“You will keep your chin raised,” my mother said as she unfolded my pink dress, pressing out the wrinkles before placing it on a wooden hanger. “You will not speak to anyone–––”
“Mother,” I cut in.
“If anybody asks you anything, you are to ignore them or get me or Alvina–––”
“You won’t speak about how you left, that’s fine–––”
“You never listen to me–––”
“But what I won’t tolerate is being made a fool,” she stammered before glaring at me. “You are going to be a mother, Pandora. You represent me! You represent your grandmother! Everything you do has an effect on me–––”
“Could you just listen to–––”
“You’re not listening to me–––”
“NO!” I snapped angrily with tears in my eyes. “You’re not listening to me! You never listen to me! I don’t want to do this! I don’t want to be a mother! I don’t even know if I want to be in this community anymore! I just… I went to find my best friend and now I’m isolated! I can’t even see Raven! I don’t know where she is, if she’s still out there and all you keep thinking about is me having a stupid baby! I don’t want to be a mother!”
Her left eye began to twitch as she slowly stood up and slapped the pink dress down against the thin pink quilt. Her gray strands snatched across her scalp from her edges with a glistening shine that could only be from her oils. She stood over me in her black dress with nearly every blood vessel trailing her eyes like red river lines.
“You listen to me you ungrateful child of mine,” she started, voice low. “The things I went through, you cannot even imagine in order to give you the life you deserve… I gave up MY LIFE!” She shouted as I flinched with tears bubbling under my lashes. “I GAVE UP MY LIFE! I GAVE UP EVERYTHING SO YOU COULD HAVE THE PERFECT LIFE! When you become a mother, it is a GIFT! IT IS YOUR DUTY! YOUR BIRTHRIGHT! YOU ARE TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO PROTECT THAT CHILD! WHATEVER IT TAKES! If only you knew what I went through just so you could stand before me and tell me you won’t do the same,” she let out through a teary voice. “You snuck out and instead of me raising hell! I combed through this community behind the council’s back in order to protect you! In order to protect you and what they might do to you if they find out you left the way you did! You won’t speak on how, fine,” she let out with her hands thrown in the air. “The least you can do is put on your dress for tonight’s ceremony and put on a smile. Be happy there is a woman that is willing to give birth to your daughter! Be happy she is going to sacrifice her body, her health so that YOU do what you’re born to do, and that’s me a fucking mother,” she said before turning back towards the bed as she gently sat down.
Andera Harris gently smoothed her edges back, collecting herself, her mood, and posture before holding up another pink dress that was more or less the same.
“Try this on, I want your waist to look nonexistent,” she said, holding up the fabric. “Tonight is for you and the rest of the new mothers. You’ll be assigned a new Sister Helper as well. Princess is currently back at her faction dealing with her actions with her elders.”
“She didn’t do anything. It wasn’t her idea–––”
“They believe she played a role in another sister’s death. Her escaping only added to it,” she said as if it was nothing.
I felt the resentment begin to build as I stared at the dress before looking at this woman who I’ve known my entire life.
“I met a girl out there,” I said through my teeth, lips tight as I stared at the plush carpet. Andera looked up with a forced smile.
“I’m sure you met plenty of people while you were out being rebellious,” she retorted. “Are you ready to tell me how you escaped?”
“Escaped? I thought we were allowed to leave willingly? Erin left, did she not?”
My mother went back to folding my dresses, ignoring me completely but I could hear her muttering, ungrateful child. Ungrateful child.
“I met a sister–––”
“Your sisters are here in this community,” she cut in.
“If you just let me talk–––”
“If you’re saying something worth listening to,” she let out, looking up at me as my eyes widened.
She’s never spoken to me like this before. I didn’t know if something triggered the sudden change in attitude or what, but I shook my head.
“I met a girl out there who says I’m her sister,” I said.
She continued to fold the dresses, tucking away the black ones while hanging the pink ones now that my wardrobe has officially changed.
“She says we are twin sisters…”
“Right,” Andera let out with a short laugh. “They must have forgotten to grab her when they got you.”
I stared at her, watching her continue to fold the fabric.
“Who is, they?”
Her eyes widened as if she realized she misspoke before her face became a total blank.
“So this girl is your twin sister, what else did she tell you? Does she not know who her mother is? Can’t possibly be me because I only gave birth to one unless they’re not telling me something. A lot of them are like that out there… Abandoned, no mother to take care of them…Fathers are abusive… Now that you’ve seen the real world, you know how dangerous it can be.”
“Raven’s mother beats on her all the time. She’s abusive and nobody says anything. Three girls in my classroom come with new bruises every morning–––”
“You know what I mean, Pandora,” she sighed. “So what? You have a sister...a twin sister? How is that possible when you’re my only child? Hmmm?”
“You’re not my birth mother,” I said boldly as my heart began to throb. She froze before I stumbled on my words. “She said you’re not my birth mother…her mother has been looking for me for years since they found out a baby was stolen from the hospital…”
“We share the same birthdays,” I went on.
“She claims I look like her…father?” The word feels foreign to me.
“But everyone says we look alike…”
“Who is everyone?” I remained quiet as she simply nodded. “You entertain that mess if you want to,” she said as she stood up. “You need to get ready, you have a ceremony this evening to attend. Chin up, don’t speak a word to anyone. You are a mother now, you’re in a different class than the rest. Your new Sister Helper will be here to escort you as well.”
There is going to be a possible title change. I don't know yet but as the story continues to develop, Perfect Sister 2 just doesn't seem to fit anymore now that the tone has changed from perfection to gritty.
Also, Brotherhood Series Season 1 will be released on KDP Unlimited next week for those who have not read it. You can now read the full season.