"Finn thank God you're home." She exclaimed.
"What is it? What's happened?" He asked as she rushed over to him.
"It's the girls." She answered.
"Where are they? Are they alright?" He asked, his worry growing.
Charlie's face was a picture of concern, "They are alright but they've had quite an adventure tonight."
"They didn't come straight home after school instead they decided to follow Mimi home."
"They what! Why on Earth would they do that?" He asked.
"They got it into their heads that because you and Mimi were pictured together that they were getting a new sibling. It seems they saw her with Bobby and thought he was their brother." She said, recapping the version of events that Ivy had reluctantly revealed when they finally arrived home.
"So they know about the story?"
"Yes. I called Hope earlier when the twins didn't show up and she told me that it's all over the school, apparently some girls have been making comments."
"What did you say to them?" Finn asked.
"Oh no! I'm not taking this one." Charlie retorted shaking her head, "I did the birds and bees talk, this is all on you."
"OK I'll go talk to them now." Finlay agreed, heading for the twins room.
When he entered the room the girls were deep in conversation and immediately hushed at the sight of their father.
He looked at them both, his little girls, how could he explain this to them?
"Girls we need to talk." He began, "Mom told me what you did tonight, it was very dangerous for you to go into the City alone like that."
"We're sorry Dad." Iris chimed up immediately
"Don't be mad at Iris." Ivy piped up jumping down from her bed, "It was all my idea." She confessed.
"What were you thinking?" Finn asked her.
"Some girls at school were talking about you and that lady in the paper, we just wanted to see what she was like." She continued.
"Come here Iris." Finlay called her over, "Girls I'm sorry i should have talked to you both about this, but i honestly thought you were too young to understand."
"It's OK Dad we know where babies come from." Ivy offered.
"Girls, the story in the paper about Daddy and that lady it's not true." He explained patiently, "Her name is Mimi and the little boy you saw her with is her son Bobby."
Ivy and Iris looked at each other.
"So Bobby is our brother?" Iris asked confused.
"No sweetheart, Bobby is Mimi's son only."
"What about his Daddy?" Iris asked still confused.
"Bobby's Daddy left when he was very young." Finlay explained, "So he only has a Mommy."
"Why?" Ivy asked.
"Sometimes Mommies and Daddies argue and they don't live together anymore."
"Do you and Mom love each other?" Ivy asked, concern showing on her young face.
"Very much." Finlay stated, hoping that his words had brought some comfort to them both.
That weekend Finn and Charlie agreed that it would be a good idea for the twins to get to know Bobby, so they invited him over for a play date.
It looked as though they were getting along well all playing together in the tree house.
As Bobby slid down the pole and headed to the swings Ivy called "Hey wait up!" and raced down after him.
Whys she so excited he's only a stupid boy? Iris wondered, reluctantly following her twin.
"Hey Bobby watch how high i can go." Ivy called as the two of them laughed and tried to beat each other at going the highest on the swing.
"Can i have a go now?" Iris called, as there were only two swings she began to feel left out.
"In a minute!" Ivy yelled.
When she finally came down she said happily, "I'm so glad Bobby's not our brother."
"Why?" Iris asked, confused by her sister's statement.
"Just coz." She replied happily, "Hey you mind if i swing a little more i really wanna beat him." She asked.
Iris shrugged and walked away.
She was beginning to feel decidedly left out by the pair of them.
Although she loved to wander around and do her own thing, Ivy would always be somewhere nearby so they rarely spent any time apart or with other kids, they had always been happy together, just the two of them.
Until dumb old Bobby had showed up anyway!
Sulking she climbed back to the top of the jungle gym.
"Hey is your sister OK?" Bobby asked when the two of them had finally exhausted themselves of swinging.
"I guess." Ivy shrugged, not wanting to talk about her sister, she was always off doing her own thing, "So what's it's like living in the City?" She asked.
"S'OK i suppose." Bobby sniffed.
"I bet you get to see all kinds of stuff from your bedroom window?"
Bobby shrugged, "I once saw a pigeon steal a sandwich from a homeless guy, it was pretty cool i guess." He replied.
"Cool." Ivy agreed.
Iris watched them from the top of the jungle gym. why should i care if Bobby likes Ivy more than me? She sniffed, he's just a gross boy.
Hope headed to the place she always went to escape the annoyances of living with her Mom. As usual she found Neriah hanging with Grady and his best friend Chase.
"Hey Hope!" Grady called out to her as he bounded over. "What's going on cuz?" He asked.
"Usual crap." Hope shrugged, not wanting to go over it all again, she had ran to the park to forget her argument with Don.
"How about you?" She queried.
Grady shrugged in response, Hope figured he didn't want to talk about it either.
Grady had his own family troubles as Eliza had just revealed that his real father, Orlando Belle had disowned him as a baby, and that Hank, the man he had grown up thinking was his father was in fact not a blood relation at all.
"We're thinking of staying out all night and sneaking over to the graveyard, you up for it?" Grady asked.
"The graveyard, no way it's right across town." Hope complained.
"Ha! I told ya she'd never go for it." Neriah called from the swing set, "She doesn't want to get her shoes messed up!"
"Shut up Neri!" Hope called back in reply, "It's a dumb idea OK?"
"Well if walking ain't your style i got another idea." Neriah proposed, hopping from the swing and joining Hope and Grady in conversation.
"Not another of your famous schemes!" Hope said rolling her eyes.
"Yeah like when you figured it would be fun to sneak in through the fire escape at the cinema and you set the alarm off so everyone knew we were there." Grady chipped in.
"Or when you swiped your Mom's hair dye and turned my hair orange." Hope agreed.
"OK laugh it up you two." Neriah said, "But this idea is gonna blow your minds."
"What if i told you that we could not only get to the graveyard without ruining your shoes, but also stick two fingers up at your deadbeat Dad?" Neriah said smiling at her own brilliance and taking a dramatic pause before continuing.
"The one thing Uncle Orlando loves more than anything else in this world is his sports car." She smiled triumphantly.
"So what?" Grady asked shaking his head at her weird rationale.
"So we take it for a spin." Neriah filled him in.
"Are you insane?" Hope asked, "We are not going to steal a car, right Grady?"
"No way!" He replied, "We're not gonna steal it we're gonna borrow it, right Neri?"
"That's right!" She crowed, jubilant that her plan was being taken seriously.
"What? Guys come on." Hope pleaded, "You can't be serious!" She yelled as Grady and Neriah began to run towards the subway.
"What's going on?" Chase asked, "Where are they going?"
"To steal Orlando Belles car." Hope replied staring after them in despair.
"Oh, i was worried they might pull something like this." Chase confided rubbing his face with his palm in frustration, "Grady's been real down over this whole business he's been talking about going over to his Dad's and having it out with him."
"Yeah but stealing a car! He's never done anything that bad before." Hope said.
"Let me guess it was Neri's idea?" Chase asked, "You know how she is, a rich kid rebelling coz her Mom doesn't give her any attention."
"I didn't know you were a psych major!" Hope teased his analysis.
"Whatever, we need to stop them before they get in trouble." Chase said heading towards the subway in pursuit of Grady and Neriah, "Come on Hope!"
When they arrived at Orlando's uptown apartment Neriah headed around the side to his garage.
"What if he's home?" Grady asked.
"What do think he can see us from the penthouse!" Neriah laughed, "Besides he's probably crashed out from partying, he still thinks he's 21." She shook her head.
"Grady come on you've had your fun." Hope said trying to cajole him away from the garage.
"Actually my fun's just getting started." He replied, pushing her aside, "Now how do you suppose we get inside?"
"It's on an electric opener." Neriah explained, "My Mom's is exactly the same." She said pulling a device out of her pocket.
Clicking it she laughed as the door began to open.
"Wow they payed all that money for security and it's worthless!" Grady crowed.
"Check it out!" Neriah yelled from inside the garage, as she ran her hand over the sleek car.
"So this is my dear old Dad's pride and joy." Grady said bitterly regarding the vehicle.
"Grady come out of there you're gonna get caught!" Hope cried.
"Would you keep your voice down!" He replied gruffly.
"No i will not keep my voice down!" She retorted walking into the garage to grab his arm, "Come on we're leaving now!" She ordered pulling him towards the garage door.
"Get off me Hope!" He yelled pulling away from her grasp, "You're not my Mom OK."
"What you're doing is stupid Grady, can't you see that?" She pleaded.
"You don't understand Hope, you think it's so bad for you at home huh? Well at least your Dad wanted you, mine never gave a damn about me!"
She could see he was close to the edge so she backed off and walked outside. She saw Chase trying to reason with him.
"You're out of line Grady, just think about what you're doing." Chase lectured.
"I have thought about it." He said before hopping into the drivers side of the car.
Neriah rubbed her hands together in glee and joined him in the passenger side, flipping down the sun visor she said "Bingo!" as the keys fell down into her lap.
Chase joined Hope outside and said, "We tried our best."
The pair of them stood back as the sound of the Audi's powerful engine roared to life and Grady backed the car out of Orlando Belle's garage.
"There's no room for wimps in here anyway!" Grady called to them before speeding off into the night.
Hope could do nothing but watch him pull away.
"We have to go after them." She said, Chase nodded his agreement and they headed back towards the subway.
The nearest subway stop to the graveyard was right by Bridgeport Hospital, as they disembarked the final train of the night they began the long uphill walk to the eternal rest cemetery.
Rounding the corner Hope could hear sirens blazing and the tell tale sight of blue and red flashing lights told her that the cops were up ahead.
"They must of been busted for breaking curfew." She told Chase.
"We should head home in case they pick us up next." He replied.
But something made Hope keep going, she raced to the top of hill and surveyed the horrifying scene before her.
Orlando's Audi was unrecognizable in it's current state wrapped around a lamp post. The windows and tyres were all busted out from the force of the impact, she looked away in horror.
"Hey you two!" A police officer called spotting them at the side of the road, "What are you doing out here? You been joy riding too?"
"No officer." Chase replied placing an arm around Hope in comfort, "That car was being driven by her cousin, is he OK?"
"I don't have that information." The officer replied surveying the pair suspiciously.
"But it seems that you both know a great deal about what happened here tonight, you'd better come down the station and answer a few questions." He commanded ushering them both towards the back seat of his patrol car.
Hope looked out at the wrecked car and allowed the tears to fall freely, she was sure that no one could have survived a crash like that.