Chapter 5.22 – Optimism

Hope gives birth to twin boys, Thomas and Joseph, during the quiet weeks that lead up to Faith’s wedding.
It has been a long time since there were babies in the Barimen household, and the additions make for a very welcome change. But raising children is never easy, and right from the beginning, the boys’ personalities show that Doc and Hope will have their hands full. Faith wouldn’t have thought it possible for infants to compete with each other, but Thomas and Joseph seem to be the exceptions. Faith wonders what kind of sibling rivalries she will have to referee when the boys grow older. She smiles, thinking about what parenthood will have in store for her and Jimmy.
The morning Kacey disappears is met with sadness, but not surprise for both Faith and Hope. Faith had wanted her stay for the wedding. But considering the circumstances, she understands why she did not. Faith had also tried to talk with her about the conversation on the breezeway, and get her to change her mind about the ring. Unfortunately, there was no counter to Kacey’s argument that what’s done is done; and that the ring would have more meaning for one of David’s descendants than it would for her to just keep it. Still, Faith carefully expressed her concern about Kacey’s well-being, and offered to listen any time she needed to talk. Having a friend to share problems with always makes them seem a lot smaller.
The thing that bothers Faith more than Kacey being gone, however, is how Khaliq seems to have vanished along with her. She always got a case of “the creeps” whenever he was around; which seemed to be a lot more frequent leading up to the morning Kacey was gone. The few times Faith did speak to him, it was to ask why he risked his life to save her. He never answered the question directly. For the most part, he showed smug disinterest toward anybody within the family except Mark. And even that seemed an unhealthy kind of interest.
This same unhealthy interest had quickly turned from Mark to Kacey. Alarmed, Faith had attempted to intervene. But Kacey seemed to have become stricken with the mysterious foreigner. They had spent a great deal of time together over the last weeks. And the more time they spent together, the more suspicious Faith became about Khaliq’s motives. Kacey never observed the expression of raw contempt on Khaliq’s face when his back was turned to her. But Faith had seen it. The genuine happiness her friend seemed to be enjoying as a result of this new relationship with her uncle, had served to trump her instinctual sense of danger. She dared not say anything to upset Kacey’s already fragile emotional state or risk losing the trust she had worked to build. A tragic mistake, as it turns out.
Faith’s attention had not solely been on Kacey and Khaliq, however. Between making plans for her own impending wedding, and spending time with Thomas and Joseph, Faith is pulled in a number of different directions. It is her own wedding in particular, and unexpected friction with Hope, that keeps her mind otherwise occupied. Faith has always known that Hope craves attention in the worst way. Even as a child, she realized this. But it hadn’t bothered her until recently. It is the subtle little things her mother does that have started to irritate Faith. Taking over conversations about Faith’s wedding to talk about “her” restaurant has been the biggest offense. But she loves her mother too much to make any fuss out of it.
When the big day does finally arrive, Faith and Jimmy are married at the church where she had spent so much of her time as a child and teen. It is a traditional affair; finding Faith dressed the purest white, and Jimmy looking better than she had ever seen him before. Her eyes sparkle as she looks at him. He is perfectly groomed (probably for the first time, ever) and his cheeks are glowing red with nerves. Jimmy …her husband.
There had never been any doubt that the two newlyweds were somehow an oddly matched pair from the beginning. Their relationship had survived even through the raging hormones and uncomfortable situations of their teen years. They never once crossed the line of friendship. Looking back, there were times she would have willingly done anything with him. But they somehow kept each other in check. So now, with the necessary sacrament having been fulfilled, Jimmy and Faith eagerly share in the intimate bond that will soon lead them into unexplored territory of parenthood.
In the weeks following the wedding, Faith begins to notice subtle changes in her body. Loss of appetite and sudden bouts of nausea confirm her suspicions. But before she can share the news with her family, Hope gathers everybody together one evening (in typical Hope fashion), to make some kind of grand announcement. Hope couldn’t have possibly known that her daughter was planning on announcing her pregnancy to the family that same night. And certainly she wouldn’t go so far as to steal the spotlight from her own daughter. Would she? Regardless, with the family gathered around, Hope Barimen drops a bomb on everybody.
She dramatically announces that she is moving to France with Doc and the boys to take charge of the worlds most prestigious restaurant, “Chez Llama”. She blissfully absorbs the warm congratulations while remaining oblivious to her daughter’s distress. Faith feigns excitement as the nectar bottles are opened, and the drinks flow in celebration. Faith does her best to not to spoil the mood. Still, a particular question hangs, unasked, out in the open air. Everybody knows it is there, with the possible exception of Hope. Faith has never questioned her mother’s motives until now. Still, Faith cannot help but wonder whether Hope is doing what is best for her family, or what is best for Hope.
A flood of worries begins to wash back, as Faith looks at her half-reflection in the window and sizes up the transparent figure looking back at her. She worries about Kacey, and where Khaliq might be causing trouble. She worries about her brothers, and whether Hope and Doc have the tools to raise to very rambunctious boys on their own. She worries that her child will grow up not knowing Hope. After a moment, Faith silently mouths the words which lack the optimism to be spoken out loud,
“Mom, I’m pregnant.”

One thought on “Chapter 5.22 – Optimism

  1. Wow, zoxell, I’ve read all of your posts, and though they’re all good, I have to say, this is my FAVORITE so far! You did such a great job with the various emotions, and you had me on the edge of my seat in some parts. Also, you did great tinting such a “happy” post (Hope’s childbirth, Jimmy and Faith’s wedding, Faith’s pregnancy) with sadness and suspense. I am left wondering what will happen to Kacey and Khaliq, and have a foreboding feeling about Hope leaving the family. You did a great job…I love how you encompass such a large amount of a time into your posts, as well. Mine are always super-short, and I get like one day covered. Oh well — I guess we’re all different! You’re doing great, though — just wanted to let you know 🙂


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