She blinks heavy eyelids, unable to open them for a moment. Arms rise frantically as she searches for something solid to support herself against. Finally, after several minutes of an internal battle with the now ever-so-prominent-and-returned Tutu, Samantha Trea opened her eyelids. She blinked several times in rapid succession to right the contacts in her eyes.
Her goal, a mere fifteen feet away, seemed impossible to reach.
One foot in front of the other, she repeated in her head.
"Ow, ow, ow!" she said aloud. "Cramp, cramp, cramp! Not toe heel! Heel then toe. Roll step. Think band; think guard; think jazz walking. Heel, toe; pause; switch weight to other leg, repeat."
That was her mantra: heel, toe; pause; switch weight to other leg, repeat.
And, soon enough, there she was, at her goal. Before she grabbed the pill bottle, she pushed her hands together and whispered to herself, "Tutu, I hope you know what you're doing."
Tutu's anger flared and Samantha Trea regretted saying what she said.
"I sure as hell know what I'm doing, Samantha," said Tutu.
She shuttered at the shortened form of her name and pushed Tutu away with as much strength as she could muster. Samantha Trea stumbled backward, aware that Tutu's presence was no longer there; all was quite. Grabbing the pill bottle, Samantha Trea literally threw herself onto the bed and contemplated on what she was about to do.
No, on what Tutu wanted her to do.
And evil grin graced Samantha Trea's lips as she thought of something to do without Kelsey's permission.
She sat Tutu down, as well as Jaime Emerald "Gem", Courtney, and Isabelle Mariette before going out to look for Sarah Jean. She carried the slightly sleepy, blonde four-year-old to the group and told them to make themselves comfortable.
"We have a problem," said Gem before Samantha Trea had a chance to start, "we can't do this! Kelsey's not here!"
"How do you know we can't do this?" shot Isabelle and quickly took the startled girl into her arms and gave her a hug. Sarah Jean nodded along with whom she looked up to as her mommy, not quite knowing what she had agreed with. Isabelle was the most motherly of the group and gave Sarah Jean all the hugs, kisses and comfort that her parents lacked to give her. "We have never tried this without her before!"
"Point well noted," said Courtney.
Tutu looked apprehensive yet nodded as well.
"Though, Gem is right; we do have a problem. This problem does, and does not, involve Kelsey."
"As we all know," she continued after a pause, "Kelsey left and hasn't been back once. Rest assured," she added hastily, "she is ok."
Mariette wiped away Sarah Jean's tears. She knew that, next to herself, Kelsey was her favorite person. This was followed by Samantha Trea, Courtney, Gem and, last and most definitely not least, Tutu.
"Tutu was able to report that we have been "restored as one" yadda yadda ya… since she was able to convince Tutu to return. Had Kelsey not been able to get Tutu to come back to us, well… we'll just put it like this: one can not live on air alone. We need shelter, food and, most importantly, love."
"I proposed this meeting-" she started before being interrupted by Courtney who (as unfeminine as it sounds) snorted and said, "More like forced this meeting…"
Samantha Trea rolled her eyes at Courtney before grinning herself, "Per se, I forced this meeting on good will. Note what I have in my hand."
Nobody missed Tutu sliding down in her chair but looked at the bottle nonetheless before listening again to what Samantha Trea had to say before following her gaze to the digital clock that loomed on the desk.
"Sarah Jean, sweetie, you know I hate to bribe," and again, Courtney snorted when Samantha Trea produced an orange Popsicle, "but could you possibly tell us what time it is?"
All (except Tutu) pondered where this was going.
Sarah Jean scrunched up her nose, saying, "Siw-y Saw-man-ta Twea! Owange?" The she thought. "Sawah Jean's-"
At Courtney's strict look, she corrected herself, "My fave-oh-wit cuw-wor may be owange, but jhoo know I like gween pop-sick-siles best!"
Sarah Jean giggled when Samantha Trea's eyes widened with realization, even though this had happened hundred of times before. She then slowly lapped at the melting popsicle before giving her Sarah Jean her green popsicle.
"The point?" asked Courtney and Sarah Jean answered the questions previously asked of her.
"It bout- wewwl, das a sis, and a thirtdy, so sis thirtdy!" She quickly glanced out the window, "At night!" she added, proudly. The sun couldn't be this bright at six thirty in the morning, could it? she thought…
"And Courtney," said Samantha Trea, handing over the pill bottle, "what type of medication am I holding in the bottle?"
Admittedly, Courtney had never seen the word but new it the moment she saw in anyway. "Trazodone. Trazodone!"
She and everyone else looked pointedly at Tutu who sunk even farther in her chair.
"And, pray, dear- gah! What are we?!" Anger flared through Samantha Trea.
"The point?" asked Gem. Samantha Trea shook her head and her anger subsided.
"Well, dear Tutu, care to explain why I am holding the pill bottle, not you, and why I am in control… and not you?"
"Simple," said a voice everyone was glad to hear. Kelsey stepped forward. "I will not allow Tutu control."
Those were two questions that everyone, even baby Sarah Jean and Tutu, were firing in a rapid manner.
Kelsey simply waited for everyone to calm down. And then she laughed. "Why will I not allow a suicidal teenager run amuck in… well, where here is? Simple; I have come to terms that I am not my sister. I will not end up dead." Kelsey thought on this. "Scratch that; I will not end up suicidal."
"Why not?" dared Tutu.
"Again, simple!" She paused for effect. "What if Kelly didn't kill herself?"
That was all the slap in the face Tutu needed. She broke down crying, the thought never crossed her mind. But Kelsey was right; if her sister hadn't killed herself, yet Tutu killed Kelsey, none of them would ever get to meet (or, in Sarah Jean and Samantha Trea's case, re-meet) their sister. And that's all Kelsey wanted at the moment- to be with Kelly.
"I have power, I guess," she said and offered Tutu a box of tissues, "to not only control the outcome of my life, but the outcome of our life as well." Kelsey rolled her eyes at this. "Typical of me, I guess. And now I'm going to sound stupid. Fear not, Tutu, you will get your chance again. Until you can deal with this on your own, it won't be any one of us taking full control anymore; we all have a say. Though," she added at the hopeful look these people were giving her, "the only time you can't speak is during sessions with Dr. Anderson. Out of the seven of us, Tutu and I need the most help and, until we can play with what was dealt to us, it will be Tutu and I on the receiving end of care."
Everyone nodded with understanding. Kelsey looked them all in the eye, coming to a stop on Sarah Jean. She was struggling to eat her green Popsicle as it melted all over her. Kelsey mocked glared at Samantha Trea who looked away, whistling.
Everyone but Sarah Jean and Samantha Trea chimed in, "You know it's not good to bribe children."
"I know, I know," she mumbled guiltily, "I guess I'm kind jealous that Sarah Jean likes you better than me."
Sarah Jean giggled as Kelsey wiped her face and tiny hands. Then she pouted. "I wike no one bettew dan anee-uhn else. May-ee-A gives good hugs; Kessy tweats me wike I'm ode-er dan I am; Saw-man-ta Twea gives me nummy stuffs to eat; Cot-ney tought me to wide a bike; Gwem wets me pway dwess up; and Tutu," she look at Tutu who nodded through her tears, "is teach-in me to wead."
Kelsey just winked and grinned, watching as she tossed the sticky rag high in the air. It was about to land on Sarah Jean's head (who was giggling madly, I might add) before is disappeared. Kelsey nodded at her eager expressing and helped Sarah Jean. First she took Samantha Trea's popsicle stick and put in between her hands, the long way; Sarah Jean followed suit. Kelsey closed her eyes and felt Sarah Jean do the same and whispered so quietly that only Sarah Jean could hear, "make a wish and clap your hands together."
Kelsey clapped, minus the wish, opened her eyes and watched Sarah Jean. Suddenly, her little hands clapped together. "I did it, I did it, I did it!" she squealed.
"Hey!" everyone protested, "Teach me!"
Sarah Jean looked at Samantha Trea. "Why jhoo no wanna learn?"
She touched her nose and disappeared.
Her voice echoed in laughter, "I was the one that taught Kelsey." She reappeared and did her favorite trick of all. "Tutu, you pull this finger, Sarah Jean, you push this one, 'kay?" Everyone was shocked when then both nodded eagerly. "One… two… three!" Tutu pulled and Sarah Jean pushed. Soon, Samantha Trea had a very long pointer finger and no pinky finger. They both let go, shocked. She laughed, put her hand behind her back and pulled out of bouquet of flowers for Isabelle. She was about to smell them when Sarah Jean giggled.
"What's so funny?"
"Jhoo no more fwowwers!"
Samantha Trea looked at Kelsey who was already looking at her. They both grinned. Everyone blinked, confused, and suddenly, Isabelle had an even bigger bouquet in her hand.
She grinned and tutted at Samantha Trea. "How is it that Sarah Jean remembers my favorite flowers are daisies and you keep giving me tulips?"
Samantha Trea let out a hearty laugh and rolled her eyes. She turned to Tutu and handed her a pack of Mt. Dew. Tutu nodded, pleased. She gave another green popsicle to Sarah Jean, an Emerald necklace to Gem, a notebook and pen to Courtney, and turned to Kelsey. "I wish I could give you what you want, Kelsey, but we both know that's beyond our powers." Samantha Trea handed Kelsey her cell phone. "It's what you want second most, tell that to Kelli."
Kelsey started to grin.
Maybe things weren't looking so bad, after all.
Tutu hugged the Mr. Dew and it faded into her and she walked into Kelsey. Isabelle snapped her fingers and the flowers poofed into a crown. Sarah Jean licked her fingers and waited for Isabelle to pick her up. They, too, walked into Kelsey. Emerald put on her necklace and followed suit. Courtney stood up and walked into Kelsey, too, never once putting down her never-ending notebook and pen.
Samantha Trea was puzzled. "You're taking them with you?"
Kelsey shrugged. "Why not? They are my "alter ego's". My "split personalities". My "hallucinations". You need a break, any who." She handed the phone to Samantha Trea and turned around. Samantha Trea blinked and Kelsey was wearing a blood red swimsuit with a towel in hand.
"You know," she said, paused, and turned around, "That's not only what I want second most, but what you want most of all, Mrs. Bi curious."
And with that, Kelsey was gone.