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Kina talks to a therapist

Chapter 3

Kina's lips twitch up as she studies Jazmine's house, decorations of pirate lore surround the front. Seashells dangle from the arch doorway. She really knows how to decorate.

Jazmine opens the door. "You gonna come in to talk or you wanna sit at one of the tables?"

"Inside, please?" Kina gestures toward the office before walking in.

"You seem a little agitated."

"I'm not." Kina sits down on the dark blue, lounge couch.

"Alright. Then how are you feeling?" Jazmine sits in the chair across from her.

"Fine. I feel fine."

"Ah, the ultimate swear to feelings. You talk to Tom, yet?"

Kina shakes her head. "He hasn't given me the chance. Maybe tonight at dinner we can."

Jazmine nods and pulls out her clipboard. "Some time alone will be good. How is everything with the children and Annabelle?"

"Same stuff, different day." Kina fidgets with the hem of her shirt, staring at her feet. "Then again, you would know better than I." She feels the counselor's eyes on her.

"What's bothering you?"


"Kina," Jazmine uses a firm tone. "I can't help if you don't talk to me."

She heavily sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose. "To start, Zoey hates Annabelle. She stops acting out for a bit but, just when I think she's okay, she throws a fit again."

"She just needs a little more time to adjust."

"How much longer?" Kina doesn't hide her frustration. "Annabelle can't even take the girls to the park alone. Zoey bullies the other kids. Every mother there thinks I'm a bad parent."

Jazmine taps her pen. "Perhaps Zoey can stay home for those outings?"

"No, because she wants to stay home. She wants me to that stuff with her. And I do when I can, but I have classes to teach. All the other parents think I'm an awful mother, too. Not just from me hardly taking them, but also with Zoey hitting and bullying other children."

"Understood." Jazmine writes something on her clipboard. "Why not try putting Nikki and Cloey into a daycare?"

"No. Zoey would throw tantrums over that." With a heavy sigh, she lays on the couch. "I just wish Tom would be home like he promised."

"He isn't?"

"Late every day. I've had to pay Annabelle more. Bless her soul. She lives at the house with us."

"Do you sleep enough?" Please say you do?

"It's hard to." Kina sits up too fast, causing the room to spin for a moment. "My children like to bug me at all hours or Tom snores too much. Not to mention I-" She stops before she mentions the nightmares. The ones that warn of danger. The ones that she has to check every room in the house after waking up from them. "I just can't sleep sometimes."

"Does Annabelle help during the night?"

"No." Kina spins her golden band wedding ring. The amethyst glints in the sunlight radiating from the window. "I won't allow it. Not with her working all day. Besides, the children don't want their nanny, they want their mommy and daddy. My family can be a bit much. Y'know, Kris and Kaden come over a lot too. If Gideon doesn't just drop them off out of the blue, they end up walking there."

Jazmine's brows knot together. "Don't they live a little ways off?"

"One hours walk. Oh," She sits up again, "they also have been bringing their friend Ashton over quite a bit too. So that's an extra three."

"Do they walk on their own?" Jazmine writes down some notes.

"Yes. And I've complained to Tom, but he thinks it's normal. Says he used to walk everywhere with just him and Gideon at five years old. It worries me. They shouldn't be left alone that much."

Jazmine nods her agreement. "Have you asked the boys about it?"

"Kris never answers. When he does it's a question to my question. Kaden just says Gideon is busy and not too worry. Then apologizes for it." Kina sighs, rubbing her temples as a headache forms. "I can't do anything for them. Gideon's silver tongue always gets him out of trouble."

"How do you feel about your brother- in- law?"

"I hate him." She forces herself not to shake, clasping her hands tightly together. "If it weren't for my nephews, he would never be around. Ever."

"Are he and Tom close?"

"I don't know." Just thinking about him angers her. "Probably. Tom is always standing up for him. I blame F."

"F?" Jazmine raises an eyebrow, scribbles something down and tilts her head.

"Yes, his home town in Tennessee."

"I've never heard of it."

"It's really guarded. You have to have permission or a permit to get in and/or out."

"How did you get in? If you don't mind my asking." Jazmine leans forward, hands folded in her lap.

"Mind games," Kina sits at attention., her head swirls with memories, making the room spin. "It was a bit difficult since they don't pay much attention to women. Except ones in high standing. Such as the banker's wife or the doctor's. Although their opinions are only considered if they must be a stand in for their husbands."

"Okay, but how did you get there?"

"I think there was an accident. I only remember waking up near F lost and confused. Wandered for a few days before finding F. Worst town ever, in my opinion. Only good thing was meeting Tom." She bites her lip. And the old man who took me in.

"Really?" Jazmine's on the edge of her chair. "Did you remember anything? I mean before waking up in the middle of nowhere."

"No. I only knew my name from the I. D. in my wallet." Kina paces from the door to the window. "Tom was in his junior year of high school. Almost 17. I was 18. It was especially hard but when I saw Tom, I didn't want to leave. He seemed so familiar to me. With nowhere to stay really, I took it upon myself to fix this abandoned house. The Council wasn't too happy about a female stranger buying property. Nobody did anything though because of this kind old man who retired from the Council."

"What happened to him? And this town, it sounds very outdated."

Kina's steps falter and her chest tightens. "He was sick. And yes, F is very... old fashioned." She starts pacing again, swallowing the lump in her throat. "Anyway, once Tom saw me around there, he instantly started courting. His mother, Maybelle, didn't like that I caught his fancy. She had plans for him to marry someone else. He didn't care, though. He was really infatuated with me." Her voice slightly cracks. "I turned down every proposal up until he agreed to move."

"Obviously he agreed." Jazmine watches her intently.

"Obviously. He didn't have much of a choice. Stay there and lose the one he wants, or move out and raise a family. He was so in love then." Kina let's out a slow exhale.


She watches to love-doves dance around a tree outside. "I'm afraid he might not feel the same. That he may believe we were a mistake."

"Why is that?"

"All that work he does? It's a way to avoid the house. He gets irritated over everything." Her throat feels dry. "He was young when our family started. Just turned 19 when Steve came along. 20 with Connor. He was okay with just Steve. Anxious with Connor and then he wouldn't believe I was pregnant a third time... Took quite a bit of convincing. I just think he didn't want to accept the twins. But then he did and was so happy."

"But you have triplets." Jazmine raises her brow.

"I do. Nikki was a pleasant surprise. At least... pleasant to me. Thomas was on the verge of having a panic attack." She turns to face the counselor. "Dr. Maurice was also shocked. But there she was."

"Why didn't you know before?"

"She had a quiet heart beat and hid behind her sisters. It was a miracle she was alive. Most of the time twins don't survive. Triplets have less of a chance." Kina freezes for a moment, her voice barely a whisper. "Connor was supposed to be a twin. I never told Tom..."

"I'm so sorry, Kina. What happened?"

"I don't really know..."

"Was it never explained?"

"No... There was two for the first month and then by third, there was only one..."

Jazmine writes on the clipboard then glances at the clock. "Do you want to talk about something else?"

Kina sits back on the couch, hands folded tightly in her lap. "Nikki was in the NICU for a while. We both worried so much. Tom spent most his time at the hospital with her. Dave let him work off the computer." She blinks back the tears in vain. "Tom... he pulled away after the girls 1st birthday. At least... that's when it all started..."

Jazmine shakes her head. "If you can- or want to- I have the next hour open." It's for lunch, but I'll wait.

"What about lunch?"

Jazmine stands up and takes her hands. "I got some granola bars in my desk. Sit. Talk to me."

"As a friend or therapist?"

Jazmine's lip twitches upwards. "Can it be both this time?"

"The worst part is that he wanted this. Me, kids, a big house... He made sure we were set near a good school system."

Jazmine sits on the couch by her. "What about now?"

"Maybe he's still too young. Or maybe he doesn't love me as much. Whatever it is, he closed himself off. I try to keep everything nice in front of the children... Is it wrong to want to stay? Even if it may be for the best to go?"

"A lot of people go through it. The questions to ask are: do you have somewhere to go? What will happen with the children?"

"I don't and couldn't leave. Not without them. Though, there isn't much reason to leave. It's not like he's abusive or anything."

Jazmine puts a hand up. "You know, there's different types of abuse, right?"

"Yes. Tom isn't abusive though."

"Hmm," Jazmine pulls out a paper, highlights something then hands it to Kina. "Look into these websites to start. Get other opinions on it. Talk to people who've gone through something similar."

Kina takes it, dread washing over her. "Okay... thanks, I guess."

Mommy seems excited but scared for dinner with Daddy and her thoughts are a little confusing to Zoey. I hope Thomas listens this time. What if he does not? Sh, don't jinx it, it will be okay. It will.

Zoey points to the colorful stuff set on the dresser in front of the mirror. "Mommy, Mommy what's that? Why you put on your face?"

"It's make-up. Stuff to help you look different. Sometimes prettier, in this case, that's my goal. Sometimes to give you a scary face or other things like in movies." Mommy looks at her through the mirror then explains with each one. "Eye liner and Mascara to make your eyes pop. Eye shadow to add some shade and attraction to your eyes. Lip liner and lipstick to add color to them. Blush to highlight your cheeks."

Zoey gasps with amazement. "Me too?"

"Hm, maybe some other time, Baby. Mommy's got to go soon."


"Yes, Baby?"

"Why you put that on?"

Mommy gives a small laugh. "To look pretty."

"You no need dat. You are pretty 'nough!"

"Thank you, but sometimes Mommy likes looking even prettier."

Zoey don't understand but shrugs it off. "Mommy?"

"Yes?" She braids her long bangs then ties them back with a tiny, dark blue ribbon.

"Where are going?"

"Mommy told you, with Daddy to dinner."

"I come too, then." Zoey reaches up for Mommy to hold her.

"It's just Daddy and I."

She drops her arms with a pout. "Why?"

"Because we need alone time." Mommy puts two shiny things in her ears.

Zoey puffs her cheeks, shakes her head and grabs Mommy's dress. "No. You stay home."

"Zoey," She picks her up then squeezes her. "We need time to ourselves for a bit."


"Because we love each other."

Zoey stares at her, confused. "You love me?"

"Of course."

"Then spend Zoey, Mommy time. Just us."

Mommy chuckles at this. "Okay, but then I have to spend time with each of your siblings. Just us."

"Nuh uh."

"Yes, I do."

"Why?" Zoey glares at her, annoyed at the thought.

"Because I love you all."

Zoey shakes her head. "Love me most, right?"

"We don't pick favorites." Mommy pokes her nose and sets her down. "You'll behave for John and Alex."

"Where Anna go?"

"She has tonight off."


"It's Friday." Mommy tugs on a curl. "She always has Friday night off."

Zoey hurries to the door but bumps into Daddy who scoops her up. "Where are you off to in such a hurry, my little Princess Trouble?" He squeezes her a little. "You know, there's no running in the hallways."

"I not in the hallway." Zoey giggles and points to the doorway. "See? I in room."

"You were going there. And there's no running in the house at all." He looks over at Mommy, his face turns pink and he says, "You look beautiful."

"Thanks." Mommy's face also goes pink making Zoey giggle.

"Are we ready to go?"

Mommy takes Zoey from Daddy. "You'll behave, right?"

"Mm, I no know."

"Promise you'll behave."

"Yes, Mommy." Zoey rolls her eyes. "I promise behave. I go play now?"

"Yeah." She carries her down to the play room. "Be a good girl." She kisses the tops of her children's heads before going to the door.

Zoey hears Alex and another man speak. She sighs heavy, goes to the bin and gets two dollies. Cloey keeps glancing at her with wide, icy blue eyes.

Alex walks into the living room then and Zoey glares at him. She don't like him still. Anna should be here. I like her better. Mommy and Daddy aren't with him, either.

Alex pulls John to the couch. "Well, they're content at the moment."

Zoey gets up, grabs a bigger doll then knocks Cloey's pony out of her hand. Cloey hits Zoey's doll which angers her more. She goes to push Cloey but is lifted by Alex before she can.

He speaks with a soft but stern voice. "Why did you do that?"

Cloey's already crying and Zoey rolls her eyes. "Do what? Mai only wanted to hit the pony."

John takes the toy pony and fixes it's main. "Mai shouldn't hit ponies. They're very timid."

Cloey's sniffles irritates Zoey more. "Stop being a big baby!"

"Zoey," Alex shakes his head. "That's not nice."

She goes to hit him in the face but stops when she sees something fluffy go to Cloey and lick her. "Put me down!"

Before she can say anything, Alex walks her to another room that Mommy calls the Calming Room. She struggles to break his hold with every step but fails. He sets her down in there and, in a cool tone, he says. "You'll sit down in here for a bit."

"No!" She pushes against him to get to the door.. "Let me out! Let me out now!" She yells and cries and stomps her feet. She don't like it in here or the way Alex speaks to her.

Alex sighs, "I'll get you some water." he closes the door behind him then returns with a sippy cup.

She smacks it out of his hand. "I don' want it!"

"Okay," he leaves once again.

The soft blue glow shows the stars and moon on the walls and ceiling. Some piano song plays over her tantrums. She hates her sitters and wants Anna there.

It ain't fair to Zoey that she gets in trouble and Cloey don't when she also hit a doll. Even knocked to the floor. It isn't nice. It isn't fair.

Zoey finally throws herself unto a giant soft polar bear. She sinks right into the belly with a sniffle. Her throat hurts now too.

John enters the room a few minutes later and shuts off the piano. "Have you calmed down?"

She nods and sniffles and sits up.

"Do you want to meet Silver?"

"Silver?" It hurts to whisper but she wants to know what he means.

"Yes, Silver."

"Is it a doggy?"

"Well... sort of. He acts like both a cat and dog at times."

"Kitty, doggy?" She giggles and reaches up. "That silly."

"He's a fox." John lifts her up and brings her into the living room. He gives her the sippy cup then pats his side. The fluffy, storm cloud gray fox trots over happily.

Zoey gasps and reaches her hand out to pet it. "He don't look like the foxy in my book."

John watches her. "He's a domesticated silver fox."

"Do-mest-i-cated?" She sounds the word out.

"Mhm, it means he was bred to be more house and people friendly."

Zoey pets him and her hand sinks into the fur. Silver wags his bushy tail. "Bred?"

"Ah, well, people get foxes to have more foxes in a specific setting to get them that way."

"Where he from?" Zoey giggles at Silver's ticklish whiskers.

"Well, uhm, I found Silver when he was smaller in the woods, but most domesticated foxes were originally in Canada and Russia."

"Where's that?" She plays with Silver's fur.

"Canada's north and Russia's East. I don't have a globe to show you."

"Oh." She can't stop smiling at the animal next to her.

"Y'know, he makes some pretty tracks."


"Foot prints." He gets a painting from his bag. The paw shapes are colored blue, pink and purple. They look like the flowers in Mommy's yard.

Her eyes widen as she gasps. "Those really his paws?" She drinks from the cup, the cool water soothes her throat.

John nods. "Mhm. We make them sometimes to raise money for families."

Silver sniffs Zoey, his whiskers brush her hand. She giggles and pets him. "That tickles."

Zoey stares up at John. "Where Mommy go?"

"She went out for a bit."

"With Daddy, but she no say bye."

"They were going to be late."

Zoey hugs unto Silver. "What they do?"

"Boring things. Sit at a table, eat for an hour or so and talk about work."

She pouts at him. "They can here."

"They could. Your Mommy doesn't want to and clean tonight, though. Someone else will do that then they pay the check."


"Fancy way of saying to pay for the food."

Alex walks into the room holding Cloey. "Pizzas here and Connor wants to eat the box by himself."

Silver zooms around the room. He jumps on the couch and down again like a cat with the zoomies. It makes Zoey laugh. "Zoom, zoom."

"Silver no." John catches the fox. "Don't jump on the furniture like that." He puts a vest on Silver and the fluffy thing sits, wagging his tail.

Zoey laughs and runs to the dining room. "Silver silly."

John follows behind her. "He loves pizza but cheese gives him gas. Makes the house stinky."

"Ewwww." She sits in her red chair at the kid table.

Connor bounces in the yellow one next to her. He's playing with a small toy. The hoop goes around the ring then slips off. He presses the button to create more bubbles.

Alex sets Cloey in the purple one. He goes to the counter and sets paper plates down. The pizza is cut up in smaller bites.

John looks at the empty seats. "Where's the other two?"

Alex gets the ranch from the fridge. "In the play room. Could you-"

Zoey cups her hands and yells. "Sissy!"

Alex sets the ranch on the table. "Zoey, there's no need to yell."

John nods. "It's better to go to the room."

Steve walk in with Nikki. You're too loud.

"Worked." Zoey shrugs then shakes her head. "No I not."

Alex and John give each other a look before Alex asks. "You aren't what?"

"Too loud."

Nikki nods. You are. I say so. Brother say so.

Zoey eats with her hands. "Nuh uh."

Alex hands her the fork. "You should use this. And who says you're too loud?"

"Sissy did." Zoey takes the fork sideways, speaking with her mouth full. "But I not."

I heard you 'cross the house. Nikki points to the ranch.

Steve squeezes some onto her plate then Cloey's. Connor reaches for it. Steve gets up to pour some on his.

Zoey rolls her eyes. "Yeah, cause you no follow. So I yell."

John sounds confused, "I didn't hear her say anything."

"She say with her head."

Alex gets himself a slice. "Twin- lepathy?"

John shrugs. "Maybe."

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