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All I Want To Do Is Love You Part I
Author's note: Please, forgive me for every piece that is on this website. These are all of my old things that I don't necessarily care about. Including this piece right here. This was written when I was nine. Nine, people. Anyway, I hope you learn and forgive the fact that I used to be a very horrible writer.
I reached for his hand, as both of my feet hit the warm sand.
Anh, Haelii, and Dillon, run past us, kicking up the tan power on the ground.
“Ha, Ha, you can’t get us Nathan!” Anh screams looking back.
“Yeah.” Haelii protests.
“Ahh!” They scream as Nathan sneaks up behind them, tongue out, and hands in the air.
I laugh and walk on into the sunset, holding the hand of the man I have loved since day one.
The sky is a mixture of colors; purple, pink, orange, and a little bit of dark red.
The ocean sings its own sweet song, alongside us.
“Hmm.” Tyson is humming a tune, and like always, I have no idea what it is. “Suicidal blonde, was the color of her hair, hmm.” He continues on singing. “You want to make her suicidal blonde.”
My white sun dress blows in the summer air, my hair softly whipping around my face.
I steal a glance at Tyson.
He is staring at the long walk ahead of us; carefully watching our creations, laugh and giggle.
“Tyson.” I say.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.” He looks at me, and smiles. A smile I haven’t seen in forever.
Then I hear more screaming and laughter. I whip my head back.
Tessa and Nick run from the littlest of their babies.
“Hi!” Tessa slows down when she sees us.
“Hi.” She stops and walks beside me, takes my hand.
“Hey, Ty, can I talk to Ash for a minute.” His smile fades. “It’s only a couple seconds,” She laughs.
His smile reappears. “I know.”
Tessa tugs my arm. It’s like neither of us wants to leave each other’s side. He shakes his head, and urges me to move away.
“Jeez.” Tessa says after we leave his sight. “Hey, Ash.”
“I have some news…” She says.
“You’re pregnant! Oh my gosh! Am I the first one you told?” She knows that I am joking around, they have nine children, I don’t think they want anymore. I hope not.
“Really?” She places her hands on her hips, and cocks an eyebrow.
“No, I’m joking, you know that.” I giggle, and walk forward. “So, what is the news?”
“I think that Nick wants to move back to Oklahoma, and he wants to bring-“ I block out the rest of the conversation.
“He wants to bring who?”
“You guys. I just said that.” Tessa has a weird look on her face.
“Why?” I am shaking.
“I don’t know.” She pauses. “Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” My knees are going weak.
“Ashton, you’re not okay-“
“Yes, I am.” My legs give out, I am on the ground, the water is climbing closer and closer. It reaches me, and a little bit of the water seeps into my skin.
My voice is being called in the distance. But, my mind blocks it out.
I can hear something. A sweet voice, no a song. I can recognize it, but, I can’t remember the words.
Tears are now pouring from my eyes.
There it is again, but, it’s closer now. Closer it comes, then I look into the body of water that might gulp me down.
My body is moving closer to the water. I can see something, bobbing up and down in the salt water.
It is sparkling in the almost dead sunlight, the voice fills my ears.
My grandmother’s voice. She is calling me.
Then the thing pops in front of me. A mermaid. Her scales shine bright, her hair is out stretched in the water.
“Assssshton.” She hisses.
My feet are now at the bottom of the shallow entrance of my death.
“Come here my darling.” He long, green, webbed, fingers are urging me closer.
“Ashton, No!” The water is at my waist, the mermaid, hisses and shows me her yellow, pointed teeth.
Tyson’s hands are the ones to grab me.
“Ashton! Talk to me.” My eyes flutter, from dark to light. “Ashton!”
“Hmm.” I move my head.
He lifts my body, caring me in his arms, as if I am a child.
“Honey, talk to me.” My eyes are partially open, I can see his, they are set on something in the distance.
“What?” My voice cracks.
“Tyson, really you shouldn’t talk to her, she should get some rest before she use all her strength talking to you.” Nick’s voice fills my ears. I nod.
“Thank you.” A hot tear, falls on my stomach.
My head falls over his arm.
Talking is occurring in the background, but all I see is darkness.
Next, I am set in something hot.
My eyes shoot open, as a pain shoots up my body. I scream and look around me.
I sit in a hot bath. Clothes still on, and head positioned against the bath wall.
“It hurts!” I try to move my muscles, but can’t.
A killing pain in bouncing of the walls in my head, running through my blood stream, and ending it’s cycle in the bottoms of my feet, then starts again.
“Shh.” Warm fingers are twirling my hair.
My body allows me to move my head, to find Tyson sitting on the bathroom floor.
“Why does it hurt so much?” I wince at the pain in my neck.
He doesn’t answer me, he just looks at his lap.
“Tyson?!” I take my hand out of the warm water, and reach down for his.
He takes it.
“I love you,” Puddles are forming in his eyes.
What’s the big deal? I didn’t do anything but, walk into the ocean. I think.
No you didn’t A voice fills my head. I glance around the bathroom to see how else is talking. Nobody. I look at Tyson. Yep. It’s me. You didn’t just walk into the ocean. That mermaid almost took you away from us. And, that’s not onlyy thing she did.
My breathing grows faster.
This is you I am hearing? I think.
Yeah. His thoughts tell me.
So can I hear anybody else thoughts. I may use this as an advantage.
Probably, I guess so. Tyson shrugs.
So, what else did she do? My mind doesn’t want to hear the answer. But, it comes anyway.
Do you remember in high school, when you met your grandmother in the realms? And she told you about the Order? And that you were a part of it?
I ponder. Yes, but, I had to bind the magic so I could let my grandmother’s soul free.
He takes a moment. Well, when you did that, you crushed the Rosetta Stone and locked the door with your her amulet, right?
That kept the magic from escaping to our world. That simple stone, breaking it into a million pieces, let the magic free.
I shake my head. But, that was just to set her soul free.
Yes. But, that stone, was made by the original Order to protect the magic from this world. Not to let other things from that world enter ours. Now, anybody can use it.
I bit my lower lip. So, what happened to me?
You, the next generation of the Order, were almost taken from this world and swallowed into theirs.
That doesn’t answer my question. But,
He sighs. Some of your magic was taken, that means that your body needs to readjust to the new you. Then, once you get the magic back you will have to do the same.
I take my other hand out of the water and bit one of my finger nails. What will I do to get my magic back?
His is now rather pale. You will have to go back to the realms and find the Forest of Fairies, talk to them. I have no idea, what will happen after that.
Our thoughts are silent.
“Can I get out of this tub?” I blurt.
“Yeah.” He stands, and my hand falls back into the water. “Can you get up or not?” I try to position my legs to get up, but, I can’t.
“Hang on, don’t move.” He rolls up his sleeves. Then, he reaches under the water, and lifts my tired body out.
I look down at the tub. It sparkles. Little bits of scale float atop the water.
My body, is being spun around, in between doors and hallways.
Finally, I am set on a soft bed. “Ash.” My eyes catch his. “You need to get out of those wet clothes, do you need help with that?” He doesn’t smile as I nod.
“Tessa,” He calls down the hallway.
And comes running the wife of the month.
“Can you help her get dressed?” She nods.
“Hey she helped me. Today, I could try to shed a little love.” Tyson leaves the room and Tessa helps me slip into some of Tyson’s old shorts and one of his tees.
I sit on the bed now. Thinking to myself, what I am going to do in the realms.
I knock comes across the door.
Nick steps in. “Hey, little sister.” I smile and see that he has his guitar behind his back.
“What are you doing?” My voice cracks, as I carefully sit myself up.
“Singing you your favorite song.”
“And, what song is that?” I question.
“Okay, like your fifth favorite song.” He chuckles. “But, I do what your favorite song is.”
“What is it then smarty?”
“Glitter by Motley Crue. But, Tyson can sing that to you.” He sits in the rocking chair across the room, positions his guitar, and stops. “I suggest that you lay down. You do need rest.” I nod, and slowly, lay down on my soft bed.
He starts to sing. “This is a story of a girl who cried a river and drown the whole world, while she looked so sad in photographs, Tyson accidentally loved her, when she smiled.” I laugh and close my eyes to dream.
I wake to the smell of fresh flowers.
I lift my sleepy head.
Nick fell asleep across the room.
I look to my left.
Nathan is sprawled out next to me.
A sleeping body lay next to him.
I quietly, lift my body from the bed and head down the hallway.
Sunlight greets my eyes, and Tessa’s light voice fills my ears.
“I have a question?” I pause. “Why did we get these huge windows?”
Her soft laugh is heard. “I don’t know, maybe-“
“Because Tyson wanted them.” We say in unison.
“What are you making?” I change the subject so that I don’t have to have a huge fit about blinds.
“Breakfast.” I watch her break an egg on the counter. Then, watch a couple bits of the shell fall into the mix.
My body readjusts to the coldness of the house.
Voices are being heard down the hallway.
Out steps Nick and Tyson, both scratching their heads. When they realize this, they laugh and say “High five, buddy.” And smack each other’s hands.
“How many children do we have living in this house?” I count Tessa’s nine and my four, that’s thirteen, plus, Tyson and Nick. “Fifteen, children.” I say.
“No, we only have thirteen-“ Her voice fades, when she gets the joke. “Ha, your right.”
Tyson and Nick both count on their fingers.
“No. Tessa’s right. We only have thirteen.” Nick says. “God, Ashton. Did you go to first grade?”
Tyson answers that by: “Yeah. Did you?”
“Yes, I did. Apparently you two didn’t either.” I pause and giggle at the stupid joke. “Because, we also, have to count you two doofusess.” I hesitate. “That makes fifteen.” I smile.
“Yeah.” Tessa says, “High five, buddy!” We slap each other’s hands, as the boys did before.
“Shut up.” Nick pouts.
I laugh and turn to face Tyson.
“I know you went to first grade.” He wraps his arms around my waist.
Oh yeah, nice pick up line, Ty. I think.
Well, it was bound to work. We laugh at his thought. He kisses the top of my nose.
We pull away, to find Tessa and Nick staring at us like we are a mutant frog or something.
“What?” I ask.
“What are you laughing at?” Nick questions.
“Nothing.” Tyson says with a smile.
“Well you can’t just laugh out of the blue.” Tessa says as she puts away a milk carton.
“Yes, you can.” I protest.
“Yeah, you guys, eat Crazy Flakes, No doubt.” Nick and Tessa laugh.
“No.” Was all Tyson can say.
“Well, now we know who has been stealing some.” Ty and I slap each other’s hands.
“Yeah,” Nick pauses to look at Tessa. Tessa says. “Shut up.”
We all laugh.
I swing my body around the counter, and start a pot of coffee, for the adults.
The phone rings. I pick it up. “Ritter and Wheeler residents.”
“Hey guys, were on our way.”
“Jessie, duh!” She laughs.
“Wow, this is unexpected.” I say with a forced laugh.
“Yeah, well we told Tyson and Nick that we were coming, they must have not told you.”
“Here, talk to Nick.” I hand my older brother the phone with a pissed look.
“Oh, Tessa, darling, can I talk to you for a moment?” I take her by the arm.
We walk as far away as possible. “Did you know that Mike and Jessie are coming?” I take a glance around the living room. Piles of toys, folded clothes, and DVDs clutter the living space.
“No. Their coming over here today?!” She takes a quick look herself. “Jesus. I swear, I am going to knock some heads together.” She starts to stomp toward Nick and Tyson. I quickly grab her arm.
“Hey, let’s go in there with calm looks on our faces, and killer rage in our hearts.” She sighs, and loses the mean look.
We walk in the kitchen, with heads held high.
“Okay, who wants to tell us first why nobody told us that Mike and Jessie were coming over today?” I say.
“Um, she said that she had a surprise…”Tyson says.
“Her surprise wasn’t coming here. Duh, if she calls you and says ‘Hey, Tyson we are coming,’ whenever she said she was coming,” I breathe to hide my frustration. “It’s not a surprise honey.” I force a smile.
“And,” Tessa adds. “If you guys wanted to keep it a secret that our friend from our home state is coming, wouldn’t you have been smart enough to clean up around the house.” She stops.
“If you would’ve cleaned up, then maybe we’d be like ‘Oh honey thank you for cleaning up around the house, what a great dad you are’’ I make kissing sounds.
“Well,” Nick sputters.
“No, ‘well’s. I want this house cleaned by the time they get here.” Tessa points to the living room.
They moan and start picking up things, around the house. They mumble things under their breath.
Tessa and I quickly make breakfast and wake up the kids. (We both think that all the younger kids acquired Nick and Ty’s sleeping habits…go to sleep at two in the morning and wake up at the break of noon.)
Finally a knock rolls it way across door.
“Okay, everybody act like you were just sitting around.” Tessa waits for everybody to find positions.
Nick sits in the Lazy Boy chair, and Tyson and I sit next to each other on the couch. Most of the kids sit on the living room floor playing with either Barbie’s or trucks.
Tessa opens the big door and screams. “Ahh! Welcome!” She hugs Jessie and pulls away with excitement. I pretend that I had no intention that she was coming, and when we meet each other’s eyes, I yelp and jump to my feet. “Jess!” I greet her with open arms.
We pull away. She has a huge smile planted on her face. “Oh my gosh.” Mike climbs up the steps with a car seat in his arms.
“You didn’t.” Tessa said with hands over her mouth.
“I did.” Jessie pauses. “Introducing, Tomas Jay.” Mike lifts the blanket that covers the child’s body.
The boy has sparkly, brown eyes, and brown hair. “He is so adorable!” I hug Mike and congratulant the both of them.
“Honey,” I call for Tyson. He stands and makes his way over to the place that we stand.
“Wow, Congrats dude.” Ty does that one “Bro. Hug”.
Everyone has their turn to hug and say a congrats to Mike and Jess.
“So where are Jessica and Mike going to stay, for however long they are staying?!” I say to Tessa in the kitchen a couple minutes later.
“We have a downstairs?”
“I bought the flipping house and I didn’t know there was a downstairs?! Hmm.” I think to myself. “Okay, show me the downstairs then.”
“Fine.” She walks to the end of the living room and the beginning of the hallway, just a wall stands before us.
“Okay,” She pauses me with a finger.
She stretches her arms, closes her eyes, and breathes.
Then appears a wooden door.
I am amazed. How did she do that without knowing the masters of magic?
“I’ll tell you how, when you enter the downstairs.” I don’t want to touch the knob.
“Really?” She opens it for me.
I pear in, carpeted steps lead us down to the basement.
“This is it?” I am astonished.
Red paint cover the walls, couches and chair are set in the middle of the space. Over by where the steps would begin, lay a bed. On the other side of the steps an empty area.
“Tessa, how the hell did this get here?” I turn my attention to that subject.
“I am also a member of the Order. I became one as my mother did. As you did the same.” I smile.
“Tessa, do you know what happened in the realms?”
“Yes, but, I do.” Her head falls.
“Will you help me?”
“Gracious, no.” She is talking like her mother. Stuck up and British.
“Because, I don’t have the time, nor the braveness to be like you.”
“Okay, Stop talking like that.”
“Alright.” She laughs.
“Because, Ashton, I haven’t entered the realms since the beginning of high school…. Actually no, there was a couple time where me and your brother-“
“Tessa. Oh my god. Shut up before I puke, and just tell me why.” I say, holding my mouth shut afterwards.
“I just don’t want to see it like that trouble place it is now.” She shakes her head.
Being as sneaky as possible, I change the subject. “Hey, Tessa, come here.” I walk over to one of the couches. “Come sit over by me.”
She makes her way toward me, and sits. “Today is going to be stressful.”
“Yes, Yes, it is.” I move my hand toward hers and snitch it with a slight “ha.”
I can see The Door of Light appear. It glitters with yellow and orange.
I look over at Tessa, who’s hand I am holding on to tightly.
“You, are so dead.” She is about ready to kill me, when she sees that my mother’s amulet pops upon my bare neck.
“Never mind.” She says as I press the amulet to unlock my past, present, and future.
I step through first, and am amazed by the sight.
Trees are blooming with oranges, reds, and yellows. The path is covered in flower petals.
The same trickle water sound fills my ears. “Oh my gosh.” I can hear Tessa, stepping upon the ground behind me.
She stops by my side. “Look.” Little creatures carry flower crowns, the gently set them upon our heads.
We both shriek like little girls. The creatures are a rare type of Fairy. The Lavender Fairies, they call themselves, let their wings flutter in front of us.
“Welcome back.” They say in unison. There is like ten or twenty, fairies flying around us.
“Where can I find the Forest of Fairies?” They giggle.
“You have to cross the Bridge of Terror, Then the Waterfall of Gold, Next the Path of the Afterlife, After that you have to pass the River of Glitter.” One of them says.
“Please be careful though. They may sound fun and glamorous, but hidden inside each, is a secret to get you closer and closer to the Forest.” A second one says.
“Thank you-“ I ponder. “How do we get there?” I say.
“Just follow the path, it will lead you there.” Another one pipes up.
“Be careful for the Dragon Fairies!” One says as we make our way down the grass path.
After awhile of walking, we come upon moss-covered land.
“Uh, Ashton, I don’t know if I want to do this anymore.” I look up.
The Bridge of Terror.
I take baby steps toward it.
Were I stand, I can only see Tessa and I. The rest is covered in fog and moss.
I grab a hold of her hand, and scoot closer to her. “Don’t be scared darling. We will make it.” I kiss the top of her head.
We step forward.
“Who dare crosses?” A low voice booms in the walls of my head.
“We, the Orderly!” A giant step from the fog, dressed in leather, bald, and like all things gross and sliming that live near, or under a bridge, he is a dark green color.
“Welcome.” He kneels down, ducks his head in and bows.
“Thank you.” I say. He is still on one knee.
“Oh mighty ones, please set me free.” A tear is forming in his eye.
“I don’t understand…” I look for a name.
“Orion.” I repeat.
“I was once the one roaming around here, like you and everybody else. But, because of one of my ancestors, everybody thought that we were too deadly to be alone.” He pauses. “That is all I want, to see beyond this bog. To see what you saw today, when you entered these lonely realms.” He stands.
“Well, I have no idea what to do-“
“I do.” Tessa is the one to be talking.
“Please, mistress, I will grant you anything.”
“Just calm down,” She looks at me.
“Orion.” I say.
“Orion.” She finishes. “Close your eyes.” She is talking to the giant before us. “Old Orderly, let this beast be free.” Then, the chains that used to be attached to his green, flakey, skin, fall.
“Oh, Thank you!”
She nods. “Sorry about calling you a beast.”
He shakes his head. “As long as I am free, you are free.” He steps aside, and the bridge goes from that mossy green it was before, to a golden brown, like it was when things here used to be beautiful before I came along, and ruined it.
We walk ahead.
“Nice one Tess.” I squeeze her hand.
“Thank you. I have that talent of talking people out of things.” She smiles.
We reach the end of the long bridge.
We walk on, now into a forest like land mass.
Things scatter about, trying to find homes and food for the end of the night.
The sun shines above the trees.
Birds sings songs above our heads.
“Hey, Ash.” Tessa says.
“For what?” I look at her now.
“Bringing me here, this is the most fun I’ve had with you since high school.” We giggle, and the path ends at the end of the forest.
Water climbs up the sides of the path.
“So what are we going to do now?” Tessa slaps one of her thighs.
“We are going to walk in.” As soon as I hit the water, what feels like rain, pours from the sky.
“Tessa, hurry up!” I scream, and hear her moving her way closer to me.
“Sorry.” We can barely open our eyes.
“Alright, on the count of three, we swim to the other side. One, Two,” I hesitate.
“Three.” We scream together.
I take a breath, and dip my head in the cold water, extend my arms, and use them like paddles.
One, Two, Three. Up my head goes to breath.
Eventually, I make it to the other side.
I claw myself up to the beginning to the new grassy path.
I help Tessa out of the water.
“Come on.” I turn to start walking.
“Wait.” She looks like something is behind me, getting ready to eat me.
“Your skin.” I look down at my arms. Gold sparkles cover them.
“Whoa.” I look at her. “Tessa, you have your color back!” She has always been pale, but, now, she looks like she just got back from a trip to the sun.
We laugh and take each other’s hands.
Now, we stand at the Path of the Afterlife.
Nothing moves, or speaks. We step into the trap.
Tessa freezes. Literally, her body is freezing cold, and her face is stuck in the same position.
“Tessa, come on.” I tug on her arms, but she shakes her head and lifts her arm.
I turn my head.
Standing before us is at least four ghostly figures.
“Hell-Hello.” I sputter.
“Welcome.” One say smiling, showing no teeth, what so ever. “Welcome to the Path of the Afterlife.”
Wow. Did Tessa and I just talk to much and dose off? Is this just a dream? Please tell me it is.
I want so badly to just move around them, but, they won’t let the living being go. They want something.
“Oh, what a second little missy.” One glides my way, and places it’s dead hand, upon my back. Sending a shiver up my spine. “We want something, oh, but, don’t worry, it won’t be you.” This one has some teeth, but, the sight is still ugly.
I force a laugh. “We want you to do us a favor.”
“And what is that?” Tessa asks, still frightened.
“We want to be let go, from the Winter lands.” That cold, tired, ghostly place. “Do you know what that is?” One asks with a long face.
“Yes, I do, I visited it a couple times myself.” Tessa looks at me. “It was the most terrible place, I have visited in my life.
I can see that Tessa is thinking. “Just the Winter lands?”
One nods. “Yes. We love it here, in the realms, but, back in that place, we are nothing but dirt. We want to be treated differently.”
This time she grins. “Only is you do one thing for us.”
“What is that Most High?” The ghost behind me says.
“You have to guide us out of trouble; we are headed to the Forest of Fairies.”
“Yes. Anything to get us out of there.”
“I have a question.” I pipe up.
“Yes, Most High.”
“Well, I guess I have two.”
“One; why are you calling us Most High?”
“Because that is what you are.” It pauses. “Most high.”
“Alright.” I pause. “Two, do you know where to find…The Temple?” They gasp.
“The, the, Temple.” One stutters.
“Oh, Most High, Nobody knows where The Temple is.” The ghost behind my back says.
“Oh.” My gaze falls to the ground.
“But, I might know somebody that could help, keep walking.” And that is what we do. They tell us of a woman, her name, Eliza the Great. She supposedly, used to rule the realms, before any living being lived in the realms. They say that she would probably know where it is. But, they don’t know where or if she is still living.
We make it to the end of the path to find a river.
“Thank you for the journey.” Tessa says.
“You are welcome Most High.” We start to walk. One of them clears their throat.
“Oh, yes, I forgot.” I say with a smile. I look at Tessa, to see if she will work her magic.
“Just concentrate, Ash.” She says.
“But, I haven’t used magic, ever since high school-“
“I haven’t used it since junior high. And, I set the giant free.” She sighs. “Just try it for once.”
“Close your eyes, and concentrate, you can do it.”
I shut my eye lids. Breath. And lift my arms.
“I can think of a rhyme.” I say.
“You don’t have to. Just let the magic become alive.” Tessa says.
My fingers start to tingle. But, that is it.
“Tessa, I can’t to do it.”
“Yes, you can. Think of something that you remember about this place. Something happy.” My mother. I will think of my mother.
My arms and legs being to feel hot, now my head.
“Oh, gracious.” One of them says.
“Is it working?” I say.
“Yes. Ashton, look.” I open my eyes. The ghosts have now got their color back. They now look like one of us.
The ghost behind me, a couple seconds ago, has brunette hair and sparkly green eyes. She starts to float toward the sky.
“Thank you!” She shouts and lets her arms fly up to the sky. Out of sight she flies.
I am to busy staring at her, that I don’t realize that the rest of them have done the same.
Tessa and I watch them, fly away like beautiful butterflies, never to return again.
“Alright. Our journey isn’t over yet.” Tessa claps her hands together to bring back my attention.
We stare at the river ahead of us.
“How are we supposed to get over this?” I say.
Tessa looks around. “Is that what I think it is?” She places her hand over her eyes. “It is.” She says with excitement.
The giant, has returned to us once again. His foot steps make the water jump.
“Come to see us again Orion?”
He bows. “Yes. Would you like to pass?”
We nod. He lets his hand fall to the ground where we are standing.
Little bits of the water enter through his fingers as we step onto his hand.
“What would we do without the creatures of the realms?” Tessa asks with a laugh.
“We would die.” I answer.
This is the River of Glitter. It takes a while for us to get to the other side.
Eventually we make it.
We thank Orion once again, as he sets us on the ground.
“Be careful girls. I will be waiting here if you need anything.” His voice booms through out the forest.
We turn to find ourselves in what seems like an open field. There are trees surrounding the outside.
“Hello, girls.” A voice says.
“Hello.” She stares at us with big green eyes.
“You are welcomed into the Forest of Fairies. You are here because?”
“We need to talk to someone about finding The Temple.” Tessa says.
“Well, my darling, who told you to come here?” Her hair is blowing in the slight wind.
“And who is that?”
“Tyson.” I say with love in my voice.
“Tyson?” She says confused.
“Ahh. The Ritter’s.” She says with a smile.
“You know them?” I say.
“Oh yes. Who doesn’t?” She pauses.
“I don’t get it.” Tessa says.
“For their kindheartedness, love, and fighting strength.” The woman stops. “I’m Eliza… the Great. I know what you need, if you would, please, follow me.” We walk in the tall grass.
“And for you, you miss?” Eliza asks Tessa.
“Oh, I’m Tessa. I came with Ashton.”
“But, only the Orderly can enter the back roads in the realms.” Eliza has her hands behind her back.
“Yes, of course. I am, like my friend Ashton here, a part of the orderly.” She smiles.
“That’s wonderful. But, that wasn’t really what I was looking for.” She pauses.
“What were you looking for?” Tessa asks.
“Who you are with? Who is your love?”
Tessa has a huge grin on her face. “Nick,”
Eliza sighs. “Nick who?”
“What do you mean, ‘oh’” Tessa says, losing her smile.
“Oh, nothing.” Eliza says, letting Tessa gain the happiness back.
“What are they known for?”
“They are known for their devotedness to others.”
“Anything else?” Tessa pushes on.
“Ha. That is so true.” I say with a laugh.
We walk on and on until we reach the end of the open land, to the beginning of the “forest”.
Little shine above our heads. “Now this is The Temple.” We stop in our tracks.
“I live here.” I take one last look at her. She dose not look like she is a million years old. She looks our age. Not a wrinkle or a sign of crows feet on her face.
Our jaws drop when we look ahead. Five stones surround us, each a different color, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, and white.
As we step forward, fairies fly from their hiding spot in the forest like oases. Each a different color. Either green or blue. Or orange, pink, and white.
“What do we do to block the magic?” Tessa whispers.
“Do you have the amulet?” Eliza asks.
I look at my neck. “Why, yes, I do.” My fingers trace over the tiny fragments of stone.
“What you need to do is set the amulet in the middle of the five elements. Fire, Earth, Wind, Spirit, and Love.” She takes a moment to let this set in. “But, what do you need the magic for?” She asks this and my head starts to throb.
“I lost some of the magic in myself.”
“Oh, like how?”
“A mermaid.” Tessa shortens up the story. Eliza nods.
“Go on, Ash.” She pushes me forward.
I unclip the necklace from my neck, and walk forward, set in down in the grassy plain.
I back away.
A beaming noise is heard.
Each stone lights it’s color.
First blue, making the sweet song of the ocean, then green, bringing the scent of freshly mowed grass to my nose, then orange, the smell of a fire comes to my senses, after that is white, my grandmother’s voice comes to my ears, symbolizing the spirit, then pink, the laughter of Tyson’s laugh washes over me.
Tears come to my eyes.
They all make their own song, sing in perfect harmony.
Then, the wind picks up and the sky is turning gray. Tessa’s shriek is heard behind me. A clash of lightning flashes at the amulet, all the colors form a circle, all leading to my grandmother’s remembrance, then they light up the sky.
The grayness rumbles on and the sun shines bright.
“You did it, Ash!” Tessa hugs me. “The magic is safe now!”
Both Tessa and I charge up the stairs with huge smiles on our faces.
“So, nobody can use the magic now?!” She sounds pretty excited.
“Yep. Except for the Orderly and whomever we take with us to the realms. If we were to go back.”
“What do you mean, ‘if were to go back’?”
“We did our job. We let the magic return home, to the realms. Why do we need to go back?”
“Being in the realms, Ashton. I can’t believe what your saying! Both of us know that going there is like a vacation.”
She opens the door.
“Well, we have life’s’ now-“ I turn my head to find Tyson and Nick in front of the T.V. in boxers and dress shirts. Tyson’s yellow. Nick’s bright pink. They are playing Guitar Hero.
“Oh, dude, how do you bet me every time?” Nick says.
“I don’t know. You play the real guitar better than I do. I don’t know how the game changes sides.”
The moon is shining through the window.
“Were we gone that long?” Tessa whispers.
“I think so.”
“Wow. I didn’t know they did this every night.” We both giggle. A little too loudly.
Both men turn their heads, to see their loves, laughing at them for wearing boxers in the middle of the night.
“I thought he was drinking.” Tessa says, a mouth full of laughs.
“Yeah, dude, that’s why they don’t wake up until the break of noon.” I say, grabbing my stomach.
“Shhpsh. Well then.” Tyson says.
“Yeah.” Nick turns off the T.V.
“They don’t love us.” Tyson pouts.
“You really think that?” I say, stepping toward him.
“Yes.” I wrap my arms around his neck, and kiss the top of his nose.
Then, for some reason, my body gives out.
All I can see is black.
My dreams are horrid.
I dream that I am falling into a deep, dark, black hole.
Once, I reach the end, I end up in a house.
I am dressed in a maid’s outfit, except it is bright pink.
The real me wants to puke.
I can see, that I am in a hallway.
Mirrors cover the walls.
Ahh, the Hall of Mirrors.
How did I not know?
I make my way down the hallway.
Click-clack. Click- clack.
I look down at my feet. Heels. I am wearing pink heels. How does that happen?
I move on, I come to the end of the hallway.
There is two ways to get out of this funhouse.
Before me stands, a wall, it has a picture above a caramel colored desk. Under the picture are two arrows. One, red, that is on the right. The other, blue.
I think, I’ll take the blue way.
A light flickers down the walkway.
A voice is calling me. “Oh, Ashton.” The light flickers once again.
I can see a pasted face. Cheeks are covered in red circles, eyes are blue circles. Hair, curly and orange. His nose, a lime green, and his teeth, those ungodly things. Nasty, yellow.
“What do you want?” I sputter. Taking the slowest steps possible.
“I want to play.” I am being pulled forward. Faster and faster.
“No!” I scream. “Somebody wake me up! Somebody!” As I enter the clowns reach, I am pulled into liveliness.
I open my eyes.
Tyson sit beside me, petting my forehead, which has a cold, wet, washcloth, on it.
“Oh god!” I shout and fall into his arms.
“Wow.” He says. “What’s the matter?”
It takes me a moment to pull away. “I almost met my master.”
I realize that I am in a deep sweat.
“Yeah, okay.” Tyson reaches his hands across my bed stand and hand me a glass of water and some red pills.
My eyes go wide. “Ashton, I’m not trying to drug you. Your head is going to hurt here in a couple seconds.” And yet a pain starts in my head. “Yeah. When I was carrying you back to our room, I accidentally bumped your head in the doorway.” He looks away.
“Yeah.” I wince at the pain. “I don’t care.”
“No, you shouldn’t be. I know how much of a pain I am. Thank you.” I say.
“For what?” He questions.
“For being by my side, always.”
Then we fall into each other’s arms.
“Always and forever, baby.” He whispers into my ear.
We pull apart.
“Hey, you want to do something?” A smirk rises on his face.
“No, Tyson. Not now, I’m really tired-“
“Not that.” He chuckles and stares at me.
“You want to dance?” He stands, and extends his hand.
I take it. “Sure.” He leads us down the hallway, and into the living room, where the light’s are dimmed.
“Hang on.” He goes to the T.V. and pops in a CD, that he ‘just had lying around’.
“It’s undeniable that we should be together.” Our song. Back At One by Brian McKnight is being heard.
I giggle and take Tyson’s hand.
We move our feet, back, back, side, side.
He presses his nose to mine and peers into my eyes.
“One, your like a dream come true. Two, just want to be with you. Two, girl it’s plain to see that you’re the only one for me, and Four, repeat steps one through three. Five, make you fall in love with me. And if ever believe my work is done, then I’ll start back at one.” He sings the lyrics.
I can hear the creaking of children’s footsteps.
But, I never look away.
Giggles are being passed in the hallway behind us.
We keep staring into each other’s eyes.
“It undeniable, that we should be together.” My voice is squeaky.
I can hear Tessa’s voice. “Kids, go back to bed.” She whispers.
I can feel her watching us, taking in the sight of true love.
I sneak a peek as we turn again.
She leans against the entry to the hallway, smiling, and lip singing along with Tyson and I.
“Hey, honey. Let’s make her mad.” I whisper in his ear, moving one of his curls behind his ear.
“By doing what?”
“Just kiss me.” I pause, close my eyes, and pucker up waiting for a full, long lasting kiss on the lips.
“I don’t know,”
“Ty, it’s just a kiss. It’s not like we making out in front of her.” Our feet are still moving, bodies still swaying, my hair still twirling from the over head fan above.
“Okay.” Undetected, he kisses my lips, pulls me closer.
It’s as time has stopped itself.
I pull away, breathless, almost lifeless.
“Are you happy?” The mood changes, from lust to love.
“Thrilled.” A smile stretches across my face.
“Come, my love.” He stops the music shuts off the lights Grabs my hand and pulls me toward our bedroom. We pass Tessa. Who has her jaw down to her feet.
Tyson shuts the door behind us.
What am I doing? I just said that I was way too tired for this.
His voice comes to my mind.
“Ashton, you don’t have to.” He pauses. “But, I could take you places that you’ve never been before.” A smile tugs at his lips.
“I don’t know. Tyson, people are over at the house, and I am tired.” There he goes again.
But, this time, it’s not just a kiss. It’s a joyful, long-lasting, full time on the lips kiss.
He comes closer. Moving his hands up and down my back.
I want to pull away so bad.
Luckily, a knock rolls across the door.
I push at his chest. Letting my body free.
I open the door.
Nick stands there with his hands on his hips.
“Hi, little sister.”
He starts to tap his foot.
“Alright, first off, we didn’t do that and if we did, I’m old enough, this is my house. You can’t control me anymore, Nick.”
He peers behind me.
“Tyson, what do you think?” I look behind me.
My supposed love, stand in the middle of our room stuck in between glad and horrified.
“Alright, stop!” My hands form fists at my waist. “This is going to stop. Now. I don’t say anything about you and Tessa. Do I Nick?”
It takes it a moment to confess. “No.”
“That’s right.” My eyes roll back into my head.
Oh god. Not now. Not here.
“Ashton-“ Voices say in the background
The atmosphere is scented with a certain scent that I cannot decode.
Again, I am falling, faster, and faster.
Deeper and deeper into the depths of hell.
My feet hit the cold, hard, ground.
Snow flies above my head.
“You hurt us.” A distant voice says.
“How?” My mouth speaks.
“You blocked our passage way.”
“What?” No shoes. No coat. No gloves. I walk farther.
“Us. The other magical creatures, that live in the realms.”
This is all coming way to fast. Too fast. Oh god.
Then the gray arrives once again. Sending shivers running up my spine.
I can still hear the distant voices of my loved ones. “Ashton!”
“You didn’t help us, you helped them. They made you believe.” What are these things saying? Tyson told me that I needed to close the realms.
Oh, yeah, I forgot. I’m in the Winterlands. I can’t really rely on what they say. They are never truly honest and never really lying.
“How did I hurt you? Who are you? What do you want?” I am pale white, and sparkling.
“We are the Lovely Christina’s.” What? Never heard of them! In all of my life coming in and out of the realms. “To answer your question, Most High, The Lovely Christina’s are astounding children, that were once loved, and then when we turned thirteen, things went for the worst.”
“As what?” I remember when I was thirteen, already packed my suitcase, and walked out my mother’s front door. Big mistake let me tell you. To live with my father and my overprotective brother, was like… I don’t know.
“We were sent to the realms to live with Mother Eliza.” Another name for Eliza The Great. Hey, why can’t she be a mom too?
“What? Wasn’t that a wonderful life?” I ask.
“No. Not at all. We scrubbed and cleaned the temple…when it was a temple.” Not a right time to tell them I ruined that. “She basically killed us. Made us breath in the toxins, on propose. She bathed us in bleach.”
One of them steps from behind a tree.
Eyes, a beautiful caramel brown. Her hair is a perfect shade of toffee. Her skin, blinks from coffee to cream.
“Oh, my love.” I say, and extend my arms.
“Please. We are warning you before she does the same thing to you.” She stops me.
Another steps toward me. Curly hair, rosy red cheeks, and colorful green eyes.
“We want you to come back here safe. Please, leave.”
As she says that, the wind picks up. Snow starts to fall.
“No. Go. Now. She’s coming.”
“What am I supposed to do about the realms?”
“Go back. Break the spell.” My body lifts from the ground.
I wake up in the middle of the hallway.
Nobody around me.
Nobody telling me “Ashton! Oh god! You’re alive!”
No Nick. No Tessa. No Tyson.
I’m a wee bit jealous.
I get to my feet; stammer over to my bedroom door.
“Tyson! Tyson!” I hear. I burst open the door.
I’ve got the wrong idea.
Tessa and Nick stand over my fiancé.
I step forward.
Oh. My. God.
He is shaking, sweating, eyes are rolling back in his head.
“What the hel-“
“Ashton! Oh, god!” Tessa stares at me. “Where the hell were you?”
What am I supposed to say? “Oh, well, I just passed out in my hallway, talked to some little girls in the Winterlands, and found out we have to ruin Eliza.”
But, this is what comes out; “Who cares! What happened to Tyson?”
I look at him now.
“We have no time to waist Tessa! What Happened?”
“I don’t know?!”
I rush over to his aid. Pat his head with a damp wash cloth.
He body eases. Eyes close. And back stretches across the bed.
“Is he dead! Please, god, not like this!” My eyes start to water, and I lay next to him. Stroke his bare chest.
“Ashton, he is not dead. He is just…” Nick stops. “Just ended his vision.”
Tyson has visions? Since when?
I still lay be his side when Tessa and Nick leave the room.
“I love you so much, Tyson.” Tears form puddles on his chests. “You are my one and only. I will miss you, and kiss you, and wait for you here-“ I find myself, singing the end of my mother’s lullaby to my fiancé. Who is well asleep, dreaming of whatever.
I dream of the first night we kiss.
We were surrounded by songs, and strumming of guitar strings. People dance in the background. Music plays on and off from the boom box that Tessa brought. Others set their tents as the rest of us, consisting of Tessa, Nick, Tyson, and I, are left to sit around the bon fire on the soft, green, grass.
I am wrapped tightly in Tyson’s arms.
“Pour some sugar on me,” I sing along with the radio.
Nick stands up to supposedly go get the marshmallows, and Tessa follows and says, “You two will be fine, won’t you? I have to pee, be right back.”
Tyson starts whispering the tune into my ear.
I look up at him.
Then we stare into each other’s eyes.
“I think I love you.” He says. He thinks he’s slick. Well, let’s see.
“Really? How much?”
“Till’ the Moon and back.”
“The Moon isn’t that far.” I say. Egging him on.
“Alright.” He clicks his tongue. “I love you FOREVER and always.”
That saying sticks in my mind today.
He leans in further. “You are perfect. That is why I love you.”
His lips press mine. Off, then on. Like multiple smooches from your mother when you go off to school, except, only, this is a guy, your love, your other half to your whole.
“Ashton!” Nick barks, and I back my head away from Tyson’s mid-kiss.
“Hmm.” I don’t bother to wipe my mouth.
“I’ve got the marshmallows.” Lipstick is smeared all over his face, and his button up shirt, is buttoned in the wrong places. He holds the bag steadily as possible.
Tess emerges from the darkness.
“Toke you a long time to pee.” Tyson says.
“Yeah.” She adds with a long sigh. Her lipstick is smeared across her face too. Pants still unzipped.
“You get in a cat fight?” I ask.
She glares at me. “No, I just had a qu-“
“Oh, Tessa!” Nick pulls her quickly in his arms.
“Oh, Tyson!” I repeat my annoying brother, and pretend to wildly kiss Tyson’s neck.
I wake in the same spot I was before. Lying silently on Tyson’s chest.
Moonlight shines through the window sill, making a chalky appearance on the bed.
“Tyson.” I whisper without a response.
I stand, wobbly, and head toward the door.
Open it slightly. “Ashton?” His tired voice creeps through my ears.
“Yes, my love.” I turn.
I change the subject. “Tyson, you have always been faithful and honest to me right?” My gaze falls to the floor.
“Told me every secret?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you had visions?”
“Okay, Tyson. I really don’t give a frigging pile of dirt if you had visions. It’s the point that you didn’t tell me about it, that to me sounds like a lie.”
“Alright, well, I don’t know what to say to that.”
“Say that you love me, and you want me to fall back to sleep in your arms.”
“Ashton, please come back to bed, so I can scoop your fragile body in my arms. I love you.” He adds a pucker of his lips.
“Okay,” I walk back to bed. Slip myself under the covers and fall asleep in my lover’s arms.
This time I wake to the sun shining through the curtains telling me that my children are probably running around in the outside world.
With that I lift my head and moan at the opening of my eyes.
I lift my body to sit up.
That instant second my head starts to throb and my body begins to ache.
I wince. “Jeez.” I whisper, as I found out that my body has moved to the edge of the bed, at the bottom of the bed.
“Ashton.” Tyson speaks up from under the covers. “Quit kicking me.”
I stare at the alarm clock on the bed stand. 8:30.
“Get up, Tyson.” I throw back the blankets and head for the kitchen.
“Tessa.” I moan.
She lay on the couch sleeping, head covered in drool.
I turn and walk to the bathroom.
Someone is talking a shower.
“Hello, I don’t want to interrupt your wonderful shower time, but, I want the hair brush and I really need to brush my teeth.”
“Yeah. Um, come in.” The voice still makes me want to knock me on my feet.
I step in and go, “Ah, god, my neck hurts.”
“Ashton!” His voice is so cheery.
He pipes down, makes his voice lower on purpose. “I can give you a back rub later if you want.”
“Sure.” I stare at the duck shower curtain.
“Hey,” He shuts off the water that fogs the mirror, and pokes his head out the curtain. “Can you hand me a towel?” He pulls back the curtain.
“Hmmm.” I’m kind of busy brushing my teeth.
“Can you get out please?”
“Why?” I say, mouth full of toothpaste.
“So, I can get dressed.”
“Go into our room. That’s what it’s for.” I spit out blue, children’s toothpaste that supposedly tastes like bubblegum.
“Fine.” He quickly steps out of the shower, wrapping the towel around his waist like he would die instantly without it.
“Nothing, go get dressed.” I pause. “Be careful not to show anymore of your manliness.”
He looks down. “What?”
“Nothing. Good-bye.” I just the door on him. Hop in the shower myself. Wash away. Wash away.
So, maybe I’ve told you that the wedding is only days away.
Maybe, I’ve told you that I still don’t have everything ready yet.
Maybe, I do.
Maybe, I didn’t tell you that I haven’t called my father in years, to tell him that I had children…before I got married.
When I finally call my mother, she’s coming over in three days.
Jessica, comes trailing up the steps from the downstairs bedroom.
“Hey guys.” She rubs her eyes.
“Hey.” I say.
“Oh my god. Tomas was up all night last night.” She stares at Tyson and I.
“What?” We say in unison. Except for Ty has a mouth full of Fruit Loops.
“Nothing.” She smiles her half; I’m joking, and I’m serious smile.
“Did Mike help at all?” I change the subject.
“Sounds like somebody I know.” I stare at the back of Tyson’s head as I walk to the sink.
She smiles. “When I was up earlier, making Tomas a bottle, your father called.”
I stop in my tracks. “Really?”
“Yeah. He’s coming by with your mother on Monday.” Mike stomps up the steps with Tomas in his arms.
“This child…Is…ours.” As he says this, all four of my children run from their rooms.
Haelii dressed in her yellow footy pajamas. Dillon runs out in hi dinosaur boxers. Anh is dressed in bright pink yellow socks and a pink dress.
Nathan is the late one, dressed in shorts in a shirt.
“Hey, love.” I say as he passes me.
“When did you start calling me mom?”
“A year ago.”
“Oh, Okay, guys. Who wants Fruit Loops?” They all moan.
Then Anh says, “Why doesn’t Daddy make us breakfast?”
“Don’t worry, guys. Mommy can make you perfect cold eggs.” Tyson says, bringing out a pan from a cupboard, and eggs and bacon from the fridge.
“Tyson, shut up! I hate eggs anyway!” I scream.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” The scream from the kitchen table, pounding their fists on the wooden perfection, that was made somewhere in the U.K.
“Fine. You know what?! I’m going to go get ready!” I stomp back to my room and throw on some clean clothes.
Curl my locks of hair, splash on my face, and rub on my scent.
I hear a screaming from the kitchen. “Ashton! Your dad is on the phone! Ashton!” I run to the phone, snatch it out of Tyson’s hands.
“Hey, baby cakes? How have you been?” Hearing his voice, it brings tears to my eyes. “Ash, what are you cryin’ for?”
“I’ve missed you so much!”
“Me too darling.”
“How have you been?” I wipe away tears.
“Good. Can’t wait until October.”
“I thought you were coming back to Oklahoma for your wedding?!”
“I am, I just have to get everyone fitted and tailored here.”
“Why not here?”
“Because, It’s to close to the wedding, Daddy. We can’t have a complication that day. I will kill people.” I giggle.
“Alright, honey. I’m really looking forward on seeing you and your soon to be husband.”
“Dad… what about your grandchildren?”
“Grandchildren, Ashton, I thought it was grandchild. Nathan. 17. Ring a bell?”
“Yes, father. I do remember. My child. I think I wouldn’t forget my own children.” I pause. “Do you want to talk to your son? I bet he would be thrilled to talk to you now.”
“Sure. Why not?”
“But the way father your son has nine children.” I walk to Nick’s room, enjoying the utter silence on the other line. Before I hand the tired Nick the phone, I say, “I was trying for one more, dad. Not three.” I throw the phone.
“Maybe you can get to his heart.” Hot tears form in my eyes.
Now, I remember why I never wanted to talk to my father again.
All he did was talk about how perfect Nick was. And how unbearable I was as a child.
He never loved Nathan. Never talked to me when I moved here. Never bothered to call after this.
But, he made Tori giggle. He talked to Nick all the time. He called Nick until Nick had to leave for tour a couple years ago.
I’m stuck in between crying and yelling at everybody.
So what I do, is take a drive.
Leave my home for awhile.
Leave my life in a screaming nature of children who desperately need to be put down for a nap.
Leave my fiancé, sleeping on the couch for days.
Leave my mean brother in his lonely dungeon with the wonderful father figure he has.
Leave Jessica soon-to-be- Kennerty with her crying colicky baby and whinny fiancé.
Leave my life in little pieces and head to Coffee Smiths to order a Peppermint Mocha cappuccino.
I arrive home, at 1:10. The babies are down, Tyson is snoring on the couch, and Tessa and Nick are working on the garden outside.
I love it.
I slip off my shoes, slip off my jacket, walk to the kitchen.
Set my coffee on the counter and open a cupboard.
My secret cupboard that only Tess knows about because, Tyson and Nick rarely ever cook.
I pull out a book that reads: Ashton’s Dream Life.
I made this book when I was young, and in love…maybe 14.
Tyson, Tessa, Nick, Jessie, Mike, Chris, and Tillie, float through out the pages of the book, with captions such as: I love you forever. And: No babies till’ marriage to Tyson. Plus: Jessie and Mike are the coolest people ever!
My face fills with tears, as I see my “Dream Life” and true reality.
When I was seventeen, I was raped by my drama club “partner”, He was jealous of Tyson. And he always thought that he would have a shot at my heart. Shane Patterson. Made my wonderful eight-year-old child Nathan.
I moved to Florida with Tyson and 17 month old baby Nathan. A small apartment would do us good for a couple years…until N started school.
When N was in A.K. (Alternative Kindergarten) [Preschool], Ty and I finally saved enough money to buy a home.
Tessa and Nick came charging into our arms two months later, with five kids and hope to move in.
At the time, we had a small cookie cutter house.
We all pushed peoples buttons to afford the house we live in now.
I never talked to my father ever since Nathan was born.
I got used to not talking to a lot of people in the outside world ever since the babies were born.
Haelii Tess Ritter; June 6th 12:54, 7 pounds and 4oz. Anh Aryssa Ritter; June 7th 1:02, 7 pounds and 8 oz. Dillon Nickolas Ritter; June 7th 1: 09, 8 pounds and 8 oz.
Nathan Reid Wheeler-Ritter; May 6th 12:59, 8 pounds and 4 oz.
Not at all what I dreamed of.
I dreamed of getting married, running into the sunset, with my middle school sweetheart, having babies years after that had his curly brunette hair and sparkling blue eyes. Having enough money to buy the whole country of Mexico, having my older brother love me forever, and my father would be the same way.
It’s all different.
I shrink into a ball by the cupboard, running into the stove, other cupboards on the side.
My tears drown me like water.
I hear; “Ashton? Babe? Hey. Where are you.”
Please Ty, leave me alone.
“Ashton?! Where the hell are you?”
“I’m over here.” My voice cracks.
“Honey? What are you doing-“ Then he sees the book in my hands. “Ash,”
“I don’t want to have a long talk about this, Ty. I don’t. My life went down the drain, and it’s all my fault. You can’t help me with that. I can’t even help myself with that. If I would have made the right decisions then maybe we wouldn’t be like this.”
“Ashton. Stop.” He comes to sit by me, wraps his arms around my shoulders.
“I can’t.” I say, mouth swallowing tears.
“Nathan was a blessing.”
“I didn’t say that he wasn’t. He is my little baby. And he always will be. No. I wasn’t nor will I ever blame Nathan.” I can picture it now, the day I held Nathan in my arms for the first time. His brown hair already grown a little over his ears, and his sparkling hazel eyes…just like mine. His tiny hand, wrapping around my pinkie, like it knew where it belonged. It just brings more tears, streaming down my face.
“Hey. I was just saying. Nathan was a blessing.”
“He’s our little angel. Forever.”
“Ashton, I remember what the perv did to you. I still regret letting you go to his house alone.” He pauses. “But, no matter what Ashton, he will always be my baby.”
I wrap my arms around his neck, let the tears pour from my eyes, and the snot run out my nose. (I know that sounded gross.)
I hear the screen door shut, and kissing noises in the background. “God, Tessa, you’re a sexy gardener.” Nick.
“Yeah, nice try Nick. Unless you want another baby.”
Nick gasps. “No. No. No.”
“Then don’t even…where’s Tyson?”
“Ty?” Nick shouts.
“Hey, stupid…children are sleeping.” Tessa says slowly.
“Dude. I’m over here.” Tyson lifts his hand.
“What are you doing?” Nick swings his hips and sees me.
“What’s up little sister?”
“Nothing.” I clear my eyes.
“You just used my shirt as a snot rag.” Tyson whispers.
“Sorry.” I say.
“Ashton and I are going to go and take a nap. You guys…don’t do anything stupid.” Ty pulls me to my feet, and hauls me to the soft bed.
I slip off my shirt and shorts, and climb into bed.
With my eyes shut, and head adjusted, I start to drift away when…Ty’s hand reaches across my waist. Pulls me closer to him.
I dream of a day…I’m little, maybe 5.
My parents are yelling and screaming downstairs.
I’m busy playing with Barbie’s and Nick is busy listening to Bon Jovi.
“Nick?” I say.
“Yes, annoying little sister.”
“Do you think Mommy and Daddy will be okay?”
“Their just fighting, just think every other day. Your fine. I’m fine. We’re fine. Don’t be scared.”
I brush through her hair and dress her in a bright pink dress.
“Ashton?” Nick says.
“I love you.” He says with a smile, letting one of his ear pieces drop.
“I love you, too, Nick.”
I am jolted awake.
I stare about the room.
Tyson isn’t by my side.
I peer at the window.
I jump up from bed.
Dress in a tank top and sweats.
I head to the living room.
The house is unlit.
“Guys, this is soooo not funny!”
I flick on the light to the kitchen.
My mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, sort of sister-in-law, fiancé’s friends/ brothers, my fiancé, my children, my nieces and nephews, all emerge from a huge cluster of people in the kitchen.
“What?” I don’t understand why they are ‘surprising’ me.
“Surprise?!” Tyson repeats.
“I get that part. But, what? What surprise?”
They all just stare at each other.
I get a pissed look on my face. “What the hell is going on?”
Tyson’s face can’t stand it; a smile stretches across the pale-as-the-moon face. “What are you smiling at?” I question.
“That’s my name.”
“Do you remember that we’re getting married?!”
“Yes.” I watch the ring glitter in the light.
I look up. “Really, Ash?! Do we have to explain it to you?”
“No.” I ponder. “Maybe.” Bit my lower lip. “Yes.”
“We…are…going…to…Oklahoma. Remember.” My eyes go wide.
“OMG, and my parents are here!” I run to my step mother’s arms.
“Thank you, mom.”
“For what?” We pull apart.
“Bringing him here.” I whisper and point at my father.
“Hey, I’m here too.” He says, extending his arms.
I pout and wrap my arms around him.
“Ashton, I’m sorry about what I said.” He pauses. “I just want you to be my little girl again.” He pulls away, grabs at my hand at my waist.
“I’m sorry about the whole Grandchildren thing.” He smiles. “These babies are absolutely gorgeous.”
“Hey, I helped too.” Tyson pipes up.
“Shh.” I put my finger to my lips.
“Thank you, Dad.”
“Ashton. I don’t favor your brother.”
“Shhpsh.” Jessica, Tessa, My mother, and I all do in unison.
“Whatever Donald.” My mother says.
“Fine.” He says. “I apologize for that too.”
Sliver tears form in my eyes. “It’s fine. As long as you love me!”
I wrap my arms around him once again.
The rest of the night, I pack for Oklahoma in the morning.
I help Tessa pack eleven suitcases, and she helps me pack five.
“Hey, no boxers.” Tyson says, as I try to sneak some for myself.
“And, don’t zip it up yet! I’m gonna put some stuff in it.” He runs to the bathroom.
“Oookay.” I say.
“He’s so weird.” Tessa says as we move on to Nick’s suitcase.
“Heyyyy.” Nick, stops us.
“What?” Tess says.
“I have it packed. You don’t have to do anything.” I can see Tyson stick something into his suitcase out of the corner of my eye.
“Whatever, Nick. Don’t whine to me when you forget something here.” I make my way to the bathroom myself.
I get myself “dolled up” as my father called it.
Swish mascara on my lashes, curl my locks, spray my scent and open the door.
“Damn, Ashton.” Nick says.
I guess Tessa had the same idea, she emerges from the bathroom, locks arms with mine.
Jessie trends up the step to the basement, dressed like a queen.
With arms interlocked we, three, walk to the den.
“Jesus.” Tyson stand at the bar, Mike resting in a chair, Nick following our scent, staring at the behind of Tessa’s.
“Is it a parents’ tonight?” Tyson asks. Almost spilling some concoction he is making.
“Where are the kids?” Tess changes the subject, wiping her hair back.
Nick quickly moves to the front of her, checking her front side.
“Mom and Dad took care of them.” Nick jumbles words. It sounds more like… “Mum and Dada, care took, Damn, them.”
All three of us giggle.
“Hey, why don’t we go out for awhile.” Mike suggests, staring at his baby Mama.
“It is our last night in Florida for a week.” I look around at everybody. Staring down Tyson.
“Why not.” He says with a smile.
He walks over to me, as Mike does the same to Jessie.
We all take hands of the man, we love, and walk to the hallway.
Somebody clears their throat behind us.
We all turn, and smile, as we see My mother and My father in the hallway, both taping their feet, as they used to when we were teens.
“Hey, mommy.” I say.
“Ha. Where do you think you’re going?”
“We are going out.” I point to everyone.
“No, you are not.” My father says.
“Why not? We are in our 20’s, have our own house, and kids.” I say.
“What was that last thing?”
“Yeah. Kids. Children. Babies.” He stares at Jessie and Mike.
“Well, we were hoping we could go out tonight. With Ash, Ty, Tess, and Nick. I mean, Mike and I haven’t seen them in forever. We won’t really get to talk to them tomorrow. We’ve only been here two days, and still haven’t talked to them.” Jessie pipes up. “Please, just watch the kids for a couple hours.”
“Yeah. I mean, really, Tomas isn’t that much to handle.” Mike says. “Really, we aren’t experienced parents like you two.”
“We’ve only had two kids.”
“Painful ones.” Tyson says. Nick and I glare at him.
“Yes.” Mike says. “You made it through Ashton and Nick, and you can’t make it through a colicky baby. That doesn’t make since to me.”
Nick and I laugh. “We weren’t that bad.” We say in unison.
“Whatever.” Everyone cracks up.
“Shut up.” I say.
“Anyway…” My father says. “What time will you be home?”
“What time is it now?” Tessa asks.
“Um.” My dad, stares at his watch. “9:30.”
“I slept that long.” I say.
“You were awake a long time the night before.” Tessa says.
I nod. “We’ll be back around 11:00. Don’t wait for us.”
We slip on shoes, slither into leather car seats, and listen to the radio.
We all gather thoughts and ideas of where we want to go have a late night dinner.
“Hey, what about Ronda’s”
“No.” Tyson said.
“Um, what about Chili’s?”
“I’m fine with that.” Tessa says.
“No. Chili’s brings out the bad side of me.” Nick says.
“Okay. Um, how about we let Ty and Ashton pick, for once.” Tyson and I look at each other in the front seat.
“No. It’s okay guys-“ I say.
“We insist. We will be back here all night. And anyway, this is probably the last time we will go alone, by ourselves, after the wedding.”Jessie says.
“What does that mean?” I say.
“Really. You’re the expert on the subject.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Ashton, really, do you know what happens on the nights of weddings.”
“Yeah. So. That doesn’t mean that we can’t go out by ourselves.”
“Usually, after a wedding, Ash, people tend to have babies.” I never thought of that. Maybe, if I did become pregnant, what would happen? I mean, it was a fat chance, but, it was still possible.
“Why is that fine?” Everyone gets worried looks on their faces.
“Because we’re not normal people. Normal people go on honeymoons after the get married, right?” Everyone nods.
“Then the next part follows through.” Tyson gets a big smile.
“That’s what I was saying. The next part isn’t following through.” Everyone gasps. “No sex.” I say.
“What the…Ashton! No sex!” Tyson literally swerves off the road. “I’m not okay with this.”
“It’s not your body.” Jessica pipes up from the back seat.
“I don’t care. It’s my body that loves her like that.” Everyone gasps again.
“Tyson, stop. This is supposed to be fun.” I say.
“Having fun, isn’t telling your sex addict fiancé that he can’t had sex anymore!” He screams.
“Hey, I didn’t say anymore. I just said, not on our honeymoon.”
“Okay. Whatever.” He mumbles something under his breath like… “We’ll see about that.”
“Where are we going?” I ask.
“I don’t know. Where do you want to go darling?” He asks, sounding a little pissed.
“Let’s go to Temple’s Awaking.” I mean, it doesn’t really sound as bad as it seems. It’s just a Chinese restaurant that is named after a deceased king called Temple and his supposed after life “Awaking”.
“Fine. Whatever.” I say.
We arrived, in arms of one another.
Yes, Tyson was pissed.
And somehow, deep inside, I was pissed.
Really, we already have thirteen kids running around the house. We barely have enough room for them. Do I really want another baby on top of that…Hell no!
Plus all of the expenses of diapers, formula, clothes, I mean, it’s hectic already with the two men trying to help.
We gather at the entrance.
“Hello, welcome to Temple’s Awaking, table for six?”
“Yes.” Tyson nods.
“Alright, if you would please, follow me?” The waitress has a very pretty voice, and the most perfect brown eyes.
“It’s a little busy tonight.” She stops to pick out a pen. “I’m Tiffany. Are we up for drinks?”
Mike is his usual. “Dr. Pepper, please.”
Jessica on her thrill of taste. “Root Beer.”
Tessa is acting herself. “Pepsi, if you have it?!”
“We have every concoction known to man.” Tiffany smiles and jots down the drinks.
Nick orders something rather unusual. “Can I get a raspberry tea?”
Tyson too. “Shirley Temple?!”
“Okay, and for you?” The weird vibe hits me too.
“Can I get a Rolling Rock?”
“Sure, I would have to see an I.D. though.” What, do I look sixteen?
“Hang on.” I grab the wallet in my pocket.
Show her my adorable picture of me trying to smile with children about my feet and shoulders.
“Cute kid, tugging on your neck.” She says.
“Thanks, that’s Dillon. He really wanted to be in the picture.”
“Ha. I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
My gaze falls to everyone else.
They stare me down like a mutated frog.
“What?” I say.
“Why did you order that?”
“Okay, Mom. Remember that I’m not 18; I did have my 21st birthday. Alone. Just playing poker, sipping on Juicy-Juice.” I say.
“Alright, are you guys ready to order?”
I didn’t even realize that Tiffany was standing there, as I told one of my sad tales of my horrid life.
“No. I don’t think so.” Nick says.
My life. It’s so jumbled right now. I just can’t get the thought out of my mind.
Of having babies, of marrying my middle school sweetheart, of moving into a bigger house.
How the frog am I going to do this?
It becomes harder for me to breathe.
“Tyson, can I have the keys?”
“I just need some air.” He sets the silver lining in my hand.
I run and unlock the car, unlock the windows and roll them down in the backseat.
I lay my head on the seat where many have sat before.
My head starts to fog. My mind starts to jog into hipper mode, but, I’m so drowsy.
Here we go.
After days of having nothing happen, the magic, is rushing through me.
After days of preparing for this rush of adrenaline hit my body again, the magic takes me by surprise.
I am traveling through a vortex of some sort.
The scent of a huge bon fire fills my nose.
I inhale to much, and start coughing, I can see my breath, then my feet hit a twig and grass covered floor.
I look around.
Voices are laughing and singing in the back of me.
“Hello? Can anyone tell me where I am?” I say. Walking forward, I can see a familiar face. Faces?
One, short blonde hair, short, and…Tessa?
“What is happening?” I scream.
A couple faces turn.
“Dude. Who are you?” A sound of my voice is beating at my ear drums.
“Hey! Chick-y! I am talking to you!”
Tears are forming in my eyes.
“Ashton! Hey don’t bother the poor girl. She’s probably lost!” Then, The Ashton walks up to me, and gasps.
“What the hell?” We say in unison.
“I looked that slutty? Maybe my brother was right!” I say.
“Uh. You are?” The Ashton says.
“What? Wait…how-how do you know my name?” She says.
“Tyson!” She starts to walk away toward the young Tyson. When he wasn’t chasing after his dreams.
“What the matter? Did you see a coy’te?” Tyson’s laugh, is heard.
“Please come here! There’s like a mirror of oldness in front of me!” She runs back to her lover’s arms.
And I realize, that this is where, Tyson and I first kissed.
I messed up the future?! I grab my face.
“No. Don’t think like that! This is all just a fantasy to keep you occupied until I got here.” I turn.
“Eliza!” I want to run over and wrap my arms around her, then she gets this evil smile on her face, and I remember what she’s done.
“What did you do to those poor little girls?”
“What little girls?”
“Oh, those little, spoiled, rotten, mistakes for children.”
“No. Children. All children should be loved. No matter if you love one more or not. Even if you treat one special and the other’s with very little respect at all. Children should be loved. Big or small.” I am impressed with myself. I haven’t back talked any one, since the last time, Tyson and I got in a huge fight. But, that was years ago.
“Well, your right in some way…”
“NO!” She screams. “Those children were the least of my worries. They didn’t care for me at all. I needed work to be done around the house anyway.” She looks at her rotten nails.
“Bathing them in bleach is doing work around the house? Making them breathe in fumes no one could stand, is doing chores around the house?”
“One on my list-“
“Your list can go suck a monkey!”
“Don’t tell me what my list can and can’t do!”
“A list is controlling your children? A list?”
“Yes. And your child is soon to be on that list!” A smile as evil as Satan himself, couldn’t stand stretches across her face.
“Your child. Well…soon to be child.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your wedding night?!”
“Stop! Why does…”
Before I can say another word, All the oxygen from around me, spreads to the imaginary people in the distance.
Eliza says something that I cannot hear.
But, now we are traveling through the tunnel together.
She is saying a verse, or a prayer.
Maybe, even a spell.
It scares me.
Even though, if I don’t get oxygen fast, I’m going to die.
“Your baby is mine. Don’t try to stop me!” She throws my soul back into my lifeless body in the back seat.
I choke on air the first time my eyes open in the backseat.
My face is covered drool and tears.
What did Eliza mean that my child was hers’?
Was she serious?
Did she not listen to my conversation from before?
I sit up in the seat, and regain consciousness.
I want so badly to run in the restaurant and scream and yell.
But, instead, I find some extra napkins from Sonic, check and redo my makeup in the mirror, and head back to the table.
When I get there, everyone has already polished off four plates of Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Sesame Chicken and Lo Men.
Mike burps loudly as I enter the table.
“Jeez. I think there is a baby in there.” Baby. Baby. Baby.
“Don’t talk like that, Mike.” Ty says.
“Gross.” Jessie says.
Tiffany makes her way back to the table, and I notice something I didn’t before.
“Are you pregnant?” Pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant.
“Uh. Yeah. How’d you guess?” She is panicked.
“Hey, don’t worry. Everybody knew I was prego before I did.” I can she everyone nod their heads.
“Uh. Okay.” She puts on a fake smile. “Are you guys up for desert?”
I look at Ty. “Are you up for the challenge?”
He nods. “I’ll win.”
“No. You won’t. Watch me kick your booty.”
“Oh. God. No. Ashton. Don’t do it!” Jess is shushed by Tessa.
“You really think you can do this?” Tessa smiles.
“I think so.”
Nick and Mike pass on words of encouragement to Tyson.
“Yeah. Yeah.” He waves them off.
“Can we get eight chocolate cones, six strawberry sundaes, and two fudge dipped vanilla twist cones?” Tiffany goes wide eyed.
“Okay.” She rushes to the back to make sure that the cooks can make all this food.
I tap my fingers on the table, as Tessa and Jessie start pounding their fists against their thighs and singing: “We will, We will, Rock you!”
Mike and Nick say: “Tyson. Last time, she puked her brains out. Remember you need to save the figure for the wedding night.” They smile.
“Acting like that! Ha. He will get no wedding night!” Tessa protests.
“Yeah.” Jessie says.
The food finally arrives at the table, set on a silver platter.
“Here we go.” I say.
“One. Two.” He pauses. “Are you sure you want to do this I mean-“ Then he grabs for a sundae.
“Ah! You cheater!” I say through chocolate cone.
“Shut up!” He says with bits of chocolate chips in his mouth.
“What are they doing?” A man with a real hick accent walks over, staring at both Tyson and I.
“Food Eating Contest. They do it every time. That’s why we rarely come out to eat.” Tessa says as I polish of the cone and starts on the fudge dipped one.
“Honey! Come and look at this!” The guy calls to his wife and kids.
“What, Carl? The kids and are really tired, we would like to get some rest.” His wife is bitching behind us.
“Shut up and get over here.” He says, waving over his red haired wife and their five, curly haired, green eyed, children.
Ty and I take a breather to laugh.
Eventually, we have the whole restaurant surrounding us, even the cooks and sushi masters.
Tiffany is the one to push through.
Here I go. I think as I down the last of my sundae.
Then I hear: “Winner!”
I hit the spoon on the table and leave the mess on my face as a trophy.
Tyson, eats the rest of the cone he started on.
“You suck, Ashton.” Tyson says. Rubbing his belly.
Then I remember what happened to me moments ago.
We all leave the building with full stomachs. We thank the chief chef. And head to the car.
It’s unusual, the new placements, Nick and Tessa sit in the front, while Jess and Mike hold each other’s hands next to me and Ty, in the back seat.
“Tyson. Can I talk to you when I get home?”
“Yeah, baby.” He clutches the seat.
“Calm down.” I say, placing my hand on his thigh.
“Ashton, I need to talk to you, too.”
“Okay, honey.” I squeeze the muscle.
“I’m scared…” He hasn’t said this in so long; I start to panic even more than I am.
“It’s okay, I’m here.” Now, he reaches for my hand, and intertwines our fingers together.
Nick turns up the radio, smiling, he catches my eye in the back seat as this plays: “But, she saw the marks on my shoulder; wasn’t me, here’s the words that I told her; wasn’t me.”
“Nick!” I scream.
“What? It’s not my fault the D.J. knew you were in the car!”
I look into the front; spot Tessa’s hand stretch to Nick’s.
“I love you.” She whispers, and smiles, with adorable smile that my brother fell in love with at age eight.
“I love you, too, baby.” He says.
It reminds me of being 14 again…when we all fell in love.
Tyson squeezes me hand before I can tear up.
“Hey, you mean the world to me.” He says, kissing the side of my face. “Nobody can take you or my family away from me.”
It’s like the whole world stops, right in front of my eyes.
Me or his family?
I mean the world to him.
Tyson and I curl up together on the soft, cushiony, bed.
“Hey,” He whispers in my ear. “Do you want me to go first?”
He doesn’t sound as nervous as he did in the car, so I agree for my fiancé to go first.
“So, you know how you were talking about the wedding night earlier?”
“Are you positive? I mean… you are you.”
“Ugh. I don’t know. I just wanted everyone to shut up. I mean, I really don’t want another baby, Ty. Our life is stressful as it is.”
“I get it. I do. But, picture our life, without kids-“
“Kind of impossible, but, I catch your drift.”
“Just for that one night, no kids, no supposed ‘adults’ to get in our way. It’s our night Ashton. The night after the day we join as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Ritter’. It’s supposed to be happy. It’s supposed to be joyful. It’s supposed to be filled with passion. Something we didn’t have in a long time.” He stops, “Ashton, you are my world. Any fight is my fight too. I wish that you could just see. I get that you don’t want any more kids. But, look at Tessa and Nick. They are doing just fine with their nine. And we can’t have five?”
He does make a great point. Both agreeing and disagreeing.
“Ty, I do get what you mean. But, at the same time, I have no idea what you’re saying.” I sit up in bed.
And so does he, “I love you, Ashton.” He places his hand on mine.
“I don’t care anymore. It’s your day…”
“No! Have you ever known me to be a Bridezilla? I didn’t make you say, ‘Ashton, will you marry me?’ on the most beautiful night in June, and then give me a diamond ring that fights my ring finger perfectly. I didn’t make you. I didn’t.” I repeat like a child.
“Hon. I know you didn’t. I just…I don’t know.” He hesitates to say anything else.
“Your turn,” He says.
I think for a moment. Ponder on the way I’m going to tell him what just happened to me.
“Uh. Oh, crap.”
“Huh. What’s the matter?” Tyson squeeze my hand.
“I talked to someone today.”
Ty’s smile stretches ear to ear. “Really, me too. It sure does feel good to get that off my chest.”
My eyes go wide.
How in the world am I supposed to tell the man that I am marrying in a few days that I was visited by Eliza?
Oh, that’s right.
He has no idea who Eliza is!
Tonight is going to be a long night.
“Tyson, what are you going to say if I met someone, in the…Realms.”
His eyes flicker from joy to anger.
“What?” He says.
“I mean, I just blacked out, I didn’t intend to go…”
“I get it! That’s all you ever say, Ashton! I didn’t intend to do it! Just like you didn’t intend to go to Shane’s house that night, just like you didn’t intend to have Nathan, just like you didn’t intend to-.”
“Tyson!” I say with the intention that he will apologize but, it doesn’t come. “You know that it wasn’t my fault of what happened!”
He stands. “Yeah. But, I told you that I wanted to go with you that night, Ashton!”
“Well, did you? Huh.” I pause. “Yeah. Didn’t think so, Tyson Jay.”
“Excuse me little missy. The least I can do is care for you!”
“But, Ty, this was in the past! Eight years ago!” I shout.
He sighs, climbs under the covers once again. “I’m sorry, Honey. What where you saying before.”
Now, I look at him in awe. “What the hell is your problem?”
“What are you talking about?” He says.
“Are you kidding me? You just yelled at me for something in the past, not to mention, it wasn’t my fault. God!” I rip the pillow from behind my back and say, “I’m going to go and cuddle with my brother, because really other than Tessa, he is the only person that appreciates me for who I am. Not what I am supposed to be.” Tears are forming in my eyes as I say, “Why did I say ‘yes’?”
I slam the door behind me, not really caring about the screaming children behind me, just worrying how the hell I am going to get out of this mess.
I calmly knock on Nick’s bedroom door.
“Nick it’s me.” I say, swallowing tears, opening the door a crack to let the hallway light shine to make a path for me to walk.
“Ash?” He says, lifting his head from under pillows and mountains of covers.
“What do you want?”
“To sleep,” I pause “And to know I’m loved by someone.”
He sits up. “I wish I could cuddle with you Ash. But, isn’t that Ty-“
“Don’t speak of that man right now. I’m kind of mad at him.”
“Alright,” Nick tosses me a couple sheets from the floor beside him. “Tessa is sleeping with me right now, please, don’t take it as ‘I don’t love you’ type of thing, but, go sleep somewhere else.”
I pout. “But, Nick-“
“No. Shut the door when you’re done.”
“Fine.” I mumble and make my way to the hallway once again.
Tears are streaming down my face.
I pass a room that I haven’t visited in awhile, haven’t read a single story or sang a lullaby.
“Nathan.” I lightly tap on his door, and make my way in without an answer.
I step my way in, shut the door behind me, and see that my precious child is sleeping soundly in his bed.
I walk to the desk that has a dim light shining on the cherry oak wood.
I go to click off the blue colored lamp and see a note.
Or a poem if you look closer.
God, people tell me that they love me,
But, is it the truth?
Aren’t people supposed to kiss you every night when you doze off into dreams?
Isn’t it supposed to be lullabies and stories right before bed time?
I don’t know, I really can’t rhyme.
So, I guess this is a letter to whomever reads this.
Maybe a hug or share of laughter.
So be it, a kiss.
Oh my gosh. Did he really right that?
I pull out the chair and read it multiple times.
So be it, a kiss.
I realize what a horrible mother I am, not making time for my children.
Keeping them from the world, turning my back on them when they need something, being so wrapped up in the wedding, tears start streaming down my cheeks.
“Nathan,” I whisper, “I miss you so much, you just keep on growing up on me, and I don’t know what to do. My mother was never, really there, always on the road, touring the world to fulfill a dream that never came true, my father was never a father at all. I just didn’t have a good adult figure, except for Uncle Nick.” I hesitate to say the rest on my mind; my eyes wander around the room as I spill my whole life guts. “Nathan, I didn’t mean to go over there, I thought Shane was a great friend, he was supposed to be the most wonderful Drama partner.” I sniffle. “I mean, he was great at acting, the teacher say that I better partner up with him to get a better grade for Drama, or else I was going to get killed by my father for having an F on my report card.”
I hear him shuffle around in his sheets, but go ahead anyway. “Nathan, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t mean to lie to you. You already know that Daddy isn’t your real father. I am a horrible person!”
I burry my head in my hands.
“Mom, you’re not a horrible person. That Shane was. You are the best you can be. Anyway, that poem wasn’t written about you, it was just a something that popped into my head, something that Uncle Nick told my about your childhood, and how no one was there to kiss you good night.” Nathan wraps his arms around my neck. “I wrote it about you when you were younger, Mom.”
Nathan and I talk about him and his life for what seems like hours, but, eventually he dozes off in my arms when we climb into his bed.
“Night, baby.” I say twirling his brunette locks around my finger multiple times.
My eyes start to close when the door creaks open, and smears the light from the hallway onto the floor.
“Ashton?” I weary voice says, “I just want to let you know that I was sorry for what I said. After I thought about it, it made no since because I care for Nathan as my own. I didn’t get why I got that angry. It’s just; I haven’t really ever talked about it to anyone but myself inside my head, on a paper when I wrote songs. Ashton I love you.” Tyson stops, I can see his silhouette move closer to the bed, and I shut my eyes tight. “Good night, honey.” He kisses the top of my head.
As he leaves, I jump from the bed and chase after him, “Tyson!” I shout.
“You mean the world to me! I am so sorry for all the trouble I have brought to you! I love you, too!”
“Ashton, you have no idea.” He rushes toward me, wraps his arms around my waist.
A door swings open, and Ty and I twist around, still interlocked, together.
"Mommy?" Haelii scoots out of the Girls' room.
"I had a bad dream."
"No, I want a hug first." She pouts and extends her arms.
Tyson and I hug her tightly as she dries her eyes.
"Do you want some warm milk?" I pull away.
Tyson and I hold her hand tightly as we walk to the kitchen.
“What was your nightmare about?”
“My dream was about you and Daddy having another baby,” I stop in my tracks.
“Yeah. His name was Ayden. He looked a lot like Daddy.” She giggles.
“Oh, okay. That’s not really a nightmare, Haelii.”
“But, I didn’t get to the part yet.” She says pulling lightly on her teddy bears ear.
“Alright, go on.” I lean on the counter lightly.
“He was taken away from the family the day he was born from this ‘Ruler of the Realms’ called Eliza.” I close my eyes.
Something drops behind me.
I turn, Ty stand in awe, milk splattering his feet.
“Daddy,” Haelii laughs. “Clean it up.”
Oh my god, Ty. She can have visions. I think.
And Ty responds by falling to the floor
I wake in the morning to screaming children and fighting adults.
“Tyson?” I wait for a mumbled answer, but then the door swings open.
“Ashton, get your lazy butt up from bed, we are going to be that for the plane!” Nick scoots across the room and shakes me out of bed.
“Nick!” I pout.
“Get up, Ash.” Ty’s voice fills my ears and I shoot up from my placement on the floor.
I rush to hug him.
“No time for hugs, the kids are packed and ready to go, you need to throw on some clothes and get ready yourself.” Ty stops as Nick starts to talk.
“Hurry up!” They both stare at me.
“What are you doing? Yelling at the bride to be! I know my dates and times, and how in the world am I supposed to get dressed with you two in here? This is not PlayBoy, get your asses out of here!” I move them out the door, and begin to pull on some jeans and a T.
Eventually, I make my way out the door, and rush to the car with soda in hand.
I stand in the middle of two cars, confused on where to go.
I have the boys’ pointing to the girls’ car, and the girls’ pointing to the boys’ car.
They all look pretty disappointed that I made them wait, so I shrug my shoulders’ and ride with my parents in the back seat with Anh.
Dad starts the truck and backs out of the drive way first because he supposedly knows where he’s going.
“Yeah babes?” I pull a piece of her brunette hair behind her ear.
“Can you tell me the story how you and daddy first met?”
“Well okay…” I ponder. “I was a sunny day outside, my Mom was late that day for picking me up from school-“
“Where was your school Mommy?”
“We will show you today, when we pass it to get to Grandma’s house-“
“What was your school called?” She asks, pulling on her blankie.
“It was called Stillwater Middle School.”
“Like Stillwater, Oklahoma where you’re from right?!”
“Yes,” I Say. “My mom was running late on picking Uncle Nick and me up. You know it was no problem for Nick to complain, because he and Aunt Tessa had walked home. But, I was all alone.”
I can see in the rear view mirror that my Mother is tearing up.
“I was listening to music and trying to read a book, when your Daddy came and sat by me under a shady tree.” Tears are swelling up in my eyes. “He asked me what I was listening too and I gave him an earphone.”
“What were you listening too, Mommy?”
“Motley Crue.” I say.
“Never mind, eventually we became really good friends, doing everything together, and that lead to the night of first kiss…”
“Mommy, can you tell me about that?”
Anh and I continue talking about Tyson and My first movie we saw together, first camping trip, which lead into our first kiss, our first fight, and the day we moved in together, which is now moving onto our first baby.
“Uh,” I look toward the front seat. “How about we talk about you guys being born, okay?”
“No! I want to talk about how Nathan was born, Mommy!”
“Anh, your story is cuter-“I try to bribe her out of the conversation that Nathan and I have barely talked about ourselves.
“Anh Aryssa Ritter! Don’t you dare talk to your mother like that, little missy!?” My Mom points a finger to t the back seat. “Now, if your Mother doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t want to talk about it. “
I respond to that by a smile.
“And Ashton, I think it is time that you told all the children about Nathan’s father-“
“Mom! Nathan is the only one that needs to know-“
“No, the other children have a right about knowing that Nathan has a different Father!”
Anh gasps. “What? N has a different Daddy?”
“Thanks, Mom, I had enough problems to worry about.” I burry my head in my hands.
“Great job Marissa,”
“Shut up, Donald.” My mother punches him. “I just wanted her to face the world for once in a life time.”
“Mom, I could have told them on my own time!”
“When will that ever come, Ashton? Face it; you suck at telling people the truth.”
“My four year old child, probably won’t even remember until somebody says something later! My four year olds don’t need to know about a pervert that made Nathan, Mom.”
“All I’m saying is that they need to know some time.”
“Now, I remember why I left you guys behind.” I burry my head in my lap once more.
All I want to do is die.
This family has brought me so much pain.
I just can’t wait for the kids to meet Ty’s mom and dad, to meet somebody who they can lean on other than my useless parents. I want to rush into Tracey’s arms and whiff in her scent of the past.
We finally arrive at Miami Airport around 9.
By the time I step out of the car, everyone is fine with their inside ego.
Tyson rushes over to me from seeing my smeared mascara.
“What the hell happened in there?”
“Nothing, just people that I can’t stand anymore.”
Dad pulls out Anh from her car seat, “Daddy!” Anh says with tear filled eyes.
Tyson face fills will worry. “What the f*** did you guys do to them in there?” He rushes up to my father.
“Ty,” I try to stop him.
“No! I’m sick of this s***! What the hell did you two do to them in there?”
“Back up, Tyson.” My father pushes the available air toward my fiancé.
“You both need to go home as soon as we get to Oklahoma, we invited to our home the other day, and the only way you can repay us is making your daughter cry?! This is unbelievable! No wonder Ashton did the things she did as a teen.” I reach down for my arm, my fingers trace over scares and dead scabs. “All she did was put forth effort, and you shoved her down, that’s why she came running to me! Cried to me, loved me and my family, because she couldn’t stand hers!”
Nick trails behind me, kisses the top of my head. “Did you really feel that way?”
“Yes,” I swallow tears, “Dad was always gone having a great time with other chicks, while mom was always out chasing her dreams out in the big city, to only find that her dream was marrying a man that loved her and that treated her with respect, her dream was to have perfect children who loved her with all their heart and soul, children that understood what a pain it was to have an illegal love with the man she did, children that didn’t go out every night with their soul mates and love them because they thought nobody else would. That’s the reason they spilt, Nick.” I stop to look at the horrified look in their faces.
“Nick, it was never about us, we weren’t the reason they got divorced. The reason they got divorced was because of our mother’s dream. She wanted an invisible love the one that fills up in your heart, the one that when your love is around it feels like your heart is about to burst. Dad wanted physical love, love that Mom didn’t have time to give to him. That’s why he turned to me, to beat me, to…love…me.” My eyes drop to the ground.
“Ashton,” My mother wraps her arms around me. “I’m sorry I wasn’t around, baby. I didn’t know, I just wanted more, you know?”
“A real life to live, other than living in constant fear and agony…I know what you mean.”
“I should have brought you both with me,”
“But, you didn’t Marissa. You left them both there for me to take care of. They were a pain in the rear; you don’t realize what you did to the family-“My father speaks.
“Dad, please! Did you even look yourself in the mirror after you were done doing that s*** to me?” I scream. “I should have married Tyson sooner!” I want to rip free and get in his face, but my mother won’t let me go.
“Dad, please, can we settle this sometime later?” Nick tries to help.
“What about you, Nick? Did you hear it? I mean your room was right there! The crying, the screaming, yelping for help? Did you once think twice? Call Grandpa, Grandma, Tracey? The cops maybe?” Nick’s eyes start to swell up.
“Ash, I tried, but he caught me talking to Grandma, and he beat me, too! I was scared out of my mind! That’s why I had Tessa.” I stare at her, and her gaze falls to Tyson.
“What about, Tyson!” Tessa avoids herself. “He knew!”
I look around, Nathan is crying his eyes out, and the rest of the kids are scared that all the adults are crying and yelling at each other.
“I didn’t know until I spent the night one night.” Tyson says, lifting his eyes to meet mine.
“Tell!” My mothers finally let’s go of my neck.
“No!” I shout.
Tyson starts to cry. “I snuck in the window, and we were making out when the door popped open, I crawled under the bed, Donald came in and…and…”
“Stop!” I shout through tears.
“He…until the tears from Ashton was soaking his hand.”
“What the hell, Donald.” Mom runs to Dad and pushes him back.
“She said she wanted love!” He tries to stop the conversation.
“Not like that, not from my father!” I’m on my knees.
“You need to leave!” Tessa says through a horrified face.
“Where am I supposed to go?”
“Away!” Nick shouts. “Buy another plane ticket.”
“You’re not walking me down the aisle!” I shout as he rushes back to the car.
As he leaves, I clear my eyes, and start toward the Airport building.
Tyson grabs my arm. “Are you sure you still want to do this?”
“Yes.” I nod. “I want to get married to you.”
We all clear up, and head to the entrance of the building.
Nathan shoves past us, standing in front of me.
The rest of my posse is stuck at the checkout line.
Eventually, we take our seats on the plane; try to remain calm with all the stress, and breath.
“Ashton, I love you very much.” My head turns toward the window.
“I know you do. I love you too.” His hand reaches for mine, and intertwines itself, like it was supposed to be there, like it was destined there, forever.
After I am done adjusting my seat belt, I lean my head against the cold window, and shut my eyes to dream.
We arrive at Oklahoma City Airport, grab our luggage and head to a rental car.
“Ashton? Are you okay?” Nick asks me, as I place everyone’s luggages in the trunk.
“I just want you to know, that I love you, and I tried to help all I could-“
“Look, I want to try to put the past behind us this week, I just want the most perfect that this wedding could be.” I say, cleaning a tear that is trailing behind.
“I will try my hardest-Oh, Ash?!”
“Yes, big brother.” I say, as I close the trunk and pear into the back windshield.
“Who is, going to walk you down the aisle?”
“Right now, I have my mind set on…you. You will walk me down the aisle.”
“Uh, how am I going to be a replacement for our father and a best man?”
“As soon as we reach the pastor, and he says all his stuff and you say your stuff, you walk to your place alongside Tyson.” I open the back sliding door to the rental van, and sit myself next to my three, really good, high school friends.
“So, you think we can still pull this off?” He asks.
“I’m going to finish it my way, if fate lets me.”
Nick smiles his brightest and shuts the door to open his.
He hops in the front.
“Are we ready y’all?” Tyson says in his most hick accent.
“Of course, baby! Let’s go get married!” I give a little “woot” and raise my hand toward the ceiling.
We drive for what seems like forever.
Talking about the big day, review where to go and what to do give miniature details to the kids so they be quiet in the back seat.
“Holy leaping lizard! We’re almost there!” Tyson shouts with enjoyment from the driver’s seat.
“Calm down, Ty. We don’t want you to get too excited before the wedding.” Jessie brings out her silly side, the one that got her in trouble in the gym before prom.
“Jess I would be quiet if I were you.” Nick says.
“No, do you know what was even funnier?” Mike pipes up from the back seat. “Remember when Chris and Tille became Mr. and Mrs. Gaylor?”
“Oh my god, Mike no.” Jessie says, almost slapping her head.
“Chris was so excited about the reception that…” Mike, Tyson, and Nick start cracking up.
“What?” I ask, a smile piercing my face of being stupid.
“His pants rose when he was saying his vows.” Tyson turns.
“Speaking of Chris, why didn’t he come with you guys?” Tessa asks.
“Caught up in the new life.” Jessie says, reaching in the back seat to wipe up the drool leaking from Tomas’ mouth.
“Ah.” Tyson says. “Guys, I want to hear the loudest screams known to man-“
“Tyson Jay, don’t you dare scream, Tomas is asleep.”
“Fine. We will go and…Scream!”
Everyone bursts into a howling fit of rage.
“God damnit!” Jessie starts to punch him, but, then stops. “Why the hell are we screaming?”
“We are in Stillwater.”
“What!” I shriek. “Oh my god! Ah! Oh my god! Oh my god!”
“Why are you so happy?” Tyson says.
“I get to see your m-“I pause and rewind myself. “I get to see my old high school drama teacher.” I say nervously.
“Drama?” Tyson questions with worry.
“Uh, yeah.” I look around the car, all the adults are staring at me, giving me unworthy looks, and then I spot Nathan.
“Mom, what about Drama?!” He asks.
My eyes close for a moment, and I take a breath in. “Nathan, I think it’s time that I tell you about your father.”
Tessa tugs on my shirt. “Ashton, not now.”
“I know, I know, N I’ll talk to you later.”
“That’s fine, Mom.” His gaze falls to his hands.
All I wanted to do was wrap Nathan in my arms, like when he was a child. Play with his curly locks of hair, and sing to him, tell him about how much I love him, when he falls fast asleep, gather all his dreams alongside me.
All I want to do is tell him about what a pervert his real father was, and that maybe some time in the future he will meet the sick man that made him, and I’ll thank Shane for the mistake he made, for making the sweet boy sitting in the back seat today.
“I love you, Nathan.” I whisper.
“Ashton,” Tyson says with pecks of water in his eyes.
“Yes.” I swallow tears.
“Uh, never mind, I’ll talk to you later.”
We all charge out of the van immediately when we stop, one, because all the adults have people waiting, two, the kids want something other to do than sit in a sweaty backseat for five minutes.
“Oh! Tyson!” A familiar voice beats in my ear drums.
“You look so joyful, love!”
“Thank you, Mama.”
“Your welcome, baby.” I can sense that Tracey is eyeing me as I take the triplets out of the back.
We all rush inside to warm ourselves in the November weather.
We all begin talking with people in the post-engagement party.
“Ashton!” I search around the huge bucket of people.
“Ashton!” I feel a tap on the shoulder.
“Yes,” I whip around.
Her face is older than it was before, chiseled all the shame, eyes filled with the same joyful brown with a tweak of green, the smile still same but full of power.
“Hi, Tracey.” I smile my brightest and wrap my arms around her.
“Oh, Ashton, I am so happy-“
“So am I-“
“So happy that I finally get to see my grandchildren!” She pulls away.
Tracey places her freezing hands on my shoulders. “I’m so glad that I’m going to have you as a daughter.”
I try to hold back tears.
“Now, before we start crying a river, let’s get inside and make some dinner for the engagement party before we start to freeze to death.”
She takes my hand as we walk into the house, and start toward the kitchen.
“Oh, wait, we have to tell the party that you are here.” She smiles, then grabs a glass of champagne off of a tray.
“Uh, Tracey, I need to freshen up before you announce me, I look like trash.” Yes, crying my eyes out at the airport is still printed all over my face as evidence.
“Oh, alright.” She hands me the champagne, and points down the hallway. “Wait, you know where it is.”
I show a simple well known smile and make my way to the rest room.
I scrimmage around in the medicine cabinet, trying to find a hint of make-up, a dash of perfume, but, I find nothing.
I start searching around in cabinets and finally, I sneak out into the hallway again, and dash into the nearest room.
The room is familiar- a light brown paint is spattered on the walls, it smells of dirty gym socks and old, yellow, crusted paper. Posters are spread all over the ceiling, and a bed with dark blue wrinkled sheets.
I laugh. “She still kept it.”
The door closes quickly behind me. “Guess.”
I turn my head to find Tyson.
He laughs and shows his pearly teeth. “Can you believe she kept it?”
“No, I can’t. I thought as soon as we moved she would clean it, make it smell good, and make it into a guest room.” I say, as Tyson wraps his arms around my waist and whispers,
“For old times’ sake, one more time?” He starts to kiss my neck.
“Ty, no. Our post-engagement party is out there, plus our parents, I don’t want them do here us, doing the nasty.”
He laughs again. “Doing the nasty?”
I sit down on the bed and we both start cracking up. “Oh my god, it still has the squeak!” I say.
Tyson lays down beside me and says, “I love you,”
“I love you!” I say with my bubbly aura.
He doesn’t talk for a moment. “Alright. Let’s go out there.”
We exit the room and we enter the living room as soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Ritter.
Tyson takes a glass of champagne off a tray and taps it will one of his rings.
“Everyone, may we have your attention please?”
I hear everyone gasp as they see me.
“Thank you all very much for coming,” Tyson lifts his head toward the ceiling. “Some of you, Ashton and I haven’t seen since we were toddlers, some of you we see every day, most of you, can’t stand us right now but, we both want to say a couple things before Wednesday.”
He turns to me. “Uh,”
I try to find words to say. “Uh, thank you all very much for coming, uh,”
I stare at the floor. “I‘m not good with speeches guys, I just want to let you all know that I appreciate you all for being there through the years. Um, I don’t want to give you guys my speech for Wednesday-“
Everyone chuckles. “Tyson-“
He sighs. “I wish that you guys realize what an illegal love can do to a soul. For years, I felt that I never deserved a wonderful person like, Ashton-“He chuckles and says, “Now, I don’t want to tell you all my vows.”
“Alright,” Tracey lifts her glass. “We know that you both love each other, but, I don’t think you both know how much the people in this room love you both!”
Most people howl and others cheer, but, we all end up drinking a sip and chatting a little after words.
The screen door swings open, and all people turn, except for Tyson and I and the people we are talking to.
Then, I feel a tap on my shoulder.
“Ashton,” My mother twists me around and grabs my shoulders. “Somebody is here to talk to you.”
I paint on a fake smile. “Of course, where are they?”
“Him. He is here to talk to you-“
“You’ll see, just come with me to the kitchen.”
I push through people and pass vetoes on future conversations.
“Who the hell is here-“
Through the kitchen door stand the second man that I despised all of my teenage-mother life.
He smiled. “Ashton, it’s been a long time-“
I peak through the kitchen window, and see the concerned look on Ty’s face.
“What?” Ty can’t see the person standing behind me.
I wave him away.
“Can we go outside?”
“Sure of course.” He says.
I push him out the back door, and grab a coat from a hanger.
“What are you doing here?” I ask rubbing my arms.
“I just wanted to wish you best wishes-“
“Why didn’t you send a card, you didn’t have to come here and embarrass me-“
“How am I doing that?” He gets the look of anger in his eyes, and I step back a couple feet.
“Hell, all I did was come here to wish you good luck with, Tyson-“His gaze falls to the ground. “I know what I did in the past wrecked our future, it didn’t make us speak until now, in the future. I miss being your drama partner, drama was my dream, and so were you. You and Drama. I didn’t think that I would take my obsession that far. I miss talking to you. I miss you being a friend to have leaning over my shoulder, and watching my every move. I know that you and Tyson were destined to be together, to have the fairy tale life. When, I found out that Tyson was going into the music carrier that maybe you needed something more. Since I finally got you a higher grade in one grade, I felt that I needed something in return. Trust me, Ashton, I regret it. I wish I was like one of those killers, who just forget, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have a family now, a wife and three kids. You are now getting married and you have children now, you’re living the life, like I. I just want to put the past behind us, and be friends again.” He sets his hand out for mine to shake.
“Shane, will you wait just a moment?”
His words are overwhelming me.
I have no idea what to say to him, no idea what to do.
I make a final decision, and rush inside to grab someone; I never thought would know about this.
“Nathan?!” I spot him lounging over by the T.V.
“Can you come with me please?”
He nods once again and rushes over. “What’s the matter-“
“Nothing, I just want you to meet somebody.”
I close the back door, quickly behind him.
“Who is this?” Both Nathan and Shane say in unison, almost matching the same tone.
I swallow pride.
“Shane I want you to meet Nathan…he is your-“
I sigh. “He is your son.”
I don’t know how much, I rehearsed my vows, or if I want to bring a tiny note card with me.
I don’t think I realize yet what a lifelong devotion to one person I am making. [Other than my children.]
I make up many excuses in my head on why I shouldn’t marry, Tyson, but, it just winds up, being a happy thought.
I don’t know by the end of laying in bed for almost an hour, if I want to do this.
Last night, Tyson spent the night at Zac’s house, so he left the girls of the wedding party here at Tracey’s house.
I roll over and sigh.
Then giggle at the squeaking sound that escapes from the bed.
“Ashton!” I can hear stomping through the hallway.
“Hurry up, Shower! You’re soon to be, Mrs. Ritter in a couple hours!” I can hear Tessa’s voice step through the room.
“Are you thinking?”
I sit up. “Yeah. Just thinking about what life is going to be with my best friend.”
“It happens, babe.” Tracey steps beside Tessa.
“Just think about the great time you two have spent together.” Tracey adds.
So, that’s what I did as I pull off my clothes and start at my stare at myself in my bra and undies in the full length mirror.
“Ash,” Someone knocks on the door.
“Your mother is here with the dress.”
I smile widely and hop in the shower.
All I think about is Tyson.
I remember the day I told him that I was pregnant with the triplets.
It’s vivid in my mind, but, it plays multiple times.
I step out of the bathroom letting steam pour out of the bathroom, drying my hair, and a huge smile stretching from ear to ear.
“Ash, Ash,” Bailey rushes over. “You never told me that your dress was a mermaid-trumpet cut!” She is thrilled.
“It wasn’t.” I rush over to where all the hub-bub is.
“What the hell happened to my dress?” I’m on my knees.
My mother clears her throat, “First off, it’s not your dress, and it’s mine. And you said that you want to make some changes to the dress so I did a modern twist.’
I was a little pleased.
It used to be a long, wide, seamless, 70’s dress, but now it is a mermaid-trumpet cut, with a flower pined at the waist to keep the skirt of the dress in place, and a beaded top, with ruffles in the back to draw attention to how serious I am about this.
“Honey, I know that you’re mad that I didn’t give you the original dress, but, it just needed adjustments.”
“I love it.” I whisper.
“What?” Everyone stares at me.
“I-I-I love it.”
“Do you want to step into it?”
“No. Not until we get there. Speaking of the wedding and what time we are supposed to be on time, who and when is our hair and make-up going to be done?”
“Um, your mother took care of that-“Tessa says, playing with the sequence on the top.
“Okay,” I flick her hand away. “Mom?”
“Your cousin, Amber and her hair crew agreed to do this for free-“
“Great!” I say.
“On one condition. They want to dance with, Tyson for a few minutes. They just don’t want you to get that jealous look on your face.”
I sigh. “Yes, I just want here in time. I want this done so that I can marry, Tyson!”
Amber finally arrives with a bucket full of bobby-pins, curlers’, hair spray, and make-up.
Tessa gets her hair curled up and dazzled with tiny diamond barrettes, she is the model for the rest of us on my perfect color choices.
The dresses are lavender, long and flowy, dazzled with jewels at the top, and lavender bow tying in the back. It’s perfect for all of their figures.
Jessie does the same, only her hair is greeted by a big, bright, purple, flower.
Bailey is just leaving it down, easy to curl, easy to swiftly move to make-up.
My mother and Tracey have reunited after the last time they were together, and now you can barely pull them apart, they can’t wear the same thing, since my mother is my maid of honor, and they do take an advantage of having their hair done the same way.
All the other girls’ hair is pulled back into a pony tail and curled, lavender and ivory flower pins are placed in the tie.
I love it when it is my decision to do anything.
My hair is pulled back and hooked in by a purple flower barrette, and then curled at the ends.
I’m the only one getting my make-up done, but, it’s not much, because as soon as I walk down that aisle locking arms with my brother, I want Tyson to see, “Yes, this is what you get. Through all the years, this girl that you fell deeply in love for at age thirteen.”
Simple swishes of mascara and lip gloss.
Everyone is dressed and ready to go, so we hop into the limo, my mom proudly, holding the bag with my new, modern, wedding dress, just waiting patiently to be wrapped around my body.
My nerves go sky high as soon as I see the sign for the Findley’s Lake Side Resort.
“Calm.” My mother whispers. “Don’t go cold feet on me now.”
I take a deep breath in and exhale a little of it out.
“Here we go.” Tessa says, as the limo stops, and the car door swings open.
“Are we ready?” Jessie whispers.
“I’m ready, let’s do this.”
I climb out of the limo, and look around.
Ahead of me, people are beginning to be seated in the reception hall/ceremony.
It all looks so beautiful, draping from the ceiling of the reception hall are ivory curtains, pulled around and tucked away with lavender ribbon, the sun is high in the sky, shining a shadow on the lake behind the gazebo.
“Ashton! What are you waiting for?!” Bailey calls me over to the brown building.
Every girl in the room is giggling and chatting about how great today is.
“Hey, love, over here-“My mother calls me over to the corner.
She starts to tear up. “Ashton, I waited for this day all my life.”
“Mom,” I hold her hand.
“You know, I wish that what you said days ago wasn’t true, but, it was. I would dream that your father was here to walk you down the aisle, but the worst side got the best of him. I’m glad that you are going to wear my dress today. I’m so happy for you that you and Tyson came to this day. I’ve always loved him, and I loved that you brought me grandchildren with his wonderful looks.”
“Thank you, mom.” I swallow tears and slowly slip into my dress.
It’s tight around my torso, but, it makes me look thinner, getting rid of all the baby fat.
I stare in the mirror and adore how wonderful I look, and Tessa hands me my bouquet of flowers.
“Tracey grew them herself.” Tessa’s eyes trace over every petal in her handful of flowers.
My bouquet is full of white and light purple lilies.
Tracey looks up from readjusting Haelii’s bow.
“Oh, yes, aren’t they lovely?” Tracey sounds al little older than I remember yesterday.
“Oh, god.” I’m staring at myself, only hoping that this day is all a dream.
“Okay, it’s time!” every girl lines up outside the door.
And I slowly make my way over.
“Oh, crap, Ashton!” My mother quickly grabs two plastic cases.
“Sit, down, quick!”
I sit, and my Mother’s cold hand reaches up my skirt.
“Mom! Ew! Stop!”
“Ashton, shut up, I’m only helping you put on your garter!”
She shows me the second garter that Tyson is going to pull off on the wedding.
Its lavender, with an ivory lace, and it makes me tear up just thinking about what all these people have done to make this day, my dream day, and the happiest.
“Thank you, guys so much, I appreciate that you all did these things for me. It’s going to be a great day, thanks to your guys’ help.”
I stand and my mother places a short veil that is tucked behind my flower, in my hair.
“I think we are ready.” Tessa and Jessie nod and exit the building; Bailey waits a couple seconds and follows my two best friends
“Follow my lead,” Tracey and Marissa [My mother] head out the door, and I slowly follow.
By the time I make it out, everyone is in their spot in this long line that makes up my wedding party.
“Ready?” Nick almost makes me run for the hills.
“Holy Christ, Nick!”
“Ashton, don’t flip out on me!”
“Sorry, Nick, it’s just the nerves.”
Yes, the nerves, the nerves is making my stomach do cart wheels as I walk down the pathway full of petals.
Nerves are what make me smile brightly when we reach the reception hall.
Nerves are what make me walk to the gazebo and it makes me listen.
“Who present’s this woman to this man?” The pastor says.
“Her Mother and I.” Nick says. “Oh, I’m here brother.”
“Right.” I pastor says.
Everyone shares a little laughs and I kiss my brother on the cheek, and both Him and I take our spots.
The pastor does a quick welcome, telling the rest of the posse and wedding party about himself and where he came from, then he moves onto us.
“Now, I want you two to tell each other the promises, and then we will exchange vows.”
I take a deep breath in. “I promise to love you all my life, I promise to take care of you when you are the sickest a man can be, I promise to kiss you whenever you feel down.”
“Ditto, plus more.”
We both laugh over tear filled eyes.
He continues. “I promise to take the trash out when it stinks.”
Everyone enjoys a few laughs and then the pastor says, “Tyson, do you want to go first?”
He nods. “Ever since the day I met you, I knew that I loved you, knew that some day we would be standing here tying the knot. You make me feel like a different person every time I’m around you. I thank you that you brought such wonderful children in my life. I miss you when I’m gone, and I wish that I could be with you more. You complete me, you had me from hello. I was there for you then, and I’m going to be with you now, forever and always.”
“Ashton, if you would?” The pastor’s eyes are glued and fixed on me.
“Yes.” I swallow down all the existing tears.
“Tyson, I never thought that we would be here, standing like this today. In my eyes, I didn’t think that I dissevered a perfect man like you. I don’t think that I deserve any of this! I don’t deserve this wonderful family of mine; I don’t deserve these magnificent children. But, in some way, I love being selfish. You mean the world to me, Tyson; I don’t want to see you go. Thank you for bringing me this grand life, full of memories and happiness. I love you.”
“May I be presented with the rings?” Nick nervously hands Pastor Robert the glittering rings.
“Tyson will you please repeat after me?”
“I give you this ring-“
“I give you this ring,” Tyson repeats, hesitates to place the ring on my finger.
“As a symbol of my love-“
“As a symbol of my love,” Tyson peers into my eyes.
“For richer, for poor-“
“For richer, for poor,”
“For sickness and in health-“ The pastor switches his eyes from Tyson to I.
“For sickness and in health,” Tyson stares down at the ring.
“’Till death do us part-“
“’Till death do us part,” Ty slides the ring on my ring finger, and pulls his hand away as quickly as possible.
“Ashton, would you please-“
“Please, Pastor Robert, I did my research, I know the whole thing, if you please?”
He hands me the gold incrusted ring.
“Tyson, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, for richer or for poor, for sickness and in health, until death do us part.” I quickly place the gold ring around his ring finger.
“I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Ritter,” He pauses and then says, “Tyson, you may kiss your bride!”
His rose lips meet mine.
And he wraps his hands around my waist; it feels like we are young again.
After pictures, it was time for the reception so full of life and laughter.
“If you would please welcome the new Mr. and Mrs. Ritter to say a couple words?” The D.J. says, handing Mr. Ritter the microphone.
We get a great round of applause.
“Hello guests!” He reaches down for my hand.
“Thank you all for coming, we don’t deserve all of your love and support through this all. Ashton and I want to let you know that we love you all. I hope that is the gift for all this superb day has brought.” He sighs. “I thank God that I am here today.”
We share another kiss, and begin the rest of the everlasting night.
First, we feast on a buffet set up by mothers and aunts, but, before that, we begin speeches.
The first person at bat, Nick, my new husband’s best friend and my lovely brother.
“I’m not great on speeches.” He sighs. “I didn’t really like that my little sister was friends with one of my band mates….at first. Neither did I like the fact when they started dating. What would you do if your best friend was dating your little sister?” He pauses.
“You know, I thought that it was wrong for one of your friends to date a sibling, but, then I saw myself. Dating my sister’s friend. Opps.” He waits for everyone to smile.
But, it never comes.
So, I laugh, just for his pleasure.
He returns with a smile and, “You know, Ashton and Tyson are the most loving people I know. I was at the falling point in my life and luckily they loved me enough to treat my family and me in tender loving care, while talking care of jobs and children. My little sister has gone through a million different things that you could not imagine, and Ty was her fall back. And, I loved that about him, because when I wasn’t around, she had someone else to tell. Tyson is the best. He does deserve to marry my sister. They are both deeply in love and they need to realize that without each other, they are depressing.”
Tyson and I hug him and thank him for the great speech.
Mike, Chris, and Zac give their own little talks about what wonderful people we are and blah, blah, blah.
It’s time for the women of the wedding party to talk.
My mother is up.
“Hello everybody.” She smiles. “I wish I could tell you what great amount of love I have for my daughter. As my son said, Ashton has a huge amount of love in her heart. She needed something-someone other than her unreliable father and me to love her. Tyson was always the best person to be around with his superb humor. I adore seeing my daughter beam with happiness.” She sighs.“You know, that I haven’t been the most brilliant mother. And, the other day, my daughter-my daughter made me realize that. She never told me what she told me the other day. She never told anyone. I wish that I could take it all back. I never wanted that for my children. I wanted the best for them, as any parent would. I love them, and I wanted to show how much I did, and I didn’t. I wasn’t there. I’m happy that they have wonderful lives with children. And they show them the best.”
I hug her the longest, basically showing her that I forgive her.
Tessa goes on about what a great friend she is for being there for the kids’ births’, and Jessie over throws it by telling all this nonsense about how ‘Mike and I love Tyson and Ashton the first time they started dating’.
Bailey, she doesn’t really know what to say, so she smiles and says that she loves us and she adores what wonderful children we have.
Our night became a twirling roller-coaster.
There is dancing here, and then cutting the cake there, talking to people you don’t know why you invited them, chatting to the wedding party, requesting songs that the D.J. doesn’t have-even though we gave him a million different CD’s to burn on his computer.
Well after all the nonsense has ended, the children have fell well asleep in dreams, and guests have faded into the night, Tyson, I and a few people of the wedding party stand in front of me.
“Ashton, your mom left a couple duffel bags for you two in your rental care. If you wanted to know.” Tessa stand with multiple pink coats in her arms.
“Thanks. I’ve already changed back into my sweats and T.”
“Okay.” She smiles and sighs. “Are you guys okay?”
“Yeah.” Tyson says. “Why do you ask?”
“Well, I started freaking out after my wedding night.” Tessa shrugs her shoulders.
“Maybe it hasn’t settled in that we made a lifelong devotion to each other.” I say. “It will come soon, I know it will.”
I give her a reassuring smile and hug her.
“Thanks for all the hard work, Tess.”
“No prob. It’s for you.” She whispers.
I smile once again.
“You guys should probably get in the car, your going to be late for the plane.” Nick says coming from the entrance, a baby lounged over his shoulder.
“Thank you, guys.” Tyson says.
“Dude, this is for you.”
Tessa and I share a couple giggles.
Eventually, we all make it outside, and collect in cars.
She stops to roll down the window.
“Thank Tracey for watching the kids-“I say, poking my head out of the window.
“I already told her. She said that she loved the extra company.” Ty says beside me.
My eyes catch tears as we drive away.
“Are you okay?” He stares deeply into my eyes.
“Yeah. I think so.” I have never really been okay.
Tyson and I walk into the hotel room, hearing the whispering ocean playing in the background.
He plops himself on the couch, and stares at me.
He smiles and says, “You’re beautiful.”
“Thank you, but, you’re not going to get in my pants.”
He laughs. “No, really. I never really realized how beautiful you were.”
“Aw.” I slide myself on his lap, and kiss his nose. “You’re so cute.”
“Cute?” He says, after biting my lower lip.
I nod and grab at his hands. “Cute.”
He nods and kisses the top of my forehead. “I thought, that if I called you beautiful that I wouldn’t get called a childish name, like…cute.”
I stand once again. “Well, handsome, I’m going to and take a shower. Feel free to sleep on the couch or something that newlywed’s do-“
“Newlyweds do a lot more than this.”He gives me a sideways look.
“Well, those people don’t have a mediocre house that is filled with 13 children. Newlyweds don’t have to worry about appearance from family and friends about having yet, another baby. Tyson, I know that you have been waiting for this day, I have been waiting a life time, but, it’s not going to end how we imagined.”
“Nick and Tessa-“
“I know, I know. They don’t need to worry about anything Tyson, they have it all good, a roof provided over there head by us, paid bills and no expense for food. They are not grown up, Ty. We have lives, children to take care of. One more will not help at all.”
He nods and sighs. “I’ll pull out the bed in the couch.”
I walk to the bathroom, and start to undress, then pause, and wrap a robe around my body.
I watch as Tyson sets up the pull out bed, placing a sheet on the thin, cracker like “bed”, setting a pillow from my mother’s marvelous duffel bags, and then he sighs, and sits down on the bed.
Not seeing me, he sighs once more, and says, “Damn baby, I don’t understand just what went wrong, I gave you my heart, I gave my soul, I gave you-“
He stands and looks at me, extends his hand and puts a finger to the ceiling, “As a matter of fact I was the one who said I loved you first, it was about 12 years ago, don’t act like you don’t know.”
He is singing One Wish by Ray J., twisting the words to make it sound like us.
“We were sitting' at home in your mama's living' room
Cause, we couldn't be alone
See your mama knew I was something else, she knew how I felt
Back then we were in school; and that's your favorite excuse
Growing' up I was a fool; and I can't lie I'm missing you
Listen and don't trip
I think I need a bottle with a genie in it” He pauses and rubs his hands together like he is rubbing a magic lamp or something.
“Here's my wish list.”
He puts one finger toward me, and takes a step closer. “First one, I would create a heart changing love.”
Second finger. “Second one, I’ll take yours and fill it up.”
Third finger. “Third one, but, I don’t need a lot of wishes, because I’ll be okay if I get one.”
He now takes a couple steps toward me, and points one finger at me, then pulls it back.
“If I had one wish, we would be best friends Love would never end, it would just begin. If I had one wish, you would be my boo. Promise to love you, trust me I'll trust you.
If I had one wish, we would run away
Making love all day, have us a baby
if I had one wish, I'd make you my whole life
And you'd be my wife, make it right this time. If I had one wish”
He pauses and lifts his eyes from the carpet, and clicks eyes with mine.
“One wish, one wish, one wish, One wish, one wish, one wish, One wish, one wish, one wish, One wish, one wish, one wish.” I sing and take one step toward him.
“Now tell me is this the only way I can get you right back in
If so then searchin' I'll go, then I can have you for sho
Then you'll be loving me, holding me, kissing me
So girl don't tell me what I'm feeling is make believe
I swear if I lose a second chance with you
I wouldn't know what to do
I'd probably check myself into some kind of clinic
I couldn't be alone because without you I'm sick.” He sings, and begins to moves his hand, gesturing me to come closer.
“Here's my wish list
“First one, I would create a heart changing love
Second one, I'll take yours and fill it all the way up
Third one, but I don't need a lot of wishes cause I'll be okay if I get one
If I had one wish, we would be best friends
Love would never end, it would just begin
If I had one wish, you would be my boo
Promise to love you, trust me I'll trust you
If I had one wish, we would run away
Making love all day, have us a baby
If I had one wish, I'd make you my whole life
And you'd be my wife, make it right this time” I sing, peeling of his shirt, revealing his rather pale skin.
“If I had one wish
I don't even know how we ended upon this road
And, even though we are grown, Girl I just want you to know
If I had one wish, we would be best friends
Love would never end, it would just begin
If I had one wish, you would be my boo
Promise to love you, trust me I'll trust you
If I had one wish, we would run away
Making love all day, have us a baby
If I had one wish, I'd make you my whole life
And you'd be my wife, make it right this time” Tyson and I breath in a perfect harmony.
His fingers trace over my strap to the closing of the robe.
And my hands search where my eyes have never ventured.
“I love you.” I whisper.
He lifts me from the ground, and I wrap my legs around his waist, kissing his face, while he tries not to knock over things on the walls on the way to the bedroom.
“Tyson,” I whisper, before we venture into the world of unknown.
“Hmm?” He is so pleased that he got this far, he can barely speak.
“I love you.”
“You have no idea.” He clicks the door closed, and lightly pushes me onto the bed.
We strip clothing, strip feelings, swat away worries, and leap into a sea of blankets.
Tyson rolls over to the other side of the bed, breathing in unison of I.
“Wow.” He says through rapid breathing.
“Shut up.” My stomach starts to turn.
“Shut up?” He says, reaching over, rubbing my hip.
“Yeah. Just be quiet for a minute…” My head starts to spin.
“Hey, are-are you okay?” Tyson lays me directly on my back.
I shake my head.
“You’re-You’re shaking, Ash. What’s the matter?” His face goes ghostly pale.
His voice begins to fade, and my eyes start to close.
Images flash in front of my eyes.
Then they stop, and I stare at a deep blue sky.
I lay on a plaid blanket, hands woven into the roots of my hair.
“Isn’t it pretty?”A voice beats in the walls of my head.
“Brilliant.” I say.
I feel a hand reach across my stomach.
“I just can’t wait for you, baby.” My abdomen begins to sting.