The Family Secret
Sam sat at her computer, hunting for something on Google in an attempt to occupy herself while waiting for Morgan and Tia to get home. As her fingers flew over the keys, she occasionally glanced at the clock. She sighed and blew out a puff of air, inflating her cheeks and briefly giving her face the appearance of a chipmunk. She then went back to her search for dolphin wallpaper for her desktop background. Dolphins were her favorite animal and there were examples of her obsession peppering the living room. Three statues of dolphins leaping out of the water stood atop an oak entertainment center, a two-foot wide rectangular picture clock was on the furthest wall from the door, and smaller statues sat on thin display shelves on the wall behind a chocolate brown couch. Joining the dolphins on the walls were framed pictures of the three sisters and their families. There were also shelves containing figurines of Italian greyhounds, horses and large number of anime characters.
Next to the couch, facing the wall, was an oak computer desk with a plush leather office chair where Sam currently sat. The desk was covered in various anime figures and memorabilia. There was barely room for her keyboard and mouse.
Sam heard the front door open and immediately turned off the monitor. “Sooo,” she said, popping her head around the corner, “What’d ya get me?” she asked, practically drooling at the two large bags her friends carried.
Tia’s expression became playfully indignant. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. These are groceries.”
Sam cocked an eyebrow. “So then you won’t mind if I look in the bag?” she said as she attempted to sneak a peak.
Morgan playfully slapped Sam’s hand away. “Get your grubby paws outta there,” she said with a smirk.
Sam laughed, but Tia cocked an eyebrow. “I’m locking these in my room till Sunday. You keep out,” she said while pointing an accusing finger at her sister.
Sam rolled her eyes. "Oh come on. You know I’m only kidding.”
Tia chuckled. “Sometimes I wonder.”
“Oh!” Sam suddenly said with wide eyes just before dashing out of the room.
Tia and Morgan looked on in confusion but their expressions turned to understanding when they saw Sam return with a bank envelope.
“Here’s my rent. Sorry it took a couple days,” Sam said as she handed the envelope to Tia, who had been designated their treasurer when they had first decided to share the house they were renting.
“Don’t worry about it. A lot of people are eating out less these days,” Tia answered solemnly.
“Morgan, catch!” Sam yelled across the service isle of the crowded restaurant. Since she was only five-foot-three she had to hop a little bit to see over the head of one of the other, much taller, waitresses in order to gain sight of her target, Morgan. Sam tossed her a dirty washcloth.
Morgan, who was five-foot-six, raised her hand in the air and neatly caught the washcloth. “Got it!” She put the cloth into the bucket of sanitizer behind the counter and went back to bussing the tables in her section.
Sam turned toward the grill to ask the cook a question just as he dropped one of the larger carving knives. It landed just two inches from the foot of their manager, Anthony.
Anthony's expression became incredulous. “Jeez, Josh! Are you trying to kill me?” he teased. Josh laughed as Anthony picked up the knife and brought it into the back to wash.
A few minutes later, Sam got the newly cleaned knife and attempted to hand it back to Josh. “Here’s your weapon of death,” she said with a laugh.
“No thanks, I already got a new one,” Josh replied with a smile as he held up a different knife.
Sam laughed again, set down the knife and walked into the dining room. The restaurant, being family friendly, was bright and cheerful, with balloons tied in a bunch near the entrance and posters of ice cream hanging on the walls. She noticed a new group of people in her section and proceeded to introduce herself. “Hi, folks. My name is Sam and I’ll be your server tonight. What can I get ya ta drink?” she asked the four people sitting at the table in front of her.
“We’ll all have Cokes,” replied a cheerful woman in her early twenties.
“Alrighty. Do you know what you wanna eat, or do you need a few minutes?”
“A few minutes please,” the same woman replied.
“No problem,” Sam said with an easy smile. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
As Sam entered the back of the restaurant Morgan waved her over. “Sam.”
“What’s up?” Sam asked.
“What are you doing taking another table?” Morgan asked with her eyebrows raised and tone of amusement in her voice.
Sam frowned in confusion. “Huh?”
“It’s six-fifty-five, baka (Idiot)!” Morgan replied with a playful smack to Sam’s forehead.
Sam’s eyes widened. “Eep! Okay, gimme a sec to have Chuck transfer the check and we can go.”
Morgan snickered. “Okay.”
“Eighty cents,” Sam muttered in irritation on the way to her car.
“Hm?” Morgan questioned.
“That big group of kids—they had a forty five dollar order and tipped me eighty—freaking—cents,” Sam grumbled as she looked at the register slip that listed her electronic tips for the night.
“Ugh!” Morgan said as she made a disgusted face and unlocked the driver side door. “Oh hey, is Jason gonna try for his black belt again?”
“Heh. Try being the operative word,” Sam replied with a wry smile as she got into the passenger seat of the blue four-door Pontiac.
“You gotta give the kid a break. It’s his fourth time,” Morgan remarked as she started the car.
Sam shook her head. “Uh uh. Until he can get his form right he’s not gettin’ that belt. I don’t care if it’s his fourth or fortieth. I can’t pass someone outta pity.”
Morgan sighed as she merged onto the highway. “Yeah. I guess,” she said as she took the off ramp that led to their home.
“Oh, and take the South Street route. There’s gonna be an accident where we usually get off,” Sam said casually.
Morgan nodded. She was used to Sam’s psychic abilities so she didn’t even bat an eyelash at her prediction. “Right,” she confirmed.
Sam slowly stirred as the morning sun came through the window giving her auburn hair a soft glow. She’d chosen that spot to place her bed because she loved being up with the dawn. It made her feel more alive. But today the sun had a different meaning. With this sun came the long awaited day when she would finally be able to learn the secret her parents had refused to tell her until she turned twenty. She took a deep breath, slid out of bed, and walked over to a three level cage that contained her two ferrets.
She removed a chocolate brown female from her hammock, disturbing her sleep. "Hey, Rachel. How ya doin' sweetie."
Rachel yawned widely and stretched her back. Sam scratched under her chin. A small white female with pink eyes slipped out of her hammock and waddled over to the water bottle. "Morning, Kendra," Sam said cheerfully.
A loud snore disturbed the pristine quiet. Sam snickered and shook her head before putting Rachel back in her cage and running down the hall to Morgan’s room. “Hey, Morgan—get up,” she said as she gently shook her.
Morgan opened one squinted eye to look at Sam. “Maybe you like to be up at the butt crack of dawn but I value my sleep,” she grumbled as she rolled over.
“I’m with Morgan,” Tia said as she sleepily shuffled through Morgan’s door. “I seriously think you need you biological clock checked.”
“Then why are you up?” Sam asked.
Tia pushed her glasses further up her nose. “Because you do a fantastic impression of a herd of elephants,” she replied dryly.
Sam’s expression was understanding as she giggled. “Sorry. I'm just excited.”
Tia looked confused. “About what?”
Sam’s shoulders slumped in disbelief at Tia's lack of knowledge. “Hello, I get ta learn the big family secret today.”
Tia smacked her forehead with her palm. “Oh my God. I can't believe I forgot about that!”
Morgan laughed. “Yeah, I can't believe you did either. Sam's only been talking about it non-stop for the past week,” she teased.
Tia frowned at Morgan. “Shut up,” she said as she playfully hit her sister's shoulder.
“Well, let's get dressed then,” Sam said as she stretched her arms above her.
“You do realize your party doesn’t start till five don’t you?” Morgan said with a yawn.
Sam pursed her lips indignantly and dropped her head to one side. “Duh.”
Tia laughed. “I know I know, you’re excited, but damn it, I wanna sleep.” Sam pouted and Tia laughed again. “Just come wake me up at nine.”
Sam stuck her tongue out briefly. “Yeah yeah. I guess I’ll just go play Rift for now.” Rift is an online role playing game, of which all three women were avid players.
“Have fun,” Morgan said with a yawn. She then rolled over and closed her eyes.
Around ten am Morgan was in the back yard behind the house. She was finishing hanging up her brand new wooden bird feeder when she noticed Sam sitting on the tree swing near the edge of the woods. Her friend slowly moved back and forth, her expression communicating that something was wrong as she stared up at the clear blue sky. Morgan frowned, climbed down from the step ladder she’d been on, and walked over to Sam.
“Hey, girl. You okay?” Morgan asked gently.
Sam blinked rapidly as she came out of her reverie and sighed. “Kinda. I was just...thinking about what my parents are gonna tell me.” Wind rustled her hair as her gaze returned to the sky. “I’m excited, but...I’m kinda scared too, ya’ know? I mean, what if my parents are gonna tell me I’m adopted, or something like that?”
Morgan’s mouth twisted into half a frown. “I dunno. I guess we’ll just hafta wait and see. But just remember, your parents love you, and me and Tia love you too—No matter what happens,” she said as she gave her sister a hug.
Sam smiled as she hugged Morgan back. “Thanks, sis.”
By three P.M the trio was busying themselves with preparing for Sam’s party. When they were done the living room had blue and yellow (Sam’s favorite color combination) streamers twisted in waving loops along the tops of the walls and matching balloons accentuating the corners. The spacious kitchen was set up with a generously stocked snack table and a cake sat in the fridge, awaiting their guests.
“I think that’ll do it,” Sam said happily as she taped up the last balloon. “Dan and Lyndsey said they’re comin’, right?”
Tia sighed. “Ye-ess,” she sing-songed in frustration, “I already told you this morning.”
Sam blinked rapidly. “You did?”
“I swear it’s useless to tell you anything while you’re on the computer,” Tia grumbled as she put the tape away in a drawer in Sam’s computer desk.
Sam cocked an amused eyebrow. “You’re just now figuring this out?”
Morgan snickered as someone knocked on the door. She quickly crossed the living room and opened it. “Speak of the devil,” she said with a grin.
“Hey, Lynds! Hey Dan,” Sam called out.
Lyndsey, a short girl of five foot two with light brown hair, walked inside followed by Dan, who was several inches taller than her and had dark brown hair cut just above his ears.
“Hey, guys,” Lyndsey and Dan said almost simultaneously.
Lyndsey looked around the room. “It looks great in here,” she said with a smile.
Sam grinned. “Thanks!”
The door was knocked on again ten minutes later. This time opening it revealed a woman who was five foot four, had hazel eyes and had her mid-back length brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She had the same olive skin tone as Sam.
Sam, who had opened the door, pulled the woman into a tight hug. “Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, sweetie,” Mrs. Lambros replied cheerfully.
Sam's father stood behind her mother. Mr. Lambros was five foot eight, had olive skin, hazel eyes, and his dark brown hair was cut just above the ears with his bangs parted like a rounded curtain in front. He hugged his daughter and planted a kiss on her cheek. “Hey, Pumpkin. Sorry we’re a little late.”
Mrs. Lambros chuckled. “He just haaad to have his ranch potato chips.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Oh brother.”
Mr. Lambros gave Sam a hug. “Happy birthday, kiddo.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Sam pointed to the snack table. “You can put your chips over there.”
The three walked inside to await the rest of the guests.
Half an hour and four more guests later it was present time. Said presents were mostly anime DVDs and Best Buy gift certificates. Sam eagerly opened each one, fervently thanking the guest it had come from. Finally she came to the last gift and looked at it curiously. It wasn’t rectangular shaped like a DVD and it wasn’t small like a gift card. This gift, which was from her parents, was in a box that was about a foot square. She shook it a little and pulled off the wrapping paper. When it was off she squealed in delight. “GU-UYS! A Badger dual-action airbrush! I don’t believe it!” She clutched the airbrush to her chest and bounced around in a circle, squeaking in delight with each bounce.
Mrs. Lambros laughed and threw Sam's father an amused look. “So, do you think she likes it? I can’t tell.”
Mr. Lambros chuckled. "Gee, that's a toughie."
Sam squealed in delight again before nearly squeezing the life out of her parents. “Thank you soooooo much!”
“Take it easy there, kiddo. I’ll need those ribs for later,” Mrs. Lambros said in a voice that sounded strained from lack of sufficient oxygen.
Once Sam let go Mr. Lambros laughed. “I’m glad you’re happy, sweetie.”
Morgan picked up the airbrush box and smiled at it. “You’re gonna be able to pull off some awesome effects on your customs with this.”
Sam squeaked again. “I know! I can’t wait to try it out.”
“I never thought someone could make My Little Ponies look cool,” Lyndsey said with a laugh. She glanced at a Marvin Martian themed pony sitting on Sam’s small work table, which was really more like a glorified TV tray. It was covered in art supplies and had a tiny set of clear plastic drawers on the back of it for the smaller stuff. “But you pull it off.”
Sam grinned. “Thanks, girl.”
Tia came walking in with a cake lit with number candles. The two and zero made of wax burned merrily as everyone sang Happy Birthday. Sam blew out the candles and received her piece of cake. When she saw the type of cake her eyes went wide.
“Coconut cream cake!” she said, practically drooling. “Om nooooom,” she said as she stuffed a piece in her mouth. Her eyes rolled up into her head in pleasure.
Everyone laughed and proceeded to take slices of cake for themselves.
Sam waved as Lyndsey and Dan left. As soon as she shut the door she turned to her parents. “Okay, guests are gone. You can tell me now,” she said eagerly.
Mrs. Lambros cocked an eyebrow. “Impatient much? Give me a few minutes. I want a coffee,” she said as she walked into the kitchen.
Sam sighed and waited for her mother to return. Morgan put her hand on Sam’s shoulder. “You’ve waited sixteen years. A few more minutes isn’t going to kill you,” she said with a reassuring smile.
Sam sighed again. “I know, I know.”
Mrs. Lambros returned and both she and her husband seated themselves on the couch. “Okay, sweetie.” Mr. Lambros patted the cushion in between himself and his wife. “Have a seat.” He looked up at Morgan and Tia. “You girls can stay. I know it’s important to Sam that you hear this too.”
Morgan and Tia smiled. “Thanks, Mr. Lambros,” Tia said.
“Tia, am I ever gonna get you to call us by our first names?” Mr. Lambros asked her.
Tia smiled. “Nope.”
Mr. Lambros shook his head and let out a long breath. “You wanna start, Hon?” he asked his wife.
Mrs. Lambros smiled. “Sure.” She turned to Sam. “Okay, now no matter what we tell you I want you to understand that it’s all the truth and that everything we did was to keep you safe.”
Sam blinked in confusion. “Safe? Safe from what?”
“I’ll tell you, but first you need to know a little history.” Mrs. Lambros chewed her lower lip for a second before speaking. “You weren’t born in Greece like we’ve told you.”
Sam frowned. “So, I’m not Greek?”
“Our bloodline did originate in Greece but the country we’re actually from isn’t on any map,” Mr. Lambros interjected.
Sam’s confusion grew. “Huh?”
“The country we’re from is hidden...inside the Adirondack mountains,” Mrs. Lambros said carefully.
“What?!” Sam squeaked in disbelief.
Mrs. Lambros held up a hand. “Honey, please. I need you to be quiet. You’re making this more difficult.”
Sam frowned. “Okay...sorry.”
“Ten thousand years ago there were a lot of people with powers of the mind in the world. We call them psionics. There are some who can heal by touching, people who can see the future, telekinetics, all that kind of stuff.” Mrs. Lambros sighed when she saw her daughter’s hand raised. “Yes?”
“So that’s why I can do the stuff I do?” Sam asked.
Mrs. Lambros nodded. “Mmhmm. Anyway, people thought psionics were witches...and you know what that lead to back then.”
Sam’s expression became one of disgust. “Burnings,” she said stiffly.
“A large number of psionics, who lived in what became modern Greece, got together and decided they needed to find a place where people like them could be safe. They looked for a long time and eventually found a huge island. It was pretty far off the coast so no one had discovered it before them. They named their new country...” Mrs. Lambros took a short, deep breath. “Atlantis.”
Sam looked excited. “You mean it actually was real?!”
Mrs. Lambros nodded. “Mmhmm. But, just like everyone’s heard, it was destroyed. What most people don’t know is that it was because of a volcanic explosion.”
“Must have been one hell of an explosion to take out an island that big,” Tia commented.
“From what I’ve read it was one of the biggest ones in history. Now, what no one except our people know is that a lot of the Atlantians escaped the blast. There was a young woman named Kallisto who was an extremely powerful seer....”
The name her mother had just uttered hit Sam like a runaway train. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. “Did you say...Kallisto?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Yeah,” Mrs. Lambros answered, unsure of what Sam was getting at.
Sam’s heartbeat hammered in her ears as scenes of her vision from the dojo the other day flooded her mind. “Mom...I’ve had visions through her eyes.”
“What?” Mr. Lambros asked.
“I...I’ve been having these really realistic dreams the last couple months. They’re all like what you described. And two days ago when I was practicing in the dojo I had a vision so bad that when Morgan tried to bring me out of it I accidentally punched her in the face. I saw it all through Kallisto’s eyes, mom,” Sam explained with a troubled look on her face. “It was so real. I swear I could smell the salt water.”
Mr. Lambros gave his wife a look before speaking to Sam. “My Theos (Greek for God)...I knew you were gifted, but I didn’t know....”
Mrs. Lambros held up a hand to silence her husband. “Matt, we can talk more about that later. Right now we need to concentrate on this.” She turned back to Sam. “Kallisto saw the explosion before it happened. She told the emperor and he managed to get about half the people off the island in time. They came to this country because they had trade agreements with a tribe of ancient Native Americans and they were hoping they could help. The Native Americans sent a scout to lead them to a new home which became the country we’re from. It’s inside a huge underground cavern in the Adirondacks.”
Realization dawned on Sam’s face. “Wait a minute...that means we’re....”
Mrs. Lambros smiled. “We’re not Greek. We’re Atlantian.”