Friday, January 11, 2013
Extended Family - Chapter 8
Sadiya was out checking on the ribs – determining that they and the corn were both done grilling – when Ian arrived. He wasn't exactly dressed up in a formal suit, but he was wearing something that looked spendy and trendy. In his left hand, he held a single yellow rose, and in his right, he held a small bouquet of red, pink, and white roses.
Hayleigh and Jeremy answered the door together, not entirely sure what to say to him. He handed the yellow rose to Hayleigh.
“Sadiya tells me that congratulations are in order for you too,” Ian informed her with a smile.
Hayleigh decided to smile and be gracious to him in return. “Thank you.” She stepped aside to let him more fully into their house, and then went to find a couple of vases for the flowers.
Jeremy decided to bite his tongue until he could decide exactly what to say first. The door to the patio slid open and Sadiya gasped happily at the sight of her boyfriend.
“Ian!” She hastily set the platter of ribs and corn on the counter, and then rushed to hug him. He opted not to incense her uncle and only gave her a small kiss on her cheek.
“These are for you,” he said as he handed her the bouquet.
“Oh, they're beautiful!” Sadiya gushed as she accepted them.
“I found a nice vase to put them in,” Hayleigh informed her. She was just sliding her rose into an elegant bud vase full of water.
Sadiya walked to her aunt's side, and then looked around as it occurred to her that Hunter and Joss were nowhere to be seen. “Where are the boys?”
“Didn't you hear them ask to go to their friends' houses for dinner?” Hayleigh wondered.
Sadiya shook her head. “If I had, I would have made less...”
Hayleigh laughed. “No matter, we can save the leftovers for later.”
“Come dish yourself up a plate,” Sadiya invited, beckoning to Ian with one hand.
Ian selected a plate from a small stack on the counter, and then dished up. “Smells good!”
“Thank you,” Sadiya demurred with a blush.
A few minutes later, everyone was seated around the table. Neither Hayleigh nor her husband knew what to say, so they simply listened in as Sadiya and Ian talked about the newest program that his company was working on.
“It's a computer program to help those confined to a wheelchair because they are paralyzed from the neck down learn to play a musical instrument,” Ian explained.
“How?” Sadiya wondered, impressed by the concept.
“Well, if they have control over their head, they can use their chin to play a special keyboard, and the computer will play notes as if from their favorite instrument of choice. The hardest part so far has been designing the keyboard to give them a variety of notes without making the buttons too small or numerous,” Ian sighed as his mind started to dwell on his current design. He took a sip of his drink and then added, “My brother is a quadriplegic, you know...”
“I'm sorry that I can't help,” Sadiya apologized sincerely. “But that's out of my realm of expertise. I've never learned to play any instruments beyond a basic little eight key toy when I was really little. I can't even play Guitar Hero!”
They both laughed at that, then Ian shook his head at her. “I bet you're either just saying that in an attempt to be modest, or you've never actually tried to play it.”
“Not true, I've tried it and it simply goes too fast for me. I get frustrated and end up throwing the guitar across the room!” Sadiya admitted with a laugh.
“Ah! You just need practice!” Ian insisted. “With your reflexes, I'm certain you'll master it in no time. Maybe you could come play it with me at my office one of these days. We've been playing it from time to time as inspiration while working on our program.”
Sadiya was going to tell him that she'd think about it, but her uncle prevented her.
“I don't think that's a good idea.”
“Why not?” Sadiya wondered with a frown.
“You two have already been alone together one time too many as it is!” Jeremy exclaimed with barely concealed anger.
“That was just a business arrangement,” Sadiya stated. “I can show you the contract proving it. It was drawn up shortly after we first met, when my parents gave me their blessings. The contract states that he is basically a sperm donor with no legal rights to or custody of any children conceived. My parents signed it too...”
Ian nodded. “That's true, but I didn't realize in the beginning...”
“Realize what?” Sadiya asked curiously.
“How much I'd want to be a part of his or her life.”
Sadiya chuckled softly. “I know... I didn't realize how much I'd want you to be part of the baby's life either.”
Jeremy decided that it was time for this man to break up with his niece. In his mind, there really was no other explanation for why Ian was here and being so nice to everyone. Jeremy figured that Ian was just trying to end the relationship on a positive note.
“If that's true, then what is it you wanted to tell Sadiya?” Jeremy asked rather intensely.
Ian sighed and then set his fork down and pushed his mostly empty plate away. “I've been far away lately. Humming to myself at random moments. Inexplicably happy... My wife got suspicious and demanded to know what was going on, so I told her everything...”
Sadiya gasped, covering her mouth with a hand for a moment before dropping it. “Oh no! Are you okay?”
Ian nodded with a strange expression on his face. “Surprisingly yes. After I showed her the contract and explained that it made me happy to think that there was going to be another child in the world to follow in my footsteps, well... She surprised me by agreeing!”
“She did?!” Sadiya and her Aunt and Uncle all blurted out at the same time.
“Yeah, she started crying and confessed that she's felt so guilty that she hasn't given me more than two kids,” Ian elaborated, then hastily assured them. “I don't blame her for that at all!”
Sadiya softly explained the situation to her Aunt and Uncle. “Ian's wife had to have an emergency C-section with their second, and the doctor performing it ended up cutting her womb improperly. Now, the chances of her carrying to full term are pretty slim.”
“She's miscarried more than once,” Ian murmured sadly.
Hayleigh stood up and slammed her hand on the table. “If I were your wife, I'd consider shooting you! Don't you understand how much it must be killing her to know that you went behind her back to have the one thing she she couldn't give you any more of!”
Ian held up his hand defensively. “I understand why you would think that, but you don't know my wife! I didn't really know she believed this until she explained it to me earlier, but...”
He took a moment to organize the explanation the best he could and prayed that they would understand. “My wife believes in God. She's a woman of strong faith, and she also believes that everything is God's will. She told me the first time we met that she believed that God had introduced us so that I could have plenty of children to pass my intelligence on to.”
He shook his head. “I don't feel that way. I think that God – if there is a God – introduced us because we were meant to be together because we love each other. In my opinion, children are just a bonus!”
Sadiya tilted her head to the side in confusion. “Her belief makes no sense! If God wanted you to have plenty of children, then why would he make her barren?”
“That's what I asked!” Ian threw his hands up as he nearly roared in agreement. Then he sighed. “She says that it's one of her lessons, but that God still meant for me to have more children, and that's why he sent you, Sadiya.”
“If we could only be sure that's true,” Sadiya murmured in thought. “That would actually be rather sweet... of God.”
Ian gave her a small smile. “I know... Anyway, she wants to meet you. She wants our children to meet you, and she wants them to know that they have a brother or sister growing inside of you.”
Sadiya inhaled in awe. She felt like Christmas had come early and she'd gotten exactly what she'd asked for.
“Really?” She asked almost breathlessly.
Ian nodded. “She thinks it's only right that the children not be kept apart. They will be brothers and sisters after all.”
“That's wonderful!” Sadiya gushed, so happy that tears fell from her eyes. She laughed at herself for being silly, and wiped them away. “I never had any siblings and I always wanted some.”
“Wait a minute,” Hayleigh held up a hand. “I think I can sort of understand her reasoning, if what you say is true, but all you've said is that you have a contract to be a sperm donor, but – and forgive me for being blunt – I rather gather that it was more intimate than that. I think she might be a bit more upset if she knew how this baby was conceived.”
“She does,” Ian stated truthfully. “You may find this hard to believe, but this is the only secret I've ever kept from my wife, and once I told her, I told her everything.”
Jeremy frowned. “I have a really hard time believing that she just accepted this so easily!”
“You're right about that. She thought I planned to leave her and cried about me destroying our happy family to be with a younger woman, but once I explained that I don't want to leave her... That I am still madly in love with her! Well, she calmed down and listened to the rest. Then she sat in silence for almost a half an hour before smiling and telling me that this was all part of God's plan.”
Jeremy and his wife exchanged concerned frowns that seemed to say, I believe in God but...
Dinner ended on a positive note with Sadiya and Jeremy planning out when would be a good time for her to meet his wife. As much as Jeremy and Hayleigh didn't like the situation, they just couldn't hate Ian. He was a likeable fellow, and managed to get them to have a pleasant conversation.
By the time Ian left, they had come to accept that they simply couldn't change things. It was better for them to just accept the situation. Even with Ian promising to help out with the baby as much as he could, they knew that Sadiya was still going to need them for emotional support.
Jeremy purposely sat down to watch TV so that Sadiya could have a few moments alone to say goodbye to her boyfriend. Hayleigh subtly watched them through a window. Ian put a hand on Sadiya's stomach for a moment and then Sadiya wrapped her arms around him and kissed him as if she was searching for something in his mouth.
“Oh... this is not going to end well...” Hayleigh stated as if she was watching a huge meteor hurtling towards Earth.
Hunter and Joss arrived home in separate cars just as Ian was backing out of the driveway. Sadiya watched them park, suddenly irrationally afraid that they'd get into an accident right then and there. They parked safely to her relief.
Hunter went straight inside to rummage for a snack because he was already hungry – Dan's mom had served something that tasted horrible in his opinion. Joss stood next to Sadiya for a moment to whisper in her ear.
“Can you distract my dad for me?”
“Sure,” Sadiya agreed. “But you have to tell me why later, okay?”
Joss nodded in a silent promise to do so, then held the door open for her. Squaring her shoulders, Sadiya marched straight up to her uncle.
“See? Ian's not a bad guy! You keep trying to say that he's a pervert and... and an all around douchebag for cheating on his wife with me and getting me pregnant, but he's not like that at all!”
Sadiya watched Joss slowly walk up the stairs out of the corner of her eye.
“Alright!” Jeremy shouted to get her to stop her tirade. “I'll admit it, he's not such a bad guy... but that still doesn't mean I like this!”
At the top of the stairs, Joss called out, “I'm going to finish up my homework and then go to bed. Goodnight dad!”
“Night son!” Jeremy replied automatically.
Sadiya huffed her displeasure that her uncle wouldn't just give her his blessings already, and flung her hair over her shoulder as she turned her back on him.
“I'm going to bed too!” She announced as she stalked away.
Jeremy sighed in relief that he didn't have to argue with her about it anymore tonight.
Hunter grabbed the sandwich he'd just made, used it to salute his parents, then announced. “I'll be in my room too!”
They smiled at him in understanding that he was going to spend at least the next hour talking on the phone with his girlfriend. Talking was so much safer than being alone with her, in their opinion. It made them proud that he was respecting her decision to wait until they were older before hopping into bed together.
Not that waiting was his first choice, but he honestly loved her enough to wait.
Upstairs, Sadiya waved goodnight to Hunter, and then closed the door to the room she shared with Joss. The first thing she noticed was that Joss was already in bed rather than doing homework like he said he would be. He wasn't even performing his nightly routine!
After changing into nothing but a tank top and panties, she crawled into bed with him, then ruffled his hair.
“Hey... are you alright? Did Alex break up with you?” She asked softly.
“It's not that,” Joss said with a shake of his head. “We... um... We did... it...”
“Really?” Sadiya asked, not sure whether to be happy for him or sympathetic.
“Yeah, I didn't know this, but his parents are gone for a few days. We had his house to ourselves...” Joss admitted.
“Are you okay?” Sadiya asked because he seemed upset rather than happy about this.
“Yeah... I knew that it would hurt the first time, but I didn't expect it to hurt that much. I'll be fine after a bit of rest.”
Sadiya frowned in concern. “Hurt like maybe you should have a doctor take a look?”
Joss shook his head. “No, it was actually really wonderful, you know, like a first time should be. It just...” Joss shrugged.
Sadiya gave a short soft chuckle. “Actually I do know exactly what you are talking about. I asked Ian to have sex with me a couple of times before I was ready to get pregnant, and to make sure that we didn't conceive a baby ahead of schedule, I let him finish, uh, back there... I remember it hurting quite a bit the first time.”
Joss smiled at her, then pulled her close so that they could snuggle. “I am so in love with Alex!” He confessed with a giggle.
Sadiya laughed. “I don't think that was exactly a secret!”
“You want to know something funny?” Joss asked but then didn't wait for an answer. “My dad thought me and Alex were getting kinda serious a while back and made sure to sit me down and explain a little what it would be like when the time came. He tries so hard to be supportive, but I am pretty sure that he would freak out if he knew that it's actually happened.”
“Your dad is actually really cool,” Sadiya confessed. “But don't you dare tell him I said that!”
They both laughed at that.
“He could have refused to take me in, or worse! He could have taken me in and then ignored me until I turned 18, but he didn't,” Sadiya elaborated with a smile. “He actually cares for me, and as much as it irritates me... I could be all alone with nobody... you know?”
Joss kissed her on the cheek. “Never! You and me are going to be family forever. Like best friends or brother and sister. We're going to be there for each other no matter what!”
“You bet your sweet ass we are!” Sadiya enthusiastically agreed.
The toilet flushed, calling their attention to the fact that Hunter must have been in there for a while. The bathroom door was open, but it was dark in there. Or rather, there was plenty of light streaming in from both bedrooms, so he hadn't felt the need to turn on the one in the bathroom.
Hunter cleared his throat to indicate that he was sorry and slightly embarrassed to have been eavesdropping on them. He finished pulling up his pants and stood in their doorway.
“What about me? Do I get to be a permanent member of the family?”
Sadiya sat up and held her arms out to him. “Of course you do!”
Hunter walked around the bed until he was able to sit on the edge and return her hug. He rested his head on her shoulder.
“It feels like everyone is pushing me away. It feels like no one wants me around...” he confessed.
“That's not true!” Sadiya exclaimed in protest. “I know it must be scary to suddenly be a big brother after so many years as a single child, but your mom loves you!”
“Yes, that's a big part of it,” Hunter admitted. “It's also taken me a while to get used to the idea of her remarrying and me having a stepfather and brother... but then there's you two. You hide out in here telling each other all your secrets, and I feel like you don't want me around.”
Joss put a hand on Hunter's arm. “That's not true! It's just that we are so different! I don't feel like we have anything in common other than choir club. And I'd feel a bit... embarrassed to tell you– Well, I'm sure you heard...” Joss blushed and buried his face in the back of Sadiya's other shoulder.
Hunter laughed. “Yeah, okay, I'll admit that I don't really want to hear all the details, but hiding it from me completely makes me feel like you don't trust me as a brother or a friend!”
“I do!” Joss assured him.
Hunter nodded in acceptance, and then the three of them lay down and got snuggled up. Sadiya lay on her back in between them and they each lay on their sides facing her. She held one hand from each of them, and for the first time since her parents' accident, felt like she truly belonged to a family.
“I guess I'll go first,” she giggled. “Ian's wife knows everything and wants to meet me! I'm so happy I could just cry!”
“Good for you!” Joss cheered as he knew she wanted him to.
Hunter decided to go next. “I'm having a hard time waiting for Amy to decide she's ready. My last girlfriend and I used to have so much fun... This is so frustrating!”
Sadiya purred in sympathy. “Sorry, can't help you with that one. It won't mean as much to either of you if you pressure her into doing it before she's ready.”
“I know,” Hunter sighed, mildly depressed.
Joss bounced as if jumping for joy. “Alex and I plan to see each other again tomorrow while his parents are still gone...”
“Are you sure? If you're still hurt, that could make it worse,” Sadiya stated in case he hadn't thought about that.
In a tone that announced that Hunter found this to be too much information, he forced himself to prove that he appreciated being included. “I don't understand, if it hurts, why let him do it?”
Joss blushed but Sadiya laughed and decided to answer for him. “Only a girl can truly understand why!”
“Try me,” Hunter muttered.
“Okay,” Sadiya agreed. “The first time always hurts for a girl. Some are luckier than others and barely feel it, but girls do it because they love him, or he pressured her into it, or they were just plain horny and wanted to get it over with. Possibly all three...”
Joss giggled. “He didn't pressure me, he simply asked and I realized that I wanted to do it! I really really love him...” Joss sighed, lovestruck.
Sadiya laughed. “I know!”
Hunter laughed because it really was so obvious that it was funny. Joss started giggling again and soon they were all laughing way more than the situation called for.
What they didn't know was that Jeremy had found it a bit too quiet for only 9PM and had come up to check on them. He reached the top of the stairs in time to hear them giggling for no reason that he could figure out, and opened the door to find out what was going on.
“I really don't want to know!” He blurted out at the sight of them all curled up in bed together. He turned and left as abruptly as he arrived.
Sadiya laughed all the harder. “Sometimes I swear adults forget that people can share a bed without having sex! You know he thinks that we either had or are planning to have a threesome!”
“Yeah,” Hunter stated in agreement, then added his sentiments on the subject. “Uh no. That's not going to happen. Sorry Joss, but uh, no...”
Joss pretended to be affronted by scoffing. “In your dreams! I happen to be totally in love with my boyfriend!”
“We know!” Sadiya and Hunter blurted out at the same time, and then they all laughed.
Hayleigh had seen the strange expression on her husband's face and rushed to find out what was going on. She knocked on the door once before entering. She took a moment to realize that they all were wearing clothes – though after the trips to the nudist resort, that wasn't such an issue – and that they weren't touching each other inappropriately.
“What's so funny?” She asked.
“Love!” Hunter exclaimed. “And how different relationships can be.”
Hayleigh laughed. “Yep, love is definitely a funny thing. Wonderful, confusing, and mysterious all at the same time.”
Sadiya sat up abruptly with a groan. She scrambled to get out of bed and get to the bathroom before she made a mess on the bed.
Hunter decided to get out of bed too, not entirely comfortable in it with just Joss. He hugged his mom. She sighed in relief and squeezed him tight.
“I'm sorry I reacted so badly to you being pregnant,” he apologized. “As for this here, please tell Jeremy that we are all just happy to have a brother or sister to talk to and share secrets with. It's definitely nothing like he seems to be thinking!”
“Secrets huh?” Hayleigh asked with a raised brow, then smiled. “Yeah, I remember what that was like. I'll tell him.”
She let her son go and walked to the bathroom. Sadiya was groaning into the toilet, and sounded pretty miserable. Hayleigh's stomach turned just watching her, but she put a hand on Sadiya's back.
“Do you want one of those ginger candies? They work really well for me.”
Sadiya shook her head. “No, I don't want that much sugar right before going to bed. Can you bring me a little milk instead?”
“Sure thing honey.”
Hunter watched his mom go, and then knelt behind Sadiya to rub her back. “Why did you want to get pregnant so badly for anyway?”
Sadiya chuckled a little, knowing that it probably didn't seem worth all this throwing up she'd done, at least not to him. “It was always my plan. I started looking for the right man to father my babies a long time ago. I simply sped up the timing a little is all.”
“Yeah but why?” Hunter pressed. He didn't understand her hurry at all.
Sadiya sighed in a way that sounded like she was close to crying. “I just miss them so much! If I didn't have all of you around to cheer me up and keep me sane... Well, I just don't want to be alone ever again. Those few days when I thought I had no one in the whole world... Anyway, I figured do it now and kill two birds with one stone. That way, when you both go to college and I move back home, I'll have someone there with me at all times. Someone I planned to have eventually.”
Hunter sighed. “I think Jeremy is right about you. You're in too big a hurry to go out and be on your own, but at the same time, you're afraid of actually being alone. Maybe you would have been better off waiting a couple of years...”
“So I could do what? Get a degree? Find a career? Earn money?” Sadiya rhetorized almost angrily. She cried out desperately. “I have a degree and will soon have another! I have a career that I love! I even have money! What more do I need to wait for?!”
Hunter sighed and placed a comforting hand on her cheek. “I don't know... Love?”
Sadiya calmed down and gave a short breathy laugh. “I even have love. Maybe not the kind of love that Romeo and Juliet had, but it works just fine for me.”
“Okay...” Hunter capitulated since he didn't know what else to say. “I'm going to bed now. I hope you feel better soon and get some sleep.”
“Good night,” Sadiya stated with a smile, happy that he was worried for her, even if she didn't think he needed to be.
Sadiya got to her feet, flushed the toilet, and then slowly walked back towards the bed. Hayleigh returned with her milk. “I knew you would shoot me if I brought the wrong kind, so I made sure to bring the stuff you prefer.”
“Thanks Auntie!” Sadiya exclaimed, setting the full cup on the small, bedside dresser so that she could give her aunt a hug.
“You're welcome. Now, try and get some sleep,” Hayleigh advised.
“Will do,” Sadiya promised, carefully crawling into bed with Joss.
Hayleigh left them alone, shutting the door on her way out.
Joss grabbed Sadiya's hand, waiting for her to take a few cautious sips of her milk.
“Hunter might be right, but considering that you are living your life the way you want to, who can really object?” He murmured. “I mean they can object, but it won't do them any good, right? As long as you're happy, that's all that matters.”
“Exactly!” Sadiya agreed, squeezing his hand in gratitude.
“Do you want me to go with when you meet Ian's wife?” Joss offered.
“No, that's okay. I think she might feel cornered or intimidated if I brought someone to back me up,” Sadiya declined.
Joss chuckled. “Well, just remember that I offered!”
Sadiya grinned and then purred as she snuggled up to him. “Because you're so good to me, baby!”
He snorted a sarcastic laugh. “Yeah, that's me! A real ladies man!”
“Yep, definitely,” Sadiya agreed to tease him, then she yawned and drifted off to sleep.
Sadiya sat in her car nervously. She was both excited and freaking out over the fact that she was about to meet Ian's wife. Her hands shook and she steadied them by gripping the wheel.
“What if she doesn't like me? What if she hates me?!”
Sadiya's hands were suddenly in her hair, pulling hard enough to sting, but not hard enough to yank her hair from her head.
“I don't think I can do this!”
She heard a laugh so faint that it sounded like a figment of her imagination. She froze and strained every fiber of her body as she held her breath and listened for it again. Sure enough, there was another faint laugh that was softer than the softest whisper.
“Don't be afraid...” a voice whispered, sending chills up Sadiya's spine. Actually whispered wasn't the right word. It was more like the voice was speaking normally, but the volume was so low that a person would have to put their ear next to the speaker and then turn it up a hair or two just to hear it.
“Mom?” Sadiya asked, waiting to hear some sort of confirmation, but there was nothing. Several minutes passed as Sadiya had her head tilted to the side, looking a bit like a dog listening for a sound beyond the range of human hearing.
Suddenly, a knock on her car window startled her into shrieking. “AH! Oh my God Ian! Don't do that to me!”
Ian laughed, which was muffled since the door was still closed. He opened it for her. “Sorry, it's just that you were sitting out here for a long time. So, I came out to check on you.”
Sadiya placed her hand in his and let him help her out of the car. “I'm fine, I just thought I heard... something...”
Ian kissed her hand. “Are you ready then?”
Sadiya smiled the best she could considering how nervous she was. “Yes.” Then her stomach churned a little, causing her to groan. “Mostly.”
Ian tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “Don't worry, everything will be fine.” He led her into his house. “My wife made lunch for all of us.”
Sadiya smiled, but didn't tell him that the way her stomach felt, she might not be able to eat anything.
Inside Ian's house stood a beautiful woman. Sadiya briefly looked her up and down, taking in her appearance. She wasn't beautiful in the way a supermodel would be; she had a unique appearance – sort of the way that Joan Cusak was beautiful in a unique way.
Ian gestured to his wife. “Sadiya, this is Soirse, the love of my life. Soirse, this is Sadiya.”
“The mother of your child,” Soirse stated coldly. Her eyes scrutinized every bit of Sadiya, and the frown she wore indicated that she didn't like what she saw. She took a deep breath and sighed. “I really want to hate you. I want to find some fault with you and cast you aside like a broken toy, but I just can't!”
Sadiya was silent, not sure what to say. Soirse smiled, genuine warmth reflected in her expression.
“I'm happy to meet you. I sincerely hope that we can be good friends,” Soirse stated, surprising Sadiya with a hug.
“I'd like that,” Sadiya replied with a sigh of relief. Her stomach decided that the time was right for another trip to the bathroom. She slapped a hand over her mouth as she tried unsuccessfully not to heave.
“Right this way!” Soirse exclaimed and then rushed Sadiya to the nearest bathroom.
When Sadiya finished transferring the contents of her stomach to the toilet, she sat back to see if there might be any more coming. Groaning, she asked, “Why the hell do they call this morning sickness if it actually strikes all day long?!”
Soirse chuckled in sympathy. “Sounds like you might have Hyperemesis... which means that you vomit a lot more than most pregnant women.”
“Great!” Sadiya groaned. “Did you have it too?”
Soirse shook her head. “No, I come from an Irish family that was prone to it. It happens frequently to redheads – for some reason. I've known others who had it too. My mother married a Mormon man many years before I was born. He had several wives, so I grew up with a lot of moms and brothers and sisters...”
Soirse looked away for a moment, but then seemed to decide to continue. “I grew up in the Mormon community, and while the majority of the families were happy and got along well, there was one thing that I just hated. It seemed like the men simply grew tired of their wives after a few years, and then took advantage of their religious beliefs by finding a new and younger wife. Most of the time, this was a girl from the community that was not old enough to leave home, and her parents married her off rather than have to pay for college.
“Or at least that's the way it seemed to me. My parents made it clear that I could do whatever I wanted, but that I would have to pay my own way through college if I wanted to go. I met Ian there, and it was love at first sight for me. I thought that if I married him, I could leave the Mormon community for good!”
Soirse looked really fierce for a moment, then sighed sadly. “But I missed it more than I could ever imagine. I missed having 4 moms to talk to... I missed having 12 sisters to help babysit when I needed a break! I missed having 8 brothers to tease me and make me laugh...
“Don't get me wrong, they'd all come running if I ever needed them too, but they live several states away. I can't exactly call them up and ask them to come visit me every weekend just because I'm lonely.”
Soirse shook her head. “But that's not what I wanted to talk about! I wanted to tell you that at first I was hurt by what Ian did with you. Then – after I thought about it – it wasn't because he created a baby with you... That part has always made me happy, it was that I thought that since he wasn't a Mormon, I wouldn't have to deal with younger women. I realized that most men probably want someone new from time to time, and that's why many relationships end due to cheating before they ever even get married, and then half of those that do get married end in divorce – again because of cheating or just plain wanting someone new. Drifting apart...”
Soirse sighed again. “I never felt like Ian and I were truly drifting apart. We've always been close! However, I could feel him getting frustrated from time to time, long before you came along. Though I didn't know it at the time, our relationship got even stronger right after he met you. He no longer seemed frustrated, and was more devoted to me and the kids than ever!”
Soirse smiled at Sadiya and offered to help her up now that Sadiya was fairly sure nothing more was going to come up.
“If we were all Mormon and it was still legal, I would ask Ian to marry you. I now realize that I truly miss the idea of having a sister-wife. Or two... or three... The bonds formed between my moms were so much closer than even that formed with my father. They were the glue of our entire family!” Soirse smirked mischievously. “Which is not to say that they never bickered!”
Sadiya had listened closely partly because she was too nauseous to speak, but mostly because she was curious. Sadiya hugged Soirse impulsively.
“I never had any siblings while growing up and I always wanted some. Now I have my cousins... I can't imagine what it would have been like to grow up with... did you say 20 brothers and sisters?!”
Soirse laughed. “Yep!”
“Wow!” Sadiya breathed in awe. “Well, I don't think we'll achieve even half that many between us! I only want to have two kids, to be honest...”
“A boy and a girl?” Soirse asked.
Sadiya nodded. “But I am grateful that my kids will have this chance to know their brother and sister!”
Soirse smiled. “No matter what happens between us, it's not their fault. They shouldn't be punished even if we decide we don't like each other after all.”
“Well... so far... I'm finding it really easy to like you,” Sadiya admitted.
“Same here,” Soirse stated, giving Sadiya a small peck on the lips. “Now let's get back to Ian before he gets worried that we're beating each up in here!” She opened the bathroom door and they headed back to Ian.
Sadiya laughed. “If he thought that, he'd already be breaking down the door! He knows that I am an excellent fighter...”
Soirse scoffed. “I think I could kick your ass if your weren't pregnant?”
Sadiya rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Have you ever even learned to fight?”
“You mean other than with my brothers and sisters?” Soirse asked with a smirk, as if this made her qualified to take on the world.
By this time, they had walked back towards Ian enough that he could hear them. He chuckled.
“No offense, love, but I know that Sadiya has won a few National Championships... I think she could take you...”
“Really?” Soirse asked with interest. “But I thought you were a Mensa genius.”
“I am,” Sadiya stated with a shrug.
“I just have a hard time imagining a genius that can fight. I think of smarty-pantses as like Einstein, you know? Brilliant as hell but not exactly in shape,” Soirse laughed.
Sadiya grinned. “Sherlock Holmes may not have been a member of Mensa – or a real person – but he was a genius and he could fight!”
Soirse twisted her lips in a wry smile and nodded her head while it was tilted to the side. “That's true...”
“Mom! Is it time to eat yet?” A boy demanded. He was 7 years old and so was naturally starving at all times.
“Yep! Go get your sister.”
A moment later, the boy and his 5 year old sister stood bouncing eagerly in the kitchen. Soirse smiled at them, holding her hands out in a gesture that told them to calm down.
“Before we eat, I want to introduce you to Sadiya here.”
Before Soirse could finish the introduction, both kids hugged Sadiya in a way that nearly tackled her to the ground.
“Hi Sadiya! I'm William.”
“And I'm Grace!”
“There, we've met her, can we eat now?” William demanded.
Sadiya laughed. “Of course! It smells wonderful.” She then covered her mouth with her hand. The grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup really did smell good too, her stomach just didn't seem to want to eat anything at the moment.
They all sat around the table and Sadiya did her best to eat, but could only manage a few bites here and there. The kids dominated the conversation by telling Sadiya every little detail about their likes and dislikes that they could think of. Pretty soon, Sadiya felt like she actually belonged to their family too.
Smiling at Ian, she nearly burst into tears. “You have such wonderful kids!”
Ian squeezed her hand. “I think so too.”