My mind ran wild as I scrolled down the article, looking for facts that could back up Lorleah’s idea that the women was her mother. Just like the other article, it ending with the same statement. Stay tuned for more updates.
Lorleah watched over my shoulder as I searched frantically. There was a newscast going on and I quickly clicked on it, switching the computer volume on. A women was sitting behind a desk a bright red headline flashing under her head.
“Today, a record was broken by a woman who didn’t remember her name, her family, or her age. Yesterday, a girl with the same problem washed up on our local beach. Now, tune in as we go to that girls house and interview her family.” The newscaster grinned as the camera transitioned to a man. He was standing outside the diner, telling Lorleah’s story, going closer to the door.
Lorleah was already out of her seat and I shut off the computer and followed behind her. We both ran down the street, stumbling over potholes, summer heat pooling in out blood. By the time we reached the diner, there was a news truck outside and the glowing open sign was off. We burst into the deserted diner and looked around before rushing up the stairs.
Mariah and Dad were sitting on the couch, smiling like they had just one the lottery. Mariah’s face noticeable darkened and it had to be visible on the camera. My dad glanced over and flashed a grin.
“Speak of the devil,” He teased. I smiled and pulled Lorleah to the couch. We both sat down next to dad and the interviewer began to speak.
“Lucky for us, the girls just returned from an outing.” The interviewer said to the camera, “So, Cali, how are you acclimating to your new home?”
“Just fine. It’s easier when you have nothing to remember.” She shot a beaming smile that would have won her anything she wanted. The reporter almost swooned, it was obvious he never got to interview someone this perky.
“And you…” He obviously didn’t know my name, “How are you acclimating to having a new sister, especially one attracting this much public attention?”
It was the first time I had ever heard someone say that she was my sister. Or half-sister. I looked over at her and fully took in her face. She looked shocked as well. Her large green eyes looked extremely similar to mine, with golden flecks spread throughout.
“I think it’s a good experience,” I responded dully, trying to flash the same smile that Lorleah had. I looked more like a wolverine.
The reporter paused and turned to my father and Mariah. Mariah was leaning on my father, flashing a fake sappy smile and occasionally sniffing back tears like this was a moving moment. My father was obviously overflowing with emotions. I was shocked rainbows and sparkles weren’t spilling onto the floor and washing away the cameras.
“How does it feel to have one of the most amazing children in the neighborhood?” The reporter gushed. My father started gushing about how he felt blessed and I watched Lorleah the entire time. She was watching my father and smiling.
When the interviewers left I pulled her aside and gave her a hug. It was obvious she was surprised, but she didn’t resist.
“How did you do so great during that interview?” I asked.
“I am not sure.” Lorleah responded, knitting her eyebrows. I smiled and pulled her down the stairs into the diner, where my father was reopening the diner just in time for the dinner rush. I grabbed my apron and pulled an extra off the hook and handed it to her.
“Welcome to the family!” I held out the crumbled apron and helped Lorleah tie it around her waist. Mariah had retreated into her office and I heard her stomping around.
A young women walked through the door and took a seat in the corner or the room so she could see almost everything in the diner. I strolled to the table, Lorleah at me heels like an obedient puppy.
“Hello! Welcome to The Clyde’s Diner! Can I get you anything to drink?” I asked, pulling a pad from my back pocket. I clicked my pen and watched the women expectantly. She instead stared at Lorleah, who was watching over my shoulder, paying no attention to the women.
I suddenly realized she looked a lot like Lorleah and for a part of a second, I thought her mother was sitting in front of me. I scanned her over and ignored that theory.
The women opened her mouth and I almost thought her image flickered like a light. She was silent before she started talked. Her voice was low and I almost heard some static.
“I would like some water please.” The words were slow, almost like english was not her first language. I resisted the urge to walk away and not serve her because she scared the crap out of me.
Instead, I went to the back of the diner to grab a glass and fill it up. At this time, more people had come into the diner and scanning the menu. My dad was taking the orders of a couple sitting at the counter and he looked at Lorleah when I was filling the cup.
“That women is strange.” Lorleah mumbled.
“Where is she sitting?” I heard my dad’s protectiveness ********. I dropped a lemon into the glass and pointed to the table, not looking up from my work. I heard Lorleah inhale and my dad stammer. I looked up and gasped. The table was empty and undisturbed. I dropped the glass in the sink and the water splashed onto the countertop, splashing all over the couple. I apologized and started to clean.
Lorleah went over to the table and scanned the booth. She quickly came back over and handed me a small piece of paper, folded into intricate flower.
“It was on the table.” She whispered into my ear.
“Got it,” I gently laid it in the pocket of my apron and rushed to take the order of a family with two little girls bouncing around the table, enjoying the mostly empty restaurant. I quickly took their drink orders and rushed back to get them. Lorleah was in the kitchen, mimicking my dad as he cooked some french fries. Her fries came out a little on the burnt side.
I carried the drinks back out to the family and pulled out my pad again. They started ranting off their orders and just as I was about to leave the mother started to talk.
“I hear you got a new sister,” She smiled, “Coincidence she is your age, huh?” I don’t know why this comment made me take a step back. Being an independently owned diner resulted in regular customers knowing details about my life.
“Yes I did…” I turned to walk away and felt one of them grab my wrist and pull me back towards the table. I turned and looked at them viciously. They stared me dead in the face.
“We think your family is lying for attention,” continued the father.
“And all of the families with Expelled are.” The mother finished. The little girls nodded and I watched them. At this point, Lorleah was finished in the kitchen and she was making her way over to us.
“Okay. So you think we faked entire medical reports, news feed, and genetic data?” I asked, calmly.
“No,” The mother laughed, “We aren’t saying you did it. We are just saying Ms… Lorleah… seems to have a special case.”
They said the name almost so quietly I didn’t notice it. I leaned down, inches from the womens face, anything but calm now.
“How did you know her name?” I snapped and I think my sudden outburst scared the women.
“Everyone who believes you are lying knows her name. Everyone knows your family is trying something when you call her Cali. And I have confirmation. You know that is her name?”
I froze, unable to backtrack from this point. I felt stuck. If I walked away, they won. If I kicked them out, they won. So I straightened up and pulled my hair back behind my ears.
“Me and Lorleah will get your orders ready. You better eat fast because I will kick you out in a hot second. Capeesh?”
The women leaned back in her chair, “Very well then.”
I strutted back into the kitchen and handed my dad the order before leaning against the wall and closing my eyes. Lorleah stood next to me and watched out the window of the kitchen. A sliver of the ocean was visible and the sun was going down.
“Take this order out to them and then go upstairs. You guys have had a long day.” I looked over at the voice and saw Mariah, leaning against the door. She seemed strangely exhausted to have been basking in the limelight all day.