“Welcome, everyone. We are all here today to raise a glass to Frank whose organization called GMH, short for Gay Means Happy, has just been founded and it makes me, probably all of us, very proud of Frank and how far he has come in his actions directed at supporting the rights of LGBTQ people in our modern, albeit still full of unnecessary hatred, world. Here’s to equality!”
I raise my glass and click it with everyone, spare for Frank and Damon who are drivers, and Clinton who is just too young.
“Yes, aren’t we all so proud of you, Frankie!” Exclaims Waylon and randomly kisses him on the cheek.
“Oh, stop it, Way, you’ve already congratulated me enough,” protests Frank, even though it’s obvious he’s not annoyed at him at all by the way he discreetly smirks.
“My first boyfriend was bisexual,” says Candy’s mother suddenly. “He pretty much told me that when he dumped me. That and explained to me the only thing he really was after,” she adds bitterly.
“You’ve never told me that, Beatriz,” replies her husband, Damon. “I would have killed the asshole!” Awkward silence falls after these words. I hang my head low, suddenly remembering reading about a certain Beatriz in my father’s diary…
“But we can’t forget about the premiere of your sophomore album, Hailey!” Candy breaks the silence and smiles widely. “Here’s to many more masterpieces from you!”
“Thank you, Candy, although if it hadn’t been for your help, I could have never juggled the responsibility of caring for these kids and visiting the studio to record it all.”
“You aren’t giving yourself enough credit, Hailey. Look at all these kiddos. Our kiddos. They grew up so awesome thanks to you,” Reggie disagrees, looking in the direction of where our children’s laughs come from.
“And thanks to their awesome father,” I add and smile at my husband who has really grown a pair from the last time I wrote about him in my diary. How long has it been? Seven years? How time flies! “But I bet your parents are a bit out of place here, Candy. They came to visit their granddaughter, not cheer for the people they barely know. So, could you please take them to Shari? She would be super happy to see them. Oh, and one last thought – take Clinton with you. He’d probably be somewhere else, as well.” Candy nods to all my sentences and smiles at Frank and Waylon’s kid after I’m done.
“Come on, buddy. Time to make some friends! You’re in?”
“Sure!” Clinton happily jumps off the seat and, along with her parents, follows Candy to the pool. You wouldn’t have guessed, but the area Candy thought of developing into kids’ paradise actually became such – and with Reggie’s consent. My kids totally adore it.
“Okay, Frank, so it’s just me, you, Reggie and Waylon now. Spill the beans,” I say quietly, looking around the table. Frank has asked me before to arrange such a meeting and now is the perfect chance to hold it and have Frank say what he wanted to say.
“So… My dad, he visited me a couple of days ago…” he begins. I try hard not to gasp at the thought of Cedric.
“Seriously, Frank?” Waylon cuts him short. “You’re going to tell this to Hailey and not to me first? Geez.”
“Calm down, Way. I need all of the people seated here to hear me out. To continue… He wanted to meet Clint and I said no. After some further convincing, he agreed on the age 21 as the time to tell him the truth,” he finishes.
“So I get it our kids will be 18 then?” Reggie asks.
“Exactly,” Frank confirms. “That’s why I set the boundary so high. I wanted to make sure that all of them will likely be mature enough to take in the information. We can’t risk any of them not being ready for this and causing us problems. Teenagehood is a tough time,” he glances at me. “So I wanted to make sure we are all on the same page.”
“Wait, so we’re going to keep Clinton uninformed for another 11 years? That’s not going to work out. He’s already starting to ask questions.” Waylon protests.
“So what shall we do? Tell him we don’t know his real parents? He would hate us.” Frank replies.
“We could tell him we don’t really know his mother. A hook-up in the club story we initially went with.” His husband suggests.
“No!” Comes Frank’s answer. “Lying is never a good option.”
“It sometimes is. Like that time you faked the birth certificate with Hailey,” Waylon chuckles. “It would be easy as a pie to say that you arranged with a mother to write Hailey’s name there, because she wanted nothing to do with a child.” I and Reggie have been silently following the exchange between Frank and Waylon. Now, though, I feel like it’s time to speak up.
“I hate to say this, but I think I agree with Waylon…” I begin, suddenly realizing how bad it sounded. “Not that I disrespect Waylon, but this idea is crazy and might be hurtful for Clinton. However, I don’t think it necessarily has to be a bad one. I mean, it’s going to be hard for him either way and I’m not sure if he’s going to look at us the same way if he finds out now. So, I think it’s kind of… safe? I’m not sure how to voice it.”
“It sounds kinda safe,” Reggie agrees. “Although it’s all your decision, guys. But as for me and Hailey, I guess we will go with the 18 and 21-year-old version.”
Frank nods, realizing he totally lost this battle.
A lot happens in kids’ development through seven years. It was wonderful seeing them grow into their older versions and it still feels great watching them improve. It was even more wonderful knowing I had such an awesome support in my husband, because Reggie finally stepped up and it warmed my heart. I don’t think he’ll ever realize how attractive he is to me when he acts like a good father and that no pills in the world would help in making him look equally good in my eyes.
Speaking of Reggie, he started showing some signs of aging and that became a reminder of how big the age gap between us really is. While I have only just experienced my first wrinkles, he has them all over his face now while his hair turned gray and is getting weaker. I can’t say that I find it off-putting. As far as I’m concerned, he is still my beloved husband.
As for me, like Candy has mentioned, I somehow managed to record my second album called “Hailey Nathifa Hannah”. Even though both albums are under my stage name, Nathifa Knight, this one is directed more at my development and identity struggles I’ve come across, hence why it uses my two names and a nickname in the title. I have my natural hair color on the album cover, which is also part of the symbolism in this album and how confident I am with being all three names at the same time and still myself. Honestly, though, I’m just so tired of having to continuously refresh my hair color and these visits at the salon. I’m fed up and I really have better things to do as I’ve been such a busy lady lately, which is also why I haven’t updated my diary in so long.
Having such little kids really keeps me busy and trying to go on with my career at the same… well, let’s just say it tends to get overwhelming, especially now that they attend school. Rebecca is an exceptional student and all the teachers praise her talent and how fast she learns new things. Ronald, on the other hand, worries everyone. He might be a pretty good athlete and acing his PE classes, but he has troubles grasping the knowledge he is excepted to obtain in school, takes long to think and gets easily distracted. It is suspected he might have dyslexia. Of course, I love my son, but it doesn’t really make things easier. I wish he could be as bright as his twin sister. As for Sharicka, she is pretty decent, not too bad and not too good. The teachers are in awe of her drawing skills.
I always make sure we find the time of the day to take the kids to the beach or the park. It is so hot here in Starlight Shores that it would be a waste to have the kids at home all the time – even if they have their own water paradise there. Rebecca, Sharicka and Ronald love the sea, but we always keep an eye out on them just in case of anything happening to the little ones.
What has been worrying me the most has nothing to do with kids. My main concern at the moment is Reggie who doesn’t want to retire. True, he’s not doing nearly as much as he was when the kids still didn’t know how to walk, but I don’t think it is good for him to take part in races at his age. I’ve been saying this to him, but it’s as though I was talking to a wall. When I share this with Candy she just shrugs and says I should let him do what he wants. I can’t help but worry, though. There are just so many ways in which he might hurt himself really bad through doing what he does.
After producing the album, it’s not like I can really go on tour and leave the kids. I don’t want that, I just need to be there with them. What I do is I perform in various venues here in Starlight Shores, which is already enough trouble. Not only the kids miss me a lot (though they do love their father and aunt Candy), I also miss them terribly when I’m not home for too long. It’s strange to think I’ve never had any of that with Clinton. I do not feel anything special towards him. Just mere sympathy. I am more attached to Sharicka, but she doesn’t feel like my daughter at all. My love for my two kids is much stronger, it brings so much warmth to my heart. I’ve never felt like I was capable of feeling it all that before it happened to me. But I am so, so happy it did. Being a mother is truly magical, this is not anything I thought it would be when I fell pregnant for the second time. I was so afraid I would fail at this role. I just… I guess I just felt incapable of it. Now I know that I actually can be a mother. Not good, not nearly half as good as I’d want to be in my heart. But I try hard to be the best I can and I feel like this is what really counts here. Just doing what you can to be that role model for your kids, which is a challenging task that somehow makes me more responsible, to the ends I’ve never thought I could reach. It’s like developing that ability to have eyes in the back of your head. Or the ability to always put your kids’ well-being before yours. I cannot even control it. I just automatically do it. I may not remember to take all the things I need to take from home, but I will always remember to take something to drink for the kids or sweaters in case it gets cold. I may grab whatever is at hand to dress up myself, but I will always carefully choose my kids’ wardrobe so that it’s not too warm or too cold. I find I can cry both out of my pride for my kids’ achievements or out of sadness for when something doesn’t go their way. I may not be religious, but I am sure to send good thoughts towards my family somewhere there in the sky each night. Without that, I just can’t sleep a wink.
Becca’s achievements warm my heart. She is always there asking me questions I don’t know the answers to. I usually direct her to Reggie. He knows so much more than me, but he doesn’t know how to respond all of them, so he makes sure to check in the appropriate book. He often takes her to the library so she can find out everything she wants to know about. Library, can you believe? That’s just when the age gap comes into place yet again. I’m pretty sure I would just go check it all out on the internet and library wouldn’t even cross my mind. Becca is just a total daddy girl. It warms my heart seeing them together.
And while Becca is a daddy girl, Ron is more of my child as we spend a lot of time together working on getting his skills up so he can keep up with the group which isn’t always easy for him. I also take care of him when Becca is not around as he tends to easily gets lost without his twin sister’s guidance.
So as you can see my head is now preoccupied with twins. I am not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. For me, though, I think I like the turn my life took. Having Reggie, Candy, Ron, Becca and Shari around feels like my own little family. And I’m so glad to have them in my life.
Note: Ah… This chapter was bad. Again. I swear I have so much free time and then I end up doing all the bonuses and stuff and completely forget about chapters. So it’s the middle of the night while I’m writing this note. Thank you to Bee for the awesome poses which you can see in the featured image, as well as the last photo of these chapter. They were initially for a teen, but it looks good on Hailey if you don’t see her feet sinking into the floor. I made a few mine here and there, too. The book ones – pretty obvious they’re mine, because I clearly messed up Reggie’s neck, and the raising a glass one. There’s a whole story to me trying to find good raising a glass poses and failing miserably. Anyway, I do apologize for this chapter because it is rushed again and it’s trash. I’m super dissatisfied with it. Guess there’s not much I can improve about it at half past 1 am, though, so hope it wasn’t too bad.