I felt so sick and so dizzy. Kay was my father. I had two male parents. This was… impossible. It had to be some sort of joke–but as I looked at Kay I saw that it had to be true. We looked similar. The nose, the skin, even the shape of our heads. I had Redding blood in me. There was no doubt.
“You’re my father,” I said slowly.
“Yes,” Kay replied, his head bowed. “We had used b-both genders for other p-pregnancies but thought w-we should mix it up and t-try two males, b-because we thought that aliens–w-well, aliens used to, so…”
“You’re my father,” I said again and he finally looked up into my eyes.
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Is that why you agreed to this?” I indicated him, his youth. “So I could get answers?”
“Yes,” he said for a third time. “And I am r-really sorry about J-Jacob… I…” He trailed off and glanced over at his sister who looked bored. “Well, I’m s-sorry.”
“How come you kept this a secret?” I demanded. “How come you never told my father that the other donor was–was male? Do you really think it’s fair?” I hesitated then turned slightly away from them, not wanting to voice what I thought. This proved I really was just a monstrous experiment. At least with normal genetic donors there was some semblance of human. But this? I was the first of my kind. Two male parents.
“Calcifer,” Kay said, reaching out towards me but I pulled away. “It’s n-not something we intended on hiding but we n-never thought we’d see you again…”
“You stalked me!” I pointed out, whirling around to face him. “You never thought you would see me while you stalked me?”
Kay blushed slightly and rubbed the back of his head again, looking very sheepish. “It’s n-not something to be easily said!”
“Let’s go,” Jay said quickly. “We answered his questions, it is time to go. It’s been almost a full week since I checked up on–” She stopped suddenly and narrowed her eyes at me. “On one of the other experiments, and it is about time for us to… add in some new equations to the crops.”
I folded my arm and glared at her. “What are you up to now? Something illegal, I’d imagine. I should just call the cops on you…”
“On your own father?” she asked innocently, putting a hand on Kay’s shoulder. Kay winced and I scowled.
“If I had any solid evidence against you, I would gladly turn you in, Jay,” I spat out.
“You can feel how you want but I have done nothing wrong to you,” Jay growled. “You can lie to yourself about things and twist what I’ve done around to fit your perception of me. But I have done nothing but give life, not take life.” She pressed her fingertips together and smirked. “I have answered your questions. I hope you are satisfied.”
I ran my fingers through my hair, tugging slightly at the bangs hanging in my eye. I wanted more answers. I wanted to know who Peanut and Lucky were, but especially who Penny was. “Swear to me you’ll leave my family alone,” I hissed out. “You’ll never bother us again.”
“I will not pursue your family,” she said quietly.
“You swear it?” I demanded, not feeling comfortable with this. Once again, I had the feeling she was lying. “No more dolls or anything?”
“I will not send anymore dolls to your family!” she exclaimed. “All right? I’ll find another way to turn them real.”
“You shouldn’t experiment with human lives,” I muttered but she just glared at me. “Wait!” I said quickly and she sighed in exasperation. “Male pregnancy… and everything else…” I looked at Kay then back at Jay. “Find some way to get it to the public.”
“Excuse me?” she said, one eyebrow lifting up high. “And why is that?”
“Same sex couples should have the chance to have kids if they want,” I said with a slight shrug. “It wouldn’t be fair to keep something like this from them.”
“So what you are saying is, you dislike what we have done but think it will help society?” she asked, a very condescending tone in her voice.
“I think that something good should come out of your twisted research,” I sighed.
“And your wife is not something good?” she inquired, pressing into my weak spot.
“There are some things you’ve already done, and I can’t change that. My wife is wonderful, better than me, and hopefully you have at least some sort of… kindness in you to share the research to help same sex couples, even though I doubt you have any kindness at all in you,” I said harshly.
“I am gladly leaving,” she said icily. “And wiping my hands free of you! I cannot wait to wipe my hands free of all the pathetic, weak humans on this planet and leave this place forever!”
“The planet will be better off,” I replied, folding my arms and narrowing my eyes.
“S-sister,” Kay stammered but she was backing up towards the door.
“Come along, Kay,” she said, adjusting her glasses.
“I w-want to say goodbye,” he said.
Jay rolled her eyes. “Fine. You know where to find me, I expect to see you within the hour. As stupid and as soft as you are, I also expect you to not feel the same about our other experiments as you do that idiot!”
I watched her leave the house and saw her jogging down the street and out of sight. I lowered my arms slowly, feeling slightly better than she was gone. Part of me wished I had never looked for her. I had my answers, but I felt sickened by them.
I turned around to stare at Kay. He was my father. My father! I remembered the one time I had talked to my father about my mother. He had always assumed my other parent was female. How would he feel about this? If he had known about it… I rubbed my eyes slowly, knowing he would have still signed that damned contract. He had wanted a child more than anything else.
“You can go,” I said, weary of it all.
“Calcifer,” Kay said again, putting a hand on my shoulder. “I am s-sorry about my s-sister. I’m sorry about what h-happened to J-Jacob. I’m sorry for a lot of th-things. But I am n-not sorry that you were b-brought into this world.”
I met his gaze and everything went slightly blurry. “You’re really my father.”
“I am,” he replied, pulling his hand back. “I didn’t want t-to leave, all those years ago. I wanted to stay in Sunset V-Valley. But we couldn’t…” He stepped back and sighed. “It’s something I’ve always r-regretted.”
“You stopped though,” I said. “You stopped researching, didn’t you? Experimenting?”
“Eventually, yes,” he replied. “I s-saw that what we were d-doing was wrong. When she started experimenting on th-those people near River…” He stopped and then bit his bottom lip. “And the dolls, that was j-just as bad. When we s-sent the formula to you, and I saw you again I r-realized I wanted to…” He stopped and shook his head. “N-never mind.”
“Wanted to what?” I asked.
Kay gulped and began rubbing the back of his head. “I w-wanted to be someone you wouldn’t hate.”
“You stopped because of me?” I whispered, rather surprised by this. “But then why did you–the potion?” I looked him up and down. “Because of me,” I said and he nodded. “Kay–you can’t go back to her. She’s horrible!”
“She’s my sister,” he stated.
“Come with me!” I pleaded. “Get away from her. You can come back to Sunset Valley with me. It’s not the easiest place but nobody there would ever suspect you’re the same guy who left ages ago!” I clung to his arms tightly, needing to free him from that witch. “Please, Kay! Come back with me. You have to get away from her.”
He gently pushed my arms away and shook his head, his eyes closing, his lips twisting down in a frown. “Th-thank you, Calcifer, but I c-can’t. It means a lot to me th-that you offered. It means so much. But she is my sister. I will be by her s-side as long as she wants me there. And without me, she g-goes a little crazier with the experiments.” He opened his eyes again and frowned even more. “Someone needs to t-try to reign her in.”
“Kay…” I tried to think of something to convince him not to go with Jay. But I saw the determination in his eyes and realized there was no point wasting my breath arguing. “Be careful.”
“I will,” he promised. “You be careful too.”
“I will,” I said in reply, wishing I could do something to help him.
“I sh-shouldn’t tell you this,” he said, clasping his chest, “but I n-need to. Your wife… who sh-she was before…”
“What about her?” I asked, afraid he would say something–something bad.
“An orphan,” he informed me. “M-most of people we used had n-no family. She w-was in her t-twenties. Terminal illness. Her b-body was failing her, b-but she was a strong woman. She was w-willing to become a doll. She knew th-the chances of failure, she knew wh-what it meant, that she m-might never live but she had nothing to live for as she w-was.” He gave me a very small smile. “I suppose you w-want her name…”
“No,” I said with a heavy sigh. “I believe you. I trust you. I may not trust that mental case sister of yours but I trust you.”
“I will d-do my best for you,” he said. “I’ll d-do all I can to keep her from running amok.”
“One thing,” I said. “I forgot to ask but I’d rather ask you. How come you only sent the dolls to my sons? How come you never sent anything to my daughters? I’m glad you didn’t, but… why?”
“My s-sister thinks that boys are weak and clingy,” he admitted. “She b-believes that females are far superior and w-would never demean themselves to feel attachment such as the dolls n-needed.”
I blinked and then shook my head. “Thank you,” I said. “For answering everything and for putting yourself through what you did. I… I guess I won’t be seeing you again.”
“I’ll k-keep my sister away form your family,” he said.
“I wish you weren’t going with her,” I said again and he shrugged. “I know, I know. She needs you. So, um, goodbye. I guess.”
“Goodbye,” he whispered, staring at me with wide eyes. There was an awkward silence and I pressed my lips together. Then before I knew what I was doing, my arms were around him and I was hugging him tightly.
Kay seemed shocked but put his arms around me, hugging back. It felt weird. I had expected the only physical contact to be me punching one of them (or, as it turned out, tackling Jay) but Kay was my father. He was better than his sister. She may have considered him to be soft and weak and clingy, but he was so much better than her. Maybe he could help her. Maybe–oh who was I kidding, she was a complete nutcase. All I could do was hope she didn’t sacrifice him.
“Goodbye,” he said again as we pulled apart. “I hope you have a w-wonderful life, a full one. And your kids, and th-their kids.”
“Your grandkids,” I pointed out and his eyes widened even more, realizing this.
“My grandkids,” he whispered, looking down. “You’re right.” He started to say something else but closed his mouth. “Goodbye,” he finally said and then turned to leave.
“Kay!” I said and he looked over his shoulder. “When I tell my kids–I’ll tell them about you too. They’ll know about both their grandfathers.”
His face softened as he smiled. “Th-thank you, Calcifer. G-goodbye.” He left the house, shutting the door behind him carefully.
This trip had certainly not gone as I expected it to. The answers were not what I expected, my discoveries were certainly not what I thought they’d be. And Kay being my father? I couldn’t believe it. But I was glad he was my other parent, really. He was better than Jay. And he was at least nice and decent.
Sighing, I trudged towards my room to start packing. I wondered what I would tell Penny and my children. Not everything but they had to know some of it. But what would I tell Penny? Should I tell her about who she used to be? I didn’t have a name but at least she would know something about her past.
And if she wants to go looking, I wondered as I put things into my suitcase. Well, if she wanted to go then I wouldn’t stop her. I’d go with her, if she let me. I would do anything for her. I loved Penny with all my heart and couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms once more.
It was very late by the time the cab pulled up by my house. The bus ride had been longer coming home than it was going to Twinbrook, but that was probably because I wanted to be home. I paid the driver and stepped out, seeing no lights on except a small glow from the nursery’s night light.
I just stood in front of the house for a while, breathing in the scent of Sunset Valley. I sighed happily, feeling a million times better being here. I couldn’t wait to get inside but I hesitated, not wanting to wake anyone up. It was very late and I knew everyone would be sound asleep.
Tomorrow morning I would spend time with each of my children. I’d give them little gifts I had brought back and then perhaps tomorrow night I would tell Kyle and Orion everything. When the girls were a bit older, I would tell them things. And Penny, of course, would know almost the entire story–no. I would tell her the truth about everything. Including the dolls. She had to know.
I couldn’t wait to see Penny. I couldn’t wait to tiptoe in and gently wake her up. I imagined her smile as I greeted her and the feel of her arms around me again. The feel of her lips against mine.
It was if my imagination had brought her form out. The door to the house slid open and she came running out, fully dressed. “Calcifer!” she breathed out as her hair swung around her face.
Her buckled shoes thumped against the ground as she ran a bit faster, her arms around, her eyes shining. The moonlight hit her face, much like it had that night when she returned to me and I proposed.
“Penny!” I called out, beginning to run as well. The weeks I had been away felt like an eternity. The time apart from her was agony and now seeing her again, the sharp pain of being away from her felt worse. I felt sick at the thought that I had left her for so long. And I was so happy that we were together again.
Our bodies crashed together as our arms went around each other. I held her tightly, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around.
“Penny,” I said, pressing my face against her shoulder as I slowly set her back down.
“Calcifer,” she said, pulling slightly away to look into my eyes. “I missed you…”
“I love you,” I said, running my fingers through her hair. “I missed you so much.”
“Welcome home,” she said with the sweetest smile a man could ever dream of seeing. “I love you too. I–“
I cut her words off with a kiss, as passionate as the one we shared the last time we were reunited. Five days had been hell before. A couple weeks was even worse. But now everything was right. The misery of the night with the Reddings was fading again as I kissed her, never wanting to let go of her.