After another day of school, I'm whirling around the kitchen, clamoring in the cupboards trying to find the stash of candy Karen hides from everyone else. I can hear her thundering up behind me and I assume it's because she doesn't want me locating her gold mine. But the fierce look she gives me screams that I need to shut up for a whole different reason.
Still bent over, my eyes travel over her shoulder. There's someone in our living room, and she's not one of the usual guests that Karen or Dave have over. She immediately stands and my mouth drops.
She's got to be in her forties, but she's so beautiful. Black hair curls down to her collarbone, her eyes so apparently dark blue. Her figure is still beautiful, commanding, powerful, womanly, and respectful simultaneously. . A nice scarf is looped around her neck, but it looks like she's been through a war and is the flag being hoisted high in surrender. She's obviously covered sleep circles with concealer, her hands shaking from nerves. This woman has to be related to Jenna. Or--
"John, this is Annabel Lawson." Karen states, obviously unaware that my entire existence is being split in two.
"Lawson. Lawson. You're her mother--but you look just like--" Oh my word. The hair, the eyes--L before M--the blankness, the brothers, the sick sister.
Her hands start signing, which is shocking as well. "I'm Jenna's biological mother."
I almost sign a swear right at this fluent woman. "No. You can't be. You're--"
"Josephine's mother as well," she finishes for me.
Karen's eyes widen and she turns to me, flabbergasted. "How do you know about Josephine?!"
"Josephine was my freaking girlfriend!" I exclaim, lurching for the couch and putting my head between my knees. Karen states my name as evenly as possible, but I don't look up. I can't.
I can hear them whispering furiously, and I crank my head enough to stare at Karen. I'm so filled with fury I have to force myself to not stand up and shake her. "I was living with her sister and no one told me. Why didn't I know?! Does Jenna know? Does she know that I was in love with someone from her own family?" The words explode before I can even think of them. What a good impression I'm making.
Karen just shakes her head, her lips pursed into a thin line. "John--"
Annabel interrupts her. "He's right. The boy deserved to know."
"How did I not figure it out myself? They're so incredibly similar but Jo's taller and skinnier and scarierer--" My brain is still trying to make sense of this new information. How?
"John," Karen warns me. "Where is she?"
My shoulders hunch forward as I try to decide if I should rat her out or not. Karen's face tells me that if I value my life, I should. "She dropped me off and then drove to meet Levi or something," I sign, hoping it'll be small enough that she'll get confused. Of course, my luck isn't good enough for that.
Fury flashes over her face and she turns away from me and Mrs. Lawson, yanking her phone from her pocket. My eyes meet the mother of my only friend as she scans me. "I've heard so much about you," she signs.
"I promise, I'm not always this crazy," I try to explain, keeping one eye on Karen. I want to ask her why she's here so badly. Is this just a customary visit to Jenna? I try to pretend that it could ever be something that easy.
We spend exactly seven minutes in dead silence, staring at each other from opposite sides of the living room. Karen finally blurts out, "I'm sorry, we can't explain anything until Jenna gets here," right as the door bangs open and we all jump.
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Skin Deep (Featured - Completed)Teen Fiction
John is blank in a world where everything anyone says appears on their skin. They're held accountable for every secret, every demand, every sacrifice scrawled across their foreheads in bold black letters. He grew up in an insane asylum and had acc...