"It's not your fault Christy."
Christy was sat in the living room looking at old photo albums and scrapbooks "What are you doing?" Gerard asked "It's the middle of the night."
"I couldn't sleep." Christy replied.
Gerard sat down next to her "I thought you hated looking at all of this stuff."
"I did." Christy told him "It wasn't right. Lottie shouldn't have grown up believing she was an only child. And by that, I don't just mean the fact that she should've grown up Jessica because we both know that. But we should have told her about Jessica right from when she was little. Family shouldn't keep secrets from each other. And I'm ruining her life."
"Gerard, let me say this." Christy sighed "I am ruining her life. When she was younger she'd paint innocent little pictures of our family and I'd burst into tears. She'd think it was her fault. And... And I let her think that. I never sat her down and explained why the pictures upset me so much. She'd talk to Amy instead, telling her that she didn't want to make me upset and Amy didn't tell her either because I begged her not to. And even now we can't have proper conversations because all I do is sit around thinking about Jessica. Look at these pictures Gerard."
She handed the photo album to Gerard and he found a picture of him holding Lottie in his arms when she was about four years old. Gerard was grinning, Lottie was smiling her childlike smile but Christy looked lost. As if she were looking for someone "It's not your fault Christy."
"Yes it is. I should count my blessings that we still have Lottie. You told me that time after time and I never believed you. I wanted Lottie and Jessica. I thought that if I did certain things that I'd walk into the nursery and find she'd been returned. It was crazy. I snapped out of it when Lottie learned to walk." Christy ran her fingers through her hair "I think Jessica's still alive Gee but it's weird. I still imagine her as a little baby when she'd be the same age as Lottie now. Obviously. She'd have started secondary school today just like Lottie. They'd have gone in together. Lottie wouldn't have been as nervous if Jessica had been there with her."
"Not all twins grow up close to each other." Gerard pointed out "Look at Shando and Amulet."
Christy shook her heads "Jessica and Lottie would've been best friends. I just know. Their childhood would've been so different to the one I'd provided Lottie with. The amount of times Amy had to come over while you were on tour to look after Lottie is ridicilous. I'm her Mother! I mean, I avoid her bedroom because it reminds me too much of the night Jessica went missing even though we've re-decorated it."
"I did suggest that we move away from here."
"I know. And you wanna know why I always said no?" Christy laughed slightly, tears rolling down her cheeks "Because I thought one day Jessica would realise that the people raising her aren't her parents. She'd remember everything and come here. I'd open the door and I'd know it was her, I'd just know it. I thought if we moved she'd never be able to find us. That's crazy though, right? Even if the people raising her admitted to her that she wasn't their biological daughter, she'd never re-gain her memory from when she was a baby."
"It's not crazy Christy." Gerard said, putting his arm around her "It's called hope. You have a lot of it. I wish I was like that. You wanna know the truth? I'm not sure if Jessica is alive. I wish I believed it one hundred percent like you did but I don't. And if she is alive, she's probably in a different country, possibly even speaking a different language just so that we'd never find her. Some people are so cruel."
"Things are gonna be different now." Christy told him "I've gotta get over this. It was ages ago. I need to make the most of Lottie while I can. Before she moves away and never looks back. I wouldn't be surprised if she hated me. But I'm gonna do my best to make it up to her."
"Daddy, where are we going?" Mia asked from the back seat. They'd been driving for a really long time and she was bored and needed to pee "And why didn't we bring Shando?"
"Who cares?" Amulet laughed "Shando will be fine. And I'd love to miss a few days school. It's gonna be awesome."
"We needed to talk to you two about something. Something really important." Frank said.
"Why don't you want to talk to Shando about it?" Mia asked, not understanding. She was kind of worried, her parents were acting really weird.
"We're going to tell Shando all about it when we get home." Penina told her sleepily "But for now Mia can you please just be a good girl until we get there?"
Mia pressed her lips together. She wanted to be a good girl but she was burning with questions. Amulet was less bothered, slouching in her seat and listening to her iPod on full volume.
Penina and Frank were terrified. What were their kids going to think? How was Shando managing without them? What would Gerard and Christy say when they found out the truth?