The Secret Diamond SistersBy: Michelle Madow
“I hoped your mom would be able to keep a job and get her life back on track, but enough is enough,” Grandma said in her matter-of-fact manner. “I know it’s never been easy living with her, but I’ve seen what the three of you have gone through in the past year, and I can’t sit back and watch anymore. I would take you in myself if I didn’t have so much on my hands with your Aunt Sophie’s chemo treatments.” Her chin quivered at the mention of her twin, who had been staying with Grandma in her one-bedroom apartment since her cancer diagnosis a few months ago. “So I did the only thing I could think to do—I called your father for backup.”
Savannah couldn’t believe she was hearing this right. “But our father wants nothing to do with us.” She turned to her sisters for support, but Peyton looked angry enough to shoot fire from her eyes, and Courtney’s expression was blank, as though she was fighting to hold on to an inkling of control.
“Mr. Diamond has been aware of your living situation, and was about to take action himself when your grandmother called him,” Mr. Webster said. “He made some calls last night and arranged for your mother to receive inpatient treatment at a rehabilitation facility in Arizona. She was flown there this morning and is settling in, but the facility has given strict orders that your mom not contact anyone from outside until her doctors feel she is healthy enough to do so. They hope she’ll be ready to switch to outpatient status in a few weeks, but they warned it could be longer.”
Savannah’s head spun. How had all this happened while she had been having a sleepover at Evie’s, gossiping about which girls at school they wanted to try to become friends with next year and what guys they thought were hot, while experimenting with daring makeup looks?
“You didn’t let me say goodbye?” She looked at her sisters, unable to believe they could betray her like that.
“None of us were able to say goodbye.” Courtney came over and wrapped an arm around Savannah’s shoulders. “Mom didn’t want us to see her like that. She said it would be easier this way, and you know she hates goodbyes. We just need to focus on being thankful she’s finally getting the treatment she needs.”
“She was probably ashamed, and afraid we would ask her questions she wasn’t ready to answer,” Peyton said. “And she would have been right.”
“But with Mom not here, where are we supposed to go?” Savannah wiped away a tear that had slid down her cheek. She was grateful her mom was getting help, but they still needed her around. Sure, she wasn’t always the best at taking care of them, but she was all they had.
“You know I love you and your sisters, and would be happy for you to live with me if there were no other options,” Grandma said. “But you deserve more than sleeping on the couch and air mattresses in the living room, and I worry about the stress the changes would cause Aunt Sophie. Luckily, your father has generously offered for you to move in with him.”
“Are you serious?” Savannah didn’t believe this. She and her sisters had never met their father. And now he was offering for them to move in with him? “Why now? I thought it wasn’t safe for us to be around him? And where does he even live?”
Mr. Webster was the one to answer. “Mr. Diamond asked me to provide as little information as possible, because he wants to personally answer your questions, but I can assure you that your safety is his top priority. He’s sending a driver to pick you up tomorrow morning who will take you to the airport. I know this is short notice to give you girls to pack, but do what you can and Mr. Diamond will arrange for the rest of your belongings to be brought to your new accommodations at a later date.”
A plane. Which meant if it took her mom longer than a few weeks to get better, Savannah would start her sophomore year at a new school, with people she’d never met. How was she going to break this to Evie? And how would she get through school without her best friend by her side?
“What if we don’t want to go?” Peyton crossed her arms and glared at Mr. Webster. “I’m almost eighteen, you know. I should have a say in this.” Peyton’s birthday was in March, which hardly made her “almost eighteen,” but Savannah kept her mouth shut.
“As it is now, you’re still a minor, so you have no choice,” Mr. Webster said. “With your mother unfit, it is in your father’s rights to insist you live under his care. You will pack your bags and be ready to leave by ten o’clock tomorrow morning.”
“What about the apartment?” Courtney asked. “What will happen to it while we’re gone?”
“Mr. Diamond will make sure it’s maintained,” Mr. Webster said. “I’m sorry to throw this on you all at once. I know this won’t be easy for the three of you, but he will answer all your questions when you arrive. Now, I imagine you need time to pack. Is there anything more you want to ask?”
“I think you have it covered, Mr. Webster.” Grandma spoke for them. “Now if you wouldn’t mind, I would like some time with my granddaughters.”