Chapter One

Pick up, Dahlia. Pick up. But my twin’s phone only rang endlessly, just as it had been doing for the past twenty minutes. Wherever she was, the evil woman was probably laughing her head off. There was nothing that made her happier than being able to throw me under the bus, and if I had to sum up my life ever since I stupidly reached out to my twin, that was it really.

Dahlia doing what she could to cause trouble, just because.

When I think about it now, I just want to bang my head against the wall and keep at it until my skull cracked. Maybe afterwards, I’d really learn my lesson, and never be stubborn again.

It was on my sixteenth birthday that my dad – a soft-spoken, slightly overweight accountant with a geeky passion for all things Star Wars – told me the truth: my mother was not dead, and I had a twin.

Your mom left me because I failed to keep my promise. I told her I could give her a comfortable life, but I failed her, and she couldn’t take it.

Greg had also taken pains to make it clear to me how Judith had grown up really poor, and how kids in their school had bullied her for being born on the wrong side of the fence. That’s the only reason why, Greg had emphasized, money had become this huge chip on Judith’s shoulder.

And at that time, I had believed him.

Another truth bomb he had dropped on me on the same day was how Judith had once reached out to him (You were seven at that time, I think?) – and asked for a divorce. It was only then he had found out how my mom had changed her name to Portia Singleton (All legal, too, since your mother has that sort of connections, from her old hood.) and was about to marry a wealthy real estate broker who was willing to adopt my twin.

Since being sixteen also meant being silly optimistic, I had ignored all of the red flags and jumped on the first plane to Boston, thinking that “Portia” and my twin would love to get to know me.

They didn’t.

The woman who used to be known as Judith thought I was too “rough” to be her daughter while Dahlia, well…just like everyone else, I had fallen for her sweet butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth act at first. She had this incredible way of making you feel protective towards her, and that first day we met, I truly thought I could happily take on the role as her big sister in life (I was older than her by seven minutes).

But then…the first bag of shit hit the fan.

Dahlia, upon learning I was down with chicken pox and ordered to stay home for a week, had actually flown to Wyoming and went straight to my school to impersonate me. When I was finally able to attend classes again, my friends were no longer my friends while the guy I liked had told the other jocks that I had offered to give him head after school.

I had been hysterical, of course, and when Dahlia refused to answer any of my messages or calls I had called Portia, crying and begging for her to help me make my twin confess to what she did. And well…that’s when I learned she no longer thought of me as her kid.

My husband doesn’t know about you, and I prefer it to stay that way. I’ll ask Dahlia to leave you alone, but you’re crazy if you think I’d force my daughter to say sorry. Never contact us after this. If you bother my family again, I’ll call the cops on your father.

Greg had broken down in sobs when I confronted him about his ex-wife’s threats. I was desperate, he told me. Portia had been so very unhappy, and they had been fighting a lot about money. To keep my mom from leaving him, he had doctored the books at his old company and reaped several thousand dollars for his effort.

I thought it would make her stay, Greg admitted in shame, but instead I had given her the means to leave me. Even worse, he had actually confessed the truth to Portia, which she had then used to blackmail him into agreeing to a quiet divorce.

I was able to return the money to the company, my dad had finished heavily, but Portia knows that my boss is the type to still go after me if he ever found out the truth.

I transferred schools after that, and Dahlia had gotten away scot-free for ruining my life. Greg never learned what happened either. There wasn’t any point telling him. He’d only blame himself for being a fool, and while he was a fool, he was also my dad, and I loved him.

Tags: Marian Tee Romance