Gabriel was one today. My dad had arranged a small tea party for him…only a few other kids were coming. One of them was sort of famous, a bit like Gabriel but the others were just regular kids. At 1pm, all the kids began showing up. One of the mothers came up to me. Hello, what’s your name? she signed to me.
“Miss, you don’t have to do that. My dad has made me go to a lot of speech therapy and I am good at reading lips.”
“My nephew is hearing impaired. He prefers signing conversations to speaking conversation, says it is like having a secret code.”
“That’s nice Miss, but I’m not allowed to use sign language.” The lady looked puzzled for a minute but then went back to her daughter who was playing with Gabriel.
All the kids seemed to be having a good time. But Hayley kept looking at Gabriel and the lady’s daughter really oddly. When she went into the kitchen to get some juice I followed her.
“Why do you keep looking at Gabriel and the lady’s daughter?”
“You do. You almost look angry at them.”
“I’m not angry, just…I don’t know. Don’t you think they look similar? Gabriel and Venus? Like creepily similar.”
I shrugged, “All babies look the same to me.”
“It’s not just how they look, it’s the way they play together. It’s just…odd.”
“You’re going to end up crazy like mum.” I told her before going back to the party. She was crazy. Gabriel was my brother and he looked like dad. He didn’t look like Hayley or mum much but he had dad’s black hair and looked like him. It was just in Hayley’s head thinking he looked like her.
I don’t know whether it was Hayley or what but I had started looking at Gabriel and Venus more. I suppose they did look a bit similar but it must just be a coincidence.
After a while, everyone but Venus and her mum had left. Venus’s mum Helena was looking at Gabriel with this really strange look on her face. Venus was already asleep in her stroller. Hayley went in front of Helena and picked up Gabriel who was quietly playing with his giraffe blankie on the floor.
“I’m sorry Helena but it is past Gabriel’s bedtime. Thank you for coming but now it is time for you to go.” Helena leaned in close to Hayley. She said something but I didn’t catch it and then just put on her coat and left with Venus.
For a moment Hayley looked scared but then she cuddled Gabriel close to her and took him upstairs. I followed her into the nursery. “What did she say? She scared you, I saw but what did she say?”
Hayley secured the crib. “She said Gabriel was her child. And she threatened me. I don’t know what to believe Isabelle. There are similarities between Venus and Gabriel but, on the news you saw about police finding baby clothes covered in their son’s blood. Even without a body that is a pretty good indication that their baby is dead.”
“Should we be worried about her trying to get Gabe?”
After thinking for a moment Hayley shook her head. “No. She has no proof and even though I hate Jason, He would fight her to the death if she tried to take Gabriel. He has more money and more influence than she does. He could make her seem like an evil child snatcher if she tried anything.”
“My dad isn’t like that.” I said defensively. I hated when Hayley said bad things about him. She just laughed. “You don’t know him like I do. You’re his little Princess and I’m just the brat he can’t get rid of. I’m going out Iz. Cover for me if Jeremy asks.”
“He hasn’t asked before. Why would he ask now? and where do you go anyway? You never tell me.”
“I don’t tell you because you don’t need to know. And I don’t need you reporting to daddy. Goodbye Isabelle.”