Monday, February 4, 2013

Chapter 1.29-6am-Noon Friday

Chapter 1.29- Her Daddy

            The next morning begun as had any other. Only this morning came with glaring exceptions to the rule. Helen was still in bed soundly sleeping, and Galen discovered that Cyrus had already left for school. Those awake had presumed that he was excited for the science fair that day and had left early.
            The four remaining members of the Sixkiller household sat for breakfast. Phedra was quiet and simply pushed her food around on her plate. It was a relief when Buck told her to quit trying to put food into her nervous stomach and go on and get ready for school. Layla followed her into their shared room to make her own bed and get dressed.
            Buck was just thinking how odd it was that Helen was still asleep so late in the morning when a scream tore the peaceful atmosphere to shreds. Turning to the sound, he saw Layla running out of the girls’ room wide-eyed.

            “Daddy!” Layla panted as she neared. “Daddy! Come quick! Something’s wrong with Fay! Something’s wrong with Fay! Come quick!”
            It took a lot to rattle Phedra or Layla. Neither girl was afraid of insects, and his brain could supply nothing else that might be in the room that could have frightened Phedra enough to elicit such a reaction as that cold scream.

            Running into the room he saw Phedra on the floor on her knees. Was she hurt?
            “Phedra?” Buck asked, panting. “Phedra, what’s wrong honey?”

            He received no answer, just another miserable shriek of sobs.
            Buck’s eyes darted around the room. He spotted nothing other than a few school notebooks on the floor in front of his distressed daughter.

            Hearing the blare of the bus horn he turned to Layla. “Go,” he told her sternly.
            Layla had opened her mouth to protest, she wanted to know what was wrong, too.
            “Go, go now.” Buck cut across her attempted protest.
            Pouting, Layla left.

            Phedra shifted her position somewhat; her sobs deep, quiet now.
            Buck stayed standing, trying to puzzle through what could have rattled her so.
            “Phedra? Please Honey. Please, tell me what’s wrong,” Buck felt tears touch his own eyes. Something was very wrong, and she just looked and sounded- broken.
            “It’s all wrong. All wrong,” Phedra’s words were nothing more than a throaty whisper barely choked out.

            Realizing this was going to take more than a moment or two, Buck finally sat down opposite Phedra.
            Quietly, he stared at her a moment. Letting a renewed outbreak of shrieking subside into the same quiet yet deep sobs as earlier before he spoke again.
            “What’s all wrong?”
            “Everything,” Phedra choked out. “Everything. It’s all wrong.”

            Buck let her sob a few more minutes in peace. He heard the bus drive on, but ignored it. At least three kids were taken care of and out of the way so he could focus on the little girl in front of him.
            “Phedra, honey,” he tried again, softly, trying to control his own emotion. “What all is everything?”

            “I-I’m not,” she sobbed. “I’m- You-You-You’re not-“ Finally, she gave up for a moment, letting her weeping overcome her attempted words.
            Buck longed to scoop her up into his arms and cuddle her, but she wasn’t a baby any longer and her excessive display was almost frightening to him. He was scared to get any closer to her.

            Finally, Buck glanced at the notebooks. He had expected to see Phedra’s handwriting across the front. Maybe it was school stress finally catching up to her.
            But, instead, he saw Helen’s neat script. Peering closer he finally understood what had her so upset. He and Helen had been discussing sitting down the two teenagers and having a frank discussion with them regarding their parentage, but the right moment had never presented itself and they were so afraid of what their reactions would be. So afraid of how the kids would possibly judge them.
            Buck closed his eyes as his throat tightened, a single tear rolling down his cheek. He had really messed up.
            “Oh, baby,” he whispered back to her. “Baby Girl I’m so, so sorry.”

            At his apology, Phedra’s head sank lower on her chest. Her sobs deepening as she took in his confession to her.
            Buck adjusted himself. Might as well get comfortable. Obviously they were going to be here awhile.

            They sat not speaking for an eternity. Buck’s head swam with words, with things he longed to tell her. But everything he came up with sounded cliche and insincere. It was too late now to start where the explanation should have started. Now he had no idea where to begin.
            “I don’t quite know what te tell ya,” Buck’s accent thick through his own emotion. “Do you have a place ter start? Somethin’ yer wantin’ te ask?”

            Phedra raised her head slightly, delicately catching a single tear on the tip of her finger. All Buck noticed was she wouldn’t look at him directly. Another tear escaped his eye.
            “Why didn’t we know sooner?” she finally whispered, frowning deeply.
            “We been discussin’ speakin’ with ya’ll fer a while now,” Buck said. “The time never seemed right. Ya been studyin’ so hard te keep up with school. We didn’t wanna add more stress te ya.”

            “I should have known a long, long time ago,” Phedra reproached him. “When I was a child-“ Again, she choked on her sobs.
            “We should have been told when we were kids,” she was finally able to add. “I’ve always wondered about my hair, about my eyes. Why they were different from the photos of Mom’s family. I wondered why Cyrus has such a different shaped face from you or Mom and her family. And the more I’ve been researching biology, genetic heredity, the worse my questions became. And when I asked-“
            She stopped. Her sobs overcoming any words she could have come up with for a little bit.

            Buck sighed heavily. He could see where this was going. He was going to have to get Helen up and in here. Her questions were not for the man who wasn’t biologically related to her. Her questions went in a direction he could not give answers to. But he still had something to say. Something she needed to hear.
            “Ok, Baby,” Buck changed to a squat, hoping she’d look at him again. “I get that I don’t have the answers. But before I leave this room ya have to listen to me fer a moment.”
            Phedra lowered her head further, shuddering as she attempted to draw a clean breath. Finally, she succumbed again to renewed weeping, drawing herself into a ball once more. Trying to shield herself from whatever fresh hurt was coming her way.

            Buck fought his own emotion, his lips and throat working as he blinked rapidly. In the end he shook his head and decided that she needed to hear his own distress.
            “Baby girl,” he struggled to get out. “I don’t care what those papers say. I don’t care who gave you 'is genes. I don’t care if ya never call me Daddy again. But I have always loved you as my own. I have always looked at you as though you were my daughter. I’ve never even considered thet nature says you don’t belong to me. I couldn’t. You mean the world to me as my daughter. You mean no more and no less to me than Galen and Layla. You are my little girl. Mine. And I will love ya as I always have. As my own.”
            He swallowed hard, looking back at the notebooks for a moment.

            “I love you so much,” he choked out, sniffing, frowning. “So so very much. You are and will always be my Fuzzy little Phedra.”
            He paused, breathing out a single sob. “I’m so very sorry I let you down. I can only hope one day you can forgive me.”
            Standing. He sighed, tears coursing down his weathered cheeks. “Please forgive me.”
            Phedra broke down into renewed shrieks, burying her head in her knees. She heard Buck leave, closing the door softly.

            Again, much later, her cries lessened. Again, her door opened. Only this time Helen entered, leaning against the wall, arms crossed in front of her protectively.
            For a moment, she just stood, watching Phedra.
            “So,” she sighed. “So you know that Buck isn’t your DNA donor.”
            Phedra snarled into her knees at the words. How disgusting her mother’s words sounded to her.
            “You may not like how that sounds as much as you like, but it’s the truth. The man who is your biological father is a pathetic man who can’t even be bothered checking up on the kids he does know he has.”

            Helen crossed to the bed, taking a seat on it, contemplating her daughter.
            Phedra raised her head a little, taking in only part of her mother’s words.
            “He doesn’t know about me? Then you can hardly blame him for not taking an interest!”
            “Phedra,” Helen said with a trace of exasperation. “You didn’t listen to everything I said. Even the kids he knows he has, he does nothing for. Their mothers are left to raise them as best they can without him or his assistance.”
            “I have siblings?”
            Helen frowned at Phedra reproachfully, making the girl curl up in a tighter ball.
            “Cyrus, Galen and Layla don’t count since you don’t share a father, hmm?”
            “Who is he?”

            Finally, Helen’s face showed remorse.
            “His name is Trenton Pink. He’s Zazzy’s half brother, and you’ve probably seen him around town. His hair is similar to Galen’s. Similar, not exactly like it though. You have his eye color.”
            Helen took a deep breath. She’d never wanted to tell her kids any of this; any of the mistakes she had made before Buck had swooped in and rescued her.
            “I was young and stupid and didn’t realize what I had right under my nose.”

            Phedra glanced up, swiftly giving her an irritated look before looking away again.
Helen took the hint. Nodding sorrowfully, she spun her sordid tale, beginning with how she had seduced her algebra teacher while in high school. How she had run when she found out she was pregnant with Cyrus. How she had met Buck, how they had assisted each other, stuck together, fought with each other, and grown dependent on the other.

How she had met Trenton who, to her, had seemed so knowledgeable. How he had flattered her, and how she had never heard from him again after he had used her. How Buck had been there to take the place of a man who never would have taken care of her in the same way.

            The story finished, the two sat in silence for a while. Helen, miserably. Phedra, thoughtfully.
            Phedra’s stomach was still queasy and upset, but her emotion had spent itself out allowing her to think through everything she had learned that morning. At least Cyrus was in the same boat with her. That much was a comfort. She would have to thank him when he got home from school. She was now several hours late, and didn’t think she’d be able to function correctly even if she was there.

            Finally, Helen spoke.
            “Did, um,” her voice was tight with emotion, though she allowed none of it to slip. “Did Cyrus say anything to you when he gave you the notebooks?”
            “I didn’t see him,” Phedra told Helen, deadpan. “He had slipped them under my pillow with a note. I guess he went to school early so he didn’t have to confront you about it.”
            Helen nodded, frowning.
“Ok,” she said. “Do you have any other questions?”
Phedra shook her head. Returning her unseeing gaze to the wall opposite.
Helen nodded again.
“Phedra, honey?”
This time, it was Phedra’s turn to nod.
“I love you sweetie. And Buck does too,” She paused, taking a deep breath. “And I’m so very sorry. So sorry we didn’t tell you and Cyrus sooner. You both deserved to know a long time ago.”
Phedra pursed her lips, nodded.
Helen stood, making a helpless gesture toward Phedra before hugging herself and leaving the room.

            Phedra sat in silent contemplation, glad for the renewed solitude.
            Slowly, the tears started again. Though, this time, they weren't accompanied by sobs. Silent tears flowing as evidence of the turmoil inside.
            It was so much to take in all at once. She may have been crying, yet she also felt numb.

            Looking around her room for nothing in particular her gaze finally landed of the photo of Buck passed out in fright over a fire.
            She chuckled, surprising herself that she could feel even a little lightness.

            Buck. Always there. He had always taken care of her and Cyrus. She would never have known without the notebooks. That’s how good of a job he had done as a father.
            She looked back at the notebooks with a deep sigh.
            At least she knew now. At least the confusion over her hair and eyes was over.

            At least she still had Buck. Her Daddy.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

            And of course, there’s still more fallout to come. Sorry.

This is partly based on what happened to a cousin of mine. He had taken in his new wife's infant daughter when they married (she was pregnant with H when they met) and raised her as his own. It wasn't until he and H's mother went into a custody battle during their divorce when H was 15 years old (The custody dispute was mostly over her younger siblings) did she find out that she was not my cousins daughter. She is still very close to my cousin, though, and still considers him her father.


  1. Aw Fay :( I think Buck handled that extremely well. But now we need to know where Cy went!

  2. :'( I actually nearly cried. But I couldn't, because my boyfriend is home and I don't want to look like a weak little girl... I'll re-read and have my cry later.

    I feel even worse for Phedra, because she thinks she has Cyrus to go through this with, and he's ran away and nobody has even noticed yet! Plus she worked so hard for this science fair, and then didn't even get to go to it.

    Cyrus, where are you? Your baby half-sister needs you, and you need her but you don't know it!

    Buck <3 I love you, and I think Phedra will forgive you. Please stop crying, it broke my heart :( </3

    1. I cried writing this whole bit (There's more still). My husband came home at one point while I was getting these few chapters together and asked me who had died. lol.
      They'll notice soon enough that Cyrus isn't home. There's a lot going on for them all right now.

    2. (Maybe it I hit the right button, eh?) There's a lot going on for them all right now and I think they're all kind of focusing on their own survival. But once they all realize that they'll live they'll take a peek at each other and make some new discoveries.

    3. Hmm... New discoveries... Exciting!! :)

    4. You might not like what they see. Just a warning. :)

  3. NOOOOO! I'm all caught up but the story arch isn't done. But-but-but my curiosity is insatiable!

    1. Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah. I really drew this one out. ;) Check back tomorrow night for the next torture session! Er, chapter! lol

  4. Poor Phedra! And they haven't discovered that Cyrus has run away yet...

  5. Oh no! Why has nobody gone looking for Cyrus!

  6. I'm glad Phedra accepted that Buck is her Daddy at the end.

    1. Yeah, It was a bit of a rushed decision and didn't fit as well as it should have, but I wanted to get Phedra's reaction out of the way for a bit. We'll come back to how she's really doing later. I don't think that she would have ever pushed him away realistically, or even abandoned him as a father figure, but she should have had longer to think and process and absorb.

  7. Aw man! I was crying with Buck's speech. It's all true. Trenton was a jerkface. Still is. Phedra is lucky she has Buck. Plenty of kids out there don't have any father figure at all. She needs to go and give Buck one great, big bear hug.

    I wonder how long it will take them to realize Cyrus is gone.

    1. Yeah, Phedra is super lucky. At least she got it in the end. Then again, she doesn't have any other reasons to draw it out.

      *sigh. We'll see.