***DISCLAIMER*** For some reason this week, it seems that a couple of posts disappeared from the #storyfriday search before I had a chance to copy them over to the blog. I did my best to recover all of them, but if for some reason I missed one of your posts, please let me know and I will edit the story accordingly. Thank you!
First Line provided by @WritersDigest:
Kathy sat at the doctor’s office waiting for the results. Her husband Allen and kids Tony and Lynn were nervous.
“What do you think it could be?” Tony whispered to Lynn.
“I dunno, but I am scared.”
“Kids, relax,” Kathy said while squeezing Allen’s hand with a smile on her face. “Let’s not jump to conclusions.”
Allen knew there was something Kathy had been withholding but he was unable to put his finger on it. Kathy felt detached. She’d known for some time but never wanted to verbalize it… that would make it real. Thoughts ran through Allen’s mind before it stopped;
“What if she’s dying? Is our unborn child OK. Will she live long enough?“
Kathy gazed at her happy, healthy children, and wondered how she could have been stupid enough have put them all in this position.
“I do have both of you, Tony and Lynn. I am sure we can beat it together.” says Kathy. She could see the tension in the set of his jaw – he was always the worrier of the two of them. She loved him, always.
“So what is the diagnosis, Kathy?” says her husband Allen.
Finally the doctor came out and said “Allen, when it comes to 5 year old Lynn and 6 year old Tony… you are NOT the father!”
Allen began to quiver. Kathy had seen this before – the quiet before the storm. She began to pray, silently, before she stood.
“What? This is not a diagnosis, this is a prognosis on who is my biological child.” says Kathy.
“Not when it affects your unborn child,” the doctor said, “The child will not have a normal life, if you chose to have it.”
“We are keeping the child,” were Allen’s words, said in anger and defiance. Kathy looked at him, surprise painting her face. Until that moment she had forgotten her husband as he was so quiet.
“What could he be thinking?” She wondered looking at him.
Tony gazed at his mom with uneasiness, as she stirred about her seat and nervously clenched her purse.
“Daddy is not our daddy?” asked Lynn.
“Then who is?” whispered Tony.
“It’s okay kids, we’ll get this sorted later” replied Kathy as she pulled them in for a hug.
Allen glared at her. “We are keeping the child, can you tell us whether it’s a boy or a girl?” inquired Allen. He crossed his fingers for a boy. Kathy could see disappointment, pain and anger in his eyes. They would have to talk later.
The doctor, uncomfortable to be put in such a position leaned over his desk to look at Allen, “Kathy tells me you had a rare disorder and she was worried you would pass it on to your child.”
“She told you that?” The look in his eye intensified. How could she talk to this doctor before him?
Kathy could tell by the look in Allen’s eyes that he was displeased. She tried to take his hand and he withdrew from her.
“Don’t touch me. I don’t know who you are.” He told her, “Doc I believe my question was, is it a boy or a girl?”
Kathy thought sarcastically, “We’re going to end up on Maury.”
The doctor finally answered their first concern… Dr. Williams looked at Kathy for her approval and she nodded. “Twins,” the doctor said, “However, there is a problem.”
Allen, not believing what he had just heard, remembered what his mother had told him about her pregnancy with him.
“I had to choose,” she had told him long ago.
They were all anxious to know the diagnosis of Kathy’s unborn children. They knew the babies were sick and could die
“There is nothing further that we can say regarding the twins, only that you must take care to stay calm and stress-free”.
“Yeah, calm and stress-free, I can see THAT happening…” Kathy thought, looking at her husband, deep in thought.
And then it happened. “Calm and stress free! Is that the best you can do?” Allen began screaming. “Are you people insane? I know you just didn’t tell me that. My children are in danger and I am supposed to go home and relax? Are you mad?”
Allen and Kathy didn’t speak on the drive home. Even the children in the backseat were unusually quiet. As they were pulling into the driveway Allen looked in the rear view mirror at the children.
“I want you two to go play next door with Billy.”
Kathy was bracing for the worst as she sat down at the table. Allen had stormed out of the doctor’s office vowing to continue the conversation at home. Allen waited until the kids were out of the car. He sat there just wishing the fiasco never happened. When he finally joined Kathy at the table he was more calm than she had expected. He sat and clasped his hands in front of him. Allen had an idea the kids were not his, now it was confirmed. Married for 10 years, and at least one other man… Since Allen was deployed for the last 9 months, Kathy’s story about alien abduction seemed like a good explanation for the pregnancy. Just the thought of aliens impregnating his wife was ridiculous. Allen smiled at the though in spite of himself.
“When were you going to tell me?’ Allen said from across the table, as he pushed at the lose sugar, spilled on the table, “Now,” He began. “I want to hear the truth, Kathy.”
The two adults missed the listening ears – Kids are so much more resilient than any of us, too old in our years, can really see.
“Can you hear what they are saying, Tony?” Lynn asked from under her brother’s arm.
“Shhhhh, I’m trying” he replied.
“The truth?” Kathy said, “The truth is I love you and I knew you wanted children. So I did what I had to so that could happen.”
“By getting pregnant by another man? You call that love? Is that what you are going to teach my son and daughter? That is if they aren’t mine too.”
“No,” Kathy said quietly, “The twins are yours. I wasn’t expecting this.” Kathy began to sob uncontrollably, “Allen, you know they are yours!” she demanded.
His look of anger softened only a little, “I don’t know what to believe. The mad doctor or my wife that told me aliens got her pregnant. This is too much to take.”
Kathy, so engrossed in her thoughts, jumped when the doctor appeared in the doorway, coming to her feet hands clasped together.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but there is something I need to tell you and it couldn’t wait.” Dr Williams said.
Under the window, Tony and Lynn were devastated. They had no idea that the man they knew and loved was not their daddy.
“Come on guys,” said Kathy. “Your dad was deployed like forever and we wanted more kids, so we agreed to use sperm donors.”
Allen stood up and looked down at Kathy, “In what universe did I agree to that?” he asked.
Kathy looked down at her clasped hands, “I wrote you a letter and when I didn’t get your response I took it. As a consent.”
“So I was born in a soap dish and they don’t even know where my real father is? ” Lynn was so mad at Kathy she began to shake.
“Ah hem.” Everyone had forgotten that Dr. Williams was still there, “The twin babies are doing fine,” said the doctor. “But they do have the sickle cell gene, as we feared.”
News of the twins having sickle cell was only the beginning. Kathy knew divorce was on Allen’s mind. Oddly enough – Kathy was okay with divorce. Allen being home was confusing her and complicating matters. Kathy looked at Allen, his face red with rage. She was calm knowing she had the letters proving he’d agreed to sperm donors. She also was surprised at how calm she was about knowing the babies would have the sickle cell gene. It was surely a frightening prospect, but she had already imagined all the worst-case scenarios. Now she just wanted control. Now with extra money she hoped to earn as a surrogate mother, Kathy was ready to file for divorce.
Kathy stood next to Allen, “I did what was best for our children. And they are OUR children,” she said as she squeezed his arm. Kathy sighed, “Just hear me out. I knew there was a chance for our children to get the sickle cell trait. So when I delivered Lynn and Tony I saved their cord blood.” Kathy smiled, “You see when these babies are born, we can use that to help them.” Kathy looked at the doctor who was nodding his head.
“Allen,” the doctor said, “Kathy has given your twins a fighting chance.”
Allen began rubbing his temples. “So they actually have a chance. Both of them?” He asked. That was more than his twin ever had. Allen’s mother chose him instead of Tom as he was the stronger child. Allen began to cry.
Kathy’s bottom lip trembled, “If you want to leave I’ll be okay. I knew that was a possibility when I went forward with this.”
Allen wiped his eyes and looked down at Lynn and Tony, staring at their parents, confused and frightened. His heart ached.
“How can I leave my family?” he said, smiling at the kids, “Besides, we’re gonna have twins.”
Kathy smiled through her tears. The children ran to them, glad to see their parents had made up. They were going to be bigger siblings than the twins. And that was way cool.
As Allen hugged his children and his wife, he closed his eyes and sighed, “This day has been such a nightmare.” That was when he heard the noise, the strange beeping, louder and louder…
And then he woke up and turned off the alarm.
Contributors to this week’s #storyfriday are (in order of appearance):
Minor editing (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) was done before this story was posted, to allow for easier reading. No words were removed from or added to this story after its original posting on Twitter except where indicated with red and then only to promote continuity in the story.
Great story everyone! See you next week!