Holly Martin spluttered out her Diet Coke, both out of her mouth and her nose, which did not feel all too comfortable. “I’m –“ cough cough, splutter splutter -- “what?” she choked, as Mr. Martin patted her back.
“You’re adopted, Holly,” Mrs. Martin repeated. Although a loving woman, she was a no-nonsense type, and a faintly disapproving look was present on her face. Her sharp brown eyes focused on the still coughing girl as she tried to regain control.
Of course she would have been surprised, Mrs. Martin reflected. Holly was just an average girl. Not too pretty, too popular, too smart, nor too anything, actually. Freckled, with piercing green eyes, and shoulder-length red hair, Holly was not any more special than the next teenager on the list. Rather, she was a slightly dismal, but determined and stubborn fourteen-year-old.
Holly dazedly wondered, I’m adopted? She couldn’t be. That was a thing that only other kids went through, like their parents divorcing, or finding out they are a long-lost heir to someone, or suddenly becoming world-famous. Of course she would think so. She was a first-year at the nearby Brooksville High School, and she usually spent the time at school just – doing whatever. She had a couple of close friends, none too special; she didn’t lead any after-school activities. She had tried out for the girl’s basketball team once, but that had been a disappointment. Her only favorite hobby was drawing.
If she had been overly dramatic, Holly would have 1) shouted to her foster parents, screaming "You just ruined my life! You're lying!" or, 2) bursting into tears, or 3) both of the above. However, she was more quiet than that.
"Okay..." she sighed out and counted to ten,l an old-fashioned trick that still worked. Sometimes. "Mom --" she began. That phrase did not seem right anymore, as Mrs. Martin had revealed herself to be her foster mother. Then she couldn't think of anything to say. "Uh, ehrm, are you sure?" she finished lamely.
Mr. Martin sighed. A quieter man than his wife, he raised his glasses and rubbed his eyes as if he was tired. "Holly, we're sorry that we had to tell you so suddenly, in the middle of time like this." It was Christmas vacation. "But -- your, er, birth mother told us to tell you your true heritage on your fourteenth Christmas. Presumely, close to when you had been born." That was true. Holly had been named for the Christmas plant, for she was born on Christmas Eve (strangely).
Mrs. Martin took over from here. "Of course, your birth mother is still living. So is your blood brother and your blood sister, although your father had passed away, ehrm, thirty-six years ago." That long ago? Holly thought, slightly dismayed. "Your blood father's identity is not sure, but your supposed father and your mother married."
The woman noticed the curious look in Holly's eyes, and explained, "Your blood brother's father isn't the father who passed away." Holly was getting confused. There were too many new fathers involved in the family, so she decided to ignore the fact.
"So... Uh, Mom..."
"Oh, please continue calling me that, Holly, if it comforts you."
"Okay, Mom. Let's get this straight." Holly sighed and put her head in her hands, as she often did when things were complicated. She was very down-to-earth and level-headed, always liking to balance things out and make lists of whatnot. "I have a sister, a brother, a mother, and around three fathers who could be just married to my mother or, ah, is my true father."
"By the way... " Mr. Martin interrupted, "your mother's name is Sonia. She is an English teacher."
"...And my real mom is an English teacher." Suddenly she was crying and cracking up at the same time. "Oh, God," Holly laughed, "this sounds so... so..."
Mrs. Martin smiled. "Unreal?"
"Anyway, Holly, you will meet your real family in a couple of weeks, as your mother -- Sonia -- requested it. You don't mind?"
"No... Not really..." Holly was still dazed. This only felt like a dream...
"Well, then," Mr. Martin smiled. "You know we still love you like a daughter, no matter what."
Holly got up and hugged first Mr. Martin, and then Mrs. Martin. She had to go to her room, to think. Holly turned, and then suddenly faced her foster parents again.
"What are -- my sibling's names?"
"Your sister's name is Samantha. I think she's a really nice girl, I happened to meet her once."
What Mrs. Martin said next crashed down Holly's girl. She didn't even like this -- this new brother much. Never, never. She thought it was ridiculous how girls would swoon over his films and pictures; he wasn't even that handsome (in her opinion, but privately, she had to admit he was pretty good-looking), and she was sure he was quite snobby, like all those rich California actors.
"Your brother's name is Orlando. Orlando Bloom."