Long Cold Winter: Chapter Twenty-Three

1992. Juanita was in labor. Their twins just did not want to wait. No, they wanted out now. And so, Matt was racing her to the hospital.

The doctor and several nurses waited for them at the Emergency entrance. Taking her in on a gurney, they wheeled her to the delivery room as quickly as they could as Matt parked the car. He raced in and was directed to the proper room. He was going to be papa again, and he was so excited!

But so were his kids. They were all eagerly waiting to meet their new sisters. Amazing how technology was able to reveal what the child was going to be. Before, the mother had to guess. Or wait.

And now, he was able to witness the birth! It was exciting! There had been a time when this was not allowed. He couldn’t remember when it had become allowed and accepted, but he thanked whoever decided it was good and right.

Two hours after the amazing race, he had twin daughters. Tawney and Lynne. Lord, they were beautiful! Just like their mother. He smiled at Juanita and she smiled back. Even as worn out as she was, she was still beautiful.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. I love you, she mouthed, too tired to even whisper. He held her close.

“I love you too,” He whispered into her ear. Then he kissed her again.

The doctor put his hand on Matt’s shoulder. “We need to ask you to leave so we can transport her to her room. If you wish, just follow us.”

He bent down over Juanita again. “I am going to follow them down to your room, then I will go home and get a few things. I will be back after, so don’t worry. you get some rest while I am away.”

She nodded and smiled. He kissed her on the lips, then moved away from the bed. He followed behind them until they reached the room. Room 2101. He made a mental note, then headed out of the hospital.

He had to pick up the rest of the children and deliver them to a babysitter’s…except those who were old enough to fend for themselves. Thomas had come to live with them just a year ago, and being a teenager, he could take care of himself. So could Egypt and Sahara. But Thomas, Egypt and Sahara were in sports, so they would not be ready to go home.

At sixteen, Thomas was one of the fastest Wide Receivers his team had ever seen. Egypt and Sahara played basketball and volleyball. Of course, when those weren’t going on, they were also participating in numerous academic activities and music. Matt was so proud of his kids.

Marcus and Lucille were the only two children he really had to worry about, and Lucy was already with the sitter. That left Marcus. The boy was bright, but had a penchant for trouble when left to himself. For this reason, Matt left him with the sitter.

So he made his way to the school where Marcus waited. He hoped the boy had been able to stay out of trouble. He didn’t have time to straighten any messes out. Not today.

Surprisingly, Marcus was in rare form. No trouble at school. Perhaps he’d finally fixed that problem. Not being an athlete, Marcus tended to gravitate toward the less strenuous activities. Music. Drama. Chess.

Still, the boy could kick ass when he wanted to. Especially when someone was picking on someone weaker. And that was where the trouble always occurred.

Seemed like he was always getting into trouble for something the teachers should have been doing. Punishing the bullies. Being quite the scrapper, he would always come out on top. Without a scratch.

His opponents weren’t so lucky. Tangling with Marc was like getting caught in a Midwestern tornado. Or a hurricane. You always lost. He could have been a boxer, had he desired to be.

And running with his cousins didn’t help any. They were all a rough lot. They loved to wrestle and play fight. Especially Star’s bratlings. They were the roughest.

Matt had long ago squelched any possible legal ramifications with the first attempt. It arose when a bully decided to target Marcus. But Marcus proved to be more than the kid could handle, and the bully had gone home with two black eyes and a fat lip. According to the pictures, there had been massive bruises everywhere.

But several teachers who’d seen it take place stepped forward, including the principal and Superintendent. Instead of giving the testimony that the bully and his family had hoped, the teaching staff had painted the whole picture. How the bully had approached Marc and began punching. How Marc only began swinging when he’d grown tired of the attack. How the bully started the fight, but Marc had definitely finished it in self-defense.

They also mentioned how there had been no more than two black eyes and a fat lip when the bully went home. Marc had finished the fight with a single punch. One to the kid’s face. Squarely centered so that both eyes , the nose, and the mouth got full impact. And the kid was knocked senseless.

After careful scrutiny, the kid’s father was proven to be the source of the bruising and the kid was taken out of the home. The father lost his bid for Matt’s money and his freedom all in the same breath. It had been an open and shut case. And the attacks on Marcus had stopped. Bullies shied from him.

Matt found it funny, really. Ironic. Out of all his children, Marc was the most like him. Slow to anger. Slow to act. But precise when it came to punishing those who pissed him off. And a protector of the weak and the timid.

And Marcus wasn’t yet out of junior high. Like father, like son. He looked over at his son. “What are you going to be after you graduate?”

Marcus looked over and smiled. “I thought I might go to law school and become a lawyer.”

Matt smiled. “Criminal or defense?”

The boy smiled. “Juvenile or family. Maybe criminal as well so I can take down bad guys.”

Matt chuckled. “God save any who try to get their way with you through threatening you. I feel sorry for their strong men. Won’t be an enforcer left standing when you get done.”

They rode quietly the rest of the way to the sitter’s. Matt hugged his son before allowing him out of the vehicle, then watched as he made his way to the door. After Marcus had went inside, he drove away. He had to go home and pick a few things up, then return to the hospital.

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