The Story Concludes
Simon Jones is Eve Jones. But she didn't know.
Eve's mum finally admitted that Eve was a twin, but her sister was stillborn. She has had a breakdown and ended up sedated in hospital for two nights because of this revelation. Eve's fiancée, Claire, is in bed unwell.
Now the story continues.
It was nearly midday when mum finally arrived home, she walked indoors and sat with me on the couch. Dr Preston had phoned me and suggested we sit where it was less likely for mum to hurt herself accidentally, I'd moved a few items off the coffee table and out of the way. My aunt Sue had driven mum back here but was now supervising from a respectable distance.
"I'm sorry Eve."
"Mum, I'm just glad we know now."
"I'd forgotten it all, the doctor suggested that perhaps I had blanked it out. It wasn't until you were in that hospital that it all started to come back to me. I'd even forgotten why I'd changed the names your dad and I had chosen."
"Look mum, there is an explanation now. That's all that matters."
"Eve, I love you."
"Mum, I love you too."
We hugged and mum started crying quietly. I picked up a tissue and wiped her eyes. "Mum, it's over now. The worst is over, now you need time and a few hugs."
I got a small giggle from her, then a bear hug. She kissed me and said that she fancied a cuppa. My aunt was in the kitchen and already had the kettle boiling so the tea was served fairly quickly.
"Mum, we promised last week to be honest with each other, didn't we?"
"So, I don't want to see you going back into hospital for a third time this month. If there is anything else that bothers you, tell me. Even if it is going to hurt me, tell me."
"Yes, Eve, so long as you do the same for me."
I hugged mum and tears once again came to our eyes. I think they were tears of joy, but I wasn't minding either way right now. Aunt Sue brought the tea into the lounge with some sandwiches our neighbour Sharon had made.
I spotted my fiancée Claire out of the corner of my eye, hovering in the kitchen. She'd managed to get dressed but judging by her hair hadn't visited the shower yet. Her intention was to give me a kiss, as well as my mum, but I sent her back either to her deathbed or the shower. I received a smack and a promise she would be back although I didn't see her for the rest of the day.
We had enough food in the fridge to prepare some lunch. I wanted to do it but mum took over, I wasn't going to argue. While we ate mum commented how nice the nurses had been, I don't think she realised she had been in a private room. At least there's no complaint this time, that is a positive improvement. Of course there is still the issue of the events of seventeen years ago, but it was not the right time to discuss that.
We watched some telly but I was still recovering from my bug so excused myself at eight, I heard mum come up half an hour later.
Friday morning I was in the kitchen just after eight when I saw Claire outside. I walked over and gave her a kiss.
"Are you well enough to go in today?"
"I hope so."
"Doh! It's the last day before the half-term break. I've got to be there, but it's only for a few hours. By the way, Annie asked if you had any more work to hand in."
My turn to say doh! I rushed upstairs just missing a dishevelled mum heading for the loo and shower. I grabbed my coursework folder and gave it to Claire with express instructions to give it to Annie.
"I know, I know. don't you trust me?"
I answered that with a kiss and went back to making breakfast. I'd found bacon, eggs, mushrooms and hash browns, now what could I make with those? I had about fifteen minutes before mum was down, so no rush.
Before I could even start, I suddenly heard a crash from upstairs and ran up as fast as I could. The bathroom door was locked but we keep a key hanging outside to open the simple lock in case of emergency. I pushed the door open carefully and saw mum was in the bottom of the shower. There was no blood and the glass wasn't damaged.
I helped her up and sat on her on the loo seat. This was the first time I'd ever seen her naked but now was not a time to worry about it.
"Mum, what happened?"
"Is that all?"
"Tell me, I won't be upset."
"I felt dizzy."
I couldn't see anywhere on her head where she'd hit the wall or the glass, definitely no bruising. I checked her forehead and she was burning, I knew immediately what that meant. She still needed a shower, regardless, she should have had one yesterday. I pulled my mobile out and asked Claire's mum, Sharon, to come over quickly.
I suggested to Sharon that she help wash mum while I checked her bed, it was damp where she'd been sweating all night. I stripped the bedding off and quickly put clean sheets on. Sharon was bringing her from the shower, wrapped in a towel. I got a clean nightie out of the drawer and dropped it over her head.
We sat mum in a chair and Sharon used a dryer to get her hair dry enough for her to go back to bed. Before she did I picked up the packet of paracetamol from my bedside cabinet and handed them to Sharon. A quick trip to the kitchen delivered a glass of iced water. Mum swallowed the pill and we laid her out. She was out for the count. I thanked Sharon and she left us.
So, I was now a nurse for my mum. I made sure she was okay then went to the kitchen. The breakfast ingredients were on the worktop ready but my appetite had flown out of the window. After I tidied everything away I had a bowl of cereal and some fruit instead. I was due at the doctor's surgery for my weekly check-up but there was no way I would leave mum. I phoned them just before nine and gave my apologies, expecting that to be it. The receptionist however told me that Dr Khan wanted to speak to me.
"Can you let me know why you can't be here today, it was quite important."
"My mum was released from hospital yesterday and has gone down with a viral infection, I've just recovered from the same bug. I'm not leaving her alone, especially as she's been into hospital for psychiatric care and only came home yesterday."
"Oh. I'd best tell you over the phone what we've found. Are you sat down?"
This is ominous. "Yes."
"I did a search of yours and your mum's medical records and it appears you had a twin."
"Yes, I found out yesterday for myself. So, that was seventeen years ago, what now?"
"Your mum's pregnancy file has the birth recorded as two girls but then amended to a girl and a boy, the girl being stillborn."
So I was mistaken for a girl at birth, or was I a girl mistaken for a boy?
"As I said, how does this affect me now?"
"I have scheduled you for a scan."
"I've had ultrasound, CT, MRI, the lot. I'm going under the knife in a week or so because no-one can make their mind up."
"I understand, but I scheduled the scan for this afternoon."
"Sorry, my mum is more important, plus she would have to sanction the scan and I wouldn't suggest her going anywhere near the hospital for a few days."
I rang off, today was not a good day for the medical profession, I decided. I'd run out of school-work and was twiddling my fingers again. I'd have liked to have gone out on my bike but that was out of the question. I pulled my laptop down and put it on the kitchen table, then did some trawling around the web but that didn't help me. I felt like putting some music on, loud, but that might wake mum.
I put the kitchen radio onto BBC Radio 2 with the volume low and took a look in the cupboards. There were enough ingredients to make a fruit cake so I decided on that, first however I discovered some yeast and bread flour. We'd bought these a few days earlier but had simply put them away. I'd always fancied baking bread but didn't know how.
Finally my laptop had a purpose this morning; I used the BBC's large recipe database and decided on a classic loaf. I spent the next two hours making the dough, then making the cake, finally putting both into the oven. The smell was wonderful. I had a gammon joint in the fridge and that went into the slow cooker, coated in honey and wrapped in foil. I finished it off in the oven when the cake came out.
I'd turned the cake and loaf out to cool when Sharon arrived at midday to make sure everything was fine. I hadn't been upstairs for a while so Sharon went to check. She was back down a minute later.
"Your mum's still got a fever and I've given her another tablet but don't give her any more until teatime."
"When did you start baking?"
"Never done this before?"
"You'll make a good housewife one day. Claire can't cook, Annie got that gene."
"But she can cuddle so that makes up for it."
"If you say so. How about a piece of that cake?"
"Not yet, it's still warm. Come back this afternoon."
The oven was still on, the gammon would be another half hour, however even in late October it was was warm enough in the kitchen to leave the door open. In the time while I was waiting for the loaf to bake I'd got mum's bedding into the washing machine. My clean bedding, washed the previous day, was now drying on the line. I'd actually managed to occupy myself for the morning, so I had turned into a stereotypical housewife. There's a PC word for it, Domestic something, home something, nah - housewife.
When the oven pinged at twelve thirty I took the gammon out and immediately carved off a few slices. I treated myself to a hot gammon sarnie. Claire wandered in as I started eating.
"That smells good, can I have some?"
Before I could stop here she'd sliced some for herself straight into waiting bread. My first loaf was disappearing. She joined me at the table.
"How mmm didmmmmmmummmm?"
It was pointless trying to talk whilst eating so didn't bother trying to reply to a meaningless question.
After our sandwiches Claire went for the cake, this time I did get there in time and gave her hand a slap. That was the start of a very silly chase around the kitchen, stopped when Annie walked in.
"That smells nice."
"I'd offer you some bread but your sister appears to like thick slices."
"I've eaten, and mum was waiting for Claire to have some lunch, I'll let her know that you've eaten, sis."
"Oh, Annie, did Claire give you that coursework this morning?"
"Yes, how did you persuade her?"
"Never mind, I was given some more for you, but it's not much as I explained you would be in hospital for part of the holiday. By the way, Andrea and Suzie are coming over tomorrow."
"I'll have to see how mum is before I know about tomorrow?"
"Why?" That was in stereo.
"She's got the bug! She's in bed."
"Can't you sort something out?"
"I'll try. No promises."
I asked Claire to collect our little black dresses from the dry cleaners and gave her a tenner with the ticket. Claire and Annie then went back, leaving me to clean up the kitchen. My next task was the laundry and I putt mum's bed linen out on the washing line; whilst the weather was dry I'd make the best of it.
I was sat back in the kitchen just after two when I heard movement upstairs. I helped mum to the toilet, she now had a poorly tummy. I found a clean pair of knickers, a sanitary pad and helped her into the knickers. Again, no embarrassment, just expediency. I helped mum back to bed after a mouthful of water.
Back downstairs I made a pot of tea, I was drinking tea more than coffee right now. I had just put a knife in the cake when three gannets arrived, make that five as I just saw cousin Jenny and Aunt Sue appear. Sharon and my aunt intended to check on mum but stayed in the kitchen long enough to see my cake disappear. If I hadn't kept a piece for myself I wouldn't have got any at all, and I almost lost that piece.
Eventually the two adults went up to see mum, I'd given them an update so they knew what to expect. I instructed Claire to clear the table and got a blank look. I used simple terms.
The look I got could kill, fortunately I've already been killed enough recently so I was quite impervious. I just sat and folded my arms. The adults came back down, Sharon had obviously heard the conversation.
"Did you enjoy the cake and your lunch?"
"Have you thanked Eve?"
"Then I think you should clear the table and put the dishes into the washer, and you can't kiss Eve until you do so."
Claire looked at me, I just shrugged then gave Sharon a quick glance to let her know I was playing along.
That did the trick and the table was cleared, although I still had to get a damp cloth to wipe it down, then get the vacuum out to pick up all the crumbs. So much for my first loaf and first cake. Everyone except Claire left me and we settled in the lounge, locked to each-over. I think we fell asleep as Sharon walked back in with a tray, with dinner for us.
Before I ate I decided I should check mum as it was gone six. I woke her gently and took her to the bathroom then checked her forehead, her temperature was coming down. I gave her another pill and put her back to bed. I then got back down and gave my plate a quick zap in the microwave. Claire had virtually finished her plate by the time I sat down to eat mine.
I was feeling a bit run down so decided at eight to call it a day. I gave Claire a choice, hers or mine but I was staying here. She chose mine, I checked mum once again before midnight before returning to my lover's arms.
I was up shortly after six on Saturday and checked on mum, she still had a slight temperature but looked comfortable so I left her. I was now fully awake so went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, knowing that Claire wouldn't surface for at least an hour, that gave me some time to think.
I poured milk into my mug and took a sip, there is something about a cuppa first thing in the morning that just hits the spot, whatever that means. I sat at the table and pulled my gown tight around me. It wasn't warm so I put the central heating on, normally it came on after seven.
Everything was now falling into place, Mum had finally admitted to herself, as well as the rest of us, the reasons for her behaviour and breakdowns. I just wished she'd got the help she plainly needed when I was born, but what's done is done, we need to deal with the present not the past.
So, that's mum explained, what about me? My twin had abnormalities, so have I got the same problem? I keep saying to myself that if it was an emergency I'd already be in the operating theatre but I'm sat in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea.
I was hugging my tea when a shape appeared in the doorway.
(Yawn) "What you doing," (yawn), "up?"
"I checked mum then decided to come down here."
"What you doing?" (yawn)
"Got a cup for me?" Plainly the continuation of this discussion was too much for her brain at this time of the night, for Claire the day started after seven, preferably after eight.
I poured her a cup of tea, expecting her to sit down. Instead, she wobbled back up the stairs. I left her to it and walked up to have a shower. I was drying myself when mum walked in. She sat on the loo, almost on auto-pilot.
"Oh, hello Eve. I didn't see you there."
"That's okay. I'm just surprised to see you up, are you feeling better?"
"Yes. How did I get in this nightie?"
"Sharon and me did that after you fell in the shower yesterday."
"Mum, I hope you're not going to get prudish. You weren't able to do it for yourself."
"I s'pose so."
"Now, are you going to take a shower?"
"I think so, why?"
"I don't want you falling over in there again, mum."
"Let me have a cup of tea first."
"And a paracetamol."
I fetched mum's gown and helped her put it on, she obviously wasn't quite over the bug and was a little weak. I still had my gown but I'd slung my nightie in the laundry so the gown was all I had for now. I helped mum down the stairs, I did not want her to do it by herself.
I made us both a cup of tea, mum sat quietly. I found some underwear in the clean laundry and popped this on, I felt a little more secure now. Mum was still nursing her cup, barely drinking it. I dashed back up to find the pills and got down just before she slid off the chair. I persuaded her to swallow the tablet then helped her back up the stairs and back into bed. She can try again later, maybe. She can't be left on her own though.
There was an irony here, according to what I've been told I can't stay in the house overnight on my own because I'm under eighteen, right? But if mum is in bed, unwell and incapable of doing anything for herself then that's adequate supervision? Go figure.
I went into my room to get some more clothes, Claire was spread right across the bed, the tea was on the side, untouched and cold. I picked up the mug and took it, and my clothes, downstairs. By the time Claire finally appeared, I'd managed out the next laundry load and had half the ironing done.
I prepared breakfast but only wanted toast and OJ. If Claire wanted any more then she could help herself. I wasn't being nasty but I'd been up for over two hours and deserved sitting down for more than thirty seconds.
Sharon came over at nine to check on us. I told her what had happened with mum, of course Claire knew nothing of this. Sharon went up to check on her and found mum fast asleep. Maybe she'll be up later, maybe. At ten Andrea and Suzie arrived, together with Annie. They all wanted to go out for the morning, for that read all day, but I couldn't leave mum. Sharon had said out loud about needing to do some shopping and cleaning, I couldn't ask my aunt to help either, not after all she'd done this week.
No, I had to be here for her. I said to the rest of them that they could go without me, I didn't mind.
"Girls, what are we going to do, stay or go?" That was Suzie.
"Stay." "Stay." "Stay." That's three nil so far then.
"I declare that vote valid, the stays have it," Suzie again.
I wondered if I should say something, but Claire beat me to it.
"What are we going to play?" That wasn't what I'd thought.
Outside it went dark very quickly, then the rain started. I quickly grabbed the almost dry laundry off the line. Indoors the decision was made, whatever we were doing it had to be indoors. I made a suggestion.
"Have a look through the DVDs and choose a few, I'll make us a picnic for lunch." There was still plenty of gammon left plus chunks of various cheeses. I put the oven on and started baking two loaves. I had a sudden idea and got some frozen pastry out, a cheese flan would follow.
By the time the first DVD ended, several bottles of fruit juice and lemonade had gone, plus a few gallons of coffee. I picked up the phone.
"If you're still going shopping can you get a few bits for me please?" I gave her the list. It was more than a few but I figured mum wouldn't be going shopping tomorrow, even if she was up. I had a sudden thought, I'd bought Claire and I a Spa day for tomorrow and we had to be there at ten.
"You know that Claire and I have this Spa day tomorrow?"
"What if my mum's not well?"
"Then either you'll have to cancel or ask someone else to look after her."
So I'm no further forward with my problem. I hope I'll see or speak to my aunt later today, at some point, so I can ask her the same question.
The second DVD was halfway through when I put my head back in the lounge. "Lunch anyone?"
The gannets approached at high velocity. I'd put a buffet style lunch on the kitchen table with some paper plates and napkins, gannets can be messy eaters. As with the previous day, I'd reserved my plate before making the announcement. When I looked at the table, the gammon and both loaves had gone. The cheese was holding out, just.
I pulled Claire away from the telly for a moment.
"The Spa day?"
"Yes, is there a problem?"
"There might be. I need someone to look after mum and we need a lift as there's no bus on a Sunday."
"I see, can we ask ..."
"I've already spoken to your mum, she won't sit with my mum and I'm not sure about my aunt."
"What about Annie?"
In the end, Claire's solution looked like it would work out okay; Annie wanted to spend the day doing her holiday homework and it didn't matter where she sat to do it. All we had to do then was persuade Sharon to take us to the Spa.
The girls finished their plates, and their second plates. By now they were bored of the DVD. Suzie suggested Twister, but four groans were heard, with hands clutching stomachs. I checked outside, it was still raining heavily and it wasn't quite one thirty so plenty of day left.
The joint decision in the end was to play Monopoly. This worked fine until I heard a call from upstairs and saw mum on the landing. I asked Claire to take my turn and went up to see mum. She looked better and said she really needed a shower so I got it running, then she asked me to stay with her. I shouted to Claire that I would be some time, in the style of Captain Oates, then helped mum into the shower. I didn't need to do anything, just be there.
I helped her as far as I could but she was more capable now and I was just an extra. I stripped her bed and suggested she put her joggers on. I grabbed clean laundry and sorted her bed out. She complained of dizziness but this time I guessed it was from lack of food. We went downstairs and into the kitchen. I said to Claire I'll have to leave the game but she told me I'd lost all my money and hotels. Remind me not to let her near the housekeeping budget.
I sorted some soup for mum, Sharon had arrived back whilst I'd been upstairs and I'd asked specifically if she could get some vegetable soup and fresh rolls, amongst the rest of my list.
Mum brightened up after that but wasn't very active yet. I suggested she stay off the tea and stick with water for now, I did however make her take one last paracetamol, just for good luck.
The rest of the afternoon descended into silliness, with the two couples enjoying each other, leaving Annie on her own. I didn't know what to say to her without upsetting either her or one of the others. In the end, Annie yawned and suggested she needed to get back, it was a strategic withdrawal, we all waved from wherever we were.
Mum had fallen asleep in one of the chairs so missed the love-in. By five however Suzie received a text saying she was being picked up in ten minutes. I said goodbye to her and Andrea then tasked Claire with tidying up.
"Yes my love."
"Did you collect them?"
"Okay, I'll get them on Monday. I'll need the ticket back, plus the ten pound note."
"I wondered why I had more money in my purse than I should have had."
"So you spent it?"
I threw the damp cloth at her but she ducked, it flew through the open doorway and landed on mum. I went to retrieve it but mum had woken, unsurprisingly. I would deal with Claire in a short while.
"Sorry Eve, just remembered, got to get back."
Make that later or tomorrow. Maybe Claire's finance gene also went to Annie, just like the cooking one. I could see mum wasn't aware of what had landed on her, but now she was awake and needed to get to the toilet.
Mum was more aware this time around and we were back down ten minutes later. She told me shefelt somewhat better, her forehead was no longer burning but I didn't have a thermometer to check it. I made mum a jacket potato, I don't think she could have managed much more. She sat and talked a bit but we left the subject of my birth well alone.
By eight we were both drifting off and went up to bed, I didn't have to help mum up there but once again changed her bedding. There would be more laundry tomorrow.
I woke on Sunday to noises from the kitchen. I checked mum's room and her bed was empty so I walked down to the kitchen to see mum pouring two cups of tea. What's happened to my coffee habit? Mum suggested a cooked breakfast but I wasn't sure she was up to it, or that the Spa would do me any good given the fat content of the breakfast. Therefore I'll pass on the breakfast until tomorrow.
How did I manage to book the Spa for today? Actually it wasn't my decision, Claire wanted it as soon as half-term started and I had given in. Of course, next Sunday it's my birthday, what will she get me?
I was bumped back into today by a mug of tea hitting the table in front of me.
"So do you want the breakfast?"
I hadn't actually answered mum yet, "no thanks, I'd best have something light."
In the end I looked at the brochure from the Spa and saw the piece about removing toxins from the body, so I had a yoghurt and some fruit. I would be extremely hungry later.
I was dressed and ready by nine thirty. Claire looked slightly sheepish as she handed over my tenner and the dry cleaning ticket. I'd guessed that Sharon had lent her the cash, judging the way that Claire looked at her mum as we climbed into her car.
The ride was quiet but thankfully swift, the Spa was fifteen miles out of town but this time on a Sunday the roads were clear. Sharon dropped us outside the main door and left straight away. I'm not certain she was overly willing to do that, but Claire does have a certain effect on those around her.
From the moment we changed into our white towelling gowns we knew we were going to have a treat. I only had one little concern, what was inside my knickers. As a precaution I'd used a panty liner and would say It was my time of the month, it should avoid any accidental issues. I actually had a slight discomfort in my stomach, I knew I'd be hungry - just not this early.
I shouldn't have even worried even that little bit, by the time we were collected at four we had been 'detoxified', pummelled, sweated, everything but fed. I was starving.
As I walked back indoors I asked mum what time dinner would be.
"About seven, why?"
I glared at her, she then collapsed in a fit of laughter. It had been a few days since I'd heard her laugh.
"Don't fret, dinner will be ready at six, Eve, at six!"
I gave her a hug and a kiss. It would just be the two of us tonight, we didn't need any excitement before tomorrow morning.
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