Four - First Revelation
"Kare-Bear, come inside, sweetheart," Uncle Drew called from the doorway.
It was a bright sunny day and Karen didn't want to waste it. "But Uncle Drew! I need to feed my ants." She already had her cookie crumbs ready, too.
"The ants will still be there waiting. Me and Aunt Miranda need to talk to you."
Karen followed him inside and sat across from her aunt and uncle in the dining room. She wasn't worried. If her uncle was there, her aunt didn't yell as much. Still, a little part of her wanted to go play with Mara and Carta in the living room.
Uncle Drew had a sad face, though. "Karen, do you remember anything about your mother?"
That was a weird question. She had to think her hard. "I remember a little bit. She visited me and Charlie at Grandma's house a while ago, before she died. She was really sad." Karen knew most kids lived with their moms, but Nana said Mom was too sick to take care of them.
"Yes, she was. But she's smiling down at you from heaven." Uncle Drew patted Karen on the head.
"I know!" Karen grinned. She was smarter than most second-graders. Her teacher said so last week.
"And don't you forget it."
"Get to the point, Drew," snapped Miranda.
Uncle Drew looked sad again. "Karen, did your mom ever mention your dad?"
"No." What would be the point? "I never met him."
"Well, you're going to meet him today," said Miranda.
"What? You guys found my dad? He's coming here?!" Karen was practically bouncing in her chair. This was turning out to be a really exciting day. First, she had her favorite cereal for breakfast, the chocolate kind. Then she got cookies to feed her ants. Now she was going to meet her dad!
"Yes, he's coming."
"Why? Are me and Charlie going to live with him?"
Her uncle had that same sad look on his face. "I...well, Karen...we - your mom -"
"Charlie won't be going," Aunt Miranda hissed. "He's your dad. My brother was Charlie's father, not yours."
"It's in poor taste to lie, Drew, especially to an orphaned child." Her arms were crossed and her face was sour.
Karen was shocked. "So...me and Charlie have the same mom, but different dads." Weird. "Who's Charlie's dad if we don't have the same one, then? I don't remember her having a dad."
"When you were born, your mom and your dad weren't together anymore. Then she had a child with my brother. He's lucky he passed before he saw what became of her. She would've ruined Robert's life." Aunt Miranda looked upset.
"Miranda, do not speak ill of the dead in this house. We all know Denise had problems."
For once, Aunt Miranda held her tongue instead of continuing to be mean.
"Karen," said Uncle Drew. "Lots of kids have different moms or dads than their siblings. It doesn't change a thing."
Karen didn't care about that part. "I don't want to leave Charlie. Do I have to go with him?"
"Yes," said Miranda.
"We don't know yet," said Drew at the same time. "There's a lot to figure out. For now, this is just the first meeting."
"Okay. Can I go play now?"
Karen wasn't a big baby. She didn't cry when her mom died or even when Nana died. (She cried a little when those boys jumped her, but nobody knew that.) She wasn't going to cry if she had to go, either.
Karen's dad was nothing like she expected.
He wasn't handsome and funny like Uncle Marcus. He wasn't loud and super nice like Uncle Drew. The best way she could describe him was that he was tall and fancy, like the man in that Nightmare Before Christmas movie Nana took her to see. Charlie was scared of the skeleton man, but he was actually nice. Maybe it was the same way with her dad.
Karen sat in the living room with her aunt and uncle and a business lady Karen didn't know. For once in her life, she felt too scared to ask questions.
The business lady asked Aunt Miranda and Uncle Drew a bunch of random questions. Karen began to wonder if they were in trouble. But then the business lady asked her dad a bunch of questions.
Finally, the adults turned to her. Karen's dad smiled. He had straight, white teeth, which went well with his shiny necklace and his fancy suit. He said, "Karen, I'm so glad to finally meet you."
"I'm glad to meet you, too, sir." Yes! Her father was a nice man, just like she figured. Hopefully, he was as rich as Miranda and Drew, too.
"Call me dad. You look just like your mother. Just as beautiful. I hear you're real smart, too."
"My teacher said that I'm the best reader in my whole grade. The other kids always mess up. But I can't say that or else they will feel bad."
That got a bit of laughter out of Business Lady and Uncle Drew.
"I'm glad my daughter's considerate of others' feelings. You'll get along great with your stepsister."
"I have another sister?" Karen gasped.
"Yes, you do. You have a stepsister, Yasmin, and a stepmom, but trust me, it's not like Cinderella."
Karen giggled. That would be one major good side of going to live with her dad. She'd get a whole nother family! Still, she was worried about one thing. "Dad, if I live with you, can I still visit Charlie and Marta and Cara?"
Uncle Drew answered. "Karen, if you go with your father, we'll set up visits as often as we can."
Business Lady cut in, "Yes, that brings me to my next matter. Visits will have to be…" The lady rambled on and on to Miranda and Drew.
Karen stopped paying attention. Now that the whole dad business was done, she needed to feed her ants again. If she really was leaving, she had to make sure they had a lot of food to hold them over until she saw them again. She could have asked Charlie to feed them, but she probably would forget.