“I don’t care.” She shrugged. “I forgive her for being mean to me because she gave me the best father in the world.”
“Oh, Skylar.” I pulled her towards me. “You don’t have to forgive her you know.”
“Yes, I do. To accept love you need to forgive.” She looked at me thoughtfully. “We all make mistakes and it’s not for us to judge.”
“Whoa, where did you hear that?” I looked at her in shock wondering where those words had come from.
“TV.” She laughed. “After the cartoons come on, there is a church program I watch.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“I know daddy. But it’s okay. I still love you.”
“I love you too, Princess Skylar.” I kissed her on the cheek and she squealed and pulled away.
“I’m going to go and play now so you can kiss Robin.” She laughed and I shook my head as I watched her running around.
“You’re doing a good job, Noah.” Robin broke the silence as we sat there watching Skylar. “You don’t have anything to be worried about. You’re doing a really good job.”
“I don’t think it’s just me. I think we’re all helping to mold her and make her into the person she’s becoming.”
“You guys are teaching me so much.” She took my hand. “You’re really making me start to believe in families again.”
“I’m glad.” I smiled at her and we sat there just holding hands in companionable silence. And then my phone rang again and it was another unknown number. “If this is Monica again, I am going to tell her where to get off.” I sighed as I picked up the phone. “Hello!” I said roughly.
“Yes.” I froze again.
“It’s me, it’s your mama.”
“What do you want?”
“Zane called me.” Her voice was light. “And I need to tell you something important.”
“So I spoke to the detective and he thinks he has a new and good lead about Zane’s mom.” I continued talking even though Noah wasn’t answering me. “I’m really hoping he can locate the letter his mom wrote for him.”
“Zane needs to mind his own f**king business.” Noah finally spoke as we pulled into the Johnson’s driveway. “I told him I didn’t want to talk to my mom and what does he do, he decides to call her and have her call me!”
“I think he was just trying to help.” I reached over and squeezed his arm. “He didn’t mean to upset you.”
“He needs to leave well enough alone.” Noah jumped out of the car before walking over to open my door. “I’m sorry to take this out on you, Lucky, but, I’m just so mad.”
“I know.” I sighed. “I think we both realized that when you started yelling at him last night.”
“I was having a great day yesterday. It was a perfect day and she ruined it.”
“I don’t think she intended to ruin it.”
“She knew what she was doing when she told me that I had another brother and that he wanted to meet me.”
“She’s just trying to reach out to you.”
“I don’t want anything to do with her.” He shouted angrily.
“But Zane is okay with everything.”
“Just because he is okay with it, doesn’t mean I am.” He slammed the car door shut and we walked up to the Johnson’s doorway in silence.
“Hey kids.” Betty opened the door and gave us a short smile. “Come on in.”
“Hey Betty, where’s Sidney?” I asked immediately, surprised that he hadn’t greeted us at the door like he normally did.
“Oh, he’s in the living room on the couch. He’s not been feeling well.”
“Oh, should we come back later?” Noah’s demeanor immediately changed to one of concern.
“No, no, he still wanted to see you both today.” She ushered us into the living room, but I could tell that she wasn’t her usual self. I started to feel worried and fear crept up in me as we walked into the living room and I saw Sidney. He looked frail and for some reason he looked different. I wasn’t sure what it was, but the light that usually sparkled in his eyes was gone as he watched us walk into the room.
“Lucky, Noah.” He smiled. “So good to see you both. Forgive me for not standing up, I’m feeling a bit peaky.”
“Beaky?” Noah teased him. “Are you telling us that you’re becoming a bird?”
“Did my nose get bigger?” Sidney laughed. “Come and give me a hug, my boy.” I watched as Noah walked over and crouched down to give him a hug before sitting next to him on the couch. “And look at you Miss Lucky, looking even more pregnant than before.”
“I’m not sure if I should be offended by that.” I walked over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Are you saying I look fat?”
“No, my dear. Just that you have that happy glow about you.” Sidney brushed my cheek. “It reminds me of my dear Betty, when she was pregnant. Such a look of contentment. Those were the good old days.”
“They weren’t that long ago, Sidney.”
“Don’t fool yourself, Betty.” Sidney chuckled. “You and I were first time parents a long time ago.”
“Speak for yourself, dinosaur.” She snapped at him, but then gave Noah and I a big smile. “Let me go and get the drinks, I’ll be back.”
“So how are my two favorite movie makers?” Sidney looked at us both with a proud expression.
“We’re good.” I answered as Noah seemed to be having a hard time processing how sick Sidney looked. I felt my heart grow heavy as I stared at him properly. It wasn’t just that he looked skinny, it was also that the left side of his face seemed to have drooped and when he spoke there wasn’t much movement there. I looked around the room and noticed a wheelchair by the door. What was going on? I didn’t know that either of them used a wheelchair. “We were hoping that we could start filming next week.”
“Finally,” he laughed. “Finally, Hollywood will get to see my handsome mug.”
“You know it.” Noah finally spoke. “Betty will have to fight all the women off of you.”
“I’m not sure she’ll fight them off of me.” He laughed. “I think she’d be glad for a break.”
“How are you, Sidney?” Noah changed the subject and looked at him seriously. “Is everything okay?”
“Of course. Are you trying to tell me I look sick?”
“No.” Noah sighed and sat back. “No, I’m not trying to say that.”
“How’s it going with finding that letter, Lucky?” Sidney questioned me. I noticed that he tried to shift in his seat but he wasn’t able to. My breath caught in my throat as his eyes caught mine and I saw a sliver of pain in his face as he realized he couldn’t move. I wanted to cry, but instead I pretended that I didn’t notice.
“Good, I’m really hopeful that he’s going to be able to find it.”
“Good.” He nodded slowly. “So tell me more about this documentary. Who else is going to be in it, asides from me and Mrs. Rosenbaum?”
“We were hoping Betty could be in it and I think Noah is going to ask Robin as well.”
“Robin would be a good choice.” He nodded and then went still and closed his eyes.
“Are you okay, Sidney?” Noah’s voice was panicked and I sat forward with worry.
“I’m okay.” He whispered and nodded. “Please go and get Betty, Noah.” Noah jumped up and ran out of the room and Sidney stared at me with fear in his eyes.
“There’s a file in my study. I need you to find it and give it to Noah.” He closed his eyes. “It’s import…” And then his body shook and he collapsed on the chair.
“Noah.” I screamed and jumped up. “Noah.”
Noah and Betty ran into the room and stared at the couch. Betty gripped the doorway as she stared at her husband lying limply in the couch. I stood there in shock as Noah rushed over to him.
“He’s not breathing.” He turned to look at me with bleak eyes. “Call 911, Lucky. He’s not breathing.” I stared at him in shock and the ground started shaking. Sidney was dead, Sidney was dead. That’s all I could think about as the room started fading around me. I tried to open my mouth to talk, but all I could think about was the fact that Sidney had died right in front of me and I hadn’t even known he was sick. I took one step and then the world faded to black as I fell to the ground, with pains in my heart and belly.
The sun was shining, but there was no warmth in the hospital waiting room. I felt as frozen inside as I did on the outside. I couldn’t think of anything or anyone, but Lucky. All my nightmares were coming true and I was unable to think of anything but her and the babies. I had driven to the hospital as soon as I had gotten Noah’s phone call. His words still rung out in my ear. “Zane, you need to come to the hospital. Sidney had a stroke and Lucky fainted and fell.” I’m not sure that my expression has changed since I heard those words. I rushed to the hospital right away. I couldn’t even look at Noah as I walked into the emergency room. I was scared I was going to hit him. How could he have let this happen to her?
“Betty is in the room with Sidney, in case you were wondering.” Noah approached me with stress lines all over his face.
“They won’t let me in to see, Lucky.” I turned away from him, still feeling angry, even though I felt guilty for treating him badly. “They’re still doing tests.”
“I’m sorry, Zane. None of us could have predicted that she would collapse.” Noah’s voice sounded pained. “We thought Sidney was dead.”
“Rationally, I know it’s not your fault.” I mumbled. “But my heart can’t stop blaming you. I’m sorry.” I walked away from him and sat in a chair by the window. I stared at the ground and counted the chair legs in the room. What was I going to do if something happened to Lucky? How could I survive? I felt a tear slide out of my eye. Why did everyone I love have to leave me? What was wrong with me? I never got to meet my mom and now the love of my life was on her deathbed. I felt my thoughts becoming dark and I closed my eyes. It had been years since I’d had these dark depressing thoughts. I jumped up and paced the room. I could see Noah staring at me out of the side of my eye, but I couldn’t even look at him.
“Mr. Beaumont?” A doctor walked into the waiting room and Noah and I both rushed over to him. “Which one of you is Mr. Beaumont?”
“We’re both Mr. Beaumont.” I shouted. “How is Lucky?”
“I don’t know who Lucky is.” The man gave me a sympathetic glance. “Betty Johnson sent me in to give an update. Sidney Johnson is currently stable. He suffered from a massive stroke this afternoon and is currently paralyzed on his left side. He’s not currently awake or talking, but we think he will be able to leave the ER later today and the hospital in a couple of days.”
“A couple of days?” Noah sounded shocked. “After a massive stroke, really?”
“This isn’t the first stroke, Mr. Johnson has suffered from in the last couple of months.” The doctor shrugged. “He should be able to go in a few days. Mrs. Johnson said she will call you with more information when she can.”
“So that’s it?” Noah looked angry. “I can’t see him?”
“At this point, only family members are allowed into the room to see him.”
“How do you know I’m not family? Is it because I’m white?” Noah’s voice rose and I looked at him in shock. Something in me snapped as I saw my brother in pain, I reached over and pulled him towards him and hugged him hard and the doctor left the room.
“I’m sorry, Noah. It’s going to be okay.” My voice cracked as I held him. I felt ashamed of myself for the way I had treated him when I had arrived at the hospital. He was my brother and I had treated him like a stranger. “Please forgive me, Noah.”
‘It’s okay.” He pulled away from me and kissed my cheek. “I understand that you’re worried about Lucky.”
“Why haven’t they come and given us any information?” I asked him bleakly. “What if something happened to the babies? What if she dies?”
“I’m not trying to be a jackass, Zane.” Noah took a deep breath. “But she fainted. That’s it. Nothing else happened. I don’t know if everything is okay, but I don’t know anyone that died because they fainted.”
“Are you trying to tell me that I’m being melodramatic?” I half smiled at him and sighed. “I’ve never been this scared before.”
“I know. I’m worried as well.”
“If anything happens.” I started and he shook his head.
“Let’s be positive, bro.” He took a deep breath. “Let’s just be hopeful.”
“Okay.” I rubbed my face against my palm and tried to control my emotions. I understood why they said waiting is the hardest part. I thought I was going to lose my mind, sitting there waiting for someone to come and update me on how Lucky was doing.
“Hello, Mr. Beaumont?” Another doctor walked into the room. I walked over to her slowly and tried to keep my composure.