"You think I'm your brother?" Matthew looked right at me and started busting out laughing. His laughing was so hard that it turned into coughs and I got concerned. "Matt? Are you dying on me?"
He rolled his eyes and replied, "I'm fine, Gracie. But do you know how ridiculous that sounds? How could we be siblings?"
"Think about it, Matt. My mom had a child...a son, before me. It
was two months old when she gave it up...you were two months old
when you were adopted, and now that the thought occurred to
me...we have the same facial structure."
I walked over to Matt and handed him my compact mirror. "Look," I commanded.
He sighed and then looked at himself in the mirror. A playful smile slowly faltered and he put the mirror down. "You're right. We do have the same structure...but thats beside the point."
I crossed my arms. "Matt, does your mom know the name of the woman that gave you up?" He shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe," he stated, "she'll be back in a few minutes."
"Good. We can ask her, then."
Helen came back in an hour after Matt and I discussed his adoption. We were both starting at her and she asked, "What's going on here?"
I got up from the chair and let her sit down. As I was making my way to the other side of Matt's bed, I responded, "Helen, do you remember the Matt's real mother's name?"
She looked at Matt curiously and said, "You were suppose to keep your adoption a secret, Matthew Baxter."
He glanced at his mom and replied, "Just answer the question, Mom."
Helen crossed her leg and retorted, "I'm not for certain, since it's been a long time ago."
I stared at her blankly and stated, "It's only been 18 years, Helen...just tell us, please."
She was hiding something...I could tell. She finally looked over at me and murmured, "Lawson...her name was Hannah Lawson."
Matt had the tv remote in his hand when his mom replied and dropped it on the floor. "Gracie..isn't that your.."
"That's my mom's maiden name," I whispered.
Matt closed his eyes and laid his head back on the pillows. In a hush-tone, he said, "My best friend is my sister."
I dropped my brother off at my house around 6am. "Don't follow me ever again!" I yelled through the window. While walking up the stairs, he flipped me a bird and then slammed the door.
Stirring up gravel, I backed out of my driveway and drove in the direction of Old Maple Road. Excitement was beating through my veins, because I knew I would catch Grace off guard...she would never see me coming.
When I found Old Maple Road, I started looking at the mailbox numbers. I had to find 255. I scanned left and right and finally...there it was. A long, gravel driveway leading into some woodsy area. "Sketchy.," I mumbled.
The driveway seemed like it stretched to eternity, but sure enough, there was a gray-colored house at the end with lights on. "Here I come, Gracie."
I parked behind some trees and turned my headlights off. Hopefully, her parents weren't home because I had a feeling Grace would be yelling at me.
Walking up the steps, I decided I wasn't going to sneak in...I was going to knock instead. I had knocked on the door twice by the time somebody came...and it wasn't Gracie.
Shit. She's not home alone. I thought to myself. The woman must have been her mother and I politely put a smile on and asked, "Is Gracie home?"
She had a dishtowel over her shoulder was wearing a white t-shirt with gym shorts. She dressed very young for her age and Gracie looked just like her. "Who wants know?" She replied skeptically.
"Oh! I beg your pardon, Ma'am. I'm Justin Morgans." I held out my hand for her to shake, but she didn't. She continued looking at me skeptically.
Finally, her expression changed and she said, "Wait. What did you say your name was?"
"Justin Morgans, ma'am." She smiled and shook my hand. "You're father! I'm so sorry...I didn't know Gracie was expecting you! Come on in!"
With my reply, she ushered me into the home. Why did Gracie tell her mother she was pregnant? She was suppose to keep it a secret...
Grace's mom escorted me into the living room and sat me down on a couch. There was a scrawny, little old woman sitting in the chair opposite of me, smoking a cigerette.
"You want a smoke?" She asked in a raspy voice. She held out her pack and I kindly took one...I couldn't pass up on a free cigerette.
Grace's mom came back in with the dishtowel off her shoulder and sat down beside me. She sat with her legs crossed, like a teenager and beamed at me. "We are so excited about the baby! Aren't we, mom?"
So the old lady was Gracie's grandmother. She tapped some ashes into a tray and stated, "You may be excited, but I'm not. She made a huge mistake and shouldn't have kept it."
"Mom..." Grace's mother hissed. I smiled and replied, "It's alright Mrs..."
She exclaimed, "Oh! Sorry. Just call me Hannah."
I continued, "Well...Hannah, I actually agree with your mother...I didn't want Gracie to keep the baby because I already have one kid."
The old lady snorted and exclaimed, "Ha! Exactly! Those abortions are not expensive at all!"
I looked over at her and nodded. "Gracie told me that she didn't want to kill the baby, of course I wasn't going to make her do anything she didn't want to."
Hannah looked over at me and smiled. "You seem like a good man, Justin. I'm glad you're staying by my daughter's side."
A fake grin spread across my face. I had Grace's family wrapped around my finger and soon...soon, they'll want her to be with me, and not that bastard Logan.
I leaned forward and tapped my ashes into the tray and looked at her grandmother. She noticed me and said, "Yeah I know. I look unhealthy, don't I?"
"Not in the least, Ma'am." I stated.
She cackled and exclaimed, "Now don't be a smoosher, Justin! I have stage 4 bone cancer and vanishing quickly."
I felt a little remorse for Grace. She had two people in her life, dying of cancer. "That must be hard for Grace."
She flicked her hand in a 'whatever' pose and said, "She doesn't care. She's never around anymore...she's always in San Diego with that Matthew boy."
Hannah jumped in the conversation and stated, "We don't even know why that family moved there."
This was my moment. What I was about to tell them, would surely get them on my side. "Oh, I thought she told you."
"Told us what?" Hannah and her mother said simultaneously.
I shook my head and stated, "She's always in San Diego because Matt is dying of lung cancer."