Jaded: A WinterTale by TaugJaye

She knew something was wrong.

Erin-Gray could feel it.

The pains were becoming frequent—worse as the minutes continued to pass her by. She’d hardly been at work for all of ten minutes and had to take a seat. Dr. McCune had ordered STAT x-rays on a critical patient before they proceeded with surgery, yet Erin could hardly move.


Holding onto her protruding belly, she leaned her back against the nearest wall and doubled over in pain. Her eyesight was blinding. Heat was radiating up her spine, sweat now crowned her baby hairs—tears were gliding down her cheeks.

Mornings at Mercy Hospital were usually busy.

For as long as she could remember since day one, aids and nurses would be ripping and running up and down the halls twenty-four/seven. How convenient on the day when someone was needed, they were nowhere to be seen, nor heard.

Oh, God, report.

The thought made her cry harder. Shift change could last anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, depending on the nurses and how bad the overnight shift was.

“Somebody, help me, please!”

Erin winced in pain as she slowly began to slide down to the floor. She was getting lightheaded. It got harder to keep her balance. Her pelvis was on fire.

Her pupils magnified when she felt fluids gushing between her legs. Shock was the only emotion she could register. Her chin was in her chest as she watched the fluids seep out her scrub pants and taint the surface beneath her feet.


Her anxiety just about blew her head off her shoulders, it’d hit her so hard. With what little energy she had, Erin reached for her Apple Watch. “Wait—Siri. Hey, Siri, call West.”

“Calling, West.”

The sound of the dial tone was driving her insane. Five missed calls later, and not a single soul yet to come to her rescue, Erin was fixing to have a nervous breakdown.


She wasn’t thinking clearly—rationally. The thought to call the nurse’s station went way over her head. Terror had already set in. The fluids were pouring out of her like a gas leak. She couldn’t take it.

Her breathing slowed, yet her heart was beating so fast, it was humming versus thumping. Before her vision completely went black, Erin-Gray finally heard a number of frantic footsteps charging in her direction.

“Oh my God, Erin! We need a crash cart and a gurney over here, now! Call an All Nurses STAT…”


Faking her sleep was the only way Erin could handle the most life-changing event she’d ever experienced. She didn’t wanna answer anyone’s questions. The sight of another human being disgusted her. If it weren’t for the heart monitor in the background, not even she would’ve thought she was alive right now.

Not with the way she was feeling. God took the wrong person. She’d give anything to be anywhere but in this current predicament. Endless tears were seeping into the creases of her lips the longer they continued to flood her face.

Pain wouldn’t be so effective if one couldn’t physically, mentally, and emotionally feel its wrath.

Erin was on a cloud yet miles away from paradise.

She was floating in thin air.

Her body was like stone, yet her mind was running on its own time.

Everything was okay this morning.

Aside from West being absent, which wasn’t anything new, physically, she’d been fine. The doctor saw no complications during her last visit. Her weight was up a bit, but not anything in the range of needing to see a specialist.

No, she and West weren’t on the best of terms—hadn’t been on the best of terms since their gender reveal. That was a story for a different day, but the arrival of their son was exciting.

The last thing she ever expected was to hold him with no life in his little body after delivery. Images of his blue face forced an uncontrollable sob to emit through her lips. Erin-Gray was broken.

Then to have to go through this shit alone only added to the bleakness of her soul. The sound of her room door opening didn’t faze her. Of course, hiding behind her hands wouldn’t make her disappear into the background, yet it was worth a try.

Recognizing his scent, Erin finally built up the strength to lift her head. There at the foot of the bed stood Mr. Missing In Action, himself. She hadn’t seen him in days. He wore the same attire as he did from when he stormed out the house two nights ago. Her face was blank.

The moment he entered her personal space, Erin’s heart was void of affection. Making eye contact had always been one of her most challenging tasks.

It wasn’t the intimidation that pulled her under. It wasn’t that at all. Erin just couldn’t allow everyone access to her soul, and via her eyes was the perfect route. They harbored things her tongue couldn’t always translate, yet being around Weston Reed these days inevitably made her drawback.

She had to make eye contact to peer into his mind. No longer was his aura readable. His touch was toxic, and his comments were always ten times as worse.

She could see the anger radiating from out his ears. A notion which couldn’t be done with the naked human eye, but shorty was out of body. The whites of his knuckles showed as he continued to grip the foot of the bed to help remain calm. His shoulders heaved in rage. His eyes were slowing flushing red, and it was only seconds before he—

“I told yo’ ass you was gaining too much fucking weight, but you always think somebody picking on yo’ ass,” he spat.

Her face never contorted.

She knew he’d blame her.

It was written all over his face—was now depicted in his body language. Never before had she been able to see West for who he truly was.

The fact that she’d loved him more than she loved herself made her foolishly blind. Transparent to the wishy-washy, indecisive, and insensitive man— no, little fucking boy he’d always been. “Didn’t I tell you, you was gaining too much fucking weight, bitch?! I told yo’ ass, and now look!

You kilt my fucking son! You had one job, Erin-Gray! One fucking job, yet you couldn’t even do that! Why the fuck am I not surprised?!”

His fingernails were kneading into her skin as he now held her by the arms and shook her with all his strength. However, she couldn’t focus on that. Erin had been waiting on this moment.

West was so verbally manipulative that she started to believe his outburst and lack of anger management was all in her head. See, West was like a thief in the night. He hated for people to actively see his moves but loved to gloat in the aftermath. Sneaky, slothful, and cowardice.

The same man standing there was always trolling about how people fell submissive to clout when he was the fucking MVP.

She knew it wouldn’t be long before the dam broke. She’d seen it coming. It’d gotten to the point where neither of them could continue and paint this mural of their periodic happiness. Not when they each were drowning.

“Yo’ fat ass kilt my fucking son, bitch! Now yo’ ass really gots to go! Fuck not tryna hurt yo’ feelings! I’m over this shit wit’chu, Erin-Gray—

“Aye, bitch, get yo’ fucking hand off her, pussy ass nigga!” Kumar’s voice disengaged the charm she was hexed under when it boomed inside of the delivery room.

The moment West turned around, he was met with a punch to his eye. All of Kumar’s two hundred pound body mass was behind it, knocking West clean off his feet. She should’ve screamed.

She should’ve begged her brothers to get off him and stop staining the floor with his blood. But she couldn’t.

Just as she’d become numb to the relentless back and forth/ups and down between them, him finally receiving what he deserved made her numb to that shit too. How else was she supposed to feel after ten damn years of being Jaded?

Should Jaded: A WinterTale be turned into a novel?

Be sure to keep up with TaugJaye Crawford on Twitter and Instagram.

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