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   There are some phone calls you just don’t expect to get. For instance, where your told that you have a long lost sister? Yeah, definitely a scam. But here’s the problem, she didn’t ask for any money.

   I was sitting in the living room, watching a movie and eating popcorn. Typical thing to do while my Aunt Jilly was away at work. My other aunt, Jewel, was supposed to come pick me up later so I could stay the night at her house. She was going to call when she left her house. I already had my bookbag packed, so when the phone rang it was Jewel, right? Wrong. 

“Hello, who is this?” It was a girl’s voice, a few years older than me. 

“You’re the one who called, so you tell me.” I told her. 

“Sorry, I’m just nervous. I’m Maris Falls, and am I speaking to Noelani Coley?” 

   Typically scammers don’t know my name. They may ask for my Aunt Jilly, but not me. “Depends. What do you want?” 

“I was adopted as a baby, and I’m doing some more research on my birth mom. I think we might be sisters.” 

   That’s a lot to just tell someone, don’t you think? My brain was screaming scam, but my heart kinda wanted to listen. I’d always wanted a sister, but I was an only child who lived with her aunt after her mom died in a car crash. I find it odd that I can explain my life story in one short sentence. 

“I-uh,” I was doing a great job using my words. Sounded super advanced for a fourteen year old, didn’t I? 

“It’s okay if you don’t believe me, but I really think we’re related. Like I said, I was adopted as a baby. My birth mom came to visit me once a year, but that stopped about four years ago. Her name was Genevieve Coley.” 

“She-she died four years ago.” I stammered. That’s my mom’s name for sure.

“Like I said, we’re related. I’d love to meet you, if possible.” 

“I-um. Where do you live?” I forced the words out. I knew I needed to talk to Jilly about this, but she’d just tell me that I’m my mother’s only child and move on. 

“Orlando, Florida.” 

“That’s almost impossible, being eight hours away and all.” I was relieved that maybe I wouldn’t meet her, and this would all be over.

   Oh, how wrong I was.

“Where do you live, then?” 

“Hudson, North Carolina.” 

“Hm. Maybe we can just talk over the phone and email.” Maris suggested. 

   I reluctantly gave her my email, but told her I could only talk to her at school since Jilly didn’t have a computer. 

   My brain was in overload, so I was glad when Jewel called and I hung up the conversation with Maris. 

“Landon and the boys are coming to pick you up. They’ll be there in a minute.” 

“Thanks, Jewel.” 

“Anytime, Hon. I’m going up to Bell’s to watch a movie, but I’ll see you for supper.” 

   Bella was my other aunt, and the oldest Coley sister. She lived just down the dirt path from Jewel, on the sixty acres we had of family land. 

   Jilly and I lived in a trailer about fifteen minutes away. My mom and I were actually in the process of moving into Grandma’s old house when Mom was in the car crash. Well, we had plans and all our stuff was in boxes. We were supposed to leave soon, but we never set a date. 

   A honk snapped me back into reality, with my head spinning about having a sister and all. I decided not to tell anyone, and just have a fun night with my cousins.

   Weird decision, yeah I thought so too. 

“Lay off the horn a little. As much as I hate Mark and Herb, I actually like some of my other neighbors.” I said as I got into the car. 

   My trailer park contained four other trailers: Mark Stone’s, he always has his friends over to gamble; Herb the landlord, who’s passed out drunk most days; Old Mr. Carter’s, who likes to sit in the rocking chair on his front porch and watch the world; and then, my friend Sam and his mom, Scarlet’s. 

“Hm. I’ll just crank the music up then.” Landon replied. He had just kept his hand on the horn until I came out of the trailer and got in the car. 

   Landon is the oldest of the cousins. He’s Bella’s son, and seventeen years old. Freddy is the next oldest, at sixteen. Then Charlie’s fifteen. Freddy and Charlie are Jewel’s sons. They must’ve convinced her to let them take the car and pick me up, because Landon’s the only one with a license and he doesn’t have a car. 

“As you guessed, we’re not going directly home, and don’t tell Jewel.” Freddy turned around in the passenger seat, and looked at me. 

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” 

   We went to Dairy Queen, and then to some party. It was in a clearing in the woods ten minutes away from my house. It was a bunch of high schoolers, and I was going to be a freshmen in the fall. I knew some of the kids that were in middle school with me, but we weren’t close. I ended up watching the party from the branches of an oak tree. 

   Charlie joined me a little later, using an ink pen to draw on his hand. “Not much of a party person.” He told me when he came up there. I let him draw on my hand too, though I couldn’t see what it was because the sun had set. 

   The music got cranked up to max volume and kids were yelling to talk to each other, so it was only natural that we got the cops called on us. Of course, we scattered into the woods, seeing as everyone there was underage and there was a cooler full of beer. I got separated from everyone else. 

   I was walking through the woods in the dark, trying to find the road or something familiar when I bumped into something. That something turned out to be a human.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” The voice said. It sounded familiar, like Maris’s. 

“It’s okay. Were you at that party?” 

“Party? What par-Noelani?” It was Maris. 

“Maris?” 

“It’s me.” She said sheepishly. 

“Why-how? You live in Florida, what are you doing here?” 

“I, um . . .” She then told me the whole story.

  When Maris told her adopted parents that she wanted to research her birth mom more, and figure out why her once a year visits stopped, they had a huge fight. It ended up in Maris running away. She had already done some secret research and found out about me and where I lived. She drove her car all the way up here, and wanted to meet me. She didn’t know if she should just come knock on my door, so she used her iPhone to call me. When I said I couldn’t meet her, she didn’t know what to do. So, she ended up taking a walk through the woods, wondering how she was going to get home. 

“Lani! Lani! LANI!” It was Landon and Charlie. 

“Oh, he’s hot.” Maris said as she saw Landon in the moon light. 

“He’s my cousin.” I muttered.

“Nevermind.” 

   They told me that Freddy was caught by the cops, and they took him to the police station. We rushed to get home, so we couldn’t get in anymore trouble. I told Maris to met me at the park in the morning. 


It didn’t seem like I’d ever get to go to the park after Jewel and Bella angrily yelled and scolded us. Landon, Charlie, and I got grounded for a month. Freddy isn’t going to get his license for a long time, and he’s also grounded. 

   After Jilly picked me up the next morning, I asked if we could go to the park which resulted in me telling her about Maris. She actually agreed. When I asked why she believed me she said, “Well, after your mom turned eighteen, she moved to Raleigh to work for this guy. She’d already been working for him for two years, and the business seemed shifty to me. Lani, we didn’t know you were alive until you were three or four, and that was by accident. So, yes, I believe it.” 

   That was information that I was glad to receive, seeing as I hadn’t known it before. 

   Maris was sitting on the old tire swing when we got there. Jilly’s face lit up when she saw her, “That’s the girl that’s been missing for three days.” 

“What?” 

   Jilly told Maris to get in the car, and had Maris explain why she was missing/ran away from her parents. I had already known the story, just not the missing part. 

   We drove to the police station so Maris’s parents in Florida wouldn’t worry about her anymore. Maris wasn’t happy about it, but she called her parents and explained everything. Some officers were going to drive with her down to Orlando to make sure she got back home. 

   But that wasn’t the best news: we got a DNA test run, and it proved that Maris is, in fact, my half sister. I was allowed to email and talk to her on the phone, and Jilly said that if we have enough money at the end of this summer we would go visit her down in Florida. 

   I guess if anyone ever asked what the weirdest phone call I received was, I’d say the one where I found out I have a sister. 

February 23, 2020 13:53

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