The Maze by Luciana Correa

“Run! Run Leah! He’s gonna catch you!

My escape fellow had gotten my hand in hers and was towing me in the corridor. I had barely registered somebody had broken into my hotel bedroom. My eyes had briefly encompassed the stranger with gray eyes who was coming towards us and I was already hot on her heels in the hotel’s halls
The Maze
The Maze by Luciana Correa
“Stop! Stop or you’re gonna die!” The male voice hummed all over my body breaking goose bumps up on my skin and a warm feeling flooded my chest. I didn’t stop to analyze my otherwise conflicting reactions. Whenever one hears a command like that surprise is the first reaction. Fear is the second and the survival instinct kicking on is the third. The threatening statement was all the fuel I had needed. Our frightened fast steps were resounding off my brain cells, through my bones and in terrible nausea that was about to stop me. I needed to put distance between our persecutors and us. The farther the better. The man with gray eyes wasn’t alone, but my frightened mind got hold of his face and didn’t let go. I was lost in a strange maze of sensations. To tell the truth, nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I had always been the cautious kind of girl. The turbulent relationship had never been my thing. I had always been friends with watching movies with popcorn and reading books on my own couch. All of a sudden I am in that small town, a dot on the map. That place was nowhere-land indeed. I couldn’t believe I was in need of running away to save my life, but that could summarrize the facts. My fellow runner was a pretty woman, early twenties, I guess. Somewhere around the maze where my mind was thriving to get a grip on things, I knew she was a cleaning lady. She glanced in my direction once in a while during our running and I could see how scared she was. None of us was calm. I was sure of that. She grabbed my hand again and pulled me towards the river. I recall getting into the high bushes and some feet ahead we were crawling into a hole. The place seemed a cave. While I was crawling into hide I could feel something heavy weighing me down. The rough soil was skinning my hands, arms and knees. We were finally hidden from the guys who were chasing us. The hole was large but it had a slow ceiling. We stayed there waiting, waiting together. Breathing was the only thing to interrupt the silence and it was getting to its normal pace slowly. Beth put a finger on her lips, signaling silence. I nodded my agreement and put my cheek on the back of my hand. I closed my eyes. I was utterly tired and it was fogging my mind. Everything had been unexpected on the vacations. The most frightening part had been the running to save my life after the hotel bedroom’s invasion. Images flashed behind my closed lids. Confusing scenes, made worse by the drowsiness that was keeping me down. A light touch on my shoulder made me open my eyes. My fellow runner was looking at me in a weird twisted way. I did my best to calm her down. “They’re gone. I think we should wait a bit more nevertheless.” I closed my eyes again just after talking. I heard a low rustle and a sharp pain on the back of my hand. I opened my eyes scared and in a weird fog I saw my friend with her neck broken, eyes popped open because of the terror that had filled her before death. Soft male voice lulled me into sleep. “She can’t do you any harm now. Sleep.” Darkness fell on me like a blanket and I thanked it. Suddenly, the world had become and aggressive place to be. I’d rather sleep and forget. Chapter Two The calm voice I had heard before the blessed dark curtain of oblivion had wrapped me up broke into my sleep. “You’ve gotta drink some water. Take it.” The cold rim of a glass touched my lips and a strong arm helped me to rise from the pillows. I drank without opening my eyes. I felt my head being lowered again and went back to sleep. I can’t say for certain how many times I drank water and slept over and over and over. That soothing male voice was always there. One day I opened my eyes and I had no more fear. Confused thoughts weren’t playing havoc in my mind either. I looked around and I was in my own bedroom. My brother was watching me, sitting in the chair I usually sit to work. We have always been distant because the age difference was effective to prevent our blood bonds become friendship. Don’t take me wrong. My brother has always been my protector. I can relax when he is around because I know I will be safe. Yet, his eyes were worried when he leaned towards me. “Are you feeling fine? Can you move?” I thought the question weird and tried to move. A strange pain hit my feet soles and ran upwards to my thighs. The fire burned in my veins and I choked with a strangled scream. Marcus was up in a jump and held me. My body convulsed like lightning struck and darkness enveloped me again. But that time I could hear my brother’s voice clearly. “You can’t sleep again, Leah. Fight. Let’s do it, sis. Open your eyes. Do it now.” The evident anguish etching his voice pulled me into obedience. I struggled to do his bidding. His face came into focus slowly. “That’s my girl! Yeah! You’re gonna manage it, sis. Open your eyes.” I felt strong again and could move without pain. “What’s up with me Marcus?” He sighed and pressed my face against his broad chest. “I hoped you had the answer for that.” I put some distance between us and only then I noticed my dilated tummy. My eyes ran over my body. I was really astounded. That wasn’t anything but a baby bump. Advanced pregnancy and that was for sure. In the middle of my awe, I heard my brother move back to the chair where he had been sitting. His voice sounded sad and hurt. “How did it happen, Leah? Why didn’t you look for me? Why didn’t you tell me? Where have you been all the months we didn’t talk? What the hell was in your head when you went to that nowhere town and just stopped contacting me? Who is the guy who called me to tell me you were home and needing my help? Can you guess how frightened I got when I arrived here and saw you pregnant, unconscious and totally alone? It took you five days to wake up! Five days and no one could explain this madness. I called that doctor who was in your cell phone’s contacts. That doctor Hans said you are fine, the babies are fine and you only need to rest. He told me to take you to have some tests run and nothing else. It was four days ago. You’ve wakened up only now. I’ve been sitting in this chair for five days, worrying my life out.” I heard all my brother’s sad and anxious words in silence. The thing I felt strange in my body had an explanation. My swollen belly was due to pregnancy. But who was the father? It made no sense at all. I couldn’t remember anything that remotely could be connected to pregnancy. I licked my lips and stared into my brother’s eyes. “I don’t know what to say. I can only recall running away with the hotel’s room maid from men who had invaded my bedroom." The image of the young woman with a broken neck flashed before my eyes. For whichever unconscious reason I omitted the fact, I don’t know. My memories were disturbing to say just a little. Marcus looked straight into my eyes. "Leah, you are twenty-eight and an acknowledged professional. You have no need of being afraid of talking to me. I know we have never been close but these babies are my nephews. I'm here to back you up. Say the truth, please." I leaned on the pillows and we locked eyes. "Every single word you said makes the reason why I would never lie. I've just opened my eyes and I have no idea how I ended up pregnant." He was shaking when he rubbed his short cropped hair back and forth, back and forth. "Are you for real?" "Yeah, I am. You should have talked to the man who called you. He probably has the answer we lack." "He never left his number, nothing, really. He only told me you needed me and hung off." Marcus was looking at me thoughtfully and his eyes were glued to my distended tummy. "What are you gonna do? The boys are gonna be born in less than a month, according to the doctor." I lowered my eyes to my pregnancy affected body. I put my hand on my abdomen and I felt it move immediately. I lifted my hand frightened and Marcus sighed. "They move a lot. I can see it clearly from where I am." My eyes rested on my brother and hot tears streamed down my cheeks. I've always dreamed of being a mother. Suddenly, I was pregnant, by the end of pregnancy term. No memories, nothing. No dad for my kids and only a male voice as a remembrance. I spat my frustrated words, following the never ending tears. "It's a nightmare." "Let's find a doctor. Someone must be able to unlock your memories." Unhappily so, the things didn't happen so easily. My memory didn't come back and in the due time the kids were born. It was the fastest and the most strange delivery ever. In less than half an hour my body opened and my children saw the light. When I called my brother the two babies were on my bed already, wrapped precariously in my bed sheets. We went to the hospital and after some simple procedures, I was taken to a bedroom until the day after when I was cleared to go home. Before that, though, all the hospital visited with the most beautiful babies ever born in the institution. The boys were identical twins. Two small copies of myself. My children were strong, healthy, and bigger than the kids their age. Their beauty couldn't touch my heart though. I only looked at those two beings for whom I had no motherly love whatsoever and got afraid. Fear so strong and powerful, overwhelmingly so, would ride me hard. It was a strange feeling that stopped me, taking me in such a strong hold that I never managed to breastfeed them. My heart seemed to be ready to jump out of my chest. I felt like running away fast from their tiny bodies. The psychiatrist in charge of my case diagnosed me. I had post-trauma amnesia and post-delivery depression. Marcus took me and the boys to his house. My reaction never changed through the time. Those small babies had the power of throwing me into panic attacks when I was in their presence. I would scream and run to the farthest possible place. Marcus and his wife offered to look after them and bring them up. Ana wasn't able to bear children and she loved them as if they were hers. As for me, I couldn't stand being with the twins in the same room. I signed the papers and they became Marcus's and Ana's responsibility. It was unavoidable once I wasn't able to take good care of them. It was the last decision before taking back my life that had come tumbling down under such a heavy drama. Chapter Three Five years later I was crossing the street in front of my office when my cell phone rang. "Leah speaking." "Your behavior was despicable, Leah. My sons aren't an old rag that you throw away. You really let me down." My heart jumped like crazy in my chest. The fear I always had whenever I looked at the kids was materialized in the male voice from my memories. "Who are you? What do you want?" "You. I want you and my boys. I wanna see them tonight. Go fetch them. If I go, your brother and your sister-in-law won't like the visitor." The call was ended. I was shaking like a drug addict in abstinence. The shrieking of the cars' horns made me finish crossing the street in a jump. My mind was an enormous whirlwind of emotions and disconnected memories. I passed by the building's doorman and by my secretary on fast feet. She talked to my back while I was getting into my office. "The plants for the Clints' house were approved. We can start to build it up." I stared into her face. The ordinary words of my daily life seemed a weird dream as if she were talking in a tunnel. I managed to nod. "I need some time alone." I got into my office and closed the door. My chair received my body without a single squeak. My office was a tribute to my professional success. My small construction company was recognized. I had managed to put myself back on my feet and take my life up. Building up big houses for rich people was highly profitable. My name was already known worldwide for visionary buildings whose main focus was the environment protection. Living in nature but never causing harm to the ecosystems. People came to me for that. I had already left behind the therapy years ago. The psychiatrist had been blunt telling me that my memories would come to me in their own time when my brain felt strong enough to let me remember the things it had kept hidden. It could take long maybe never happen. Thus, I was back to the living and all the foggy and mixed up memories had been carefully thrown to that moment in my past that I had decided to forget. My strange story was never known to my clients. Everyone believed I had agreed with becoming the friendly bearer for my brother and his wife. The viable option to provide them with the kids they wanted in order to make their family complete. The boys were a live copy of me and that alone was enough to reassure everyone of the love bonds between us. However, I would never spend time alone with the children. They could spook me yet, but much less after so many therapy sessions. And now, five years after the dramatic moments, I was approached by the threatening voice from my past. Sitting in my office, I rested my forehead on the cold glass. I don't know how long I stayed there. The telephone brought me back from my despair. It was Marcus. "Leah! What the hell is going on? Ana has just called me to tell me a man has called her, said he's the boys' father. He also told her you are going to live together and he would take the boys.” I moaned my fear and uneasiness. "I know it. He's called me too. According to his words, I let him down when I gave you the kids. I don't know who he is but he's threatened you and Ana. "I'm calling the police. "Marcus, hear me, please. I don't know who he is. Are we calling the police because of a voice on the phone? The boys are my kids and they can be his too. I don't know. If it comes out, I'll lose my life. The same very life you saw me building back with so much suffering. Not only that, but you can also lose yours. We know nothing about the man. He's threatened you. I recognized his voice. He's the one I ran away from, my brother." I was sobbing already. Marcus sighed irritated, unable to take a hold of his emotions under the threat to his family. "How could I let you go and the boys too? How could I, if this stranger is threatening us, Leah? What kind of man do you think I am, sis?" I made an effort to control myself. I knew I had to calm by brother down. That was my problem to solve. "I'm waiting for his call. I'm explaining everything about my amnesia. It seems this is the real cause for this entire situation." "You are a guilt-freak, Leah. You tend to take up the blame for everything. You have just said he's the man you ran away from. If that's the case, he's responsible for the amnesia. You owe him no explanation at all." Marcus breathed deep before going on. "If this guy wants you and the boys so much, why did it take him more than five years to get to you? How come he left you unconscious, pregnant, alone? What kind of man does something like that, sis?" I had no answer for Marcus's questions. All of them sounded right, logical just as my brother had always been. “I don't know. I'm gonna wait for his call. I'll call you just after." I hung off and got up, walking to the coffee machine I always kept ready in my office. Chapter Four Three successive knocks on my office door spooked me. My secretary's voice sounded behind the wood panel that slid softly. "Mister Armadi is here. He said he had an appointment with you, Leah." I lifted my eyes to the tall man standing behind my secretary. "Long time no see. You are even more beautiful. Our kids could never have a better gene bank. Between you and me, they will certainly be unmatched creatures." I examined him slowly. The man standing in my office was no stranger to me. He was one of those who had been chasing me and who had killed the room maid. I feared for my secretary. I needed to protect her from harm. "Go to the Mayor hall, please. See for the needed papers. I want to start the construction of the Clints' house next week, if possible." "That's okay, Leah." She left, closing the door quietly. Armadi was a tall man. He had black hair and steel-grey eyes. His body was strong. We stayed there, looking at each other. My heart was beating fast, my body was warm, sexually excited, but my mind was strangely calm. I pointed at a chair in front of my table behind which I sat down. The table was good as it could come. A barrier between the man who caused so strong and conflicting sensations in my body and me. I was in a maze of confusion and weirdness. "Have a seat. We need to talk." He smiled and a thrill ran my body, waking up all the nerves. Images of that smile flooded my mind. I put the heel of my hand on my chest, to hold my heart that was beating frenetically. The gentle voice kept in my memory didn't help to soothe my agitated nerves. "Your attitudes have caused me many problems, Leah. You couldn't have given my sons as if they were abandoned puppies. You let me down." I murmured, unable to control myself. "I'm afraid of them. I wasn't even able to breastfeed them. They are very much loved and Marcus is my brother; not a stranger. Don't criticize me, please." Yet inexplicably, the disapproving tone of that man was painful to me. I stared into that handsome male face. Feelings that I would never wait to see were clear in his eyes. Guilt, sadness, anguish. His eyes were hurt and expectant and it tore my mind open. Something inside me got unlocked with a sharp stab to my forehead. Memories lost a long time ago came to the surface. I saw my steps inside the genetic engineering lab inside the Amazon forest. I saw the steel cell where I had undergone tests and just like watching a movie I saw the artificial insemination in my body. Suddenly, unexpected feelings got mixed to the calm memories. My horror, my despair, and Beth helping me to run away through the window from the gigantic farmhouse. I felt my despair for our mistake when we went to the hotel to pick up my documents. I heard and felt my steps while we ran through the city. I muffled a scream with my hand when I revisited the cave and Beth, her neck snapped and crooked. Everything was turbulent, not ordered, but the death of the girl was a clear memory. Revulsion etched my words when I looked into Armadi's eyes and I challenged him. "You are one of the most important scientists of the world. Aren't you afraid I let everyone know what you have been doing?" He frowned surprised and his laughter was bitter and it made a shrill run all my body. "And what would you say? Would you expose our kids to public curiosity?" It was my turn to frown, confused. There was nothing to attract public curiosity to the children. Artificial insemination was everyday routine in many centers all over the world. Nothing special at that. Armadi kept talking, unaware of my troubled thoughts. "Those boys are the most amazing success of the genetics history of the human kind. Each of them is already showing out how different they are. If my research comes to public ears they'll worth less than guinea pigs. Would you destroy their little lives, Leah? What kind of mother are you, for God's sake?" His true anger made me step back and I fell in the chair. I shook my head, confused. "I can't understand. What is it you are saying?" He waved his hand nonchalantly. "I know everything there is to know about my boys, Leah. I have been following them closely. The pediatrician, the psychologist of the school, the teachers. They all give me a weekly report on the kids. Even though they know nothing about the reason for my worries. They believe it's only a father with deep pockets to pay for their silence. Our sons are great." I felt all the blood running away from my face. My hands got cold and clammy and I dried them up on the linen cloth of the pants I was wearing. "Have you been taking account of them all this time? Why have you come out only now?" He bent over the table; the handsome face was like a magnet, attracting me to him. His voice was seductive and his eyes were bright, full of hope. "We can be the perfect happy family, Leah. Although, your brother and sister-in-law won't be able to keep the boys the way it is now. But they'll be with the kids too, as our extended family. Our sons need special attention. Ana will help us take care of them and the most important, they'll help us protect and love them. You can keep up with your life just the way it is but you are mine. The three of you are mine. I won't accept to be kept away anymore. And you will be the dedicated mother you were born to be. It's time we give them sisters. I shook my head, confusion thrumming in it. "If I don't agree with it?" He rested on the chair, anger making hard lines appear on his enticing face. "I'll have the DNA test run; I'll prove I'm their father. You won't keep me away from my kids. The psychiatrist that followed your case can be a witness of your confusion of mind when they were born. The choice is yours. It's win-win for me but I'd rather avoid it all. His voice sounded again as an anguished plea. "Let's live together, build a home, a family for the kids." "My brother will see there's something amiss." Armadi chuckled. "What could be amiss? You are gonna tell him I'm the real father of the boys and I'll let Marcus and Ana share the care for the children. I'm generous, polite, handsome and rich. Why would they feel it strange? You got your memories back and remembered our love. Simple and romantic." I leaned on the chair. There was confusion in my mind yet, but of one thing I was quite sure. "You thought of everything." "You can't wonder how much I think of this situation" "I only think of Beth, who you killed." The shock on his face was evident, He shook his head. "No, Leah. I didn't kill anyone. She climbed a tree to hide from my men, fell and broke her neck. You haven't gotten your memories back. Now I can see it." The true mercy in his eyes filled me with doubts. There was truth in his words. I murmured, even more confused. "But I remember her in the cave. How could she be there if her neck had been snapped by falling?" He waved his head and held my hand on the table. "The drugs you needed to take to keep the pregnancy caused all this confusion in your mind. You couldn't have stopped taking the medicines. The collateral damage they caused was a kind of schizophrenia. Temporary, but very serious nonetheless. Beth worked as a maid in my house. She believed in the fantasies you created and a certain night you left through one of the windows. Beth stole one of the cars of the property and took you to the hotel so that you could pick up the things you had there and run away. You had been adamant at keeping the hotel room and I saw no harm in that. I couldn't have guessed that the side effects of those medicines together with the not easy pregnancy of our boys would cause so much suffering. When you ran away and stopped taking them, things got pretty worse. During that crazy flee the young woman died and you dragged her to that hole where I found you." I remembered the facts one by one and he was saying the truth. I looked into the stormy gray eyes and asked at last. "What is there so special about the boys, Armadi?" He pressed my hands softly. "Is there another thing you don't recall, love? The boys are the result of years of work in genetic research. Our sons are a kind of mix of many animals. The best genetics of each of them assembled in a human being. That's why you needed so many drugs to avoid abortion. They were something too strange to the human body." Tears were pooling in my eyes. "Why did you do that to me? Do you have any idea of my suffering? Do you know how much I still do? I was terrified of my own sons, Armadi. There are years I see myself as some kind of monster." The tears were running freely on my face and I couldn't hold a sob. He sighed and closed his eyes. His voice sounded tired and sad. "You agreed on everything, Leah. You and I were in love and the boys were part of our dream of a happy family. The drugs made you get confused and run away. Beth believed you and you and the boys nearly died because of that." I closed my eyes. The avalanche of memories that invaded me made me grab the table tightly. I remembered clearly of our first meeting in the university after a speech on environmental issues. I remembered the invitation to see the facilities he kept, the candlelit dinner, the night of love. I remembered the trip to the small town and his lab. I felt again the enormous admiration his work caused on me. The thrilling perspective of being part of his incredible dream; the invitation to be the mother of his kids. I had accepted eagerly to be the mother of the strongest and the healthiest kids the world has ever had but only because he would be the father. I was in love with him. Our sons were human beings with the best of many different creatures. Feline’s speed, gorillas’ strength, snake's resistance, hearing ability of bats to say just some. Everything topped with no disease genetically transmitted. I lifted my eyes to Armadi again. Not yet mine completely were the memories of our happy moments. I still needed to understand my insane state of mind, the fear following days of amazing happiness; the terrible maze in which my mind had gotten lost. I needed to know everything better. "What drugs are we talking about here? What made me forget and become terrified?" He smiled and for the first time since I had heard his voice on the phone, I could relax. My brain gave away the last memories and I knew I didn't need to be afraid. Not of Armadi, not of my own sons. "Our boys are very strong. You were taking drugs to avoid abortion. The pregnancy was too demanding and then came all the side effects. When the maid took you from my house she condemned you and the boys to death. I got half crazy, Leah. I love you and I was going to lose you and the boys at the same time. I went after you and Beth with some hands of the farm and Beth fell off that tree and died. The shock made your brain turn off. I needed to keep you in intensive care in the lab so that you didn't die and the boys either. I took you from that hole and looked after you until the deliverance time was at the door. It was when you started to come back, wake up for a few minutes, accept water, liquids in general. But you couldn't recognize me and kept calling your brother. I started to take off the drugs slowly and finally I could get you rid of them by the time the boys should be born. I was afraid you would never be the marvelous woman I had fallen in love with again and I felt guilty. Your brother was your safe haven and the name you were always calling. I decided to bring you to him. It was the hardest decision of my life. You needed to feel safe to have the babies. My presence, my house, everything was disturbing for you. Your brother was the right person to have around so I took you to him. He was an anchor to your mind, to make it stronger. I brought you to your apartment and called him. You tell me the rest." I shook my head. "Why did you wait so long to come for me?" "I couldn't risk your health anymore. Everything was too much of a test. I didn't want you suffering. I was afraid you would get crazy for good. I had to wait. You should be strong and only then I would try to get you and my sons back. Finally, I would be able to have a family. I want you, Leah. I have been following you, your life, and your career all along the way. I'm not a monster. You agreed on having our sons. We were building a family together. You asked me to make them look like me because you loved me." He opened a leather folder he had brought along and picked up some papers from it. He handed them to me. It was my signature. I had volunteered for the experience but it wasn't everything. Armadi and I were married. A funny excitement ran my whole body while I was holding the wedding papers. "Are we married?" "You gave me the honor of being your husband, Leah. The children are part of our plans for a family." "Genetic manipulation in humans is illegal." He smiled. "Yeah, that it is. If you denounce me, we are both going to jail and our babies will become guinea pigs." I sighed and cradled my head in my hands. "What do you want from me, Armadi?" His voice was a hopeful whisper. "Our family. The one we were supposed to have. We are married Leah. I want to try to gain you back, please." "You talked about having more kids; I don't want to be half crazy again." "I would never take you into that again, love. I've been working, Leah. The girls won't need those drugs. We are going to be happy. The boys know you are their mother. They will get to know me as their father now." My cell phone rang, interrupting the intense exchange. It was my brother. "Any news?" I examined the man in front of me who had his eyes full of love and hope. I had gotten my memory back but not only that. Love for the kind, gentle and affectionate man who one day had made me wish for a family was filling up the abandoned places in my heart. I was finally feeling the love for my boys too. I wasn't afraid of them any longer. My mind had found the way out of the maze where it had gotten lost. My voice was trembling when I answered the anxious question of my brother. "Yes. I remembered everything, Marcus." The surprised exclamation of my brother got me to smile. "We have a lot to talk. Can you and Ana go to my house tonight? Bring the boys." Marcus commented, in awe. "Are you sure you want to see the boys in your house?" "I'm not afraid of them any longer. I need to introduce you their father, my husband." My brother swore. "You have a husband Leah? What the hell have you done in that hell hole, Leah? Have you gotten married to a redneck?" I laughed, happy after so many years. "No, Marcus. He's a man who has studied a lot. He's a wonderful man. Rest assured. Everything is gonna be alright. Can I wait for you, Ana and my sons in the evening?" "Yeah, sure. Just keep my words. A wonderful man doesn't abandon his pregnant wife and disappear for five years. The hardest part of this day will be waiting for that story until night." My brother, the everlasting protector couldn't leave the opportunity of giving his opinion escape through his fingers. But that time he was wrong. I hung off the phone and smiled to the most successful scientist of the world. The one whose success would never be known. The genetic genius, my husband, father of my sons. "I've got no idea how I'm going to explain all this mess to Marcus and Ana. I can't guess their reaction. We may be running a serious risk of ending up in jail." "We got into that together. We will face the odds together. I’m sure that when they understand the risk for the boys they will do anything to help. They aren't ordinary kids and we need to be together to bring them up; teach them how to live under their exceptional characteristics. Your brother and his wife love them. As far as I could get, they have saved them from loads of suffering." I nodded, blushing. Marcus and Ana had given the kids I had been afraid of love and protection. Each genetic detail Armadi had put in them had been carefully discussed by us. My subconscious had reacted with extreme fear to the animals whose strength they had . That's why I was so afraid of them. There was an explanation for my actions. Knowing and learning about their birth was opening myself to a flood of feelings. The strongest was love. It was bubbling out of my heart like a water source, clear and fresh. The desire of being a true mother for them exploded inside me. I was conscious that giving them their real father was the right thing to do. Our mistakes had had terrible consequences but how bad can a person be if the only thing that he or she wants is to give the children the best they can? That had been the force behind our actions. My temporary craziness had been the consequence. I still wanted a family with Armadi. Together with my memory had come the love for the man who was looking at me full of hope. I locked eyes with him and offered him my hand. I was ready to try again. "Thanks for waiting for me." My voice was shaky. Too many emotions in our renewed love. "Everything was my responsibility. When you ran away from me your life was in danger. Al the other things were just consequences. At first, I needed to manage the damage while you were getting better. Later on, I had no way to know you had never gotten your memory back. Your life was on the tracks, your profession successful. You had even left the therapy. There was no sign you had amnesia yet. During all these years I thought you hated me because of all the suffering I had caused. In my understanding, you were wrapping the boys in the same hate and didn't want them because of that. Only the changes the teachers, the school psychologist and the pediatrician told me made me get to the action. I could never allow any danger come to them. I was feeling let down but one thing never changed." "What?" "You are the mother I always wanted for my babies." He walked around the table and got close to me. I remembered our nights of passion and felt my face a million-degree hot. He smiled knowingly. “More memories?” I nodded. Armadi brushed his lips on mine tenderly. “I can wait, if that’s what you need. I just wish you told me it’s not necessary. Give me a chance right now, love. You are the Love of my life and I’m so sorry for your suffering. Those drugs were very dangerous. I should have been more cautious. Your pain is on me.” I shook my head and put my arms around his waist. “No, I agreed with everything. I knew the risks. Whatever had gone wrong I’m also responsible. Let’s do it all over again, Armadi. Let’s try to make our family.” He kissed my hair tenderly. “There won’t be any mistakes this time. We have already suffered a lot I agreed and rested my head on the strong chest of my kids’ father, my love. I had finally the part of my life that had gotten lost in the maze of my mind back. I wasn’t a monster who had rejected her own children. There was peace for me, finally. I went to the tip of my toes and kissed my husband, a real kiss. The first of the rest of our lives. The End If you liked the story, just tell your friends! Turn the page for the first chapter of The Bear Cubs Loss The first book of The Twins The mystery series where Leah and Armadi’s kids are already teenagers. They will make you laugh, and solve mysteries with them will be fun. Come to meet the new super heroes who are just like your next door neighbors. Okay, almost. You will love them! The Bear Cubs Loss Leah and Armadi had a beautiful family. They lived in a small town, close to the woods of Montana. Leah was an architect. She was very successful. Her love for nature together with her passion for the environment protection had given her most deserved fame in her field of expertise. She was the name everyone who wanted a house in the country thought of. In fact, any building located where nature needed to be preserved was a potential client for her. Armadi was a geneticist. They had met when Leah was attending a lecture. After the event, they talked and it had been love at first sight. They started to date and few months later the most amazing dinner ended with a proposal. Leah had become deliriously happy and accepted without a blink. They got married and went on their honeymoon. They decided for a place where their passion for nature could be me fully. They went to the jungle in India. The couple had many days of love and took thousands of pictures. Armadi was a famous scientist. He had an amazing lab in the middle of the Amazon forest, in Brazil. It was located on a property he had surrounded by nature. Exactly what they so much loved. It was in the farm house that he offered Leah a surprising possibility. They were sitting in a wide swing on the porch. They loved to watch the sunrise and that’s what they were doing. Red and pink brushes were already coloring the blue sky. Leah sighed happily. “I’m the happiest woman in the world. You are just amazing, Paul. Who else would invest in a house in such a paradise place like this?” Armadi kissed her hair and whispered. “I’d love to have the perfect kids with you.” Leah giggled. “We are amazing, love, but no kid is perfect.” He shook his head. “I can make the perfect babies for us.” She lifted her eyebrows. “You are very confident.” He smiled widely. “It’s not what I meant.” She snorted. “No? You have just let me down.” He stood up and offered her his hand. “Stop kidding. Come along. I need to show you something.” Armadi took his bride to the lab. After driving for some minutes into the forest they had to leave the car. Leah was dumbfounded. “Where are we going, Paul? We’ve never been this far into the forest.” “The place I’m about to show you is a secret. It was built here so that I could work without running the risk of being asked lots of questions.” Leah frowned. “Why would you be afraid of questions?” “I’m a geneticist, Leah. I’m not bragging, but my name is one of the most famous in my field.” She snickered. “Don’t tell me. I was attending one of your lectures when we met, remember?” “Sure. Okay. Everything I do cause people to lift their noses to get a sniff.” She was starting to understand. He helped her climbing a higher tree root and continued. “I’ve been working with things that can be very attractive to many people.” Leah nodded. “I read you have been able to isolate genes.” “It’s common ground for every geneticist that isolating them is just the beginning of the real work. I dedicate to studying their ability to make links with receptors.” She hissed. “TMI” Armadi laughed. “All right. So, it can attract the attention of military people.” She stopped short. “I’d never known you were involved with them.” He shook his head. “I’m not and I intend to keep it this way.” The geneticist pointed at a large structure ahead of them. It was built like a hut. Nothing more than the average houses in the area. “We’re going there.” They walked some more feet and Armadi stopped in front of a wooden door with no lock. “Ready?” Leah shrugged. “Sure.” They entered the hut. It had a simple decoration. There was a rugged table and two chairs were near it. A cot with clean sheets and a pillow on it was in a corner. There were a stove and a stack of wood piled beside it. Everything was clean but it was evident that the little house wasn’t used frequently. Leah turned her eyes to her husband questioningly. “Do you come here to relax? I mean, when you need your alone time” He looked around as if seeing the place for the first time. “I’ve never thought of using it for that. It looks the perfect place, though.” She lifted an eyebrow. Armadi chuckled. “Sorry. Let me show you what we came here for.” He walked to the cot and Leah followed his actions suspiciously. Had she married a looney? He had put his hand under the thin mattress lifting it a bit. He let it fall again just after. The scientist pulled out his cell phone from his pocket. “You won’t have reception here, Armadi.” “Oh, of course not.” He typed something and she heard a soft humming under her feet. “Would you come here, love?” Everything was making her nervous but nothing had prepared her for what happened. The hut didn’t have a floor. It was a common thing to the poor houses in the forest area; it was simply the ground itself. The humming she had heard got a bit higher and the ground seemed to collapse into the ground. She shrieked and put her hand over her mouth. Leah wasn’t a single child. She had a brother but the age difference between them had never made possible an intimate relationship. Mark was a protector. He would die for her but they didn’t talk frequently. In fact, she had been taken from her feet by Armadi and had married and left for her honeymoon without telling her brother any of that. They would meet for Christmas and Leah had decided it was the best moment to introduce her husband to Mark. Nobody knew where she was. The collapsed floor opened to bright light below. She started to tremble. “What is it Armadi? Why is it a secret? What do you do here?” The scientist lifted an eyebrow. “You look frightened.” She hissed. “Because I am! I don’t know you that much, to be true. You have a hut in the middle of nowhere whose floor collapses like a movie. As far as I know it could be anything.” Armadi shook his head. “I love you. I’d never do you any harm.” She winced. “No, I didn’t think you would. But I’m afraid of what you do there.” He smiled. “It’s a lab. It’s where I work on my project. It’s hidden for the reasons I told you while we were walking here.” It calmed her down a little. He had spoken about it indeed. “Okay. Perhaps, I’m overreacting.” “No problem. I know it’s surprising. Come along.” He offered her his hand and they went down the ladder to the lab. It was an amazing facility. Big bucks had been invested in it. Leah was agape. “It’s sci-fi.” He shook his head. “No, it isn’t. It’s technology. It’s science, I can give you that, but there’s nothing fictional here.” She walked around and finally turned to him. “Why did you bring me here? I know nothing of science.” He took her hand smiling. “Nobody knows about this facility. People around here are cool about it. They don’t pay much attention to the crazy American scientist.” Leah smiled. “Well, it’s in your land so you are entitled to do whatever you want here.” Paul shook his head. “Not exactly. This lab is a secret and it must be a secret forever.” Leah lifted an eyebrow. “Why is that so?” “Because the possible outcome of my work is dangerous. If it ends in the wrong hands it will break the nature balance.” “Why are you telling me this?” “First, because you’re my wife and I don’t want secrets between us, and that’s what it was until now.” She grinned. “The right words, Professor.” He kissed her knuckles. “Second, because I want to offer you my tough work of so many years.” She looked into his stormy gray eyes and repeated his words, dumbfounded. “Offer me your work… What do you mean, Paul? You said it can be dangerous.” “Let me explain things.” He waved his hand around. “The most of my work has never been published.” She nodded slowly, urging him to continue with her head, and so he did. “I’ve developed a special technique. With that, I can join different characteristics to a receptor.” “I don’t understand your jargon, Paul.” He nodded. “I’m sorry. It’s quite simple to understand. I can take the best of other species and paste to the human gene string, creating someone new, perfect, with special abilities.” She opened her mouth to speak but he interrupted her with a finger to her lips. “Listen to me, Leah. I can make sci-fi become science without fiction. I can create a baby better than any Spiderman.” She remembered his words in the porch. “A perfect kid.” He nodded. “No genetic disease, no hidden illness, skills of many different animals too. I can put the pieces together.” “Why are you telling me this?” “I want to have children with you. I WILL have children with you, but you can decide to have special children or ordinary ones. It’s up to you.” Leah tilted her head and smiled. “I’ll love to have your babies.” He grinned. “Yeah. Having girls just like you, with your chocolate brown eyes, your honey hair would make me the happiest man on earth.” “I’d like to have boys just like you, Paul. Your black hair, your stormy eyes. Handsome and intelligent boys.” “We can. I can draw them, the way you prefer.” “Isn’t it dangerous?” He shook his head. “No, it isn’t. The babies will be perfect.” She hugged him and rested her head on his chest. “Okay.” He pulled her away from him and bent his knees to be level with her eyes. “Are you sure of it?” “I trust you with my life, Paul.” Unhappily, things didn’t go that smoothly. The special kids demanded a lot of their mother’s body. Leah got very sick. Her mind was mighty affected and she got a serious case of schizophrenia followed by amnesia. She wanted to run away. She convinced a servant of Armadi’s house to help her. Her helper was a kind-hearted young woman who believed in Leah’s delusion. She believed Armadi was a monster, a killer. She agreed with helping her boss’s wife to escape. Leah needed to take lots of medicine because of all the havoc the babies were playing in her body. She would die without the medicines and so would the twin babies in her womb. The drugs made her sleepy so, the woman helped her to stop taking them so that she could run. Armadi didn’t know how badly his wife’s mind was affected. He understood it only when she jumped the bedroom window in a cloudy dark night and ran away. He got desperate when the cook told him about the pills she had found in the maid’s bedroom. The woman had been collecting and hiding them so that no one noticed Leah was not taking the drugs. It made him crazy of fear. His wife would die without them and so would the babies. A mad run after Leah and the maid started. The woman climbed a tree to hide from their persecutors and fell, breaking her neck and dying. Leah’s understanding was so heavily affected that she didn’t get the woman was dead. She dragged the dead body to a hole near the river that ran in Armadi’s property and entered in the muddy shelter too. It was the place where Armadi found her. Completely unaware of her surroundings, she passed out on him. For months, he fought to save her and the twins. She wouldn’t come from her comatose state. Close to the babies’ birth time things started to change. Leah started to call Mark, her brother, and couldn’t stand Armadi’s presence. She got terrified near him. In her mind, he was a stranger who could kill her. She was haunted by nightmares where the events she couldn’t remember would become a totally different story that scared her. Armadi took Leah to her brother, the only person she called. It had been the hardest decision of his life, but the scientist lacked choices. Her mind was shattered and he was afraid she would never be back to her own feet. Feeling guilty, he buried himself in the farm in the Amazon forest. He went out of Leah’s life but he didn’t give up of their love and the family they wanted to build together. Armadi would never risk Leah again, though. So, moved by the dream of having a family, he created an artificial womb where Emma and Olivia grew until their birth. Far from Brazil and the Amazon forest, Leah gave birth to the twin boys. When Noah and Liam were born, Leah was afraid of her own babies but she didn’t know why. They had been born the natural way. Almost, because it had been so fast that she didn’t even got to the hospital. Leah’s brother Mark, and Anna, her sister-in-law, had been the surrogate parents for Liam and Noah since their birth. Time made evident the twins had the special skills their parents had dreamed of. Armadi had kept close surveillance of his wife and his sons. He was patiently waiting for her recovery. When she was finally back to her life, five years had passed by, but she still had no memories of her husband, her decisions, and the dream life she had wanted to share with him. Until the day when Armadi went to her. He explained all the details her mind had hid from her for those five years and her amnesia finally subsided. She remembered everything and they could finally be joined as a family. Olivia and Emma had been living with Armadi and met Leah for the first time when they were four years old. Noah and Liam met their father for the first time at five when the family was finally reunited. Armadi had moved back to the US with the girls. The family was living together at last. Bursting with happiness and pride, Leah had drawn the perfect house for her perfect kids. They were thicker than water. However, nobody could know about the twins’ special abilities. It was dangerous. Armadi had never published his work either. The world would never know he was the best geneticist ever. He didn’t want the recognition. He was very afraid of the use of his work for military purposes so, he told no one. He wanted a family and that he had. It was more than enough. Armadi and Leah’s twins lived a rather ordinary life. Noah and Liam, Emma and Olivia were part of the chess club of the school and the athletics team too. They had very strict rules to follow because of that. Nobody should get to know what they were able to do. Participating in the school activities was fine but only within the normalcy range. Well, not really. They needed lots of physical activity and they loved the adrenaline. Rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, parkour, tracking, hiking. They were the outdoorsy type. Their animals’ skills gave them extra strength, extra speed, extra sight and so many others they were yet to discover. Armadi only smiled when they asked about the abilities. “Live and find out. That’s the most amazing side of all this.” Leah would nod. “Every time you come home excited because of a new discovery I feel it was worth the effort.” Liam always pouted. “Okay. We can go through the struggle to please you two.” Emma would slap him. “Stop it, whining baby. I think the discovery is exciting.” Noah would go for defending his twin. “You are nosey, sis. Checking things to find out stuff is your kick.” Emma would shrug and Olivia would giggle. “That’s why she’s the school reporter.” Leah and Armadi loved their ribbing. Since the very first moment when the siblings met they had found they had lots in common. Strong friendship was born instantly. They were always supportive, helpful and made a closed front if they were to be grounded for any motive. Never just one. Rather the four going down would happen like always. It could make grounding them a bit of an extreme measure. Something Armadi and Leah rarely did. They were excellent students, had very high grades and were popular. Nobody could ever guess there was something uncommon going on. The point in living an ordinary life was unquestionable as nobody dreamed of becoming a test subject in a government facility. Armadi had made it clear enough. Who would argue with a scientist about science matters? Nobody, of course. Even if lab made, they were very different among themselves. Emma was competitive to the most. She loved challenges and dares. You could count on her to turn a simple thing like eating breakfast into a competition. Olivia was rational and had always the best insight of matters. She would never let you down. Whenever needed she could help everyone see things the right way. “Let’s look at this from another angle”, was her favorite sentence. Noah was smart and frequently amazed his siblings with brilliant ideas. He was the right guy for puzzles and riddles. No one could match him. Liam was the most warm-hearted. He was ready to help whoever needed at any time. He was also the first one to make a joke. He loved practical jokes. His siblings were his favorite targets but he was never mean. It was for fun and it usually ended with lots of laughter in the house. In the school, everyone knew they were a single front. They had gotten into school at the same time because of Leah’s amnesia. The twins studied together, practiced sports together, ate together and were always together. Friends were shared and everyone loved them. They were the perfect babies turned into the perfect teens. Really? Of course not! They were like any other teens! Their friends knew it, their family knew it, their teachers knew it. The only problem to those who spent time with them was that nobody knew who was who. Liam and Noah crossed the large doors of the school smiling. Jill greeted them. “Hey, guys. Who is who today?” They grinned mischievously. “Guess.” She rolled her eyes. “I don’t fight lost battles.” They chuckled. “Yeah. Don’t you even want to give it a try? The girl snickered and shook her head. “Come off it! Tell me, please. Who is Noah and who is Liam? Brian Holmes got to the small group. He passed his arm over his girlfriend’s shoulders. “They won’t tell you, Jill. Just see their clothes. Jeans, grey t-shirt, red sneakers.” Jill sighed. “You’re right. Dressing alike, prank day.” The twins snorted. “You take all the fun out of it, Jill. Try to guess, please.” Olivia got near and slapped his head lightly. “He’s Liam.” Jill snickered. “Thanks. And who are you?” Everybody laughed. “I’m Olivia. Emma is already warming up for the track.” Brian got excited. “She’ll make the state competitions. I’m sure of it!” The twins exchanged glances. Noah shrugged. “I wouldn’t count on it.” Jill lifted her eyebrows. “Hey, guy! She’s your sister. You should be rooting for her.” “Oh, I am.” Liam came to his twin help. “Don’t take him wrong, Jill. We all support Em.” Olivia completed nodding. “Yeah, we do. The thing is we don’t believe she really wants it.” Jill was agape. “Why! It’s bad news to the coach, you know?” Olivia lifted a hand. “Just don’t spread the news. Let her tell him herself, will you?” The girl shook her head. “I just don’t get Emma. Everyone is sure she wants to be an athlete.” Brian chuckled. “Oh, you’re right Jill. She’s the most competitive person in the school.” Noah didn’t like the comment. It didn’t sound like a compliment. He frowned and questioned Brian. “What do you mean, man?” The other guy just shrugged. “She is always fighting to be the best and it doesn’t matter what the subject is.” Noah deflated. He wouldn’t describe Emma better. “Okay, I can give you that.” Liam added calmly. “It doesn’t mean she wants to be an athlete.” “No, otherwise she would also want to be a writer, a scientist, a mathematician.” Jill lifted a hand. “Okay, Liv. We all know you’re the best.” Olivia blushed. “I didn’t mean to brag about anything.” The couple shrugged. “See you in the field.” Brian waved and they left. The twins exchanged glances. “Emma will let people down when she gives up the state competitions.” “It’s something she has to do. We all know of it.” Liam shook his head. “I don’t think it’s fair to the other girls. She wins everyone and when the moment for making the State comes she gives up.” Olivia thought a little. “It sounds arrogant to me.” Noah nodded. “People may believe she thinks herself so good that it doesn’t matter for her if she smashes other people’s dreams.” Liam bent his head sadly. “I guess she’ll lose some friends.” Olivia murmured. “She’ll break when it happens. She loves the girls of the tracking team.” The two boys took Olivia’s sides and put their arms over her shoulders. “We’re here for her, Liv.” And as a single front they walked to the field. Every single morning they needed to tell people who each was. Once said, it would make things easier to everyone around them. Noah and Liam loved to wear similar clothes and spend the day making people try to guess who was who as they had just done. It was their favorite joke. They couldn’t make it in the family, though. Their parents and siblings were never misled. So, when they pulled the prank, Olivia and Emma would spend the day helping people to see who each was. Even though it would make people laugh all day long. They had chosen the competition day to do it because everyone was mixed together. The event pulled everyone out of their ordinary tasks and classrooms. It was nice. Emma was with the other girls of the tracking team. The twins found a place to sit. People greeted them like always. “Hey, peas.” Noah hated it. “Peas in a pod.” Liam chuckled. “They aren’t very creative, are they?” The yelling and shouting and screaming of people pulled them to look at the track field. Everybody was standing, to see the final steps of the fast track. “Yeah!” Emma screamed and punched the air. She had just crossed the line but she didn’t seem a bit tired. Her honey hair was tied in a high ponytail. Some wisps had escaped from the scrunchie but she was much too excited to care. Emma liked running but she didn’t see herself as a professional athlete. The girl was the best in the school’s tracking team. She was appointed for the State youth games because of that. It was cool, but not her life dream. Not to mention that her parents would never allow her to win in a way that could bring too much attention to the siblings. “Too much exposition”, her father had said. ”Dangerous”, her mother added. Emma didn’t mind a bit. She was fine with that. She knew she wasn’t an ordinary teenager. She had been cool at telling the tracking team coach she didn’t want to go further in the athletics career. She had done it just before the track. The guy had been devastated. “Emma, you must be kidding.” “No, Coach. I’m not. I love running but it’s not my life dream.” The second in the team had just snorted. “Nice of you to tell us now.” Emma turned to the other girl. She was surprised. “I’m sorry, Helen. I didn’t know it would bother you.” The girl stood and put her hands on her hips. “Listen, Miss Champion. While we were working hard you were laughing and making jokes.” She had never been Emma’s friend, not really, but so much envy was shocking. Phyllis Jones stood up from the bench. “Take it easy, Helen. She is energetic and good humored. It doesn’t mean she was not taking things seriously.” “Energetic, you said? Come off it! She likes to laugh at our efforts!” Emma was agape. “It’s not true. I know it’s hard work for you.” Helen pointed at her and looked around searching for the faces of the other girls. “Did you hear what she said? Hard work FOR US. It isn’t hard work for you, right? Just for the ordinary people much below your prowess.” Sophie touched Helen’s arm lightly and tried to appease her friend. “She’s the best, Helen. If she steps out you are in. Why are you so bothered?” The girl was furious. She pulled her arm out of Sophie’s reach and growled. “I don’t want to be her substitution! I’m good enough.” Phyllis tried to talk her out of her rage rampant. “Absolutelly. You are more than enough, Helen.” The girl turned angry eyes at the other. “Shut the trap. You’re her doormat. I don’t need your pity.” The Coach was so out of his game because of Emma’s announcement that he couldn’t really notice the huge problem bubbling high and high just below his nose. Suddenly he blinked twice and woke up from his reverie. “Stop it. We’ve bagged prizes for our school. We are all a good team.” The other girls nodded. The coach clapped his hands. “Okay, girls. “We’ve got something important to do today. Go there and do your best!” It was a short track. Emma loved the adrenaline and the feeling. She didn’t even think about the jealousy and envy surrounding her. Once more she won. She was glad she had announced she was not going to the State games. Helen could have her place in the team. Emma was really done. It would dust the edges or not, but she couldn’t stop the other’s bad feelings. That was something Helen herself had to work on. Emma’s passion was of another kind. She loved investigating, interviewing, being nosey, as her brother Noah liked to say. She was okay with his teasing. It was not far from the truth and she was honest enough to accept some good-natured critics. The girl’s schoolmates cheered and hooted for her victory. She was enjoying the adrenaline and that was all. She had won for just a bit. She had to control her body every second of the track to keep their secret. That was her real challenge. Winning was not that important. Emma showered, said goodbye to her team mates and went for her siblings. The girl’s family always attended Emma’s competitions. That specific day, Armadi was out of town and would arrive just after. Leah was at home giving the last touches on a project. Only the twins had been there to back her up. They could never know what had happened before the competition though. Olivia was polishing her nails looking bored. Noah was texting on his cell phone and Liam was attentively watching the girls jump with a smile. The twins were always nonchalant at Emma’s demonstration of speed but the always charming Liam just loved to be among his sisters’ friends. ‘Good for the eyes’, he said. Noah took his attention from the cell phone and chuckled at Olivia. “You are the only girl who isn’t jumping and screaming.” Olivia lifted her eyebrows. “Really? Am I supposed to? Just tell me why? You know that any of us could…” Liam’s easygoing stance changed quickly. “Shut the trap, sis.” The girl opened her mouth to argue but thought better. “Yeah, whatever. How long will we have to stay?” Liam waved at the people gathered around them. “Are you done with taking pictures?” Noah nodded. “Aren’t you supposed to?” “I’ve already taken many. It’s my duty as the school’s paper reporter.” Liam repeated pompously. “It’s my duty as the school paper’s reporter.” Olivia would always take pictures of everything at her lenses’ reach. Her camera was her best friend. (Her own words!) It wasn’t an obligation. Photography was her passion. Noah giggled. “What a sacrifice!” “Poor thing. I feel like holding her hand, Noah.” She scrunched her nose. “So funny! I’m about to die of laughter.” The boys chuckled. She was the photographer and Emma was the reporter. Liam was the editor. People loved reading his texts, always full of funny passages. Nobody in the school would take it from them. They were simply the best team ever! Poor Noah was always chosen to carry stuff. The twins were always together, just like that. Liam asked curiously. “Are you making one of your photo books on the event?” Olivia had photo books piled up in her room. She would develop only the best pics. Each book had a cover title. “Nope. It’s not for me. I’m preparing a photo book as a surprise gift for Emma. All the best photos since she started tracking.” “Wow! She’ll love it!” “I know it, right.” Noah winced. “What happened to you? You are the rudest ever.” Olivia squinted her eyes. “You know it.” The two boys exchanged glances. Liam tried to change topics. “What about the pics of our last trip to Brazil?” Talking about their yearly trip to the Amazon forest was not the twins’ favorite topic, though. The girl nodded slowly. “I have some pics to develop. The most amazing scenes from our hiking in the forest.” “It was fun!” Liam chuckled. “Those monkeys loved you dearly, Liv.” “They were just curious about the camera. You made them follow me because you had put those funny berries in my backpack and they smelled them.” Liam shook his head. “Oh, no, sis. Do not belittle yourself! You’re a lovable irresistible girl. The tiny guys stood no chance against your charm.” Olivia couldn’t help chuckling. “You know what? I totally agree with you.” The siblings started to laugh. Everything was just common banter among youth. Armadi had made them into extraordinarily skilled people but they were teens. The twins were the final product of his awesome work. Genes from different animals had been assembled to Armadi and Leah’s genetic material to grant their children a healthy life. The scientist was careful to keep them under close observation. Just the follow-up, but essential nonetheless. Armadi had his mind to protecting his family and nobody should know how special his four children were. As a science scholar, he knew pretty well how dangerous it could be to the kids if their uncommon characteristics were opened to curious eyes. Emma’s tracking was carefully monitored. The scientist’s children lived the commonest of lives, like any other teenager, but going to the Amazon forest once a year was unavoidable. Armadi and Leah needed to be sure their babies were doing fine. Noah had seen some of the pics Olivia had taken and they were amazing indeed. Going home to develop them should be an itch the girl needed to scratch. He shrugged. “Okay. Let’s go home. There’s nothing else to see, anyway.” They stood to leave but were stopped by Maribelle Atkins. The girl was intent on having a date with one of the twins. She was a beautiful girl. Lean limbs, beautiful blond hair, electric blue eyes. She was always wearing the last fashion and her father was a famous lawyer. Maribelle was one of the most popular girls of the school and she couldn’t understand how the most popular boys didn’t want to be among her faithful followers. At least that was Emma and Olivia’s light-hearted opinion. The truth was the teens were as interested in going out with her as they were in going through the annual tests their father forced them to perform. I mean, not at all! They used to say she was too perfect for their liking. “Boring”, Noah had said once. Maribelle got closer to Noah with a syrupy smile and ran her long red nails on his arm. “Emma is the best. Goes in the family, right?” Behind the girl’s back Olivia pretended to gag. Liam mouthed “Oh, love”, batting his lashes. The girl continued. “You’re the best in everything you do. I’m your fandom president of honor.” Liv rolled her eyeballs. The girl was going hard. He made an effort to respond to the compliment and mumbled. “Uh, thanks?” Noah was totally uneasy. His siblings’ faces weren’t helpful at all. He was having a hard time trying to focus on the beautiful girl in front of him. Behind her, Liam had taken Olivia’s arm and they were pretending to walk down the aisle in a goofy wedding ceremony, performing the funniest geese walk. Olivia was pretending to cry and dab at her eyes. He felt his belly cramp with the effort to hold up. Having a fit of laughter on Maribelle’s face wasn’t cool at all. Although it was bubbling, pressing to come out. Finally, Noah’s siblings won the unspoken challenge. They had him unable to control himself another single second. He exploded in laughter. He bent at the knees and shook his head, trying to hold up. He shouldn’t mind trying. His body insisted on shaking hard and the trembles kept on. Laughter resounded and many who were leaving turned at the sound. People only smiled. Some even scoffed. The twins were quite well known. Their clothes pointed at prank day. It was a rule if they were dressing alike. It was just a matter of waiting to laugh. People smiled knowing it was always good hearted and never mean. They were funny and everyone enjoyed it. Offended, Maribelle slapped him on the shoulder. “Are you crazy? Why are you laughing like that? I didn’t say a funny word at all!” He watched Noah getting hold of himself and only then she recalled how the twins were wearing. “It’s prank day!” She shouted and turned fast. The only thing she saw was Olivia knelt on the large step tying her sneakers while Liam texted on the cell. She turned to Noah, puzzled. “I can’t see anything. Are you laughing at me?” He shook his head. “Never. I’m laughing with you, not at you. I’m happy, that’s all. My sister just won. Maybe she gets to the state games. It’s a moment of happiness for the family.” Maribelle smiled, a little appeased. She loved Emma. She could relate with happiness at her victory. “Yeah, it’s true. Are you going out to celebrate?” Olivia mouthed to Noah. “You owe me one”, She tapped on Maribelle’s shoulder. “Excuse me.” The girl turned smiling “Sure, Liv. What’s up?” “We have an appointment with the Doctor.” She wasn’t lying. At least, not much. They truly had to get home to meet their father, who was a Doctor, so a little white lie wasn’t a big fat lie, right? Maribelle held Noah’s arm asking worriedly. “Are you feeling bad, Liam? Do you need help?” The real Liam poked her other shoulder. “I’m Liam. He’s Noah.” The girl blushed. She giggled, self-conscious. “Oh, I’m sorry. I never know who is who between the two of you.” “Would it make any difference for you?” The acidic comment had come from a recently showered Emma. She was standing behind the group with a mischievous smile on her face. She was wearing her favorite jeans, a white t-shirt and her red backpack was hanging from her shoulder. Her earphones were around her neck and the enhanced hearing of the twins could hear the same song she had been listening all month long. Emma was crazy for the band and their last success had become her only song. Emma loved teasing Maribelle. No special motive. The beautiful girl was Emma’s friend and she was usually able to take it with laughter. Emma was also foxy and her always good results at the tracking as well as her good grades made her one of the popular girls in the school, too. She had no reason to be jealous. It was just because. A funny play between two good friends. Maribelle knew Emma was a friend you could trust. She would never be mean on purpose. That specific subject was a little sensitive though. The girl was really interested in the boys, but like everyone else she had a hard time to catch who was each. The result of Emma’s teasing was not funny. Maribelle was opening and closing her mouth doing the best impersonation of a goldfish ever. Emma’s crude comment had taken her out of her game. Her eyes were misty. Emma felt really bad. “Good job, Emma. Hurting another one and it’s just morning”, she berated herself. She lifted both hands and frowned. It had become clear her friend couldn’t deal with the joke that time. “I’m sorry I sometimes put my foot in my mouth.” Noah passed an arm around Maribelle’s shoulders and winked at Liam. “It doesn’t matter, we really don’t care. Liam was just saying. We know it’s hard for someone outside the family. Come. I’ll walk you to the gate.” He left with Maribelle. The twin girls exchanged glances. Emma was the first to ask. “What was that?” They were in protection mode. Both girls crowded their remaining brother. Olivia squinted her eyes at Liam but Emma was the most suspicious. “What a sudden change of mind, isn’t it?” Liv nodded. “Isn’t she boring and blah-blah-blah?” They both loved Maribelle and they didn’t trust their brothers when girls were the topic. Olivia poked her brother’s large chest. “You are not going to do what I think you’ve just set.” Liam whispered with rounded eyes. “I have no idea of what you are talking about.” He made his better impersonation of 'I'm offended’. Emma snorted and leaned towards him. “Let me help you with that. Phyllis Jones and dad.” Olivia added helpfully. “That beautiful girl who has wavy brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. And a body to die for, according to your own words. Can you remember her?” Emma exchanged glances with Olivia and completed. “Yes, that girl who used to be our best friend.” Olivia growled. “Because she isn’t our friend anymore, thanks to you and Noah.” Liam made puppy eyes at his sisters and put his hand flat on his heart. “I’m hurt. I’ve learned my lesson, sis.” Olivia shook her head. “I pretty much doubt it.” Emma nodded. “So do I. But I’m feeling generous today so let me remind you. The last time you two,” she made quotes in the air, “shared” a girlfriend, dad grounded you so hard that you nearly got crazy.” Liam winced. “I do my best to leave bad moments behind but you always come with them. Whenever I’m about to forget them for good BLAST! There you come. Bad of you, Em” Emma snorted. “Do you want me to feel sorry for you? You must be kidding.” Olivia had no pity on the frightened face of her brother either. She had lifted a hand and was enumerating slowly, counting on her fingers. “No running in the evening, no climbing the training walls, no swimming in the lake, no rope course…” Emma blew the mercy shot. “No video games for a month.” Liam shuddered. “Dad can be very cruel. And you two can be very mean.” Emma shook her head. “Nope. You two were the mean ones. Liv and I helped you, if I can recall. Your situation could have been pretty worse if we hadn’t talked Phyllis’s bro out of punching your noses. You would have taken the punching like two little lambs because dad would never leave you out of the house if anyone even got a little suspicious about your real strength.” Olivia clicked her tongue. “Yeah. And it would spread so fast in the school. Be thankful. You owe us that.” “Yeah. It was supposed to be two months without video games. The exact time of your little dating game with our poor friend.” Emma started to go down the steps. “Liv is right.” “Of course I am. Phyl stopped talking to us when she discovered your bad.” “What else could be the outcome? She never believed we didn’t know it.” “How could she? We’re always together.” “You two are a deceitful pair.” “You did something bad, really bad.” Liam’s smile was mischievous. “She was right. You did know, remember?” Emma turned, shooting daggers at his brother. “How can you have such a poker face, Liam? You two told us the story mere five minutes before she barged into our house with her brother thirsty for blood.” He lifted his shoulders apologetically. “I didn’t say you knew since the beginning.” Olivia was getting irritated too. She was always the one to talk Emma out of her nerves, but not that time. “Come off it! You two didn’t want to face dad alone and put us in the mix.” Liam waved his hand.”Stop whining. We cleaned your bedroom for a month after that.” Emma's voice was sarcastic. "Oh, yes, you did.” “But only when the girls were there to help you and drool all over you two.” Emma snorted. “Remember Anna Anderson?” Olivia impersonated the other girl’s voice and mannerisms. “Oh, poor Liam. Can I help you? You look so confused among this girlie stuff!” Emma nodded definitely. “You two are gonna find a girl to play you like a violin one day." Liv clapped her hands. "I'm gonna be on the first row for the show." Emma high-fived her sister. "You can count me in! Just beside Phyl." Liam's eyes were open wide. "You're a crazy bunch of revengeful chicks! Mom and Dad are not gonna like it." Liv lifted one eyebrow. "Who's gonna tell her? You, Mister let-me-kiss-you-just-after-my-brother-did-it?" Emma had a mischievous look on her face when she winked at her sister. “Let it go, sis. He's entitled to be the big brother helping mom to discipline us." She tilted her head and was smiling when she shot. "You tell mom, Liam. I’m telling Maribelle and all the girls in the school what you did to Phyllis.” Liam looked really afraid. “You can’t do that! We won’t find any date! ” The two sisters high-fived. “That’s the spirit!” They left the field walking side by side, arms wrapped and chuckling. Liam was just after them, begging. "You can't do it. Come on, Think better. Phyl preferred to let it go. She didn't want all the school knowing she had dated two guys at the same time. You're gonna hurt her feelings." Liv turned to Liam and poked his shoulder, angrily. "You and Noah hurt her feelings and we lost a good friend.” Emma was really mad at her brother. “How can you say such a thing, Liam? She never dated two guys at the same time.” Olivia was spitting fire. “She was trapped into your cheating faces because you two are just like two drops of the same weak water.” Liam stopped short, offended. “Are we the weak water? Can you tell me why, please? We are siblings. If we’re weak, so are you!” Emma and Olivia grinned. Emma just tapped her lips with her forefinger, tilting her head to the side. “Make an effort to remember who couldn’t stand the water tank test?” Liam opened his mouth wide. “We could stand! We just didn’t feel like staying in that boring tank any longer!” Olivia and Emma exchanged glances and chorused. “You two left the water and we stayed there for two more hours! Mom took us out to eat. We could have stayed there forever. Weaker than us, that’s what you are!” The girls started to walk again and he was hot on their heels. “Okay, whatever. Just don’t tell the girls, please.” Emma said curtly. “You two have it coming." Yet to convince his sisters not to ‘disgrace’ them, Liam was ready to beg and grovel. “Come on, sis. Be nice. I’ll clean your bedroom this week.” The girls only chuckled and shook their heads. “Try harder, Liam. I’m sure you can be a bit more convincing.” Outside, a smiling Noah was waiting, leaning on their double cabin truck. Armadi had bought it to the twins on their sixteenth birthday. He offered the possibility of two cheaper cars but they declined. “We’re always together, dad. It’s better a beautiful truck where we can put the bikes, the boats, all the stuff we need you to carry for us.” Armadi nodded. The idea had merit. The teens were in many different kinds of extreme sports and the girls as well. Until they turned sixteen, the boys would be the girls’ sure ride, so it was a very nice idea indeed. The truck was cobalt blue. It had high wheels and soft leather seats. They loved the big vehicle. Noah slapped his twin’s back. “We have a date tonight, bro.” Liam shook his head swiftly. “No, Count me out.” Emma and Olivia high-fived and got into the car chuckling. It was their intention since the very beginning. They lowered the window to watch the show. Noah was standing in front of Liam. He frowned. “Are you okay? Liam lifted both hands. “I’m fine. I’m better than fine. I feel a million dollars today.” Noah shook his head. “I don’t think so. Because I thought we had an agreement.” “Agreement? I don’t know what you are talking about.” Noah was agape. “What’s going on with you?” His twin grimaced. “There’s nothing going on right now.” He glanced swiftly at the car where the two girls were watching their conversation attentively. Noah nodded his understanding. “I see. Can you help me with that?” Liam lifted his fingers and repeated their sister’s words counting on them. “Phyllis Jones and dad." Noah blushed and glanced at the girls. “Not a good memory.” Olivia and Emma didn’t even pretend they weren’t paying attention to their conversation. Emma pointed a finger at Noah. “I bet you were about to do it again.” Olivia put her head outside the window. “Maribelle Atkins has a date with you.” Her twin added angrily. “She didn’t apply for a promotion.” Olivia nodded. “Set a date with one and get two.” Liam glared at his twin. “I totally agree with you, girls. She’s all yours, Noah. Only yours.” He jumped into the truck and Noah walked around it to get to the driver’s seat. They had an agreement about the car. Each teen would drive it every other week. That one was Noah’s. Emma and Olivia were still chuckling when they arrived home. Noah had spent all his skill to try to convince Liam. He hadn’t managed that so far. A very serious Liam only repeated, “Count me out!" to an increasingly frustrated Noah. Talk to me!


Post a Comment

Read free eBooks, English Fiction, English Erotic Story

Delicious Digg Facebook Favorites More Stumbleupon Twitter