Infatuated Twilight fan Greta Abelove is convinced that Edward Cullen will find her someday--that she and Edward are meant to be. She has to have him. But what will she do when real love finds her, and in the most unbelievable triangle? If she continues to shoot for the moon, will she still land among to stars, or will she plummet back down to earth?
3. 3. Family
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Lucas had slept on the floor of my bedroom now for nearly two weeks. Though he phoned his dad every day, he had only been able to have one-sided conversations with the answering machine.
"He just needs time alone, I guess," Lucas would reason. "He always tells me how much I remind him of mom."
We stopped in every other day, only to find the house empty, in the same rundown mess it had been every time before. We were surprised, then, that Saturday morning we stopped in to find the Craig household spotless—save for a folded up piece of yellow legal paper with Lucas’ name on it, perched against a paper towel roll on the kitchen counter.
I reached for his hand as we stared at it from our frozen stances in the front entryway.
He bounded to the counter in two strides, swiping at the note hungrily. I read over his shoulder, his father’s perfect script stared back at us:
I am sorry your mother and I could not keep our promise to give you the family you deserve.
Do not look for me, it’ll be a waste of your time.
Your mother isn’t in Iowa with Aunt Charlotte like she said—I called but the number was out of service. You are better off with your new family anyway.
Be good, son.
Lucas fisted the note into a tight ball as soon as I had finished reading his father’s strange close. Stephen? Why hadn’t he signed it as ‘Dad’? As for the rest of the note, I couldn’t believe it. Both of his parents had completely abandoned him like some old boot in an alley. And ‘new family’? These words hit me hardest. Though I wasn’t unhappy to realize what Stephen had meant, it still felt like I had been socked in the stomach.
Before I knew it, Lucas was running out the front door and I was chasing after him, neither of us bothering to shut the door behind us. We returned to find my parents watching a morning talk show in the living room, laughing aloud with the live audience.
Their duet of "Hi, kids" trailed us down the hallway. I shadowed Lucas as we found sanctuary from the shock within the pastel walls of my bedroom. I sat on the edge of bed, facing him as he panted with his back against my bedroom door. I didn’t know what to say. I felt around under my pillow until I found the comforting shape I was looking for. I pulled the book to my chest and hugged it there, filling me with tentative calm. I watched as Lucas sank into a sitting position at the foot of the door and I fell into a cross-legged seat before him.
"Lucas," I dared, analyzing his face warily. My book sat in my lap, keeping me grounded as I fanned the corners of the pages absently with my index finger. It was the most astonishing expression he wore—I had expected to find devastation and I was braced to allow him to sob into my shoulder, but instead, he appeared oddly placid, though blushing. With humiliation?
"I knew this time would come. I knew they would never be prepared to dedicate their lives to raising the likes of me," he shook his head with a sarcastic smirk, strumming at his shoelaces.
"What are you talking about, Lucas?" I was so confused, sure I had missed something.
"Stephen and Judith were not my biological parents."
I couldn’t have stopped my jaw from falling if I had wanted to. I blinked madly and nodded, urging him to quell my confusion.
"Remember the first day of third grade in Mrs. Gladwell’s class?"
Again, I nodded, a little slower this time, granting both him and myself the illusion of some sanity.
"Only about two months before that was the first time I had ever met the Craigs. My real father, Elias Fitch, was close with Stephen. They had been on the football team together in high school."
I wound my arms tighter around my book in anticipation of enlightenment. My head was still reeling with the fact that Lucas had just been abandoned, but there was a new pit in my stomach wrought by the unknown history of my own childhood friend.
He continued. "Before the day that we I actually met them, Stephen Craig was just a household name between my father and me in our little apartment. Some weekends, I would stay at with our neighbors across the hall and he and Stephen would meet up at a pub just to catch up.
"My dad always seemed high-strung. I always figured it was something that resonated within him when my real mother died. But in the days leading to my introduction to the Craigs, his angst was heightened. There was undoubtedly something he knew that I didn’t, but I was to learn what that was soon enough."
He looked up at me suddenly, a complacent glint in his eyes. I had to catch my breath.
"I had no idea, as we walked through their door, that I was walking into the house that would be me home for the next eight years," he sighed, looking down at his shoes again. "Elias just asked if they could watch me for a few hours while he took care of some business. I knew it was a lie; the only time he left me with anyone was when he was meeting up with Stephen, and in those instances, he left me with the Newtons across the hall. Judith took pity on me when my father still hadn’t returned after four days, insisted to Stephen that they keep me. They promised they would give me a real family that every child deserved. So a couple months later, I was enrolled in third grade at Merry Banks Elementary and I was to meet you, the best thing to ever happen to me. The only one to never leave," he finished, with a sad smile at me.
I was suddenly angry.
"Well if Judith pitied you so much, why did she leave?" I had never addressed her as anything other than Mrs. Craig before, but I didn’t feel she deserved the respect anymore, having discarded Lucas so easily.
"I don’t blame either of them for leaving, Greta. People leaving me is just something I’ve had to get used to."
I threw my arms around him, my book falling between our knees. He chuckled softly in my ear.
I was still so baffled by his calm reception of the events of the morning that had befallen him so mercilessly, but I couldn’t demand anymore information out of him. Even if he could bare to relive and regurgitate his past, I couldn’t swallow it. My chest ached hollowly; I felt empty for him.
"At least I have you, Greta." He mimicked his unconscious thoughts from a few nights ago, very awake this time.
"Yes, you do," I vowed.
As soon as I could collect myself, I gathered my book back into my grasp and we marched into the living room, standing directly in front of the television my parents’ eyes had been trained on.
"What’s the matter, kids?" my dad smiled up at us, his arm still lain across my mother’s shoulders.
Lucas and I looked at each other.
"Lucas…has to stay with us," I began.
"That’s fine, honey," my mom grinned at Lucas. "You know you’re welcome as long as you’d like, only don’t you think your parents might be starting to miss you at home?"
"That’s just it, mom. Lucas doesn’t have a home anymore."
It was my parents’ turn to exchange glances. My father stabbed at the power button on the remote, and the television flicked off.
My father leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, fingers knotted together, and my mom sat up stiffly muttering the occasional "oh my" as we filled them in on the events of the morning which seemed to have gone on for days. Lucas mentioned only as much as he needed to about the story he had just told me in my bedroom; skipping over the explanation of his real father, merely addressing Judith and Stephen as his ‘adoptive parents’. Perhaps the pain of it all was setting in, so I didn’t insist on sharing what I had just learned about him myself.
When the story finally ended and a renewed silence rang in my ears, we all stared at each other in turn. My parents and I spent most of our gazes on Lucas.
"Well you can’t very well continue living on Greta’s floor," my mom’s voice punctuated the stillness as she stood and pulled Lucas into an embrace.
I laid my book carefully on the coffee table and three my arms around Lucas’ back, sobbing into his hair.
My dad threw his arms around all of us. "Welcome, son."