2:26 Twisted

05-27-18_8-10-46 PM

Zaiden had enough. He was old enough to take care of Hope on his own now. He no longer needed Rowana to keep his family together. She wasn’t even really able to do that since she had kicked Emma out. He knew that once he told the judge everything, there was no way that he wouldn’t be given custody of Hope.

That was why he was so shocked when the judge denied his request for custody. That wasn’t even the biggest surprise.

05-27-18_8-18-03 PM

Zaiden sat at the park thinking about everything the judge had said. If it was just as simple as moving out and finding a job, he could easily do that. Two of the three reasons that the judge gave was that they are already living with their guardian and the fact that Zaiden was not working. Those were both easy fixes. The third reason…

Zaiden shook his head. He did not want to think about that one. It was too terrible. What Rowana had done not only ensured that they were trapped with her but also gave her full control of his father’s bank account. Now he understood how she was able to afford everything. Now that he was legal age, he could and would end her access to the money.

That was not the worst thing she had done though. It was something that he never would have expected.

05-27-18_8-18-12 PM

Zaiden watched the kids playing and thought about Rowana telling him that she was pregnant. He hadn’t seen any of the signs that Emma had. She didn’t have the morning sickness and seemed to be eating normal. That, combined with the Vasalgel, made him wonder if it was a ruse to keep him there. He wouldn’t put it past her.

He headed to the car to go home. He would stay away from her. He would sleep in Emma’s old bed until they were able to get away from her.

After what the judge told him, there was no way in Hell that he was getting back into her bed.

He could take care of the house and job issue, but the last thing…he didn’t know what to do about it yet.

2:25 Swag

05-27-18_5-23-19 PM

It was Zaiden’s birthday. He was 18 which made him a legal adult. It was about time.

The only thing that he would miss was seeing Raelynn at school.

He knew that Rowana was planning a surprise party for him. She didn’t do a very good job hiding it.

Zaiden was excited about the party. He would get to hang out with some of his friends. He was most excited to see Emma. Since she moved in with Max, she didn’t visit the house. Zaiden would only see her at school.

He frowned when he saw the clothes in the bedroom with the note telling him that he needed to wear them for dinner. Was he wrong about the party? Were they going out somewhere instead?

05-27-18_5-24-27 PM

Rowana came in already dressed. “Hurry and get dressed, darling. You don’t want to be late for dinner.” She left the room just as quickly as she came in.

05-27-18_5-36-54 PM

Zaiden put on the clothes that she had put out for him. He had never worn a tux before, so this was new for him. He did have to admit that it looked nice. The woman did know how to pick out nice clothes.

He took one last look in the mirror before heading downstairs.

05-27-18_5-38-33 PM

He noticed that all the lights were off. They must have left without him.


05-27-18_5-39-57 PM

Zaiden jumped slightly when the lights came on. He looked around the room at the people there. They were all Rowana’s friends. Not one of his was there. Not even Emma and Hope were there.

Rowana kissed Zaiden’s cheek. “Happy birthday, Darling.”

05-27-18_5-40-45 PM

As if the guest list wasn’t bad enough, the dinner was even worse. Being only one of two men at the table, Zaiden was a bit uncomfortable.

Most of the talk at dinner was about the baby. Every time they asked if he was happy or excited, he just nodded and smiled. He knew that if he opened his mouth, his true feelings would come out.

2:24 That’s What They Said About The Buffalo

05-27-18_2-23-21 PM

Zaiden decided to visit Zander at the asylum. It had been awhile since he had seen him. He was hoping they would be able to have a normal visit.

Zaiden signed in at the nurses’ desk then headed for the garden where he was told his brother was.

He found Zander setting on at a table reading a book. “Hi, Zander.”

Zander looked up when he heard his name. He dropped the book and hugged his brother. “You came back. I knew you would. Did you bring me anything?”

Zaiden gave him the bag he had brought with him. “Your favorite. Cheeseburgers.”

Zander took the bag and sat it on the table so he could eat.

05-27-18_2-29-02 PM

“How are you doing?” Zaiden worried a lot about his brother.

“I am okay. This place isn’t too bad. The people are really nice, but the food is terrible. I really miss everybody. I thought that Mom and Dad would visit, but they haven’t.”

Zaiden frowned as he listened to Zander. “Mom and Dad are both dead, Zander. You know that.”

05-27-18_2-29-30 PM

Zander shook his head. “I saw Dad in South America. I know Mom was with him. He wouldn’t go on a trip without her. They must be back by now. Will you ask them to visit me? And ask Mom if she will bring me some cookies.”

Zaiden hadn’t realized that Zander was as bad as he was. The poor kid was delusional. He didn’t know what to do. “I will see what I can do.”

2:23 Suit & Tie

05-26-18_11-11-46 PM

Zaiden sat at the table with Hope and Rowana. It was Hope’s birthday. They had already blown out the candles on the cake.

Rowana handed Hope a small box. “Happy birthday, Hope.”

Hope was still mad at Rowana. She thanked the woman as she opened the box. As soon as she saw the set of car keys all anger was gone.

“The car is in the parking garage. You have your own spot.”

Hope jumped out of her seat and hugged Rowana. “Thank you! This is so cool!”

Zaiden watched the two of them. He knew Rowana was trying to buy Hope’s love. The car was one way to do that.

“I can’t wait to show my friends.”

Zaiden smiled at his sister. “Go ahead and invite your friends over. We can have a small party.”

Hope looked at Rowana and saw her nod of agreement.

She gave them both big hugs. “Thank you both so much.”

05-27-18_9-00-03 AM

After finding out that Emma had gotten pregnant at her own birthday party, Zaiden kept a close watch on Hope’s party. He didn’t let his sister out of his sight.

He was enjoying herself. She only had a few friends, but that was okay. They were a close group who supported each other. That was what counted.

05-27-18_9-01-57 AM

Zaiden smiled as he watched Hope and her friends. They seemed to be having fun.

He thought about his old friends and how much he missed them.

Zander was still in the asylum so he rarely saw him.

His cousins were always busy with sports and whoever they were dating at the time. He only saw them at school.

Anne and Liberty still refused to talk to him. He missed hanging out with them.

Raelyn was the only person who actually still talked to him. She asked him to hang out with her several times. He hated having to turn her down. He really did like her, but he was trapped with Rowana for now.

If Rowana truly was pregnant, he was going to be trapped with her for life.


2:22 Same Script, Different Cast

05-26-18_7-07-05 PM

Rowana had dinner ready when Zaiden and Hope returned from the park. Zaiden saw the take out boxes in the garbage and knew something was up.

“Set down, you two. I have some news to share with you two.”

Zaiden and Hope both grabbed plates to keep the peace and sat down.

“I have wonderful news to share with both of you. I’m pregnant!”

Neither Hope nor Zaiden seemed happy with the news.”

“Didn’t you hear me? We are having a baby.”

“We heard you.”

“May I be excused please? I’m not very hungry.” Hope took her plate to the sink then went to her room.

05-26-18_7-09-30 PM

Rowana looked at Zaiden. “You are going to be a daddy.”

“I heard.” Zaiden wasn’t sure what to think. He had gone to the doctor and got that stuff injected so this wouldn’t happen. Either the shot didn’t work, or Rowana was lying about being pregnant.

05-26-18_7-10-09 PM

“You don’t seem happy about it.”

“I’m not.” Rowana looked like she was either going to cry, yell, or both. “Why aren’t you happy? We are having a baby. You should be happy. This is what we wanted.”

Zaiden shook his head. “This is what you wanted, not me. I told you that I was not ready.”

“But we talked about it. I thought you had changed your mind.”

05-26-18_7-10-41 PM

Zaiden shook his head. “How do you expect me to be happy about this baby when just yesterday you threw my sister out because she is pregnant?”

“This is different. This is our baby.”

He shook his head. “You are so wrapped up in yourself and what you want that nothing else maters. You cannot see how wrong this entire situation is.”

2:21 Quality Time

05-26-18_4-36-57 PM

Zaiden had needed out of the house. He was still angry with Rowana about the way she had handled things with Emma.

He watched Hope play with some of the other kids. There was no way that he was going to leave without Hope. He didn’t trust her.

He knew that if he left and took Hope with him, Rowana would tell the police that he had kidnapped the girl. Then he would be in really big trouble.

The only choice he really had was to wait until his birthday then file for custody of Hope himself.

The judge should give him custody. He was the blood relative. Rowana was just the woman they lived with. The fact that she was sleeping with a 17 year old didn’t look good for her, did it?

How could a judge allow Hope to stay with a woman like Rowana?

05-26-18_4-38-28 PM

It was starting to get late, but Zaiden wasn’t ready to go home yet.

“Come on, Emma. Let’s go get dinner before we go home.”

2:20 Please Forgive Me

05-22-18_1-03-20 PM

Emma was nervous. She had Max with her, and that helped a little. Zaiden wouldn’t kill her if Max was there. At least she hoped not.

Max squeezed her hand. “It is going to be alright. No matter what happens, we will work it out.”

Emma nodded. “The worst they can do is kill us.”

“They won’t. You brother loves you. He wants you to be happy.”

Emma knew that Max was right.

05-22-18_1-07-00 PM

Zaiden took the news very well. He was happy for Emma and Max.

Rowana, on the other hand, was not happy at all. “I will not have a knocked up teenage slut living in my house.”

Zaiden looked at Rowana when she said that. “It’s not okay for my teenage sister to be pregnant, but it is okay for you to try to get pregnant by a teenager?”

05-22-18_1-07-22 PM

“That’s different. I am not a teenager.”

“But I am.”

Rowana glared at all of them. “She will not have that baby. She will get an abortion.”

05-22-18_1-09-48 PM

Zaiden shook his head. “You will not force that on her.”

“Then the baby will be put up for adoption. I will not have that slut’s brat living here.”

“I am not getting rid of my baby.”

“Then you need to leave.”

Emma looked at her brother. “Zaiden…”

05-22-18_1-10-52 PM

Zaiden looked at Rowana. “If you are kicking her out, Hope and I go too.”

Rowana shook her head. “You can go, but you will not be taking Hope with you. I have custody of all of you. If you leave, you go alone.”

05-22-18_1-18-29 PM

Emma looked at Zaiden.”It’s okay, Zaiden. You stay with Hope. I’ll go with Max. We already told his parents and they support us having this baby.”

Zaiden hugged his sister. “I love you, Emma.”

He looked at Max. “You better take good care of her. If I find out that you have hurt her, I know people who can make your disappearance more mysterious than Santa Claus’s summer vacation.”

Max only nodded. It was clear he was a bit nervous.

2:19 Purple Rain

Collin decided to get out of San Myshuno for awhile. Since his wedding anniversary was coming up, he decided to take Shawna on the trip with him.

He was supposed to meet with a guy in South America about some ancient artifacts that he was trying to sell.

Since the business had dissolved, Collin had started selling off the family’s assets. The bills were piling up, yet no income was coming in. The only thing left was to sell what he could.

05-22-18_10-10-21 AM

He looked at all the luggage Shawna had at the door waiting to be loaded into the car. “You can’t take all of that.”

“Darling, you said we will be there for a week. I am only taking what I need.”

05-22-18_10-30-38 AM

He shook his head. “You need to squeeze everything you need into half a suitcase and one carry-on bag.”

“I can’t possibly fit…”

“Shawna, I am not discussing this with you again.”

“I don’t know why you had to go and sell the family jet. Traveling with it was so much nicer than… I can’t even say it. Just thinking about it gives me hives.”

05-22-18_10-30-52 AM

“It’s called coach, Shawna. Get used to saying it because it is our life now.

“This isn’t the life I married into.”

05-22-18_10-30-31 AM

Collin turned and looked at her. “This isn’t the life that I was born into either, but thanks to our son, this is what we have now.”

“Stop blaming him for this, Collin. He was trying to take care of his wife and baby.”

05-22-18_10-29-48 AM

“The thousands of employees at the company were also trying to take care of their families. They managed to do it without stealing thousands of dollars and bankrupting the company. He is very lucky that he did not end up in prison for embezzlement.”

Shawna signed and started going through the luggage seeing what she could leave behind.

05-22-18_10-30-16 AM

She put down the dress she was holding and hugged her husband. “I know you are doing everything you can to provide for us. I am sorry I am being so difficult.”

2:18 Pretty Little Adriana

05-21-18_9-53-33 PM

Hope was excited. She had a classmate coming home with her after school. They had a project to work on together.

Zaiden was glad that his little sister was finally happy about something school related. He hoped that it would last once they finished with the project. He didn’t like that she was having such a hard time at school.

05-21-18_10-01-28 PM

Zaiden’s happiness ended when he saw who Hope’s classmate was. Anne’s little brother. He really hoped that Anne would not be picking him up. He wasn’t ready to face her yet.

Zaiden worked on fixing dinner while watching the two of them work. They shared the work load evenly which Zaiden liked. He had been afraid that Hope would do most of the work just to gain a friend. That didn’t seem to be the case.

05-21-18_10-06-17 PM

Emma came in and took a cookie from the plate of snacks. “When is dinner? I am starving.”

“When aren’t you?”

“When I’m already eating.”

Zaiden laughed when she said that. “Dinner is at the usual time. We are having spaghetti tonight.”

“With your homemade sauce?”

“Of course.”

05-21-18_10-07-13 PM

“I don’t know who taught you to cook, but they did a great job.”

Zaiden thought about all the time that he had spent in the kitchen helping Callie and smiled. He missed those days. Now they were part of the distant past.

“I wish I could learn more from her. She was a great cook.”

Emma saw the look in her brother’s eyes. “You miss her, don’t you?”

05-21-18_10-08-21 PM

Zaiden shook his head and held up the onion he had been cutting. “It’s the onion.”

Emma knew better. She hugged her brother. “Damn onions.”

2:17 Not A Moment Too Soon

05-20-18_8-47-25 PM

Zaiden was walking down the hall and accidentally kicked Emma’s backpack. He was grumbling about it being in the middle of the hall as he stuffed her things back into it. He saw the pill bottle and frowned.

He looked at the label. “Adderall?”

Why would Emma be taking ADHD medication? He looked at the label again.

“Who is Esmeralda Phebus?”

05-20-18_8-58-26 PM

He found his sister watching TV with Rowana.

“Emma, what are these?”

Emma looked at him briefly. “Just something to help me get through all the testing.”

“Where did you get them?”

05-20-18_9-01-23 PM

“Rowana gave them to me.”

“Emma, go do your homework please. I would like to speak to Rowana alone.”

05-20-18_9-01-42 PM

As soon as Emma was out of the room, Zaiden turned on Rowana. “Why in the hell are you giving her medication that belongs to someone else?”

“As she already told you, to help her get through her exams. It is harmless.”

05-20-18_9-02-37 PM

“It’s not harmless. There are side effects to this medication. It is very dangerous to give it to someone who doesn’t need it.”

05-20-18_9-27-39 PM

“But she does need it, Zaiden.” She tried calming him down the only way she knew how. “She needs it to pass her exams.” She kissed his cheek. “She needs it as much as I need you. She can’t pass her exams without the pills. I can’t have a baby without you.”

Zaiden pushed her away from him. “Those two things have nothing to do with each other. I already told you that I am not ready to be a father, so get that idea out of your head. And stop supplying my sisters with drugs they don’t need.”

05-20-18_9-26-33 PM

Rowana started to laugh. “You say that as if you have a choice in either. You follow my wishes or you all can go into the system. Do you think you will stay together?”