Chapter 23

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"Hello?" I heard Nadia question as she answered the phone. "Um, yeah. This is Nadia. Who is this?"
There was a pause. I didn't know if they were telling their life story or what. "Oh my god, Mark!" As soon as I heard that, I ran into the living room with Nadia.
"Give me the phone!" I said, taking it from her.
"Mark?" I asked, still kind of in shock. "Man, the twins are six months old tomorrow."
"Greg, I screwed up really bad this time." I could hear the worry in his voice. My excitement immediately went away.
"What happened? Where are you? What's wrong?" Every bad scenario I could think of was going through my mind.
"Well, you should sit down." I was already sitting so I started to panic.
"Just hurry up and tell me!" I yelled.
"Well, I have been taking care of Emily's daughter for like over a month. She calls me daddy, and I just go with it. Emily had to go away for work, that's why I've had Kaylee. So I got a call about three hours ago saying that I am now he legal guardian. I called Emily, and she forged my signature and said that I now have to take care of Kaylee. She's mine. I went down to CPS and talked to them, they helped me fill out her new forms, and she's now in my will and everything. This is so scary. I don't know what to do. So I drove to your house and you're not here. Where are you, anyway?"
"Oh my god, Mark. This is crazy." I said. "We moved. I can send someone to get you, but I can't tell you where we are. Can you be at the corner store in half an hour with Kaylee and all of your things and what you need of her's to get here? We will get her new things when you get here, but we just need you here."
"Okay, I can do that. I don't have anything, and all of her things I have with me now. She doesn't have much of anything, I've been spending all of my money on food, and the only thing Emily had bought were come clothes for Kaylee."
"Please don't tell me any more until you get here. Go to the corner store, I will have someone pick you up as soon as possible. And don't forget to lock the door."
"Okay. Thank you so much Greg. I'll see you in a while!"
"Bye Mark. I love you. Be safe, I'll see you soon!" I hung up the phone and looked at Nadia.
"What's wrong with him?" Nadia asked.
"He's got a kid. He has to take care of the kid. It's his. Well, technically it's not his, but he has full custody of her since the mother signed away rights."
"Oh my." Nadia said. "So they're coming here?"
"Yeah, but they can't stay. I'm going to get him a job, and they're going to rent an apartment. I can't have him here around the kids. He's too unstable." I explained to Nadia.
"And you were going to let him before?" She asked.
"It hit me ages ago, I don't want him to be living with them, I don't want them to think it's right."
"You're an incredible man, you know?" Nadia asked me. She looked up at me with her beautiful brown eyes. "I knew I liked you right away, and I still do. Nine months later."
"I love you." I said.
We sat down on the sofa and watched tv while the kids played in piper's room and the babies napped.
The door bell rang, so I got up to get it. "He got here quick." I joked.
"I think it's Janie. Kaden is five months old today, so I'm taking pictures of him. He's just so perfect." Nadia said.
"Hey guys!" I heard Nadia say when she opened the door. Emma ran right in past me and Nadia and went to Piper's room.
"Nice to see you too, Emma Jane." I said jokingly, laughing at the speeding toddler running like something was on fire.
"Hey Janie!" I said, walking out to the living room where they had made it to.
"Hey Greg!" Janie said. "How are you?" She asked.
"What is this? Is this our first time talking in three years? 'How are you?' This isn't a facebook reunion. I saw you yesterday." I said, we all started laughing. "Sorry, that was rude." I said when Nadia gave me the look from hell. "Mark is on his way!" I said, trying to make conversation.
"Oh yeah, Mike said you asked if he could arrange him a ride up here." Janie said.
"Oh right, I actually forgot I just called him."
"Have you been smoking something?" Janie asked me. "You're so weird today."
"Nothing. I'm just on edge." I said.
"That makes sense!" Janie agreed, and laughed at me.
"What time is he getting here?" She asked.
"Well, it's about six hours, so in about six hours."
"Oh, cool. So today."
"Yep. I don't know what we're gonna do with them here for a couple weeks. I'm hopefully only keeping them here for a couple of days."
"Oh, I see." Janie said. "Wait. Who's the other person?" She asked.
"Oh right. His ex, the one he ran away with, Emily." I began.
Janie cut me off. "You're letting that lunatic come here?" She asked, her eyes opened wide.
"No, no." I said. "Her daughter. She gave all parental rights over to Mark and now Kaylee is his... for good." I explained.
"Ok, that makes me feel a lot better." Janie said. "How old is the kid?"
"I think she's six or seven." I said. "I don't remember. It's been about two years since I saw her, and I think she was four or five then."
"Aw!" Nadia said. "I can't wait to meet her! Piper and Emma will love her!"
"They really will!" Jamie agreed.
•••
"Someone's at the door!" I heard Nadia shout from the living room. "You can get it, it's probably Mark."
My heart started beating really fast. I had spent most of my life with this guy and I was nervous to see him after six months away from each other. I walked over to the door, and reached my hand out to turn the door knob. I grabbed it and let out a deep breath. I turned the knob and opened the door. "Hey Mar-- you're not Mark." I said when I looked at the man's face. I looked down and Kaylee was standing there looking up at me, she had been crying. She ran over to me and wrapped around my legs. "Hey dolly, I haven't seen you for years. You got so big!" I told her, crouching down to be her height. "Where's Mark?" I asked. The police officer that had brought her in took off his hat and held it to his chest. I stood up, picking up Kaylee, and holding her on my side. She put her head on my shoulder and started crying again.
"I'm sorry," the police officer said. "On the way here, your cousin passed away."
I felt my knees start to give out. "I need to sit." I said. "Come in, please." I told the officer. I brought Kaylee inside and we sat on the sofa. "What happened?" I asked sternly.
"We don't know for sure." The officer told me. "Mike is with him and the man that drove Mark and Kaylee here. They want to do an autopsy and they need you to come down to the hospital and sign. Do you have anyone to drive or would you like for me to take you down?" The officer asked.
"My girlfriend can drive." I said. "We have four kids, we need to get them into the van." I yelled to Nadia and she came back to the living room.
"Oh hi, cutie. She said to Kaylee when she rounded the corner. Then she saw how red Kaylee's face was. She looked up to the officer. "What happened?" She asked.
"Mark passed away. They don't know why. We need to go to the hospital now." I said. "Thank you officer." I told him, looking up at him.
"I will have Mike meet you at the door when you get there." He said.
"Thank you." I said to him.
Kaylee was still curled up in my lap. She was sitting sideways and her face was driven into my arm. "Kaylee, honey. Do you want to talk to me about it? They might ask you questions."
"They already did." She said "they asked me what happened, and I didn't know." She told me, pulling away from my arm, looking me in the eyes.
"Did he eat anything this morning?"
"He had some kind of snack mommy gave him for us."
"Did you have any?" I asked her, I was immediately worried that there were drugs in it.
"No. I wasn't hungry."
"Oh thank god!" I said, wrapping my arms around her. "Was there any other food?" I asked her .
"Yeah, it's right over there in my backpack." She said. She pointed over to the pink backpack over by the door. I looked over at it. "Don't eat those!" I said, "I think they're bad."
"You mean, that's how daddy died?" She asked.
"Well, I don't know, but I think it might be." I told her.
"So mommy did it?" She asked me. "It's her fault daddy is dead?" I didn't know what to say. How do you tell a kid that their mom killed their dad? She seems to have a good idea, she's so smart for her age. "And don't lie to protect me." She told me. "I know she is bad. I didn't even want to call her mommy, but daddy made me. He said she was my mommy even though she ran away with her boyfriend. I saw her kissing in bed. You know how mommies and daddies kiss different in bed, well, they were kissing like that. Under the blankets."
"Oh my god." I said. "Well, I think she might of done it. But I don't know. We will have to get Mike to find out." I told her.
"Ok." She said. She wrapped her little arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek. "You're so nice uncle Greg. I missed you."
"I missed you too, sweetheart."
•••
I heard a buzzing noise. It was the door bell. I jumped up from the sofa. I walked over to the door and pulled it open. "Mark!" I shouted in his face. "I missed you!" I crouched down and hugged Kaylee, "I missed you, too. You're much cuter!" I told her. She giggled and I stood back up.
"I just had the weirdest dream." I told Mark. "Come sit down, I'll tell you about it." I told Mark.
Nadia came out of the kitchen. "This must be Kaylee." She said. Kaylee nodded. "Do you want to come see the kids?" She asked. Kaylee put her pink book bag down by the door and they walked down to the bedroom. I could still hear them chatting the whole way. Mark and I sat down to talk.
"Man have I needed you." Mark said.
The door bell rang again.
"Sorry." I said. I got back up, and walked to the door. Janie and Mike were standing there. "Hey guys!" I said.
Emma ran by me to Piper's room. "Nadia is in the bedroom, with Piper and Kaylee." I told Janie. "Come meet Mark." I told Mike.
We walked back into the living room and I introduced my two best friends to each other.
I told them about my dream, and we watched foot ball.
I couldn't of been happier to have my two best friends, the love of my life and her best friend along with all of our children with me.
My babies' first six months were crazy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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