Chapter Five

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The couch felt crowded even though Cameron and I were the only ones on it. His knees bounced up and down and his foot tapped on the hardwood floor. He was making me nervous. The deep breaths I was taking didn't help. I pulled my legs up to my chest, trying to get comfortable but I feared that nothing would put me at ease, considering what I was about to hear.

Mom and Dad sat across from us, getting ready to tell us everything. I could tell they were dreading it but we deserved an explanation, even if I wasn't sure I was ready to hear it.

"What do you want to know?" Dad asked us. It felt like the wrong question. It was their turn to tell us everything we needed to know, everything they'd kept from us for all of those years.

"I don't know, just start from the beginning." Cameron huffed. I looked at him. Normally he spoke his mind, not caring about what he held back. Today, he was almost speechless and I couldn't figure out why.

"We told you that your Mom and I had trouble getting pregnant- well we tried everything and then the doctor advised us to consider making a family another way. We applied for adoption, met with a social worker and then we waited." Dad leaned forward, balancing his elbows on his knees. He ran his hand across his beard. I didn't understand why it was so difficult for them to talk about. Wasn't our adoption a happy memory? "I remember the day we got the call. They said there were twin babies who needed a home and they thought we would be perfect. So we waited and after a month we adopted you."

"Wait, why a month?" I caught. Maybe it was just a slip-up.

"There's a waiting period where the birth parents have the chance to change their mind and reclaim their rights." He admitted. I clenched my hand over my mouth and my eyes pooled with tears.

"What?" Cameron whispered.

We both couldn't believe it. "Were we in foster care?" I asked, my voice catching in my throat.

"Yes, you stayed with a foster mom during that time." Mom answered carefully. I felt like she tore my childhood out from under me. I kept asking myself why they hadn't just been open with us from the beginning? Why hide it and cause all of this pain? It was overwhelming, I could hardly process it. In twenty-four hours my life got turned upside down. I felt like I couldn't breathe.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Cameron asked, astonished. My mind felt like it was going to explode. The newfound information went in one ear and then right out the other. There were so many things we didn't know about our own lives. "Just tell us the rest."

"It's probably better if you just read these, they tell it best." Mom sighed, holding out two envelopes. One had my name on it and the other had Cameron's name.

"What is this?" I asked, looking at my name written in unfamiliar handwriting.

"Your birth father wanted you to have them," Dad revealed.

My jaw dropped. I didn't see that coming and neither did Cameron. I was speechless. It was surreal to think about what it would say. I felt like it would be life-changing. My knees buckled and the couch caught my weight.

A tear dripped onto the ink, smearing the S and dragging me out of my thoughts.

"This is our lives!" He jumped up out of his seat and started pacing the room.

"Cameron calm down." Dad tried to tell him.

They didn't see the hurt on Cameron's face but I did and I could feel it in my bones. The way his shoulders rose and fell hastily, the way his hands were clenched into fists. He was doing everything he could to keep from exploding. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs for them to just stop fighting. I hated fighting.

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