Home > Let It Be Me (A Misty River Romance #2)

Let It Be Me (A Misty River Romance #2)
Author: Becky Wade

CHAPTER ONE


Mom and Dad are not my biological parents.

Leah Joanna Montgomery blinked slowly, then squinted at the DNA test results displayed on her computer screen, straining to digest the information displayed there. But no. She couldn’t digest it. The very fast brain she’d relied on all her life was currently sitting in the corner, immobilized by shock, sucking its thumb.

Mom and Dad are not my parents? A metaphorical ghost reached past her skin and squeezed her organs in a cold, tight fist.

How could Mom and Dad not be her parents? She was twenty-eight years old, and this was the first time that any entity, human or computer, had given her a reason to think that they weren’t—

“Do we have any snacks?”

Leah startled at the question and jerked her head up. Her seventeen-year-old brother, Dylan, had made an unusual excursion from his room and was standing very near the dining room table where she sat.

“Earth to Leah.” It was what he said every time he discovered that she’d gotten lost in her own mind.

Subtly, she angled her laptop’s screen away from him. She typically got lost in her own mind while navigating labyrinths of pure math. This was the first time she’d become lost in the rubble of a genealogical bomb. “Snacks?” She was finding it hard to switch from a life-altering revelation to the mundanity of food.

“Do we have any?” He’d dressed his six-foot-tall, thin, slouch-shouldered body in a Misty River High Football T-shirt and narrow joggers that hugged his calves. He had a mop of artful brown curls, expressive eyebrows, big and dark Bambi eyes, and a pale complexion. He resembled a poet who specialized in morose verse.

“We have whatever snacks are in the pantry,” she said.

“Oh,” he responded, as if this had not occurred to him. “Do we have Cheez-Its?”

“I think so.”

Scintillating conversation concluded, he slunk toward the kitchen.

Almost cautiously, Leah looked around herself. If Mom and Dad weren’t her parents, then could she trust these walls not to melt? The roof not to vanish? Another dimension not to suck her away?

“Father God,” she whispered, those simple words asking for things she couldn’t even name.

She gazed out the expanse of windows on the front side of her rectangular box of a home. The large panes of glass overlooked a steep, wooded valley with a creek at its base. On this seventh day of May, the crisp, vivid green of the trees blanketing the north Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains contrasted with the cheerful orange azaleas blooming in her front planting bed. She’d painted the interior walls of the house a calming off-white and stained the wood floor ashy beige. No clutter marred her simple mid-century modern furniture.

Her Friday afternoon had been following an entirely predictable routine. She worked as a math teacher at Misty River High, where Dylan was finishing up his junior year. They’d both returned home from school less than thirty minutes ago. She’d cracked open her computer and spotted an email from YourHeritage.com with a subject line proclaiming Your DNA results are in! Discover your heritage!

A balloon of interest inflating within her, she’d logged onto the YourHeritage site and clicked the button to reveal the results of the saliva sample she’d mailed in six weeks before.

Then she’d been walloped with the information that she was not biologically related to her mom or her dad. And her ordinary Friday had jumped its track and careened into a gorge.

“Where are the Cheez-Its?” Dylan called.

Leah joined him in front of the pantry. “I never fail to marvel over your assumption that my two X chromosomes function as GPS locational devices for household items.” She plucked out the Cheez-Its and handed them to him.

“But they do.” He held up the box. “See?” Popping the top, he made for his room.

“Nope,” she said. “That box can’t migrate to your room.”

His sigh was so melodramatic that it would have been comedic had an adult attempted it. He leaned against their small square breakfast table and rattled Cheez-Its into his mouth.

Leah didn’t let him eat in his room because she didn’t want mess. But much more than that, if she let him eat in his room, he’d never come out. She’d have no one to socialize with except Han Solo . . . in her daydreams.

“What’s for dinner?” Dylan asked.

She pulled several items from the freezer. Lasagna. Chicken pot pie. Burritos. “Any of these intriguing choices. Help yourself when you feel so inclined.”

He looked unimpressed.

She returned the items to the freezer. “Are you doing okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Have any plans tonight?”

“Nah.”

“Want to watch Star Wars with me?”

“Which one?”

“Any one. Your choice.” Dylan was the primary love of her life, and Star Wars had been their shared passion since he was little. Sadly, it had been months—maybe a year?—since he’d deigned to watch one with her. When he wasn’t at school or football practice, he spent his time with his friends, creating ink on paper drawings, or staring at YouTube in a concerted effort to avoid homework. “Please, O brother of mine?” she wheedled. “Humor me.”

He gave a bored shrug and shook his head. “I think I’m done with Star Wars.”

She covered her heart with her hands. “That’s blasphemy, you realize.”

“Uh-huh.”

“What are you going to do with yourself all evening if not watch a movie?”

“I thought I’d look up the recipe for heroin.”

This was their running not-so-funny joke. He knew very well that despite all the parental controls she’d instituted over the electronics in their house and her own careful oversight, she really was afraid that he’d find a way to do things like make heroin.

An amused grunt issued from him; then he set the Cheez-Its on the table and walked away.

“Contrary to what you might think, you will not perish if you spend a few hours outside the force field of your room,” she said.

He didn’t answer.

“Dearest boy of my heart!” she called with gusto.

His door shut behind him.

Leah pondered the view of the empty space where he’d been.

If Mom and Dad are not my parents, then Dylan might not be my brother.

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