“Priscilla Pimlott, please come to the front office,” the intercom called out, during her fourth hour class.
She had no idea what she was being called up front for. She hadn’t done anything to get in trouble since she got back. She was also still in the same foster home she’d started the year in. It was a record for her, along with still having the same caseworker.
“Lilly,” Mrs. Stiles said, as she walked in the office.
“What?” she replied. She still didn’t like Mrs. Stiles, since she still blamed the principal for trying to turn her in several times, but she did understand the woman was trying to help. Just like Mrs. Rafferty, she should have believed Lilly, but hadn’t.
“Priscilla,” an old woman asked.
“Yeah,” she replied.
“Guid efternuin, Priscilla. Ah am Gavinia Pimlott,” the woman said, taking Lilly by surprise. “Ah am yer grandmother,” she said, shocking Lilly much worse. “Damn thes scottish brogue,” she said, as Lilly remained silent, staring at her.
“I understand you,” Lilly replied, still staring at her.
“ ’en wa didne ye answer,” she asked.
“I think she was surprised,” Mrs. Stiles answered for her, when Lilly again didn’t reply. Lilly darted a quick glance at Mrs. Stiles, but returned her attention to the old woman.
“Ah suppose Ah coods kin ‘at,” the woman said. Then with a shrewd look said, “Sae, ur ye gonnae be loch yer maw, ur ur ye gonnae make somethin’ ay yerself?”
“What are you talking about?” Lilly asked, her anger flaring a bit. This woman had no right to come here and insult her mother that way, regardless what her mother had done.
“She was a drugged it loser an’ slept wi’ onie cheil ’at cam alang,” she said. That was it for Lilly.
“Noo Ah kin wa mom ran awa’ frae ye,” Lilly said, for the first time since she was little, speaking in the Scottish brogue. Her words released, she turned around and walked out, not listening to the woman pleading with her to stay.
Mrs. Stiles, not able to understand the thick Scottish dialect, just stood looking between the older woman, and Lilly storming away, not exactly sure what had happened. What she did know was that the woman had made Lilly mad, and Lilly had given her some lip.
“Wait here, please,” she told the woman, as she darted out. As with Lilly, she didn’t hear what the woman had to say.
“Lilly, wait,” she called out. Stopping dead in her tracks, but not looking back, Lilly waited.
“She flew all the way from Scotland to see her granddaughter,” Mrs. Stiles said.
“She wasted her money. I’m not her granddaughter,” Lilly said. “At least, not by choice,” she added, before Mrs. Stiles could lecture her about genetics, and family lines and all that crap.
“I know she made you mad, not that I understood why. God, I couldn’t understand any of her, or that last bit you said,” she said.
“You weren’t supposed to. She can talk proper English, if she wants. She chose to speak like that to make it harder for you to understand, and see if I understood her. She was playing with me,” Lilly said.
“Surely that’s not what made you angry,” Mrs. Stiles said.
“Nope,” Lilly agreed, but gave her nothing else.
“Lilly,” she started.
“Mrs. Stiles, I don’t really like you anymore, so please don’t tell me how I need to be nice to that bitch, when she ran my mother off and caused my life to suck so bad. Things are finally beginning to get a little good for me and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let her do to me what she did to my mother,” Lilly said.
“What did she do to your mother?” Mrs. Stiles asked.
“That’s none of your business,” Lilly replied, making Mrs. Stiles step back a tiny bit. Lilly was right, and she knew it.
“I’m sorry. You’re absolutely right,” she said.
“Is she going to try and get custody of me, and have me taken back to Scotland?” Lilly asked.
“I don’t know. I think that depends on how this meeting goes,” she replied. Lilly stood, still rooted to the same spot, looking down at the tiled floor. Finally, she did a pirouette and walked back to the office, Mrs. Stiles struggling to catch up.
“Aam glad ye decided tae return,” her grandmother said.
“Talk in normal English, or I’ll leave again, but this time I won’t come back,” Lilly said.
“Alright,” she agreed.
“What did you come here for?” Lilly asked.
“I wanted to see my grandchild, see how she is turning out. I’ve not seen you since you were a wee little one,” she said, and although she was now speaking clear English, the Scottish accent was still unmistakable.
“And who’s fault is that?” Lilly asked.
“There is a lot more to what happened between your mother and me than what she may have told you, and yes, much of it was my doing,” she said.
“My mother’s dead because of ‘what happened between you’,” Lilly replied, mocking her.
“I know,” she said, looking down, and very carefully blotting her eyes. In that moment, Lilly knew that as much animosity may have existed between them, her grandmother still loved her daughter.
“Are you going to take me back to Scotland?” Lilly asked.
“Only if you want that,” she said.
“I don’t know what I want,” Lilly admitted.
“Is it your intention to attend university?” her grandmother asked. Lilly nodded, but didn’t say anything.
“Do you have an idea where you would like to attend?” she asked.
“No, ma’am,” Lilly replied, and her grandmother noted the change to a more polite tone.
“I understand your grades are rather exemplary,” she said.
“They’re pretty good, but they went down a little because of what happened recently,” Lilly told her.
“Could we sit, please. I am not as young as I once was,” her grandmother said.
“Please, come in my office. I’ll wait out here,” Mrs. Stiles said. Lilly was tempted to ask her to stay with her, but decided against it.
“I understand you go by the name Lilly, which I assume is from your middle name, Lilibeth,” she said, once they were seated in the office.
“Momma always called me Lilly, her little flower,” Lilly said, unable to stop the tears from the memory.
“Lilly, may I call you that?” she asked, and when Lilly didn’t reply, she continued, “I know I cannot be the grandmother I should have been, and I am sorry for the game I played when you arrived. My intention was to see what you are made of, and as I suspected, you are much like your mother. She was fiercely loyal to a fault, which is why she left as she did,” she said.
“She never told me why she left, just that you made it impossible for her to stay,” Lilly said.
“I suppose there is truth to that. I did not like her husband, your father, for reasons we will not go into right now, and I made it difficult for them. They finally could not take my interference any longer and he left. A wee time after he left, your mother packed her belongings one night and disappeared, along with you. I am not sure he even knows of your existence, unless Mr. Wetherby has contacted him, as I suspect he has, or will. I had no idea where she had gone until I was contacted recently by Horace Wetherby,” she said.
“I have a father?” Lilly asked.
“Of course. Everyone has a father,” she said.
“But I have a father that might want me,” Lilly said.
“Lilly, you have an entire family that wants you, but I also know you have people here that want you. Although your father would have first rights to custody, I would be willing to sign adoption papers for you, if that is what you want,” she said.
“I guess I’d like that, if there was someone wanting to adopt me,” Lilly said.
“Oh, there is,” she said, and paused assessing her granddaughter. “You know nothing of your family, back in Scotland, and you have been raised as an American, so you get to decide if you want to stay, depending, of course, on your father. If you stay, my one concession is periodic visits. I expect annual visits to your home country, and I will visit you each year as well, possibly with others of your family. I want to get to know my granddaughter, and watch the remainder of your growing into a woman,” she said.
“I have a family,” Lilly marvelled.
“You have a large family, Priscilla Lilibeth Pimlott, Lilly,” she said.
After a moment to let Lilly think about her family, her Grandmother spoke again. “You have several options. First, you can come live with me, and I would dearly love that. I promise I will not be quite as stiff necked as I was with your mother. Second, you can live with another member of the family back home, and there are many that would dearly love that, or third, you can stay here. Think about what I have offered, and let me know of your decision. I will be staying here for two weeks, although the decision does not have to be in that timeframe. While I am here, I expect to spend time with my granddaughter, so we might get to know one another. I understand there is some sort of amusement park and I would love to see the...Mind Bender, I think it’s called,” she said.
Lilly left the meeting in a daze. She wasn’t sure what to think of the discovery that she had a family. She always thought it was possible, but never really knew. And she had a father, somewhere.
In the couple of weeks that followed, her father turned out to be a selfish man, unable and unwilling to extend any kindness to his child, unless he was to be compensated. Lilly had adamantly refused that idea, before the adults even told her what her options were.
She came to really like her grandmother, once she got past the overly prim outside image. Lilly discovered that her grandmother was a lot like her mother, just more refined.
“Priscilla Pimlott,” came yet another summons to the principal’s office, one week after her grandmother left for home.
“What now?” she mumbled, as she walked through the empty halls.
When she got to the glass door, she stopped. As the door opened, and she saw who was there, she turned and ran.
“Lilly,” Sherri called after her.
“She’ll come back,” Leonard assured her.
“I like the new look,” Sherri commented, as they went back into the office. Lilly had recolored her hair, sticking with the pastel goth look. She’d really taken to it.
It took a little while, but Lilly did return. Her eyes were red, the makeup running, and tears were still flowing from them. She was sniffling as she walked into the principal’s office. The few kids in the office who knew of her reputation, were unnerved to see her like that, wondering what was bad enough to bring her to tears.
“Why’re you here?” she asked, not very nicely, making them spin around.
“We came to see if you would be interested in coming home with us,” Sherri said.
“You left me,” Lilly replied, unable to stop the sobs that came out.
“Oh, sweetheart, we never wanted to and we’ve been fighting to get you ever since we left, I swear,” Sherri said.
“Lilly, we’ve tried to come visit, but you moved around so much we could never find you,” Leonard said, giving her yet another surprise.
“You wanted to see me?” Lilly asked.
“Yes, more than anything. We wanted to make sure you were alright and that you knew we still loved you and we were trying to get you, but every time we came, your caseworker was out and we were never told how to contact you,” Sherri told her.
Those words finally broke her. She ran the few steps and threw herself into them.
“I know,” Sherri said, rubbing her back, as did Leonard.
“No you don’t,” Lilly said, pulling away a little.
“I’m not who you left. I’m mean, and a freak,” Lilly told them.
“You’re not mean, but I do understand you don’t put up with nonsense,” Leonard said.
“And you are not a freak,” Sherri added.
“I am a freak. You don’t know what I can do. It’s not normal,” Lilly said.
“I know about the animal thing, but you’re still not a freak,” Sherri assured her.
“I’m not an American, though,” Lilly said.
“We’ve spoken with your grandmother, and your father was declared unfit, or some other legal mumbo-jumbo. Although it took a bit of work for Horace, we have permission to adopt you, if you want,” Leonard said.
“Only if you want,” Sherri told her.
“But,” she said, and looked down, unable to continue.
“What, sweetheart?” Sherri asked.
“There’s a boy,” Lilly said.
“There’s plenty of boys,” Leonard replied.
“Stuart helped me and saved me when I was dying. He saved my life, two times,” she said.
“And you like him,” Sherri suggested.
“I love him,” Lilly told her, saying those words for the first time, something she should’ve told him before she told anyone else.
“Leonard,” Sherri said, looking at her husband.
“Alright, I guess that settles it,” he agreed, but to what, Lilly had no idea.
“Lilly, Leonard is willing to retire and we’ll move back here, if you’ll have us,” Sherri said.
“Yes!” Lilly yelled, not even having to think about it. “Yes, more than anything,” she mumbled as she sank her face into them, not bothering to try and restrain her tears.
“I’m glad I didn’t put the paperwork in for nothing,” Leonard said, smiling at Lilly, once she’d pulled away, and started composing herself.
“You knew?” she asked, and they both nodded.
“Horace has been keeping track of you, and keeping us informed, and of course there were plenty of news reports recently, considering how you managed to uncover an illegal research project,” Leonard said.
“I keep telling everyone I’m trouble, but like everything else, no one believes me,” she said.
“We definitely believe you,” Sherri said with a smirk, “But that’s part of why we love you so much,” Sherri said, bringing her into a bear hug.
“Are you done with testifying?” Leonard asked, when they parted.
“I think so,” she replied.
“Lilly, I’m curious. What’s that dog tag you’re wearing? It doesn’t exactly go with the rest of your look,” Sherri said. Both of them were surprised to see tears start bubbling up in her eyes.
“When I was being chased, Max protected me. He was killed,” she said. Sherri pulled her into another hug, this time giving her comfort.