From Farm to Fame: Haylie- Chapter Twenty-Five

Like every year before it since I met Max, the next year after the wedding seemed to fly by faster than I could blink. I’d tried to spent as much time as possible with the girls before they went back to art school, because I would miss them way too much when they were gone, like I did the year before. I tried to spend as much time with Max as I could too, and be the best wife I could. Not that it really did make anything different for us, it’d been the same before, but it just made our relationship seem new and exciting all over again. I didn’t work much on my novel over the summer because between Max and the girls I just didn’t have time for it, but I worked on it again when then went back to art school. When I finished it, I started right into another. Readers had been fascinated by the creatures in my first novel, since they were so different from the versions they’d grown up with and wanted to know more, so I was writing a series with each novel focus more on each different creature. It was weird to think that everything that happened in Moonlight Falls, and all I learned about the creatures there, was how I was making a living. It’d been a horrible time, I thought I’d never want to relieve, but I was reliving it through my novels, and I couldn’t say I regretted that. My second novel became a best seller, and my first gained a bunch of sales in the hype leading up to the second. It was even weirder to think that so many people loved my writing; I did it because I loved it, and I’d expected most people to just think it was too strange and awful since it was so different from what people had loved to read before.

It wasn’t long after the girls went back to school, that I found I was pregnant, with twins. We had decided a couple months earlier that we wanted to have a baby, so we were both very excited. It just became one more thing to focus on. We decided to renovate the nursery, since we didn’t want to find out what we were having until the babies were born, and we wanted to gender neutralize it. It was designed for a girl when I bought the house, but it had been okay at the time since I was moving in with the girls. I knew the babies probably wouldn’t care about colour, regardless of their gender, but it just seemed nicer to have a nursery that would suit them better. It gave Max something to do anyway since he did most of the work, painting, tearing up the carpet, and moving everything around; I really didn’t do anything put pick out what I wanted to go in the nursery so Max could put it there. He was very proud of himself for getting it all done and having it ready for his children long before they were due.

It was shortly after we felt confident that we had almost everything in order, and were almost as ready as we were going to be, that we found out it was really quadruplets, not twins. It was only a couple months from the end of the pregnancy when we found out, two of the babies had been hiding the whole time, which seemed impossible to me, but apparently it wasn’t. It had been a very long drive home from that appointment; Max and I hadn’t said a thing to each other since we received the news, I was still trying to process it myself and didn’t really have much to say, I imagined he felt the same way. It was just weird that he didn’t wrap me securely in arms and promise me that everything would be okay like he usually did when something was bothering me, though it probably would have been the first time that it wouldn’t have worked, and he didn’t have any jokes or anything either. He could make a joke of anything, and often did so in stressful situations to try and make things a bit better. I loved that about him most of the time, and I really missed it then, not that it would make anything better, but it didn’t seem as bad as the awkward silence.

We hardly said anything to each other the rest of the day, even when I went to bed he didn’t even glance away from the television long enough to say goodnight and give me a kiss like usual, he seemed too lost in whatever was going through his mind to notice. I kind of liked having an excuse to go to sleep early though, for the most part it was kind sucked getting worn out so much faster, but sleep seemed so much better than the stress of thinking about what we were going to do.

He still hadn’t come to bed when I woke up around midnight to go get a snack, though I could hear a bunch of noise coming from the nursery, so I stopped to check on him on my way to the kitchen. He was dragging everything around when I got there. “Sweetie, its midnight, why don’t you go to sleep? I’m sure this can wait until tomorrow.”

He stopped and turned to talk to me, he still looked so confused and scared. “No it can’t. I have to figure this out.”

“Figure what out? How you’re going to make a giant mess in here?”

“How we’re going fit twice as much of everything in here.”

“Oh.” I hadn’t really thought much about how much extra space we would need, I’d mostly thought about the extra risks we could still face in the pregnancy, I’d thought a bit about actually trying to raise them and it terrified me, but I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them either. Thinking about needing extra space just made me worry more, and the whole house suddenly seemed too small as I thought about them growing up an needing even more space. “I don’t think we are…”

“We have to.”

“I know. I still think you should go get some sleep though; you’re going to drive yourself crazy doing this all night. Just get some rest, and we’ll start figuring it all out later, after it’s had a chance to sink in.”

“I already tried to sleep. I can’t. I just have to figure this out before I can. I’m letting you and our children down if I can’t.”

“You won’t let me down Max, not as long as you're here to help me. You won't let me down because you can't figure this out right away though. I just want you here, the rest we can figure out together. Do whatever you feel you need to, just don't worry about letting me down, don't make yourself crazy over it; I’m just worried about you, I love you.” He’d gone back to dragging things around and seemed to be oblivious to the fact that I was still there. “Okay then, have fun I guess.” He still didn't respond as I turned around and went downstairs.

I never did get back to sleep myself and was still downstairs sitting in front of the fireplace lost in thought, when I heard Max sigh and slump down into the other chair a couple hours later. We finally started talking and trying to figure it out together. We decided to look for a new house, we could cram everything in and make it work if we needed to but doing so would probably drive us crazy when we were always bumping into each other and everything else.  We could easily afford a new house, I just didn’t like the idea of spending money on one when our current house had seemed so massive before and I’d never dreamed of moving out of it. I loved that house, and had wanted to believe we could make it work out somehow.

We checked the real estate listings online and in the papers every day, but there was nothing in the area that worked for us. It didn’t help that the quads were about a month and a half early, giving us almost no time to find a new house anyway. Though they spent most of that time in the NICU anyway, we spent as much time with them as we could instead of looking for a new house. The priority just became checking on them and being near them until they were healthy and strong enough to go home. I was really just happy when we got to bring both girls, Lexie and Zoe, and both boys, Shane and Camden, home regardless of how small that home seemed and how scared I was to attempt raising them all at once. 


From Farm to Fame: Haylie- Chapter Twenty-Four

The girls were already home from LeFromage Art School for the summer, I’d missed them terribly and worried constantly, but the time had flown by as well. Though I did have Max to keep me company, and wedding planning to occupy me, I’d started on a sequel to my first novel too, so I was often busy and distracted by something. I had to rush to get the girls fitted for their dresses when they got home so we we could have their dresses in time, they’d grown way too much while they were away, as the wedding seemed so soon after they got home. They would be my flower girls, because they’d eagerly expressed their desire to do it, or more accurately eagerly assumed they would get to; it especially excited me that Ericka wanted to be involved, but I couldn’t argue it anyway, Max was part of their futures too so it seemed important for them to be involved. I just hadn’t planned on having anybody walk down the aisle in my party, other than Ian who would give me away, it was only our closest friends and family attending and everybody I would have chosen was nearly everybody my side of the guest list. I couldn’t believe how fast the wedding approached after the girls were home; it was just such an exciting time.

Finally I was walking down the aisle, my brother, the closest I had left to a father, at my side; it meant so much to me that he was so happy to give me away to Max and support our relationship, I highly respected his opinion even though I didn’t always agree with it, so it meant a lot when we did agree. I knew the girls were walking ahead of us sprinkling flowers petals all over the place, but all I could focus on was Max; my future, best friend, and soul mate; my everything, smiling and waiting for me at the steps to the gazebo, we would walk to the  arch in the centre together.

It all became so much more real with each step down the aisle, each step my heart fluttered a little more; finally I was getting married. After all the plans that had changed in my life, everything that had delayed the moment, and finally it was happening. It was better than I ever could have dreamed, too, and it was all because of who I was marrying; it was all because of Max. He was the one who would never run away in those tough moments, he was the one who would fight for me and I would fight for in whatever life through at us from the moment we met, to the moment death did part us. 

I'd started crying by the time Ian gave me away, overwhelmed by all the emotions of joy and excitement for that moment and for the future.

Trying to recite vows was nearly impossible as my voice quivered through the tears. “I thought I would never love again when I met you, but you showed me what love really is. I was in love before, but I didn’t love. Being in love is fearing every moment apart because the excitement starts to fade and the butterflies settle in the stomach. Love is accepting the moments apart while looking forward to the moments together, because while you look forward to the new and exciting experiences that come in those moments together you remain together through every moment life offers, you spend every moment together in heart. Being in love is the feelings of excitement with no meaning that fade away with time. Love is giving those feelings meaning and purpose and hanging onto them forever. You didn't show me how to love again, you showed me what love really is, you are my only love. I promise to always love you, the same as you love me and taught me, to be honest, caring, and faithful, to love you as you are, and remain forever by your side as your love and best friend.”

Looking at Max I could tell even he had a tear or two in the corner of his eye’s, he was the calm and collected one, who never cried and I was the one who often cried; It felt even more blessed that he loved me enough to shed tears for me and our future together. “I spent much of my life on a journey searching for someone like you. Someone who understands, accepts, and loves me as I am. Someone who doesn’t try to change me and supports me in all I do. I was beginning to think I’d never find what I was looking for, and I gave up, I lost the desire to search for something that I didn’t believe existed. Then I met you, and from the first time I saw you I found hope, just a glance in your direction and every part of me became yours, my body, mind, heart, and even soul. I would be whatever you wanted me to be, but all you wanted is what I am. I no longer journey alone searching for love, because I found all I ever wanted and more, I found you. I promise to show you the same compassion and love that you show me, to show you the love I never knew existed until you taught me what it really was, from now and forever. I promise to follow you through life’s journey, hand in hand, and heart in heart.”

Finally, with a kiss, it was official, I was a wife; I was Mrs. Watson. I loved how it sounded, Mrs. Watson, Haylie Watson; it was perfect.

The reception was at the same venue, and thankfully the weather held out all day. It was somewhat amazing it had, a bunch of black clouds had rolled over town while we were getting photos done, but they kept on going and were gone in time for the reception and stayed away, not storming over our first dance, or over the meal, or all the partying that carried on after; nobody got so drunk that they were rude and offensive, or tripping over themselves. I’d had a feeling that something would go wrong, because it just seemed too good to be true, but it never did; not that anything could  ruin the day, Max and I were married, and that was the only thing in the day that needed to go right, but the whole day had been perfect. 


From Farm to Fame: Haylie- Chapter Twenty-Three

I knew Ericka was unhappy to be home and stuck with me; it was obvious when I saw the police trying to drag her up the front path while she cried and tried to pull herself free. I still found it hard to believe that my little girl who’d always been so sweet and happy was so miserable and didn’t even want to be home with her family. I’d already grounded her for a week and taken away all her TV and computer privileges for that time; I hated to punish her for being sad, but I also knew that she knew better and I couldn’t let her get away with it for any reason. I just hated the part of being a parent where I had to punish them and make them upset with me, I hated being upset with them, I was happy when we were friends. I hoped after I got the part of punishing her out of the way, I could get Ericka to talk to me like a friend again. I hoped she would open up to me about what was bothering her so we could work it out.

I made her change into her warmest pajamas while I started a fire in the fireplace, and started making calls to call off the search. She’d only been wearing a short sleeve dress and leggings when the police brought her home, they’d found her hiding inside an old abandoned house by the river while investigating suspicious activity in the area, which I suspected had something to do with Chase, though they hadn’t found any evidence yet. I was relieved that she’d had shelter from the snow and the wind, but I couldn’t imagine the house was heated, and wouldn’t have done any better than to keep the snow and wind off, it wouldn’t be much warmer than outside and would still verge on being dangerously cold. I made her sit in my lap in the chair in front of the fireplace and hugged her as tight as I could despite her squirms of protest. 

I waited until she stopped trying to pull away before I tried to get her to talk to me. “Now I know you know it’s wrong to run away, because of our conversation the other day. I know you’re upset because you feel like you don’t have a real father in your life, and I know you don’t want me to marry Max… but it seems like there’s more going on.” I didn’t want to rat Maya out for telling me anything, I didn’t want her to be upset with Maya since she was only answering the questions I asked her and she was just as concerned as I was, and I wanted her to be comfortable talking to Maya so she wouldn’t keep everything bottled up.

She kept her gaze focused on the fire, and wouldn’t look up at me, but I could tell from her voice that she was crying. “Why do you care?”

“Because I love you, and I don’t want you to be upset, I want to make things better.”

“You don’t love us…”

It broke my heart that she could ever think that, no matter how upset she was. “Why would you think that? I love you so much; you and your sister are so special and important to me. I love you girls more than anything, I don’t know what I’d ever do without you, and I was so scared that I was going to find out.”

“Daddy said you abandoned us, you wouldn’t if you loved us.”

“He has no idea what he’s talking about. I did something that kept me away from you girls for a very long time, way too long, and I hated being away from you and I tried every day to find my way home to you.” I wanted to say I’d made a stupid mistake, but I couldn’t say that it was a mistake, as I felt like I’d learned so much about myself and I’d never have been able to settle down in life otherwise; I’d still be searching for what I’d learned and I’d never have ended up in Hidden Springs, and I’d never have met Max, and I wouldn't have come up with a novel to publish, I just wouldn't have had the wonderful time I'd been having because my life would have gone a different way. It wasn’t a mistake; it was just an important experience with horrible consequences and hurdles along the way. “That’s a story for another time, but that’s what he was talking about, but he doesn’t know what happened, he never wanted to listen and he’s just assuming things. I do love you girls and I hated when I couldn’t be with you. He’s the one who abandoned you, he took off while I was gone and left you girls behind, the other day was the first time he’s even tried to talk to me since. Your aunties and uncles were the ones looking after you until I could go home to you, but I called and asked about you all the time, because I always worried about you. He’s never called to ask about you, he’s not here because he cares about any of us, though I don’t know why he’s here. Don’t trust anything he says, in fact I'd rather you didn't speak to him at all if you see him again.”

“Why doesn’t he care about us? You said he was mad at us, but that’s no reason to stop caring about us. Why aren’t we good enough? Is there something wrong with us?”

“There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s something wrong with him if he can’t see how wonderful you are and how lucky he was. He’s stupid for leaving such amazing girls behind.”

“Nobody likes me though… everybody at school hates me…”

“They’re all stupid kids; don’t worry about what they think. I love you, I always have and I always will. So does your sister, and your aunts and uncles. Max loves you too. Max loves you just as a father should. There are a lot of people who care about you, and who’ve just been out looking for you for in the cold for hours because they were worried.”

It sounded like she’d stopped crying, but she still wouldn’t look up at me.“But Max isn’t our father…”

“A father isn’t determined by genetics, actions make a father. A real father is the one who loves you and looks after you. The one who tries to cheer you up when you’re sad or sick, chases the monsters out from the closet and under the bed, reads your bedtime stories, goes to your ballet recitals, puts you pictures on the fridge and the wall; A real father is the one who does all the things like that and doesn’t even think twice about it because it’s what makes you happy, and is just always there for you no matter what. I know how you feel right now, I don’t have my biological father either, and it bothered me when I was your age. I learned with time what the difference was between a biological father and a real father, and it took time to be okay the difference and just be able to be happy to have a real father no matter who it was. Max is the one who acts like a real father, and I understand if it still doesn’t feel that way to you, but you can’t run away because you don’t want me to marry him instead of your biological father, or because the kids at school are mean to you. It doesn’t solve anything, you need to talk to me about these things, because I do care and I want to help; I want things to get better, not worse, and running away is just going to make things worse.”

She finally looked up me, apologetically, before resting her head on my shoulder. She seemed to feel comfortable there finally. “I’m sorry mommy.”

“Just don’t do that ever again, ever.”

Neither of us said anymore, we just sat in silence in front of the fireplace, until Ericka started to complain that she wasn’t feeling well, though I’d suspected she wouldn’t be; not after being in the cold, and I’d worried when Maya said she felt sick that it meant Ericka was sick too… or worse. I put out the fire took her up to my room and tucked her in beside her sister, and laid down beside her while she fell asleep, trying to comfort her. I planned to stay up and wait for Max to get home, it already seemed like it’d been a while, it couldn’t be much longer, but I must’ve fallen asleep myself. 

I don’t remember anything until the next day, late in the day when I finally woke up. Ericka was still sleeping beside me much to my relief. Maya was already awake and painting in the girls’ room, and Max was asleep on the sofa in the living room. I just started on lunch, and by the time it was done Ericka and Max had woken up. We all ate together, Ericka was slightly more involved in the conversation than she had been for a while, but I could tell she still didn’t really want to be part of it. I was glad she was making an effort and it seemed each day afterwards took less effort and was less miserable for her; she was also more open about her problems at school, but she still seemed to be a very sad little girl despite her efforts. Part of her was still missing, and I didn’t know if we’d ever find that part. Chase seemed to have disappeared as fast as he appeared, but I had a haunting feeling that he would show up again and ruin everything, I just didn’t know when. I tried not to think about it too often, I just wanted to keep him in the past and keeping going towards the future.

Max and I agreed we wouldn’t start any plans or set a date for our wedding until Ericka was more comfortable with the idea in an attempt to make it easier for her to adjust, I did see how it could be a lot at once for her and it helped me understand more how she felt when she ran away. It seemed to help a lot when I told her that we would wait until she was okay with it too, it was less overwhelming, and it wasn’t long before we were able to set a date and start planning, by that point the girls were only a couple weeks from going off to art school, so we set a date for the following summer while they were home.