“And if you could turn your textbooks to page 47…” Our maths teacher, Mrs Miller, droned on to a simultaneous groan to the rest of the class. There was only one word to describe today- slow. It was the last day before the holidays and none of the teachers were letting up, each of them keeping us working until the last minute. My brain felt like it was going to explode and I needed to get out of this place.
“I’ll pay you to knock me unconscious right now…” Olivia muttered next to me, flipping through the pages of the text book deliberately slowly, rolling her eyes the whole time.
“I’ll pay you more.” I offered. It wasn’t as if it was just today that I hated this subject- maths hated me and I hated maths. And the teacher. A batty old lady with a bad haircut and a bad attitude to mimic it. She always had tons of textbooks and massive loads of homework for us, and I could swear that half of my schoolbag weight was just the homework she’d ever so nicely assigned us for over the holidays. Yippee.
The minutes ticked by agonisingly slowly- it was almost as if they had fixed the clocks to trap us in here and torture us. I barely noticed what I was scribbling down as Olivia and I talked about our plans for the holidays.
“Are you still staying with Callie and Arizona?” She asked as she held her fingers in mid-air, squinting her eyes and pretending to squish the teacher’s head. I entertained the thought of that actually happening in my head for a second before I remembered that she’d actually asked me a question.
“Yeah. We talked about it. I haven’t heard from my mom and dad since they kicked me out, and I figured if they actually cared then I would have heard from them by now, especially with it being Christmas. I’m going out tonight to buy them presents- I want to get good ones, because they’ve done so much for me.” I explained.
I hadn’t heard one peep or seen one sight from my mom or dad since that night. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt so much that it seemed that they didn’t even care anymore, but it was their problem if they didn’t accept me for who I was, not mine. If they wanted to talk to me, they had my number and knew my school, so they could move there asses and approach me because I sure as hell wasn’t making any effort to reach out to them- not after what they’d done to me.
There was a quick knock at the door and Mrs Miller crossed the room to pull the door open, revealing the principle teacher, Mr Wilson standing there wearing a serious expression. His eyes searched the classroom briefly until they looked on me. I glanced round at Olivia, wondering what on earth I could’ve done. It wasn’t like I caused trouble- I spent lunchtime revising and hardly talked to anyone I didn’t know, because I was pretty unsocial and liked to live inside a Netflix bubble.
“Can I have a word with Poppy Ross, please?” He asked, increasing my confusion further. I gave a fleeting glance to Olivia before clicking my pen off and standing up, avoiding the looks of my classmates as I crossed the room as quickly and quietly as I could. I approached him with a small smile before he led me out of the room.
“Um, sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s going on?” I questioned as we started walking in the direction of his office at the end of the corridor.
“You’ll see.” He said simply, picking up the pace of our walk.
Once we reached his office he pushed open the door, which allowed me to see the faces of two people who I wasn’t sure if I was happy to see or not- my mom and dad. Upon seeing me my mom rushed forward to hug me tightly as I looked my dad in the eyes over her shoulder. I could tell from his expression that he was glad to see me, but he didn’t look at me the same way that he used to. Like I was his little girl.
“Mom? Dad? What are you guys doing here?” I asked, probably rudely. They couldn’t tell me off though; since they were the ones that kicked me out and ignored me for a month.
“Are we not allowed to see our daughter once in a blue moon?” Mom asked as if nothing had changed at all. Mr Wilson stood in the corner silently observing the situation.
“Well the last time I saw you, you both told me I wasn’t the daughter you raised, so I don’t know where she is, but I can go see if I can find her?” I stated sarcastically, indicating o the door. My mom looked slightly offended but my dad continued with his poker face.
“Poppy!” He barked. “Do not speak to your mother that way?”
“Oh, so she gets to be my mother, but I’m not her daughter?” I laughed incredulously. “Makes loads of sense, dad.”
“Did you break up with your girlfriend?” My mom asked me shortly. I rolled my eyes internally. Did they actually expect me to break up with Grace? Were they being serious right now?
“No. I love her.”
“Bullshit.” My dad chimed in, walking forward to wrap his arm around my mother.
“Really, dad? I know you can’t accept it, but you’re so narrow- minded that you can’t even acknowledge the fact that we love each other?” I hissed.
“I have nothing to acknowledge. It’s unnatural, so it shouldn’t happen. Now, are you going to break up with your girlfriend?”
“Nope. Are you going to remember that I’m actually your daughter and get over your closed minded beliefs?”
“Then I guess there’s nothing to discuss here.” I spat, turning on my heel and heading for the door. However, he grabbed me by the shoulder to stop me and I turned round to glare at him. I glanced at my mom for a second to see that there were tears in her eyes.
“Poppy. Don’t leave.”
I yanked my arm from him and took a few steps back. “Mom, Dad, no. You don’t care, so stop acting like you do. You beat me and kicked me out on the streets. I’m staying with lovely people who accept me for who I am and who I love more than you ever did. I love Grace. Even if we break up, which I never see happening because she is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, I have never noticed guys. It’s always going to be girls. And you don’t care, because as you said I’m ‘not the daughter you raised and loved.’
And that was it. I stormed out of the room without once looking back; doing everything I could to save the tears until I was out of eye and ear shot.
I never cried. I was normally the kind of person who kept everything inside. However, a few tears made their way down my cheeks as I leant against the wall of the corridor. I sighed as I wiped away my tears away. If that was how it was going to be, then so be it. I didn’t need them. If they weren’t going to accept me then that was something they could deal with.
But, no matter how many times I told myself that, it didn’t stop the events of today bringing my mood down for the rest of the day. I barely paid attention to my classes, and I sat out conversations with friends. They all continually asked me if I was okay, and I assured them each timeI was fine. When the final bell rung signalling the start of the holidays, I hurried my goodbyes and promises of texts and phone calls before rushing home, eager to be alone.
I tugged on the door handle when I got there and sighed when it was locked. I quickly used my fingernails to pry the spare key out of a small crack in the doorframe. I turned it in the lock and the door opened with a click. I quickly went inside and dumped my schoolbag on the couch, plopping myself down beside it.
How was I supposed to feel? I didn’t know.
I sat there for a while just staring into space and letting my thoughts drift, soaking in the silence that rarely fell upon this apartment. How was I supposed to feel? Sad? I didn’t. More like disappointed. I don’t know if I expected it to turn out okay or not but I felt disappointed. I also felt slightly relieved- I didn’t have to worry about what they thought, and I didn’t have to deal with them.
It was a good forty-fifty minutes that I sat there before the sound f the door opening pulled me out of my thoughts. I turned round to see an exhausted and in pain looking Arizona setting her bag down on the table next to the door. She had worked a night shift last night and if this was her just getting in then she was bound to be absolutely exhausted. I stood up and gave her a hug to greet her.
“Hey, you okay?” I asked as we walked back over to the couch and sat down. She sighed and leaned back into the cushions.
“I lost three patients this shift, and I am fried. I’ve done ten surgeries, ran seven codes, and spent five hours doing paper work. Plus four traumas and two sets of crazily worried parents.” She summarized her day and I could feel my eyes going wide. I let a low whistle and she nodded.
“Are you okay though? You seem to be in pain.”
She sighed and rested her hand on her left leg. "Just residual limb pain. Doesn't happen often, but I've been on my feet for over fifteen hours."
“Yeah. So How was your day?”
“Well, my parents showed up.” I started, which made her sit up straight. “They basically tried to force me to break up with Grace and told me that it’s not possible for me to love her. Words, words, and I’m no longer the daughter the raised or loved. I’m done with them.” I said simply like it was no big deal. But it was true. I didn’t care anymore, and neither did they.
“Are you okay?” She asked, putting her arm around me.
“I’m done with them.” I repeated. “I don’t care. Can we not talk about it?”
We sat there for a few minutes before Arizona left to get changed, and when she returned she’d taken off her prosthetic and shoved her hair into a bun. She sat down beside me again and turned to me, looking scared of what she was about to say.
“So, um, Callie and I have been talking… We actually meant to talk to you together but we didn’t know because of your parents and stuff… And you don’t have to like the idea, just think about it, because we really really like you and I’m starting to see you like a daughter and so’s Callie, and Sofia absolutely loves you and looks up to you….” She rambled.
“Just say it.” I prompted. I had a funny feeling that I knew what she was about to say.
“Well, uh, you see, we were going to ask you about what you think of us adopting you.”