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When we got back from our honeymoon I learned a lot had changed while we were gone even though it was only for a short period of time.

Adrienne finally kicked that loser Carmelo to the curb the morning after the wedding. No one was happier than me to find that out. She said she would have done it before but she knew he would be angry and didn’t want him to create any trouble before my wedding. She told me about their final argument and how she told him she didn’t be the only one trying to make their marriage work. She also told him she was no longer in love with him and asked for a divorce. He was pissed off!

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He started yelling and cursing at her. Adrienne said she was worried he would get physical but fortunately he didn’t. After ranting and raving for almost an hour he eventually accepted defeat, packed his stuff and left. Mom said Adrienne spent the day crying in bed. She was very concerned about her but by the time Sebastian and I came home Adrienne was just as happy and bubbly as usual gossiping about office romances and making fun of her boss.

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I think she was trying to hide her pain though. Or maybe she just felt so much relief from not having to deal with Carmelo and his rollercoaster ride of emotions. After the divorce she went out a lot, mostly to bars and lounges on weekends.

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She drank a lot when she went out too and would then stumble into the house at dawn nearly waking everyone up. I don’t have a problem with someone having one cocktail after work in the evening but not five!

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I had to talk to her about her drinking. And I had to talk to her about inviting strange men over at all hours in the night. I understand that she was trying to move on and live her life but geesh she should have some self-respect. She’s an adult woman with a job who lives with her family, not some college kid in a dorm!

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I know she’s a romantic person and she probably feels like she can’t go too long without getting a man’s attention in that area, but I don’t think it was the right thing for her to do.

Christopher was also getting action in the love department. He started dating a girl he met the day after my wedding. It seemed like a lot happened the day after my wedding that I missed out on. Her name was…I think it was Savanah, not sure. I met her once and she didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I think he was already in love with her though.

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Did I mention he’s now an adult? He celebrated his birthday while we were away. I can’t believe I forgot all about it. Naturally he got a job as an entertainer. He wants to be a rock star. I used to complain about his guitar playing abilities before but all those practice sessions really helped him improve. I actually don’t mind listening to him now and I can see him becoming famous one day.

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Remember the weird feeling and the nausea I had while on my honeymoon? Well it was confirmed when we got back that Sebastian was going to get his wish. I was pregnant. I was upset about it at first as it was not the right time for me. But I couldn’t deny the happiness I felt once I saw how excited it made Sebastian. I must really love him if his joy in something gives me joy even if it’s something I didn’t want.

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I can’t exactly say I didn’t want my baby though. I always wanted to be a mother I just hoped I could plan it at a better time. But as Mum used to say, nothing ever goes according to plan. She was excited when she learned the news.

“I don’t see why this is bad news Bree,” she said. “This is great! I might actually get to meet one of my grandkids before I go.”288

“Don’t say that Mum…”

“You and your brother and sister need to stop being in denial! I won’t be around forever. I may not even be here tomorrow.”

“Mum…”

“It’s not a bad thing. It’s… what do they say? It’s the circle of life. We’re born into this world. We grow up and take advantage of as many opportunities as we can to lead happy, fulfilling lives, and then we die. And our children do the same. Along the way there are trials and disappointments – Adrienne’s going through some of them right now and so will you at some point. But I’m confident that I’ve raised you kids well enough to handle life’s challenges. You’ll be fine without me, you have to be. You’re going to be a mother yourself and being a mother to your kids is a job only you can do.”

“You are right Mum. But you’re a lot stronger than you think so I think you’ll definitely get to see your first grandchild.” I said confidently.

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This one time I wanted my words to come to pass.

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The Grim Reaper came for her the next morning while I was at work. Christopher was the only one at home. A part of me resented him for it. Logically I know there was nothing he could have done, Mum’s time was up. But pregnancy hormones coupled with my grief over losing the last parent I had left made me unleash on him that night.

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“Why didn’t you do something?! Why didn’t you plead for her life!”

“What…?”

“You just stood there and cried like a big baby and you let him take her! You’re worthless!”

“You need to shut up right about now sis!” He yelled at me. He actually yelled at me!

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“Excuse me! How dare you talk to me like that?!”

“No, how dare you talk to me like that! You think you’re the only whose mother died? She was my mother too and I did everything I could to save her. I begged with him, pleaded, but he didn’t care! He took her anyway! I get that you’re sad that she’s gone but this is the one time where I won’t put up with you being mean to me – pregnant or not!”

I could not believe Christopher spoke to me that way. Who does he think he is? I’m older than him and he should know better than to argue with me, especially now in my current state.

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“You better watch what you say to me little brother. Now that Mum is gone I’m the heiress to this estate. I own everything now! This house and everything in it belongs to me and I can easily send you packing if I wanted to!” I said bitterly. I didn’t mean it though. There was no way I’d kick my brother out. I just wanted to hurt his feelings the way he hurt mine.

“Go ahead then. I remember the terms of the legacy agreement that Mum and Dad signed. I may not be the heir but I’m entitled to live here for as long as I want to. I’d like to see you try to kick me out!”

We didn’t talk to each other for days after the argument. The silent treatment was getting to me. I’ve never been estranged from either one of my siblings but I refuse to apologise first. He started it! Sebastian tried to convince me I should. He thought I was in the wrong but I know I’m not.

Another long day at work and I’m so close to getting the promotion to Command Centre Lead that I can taste it. My bosses were impressed by my skills, even went as far as to say no one else could compete with my aptitude, but I needed to get my performance up some more. Being pregnant made me cranky and exhausted all the time – not the ideal mood if you want a promotion. The promotion itself was not what mattered to me but the chance at having more responsibilities and opportunities to further my intellect. I craved knowledge more than I was craving food at that time. Learning I was so close and still so far was disappointing and then to top it all off as soon as I got home I went into labour.

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It was the worst timing for sure. No one else was home – except for Christopher. I didn’t think he would help me but as soon as he heard my screams he came rushing down the stairs. Two hours later my daughter was born, right in the living room. Christopher happily cuddled her while allowing me time to take a shower before I held her as I was starting to feel a bit grimy.

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I’m lucky to have a brother who’s so good that he’d put aside his feelings of anger towards me and helped me when I was in need. Not many people would have done such a thing, especially for their mean sister. Okay, I had to admit finally that I was the wrong one. Luckily he didn’t rub it in my face.

As I held my little girl in my arms I remembered what Mum told me before she died about the circle of life. I wish she got to meet her before she passed but I know she’s not completely gone. She’s still around looking over us. The generation before me is no more but the generation after me is now here. It’s a nice comfort being in the middle. I can be the gap that links the two. My daughter will definitely know the great woman my mother was through me. And in the future she will also do the same for her daughter when it comes to me if I’m not around at the time.

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Mum shared with me that she and Dad wanted another baby after Christopher but the doctor warned them against it because of her age at the time. She said she always liked the name Daniel or Danielle for the next baby, whether a boy or girl. Sebastian and I could not agree on a single name during my pregnancy except for that so Danielle it is.

Welcome to the world, to the circle of life, Danielle Sloane.

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