Title: “Baby Shower.”
Author: A.M. Glass
Copyright: March 2nd “ 6th, 2005.
Disclaimer: The characters from “All My Children,” belong respectively to Agnes Nixon, A.B.C. and the Disney Co. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and cannot be used without expressed permission first.
Notes: This takes place after “Lies” and is the nth story in the “Dear Miranda” series. This story took a little time getting here. I didn’t have a chance to work on it and when I did, I honestly didn’t like the direction it was going. I had already written five pages when I got stuck. One word “ one tiny phrase was keeping me at a standstill. When I thought I’d finally figured it out, I wrote four pages “ you won’t find them here. I got rid of them. They didn’t work. So, I went back to the part where I had the most trouble and when I changed that pesky word the story came to me. Thirteen handwritten pages later here it is.
Grandma got a phone call from Grandpa Jack she didn’t stay in the room when she took it so I don’t know what was said. But, it scared me when she came back into the room and stared at me.
She looked at me for a long time, long enough to make me feel uncomfortable.
I asked if there was something wrong with Mama “ she told me: “Lena’s fine sweetheart “ I just need to speak with your Aunt for a moment.”
Aunt Kendall looked as confused as I felt “ she kissed the top of my head and followed Grandma.
I was fine until I heard Aunt Kendall shouting: “Are you crazy?”
I couldn’t take it anymore, I rushed out of the room and when Grandma and Aunt Kendall stopped talking, well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they were talking about me.
Mustering all the Kane I had in me, I said: “What the Hell’s going on out here!”
Oooh... Grandma got on her high horse, telling me not to speak to her in that manner.
Usually, Hell most of the time I would never talk to her that way.
Aunt Kendall started sticking up for Grandma as well, and I took that a sign that whatever they were talking about “ it wasn’t good, especially if Aunt Kendall was taking Grandma’s side. They can’t even agree on what piece of Louis Vitton luggage for me to take for a slumber party.
Aunt Kendall told Grandma they should talk to Mom “ to clear things up.
“HELLO!!! I’m still standing here!!!”
I was trying to be a grown-up, the way Mama would have wanted me to.
However I don’t think I managed, the pout and lord help me stomping my foot on the ground “ not a good thing. It doesn’t remotely scream:
Geez, all I needed to do was the Erica Kane hair flip and I was on my way to a full-blown tantrum.
Aunt Kendall chose that time to do the wrong thing “ she smiled.
Taking into consideration my behavior at the moment, I can understand why she did “ I probably would have done the same if it were happening to anyone else.
I think she realized what she was doing, “cause she stopped.
“She has the right to know Mother.”
Grandma looked at Aunt Kendall before nodding.
She said they would ask Mom and as I was involved I should be in the room.
Now, hearing this from Aunt Kendall so quickly, I became instantly suspicious. Perhaps she was telling me this so I’d stop asking. I think she must have read my mind, the next thing I know she’s standing in front of me, staring at me in the eyes and told me, “It’s not a trick, you can trust me.”
Then she said a word that made me believe: Baby Shower.
Of course, Grandma looked at Aunt Kendall as if she’d grown another head. “What are you talking about?” she asked.
Aunt Kendall never took her eyes off me: “It’s between Miranda and myself, isn’t Kiddo?”
I couldn’t say a word “ I was busy swallowing, trying my best not to cry.
She brought me into her arms and held me tight. Whatever the problem was, Aunt Kendall would be there for me. That’s all I needed.
That damn word gets me all the time and she knows it. She doesn’t use it often and when she does, I trust her implicitly.
I have to, she the guardian of my deepest secret, my fondest wish.
I didn’t know it at first, but my secret, my wish began forming in my heart the time she came out to visit Mom while we were still living in Paris. Fish Face was still a constant source of misery in my life.
God “ I’ll never know what Mom saw in her.
Aunt Kendall told them that she’d watch me while they made plans to go to the movies.
As soon as they left I headed to the bookcase where Mom kept our photo albums. I moved a couple out of the way before bringing out the one I wanted to look at.
There wasn’t anything special about it, it was an ordinary photo album. Mom had shown me the pictures in it and she always stopped before a certain page and no matter how many times I asked her to turn it, she’d always said there were no other pictures.
For some reason, I didn’t believe her and this was the perfect chance to check for myself.
I took it over to the couch and started flipping through the pages. I had wondered from time to time, as I looked at photos from my first birthday on, why there weren’t any pictures of me as a baby.
I know now, I didn’t then.
I didn’t focus on that, I kept going through the album and Aunt Kendall wanted to know what I was up to.
Right now, I want to say: “Hello Aunt Kendall, I’m looking through a photo album, what else could I possibly be doing?”
I’m really trying to work on the sarcasm, but Mama gives me so many examples it’s a hard habit to break.
I told her I wanted to go through it.
“What ever floats your boat kid.”
She would stop me from time to time, especially if she hadn’t seen a particular photograph.
We finally got to the last page, well, the one Mom never went passed.
I took a deep breath and I turned it.
One, two, three, four pages.
Mom was right, there weren’t any more pictures.
I was about to close the album when I felt this sensation, this pull , I had to turn the page.
I reached out for it and Aunt Kendall said: “Why bother? They’re empty.”
I turned to her, “I have to Aunt Kendall, I don’t know why, but I have to.”
When I did, I heard her gasp.
The only thing I could do was stare.
There were two photographs, ones I’d never seen before.
One was part of a strip, the kind you get at the mall. It’s been cut in half. There was a lady, a pretty lady, back then I didn’t understand what beautiful meant, Mama fits that now, she was with Mom. They were smiling.
The strip didn’t hold my attention as much as the second photo did.
It was the other woman again, this time Aunt Kendall reached out and touched it and whispered: “Lena.”
This was Lena?
This was the person I’d heard Mom and “Aunt Maggie” argued about?
One of their biggest arguments came after I’d met Lena for the, sorry, Mama for the first time.
When Mom saw her, her whole face lit up, she had the biggest smile, like the one in the photograph: the baby shower photograph.
When Mom smiles at me, I can feel how much she loves me.
I’ve seen her smile lots of times, but they’re different. But I’ve never seen her smile at Fish Face the same way. Oh, she’d smile at Fishy, but it never really reached her eyes.
Not like they did here.
They were happy, really happy. They looked silly with those crowns on, but it suits them, their Royal Highnesses. Mama looks rakish in her tiara.
I loved, still do, the way Mama’s hand was resting on Mom’s stomach, how Mom was holding it in place with her right hand, while her left was grasping Mama’s elbow.
This unknown woman at the time, this Lena looked liked she belonged there, next to my Mother, had the right to place her hand where it was, as if I were important to her.
I’ve never seen any other pictures like this one.
There were no pictures of “Aunt Maggie” doing the same, only “Lena”.
“Aunt Kendall, who’s Lena?”
“Her, Lena,” I pointed to the picture.
“She’s someone your Mom, hey, you know what, let’s put this away, before your Mom and Maggie get home.”
Of course I whined, Aunt Kendall told me I’d have to do better than that, then she played a dirty trick, she gave me a present and took my mind off things.
I was six, seven years old, what did you expect?
I loved the new shoes. I had the perfect dress to for them...
GOD “ I’m a KANE!!!
Before I went to sleep, Aunt Kendall asked me not to mention the pictures to Mom. I’d most likely get into trouble.
I told her I wouldn’t and as she kissed me goodnight, she made me a promise.
“I promise I’ll tell you all about the baby shower and who Lena is the next time I come to visit.”
She was true to her word, she even brought other pictures of the baby shower. She told me to keep them safe to guard them.
This is when I learned about Mom and Mama.
The loved they shared, the reason why Mom smiled that special way when we bumped into Mama.
I couldn’t figure out for the longest time why Mom cried when she told Mama, “This, this is Miranda.”
“Miranda? Our... your Miranda?”
Mama cried as she knelt down and touched my face. I wasn’t scared of her, I felt safe. Usually, I don’t like people around me too much. I think I picked it up from Mom she’d always keep her hand on my shoulder when I was introduced to some one new.
The only time I didn’t feel scared was around my family and friends.
Yet here was this virtual stranger to me and I hugged her.
The moment was broken when I heard “Aunt Maggie” saying hello.
I felt Mama stiffen in my arms.
She let go slowly and stood up. I held her hand I didn’t want the moment to end.
“Hello Maggie. If you’ll excuse me, I’m late.”
The tone in her voice changed “ she sounded hurt.
I tugged on her hand she looked down and knelt once more.
“Will I see you again?”
Like I said, I didn’t want her to leave me.
She looked up at Mom then back to me, “I’m not sure. Be a good girl for your Mother.” Then she whispered, “Wy jestescie moimi serce, msj angel. Kocham was.”
I didn’t know what she said back then, now I’ll never forget.
“You are my heart my angel. I love you.”
She said her goodbyes and I watched her leave.
When I was ten, I told Aunt Kendall, my wish.
I took out the copy I’d made of the baby shower picture and I said, “I want them together Aunt Kendall. I want to take that picture... I want to see them smile that way again. I want Mama with me always. I want a baby brother or sister.”
“You’re not the only one Kiddo.”
I have to stop, Mom’s awake and Grandma says to come inside. I don’t know what’s going on but I have this sense of impending doom despite Aunt Kendall telling me, “It’s all going to be okay.”
I put my journal away in my backpack, I’ve taken to bringing it with me, I never know when I’ll want to write.
I smile at Mom, I’m so glad she’s okay. She pats the side of the hospital bed and I climb up, resting my head on her chest, listening to her heartbeat.
“What’s going on?” she asks as she strokes my head.
Aunt Kendall and Grandma look at each other for a second and that feeling I had it starts growing.
“Sweetheart, we need to ask you a question,” Grandma starts.
“Look, what Mother is trying to be tactful about is this. Maggie...”
Mom gasped when she heard Fish Faces” name.
“She’s saying she adopted Miranda.”
I move away from Mom and shake my head.
“Is it true?” Grandma asks.
I turn to face Mom, she’s crying.
GOD DAMN IT NO!!!
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