I had a hard time sleeping that night. Every once in a while, I would wake up, sweaty and scared, due to a nightmare. I was terrified. My body continuously shook. Izzy was awake basically the entire night too. Rocket was still on her mind.
"Jules, I can't sleep." Izzy whispered at the dead of night.
I sighed, I already have problems of my own. Why is she putting more? And those too - unless ones. I growled under my breath. "What can I do?"
"Can you sleep up here with me?" she patted the spot next to her - she had scooched over.
"Sure." I got up from my mattress on the ground and laid down next to her and played with her silky hair.
"Why did Rockette have to go?" she started crying softly. I got up into a sitting position and stroked her hair. She turned over and dropped her head into my lap.
"She loves you and you know it." I whispered into her ear.
Izzy cried louder and I shushed her a bit. "But she left me." she cried.
"Shh, you'll find another horse. I promise."
"She's irreplaceable." Izzy said quietly. I went quiet and stopped stroking her hair.
Anthea left me. She loves me. She's irreplaceable. What if she's coming back for me? What if...
I was left gawking at my thoughts and Izzy had fallen asleep. Children. A sense of warmth and comfort washed over me. I looked at the time on my phone.
I groaned. And before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.
My eyes snapped open.
I got up and checked my phone. Missed calls from Maryam and Ella. I rolled my eyes, they probably had some stupid excuse or whatever. I looked at the time.
Wow. I'm a morning bird now?
I rolled out of bed, thankfully not having to have to peel Izzy's arm off of me, since she was way in the corner of her bed. Don't know how she got there. Don't want to know.
I need to get some good-looking clothes that are going to be presentable in front of Anthea. Don't wanna look like an idiot in front of an idiot. She might think I'm mocking her. I laughed at my words. I went to my bag and looked through the clean clothes I had.
How about this beautiful stuff?
I took out a beige shirt and matched ripped denim jeans with it. I took out my brown boots and left them beside the washroom door. I left the accessory stuff in the bathroom so I could put it on after I showered.
I hoped in the tub and took a nice warm bath. This is so nice.
Once I was done, I put on my clothes and dried my hair. I clipped on a gold bracelet that Aunt Martha had bought for me. I looked in my make-up bag that only consisted of a couple of lotions and mascara. I took out the mascara and applied two layers on both lashes, obviously.
Getting out of the bathroom, I took my shoes and tip-toed downstairs. I was going to take a short walk and then I'd come back. Anthea's flight was at ten and everyone else was sleeping right now. I had tons of time to kill.
I slowly opened the door. Rethinking, I left a note saying that I was out waking, just in case.
I left the house and locked the door, taking the keys with me.
I stopped walking, shocked. I turned around and nervously laughed when I saw Grams behind me.
"H-hi, Grams." I stuttered, "What wo-woke you up?"
"Whenever you wake up, I do." she said, looking me up and down. "Where were you going?" she asked.
"For a walk." I said quickly, tucking my hands in my pockets. She sighed, shaking her head.
"Julia. I'm sorry. I should have told you the actual reason why you came here. And if I had told you about everything, then you would have never held that wretched knife. You would have been happy that I had told you the truth. Sure, you would've freaked when I told you the first time in Chicago. Anthea really wants to see you. She's ben asking of you and I paid for her ticket so she could come and..." she rambled.
I gaped. "Y-you know!" I was furious. "I told Tim to not tell anyone!" I yelled, starting to march back to the house.
"Julia, stop." Grams held my hand. "I saw."
Tears were threatening to spill out of her eyes. "Grams..."
"Julia, please listen." she said. I nodded. We stood on the sidewalk and I waited patiently for her to gather her thoughts.
"Julia Portman," she started, clearing her throat. "Your mother loved you dearly. She loved you and when your father died in the plane crash, she was left alone in Belgium in her mansion. She said she wouldn't be able to take care of you, so she said that she wanted me to take care of you. I took you under my wing and we've lived in Chicago ever since you were one-year-old. Yes, I lied to you about the adoption thing. I’m sorry. Then, she called me and said that she had moved into a cabin in London. She was scared from what her community was going to say to her.” Grams sighed as a tear rolled down her cheek.
I hugged Grams as the almost-risen-sun shined, “Let’s go home and sit in the basement.” I said, “We can talk there.”
She nodded, wiping away her tear. We walked and I saw a dead bird on the side of the road. Perfect. Just what I needed right now. How many sad birds have I seen so far? Three. I’m gonna count.
I unlocked the door and thankfully no one was awake. I checked the clock in the kitchen where I went to go get some breakfast.
We had settled down in the Virtual Reality room. There was a recliner and a loveseat. I sat on the recliner and Grams sat on the loveseat.
“Continue.” I said, taking a deep breath, waiting for what she had to say next.
“Anthea lives in a cabin – like I said before. She works in…” she tripped over her words, “In McDonald. She earns just enough money to send some for your birthday once in a while and to buy food for a living.” Grams looked at her hands. I urged her on with my hands and chewed on my Cheerios.
“She loves you so much, Julie,” she sobbed, “she’s been saying that she’ll come and visit some time and she…” Grams started crying and before I could even get up and comfort her, tears were streaming down her face.
I jumped up and, in a panic, hopped beside her and hugged her. She hugged me back and we stayed there for a while. “Grams, it’s fine. She’s coming today right?” I kissed her forehead.
She shook her head, “You don’t know what’ll happen.” she cried.
I started to freak, “You’re hiding something are you?” I eyed her, letting go.
“It’s not that important.” she said, “I’ll tell you later.”
I sighed, “Tell me more about her.” Grams wiped her tears away for the second time today and continued.
“The week before I told you we’d leave, Anthea had called and said that she was going to come to see you.” she said. “I told her it’s be nice to have a family reunion and all of us could meet in Quebec – here. She agreed and quickly booked a flight. We reached here before her. Oh, and you don’t need to hide any of this with the others.” she told me.
“Do they know everything?” I asked, taking the last bit of my Cheerios. She nodded.
I looked at the ground, taking in everything she had said.
So Anthea – my mother – cares?
A voice spoke in my head, stupid girl, obviously!
I laughed. Grams looked at me, confused written on her face in big bold letters. I started laughing so loud, I thought I had awakened the others. “W-what is it?”
“I’m going to see my mother after twelve years!” I grinned. Aren’t I supposed to hate her. My face suddenly turned into a look of disgust, “A person who left me.” I growled.
“For a good reason. She didn’t want to disappoint you or embarrass you.” Grams pointed out, sniffling.
I looked back up at her, “You think so?”
“But I’m disappointed.” I frowned.
“She loves you, though.” Grams said.
“And she’s coming just for you.”
Clank clink clank clank clink.
I perked up. “Someone’s up.” I raced upstairs and popped in the kitchen to see Aunt Martha grinning back at me.
“Good morning.” she said, “Excited?”
I nodded, “Morning.”
“Must be. Look at you! All ready and good to go.” she beamed. I looked at her outfit this morning. White jeans and a baby blue long sleeve shirt with pink flowers lining the bottom. She had her curly red hair tied into a neat bun.
“Did you have breakfast?” she asked me. I nodded. “What was it?”
“Do you want egg, waffles, pancakes?” she asked as she took out a pan and set it on the oven. I chuckled and said no. She shrugged, “If you say so.”
“Also, Grams is awake.” I informed her, walking to the counter. “We had a…”
Aunt Martha looked at me.
“A talk – of a sort.” I finished. She nodded in understanding and I went downstairs.
Grams had fallen asleep on the couch. I went to the storage room in the ping pong room and took out a blanket. I quickly jogged back into the room Grams was in and spread the blanket on her.
And that’s when I realized that I still had not checked out this family’s backyard.