“Are you done yet?” Olivia Abbott asked her mother. Olivia had finally convinced her father to take a break from his regular Tuesday tai chiathon by shaking a pom-pom in his face, but her mom wouldn’t stop embroidering the living room curtains.
“Not quite yet,” her mom murmured. “What’s taking so long?” Olivia prodded. “It’s a daisy,” her mom muttered, squinting
with concentration, “with twenty petals.” Olivia looked at her pink glitter watch to find that less than two minutes had passed since she’d last checked. She felt like she was in a time warp—time had never moved so slowly in her entire life, and yet tomorrow was approaching at a terrifying rate. In fourteen hours and seven minutes, the Franklin Grove Scribe, her school paper, was going to reveal something Olivia had been keeping secret for weeks: on her first day at Franklin Grove Middle School, she had discovered a twin sister she’d never known she had. It wasn’t exactly the sort of thing Olivia wanted her adoptive mom and dad to find out from the school paper.
She could not put off telling them for another minute, no matter how badly they were going to freak out.
“Mom,” she said slowly, “I have to talk to you.”
“Only three more petals,” her mom said.
Exasperated, Olivia put her hands on her mother’s shoulders and gave a gentle shake. “Attention, Mom!” she announced, like she was calling out a cheer. “This Is Your Daughter, Olivia, Speaking. I Need To Tell You And Dad Something Really, Really Important RIGHT NOW!”
“Oh, sweetheart!” her mother gasped, jumping to her feet in concern. “I’m so sorry! You have something you need to talk about?”
Olivia’s eyes rolled toward the ceiling. Parents could be so slow sometimes.
“Don’t worry.” Her mom took her hand. “You can tell us anything.”
“Maybe you two should sit down,” Olivia suggested.
Her parents exchanged nervous glances and perched on the edge of the couch. Olivia took a deep breath, and her stomach filled with butterflies. The words came spilling out as she exhaled. “On my first day at school I met Ivy and found out that she’s my sister.”
Olivia’s mom nodded like she understood, and Olivia felt a rush of relief. Olivia had mentioned Ivy lots of times before, even though she’d never actually allowed her parents to meet her, fearing that they’d spot the resemblance right away.
“Yes, darling, and I’m very glad you’re making such good friends at your new school.” Her mom smiled supportively.
“Me, too.” Her father gulped, looking lost.
They don’t get it, Olivia thought. This is going to be even harder than I expected.
“I don’t mean Ivy and I are like sisters,” she clarified. “We are sisters. She was born on the same day as me in Owl Creek.We were both given up for adoption when we were a year old. We’re identical twins.”
Olivia could almost see a flashing DOES NOT COMPUTE message suspended over her parents’ heads. She decided to try another tack. Squeezing in between her mom and dad on the couch, she held out her left hand so that they could see the dark emerald ring on her middle finger.
“You know how this ring is something I got from my biological parents?” Olivia asked, looking from her mom to her dad. They both nodded. “Well, Ivy Vega has one exactly like it.”
There was a long silence, and then her father began, “But how can this girl Ivy have—”
“Oh my goodness!” Mrs. Abbott interrupted. “You have an identical twin sister!” she exclaimed like she’d figured it out all on her own.
“Thank you.” Olivia sighed, collapsing back into the couch. If it was this hard just to get her parents to understand that she had a twin, she couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to explain her other huge secret: Ivy was a bona fide vampire. Luckily, Olivia wasn’t going to have to explain that one, because she wasn’t allowed to tell another soul that particular secret for as long as she lived.
“ ‘I see,’ said the blind man,” her father intoned, sagely stroking his chin. He was always saying stuff like that, trying to sound like a kung fu master instead of an accountant.
“The adoption agency never told us you had a sister,” her mom said. She said the word “sister” like she was saying “million dollars.”
“Ivy was left at a different adoption agency,” Olivia explained.
“But why would your biological parents separate you?” her mom asked. “Does Ivy know who your parents are?”
Olivia smiled. Her mom was asking all the questions she and Ivy had been trying to answer without success for weeks.
“She doesn’t know,” Olivia answered, “and neither does her dad,” she added. “He’s her only parent.”
“Wow,” her mom said after a moment. “I mean, wow-wee!” Olivia giggled. “How’d you two find each other after all these years?”
“I bumped into her in the hallway when I was looking for the principal’s office,” Olivia replied. She realized that her dad was just sitting there. “Say something, Dad. Aren’t you surprised?”
He shook his head. “I always knew my little girl had a double aura.” Olivia had no idea what that meant, but he seemed oddly proud. Suddenly he threw his arms around her and gave her a huge hug.
Olivia’s mom clapped her hands excitedly and leaped into the hugging fray. “There’s another person out there as wonderful as our daughter!” she declared happily.