Chapter One - A Promise Bound to be Broken
I looked in the mirror in surprise that my sister’s shirt actually fit me the way I wanted it to. She normally liked her clothes tight, whereas I liked my clothes loose and baggy. While it being that way, I didn’t expect it to be to my preference, but I should’ve known since I’d always been stick thin, and she’d always naturally been a bit curvier and wider at the torso.
I walked out of the bathroom with my hair almost looking like a bird’s nest and my teeth unbrushed and walked up to my younger sister, Bri, who looked completely different from me. Our mother always commented on how different we looked side by side. Her hair was always straightened, then curled, but mine was always in knots because unlike her, I never cared. Her outfits were always matched together, neat, and clean when mine always had wrinkles in every given spot, and were rarely matched together by mistake. The only thing we both didn’t do was wear makeup, but she never needed it. She woke up looking like she had slept for many years and never had been out in the sun. Her white, clear skin was as beautiful as a golden neckless with pearls, which complemented her navy blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. Never mind her perfect shaped ears that were symmetrical and pierced four times; two on helix and two on the lobule. My skin was olive tone and my hair was as black as the darkness which didn’t go good with my grey eyes. The two things I was grateful for was my height at 5’5”, given the fact that all my family members were short, and my straight white teeth. Everyone always noticed how beautiful my sister was, but never said anything about me. I never minded it.
Bri looked at me with a scowl. “That’s my shirt, you know.” Her irritated tone didn’t seem to bother me.
“Come on, you know you’re just upset that you’re not the only one who looks good in it.” I joked while smiling. “Besides, if you want me to stop wearing your clothes, keep up on the laundry.”
Though there were maids cleaning the house 24/7, our mother listed us with a few chores that we had to keep up on. I did the dishes and made sure to keep up on the main kitchen in our mansion. Bri took care of the laundry and the dusting in our bedroom that we shared, but most of the time would slack off and lead me to doing them for her. I couldn’t keep up on all four chores all the time, which led me to days without clothes. I realized that if she refused to do laundry, then I might’ve as well borrowed some of her clothes to convince her to do something about it.
She curled her lips inward and turned her attention back to her phone while I thrusted myself beside her onto the couch.
“Where’s Mom?” I asked, looking over at her phone.
She pulled her phone away and faced the screen away from me, then sent me a glare and turned off her phone. “I don’t know. She left us with the maids again.” She said, placed down her phone on the arm rest of the couch.
I confusedly asked, “Again?” She nodded.
Our mother had been leaving for hours at a time after asking the maids to watch us nearly everyday. I never bothered to ask where she went. Mainly because I knew I’d always get such a reply relating to something like “somewhere you can’t go”. I tried my best to shrug it off, but something had been eating me up from the inside and my curiosity had been getting to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore.
“I wonder where she’s been going lately.” I suddenly broke the silence, not expecting a response from her. My mind persisted thoughts as fast as my heartbeat.
“I don’t know. Maybe some weird religion.” She turned on her phone again, but I didn’t bother looking over.
“I doubt it.”
She shrugs and raises her eyebrows at my response, clicking her nails on her phone. I stood up and paced around the living room until I noticed that was alone. All the maids had left to finish cleaning the house, and Bri was probably tired of me pacing in a circle for twenty minutes. After standing still for a few minutes, I decided to go off and figure out what my mother had been doing.
I remembered watching her go into the kitchen and taking a right turn one time. I walked in the kitchen, only to find my mother there.
“Good morning, Jen.” She said, taking metformin - her daily pill. “How are you?”
“Fine.” I quickly responded, leaning against the counter.
She put the pill in her mouth and took a drink of cherry juice. “Where’s everybody else?”
I hesitated, not wanting her to call a couple of the maids, which would’ve been the case if I had told her I didn’t know. “Upstairs. I came down here to get some milk for Maggie.” I grabbed a bowl from the cabinet hanging over the sink
Maggie was my cat who spent most of her time under my bed. I never blamed her. I placed a big, white, furry rug under there a long time ago and she had always loved the darkness, so under my bed was perfect for her.
“Oh, then I won’t disturb you. Carry on.” She walked away with a key in her hand and left the drawer beside the fridge slightly open, which was filled with other keys, but the one she was holding was different. It looked golden, and was very pretty—almost royalty. I never had seen that specific key before until that moment.
I followed her as she walked through a dark hall, then into a dark room. So dark you could barely see anything. The only thing you could see clearly was the door my mother entered, which was hard to open since the door touched the floor. It left behind a large screech as she opened it, almost making me cover my ears. When she closed it, I rushed over quietly and tried to open the door, but it was locked.
Stupid, I thought. Why else would she have a key? She always has it locked. Why didn’t I realize that before?
I sighed before someone behind me came in. There was a wall that shaped the room into an ‘L’, which was where I hid. I didn’t bother to peek over to see who it was in case I blew my cover, but I knew it was one of the maids looking for me, probably because I wasn’t with Bri, and I wasn’t where they last saw me.
A minute had gone by before she left. During that moment, I realized that I was wasting my time and decided to leave, but before I could, I had a hand grasping my shoulder. I turned around, knowing who it would be, but hoped that it wasn’t, and saw my mother there with an angry and concerned expression on her face, but it seemed as if she was only angry. Bri and I had been told to never leave the maids’ sights when our mother had to leave. We were forbidden to ever go into that room, but for some reason, I had to disobey one of her very few rules.
She pulled me into the living room and told all the maids to leave while she talked to me. Instead of doing so, she paced back and forth for an hour while I sat there in silence and watched her in terror. I knew something bad was going on in her head, and it had to include me.
When she finally snapped out of it, she asked, “Why did you go in there?”
I sat there, staring up at her while sitting on the couch with my hands on my lap. “I don’t know.”
“I ask for you guys to just leave me alone for a little while sometimes and to stay with the maids when I’m gone. Is it really that hard to keep to yourselves and mind your own business?” She flung her hands up at the last part. “Seriously, what made you go in there? And “I don’t know” isn’t an answer.”
Though I was seventeen, I was still getting lectures by my mother. “I was just curious. You’ve been leaving us for long periods of time everyday with no explanation. Why can’t you just explain? What harm does it do?”
“I just can’t.” She stopped talking and turned around while putting her hand up at her forehead, which was an open sign that she was irritated. Even though I was confused and upset that she had to keep something a secret, I was still pretty upset of myself that I snooped around. “Just promise me you won’t go in there again.”
I expressed how I felt by shooting her a weird look. “Why can’t you just explain for once? Just tell me what’s in there.” I declared.
“I-I can’t. Trust me.” She stared at the ground in a pessimistic way. “You have to promise me you won’t go in there.”
Of course, I sighed at her assumption that I, Jen Vinx, could ever keep a promise. She knows that. She’s known that for many years, so why was she asking then to keep one now? How important was it?
If it’s that important.. I thought empathetically. If I was ever going to be in this situation in the future with her, I knew I would ask for the same thing. “I promise.”
She smiled at my response, probably not expecting it, but wanting it. “Thank you.”
I gulped down the heavy stress I would have to cooperate with, knowing that my curiosity and my solid promise were going to fight their way through the room one day. In my mind, I knew that I would have to run away from home just to stay away from that room. I knew where the key was put, and if she didn’t move it to a different spot, I could’ve practically slept walked my way into the room.
My devastated stare at the wall didn’t bother her. Instead, she walked off to a different room to take a call from her sister while I sat there in silence. In order to have taken my mind off the whole situation, I was going to have to get real busy with the chores around the house, even if that meant scrubbing the walls with a toothbrush. If that’s what I had to do, I would do it.