Chapter 1
Invitations

Rosa walked out of the school building holding a few books in her arms. Molly was at cheerleading and Emily was at soccer. All her other friends were at some other practices. So she walked down the street to her house. She sighed waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green. A "Ding" was heard and she walked across the street. Three more days and she wouldn't have to walk anywhere else for the summer. Except the mall. She couldn't wait for Saturday. All of her friends were coming to her house and she was in charge of her decorations. She sent the invitations out a week in advance. Everything was normal. She woke up every morning at six. Ate breakfast at quarter past. Six thirty she'd hop in the shower and brush her teeth. Seven get dressed and fix her hair. Seven thirty she left for school, and meet Emily and Molly half way. Then the day was full of learning. In the afternoon she'd walk home with Molly, Emily and any of her other friends not at practices. Then She'd do her homework until four thirty, and check her e-mail until five, which was dinner. Then at six She could call her friends until nine. Then she'd get ready for bed and go to sleep at nine thirty. Then she'd wake up and it would start all over again. It was a half-day at school so it was about twelve. She finally reached the stairs and climbed all three hundred thirty-three of them. Once she reached the top Susan, the maid, took her books and purse and put them in her bedroom. She went into the dining room and sat down at her seat waiting for Mark to bring her lunch. He soon came out with a bowl of Mac and cheese. She ate it quietly and then called him in to take the dishes away. She went to her bedroom to get her music books and practice in her playroom. She started playing her piece. Her hands glided over the keys and the melody soared through the air. She heard a knock on the door and stopped. She turned around to find her aunt standing in the doorway. She smiled.
"Wow! You've only been practicing that for three weeks! It sounds great! Hey, I was wondering if you would like to have two birthday parties this year instead of just one. Well?" She asked.
"I don't know. Why would I have two? Who would come to the second one?"
"I was thinking family, a few family friends. A couple of people I want you to meet." She paused. "I'll let you think it over. If you want maybe Martha will let you help bake your birthday cake." Rosa knew she wanted this party and she'd do just about anything to persuade her to have it. "You'll get more presents." That did it.
"Okay!" She squealed. "I'll make more invitations!" She ran to her computer and opened her files. She found her invitations and printed some out. "How many people?"
"Twenty people, 6 invitations."
"Only six?"
"One for Aunt Betty, Uncle Rob, Billy, Mary, and Casey, One for Granny, One for Mr. Bowen and his daughter Lilac, One for Ms. Oakley and her son, Teal, One for Aunt Patty, Uncle Charlie, Sam, Gracie and Derrick, and One for Aunt Natalie, Uncle Pete, Pam, Chris, and Nick."
"Okay. Who are Mr. Johnson, Lilac, Ms. Oakley and Teal?"
"Friends of the family. at least they used to be. They did something and we stopped almost all communication. I'm the only one who will talk to them besides Granny."
"That's horrible! Well depends on what they did to. What did they do?"
"You can ask them that at the party. Make it for the fifth from one to three." She did as she was told and printed the invitations. She signed them and gave them to her aunt to do the rest. It was near two so she checked her e-mail. It was from Emily. It had been a forwarded message. It said: How you can tell if you have a twin.
1. You often feel multiple feelings about a subject.
2. You see someone and can almost read his or her thoughts.
3. You sense a connection to different people who look like you.
The list went on but she only paid attention to the first three. They described her perfectly. Who knows, maybe she had a twin. The second one was a newsletter from the Daisy Diamond Music Fan Club. The third was from Granny telling her Happy Birthday. It got there earlier than she thought it would. Four was from Ms. Garrison from the Nail Salon reminding her about her appointment. Five was from Molly asking about the time of her party. Six was from Michelle reminding her about her hair appointment. And seven was junk mail. She went through them and deleted them or saved them depending on how important they were. She finished on her computer and went to plan her activities for her second party. Most of the adults would be talking about their jobs and the older teens would be talking about college. All her cousins were different ages. Pam, Sam, and Billy were all in college. Chris, Gracie, and Mary were all in high school. Casey, Derrick and Nick were in Middle school. And she had no idea how old these Lilac and Teal people were. And the adults were from the ages of thirty-six to sixty- eight. She didn't know how old Mr. Johnson or Ms. Oakley was. She decided to have the party in the dining room. She wasn't really looking forward to seeing her cousins or her Aunts or Uncles. The only ones in her family who actually cared about her were her Granny and Auntie Cam. She invited them because she knew that she had wanted them to come. A few minutes later Mark called her down so she could go with him to the post office to mail the letters.

~*~

Lilac closed her book and turned on her dad's computer to check her e- mail. She opened the first one. It had been forwarded from counselor Margaret. It said: How you can tell if you have a twin.
1. You often feel multiple feelings about a subject.
2. You see someone and can almost read his or her thoughts.
3. You can sense a connection to different people who look like you.
She didn't feel like reading the rest of the forward so she closed it. It was scary. That described her so well. Could she have a twin? She could have been switched at birth. It was possible. The next one was a newsletter from her book club. She decided to go check the mail. She put on her flip- flops and walked out to the mailbox. There were a few bills, some junk and an invitation? It was to her and her father. She decided to open it. She went inside and looked at the address.
"This is Aunt Cam's address?" She said out loud. She finally managed to get the envelope opened. It was an invitation to a birthday party. She didn't know anyone named Rosa. Maybe it was one of her dad's business friends. She didn't know. Dad would tell her. About an hour later her dad came home.
"Hey Purply." He sounded stressed.
"Hey dad, we got a few bills in the mail."
"Anything else?"
"An invitation."
"It better not be for another business promotion." He grumbled.
"No, it's a birthday party invitation. And the weird thing is it has Aunt Cam's address." He took it from her and studied it.
"Well, we've been invited to a birthday party. I'll have to call Cam and ask her a couple questions about it. It's the fifth at one. Wonder when her birthday was. We're gonna have to go shopping then."
They got in the car and went to the local "Only a Dollar" store and got a stone that said "The sounds of Music" in pink letters, and it had musical notes on it. 'This girl may practice a musical instrument. Like a piano' She thought. There was also supposed to get a present for a boy so they got some skateboard wheels with blue fire on them. They went to the grocery store and bought some food and then went home. Once they were home they wrapped the presents and put them in the closet where they wouldn't forget them. About an hour or so later, Lilac got on the phone to re- schedule her counseling appointment and accidentally heard part of her dad's conversation.
"Come on, I can't help it both of us forgot the party." It was her dad.
"I didn't say that. I called Cami. She said that she talked her into it." The lady was quiet for a while. "How will they react?"
"They'll either hate us for life, be happy that their parents aren't dead, or they'll think it's a joke."
"What do you mean 'be happy their parents aren't dead'? I told him what really happened. He doesn't know about them but he knows what you did!" She was shouting now.
"I don't care what you told him I know what I told her!" They were arguing over something. And Lilac had a feeling it was partially because of her.

~*~

Teal woke up and turned over to look at the clock. Ten. He was supposed to meet his friends at the rink at eleven. He decided to check his e-mail first. He only saw one that was forwarded by his friend, Mack. It said: How you can tell if you have a twin:
1. You often feel multiple feelings about a subject.
2. You see someone and can almost read his or her thoughts.
3. You can sense a connection with different people that look like you. He got up and looked in his closet and pulled out a pair of baggy pants and a white tank shirt. He pulled them on and grabbed his skateboard from his bag. He went out and saw his mom on the coach. There weren't any beer bottles on the couch. He felt her head to see if she had a fever. He saw her holding something. It was a letter. He read it and saw it was an invitation. It was from a girl named 'Rosa Johnson'. 'It's probably just some lady mom met at the bar' he thought. He dropped it on the table, wrote a note, not that she would care, and went to the skate park. On the way there he heard some one call him. He turned and saw a girl running after him. He sped up a little and the girl sped up too. He sped up a little more and so did she. He went as fast as he could and she ran faster. Then he stopped. She bumped into him.
"You know, I'm gonna be really annoyed if you go to my school. Now why are you following me?" He said trying to sound calm.
"No I greatly doubt I go to your school. But, do you know how to get to Cherry Street?" The girl asked.
"Yeah, just take a right at the corner, turn left on Parker Drive, Keep going and you'll see the fire station, It's the second road after the fire station." He told her. She looked confused. "How about I just show you?" She nodded in approval and they walked down the street.
"I hope it's not too far out of your way." She said.
"Nah. It's actually on my way."
"Really? Where are you going?"
"The skate park." He told her. "Why are you going to Cherry Street? My friends tell me it's a bad neighbor hood."
"My Cousins live down that road. They were invited to my birthday party and they haven't called back. I wish my Aunt would've come but she was touching up the decorations for my party."
"Why? Why do you want her to come and not your mom or dad?"
"My parents died when I was four. And I live with her. My other Aunts, Cousins, and Uncles didn't want me. They never wanted me. They don't like me at all. Never have and never will. But my Aunt insisted that I invite them to my party. Even though I don't want to." She said sadly.
"Oh. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories." He said. She looked at him.
"You're nice." She smiled. He blushed. He was never nice to girls. But this girl was different. He didn't like her, like her. It was like Brother-sister love. For some odd reason, this girl felt familiar to him. They soon reached their destination and he left her. But he didn't know that they were being watched. He rode off and heard someone call him from behind. 'Who is it now?' He thought irritably. He turned and saw Chris coming down the street. "Hey Chris, Casey. "
"Dude, what were you talking to our cousin for?" Casey asked.
"She was trying to find Cherry Street. You got a problem?" He said. He didn't appreciate their rudeness to his false "sister".
"Yeah, we do." They shoved him back but someone interrupted their Bout.
"Casey! Chris! Leave him alone!" Rosa said.
"Why should we listen to you! No one cares about you!" He shoved her down on the concrete.
"Leave her out of this!" Teal shoved him. He stood protectively in front of her.
"Why do you care, Teal?" Casey said his name with disgust.
"Nothing you would understand!" By this time their groups had showed up.
"Teal, You're out of your territory!" One of them shouted.
"Yeah! Go back to your drunkard of a mother!" Teal punched the guy who had said the insult.
"Don't you dare talk about my mother!" He said in a menacing voice. His group began to fight the other group and a girl and a guy showed up. The guy who looked about twenty picked up Casey and gave him a dirty look.
"Casey. Go home." He said in a gruffly. Casey scampered away.
"Christopher!" The girl screamed. He winced.
"Pam, Stay out of this!" He told her.
"Chris! You better get home or you're going to live with Aunt Verdi." She threatened.
"You're crazy! I'd never live with that-" He was cut off.
"Christopher! What have I told you about your mouth! You get home or I'll make sure you live with someone worse!" He walked home. The fight dispersed since the group leaders had left the fight. Teal punched a guy down and then called off his group.
"Teal! You know my brothers rules! You're not in your territory and are not allowed here! Give me a good explanation and we'll let you off the hook."
"I was showing this girl to Cherry Street so she wouldn't get lost!" He shouted. Everyone turned to see the girl sitting there still on the ground, unnoticed by the crowd until presently.
"Rosa, why isn't Auntie Cam with you, and why are you here?" She said, her eyes boring into the girl.
"She was busy with the decorations and we wanted to know why you hadn't responded to the invitation."
"That's simple. We didn't want to come." The man said coldly. She winced from his words. "You cause too much trouble for your own good, Rosa. Get out of here before our group gets you." She stood up, tears forming in her eyes. She took a step forward.
"Why do you hate me? I haven't done anything to you!" A tear fell from her eye. Teal stood amazed at her actions. "Why do you fight him and his friends?" She stood there waiting for answers.
"Because. Your parent-" She was interrupted by her cousin.
"You know what auntie said." He walked away and she followed. Everyone left after that.
A little while later at the skate park Teal's group was quizzing him.
"Who was she?"
"She was just a girl who got lost, who just happened to be their cousin."
"Yeah, but aren't they your cousins?"
"I'm related to them through my mom. My mom is related to Chris's dad and Casey's mom. She's probably related to them by their other parents." He stopped and started to skate. They discussed their own opinions.
"I think they're related." One kid said.
"Why?"
"Didn't you see how much they looked alike? If he had longer hair and lost the streaks, they'd look like twins."
"Hey, you're right." They didn't know how right they were.

~*~