A Sisters Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ryley was raised by her 3 older sisters after her mother did during her birth. This is her story of love, loss, and everything else that goes along with being a teenager.

Rated PG for some language and mention of drugs use by adults

Submitted: February 11, 2012

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Submitted: February 11, 2012

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A Sisters Life

It is life; an unwritten tragedy full of dashed hopes and dreams where love seems to exist only in times when it is convenient for people but it is my life all the same.  Sitting on the roof watching the sun slowly set over the ocean always gives me a feeling of peace and the hope that someday things might be different. The laughter of children playing on the beach with their parents floods my mind with memories of my own family; memories of love and happiness but also memories that I wish could be forgotten forever. It is always peaceful up on the roof listening to the sound of the waves roll in on the beach below. This has always been my place; the place where I can come to be alone when I needed to think about things or get away from my family and their nagging.

I grew up in a small town on the coast of New Hampshire. It was the kind of town where everyone knows everything about everyone. Growing up in a town like this made it almost impossible to get away with anything because you could bet that someone would call home before you got there and tell whoever was home what you were doing. The worst part was that everyone knew your family and everything about them. My best friend, Jake, and I have lived next door to each other since we were in diapers. He and I did everything together, including spending an entire summer building a 3 story tree house in an old oak tree in the empty lot behind our houses with his dad when we were 10. We were always there for each other; I was there for him when his dad was killed in Iraq three years ago and he was there for me every time something happened with me and my sisters. We had made our relationship official over the summer, even with my sisters no dating rule. I could hear the familiar steps behind me as Jake came to join me on the roof.

“Hey Shorty what happened to bring you up here this morning?” Jake asked as he sat down next to me, kissing me on my cheek.

“You know that paper we have to write for English,” I sighed pulling my long curly jet black hair into a ponytail.

“Yeah. The one we have to write on our family and our life so far. What about it?”

“Well what am I going to write? I have 3 moms and my life is nothing but drama. I have no clue how to write this paper and I am not up for having to present it in front of the class.”

“Don’t worry about it I am sure you will figure out what to write, and technically Andie is your only mom, Liv and Abby are just your sisters.”

“True and most of the time they do act more like my sisters,” I said smiling I always forgot that he knew more about my family than any of our friends and classmates did. “So I just need to remember the details and all the drama. Then write it all down and make it sound good.”

“That’s about it I think. That should get you a passing grade.”

“God knows I better come home with a passing grade or Andie would freak.”

“You have never brought home anything less than a A- Miss. 4.28 GPA as a freshman. You showoff,”  he laughed playfully pushing my shoulder.

“ Hey! Your just as much of a showoff Mr. star athlete of every sport we play,” I smiled pushing him over as I laid on his chest and kissed him. He was very muscular from all the days he spent working out with his dad and a second later I found myself on my back staring into his aqua blues eyes which reminded me of the ocean.

“Yeah some star athlete who can’t win a game of one-on-one against his girlfriend.”

“Yeah but we always knew I was the better baller, but some day I might let you win,” I replied as I ruffled his shaggy light brown hair. I was going to mention the slight height disadvantage seeing as how at 6’6” I was three inches taller than him, but decided against it.

“Someday,” he sighed, “You ready to start your paper.”

“Yep. Guess I better just start from the beginning,” I sighed as together we stood and headed for my room. I was glad that Jake had decided to help me; he always remembered the funniest parts of our lives. I sat at the old antique desk in my room; it was yet another hand me down from my sisters. I pulled out my notebook and flipping it open began to write. Soon my pen was dancing across the page recreating all those memories I had tried so hard to forget.

My name is Ryley Jade Elizabeth MacDowell and I am 14 years old. I live with my 3 older sisters and their families in the old Victorian manor that we inherited from our grandmother. When my mother first found out she was pregnant with me my so-called father decided to run off and leave her and my three older half sisters with nothing. My mom’s first husband took off with his blonde 20 something secretary a few months after my sister Olivia was born and about 19 years later she remarried my dead beat man of a father. My sisters had always told me that he disappeared completely when my mom got pregnant with me and that my mother was a beautiful and caring person but that is something I never had the chance to experience. The day I was born was the day my mother died leaving me an orphan. She lived just long enough to give me a name but nothing more. My oldest sister Andrea was 24 years old and had just married her high school sweetheart Ricky, plus on top of that she was getting ready to finish her last semester of nursing school. When she went to court the judge told her that she either had to adopt me or I would be put in foster care and put up for adoption. If she gave up her rights she would not be allowed to see me again. Well, she and Ricky adopted me and then they, along with my two other sisters, Abigail and Olivia, moved into our three story Victorian Manor that Andie had been given in my mother’s will. Liv was finishing her last year at the police academy and Abby was finishing her junior year of college trying to graduate with her teaching degree.

I was raised by my sisters and Ricky until I was four, when my so called father showed back up and demanded custody of me; which he was given since he had never signed over his parental rights to my sister. I had no idea what was happening and had grown up thinking that Ricky was my dad, which was shocking when it turned out he wasn’t. The day he came and got me I clung to Andie and begged her not to let him take me away, but she just stood there doing nothing. Up to that point she had been my mother; the one who took care of me and raised me, she taught me to read, sang me to sleep every night, and comforted me when I was hurt or scared, and even when I was I trouble I knew she loved me. I didn’t understand how she could just let him take me.  It was at that point in time that I decided she had never loved me and I was just some orphan she had to take in.

The few years I spent with my so-called father I was invisible unless he was yelling at me because I said too much to adults. He spent most of his time high on whatever he could get his hands on: weed, meth, heroine, crack you name he did it. There was a constant parade of people coming in and out of the house. At night I would lay in my room, which consisted of some blankets and a pillow on the floor in a closet, and prayed that one day my sisters would come get me. I figured I would rather live with them and never really be loved than to live with him and never be seen. My so-called father got himself in a great deal of trouble with his dealers seeing as how he lost almost every job he had because he was high so much. I spent two years with my dad in a world where showers and clean clothes didn’t exist and where food came from trash cans and the other kids’ lunches at school. I had to move schools a few times to keep teachers from getting to close to the truth but it was hard to keep coming up with new stories to explain why I was so dirty and hungry. I had gotten in trouble a few times for stealing food but my so-called father would just yell at me for getting caught and lock me in the closet. Going to school was never fun, the other kids hated me and spent most of their time picking on me because I smelled and wore old dirty clothes. The only friend I had was Jake, but he and I had been friends since we were two. When I started going back to my old school, Andie’s daughter, my niece Jessie was in my class and was one of the kids who picked on me every day. She and I used to be really close but when I was taken away she grew to hate me for messing up her family and stealing her life. Jake had stuck by me though and I had made him promise that he wouldn’t tell my sisters about me. When I was taken away my sister’s had no clue where I was, like they would have cared anyway, but one day things changed. It was late May and I was sitting in the corner at recess with Jake when Jessie came over and gave me an invitation to her birthday party the following weekend. I was surprised that she had bothered to give me one when she hated me so much but then I remembered the new rule “if you give out invitations at school you have to give one to everyone in class”. On Saturday I tried my best to clean up and look nice; I picked out my cleanest clothes and even those where stained beyond belief, then I took the bus to the closest stop, walked the remaining 6 blocks to the party and knocked on the door. Abby opened the door:

“Oh my God, Ryley, oh sweetheart,” she gasped and turning yelled, “Andie…Liv come here quick.”

“What is it? What is going on?” Liv asked appearing in the door way.

“Oh my goodness… Ryley!! You have gotten so big honey.” She said pulling me into a hug.

“Thank you. These are my best and cleanest clothes. I’m sorry they are dirty I can go back home if you want.”

“No that’s okay honey, you look very pretty, come in and see everyone,” Abby said as she ushered me through the door just as Andie walked around the corner to see what all the commotion earlier was about.

“What up Abbs…..Ryley,” she gasped my name as she laid eyes on me, “What are you doing here sweetheart? Did you run away?” she asked squatting down in front of me so she was looking me in the eyes and it was then that I noticed her eyes were my eyes. We both had our mother’s vivid sea green eyes while my sisters had inherited the chocolate brown eyes of their father. Her eyes were soft with that worried mother look I had seen many times before.

“No, I Came to Jesse’s birthday party she gave me an invitation, but if you don’t want me to stay I can go,” I said turning around to walk back through the door, but her hand gently grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into her arms.

“No no baby this is your home and you’re not going anywhere.” Andie held me tightly as she hugged the breath out of me. I could hear her sniffing behind my ear. I hadn’t had a shower in who knew how long and hadn’t had my hair cut or brushed since I had left her arms two years ago. I knew she getting a good whiff of me and that couldn’t smell too good. After what seemed like hours she released me from her vise grip and was once again looking into my eyes. She looked like she was trying to find all the answers she needed in my eyes. Her eyes were red and brimming with tears.

 “Honey would you like to take a shower, wash your hair, and get in some clean clothes?”

“I would like that very much, but I don’t know how to. I haven’t had one since I got taken away from here. ”

“Baby you haven’t had a shower in two years,” Abby and Liv asked in surprise.

I looked at my feet and slowly shook my head back and forth. I knew at that point that I would be in trouble when I got home for saying too much. I tried my hardest to keep myself from crying; knowing what would happen when I got home, but the tears slowly began running down my cheeks and I finally broke down crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t see whose arms I was now being cradled in and I couldn’t hear the voices over my loud sobs. A few minutes later Andie had set me down on the bathroom floor and turned on the water in the bathtub. She sat on the toilet and pulled me close to her so she could help me undress but I had already said too much and didn’t want to get in trouble when I went home clean. I started to yell and pull away from her.

“Ryley what’s wrong honey?”

“I can’t go home clean. He will be mad,” I yelled trying to run for the door, but Liv had heard my yelling at cut me off at the door.

“Liv can you go call your friend and see what she can do to help us get this taken care of,” Andie asked hoping that Liv would get the hint to call her best friend Jane, a social worker for the local CPS office. Andie walked up behind me and took hold of my hand and shutting the door lead me back toward the bathtub. I sat silently staring at the water while she washed my hair and gently ran a wash cloth over my body. It wasn’t until Andie wrapped me in a towel that I saw the tears running down her cheeks. I didn’t understand why she was crying she didn’t care about me. She cradled me in her arms and helped me get dressed. She hadn’t stopped crying, maybe I was wrong maybe she did care. Andie kissed me on the forehead and with that she took my hand and we walked down the stairs. That was the last time I saw my so-called father. So much has happened in the last few years. Living with my sisters has had its ups and it’s down but mostly downs.

I was brought out of my flashback by a knock on my door. I looked at Jake and putting down my pen pointed toward the window. We both knew it would mean major trouble if he was caught in my room. My sisters liked him and all but there was also a no boys in your room rule and we were already breaking the no dating until 16 rule. Breaking both would have meant big trouble for me.

“Ryley, honey breakfast is ready.” Liv called from the hallway.

“Alright I’ll be down in a few.” I replied throwing my books in my backpack along with my clothes for basketball practice. I walked over and kissed Jake just as he made his escape out my window.

“Hurry up you don’t want to be late for school.”

A few minutes later I was running down the stairs joining my sisters at the table. Abby set a plate down in front of me and instructed me to eat.

“Hey Andie, I know I broke curfew and all but my teacher want me to help tutor kids after school. Is it okay if I tell them that I can,” I asked with a mouthful of bacon and eggs.

“What days and when is it?”

“It’s every day after school from 3 to 6pm. Can I do it? And don’t worry you won’t have to pick me up I can ride the activity bus home.”

“Yeah sure kiddo it’s for a good cause but you better have your little butt home by 6:30 you are still grounded.”

“Seriously for how long?”

“Yes kiddo seriously, and consider yourself lucky because if you ever come home at 3am drunk again your butt will be so sore you won’t be able to sit for a month. Which is how long you are grounded for by the way,” Andie replied giving me her don’t think I won’t look.

“I already told you that I wasn’t drinking. My friend was and I helped her get home from the party. I am sorry I didn’t call but…”

“No buts young lady… and I really wish I could believe you baby but you don’t have a great track record when it comes to telling the truth or staying out of trouble.”

“Well I wonder who I inherited that from miss grounded almost all through high school for partying and who knows what else,” I yelled as I grabbed my backpack and ran out the door to catch the bus. I knew my butt would be in trouble for that comment but I didn’t care, it was her dang daughter I brought home drunk last night. Thinking over her words brought a smile to my face. For now everything was coming together and I figured I would never have to tell my sisters that I was really playing basketball and not tutoring. The first game wasn’t for a month, which meant I would no longer be grounded, and all of the away games fell on my sisters date nights, which also meant that I would get home before they did. Things were going to work out just fine.

The bus ride to school took longer than normal and after our driver got lost we wound up getting to school 45 minutes late. Jake and I walked into the office to get our late passes before heading off to our first period math class.

“So did you tell your sisters that you made varsity yet,” Jake asked.

“No. I was going to but Jessie came in all excited about making the cheer team that I didn’t have the chance.”

“Seriously, babe you are the first freshman girl to make the varsity basketball team since Andie did when she was a freshman here. You gotta tell them.”

“It’s not that important. Besides they were so excited Jessie made the team I didn’t want to take any of the glory away from her. Plus if they really cared they would have asked how tryouts went.”

“Okay so if they don’t know how are you going to get away with going to practice and games? They are bound to notice when you don’t come home on time.”

“They think I am tutoring kids after school. That should buy me enough time to come up with a better plan.”

“You know sooner or later they will find out and you are going to be in some hot water. You know Andie hates when you lie to her more than anything. Remind me again why we break so many of her rules.”

“Because it is fun to see just how mad she will get and how much we can get away with,” I explained as we walked into our classroom taking our seats just before the bell rang.

The day had been going as well as any Monday could. That was until lunch rolled around and Jessie decided she wanted to open her mouth. Jessie and I have never really gotten along since I was taken to live my jerk of a father. She was the popular cheerleader who was dating the star football player and I was the athletic tomboy who hung out with my small group of friends. Lately, I had started to look after Jessie since I always felt more like her sister since she was only 10 months younger than I was. Since we had starter high school Jessie spent her weekends going to as many parties as possible and getting drunk with her boyfriend Derek. Whenever she got too drunk to find her own way home Derek would call me to come get her and I would drag her home. The only time Jessie and I saw each other during the day was at lunch since we didn’t have any classes together. However, she would often take that 45minutes to tease me about anything she could. Jake and I along with our friends Ryan, Matt, Ty, Tia, Kelli, Fin, and Jace had just sat down with our food at our usual table when Jessie and her friends noticed me.

“Well if it isn’t the orphan and her misfit friends,” Jessie sneered kicking my backpack that had been resting against my chair.

“Yeah well I would rather be an orphan than have a face like yours,” I replied sarcastically.

“Says the beyond ugly wanna-be boy who has no friends and has no clue what make-up is. You’re a freaking disgrace to our family name.”

“Just because I don’t want to walk around looking like I should be working at night on a street corner doesn’t mean I am any less of a girl. And besides when you come home knocked-up before we are 16 I think you will be more of a disgrace than I will,” I countered trying hard not to laugh.

“Oh and I wonder what would happen if I let slip at dinner that you had a boyfriend.” Jessie started to laugh. I stood and moved closer so that we were standing toe to toe. I towered over her by almost a foot which forced her to look up at me.

“I wouldn’t say another word unless you want to find yourself kissing the floor,” I whispered clenching my fists keeping myself from hitting her right then.

“Oh I am so scared you would never hit me. You wouldn’t want to get into trouble for fighting or do I need to remind you of what happened last time you got in a fight. We were 12 I believe and if I remember correctly the comment made was ‘next time you get into a fight you won’t be sitting for a month.’ Ring any bells,” Jessie retorted testing my limits.

“Hey that’s a great reminder I should put that in my essay. Thanks kiddo,” I recalled and with that I brushed her off and pulled my notebook out of my backpack before I could forget. As I started writing Jessie gave me one last glare, snorted and stormed off her friends following her lead.

“That was sweet Ry,” Ty chuckled.

“Yeah, way to tell her off.”

“ Yeah, yeah hold the compliments I gotta get this written before I forget,” I sighed not hearing what was said next as I slipped back into my memory.

I was sitting in the principal’s office waiting for one of my sisters to come pick me up. I had just gotten into my third fight of the school year and was being suspended for 2 weeks. As I sat there waiting I hoped that Liv would be the one to come get me since she had to stay home with my nephew who had the flu. Liv and I were pretty close. She was a true older sister and often diffused my fights with Andie by putting herself in the middle. I think our relationships was better due to the fact that she was the youngest sister, before I came along and knew what my older sisters were like. There were times when Liv knew I did something that would get me in trouble but instead of telling Andie she told me it would be our secret. Maybe this could be one of those times and the more I though back on Andie’s threat after my last fight the more I hoped it could be our secret.  I heard the door open and smiled when Liv walked in but when I saw the look on her face my heart sank. She never looked at me like that and I couldn’t stand to see her look so disappointed. I would have rather seen Andie walk through those doors that see the look on Liv’s face.

“Ryley MacDowell you have 5 seconds to get your little butt in my car,” Liv stated sternly, “Go Now!”

I grabbed my backpack and ran to the car without looking back. I tried my hardest not to cry while I waited in the car but as soon as the door opened the tears began to fall. I hated crying, I never and I mean never cried, and I refused to let my sisters see me cry but there had been the few times like this that I couldn’t hold them back any longer.

“Ryley what is wrong with you. You couldn’t even make it to lunch before getting into a fight,” Liv yelled slamming the car door shut without even looking at me.

“I’m sorry Liv. I tried to walk away but…”

“There are no buts. How many times have we told you not to fight and to just walk away? This is the third fight you have gotten into this year and now you get to spend two weeks at home because you got suspended. Why do you have to fight all the time? I have never been so disappointed in you Ryley.”

“I didn’t mean to Liv I swear. I did try to walk away but then she tackled me and started hitting me,” I began to explain but all I could her were her words echoing in my head. She was disappointed in me so disappointed that she couldn’t even look at me. I had disappointed her and the more I thought about it the harder I began to sob.

 “ I…sorry…I-I-I….sorry….Livia,” I sobbed barely able to breathe.

“Sorry just doesn’t cut it sometimes Kiddo. God how could you be so stupid,” Liv signed hitting her hand on the steering wheel.

“Can you at least look at me,” I yelled hitting the window with my fist sobbing beyond control.

“Honey you need to calm down or you are going to make yourself sick. We are almost home take deep breaths baby.”

“ C-c-can’t….d-d-disa-apointed….you….bad…bad….p-person,” I sobbed louder as we pulled into the driveway and Liv opened my door.

“Come on little one let’s get inside,” Liv said softly as she put her hand on my shoulder.

“ No….so….s-stupid…stupid…stupid,” I screamed hitting myself in the head with each word. Before I even knew what was happening Liv had grabbed my hands and pinned them down. The tighter her grip the harder I struggled. Liv pulled me into a bear hug squeezing my hand into my sides as a buried my face into her long brown hair. I sobbed into her neck as she rubbed her hand is circles on my back.

“Shhhh baby girl. Calm down sweet heart everything is going to be okay. I promise. Shhh. I am right here baby girl.”

“I…okay….I w-won’t hit no more. Can I g-go to b-bed now?”

“Sure baby but promise me you won’t hit yourself again.”

“I won’t,” I promised as Liv and I walked up the stairs to my room.

I laid down on my bed and curled up with my stuffed turtle, Speedy, that I had slept with since I was 6. Andie had given it to me when I first came back to live with them. She had to sleep with me every night for almost a week and hoped that the turtle would help me sleep at night without her. It was the one thing that always gave me comfort. Liv sat on the end on my bed and ran her fingers through my then shoulder length hair.

“Liv,” I chocked.

“Yeah baby?”

“Are you going to tell Andie.”

“What do you think?”

“Please don’t she will be mad,” I sobbed as I started to cry again.

“I am not going to tell her honey.”

“Really,” I questioned half excited.

“Nope, but you are going to tell her,” Liv added stressing the word you as she spoke.

“But I can’t she’s going to be mad at me. I already disappointed you I can’t disappoint her too. P-Please don’t m-make me tell her,” I yelled sobbing harder with each word.

“I am sorry baby but this is something that she needs to know. You made the decision to fight and you will need to act like the big girl I know you are and take the consequences,” she replied now rubbing my back trying to comfort me.

I turned away from her and hugging Speedy tighter sobbed into my pillow until I fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later when the front door slammed. I knew that it had to be Andie since the school had probably called her first when I was in the office. I quietly opened my door and squeezing Speedy into my chest I sat down on the top step of the stairwell. From where I sat I could hear Liv and Andie talking in the kitchen and would be able to see what was going on.

“Hey Andie busy day in the ER you look beat.”

“ I am there were tons of accidents today. On top of that I was stressed out all day after I got the phone call from the school. What the heck did she do this time?”

“I can’t tell you that. However, she did get suspended for two weeks.”

“Excuse me,” Andie yelled, “you tell me she got suspended and you won’t tell me why. What the hell is up with you!”

“Hey don’t start yelling at me missy. I can’t tell you because I told her she had to tell you when you got home,” Liv yelled back.

“Sorry Liv I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

“Your forgiven. She’s upstairs in her room.”

“Thanks,” Andie replied as she walked toward the living room. It was at that point that Jessie came running into the house yelling for her mom.

“Mommy guess what Ryley got in a big fight at school today and she got expended,” she yelled joyfully as she hugged Andie.

“I think you mean suspended not expended honey. I think auntie Liv has some cookies ready for you in the kitchen.”

Jessie smiled and skipped into the kitchen looking for her treat. Andie looked up and glared at me from where she stood. I had only seen that look a few times before and I knew exactly what it meant and what was coming next. I turned and ran into my room knowing that Andie was already on her way up. I threw myself on my bed and pretended to be asleep. The door creaked open a few seconds later.

“Ryley Jade! Get up now I know you’re not asleep I saw you run in here. You have to the count of 3 to get up,” she warned her voice stern, “ One…..Two…..Thr..”

“Okay I’m up,” I yelled rolling out of bed and standing.

“Would you like to tell me what happened today,” Andie asked stepping closer her eyebrows raised. I couldn’t tell is she was angry or worried.

“No not really,” I replied a little too sarcastically.

“Excuse me.”

“You already know why do I have to tell you,” I yelled back as I felt the tears run down my cheeks, “Jessie already tattled. Can’t you just punish me already?”

“No I want you to tell me what happened and I want the truth young lady.”

“Fine,” I yelled moving closer to the wall, “This girl was c-calling me names and she pushed me. We got into a f-fight and I had to go to the office.”

“Anything else?”

“Y-yes,” I answered my eyes to blurry to see her face and my chest heaving from my sobbing, “When I-I got… home I got upset c-cause…. I had dis-a-pointed you and L-Liv and I started h-hitting myself for being s-s-stupid.”

I fell to the floor sobbing harder than before. Andie scooped me up off the floor and sat on my bed rocking me. She was the only one of my sisters who was able to still pick me up. She held me close to her chest.

“It’s okay baby girl. I need you to calm down and take deep breaths.”

“I’m s-sorry Andie. I didn’t m-mean to disappoint you a-again.”

“We will take about it when you calm down honey,” she whispered in my ear. She tucked the stray strands of hair behind my ear and kissed my forehead.

“Andie,” I sighed looking her in the eyes, “I am ready to take on the consequences for my actions from today. I really am sorry for my behavior.”

“I know that you are sorry for what you did. When I see you so worked up and crying I know that you are truly sorry. However, there will be consequences and I am glad that you are will to take them on instead of run away from them. Ready?”

“Yes Ma’am,” I replied climbing off her lap.

Suddenly I felt someone tapping me on the arm. I turned around and realized that the bell must have rung because everyone was leaving the cafeteria. Jake tapped me on the shoulder again and I threw my backpack over my shoulder. Together we walked across the court yard to our next class. When our last class had finished for the day Jake, Ty, Fin, Tia and I walked over to the locker rooms to get ready for practice. Tia, Finn and I decided to walk the back way to the girls locker room so we could avoid running into the cheerleaders. If Jessie saw my in the locker room my cover would be blown and after our lovely encounter in the cafeteria we didn’t want to deal with a possible fight.

Weeks had passed and my cover was working out perfectly. Our first home game was only a day away and I started to get nervous about my family finding out. Our coach had just told us that the cheer team was not going to be at our games which gave me some relief, now that there was no chance of Jessie seeing me play. Everything was working out great.

 

“Sorry we’re late mom the activity bus got stuck behind an accident,” Jessie explained as we walked in the kitchen. Everyone was already sitting down to dinner.

“It’s okay girls. Have a seat and dish yourself up some spaghetti.”

“Wait who cooked tonight,” I asked sarcastically.

“I did Kiddo,” Abby replied with a chuckle, “so don’t worry it’s edible unlike when Andie cooks.”

“Hey my cooking is not that bad,” Andie stated defensively which just made everyone at the table laugh. We all knew if Andie cooked you didn’t eat or you ate at your own risk.

“That’s what you think,” I added sarcastically.

“So what time are you guys going to start cheering tomorrow night,” Andie asked Jessie at dinner.

“Not until the boys game at 7 because the girls said they didn’t want us to cheer at their game but I think coach might have us cheer for their game too so maybe 5.”

“Well we will make sure we are there to see you cheer at 7.”

“ Andie, I might be late tomorrow night cause this kid I’m working with has a test that I am going to help him study for. Is that okay,” I asked scrapping the last of my pasta into a pile and shoving it in my mouth. Thank goodness they weren’t coming at 5 just in case Jessie cheered at our game; my cover would go up in flames. I did however realize I might just have to make a deal with the devil if she did cheer at our game. If she didn’t rat me out I wouldn’t tell Andie I was bringing her home drunk almost every weekend.

“Well I guess that’s okay since you’re helping him study but as soon as you’re done I want you to meet us at the game.”

“But I’m not grounded anymore. It’s been a month.”

“Yes I know that but you can still meet us at the game and support Jessie and you won’t mope they entire time either kiddo.”

“Yeah since you didn’t make the team loser,” Jessie sneered sarcastically. Andie reached over and smacked her in the back of the head.

“Knock it off. You can apologize and spend the rest of the night in your room. Ryley not a word from you either. Be nice or don’t say anything. Got it!”

I nodded my head to show that I understood and picking up my plate I stood and walked into the kitchen to put it in the dishwasher. Jessie followed me mumbling something under her breath and throwing her dishes in the sink stomped up the stairs to her room slamming the door behind her. I couldn’t help but laugh, she had always been dramatic and being a cheerleader fit her attitude perfectly, just like being a tomboy athlete fit me.

The next day seemed to fly by and the next thing I knew I was in the locker room getting dressed for the game. Everything was going as planned but as I put on my jersey I started to feel like something was missing. I looked down at the number on my jersey and thought back to why I had chosen it when we received them at our first practice. When Andie played basketball in high school she had worn this jersey, maybe not the same one, and in her four years she had never worn another number. I wanted to wear it with pride like she had all those years ago and maybe she could be proud of me for once. I traced my finger over the 30 wishing that she could be here to see me. I finished donning my uniform and trying my kicks walked through the old oak doors that led to the gym. I took my position in line and ball I hand ran on to the court beginning the team warm-up. I shed my warm-up and as co-captain walked with my teammate to half court, exchanging handshakes with the refs and other team captains. As the game was about to begin I thought everything was perfect but just before I took my position for the jump ball I scanned the crowed to find my sisters staring back at me, the look of Andie’s death stare saying it all. I hadn’t seen Andie give me that look since I tried to run away 5 years ago and that hadn’t ended well….I hadn’t been able to sit for hours. Part of me was glad that she was here, and that she could see me play, but the other part of me dreaded seeing her. She had been mad at me before but that look sent shivers down my spine just as the whistle blew.

I let the front door letting slam behind me ignoring the toys scattered on the floor. I was in a hurry trying desperately to reach the safety of my room before they got home. ‘They weren’t supposed to be at the game. Everything is ruined and my life is over,’ I thought to myself. ‘How could this be happening again? Less than five years ago my life had come to a crashing halt and now it was happening again.’ They knew. They knew everything.

“Ryley Jade Elizabeth MacDowell! Get your butt back down here now,” I heard Andie yell from the foot of the stairs. Taking my hand off the door handle like it was burning to the touch I turned to face the hallway. Walking back to the stairs I saw them standing like a triangle with Andie taking the point like she was once again showing her power as the oldest. I made sure to keep enough space between me and Andie for a quick getaway if needed, but my foot slipped on the step bringing me closer than I wished.

“Ryley why is it that whenever there is trouble your never far behind,” Andie boomed hands flying through the air like fighter planes, “I can’t believe you have been lying to us for the last month! For the last five years you have been nothing but trouble.  What is wrong with you?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me! It’s not my fault the three of you are so wrapped up in your own damn families that you don’t give a shit about me or what I do! How can you talk to someone who doesn’t give a shit about you anyway?! No one in this damn house cares about me and why should they I am nothing but the problem child that you had to take in,” I yelled clenching my fists so tight that my fingernails cut into my palm and my face contorted with anger I stared at them, waiting.

“We do care and you need to watch your language young lady,” Andie yelled.

“Screw you and screw this damn family. You do give a shit about me,” I screamed back just as Andie’s hand came swinging full force landing with a loud slap on my cheek which instantly exploded with pain. Feeling my cheek, now red hot from my sister’s hand, I raised my head to see the matching stunned looks on the faces of my three sisters. My eyes began welling with tears but I wouldn’t give them the pleasure of seeing me cry.

“No you don’t! I was so excited the day I found out I made varsity as a freshman, just like you did, and I came running home to tell you. But you were to damn busy celebrating the fact that Jessie made the cheer squad that you didn’t give a shit about what I had to say. You knew I was going to tryouts and you didn’t even think to ask if I made the team on not. You just assumed that I sucked and didn’t make it. You guys don’t care about me your too busy with your own families. I’m sorry mom died and you guys got stuck with me and that you couldn’t put me up for adoption like you wanted too. I’m sorry that I ruined your lives,” I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer and they began to stream down my face mixing with the salty residue my sweat had left behind.

“What are you talking about? We never wanted to put you up for adoption. How could you think that?” Liv asked placing her hand around me.

“Don’t lie! Jessie showed me the papers saying you were giving up custody so I could be adopted five years ago that’s why I ran away. I knew you guys didn’t care about me it was just like when you didn’t want to keep me when that jerk wad came to get me when I was 4,” I yelled back as I turned and ran up the stairs into my room. I slammed the door behind me and wished that there was a lock to keep them out. I threw myself onto my bed covering my face with my pillow and listened for them to come.  I heard the door slowly creak open as Andie walked into my room.

“Go away and leave me alone,” I yelled.

She walked over to my bed and sat down on the edge rubbing her hand over my back to let me know she was there to comfort me. The fight was over….for now. Even though I was still mad at her a part of me was waiting for her comfort, letting me know everything was okay again. I could hear a slight sniffling behind me and I turned to face my sister her eyes swollen and red from crying. Seeing her face and the caring worried look she had made me start crying harder than before, how could she look like she loved me so much when I knew she had never loved me? Andie pulled me into her arms, embracing me as only a mother could. I tried to push away; I was still so angry with her, but Andie just pulled me closer and tightened her embrace allowing me to punch her chest as hard as I could. I finally gave in allowing my face to become hidden in my sister’s chest. I cried into her shoulder as she gently stroked my head running her fingers through my hair swaying slowly side to side, rocking me just as she had every time I needed her comfort.  

“Baby, I want you to listen closely to what I am about to say,” she sniffed, “ Those papers are the ones that Abby and Liv signed giving up custody so that Ricky and I could adopt you. We legally adopted you when you were just a few months old, but because we were all given custody of you they had to sign over their rights in order for us to adopt you. Ry, honey, I am so sorry baby girl. I never knew you felt this way. I have loved you since they day you were born and its my fault for letting you think I didn’t. You didn’t ruin our lives made us what we are. After mom died it tore our family apart but you and your little smile and contagious laugh brought us back together. You made us a family again baby girl. We love you so much. I am so sorry baby.”  Slowly Andie pulled my bent legs over her lap holding me closer than she had in a long time.

“I’m...sorry.....I didn’t….think…you…cared,” I sobbed, my face still hidden, “I …thought  ...you …didn’t…l-l-love …me.. …all… .my …fault… I’m… so… sorry… I… just…want… my…s-s-sisters…back,” I sobbed snuggling deeper into her chest. Gently kissing me on the forehead and letting her lips linger for a moment Andie began to cry herself. Abby and Liv joined us on my bed and wrapped their arms around us sitting in a silence only interrupted by mine and Andies sobs.

“Andie I have never been my sister. You have always been and always will be my daughter and my baby girl. You have Abby, Liv and even Jessie to be your sisters.”

“You sure do honey and you always will. We love you and we want you to come and talk to us whenever you need to. You’re our baby sister and that will never change,” Abby said rubbing my back.

“We love you little one and we will always be here for you,” Liv added rubbing my shoulder, “You know that don’t you kiddo?”

“Guys I think she’s asleep,” Andie said trying to shift my head so she could see it. I moaned as she moved not quite asleep. She slowly started rocking my again as Liv ran her fingers softly through my hair.

“It is amazing how she can look so angry one minute and be so cute and innocent when she sleeps,” Abby said laughing. “Hey you guys remember that one time she was running through the house looking for Andie yelling “Mommy Mommy, no let her pank me” after she had gotten into my makeup. She had lipstick and foundation everywhere and came to hide behind you.” I laid in Andie’s arms trying my hardest not to laugh at the story Abby was telling. I laid as still as I could to listen to the rest of the story not wanting to fall asleep yet.

“Yeah I do,” Andie chuckled, I could feel her chest move as she laughed, “She came running into my bathroom and climbed into my arms saying “Save me Mommy. Ab mad at me,” and in you come mad as can be with a wooden spoon in your hand. You were ready to kill her for wasting all of you newly purchased makeup.”

“Yeah and of course you protected her from me. She couldn’t stop laughing when you grabbed the spoon out of my hand and started smacking me with it as I ran away yelling about how it was so unfair.”

“That was funny. She didn’t laugh for long though I took care of business for you,” Andie said her voice breaking as she started to cry. I could feel her tear drops as they landed on my forehead. How could such a funny story make her so sad?

“What’s wrong honey?”

“I am such a horrible sister and mother,” Andie sobbed through her tears.

“No you’re not Andie,” Abby stated, “you are a great sister and a wonderful mother.”

“How can you say that?  How can it go from her calling me mommy and loving me to her all of the sudden acting like she hates me? She hasn’t called me mommy in 5 years. How is that possible unless it is something I did,” she sobbed. I knew she was right I hadn’t called her mom since Jessie had shown me the adoption papers. I hadn’t realized that it had made her feel so bad and now I felt like crying. She was the only mother I had ever know and I loved her but the question was did she love me? Now I knew that she loved me more that I had known. I would get my payback on Jessie later but for now I was at home in my mom’s arms.

“Andie do you remember that book we had to read to her every night until she was 9,” Liv asked.

“I’ll Love You Forever, she loved that book and she was the only one I ever read it too,” Andie replied her voice cracking as she began crying again.

“She would only let you read it to her, Liv and I weren’t allowed to even look at it,” Abby giggled at the memory.

“That’s because we sang it with each other. I would sing it and put in her name and then she would sing it putting mommy in. Then I sang it to her as I rocked her to sleep,” she explained clearing her throat as she started to rock me again and began softly singing, “I’ll love you for always, I’ll love you forever, as long as I’m living my Ryley you’ll be. I’ll love you for always, I’ll love you forever, as long as I’m living my...my,” Andie’s chest began shaking and I wanted nothing more than to comfort her, to let her know that I loved her. Snuggling closer to her I finish our song “mommy you’ll be.” Andie shifted looking at my face and smiled.

“Good night sweet angle,” she whispered kissing my forehead, and with that I fell asleep.


© Copyright 2020 BlueTurtle13. All rights reserved.

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