Author’s Note: This is a collab I did with the awesome author Katelyn Howell. I put her link in the comments below, please check out her part (Addie’s POV) and the rest of her amazing stories. She is going to continue this story as a series, so that explains the ending. Thanks for being here, I hope you enjoy it. Have a spectacular day!
I’m woken up in the morning by the chime of a text on my phone. I dizzily pull myself out of bed and snatch the device from my bedside table, swiping it open. One message shows up on the top of the home screen, partially covering the background of my friends and I smiling for a picture at the fair.
What’s the address?
My conversation from the night before becomes rushing back to me, almost making me regret what I’ve started. What will my Dad think when he finds out I invited our birth mom to the school party tonight? I can’t even begin to imagine.
I never told him the first time she reached out to me on social media. The first time we exchanged phone numbers online and I added her to my contacts. The most recent time when she asked to meet us in person, and I agreed.
I don’t remember her ever watching out for us, taking care of us. Dad doesn’t like to talk about her much. He doesn’t like to remember how she left him. Telling him she was too young to be a proper mother to us, telling him we were better off without her. After that, she left our lives for good. Or so they thought.
My twin sister Addie doesn’t know either, our mom reached out to me, not her. I changed our birth mother’s name on my phone to a guy’s name, that way if my sister sees she’ll just assume I’m chatting with some boy from school. She would never expect anything more.
I hop up from my bed and quickly respond to the message, typing in the address of our school. Then I go about my morning routine, perfecting my hair and putting together a cute outfit. When I get downstairs I smile innocently at Dad, smiling brightly and posing while they admire my outfit.
I pull a stool up to the table and pour myself a bowl of cereal, adding marshmallows and a generous amount of milk. Addie sits across from me, pushing around her food with her spoon and yawning. She’s still in her pajamas and half-asleep.
After we eat she follows me upstairs, waiting for me to help her get ready for school. Who only knows what she would wear to school if she didn’t have my help. An onyx-black, silky dress lays at the bottom of my bed, ready for my sister to wear to the party tonight.
“You like it?” I ask, waiting for her reaction. She never preferred wearing any fancy. As long as it was comfortable and served the purpose, she didn’t care what it looked like.
“Yeah, I guess,” she replies, biting her lip to hide a satisfied grin.
“Wonderful! Now, what are we going to do with your clothes?” I ask, leading her down the hallway to her room where we spend the next half hour preparing for school.
I got one message during the day. From our birth mom.
Thank you. I’ll be there.
I guess there’s no going back now, she’ll be there tonight whether we like it or not. I can only hope Dad isn’t too furious.
After school, I retreat to my bedroom to prepare for the dance. I tried to eat something earlier but only felt queasy. I’m starting to wonder if I ever should have invited her. Once my makeup is done flawlessly, my hair is brushed, and I’m dressed, I walk over to my dresser.
Inside the jewelry box that sits underneath my lamp is a shining, necklace adorned with three reflective gems.
Dad gave it to me a few years ago, telling me it was the only thing our mother left behind. She took everything with her when she left, except this one necklace. He says each of the gems represents a piece of her family before everything went wrong. One for Dad, one for Addie, and one for me. I loop it around my neck, the final piece to my outfit. If everything goes right tonight, maybe our family can be whole again.
Addie comes upstairs once I’m finished preparing, so I can fix up her hair. As she enters the bathroom, she eyes the curling iron in my hand like it is a sharpened weapon. I can already tell the next hour of fashioning will be painful for both of us.
As kids wander around, laughing in groups and holding drinks, I anxiously watch the edges of the room. Our mom never said when she would be here, I feel like I am waiting out a catastrophe.
After a restless half-hour, a younger woman with the same color as Addie and I approaches my sister across the room. As the woman speaks the guarded look on Addie’s face turns to one of anger. She yells something at the stranger and points at me.
I watch the scene cautiously as the woman then turns and makes her way toward me. As she gets closer, I can see the similarities in our appearance. Our chocolate brown eyes match almost exactly. Our eyes, Dad always told me I had my mother’s eyes.
“Mom? Is that you?” she nods, tears in her eyes. Her body shakes as she comes forward, reaching out her arms. She drops them back to her sides again, unsure if it is alright to hug me. I run into her arms, sobbing into her shoulder.
“Yes, Ash. It’s me,” she whispers in my ear, tucking a lock of my hair behind my ear.
Farther off I can make out Addie staring at us with a shocked, betrayed look on her face. She runs for the door tripping in her high heels and disappears out the room.
“I can’t believe after all this time…” I trail off, not knowing what to say. No words, no matter how polished, could encompass this moment.
“I know, darling. I know,” she repeats, her words soothing my uncontrollable tears. I know I’m making a scene, but I couldn’t care less.
We stand there for a while, just holding each other. As the party carries on around us, we cry in each other’s arms.
“What are you doing here?” Dad’s sharp voice interrupts the moment as he comes storming over to us.
“Please listen-” Mom starts, desperate to explain. Seeing Dad after all these years apart must be hard on her, I can see it in her eyes.
“Get out of here! Don’t make me call the police!” Dad shouts, brandishing his phone in front of us.
“Don’t, Mark! Please!” Mom begs, her voice breaking at the end.
“Then why are you here?”
“Dad-” I plead, ready to take full responsibility for all of this. I don’t want him to hate mom, not again.
“I- I just wanted to see my kids!”
“Why did you go to Ashlyn then?” he demands, not sounding anything like his usual self. He never raised his voice at us, not until now.
“Addie told me to.”
“Mom went to you first?” I ask Addie.
“W-What?! N-no!” Addie screams, seeming to despise all three of us at the moment.
“Margret, you need to go home.”
“But what about the kids?” she asks, looking between my broken expression and Addie’s resentful one.
“You're not seeing them ever again,” he says, his tone leaving no room for an argument.
So much for the whole family.
So much for the happy ending.