I couldn’t believe I had two beautiful sons. They were both so amazing and perfect. I couldn’t get enough of playing with both of them.
I made sure to pay plenty of attention to Kyle to make sure he didn’t feel jealous of Orion. But Kyle was very happy and often wanted to see his brother ‘Wion’. He was very gentle with Orion, too. The few times he touched his brother he just gently pat Orion’s arm or something.
I started playing in the park more often and this time was a lot more successful than the previous attempts. I didn’t earn as much as I did painting but it was nice to get out of the house. Penny would bring the boys and play with them while I played songs for the other patrons in the park.
When the doll came for Orion, neither of us were surprised. My grandma’s cousin sent it, or something like that. From Twinbrook. We put it in Orion’s crib and planned on letting things just work out on their own.
Getting another doll sparked the embers and I felt really anxious to go hunt the Reddings down. I wanted to kick them out of our lives. I hated the fact they knew so much about us, that they knew when we had children, that they even knew the names of our sons. I fully expected them to show up at some point and bring disaster with them.
Life with two babies in the house really was a hectic one, and before we knew it–it was time for Orion to grow up. Penny made the wish for him and blew out the candle.
“Come on, Kyle,” I said, looking at his pouting face. “Come watch your brother.” He stood up and toddled in, plopping down next to Orion.
It was difficult for me to accept that Orion was getting older. I remembered my father’s scrapbook and the fact that on all my Big Birthdays he had pretty much thought the same time. I wish you could see your grandsons, I thought as the sparkles surrounded Orion.
You’d be so proud, Dad, I thought as Orion aged up. My little bundle was now a toddler.
Because I was thinking so much about my father it was startling when I realized Orion had his eyes. I picked up him and he cooed at me, kicking his feet happily.
We took the same route with Orion as we had with Kyle. I taught him to walk, she taught him to talk, and we both worked on potty training. Orion was almost opposite Kyle. He learned to speak long before he learned to walk.
The two toddlers got along pretty well most of the time. Now that Orion was more mobile, there started to be more fights when they tried reaching for the same toy or something.
“NO WION! DADA! WION BEING MEAN!”
I came into the room and saw Kyle kicking at Orion’s back. Orion just kept his seat in front of him, giggling and ignoring the kicks. “Dadddyyy!” Kyle whined. “Make Wion go ‘way!”
“No!” Orion complained and began crying when I picked him up.
I really hoped that once Kyle got a little older, things would calm down a bit. But I was still sad when his fifth birthday came.
Penny blew out the candle for him then set him down. Orion crawled over and watched with wide eyes. Penny and I grinned at each other, really excited to see our little man.
“How do you feel?” I asked, slipping an arm around Penny’s waist.
Kyle blinked a few times then looked at his hands. “Hm,” he said. “Older.” He looked down at Orion who was staring up with very large eyes. “You’ll get your turn, Wion,” he said, reaching down and patting his brother on the head.
When he looked up at me and I saw his birth mother’s eyes, I knew that we would be telling him soon. Five was a little too young but later that night Penny and I agreed that six was a perfect age to tell him everything. I didn’t want him growing up and finding out his past from other people–like I had.
The next day we brought in his birthday present and he was ecstatic. “THANK YOU!” he shrieked, flinging sand everywhere. “I love it!” He began digging around, a huge grin on his face. “It’s all mine? Just mine?”
“Right now, yes,” I said. “But when Orion’s a little older, you’ll share, right?”
Kyle scrunched up half his face in thought but then nodded. “Yeah,” he said, digging his fingers deep into the sand. “I guess.”
Not long after that, he started showing some very familiar behaviors. We had spent all our extra money on building a new room onto the house–a bedroom for Kyle–and now were making plans on a new bathroom since with just three people it was difficult enough already, when Orion got a little older one bathroom just wouldn’t be enough. So Penny and I decided to add a new bathroom onto our bedroom. But after that, we would buy a work station and chemicals so we could start working on the right formula if Kyle ever wanted it for his friend Peanut.
A new bathroom was definitely needed soon, as a couple months after Kyle turned five, Penny discovered she was pregnant again. We were both happy and excited, and once again she made it clear she wanted a home birth.
A few months later we welcomed little Tempest into our family. My first, and probably only, daughter. I was mesmerized by her and spent a lot of time with her in my arms.
Like before, we made plenty sure to spend time with all our kids though they had their own little lives. Kyle joined scouts, while Orion loved spending the days with his doll, Lucky. He hated being apart from the doll, more than Kyle and Peanut.
Soon we felt it was time to tell Kyle about Teri. At first he didn’t seem interested in talking, preferring to continue his race. But when I told him it was something important he let his hands settle into his lap and he looked up at me, waiting.
I told him that Penny and I loved him very much, and would always be his parents. Then I explained that Penny was not his birth mother. I explained to him that part of me and part of Penny went into making Orion and Tempest, but before I had married Penny I had had a relationship with another woman.
I talked to him as a mix of child and adult. I didn’t want to dumb things down too much to the point of him not getting a clear answer, but I didn’t want things to be so confusing he didn’t get an answer at all. I told him that his birth mother was a woman named Teri and that she had moved to France a long time ago.
Of course he wanted to know the same things I once did. He asked if Teri didn’t love him, and if it was because of him she was gone. I promised him that it wasn’t because of him, and explained that she had taken care of him for the first few months. Then I said that she felt that he would be happier in a settled family life and so he was brought to me and Penny. I told him that we were both very happy to have him, and had loved him from the moment we met him.
I’m not sure how much he really understood and I told him he could ask me or Penny anything he wanted, at anytime, no matter what. He hugged me tightly and told me that he loved me. I hugged tightly back. “I love you too,” I said, hoping he would be okay.
As the years started going by, I grew worried that I had left it too late to go to Twinbrook. I wanted to keep my promise… but I didn’t want to leave my kids.
Tempest was a sweet toddler, very happy and always crawling after her brothers who were glad to give her attention. Like Orion, she had inherited my father’s eye color. Orion was still young enough to be a little playmate but before too long it was time for him to grow up.
I was very surprised by Orion. He looked a little like I did at that age, though I suspected he inherited his mother’s nose. I was hoping that he would get Penny’s hair or her eyes, but I was so proud of him. Like Kyle, he was becoming a handsome young man.
It wasn’t long before we knew Lucky had turned into a life-sized doll for him. At that point we realized with a shock that Tempest had never been sent a doll. Had the twins given up on us? Had they died? I checked obituaries but once again found nothing about mixed-sex twins. I suspected they were still alive and though I didn’t appreciate getting the dolls, I felt more suspicious of the fact we hadn’t gotten one for Temp.
Orion seemed to really want to take care of his sister. He loved feeding her, reading to her, and playing with her. He told us that he was so happy to be a big brother and so when we told him the news that he would have another sibling before too long, he was completely ecstatic.
When Luna was born, I decided that maybe I should just give up on my old dreams of revenge. I didn’t like the fact they could spring on us at any time but my family was more important than revenge.
When Penny discovered this, she wasn’t very receptive to my change of plans.
“Calcifer,” she said softly. “I don’t like the idea of revenge but I think it is important you make it clear to them to stay out of our lives. They hurt your father and you.”
“But what if they’re not bothering us anymore?” I asked hesitantly. “Temp never got a doll and so far Luna hasn’t either.”
“They waited for a long time between when you were a child and when Kyle arrived here,” she pointed out. “I do not think they are gone. I think you should find them and tell them to leave you alone.” She reached over and stroked my cheek. “I know you still despise them, you cannot deny it. Ever since you bought that station and have been trying to find the old formula to help Peanut and Lucky, you have been so tense and angry.” She pulled back and frowned. “And the nightmares have been haunting you every single night ever since you started working on the chemicals.”
She was right, I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to help the two dolls but I hated knowing I was just doing what the twins wanted. Every time I put on my lab coat and goggles, I could feel them looming over me. I felt once more like Frankenstein’s Monster playing at being Frankenstein. It made me sick and, as she pointed out, tense and angry. If I could just hunt the twins down and face them then perhaps I would feel better. And maybe my nightmares would stop.
“But what about you and the kids?” I finally asked. “I can’t just leave you…”
“In a few months, Kyle will be a teenager,” she said simply. “He can help. I want you to feel free, Calcifer. I want you to be happy. I do not like you having nightmares. Please.”
I closed my eyes and very slowly nodded. “All right,” I finally agreed. “I’ll leave after Kyle’s birthday.” I pulled Penny close and held her tightly, my heart beating heavily. I had four months. Four months, and then I would be going to Twinbrook.