‘Mum… About what I said… You know…’
‘Mum, I… I’m so sorry…’
‘What I said, I really didn’t mean it. I just… I lashed out. You never did abandon me, you never did just leave me to get on with my life, you just… I lied and made stuff up to impress everyone and just ended up hurting myself and everyone around me, and I hated it when it all came back to bite me. So I pushed you away… I pushed everyone away…
‘You were only doing what you thought I wanted. I said I wanted to be left to it, so that’s what you did. It wasn’t your fault Mum, it was never your fault, and what I said to you is killing me. I… I’m sorry…’ Freya came to a stumbling halt, and, slowly, raised her eyes to look directly at her mother for the first time.
The first time in a long time.
Louise felt her eyes welling up with tears. ‘Thank you. Thank you, Freya. I accept your apology, but… Well, I hope you can accept mine too.’
‘Yours? You didn’t do anything!’
‘Yes, love. I did. You say that you always told me you wanted to be left alone, and that I couldn’t have known that that wasn’t what you really wanted, but… Oh Freya, I should have known. I’m your mother, I’m supposed to know these things!’
‘Oh, Mum. What have we done?’
‘I am sorry, Freya…’
Freya smiled. ‘Apology accepted. Although I still don’t think you should be making one at all!’
‘Some more than most!’ Freya laughed, mostly at herself.
‘So, what have you got planned for today? More reading? Getting on with your next bestseller?’ Louise joked, tentatively easing back into the mother-daughter relationship.
‘Not just yet! Erm, I’m going to help Lily get ready for tonight actually.’
‘Really?!’ Louise’s mouth fell open in shock. It was the day of the prom, and she’d never dreamed Freya would have anything to do with it.
* * *
‘What on earth is going on up there? They’ve been holed away up there for hours!’ Dylan shook his head in disbelief. ‘How the hell can it take this long to get ready for one night!?’
‘Er, excuse me, oh husband-of-mine? I believe you admitted to me just how long it took you to get ready for prom! At least we know where they get it from, hey?’ Louise giggled as she winked at Dylan, who rolled his eyes back his wife.
‘I’ll never tell you anything again! Oh, come on girls, I can hear you both laughing from the top of the stairs! Are you finally ready? Come on Freya, come and join us for the grand reveal!’
A pair of strappy, heeled shoes emerged from the top of the twisted staircase as the young girl carefully made her way down, holding tightly onto the handrail for support.
‘Oh, Lily! You look so beautiful!’ Dylan gushed, his eyes misting over at the sight of his daughter. ‘Tell your sister to get down here, though! She was supposed to be sat with us!’
Louise hadn’t taken her eyes off her daughter since she first came into view. Squinting, she looked closer… ‘No, Dyl… That is Freya…’ No-one noticed the tear creeping down her cheek as Lily bounded down the stairs after her twin, a lot more confident in her heels.
‘See? I knew at least one of them would fall for it!’ Lily laughed as she stood next to Freya, the identical pair creased up in hysterics!
* * *
The music pounding and the air full of bubbles courtesy of the special-effects machines dotted around the room, the two sisters danced away together. They’d very much enjoyed surprising their whole year by turning up dressed the same, and most hadn’t worked out which twin was which. Well, that was after they’d all got over the shock of both of them turning up…
Freya Rivers at a school dance. None of them thought they would ever have witnessed that!
Peering through the dim lighting, Freya spotted someone dancing not too far away from them. Gesturing to her sister, she tried to subtly shout over the music.
‘Lil! Finlay’s over there!’
‘Oh, gnomes!’ Lily looked around wildly and clocked the source of her embarrassment. ‘Quick, let’s move away! Let’s go to the bar!’
Freya shook her head. ‘You should talk to him!’
‘But I made such a divy out of myself!’
‘If there’s one thing these last few days have taught me, it’s that you should always talk things through, even if it’s difficult and especially if you’ve made a divy out of yourself! Go!’ Freya didn’t really leave Lily with much of a choice as she pushed her sister straight into Finlay, almost knocking her right over!
Lily was lost for words. This was becoming a regular occurrence around Finlay. ‘Yep. It’s me.’
‘Just checking,’ Finlay grinned, his smile a little forced. ‘This is the most twin-like I’ve ever seen you both. Well, to be honest this is the most I’ve ever seen you two together in the same room since we started high school. I… I’m guessing things are good between you both now?’
Lily nodded. ‘Yeah, we talked a lot of stuff through. We’ve got a bit of a way to go yet, but… Well, yeah. Things are pretty damn good at the minute!’
‘I’m really pleased for you, Lil,’ Finlay replied, his forced smile growing genuinely warm. ‘You deserve to have someone to be there for you.’
‘Thanks, Finlay… You do too. I’m so, so sorry about the way I behaved at the park. I shouldn’t have run away like that, not when you’d just confided something so huge in me. It was completely wrong. I should’ve been there for you, and I wasn’t. I’m such a crap friend…’
‘You’re not a crap friend, Lily,’ Finlay said as gently as he could whilst trying to make himself heard over the pounding bassline, reaching out to take her hand. ‘You’ve been the best friend I could’ve hoped for. I just should’ve told you sooner, should have made myself clearer when I asked you to come tonight…’
‘But I should have known anyway! You’re my best friend Fin, I should have guessed or something…’
‘It’s not your fault your gaydar was on the blink, Lily,’ Finlay winked, grinning. Behind Lily he could see Freya dancing away by herself, smiling like a Cheshire Cat at the sight of her sister making up with her friend.
Lily laughed. ‘To be honest Finlay, I think everyone’s communication networks have been down recently! Look, thanks for letting me clear the air. I’d best get back to Freya.’
‘There are some words I never thought I’d hear you say! Maybe I was wrong about her after all!’
Finlay and Lily hugged briefly and made plans to meet up at the buffet later before Lily turned back to her sister. ‘Oh, you look so smug!’
‘Of course I do! I was right! Freya crowed before reigning herself back in. Let’s not go overboard again, Freya…
Lily laughed, raising her eyebrows. ‘Alright, I’ll admit! you were right. Just this once!’
‘It’ll be your turn next time sis, don’t you worry!’
‘Oh for crying out loud, let’s not start a competition! Uni’s going to get very stressful if we’re trying to one-up each other every day whilst trying to one-up our lecturers with our assignments at the same time!’