She remembered the day well, the day when their life changed forever with two little words. It was the start of a new adventure, the start of something new for all of them. It stirred up a whirlwind of emotions within her but regardless, she'd been excited for the change; excited to see what was to come from it. Looking back, she clearly had no idea how much her life was going to be affected. There was some devine plan in the works, a signal from God that she hadn't realized at first.
And she was so thankful for it.
It was a crisp October day, the first of the month, in fact; but beyond that, it was Friday and school was over for the week.
The leaves were stirred up; floating through the air and landing softly on the sidewalk once the girls had swept past. It was chilly, the temperature dipped below what was considered normal for that time of the year. Laura had been quite exasperated that their mother urged them (or, more accurately, forced them to) to wear their scarves and hats; grumbling under her breath that it was unnecessary.
While they were eating breakfast (and while Laura did her best to keep her eyes open, she'd stayed up well past the time when she should have been in bed, finishing the latest chapter on her novel she'd been reading for the past week), their mother hinted that she had some news to share but wouldn't be letting them know until after school was over.
It was just antagonizing is what it was. Abby both loved and loathed surprises; precisely because she would be thinking about it all day until she knew what it was. Laura didn't care that much, she waved a hand lazily to acknowledge their mother but otherwise didn't say anything.
Abby pushed her scarf back over her neck, after it started to hang loosely down the front of her. She leaned against a pillar that was adjacent to the stairs leading up to the school's entrance, glancing up at the doors every so often to see if her sister was there yet. She was awfully slow most days, to which Abby didn't really mind most of the time but that day was different. She was eager to get home and find out what the surprise was.
School had gone well enough; neither particularly pleasant or horrible. Best of all, though, there was no homework assigned so they were free to do as they pleased (within the bounds of her parents' permission, of course). Abby was looking forward to the upcoming weekend, especially Saturday morning cartoons. It was a favorite pastime that she thoroughly enjoyed with Walter, who was just old enough to appreciate them as well. Laura didn't share that preference, preferring to be curled up with a book somewhere else instead.
Yes, she and her sister were polar opposites on some things, than towards others, they were exactly the same. She supposed all twins were that way, than again, she'd never met another set of twins so her experiences were limited to her own.
How neat that would be, though, to meet more twins. She might just be giddy as a tick on a leg if she did.
"Finally," Abby beamed at the sight of her sister trudging down the steps, her backpack dragging behind her. Laura didn't smile back but she didn't take it personally. Laura wasn't half as bubbly and happy as Abby was; that was another instance of their polar-opposite personalities. "You took forever, did you know?"
"I was in the library," Laura said evenly as they turned down the sidewalk, side-by-side. "I told you that I would be." That may have been true, but Laura had a tendency to become lost within her books and seemingly forget that such a world outside existed. Once, she'd been left behind accidentally while the family was hurrying off to church. She'd been in their room that they shared, beginning another novel and lost track of time completely. It earned her a hefty lecture from their dad about how she needed to focus other than her books for a while.
Needlessly to say, that lasted two days at the most.
"Oh, yeah," Abby recalled her mentioning it earlier that morning after they'd gotten to school, just seconds before the bell rang to signify that they needed to be in their first class. "Oops, sorry. I forgot," she said cheerfully.
"I've gathered," Laura said dryly. She pulled out her walkman, unwinding the headphones somewhat aggressively. Abby deduced that something must have happened to have put her in that mood. "I'll tell you, Mrs. Charmiael is such a drag, I swear! She hates me, I'm sure she does."
"Oh, I don't think so," Abby said arily. "I'm sure you're overreacting."
"I'm not. She gave me a tardy today while I was in the room! 'You're supposed to be in your seat when the bell rings,'" she did a terribly spot on impression of the older woman (Abby had heard her speaking before, scolding Laura on her punctuality...or lack of). "She's out to get me."
"She's not out to get you. She just wants you to follow the rules. Is that really too much to ask?"
Abby rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "And you wonder why dad took your books away. You're a menace," she said teasingly.
"Nooo. Dad took my books because Mrs. Witch-face tattled on me," Laura said indignantly.
"That isn't very-"
"Nice. Yes, I'm aware. That's why I said it."
Neither one of them spoke for a solid five minutes, trailing down the street, passing by some people that were raking through the abunious leaves in their yards, waving (well, Abby did. Laura wasn't as outgoing and only smiled awkwardly if someone's attention turned on her).
Abby hummed lowly, a tone from the Jackson 5 that she particularly enjoyed. She shifted the strap from her backpack to alleviate the pain that radiated in one of her shoulders. It was ridiculously heavy with the four textbooks she had inside after not being able to drop them off at her locker (there had been a couple making out right in front of it, she'd dared not to intervene).
"Do you have any homework?" she broke the silence, glancing over in Laura's direction.
Laura lifted one of the headphones from her ear, looking mildly annoyed (she liked to listen to listen to music on her walkman during the walk home without any interruptions). "No. I finished math at lunch."
"I don't either," Abby said brightly, disregarding her sister's irritation. She'd jerked her head, causing her glasses to slide down her nose a smidge-she pushed them back up. "Thank goodness for that. Scott has a baseball game tonight and Jainy invited me to come watch."
Laura furrowed her eyebrows, puzzled. "You don't even like sports."
Abby twirled a piece of her blonde hair. "Well, yeah. But Scott's teammates are so cute."
Laura snorted. "Of course. You only want to go because of the boys."
Abby giggled, nudging her with her shoulder. "You should come. It'd be fun! Don't you think?"
"No. I don't like sports either, remember?"
"Then come and watch! Take your book, I won't tell mom and dad."
"You're so generous," Laura rolled her eyes. "You don't even know if they'll let us go, anyway.
"Or they'll want us to babysit. Again."
Since they were fifteen now, their parents trusted them to watch over their six year old brother, Walter, while they went out on dates nights or ran any errands. Abby didn't mind it so much but it certainly didn't help that their brother turned into a little demon once they were alone. He'd broken a plate once, while in a full temper tantrum that he was being put to bed 'early' (actually, it was his normal time but it had been in the summertime when it was still daylight. Still, it was hardly Abby's fault; too bad her parents hadn't seen it that way. The money to replace the plate was taken out of her allowance).
"Maybe they won't," Abby tried to be optimistic. "We've been watching Walter every week, maybe today we'll get a break."
"Doubt it," Laura kicked a pebble. With a wry smile, she added, "They won't let me go anywhere once they see my report card."
"Did you get all D's again?" Abby asked, already knowing the answer.
"Not all D's," Laura said, affronted. "I got a C in gym."
"How do you get a C in gym? All you have to do is run."
"Well, I don't run," Laura said, shrugging. "So coach gave me a warning and said if I don't straighten up, he'll call mom and dad."
(Their school was so poor they didn't even have a designated gym teacher, just the football coach that had to be bribed to do it).
"You better hope you do. They're still upset that you took summer school," Abby cautioned.
"Which was months ago. You'd think they'd forget already."
"You know they won't- and they won't forget about your D's and one C either if they find out."
"So I won't tell them," Laura said slyly. "I'll just keep it in my backpack." Her facial expression changed and she glared. "That means you better keep your mouth shut and not show them yours."
"But I wanna show them mine," Abby protested. "I got all A's."
Her sister muttered something that sounded like 'teachers pet' but she couldn't be sure. "Well I can't hide mine if you don't."
"I don't want to."
"Oh come on," Laura groaned. "You can show them any old time. I'm sure you'll get another one. I can't be grounded again; last time they grounded me for a month!"
"That was for failing math," Abby reminded her.
"Yeah and think how mad they're gonna be when they see how I'm almost failing everything!" Laura sighed. "I'm doomed."
Abby nodded sympathetically. "You totally are."
"Thanks for the support."
"Anytime!" Abby didn't notice her sarcasm, grinning.
Laura grumbled about idiot sisters.
"I wonder what the surprise is," Abby mused. Seconds passed and she became excited. "Maybe it's a puppy! Do you think they got us a puppy? That would be great!"
"Yeah," Laura said with little to no enthusiasm. She wasn't a dog person and made that point clear several times. "You've only been begging for one for four years now."
"Maybe it worked!" Abby beamed. "I hope so!"
"Didn't you put a bunch of dog posters in Dad's office, once?"
Abby giggled sheepishly.
Laura shook her head, remembering that day with amusement. Their dad had been severely annoyed that everywhere he went, every nook and cranny had some kind of crumpled up poster with information about that particular kind of dog. Needless to say, he hadn't responded well and forbade her from speaking of the topic again.
Had he taken her pestering into consideration?
"Only once," Abby still had a small smile on her face. "In my defense, I didn't know he was gonna get all upset."
"Or that you were gonna jam up his printer," Laura added, smirking.
"That was an accident!"
"A stupid one!"
"You do stupid things all the time!"
"Yes, you do!"
Laura scowled at one of the neighbors they passed by, that was staring at them with pursed lips, disapproving at how they argued so openly out in public. She could have had some string words for the lady but chose to keep her mouth to avoid another lecture on top of the other one she was inevitably going to receive.
"I hate her," she muttered. "Such a busybody. Doesn't she ever have anything else better to do?"
Abby glanced over at whom she was referring to, smiling politely when she met the woman's eyes but that smile vanished at the glare she got instead. "She's not very nice," she frowned.
"No duh, Sherlock. She's as wicked as Mrs. Witch-Face and that's saying something."
"She isn't that bad," Abby liked to see the good in people and didn't share her twin's pessimistic view on life. "Oh! Remember when dad and I pulled out the weeds in her garden? Ithink she really appreciated it."
"Before or after she threatened to call the police to y'all arrested?"
Abby was left standing there momentarily, pondering her words as Laura went up the front steps to their home. When she snapped out of it, she hurried to catch up. "Hey, wait for me!"
"We're home!" Laura called, taking off her jacket and placing it on the hook. She dropped her backpack on the floor where it landed with a thud.
"Now I know you know that your backpacks don't belong there, missy," came their mom's voice from around the corner. Laura rolled her eyes but obeyed nonetheless. Behind her, Abby was taking off her extra layers as well. "Now come on in here, girls. Your daddy and I have a surprise for you."
"Please be a puppy, please be a puppy," Abby whispered to herself.
"Don't count on it," Laura snarked, walking ahead of her.
In the kitchen, the tiny kitchen that hardly had any room to it for two people, let alone five, were their parents and Walter. Their parents were holding hands, exchanging a grin. Abby was disappointed to find that there was no puppy crate and even by craning her ears, she heard no scratching noises or whimpers.
"How was school?" their dad asked like he did every day.
"It was good," Abby then proceeded to inform them of almost every detail-how she was excelling in art, how Scott laughed so hard at lunch he had milk come out his nose; how she got an A on her English paper-
Laura picked at her finger, Walter had the most uninterested look to his face; neither seemed to care much.
"That's lovely, dear," their mom said with a slight laugh, cutting her off. Abby paused, sensing that it was the time to stop talking now. Their mom looked at each one of them. "Now, I know you're probably wondering what the surprise is-"
"We're getting a dog?" Abby burst out. "Is that it? Are we getting a dog?"
Walter jumped up, he'd been begging for one as well. "Oh, boy!" he cried, "we're getting a dog!"
"We're not getting a dog," their mom interrupted, effectively ruining the moment and my happiness they had. Abby and Walter slumped down, with Walter being the most upset.
"We're not?" he asked in a small voice.
Their mom stroked the back of his head, smiling sadly. "No, sweetie. But I do have good news."
"You're thinking about getting a dog?" Abby bit her lip. "Right?"
"No," their dad matter-of-factly. "Now stop asking."
"No, we're not getting a dog but," their mom squeezed their dad's hand, leaving them in suspense.
"But what?" Laura broke the silence.
"We are moving," their mom revealed.
Walter's mouth was wide open.
Laura was a mixture of shock, upset and irritated.
Abby sat up straighter. "Really? When? Why? Are we gonna finish school here or there? Will Laura have to share a bedroom or do we get our own? How big is it? Is it huge or like this one?"
"Slow down, Abby-Girl," their dad seemed relieved that she wasn't completely against it. "One question at a time."
"But, wait," Laura just processed her parents' words, looking between them. Her mouth opened and closed a few times as she tried to find the right words to say."I don't get it. Why are we moving?"
"Well we didn't intend to," their mom admitted. "Your dad and I were thinking that this house is just a bit too small for all of us so I did some searching and I called an agent and I found one...in Connecticut."
"Connecticut!?" Abby and her sister exclaimed- in awe and horror, respectively.
"I told you they wouldn't be happy," their dad to their mom, shaking his head.
"They'll get used to it," their mom said reassuringly. "Now, girls, I know this seems sudden and you'll miss your friends but-"
"You're not serious," Laura was devastated. "You're actually gonna make us move?"
"Well, yes. I think it would be a good experience for you, kids. And just think, Laura, you'll have your own room if you want. There's five rooms and a basement. We could have a guest bedroom so you three won't have to camp out together for the holidays when Aunt Mildred comes to visit."
"Joy," Laura muttered moodily.
Their mom's face dropped.
"I don't like Aunty Mildred," Walter declared. "She makes my cheeks hurt."
Their mom patted his back.
Abby was thrilled for the most part. It sounded like an adventure! She would miss everyone here in Oklahoma, though, especially Farmer Darren's cows and sheep. He was always so nice, he let them come over sometimes to help feed them.
Her mind wandered to her friends and for that, her heart ached just a bit. She would most definitely miss Scott and Jainy. They'd grown together, been in the same school since pre-school and had been irreplaceable since. The four amigos; she and her sister, Jainy and Scott were a perfect match. It was God's work, he paired them up as if they were cloned from each other. And now...now what would they do? Would they meet new friends and be as close in Connecticut? Would anyone be friendly over there and be willing to befriend them?
Dozens of questions came to her, none of which she could answer.
"What do you think about all this, Abby?" Their mom asked kindly, ignoring Laura's pouting and scowling. "Are you excited?"
"I think so," Abby told her after she inwardly debated. "I think it'll be fun."
"Well, I'm glad someone thinks so," their dad said. "Thought we'd have to hogtie ya to the car and bring ya to Connecticut that way."
"When do we leave?" Laura was less than pleased.
"Soon. By the end of the month, hopefully. I've got to get everything finalized and get some boxes and tell the school and..."
"I don't want to go," Laura crossed her arms.
"Now, Laura, don't be difficult."
"I don't want to go! I wanna stay here."
"Well, you don't have a choice in this," Their dad cut in.
"Yes, I do! Because I'm not going!" She stood up, storming off to the bedroom she and Abby shared, slamming the door shut.
"Oh, dear," their mom sighed.