"Mystery?" a voice called up the stairs. "Family meeting ... it's very important!"
"Alright, dad!" she replied from her bedroom. What could this be? She thought to herself in alertness. It better not be about my grades, I'm doing way better at them now.
She hurried down the light green carpeted stairs and entered in through their living room. Its walls were covered with old fashioned looking wall-paper, but still presentable. The settees were coated in green and white leather, which she hated to her bones and hardly even occupied them. She spent more time in her bedroom than downstairs. She was very introvert.
Her parents sat on one of them, gazing at her, expressionlessly.
"I think you better sit down, Mystery," her mother advised, nodding at the sofa opposite them and she obeyed quietly.
"We have something very important to tell you," he father replied, his wrinkly, green-hazel eyes shining as if he had a dark secret to share. He looked over at her mother almost in a quiet conversation and she nodded at him with equal quietness.
"Mum, Dad, you're scaring me," Mystery cried out instantaneously. "Dad, what is it?"
"It's something very great, almost … unbelievable," he answered, shaking his head slowly as he looked at her, his lips in a fine sparkly smile. "Your mother and I never thought that this would never even happen to us."
"Tell me what's happened - hey, wait a minute," she said. Something clicked in her mind. She watched both of her parents knowingly and started grinning. She folded her arms in front of her as she asked, "This is one of them 'let's-scare-her-with-our-dramatic-stuff', right?"
"Mystery ... this is much more serious," her mother whispered, positively happy with glee.
This made Mystery's own smile fade away as soon as it had appeared. "Oh," she whispered in return. "Please tell me then. What's so serious?" she asked carefully.
"Now I don't want you to worry too much, it might be nothing, but it could be somewhat able to occur," he said, gesturing with his hands apologetically and sad. "Understand?" he asked and she nodded.
"Honey, we just need to get it out in the open," her mother explained. "So listen carefully."
"I already am, mum," she whined. She looked over at her dad's odd attitude. "C'mon dad, I'm all ears, don't worry. I can - can handle it." The atmosphere turned very quiet, which made her more nervous. Her ears were on the alert, they couldn't wait for the seemingly bad news to be told and comprehended already. Her hands gripped the cold leather tightly as she moved onto the edge of her seat, waiting.
"It's been such a beautiful, yet scary surprise, Mystery!" her mother cried, now grinning. “We weren’t expecting this to happen oh so soon.”
"Okay – tell me," she whispered, dreading what her father was going to say to her. She thought she'd just seen her mother crack a smile, but that must have been her imagination or something. After all, this was an intense moment. "Please!"
"We're going move houses!” her father answered too quickly.
"Oh, God!" she screamed out in relieved, but more anger. "You almost killed me!"
"I'm sorry!" he apologized while laughing. "I just had to!"
"Oh, you have to all the time, don't you dad?" Mystery demanded. "This is not funny!" She defensively stood up.
"Sorry, Mystery," her mother said, "but you know how your dad is."
"But - I'd thought we'd settled on moving later on, some other time or something," said Mystery, confused and worried. She sat back down and looked at both of them unbelievingly. "I don't want to leave my friends, my school, my house or any of these people and memorable places!"
"Oh, honey, you'll make new friends," her mother pointed out. She smiled as she looked at her sad daughter. "And it's a beautiful house. We'll be needed to finish some construction outside the building for the old garden. Some even for the inside, but it won't be a lot and we know that it'll be enormously worth it."
"Definitely," her father incorporated. "My job, my post has been efficient and they've even let me shift my work elsewhere. Although I'd be working for the same company, so that's superbly great."
"And we'd be receiving the house of our dreams, Mystery!" her mother chimed in with an ear-to-ear smile. "You really wanted a spacious room than your smaller and cramped one, right? You'd be having that, too. It's a great place. So near to the crystal clear sea-side ... the colours of green aqua Ocean.” She sighed dreamily. “It's so beautiful!"
"But I don’t want to move!" she almost shouted, "I've told you this countless times that I'd have to start all over again! I don't want to move yet all over again. It's only been over a year! I hate you!" She stood up and was about to turn when her mother started screaming.
"Don't you dare answer back to us with such disrespectful behaviour!"
"Don't you 'but mum' me!"
“I don’t want to move-”
"Well you're going to have to, you lady," her mother looked as if she was fighting for life and death, gesturing with her hands wildly around herself. Her hair pin even let out a few wisps of brunette hair, lying around her round face and decorating her deep frown. "You father can't-"
"Jennifer, please," her father interrupted. "She doesn’t need to know-"
"She does need to know when she's acting immaturely, David,” she argued back. “One other reason we're going to be moving is that your father can no longer support us like before because of the bills, the money and the debts we own to the bank and everything! H – He’s not healthy enough to be working…”
Mystery didn't know how to react to this dreadful piece of information. She only stood there staring at the ground, feeling unable to help and shameful. Finally, she turned to her father. "I'm sorry dad," she apologized, and then gazed over at her tired mother. "I - I didn't know, otherwise I would've never said those horrible things to you, to both of you. I'm sorry, mum and dad. I want to help somehow."
"The only way is to move over to that old house we'd mentioned earlier," her dad advised, looking at her with tired eyes. "It's much better and it'll be easier to - to cope with … it’ll be a lot better. You know that I have a problem with my health. I'm not able to work so hard much all the time. I haven't got the old energy with me anymore." He laughed half-heartedly.
"It's okay, dad," she smiled, trying to be helpful and gave him a hug, soon to be joined by her mother in a tight embrace. "I'll do whatever you both want. I'll be ready with my packing as soon as you say, mum and dad. I love you both so much!"
"We love you too!" both of her parents said.
"See, Jenny?" her father asked her mother, tapping her head lovingly with pride. "Isn't she the best daughter a father could ask for?" He kissed the top of her head.
"After all, she's my daughter!" her mother replied playfully, and laughed softly. She kissed her daughter's flushed face. "We've got a surprise for you!"
"Oh?" Mystery asked, curious, but at the same time excited at the possibility of what the surprise just might be.
"It's very old, cared for and cherished item, Mystery," her mother put in. "It's my mother's, mother's, mother's necklace and has been in the family for over many generations! It's your great, great, great grandmother's!"
His facial expression of amused. He looked at her mother and asked, "You still have that thing?"
Her mother laughed along with Mystery. "Yes, I do, Dave."
In two minutes her mother hurried back with a thin jewellery bow that was covered in red velvet. She watched in incredulity when the square shaped lid opened up and revealed the jewellery.
"Wow…!" Lauren whispered, a tight lump in her throat. She feared that she'd burst out crying any second and embarrass herself even further. "It's - It's incredible, mum! Thank you so much! I promise I'll take care of it to the grave! I'll never leave it off. I'll keep it with me all the time! It's amazingly beautiful!" She kissed and hugged her mother as a thank you.
Her parents laughed.
“Well, don’t wear it all the time. Keep in safe,” he mother advised strongly.
"Of course! Okay, I'm going to Isabelle's!" she cried, happily. She hastily but carefully tied on the heavy, shimmering, and ancient looking necklace. She felt a soft tingle snake up her spine as, but she ignored it, believing it was just because of the coldness of the chain. It felt just right though. Then, she gave her parents another hug and headed off to grab her coat. "I can't wait to show everyone-"
"No!" her mother cried.
"Why not, mum?" asked Mystery, confused. "I'm only going show it to Isabelle anyway. It's way precious to me and I would never let it get into any wrong hands. Trust me."
"Well, try to keep it to yourself ... you never know," her mother said.
“We have entrusted you with the necklace already,” her father added.
"Oh, 'kay..." said Mystery, hesitantly, "but she's my friend. I can't lie to her even if I try."
Her mother looked calm again, and smiled at her. "Okay. Only tell her then."
"Thanks mum. I’ll be back at dinner!" As soon as their front entrance door clicked shut, David and Jennifer resumed their packing.