The Secret Life of Skylar Graham

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Chapter 1

Having a free a second on a Monday morning usually means that Gracie, Hannah and I are sat in the sixth form common room laughing a Jamie stuffing cheese crackers into his mouth and attempting to talk, I look around the room as I see everyone’s eyes drawn to the decade-old box TV in the corner of the room. A young blonde woman stood in front of the river themes with a news banner scrolling at the bottom of the screen, ‘helicopter crash at Archbishop park involving three passengers and the pilot’ I raise from my seat and turn the TV as loud as it goes. “Today as you can see there is a firey reck of a helicopter behind me in the Archbishop’s park, we are currently unsure of the owner of the aircraft or of their condition, we have been made aware that there has been a fatality, out of the three passengers and the pilot. We do have a video clip of the helicopter moments before the crash.”

The broken screen flickers slightly as a royal blue helicopter appears on the screen as the blades cut through the air. The side door open as I can barely make out the person waving to the people sat on the London Eye. The door slides closed again as the aircraft flies forward at an accelerated speed as the aircraft weaves slightly, catching the blade on a wire steadying the bridge. The helicopter spins out of control, one of the blades bent beyond repair, as smoke surrounds the aircraft the machine slowly lowering in height. Until it eventually falls to the ground and rolling against the grass, chucking mud and grass into the air, before sliding to a stop. I stubble backwards slightly falling against the wall behind me, the crash looks horrific, I highly doubt that anyone would have survived.

the blonde woman appears on the screen and she appears to be listening to something through her earpiece, her expression is concerned and sad, “We have just been informed of the three people that were on the aircraft, I am just waiting until family members have been alerted, to reveal identities.” the screen switches to footage of ambulance doors being closed and then driving at full speed down the round to the hospital. The blonde woman appears on the screen with a sad expression on her face, “I can now reveal that the people on the aircraft was, David Horne the pilot, Andrew Williams, and Bradley Graham. Members of the broken-up band, The Milton’s, I can reveal that Mr Horne had a heart attack during their trip around London today causing them to crash, Mr Horne died during impact, Andrew Williams and Bradley Graham, I currently in intensive care but have not yet been reported on the extent of their injuries. I wish well to the families of these greatly inspirational men.”

I sit back down at the small rectangular table, with one wobbly leg that becomes greatly apparent when I attempt to rest my elbow on the surface and end up elbowing myself in the stomach, which is when I feel my phone begin to vibrate in my pocket ‘B’ I look around the room and see that no one is really paying attention, they’ve all gone back to their previous conversations, I walking into ‘the nature garden’ which is essentially is an enclosed courtyard with a concrete flower bed in the centre which is falling apart and full of weeds.

I accept the call and press the call to my ear, “Skye?” Brooklyn’s voice seeps through the speaker, her voice cracks and she sobs slightly, “I saw ‘B’ is he okay?” she composes herself and takes a deep breathe, “At the moment it just looks like couple broken ribs and a bruised lung, but Skye, I need you here, I sent Steven to your school, Dad would want you here, your Mum said it is okay.” I look back to the sixth-form common room and take a deep breath, and almost on cue our headmaster Mr Daniels and Steven burst through the door, I hang up my phone and rush into the room, “Skylar Howard?” All eyes fall behind them both to where I was stood, I tap on Steven’s shoulder and he spins smiling sadly, “Miss G.” I smile at him before running to grab my purse. I walk back towards Steven and Mr Daniels, “Miss G. your sister asked me to pick you up, your father would want you with him.” I nod before looping my arm with his and rushing towards the blacked-out SUV leaving my school in a state of total confusion.

We arrive at the hospital, every entrance crawling with press hoping to get a shot of saddened celebrities and family members. I pull my hoodie over my head and place sunglasses over my eyes, tucking my hair behind my neck, covering it with the cloth of my hoodie. I climb out and cover my face with my hands as Steven protects my body from the pushing press towards me, trying to get a glance of who I am. I hide my face as much as I can, I finally get into the hospital and run down a hallway, I press my phone to my ear and press my back against a wall. “Skye?” Brooklyn’s voice sounds broken as she speaks, “Where is Dad’s room?” she tells me the details and I run up the stairs not wanting to wait for the elevator, I spot more security outside a door and at that moment I know that’s where Dad is, as I walk past them they give me sympathetic looks. Brooklyn sees me and with her wet and puffy eyes she stands up and runs over pulling me into a hug squeezing me tightly in her arms, Chris staying sat on the floor far away from everyone, I smile as I walk past squeezing his hand in mine, I walk over to Dad and kiss his cheek, I turn back to my sister and force a smile, “What have the doctors said?” she sits back in the armchair beside the bed, “They said he should wake up within the next hour.” I nod and sit at the foot of the bed, waiting patiently for my Dad to wake up.

I’ve been sat in this insanely uncomfortable for enough time that I understand why Chris is sat on the floor rather than this chair, it may be more comfortable than this ‘chair’ if you could even call this monstrosity a chair. When I hear the crocky voice that I have been begging to hear. “Are those my gorgeous children I see?” I smile as I hear my Dad’s voice, “Steven! Get a doctor!” I leap towards him wrapping my arms around his body, finally letting the tear I have been holding in, fall. “No more helicopters for you Dad.” he lets out a hearty chuckle. As he squeezes me in his arms. I pull back and look and him, he brushes a hair out of my face.

Georgia, Dad’s assistant comes running in “Mr Graham, I don’t mean to cause any more stress for you all but I feel you should see this, she pulled out her tablet and presses play on the video, the same blonde report stood outside my school with Jessica - my ex-best friend - “I think that this is one of the biggest news stories of the century, I am stood here with Jessica Daniels, she is a student here at Kingston College, so, Jessica, you feel that the world must know something about one of your classmates?” she lets a malicious smile spread across her face, “Yes, many of my classmates know our fellow classmate, Skylar Howard, not many people know that isn’t even her real name, she is, in fact, Skylar Graham, daughter of Bradley Graham, she even ran out of school to go to her father’s side after the accident.” the reporters eyes bulge out her head, I lose all my breathe, I can’t breathe. “How do you know that she is, in fact, the daughter of Bradley Graham and not who she says she is?” she smiles in the same evil way, “Quite simply, she told me.” I shake my head. “NO, I DIDN’T!” Dad leans forward and pulls me tightly in for a hug. “Skye, it’s okay.” I feel tear run down my face, “Dad! It’s not okay! Everything is going to change! I’m not just Skylar Howard, the girl next door, I’m Skylar Graham, Daughter of a famous rock god and now everyone knows it!”

I bury my head in his shoulder try my hardest to catch my breath. “Skylar this is going to be difficult, but we have a couple of decisions to make to comment on this topic. Firstly, we can deny it say we’ve never met or we say that I am old friends with your Mum, but you’re not my daughter, or we can own it, say you’re my daughter and explain everything, I’m not going to do anything you don’t want to.” I look down at my hands as I seem them shaking, my Dad grabs my hands to steady them. He pulls me in for a hug and squeezes me tightly, he brushes down strands of my hair down the length of my back.

I pull back and wipe away the tears from my eyes, “Dad, I don’t want to lie, but I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I want to openly be your daughter, but everything would change. You’re Bradley Fucking Graham.” Dad rolls his eyes and shakes his head, “Language!” I let a sad smile grow on my lips “Dad we both know you weren’t the best behaved when you were younger.” he smiles and tucks a strand behind my ear, “Learn from my mistakes pumpkin.” I smile again and wrap my arms around his centre, “I want to be your daughter, openly, But I want to tell my friends first, I want to get my stuff from school. I want one more semi-normal day.” He nods and leans to kiss my forehead. “If that’s what you want, that’s what I want to give to you but I can’t give it to you completely, I hope you know that.” My eyebrows furrow and I feel a sad look grow on my face, “I need to send Steven with you, there are rumours and so there is no grantee that you going by yourself will mean that you are safe, I need you to be safe Skylar.” I lower my eyes to the floor and nod, as I lean into his chest. He wraps his arms around me.

And at that moment, an idea twigs in my head, “I have a couple of conditions, I don’t see him, he is there in the background, kind of like he’s undercover, I want that day to be as normal as possible. Please, Dad...” He closes his eye for a second and looks to his lap “Okay, but I need to be safe, safer than safe!” I smile and jump into his arms a great big smile on my face, Brooklyn runs up behind us and squeezes us into a group hug.

Dad pulls away again before looking at all of us. “Can you girls go find Caroline, I need to speak to her a moment, alone, if that’s okay?” We all nod and stand again smiling as we walk out in to the hallway.

Brooklyn looks at me, “We are going to get coffee, you good?” I nod

“Yeah I’ll join you in a sec.” she smiles and walks along the hallway towards the elevator.

I walk up to the nurses desk when a young blonde girl looks up at me. “Hi can you call a doctor up to this floor, she’s my Mum and my Dad is asking after her.” She smiles and nods. “Dr VinDaniels - Howard” she smiles as she looks at me.

“I thought you look familiar, Caroline is always gushing over you, Evelyn and Aria. I’ll call her up now.” I smile and take a seat on more extremely uncomfortable hospital chairs when within minutes the elevator dings open again. Mum spots me and speed walks towards me. I’ve never seen her in full hospital gear. She’s wear a royal blue blouse with black suit pants and a white coat over the top. She looks so professional, it’s almost inspiring to look at her alone.

“I’m so sorry pumpkin, I always though Jessie was a nice girl, but for her to do this, I’m gobsmacked. It’s appalling. Are you okay?” She rests her hand on my arm with sympathetic eyes. Which always make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, the make me feel like everything will be okay, but right now they aren’t doing the job.

“It sucks, but I’m okay. We’ll figure it out, but anyway you should go speak to Dad he’s waiting for you.” She smiles and nods

“And I don’t even have to ask which room he’s in.” I jokingly gawk at her.

“Is it possibly the security outside the room?” She giggles to herself.
“Possibly, but I most definitely didn’t look on the system to see what room he was in when I found out he was here.” I giggle to myself as she sarcastically speaks to me before she turns and winks at me before she walks into Dad’s room.

I go up to the young nurse from earlier and smile at her. “Hi again, thank you for call my Mum.” She smiles at full turns on her chair.

“No worries.” She smiles and looks back down at her computer.

“I don’t suppose there are vending machines or anything, I don’t want to go to far from my Dad.” She smiles sympathetically

“If you go down the hallway to the right of this desk there are some right at the end.” I smile and thank her again before walking down the hall, buying myself a bottle of water and a tube of fruit pastilles. I pull my phone out my pocket for the first time since leaving school and I have nearly a hundred messages already. I switch it off and place it back in my pocket I slowly walk back to the room.

As I go to walk in I notice that my Mum is still in the room so I stand beside the security. Smiling and munching on my sweets placing my water bottle of water beside my feet. “I don’t like idea of Skylar coming out Bradley.” I hear Mum’s voice breaks a she says my name, making my ear prick.

“I don’t either Car” Dad seams just as sad about the situation.

“But Brad, she’s just got over everything from the summer after school finished. I saw her eat a bag of sweets the other day. She skipped a workout afterwards aswell.” I frown regretting ever missing that work out wrapping up the remainder of my fruit pastilles and placing them in my pocket with my silent phone.

“I know all about her eating habits Car, she had a slice of the twins birthday cake, I’m so proud of her. It took a long time but she came out stronger because of it. We won’t let this hurt her.” Each word leaving their mouth adds another set to my workout.

“But Brad, this will hurt her. She won’t be able to go out for her friends birthday in the next few months. She’ll have to quit her job at the cafe, she loves that job. She won’t be able to go to the shops with Gracie and Hannah on her day off. She won’t be able to take her sisters to the park. The girls love that time, so does Skylar.” I realise every word leaving mum’s mouth is true, before I didn’t think that my life would change that much, but everything will change.

“It’ll be hard, but we’ll adjust.” I take a small sip from my water and attempt to throw back my tears.

“Well she won’t be able to stay at our house.” My mouth falls open at the words.

“What do you mean?” Dad speaks for me.

“Our house is safe, but not from paps, or reporters, or weirdos, it won’t be safe for Skylar.” I feel my heart break at the idea of not being able to stay in my bedroom every night.

“It’s an hour drive from my house to her school, that journey is ridiculous for a daily occurrence.” If it will keep some normalcy in my life I’d happily travel from London to Glasgow everyday to be able to finish school with Hannah, Gracie and Jamie.

“So she’ll finally get out of that school thank god!” I feel mad and sad at the idea of leaving Kingston, I just want to start this morning over, save Dad from the crash keep this secret forever. “What do you mean?” Dad gawks.
“Skylar told me a story about how she caught some girls doing cocaine in the toilet once.” In this moment I regret ever telling her that, you’d think my parents wouldn’t be shocked considering their past.

“What the fuck Caroline! If I knew that I would have sent her to a private school straight away!” I physically cringe at the thought of going to school with a bunch of snobby, rich kids and without my friends.
“Because that wouldn’t of been suspicious, going to a run down public school to magically being able to afford a private school. Plus you know what that school is like we went there.” I laugh at my Mum’s sarcasm, this proves where I get it from.

“When I went there it was smoking weed in the toilets not doing coke, but I get your point.” I laugh again at my Dad acting innocent, acting like he’s never seen someone do cocaine, acting like he’s never done it himself.

“So much is going to change for her. Her body dysmorphia is going to get bad for a while.” I want to crawl into a ball in the corner at the idea of everything getting bad again, I’m only just okay again, it took over a year and thousands of pounds worth of thearpy just for me to realise I have a problem but to the to come back, I don’t want that.

“We can’t let her get as bad as last time, the excessive exercising, the bulimia, we need to be careful, we need to keep an eye on it and communicate everything.” Maybe because I’m aware of it, it won’t get so bad, I hope so anyway, I pray to god.

“I know Care…”

“I am sorry ya know.” My eyebrows furrow just as I’m sure my mothers are right now.
“For what Brad?” “For being who I am, for not have a normal job.” I gasp quietly, I never thought Dad regretted his career choices, he’s always loved music, I could never understand him regretting that. “I’m sorry too.” Now I’m ever more confused. “What are you sorry for?” I’m glad that my Dad and I share the trait of always being confused.

“Giving up before… before you took a big step, you took small ones, they should have proven to me that you were getting better for us, they did, I just chose to ignore them.” I feel a single tear roll down my cheek leaving me, speechless and confused

“You leaving made me take that big step Care, and I would have given up a long time before you did, I was shocked you stay for so long, but I appreciated it more than you’ll ever know, you four loving me and letting me love you made me want to get clean.” I don’t remember my parents being together, but I remember being jealous of Hannah because her parents were married and mine never were. I hated Johnathan for coming between them, now I know that’s not true that it was lots of different aspects, I still daydream about it sometimes, but my life right now I’m happy with.

“We still love you know know, more than ever. Plus you could never have a normal job, you could never run your dad’s old carpet store. The place would have ended up being converted into a dive bar that had the best band or something even more amazing.”

I giggle to myself, imagining Dad as a carpet salesman, Mum’s right, he would do something reckless and some how pull it off as always.

“You’re wrong I would have converted it into a club. With best DJ’s and best live music on Mondays.” I can never imagine my parents before I was born but right now I just imagine moments like this, joking and laughing kids, slowly falling in love, leading to this.

———

I look down at my jean skirt henched in with a Gucci belt, with a grey thick stitch cropped jumper, paired with white converse. I straighten my hair and put minimal makeup on before putting my bag over my shoulder and running down the stairs to see my family sat at the breakfast table scoffing down toast and cereal. I pour myself a ginormous cup of black coffee before sitting down at the table and giggling at my younger sibling’s antics and then there was a hard knock at the door, I sigh and raise to my feet.

I walk to the door and spot Steven with a large black SUV I sigh once again and open the door. “Hi...” he gives me a small sympathetic smile before walking towards the SUV I open the passenger door the same time that Steven opens the back door, “You can’t sit in the front of the car Miss G, Mr Graham’s orders.” I put on a huff and climbed into the back and took a bottle of water from the centre icebox, I take a sip and slipping it into my now overflowing bag. As we pull up to the school I notice the car park overflowing with press and news vans, “Mr Graham and I discussed with your headmaster about pulling around the back of the school to avoid the news vans. I nod as he pulls around the teacher parking. I climb out and walk towards the side doors. As I walk past student’s I feel their eyes following me, I hide my face as much as possible, as I walk into the common room Gracie and Hannah sat at our classic table. Jessica and her crew sat on the central table. I walk towards Gracie and Hannah their gaze moving from a video on their phone to me. “Hey Gray, hi Han.” their expression showing a disapproving look. “What do you want Skye.” My eyes fall to my feet as I fell my stomach drop from the sound of annoyance in their voices. “I want to apologise and explain everything.” they shake their heads at me. “Then explain.” they keep their answer short. Showing the pure irritation from my presence. I sit down and slide my bag from my shoulder and drop to the floor. “My Dad is Bradley Graham, my sister is Brooklyn Graham, my brother Christopher Graham, my Mum is Caroline VinDaniels, my step-Dad is Johnathan Howard. My parents went to school together, my Dad was year 11 and my Mum was year 7, they were kind of friends, but not really. My Dad started to get famous and got married to an American model, Bethany Hale. She quickly got pregnant. my Dad and Bethany got a divorce. He was clueless when it came to kids, so he called his old friend, who was training to be a paediatric doctor, my Mum, to help him out they became friends. He started to get death threats on Brooklyn, Chris and Bethany. When his and Mum’s relationship became more than friendship he kept it a secret, to protect her; when Mum got pregnant she was terrified, but they kept it a secret again, to keep us both safe. Mum and Dad were together for a bit but he wasn’t completely on the wagon at that point so Mum ended it to protect us. she got back with Johnathan, they got married had Evelyn and Aria, it just never seemed like the right time, to be honest about my paternity. But Dad and I are close, he’s my superhero. I wanted to tell you, I’ve always wanted to tell you but when I knew I could trust you, I didn’t feel like you’d believe me, and then I felt like you’d hate me because it took so long to tell you, So I wanted the way I told you to be completely perfect and now everyone knows...” The table went silent for a moment. “Why did you tell Jessica and not us?” I shook my head and took a sip of my water again. “I didn’t! I don’t know how she knows.” They are now semi-understanding. Gracie and Hannah look behind me and roll their eyes. “Miss Skylar Graham.” I turn around and my blood boils slightly. Jessica. I turn back to Hannah and Gracie, rolling my eyes. “What do you want Jessica.” she lets out an evil smirk. “Just wanted to say I utterly love your Dad’s music.” I smile and wink in the direction of Hannah and Gracie. “Well, my Dad utterly hates you.” I stand up taking Hannah and Gracie’s hands in mine, walking to our favourite teacher’s classroom, we sit cosily in the back eating our Belvita biscuits. Jamie then slides on the wooden floors from outside the classroom. He seems out of breath with his eyes bludging out of my head. He spots me and his expression mellows slightly. “Skylar...” I rise to my feet and run towards him burying my head in his chest. “Jamie! I am so sorry I didn’t tell you; I wanted to tell you a million times over.” He pulls back slightly, keeping me safely in his arms, “It’s true?” I nod slowly as I look to the ground. Feeling tears building up in my eyes. Jamie takes my face in his hands, “Hey, hey, don’t cry, you’ll be okay.” I shake my head slightly, “I don’t want to lose you, or anyone, but I’m going to if we do what Dad and I are planning. I’m not going to be able to go to this school, it wouldn’t be safe enough, I wouldn’t be able to go to the bistro, I wouldn’t be able to live in Mum and JonJon’s house. I’d have to be escorted everywhere, you guys would get annoyed with it. The life I know now would be over. I don’t want to say goodbye just yet. Today is supposed to be the last day of normalcy but it is just making me realise that life before Dad’s accident is what I want. The wake-up, go to school work a weekend job, go out with friends, go to sleep and repeat and in the end get a 9-5 job. That life will never be open to me now and that life is now all I want. When it was still an option of what life I wanted, I never knew what I wanted, I’ve seen what that life does to Brooklyn, to Chris, to my Dad. They have always said that privacy is underrated and know I get it more than anything, I don’t want this life just yet, I want my teenage years to be normal, I want to go see the new Marvel movie with you guys, I want to go to random house parties with you. I want to make stupid teenage decisions without them forming a reputation that will always follow me... But I want to openly be my father’s daughter I don’t want to lie about him, I want to introduce you to friends that I have made through him, I wish I could never have had this horrendous secret. I never want to lose you guys, losing you guys hurts way too much...” my three best friends run over and pull me in for a hug, which is when I feel my phone beginning to vibrate in my pocket. I see ‘Chris’ as the caller ID. “Chris?” Jamie, Gracie and Hannah all sit down and look at me as I put my phone on speaker. “Skye. There are news vans, helicopters all the way to bloggers gathering around the front of your school. We need to get you out of there, your headteacher is saying that it is distracting for other students. Me, Brooke and Dad are on our way. Caroline called your friends parents. They have called in and allowed the absence of Gracie, Hannah and Jamie. We are five minutes away, wait inside the reception, we shouldn’t be long.” I pack away my things as do my friends. We all run down the steps to the reception and wait until I recognise an SUV. Steven swoops to my side, followed by a man dressed similarly. They then hand me a black hoodie and place it over my head, they wrap their arms around my body hiding my figure and face. Gracie, Jamie and Hannah all run ahead, climbing into the car and I follow behind, hiding myself as much as possible. I climb into the car. The door quickly closed, and the car quickly speeds down the road. I look over to my Dad, “Where are we going?” he sighs, “Home.”

We arrived at my Dad’s Surrey estate within an hour, the second the gates closed, me, Dad, Chris, Brooklyn, Gracie, Hannah and Jamie all file out of the car. The second my feet touch the granite chippings the usual feeling of relief doesn’t rise through me, instead, I feel an overwhelming feeling of hate throughout my body, everyone knows and now I know that nothing will ever be the same, I will always have photo’s taken of me, I will never be able to walk down the road without security escorting me and that thought terrifies me. I lag behind everyone even Gracie, Hannah and Jamie who are looking around in a complete state of awe, Steven closes the door behind me after I finally reach the top of the steps.

I look to my Dad, his eyes are filled with sorrow and fear, I run to him and wrap my arms around his body, My eyes release the tears that they were holding in, the tears that I was forcing myself to hold in. “Skylar... I am so sorry.” I pull myself together and look towards my friends “Is it okay if I take them to my room?” Dad looks at me in shock, before looking towards Jamie, I sigh and giggle to myself slightly, “We’ll keep the door open.” He nods as his lips stay in a tight line.

We run up the stairs and down the hall to my bedroom. I immediately close the door behind my friends. “Oh Han, the jacket I keep forgetting to give back to you is in my closet.” Her eyes widen as she looks at all the doors that lead out of my main room, I giggle and show her to the closet. Opening the first door, in the selection of doors within this room. I pull it off the hanger and hand it to her. She gives me a concerned smile as we walk back to the bedroom are Gracie and Jamie are awkwardly stood. “Guys there is a wide selection of seats, choose one, you can even sit on the bed if you want.” I grab a blanket hung on the back of my desk chair and wrap it around myself before sitting amongst the pillows on the bed. I grab the controller from the tray place centrally in the bed and turn on the TV before taking the other controller and turning on the fireplace at the end of the bed. The TV left on the news channel.

“It’s been another interesting day at Kingston College, Today, longterm student Skylar Howard returned after rumours of her being the daughter of Bradley Graham surfaced just over a week ago. Howard was here no less than an hour before being rushed away by Mr Graham’s head of security Steven Heard. Howard was rushed away with three of her fellow students and longtime friends, Gracie Samuels, Hannah Gardner and Jamie Gardner. The car containing Heard, Howard, Gardner, Samuels and Gardner rushed back to Graham’s Surrey Estate. The car had three occupants already, it is speculated that the occupants were Bradley Graham and his eldest daughter, Brooklyn Graham and her twin brother Chris. No one has spoken out about the rumours and so currently this is all speculation, however, Bradley Graham has a press conference set for later this week to comment on the rumours.”

I turn the TV over to a music channel and throw the controller down on the comforter. “I’m so sorry guys. I never should have let this involve you guys and now you are in the news.” I bury my head in my hands. I feel arms wrap around my shoulders and inhale Jamie’s scent. “Skylar. This is not your fault. None of this. All you did to have this happen to you is being born, how could you have prevented that?” his voice and comments sooth me slightly. I giggle and take my hands from my face and look over to him. “Thank you, Jamie.” Hannah and Gracie awkwardly perched at the edge of the bed. The door burst open. “CAUGHT YA!” I look to the door with Brooklyn with a big smile on her face. “Chill I’m joking but if Dad had come and got ya instead of me you’d be in shit... Shit... I mean... fuck... Trouble and now I corrupting young minds.” We all laugh at Brooklyn as she pretends to hit her head against the wall. “Brooke, we go to a public sixth form in London. You seriously think we have heard that kind of language on a daily basis” She sighs with a slight expression of relief. “Dad wants you to come to the kitchen ASAP.” I nod as I walk into the closet. Changing into a pink Adidas taped cropped hoodie, black Nike leggings and my black Adidas slides. I walk back into the bedroom tying my hair into a messy bun on top of my head. We all run down the steps laughing whenever I almost fall over, whilst my slides get caught on the stairs. We walk into the kitchen and spot my Dad’s lawyer, assistant, Georgia, his press agent and a bunch of professional-looking people surrounding the breakfast table. I look over to Dad who is pouring coffee and handing it out to the workers. “Silvia and Georgia think that we should move up the reveal, today.” My eye widen as I fall to one of the stools placed at the island. “When?” He sips his coffee and places it on the marble countertop. “Now...” I let out a breathy sigh. “How?” Dad rounds the island and takes my hands in his “We’ll film a video, me, Brooklyn, Chris, you if you want to be in it, post it on every social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, tic tok. everything.” I nod and run up to my room, I pull pale ripped jeans over my legs as my hands shake, I place a black satin under-top over the top on, my body tucking the front of the bottom into my jeans, running my fingers of the lace that is at the top of satin. I place a few gold necklaces around my neck. I let my hair fall around my shoulders pulling back a few strands and pinning them at the back of my head. I leave my make up in the natural state that I did it this morning but top-up my eyeliner with wings and nude matte lipstick. I look at my feet and place black heeled Chelsea boots on my feet and walk down the stairs slowly. As I reach the foot of the stairs, Brooklyn is opening the door to my Mum, Johnathan, Aria and Evelyn, I run to my Mum’s arms finally feeling a little bit safe. I pull myself back she’s wearing a wide knit grey cardigan which she takes off and wraps around my body, “You need to stay warm, bean” I force a weak smile and we all walk back into the kitchen. Aria and Evelyn run towards Dad shout “Brady!” he pulls them both into a hug and squeezes them tight. He looks to Johnathan and gives a stern smile. But continues to hug Mum and kiss her on the cheek, “You look beautiful Caroline.” Mum eyebrow furrow as she looks down at her hospital scrubs and runs a hand through her greasy hair. “Brad, I’m wearing my work clothes and my hair is beyond greasy.” He takes her hand in his, “You always look beautiful Care.” She blushes slightly, before stepping back and leaning into Johnathan’s embrace. I look to my Dad, Chris and Brooklyn, who have both been glammed up, “I’m ready.” We lead everyone to the living room and sit on the sofa, in front of the camera that has been set up. After being given microphones and attaching them to our tops we start the red blipping light indicating the camera was on, I am sat in the middle, Dad and Brooklyn sat either side of me and Chris sat beside Brooklyn. “My name is Bradley Graham and there has been a large amount of speculation over the young lady sat next to me…” He looks over to me, and smiles, “My name is Skylar Caroline Graham. My father is the lead singer of the broken-up band, The Milton’s. I am proud of who my father is and I am proud to have Brooklyn as my sister and proud to have Chris as a brother, there will be many questions about why we kept my existence secret for the last seventeen years that I have been in this world, so allow us to set the record straight now, it is not because there was a massive scandal or anything that the media is saying, we kept my existence secret purely for the reason that my mother and father wanted above all else to keep me safe, to keep me from having a childhood in the spotlight, they wanted me to have a choice, to be able to choice between a life in the spotlight and a private life that I could go into town with my friends, to have a weekend job and having amazing normalcy, that choice was taken away from me purely for the fact that I wanted to know if my Dad was healthy. I have never told anyone who my biological father is, not because I wanted to keep it a naughty secret or because I don’t trust the people in my life, I did it because I didn’t want to be treated any more than I am, which is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in London and who has a less than perfect life within her family, and that is not because of any kind of event, that is because I could not be treated as a normal seventeen-year-old if our secret was out and that fact upsets me. But now I am sat, with my father and older brother and sister and I am completely able to honestly say I am happy.” I look to Brooklyn who pulls me in for a hug and squeezes me tighter than she ever has before. I pull back and smile burying my head in her shoulder. Chris looks towards the camera lens and smiles, “So that is the best-kept secret in probably the world, that is the secret that now everyone knows, all we ask is for a small amount of time to adjust to our new normal, and we ask that all media and press remove themselves from Kingston College, that is a place of education, and members of the press being their effects not only my sisters education but also their classmates, so we ask you to respect that and thank you in advance for everything.” The camera is switched off and we all stand up taking a deep breath as my father looks at the video before agreeing to post it, on every known media. We quickly watch as the comments roll in, some are kind some are shocked, some are not so kind but all I can think is that everyone knows and nothing will ever be the same again, and some parts of me are okay with that, others are terrified.

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