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Coming Together

  The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, places, or events is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  If you purchase this book without a cover you should be aware that this book may have been stolen property and reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher. In such case the author has not received any payment for this “stripped book.”

  Coming Together

  Copyright © 2012 Naya Nikki

  All rights reserved.

  ISBN-13: 978-1-62154-307-7

  This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. The copying, scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions, and do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  Summer 2002


  I hid under the blanket as the warmth of my bed dispersed from my toes up every nerve of my body. After 21 years, I hadn’t figured out why my bed was much more comfier when I knew I had to wake up; yet when it was time to sleep my bed was determined to keep me awake.

  I listened to the sounds of the apartment and tried to figure out the time so I wouldn't have to escape my cocoon to check. My eyes stayed shut as I heard a pattering of footsteps down the wooden hallway. The light pattering was followed by heavier footsteps. A race seemed to be in full swing.

  “Aliona Roberts!” I heard my brother yell as he ran after my four-year-old monkey. Before I could even attempt to open my eyes I felt I a mild thump and a giggle as a little person landed on my ‘sleeping’ form.

  “Mommy, hide me,” she squealed knowing very well I was awake.

  “Mommy’s sleeping,” I groaned, wishing I really was.

  “No, you're not,” she giggled. “You're talking,” she pointed out.

  I was raising a genius, I smirked to myself. Before I had time to think of a response, my brother came bounding in.

  “Aliona, if you don’t get in that bathtub right now, I’m going to call Uncle Joseph and tell him that you’re not allowed to be flower girl today!”

  “Uncle Jackson,” my daughter pretended to scold, causing me to giggle under the covers, “if you make me have a bath today I’m telling Mommy you ate the last cookie,” she paused for a moment realizing that I was still under the covers, “Whoops,” she giggled, realizing she’d spilled her Uncle’s secret, even though I knew he’d eaten the cookies already.

  “Right, that’s it,” my brother replied sternly, although I knew he couldn’t ever be serious with his niece.

  She was a smart cookie and had everyone wrapped around her four-year-old finger. He lifted her off me, as I peeked my head out of the blanket, and carried her under his arm, into the bathroom. I really wasn’t looking forward to today. I really wasn’t.


  3 months before

  I sat on the sofa with Aliona’s head on my lap as we watched cartoons. “Mommy, can you and Uncle Joseph get married?” Aliona asked, her copper ringlets dangling in two perfect bunches as she looked up at me.

  “We don’t love each other like that monkey,” I lied.

  I loved Joseph more than anything. We’d grown up as best friends and always had a sibling relationship. But I’d always loved him more as a lover than as a friend for as long as I could remember.

  “Him and that Miss Tina are getting married,” she stated. “I don’t like her. She’s mean. She won’t let Uncle Joseph play with me; she always wants to go shopping.”

  It was a well-known fact that Joseph was marrying Tina Landon Daniels. She was blonde, busty and tall and had only a mind for money and more money. At the age of twenty-one, she’d already been married, divorced, and had taken half of her ex-husband’s, a 50 year old Matt Daniels’s, fortune. Now she was onto Joseph.

  It wasn’t a secret Joseph was successful, he was a fully trained neurosurgeon and there weren’t many of them in the country. When Joseph told me he was going to propose to Tina on their six-month anniversary, my heart shattered. I couldn’t tell him, that I loved him, he’d just laugh at me. There were only two other people who knew my love for Joseph and neither of them were Joseph.

  I stroked my daughter’s hair, as she settled back onto my lap. “Sorry monk, Uncle Joey and Tina love each other, but at least you get to be flower girl,” I smiled trying to cover my broken heart.

  Aliona shrugged as she went back to watching cartoons, I knew she wanted her Mommy and Uncle Joseph to get married, not Miss Tina. She was the evil witch from Snow White, she'd told me that enough number of times.


  That day had finally loomed and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Aliona was. She was so excited to wear the flower girl dress that Joseph had chosen for her. She hated Tina’s choice and refused to wear the one that she picked out. I remember the smirk on my face as Tina pleaded with Aliona to wear the pink puffball dress that she’d chosen.

  Joseph had bargained with her into wearing a blue dress, which didn’t have any ruffles or lace. In addition, much to Tina’s dislike, Joseph had asked me to be a part of the wedding. But I declined convincing him that his brother, should be a part of the wedding more than me. It was hard enough that I’d be watching him get married to someone else-- let alone being part of that process.

  As I walked into my adjoining bathroom, I heard Jackson desperately trying to bathe Aliona. She was a monkey through and through, and refused to ever sit still. She had her father’s vibrant copper hair and my piercing hazel eyes. While Aliona never knew her father, I knew who he was.

  As I got in the shower I placed my hand on my not so flat stomach, not as flat as it used to be. When I found out I was pregnant I refused to name the father. I lied by saying it was a one nightstand. Aliona’s father had the whole world ahead of him and I knew having a baby would distract him from achieving his dreams. Now four years later he was a qualified surgeon, the youngest in the country. Yep, you guessed it! Aliona’s father was Joseph.

  We were sixteen when we slept together, but Joseph was too drunk to remember. He thought it was someone else he’d slept with that night. Never in a million years would he have ever slept with me voluntarily, I was his little sister and nothing more. Joseph had graduated high school a year earlier than I did even though we were the same age. He was clever, skipped an year, yet remained by my side throughout the pregnancy.


  I stood in front of the mirror, my copper hair messy and wild. It never stayed tamed. Today was the day. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life but I felt like something was missing. Something didn't feel right. I love Tina… I do, but she’ll never be able to get over the fact that there will always be a place for Ellie and Aliona in my life.

  Aliona Roberts is my god-daughter, the sparkle in my eye, and the little girl who has me wrapped around those gorgeous little fingers of hers. But I don’t give a damn. I want her to be mine, oh, how I wish she was, but something inside me told me she was.

  When Ellie told me she was pregnant with a one night stand, my heart sank, not because of the baby, oh no, because I wanted to be her first. I wanted to be her first kiss, her first and only lover, her husband, the father to her children...all of it.

  I'd slept with Ellie at a party once, we were both so drunk that I don't know if she remembered and I wasn't going to remind her. But it didn't stop me from loving her and Aliona. In fact, it made me love them more. When Aliona came out kicking and screaming, I wanted to propose to Ellie then and there.

  I've always loved Ellie since the moment she walked into our nu
rsery classroom with long brown hair tied up in an unruly manner, wearing a pair of bright blue shorts and a yellow t-shirt. She was a vision of beauty even at the age of five. But I couldn't tell her, she'd laugh at me. Only two other people knew my love for Ellie, and neither of them were Ellie.


  4 and half years before

  "Come on Ellie," I urged as she panted through the pain of each contraction. I had my hand on her protruding belly, trying to ease her pain. I wished I could go through it for her but sadly, that wasn't an option. "Come on Belly, not long now, she'll be here soon,” I said. I'd started calling her Belly after she'd popped at the 5 month mark, she kept saying she hated it but I knew she secretly loved it.

  "I can't.” She panted, “Why does it have to be this painful?" she cried.

  I sighed. She was too stubborn to take painkillers and her brother had hightailed it out of there when he realized there’d be blood involved. Jackson was such a lightweight. Haley, his girlfriend, lectured him on how he must put his fears aside for his sister and soon to be niece. But that didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t there, I was.

  "It's time to push now Ms. Roberts,” the midwife commented. This particular midwife had been with us the whole way though Ellie's pregnancy. Her name was Lauren. She’d been a God send, especially since Ellie was seventeen and freaking out. Her parents had thrown her out when they found out she was pregnant and was living with Jackson.

  Tears were streaming down Ellie's cheeks and I wiped them away with my thumbs. I hated seeing her in pain but she’d refused to have the epidural. "Come on Belly," I urged. “She's so eager to meet you. Don't keep her waiting, sweetie.”

  We'd known Ellie was having a little girl and gone through various baby names. She'd settled on Aliona. It was a European name meaning caring, which is what she wanted her daughter to be. Faith was her middle name, because amongst all the chaos that had been happening around Ellie during her pregnancy, this baby had given her the faith to survive and not just crawl into a hole.

  I let go of her hand for a minute, putting it in my pocket to feel the small velvet box in my pocket. I wanted to drop down on one knee at this moment and open the box to reveal my grandmother's engagement ring, but I didn't.

  A loud cry broke my train of thought as a red headed baby girl made her mark on this world. Aliona Faith Roberts had arrived.


  “Uncle Joey, I here!” I heard Aliona yell through my apartment door, as I did the knot of my bow tie.

  “Aliona hold up!” I heard Ellie say as she unlocked the door to my apartment. We both had keys to each other’s homes. She ran toward my room and pushed open the door. “Look Uncle Joey… look, Mommy looks like a pincess!” she smiled baring her gleaming teeth.

  I heard Ellie close the door and follow Aliona. “Aliona, what did I say about knocking before you enter someone's room?” she asked as she walked into my room wearing a red halter dress, which had a plunging neck line revealing her blossoming cleavage. I tried to stop my mouth from dropping open but I couldn't. She laughed when she saw my face. “Earth to space cadet!” she giggled, squishing my cheeks to bring me back to reality.

  Aliona giggled as well clambering onto my bed. “You look like a fishy,” she said squishing my cheeks as well.

  “Do not,” I tried to say but couldn’t as my mouth was pursed from the cheek squishing.

  Aliona burst into a fit of giggles falling on my bed; I smiled as Ellie sat next to her pulling her close. I could get used to this.

  I put my hand in the right pocket of my trousers and felt for the box that had never left my grasp. The ring was still inside; I hadn't given it to Tina because it was meant for Ellie, and only Ellie.

  “Come on then,” Ellie said, lifting up Aliona onto her hip. “We've got to get someone married off!” she smiled weakly. Her eyes weren't shining like they usually did, something was up. I sighed as I put my jacket on; I wasn't looking forward to today.


  As we pulled up to the church, I watched as Joseph played with Aliona in the back seat. I could tell she was just as miserable as I was. Joseph was her Daddy, but they didn't know it. Jackson did, as did Haley, and both of them have tried many times to get me to tell Joseph, but I couldn't. He had this amazing life and didn't need his childhood best friend and a little girl holding him back. “We're here,” I said pulling them out of their little bubble.

  “Do you gotsta get married to Miss Tina?” Aliona asked him batting her big hazel eyes at him. I had a mini party in my head loving that she’d brought it up because Joseph would never do anything to make Aliona sad.

  “Why monk, don't you like her?” he asked pulling her onto his lap.

  She shook her head, “You said you were gonna marry me when I grew big so that means you can't marry her, see.”

  I smiled at her innocence and logic. He kissed her head and opened the car door without another word. I got out too and took Aliona from him and into the church. This was going to be a long day.


  I paced the church replaying Aliona's words in my head. She was right. Every time Tina was with Aliona, and me, she always insisted that we go shopping or go see a movie--something where I couldn't play with Aliona. Why hadn’t I ever noticed this before? Probably because I was too busy trying to mend the crack in my heart that was Ellie. The sound of my brother's booming voice broke my train of thought.

  "Yo Little Bro!" he smiled carrying my nephew in one arm and my niece in the other. Elliott and his wife had been married for just over two years and had been blessed with their twins less than an year after their wedding. They were the perfect combination of their parents in both looks and temperament.

  I smiled at them wearily as my brother placed the kids on the carpeted floor and they came at me running in their Sunday best. I crouched down and hugged them both as they clung to me. I picked them up and looked back at Elliott. “Ellie told me what Aliona said,” he sighed. “I don't get it why don't you tell her? I mean you fucking love her so why not just tell her.”

  I looked at him. He'd never said that to me before. “But-“

  “No buts,” he said. “You man up and tell her you love her or marry Tina and I don't wanna hear or see you mope around about Ellie. That girl has already been through so much in her life and if she goes through anymore pain, I swear I will rip your balls off.”

  I stared at him. This wasn't the speech I was expecting from him on my wedding day. He was telling me not to marry Tina. Could I break it off?


  As I sat in the pew and watched Joseph in his immaculate tux with Aliona at his side, my heart was breaking. I couldn't watch him take his vows and be with another woman his whole life. He was my Joey-Joe. I hid my head in Jackson's shoulder as he grasped my hand for support. He knew how hard this was for me but kept quiet, stroking my hair with his other hand.

  "Ellie," I heard him whisper in my ear as I looked up into his eyes and he motioned for me to look to the front but I couldn't do it, so I hid my head back in his shoulder. But he did it again and this time I looked and found Joseph looking straight back at me, I felt my heart racing.


  I watched as Ellie hid her head in her brother's shoulder. This was going to be hard but I had to do this. “I'm sorry,” I said to Tina removing my hand from hers.

  She looked at me dumbfounded. “What do you mean you're sorry?” she hissed at me.

  I looked over at Ellie whose eyes were still hidden from mine. “I can't live a lie anymore Tina, I'm sorry but I love someone else.”


  I watched as my Dad walked past me and toward my mother. He knelt in front of her like he always did when she was sad. He looked into her big brown eyes as she looked into his big green ones. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he kissed her cheek.

  “I love you Belly,” he said causing her to giggle. She pulled back and looked at him again, seriously.

  “Repeat!” she order
ed unable to believe what she was hearing.

  “I love you Ellie Roberts,” he chuckled lifting her up and hugging her properly.

  “I love you too Joseph Walsh,” she replied kissing him firmly on his lips. A series of cheers and whoops came from my Uncle Elliott and Uncle Jackson as well as their wives.

  They both pulled back forgetting that they were in a church full of people and blushed.

  “Marry me, Ellie?” he said, going down on one knee. “I’ve loved you since you walked into that classroom twenty years ago in your batman t-shirt...I love Aliona like she’s…”

  I could see Mom’s skin begin to flush, even more. She wasn’t one to be the centre of attention. She bit her bottom lip, a sign she was nervous or had something important to say. But before my Dad could say anything my Mom said for the whole world to hear, “She's yours.”

  “Yeah,” he answered, thinking that she was finishing off his sentence.

  “No that’s not what I meant,” Mom replied, biting her lip again. “I mean she’s yours. She’s actually yours. Stubborn copper locks and all.”

  Without waiting for my mother’s reply to his proposal, he raised himself up on to his feet, lifted her up, and spun her round. Something had always told me that my Uncle Joey was my Daddy. They kissed again as Tina stormed out of the church, I just smiled. I finally had a complete family, that's all that mattered to me.

  Summer 2012

  Here I am now fourteen-years-old and watching my parents renew their wedding vows like they did every year. I’d decided to take a break and just watch this year as my eight-year-old sister Charlotte was the flower girl, and the newest edition, my eighteen- month baby brother, Kyle, clung to my Dad's hand acting as the ring bearer.

  I watched as Grandpa and Grammy stood next to them beaming like proud parents as though they were watching Mom and Dad get married for the first time all over again. I saw Uncle Jackson, who was stroking his wife’s pregnant belly, and Uncle Elliot who was holding his newborn son in his arms and giggled at the sound of his wife telling my cousins off for making faces during the service.

  I had my family and that's all that mattered. Who cares how long it took us to be together. We’re here now and that's all I care about.

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