Chapter 5 – Beginning of the End

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The next three days were wonderful. Her mother rallied, and though she still slept more than usual, it was restful slumber, not pain-filled tossing and turning. When she was awake, the four of them talked and laughed, catching up on a lifetime of missed moments.

They had watched movies. Once Joy had even felt well enough for Chance to carry her down to the beach. She had always loved that so much. It had been a second home to them, where they had taken daily walks for Katie’s whole life.

Katie snuck a brief look at Chase and blushed when they passed the abandoned lifeguard station near where they… Well, her sacral chakra seemed to be reasserting itself. Her libido demanded satisfaction each time she was alone in the shower. The fantasy was always the same – his thick fingers thrusting deep inside her.

If, as Chase had asserted, her mother could tell what had happened from her aura, she had the good graces not to say anything about it. That was about the only thing she did not say anything about these days. Mother and daughter talked and talked and talked. About the past, Joy reminding her of things she had long since forgotten, refreshing and reforming memories that would last her a lifetime.

They talked about the future, too, though that one was harder for Katie. To listen as her mother spilled forth all of her hopes and fantasies for her only child was difficult, especially knowing that this woman would not be there, even if she did manage somehow to fulfill even half of the big dreams that her mother had for her.

The hardest was when Joy pleaded with her to tap into hidden talents to continue her life’s work. Katie wanted to do anything to reassure her mother, give the woman whatever promises it took to bring her peace. But this one she found challenging. Which only led to another uncomfortable topic of conversation…her personal life.

Her mother was adamant that Katie possessed gifts equal to or surpassing her own. It was just that she had repressed and hidden them because she needed an anchor and shield to hold her to this world. Someone to call her back to this world when she was tempted to stay on that other plane and someone to dampen the strong emotions all around her enough to make them tolerable.

The only way to form such a lasting bond her mother insisted was a committed, loving relationship. If that was not bad enough, her blunt mother went on to emphasize the importance of frequent sex to solidify those bonds. Considering where her mind went every time her second chakra had its way, Katie had called it quits then, insisting that they would talk about it later as she bent to kiss her mother’s forehead and demand she rest.

Joy had grasped her hand then, far tighter than she would have thought possible in her mother’s frail condition. The dark and drawn look on her once beautiful face and the glaze of pain in her blue eyes reminded Katie just how fragile that condition was, despite the past couple of ‘good’ days.

When her mother did speak, her voice cracked. It was as if she poured all of her energy into her words, “Remember, Kaitlin, nothing done in love can ever be wrong. Promise me that you will never forget that.”

She had frowned as she brushed the remaining wisps of her mother’s blonde hair back from her forehead. Was it warmer than usual? Maybe she should phone Melody, ask her to stop by and check her mother…just in case?

But for now, Katie forced as reassuring a smile as she could manage and pressed a kiss to her forehead that was definitely warmer than it should be. “How could I ever forget the most important lesson you ever taught me, Mom.”

When she pulled back, her mother’s eyes were swimming in tears as Joy studied her face for a long moment before nodding her head slowly and closing her eyes. Katie was sat on the bed for several long minutes until she thought her mother was asleep.

But as she released the hand she had been holding and laid it upon her mother’s stomach, Joy opened her eyes once more. Her voice was so weak and distant that Katie was never sure she actually heard the words, but there was no doubt what she mouthed, “I love you.”

Then she smiled, her hand slipping from her daughter’s onto the crisp white sheets, and her spirit left her body to hover upon another plane.

Katie shook her mother gently. “Mom,” she called first softly, then louder, but the woman did not respond, not even a flinch. She felt the panic rising rapidly, her heart accelerating in her chest.

No, she wanted to scream, then she noticed the rise and fall of her mother’s chest. She shook her head, torn as to what to do. She should call the nurse, but what if in those precious moments it took to find her cell and make the call, what if…

She did the only thing she could. “Chase, Chance,” she screamed, and despite the loudness of her voice then, her mother did not rouse at all. Katie felt her heart sinking.

Chance was there first, his strong arms wrapping about her, “What is it, Katy-did?”

She shook her head, afraid to even look away from her mother. What if while she did, her chest stopped rising and falling? As ridiculous as it sounded, Katie felt as if she alone willed it to move, kept her mother alive now.

It was not until Chance turned her in his arms and shook her that she snapped out of it enough to answer, “I can’t wake her.”

Chase appeared then, and she was passed off to him as she buried her face in his shoulder. She heard Chance calling her mother’s name, the rustling of sheets told her that he too tried to wake her, but she knew it would do no good.

“Melody’s number is in my phone.” Did her voice sound as flat and despondent to their ears as it did her own?

It must have because his next words were a harsh growl like a commander giving orders he expected to be followed. “Get her out of here.”

She pushed back out of Chase’s arms, shaking her head violently as she saw him stumble a bit before catching his balance once more.

“No,” she practically screamed. “No, I’m staying. What if? What if…” She felt herself losing control, felt her composure slipping, hysteria rising inside her.

Then his hands were on her shoulders, turning her back to face him. His face was as cold as ice, as hard as steel. His voice deep and slow as he spoke, “Shut. Up. Now. Princess.”

He allowed her no protest as he drew her out of the bedroom. She caught a glimpse of Chance, reaching for her cell phone on the dresser.

Chase shook her gently until she turned back to face him. “You will not lose it around her again. Do you understand me? You may not realize this, but you would be fucking shocked at how much she can still hear and knows.”

He sighed heavily as if he realized suddenly how much of himself he had revealed in those few sentences. “Even in a coma, you come and go into various levels of consciousness. Hell, I remember thinking, ‘so this is what Joy always talked about with her astral plane shit.’”

He chuckled self-deprecatingly, “Silly, uh? But it is surprising what you think when the only thing that works is your mind. You want to scream, ‘I’m still in here,’ but they can’t hear you.”

He caught and held her gaze, “But you can hear what they are saying, princess. And you remember – remember most of it.”

He swallowed and looked away, “I know this is hard, but you have been so brave, holding up for her. We are both so fucking proud of you, Kaitlin.” He paused before slowly turning back to face her with those big baby blues that she had always thought of as a deep crystal ocean she could drown in, too fucking easily.

“But it ain’t over yet, baby girl. Hours, days, weeks, I don’t know, but you have to keep up the act a bit longer. That’s why Chance wanted you out of there. Just until you can get yourself back together, you have our word on that,” he took a step closer to her.

His fingers caressed her cheeks, wiping away tears that she had not even realized had begun to fall. “Princess, just know we are here for you.”

He sighed and drew her into his arms, placing a tender kiss on the top of her head, “You’ll never know how much we regret not being here for you both these past few years. We’re sorry. All we can say is after…”

He exhaled long and hard as he drew back. His fingers under her chin lifted her face to his, “We made a mistake. We thought we were doing what was best for everyone, but what the fuck do two screwed up teenagers know of life? But know this now, Kaitlin, we aren’t making that mistake ever again.”

Katie swallowed, somehow his words seemed laced with deeper meaning. ‘Or maybe you just want to believe that?’

Chase pressed a tender kiss to her forehead, “You can’t scare us off so easily now, princess,” he chuckled.

The half-closed door to the bedroom opened, and Chance stepped out. Chase must have pulled it closed behind them, but she had been too hysterical to notice.

Katie felt that panic rising once more, wanted to argue that they should not leave her mother alone. Before she could say anything, Chance replied, “She’ll be here shortly, Katy-did. Until then, one of us will sit with Joy. You have our word we will call you if there is the least little change, but right now you need to eat something and calm yourself.”

She wanted to argue, opened her mouth to do so until they both pressed in from either side.

“You.” Chance smiled as he kissed her nose.

Chase turned her back to face him. “Will.” He kissed her forehead.

“Not.” Chance whispered as he kissed her neck from behind as he pressed tightly against her. Her eyes widened as she felt a solid ridge wedged between the twin globes of her ass.

“Argue.” Chase answered his brother’s move by pressing just as tightly against the apex of her thighs, leaving her no doubt that he was as fully aroused as he had been that night on the beach.

Katie swallowed hard, almost thankful that she was sandwiched between them since she doubted very much if her wobbly knees could hold her weight at the moment.

She felt Chase’s tongue down the side of her neck, along the vein that was pounding so hard there. When he came to the spot where her neck met her shoulder, he kissed it sweetly. His warm breath caressed her skin as he groaned, “With.”

Katie’s eyes flew open wide, and her mouth dropped open as his mouth began to suckle at that same spot. She was absolutely positive then that she could not have stood on her own as she remembered the hickie that she had hidden from her mother for a week…the last time the twins had her sandwiched like this between them.

She opened her mouth, was about to protest that they should not be doing this, but before she could, Chase moaned, “Us.”

Any sound that she might have made was captured as Chase’s lips took hers in an erotic dance that she still remembered a decade later.

She had never felt as alive as she did at that moment. Well, just once before. Hands began to move over her body, on her hips pushing and pulling her in a sensual two-step that had her almost on the verge of another orgasm in moments. Others kneaded and lifted her breasts. Thumbs rubbed against her nipples through her t-shirt and bra until she moaned into Chase’s mouth.

She was not sure how far it would have gone. How could her body possibly respond like this? Want them both? With everything happening about them? She tamped down the thought that plagued her most…with her mother dying in the next room and she was horny as hell, playing petting games with her best friends in the next room.

She would never know how that battle between her body and sensibilities might have ended. What might have happened then had it not been for the knock at the front door? Katie blushed as Chase broke the kiss, and she looked up to see Melody staring through the screen door at them.

“Oh my god,” she breathed as she looked down. She wished she had not as her eyes were drawn to the bulge in Chase’s jeans. It was enough to get her moving as she wedged her way from between them and forced those wobbly knees to hold her weight as she put one foot in front of the other until she threw open the door.

“Thank you for coming so quickly.”

The young nurse, who was not much older than she was, mumbled a reply as she stared at the floor. Katie noticed her cheeks were as bright red as her own probably were.

“Come in,” she smiled as she stood back.

Chance cleared his throat and shifted from foot to foot. “We were not expecting you so soon.”

Melody blushed as she tried to raise her eyes but quickly looked back to the floor, when they came to rest just about waist high on him, “I was in the neighborhood actually,” she stammered.

Chase was the next to move as he shifted nervously from his good leg to the prosthesis, “You know where the bedroom is. I’ll just go make us all something light to eat.”

The nurse nodded as if suddenly reminded of exactly why she was here. “Yes, let me see how she is doing.”

They all dispersed, each trying very hard not to make eye contact with anyone else at the moment as Chance, Katie, and Melody went to the bedroom to examine Joy, and Chase disappeared into the kitchen.

Chase stuck his head into the bedroom just as Melody was finishing her exam. “There’s salad and fresh bread when you’re finished.” He looked at Katie and forced as much of a smile as he could, “I’ll stay with Joy while you all get something to eat and talk.”

She knew that Chase was referring to their earlier conversation. She returned his smile with a nod, and “Thanks.” She bent and kissed her mother’s head that was cooler, almost clammy now. “I’m gonna go eat some dinner, Mom. I will be back in a bit.”

She followed Chance and the nurse out of the bedroom. She paused for a moment in the doorway and stood on tiptoes to brush a kiss across Chase’s bearded cheek, “Thank you…for earlier,” she stammered.

He drew her a bit closer as he bent and whispered in her ear, “It was most definitely our pleasure, princess.”

Her cheeks flushed, and she made a hasty retreat to join Chance and Melody around the island in the kitchen. He had already served her food and passed her a plate the moment she sat down.

Though the salad looked delicious and she knew Chase had baked the bread fresh that day, it all tasted like day-old frozen pizza, the cheap kind. Still, she forced a few bites down, whether, for her mother’s sake or to keep the ‘boys’ off her back, she was not sure.

She could wait no longer as she placed her fork down on her plate, “Is this the end, Melody?”

The nurse put her own fork down and reached across the table to take her hand, “Yes and no, Kaitlin. It is another sign that your mother is running out of time, but I still cannot tell you specifically how much time that is. Hours or days.”

Melody exhaled slowly and looked from one of them to the other before continuing, “Honestly, by all I know medically, your mother should be dead by now. But that is why your Mom choose me as her nurse because we share some of the same beliefs.”

Her smile broadened then, “It is not often that I get the chance to be so honest about my own values. Working with your mother has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. She is such a strong and amazing woman and such a gentle spirit.”

She squeezed Katie’s hand tightly, “Your mother is most definitely not afraid of passing over. She is actually looking forward to embracing her next adventure, her new destiny.”

She sighed, “But she knows that you are not ready to let her go, and she is making a choice to give you that time, Kaitlin.”

The nurse paused for a long moment as if trying to come to some decision. She looked to Chance before adding, “At great expense to herself.”

Katie shook her head as she felt tears gathering in her eyes yet again. “What do you mean ‘at great expense to herself,’ Melody?”

She folded her hands in her lap to keep them from trembling, but Chance must have noticed because he got up and came around the table to wrap his arms about her waist in a comforting embrace.

Over these past few weeks and months, this woman had become more a friend and almost another ‘adopted’ member of her mother’s eclectic family. Now Melody looked Katie in the eye as she spoke, “Everything we know about how the brain functions when someone is in a coma says that she still feels the pain. It may be dampened a bit, but she still feels a great deal, Kaitlin. I can’t and won’t lie to you about that.”

Katie nodded as she swallowed, trying to force the lump in her throat down. “What do I do then, Melody?”

The woman smiled quickly, “You use this time that your mother is giving you, her final gift on this plane. You spend time with her as you have been. You talk to her, do whatever you need to, to come to terms with her death. That is what she wants.”

“But know the cost she is paying to give it to you and don’t abuse it. When you are ready, let her go. She is going to do all she can, not just humanly possible, but with her super-human gifts as well, to give you as much time as you need. Just don’t be selfish and take more.”

Katie felt the heat of her tears as they began to fall again. All she seemed to do was cry, but she knew that was not what her mother wanted. Joy always lived up to her name. Her mother would want her to celebrate her life, not cry. She resolved to try harder to do just that as she forced out the words, “Thank you for your honesty.”

The other woman nodded, “I could do no less, especially for you. I know I don’t need to say this, but she loves you very much.”

The young nurse put her fork down and pushed her plate away, “It is getting late, and my cats get mad if they don’t get their dinner on time. But call me – anytime day or night if you need me. Even if that is just to talk or cry.”

Melody looked at Chance and shrugged, “My shoulders might not be as broad, but they are surprisingly strong.”

She walked around the table and reached for Katie. The women hugged for a long moment, “I will be back first thing tomorrow morning. I mean it. Call me if you need anything, but my intuition tells me that she will have as quiet a night as she can.”

“You should use that time to try and get some rest yourself. Let the beefcakes, no offense,” Melody smiled shyly at Chance. “Let them take shifts tonight so that you can save your energy for whatever is to come. Promise me that you will try?”

Katie smiled and nodded though she was not confident she meant it. But Chance spoke then as he helped her back onto the stool and escorted Melody towards the door, “You have our word on that. She will rest tonight. If we have to tie her to the bed.”

The nurse stumbled and coughed, “Yes, well, I’m not sure how restful those sorts of games would be just now, but I am sure the two of you will figure out some way of handling the situation. One way or the other,” she chuckled as she turned back from the doorway to wink at Katie as she stood up to follow them.

Chance shook his head at her, “You stay. I’ll see Melody out.”

Katie had barely heard the door close when Chance turned back to her. “You heard her. Finish your dinner, then take a bath. You are sleeping in your bed tonight.”

“But where will you and Chase sleep. I mean when it isn’t your shift with Mom. The couch isn’t very comfortable,” she stammered.

He crossed the room quickly and towered over her as he chuckled, “Trust me, Katy-did, that couch would feel like a fucking cloud compared to some places we have slept.”

His finger brushed her cheek softly until she looked up, “But don’t worry, we won’t be sleeping there. We are sleeping with you.”

Katie swallowed hard at the look of determination in those blue eyes, “But…” she tried to come up with an argument.

He shook his head as he turned her back towards the island in the center of the kitchen where they ate. “Eat, shower, and sleep. And if you can’t fall asleep, well, a little birdie told me that orgasms work better than Valium with you. Trust me; I don’t mind the idea of burying my head between your legs and licking that sweet cunt until you pass out from pleasure.”

This time she almost swallowed her tongue at his bold words. At the fact, Chase must have told his brother what happened on the beach that night. At the erotic image, his bold words drew in her fertile mind. At his presence so close to her that she could almost feel…

She did not want to think about what she felt as she sat back down on the stool. She needed an excuse so she could gather her thoughts and come up with a plan. The food was as good as any.

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