"I have a special surprise for you Mommy."
"You'll have to get ready early." Gerard told her, raising his eye-brows.
"I don't mind." Penina smiled and skipped off to get ready.
Once Gerard and Penina had left, Jennifer rang up the orphanage that they'd adopted Penina from and got a pen and paper ready to take notes "Sister Judith? Hi, this is Jennifer Way. I was just wondering if you'd heard anything from the Sludianka Orphan's Shelter in Russia. Sister Abigail said that she would- Oh you did?" Jennifer listened, her expression changing from happy to troubled "What do you mean? Well, I don't understand. How can they have no record of her being there?" She listened again "Yes please. Call me the minute you hear anything. Thank you." She hung up, really troubled now.
In Gerard's car, Penina sat next to him and she sniffled. Gerard turned to her and found that she was holding back tears "What's the matter?"
"I don't want to go to school."
"I hate it. Everybody hates me there. Nobody ever likes me." Penina looked out the window, her eyes wide and sad.
Gerard sighed "You want to play hooky?" Penina turned to look at him. He kept his eyes on the road "I can call in sick and we'll go to the zoo. What do you think?"
Penina smiled through her tears "I'd like that very much."
Jennifer pulled up outside the primary school with Eva, Mia and Jude "Jude, wait a minute." She said as he tried to hop out of the car "How are you guys getting along with Penina?"
All three of them froze and shared a worried look "Fine, I guess." Jude mumbled.
"Really? Does she ever make you guys feel uncomfortable or do things that you know she's not supposed to? Has she ever hurt any of you?"
Jude wanted to say something but the terrified looks from his sister stopped him. Jennifer realised that she'd struck a nerve "Please. You can tell me anything." She begged.
"I gotta go." Jude gabbled, leaping out of the car and ran into the school.
At the zoo, Penina and Gerard walked into the lion section. She took Gerard's hand and pressed it to her cheek "You don't know how long I've waited for a Daddy just like you." She said sweetly.
"And Mommy too? Right?" Gerard asked, looking down at her.
Penina hesitated and Gerard noticed. She shrugged her shoulders sadly "I don't think Mommy likes me very much."
"That's not true." Gerard answered automatically "Mommy loves you."
"It's alright. I understand if she doesn't." Penina told him "It must be difficult to love an adopted child as much as your own..."
"Sweetheart, you are just as much a part of this family as Mia, Eva and Jude are. Mommy doesn't love you any less because you're adopted. Do you understand?" Penina nodded but she didn't look certain. Gerard thought about it "Why don't you do something special for Mommy? So she can see what a good girl you are. I'll bet she'd like that."
Penina's face lit up "That's a wonderful idea. I think I know what I'm going to do."
After dinner, Jennifer was putting the dishes away and Gerard was helping her. Penina came into the kitchen, her face all smiles and her hands behind her back. Gerard looked at Jennifer with a small smile "I have a special surprise for you Mommy." Penina grinned.
Jennifer eyed her warily with no idea of what to expect "You do?"
Penina nodded "I picked these flowers just for you." She whipped the flowers around in front of her. It's Jennifer's memorial orchard for Jessica. Jennifer gasped and Gerard looked horrified.
Jennifer reached for the flowers "Penina, put those down!"
Penina laughed and playfully pulled them away. Jennifer grabbed her by the wrist and Penina suddenly stopped laughing and dropped the flowers, shrieking in pain "You're hurting me!" She screamed.
Jennifer was surprised by Penina's re-action and quickly let her go. Penina ran out of the room, clutching her wrist "What the hell did you do to her?" Gerard snapped.
"I just grabbed her arm!" Jennifer cried. Gerard ran out after Penina and Jennifer started picking the flowers up off the floor. The plant was compeltely ruined.
Penina was sitting on the sofa in the living room, sobbing her eyes out. Gerard has his arms around her and was comforting her. Jennifer walked in and Gerard shot her an angry look.
When it grew dark and Gerard had stopped comforting Penina, he went into the kitchen to talk to Jennifer. While he did that, Penina made her way into the garage. She switched on a small light that wouldn't be very visible from outside. She took some rags and wrapped them around a screw driver then put it into her mouth. She walked over to the work bench. There was a vice bolted to it. Penina put her wrist into the vice and bit down on the screw driver as she started twisting it round. She took a couple of deep breathes and grimaced in agony as the vice grew tighter on her arm and the screw driver digged painfully into her mouth, stopping her from screaming. She carried on twisting though, tighter and tighter...
Jennifer sat at the table and Gerard sat down opposite her. He'd calmed down but he was still angry "She knew what it meant to me." Jennifer told him "She did it on purpose."
"It wasn't even her idea." Gerard looked away from her "I'm the one who said she should do something nice for you." He got up and left the room.