It Lays in the Past Pt. 4

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"Papa!" I call out to my father, shaking in my 'Kuromi' slippers.
"I'm downstairs, Mija."
"Is Mom with you?"
"No, she just left for work."
Descending down the stairs, I tightly grip the banister, my fingers turn red. Realizing I'm losing circulation, I release my vice and watch the color return.
"What's the matter, Mija, you look flustered."
"I, I want to ask you something."
"Yes, you can go out with Jin, he's a nice boy."
How does he know? Am I that transparent? Does everyone else know?!
I blush and correct him, "No, Papa, it's not that. It's about..."
"Celestina..."
"Papa, please, just hear me out."
He grumbles and takes a sip of his coffee, drinking coffee always calms my Dad down.
"OK."
"Not knowing about my past is killing me inside, I want to know what orphanage I came from. I don't want to know my real parents, they never cared to keep me I never cared to know them. Papa please..."
"I don't know, Celestina..."
"I think Jin, Valentine and Cole are from the same place, their parents won't tell them and they're too scared to ask. This isn't just for me, Papa..."
I slump onto the ground and clasp my hands together, as if in prayer.
"I'm begging you..."
Grunting and finishing his coffee, he takes my hand and pulls me up.
"Get up, Mija. I will tell you, but you have to promise me that you won't get mad at me if what you find out isn't something you like. "
"I promise!"
I take a seat and look into his eyes, waiting for my past to be revealed.
"We adopted you from Saint Cross orphanage, but, it had a fire a few years ago and has been abandoned ever since."
"Gracias, Papa. I'm so grateful for all you've done for me. I don't know where I'd be without you."
He rises from his chair and kisses me on my forehead. I can feel his wet lips.
"Papa!" I wipe it away and stop when I feel the water like texture, "Papa? Are you crying?"
"You think you're hurt and torn up now? I'll pray for you, Mija."

"Hey," Cole sits across from me at an outdoor restaurant table, :we got your text, did you find something out?"
"Yes," I examine my surroundings, "where's Valentine?"
"I don't know," Jin rests beside me, "I also left her a text and she didn't answer."
"Hey, guys," Valentine sits next to Jin, "sorry I'm late, I had to take care of something."
She fixes her hat and lays her head down on the table. She doesn't wear hats, ever, she's too in love with her hair to even think about covering it. Something is amiss... I walk around the table to her side and lift her hat. I feel my heart thump and drop to my stomach. Her left eye is utterly swollen and black and blue. Dried blood is seeping in the crevice of her lids. It's obvious that no matter how hard she forces it... It won't be able to open.
"Valentine, what... what happened to you?"
"I didn't want to put to much pressure on you, Celestina... I asked my Dad and he..." She covers her face with her hands and sobs, "he hit me!"
"Why did you do that!? I told you I'd take care of it! You're... you're not going back there!"
"I have to! He'll find me! He's crazy! He'll kill us all!"
"You don't know my Dad very well," I hold her hand and wipe her tears away, "he's had a bad past that I shouldn't get into in front of cameras. He won't let anything happen to you, to us. You can stay with me in my pool house. It's my home away from home."
In the periphery of my vision, I witness Cole shaking, hands clenched, eyes furrowed with pure hate and fury. He slams his fist into the table.
"I have half a mind to kill the b****rd!"
"Cole..."
"Valentine, look at yourself! You don't deserve to be treated like this!"
"It was my fault, I shouldn't have..."
"What have they done to you! They've brainwashed you!"
"Cole," Jin intervenes, "you're upsetting her further."
"I'm going to a walk."
"Don't go yet," I strive to calm him, "I found out the name of the orphanage, it's called Saint Cross."
"Do you know where it is?" Jin leans forward, interested.
"No, but I can look it up or I can ask Dad again. Also, the orphanage had a fire and is abandoned."
"I've heard of that place," Valentine lowers her hat, "It's on 709 Mary street. It was on the news when I was ten. I felt some kind of sensation in my stomach when I heard about it. I couldn't forget it since that day,"
We should check it out," Cole glances at Valentine, "maybe some things survived."
"Cole's right," I smile, hopeful, "we'll never know unless we look into it."
"We should go today," Jin advises, "my parents are still away."
"And I'm not going back home," Valentine looks at her phone, "we should go when it gets dark."
"She's right, I open my wallet and count my money, "and we should pick up some flashlights and batteries."





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