Joey and Pete had woken up the next morning together, intertwined with one another like they were each other’s missing puzzle piece. Though Joey looked like she was sleeping, she just had her eyes closed enjoying the feeling of Pete stroking her hair. It took 24 years for Joey to simply feel safe…better late than never.

“Hey Joey,” Pete had whispered into Joey’s ear.

She rolled over with a smile that could light up the darkened past she escaped from. Both their faces were only inches away from one another. Without any hesitation or wasting time, they both had locked into another passionate kiss; this was a kiss that could last a lifetime.

Though Joey had fallen deep into her feelings about Pete, she still couldn’t escape from the triggers that constantly reminded her how damaged she was.

The day after Mya told Joey about her birth mom, they had met up for an adventure.

Joey walked up to Mya’s house, and when Mya answered the door she was already ready to leave.

“Oh! We’re leaving already?” Joey asked as Mya bolted past her to the car. Mya looked like a woman on the prowl for blood.

“Mya! Will you slow down? Where are we going?” Joey yelled as she power walked trying to catch up with Mya. She really thought Mya might leave her behind.

Finally Joey caught up, “Mya what is going on?”

Mya stopped and with a frustrated sigh said, “We’re going to the park where I was abandoned.”

Joey stood there speechless, this was not what she was expecting.

She asked Mya, “How’d this come about?”

Standing outside the car, Mya explained.

“I kept thinking about everything my–uh–parents said about how they found me. Then they told me about the park, so I’m going and you’re coming with.”

Joey knew when she had an option with Mya and when she didn’t–this time there was no option. They got in the car, and drove off.

Joey knew it wasn’t the right time, but she really wanted to tell Mya about the pictures of “Joanne James” that she found in her attic.

They sat on the park bench, and stared off into the distance. Joey had kept thinking about why would Mya want to come to this park almost 18 years later? Was it for closure or was Mya going to dig up her past? Either way, Joey couldn’t help but feel uneasy about this situation. It was the entire day, the two best friends had simply sat in the park, taking in the idea that 18 years ago Mya was abandoned.

It was that night where everything was one step closer to changing for Joey. As she slept after a long day with Mya, her nightmare came back.

Joey laid there, tossing and turning with sweat dripping down her forehead.

It was a huge parking lot, and Joey found herself running. Who was she running from? Every time she had this dream, she never had gotten a chance to actually look at the shadowed figure. Though this was a dream Joey experienced multiple times, something changed. As she’s running from the shadowed figure, she sees a woman off in the distance, screaming and crying.

‘Who is that woman?’ Joey had wondered.

She ran off towards the mysterious woman. What Joey had seen when she was closer was the woman on her knees crying out for a girl named “Jade.” The woman looked up at Joey, and noticed the teddy bear that she was holding.

“That’s my daughters teddy bear!” She shouted at Joey.

Joey froze in fear, “I’m sorry but it’s mine. I’ve had it ever since I was a baby.”

The woman stood up, and inched her face closer to Joey’s. She was so close, Joey could feel her breath on her face.

“I know my baby’s bear. It has her initials on it!” As the mysterious woman screamed, she snatched the bear from Joey, and pointed to the initials she mentioned. There is was, “J.S.”

These initials had been there all along, and she never knew.

With fear and her voice shaking, Joey asked, “What happened to your daughter?”

The woman sighed, and looked at Joey with eyes of a broken heart.

“Your mother took her.”

Dumbfounded, Joey felt as though she misheard this woman.

“I’m sorry, what?”

The woman repeated with a voice that sounded like gravel, “Your mother took her.”

Scared for her life and sanity, Joey turned to run away. As she turned, she came face to face with the shadowed figure. This was her chance, to finally know who had been torturing her for all these years.

Her hand reached for the hood of the figure and when she took it off, her world changed.

The shadowed figure was her mother.


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