A Thousand Kisses

Part 5

By: Girl Bard

girl_bard@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Please see part 1. Enjoy!

Additional Disclaimer: All poetry is my own original work. You may borrow it, but only if you ask nicely. J

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!

In honor of my favorite holiday,

Enjoy a special treat of a 2-part post!

Now, gimme some candy!!!! J

October 4, 2000

"Call Steele back."

Jaden vehemently shakes her head at me. "Don't wanna."

"Come on!" I argue, smacking her thigh lightly with the back of my hand. "It's been driving me nuts since he called. You can't dangle some hidden information about my mother in front of me and then not tell me!"

She stares at me calmly, her eyes warm with emotion. "Grace, are you prepared for what you're about to hear? What if it's really awful? I don't want to see you hurt."

I think about what she said, slowly running all the possibilities through my mind. What did Steele find out? What information could my mother be possibly hiding for the past 23 years?

Biting my bottom lip I raise my gaze to meet Jaden's once again. "I'm ready." I respond firmly. "Whatever it is, I'd rather hear it from you and Steele than from my mother."

Jaden doesn't look convinced. She looks toward the phone uncertainly and sighs softly.

"What's wrong?" I ask, scooting closer to her and taking her hand in mine. "You seem more bothered by this than I do."

"I guess I am. It just feels as if since you've met me your life has been one giant roller coaster. You've moved halfway across the country, gotten shot by my ex-boyfriend slash drug dealer, quit your college, broken up with your fiancÚ, and become involved in a long-term lesbian relationship. I just want some peace and quiet for you." Jaden finishes, her face darkened with self-loathing.

"Do you know what I like best about roller coasters?" I question and she looks at me curiously.

"What?"

"That they seem like the scariest things in the world, you know? It's not natural to be hurtling down hundreds of feet at ridiculously fast speeds. But regardless of how scary they seem, you know that you are safe in your seat belt. You're not going to fall out."

Jaden furrows her brow and continues to look at me with a strange expression on her face.

I try to explain myself better. "What I'm saying is that no matter how sudden or long the drop, I know I will be okay. I have my safety belt and I believe there is no way you will let me fall. It doesn't matter how scary it seems, we'll ride it out together." As I finish I see the light of understanding come into her brain. "Does that make sense?" She nods her head and I pull her into a warm hug.

"Listen to me Spots, I don't regret a single moment of time we have shared. The best thing that ever happened to me was when you came into my uncle's bar. Please don't ever think otherwise."

"Okay." Jaden responds, her voice muffled by my shoulder.

"Now," I tell her as I pat her back. "Go and call Steele."

Jaden sighs and slowly grabs the phone, dialing his number from memory. My stomach churns with anticipation and it feels as if my entire body is tingling.

"Hey, it's Jaden." I hear her say and I raise my eyebrows, both relieved and upset that he's actually home.

Am I ready to hear what he has to say? I know I can't stand not knowing it, but the timing is pretty lousy. Jaden explained that she called him yesterday and had him check it out, not expecting him to be able to do it so fast. I was hoping for a nice and relaxing weekend with her, not having to deal with my mother's latest assault.

Jaden clears her throat, causing me to snap out of my thoughts and focus my attention back to her. She takes the phone away from her ear and looks at me intently.

"Do you want to hear it from him or do you want me to tell you?" She asks, her face dark and unreadable.

I try to answer but no sound comes out. My throat is clenched with fear and I numbly raise my hand and point it at her.

"Alright, thanks buddy. I'll see you on Monday, okay? Good work." She efficiently ends the conversation and sits down on the couch, pulling me with her.

"C'mere." Jaden murmurs and gathers me into her arms. Now I am really panicked, I know from her reaction that it must be really bad.

"Goddess, just tell me!" I exclaim as I look at her face. She looks miserable and I can't decide if it's better to know or not to know. Jaden looks at if she doesn't know where to begin and I plead with her.

"Tell me." I whisper beseechingly, unable to stand this torment any longer.

"Okay." Jaden softly answers. "Steele found out something that isn't what we expected. It's going to be shocking and unbelievable, but I guarantee he checked it out and knows that it is the truth."

"Just tell me." I demand and she takes my hands in hers.

"Debbie is not your real mother." Jaden offers and I stare at her blankly.

"What does that mean?"

"You were adopted." Jaden continues. "Kind-of."

"Huh? How can I be kind-of adopted?" I respond uncertainly.

"Your father is your real father. But your mother is someone else, not Debbie. Your real mother is listed on your original birth certificate. As soon as you were born Debbie legally adopted you." She finishes and I notice how sad her luminous blue eyes appear.

Shaking my head, I try to grasp the information. "Are you serious?" I ask, knowing that Jaden or Steele wouldn't tell me unless they were sure. "I can't believe this. What about my birth mother? Who is she? Where is she?"

"We're not sure. We know her name is listed on your original birth certificate as Laura Greene and she's from your hometown. I have Steele trying to find out where she currently is."

"How did this happen?" Questions are the only thoughts in my mind. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be so insistent." I tell Jaden and she frowns slightly.

"You're not being insistent sweetheart. You've just found out something that has changed your entire life. You're taking it better than I would." She reassures me.

This must be a dream. How could everyone have lied to me for 23 years? Now that I think back I remember little things, like the fact that my baby book was filled with only pictures of me and none of my pregnant mother. I just assumed that Debbie didn't want anyone seeing her fat and pregnant.

I rub my face and hold my head in my hands. "This is insane." I comment and Jaden kisses the top of my head. "What in the hell? I can't even begin to process this. I always thought my family was way too quiet, but this, this is fucked up."

"I know." She says, her hands working their way down to rub my back comfortingly.

"And my father!" I exclaim, looking up into Jaden's eyes. "He hasn't said more than ten words to me my entire life. No wonder. I always thought both of my parents hated me and now I know why."

"They don't hate you." Jaden responds and I smile sadly at her.

"Yes they do. I'm an embarrassment, a bastard child that should have never been born. I ruined three lives just by being conceived."

"Oh, Grace." She says, tears falling freely from her eyes now. "Please don't ever think that, it wasn't your fault you got unlucky in the parent department. You didn't ruin anyone's lives, and I can't imagine what my life would be like if you hadn't been born."

I am grateful for her admission, but it still doesn't fill the void in my heart. "I always felt as if I was unwanted and just in the way. Now I know why."

Jaden's strong hands wipe my own eyes and I feel my damp tears on my cheeks. I didn't even know I was crying.

"You're not unwanted and you never were. I love you and I want you." She replies softly.

It is wonderful for her to say, but it can't begin to make up for the years my parents treated me like hell. I know it should probably make me feel better knowing there was a valid reason for being treated like that, but it doesn't. It just makes me angry that I was lied to my entire life by people that I trusted and loved.

"I better call Jerry Springer, huh? He'd probably kill for all of us to be on his show." I remark, chuckling at the thought of me throwing a chair at Debbie.

"No way, you're family isn't nearly fucked up enough to be on Springer. Now maybe if this Laura Greene person is your father's sister, but otherwise you're just too normal." Jaden replies, her smile dazzling despite her teary eyes.

I wrinkle my nose at the thought. "Ew. That's one piece of information I hope Steele doesn't uncover." I shake my head at the thought. "Speaking of siblings, my uncle has to have known about this. I really thought I could trust him and confide in him. Why wouldn't he have told me?" I ask sadly. This thought almost hurts as much as finding out my own parents lied to me.

"I don't know." Jaden answers honestly. "I can't imagine him not telling you if he knew."

"I can." I respond. "He hasn't told anyone he's gay besides me and he's fifty-two. He obviously has no problem keeping a secret."

"We don't know if he even knew." Jaden states, always the voice of reason.

"You're right." I tell her. "Give me the phone and I'll find out."

Jaden hands me the phone and gives me a reassuring smile as I dial his memorized number. The phone rings a few times and when I hear his familiar gruff voice answer I suddenly become speechless. I can't ask him. I'm too afraid of what his answer will be.

Journal entry:

October 21, 2000

It's incredible how one's life can change in the blink of an eye. A few seconds and KERPLOW! Everything you ever knew or thought or believed is suddenly gone.

And you can never ever get it back.

I've been graced with quite a few life-altering moments recently. In just a few months I've managed to kill someone, be shot myself, be responsible for Ian's death, and discover my entire life has been a farce.

And that's just in the past few months. It's been two weeks now since I discovered that my mother isn't my mother and my father is a cheating scumbag who cheated on Debbie while they were married with this Laura Greene woman who I now know is my birth mother.

Two weeks for me to process this and I still don't feel like I can even begin to do so. Jaden has been so wonderful, listening to me cry and rant and get angry. I've spoken with Cheryl a few times and she is helping me address all the feelings. Kim and Stacey and Joe and Diana have been a godsend, taking Jaden and I out and cheering us up.

But I still feel sad. I know I probably will for a long time, if not forever. This isn't something you can just "deal" with and move on.

And I want to move on so badly. Jaden's birthday is in ten days and I want to give her a wonderful celebration. I'm throwing her a surprise party and I think she'll be actually surprised. At least I hope she will.

My first autumn in New England is almost over and I feel like we've lost an entire month. First Jaden was away on assignment for two weeks and then we've been dealing with two weeks of this.

It's pretty crappy. Is it too much to ask for some freaking peace and quiet? For nothing bad to happen? I guess it is.

At least we're in this together. It's my only thought of comfort. These past two weeks Jaden has been nothing but incredible and I look forward to our future together.

But first I need to address my past. Steele and Jaden found out that Laura Greene is indeed alive and well and lives in Chicago. She's married with five children. They have also been able to find out that my mother's family paid her a huge amount of money to leave town, or at least that's what it looks like. A few days after I was born, Laura Greene deposited a check from my grandparents for more than $10,000 into her bank account and then immediately left for Chicago. It's really amazing what Steele was able to find out. I'm not sure how he did it and when I asked Jaden she just smirked and commented he can do more than people think. I didn't ask any more questions, not really sure if I wanted to know what her cryptic statement meant.

So my grandparents were in on the entire thing. My Uncle Rick never knew. He was away at college that year and stayed there to work through the summer. When he came home for a visit, suddenly Debbie and my father had a baby. He and Debbie were never that close so it didn't seem that unusual that she hadn't mentioned her pregnancy. It was kept as much of a secret from him as it was from me.

He was just as outraged to hear the news as I was. I had to beg and plead with him to convince him not to go over and scream at my mother, father, and grandparents.

But I don't want anyone else to fight my battles for me. I can be my own warrior. And as much as this information hurts me, knowing that Debbie doesn't know that I know makes me feel a little bit of satisfaction. She hasn't called since leaving that nasty message, but when she does I can bring it up before she does. And that will piss her off.

I can't decide if I want to try and contact Laura. Part of me does, because I want to know what happened and why she gave me away so willingly to my father and Debbie. But another part of me is scared, not wanting to face the possibility of rejection by yet another mother. Jaden says I don't have to decide right away, and when I do I don't have to do it as drastically as showing up on her doorstep. I can always write a letter and see if she responds.

I don't know if she will. If I were in her position I guess I would think it would be easier to just continue living her life with her husband and five children and not think twice about the child I gave away. But maybe she does think about me and regrets her decision. Or maybe, to her at least, it was the right decision to make. I guess I can't judge what she did; I don't know what really happened or what has going on in her life. Maybe it was best that she did let my father and Debbie raise me.

I wonder what Laura looks like and what her family is like. I hope she's happy and that her children are all well. Steele said they were all a few years younger than me, the oldest just having turned 21 and the youngest Lydia's age of 14. I can't imagine having five siblings and I'm sure Laura and her husband are really busy. Maybe one day I'll meet them and get to visit Chicago with Jaden. I've always wanted to go there.

It's beautiful outside. I'm sitting in the back yard with the dogs who are scampering through the leaves. They are having so much fun and I'm having as much fun watching them. Almost all the trees are bare now, and I sense the chill of winter in the air.

It is harvest time, and I concentrate on harvesting the things precious and dear to me to keep my soul warm through the winter. I have so many people to be thankful for; Jaden, my sister and uncle, our friends, and the dogs. The time of year is inspiring me to write more and I'm content to sit here and enjoy the beautiful Autumn day and write poetry.

Harvest

I gather my crops

The fading sun casts dancing shadows

On the barren land.

The green fields of summer are gone

Replaced by the icy breath

Of the sighing wind.

I gather my crops

My hands cracked by the sharp stalks

Dusty fingers wipe a weathered brow.

The trees commit suicide

Their blood red leaves fall from the dying forests

And stain the ground before blowing away.

I gather my crops, alone

They have all gone to chase the sun

Like silly grasshoppers.

But here I stay, determined little ant

Facing you, the dark wind with my arms outstretched

Welcoming you in.

I'll have to read that poem to Jaden. I don't normally write poetry like that, but the weather and my current state of mind is inspiring. She'll be home from work soon and then we are going to work on Bella's Halloween costume.

Then we have to go pick up Diana and Joe so we can rent our costumes. I'm unable to stifle my giggle at the thought of Jaden dressing up as the Cowardly Lion for Halloween. She's still grumbling over that but we all convinced her that it was the only logical choice. She wanted to be the Wicked Witch of the West, but Diana put her foot down and stated she wouldn't dress up unless she could be the witch. And there was no way any of us were going to be the ones to tell Kasey that we weren't going to go along with her party.

Let me clarify. Joe and Diana are having a backyard Halloween party and Kasey pleaded to go dressed up as Dorothy. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that Jaden and I were over and the five of us were watching the Wizard of Oz at the time. So Joe and Diana told Kasey that was a great idea, and no sooner did the little schemer decide the four of us should dress up at Dorothy's friends. Kasey then added that she wanted to use Bean as Toto and Bella as the Tin Man.

Again, we agreed and thought it would be fun. Then Diana called dibs on the part as the Witch, I called dibs on Glinda the Good Witch and Joe and Jaden were left to fight over the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. It's just plain obvious to everyone that Joe is the perfect Scarecrow, he falls down all the time and besides, it's going to be hilarious to see Jaden in her costume. I can't wait.

It will be a riot. I just have to figure out how in the hell to dress Bella up as the Tin Man without dying her beautiful fur. I think I'll just get some silver fabric and make her a doggie shirt or something. And we have to get Bean used to being carried around in a basket by a hyper kindergartener. That ought to be tricky.

It should be an interesting night. We've found the costumes at a small shop in Salem and hopefully everything should fit just right.

I know it's going to be really fun and Jaden will eventually get used to being laughed at. She's up to something though, I can definitely tell. Every time I ask her what she's giggling about she just gives me that little smile and makes that annoying little zippering motion with her hand on her lips. She drives me totally insane.

But I love every second of it.

 

Part 5: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!

girl_bard@yahoo.com


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