be certain. The night the initial riots broke out Cephei had attempted to contact me. She tried to contact me for weeks after the image was released. I just didn’t want to hear her excuses, her reasons. Ivy sided with me on this, as did Cream. Both women openly discussed their contempt for the yellow Berry with each other and Ivy often apologized for having faith in Cephei for so long. I think it goes without saying that Ivy no longer resides in the same home as her anymore.

While Bubbleport was in ruins, Sugar Valley seemed to revolve in ignorant bliss. There were no posters here. No protestors demanding the truth. Everyone simply acted as if the occurrences in Bubbleport were a nuisance that occasionally caused the price of luxury goods to rise. While this irritated me to no end, I couldn’t help but be relived at the same time.

If no members of uprising made a scene here then that meant the resistance would be at bay, as well. As long as the resistance didn’t storm into town, throwing caution and law to the wind, I could manage to sleep at night. Because as long as they were not here it meant the chance of harm falling upon my family was at a minimum.

*

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests

“Dad, you promised!”

I suddenly had to curse my son’s curiosity and, apparently, his amazing memory as well, “I just don’t think it is good idea.”

“How come we never get to go anywhere! I just want to see the ocean.” Mithos pleaded.

“Because we’re freaks,” Pandora hissed as she walked into the kitchen and plopped herself down into a chair, “right, Mom?”

Even though she was currently stirring cake mix, Cream didn’t miss a beat, “You’re not a freak, honey,” She paused for a moment and then added, “None of you are.”

Pandora rolled her eyes but stayed silent as I answered Mithos original question, “It’s dangerous out there, Myth. You’re thirteen. I know you all think you know everything but you don’t and –“

“Of course I don’t, you don’t let us do anything.” Mithos whined, following his sister’s example of throwing himself down at the dinner table.

The moody teenage years were upon them and every day I wished they could go back to being the little tikes I use to tuck into bed and read stories to. Honestly, Pandora was the worse. She was never in a good mood, had a bad habit of throwing herself around like a ragdoll and cursed like a sailor. I wasn’t sure where she got it from – I certainly didn’t swear often and neither did Cream – but she could fit more curse words into one sentence than verbs, adjective and nouns combined. Despite her attitude problem, and her tendency to tease Estelle, Pandora had her redeeming qualities. She was quick, witty, and perceptive – not to mention a good fighter. For her last two birthdays in a row she had asked for karate lessons, which we substituted for home lessons via videos.

Myth, on the other hand, was a clone of myself. He was artistic, brave and didn’t believe in the constructs of society – well, the ones that he was aware of, anyway. Cream and I must have told him one too many times as a kid that it was duty to protect his sisters, because he had basically promised to defend them both from any dangers – even imaginary ones. He still checked under Estelle’s bed every night for monsters and often chided Pandora for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.

Estelle didn’t have a moody bone in her body. She was quiet, possessed a soft voice and rarely spoke unless she was spoken to first. She never complained about the restrictions we put on the three of them and always sat silently when Myth and Panda would attempt to wiggle their way outside. Sometimes though, when the family was having a discussion, she would pipe up out of nowhere and put the whole household to shame with her verbose explanations and diction. She had quite the way with words; she was just too shy to use them.

“Estellise, fudging tell father he can’t make fudging promises he won’t fudging keep.” Panda implored her sister, to which Estelle just shrugged and continued to swing her feet under the table.

“Young lady, we do not use such language!” Cream shouted over her shoulder. Panda rolled her eyes but muttered something that sounded akin to an apology.

“Look you two; I made that promise when you were little. I had no idea that the dangers in the world would spin so out of hand. I just, I can’t take that risk now. Maybe when you are older.”

“We’re thirteen!” Mithos cried, “We’re gonna waste away in this house!”

My reply was cut off by the chime of the doorbell, “I’m going to get that. You all better be on your best behavior.” I warned. Estelle’s cheerful ‘yes sir!’ was almost drowned out by Panda and Myth’s whines.

I already knew who was at the door so when I opened it and two familiar green faces were present, it didn’t surprise me. It was, however, weird to see Ivy with a man. Her husband, to be more exact.

It had been a long road for my best friend and though I didn’t approve of her using this guy as a cover, I wasn’t going to out her to him. Plus, she really wanted children and apparently that was enough to justify marrying a man she could never really love.

The dinner passed by with no real issues. Panda gave her signature attitude throughout dinner but Estelle and Mithos were both well behaved in front of our guests. After being excused from the table, the three teenagers made their way to the back of the house and into their bedroom.

The rest of the night was spent chatting away about our lives. Ivy was now a prominent surgeon at the hospital and had a reputation for being able to save individuals who were passed saving. She was so well known, in fact, that many rich Berries from other parts of the country personally requested her services. They would travel great distances in order to see her or even pay for her flights if they were not well enough to make the trip.

Her husband, Cameo, was a writer from Bubbleport and had met Ivy when he had been in town doing an interview of her. At first Ivy hadn’t cared much for the man but slowly, as they got to know each other over his work, she realized he shared her view on many important political stances – including Mixed Berries, Gay Marriage and Inter-Color Laws. Once he trusted her enough, he admitted that he himself was a part of the uprising in Bubbleport, but only used a pen name when he published articles of that nature.

No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yet

During our long winded conversation, Cream had excused herself to check on the triplets. When she returned, her face was whiter than usual and tears were welling up in her eyes, “Maize, I can’t find them!”

I turned away from Ivy and Cameo, smile dying from my lips, “What do you mean you can’t find them? Who can’t you find?” It was a dumb question, really. I knew she had to be referring to our kids. No one else was here, after all.

“Our babies, Maize! They’re gone! Their bedroom window is open and they’re gone.” She emphasized the word gone this time, hoping that I would see the importance of the situation.

I did. I was on my feet and searching for the keys to my motorcycle, “Go look in the art room, the bathroom, the waterfall. Anywhere they might be hiding.” I ordered no one in particular. Cream nodded, taking off to check the other rooms while Ivy ran outside to check the pond and waterfall nearby. She must not have gotten far because before I even realized she was missing she was back in the living room, eyes wide.

“Maize, Cameo’s car is missing…”

“What?” Cameo and I shouted in unison, though for different reasons. His car was expensive.

Finally finding my keys, I snatched them off of the bookcase just as Cream came back into the room, “Maize, let me come with you.”

I shook my head, gesturing to Ivy instead, “Will you look after Cream?”

“I will not just sit here while my babies are missing!” Cream bellowed. I flinched, biting my bottom lip. I knew Cream would slow me down; I couldn’t drive as fast with her tagging along on the back of the Beast. We had tried it once before when we were younger and she had been terrified. I couldn’t vocalize that, though. Cream would have my head.

Ivy came to my recuse, “We’ll call a cab to my house and then grab my van to look in town.”

I didn’t stick around to hear whether or not Cream agreed to this plan.

*

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir

Every moment that I didn’t know where my children were might as well been another blade in my heart. The throbbing in my chest emanated pain throughout my whole body and left a sour taste in my mouth. Tears started blurring my sight, whether from the wind whipping relentless at my eyes or the morbid thoughts that clouded my judgment, I wasn’t certain. I made a routine of wiping my face with the back of my hand in lame attempts to clear my vision. I needed to be able to see – to drive and to find my children.

Soon the sun had set, the late October air biting into my exposed skin. The adrenaline pumping through my system kept me warm despite the falling temperatures as I zigzagged through traffic haphazardly, running stop signs and red lights alike. I ignored the curses thrown callously my way as I cut off a minivan. I must have been searching for hours already, hands stiff on the handlebars, when an epiphany hit me.

The ocean.

Making a wide U-turn, I headed off in the direction of the beach without a second thought. Something in the pit of my stomach told me this is where I would find them. The speed limit was all but forgotten as I raced towards my destination.

I hadn’t even reached the sea before the air became heavy, salt adding a light fragrance to the night. The roads were deserted at this hour – since it was well past midnight – and my single headlight was the sole source of light illuminating the street. Bile rose to the back of my throat, filling my mouth with a distinctively sour taste as two figures burst into view.

Panda and Estelle.

Their hands were tightly clasped together, hair matted down with sweat and dirt. Their wide eyes darted around the open field, fear prominent in their young faces. My stomach dropped as they turned their heads in my direction, blood smeared on both of their fair skin. As they registered who I was the slowly faded from their features as tears welled up in their eyes. They hurried towards me, hands still tightly clasped. I had long since pulled over, hastily strewing my motorcycle in the grass as I raced to their side.

“Are you alright?”

I held onto them with the intention of never letting them go, tears streaking our face as we cherished each other’s warmth. Both girls nodded, hands making small fists in the fabric of my jacket. It wasn’t until Pandora spoke up, teeth chattering, that I realized something was missing.

No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

“Daddy, Myth, he’s… There were these men a-and they started messing with Estelle s-so.” She was speaking so fast I could hardly understand her. The moment Pandora mentioned the men, Estelle soft cries turned into heart wrenching sobs.

I quickly fumbled into my pockets, extracting my cellphone, “Call mother and tell her where we are. Where did you last see Mithos?”

Estelle raised a shaky hand east, the direction they had been fleeing from, before she let go of my jacket and reattached herself to her sister. I gave them both fleeting kisses on the forehead and instructions to sit still until their mother or I returned, before swiftly ran towards the horizon.

It was a good fifteen minute trek downhill before the grass slowly began to ebb away to sand. The darkness clung to the sea and the only help my eyes received was from the waning moon that hung high in the velvet sky. The men Pandora had been whimpering about must have already departed as the beach was isolated. Silence hung thick in the air, only shattered by the occasional wave that crashed against the shore. I slowly began walking parallel to the waterline, listening to the crunch of sand beneath my feet as I scanned the area for my son.

He would be here. He would be fine. We’d go home and laugh about this one day.

I kept repeating that in my head, over and over again, in order to keep my mind from wandering to the darker thoughts that had plagued me on my ride over here. Those words, however, were terminated when I noticed a dark figure collapsed in the distance. As if in disbelief, I started walking faster, gaining speed, until I was almost in a full run. When the darkness gave away to yellow skin and hair, a ghastly screech ripped through the night. I collapsed beside the limp body, not realizing that I was producing the awful noise.

Tears dripped from my chin onto Mithos’ cheek, mixing with the dried blood that had was caked onto his face. My hands twitched beside him, unsure where to touch him. Scanning his body, I could tell that one of his legs was bent at an unnatural angle and his arms didn’t seem quite right. The cause of my anguish, however, stemmed from his eyes. Wide open, his eyes were rolled back into his head revealing the white of his eyes.

Check if he’s breathing.

The thought broke through the shock, and I quickly went to obey the command. His chest was rising and falling, though only slightly, and the air that rushed from his lungs seemed to be ragged and hallow.

“It’s going to be alright,” I whispered instinctively. It was funny how, even though I had no idea if he could hear me or not, I found myself needing to comfort my son, “We’ll get you to the hospital and they’ll fix you up.”

As I scooped his doll-like body into my arms, I realized that perhaps I needed to hear those words more than him.

No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

*

The hospital didn’t fix Mithos.

Ivy had been the surgeon to operate on him, the only one who even had a chance at saving his life, according to every doctor I spoke to.

But she didn’t.

Not because she didn’t want to, of course. It was simply too late. His wounds were too extensive – his broken ribs had pierced internal organs which lead to internal bleeding which lead to medical terminology I didn’t care to decode. It didn’t matter what medical terminology they used, he had was gone. Faded before his time.

Ivy beat herself up over it. I tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault but I barely had enough energy to get myself out of bed every morning, let alone comfort her. She came over often, cried with Cream in the kitchen for hours until both women looked ready to fade themselves. I often sat in silence and watched, unable to cry. I hadn’t been able to cry since the day he passed.

Besides crying, Cream cut her hair short. Very short and in a style very similar to Mithos’ before he faded. She hardly cooked anymore and we hardly slept in the same bed. She had taken a liking to Mithos’ bed, and slept in it almost every single night. It meant the girls weren’t alone in this time of crisis, which was a good thing.

Pandora was the strongest out of everyone. She kept her head held high and never showed her sadness in public. Even at the small funeral we held for him, she swallowed her sadness and kept a stern face. I wasn’t sure if it was her way of coping or if she was just trying to be the wall she thought she everyone needed.

Estelle might have taken it the hardest. She had always been a quiet child but since the accident she refused to speak. When she needed to communicate something to us she would grab a piece of paper and a pencil before scribbling down everything that she could have just as easily said. That’s right, Estelle was a mute by choice. We had worried that something that happened had night had caused her to lose her ability to speak but she had simply wrote to use that she felt it was better this way.

Why, we didn’t know.

As for myself, I felt like the biggest failure. I often contemplated how we could have avoided this situation and the answer was simple. Freedom. If I had taken Mithos to see the ocean as he had pleaded, he might still be alive. If I hadn’t been so scared of what would happen if we took them outside they wouldn’t have ran away that night. It was my fault. If only I had been there.

But I hadn’t been.

&I had to take every single breath of every single day knowing that was why my son was no longer here – because of me and some hateful Berries.

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

Generation One

Chapter Eighteen: Well, You’ve Won

Rip the earth in two with your mind

Seal the urge which ensues with brass wires

Time moved sluggishly after the incident with Cephei. I spent every minute of every hour looking over my shoulder, convinced that at any second my freedom would be stripped away and my new dwellings would be inside a cold caged cell. I was well aware that Cephei had all the evidence she needed to convict me of any crime she desired to accuse me of – fornicating with Cream, producing ‘Can You See Me Now’. She had been one of my closest friends and as such had been there to take photographs at every birthday, every holiday. The seer amount of power she held over my future, and my children’s, caused my stomach to whir.

But time eventually did crawl along and the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months with no intrusions on my life. No police breaking down my door in the middle of the night. No thugs accosting me on the street. No reports bugging me about my life – well, no more than usual. I felt a flicker of hope that perhaps Cephei would keep all of my secrets. Even though she refused all my phone calls and stormed out of the house whenever I visited, it would seem that Cephei hadn’t tattled on. At least not yet.

Ivy was convinced that Cephei had no intentions of ratting me out to the police, media or government. Whenever we spoke about the yellow girl, which was often, Ivy would tell me how she was coping. Apparently Cephei had been a sobbing mess for almost three weeks, had called me every sugary name in existence but had never once hinted that she wanted revenge or had planned to unleash hell upon my life. Even under the enormous pressure she was under from the press and riled up individual, Cephei was keeping my secret. She hadn’t cracked.

I never meant you any harm

But your tears feel warm as they fall on my forearm

I wanted to thank her; praise her for being such a good friend even after I had stepped on her heart but I couldn’t. She wouldn’t let me breathe the same air as her anymore, let alone get two words out.

Not everyone was upset about this, however. Cream, for one, had been happy when I told her Cephei wanted nothing to do with me anymore. Cream had been horribly upset over the kiss shared between me and Cephei and had yelled for almost an hour straight when I had come home that night. Luckily, her voice could only take so much abuse before it became hoarse and raw and I was let off the hook soon after. Honestly, Cream hadn’t been yelling at me the whole time though I got more than an earful. She had been more stressed out about the circumstances and the consequences the whole situation could have on not only me and her, but the children.

But close my eyes for a while

Force from the world a patient smile

Some weeks later, I found an opportunity to put my triplets to sleep. It was a rare occasion that had all three of them bouncing around in excitement. They lead me around their bedroom to show me new toys that had been purchased and new drawings that had been made. Finally, after much coaxing, I got all three settled into their respective beds.

“What kind of story do you want to read tonight?” I asked, realizing a second too late how bad of an idea that was.

“Action!”

“Horror!”

“Romance!”

“Panda, we cannot read a horror story before bed. You know they give Estellise nightmares.” I stated, grabbing a random book off of the shelf.  The three of them were completely different souls – I should have known better than to ask all three of them for their preference on the book. However, it wouldn’t have been fair to ask just one of them and so it was reader’s choice tonight, “How about Alice in Wonderland?” I inquired, looking down at the beat up book in my hands. After a few grumbles and whines, that I ignored, I sat down in the rocking chair next to the bookshelf and began to read.

I had only gotten two pages in when Panda’s voice floated down from above, “Are you and mommy getting a deevorce?”

I blinked, startled into silence. I couldn’t get divorced from Cream – we weren’t even married. Of course, that was something none of the triplets needed to know. At least not while they were still eight-years-old, “Why would you say that?”

Estelle snuggled in closer to her pillow and Mithos propped his head up on one of his arms, shooting a stern look at Pandora who I couldn’t see at the moment, “Because, we heard Mommy yelling about you kissing another girl, Daddy. You shouldn’t kiss other girls.” She chided.

I could help it. I laughed. I was being lectured by my eight-year-old daughter on how to have a healthy relationship, “Oh Panda, I’m not kissing anyone but Mommy, don’t worry. What you heard was mommy being mad because another girl kissed me.”

Estelle let out a deep breath she had been holding, tears welling up in her eyes, “We thought you were gonna go away and never see us again.”

I found my eyebrows furrowing as I closed the book and stood up, gathering my little girl into my arms. I glanced at Mithos, who looked slightly annoyed by this whole conversation, and then to Pandora who was climbing down from the top bunk, “Hey you three, I’m not going anywhere. Even if I was getting a divorce from Mommy, that wouldn’t stop me from seeing you. I love all three of you, don’t you ever forget that.”

Pandora threw herself into my arms and I slowly rocked the two of them. Mithos was still sitting on his bed and I motioned him to join us. He looked torn for a moment, like he didn’t know if he wanted to look weak in front of his little sisters, but eventually he joined us in our cuddle session.

The story was all but forgotten that night.

*

The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home

If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

The first time I ever saw a news story on the uprising was on the triplet’s ninth birthday. I had taken to watching the news, perhaps out of paranoia, when a vaguely familiar face showed up on the screen. Mr. Prelude was a young business man from Bubbleport and was currently doing a small interview with one of the local news casters. I thought it was strange that a local news channel from Bubbleport was being aired over here in Sugar Valley but didn’t really pay it much attention. They were asking him popular questions – which football teams he was rooting for, what plans his company had for the future and the normal inquiry of what he thought of the anonymous artist and the hysteria his one sculptor had begun. Apparently the twenty-something was a huge fan of the Bubbleport Eagles and had big plans for the future of the city. However, it was the answer to the final question that caught my attention.

“I am assuming you are referring to ‘Can You See Me Now’.” The reporter nodded his head at Mr. Prelude, “I do not see the problem with it. It is a masterpiece and the idea of Mixed children doesn’t bother me.”

I had been startled at this admission; since it was the first time I had ever heard someone state this opinion – especially on the telly. The reported seemed just astonished as me, his jaw flapping around like a fish out of water. I didn’t get to witness the end of the interview, as I had to go watch my babies grow another year older, but the next day as I met with a potential client it was all anyone was speaking about.

Mr. Prelude’s omission had invigorated a small wave of Berries in his city to speak up. Conspiracy theorist flocked to the idea of Mixed Berries and made public statements both on the web and to any news station that would take them. Their most compelling argument stated that the government would not have put a ban on inter-color marriages if Mixed Berries were nothing more than a myth. They claimed that the Inter-color laws were simply a way of controlling the population. It was slow growing but it was there, based in the city.

To say that this had a negative impact on the public would have been the understatement of the year. As the interview and movement gained steam and views, the outcry grew. Supporters of the Inter-Color Laws soon started their own movement, which acted as a resistance.  The problem was that the resistance acquired support at a rate that made the uprising’s eyes spin. The uprising was vocal but passive, simply stating their opinions and vying for change. One division of the opposition, called ‘The Purist Resistance’, was anything but unruffled by these ideas. They had no qualms letting everyone know it and were far more violent in their endeavors. and With the law on their side they rarely found themselves behind bars.

No one would realize just how violent until a year later.

*

And you rip it from my hands

And you swear it’s all gone

“You have to send me a picture of them soon.”

I was on the phone with my father, sitting down in some expensive leather chair that was decorating the lavish lobby of some law firm. The women behind the desk kept fluttering her lashes at me, which I thought was highly inappropriate since a ring graced her finger. I ignored her as politely as I could, eyes trained on the television and thoughts on the conversation I was having.

“I will. They’re getting way too big. I just wish you could meet them.” I said, watching as some new reporter droned on about the stock market.

“You have no idea how much I wish I could meet them, too. Talking to them on the phone once a month just doesn’t cut it for the grandpa in me. I want to spoil them rotten.”

I nodded, understanding how he felt to some extent. I wanted to be around my own children twenty-four-seven but reality just wouldn’t allow for it. I chewed on my lips as my father asked how they were doing, “Ah, Panda is as devilish as always. Scaring Estelle at every turn and encouraging Mithos’ new found curiosity. Estelle is still quiet, always afraid of stepping on her brother’s and sister’s toes and well, Mithos’ lately has been insatiable when it comes to learning. Cream says he’s always asking for new books and –“ My voice failed me as the television cut away from the stock market and to a photograph of three children, each around the age of six. Their hair alternated from yellow to white back to yellow and their skin the same. I felt bile rise to the back of my throat and suddenly the secretary that had been fluttering her mascara laden lashes held my full attention.

And you rip out all I have

Just to say that you’ve won, you’ve won

“Turn it up.” I heard my father ask me something, though I wasn’t paying enough attention to catch what he said. The yellow women looked surprised but as I repeated myself, only louder, she quickly began to shuffle through the objects on the counter for, what I assumed would be, a remote control.

“This image was just sent to a member of the Purist Resistance by an anonymous source. It seems to depict three young children who are of a mixed descent. It seems the members of this movement are taking the image seriously and are investigating where it came from. Whether or not the image has been altered in away is yet to be determined.”

“I have to call you back.” I whispered, not really registering whether or not he had heard or responded to be before clicking off the phone.

The ride to the Storm residence was spent with my mind whirling out of control. I didn’t even remember leaving the lobby of the law firm, let alone getting on my bike and driving the hour out of town. I must have moved on autopilot, body automatically moving without my conscious leading the way.

“Cream,” I started hoarsely, watching the love of my life as she turned around at the sound of my voice. Her lips were pulled into a smile, eyes brimming with happiness as she put down the book she had been reading to the children. Her expression dropped, falling at the sight of my own face which must have been contorted with worry.

“What’s the matter?” She whispered, brushing a stray bang out of her eyes.

My eyes feel down to Mithos, Estelle and Panda, who all sat in silence around Cream’s feet. All of them were obviously aware that whatever had me worked up was not good, “Do you three mind going to your room? I need to show Mommy something really important.” I implored, watching as their ten-year-old bodies scrambled to their feet as they silently went to their bedrooms. Once they were out of sight I rummaged around the couch for a moment, flicking on the television. I didn’t even have to turn it to a news channel, as every programming had been interrupted to display the breaking news.

“This just in! Mr. Prelude seems to have been gunned down today in an assassination attempt. Whether or not this is at all connected with the image that had been released just an hour ago is unknown but-”

Cream and I sat in silence, eyes blankly taking in the chaos that was ensuing just a few hours away. The picture of Panda, Mithos and Estelle kept flashing on the screen every few minutes, as if to remind the viewers of the cause of the turmoil.

Well, now you’ve won

_______________________________________________________________

A/N: Sorry I went ghost for a little while. I do plan on getting out another chapter on Saturday or Sunday in order to make up for it. Thank you for your support. :]

Song: ‘I Gave You All’ by Mumford and Sons

Generation One

Chapter Seventeen: Can You See Me Now?

“Daddy?”

I jumped, startled at the sudden interruption in my work. A deep breath calmed my racing heartbeat as I turned to my colorless haired daughter with chisel in hand. A deep frown marred my face as I prepared to lecture my colorless haired daughter. Not because I was annoyed at her interruption but because I had a terrible habit of leaving dangerous tools laying around while I was engrossed in a piece. The scolding died on my lips, however, as her seven-year-old face looked pained and curious at the same time.

“What’s the matter, Panda?” I asked, concerned.

“Why doesn’t anyone on television look like me?”

Out of all the possible questions she could have asked me that was one I was unprepared for. I stood there, mind blank, as Pandora looked up at me with wide eyes. It took me a few moments, in which Pandora squirmed uncomfortably, but I finally managed to reply, “Well, Panda, colorless berries are extremely rare and-”

She shook her head, interrupting me. It was a habit we were trying to break her out of, “No, Mommy already told me that! How come no one on television has different colored eyes? They’re always one color, like you and Mommy and Mema. No one looks like me or Mithos or Estelle.” She whined, clearly upset at this realization.

I let her interruption slide for the moment as her distress pulled at my heartstrings, “Oh, Panda. You’re what, I guess, would be called a Mixed Berry.” I said, kneeling down in front of my daughter to look into her cream colored eyes.

“Why are there no Mixed Berries on the TV?”

“Because, baby, Mixed Berries are even rarer than colorless Berries.” I explained, dodging around the truth. Cream had been home schooling the triplets, which meant they had never read nor learned about the laws of the cruel world we lived in. They also didn’t know that, according to society, their very existence was impossible. The three of them had few interactions with anyone that wasn’t related to them – Ivy and Cephei being the sole exceptions. Occasionally we would take them down to the waterfall to play but either me or Cream would have to watch the roads to make sure no one wandered by and saw the children.

It was taxing, nerve-wrecking and worrisome but more than anything it was unfair to the triplets.

“So, we’re really special, like super hero special?” She asked, cocking her head to the side.

“Yes, exactly like super heroes, Panda. Only don’t try to jump off anything – you can’t fly.” I teased, tapping her nose. She giggled, big smile plastered onto her face.

“Does that mean I’m the mostest special of all, since I’m almost all colorless AND mixed?”

I laughed, knowing I couldn’t agree with her since it would start a war between Estelle, Panda and Mith, “No, baby, all three of you are the same amount of special.”

She pouted, stomping her tiny foot, “But I wanna be the mostest special, Daddy.”

I shook my head at her small tantrum, my fatherly face falling back on, “Panda you know you are all equal in my eyes. Now go back to your room. I have to finish this piece by tomorrow.” My small lecture was followed by her angry huff and crossed arms. I rolled my eyes at her, throwing her over my shoulder like a sack of rice. Her small form vibrated with giggles as I crossed the small hallway that separated my workspace from the triplet’s bedroom. Estelle was wrapped up on her bed with a book in hand while Mithos played on the wooden floors.  Both of them looked up at us as I plopped Pandora onto her brother’s bed.

“Panda!” Mithos exclaimed, clambering up from his piles of toys with his hands on his hips, “Were you bugging dad again?”

Pandora stuck her tongue out at him, “Shut up, you’re icky.”

“Hey!” I yelled, assuming a posture very similar to Mithos’, “You do not tell your brother to shut up nor do we call each other icky! Apologize right now.”

“Yea, apologize!” Mithos echoed.

“I’m sorry,” Pandora sighed begrudgingly. Though it wasn’t honest I already knew it was the best we were going to get out of her.

“Are we all ok in here now?” I asked all three of them.

“Yea….”

“I’m fine.”

I looked over at Estellise, who had gone back to reading her fairy tale by now. She always had been quiet when compared to her siblings and rarely liked to burden me or her mother with any of her problems , “Estellise, are you ok?”

She tilted her book back slightly, nodding in my direction with a small smile hanging on her lips, “Yes, Daddy.”

As I shut the door behind me I heard Pandora whisper, “You’re still icky, Mithos.”

*

It was strange, watching Berries view my work in secret. I had always attended the exhibits that showcased my work as the artist – talking with potential clients and explaining my techniques. For this show, however, I had used a pen name. The anonymous cover it provided for me was needed – or at least that’s what Ivy, Cream and Cephei had all said. They were afraid of how people would react to it. The consequences the artist might face having created such a piece.

The sculpture was innocent enough – a young women carrying her child that was no more than two-years-old. If that had been all I’m sure that no one would have raised an eyebrow at it but that wasn’t the case. No, the color is what made the piece speak volumes. Both mother and child had porcelain white skin, carefully and skillfully engraved in marble. The details etched into the mother’s face screamed injustice, her eyes calling for help to all the patrons that gazed at her. The most startling feature, however, was the child. While her skin matched her mother’s in color, her hair did not. The bright yellow stood in stark contrast to the otherwise lack of color the piece possessed as the child tried to hide away from the world by burying her face in her mother’s neck.

My poor, shy, Estellise.

As far as reactions went, I noticed the overall consensus was negative. Some scoffed at the impossibility of it all – a mixed child. Others were disgusted at the thought of interbreeding Berries and had no qualms letting their fellow viewers in on their feelings. As I wandered around the gallery, taking in other artist’s work that had been put on display, only one piece of art was on anyone’s lips. Mine. Even as they gazed at a beautiful landscape painted by the brilliant Mango-Tango their mind and tongues were fixated on Estellise’s yellow locks and Cream’s anguished eyes. I quickly realized that the sculpture I had named “Can You See Me Now?” had somehow turned into the main attraction, slowly infecting the whole gallery with curiosity, sympathy or anger.

“To even imply such a thing!” A pink women hissed, brushing her hair back, “It is ridiculous, everyone knows Berries can only bred with their own color!”

I eavesdropped shamelessly as I slowly made my rounds, “But wouldn’t it be interesting if it were possible?” Replied the male green berry.

“Or perhaps it is – has anyone ever tried?” Countered the teal female berry.

“Even if Berries of different colors could breed,” another pink Berry started, “They would surely produce inadequate, unintelligent things.”

A soft hand landed on my shoulder, ripping my attention away from the group in front of me and to my best friend, “Maize, we need to leave.” Her hand shook as it left my shoulder, her eyes darting around the gallery in search for an unknown threat.

I frowned, unsure what had gotten under Ivy’s skin, “Calm down. Tell me, what happened?”

She gulped down a few breaths of air, her hands steadying as her eyes finally focused on my face, “Oh, Maize, there are some people here who are in an uproar over that Mixed Berry piece,” She stated vaguely, trying to keep any implications that I was the artist out of her tone and sentence, “They’re threatening the owners and supporters of the exhibit. They want the real name of the sculptor, Maize.”

My head began to pound in time with my racing heart. I mind couldn’t hold onto any solid thought as they all fluttered away as quickly as they had been formed. Finally, as Ivy began to lead me towards the exit, a name resonated in my head, “Cephei.”

“What?” Ivy whispered, trying to remain calm as she slowly herded us through the crowd.

“Cephei, where is she?” I asked louder than before.

Ivy cursed under her breath, arms dropping to her side as we both began to search the visible section of the first floor with our eyes. Moments passed with no glimpse of the yellow berry to be found. “Look, Ivy, get out of here. I’ll find her, you get the car started.” Though the words sounded foreign coming from my mouth – like we were some sort of criminal group getting ready to make a heist – Ivy obeyed with only a second of hesitation.

“Be careful!” She called over her shoulder.

Most of the Berries at the gallery hadn’t caught wind of the threats yet – The socialites and local celebrities stood in semi circles, chatting away in ignorance. I had been doing rounds of the first floor, where the featured artwork had been showcased, and all night I hadn’t noticed the petite yellow woman. Acting on instinct I headed to the second floor, where most of the permanent art was kept on display. It was less congested up there and, as such, much easier to maneuver around the tile floors. The boisterous laughs and thunderous roars of speech died away to whispered conversations and hushed tones. I frowned, following the noise around a corner. I was only able to catch the end of their conversation before the two males came into view.

“Stop playing dumb. Who the hell made that piece of shit.” One hissed through clenched teeth, his face precariously close to her neck as he held her arms hostage over her head.

“I’m telling you. I. Don’t. Know.” She hissed back, turning her face away from his in disgust.

“How do you not know? What, you just let any sad story that crawls on your doorstep with a pretty picture in this place?” The second man bellowed, saliva flying out of his mouth. If Cephei’s face had been scrunched up in disgust before it was now riddled with repulsion.

“I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog.” Sarcasm dripped from every syllable, which did little to calm the two men who were current accosting her. The grey berry drew his fist back with intent of hitting something other than the wall if my hunch was correct.

“Hey!” I shouted, desperate to pull their attention away from Cephei and onto me.

It worked like a charm.

The grey Berry’s fist dropped to his side as both their heads turned in my direction.

“Who in Banana Sundae do you think you are?”

I shrugged, somehow smiling despite the situation.

“You better just turn around and forget you ever saw us.” The Grey Berry threatened.

“If the lady said she doesn’t know who it was then she doesn’t know. You’d be better off threatening someone who does.”

“Oh, like who?”

I almost said me but Cephei started speaking before I had the chance to, eyes silently pleading with me not too disagree, “I think you can figure that out yourself, boys.”

They muttered a few incomprehensible sentences before pushing Cephei away from them, brushing past me with a small shove. As soon as the two were out of sight Cephei threw herself into my arms, crying softly into my suit jacket.

“Thank you so much, Maize. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come and saved me!”

I smiled, gently rubbing her back as she hiccupped a few times. We stood like that for a few moments, her sobbing in fear and me trying to sooth her to the best of my abilities. When she finally looked up at me, mascara running, I noticed that her lips were mere inches from mine. I was in the process of unwrapping my arms from her waist when her lips crashed against mine. Her lips followed mine as I attempted to pull away from her, trying to create space between of us that she wouldn’t allow to exist.

Eventually my backwards shuffle was halted by the cool concrete walls behind us and I was trapped in her embrace. The mere seconds that her lips caressed mine felt like decades of betrayal crashing down on my shoulders, and when we finally parted it did nothing to stop the heaviness of my heart.

“Cephei, I-“

Her finger silenced me and she cocked her head to the side with hooded eyes, “I’ve been dying to do that for years.” She whispered hoarsely.

I put my hands up, shaking my head, “Cephei, I don’t know what you think is going on between us but you’re just my friend.”

She blinked, confusion glazing her eyes, “But all those rumors, you always encouraged them and I… I thought…”

“Cephei,” I sighed, trying my best to handle the situation delicately. She had to be in a bad place right now, “the rumors were convenient – nothing more. They took the heat off of me and off of Cream. I’m sorry.” I offered lamely.

Despite my efforts I must have hit a soft spot, as her eyes suddenly hardened, small fists clenched at her sides, “I did everything for you! I’m the only reason you even have a career! I could have died keeping your identity a secret!” She screamed, poking my chest violently. I stood quietly as she ranted, “You used me!”

I could have defended myself but I didn’t really see the point. Instead I allowed her to run off in tears, knowing that Ivy would be waiting for her downstairs. What she needed right now was to be alone – or at the very least be away from me.

Generation One

Chapter Sixteen: Paparazzi

AN: Estelle won the heir vote with a twenty point lead. :]

Also, if any of the images are broken or something I apologize. I tried really hard to deal with photobucket but in the end gave up.

If Maize or any of the other regulars (Cream/Ivy) look different, it’s just skin CC I added to my game. :]
—————————

Do you know how horrible it is to be unable to see your own children on a daily basis? Not because you’re an unfit father or some failed attempt to get full custody of them in a nasty divorce case. Not because you don’t get along with their mother or any other fault of your own. No. It’s simply because visiting them on daily basis would attract too much attention.

I did.

I shot the dirtiest look I could muster at the young reporter that had been tailing me for the last hour, tapping my foot impatiently as I waited for the crosswalk signal to turn white. The minute the red hand switched to the familiar walker sign I was off. Darting across the street, I glanced behind me and caught a glimpse of the young red berry chasing after me.

Sometimes I really regretted taking Cephei up on her offer to showcase my work at her father’s gallery.

Keeping a steady pace, I turned down the familiar residential road as the late October air cooled my heated skin. I spared one more glance over my shoulder as I passed the fourth house down the cozy little street, realizing that the fire colored reporter was pretty far behind me by now. I slowed in front of an olive colored house, turning to the driveway and expertly plucking a seemingly random rock up from the yard. Under it a small key glimmered at me as I snatched it up and jogged up to the front door. It only took a second for me to unlock the door, slam it shut behind me and relock it.

Stifled laughter erupted from behind me, “Hiding from the paparazzi again?”

I frowned at Ivy, shaking my head at the newly hired EMT, “They don’t know when to stop. It’s not even like I’m famous, I’ve only done like five commissioned pieces.” I whined, throwing myself half onto her couch half onto her floor. It was becoming more work than it was worth, really. For the last six months I had been followed at least twice a week for my new found celebrity status. It made sneaking over to the Storm residence exceptionally hard which, in turn, made seeing my children extremely hard.

“Two of those to the biggest companies in Brioport.” Ivy pointed out as she plopped herself down beside me. Hiding out in Ivy and Cephei’s house had become my routine over the past few weeks. Whenever I found myself being followed in Sugar Valley I always made a beeline to the one household I could trust. It really was an amazing diversion anyways, since Cephei was yellow. It fooled the papers and magazines into believing that I was somehow romantically involved with Cephei – which wasn’t true. Our relationship was completely platonic – not that the papers cared about that. They cared way too much about ratings and sales to worry about facts and it was far too convenient for me to correct.

“Trust me, I regret it. Think it’s too early to retire?” I said with a small smile, looking up at Ivy with hooded eyes.

She shook her head, laughing a little, “Twenty-one is a little young, don’t you think?”

“Pssssh, I feel a lot older than twenty-one.”

“You do have three adorable babies at home. Speaking of which, are you ready for their birthday tonight?” Ivy asked, eyes wandering to the clock hanging on the light green walls. I nodded in response even though I really wasn’t prepared for my babies to become toddlers at all. I felt like I had missed so much of their lives already. My chest ached whenever I really thought about it. My father had tucked me into bed every single night. I was lucky if I got to see my own children twice a week, let alone put them to sleep at night.

“Well, I guess I better grab a blanket to hide you under.” Ivy stated with a small laugh. We both thought it was slightly ridiculous that I had to be snuck out of the neighborhood in her van, blanket over my head, in order to escape the reporter that was probably lurking outside her house at that very moment.

*

We left as soon as Cephei got home from the gallery. She had brightly announced that two more of my pieces had sold for amounts in the triple digits – which was good for my pocket but bad for my celebrity status.  After a quick change of clothes and some small talk I was stored under a blanket in the light green van, hidden from any prying eyes that might try to peer into the backseat.

The moment we arrived at my second home, the home that had captured my heart, I bolted out of the vehicle like a child on Christmas. It was through the front door in the blink of an eye. Cream must have noticed our headlights when we pulled in because she threw herself into my arms the moment I stepped inside. Tangling my fingers up in her hair, I planted kiss after kiss on her lips, nose and forehead.

“Get a room.” Ivy said jokingly, walking past both of us with her arms full of boxed cakes. Cephei followed behind her singing, “Maize and Cream sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” They both were so immature at times.

Laughing, I parted from Cream, “So where are birthday girls and boy?”

Cream gestured behind her to the balloon filled and ribbon saturated kitchen. The small room area was filled with colorful party decorations as Ivy and Cephei began setting up the three different cakes onto the table. I joined the duo hand-in-hand with Cream, lighting up at the sight of my babies. I snatched my youngest, Estellise, into my arms and snuggled her small frame. I felt like she had just been born yesterday, it was hard to believe she was about to transition into a toddler.

Cream cradled Mithos, my first born and only son, into her arms as Ivy picked up Pandora. Cephei yanked out the candles and rigged one into each cake with a devilish smile, lighting up the first one with a happy exclamation, “Come on! Let’s get this party started!”

After a few chuckles, Cream stepped in front of the lit cake. Since Mithos was technically the oldest, though only by a minute or so, we had decided that he should be the first to take this step in life. Her eyebrows scrunched up in deep thought and I realized she was trying to make a wish for him. After a few moments, Cephei elbowed her gently and Cream blew out the candle.  I might be bias, since he was my own child, but I could confidently say that Mithos was the most handsome toddler I had ever laid eyes on before.

We proceeded in the order of birth, Pandora blowing out her candle second – with the help of Ivy, of course. Unlike Cream, it appeared Ivy already knew what wish she wanted to bestow upon Panda as she swiftly and effectively blew out the candles without hesitation.

That left me with Estellise. I hadn’t prepared for this moment and didn’t know what wish I should make for my youngest daughter. I made my way over to the cake slowly, watching as Cephei lighted the last cake of the evening, wishing I had a clue as to what the two females before me had wished. I did not want to be selfish, as it was not my wish to steal. So as I bent down and blew out the candle, I wished for Estellise to be accepted. It was a long shot, with her white skin and yellow hair and eyes. She was the most obvious Mixed Berry out of my children and, as such, would need the most luck in the future.


*


It was almost two weeks later when I finally got to see my children again. Between work and being harassed almost daily, I was finding it harder and harder to spend quality time with them. I sat in the middle of their nursery, watching them crawl around and play with toys. Occasionally they would crawl over to me and babble in their little baby talk, ramming a toy or two into my side before they went back to ramming them into each other. It was quite adorable, really.

Mithos was making his way over to me with a rocket in hand. Staring up at me with his large purple eyes, he began to babble while waving around his prize like a flag, “Eos aba tol!”

I nodded, smiling at my son, “Yes, that is a fine looking spaceship you’ve got there.”

He gurgled happily as he continued on in his speech until eventually he was forcing the toy into my own hand. I blinked a few time, unsure what to do with it, before I began to make rocket noises and wave it around in the air almost as haphazardly as he had been. Mithos clapped in response, giggling as I rammed the rocket into his leg.

This didn’t go unnoticed by Pandora and Estellise, however, and soon both of the girls were thrusting their own toys into my face, trying to get me to play with them. I laughed, cooing to them softly, “Ah, there’s plenty of time for all of you. Just one moment.”

I put down Mithos’ rocket and picked up Pandora’s toy, making my best girly impression. Which, in all honesty, was probably terrible. I had no idea how to play with dolls. She didn’t seem to care though, as she clapped along and giggled, gibbering cheerful noises at me.

I had just picked up Estellise’s  toy when Mithos’ threw his spaceship out of frustration. Though I did not think he meant to, it hit Estellise square in the eye. Her bright yellow eyes filled with tears as I scooped her up in my arms and sent a stern glare at my son, “Mithos! No! We do not throw things!” I chided, repeating what I had seen Cream do in similar circumstances.


At my raised voice his purple orbs filled with tears as he threw himself onto the ground in tears. I frowned, unsure how to react. On cue, Pandora chimed in with her siblings wails and soon the whole house was echoing with the sounds of screaming toddlers.

I had the undeniable urge to cover my ears from the earsplitting chorus they were emitting but couldn’t since my hands were currently preoccupied with Estellise.

“What happened?” Cream asked incredulously, dawning her pajamas as I had been watching the triplet’s so she could catch up on some much needed sleep.

“We were playing and then Mithos. He threw his toy and hit Estelle. She cried so I yelled and then he cried and I don’t even know why Panda is crying. Oh god, make it stop!” I whined, bouncing Estellise on my hip to try to calm her.

She sighed at me, shaking her head as she swept Mithos off the floor and put him in his crib. His sobbing subsided but his lips were pulled into a solid frown as his yellow hair fell into his eyes.

“You are supposed to protect your sisters, not hurt them, Mithos. Time out.” She said sternly. His little lip started to quiver but she raised one finger followed by a stern look and he stopped his crying completely, “Put Estelle in the swing. It always calms her down.” She said calmly as she swung Pandora up into her arms – which completely eliminated another set of cries.

Once Estelle was settled into her swing her cries subsided and suddenly I had a new found respect for Cream. I had no idea how she dealt with all three of them by herself every single day I wasn’t around. I’m sure I would have gone crazy by now but she seemed calm despite the bags under her bright eyes.

“I’m going back to bed.” She whispered, kissing my cheek softly.

I nodded, grinning sheepishly, “I’m sorry.” She shook her head and laughed at me as she turned back to head down the hallway.

“Dada?”

I froze, as did Cream. She spun around and stared at the yellowed haired girl in the swing with the same bewildered look I wore.

“Did she just say Dada?” Cream asked.

“I think so….” I knelt down in front of the swing, huge smile plastered on my face as my heart burst with pride, “Can you say Dada?” I asked. She blinked up at me, chewing on her hand silently.

“It’s ok. When Pandora said her first word she didn’t repeat it right away, either.” Cream warned, sad smile on her lips. I had missed Pandora’s first word, which was Mama and had happened about a week ago. I could not express my excitement at being present for Estellise’s. Not to mention it had been Dada, even though I was rarely around her.

It didn’t take long for the excitement to turn to anger. I had gotten to be around for Estellise’s first word but what about her first step? Would I be there to see any of my children attempt to walk, to form their first sentence? Would I be around when they lost their first tooth? Read their first word?

As I thought about all the experiences I could miss out on the anger turned to rage. I would not just stand by and allow society to influence my presence in these children’s life. It wasn’t fair.

That moment would prove to be the inspiration for my most controversial piece ever.

Generation One

Chapter Fifteen: Triple the Trouble


The months flew past in a blur – I often had my nose stuffed into a pregnancy book, trying my best to prepare for this baby. Miss Storm had been kind enough to let us the old office as a nursery, though Cream had been sort of reluctant to change the space. The office had been her father’s and it retained the only photographs of Mister Storm. When I had gone inside the office in order to begin taking out the furniture Cream had already been sprawled on the wooden floors, her belly bloated with an eight month old fetus.

“Love, baby, what are you doing sleeping on the floor?” I whispered, kneeling down beside her sleeping form. She mumbled something incoherent as her eyes flickered open. She slowly sat up, though she needed my help to do so. She was slightly bigger than a normal eight-month pregnant woman – or so Ivy said. We all chalked it up to the fact that Cream ate everything she managed to get her hands on.

“I wanted to spend one more night with my father’s things before they’re all gone…” She yawned, looking around the room slowly.

I frowned, never having really known what happened to Mister Storm. Miss Storm had implied that he had left them because Miss Storm did not return his feelings of love for her, even after being married for years. No one had ever told me how my angel fit into it all, “Do you want to talk about him?” I asked, pulling her into my lap.

She curled up, resting her head against my shoulder as my hands wrapped around her stomach, waiting to feel a kick, “There’s nothing to really tell. My daddy was in the military and he loved us both very much, or I always thought he did. My mom never felt the same about him. I can vaguely remember him pulling her in for kisses and her always turning away. One night he came into my room and said he had been stationed somewhere far away and that he did not want to move my mom and me. So he left, leaving me with nothing more than a kiss on the forehead.”

“I’m so sorry, Cream,” I whispered as I rocked her back and forth, “What happened to him?”

“I’m not sure. He never wrote or called.” She said, remorse flooding her voice, “I think he left because he couldn’t stand knowing my mom always had and always would love that man.”

I flinched, knowing that ‘that man’ was my father. I had to tell her at some point, I knew I did. It wasn’t like I could raise my children without them at least having proper phone conversations with their grandfather. And hopefully, somehow, we could manage to visit them at least once, “I’m so sorry, Cream.” I whispered again, burying my face in her hair. It smelt vaguely like the Moonflowers my own mother use to grow.

“It’s ok,” She replied, stretching as she climbed to her feet with a more little effort than normal.

I followed her lead, stretching my limbs out as I glanced around the dusty office. There wasn’t much in here, just a desk, a computer and a few chairs. We had decided to leave the bookshelves alone, since much of the literature abandoned inside was Cream’s own bedtime stories. We figured we could just use the same books for our own children.

It didn’t take me long to empty the office of the desk and to set up the computer in Cream’s room – this way we could both start taking our online classes as soon as possible. We had decided to keep the love seat and plush chair and all the nicknacks as well, placing them in the empty room at the back that had, at one point, been a second living room. Cream told me that when her father left he had left everything he had brought with him, including all the furniture in that room. Miss Storm hadn’t been fond of the reminder and soon after his departure had thrown all of it out.

Setting up the nursery was not nearly as easy as removing the old furniture had been. I wasn’t exactly fond of using directions, either, so that didn’t help the situation. After a few mistakes and flimsy tries, I had erected what would eventually be our child’s crib. Miss Storm had purchased toys for the child to use when it got older – more toys than any child could ever need, really.

The little guy hadn’t even been born yet and he was already spoiled rotten.

Since we weren’t sure if it our little bundle of joy was going to be yellow, white or purple that also meant we bought everything, and I mean everything, in two different colors.  Clothes, stuffed animals, crib bedding, diapers, toys – all in girly pinks and manly blues. I didn’t understand why our son couldn’t wear pink for the first few days of its life or our daughter blue. It wasn’t like they would remember it, anyways. Whenever I brought up this argument, however, Miss Storm and Cream both took to quarreling with me.

It was their money; I guess I shouldn’t have been complaining.

Speaking of money, I was practically broke. I had tried on numerous occasions to get a part-time job somewhere – since I no longer was going to school – and had been shot down every time. I was infamous for beating up the popular Royal Endive, who was the son of a local politician. This didn’t go over well with most of the small shops and businesses’ that were hiring for help. The good news was that this gave me plenty of spare time to do what I loved most.

Sculpting.

It had always been my passion, since I had been little. I hadn’t touched clay, wood or metal since I had arrived in Sugar Valley – mostly because I did not have a space to sculpt in. It wasn’t until I had been talking to Miss Storm one night she had been feeling particularly bad that I realized the Storm’s had an art room. I had been excited at the news, since I was fairly good at drawing and painting as well.

However when I walked inside and saw the huge sculpting platform, my mind was blown. It turned out that Miss Storm dabbled in all kinds of artistic mediums – painting, music, sculpting. She did it all. It wasn’t long before I had obtained permission to use the room for myself. Miss Storm often came to watch me work and gave me various tips to help improve my technique.

I had actually been in the middle of sculpting a new piece when Cream went into labor.

She was only eight and a half months pregnant when a gut wrenching scream sliced through night, causing me to drop my scalpel in shock. Heart in my throat, I raced down the short hallway into the bedroom Cream had been resting in, eyes wide with panic as I looked around the room for some sort of intruder. She seemed to be breathing heavy but when nothing seemed out of the ordinary I couldn’t help but ask, “What? Is there a bug or something?”

The glare she shot at me could have killed a man. Luckily, she only managed to hold the expression for a few seconds before she went cross eyed from pain, “No, I think my water just broke!” She shouted, exasperated.

“You’re in what?!” I shouted, louder than intended. I guess all the reading in the world couldn’t really prepare you for this moment.

Cream was taking deep breaths, trying to keep calm. She did manage to shoot met another dirty look, though, “Call. Ivy. NOW!”

I danced from foot to foot, not really sure what to do even though I had been given rather clear instructions. Finally my hands left my face and went searching in my pocket for my cell phone. I managed to dial her number before I went back to my nervous dance, listening to my phone ring once. Twice. Three times, “IVY! I need… you have to… CREAM IN LABOR!”  I finally exclaimed.

Ivy’s voice seemed as panicked as mine but she managed to get a coherent statement out, “I’ll be there in ten. Get towels and hot water and some Berrynol.”

The phone went dead and I found myself still doing a little dance, “Cream, stay there. Just, just relax. Ivy’s on her way!” I stuttered, running out of the room in a flash. By the time I had gathered up some towels, water and Berrynol and deposited it all in the bedroom, Miss Storm had already found herself next to her daughter. She was holding her hand as Cream kept doing the breathing techniques Ivy had taught her.

“Where. Is. Ivy.” She managed out in between exhales.

“She’s on her –“ I didn’t even bother finishing my sentence as there was a loud knock on the front door, instead rushing back out of the room and flinging open the front door.

Standing outside in her green pajamas was Ivy, who stormed inside looking very nervous despite the words that came out of her mouth, “Is she still in the latent phase of labor? How dilated is her cervix? How far apart are her contractions?”

“What? How am I even supposed to know how dilated her cervix is?” I asked, following closely behind Ivy as she headed towards the bedroom with a look that declared she was on a mission.

“Never mind. I’ll find out right now.” She stated as she stopped at the foot of the bed.

The next few hours were filled with orders, screams of pain, and examinations I only realized were happening because Ivy filled me in on every single detail that passed. Ivy announced every time Cream’s cervix had dilated another inch – she was currently on her sixth centimeter.

I was sitting on the floor, watching helplessly as Cream screamed at me for knocking her up. I vaguely heard her declare she was never having sex with me again and that this was entirely my fault. Not that I blamed my poor angel. Most women gave birth with an epidermal or pain medication. Cream only had two measly tablets of Berrynol – which I’m sure barely helped minimize the excruciating pain she was currently experiencing as her contractions became more intense and longer with each passing minute.

“Cream, it’s time to push.” Ivy interrupted my train of thought and Cream’s ranting. The few hours had transformed the green pre-med student from a nervous wreck into a near tranquil state of professionalism.

I stood up, scooping Cream’s hand in my own as she began to push in time with Ivy’s coaxing. Numerous times during the ordeal I was certain that Cream was going to re-break my right hand. When I complained of the pain she was causing me I only got three very angry women shouting at me to be quite.

“I see the head! You’re crowning!” Ivy screamed enthusiastically, “Keep pushing!”

Cream’s screams reached its apex just as a small whiney shriek joined in, “Maize, grab me one of the towels!”

I rushed from Cream’s side, snatching up one of the cloths I had gathered earlier and handing it over to Ivy. I caught the look of disbelief in Ivy’s eyes as she look upon my son, whose skin bore the same yellow hue as my own.

Despite how beautiful the creature in front of me was, I heard Cream scream again and looked up at her from my spot next to Ivy. It gave me the perfect view of the birthing canal which, at that very moment, had a bloody looking bulge pushing through it. I felt faint, nauseous and amazed all at once but none of those terms described the words that flew out of my mouth, “What the hell is that!”

Ivy looked up from my first born child and at the disgusting yet captivating sight that I was currently gawking at. Without a seconds hesitation Ivy had handed my first born off to Miss Storm and shouted at Cream to keep pushing.

The birth of my second child was much faster than the first. I had been prepared with the towel this time around, waiting anxiously as Ivy cleaned off my new born delicately. When I finally was able to hold the fragile life in my arms, I felt my heart burst. I had never felt so blissful, exhausted and full of love before.

We didn’t have much time to celebrate, though. Just as Cream was reaching for her first born that Ivy had examined and cleared as healthy, another scream pierced the night. Ivy eyes went wide in shock, unsure of what was happening. As we both scrambled to get to Cream’s side we were hit with the reality of the situation.

Cream was giving birth to triplets.

“I can’t do this! I can’t! I’m too tired!” Cream cried, tears sliding down her cheeks as Ivy tried to coax her into pushing.

“You have to, Cream! If you don’t this child will die!”

I was by angel’s side again, both arms carefully cradling my second born child. I bent down, allowing Cream to get an eye full of the beautiful life she had just brought into the world, “Just one more, Cream. Look at what you did. Look at what we made. You can do it.” I encouraged, allowing her to use my bicep as her new squeezing post since my hands were currently preoccupied.

Cream inched open an eye to look down at the baby girl in my arms before squeezing them shut again. I watched with pride as Cream managed to give birth to our third child and second daughter, sobbing every second of the way. As I handed Cream the baby I had been holding, I took my youngest into my arms with a smile to mask my worry.

How on Earth were we going to take care of three babies?

————-

AN: I do not pretend to be well versed in medical terminology nor in the birthing process. Please forgive me if I described anything incorrectly.

Their sons name is Mithos Aurion Spring followed by Pandora Ezreal Spring and finally Estellese Spring.

The heir vote will start tomorrow and will run until about chapter 17 of this generation, simply because the story of this generation changes depending on whom becomes heir.

Generation One

Chapter Fourteen: Risks

I could not, for the life of me, get my leg to sit still. I had been bouncing the limb up and down over and over again in all my classes, glancing at the clock every few seconds to see how much longer I had to wait. Now that I was outside, neglecting the sandwich that I was supposed to be consuming, the habit has not ceased. I would not have cared, as the nervous twitch transpired without any cognitive effort on my part, if it had not been for Ivy and Cephei. They had both commented on my jittery leg, asking if anything was wrong.

I had replied with a curt no, which wasn’t a lie. Nothing was wrong. Today was a day I should have been celebrating in private for today was the day Cream finally broke up with Royal. I just couldn’t shake the butterflies in my stomach or the sweat on my palms. It was like my body was reacting to a problem that didn’t exist. The young women around me were chatting calmly about the upcoming midterms; which ones they feared and which they anticipated to be a breeze. I was hardly participating, too busy scanning the courtyard for the familiar white and purple faces.

I must have said an absentminded ‘yeah’ at the wrong time because soon Cephei and Ivy were both staring at me with raised brows.

“Ok, out with it, Maize.” Ivy demanded, waving a fork in my face.

“There’s nothing to come out with,” I sighed, allowing my gaze to fall from the crowd behind us to the green face in front of me.

Cephei nodded in agreement, looking around the courtyard herself, “So, what’s so interesting out there?” She questioned. I frowned in response, not knowing how to retort without being deceitful to my two best friends. I couldn’t tell them I was waiting for Cream to appear, as neither of them was aware of Cream and I’s relationship – let alone of the current situation. Cream hadn’t deemed either of them trustworthy yet and I wasn’t about to go behind her back.

I finally settled on the vaguest possible answer I could give, “I just have a really bad feeling.”

They frowned, silent for the moment before Cephei smiled brightly at me, “Well, my women instincts aren’t picking up –“

Despite how close the yellow girl was to me, her words were drowned out by a nearby shout. The anger dripping from every word unnerved me to no end but I only managed to catch the end of the sentence, “-BREAK UP WITH ME!”

I turned around to face the scene unfolding behind me, a scowl etched onto my face. Cream and I had known Royal was not going to take the dumping lightly but had not known exactly how he was going to react. From his recent outburst, I suddenly assumed the worse.

It wasn’t just me either, as the whole courtyard had been silenced. Cephei and Ivy sat with wide eyes, mouths slightly ajar. The birds in the trees fled from the sound and only hushed whispers were uttered from anyone’s lips.

Cream’s voice was soft, wavering slightly at the rage burning in Royal eyes, “Yes, I can Royal. I don’t want to date you anymore.”

“You, breaking up with me?” Though the anger still resonated from Royal in waves he had turned to his little gathering, chuckling softly, “Did you hear, she thinks she can break up with me!” A few laughs flooded the open area as they followed Scarlett’s example.

Cream’s face burned bright red as the laughter rose in volume but she didn’t back away from him, she stood her ground, “I don’t think I can break up with you Royal,” She hissed, “I know I can. It’s over. Goodbye.” She spun on her heels, her hair smacking her now ex-boyfriend in the face.

Royal seemed to be in shock for a second, the courtyard once again deadly silent. Before Cream had gotten three steps away, his hand whipped out and spun her back around. If it had been anger burning in his eyes before, it was now a full blown inferno, “You do not speak to me like that,” his voice was practically a growl, “You are nothing more than a mistake, an accident. Do not pretend you are anything more than scum on my shoe, freak. You cannot break up with me because this was never anything more than a game, mutant. You really thought I liked you? That I might actually want to be with you?” His laughter was harsh as it erupted from his throat, “I’d rather rot alone than call you mine.”

I was already on my feet by now, ready to plow into the berry-hole at any given second. The only thing that held me back was Ivy’s hand on my shoulder as she slowly shook her head. Cream’s face had turned to an almost purplish red as the words were thrown at her but it not break her spirit. I watched as she spat on his face, ripping her wrist out of his grasp, “Then have fun rotting.”

The sound of skin on skin echoed bitterly and a unanimous bellow of gasps followed suit to Royal’s actions.

That was the last straw for me, of course. I’m not really sure what happened next, only that I tackled the purple-pain without a second thought and began pounding anything that I could hit. I felt hands on my back, fists on my jaw and chest but nothing could separate me from Royal at that moment.



It could have been 5 seconds or 5 hours before I was finally heaved off of him, hand throbbing and face burning. I imagined an out of body experience might feel similar to what I had just experienced and for a moment I felt sick – unsure of whether or not I had gone too far. I shrugged the hands off of me, vaguely realizing it was one of my classmates who had still been touching me, and glanced over to where Royal had been dragged. His face was a bloody mess – broken nose and blackened eyes. His chest was rising and falling as Ivy attended to his wounded face, Scarlett sobbing from her place beside him. I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding when his eyes fluttered opened and Ivy began asking him questions: What was his name, what year was it. After he answered them correctly, Ivy stood up and gave Scarlett permission to bring him home but to not let him fall asleep for at least 5 hours.

Cephei had gone to aid Cream, who suffered nothing more than a reddened cheek and they were both by my side now. I reached out to Cream with my bloodied hand, attempting to caress the abused skin. Instead of touching cool skin a lighting bold of pain shot through my hand and up my arm, causing me to flinch.

“Let me see that,” Ivy moaned, gently touching my palm. I flinched again and she sighed, “You broke it. Maize, what were you thinking…”

I nodded, figuring as much. My face was also starting to throb from where Royal had managed to land a few blows. Cream was the next one to speak, “Maize, thank you for protecting me but…”

“I know,” I whispered, biting my lower lip, “I don’t know what came over me.”

She sighed, rubbing her cheek as Ivy began leading us away from the scene. Most of the students that usually filled the courtyard were had scattered and, lucky for me, no personnel had noticed or responded to the commotion that had just ensued. The rest of my afternoon was spent with the four of us in the hospital, waiting for my hand to be set.

When Ivy and Cream left to go buy drinks for all of us, Cephei leaned over to me and whispered, “I don’t know about them but I thought you were pretty cool, jumping in there like a knight protecting an innocent maiden.”

I laughed; glad that someone thought I had look dashing in my attempt to save Cream, “Thank you. Secretly I’m really glad that I got to beat the snot out of him. He’s had it coming for some time now.”

*

A few weeks passed, marking what we believed was Cream’s fourth month of being pregnant. Word of the fight between Royal and me had spread and I had been suspended from classes for the rest of the semester – and the little scholarship money I had been receiving had been revoked. The rumor around campus, according to Ivy, was that Royal had received a similar punishment. Apparently the only reason he hadn’t press charges against me was because his parents didn’t want the fact that he had hit a women to get out to the press.

Despite all the bad news, some good did come out of it. Cream finally began to trust Ivy and I had been able to tell her all about Cream and I’s relationship – including the pregnancy. At first she had been skeptical about the whole thing. She tried to talk me out of dating Cream, saying no girl was worth the trouble. I told her that wasn’t true, that Cream was and she knew if it had been her with Fern she would be doing the exact same thing. Eventually she caved on that issue but she would not budge on the pregnancy.

“There is no way it’s your child, Maize.”

“She hasn’t had sex with anyone but me, so tell me, whose child is it?”

“What’s more likely – a few thousand books having the same lie published in them, with a whole society raised and taught that lie for generations or that Cream got a little frisky with Royal.” She stated simply, rolling her eyes at me.

I had to admit, she had a point. It was obviously much more likely that Cream had engaged in a sexual encounter with another purple berry, but that didn’t mean it was true. I just knew it was my child in her womb, something in my gut just knew. I didn’t try to explain that to Ivy though, I decided to just let her believe what she wanted too. As long as she accepted my next request regardless of what she thought of Cream.

“Will you help us deliver the baby?”

“W-what?” She was obviously bewildered by my statement, “Aren’t you going to the hospital?”

“No, we can’t.”

“Oh, because it’s ‘your’ baby, right?” She said, realizing that was the train of thought Cream and I were using to make this decision; “You do realize I haven’t even graduated yet, right? And that my training isn’t even in maternity or infant care?”

I did know both of those facts but it wasn’t like Cream and I had a lot of options in this matter. Ivy was the only person either of us knew, besides my mother, that had any medical background. If she didn’t help us then it would just be the two of us giving birth to this bundle of joy and who knew what kind of complications could arise.

“Ok, I’ll help you but I don’t have access to any of the equipment for prenatal care,” She warned, “I can only check on Cream’s vitals and tell you how her body is coping.”

“I understand. Anything you can provide us with will be more help than I could offer by myself.” I couldn’t have been more relieved at the idea of having Ivy there, someone with a medical background to make sure that the baby was healthy when it was born and that Cream herself was having the normal symptoms of pregnancy. That very same day Ivy came over to assess Cream, checking on all of her vital signs. She tested fine for the time being and Ivy said she would be back every two weeks to conduct the short examination.

I walked Ivy to the front door by myself, since Cream had recently been complaining of swollen ankles and back pains, “Thank you for doing this, Ivy.”

She frowned deeply as I opened the door for her, putting a gentle hand on my shoulder, “Maize, I can’t promise you anything. This can go wrong very easily and if it does Cream and the child could be at risk.”

“If it goes wrong than we can just bring her to the hospital, right?”

She shook her head, walking out onto the front porch. I followed closely behind her, “If something happens during labor it may be take too long to reach the hospital, Maize. This is very risky. Her life and the babies, I can’t promise that either will make it. We can only pray to Berry that nothing bad happens, and I’ll do my best to ensure that everything goes smoothly,” She descended down the steps slowly, heading to her car, “Just make sure you and Cream are aware of this.”

That night those words echoed in my head.

I could go to the hospital and risk exposing our romance and the mixed berry that was thriving inside of Cream or have a home birth and potentialyl lose my love. My child.

What would I do if I lost one of them? Both of them? That was a silly question, really.

I would lose myself, too.

Generation One

Chapter Thirteen: Expecting the Unexpected

Spending the night over the Storm residence had become a normal occurrence. However, holding Cream’s hair back as she threw up in the morning for the second Saturday in a row was not something I wanted to become accustomed too.

“Are you sure you’re ok?” I couldn’t stop the worry from lacing my voice. It wasn’t normal to be puking for almost two weeks straight. She nodded, hands grasping the lavender toilet seat as another round of heaving shook her small frame.

“You are not okay.” I chided, handing her a glass of water as she finally peeled herself off of the toilet.

She took a few gulps before replying, “I feel fine… it’s only in the morning.” She croaked.

“It is not fine to be throwing up every morning for almost fourteen days straight.”

She shrugged, going over to the mirror. Cream took a few seconds to look over her appearance before splashing water on her face and heading out into the hallway where Miss Storm was patiently waiting for us. I wasn’t the only one fretting over these recent turn of events – Miss Storm looked ten years older with worry lining her brow.

“Is she ok?” The question was directed at me and not Cream, simply because we both knew that Cream would lie and say she was just peachy.

“No.” I stated, ignoring the swat Cream gave me, “She’s throwing up still.”

Her nasal line deepened at the same rate her frown did, “Cream, we need to go to the hospital.”

“I’m fine, Mom.” The annoyance oozing from Cream was almost palpable as she pushed her way past her mother, both of tailing after her. We kept quiet as she walked into the kitchen and grabbed another bowl of cereal. She had, after all, just emptied her stomach. Miss Storm took a seat next to her daughter and watched her with same exact worried expression.

“Cream, we really need to have someone examine you.”

She shook her head, stuffing her mouth full of milk and fiber, “No.”

“What if you die from this? What if it causes permanent damage or paralysis?”

I sighed, taking the other seat next to Cream. I watched in silence as the two of them bickered -Cream venomously denying her mother’s requests. Miss Storm seemed convinced that Cream had caught some foreign, deadly virus that was sure to result in the untimely demise of her daughter. Cream was confident that nothing at all was wrong – and if she was sick, she was certain it was nothing more than the common flu. I, on the other hand, had another suspicions; suspicions that had to do with a certain Valentine’s Day that had passed a little over two months ago.

I knew that it was impossible –that this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that demanded I was right had to be wrong. Cream was genetically purple. I was yellow. It went against everything Cream was taught. Everything I had read up on. Anyone I told would surely think I was crazy – even Miss Storm and Cream herself.

Even so, as Cream disagreed her mother one last time, I interjected with my thoughts on the matter, “Maybe she’s pregnant.”

Purple and white heads spun to face me, shock clearly written on their features as they unanimously exclaimed, “What?!”

I smiled nervously at the two of them, unsure how to proceed, “Well, I mean-“

“How could you even think such a thing,” Cream spat angrily, “I haven’t had sex with Royal. I would never do that to you!”

I held my hands up in my defense, shaking my head at her accusations, “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant… what if … you know…” I’m pretty sure my face had never been so red in my entire life. I was basically admitting to stealing Cream’s innocence right in front of her mother.

“That’s impossible.” Cream said, brushing my idea off completely.

Miss Storm seemed slightly off-put by this revelation but, slowly, seemed to grasp what I was implying, “I think we all need to have a talk a little later about what is and is not allowed in my house-“

“Mom!” Cream groaned, hiding her red face behind her hands, “Maize, why did you even say anything.”

I felt the flames of embarrassment licking at my neck and cheeks, “I, I just think we should look into it.”

“It’s not even possible!” She screeched; face still hiding behind her hands.

“Will you just take a test for me?” I pleaded.

She sighed, peaking through her fingers to look at me, “Maize, it’s a waste of money.”

“It is not,” I countered, “Not only will it be a relief for me but I already purchased them last night on my way over.”

Both women blinked a few times before gazing at each other and shrugging.

“Alright, Maize. For you.” Cream conceded.

I was exceedingly happy that she complied. I was not, however, thrilled with waiting outside the bathroom door for an eternity. Mother and daughter had both locked themselves into the bathroom, leaving me outside to wait in suspense by myself. I could faintly hear their conversation drift through the wooden door – both of their voices were calm and it seemed like Miss Storm was, once again, trying to convince Cream to go to a doctor. My pacing was interrupted only when a scream erupted from the bathroom followed closely by Miss Storm insisting Cream take another.

“Take another what!” I shouted, wiggling the brass knob to no avail. They had locked themselves inside.

“But I don’t have to pee!” She cried out, ignoring my inquiry.

“Then go drink some orange juice!” Her mother’s voiced sounded just as flabbergasted as Cream’s.

The door swung open and the disgruntled duo passed me without even a second glance. I faintly heard the refrigerator open and then slam shut again but I was too busy exploring the bathroom they had just abandoned to care. My eyes swept over the familiar lilac titles and lavender shower in search of an answer my stomach already had. I found the evidence on the sink, innocently proclaiming the conception of a child with a little blue plus sign.

*

“You know you aren’t supposed to do that.” I chuckled, watching my angel chug down her second carton of orange juice. She held up a finger as she gulped away, obviously too busy trying to fill her bladder to comment.

She was getting ready to take her third pregnancy test of the morning – the first two had both read positive. Cream’s mother had offered to go run and grab another patch of tests – and some more liquids – because the both of them were certain the two that came in the package I had purchased had been faulty. I thought their denial was quite comical.

Cream slammed the carton down and marched off, out of sight.

When I found the first positive test less than an hour ago I had experienced a flood of relief – mainly because I knew the love of my life was no longer in immediate danger from some deadly disease. Once that had dissolved, fear had taken its toll. I was doing my best to keep it together while Cream and Miss Storm freaked but I was finding it harder as the minute hands on the clock turned.

“We need to talk.” Cream stated after a third test had been taken. I assumed that, even completely disobeying the instructions on the tests, Cream’s results had been positive.

She took a deep breath, tears welling up in her eyes as she touched her stomach tenderly, “If these tests are right… and I’m pregnant… I swear Maize; I never have and never will have sex with Royal. Plea-please believe me.” She was in full blown sobs by the end of her sentence, tears streaming down her face as her body shook uncontrollably.

I had her wrapped in my arms tightly, fearing she would collapse to the floor. One of my hands slowly rubbed her back as my robe was dampened by tears, “I know. I know,” I repeated over and over again until her weeping had turned into small whimpers, “I believe you.”

“You do?” She sniffled.

“Yes, I do.”

“but, I’m pregnant….” She began shaking again as the hopelessness of the situation settled onto her shoulders.

“I know,” I whispered into her hair, “you’re pregnant with my child.”

Her posture tensed in my arms, “That’s impossible, Maize.”

“Well, unless the all mighty Berry came down and gifted us with this child, it’s mine.” I teased, wiping tears off of her cheeks.

“I guess your right…” She conceded, pulling out of my embrace, “as impossible as this is.”

I planted a swift kiss on her lips as Miss Storm joined us in the living room.

“If you two are going to raise this baby-“

“Of course we are.” Cream interjected, eyebrows furrowed, “Right Maize?”

I nodded in agreement, suddenly reassured that I wouldn’t be fighting for this child by myself. Cream was clearly on my side – I would not be talking her out of an abortion.

“I don’t think,” Cream’s mother started again, “that this should be hidden from Royal. He deserves to know his own child -”

“Mom!” Cream wailed, “It’s not Royal’s! I never even did … that… with him!”

Miss Storm looked surprised momentarily before a doubt flashed in her eyes, “Cream, we all know that it can’t be Maize’s. If it’s not Royal’s then surely you met some other purple Berry?”

Cream’s face burned red as she stood next to me, pain written in her eyes. I held my tongue but was well aware that I must have looked as upset as the seraph next to me, “Is that what you really think, Mom? That I’m some sort of whore?” Miss Storm opened her mouth to deny the accusations but Cream wouldn’t let her get a word in, “It is not some random Berry’s child. It is not Royal’s child. I have only been with one man, mother! So as inconceivable as it may seem, it’s Maize’s!” She had stormed offed into her room, slamming the door shut behind her.

“You should have more faith in your own daughter, Ma’am.” I said softly as I went after Cream.

It only took one knock for the door to be flung open, Cream’s tear stained face staring back at me. She stepped aside, letting me in, before slamming the door with all the force her small frame could muster up. Heart wrenching sobs escaped from Cream as she flung herself onto her bed.

“Your Mom will come around,” I said softly, taking a seat next to her.

“I’m more afraid of how everyone is going to react to a Mixed Berry than anything…” Cream whispered, worry flooding her eyes as she felt her belly experimentally. I could only imagine how it must feel to know that there was a child in there. Her child.

My child.

“Cream,” I began, suddenly very serious, “I will do absolutely anything I can to protect you Cream – both you and this baby. Just tell me what you want to do. We could leave –”

“We can’t leave,” Cream whimpered pathetically, “I can’t leave my Mom by herself. No matter how mad I am, she’s still my mother, Maize. She’s sick. She can’t even get out of bed some days.”

Those words hung in the air as we all contemplated them, knowing that the best option for our child was also the worst for their grandmother. Eventually, I broke the silence that had enveloped us.

“What if we hid it?” I asked cautiously.

“Maize, a baby is not like a romance. You cannot expect –”

“Wait, just hear me out,” I interrupted, “you will have to leave school soon, before you start showing. you’ll have to isolate yourself, maybe sign up for online classes” I frowned as the words left my lips, knowing it sounded harsh, “you’ll also have to break up with Royal.” I was not frowning at that thought, however.

“What about when the child is born?” She asked skeptically.

“When the baby is born, we can raise it here,” I was getting excited now, imaging our little family playing together, “No one visits, anyway. We’ll homeschool him and and-“

“And when it becomes a teenager, Maize? An adult?” She pointed out, annoyed, “We can’t hide the poor thing for its entire life!”

“We’ll deal with that when we get there…” I said, suddenly feeling quite dejected.

Cream sighed, obviously not happy with my rash conclusion. She must have known I was not going to be convinced into splitting up out family because she did not bother to waste her breath trying to persuade me out of this idea any further. After a minute a small, sad smile spread over her lips and she stood, wrapping her arms around her occupied waist.

“I can’t believe I’m going to be a mother!”

Slowly the gloomy mood in the room lifted and was replaced with a much jollier topic of conversation – baby clothing. She began gushing about how and when she was going to begin shopping for socks, dresses and tights. Cream was obviously convinced our child was going to be a girl.

I kept quiet, allowing her to chatter on as the fear that had gripped me earlier returned.

This child – my child – was something unheard of. An offspring of two different colored Berries. A child who broke all the rules and demolished all of society’s connotations before it was even born. Even having only known about this little spark of life for an hour, I had an undeniable urge to protect it. It was my son or daughter.

Even so, I knew there was little I could do to save it from the vicious words and prying eyes of this world. And that scared me. It scared me more than I had ever been afraid in my entire life. I had failed as a parent – as a protector – and my child hadn’t even been born yet.

—————————-

AN: I could not get Cream to throw up. 0_0 She kept getting nauseous but never threw up. fml.

Generation One

Chapter Twelve: Closer

AN: This gets sorta racy towards the end of the chapter. If non-explicit sexual encounters make you uncomfortable… proceed with caution.

Also, I lost Anzac and Marigold’s house. So, yea. x[
_____________________________________________________________
Christmas at my house was awkward.

I wasn’t very good at keeping secrets; I was actually quite terrible at it. There were numerous times when I would glance over at my mother and die a little inside knowing that she wouldn’t understand or approve of my relationship.  Sometimes, when my mother was cooking or cleaning, I would have this urge to confess everything to her. However, as soon as I would gather the resolve to do so, my father would appear with this stern look upon his face. It was the only deterrent I needed.

During my week stay there, my father and I had quite a few hushed conversations. I wanted to know why he was so certain my mother should be kept in the dark. Sure, she wanted grandchildren. I understood that notion and I realized that, according to every science article ever published on Berry genetics, interbreeding colors could not produce offspring. What I did not understand was why my father acted as if something bad was going to happen if I told Mom. He always brushed me off, squirming his way out of the conversation at the last second. It was on the drive to the airport that I finally managed to squeeze it out of him.

My mom hadn’t been able to drive me because of an emergency at the hospital. That left just me and my father alone, with no way for him to escape my question.

“Pops?”

He glanced at me before returning his attention to the road, “Yes?”

“Can you tell me why I shouldn’t tell Mom about my girlfriend?”

He sighed; eyes trained ahead, “We’ve already gone over this, Maize. Your mother is a firm believer in the Berry laws. She raised you to obey them. She would never approve of your girlfriend.”

I shrugged, watching the familiar houses I had grown up with pass by, “If you’re just afraid she won’t approve then I’m going to tell her once I land.”

The squealing of breaks and smell of burnt rubber filled the air as I jerked forward, my seat belt catching me and yanking me back into my seat with a thud. The car veered to the side of the highway, stopping in a grassy medium. My heartbeat raced as I looked at my father, unsure why he had pulled over so suddenly, “What the hell!”

“Do not tell your mother.” I had never seen my father look so serious in his whole life. At that moment I was not sure if it was because he had almost caused an accident with his careless driving or if it was simply reacting to my previous statement.

“You almost killed us both because I decided to tell Mom about Cream?” I asked incredulously.

“If I tell you this,” he took a deep breath, “you have to promise not to think differently of your mother. She’s rash and selfish but she does love you – and me.”

“Okay,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest, “go ahead.”

“Promise.”

“Alright, I promise.”

“Your mother and I were always breaking up and getting back together in high school. Well, one time when she broke up with me I found another girl, Velvet, and fell in love with her. When your mother wanted to get back together a few months later I wasn’t interested – too caught up in my fantasy land. Your mother, well, she doesn’t take rejection well. ” I nodded along with my father, having already heard this story from Miss Storm, “I didn’t know at the time but she started following me and Velvet around, trying to catch us together. She started rumors but they didn’t work and it just pushed me further from her. A few weeks later, she came crying to me. She begged and begged for me to break up with Velvet – to take her back. She showed me a photograph of me and Velvet kissing and then threatened to go public with it. I never thought she would actually go through with it. I’m not sure if she’d do the same to you.”

“So, Mom is the reason you got exiled?” I whispered, unsure how I felt about this revelation. My father nodded solemnly, pulling the car back onto the road and heading towards our destination.

The rest of the trip was spent in silence.

*

Two months passed in the blink of an eye.

I had promised my father I wouldn’t think differently of my mother but I hadn’t been able to keep that promise completely. I still spoke to her regularly and always told her I loved her but I noticed I was more detached when we spoke. I knew she felt it as well, regularly asking me what was wrong. I always told her I was just busy with life.

This did nothing to help the turbulent sea Cream and I had set sail on. I still had to spend every day ignoring her existence and secretly watching her with Royal. We no longer had a class together – which was a blessing and curse rolled into one. I no longer had to ignore her while she was within arms distance twice a week but I also no longer got to see the love of my life as often.

Ivy and I had grown closer and I spent much of my days with her. Our usual days consisted of us talking about nothing in particular – her pre-med studies and my artwork. She was also surprisingly good at video games, which meant we spent an unhealthy amount of time glued to the tv – battling orcs and waving around virtual wands.

Occasionally, Cephei would tag along on our ‘adventures’. I didn’t have a problem with this, since Cephei was the daughter of Chester – a man who owned a local art gallery. More often than not, she was either talking about her experiences there or rooting us on in our virtual lives.

However, when the sunset, I never failed to get excited. Getting to spend actual time with Cream was the best part of any day. Today was especially exciting, as today just so happened to be a very special day for couples all over the world. As the three of us parted way, Ivy and Cephei teased me about having a secret lover. If only they knew how right they were.

I was more than comfortable with walking into the Storm residence by now. I had been spending almost every night for the last three months here, sleeping on the couch once or twice a week as well. On the nights that I stayed over I always made sure to thank Miss Storm in the morning, though she always told me I was more than welcome there. She had even made me my own key to the front door as a Christmas present – said it saved her the hassle of having to answer the door at all hours of the night.

Once inside, I easily navigated through the front of the house and towards Cream’s bedroom. Two knocks was all it took for the door to swing open, white hair jumping into my arms with a happy squeal. For a moment all of my worries were forgotten as sweet lips grazed mine, soft nimble fingers intertwining with my rough ones. When we separated, she led me happily into her room and closed the door behind us. We were always careful not to wake up Miss Storm.

“You’re here awfully late,” Cream stated, eyes trained on her alarm clock. The red letter announced it was 11:47 pm, “Where were you?”

I sat down on her bed, patting the space beside me to show that I wanted her to join me, “I was with Ivy and Cephei.”

Her bottom lip jutted out in the pout that I had grown to adore over the past few months, “You’re always with Ivy.” She whined, plopping down beside me.

“And you are always with Royal.” I replied simply.

“I’m with Royal because I’m forced to be with Royal.” Though I could tell she was upset she did not swipe at my hand as I brushed a stray piece of hair out of her eyes.

“It’s a completely platonic relationship.” This had been brought up more often then I liked lately. I could have easily squashed the whole issue by just telling her the truth – that Ivy would never be sexually attracted to me. That she played for the other team.  I just didn’t feel it was my secret to tell. After all, how would I have liked it if I told Ivy about Cream and then she went and blabbed to someone else?

“Then why do you hang out with her so much?” Her voice had a slight whine to it.

I found myself smiling as I pulled her closer, “Because I can’t hang out with you, duh.”

Cream blushed but I knew she wasn’t convinced yet, “But Ivy is so pretty and confident and whenever you talk about her it seems like you have so much fun together. Plus, she smart and -”

“and I love you, not her,” I interrupted, tapping her nose playfully, “and I happen to think you are the prettiest girl in the whole wide world.” I added cheesily.

She sighed, that pout back on those lips, “I’m just nervous because I don’t know her and she doesn’t know you’re taken.”

“You can change that whenever you want. Ivy wouldn’t betray us, she’d be supportive.”

We sat there in silence for a moment as I ran my hands threw her long hair. Eventually, a gloomy little sigh escaped her lips, “You’re right. I’m being silly. I know you love me. I just worry sometimes that you’re going to decide this it’s too hard or that I’m not worth all this work…”

I pulled her up on the bed, forcing her to look me in the eyes, “Hey now, that’s not true. You are worth every single second of this trouble and any future trouble –”

My romantic speech was cut short by Cream’s lips. We kissed until our lips were puffy and our breathing heavy. When we finally parted the red lights on Cream’s clock read 12:13 am. A sly smile spread over my lips as I realized what that meant.

“I have a surprise for you.” I whispered into her ear playfully.

She blinked a few times, seemingly confused, until a sly smile of her own took over lips, “Oh, I have a surprise for you too.” Every fiber of my being was awakened at the soft seductive tone her voice had taken on.

“Who should go first?” I asked hoarsely.

She giggled, rolling out from under me, “I think you should go first.”

I nodded, holding out a finger, “I’ll be right back.”

Indeed, I don’t think I had ever managed to run to the kitchen and back in such a short amount of time. Taking a deep breath and regaining my composure, my right arm was hidden behind my back as I opened to bedroom door again.

One of Cream’s silver eyebrow rose at the sight of me, “What do you have behind your back?”

At the prompt I whipped out the bouquet of red roses I had hidden away the previous night. Cream gasped, clearly surprised, as she took the flowers from my hand, “Happy Valentine’s Day, love.”

“They’re so pretty! Where did you manage to get them from? Thank you so much!” She gushed.

I laughed, satisfied with her reaction, “There’s more to come tomorrow.” I warned as she put the roses down on her dresser and threw her arms around my neck.

“Hmmm, there’s more right now.” She purred in my ear.

“Oh really now?” I whispered, landing a sweet and fleeting kiss on her lips, “I can’t wait to see what you got me.”

Cream pointed to the bed, “Sit right there and keep your eyes shut.” She commanded sternly.

I laughed along, giving her a playful salute and a quick, “Yes, Ma’am,” as I followed her directions.

I had my eyelids squeezed shut and my hands over them, just for good measure. As I sat there, the anticipation began to build. I could not, for the life of me, even begin to imagine what kind of surprise she had in store for me. I could, however, hear her shuffling around the room. I was also pretty certain I heard a dresser drawer slam shut. A few moments later, her soft lips were brushing my earlobe.

“Ok, open them.”

I must have stared in awe for too long, since Cream was squirming under my gaze, “You don’t like it?”

I don’t know how she could ever think I didn’t like the sight of her half-naked, “No, I’m just – wow.”

Her giggled floated through the air and slowly she crawled into my arms, confidence renewed. Soft mewls and low moans filled the air around us and soon my own shirt had found a new home on the floor. Her small hands flowed up my chest, resting on my shoulders as I cupped her in my arms. In the heat of the moment I pinned her to the wall, lips attached to her neck and her legs wrapped around my waist.

I knew I wanted this. I was more certain of this than anything else in my entire existence. I just had to make sure she was, too.

“Cream,” I mumbled through her soft nibbles on my lips, “are you sure – we don’t have to-“ Her finger fell on my lips, silencing me.

“Yes, I am.”

“I don’t have… um.. I didn’t bring protection.” I stammered against her lips.

She pulled back, looking into my eyes for a few moments before speaking, “Aren’t you a virgin?”

“Well, yes.” I answered truthfully, though I didn’t see the point in asking such a question.

“I am, too. We don’t have to worry about anything.” With that she was back to attacking my neck.

I bit back a moan and tried to fight the fuzzy feeling that was eating away at common sense, “Babies,” I managed out, “I don’t want to get you pregnant.”

She pulled back again, this time laughing, “Maize, I can’t get pregnant – not with you.” She stated confidently.

I met her touch for touch, kiss for kiss, as she pushed me onto the floor.

Generation One

Chapter Eleven: Settling in

“Cream, will you pose for me?”

It was Thanksgiving afternoon and the Storm residence smelt of freshly chopped vegetables and slow roasted meats. After a small talk with Cream and a lot of kissing, she had managed to talk me into sleeping over – on the couch, of course. I never would have dreamt of sharing a bed with her so early in our relationship.

The angel in question was currently in the kitchen with her mother, preparing for the evening’s festivities. She spared a glance from the concoction she was preparing to give me an inquisitive look, “Why do you need me to pose for you?”

I looked down at my phone, rereading the text from my father. That morning I had wished him and my mother a Happy Thanksgiving. After a short phone conversation with both of them I had asked my father if I could text him something important. That important information pertained to Cream and the fact that I was now dating her. My father had been ecstatic at the news, immediately responding to my text. He asked all the cliché questions – including what she looked like.

“I want to show my Pops what you look like.” Miss Storm stopped stirring the delicious broth on the stove, flinching when I said the word Pops. I felt guilty momentarily, having forgotten about my father’s past with her in that second. Cream didn’t seem to notice.

“You told you father about us?” The look plastered onto her face told me that she was worried by this news.

“Don’t worry. I’m ninety-nine percent sure he won’t care that were different colors.”

My attempt to wave off her concern was met with a roll of her eyes, “Oh, and what if he falls into that one-percent?”

“He won’t.” I was relieved when Miss Storm began working on her broth again.

“But you told me that your parent’s sent you here because you weren’t acting like a proper Berry in the first place!”

“They did,” I slid up beside Cream, wrapping one arm around her slim waist as my other hand snuck into a nearby salad. The apple slice I plucked out filled my mouth with juice – I had never realized how much better organic fruit tasted when compared to their store bought counterparts, “but it was mostly my mother. My father often tried to talk to my mother about my so called rebellious nature. He just never won.” I finished cheekily.

She frowned, clearly not satisfied with this answer. I took that opening to snap a picture of her.

“Hey!” She shouted, trying to snatch my phone out of my hand. I raised my arm high above her head, watching as she jumped in vain. Amusement glittered in my eyes as I slowly backed away from her, heading toward the living room slowly.

“I’m sure my Pops will love it. You just have this glow when you’re mad.” I teased.

She smacked me playfully, following me as I maneuver around the kitchen with ease. If I had been a weaker man her glare would have sliced me in half. Lucky for me, Cream’s glower didn’t have the desired effect and I managed to escape from her wrath with all my limbs intact. Once she had given up on the hunt, I plopped down on the couch I had spent the night on and loaded up the picture of her.

I really did think it was adorable.

With a few clicks the picture was not only traveling through space to my father also set as my new wallpaper. My phone had only been in my pocket for a few seconds when it vibrate, startling me. I hadn’t expected my father to respond that quickly – and not by calling me, either.

I fumbled with my phone until I finally managed to answer it, “Hi Pops, what’s u-“

“Maize,” his voice was stern and laced with worry, “is that girl really your girlfriend?”

“Um, yes?” I answered hesitantly. Perhaps Cream had been right. Maybe my father wouldn’t approve.

“Look, I need to tell you something,” I could tell he was mustering up all the courage he had, “I didn’t leave Sugar Valley-“

“Pops, I know.” The anger I had felt towards my father the previous night returned, searing my veins. I didn’t want to talk to either of my parent’s about this today, since it was Thanksgiving. That had been the sole reason I held my tongue earlier. I wasn’t sure, however, if I could do the same now that my father had been the one to bring up the lack of truth.

“You know…” There was a long pause as he took this in, not knowing how to proceed. This was fine since I had a mouthful for him to hear.

“How could you not tell me something so important?” I hissed into the receiver, “Did you think sending me into a different country with no idea how their culture worked, no idea of the laws and expectations, was a good idea?”

“Of course not-“

“Then why did you!”

“Your mother thought it would be better if you didn’t know about my history,” He sighed, lowering his voice, “You’ve always taken after me. Your personality, sense of justice, morals, rebellious nature – it’s like you’re a clone of me when I was your age. Your mother thought that if you knew I had behaved in such a manner that it would be condoning you to do the same. She always held you to the same standards that we were held to while in the Berry-.” I could barely make out vague shouting in the background and my father’s gruff replies, “Maize, I have to go. Do not tell your mother about this girl of yours.”

Hiding my relationship with Cream from my mother wasn’t something I had planned to do. We had already agreed to hide it from everyone but I had assumed my parents would be on my side, “What, why?“

“Maize,” his voice was low again and for a moment I could feel his age seeping through, “I love you. No matter what you choose to do with your life, I’ll stand by your side. I can’t promise the same for your mother. Berry knows I love that women with all my heart but she will do anything to get what she wants.”

“What are you saying dad? What could I give mom that would keep her from approving of me and Cream?”

“Grandchildren.” His voice was barely a whisper.

It was then that I heard my mom’s voice, almost crystal clear, asking my father who he was talking to, “Oh, Tyler. I have to go, I’ll talk to you at work tomorrow!” and with that the line went dead.

I wasn’t sure how long I sat there in a daze, phone limp in my hand, before Cream came out to inform me that the feast was finally finished.

*

When Cream and I had agreed to hide our relationship I don’t think either of realized what we were really getting ourselves into.

Seeing the girl you love walk right by you, not able to spare an adoring glance was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole existence. No fleeting caresses could be shared in classes, no loving words. I could not provide her with support when those scathing words were thrown her way and I could not be the shoulder she leaned on when life hit her with all it had. It was a terrible feeling – loving someone so much but being forced to watch their life pass before your eyes silently. These last three weeks a particularly dark feeling had been strangling me.

Jealousy.


Cream and I had both agreed that it would look suspicious if she suddenly broke up with Royal – especially since she had no real reason to do so. That did not mean that I didn’t fantasize about head butting the jerk every time his hand slid around my women’s waist.  It also didn’t change the fact that, even knowing that Cream was acting, my heart had this nasty habit of stopping every time she allowed his lips to touch hers.

“Are you ok?”

The feminine voice snapped me out of my thoughts as I found myself staring into a familiar green face, “Huh?” was my eloquent reply.

She sighed, sitting down next to me at the picnic table. From here we had a perfect view of Scarlett, Cream, Royal and some other Berries I did not know, “You shouldn’t torture yourself.” Ivy chided.

“I’m not,” I replied defensively. Apparently my glares and evil eyes hadn’t gone unnoticed, “why are you here anyways?”

She shined an apple as she spoke, “You might be a little weird but you’ve got a good heart. Not many people have that quality around here.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“True,” She drawled, “but I know you didn’t take advantage of Cephei.”

“Cephei?”

“That crazy yellow girl at the party.”

I nodded, remembering the drunken girl who had thrown herself at me and then proceeded to dance and screech in my ear, “Did she get home ok?”

“See!” She exclaimed, “You are a good guy.”

I found myself rolling my eyes in her general direction, “So, why are you talking to me now?”

She shrugged, “Why now? Because you look like you could use a friend.”

Though her mouth formed the words, her eyes were captured by another image. I followed her line of sight and realized that Fern was among the berries I hadn’t recognized. She was currently snuggling up to some guy.

“You can sympathize with me.” I accused.

“This just isn’t the place for ‘abnormal’ romances, Maize. They always get squashed before they have the chance to bloom. ”

“How poetic.” I mumbled, watching my breath float through the chilly air.

“She’s fine, by the way.”

“Huh?”

“Cephei.” She explained.

“Oh,” I mumbled, looking over at Ivy, “that’s good. Thank you for helping her that night.”

Ivy laughed, shaking her head, “Why are you thanking me? It’s not like she was your responsibility.”

I shrugged, a small frown tugging on my lips, “I don’t know.”

“Hey, let’s get out of here.” She said, standing suddenly, “This is too depressing, watching people we love, love someone else.” Ivy didn’t really give me a choice in the matter, as she tugged me up and led me down the sidewalk.

“Wait, where are we going?”

“On an adventure!” I wasn’t sure where her abrupt burst of energy came from but I had to admit, it was contagious. I found myself smiling as she led me through the chilly December air to some unknown destination. I had this undeniable feeling that Ivy herself had no idea where she was going, simply allowing life to take her where it pleased. It was freeing notion.

It was also the start of a beautiful friendship.

————————————
AN: Sorry about the lack of photos in the first half of the chapter.

Generation One

Chapter Ten: A Walk Through Hell

And if I could swim
I’d swim out to you in the ocean
Swim out to where you were floating
in the dark

I knew that the Storm residence was not the best place to have this conversation with Cream. The chance that this would turn into more of a fight than simple conversation loomed in the back of mind and I did not want to subject Miss Storm to our fighting. It was getting late, she did not need to be kept awake by our misunderstanding and pain. Where we decided to talk, however, wasn’t far from Cream’s house at all. It only took five minutes for Cream and I to cross the grassy land and reach the waterfall that her house was located near. The cool autumn air lazily blew by as we stared into the distance, neither of knowing exactly what to say to the other. There was so much to say, so many places to start.

“So, how was your night?” I asked awkwardly, trying to fill the silence that had settled between us.

“It was ok.” Cream said, toying with her hair and avoiding my eyes at all costs. I could tell my inquiry had made her uncomfortable, I just wasn’t sure why. Maybe she was still upset at me for punching Royal’s face in. I knew she wasn’t going to come out with it on her own so I prodded a little more.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing is the matter, Maize.”

I knew the real answer from watching my parents fight when I was younger. Whenever my mother said nothing was the matter it had meant something was the matter, “Tell me the truth.”

Her head snapped in my direction- eyes blazing with anger for a second before the flames quelled into pain, “Maybe you’d know if you hadn’t been ignoring me for almost a week.”

I sucked in a lung full air and suddenly it was my turn to avoid her eyes, “Yeah, sorry about that,” I paused for a moment, risking a glance over at Cream before diverting my gaze again. She still looked pretty upset, “I didn’t like, um, Royal and you together.” I practically was mumbling.

And if was blessed
I walk on the water you’re breathing
To lend you some air for that heaving
Sunken chest

“You don’t get to pick who I date, Maize.”

“I know, I never said that –“

“And just because you don’t like who I decide to date doesn’t give you the right to ignore me! Do you know how worried I was?” Her voice was steadily getting louder – the anger slipping into every word.   “You wouldn’t pick up your phone. I took a taxi all the way to your apartment and you wouldn’t answer the door. I know you were home, your motorcycle was –“

“Are you serious?” I interrupted her much like she had done to me, “I’m not the only one to blame here. How could you even think that Royal deserved an apology?” I stated, recalling her text, “Have you suddenly forgotten how acquainted my face is with his fist? Or how he used to make both of our lives nightmares? I suppose a few sweet words and swift boost in your social status was supposed to smooth everything over. Well, news flash, it doesn’t!”

“That was over a month ago! He apologized to us both and has been making a real effort to make things up to us!”

“To get into your pants!”  I corrected loudly. I was suddenly very grateful for the waterfall that was, hopefully, masking our screams from Miss Storm’s ears.

Cream’s face was red with embarrassment or anger, I couldn’t tell. Her fists were tiny bundles by her side as she seethed in silence for a moment. I took a few deep breaths myself; reigning in the irritation she had ignited.

‘Cause they chose you
As the model
For their empty little dreams

“Is that what you really think about me? That I was just dating him for the popularity?”

I sighed, kicking at a rock that wasn’t really there, “Why else would you be dating him?”

She rolled her eyes, “Well, it’s not true.”

“Oh really?” I found myself nearly laughing, “Look at what you’re wearing.”

She looked down at herself, eyes skimming her exposed belly button and thighs, “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”

“You mean besides the fact that I know you hate heels and I can practically see your underwear?”

“What does my clothing have to do with me dating Royal?” She shot back, clearly flustered at my statement. Her hands played with the hem of her skirt in an attempt to pull it down further.


“They’re changing you.” The irritation I had quelled was rearing its ugly head again.

“Wearing a new skirt doesn’t mean they’re changing me.”

“It starts out with your clothing,” I pointed out, “but it’s not going to stop there. How long do you think they’d let you hang out with me? One week? Maybe a month? Then they’d hint that I wasn’t cool enough for you, that you’d be better off without me. What then, Cream? What are you going to do when they start saying your hobbies aren’t cool enough; your personality? Are you just going to change all that too?”

With your new head
And your legs spread
Like a filthy magazine

“Of course not!” She shouted, throwing her hands in the air, “A new outfit is not on the same level as a new life.” Cream turned her back on me, huffing as she headed towards the bank of the lake. I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to ruffle her feathers at the moment, but I did. I wasn’t done yet, either. I needed to get my point across now, I wasn’t sure if I would ever get another chance.

“They’re changing you and you don’t even realize it. We never use to fight. Not until Royal and you starting exchanging emails.” I shouted after her departing figure.

She paused in her retreat. I took it as a sign that she was finally digesting what I was saying and decided to put hit it home, “You’re going to wake up one day and realize that you’re everything you hate. Everything that I hate.”

And they hunt you
And they gut you
And you give in

I took a few strides towards Cream, effectively closing the distance between us. Reaching out, I tried to touch her arm but she shrugged off my touch. I wasn’t sure what to do. I could have kept lecturing her but I felt like if I did I might end up ripping a drift between us that could never be repaired. Instead of risking it, I stood behind her in silence, waiting for her to give me some sort of signal.  We were exceptionally close to the water now. The mist from the waterfall coated my face as I waited patiently, fiddling with my thumbs.

The gush from the waterfall was deafening from this distance, I had to strain my ears in order to hear her speak, “Why do you even care?”

And if I was brave
I’d climb up to you on the mountain
They led you to drink from their fountain
Spouting lies

I’m not sure what came over me but before I could stop myself I had twirled Cream around, forcing her to look me in the eye. Her white irises met my yellows and then my lips were upon hers.

Who knows how long I stood there, lips touching hers while electricity coursed through my veins, but I couldn’t imagine a more perfect first kiss. After an eternity I pulled away and hesitantly searched Cream’s face for a reaction. I found shock and surprise written clearly, which was much better than the anger and pain that had filled her eyes moments ago.

“That’s why.” I breathed.

And I’d slay
The horrible beast they commissioned
To steer me away from my mission
To your eyes

My voice snapped her out of the trance my lips had put her in. She stumbled backwards and shook her head, “Maize, I-I-I. W-we can’t-t” She stuttered, hand gently touching her lips.

I was so sick and tired of hearing that I couldn’t be with her – from Ivy and Scarlett to the story I had heard not even an hour ago. There was nothing wrong with wanting to be with the one you loved because I did love her. I knew that now.

“Why not?” I asked, raising an eyebrow, “Because some old man who was probably really grumpy decided over a hundred years ago that different colored Berries can’t be together? Well, screw him, Cream.”


And I’d stand there
Like a soldier
With my foot upon his chest

“It’s not just the law, Maize.”

My heart sunk and I felt the fight leave me, “Then what is it, Cream. You have to tell me, I can’t read your mind.”

She bit her bottom lip, brushing a stray piece of hair out of her face, “Maize, I-I I can’t be my mother. I can’t throw everything away on a chance – a risk. She, she never recovered. She went down this path and it destroyed her. It destroyed my family.”

“I promise you, I will never hurt you.” I said, taking a step forward. She took a step back.

“I know you would never hurt me deliberately,” She took a deep breath, tears welling up in her eyes, “But I’ve seen how this story ends. You’ll be forced to leave and I’ll be broken. Irreparably broken. So, I’ll marry someone I don’t love, like my mother. Only I’ll be able to learn to love him because I won’t know what it’s like to be in love with you. That way he won’t leave me because I can’t reciprocate the feeling.”

With my grin spread
And my arms out
In my bloodstained Sunday’s best


I found myself grinning like a madman despite her words, “So you’re saying you like me.”

“I’m saying it won’t work, Maize. That’s it’s not worth the risk.”

“Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I whispered, a sad smile plaster onto my lips.

She shot me a dark look and countered, “Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.”


And you’d hold me
I’d remind you
Who you are
Under their shell

“But my hands will always be there.”

“You can’t promise such things, it’s not fair.”

A few strides brought me face to face with my angel, “Yes, I can.”

“How?” Her voice was barely a whisper, the words almost swallowed by the thunderous crash resonating from beside us.

I reached out, wiping away a few stray tears that had fallen, “Because I’d die before I’d let them take me from you.”

And if they sent a whirlwind
I’d hug it like a harmless little tree

I stood there in silence; watching the emotions flicker in her eyes as she internally decided our fates. It was the longest ten seconds of my life. When her eyes steeled, a look of determination etching onto her face, I felt my legs begin to quiver My chest caved in and suddenly it was near impossible to breath as the icy wisps of sadness pierced my soul. She didn’t believe me and there was nothing I could do to change her mind – nothing I could say that would make her stay by my side. My hand dropped from her check as I turned to face the bank. I had hardly moved an inch before her hand found my chin, forcing me to look at her. She was biting her bottom lip again, eyes searching mine for an answer I knew in my heart she already had.

However, the words I thought she was going to speak were not the ones that escaped through her teeth, “It’s not going to be easy.” Then her lips touched mine, soft and delicate. A fleeting kiss that left me craving more – much more than she might be willing to give.

Or an earthquake,
I’d calm it

And I’d bring you back to me

As she broke the kiss, a sigh escaped her lips. I’m sure she wanted to verbalize her feelings to me but at that moment I just wanted her lips back on mine. Before she could open that rosy pink mouth I had her wrapped up in my arms, lips attached to hers again. She returned the kiss just as greedily.

When we broke apart we were breathless. Our heavy breathing filled the void between us and it only took one glance at her pouty to make me want another blood soaring kiss. I moved in, wanting another, but Cream’s hand stopped my lips from gracing her own.

“Maize, we need to talk about this.”

“Can’t we talk later?” I pleaded. I couldn’t imagine a better feeling than the warmth that bloomed in my chest every time our lips touched. I wasn’t ready for that to end just yet.

She shook her head at me, laughing, “Maize, this is serious. If this is going to work we have to have a plan.”

I frowned, “It’s simple, just don’t get caught.”

“Oh, and how do you propose we do that?” She asked, crossing her arms.

And I’d hold you
In my weak arms like a first born

I shrugged, “We will act normal in public.” I stated as if it was so simple. Her doubtful expression encouraged me to continue, “We can act like we are still fighting, if you want. I’ll sneak over to your house every night. No one lives nearby, we won’t be caught. I’ll drop out of school if I have to, get a job somewhere –“

“You are not going to throw your life away in order to be with me.” She chided.

“Then let’s run away together.”

“I can’t,” she whispered, sparing a glance at her house, “My mother…”

“Then let me do this.” I was practically begging.

Cream shook her head, “No, Maize. For now we’ll just play it by ear.”

I’d walk through hell for you
Let it burn right through my shoes
These soles are useless without you


There was no point in arguing with her, not now. Besides, there were more important matters that needed to be dealt with. Like getting my lips pressed against hers.

Wrapping her into my arms, I placed a small kiss on her forehead and nose as I made my way down to my prize. She giggled at each caress, happily meeting my lips.

“What am I getting myself into?” She whispered.

“I love you, that’s what you’re getting yourself into.”

Through hell for you
Let the torturing ensue
My soul is useless without you

———————————————–

The song is by Say Anything and is called ‘A Walk Through Hell’

If any of the images aren’t edited for you, I’m sorry. Photobucket was giving me a lot of trouble and I’m no sure what saved and what did not save. D;