Voices from outside my door pulled me back into the present.
“Why is this door locked?” a husky voice said from the other side. “You let her have a lock on her door?”
“Why not?” mom answered. “She’s not a child anymore.” I sat on my bed silently trying to decipher who mom was talking to. They bickered like they’d been doing it for years.
“Well then,” husky gravelly dude said, “what are you waiting for? Get your grown up daughter out here.” There was a soft knock on my door.
“Jackie, honey, will you open the door for me. Your dad is here and we need to talk to you.”
My dad? He didn’t even try to contact me when Brooke visited. “My dad died 13 years ago when he walked out of my life.” I grabbed my knees to my chest and huddled against the back of my bed. The corner of my journal dug into my hip.
“Jacks, come on. Let me in.” Mom’s voice had a strange trill to it. It came out squeaky and strained. “We really need to talk to you about what’s going to happen now.”
“What’s happening now? What does that even mean?”
“Please, don’t make me say this through the door.” What was with all of the secrecy? Nothing could be worse than what I’ve already gone through.
“Oh for the love of…just tell her, Penny.” There was a thud on my door like two people were wrestling for the handle.
“I got this, Jared.” The wrestling stopped. “Jacks, we need to talk. You’re going to be moving.” The hall outside my door seemed eerily silent. I glanced around my tiny room, at the small antique dresser in the corner, the cracked mirror next to it, to the desk that slanted to the right underneath my window.
“I’m perfectly fine where I am at.”
“Come on. Tell her the whole thing.” The doorknob jiggled again and there was scuffling. I could hear his muffled complaints about locked doors. “Tell her she’s moving to New York with me.” My head snapped up at that and I clenched and unclenched my fists. This small town has been home for years. I have friends here and I’m supposed to graduate next year.
“I am not moving anywhere, let alone New York.” My blankets flew off my lap and I paced the small space in front of my bed.
“Jacks. Jackie, please open the door.” Mom voice echoed through the crack in my door. “I know this is hard, but this is for you.” I ignored her whispers and widened my pacing to the entire room.
“Jacqueline Elizabeth Harper! You will open this door right now.” I froze. That man had no right to my name. Without realizing it I marched to the door and flung it into the stunned faces of mom and the man I barely remembered. My jaw was tight and flames leapt from my eyes.
“You,” I jabbed my finger into his chest, “lost all rights to call me by that name when you disappeared. And you, mom, can’t just ship me off like this. This is my home. I can take care of myself; I have been for years.” I folded my arms across my stomach and glared at a smudge on the wall above mom’s head. She reached out for me, but pulled her arms back at the last second.
“You’re sixteen. I’m sorry, but this isn’t up to you.” She ran her fingers through her straight blond hair. “Can we please go into the other room to talk?” She turned, not waiting for an answer and strode into the front room of our house.