It’s hard when your best friend and sister betrays you. I knew Anne felt awful about what happened between her and Travis, and she begged me to forgive her, but I just couldn’t do it. Instead I gave her the silent treatment.
Unfortunately, my silence didn’t make the relationship between Anne and Travis go away. No matter how angry I was about it and hurt, Anne told me that she loved Travis, too.
“Rachel, I know you don’t want to forgive me,” Anne pleaded with me one night as I lay in my bed above hers (yes, we still shared a room!), “but I can’t help what I’m feeling. I love you and want you to be happy, but I love Travis, too. How am I supposed to choose?” I heard Anne crying below me, but I just turned over and pulled my pillow over my head.
Worse was having to see Travis come over and take Anne out for dates. He tried to talk to me, too, but I gave him the same cold shoulder that I gave to my sister.
“Rachel, you can’t be mad at your sister forever. It’s breaking her heart,” Travis told me one night when Anne forgot her umbrella and went to fetch it from our room.
I ignored him. I faked like I was engrossed in my latest cookbook. Truthfully I had no idea what recipe I was reading. I didn’t look up from the pages, though, until Anne and Travis left.
It was my mom who finally got me to express what I was feeling. I had been stomping around the house mad for weeks. I’d also been stuffing my face to make myself feel better. Unfortunately I felt worse the longer I remained angry and like a fat cow every time I ate something I knew I shouldn’t. I tried to tell myself that no one would care what I looked like if I gained all my weight back, but I knew that I would care.
“Rachel,” Mom cornered me as I was making myself a heaping plate of Ratatouille, “we need to have a talk about what’s going on between you and your sister.”
“I don’t want to talk about it Mom,” I said and added and extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese to my plate.
“Well, you’re going to talk about it. You and Anne are sisters. Twins. The two of you have been each other’s support system since you were little and your dad and I were having so many problems.”
“That was when we were little. We’re not so supportive, now, are we. Anne proved that when she took my boyfriend!”
“Rachel Fields!” Mom yelled at me, making me feel pathetic and small. “You know that’s not true. You may have liked that boy, but he was not your boyfriend!”
“I liked him and Anne knew it. If she hadn’t interfered, he might have been my boyfriend!” I said.
“No Rachel,” Mom shook her head sadly, “he wouldn’t have.” She gave me a look filled with regret and pity. Seeing that look made me burst into tears.
“Anne is so much prettier than me. Why did she have to take the one guy I really liked? I thought he liked me, too.”
“He did. You were his friend. Anne didn’t take him from you. He just liked her in a different way than he liked you.”
“It hurts, Mom. Anne’s so beautiful and I’m so fat. I don’t think anyone will ever like me like he likes her. He said he loves her and she loves him back.”
“Yes. And don’t you think your sister deserves to be loved?”
The trouble was that I did think my sister deserved to be loved. She was my best friend and this was killing me to treat her like she didn’t exist. Mom was right. I needed to get all of my feelings out so that I could move on. I had no idea if I could ever be happy for Anne, but I couldn’t stay mad at her like this.
I confronted her in the kitchen. “You know what makes me the most angry,” I said to her. “It isn’t that you are going out with the person that I liked. That hurts a lot, but it isn’t what’s making me wish I was capable of hating you.”
“Rachel, I didn’t purposely take Travis away from you. I swear. Things just happened between us. I always felt guilty and I wanted to tell you about it, but I just couldn’t.”
I nodded. “See, that’s exactly my point. That’s why I’m so mad at you. It isn’t really Travis. It’s that you didn’t tell me. You never confided in me or clued me in. You just snuck behind my back.”
“I tried to tell you lots of times, but each time we talked about Travis, you sounded so happy and excited about him hanging out with you and liking you. I couldn’t bring myself to spoil your dreams.”
“But you did! Coming up on you kissing like that! It was awful. It was like someone kicked me in the gut. Maybe if you’d said something I would have been upset at first, but I could have gotten over it easier.”
“I’m sorry, Rach. I’m so sorry.” Anne was crying again and so was I.
“I know Annie. I know you’re sorry, but you can’t just stop loving him, can you?”
“I would if you wanted me to. I’d tell him we were done if you’d stop being mad at me.”
Hearing her say that made me cry harder. I was being such a bitch and I knew it. Mom was right. Anne deserved to be loved.
“No. He loves you. You say you love him. If I made you give that up, I’d feel awful.”
Even though Anne and I had made up and were speaking to each other again, it was still hard for me to see her every day and know that she and Travis were going out together and in love. She was so happy. All she wanted to do was share that with me, but I wanted to escape.
That’s why I decided it was time I got a place of my own. I was a working adult. I really shouldn’t have been living with my parents anyway. Because of Daddy’s inventions and his business, we all had a pretty good inheritance. Dad had invested a lot in each of our names.
I probably had enough to start my own restaurant, but I knew I wasn’t ready to take on that endeavor yet. However, I was ready to own my own home. So I started looking around at real-estate sites online. It took a little searching, but I eventually found the property that was just right for me.
The problem was that the house was located in Aurora Skies.
Once I made the decision to buy the house and move to Aurora, I had to tell my family. Mom reacted with mixed emotions. She was happy for me that I had found someplace that I wanted to be, but she was sad that I was leaving.
“What are you going to do when you get there?” she asked. “Do you have a job lined up yet?”
“Actually, Chef Goerges wants to open another Bistro Moderne in Aurora. He purchased the property already, and he wants me to be the head chef.”
Mom was happy for me about that, too. “That’s wonderful Rachel! I’m so proud of you!”
“Thanks. Who would have thought it? I was so awful at culinary school. I didn’t think any chef would hire me.”
“Oh I knew they would. You’re a wonderful cook. You are just a poor student.”
“You can say that again,” I laughed. It was the first time that I had laughed in a while. Mom gave me a hug and said she was proud of me again.
Dad was harder to tell than Mom. He had been working hard in his shop again. Sometimes days would go by before anyone but Mom saw him. I hadn’t seen him so focused since his robots had stopped working. (Even robots get old.) Dad refused to make new robots to replace the old ones. He said he didn’t need a nanny for his kids anymore. I think he just didn’t want to grow emotionally attached to another robot. Those bots had been his best friends at times.
Eventually I forced Dad to come with me to the Watering Hole.
“Come on Dad. You’ve been working too hard. Time to relax. I’ll let you beat me at shuffle board.”
“Ha! I always win.” We both laughed at that. Dad was notoriously bad at any game that wasn’t chess.
I broke the news to him as we were playing. He was upset, but he tried not to let it show.
“I guess you can do what you want. You’re a grown woman,” he said.
“I think this is the best thing for me,” I assured him.
“It’s not like you’re dying,” he said. “Just don’t stay away forever. Your mom and I aren’t getting any younger!”
“I’ll visit a lot. And you can come see me, too.”
After I told my parents, I wrote to Alton, who was stationed over-seas. Then I told Anne.
“I have to go,” I said. “It’s time that I got on with my life and started being independent.”
“This isn’t because of me and Travis is it?”
“No,” I said, but then she gave me the look that said she knew I was lying. “Ok, not completely. I mean, it’s hard for me. I’m happy for you, but I feel like I’ve got nothing. I need to get away. Maybe when I do, I’ll find someone who will love me like Travis loves you.”
“I know you will Rachel,” Anne said, hugging me. “I just wish you didn’t have to move clear out to Aurora! It’s so far away!”
“You can visit. You can even bring Travis. I found the cutest house. It has two guest rooms and a huge basement. It’s right next to the beach, too! Wait until you see it!”