Fifteen years ago...
Willamina Wallace was pacing in her bathroom, it was 11:30 at night and she had woken up from a dream, driven to an all night pharmacy, and rushed home. Her sister’s phone went to voicemail, so she dialed it again and again until Camille answered.
“Somebody better be dead, sis. I have a 7-7 at the call center tomorrow,” Camille grumbled.
“I had a dream... an amazing dream. I think I’m pregnant with twins, I can’t wait to tell Kent!” Willamina burst out excitedly, she heard her sister fall out of bed.
“Wait, what?!?!? Start over. Did you see a doctor about this? When did you find out you were pregnant?”
Mina laughed, “Calm down, Hurricane Camille. I told you, silly, I had a dream, and I saw twin divers competing. They looked just like us except they had Kent’s blue eyes and dark hair. They were so pretty, and so graceful. I was so happy...”
“Mina, have you even taken a pregnancy test?” Camille demanded.
“I am waiting on one now, Cami. Don’t be so grumpy. You need to accept when Kyle ask you to marry him, so we can be sisters and sister-in-laws and have our babies at the same time. ”
“I told you, Mina. It was a one time thing, it won’t happen again.”
“Don’t you mean two time thing that won’t happen again and again?” Mina giggled and she could practically hear her sister blushing. “He really likes you, he asks Kent about you all the time, he hasn’t looked at a girl since Sophia, and honestly, Kent and Kris were worried he had switched teams and was afraid to tell them before Cancun.”
“He hasn’t switched teams, trust me. But I just don’t know if I can trust him, I mean what if he’s a player like Kris or worse, Ron,” Camille almost whispered the last three words.
Mina got quiet for a moment, “You gotta let it go, Cami, they all went to jail for what they did to you and Violet. They won’t get out for a long time. It’s time to take a chance on a guy who worships you. He’s...”
“I am not having this conversation with you again,” Cami said in a dead voice.
“Well, too bad! I have your wedding planned already. I got 20 more seconds and I don’t want my sister to end up a spinster! If you could get married and pregnant right away then we could have our own synchronized swim team,” Mina snickered, “And we could call them the blue butterfly-ettes.”
“Have you been drinking? Cause that’s really bad for the baby.” Cami snarked.
“Babies! I dreamed it was twins.” Mina reminded.
“Just read the damn test,” Cami begged.
“Okay, two lines but one is kinda fuzzy... is that a yes or a no?” Mina was giggling as she turned the test around trying to figure out if it was actually two lines.
“Oh my gosh, send me a picture,” Camille screamed happily.
She was so glad her job gave her a three phone plan with unlimited sharing and automatic cloud storage, a perk she shared with her sister and her sister’s fiance who, unlike his younger brother, was trying to make his way through graduate architecture school without relying on the family money. Kent was a really nice guy and so good for her sister; he was the rushing river to her calm willow tree. They were the only perfect couple Camille had ever seen besides their grandparents in Colorado. Fairytales didn’t happen anymore.
Cami face palmed as she heard the call drop, her sister was the worst with technology. If Mina was pregnant, Cami decided she was calling in tomorrow to go baby shopping! She waited and waited and the picture didn’t come. Groaning she got up and went to her laptop. If Mina had gotten the picture, it would be on their cloud account. Her fingers flew over the keys, leaving it as her slow internet loaded. In the kitchen, she made tea from a pod while she tried to call her sister’s phone.
Finally Cami dialed the landline, “You’re phones dead again isn’t it? Willow tree, you gotta plug it in every day.” A strange muffled sound came, like sobbing, “Sis, what’s wrong? Willamina talk to me, are you hurt, do I need to call 9-1-1?”
“I... I logged into the cloud to email you the picture and... And Kent is...” more sobbing made the rest of her words unintelligible.
Cami rushed back to her computer, and choked on her own heart.
Camille was an Olympic platform and springboard diving champion, but a slip poolside during training after her bronze medals had left her with a broken arm, concussion, and unable to dive for months. When she finally got through rehab, she had missed the Nationals and the Olympic tryouts. It was a crushing blow the her spirit. It would be a 2 years before she could try to get her spot back, so she was studying oceanography and teaching swimming and water exercise classes at the YMCA. The three days a week she didn’t have class she worked at a call center, a job she hated but it gave her extra cash while she was in school.
In high school, she and her sister had been synchronized diving phenoms. Diving had paid for both their college tuition. After a missed dive their freshman year caused a shoulder injury, Willamina was found to have an undiagnosed heart valve problem that benched her. Camille had gone on to solo diving, and after making a coveted spot on the Olympic team, she had gotten bronzes in her second Olympic games. She was so graceful in the air and water; they called her the blue butterfly for the pattern of underwater bubbles her splashless entries made. Her sister and best friend had talked her into getting a blue butterfly tattoo over her heart, which had become a sensation and trademark.
Falling and shattering her arm had been painful, but not as painful as what she was seeing on her laptop. She never should have let herself fall in love with Kyle, not when she knew his youngest brother, Kris’s reputation for being a player on campus. Her sister was sobbing in her ear. The images were of the Hightower brothers, the men they loved at a topless club, being ‘attended to’ by several women, two of whom looked remarkably like the sisters. Shock wore off and it was replaced by an icy cold rage in Camille’s heart.
“That son of a... I... how could he? Oh, I’ll kill him! Both of them! I’ll cut them into bait. I’ll drop them in the Gulf for the blue crabs,” Cami ranted, biting off the urge to spew profanities, her aunt had raised her better than that.
Another set of images populated and Mina choked out, “Oh Gawd, I think... I... I’m going to be sick.”
The anguished voice of her sister’s misery dragged Camille back from the high of her rage. “Mina, log off. Log off now. It’s not good for the baby for you to be so stressed. I want you to go to Beau’s, and I’ll handle the wedding cancel.” Nothing happened so Cami, snapped at her, “Willamina Wallace, I said log off! I can still see your icon. Look sis, we’ve seen enough, we know the truth. You need to think about the baby.”
Camille watched her sister’s icon go offline, while she listened to Mina sob about how Kent wasn’t like Kris; he had never once gone to a place like that. Kent and his older brother, Kyle, had promised them both it was just going to be cards and cigars and a few shows for the bachelor party, not strippers.
“Right... shows,” Cami thought bitterly.
More images appeared every few minutes. Cami felt sick as she noticed a girl that looked remarkably like Mina from the distance and camera angle, but obviously wasn’t Mina. Her sister’s doppelganger was giving Kent a lap dance. He was staring at her with glazed adoring eyes as his hands roaming all over her. Over his shoulder, she could see Kyle with a woman who had a blue butterfly painted on her abdomen between her breast and her navel.
Cami shook herself, loathing that she had ever let him touch her. That they had hired strippers to pretend to be them for the bachelor party made her want to vomit. Enraged, she sent Kyle a text message.
‘We can see you boys.’
Two images later, she watched him looking at his phone. In the next image, he was back cupping the breast of the stripper who looked like her. She forced herself to focus on her crying, emotional sister.
“Mina honey, you need to go to sleep. You’re pregnant and the baby will need for you to be rested.”
“Cami, what am I going to do?” her sister’s voice waived pitifully.
“You are not going to worry, I have over half a million in sponsor money put back. I’ve never touched it. We don’t need the Hightowers or their money. We don’t need anything from them, you and me, just like it has been since mom and dad died,” Camille tried to sound calm and strong, but inside she was shattering as an image of Kyle with his face buried in the stripper’s cleavage popped up.
“You and me and baby makes three?” Mina asked timidly, quoting a nursery rhyme.
“That’s right, willow tree, only now we’re gonna have to find a new nickname, you won’t be stick thin anymore,” Cam tried to make light as her soul hemorrhaged.
“What are they doing now?” Mina whispered in a tiny voice.
Cami couldn’t lie to her sister. She never lied to anyone. She didn’t have that particular ability because her eyes or face gave her away. She couldn’t lie over the phone to her sister because her voice would give her away. “They are still getting lap dances and booby facials.”
Mina choked on a sob, “I’m going to take a shower and go to bed. Don’t watch anymore Cami. Just... It’s better... better that it’s before the wedding.”
“I am sending you a ticket to Colorado, just print it out, and take a taxi to the airport in the morning, I’ll have Beau pick you up. He is supposed to be flying out tomorrow afternoon with Grampa Ben and Gramma Dorine anyway. I love you, Willamina.”
“I love you, Camille. Just don’t do anything too crazy with your hurricane temper. Don’t hurt them,” Mina begged. Their grandfather had always said Camille’s temper was as bad as the hurricane she was named after.
“Fine, I won’t harm a hair on their heads, I promise,” Cami vowed, “I’ll just show them that a picture is worth a thousand words and I am really good with words.”
After her sister hung up, Cami stayed online to make sure Mina didn’t log back in. Kent’s bachelor party went way beyond a few lap dances and by 4AM, everything she had felt for Kyle was as cold as the water in Antarctica.
Beau answered on the third ring, “Camille? Are you okay?”
“Kent cheated on Mina, log onto the family cloud account. But don’t show grandpa or gramma.”
In moments, she got the response she was expecting. Beau was more like a big brother than a cousin. They had spent a year together on their grandfather’s ranch in Colorado after both sets of their parents had died in a small plane crash. Then Mina and Cami had gone to Texas to live with their mother’s sister.
“I WILL KILL HIM. I WILL FEED HIM TO THE BEARS!” Beau raged. He had always been overprotective of the quieter, gentler Willamina. It sounded like his fist was pounding on the bedside table.
“Easy Beau, Mina is flying out to DIA tomorrow then to Durango; I emailed you a copy of her itinerary. I am putting her on a plane outta here while I deal with this mess. The Hightowers screwed over the wrong set of sisters,” Camille said coldly.
“I’ll be there, tell her I’ll be there.”
“There’s one more thing, scroll back to midnight to the last thing Mina uploaded.” Cami held the phone away from her ear and waited for him to see the pregnancy test.
“I WILL FEED HIM TO THE COYOTES!” Beau roared, then ranted, “Oh Kent is so dead, I liked him but now... Wait, is that Kyle too? Those… those…”
“I know, Beau, but please let me handle this. Sis needs you to be strong for her till I can get there. I love you, big bear.”
“I love you, too, cliff jumper. But I swear, if they set foot on our ranch, G-d in heaven won’t be able to find their bodies.”
“I know and I’ll help you bury them. But right now, we gotta focus on Mina and the baby.” Cami swallowed hard, remembering Mina’s broken sobs.
“Be as vicious as you can, you make them pay, Cami, humiliate them. And I’ll keep sis safe.” He hung up without saying goodbye, Beau was funny that way, he never said goodbye.
She texted Mina that Beau would get her on the other end of her flight. An immediate ‘thanks’ had Cami worrying about her sister getting enough rest. Somehow she knew Mina had spent the night lying awake and crying, just like she had. It was a sister thing, a twin thing, even though they weren’t twins in the traditional way. Camille and Willamina were Irish twins, sisters who were born only 11 and a half months apart. Cami knew what her sister was thinking as the sun lightened the horizon, and texted her.
‘He’s not worth it. Get some rest before you call the taxi.’
Mina didn’t respond.