All her life, it had been her and her mom. She did have a dad, but as far as she knew, he was dead. That was all her mom would tell her.
She’d asked before, plenty of times. Since she was little, she’d had questions about her father.
“Mama, do I have a daddy?”
“Mama, what happened to Daddy?”
“Mom, what was my dad like?”
“Mom, why don’t you ever talk about Dad?”
Her mother had dodged these questions. Every time it came up, she would change the subject. She’d suddenly become tense, getting a far-away look in her eyes, as though recalling something she desperately wanted to forget.
Then, there were the nightmares. Many nights, especially when Becca was young, when her mom would wake up in a cold sweat, crying over something she refused to talk about.
Until they moved back to Sherwood, Ohio, and each got wrapped up in the town’s mysteries. Their relationship became tense and strained, more than it ever had been.
Of course, they’d had fights before. When Becca was grounded for reasons she deemed unfair, when she got a bad grade and her mom made a big deal over it (Though, could she really blame her? They moved an average of every couple months; That was bound to take a toll on her education), when she stayed out a little (or a lot) past curfew.
But their relationship had never changed because of it. Now, with the move to Sherwood and all the drama it caused, with her mom finding out about the Ritalin, with everything that had happened - For the first time, her mom seemed less like a friend and more like an authority figure. More like a mother.
The tension between them was coming to a head when Veronica appeared in Becca’s bedroom doorway one day… holding a photo album. That was odd. They never looked at photo albums - all part of her mom’s strange aversion to the past, she guessed.
“Uh… Hey, Mom,” Becca said awkwardly, eyeing the photo album. “Whatcha got there?”
“Can we talk?” Veronica seemed nervous. Becca wondered what could possibly be in that photo album to cause this reaction.
“Um… sure, I guess.” Her mom sighed and came into the room, sitting down on the bed. “What’s up?”
Veronica took a deep breath and Becca frowned. What the hell was in that photo album?
“It’s… your dad.”
Her dad. Her mom was talking about her dad. Who was this and what had she done with Veronica Sawyer?
She slowly opened the photo album, flipping through until she found the picture she was looking for: A photo of a much younger Veronica holding a baby Becca - next to a 20-something year old man, also holding a baby. She assumed that the man was her father, but who was the other baby?
“Your sister,” Veronica said, as though she’d read Becca’s mind. “Your dad and I split up when you were a few months old. He took her, I took you… And he fucked off to Illinois.”
Becca could only stammer, dumbfounded. Her dad wasn’t dead, as she’d been led to believe all these years… And she had a sister?!
“I’m sorry.” Her mom had that distant look in her eyes again. What had happened between her and her dad to cause this reaction? Why had she waited so long to tell her? Why had her parents split up in the first place?
“H-How- What- Why?”
“They want to meet you. Your dad and your sister.”
All her life, it had been her and her dad. Until she was 10, and she found an old photo album in the attic and began flipping through it. She stumbled across a photo of her dad holding her when she was a baby, alongside a woman in her early 20s who was holding another baby. “Dad!” she called, seeking an explanation. Her dad quickly came up to the attic.
“What’s up, kiddo?”
“Who’s this?” She pointed to the woman and the baby in the photo. Her dad frowned, taking the photo album to see what she was talking about. He sighed when he saw.
“Tell you what. How about we go to 7/11, and I explain over slushies?” She agreed, and 20 minutes later they were sitting in the car, sipping slushies as they looked at the photo.
“It’s your mom,” he explained. “And your twin sister.”
Janis nearly spit out her slushie. “My what?”
“Your twin sister,” he repeated. “Your mom took one, I took the other. I moved to Illinois. She stayed in Ohio for a little bit, and then she started moving around. Last I heard, she was in Maine.”
Janis had been stunned then, but it had now been 6 years since that revelation. She’d gotten used to this fact by now, had even Skyped with her mom a couple times, though her sister still had no idea.
Her dad came home from work one day seeming oddly excited. She looked up from the homework she was struggling to comprehend as he walked in the door.
“What’s up?” she asked as he flopped down on the couch next to her.
“Mom and Becca are back in Ohio,” he explained. “Mom inherited her parents’ place. They moved in a couple weeks ago. Mom just told Becca everything. We’re Skyping tonight.”
Janis grinned. “Really?! You have to be kidding, oh my God!”
JD smiled at his daughter’s excitement and ruffled her hair. “Really."