Finally, everyone had waken up. Grams’ eyes had snapped open when I told her the news. She had literally jumped up. I slowed her and told her that rushing her body wasn’t a great idea for her fragile body.
It took some time to wake up Ave, but begrudgingly, he woke up. Aunt Martha woke Tim and Uncle Sim who opened their eyes and got out of bed without a problem.
Izzy took a while because as soon as she woke up, she started crying. Last night, we had gotten a call saying that Rockette had been put down. She was in way too much pain because her irresponsible rider had kept her in the arena to do exercises to prepare for the competition when he knew that Rockette was lame.
The instructors had agreed that it was the best option. According to the rumors, that rider had fled from this city to go to some other city. Montreal I think, they said.
“You guys are supposed to be downstairs as soon as you’re ready.” I said to Ave and Izzy when they were in the doorway. Their rooms were right next to each other so that had made life seriously easier. I just called Ave’s name from the stairs and he woke up. That didn’t take much effort.
I was sitting on the couch in the living room, all tensed up. I was still nervous. I started biting my nails. What if she hates me when she sees me and she leaves? Where is she going to stay? We’re leaving Quebec the day after tomorrow. I got up and started pacing around the room.
Tim came in. “Nervous, huh?”
“What if she doesn’t like me and she leaves again?” I asked. He sat down on the couch where I had been sitting.
Tim laughed. “You’re such a worry wart.” I noticed he was wearing the cap I had given him.
“Ha, you like the cap, huh?” I said, mimicking his “huh”. I swear I caught his cheeks turn slightly pink. He nodded.
“I don’t usually wear things that people give me, but I actually like the Bulls.” he admitted. I smiled at him. Uncle Sim, Ave, Grams, and Izzy came into the room and flopped onto the couch. I was the only one left standing.
“Ready?” Uncle Sim asked us. He was replied by nods from all over the room. “I’m going to see my sister. Mother is gonna see her daughter. The kids are gonna see their aunt. Julia, you’re going to meet your mother and Martha’s gonna see her sister-in-law!” he chuckled nervously. “Hope they get along…” he whispered as Aunt Martha came in.
We all laughed at the little joke and Aunt Martha looked at us, confused. “What?” she asked. She suddenly went pale, “Do I look bad?” she shrieked.
“No!” Ave smirked, “It was something else.”
“I’ll go start the car. I call driving.” Tim stood up and stretched his arms up in the air.
“Yoga class?” Izzy said softly. Tim playfully glared at her and smiled. He seemed to be getting less quiet and cool-big-boyish-dude-who-doesn’t-care-about-little-kids. He left and we all followed him.
“I’m so nervous.” Grams said to me, as she got up behind me, squeezing my hand.
“It’s fine. I bet everyone is.” I said. We got out of the house, Izzy locking the door. A car whizzed by and I saw an unlucky bird fly by and hit it. Ouch. Fourth bird.
“Can I choose the song?” Ave asked when we got in. Uncle Sim started driving. All the adults not including Tim, stayed quiet and listened to our useless bickering. Izzy grumbled and put her head on the car’s door.
Ave laughed, “You love this song,” he looked at Tim and whispered loud enough so everyone could make out what he had said. “When I’m gone.”
Izzy perked up and jumped to the edge of her seat. Tim took out the CD, leaned over to put it in, turned on the radio, put the correct track and turned it on. Ave laughed again. “Told you.” he said, sticking out his tongue.
“Whatever.” Izzy said, “You know I like this one, and that’s why you put it on.”
Ave folded his arms, and made a very convincing angry face, “Did not.”
“Are you guys gonna listen or what?” Tim snapped.
I giggled. “I’m guessing you wanna listen, huh?” I asked. Tim grumbled and nodded. Bad mood boy ahead. Don’t want to mess with him today. Since we were kind of in the middle of the song, Izzy got up and tapped Tim on the shoulder asking him to start it from the beginning.
“Thanks!” she said, when Tim had done as asked.
“I got my ticket to the long way ‘round. Two bottles ‘a whiskey for the way.” Izzy, Ave and I started singing. Tim started humming. Aunt Martha and Grams started clapping when we were done. Uncle Sim started cheering – he couldn’t clap.
I must admit; we were pretty darn good. We might even one day become an amazing band! Tim will be the instrumental person and Ave, Izzy and I could be the singers with or audience – the adults!
In no time at all, we had reached the airport. My god, is this why I always see plane’s coming and going from where we live? We’re so close!
We all filed out of the van and headed into the airport. My stomach was churning. Butterflies took over. Not only butterflies, but horses, ladybugs, flies, elephants, all of them took over my stomach. I was going to puke. I held onto Grams and took baby steps to the airport entrance. “Grams.” I croaked.
“Julia.” I could basically hear both our hearts pounding in our chests. I took a deep breath. I can do it. She is my mother.
But she left me. Why though?
The voice in my head took control of my body, Julia! She loves you! Go to your mother. Run, Julia!
Heart pounding, I let go of Grams’ hand and ran into the airport and stood in the arrivals area.
Everyone else came rushing behind me.
I’m not feeling well. I suddenly felt very hot. I was getting sweaty. Is the heater seriously on in summer or is it just me?
My heart felt like it was going to burst out. My brain felt like shrinking and my stomach wanted to be let out. I didn’t let any of that happen because that’s when I saw her.
The woman who had left me with her own mother to take care of me. The woman who lived in a mansion but then lived in a cabin now because my father – her husband – died.
She looked just like me. If one had not known better, they would have thought we were siblings or maybe even twins.
Her green eyes sparkled when she saw me and she ran towards me, her wavy black hair, streaked with a bit of gray, flowing behind her. Her thin lips broke into a wide grin as she stopped in front of me. Her luggage was only a backpack that she was carrying behind her.
It was quite awkward. All of us were standing in one place and then there was that woman who had left me. Am I always going to call ‘The Woman Who Left Me’? Oh my gosh, I should stop.
I struggled to find words to say but there was no need. Mom’s eyes started to water, and tears threatened to spill out at any second.
She looked at Grams and hugged her. “My daughter has finally arrived.” Grams said, stroking Mom’s hair.
“Yes, Mother,” she smiled at Grams and then at me, “and I’m finally with my daughter.”
She held out her hands, welcoming me for a hug. I stood there for a few seconds, considering it. Ave nudged my foot from behind, making me stumble forwards into her arms.
Mom then looked at Uncle Sim, “My brother! How have you been?” she exclaimed, hugging Uncle Sim.
“Pretty good, kid.” he said, grinning at her when she pulled back.
“Kid?” Izzy asked, “Is he your father?” she asked. Everyone laughed.
A look of shock appeared on Izzy’s face. “That would mean you are,” she pointed at Mom, “my sister; and Julie is my niece!” she shrieked.
Laughing, Aunt Martha corrected her, “What we usually do is call the younger child kid if they are more than seven years younger.” she smiled at Izzy and Tim ruffled her hair.
“Oh.” Izzy said then laughed. “I get it now!”
“Weirdo.” Ave said, wrinkling his nose.
“Let’s go home, now shall we?” Aunt Martha said.
We all nodded and followed Tim into the car. Thank goodness the car was an eight-seater. All of us could fit in perfectly. One more person and we would’ve been arrested.
“We can bring the neighborhood over for a party. We won’t tell them about anything though. We’ll just say it’s a casual party.” Aunt Martha suddenly said, while we almost arrived.
Mom’s eyes widened. “No. No no no.” she shook her head from beside me.
I looked at her, “Why?”
“It’s too dangerous.” she explained, “I caught someone following me.” she whispered.
“Who was it?” Ave asked, looking back from the middle seats. Tim – who was right next to Ave – looked back too.
“I don’t exactly know. She had black hair, black eyes, she looked around seventeen or so.” Mom said. Me, Ave, and Tim gaped.
I could recognize that description anywhere. “Raven Hill.” I said.