There's Something Wrong with Sydney

A childless couple takes in a teenage girl to complete their picturesque life, only to find that things are never as they appear.

The Cooks were pregnant with anxiety. They had spent the last hour arranging and re-arranging the delicate wood furniture, debating the choice of lavender for the walls and wondering if lava lamps were still "cool". Paul and Jennifer were determined to turn the humble room into a teenage sanctuary. Everything had to be absolutely perfect for their new addition.

Jennifer sighed. When they first started calling Sydney their "new addition", their friends would light up with excitement.

"A baby?" they would exclaim, "You guys are finally having a baby?"

Paul would sling his arm protectively around Jennifer as lines creased in her forehead. Tensely, she would explain that the couple was adopting a girl from the church-run group home. Awkward apologies would turn into barely-concealed pity as Jennifer continued that Sydney was a 15-year-old girl. Their friends would congratulate them and clutch their newborns tighter as Jennifer envied their fertility.

But that was all in the past. The paperwork was complete and Sydney would come home today. They would finally be a family, as quaint and cute as their little Midwestern ranch.

"I think it's perfect," Paul said, standing back to look at the lavender room.

"I think so, too," Jennifer dreamily replied, imagining life as a trio.

Paul jingled his car keys, jolting Jennifer back to reality. Slowly, she smiled and all but skipped down the hall and out the door into the crisp autumn afternoon.

It was time.

The End

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