Time was flying by way too fast for me to register it. Dill was in his last year of high school, and River was just about to start eighth grade. Our three kids were so close, they rarely ever fought and they always hung out with each other. It made our lives a lot easier.
River was a lanky little thing, he was so skinny I thought he would fly away. But I knew he would bulk up soon, he was really into sports. He joined the basketball team at his school, and he was always in the backyard shooting hoops. He often pulled Dill out with him, even though Dill wasn’t much competition. He was more of a musical guy.
I was so thankful that the teenagers didn’t give us trouble, because Poppy was a handful. Ever since she became a toddler, she was throwing tantrums left and right. She was always screaming about something. It was usually about the highchair though, she hated that thing.
“Please Princess, calm down.” Jeremy cooed at our kicking toddler. She didn’t listen and continued to fight, so he pulled her out of the chair.
“Do you know what happens to little girls who are bad?” Jeremy taunted. Poppy shook her head, tears still running down her face.
“The tickle monster come for them!” He laughed and started tickling her. She screamed with laughter, all traces of her tantrum flew out the window. I watched them from the kitchen with a smile on my face. Poppy could be a handful but at least my husband knew how to deal with her.
The only time Poppy didn’t scream was when Clover was over. The two of them were as thick as thieves. Clover was a little older than her and she could talk in full sentences, but they still had fun playing together. They reminded me so much of Chrissy and I, their personalities were so different but they worked well together. My little Poppy was loud, sneaky, and rebellious. Clover on the other hand, was much quieter and was usually a follower.
I babysat Clover during the week while Hero was at work. All I had to do was put them in front of the dollhouse and they could keep themselves busy for hours.
“My dolly is da daddy and yours is da mommy.” Poppy explained to Clover. I bit my lip and waited for Clover’s response.
“What’s a Mommy?” Clover asked, cocking her head like a confused puppy.
“Hello?” Hero’s voice boomed from downstairs. Thank god.
“We’re up here.” I called out.
“Hi honey.” Clover threw her dolls down and reached up for her dad. Poppy pouted, she didn’t like her friend giving anyone else attention.
“Daddy!” She squealed as he adjusted her on his hip. He kissed her on the forehead.
“I missed you sweetie.” He turned to me and smiled. “Thanks Prim.”
I looked up from my book and waved him off. “No problem. Poppy loves the company.” We laughed, and he left.
As they were leaving, I heard Clover ask “Daddy, what’s a mommy?” His footsteps stopped on the stairs. He didn’t respond and left the house as fast as he could.
I felt terrible about what happened, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it because Poppy started another tantrum.
Our evening had started just like any other, me doing my daily exercise routine, and Dill practicing one of his many instruments. Misty was out with Dad getting driving lessons,and Mom and Poppy were both already asleep. I guessed they had a hard day. I’m not a bad kid, neither is my brother. But tonight we were alone, and there was something I really wanted to do.
I clicked off my video and headed toward my brother, motioning for him to put his guitar down.
“Hey, can you give me a ride?” I whispered in his ear,
“Where to? Did mom say it was okay?”
“No, I didn’t want to wake her up. Besides, you’re almost eighteen, have you even done anything remotely rebellious?” I cocked an eyebrow and he sighed.
“Fine, but we’ve gotta be back by curfew, okay?” He searched the room for his keys.
“But that’s like, in an hour! It’s gonna take us at least twenty minutes to get there.”
“What? Where are we going?” He put his keys down on the desk.
“The cemetery. I wanna check those unmarked graves out.” He gave me a bewildered look and shook his head.
“No way man. The thugs hang out there at night. We can’t.”
“We’ll only be there for five minutes, I promise.” I begged.
Twenty minutes later we arrived at the cemetery. I jumped out of the car and took off running for the graves. There were two unmarked graves right next to where Chrissy was buried. My mom said they must’ve been put here before any of us moved here. No one could figure out what they said, but I think they weren’t trying hard enough.
The graves were fenced off with a gray fence that was about up to my waist. People weren’t supposed to go over the fence, but I needed to get a closer look.
“River, I don’t know if this is a very good idea.” Dill gave me a weary look.
“We’ll be fine, I promise.” I said, and started to squeeze myself through the small space in the fence. Once I was in, Dill followed suit.
I chose one of the graves at random and knelt down in front of it. It was covered in dirt and starting to fall apart in some places. It was obviously cheaply made and not well cared for. I brushed some of the dirt off with my hands, revealing some words.
“River, we should get going.” Dill was looking over at the street with a nervous look on his face. I craned my neck to see what he was looking at. A car had parked, a man about my fathers age got out of the car and let a woman out of the passenger seat. He was purple, and his hair color was similar to mine. I ignored them and got back to cleaning off the grave.
“I’ll be fast, okay? I’ve already got something.” I assured him. I got down closer to the grave, the tiny letters were carved crudely into the stone, spelling out a name. Flora Fae.
“What does it say?” Dill whispered.
“Flora Fae. She has the same last name as me, do you think we’re related?”
“It’s a possibility, but River we’ve gotta go.” He pulled me off the ground and took off running.
I slowly jogged after him, my mind occupied with thoughts of this mysterious Flora. Was she related to me? Maybe my parents know who she is. I couldn’t ask them though, at least not yet. Maybe I could come back this weekend and check out the other grave. Is that person a relative too? It was all so exciting.
It was almost midnight when we got home. The house was quiet so I knew Mom was still asleep. Dill and I grabbed some leftovers from the fridge when then front door opened.
“What are you two boys still doing up?” Dad asked as he headed for the fridge.
“We lost track of time, you know how video games are.” I never lied to my parents, I was surprised at how easy it was.
“Ah, I know how it is.” Dad laughed. “I won’t tell Mom, I promise.” We were lucky our parents were so cool.
“How did driving lessons go?” Dill wiggled his eyebrows, and Dad groaned. Misty was a bit reckless, and had a short temper with everyone but me.
“I bet you can guess.” Dad rubbed his temple, making us laugh again. “You boys should head to bed before your mom wakes up.” He suggested, throwing his juice box in the trash and headed up the stairs.
I said goodnight to Dill and followed Dad up the stairs. Poppy was still asleep, so I had to be quiet so I wouldn’t wake her up. I did that once on accident, and she wouldn’t stop crying for hours. I felt so bad, my mom couldn’t sleep all night.
I usually didn’t have trouble sleeping, but that night my mind was racing too fast to relax. There was too much to think about.
“River, can you get dressed and go downstairs please? Your father and I need to talk to you.” I told my son, who was playing blocks with Poppy on the other side of the room.
“Sure thing, Mom.” He smiled at me and stood up. I gave him a stiff smile and quickly left the room.
Today Jeremy and I were going to tell River the truth. He was older now, and even though I really didn’t want to, I knew it was time. River was usually a calm, quiet kid but I was terrified to see how he reacts. My heart was pounding as I went to find Jeremy, who ended up being in the kitchen.
Five minutes later, River sat on the couch and Jeremy and I stood in front of him. I balled and unballed my fists nervously.
“Mom, what’s going on?” River looked between the two of us nervously.
“River, sweetie, there’s something I need to tell you.” My voice wavered. I took a seat on one side of him and Jeremy did the same on the other.
“You guys are really scaring me.” He admitted, looking back and forth.
I rested my chin in my hands and fixed my gaze on the table.
“River, we love you. So much. What I’m about to say won’t change that, okay?” I couldn’t look at him. I didn’t want him to see me cry.
“Mom… this is really freaking me out.”
“Honey, I bet you’ve noticed that you’re different from Dad and I, right?”
“Yea, I just assumed I had recessive genes.” He told me, I could tell he didn’t believe that. “Wait, are you saying I’m adopted?”
“No, you’re definitely my son. I can’t forget those hours of labor.” I joked. “It’s just, well. Dad isn’t you’re biological dad.”
“You’re father was my boss. We um… had an affair of sorts. He lived with me, and we were dating for a few months. One day I found out he was engaged, and he left me. The next day, I found out I was pregnant with you.” I summarized the story, I didn’t want him to hear the specifics.
“Y-you’re not my Dad?” River jumped off the couch and looked down at Jeremy. Both of their expressions were filled with pain, it broke my heart.
“I may not be your biological Dad, but I love you like my own son.” Jeremy told him.
“So does this mean, Misty and Dill are my… step siblings? And Poppy is my half sister?” I nodded sadly. He glared at me. “You lied to me. How am I supposed to trust any of you ever again? This is bullshit!” He yelled. I’ve never heard my son curse. I cursed plenty in my life, but it was still shocking to hear it from your fourteen year old son.
“River Fae, we don’t cuss in this house. I know you’re upset, but that kind of language is inappropriate.” Jeremy scolded.
“Why do I have to listen to you?” He screamed, tears started streaming down his face.
“Please calm down baby.” I stood up and tried to pull him into a hug. He pushed me off him lightly.
“Leave me alone.” He his voice cracked, and he took off running out of the house.
“Oh Jeremy, I messed up so bad.” I buried my face in the nape of his neck. “What if he doesn’t come back?”
“Don’t worry, Love. You didn’t mess up. And he’ll be back. He just needs to calm down a little.” He stood on his toes and kissed me on the forehead. “I think I know someone who can help.”
Everything I knew was a lie. My Dad wasn’t really my dad. My siblings weren’t really my siblings. My real father had no idea I even existed.
Sure, I thought it was strange that Dill, Misty and I were all vampires and our parents were fairies. But I never really gave it a second thought. Does this mean that my father is a vampire? What about Misty and Dill? Did they have the same mother or different mothers? It was all too much. My mind was racing. I knew I shouldn’t have snapped at my parents, I was just too upset to think rationally. I really hope they don’t punish me.
I’m not really sure how I ended up at the park. I’ve only been to this park a few times, I preferred the park a few blocks over when I was younger. But I guess something drew me to this park.
“Hey River.” A voice broke through my cloud of thoughts. I looked up from the swing, and my ‘sister’ stood nervously beside me.
“You okay?” I glared at her. “Okay, dumb question. How’re you doing?”
I ignored her question. “Did you know?”
“River…” Her voice trailed.
“Did. You. Know.” I growled.
“I did.” She admitted.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” I jumped off the swing and yelled, the few other people at the park looked over.
“Please River, calm down.” She whispered, looking around nervously. “Come here.”
She pulled me into a tight hug. Once her arms were around me, I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I don’t cry often, let alone in public. But right now I didn’t care. She held me while I cried, comforting me by rubbing circles on my back.
“I love you, River. I don’t care if we’re related by blood, you’re as much of a brother to me as Dill is.”
“I love you too.” I croaked. My throat was dry from crying so much. “Do you know her?”
“Know who?” She pulled back a little and looked me in the eyes.
“You’re real mother.”
“No, nor do I want too.” She stated. “Why?”
“I don’t know. I might want to meet my real dad.”
“I don’t know if that’s a very good idea River…”
“I’ll think about it.” I wanted to know what he was like.
“Okay. Well, I think I’m gonna head back home, coming?”
“Can you give me a ride to the gym, I need to cool down a bit before facing Mom and Dad again.” I asked hopefully.
“Sure, but they aren’t mad at you. They understand that you’re upset.” She smiled, her braces sparkled in the sunlight. We left the park arm-in-arm. I wasn’t as upset as I was before, but I definitely had a lot of questions for my mom.