“Okay, one last time. What’s your name?”
Eva smiled. “Brooke. Brooke Williams.”
“Who are your mother and father?”
“My mother’s name…’’ here Eva faltered. It was still tough to call someone else Mother. It was as if they expected her to completely abandon her old life; forget everything. “My mother’s name is Amanda. My dad’s name is Evan. Amanda is 35 and Evan is 38.”
“You did read,” Mitchell said, smiling. “Okay, now there is something else we have to talk about first…”
“I have a question first,” Eva said. “Am I telling everyone I’m adopted or not?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s in the papers…” Mitchell said, teasingly.
“Maybe,” Eva said in the middle of a yawn. “I skimmed.” She admitted.
Mitchell scoffed. “Cheat,” he said.
In response, Eva stuck her tongue out. It was funny, she thought, how she was so comfortable around Mitchell. Maybe it was the fact that he was such a likeable person. Or maybe it was the circumstances in which they’d met; it was only natural to befriend someone who’d been there for you in a time of need.
“To answer your question: yes. The story is that you are Amanda’s niece. Amanda’s sister had a very nasty divorce. In the custody agreement, neither parent was deemed fit, so they handed you over to Amanda.”
“Sounds pretty legit,” Eva said. She glanced out her window. The New England countryside was beautiful, she thought. It was so different from her southern home. Everything was different.
“Now that I’ve answered your question, there is something else I have to tell you.” Mitchell’s tone was now serious. “There will be another child living with you. He’s another WPP initiate. Amanda and Evan opted to take the both of you.”
“There’ll be someone else?”
“Yes. A little boy. He’s thirteen years old. His name is Garrett. I think the two of you will get along nicely.”
“Cool,” Eva said. “I’ve never had a big brother before.”
“There’s one way to look at it,” Mitchell said. “But just remember: he’s been through something much similar to you. So, he might be a little shy at first. Don’t push him, okay?”
“Okay,” Eva said. “Is Garrett his old name or his Witness name?”
“His Witness name,” Mitchell answered. “His old name was Nicholas. We’re here,” he said, pulling into a long drive. In the distance, Eva noticed a large white farmhouse silhouetted against the brightening dawn. The house was three stories with many windows and a large wrap-around porch. Eva also spotted a barn partially hidden behind the house.
The closer they drove, the more clearly Eva could make out the figures of people. A man, a woman, and a young boy. Mitchell pulled up right next to them. He opened his door and greeted the man and woman.
“Amanda, Evan, thank you for doing this.”
“Not a problem, Eric. We’re always willing,” Amanda answered. Eva, who had gotten out with Mitchell looked at Amanda. She was tall and well toned. She had long dark brown hair that looked black in the early light. Her brown eyes were framed with thick lashes. Her voice was strong and confident.
Evan stood next to her. He was tall, but not as burly as Eva had expected. His hair was a dirty blonde and matched the golden flecks in his brown eyes. He had a farmer’s tan and a kind smile.
Eva’s eyes at last settled on the young boy. He was a full head taller than Eva. His golden hair was a mess of tousled curls. His eyes were the warmest blue she’d ever seen. His eyes, she also noticed, hadn’t left her since she stepped out of the car.
Mitchell, Amanda, and Evan had struck up a conversation, leaving Eva and Garrett to their own devices.
“’Lo, there,” Garrett said. He had a British accent! This excited Eva. She and her mother had an, what her father called ‘irrational’, obsession with British accents.
Eva returned his shy smile. “Hi.”
“Alright, kiddo,” Mitchell said. He approached her and kneeled down to her level. “This is where we say goodbye. I’ll be back every once and a while to check up on you, okay?”
Eva sniffed and nodded. She didn’t want Mitchell to leave. She’d found a true friend in him, it would be hard to see him go. Without warning, she threw her arms around him. Mitchell hesitated, but only for a moment. He returned the hug with much force; he would miss this little girl.
As if she could read his mind, she said, “I’ll miss you.”
“I’m going to miss you, too.” Eventually, he let go. He stood up, but not before he planted a quick kiss on her forehead. “Goodbye, Eva.”