Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

I’m feeling a little better, but let me explain why.

Today was… dark. I don’t have any word for it.  I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat much, I got through my schoolwork but mostly like a robot, not concentrating, not paying attention, and pretty much going to lie down as soon as it was all over.  Sabby came to check on me but I…  I didn’t want to say the wrong thing again, so I just kind of ignored her.  Not in a mean way, but in an “I’m alright leave me alone” kind of way.

I wasn’t mad at her but obviously this is a sore topic for her and, well, yeah.

I think that hurt her but I didn’t know what to say.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, right?

So Beth’s “potential friend” and her family came over.  Yeah, that went about as well as I expected.  Wasn’t a Little Miss Priss this time, thankfully, just a girl with nothing in common with Beth.  Cheerleader, bubbly, happy, into boys and makeup and… basically just a nicer and more cheerful version of the friends she’d already had to dump.  I picked at my food and about halfway through the meal I stood up.

“I’m going to my room,” I announced, “Thanks for the meal, nice to meet you.”

Sabby said, a little abruptly, “You didn’t finish your food.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Finish your food.”

“I’m not four,” I said.  “It’s nothing personal.  I’m just not hungry.  And I can’t watch this…  this… anymore.  Like this… this friend dating service for Beth is ever going to work anyway.”

“Lily -,” she said warningly.  Dave gave her a look I couldn’t read, but she wasn’t looking at him.  “I don’t know what’s gotten into you -“

I was getting steamed and that probably showed on my face.  I think Dave saw the signs.

Dave patted her hand.  “Sabby, let it go.  Lily, you can go.  We’ll talk later.”

Sabby looked murderous, but shut up.  I went up to my room and played on my tablet.  Sabby and I have never conflicted like that, but I found myself just not caring.  I love Sabby but right then…  I kinda didn’t like her.

I heard some faint yelling through the walls a little while later.  I couldn’t make out the words, Sabby sounded peeved, and Dave sounded much more under control.

Later, after everything quieted down, there was a knock, and Dave came in. He sat down on the edge of my bed.  I noticed the door stayed partially open.  I guess I understood.  He was quiet for a moment.

“Lily,” he said, “I think Sabby made a mistake.”

“Adopting me,” I said bitterly, doot dooting on my tablet.  “Are you going to abandon me too?”

“No,” he said, calmly.  “Neither of us think that’s a mistake.”  He paused  “She’s too close to your problem.”

I set the tablet aside and sat up.  “What do you mean?”

“She lost her parents when she was little.  You know that.  But now you can’t be open with her because if you try to talk openly with her about it, it triggers her.  The whole topic just makes her angry.  I talked to her about this.  Well, I talked, anyway.”  He chuckled nervously.  “She’s not mad, well, anymore, anyway.  I don’t think she realized.”

“Well, I did,” I said, still with a trace of bitterness in my voice.  “I thought she’d be my rock.  And she…  she’s not.”

He shook his head.  “Not on this topic, she’s not.  Lily,” he said, “We’re adults.  We adopted you.  We love you.  And…” he shook his head sadly.  “We’re as human as you.”

I was quiet.

“Maybe I’m not Sabby,” he said quietly.  “But I’m still here.  Tell me what’s going on.”

“I don’t…”

“No,” he said.  “I understand why you don’t want to talk to Sabby about it.  But I have to insist you talk to me about it.  How you’re behaving is entirely unlike you and I’m not going to have you sulking around the house snapping at everything that moves.  Sabby wasn’t in the right, but neither were you.  What’s going on?”

I was quiet for a moment.  “She abandoned me,” I said in a small voice.

“Who?  Sabby?”

“No,” I said.  “Emiko.”

“Oh,” he said.  “But that doesn’t explain..”

“YES IT DOES,” I almost shouted. “She abandoned me!  I was an infant and she had me and she gave me up!  She didn’t want me!  No one wants me!”  Tears were springing to my eyes.  Dammit here I go crying again.  “I’m ANGRY dammit!  I hate her!  I hate her I hate her I hate her!  She didn’t want me and now I know who she is and I don’t want to see her but I do and I hate her!  I HATE HER!” I was punching his chest now and sobbing, I didn’t even know I was doing it.  “How could she leave me?,” I wailed.  “How could she put me through this???  Why do people abandon me!  And now Sabby!  Is she going to abandon me too???”

To his credit, he didn’t say anything.  He just wrapped his arms around me and pulled me tight to him and let me sob it out.  My crying had turned into just wails at this point.  Second time in a week, and for different reasons.

It took me a while to cry it out, and fifteen minutes later I was just hiccupping and sniffling and my nose was red and I was just a huge mess.  “How could she?,” I sniffled.  “How could she?”

I was running out of energy.  The sobs turned into sniffles and then…  and then I fell asleep.  How embarrassing!  Right on his shoulder!

I woke up under my covers a little while later, and…  and there was another chocolate milkshake next to my bed.  I choked back a sob.  Oh God after all that and they still bought me a chocolate milkshake.  I didn’t deserve them.

I picked up the milkshake and padded downstairs.  Sabby and Dave were sitting on the couch.  I sat down in the chair across from them.  I sniffled.

“I’m sorry, Lily,” Sabby finally said.  “I messed up, and I messed up badly.  I didn’t realize until Dave told me.  We’re not going to abandon you.”

“But you got so angry.”

“I did.  But like I said earlier.  That’s my problem.  I was wrong.  I should have realized that you’d think I was going to abandon you.  Especially after… after what you learned about your birth mother.”

“I messed up too,” I mumbled.

“Lily, one of us has a forty-mumble-mumble birthday coming up in a few days,” she smirked.  Oh no!  I’d forgotten!, “and one of us is sixteen years old and has memory problems.  I think of the two of us, you are the one with the better excuse.”

“How about we both messed up, but I’ll accept that I’m the sixteen year old and won’t be too hard on myself, and you can beat yourself up until you’re happy.”

Dave smirked, and Sabby frowned.  Then she chuckled.  Then she started laughing. “Deal,” she said, between chuckles, and I ran over and gave her a big hug.  She returned it, her chuckles turning to tears.  “I’m truly sorry, Lily,” she said.

“It’s okay,” I said quietly.  Then as she said “No, it’s not,” I mouthed the words.

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen her at a loss for words.  “Am I that predictable?”

“Sabby, in this house, no one can beat you at beating yourself up.”

Dave’s face was warring with itself.  He had the look of a middle aged man who knew he shouldn’t laugh if he wanted to sleep in the same bed as his wife tonight but couldn’t help it.  She just looked at him and swatted his arm, then she turned to me.

“Touche,” she said, with a smirk.  “Did Dave help?”

“A little,” I said honestly.  “I’m still angry.  Very, very angry.  But it was good to get some of it out.”

“It’s normal to be angry,” she said.  “As you can see, after all these years, I’m still angry.  But I know it’s not their fault.  It’s different in your case,” she said quickly as she saw the look in my eyes, “it was her fault.  But she wants to meet you.  At least let her explain herself.  That’s..” she sniffed, “that’s something my parents never got to do.”

She paused.  “It’s okay to tell her how you feel,” she said.  “If she can’t understand that, then she doesn’t deserve you.  But…” she thought about what to say next.  “Don’t burn your bridges.  Okay?  I’d give anything to be able to tell my parents how I feel.  And then.. and then to hug them.” She sniffed.  “Just give her a chance.  Okay?”

“I’ll give her a chance,” I said.  “But she’d better have a good explanation.”

Sabby nodded.  “I actually would like to hear it as well.  She’s definitely got some explaining to do.  From what the social worker said, maybe she can justify it.  But she’d better really sell it,” she said.  There was a little steel in her voice.  “She’s not going to hurt you again.”  She leaned forward and took my hands.  “Lily, even if I get angry, even if we yell and scream and fight with each other, even though I hate it when we fight, I’m never going to abandon you, okay?  Never, ever.  I’m your adopted mother and you’re stuck with me, for better or for worse.”

I choked back a sob.  “Promise?”

“I promise,” she said, and I wiped my eyes.

“I’m going to my room,” I said.  “I’m drained.  I’m guessing Beth doesn’t have a new friend?”

“Well, the girl liked her well enough.  Beth couldn’t run away fast enough.  I mean, really?  A cheerleader?  I can’t imagine Beth hanging around a cheerleader.”  She shuddered.  “Talk about oil and water…”  She sighed.  “You were right, Lily.”

“About what?”

“I wish you’d have put it a little nicer, and especially not in front of our company, but you were right.  I was trying to run a Beth friend dating service and it’s just a disaster.  Beth and I need to figure something else out.”

“No one can fault your intentions,” I said, “But… Beth’s a special girl.  I don’t think you’re going to find a friend for her like that.  She needs someone who’s her intellectual equal.  Like Liz, but younger.  Goodnight,” I yawned.

I grabbed my milkshake and went upstairs to see Beth for a little bit before I went to bed.  Tomorrow was a big day.  And I had no idea how it was going to turn out.

Before I went to bed I chatted with Jack.  He was worried about me.  He was right to be.  I told him things were a bit better, and he seemed relieved.  Nevermind the fact that I’m head over heels in love with him, he is such a nice boy.  And he’s an incredible kisser.  He wished me luck tomorrow.  I thanked him.  I’m gonna need every bit of luck there is.

Who knows.  But I could do lots worse than to marry him someday.

And I have to think of what to get Sabby for her birthday!

Love you all!!! ❤️

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