Coping…

**Author’s note: This chapter was written in collaboration with Avanis with editing input from both Avanis and Raelsinclaire.**

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**Pinkberry**


 

I was just getting ready to get in bed when my cell phone rang. Grabbing for the phone on my bed stand before it could wake Jer I hit the button to answer. “‘Ello?”

“Pinkberry?”

“Lo? Is that you?”

“There’s something wrong with Kiki…She’s crying and she won’t talk to me! The babies are crying, Orchid’s teething and won’t let me out of his sight and…Oh no! ((Fleur, no honey!)) Oh Berry, Pink, she’s in there crying and I can’t do anything!”

His voice cracked with the last few words, and I was already grabbing clothes. “I’m on my way Lotus, just hang in there for a few more minutes ok?”

Hanging up the phone I threw on my sweats and sweatshirt, and shook Jer awake. “Buh?” He blinked sleepily at me. “What’s the matter Pink?” I dropped a quick kiss on his lips. “Emergency at the Bali’s, something’s wrong with Kiki and it’s got Lotus in a panic. I could hear the babies all crying in the background. I’m headed over there to give ’em a hand. Keep an ear out for the kids.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “K love. Call me if you need anything.”

Knowing Jer would be up in a flash if either of our little ones woke, I jogged down the street to the Bali house. I’d been worried about Kiki, when the triplets came. It was a handful for me to balance two, let alone six? No wonder she was overwhelmed. Knowing I’d need some backup myself, I pulled my phone from my pocket and called my twin brother Loganberry. “Hello?”

“Ganby, its Pink. I need your help, can you come over?”

“No problem. Lark’s over at my place, if you need her too?”

“Definitely. I’ll be at the Bali’s house, there’s an emergency with Kiki and Lotus needs us.”

“We’ll be there in about 15 minutes sis.”

Taking a chance that he’d still be up, I dialed Rip’s number. It barely had a chance to ring before he answered. “Riptide.”

“Rip, its Pinkberry. Emergency at Lotus’s. Can you come?” I could hear what sounded like clothing being pulled on.

“You there already?”

“Few minutes. Jogging over from our place.”

“I’ll meet you there.”

I picked up speed, reaching the house at the same time Rip did. We walked up and I knocked on the door. “Lotus, it’s Pink!.” He came to the door with one of the triplets wailing in his arms. His eyes were brimming with tears, and stress was etched all over his face.

I stepped in and gently took the infant from his arms, Rip right behind me.

“Rip, how’d you…”

“Pink called me, bro. You know we’re all here for you. Go take care of Ki, we’ve got things covered.” He went straight to the nursery to start calming down the babies. Snuggling the infant I held with one arm I put my hand on Lotus’s shoulder. “Loganberry and Lark are on the way, and should be here soon. Everything’s going to be ok. Just give a shout if you need one of us ok?” Nodding, a few tears spilled from his eyes. “Thank you Pinkberry.”

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**Lotus**

Those first few weeks at home were very difficult. Even with one baby the honeymoon period is tempered by sleepless nights and round-the-clock care giving. With three babies and three toddlers, it was absolute chaos. What little sleep we got was in small increments and never at the same time. We were exhausted, incredibly stressed out and our nerves stretched to the breaking point. Our family and friends helped us out so much but the truth was, it felt like we were barely keeping our heads above water.

Even though we were living under the same roof, I’d never felt less connected with Kiki. There simply wasn’t time for even the simplest things, like sitting together for a meal. I tried to find little ways to connect with her her-sometimes just a quick hand squeeze or peck on the cheek-but even those things were few and far between.

By the time the babies were a month old, I knew it was all taking a serious toll on Kiki. She was more and more distant every day. I tried a couple times to talk to her about it but the kids were always around so that got me nowhere.

It all came to a boiling point late one night when the girls were just over 6 weeks old. I was in the front room juggling Calla, Soph and Orchid while Kiki and Blossom slept in the bedroom. I heard Blossom start to cry but didn’t think much of it until a couple of minutes passed and she was still wailing, louder than ever. I laid Soph down onto the blanket on the floor, next to a sleeping Calla and hauled Orchid into my arms before taking off for the bedroom to check on them.

I expected to find that Kiki had simply gone to the bathroom or taken a quick shower so when I saw her sitting on the edge of the bed, sobbing so hard she was gasping for breath, my heart seized in my chest. “Oh Berry! Ki, love, what’s happening? Are you okay?” She just kept sobbing and I could feel the panic bubbling up inside me as she shook her head from side to side.

Blossom was crying harder now and Orchid’s lower lip began to tremble. I heard another wail from the direction of the living room and knew Soph needed to be fed soon. In that moment, I nearly broke down but looking at Ki, I realized I had to keep it together. Drawing on my last shred of composure, I did the only thing I could-fumbling for my cell phone with trembling hands, I called for help.

When Riptide showed up with Pinkberry I was floored and humbled that my friends would pull together like this for us. There was so much I wanted to say to them but it would have to wait-Kiki needed me.

Racing back to the bedroom, I dropped to my knees in front of her. “Shhh. Kiki, what is it? Love, please. You’re scaring me.”

Her body was quaking so badly by then that she couldn’t seem to get any words out and I felt my own eyes sting with tears again as she tucked her head into my shoulder. With a little lift, I was able to pull her from the bed, down onto my lap where she clung to me tightly. I told her our friends were there to take care of the kids and said everything I could think of to calm her down. When words failed me, I simply held her and told her I loved her over and over.

I don’t know how long we sat there like that. Finally, after what seemed like hours but must have only been minutes, her sobs began to calm to quiet tears and, every once in awhile, the sharp jolt of a hiccup. I noted the silence and realized that Pink must have worked her miracles and gotten the kids all settled. I didn’t say anything yet, though, too afraid of saying the wrong thing, so we just sat there clinging to each other.

When Kiki’s grasp on me began to loosen a bit, I brought my hand up to her face and slowly wiped her cheeks. “What’s happening, Ki?”

She shook her head sadly from side to side as the tears starting coming again. “I don’t know. I just…” For a moment I was afraid she wasn’t going to say anything else but then it was like the flood gates suddenly burst open. “I don’t know if I can do this anymore, Lotus! We have six babies! SIX! The girls cry all the time and I can’t help them. I haven’t slept more than two hours straight or eaten sitting down since they were born. “ Her eyes shot up to mine again as she continued on. “And this is the most I’ve touched you in months. We can’t even have a conversation let alone spend five minutes alone together. And why would you even want to spend any time with me? My hair is matted and dirty. I haven’t even had a shower in FOUR DAYS!” She dropped her head into my chest as her cries took over again.

I’d been feeling all the same things so I wasn’t entirely surprised but it worried me. Kiki was clearly at a breaking point but the needs of our children weren’t going to change anytime soon so I was at a loss as to what to do. I could feel myself sinking into despair as I realized how little I could do to help my wife. That’s when I knew that things had to change-I couldn’t let this happen to her. I needed her to be okay because if she wasn’t, then I would never make it. Pulling my arms from around her, I gripped her face, tilting it up to mine. “You’re still beautiful to me. I love you, Kiki, and I’m in this with you. Nothing‘s going to change how I feel about you.”

She gave a little nod but I could tell my words weren’t really sinking in. She looked so hopeless and I wondered if we might need a little outside help to fix this. Making up my mind, I gently moved her back up to the edge of the bed just long enough to stand. On my feet, I scooped her up into my arms and carried her into the bathroom, setting her lightly on her feet in the middle of the room. She didn’t protest but she also didn’t seem particularly connected to what was happening.

I left her side long enough to turn on the shower before pulling her back into my arms. “We’re going to fix this, Ki, I promise.” With that I began gently undressing her before stripping off my own clothes. With my arms still around her, I guided us gently into the shower.

I took my time gently wetting her hair and massaging shampoo into it. She never said anything but I could feel her body start to relax just a little and she closed her eyes, leaning into my touch. When I finished her hair, she watched silently as I washed my own before lathering up the poof and starting on her body. Our eyes locked and I held her gaze the entire time. It was neither erotic nor sexual but it was one of the most intimate moments of my life. After I’d lathered and rinsed us both, I pulled her into my arms where she rested her head on my chest and we simply held each other under the hot stream of water, completely unwilling to let go.

As badly as I wanted to, I knew we couldn’t stay like this forever so I reluctantly began to pull away but stopped when she looked up at me. My heart clenched again at the sadness still marring her pretty eyes.

“Lotus…”

“It’s going to be okay, Ki.”

Her voice was barely above a whisper, though she wasn’t crying. “I’m twenty-five and I have six children.”

Leaning forward, I rested my forehead against hers. “I know. “

“I feel guilty for even thinking that.”

“I know.”

“I’m scared. I feel like I’ve failed them all.”

Now I gripped her face in my hands. “No. You haven’t failed them at all. I wish you could see yourself with them. They know only love from you, Kiki. Don’t you see the way their faces light up when they see you? I see it, Ki. I see how much you mean to them. You’re the most important person in their world. No one on Earth could be a better Mother to them than you have been.”

She looked so grateful to hear those words that I vowed to myself that I’d tell her every chance I got from then on out what a wonderful Mother she was. “I love you so much, Lo.”

I planted a kiss on her forehead before pulling her tight to my chest. “And I love you.”

We stayed in the shower until the water turned cold. I helped Kiki get dried and we both dressed before going back to our bedroom. We stopped in our tracks when we discovered that the cribs were gone. I knew immediately that Pink and Rip had done this so we could sleep but I wondered how Kiki would feel about it.

She stood staring at the blank space along the walls before turning and launching herself into my arms. I could feel her tears on my neck and I quickly tried to run damage control. “It’s just for the night, Love. You need to sleep. Pink and Rip are here and probably ‘Ganby and Lark by now. They came to help and we need that right now, Kiki. You know how much the kids all love them. Just let them take care of the kids tonight so I can take care of you, can you do that?” With a wave of relief, I felt her give a slight nod against my shoulder.

Once I got her settled down into bed, I told her I’d be right back. After a quick conversation with Rip and Pink I returned to Kiki, pulling her close to me in bed for the first time in weeks. I held her tight, needing to be as close as possible, stroking her hair and whispering my love for her until she drifted off in my arms. Content for now that I was at least able to give her this, I let myself drift off, too.

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Heir Vote time!

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You all know the drill. 🙂 Happy Voting! I’ll leave this up through Tuesday.


Current Traits: Genius, Excitable, Lucky
Being first born of this brood has given Hibiscus lots of time to spend with his best (invisible) friend, Jelly Bean. When he’s not hanging out with JB, he spends hours discovering potions at his chemistry table.

 

 


Current Traits:Loves the Outdoors, Artistic
Will add: Shy, hopeless romantic
Painfully shy for as long as she can remember, Fleur is generally happiest when she’s with her family and the handful of friends she grew up with.

 

 


Current Traits: Excitable, Athletic
Almost an exact opposite of his twin, Orchid is friendly and outgoing. He approaches everything he does with excitement and passion.

 

 


Current Traits:Absent Minded, Friendly
Born with her Grandpa Sam’s deep brown hair, Calla feels plain, drab and downright boring in her colorful family.

 

 


Current Traits:Clumsy, Genius
Will add: Bookworm
A classic bookworm, Blossom loves reading and writing. She’d love school too, if some of her other subjects weren’t such a struggle.

 

 


Current Traits:Easily Impressed, Friendly
Will add: Artistic, Virtuoso
Soph takes after her Dad in nearly every way-she loves creating works of art-be it paintings or beautiful songs.