The sound of Jingle Bells being sung by some sort of choir who sounded like they were high on drugs crashed into my eardrums. I quickly covered my ears and shoved my head under my pillow to prevent any further torture.
“Make it stop. Please,” I moaned.
A few beats later and I was greeted by silence. Heaving a sigh of relief, I burrowed myself even deeper into the bed, definitely not in the mood for Christmas cheer.
Just five more minutes, please.
A hand touched my arm. “Jade.”
“Go away, Reed,” I whined, waving a hand.
Two more minutes. Tops.
I paused, my brain trying to decipher the voice speaking to me. It was a voice that didn’t sound like Reed at all. A voice that sounded like a preteen more than anything.
Raising my head from beneath the pillow, I stared at my bedmate.
Or rather, bedmates.
My sisters stared back at me in confusion while I did the same.
“What are you two doing here?”
Annabella and Marie gave each other a look, then two pairs of eyes were directed back to me again.
“It’s Christmas, Jade,” offered Marie.
“Yeah,” thirteen-year-old Annabella said slowly. She shook her full head of hair off her face and stretched. “We always sleep in the same bed Christmas Eve. It’s tradition.”
“Duh,” supplied nine-year-old Marie.
I frowned as I continued to look from one sister to the other. Then I glanced around my room, my frown deepening when nothing looked familiar. “Where the hell am I?”
I glanced at Annabella who gave me a stern look. She gestured to Marie.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, clearing my throat. “Where the H-E double hockey sticks am I?”
“In your bedroom,” Marie said simply like I was the dumbest person on earth.
“This is not my room. And where the—” I paused, shooting Annabella a pointed stare. “—heck is Reed?”
“You mentioned that name earlier. Reed. Was he your date last night at the college party you went to with Kimber and Star against Mom and Dad’s strong suggestion not to?”
“Is it spelled R-E-I-D or R-E-E-D?” implored Marie.
Seriously, what the fuck was going on?
“Did you have too many drinks and now you’re having some sort of mental fit that Kimber says Star always has on Friday nights, sometimes Saturdays?” questioned Annabella.
I shook my head firmly, as if that would put my entire life back into place, and then gave each of them a look. “Look, kiddos. I don’t know what kind of crazy prank you and Reed are pulling—”
“Who’s Reed?” Marie asked again.
“—and if I had to guess, this has B written all other it—”
“Is that supposed to be a name?” asked Annabella.
“I’ve had enough of this,” I screamed, yanking the covers off of my body. How in the world did they move me in my sleep without me knowing? But then I completely flipped when I looked down at myself and saw that my belly was not a belly.
I was no longer pregnant.
Just as I started feeling dizzy, the door to my room burst open and there stood my biological parents, identical looks of confusion on their faces.
“What’s going on, honey?” Dan said. “We heard screaming.”
Amelia made a face as she looked over at the window near the head of the bed. “I swear, if it’s that peeping Tom ex-boyfriend of yours again, Jade Callaghan, I will go bonkers on his ass.”
Annabella raised two furrowed brows. “Mom, language.”
It took a moment before I registered what Amelia just said. Jade Callaghan. I glanced around the room, seeing unfamiliar photos of myself with my biological family at different stages in my life. I saw pics of me with my newfound cousin, Kimber and her BFF, Star, and random people I had never seen before in my life.
Then I glanced down and hesitantly touched my flat stomach. It felt surreal to no longer be carrying this being that had been inside of me for half a freaking year.
Seriously, what was going on right now?
I looked around at the concerned faces of the people in the room. Jade Callaghan?
They really weren’t playing. They actually thought that I was where I was supposed to be … with them. People that, yes, were related to me but I had never lived with before!
There were only a couple of reasonable explanations for this. I was high, drunk, or this was all a messed up dream. But I didn’t drink nor do drugs since I was pregnant eight hours ago so that meant this shit wasn’t real.
It must have been the damn Chinese food.
In a situation like this, I did the only thing that any rational person would do: I squeezed the flesh of my forearm so hard it brought tears to my eyes. When that didn’t work, and I was still staring across at four people who looked at me as if I were from outer-freaking-space, I did the next best thing.
I passed out like a patsy.
Four Letters Christmas, a short story from the Four Letters universe.
Chapters posted weekly until Christmas day.