Chapter 31: Plot Twist
Whether it be in a book or in real life, there is always a moment that changes everything. Something unexpected. Something that will make you question all that you’d previously learnt.
The future doesn’t look the same for Kirsten now, and her fate has certainly changed. But despite where she ends up, Kirsten will be forever grateful of what Nala was about to tell her.
So here we go. Would you like to know the plot twist?
Oh, and I can’t promise you it’ll be the last.
“Please don’t freak out.” Nala practically begged me.
“I can’t promise anything.” And I meant it, truthfully.
As if on cue, the sound of a baby crying echoed through the room, making a feeling of dread settle like a rock in the bottom of my stomach, confirming the worst of my fears.
I could feel The Boy That Hates Books tense beside me, his hand reaching out to touch my leg. He squeezed it reassuringly before pulling away.
Closing my eyes, I whispered beneath my breath, “Nala. What the hell was that?”
“That was Mira. My daughter.”
The Not knowing is what hurts.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t anyone tell me!?” The tears pricking my eyes threatened to escape as I sat on the edge of the sofa, fists clenched.
“Kirsten do you want a drink? You need to calm down...” The Boy That Hates Books moved closer to me, placing his hand on my shoulder.
“Stay out of this,” I spoke through gritted teeth, shoving his hand of my shoulder, “I don’t want a drink, I want answers.”
The lump in my throat continued to rise as Nala began to explain the lies and secrets I never thought I’d be hearing. To be fair, I never thought I would see my sister again, let alone learn all of this about her. This life that she’s kept hidden from me.
“I’ll start from the beginning, since that’s the only place that seems to make any sense...”
“No. You’ll start from the end. I need to know the end before I know the beginning.”
A sad smile played at Nala’s lips. “You haven’t changed one bit have you?”
“No. But you have. And I need to know why.”
She took a deep breath before opening her mouth to speak, “If we’re starting at the end, then the beginning of the end is that I gave birth to a baby girl one year ago. I named her Mila, which means miracle.”
Nala’s eyes lit up like a star scattered sky.
The anger I felt caused me not to feel any happiness for her in that moment. Not a single congratulations left my chapped lips.
“And the Dad?” I demanded, but deep down I already knew.
I shook my head, nausea rolling in my stomach. Despite already knowing, hearing it aloud made it true.
The truth always hurt.
“I don’t have anything else to say to you then,” I spat, glaring in her direction, “All those nights of you crying in my arms, all of that heartbreak...and you had a baby with him!? How could you be so stupid...”
I was sobbing now.
“Do you know how hard that was for me? I was grieving because dad walked out on us, and on top of that I had to watch my sister slowly break down because of a boy. Then you left, everyone fucking left and you know what Nala? Mum left too. She hasn’t been the same since you walked out on us and I’ve been alone.
Mum had dad before he left, you had me before you left, who did I ever have? Alice and Austin yeah, but guess what!? They left me too.”
I cried as Nala stared at me open mouthed, eyes glossy with tears.
“I never knew you felt like this...” A single tear rolled down her blushed cheek, words almost failing her in that moment.
She’d failed me.
“Why would you know? You never made any effort to reach out to me.”
“I’m so sorry Kirsten I-”
“I knew nothing. Nothing at all.” I spat, cutting her off, “So maybe you’re better of out of my life, since no one bothers to be in it in the first place.”
Standing up, I moved towards the door.
“This is why you can’t skip straight to the ending Kirsten.”
The feeling of someone’s hand wrapping around my wrist forced me to stop in my tracks, turning around to face the voice. His eyes pierced into mine, causing my breath to catch in my throat.
“Listen to what she has to say. If not for you, then for me. I’m not good at reading people, but I know she’s not finished yet.”
“Make it quick.” I barged past him, ignoring the strange feeling I got whenever he looked at me like that or came this close.
Immediately calmer than I was minutes before, I listened carefully to Nala’s soft voice as she told me the beginning.
“All of those nights I was crying to you, I wasn’t upset at Vixen.” She paused as if she was struggling to get the words out. “I was upset at Mum.”
I frowned, my whole life seeming to unravel painfully in front of me. I wanted to burn the pages of this story. Burn them so that all that remained would be ashes. But alas, this was real and this was my life.
Nala could barely hold my gaze as she clenched and un-clenched her hands, fingernails digging in, “Vixen’s mum was having an affair with Dad. That’s why Dad left. Because he wanted to be with her. And you have to believe me when I say I didn’t know Krissy... I would’ve never slept with Vixen if I knew.
It wasn’t until Mum found out that she told me. After that she demanded I had to cut things off with Vixen, and that if she found out I’d met up with him she’d kick me out of the house.
I had no money, nothing. I couldn’t risk it. So, I told Vixen I didn’t love him anymore. I cut him out of my life for good.
What we had... it was love. When I was with him I’d never felt so alive. It sounds stupid but I swear. I knew it wasn’t just a fling.”
I found myself glancing at The Boy That Hates Books for a brief moment, before turning back to Nala.
“He still doesn’t know the truth. He doesn’t know he’s a dad-” Nala’s voice cracked as the tears began to flow. I wanted to reach out to her, but I couldn’t find it in me to do it.
“He hates me.” She barely whispered.
I wanted to tell her he didn’t, but I knew he did and I didn’t want to lie. Not like everyone else had been.
“We spoke about our future, about children, a house, marriage... I lost my virginity to him for fuck’s sake. That’s why he did what he did at that party. Because he was hurting and he didn’t understand what he’d done to make me act out like that, leaving him after all of my promises of a life together.
Obviously, things didn’t get any better after that. When I found out I was pregnant, I was so scared. Should I get an abortion? Should I keep it? Isn’t eighteen too young to raise a child?
So I made the decision to tell Mum, and that was when she told me to leave. She said she couldn’t live with me because Vixen’s mum was the reason she lost the man she loved. She called me a disappointment, said I’d betrayed her.
Deep down I know she was lashing out because she was hurting, but even so that’s no excuse to abandon your pregnant daughter.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I could only think of one last thing I wanted to know.
“Why didn’t you reach out to me?”
It was becoming harder to hold in the sobs as my sister broke down in front of me.
“Mum didn’t want me to have any part in her life anymore, and you were part of that life. I wanted to leave that town behind along with everyone in it, thinking I could cope on my own. And I am so sorry for that Kirsten. I regret it every day.”
Eyes begging me for forgiveness, I felt nothing but numb.
“But really, if I hadn’t have come here today would you ever have reached out? How long would you have waited? If you regretted it that much, you would’ve come to me. It’s too late for that now.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood up to leave, The Boy That Hates Books following behind me.
I’ll forever remember the look on her face before I closed the door, shutting her out of my life for good.
“You need to tell Vixen,” was the last thing I said, “Otherwise you’ll be hurting more people. That’s his daughter, and he deserves to know. Tell him otherwise I will.”
And in that moment, I’d never felt so lonely.