Though we were still sitting in the same kitchen I felt completely alienated, and out of place. Dad watched me carefully and began to recount how I came to be in their family.
“It was late one night, shortly after we had gotten married, your mother and I.”
I cringed as he said ‘your mother and me’ because it was a lie. If only they hadn’t kept this from me-- if only… But would it have changed anything if they had told me?
“Angela was upset because she was getting sick all the time, and nothing seemed to be making her better.”
Mom-- er-- Angela cut in. “We later found out it was because I was pregnant with Annabelle.”
Dad-- er-- Mike nodded. “So as I was saying, it was late, and I had just got home from work. Angela was in the kitchen cooking dinner and as I hung my coat up in the closet there was a thumping noise that came from the front porch.” He paused and cleared his throat. “Angela came running, she thought maybe I had tripped on one of the front steps. When she saw me standing there she walked past me and opened the front door and peeked out.”
From beside him, Angela nodded. “I almost screamed, because there was-- how shall I describe it… Well, Gen, you know what those baby basket parasols looked like on the movie the Grinch? There was one of those all pink and frilly sitting on our front porch. So I walked out and peeked into the basket and there you were sleeping, so small and adorable.” Angela smiled at me and then at Mike. “We took you inside and informed the police that someone had left you on our front step. We told them that our first concern was to find your parents, but that if they couldn’t well, we wanted to adopt you. You see, Angela had always wanted to be a mother, and from the moment she saw you, she loved you. So the police looked into it for months, but no record of your parents could be found, and by that time you were almost one year old. So we quietly managed to adopt-- you and since there was no record of a birth certificate we had one made to reflect that you were our biological daughter.”
My heart was pounding at this point, my mouth dry no matter how much hot chocolate I downed. So it was all true then. Everything that the King and Queen had told me, er-- My real parents. The crown tattoo behind my ear stung like it was telling me, ‘I told you so.’ I tried to ignore it.
“And then six months after we found you,” Angela told me. “Annabelle was born.” She reached across the table and took my hand. “I have always loved you and always will, you will always be my baby.” She looked at Mike. “Our baby.”
I wanted to scream or ask them why they had kept this from me, I had always known something was different about me. I mean come on for heaven’s sake, they were all blond and I was a brunette, or I had been a brunette until my hair had turned black as midnight two weeks ago. But not only that-- they had somehow managed to keep this a secret from our whole family, including my grandparents. They had lied to everyone… I felt betrayed on the deepest level possible. I had stood up for them to the King and Queen of that Fairy-tale place, the Fairlands, I had been so sure that the King and Queen had been mistaken.
Now they both waited for a reaction of some kind, but I was too emotionally exhausted to give them a decent reaction. I pushed myself up off the chair and stared at them trying not to cry.
“I love you both,” I whispered. “I just wish you had told me the truth.” I swallowed.
I wanted to tell them how much Annabelle hated me, how it was probably partially their fault she hated me because they had spoiled me rotten and she had probably felt in her heart if not in her mind that I wasn’t really one of them. I mean even a three-year-old can tell when someone doesn’t look like everyone else.
“I’m tired, so tired. I’m going up to bed.” I hobbled from my chair to the kitchen door. I wanted to ask Mike to carry me up the stairs but I couldn’t find strength to speak anymore, so I climbed the stairs one at a time and dragged myself into bed. It was only once I was in my pj’s and wrapped in my blankets that I allowed the real tears to fall down my face. I sobbed because I had always suspected something, I sobbed because I now felt like a freak! I mean how would you like to find out you aren’t a human but from another world-- doesn’t that make you an alien? … And I sobbed because now I didn’t feel like I belonged here, after all, I wasn’t really part of this family.
When at last I closed my eyes and fell into a feverish sleep, I half expected to dream myself back into Fairlands, but I didn’t. I didn’t even dream of hell-- I just tossed and turned. Now I knew the truth I couldn’t go back to being the same Genevieve; I just wasn’t sure who I wanted to be anymore-- only that I knew there was something fishy going on and I wanted to get to the bottom of it-- and if I did I was never going to be the same me ever again.