#Chapter 89: The Blanket and the Photograph
My eyes widened at my mother’s
words. “What?” I asked, momentarily pulling away from Taylor as my hands started
to shake. “How do you–”
My mother sighed and bowed her head. She was silent for several long moments that felt like an eternity before looking back up at me with tears in her eyes and speaking again. There’s so much I haven’t told you, Nina,” she said. She patted the seat next to her
I stood there for a few moments, blinking incredulously, before slowly and warily sitting down. My mother turned toward me in her chair and took both of my shaking hands, squeezing them gently as she leaned closer to me.
“I found the baby picture in your room when I went to visit you,” she said, reaching into her pocket with one hand and producing the photograph. I snatched it away and stared at it for several moments before looking back up at her.
“Why didn’t you say anything then?” I
My mother sighed again. “I wanted to be sure before I said anything that might scare you,” she replied, then reached out and tapped the part of the photograph that showed the blanket with the oddly familiar pattern on it.” You were wrapped in that blanket when I found you. This picture was tucked into your basket, too. It was burned like this already, though, if it wasn’t, I would’ve found your real parents by now”
I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” my mother said quietly. “I immediately recognized the pattern on the blanket as being something related to werewolves, but I wanted to be completely sure that you were one before I scared you. You never showed any signs of being one, so I thought it was just a coincidence. But when I saw the way Taylor’s condition improved just now, I knew it was because of you. Because of your gifts. They’re finally blossoming.”
“So you’ve known about werewolves all along,” I muttered. And to think that I felt so alone at the beginning of this semester when I first learned about werewolves being real, when I could have had my mother there to guide me. If only she had been open about things with me, I would’ve maybe felt even remotely comfortable telling her about my predicament.
My mother nodded. “I’ve never told anyone. Not even my first husband, before we got divorced when you were little.”
“How did you know?” I asked.
“I knew werewolves in college When I
was your age, actually,”
My eyes widened as I suddenly remembered the photograph that I had seen in Tiffany’s office; the photograph that contained my mother, looking happier than I had ever seen her. Had the knowledge of werewolves killed the light in her eyes, or was it something else?
“You went to Mountainview University,” I said suddenly “I saw a picture of you with the hockey club.”
I watched as my mother’s eyes widened for a moment before she reluctantly nodded. “Yes. I went to the same university you’re attending now.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Just then, Taylor groaned and caused us both to jump, halting our conversation in its tracks. I scrambled to my feet and ran to his bedside, grabbing his hand again. As I did, his eyes fluttered open.
“Taylor,” I whispered, bending down to him and brushing a bit of brown hair out of his eyes. “It’s me. Nina. I’m here”
Taylor stared at me for a few long moments as his eyes came into focus before a slight smile twitched at the corners of his lips.
“Hey… Big sister…” he croaked, licking his dry lips. I grabbed a cup of water and lifted his head to help him drink, then laid him back down gently
“You’re gonna be okay,” I whispered,
taking his hand again. I noticed now that our mother was standing on the opposite side of him, holding his other hand, but I didn’t look at her. I couldn’t, not after what she had just told me. She kept my true identity hidden my entire life… And she hadn’t even had the decency to ever show me the two things that may have linked me to my past the picture and the blanket with the strange pattern on it None of that mattered now, though. What mattered was that my brother was going to be okay For now
“I’m always okay,” Taylor said with a sly smirk “I’m a superhero Remember?”
I smiled, thinking back to the game we always used to play when we were kids We made up our own superheroes when we were little and would play as them day in and day out, pretending to save the world from evil, only stopping when it was time to go home for dinner. Even as teenagers, we would still talk about our game. Taylor always liked to draw, so he often drew our superheroes, saying that one day we really would save the world.
“Yeah,” I said, laughing through the tears in my eyes. “You are a superhero.”
The doctor came in then with two nurses, interrupting our emotional reunion.
“Sorry to barge in,” she said, walking up to the end of Taylor’s bed. “But now that the patient is awake, we need to run some tests. Is that alright?”
My mother and I nodded and reluctantly stepped away from the bed while the two nursed unhooked Taylor from the machines and wheeled him away. Soon, we were alone again.
I looked down at my phone for the
first time since I had gotten the initial call from my mother saying that Taylor was in the hospital and noticed that I had over a dozen missed calls from Enzo, Jessica, and Lori. They must have all been worried sick since I had been in such a state when I left, and I had completely forgotten to tell them that I made it to the hospital safely.
What I also realized as I looked at the date was that I had an anatomy presentation in just three hours, and it counted for 25% of my grade.
“Shit,” I whispered, slipping my phone back in my pocket and looking at my mother “I hate to say this, but I have a presentation,” I said.
My mother furrowed her brow. “Are you sure you’ll be okay driving? I can drive you, if you want.”
I shook my head. “No, I actually feel fine,” I said. Maybe my newfound werewolf abilities were helping me to stay awake… Or maybe it was just the leftover adrenaline in my system from worrying that my brother was going to die, and that I would suddenly become exhausted on the highway and fall asleep behind the wheel. I hoped that wasn’t the case.
“Okay,” my mom said, coming over to me and squeezing my shoulder “I’ll keep you updated on Taylor.”
I nodded, grabbing my bag and heading for the door. Just before I left, I stopped to glance over my shoulder at my mother, who stood in the middle of the now-empty room. She looked so small now that the room was devoid of Taylor’s bed, like a scared child, and I realized that maybe I was too harsh with her, and that she was just as distraught as I was over Taylor’s hospitalization.
“Hey,” I said quietly to get her attention. She looked up from the floor,
tears in her eyes. I love you mom.
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