The hospital had never seemed so imposing as it did that night. Isaiah and I had thrown on clothes and rushed out of the house after the phone call from the Barnacle Bay General Hospital. A series of helpful people directed us to the emergency room where he was.
At first it didn't even seem like anything was wrong with him. But I soon noticed the bruise on his head and the bandages on his arms and legs. He was burned in some areas. But the worst was all the tubes and wires he had hooked to him.
He'd been in a car with a few others; the driver had died and the other two passengers were also in bad shape. The doctors said he would need surgery to stop internal bleeding among other things. "He's doing well, all things considered." he said as he made notes in Aragorn's chart. "But I won't lie to you, he has a long road ahead of him."
"Thank you." I muttered. I was tired and overwhelmed by everything going on. Isaiah had gone off in search of some coffee for us while we waited on more news. "The nurse mentioned a possible blood transfusion?"
"It's always a risk with surgery. We're already typing his blood so we have plenty on hand during the operation just in case." he said. "Do you know his blood type?"
"Um...no. I should know that shouldn't I?" how horrible was it that I didn't know my own children's blood types.
"Lots of people don't." he reassured me. "We'll be prepping him for surgery within the hour. There's a waiting room that way for you to wait."
"Thank you." I said shaking his hand as he walked off to tend to other matters.
Isaiah paced the waiting room mostly. He couldn't settle down at all. "I have to do something." he muttered. "Anything..." and then he disappeared. I watched him go and knew nothing I could say would help; I figured he needed to walk it off.
Isaiah approached a nurse for an update on the surgery. Of course she didn't even know of Aragorn's case but she'd dealt with anxious family before and suggested donating blood in the meantime. Sometimes it helped just to feel like one was helping. So he followed her instructions and did just that.
When he returned to the waiting room, his frustration about being useless was replaced with something else - something darker...
I thought he was just worried, thinking the worst and went to him, leaning against him. But he was rigid, he didn't put his arms around me like he normally would.
"I'm not Aragorn's father." he said it as a statement, not a question and I cringed back from him.
"Oh..." I said, tears had already sprung to my eyes and were flowing.
"How? When? Wha..." he stopped talking as I tried to lean into him again and he pulled back. "Ezri....what happened?!"
I told him everything about Jean, the night trapped in the tomb, the fact that I never knew for sure...I told him everything and every word pushed him further and further from me. "I didn't want to lose you. I knew you'd leave if I told you and it was never going to happen again...how did you...?"
"Blood type - it's biologically impossible for me to be his father given our blood types - according to the nurse..." he explained. Then he walked away from me.
We didn't talk about it after that; we didn't talk about anything. The hospital gave him plenty of places to stay away from me when I was visiting and work gave him plenty of excuses when we were at home.
Aragorn was in the hospital for a few weeks after the surgery. I spent most of my time there so Theodin's birthday passed without much notice. Mom assured me that he was only one and would never know the difference but when I was greeted with a semi-mobile toddler, I felt bad for not giving him the birthday party he should have gotten under other circumstances.
Aragorn had been home for less than a week when I saw the suitcases by the front door. I stared at them, dumbfounded, for several minutes until what was happening clicked in my mind. "No!" I took the stairs two at a time and burst into our bedroom.
"You can't leave!" I shouted at Isaiah - much louder than I intended.
"I'm not leaving...not like that anyway." Isaiah said, not looking at me as he continued to pack.
"There are suitcases by the door. Your suitcases..." I argued.
"The book is selling, my agent set up a book tour..." he said calmly.
"You have an agent? And a book tour?" all of this was news to me since we hadn't spoken in weeks.
"Yes. I'll be gone for awhile. Not sure how long, depends on how the book does I guess." he put his laptop in his laptop bag and zipped it up, looking at me for the first time. "I'll be back, I just...I need to get away for a bit..." he brushed past me, not stopping to touch me in any way.
He snuggled Theodin for a minute and then hugged the twins. He turned back toward the stairs, I was still standing on the steps watching the whole thing play out in disbelief. "I'll be back." he said again, then picked up his suitcases as a car outside honked.
In the months following, Isaiah called to talk to the kids often but we barely spoke. He continued to assure me that he was coming home but couldn't give me a timeline. The longer he stayed away, the more I wondered.
The kids rebelled at first - testing my limits now that Daddy was gone. The twins, who were normally angels, conspired together to make new trouble.
But eventually they settled down. Eowyn had taken an interest in the piano and I tried to find her an instructor but there weren't any on the island taking new students under the age of eleven. So I tried to teach her the basics myself. With any luck, I could give her a tolerable foundation until she got real lessons.
She was a quick study and was better than I was soon. "You know, maybe your grandmother can teach you." I said after she out played me once again.
She was also like a second mother to Theodin sometimes. He liked being around his siblings and thankfully Eowyn and Faromir liked playing with him. "No Theodin - the mommy doll sleeps here...that's the bathroom." she said sweetly, trying to move the doll in question without upsetting him.
"Bafoom!" Theodin said giggling as he moved the doll back to the bathroom.
Dad was quick to get in on the playing too, he really was a big kid sometimes I think. But the children adored that about him. They would always seek him out for a game of catch or tag before they'd look for anyone else.
Aragorn was the only one who didn't want to play...with anyone. I'd waited until he'd been home for awhile and after Isaiah had left on the tour before I sat him down to tell him the truth. He took it well - better than I would have expected. At first anyway. But soon after he started withdrawing into his room more and more. We'd gotten him a laptop for the birthday we'd never been able to celebrate and he hid himself in his room with it more and more often.
His grades were doing fine though and he was always home before curfew so I didn't try to push it much. I would check on him and he would tell me he was fine - he didn't scream or yell or fight. He just waited for me to be done and then he'd close the door behind me.
Meanwhile, the twins were absorbed with some school function lately. Everyday I found them talking and making plans about something. I couldn't figure out what it was though. I went to tuck them in one night and found Faromir busy baking at his sister's Easy Bake Oven.
"Okay, what's going on?" I asked looking between them. Eowyn had poster boards and crudely drawn pictures of various baked goods all over her room and bed and was working on another one.
"We're having a bake sale tomorrow!" she said proudly, showing me the pictures one by one. Then she pulled out a notebook that had prices and charts and everything in perfect order. "We're going to start at the park and then move over to City Hall, I think there's a protest tomorrow so maybe the protesters will want something. THEN we're going to the beach and over to the One Eyed Ogre's diner and then..." she kept going over their route and Faromir kept baking.
"What's all this for though?" I asked, I couldn't imagine they needed any money - they had a considerable allowance and just had to ask grandpa for anything they wanted. He spoiled those kids rotten.
"Charity." Faromir said with a sweet smile. The boy seriously didn't have a selfish bone in his body. "For the Children's Hospital." he said. Eowyn, who wasn't quite as much as a philanthropist as Faromir was, was busy calculating their projected earnings versus costs.
Faromir manned the table the next day, he shooed the flies away and rotated the stock as items were bought. Eowyn was busy rustling up customers. She would call people over on the pretense of talking to them and then usher them to the table - they couldn't resist the sweet smell of baked goods then.
They started in the park and after having sold to most of the people, I helped them move across the street to City Hall. Eowyn had been right, there was a large protest going and they were eager for a bit to eat. After the initial rush of people, Eowyn's phone rang and she was speaking rapidly to the person on the other end.
"Come on!" she said as she started packing things up. "My friend Lisa said there is a huge crowd down by the beach - we should go before Lee comes by with his hot dog cart!" she really was into this. Faromir, who wanted as much money as possible for the charity, joined her in packing up and we were off again.
By the end of the day, they'd sold almost all the goods they'd come with - more than a couple to me as I watched my junior entrepreneurs in action. Faromir was thrilled with the outcome for the charity and Eowyn was thrilled with how well everything had gone. It was a good day.
On the last day of elementary school, I agreed to let Faromir and Eowyn walk to school. I wasn't thrilled with the idea but after the summer they'd be off to high school with their brother and it was time to start treating them as such...at leas that's the argument Eowyn used.
"You two be careful!" I reminded them for the tenth time that morning.
"We will." they called.
The only thing I wanted for their birthday was for Isaiah to be there. I'd told him about the party a month in advance and he swore he'd be there - NOTHING would keep him from his kids' birthday he'd said. But as it got darker - he still hadn't arrived.
We set up everything outside on the newly extended porch. "Well...I guess we should get start." I said, having put it off as long as possible.
Just before they blew out their candles, Isaiah ran onto the porch. "Sorry! My flight was late." he said, out of breath.
He slipped his hand into mine as we watched them blow out their candles and make their wishes. My wish may have just come true.
I hijacked a townie...at least I thought it was a townie...to be the doctor. He was actually paparazzi
And a bit of a creeper - "Next on the 6 o'clock news - Doctor Killer strikes again!"
The pink sort of kills the "bad boy" image lol
*snicker* Be careful your face might get stuck that way
The birthday kids :D