Okay… I got the idea for this from this picture:
h t t p // w w w .d e v i a n t a r t. c o m / d e v i a t i o n /36700234/ (just remove the spaces)
Warning… mucho angst ahead. I tried to make it realistic angst, XD.
I don't own KND.
A blue, paint-chipped car pulled up in the parking lot of the Sunny Days daycare center. Immediately after the car turned off, a man hopped out, jogging through the parking lot towards the front steps. He glanced at his watch and cursed; the one day Abby couldn't pick them up, of course he had to be late. Pulling open the large glass door, the man rushed up to the front desk.
"Hi," he huffed, out of breath. "I'm here ta pick… up my kids, Kayla and Gracie Beetles."
A prim looking woman looked up at him, pulling off her reading glasses and letting them hang on the small, silver chain they were tied to. Her eyebrows rose at the sight of him, and he almost recoiled as her scrutinizing eyes looked him up and down.
"Are you talking about those sweet little Asian twins?" Her voice sounded prudish, suspicious almost.
"Yeah, that's them." Wally frowned at her tone.
"And you say you're their father?"
"Uh, yeah. That's whot I said." The blonde man automatically decided that he did not like this woman. He could tell what she was getting at; it wasn't like it had never happened before. Wally crossed his arms and a fed up look could be seen on his face. These huge daycare centers had always gotten on his nerves; why did he ever listen to Abby when she recommended this place?
"Hmm…" The woman typed something on her computer and turned to him. "It says here that Abigail Lincoln usually picks up the Beetles twins. Only her and Wallabee Beetles are on this pick up list."
"I am Wallabee Beetles!"
"Am I supposed to believe that?"
Right away he glared at her. Anyone who knew Wallabee Beetles well enough knew not to get on his bad side, especially when dealing with his kids. "Look, lady." He put an elbow on the desk and leaned forward. "I came 'ere ta pick up my kids, not get an attitude from you."
The lady at the desk seemed to have a temper of her own. "Well I have a job to do, and part of my job is to make sure strange men don't pick up these children."
If he had been younger, he probably would have socked this ass in the face. His face became red and he nearly did punch her. "I ain't a strange man, I'm their fatha'!" He spluttered in anger.
The woman didn't flinch; she only gave him an unpleasant look and puckered her brow. "I'm going to need to see some ID." The last two words were emphasized in a smug tone, and Wally backed down.
The whole time he was taking out his wallet, he was glaring daggers at the snobby desk woman. Who was she to question him like that? He wouldn't have minded if she had just asked him for some ID in the first place, but accusing him of lying and questioning his actual fatherhood? Gracie and Kayla were definitely going to a new daycare.
Wally pulled out his driver's license and handed it to her, still fuming. It seemed to surprise her that he actually was the man he claimed to be, and she glowered at him when she handed the card back.
Without a word to him, the woman picked up the phone and dialed a number. His mouth fell open when she twirled her chair so her back was facing him. What a bi-!
"Hello, Diana?" The fake sweetness in the lady's voice was enough to interrupt his thoughts. "Yes, I need you to bring down the Beetles twins." A pause. "Yes, I know they were supposed to be picked up an hour ago, but their father was late picking them up."
Keep your cool, mate, you only have to spend a few more minutes in this hellhole…
"Yes. Yes. Alright. Yes, bring them down to the lobby. Okay." With that she hung up, then spun back around until she was facing him again. They were literally eying each other viciously before another woman entered the room, leading one little girl in by the hand, and carrying another.
The little girl that was walking had two soft black pigtails, with big brown eyes and a green jumper dress. The girl being carried had the exact same qualities as her twin, except for one thing; she possessed light, foggy green eyes that looked a little glazed over.
And of course she was wearing a yellow jumper dress.
As soon as the brown eyed child caught sight of Wally, her face lit up and she smiled, giggling adorably. "Daddy!" Kayla let go of the woman called Diana's hand and rushed over to her dad.
"Hay, sport." It was hard for him to resist his daughters' smiles. They were exactly the same as Kuki's had been; one look at them made anyone's mood a little brighter. Shaking his head of the thought, he picked Kayla up and gave her a small hug, then put her back down on the floor. But not before throwing a smirk at the woman at the desk, of course.
Diana approached Wally and handed him Gracie. "Here, Gracie, it's your daddy!" Diana cursed herself, for she had almost slipped and said, "Look, Gracie". After throwing an endearing smile at the twins, she turned around and headed back up to the 3rd floor.
Wally watched her go for a second then turned to the daughter he was holding. "Hey, kiddo, it's me!" His voice sounded so false whenever he talked to his five year olds, but it was an unbreakable habit. Sighing, he grabbed Kayla's hand, who was babbling to herself happily, and began to walk out towards the car. As he did so, he felt Gracie's hands slide up his neck and over his face, feeling around his features. After a second, she smiled and buried her face in his neck without a word. Usually she liked to make sure it was her dad for herself.
Again, he sighed.
A part of him couldn't blame that rude woman for being a little suspicious. He really didn't look like these twins' father; in fact, to him it didn't even look like he was related to them. Not that Wally was the king of matching his features to theirs or anything, but really, he didn't look anything like them. He didn't even sound like them. With a stout figure, tannish skin, and a thick blonde mop of hair, of course two little Asian-looking girls wouldn't be thought of as his offspring.
Because of that, Wally was used to getting comments and "looks" from people. Couldn't say he wasn't tired of it, though.
The only feature he shared was with Gracie; she had his green eyes. Wally preferred not to count that though. Their eyes were still not the same, as Gracie was blind. The green in her eyes was partially covered by a misty fog.
When the twins were born, he had sort of blamed himself for Gracie being born blind. It seemed to him like the only thing he had contributed, his eye color (the doctors were amazed he had even contributed that), had just messed things up for her.
Of course, he had blamed himself for a lot of things when the twins were born.
Once more, the grown Australian shook his head slowly to get rid of the oncoming train of thought.
The trio reached the car and Wally routinely strapped the Kayla and Gracie back in their car seats before unhurriedly sitting himself down in the driver's seat. He started the car and turned out of the parking lot to drive home. Glancing in his rear view mirror, he caught Kayla staring back at him. Lightheartedly, he wiggled his eyebrows at her, and she giggled.
"Dad, did ya bring him?" Kayla asked him, holding out her arms to the front seat. Way ahead of her, Wally reached over to the passenger seat, keeping his eyes on the road. When his hand reappeared he was holding a tattered old orange rainbow monkey, and he handed it back to her. "Thanks Dad!"
"Anything fo' you, kiddo." He answered her, reaching again over into the passenger seat and this time pulling out a furry looking kitty doll. "And hand this to yo' sista'."
"Kay." Kayla took it from his hand and turned her head towards her twin, who was currently laying back in her car seat, her eyes looking as if they were staring into nowhere. As always, Kayla brushed the toy against her sister's cheek. "Here Gracie, take your Mookie."
Hearing her sister's voice and feeling the soft fur against her skin, Gracie automatically reached up and grabbed the cat, hugging it to her chest. At the squeezing motion, the cat let out an artificial "meow", causing a grin to cross the small blind girl's face.
Wally smiled. He always smiled when she smiled, because he felt like when she did, she was… progressing. The pediatrician and eye doctor he took her to had recommended that he buy Gracie toys she could hear and touch, so she would heighten her working senses. Made sense to him.
If only she would just talk, it would ease him of a large weight on his soldiers. The kid was almost six years old and had never said a word. People told him this was normal; she would talk when she was ready. It didn't really make sense to him though. The longer his child went without talking, the more he thought he was doing something wrong in raising her, and the more he thought he couldn't do this by himself; couldn't do this alone.
At least Kayla was sensitive to her sister's unfortunate disability. Surprisingly, it hadn't taken her very long to learn what exactly being blind meant. Little by little she helped her twin sister develop, doing small things such as leading her sisters hands towards a certain object. Wally was thankful for that. Kayla was smart, and she was a great help to him.
Pfft… definitely a quality she didn't inherit from me… Wally frowned at the road, taken aback by his own thoughts. Why was he being so negative all of a sudden? It was so unlike his more-action-less-feelings personality.
Probably because tomorrow was August fourth. He got like this every year; so thoughtful about his girls, and of the past. Tomorrow was their birthday. Tomorrow was the anniversary.
A red light appeared before him and he eased on the breaks, his eyes darting to the rear view mirror to watch Kayla and Gracie. Wally liked to watch them. They comforted him. Kayla, who was murmuring things to her rainbow monkey, felt his stare and looked up at him.
"Didya get me a funny present for my birthday tomorrow, Dad?"
He grinned. "Yep. I think you'll loike it, too."
"Coooool! What about Gracie's present?" At the sound of her name, Gracie tilted her head up towards the conversation.
"Uh huh. I got her a birthday present too." The light turned green again, and Wally pressed on the gas.
"So, since me an' Grace are gonna be this much tomorrow," She held up six fingers, "Does that mean we're big enough to stay up past ten? Hmmm?" Kayla put on an innocent smile.
"Heh, we'll see."
"Aww…" The little girl crossed her arms and pouted. "That always means no!" The two continued to converse, mostly about the twin's birthday. Gracie only listened on in silence.
It was late; Wally had put his girls to bed a couple hours ago, and he was currently taking a seat on his back porch swing, a beer in his hand. He began to swing back and forth, tilting his head back to look at the blanket of stars. Suddenly an image of Kuki sitting next to him flashed before his eyes, and he frowned, taking a swig of beer.
They used to sit here together. Wally had installed the porch swing a few days after the couple had moved in, and almost every night the two had cuddled together here, either talking softly or just swinging in silence. Pursing his lips together, Wally laid a hand down on the empty space and closed his eyes, trying to drink in her memory.
It was getting fuzzy though, her memory. Six years could do that to things. Well, almost six years.
Tomorrow would be the anniversary. Every year he tried to remind himself that August the Fourth should be a day of celebration; his children's birthday. But it was hard for him. Was he just supposed to forget that his own wife had died on the exact same day?
Wally raised the beer bottle to his lips again and gulped down more of the liquid he had grown so fond of.
She had died. Complications with the birth of the second twin… Gracie. Something had gone wrong and Kuki… she had bled to death.
The day their long awaited twins were born was supposed to bring new life. Instead, it had only brought death. Wally almost grew angry at that fact. Almost.
When the doctors had first told him the news of Kuki's death, he had actually laughed. Laughed. At that time, he was sure they had to be telling a bad joke. They had to. There was no way his long time love and new wife could be dead, not from this. Kuki had been so excited about these babies; t-there was no way they could kill her.
As soon as his laughter had died away, he could clearly remember feeling his heart turn into a 10 pound weight. That hot feeling people get when they realize something was terribly wrong had quickly washed over his entire body, and his mouth had gone dry. Being himself, anger had quickly set in. He could remember yelling at the doctors. What the hell? How could you let her die?
The more he had yelled, the more his voice had broken. Soon it was so broken that he couldn't yell anymore; he could only sit down and put his face in his hands, trying to block out the doctors voices. As soon as one of them had uttered the words, "I'm sorry for your loss" and walked away, his body had begun to rack with muffled sobs. It was impossible. And yet, it had happened.
A few hours afterwards, of the doctors had placed a hand on his shoulder and asked him if he wanted to see his newborns. And immediately he had shaken his head no…
Swinging lightly in the swing, Wally pulled his hand back from the empty space next to him.
It was one thing losing the love of your life in one quick slice. But realizing you were going to be raising two kids, all alone, was frightening.
After a few days, after the funeral and the burial, Wally had finally worked up the strength to see his babies, who were still being taken care of at the hospital. The open wound Kuki had left wasn't even close to healing, but what choice did he have?
Then even more bad news had slapped him in the face; one of the newborns had been born blind. How was he supposed to care of a blind baby? How was he supposed to take care of any babies, all by himself? He could barely take care of himself!
So many things had happened at once in that first week that the confused man was lost. People just kept throwing things at him; the beating just wouldn't stop! Your wife is dead. Get over it fast though, you have two kids to take care of. Oh, and one of your daughters is blind. You'll have to raise these kids alone, are you up to it?
It made him crazy. It still made him crazy. And he had taken it all; taken a beating no one should ever have to take. Pfft. Wally had always thought himself to be so tough. If he was so tough, why did he constantly feel like hiding now?
Downing his beer, he blinked rapidly and spewed out a few curse words quietly. Damn. It was happening again! All year he ignored any thoughts of his cursed past; he just kept them bottled up and tried to forget about them. But as much as he tried, when August rolled around, Wally couldn't seem to keep the bottle shut. It just poured out everywhere. He relived it every single year since it happened. And as always, it was happening again.
When Kuki had learned she was pregnant, they had taken lots of parenting classes to get ready for a bigger family. But those classes hadn't taught Wally how to act as both parents… so he had taken more. Lots of them, and he took his daughters with him. Yes, they were boring in his eyes, but he had to do it. He knew he had to do it every time he looked at Kayla and Gracie.
Abby Lincoln, one of his best friends since he was a kid, had helped him at first. His parents couldn't help him; his mother had died a few years back and his father was in no condition to help anyone. But Abby had lived nearby and had even moved in with him for the first year, doing everything she could to help him. Wally would never be able to repay her for that. She had even talked him into seeing a therapist; at first as much as daily, then weekly.
Wally sucked it up and went. After Kuki died he didn't reject to much, especially if Abby suggested it. Therapy didn't help him much, though. Only to Kuki did he open up completely, and that had taken years. Now with a numbed down heart, he didn't see the point. He just… wasn't the type of person to spill his feelings to a complete stranger.
And he had worked… so much. Before, between his job and Kuki's, they had enough to live comfortably. But without Kuki, it seemed all he did was work. Wally worked extra. Overtime. Most of the time he had worked through his lunch hour. Having a job in construction, this usually meant plowing away in the hot sun, or even pouring down rain. Jesus, he even worked when he didn't even need to. And he had the chaffed hands and the tan skin to prove it.
The therapist had told him that he worked so hard because he was trying to find away to ignore the pain of losing his wife. Until recently, he hadn't even believed this statement. Now that he saw it was true, he worked harder. Wally was better off ignoring pain. Even if it was there… at least he couldn't feel it.
Of course there were little slips here and there, where he would just be lying in his bed and tears would come to his eyes. He would never let the tears escape though. Crying wasn't an option; Wally's pride made sure of that.
Not crying was about the only thing his pride was able to control, these times. More often than not he just had to suck it up. Learning to back down was probably the hardest thing he had to become skilled at after Kuki. He had taken a lot of crap, and oh, there would always be more coming. He couldn't afford to lash out now. Not at the constant crying of kids; not at the unfair ways of his boss; not at the jeering of his colleagues. Not even at that bitch of the woman who had given him a hard time earlier that day.
A picture of the woman popped up in his head, and he frowned. Did people like her just have to make it worse? He would at least like people to think that his kids were, well, his kids. But no, life couldn't even spare him that. Pssh.
All he had time for now was work, and kids. His life could pretty much be summed up in one sentence; he worked in the day, and took care of his kids in the evening. When he had days off, he took care of and spent time with the twins. All the love his heart could muster up now went directly to them. When Kayla and Gracie were off playing at a friend's or at school or daycare, he worked. Time for himself was a rarity and only took place late at night.
And he didn't go out anymore. Wally had never dated, either. He hadn't been with anyone since Kuki. Even if he had time, which he didn't, there was no way he was gonna let some other chick take Kuki's place. Kuki- his Kuki- had been one in a million. No one could ever, ever fill the huge, empty hole in his heart that she had left. People said it was a miracle that they stayed together through the years. Well, they could go shove it. Wally just knew they were meant to be; meant to be with each other forever. It may seem stupid, but he liked to think that he had known it since the first time he kissed her when they were 10. Like, deep down he almost expected it.
He just hadn't expected their forever to be abruptly cut short.
Sitting there, swinging, a helpless look crossed his wind beaten face. It was unfair. That was how things always were, ever since Kuki died so suddenly. Unfair. And why? Well, he would never know. If he asked why, he knew there would be no one to answer him.
Wally Beetles had turned into an entirely different person. He used to be a tough guy, a fighter who only mellowed down for people he loved. He never took any crap from anybody, and he never gave up. He had been comfortable, and always living his life for all that it was worth. He had been… happy.
Now… when he looked in the mirror all he saw was a lonely workaholic with dark circles under his eyes. A guy who looked like he was just pacing the cage, waiting for the days to drip by. A guy who had fallen into a continuous routine, only keeping at it to… to keep his kids smiling. Someone who had almost completely given up.
He checked his watch; it was past twelve. It was officially August the Fourth. Taking a deep breath, he got up off the swing and sat down on the edge of the porch, taking his head in his hands.
God, I miss you Kuki. I… I wish you were here.
Wally felt tears spring into his eyes as he downed another beer. Crud… he never liked to cry on the anniversary. He just… didn't.
All these memories… all they did was remind him of how bad things were. How opposite his life had turned out of what he wanted it to be. He never wanted this. It hurt him to think it, but if it weren't for Kuki, he wouldn't have even wanted kids. Now Kuki was gone, and he was just a walking shadow.
Stupid, stupid fate. Stupid everything! Why him, huh? Why him? What had he ever done to deserve this? And now here was this stupid date, here again to taunt him with memories that only made him ache with pain. And of course he was going to have to try again, to enjoy it, because it was his twin's birthday. Well what if he didn't want to try anymore? What then? Why shouldn't he just throw down everything and just, j-just, give up…!
"Dad?" A small voice cut through the silence like a knife, and immediately Wally's expression went from one of anger to one of surprise. Sitting up, he turned quickly, eyebrows raised. There, standing just outside the porch door, were his twins, Kayla holding tightly onto Gracie's hand.
"G-guys?" He blinked rapidly and frowned. "What are you doing out of bed so late?"
Kayla walking over to him, leading Gracie over and helping her sit down on the porch next to him, before sitting down herself. "Gracie couldn't sleep," the brown eyed girl whispered. "She came over to my bed and woke me up. And now I can't sleep." With that she rubbed her eyes and yawned.
"Oh." He unconsciously pulled them both closer to him, one on each side, and then silence set in on the trio for a few minutes.
"I'm sorry our birthday makes you sad, daddy." The question caught Wally by surprise.
"What makes you think I'm sad?"
Kayla gave him a look.
"Okay, so I'm a little sad." He smiled at her and pinched her nose, while at the same time rubbing Gracie's back. "But you two make it bettah." His eyebrows rose when neither of them smiled back.
Kayla sighed. "I know you're sad because our birthday is the same day that mom went to heaven." A lump caught in his throat.
Wally had made sure that the two knew who their mother was. He showed them pictures and told them stories about her. And to explain her absence, he had told them that she turned into an angel and flew to heaven on their birthday. That she was always with them, but they just couldn't see her.
"Y-yeah." He tried to give her a smile, but suddenly smiling had turned into the equivalent of lifting a two hundred pound weight with one arm. Impossible.
Kayla gave him a sad look and looked at her bare feet. "I hope you feel happier tomorrow dad." She stood up. "I'm gonna go back to bed… tuck in Gracie for me daddy."
As she began to walk out he pulled her into a hug. "I will." When she was gone, he bit his lip and looked sideways at Gracie. She was sitting still, looking at nothing with a sad expression on her face. Crud.
He hated to make his kids sad, but sometimes he just couldn't help the actions that his heart did. That probably made him a bad father.
Hell, he probably was a bad father altogether. He didn't get why they loved him so much; he was always working and they were usually with Abby.
Maybe they didn't love him. Maybe it was just his imagination, trying to pull together a world where at least somebody still loved him. Because of course, nothing could ever go the way he wanted it to. That was just the way things were. And always would be…
Wally was stunned when a tear finally escaped and began to roll down his cheek. But he was completely astounded when somebody wiped it away.
Opening his eyes, he staggered back to see Gracie there in front of him, feeling over his face like she always did. He watched her pull her hand with his tear back, then point her head in the direction of his face, her green, glazed over eyes seeming like they were boring into him.
His eyes turned into perfect circles.
Did… did she just…?
He tried to speak back to her, but his breath had caught in his throat. Tears fell freely from his eyes now, as he felt her put her hands on her cheeks. Gracie felt them and shook her head slowly, then put her head on his shoulder, hugging him.
"Don't." Her voice was only a whisper. Scratchy; unused.
"D-don't what?" He asked without thinking, his brain still completely stunned.
She pulled her head back to face him again, her eyes locked in a blank stare.
"Don't cry." She hugged him again, putting her face on his shoulder. "Don't cry…"
He couldn't help it; the silent tears kept coming. He cried because he was sad. But he also cried because his child had just reminded him of the two reasons why he could never, ever give up.
One of them was sitting in his arms.