Chapter 3.12: Losing You

Chapter 3.12 Losing You

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I think it’s difficult for most people to understand the bond that exists between twins, unless, of course, they are themselves a twin. People mostly view it as a bond any two siblings could have. After all, that’s basically what they are. Siblings…nothing more, nothing less, just having been born on the same exact day.

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But it’s that closeness in birth that really makes this bond different. I mean, could you imagine having been with someone since you were literally in the womb? Sure, it’s not like you remember that time at all, but something happens during that time. Something that binds the two of your souls together in a way that no one could really understand. Something that makes you much more than simply siblings.

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You just…get them. Even despite the differences the two of you may have, your minds and hearts resonate with one another.

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I know it might sound weird…but it’s like…well, it’s like you can feel the other person, living inside your soul, and though you may not always know what’s on their mind or what they’re up to in that moment, you know that they exist, because there they are, inside yourself, and nothing can take that away from you.

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Nothing except…

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“Tamara?” a gentle whisper came from above me, followed by a soft touch on my back.

“I can’t feel her,” I whispered hoarsely, my eyes fixated on the floor. “It’s like she doesn’t exist.” My voice cracked, and my eyes burned, but no tears fell from them. I didn’t think that I had anymore tears to shed.

“She does though. Right here. You saved her,” Jiang reassured, his voice comforting.

“I killed her.”

“She wouldn’t have survived if you hadn’t acted so quickly. If you hadn’t gotten her out of that tomb and rushed her to the hospital so fast. I mean, it was a good thing that tour bus was there, but still. That was you.”

“I brought her to the tomb in the first place. It’s my fault. It’s my fault she’s gone,” I whimpered.

“She’s not gone, she’s-”

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“YES SHE IS!” I suddenly screamed, jumping up from my seat. Against all odds hot tears escaped the corners of my eyes and burned a trail down my cheeks. “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! I CAN’T FEEL HER! IT’S LIKE- ITS LIKE SHE’S GONE!” I sobbed, and lost myself to my despair.

This was all my fault, and there was no denying it. Jiang could reassure me of my heroism and bravery all he wanted; he could hold me, attempt to soothe me, and never let go, but the truth was still there. I had forced Catherine to come with me on this ridiculous “adventure” to “cure” her, and now she was lying in the hospital bed, barely alive, and completely comatose. It’d been weeks now and she hadn’t woken up. Weeks.

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“She’ll be back,” Jiang said firmly, folding me safely within his arms. I didn’t have the heart to argue, just crying my heart out on his shoulder, my grip on him tight. This was all my fault. Once I had calmed down some, more because of exhaustion rather than actually feeling fine, Jiang spoke again in a hesitant voice. I got the feeling what he was about to say was the reason he had come in the first place. Not that he didn’t visit, he did, it’s just that I didn’t very often want company. “Tamara…will you…will you please come home? Just for a little while? You’re…you’re wasting away here,” he said, his pain clearly evident upon his face.

“I can’t,” I whispered, shaking my head. “I can’t. What if something changes? What if something happens? What if she needs me?”

“Then the hospital would call, or Riley would inform you. He’s here almost as much as you. And besides, your parents already call for updates whenever they’re not here, and if something changed the hospital would tell us right away,” he pointed out, rubbing my arms comfortingly.

“It’s easier just to be here. She needs me…I can’t go. I just can’t.”

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“Tamara, you’re not well!” he said, his voice slightly raised and his grip on me tightening. “You barely sleep, you barely eat, you’re wasting away! You can’t stay here!”

“Yes, I can,” I stated stubbornly. “And I will, I can’t just-”

“TAMARA, WHAT ABOUT THE BABY!?” Jiang finally cried out, grabbing me by the shoulders now and thoroughly startling me. “You’re- you’re killing it…and yourself, I can’t- I can’t deal with this,” he rushed out, and then suddenly began crying himself, his grip on my shoulders loosening as he let his hands fall down to my arms. “The baby,” he whispered, his gaze turned downcast as his body shook.

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I paled, frozen for a moment by my shock. Jiang rarely ever yelled at me, and never even dared lay a hand on me, and now here I stood, my ears ringing, my heart pounding, and my shoulders aching from where he had grabbed them.

“The baby will be fine,” I managed to say in my daze. “I’m fine. I-”

“No, you’re not fine, Tamara,” Jiang said as he pulled away slightly, wiping his eyes in frustration. “I told you, you’re barely eating or sleeping, you just sit here and stare. It’s not good for you and it’s definitely not good for the baby and I- I don’t want to lose you two.”

“I do too eat and sleep!” I argued. “In fact-”

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“In fact, what?” Jiang interrupted in annoyance. “When was the last time you even ate, hmm? When was the last time you ate an actual meal?”

“I-…I-….I mean I eat I…I ate some toast just this morning.”

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“One piece of toast, and you didn’t even finish it. Tiang ah, Tamara!” he shouted, taking a hold of my arms again, although not as roughly this time. “How can you be so blind, Tamara? How?” he asked in a low voice, his eyes never leaving mine.

I glanced down at my stomach, still fairly flat, and then could feel my eyes burn once again. He was right, of course. I knew he was right. This wasn’t healthy at all, and yet, I couldn’t help it. “I’ll do better,” I said quickly. “I promise. Just- just don’t make me go home. I need to be here, but I’ll eat more, sleep more, I-”

“God,” Jiang whispered, covering his face with his hands. “The baby…the baby. We’re going to lose it,” he groaned as if he hadn’t heard me at all. I stared up at my husband for a long moment and then could feel my throat tighten. I’d been awful lately, completely awful, and I wasn’t just damaging him, but potentially this baby as well. It was something I hadn’t thought about much, to be honest, but clearly Jiang had, for he already loved it with all of his heart, that much was clear.

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Did that mean I didn’t love it, though? Did that mean I didn’t want this baby at all? Sure, the timing was awful, but what about the baby itself? I put my hand on my stomach and suddenly imagined a wriggling little bundle wrapped in baby blue, with bright blue eyes staring up at me. Blue like my grandmother’s, who I’d barely had the opportunity to get to know. I could see Jiang’s face though in the baby’s, and then I was crying all over again. Of course I loved this baby…of course I did.

Mommy’s so sorry.

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After Jiang’s confrontation and the realization of what I’d been doing over these past few weeks, I finally went home. Sure, I still spent most of my days at the hospital, but I was sleeping a lot more, and eating a lot more, the latter of which was made much easier by my mom’s excellent cooking. Sleeping, however, was a lot more difficult, as I was often plagued by nightmares or kept up by my thoughts.

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This wasn’t unusual for any of my family members at this time though, as often when I wandered down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to get some water or just to kill time, I’d see someone else down there as well.

I had just woken up from a nightmare in which a mummy suffocated Catherine and had walked shakily into the kitchen when I saw my father at the table, sipping from a mug. A glance at the counter told me he was drinking warmed milk with honey, as the honey jar was out and that was the only thing my father had honey with. It was something his mom used to make for him when he was young to soothe him, that much I knew.

“Can’t sleep?” he asked when I came padding in, my hair still damp from the cold sweat I’d broken out into.

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“Nightmare,” I muttered as I poured a glass of milk for myself, figuring I’d give it a try. “You?”

“Just can’t sleep, honestly,” he responded quietly before taking a sip of his drink. I nodded in understanding as I heated up my drink. We were silent for the rest of its preparation. I sat down across from him then, taking a sip of my drink, but it was also at that precise moment when the telephone rang. I must have jumped about a mile in my seat, spilling milk all over the table and myself as I let out a gasp.

My dad got up as quickly as he could, his body not quite as nimble as it had once been and grabbed it. Inside my heart was screaming.

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“Hello? …this is Mr. Winters. Reed Winters. ….mmhmm. What test results? Oh…oh okay. …what do you mean something odd?”

I froze in my seat, clutching my half emptied mug so tightly I thought it would shatter.

“What? Is that…is that even possible? ….right, right. God. Well, that’s good, right?” My dad was silent for a long moment, frowning. “Right. Well then why is she-”

The conversation seemed to go on forever, during which I cleaned up my mess and tried hard to stay calm. My dad didn’t seem overly upset or alarmed, which told me that the call wasn’t all terrible, but I was still feeling extremely worried.

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Of course, even after my dad got off the phone and told me what was up I didn’t feel any less nervous or anxious. None of it made sense, and again I knew it was all my fault. Evidently, Catherine’s doctors had no idea why she was out. In fact, they said, she was perfectly healthy and wasn’t even showing any normal signs of being in a coma besides the fact that she wasn’t waking up.

I asked my dad then what they meant by perfectly healthy and the explanation floored me. They couldn’t find any traces of the cancer. Under ordinary circumstances, this information on its own would have been enough for a giant celebration, but one fact still remained: even though she was “fine,” Catherine would still not wake up.

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I tried everything after that to keep myself distracted and to keep time moving forward. The more time I killed, I figured, the closer I would get to the day that Catherine woke up. Of course, the more days that passed by the longer she’d been out too, and that also worried me, but Jiang had been right. I’d been wasting away and I needed to continue my life—otherwise I was going to go insane, not to mention harm the life of another.

And I’d already done enough life harming.

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In order to pass the time, I returned to my old job, although since I was pregnant I was recommended against doing anything overly strenuous. That being said, it was nice to play the occasional soccer game, and even nicer to see that I hadn’t lost all my penchant for it. Sure I was rusty, but I could still kick a pretty impressive goal.

At home I spent my time doing miscellaneous things: reading pregnancy books, watching TV, spending time with Jiang, reorganizing the various relics, gems, and nectars I’d collected from my adventures, and watching Chandler, as Riley was almost always at the hospital (he was Catherine’s most frequent visitor besides myself.)

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I also went to the doctor to keep tabs on my pregnancy, just to make sure things were going smoothly. I was due in about 4 months, which was actually still a decent amount of time, but it made me feel nervous nonetheless. Jiang kept getting more excited about it though. Perhaps it wasn’t as nerve wracking for him since it’d be his third child, but I was starting to freak out. Was I even the right kind of person to be a good mother?

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It was a question that bothered me frequently, so I brought it up on one of those days that I visited Catherine, sitting by her bedside and talking into the emptiness of her room. Even though I knew I wouldn’t hear a response, it was comforting for me just to talk to her.

I even visited a little more often now too since Catherine had been noted to occasionally open her eyes or mutter the chance word or two, but it was all incoherent and still she slept on, seemingly unaware of her surroundings. The doctors said it was a good sign though, and so I kept my hopes high.

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I must have stayed for hours this particular day, as the light outside the window went from bright and warm to dim and cool. Catherine had opened her eyes again earlier that day (just a flicker, but still) and I was hoping she would do so while I was there, so that I could see it.

“I wish you’d come back to us,” I whispered, taking her limp, though warm hand in mine. “And I’m sorry, again, for doing this to you. I was so stupid. So sure.” I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to relax. Whenever I thought about the part I’d played in leading Catherine to this condition I always felt miserable. Riley wouldn’t even look at me and, in fact, frequently left the room if I was here. Right now I think he was wandering the hospital corridors, just waiting for me to leave, but I wasn’t ready. Not now. Not yet.

God…I’d give anything to bring her back.

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I leaned back in the chair, fighting the heaviness of my eyelids as I stared at Catherine’s unmoving form. My back hurt, probably from sitting too long, and my stomach ached. I considered leaving then, to grab a bite to eat or something, but instead decided to rest for a moment. My eyes closed almost of their own accord as the weight of my weariness weighed down on me. I’d hear if anything concerning happened anyway….

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Catherine? Is that you?” I asked with a gasp, the figure of a young woman with thick, curly blonde hair appeared before my eyes.

Who else would it be?” the young woman asked as she turned around, smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back. There was no denying the fact that Catherine was standing before me.

Am I dreaming?” I asked then, looking around at the strange landscape around me.

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Something like that. How are you, Tamara?” she asked, eying me curiously. She looked anxious, as if she were waiting for something to happen.

I should be the one asking you that!” I exclaimed. “Where have you been? I miss you. …why won’t you wake up?” I asked sadly, wringing my hands.

She says I’m not ready yet—but I will be. Sooner than you think actually.”

Who says?”

It’s…hard to explain. She’s been helping me though. I feel so much better, but I’d been near death. It takes time to recover, you know.”

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Oh. That tree is weird…all of this is weird. Where are we?”

Wherever you want us to be.”

I want you to be awake, and home,” I murmured sadly, looking down at Catherine’s bare feet. “I miss you.” My back was hurting, and my stomach felt strange. I had thought that you couldn’t feel pain in a dream.

I miss you too. I’ll be back soon though, like I said…I promise I will. She said so. You just have to be patient.” She glanced at me again and then bit her lip.”It’s not your fault, by the way. I was dying. You did actually save me.”

B-”

Shhh. We don’t have much time left,” Catherine interrupted, her gaze on me fierce. “You’re going to have to be strong in the weeks to come, okay?”

Why? What’s going to happen to you?” I asked, my heart jumping with sudden fear. I winced as my back gave a painful stab, the pain spreading throughout my abdomen. I ignored it after that point with a grit of my teeth.

I’m afraid…nothing comes easily, Tamara,” she whispered miserably. “God, it isn’t fair. Don’t do this!”

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What is it? What’s wrong?” I asked, my panic growing with my pain. “Don’t do what?”

Oh, Tamara,” she whispered again, walking toward me. She grasped my hands in hers and then held them up. The sight of them made me gasp in horror.

What happened!? Your hands!” I choked, gazing at the blood that shone wetly upon them.

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It’s not mine,” Catherine answered, her eyes shining with tears. “It’s yours.”

What?”

Tamara…you’re bleeding.”

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I looked down and cried out at the sight of blood everywhere, covering my hands, pooling at my feet. I felt so faint, but sharp stabs of pain kept me awake and screaming. “It hurts!” I sobbed, doubling over. “What’s happening? I don’t understand!”

Be strong, Tamara…I’m sorry,” Catherine’s voice said before beginning to fade. In fact, everything began to fade. The scene turned translucent before my eyes.

Don’t leave me!” I screamed. My voice became louder and the pain became greater. Soon all I was doing was crying, doubled over and desperately trying to take deep breaths in a futile attempt to calm myself.

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The room came into focus and I clutched at my abdomen, biting back another cry as another contraction took over my being. No, not yet, not now, it was too early. Way too early.

“Help!” I cried out. “HELP!”

Several nurses rushed in almost at once, having probably already heard me screaming in my living nightmare.

“Get a wheelchair, quickly!” one of them shouted to another, who disappeared immediately.

“Take deep breaths, ma’am, deep breaths.”

“It’s too early,” I cried out, then gritting my teeth against another stab of pain.

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“I know. Just try to relax. It’ll be okay,” she murmured as I was soon helped into a wheelchair. They wheeled me away hastily, and just as we were passing the doorway, I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. Although I only saw it for a second before another jolt of pain took over my being, I knew what I had seen.

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It was the unmistakable sight of Catherine waking up…and the message in her eyes was clear: I’m so sorry.

I let out another scream into the chaos of the night.

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18 thoughts on “Chapter 3.12: Losing You”

  1. OMG This was so sad. I literally have tears in my eyes 😦

    Although I’m gutted for Tamara, I feel worse for Jiang as he has already practically lost his other two kids. I hope they’re strong enough to get through this. Tamara did say she’d give up anything to get her sister back, but I don’t think she realised just what that meant. It’s Catherine’s turn to be supportive now. Fantastic writing 🙂

    1. Thank you! And that’s a good point about Jiang. I’m currently at the stage where I’m gathering my thoughts for the next chapter and although I of course imagined Jiang to be upset, I didn’t even consider the fact that he’s already practically lost two kids. It’s really not a good time for either of them though, to say the least. They have a lot they have to come to terms with :/

  2. Oh no! I had a feeling that was going to happen! It seems life has a way of doing that, keeping the balance.
    For one to stay, another has to leave :/
    Great chapter though! Looking forward to the next 🙂

  3. :OOO Holy….Ohmy….Woh. That was intense stuff!! OH NO TAMARA, oh please!! 😦 Please don’t, pleaseeeeeee don’t go!! Where’s her husband? AHHHHHH!!

    Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Calm yourself. Phew. Oh man….I hope she’s okay 😦

    Yay! Catherine woke up!! ^_^ I guess that’s ONE thing to be happy about.

    I also have a random question, do you like 1 Direction? Just wondering… ^_^

    1. Yeah see, at least the entire chapter wasn’t doom and gloom! >.> Yeah…not a good time for them right now 😦

      And I guess I’ve been living underneath a rock some because I haven’t really heard of 1 Direction :X Sorry! I did briefly look them up though and could see the appeal, haha XD

  4. Omigosh, nuuuu. D: D: Worried.

    I hope Riley comes around and forgives Tamara. She was only trying to help her sister, after all.

    Waaah. D:

    I’m glad Catherine woke up, but but D:

    I really liked the bit at the beginning, by the way. It was really nice to see how Tamara defined her relationship with Catherine. And I loved that Jiang was able to talk a bit of sense into her, because he was so worried. D:

    Aaaaaaah! D:

    1. I think Riley will come around…but you can’t blame him for being angry either. He sees Tamara as the reason she’s in the state she is. Then again, if it hadn’t been for Tamara, she probably wouldn’t be around anymore….

      And thank you!! I think she really needed that talking to, hah. Of course she was in her right to be upset, but it had clearly gone too far!!

  5. Oh, the baby! How awful. Poor Tamara has just been beaten by life over and over. I have to wonder if this will be what breaks her spirit. I feel so badly for her. I know she loves her sister desperately, but I think she loved the baby as much.

    1. Most definitely. This will honestly probably be the hardest thing she’ll ever have to go through…which makes the question of whether this is or isn’t the thing that breaks her spirit that much more compelling.

      Hopefully you won’t have to wait too much longer though to find out what happens….

  6. No. More. Cancer. O_O That is amazing… Tamara’s seemingly ridiculous request to go to the Sphinx annihilated the cancer. It does make sense that Catherine fell into a coma because that’s what the body does when it needs you to be still so it can heal from massive trauma. I hope Riley will forgive Tamara eventually, I can imagine from his perspective this would look really bad, like ‘how could you take my wife overseas and let her fall unconscious in a freaking tomb?’ LOL. But the thing to focus on is no more cancer… o.O *awestruck*
    That vision thing Tamara had just before she started having stomach pains made me feel like there was some magical thing happening, with Catherine saying ‘She says I’m not ready yet,’ often with stuff like that, there is some sort of ‘one life for another’ sort of mentality. That whole vision thing was very cool, although it meant the loss of Tamara’s baby.

    1. Yes, perhaps there was something to be said about that Sphinx…or perhaps it can all be explained scientifically….hmm……;)

      Riley was….beyond words. He’s been having a rough enough time of it as it is, and then he finds out his wife’s clearly unhinged twin sister kidnapped her, took her to Egypt, dragged her into a tomb, and then came back with her in a coma!

      But yes, no more cancer o_o; Surely he must be thankful for that?

      It does feel like something magical, doesn’t it? But magic often comes with a price…..

  7. I love how you described being a twin, it does seem a bit like just having another sibling, but there’s also a sort of bond, regardless of where you are there’s a sort of sense of worry or protectiveness or attachment (like with my twin sister, when we were younger and our school had drills or emergencies of any type I always wanted to know where she was and if she was alright, despite the fact that 80% of the time it was just a drill, and at the same time I kinda sensed that she was safe… It’s peculiar thinking about, since I don’t have that “bond” with my younger sister).
    NO more cancer! *cheers* Except, now Tamara’s fetus *begins tearing up*… 😦 She’s already suffered so much with Trey, why can’t she just be happy now?! I love the drama and the conflict, you’re such a good writer, I cannot wait to read more!

    1. Oh my goodness! I’m not a twin myself so I was always afraid that maybe I wasn’t describing it accurately, but to hear from a twin that you loved how I described it makes me feel much more confident about it! I’m relieved that I wasn’t far off point here. It just seems from what I’ve heard from others and seen that although twins are technically just siblings, there is something undeniably special there–that “bond” as you described, with your own twin sister! Tamara and Catherine are definitely like that.

      Man….It seems to be a real win/lose situation. A sacrifice really–one life in exchange for the other 😦

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