Story:Family Genes

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Family Genes
Written by Shataivian

It was strange sitting in the home of the woman she thought was her mother for so many years. But there she was, sitting at a round dining room table with Emmett to her right and Sandrine to her left. There was an open box on the table with its contents strewn about: sterile packets, test tubes, cotton swabs, and several instructional booklets. This all would have taken some pre-planning to have this sitting on the table then and there, and it was clear from Sandrine’s voice on the phone the day before that this was something she too wanted; the official results of a paternity test between Emmett and Lisa.

Sandrine sat straight in her seat, her leg bouncing with furious anticipation. Lisa had her head in both hands, her elbows propped up on the table. Emmett had his fist pressed against his lips. This kit would bring answers for all of them. It wouldn’t be instant, of course. They would have to wait at least two days for the results to come in from a phone call and email. All they needed to do was get the ball rolling.

But no one moved. Not for a while. Each of them ran the possible implications of the results in their minds. Then Sandrine pounced, snatching the kit and preparing to pass it along. Just as instantly, Emmett spoke up.

“Mom, no,” he jumped up to try and get her to stop.

“We’ve already decided on this, Emmett,” Sandrine snarled as she began separating the different packages.

“Lisa. You can’t want this,” Emmett pleaded. She did not respond back. “Okay. Guys. Stop for a minute. Let’s really think about this.” Despite Sandrine’s eagerness, she stopped what she was doing to listen to her son. Lisa did not move. “What would knowing the results mean? Like, really?”

“Emmett. I’m not sure why you’re so hesitant on this, but this isn’t exactly about you. Not really. Lisa and I both want this. Need this.” Emmett sighed at his mother.

“I get Lisa… Kinda. But not you?”

“I left David because he cheated on me. He neglected us and screwed some other woman and got her pregnant. And now Lisa is saying that that might not even be true?! What did we get a divorce over?!”

“He was bad for you,” Emmett answered. “Do you really need an explanation more than that? David was a bad husband for you, so you left. Who cares about the nitty gritty?”

“I do,” Sandrine answered back. “And Lisa does. Don’t she deserve to know the truth?”

“And what would that mean? Okay. Let’s say the results come back negative. Lisa and I don’t share any DNA meaning David couldn’t possibly be her biological father. Who cares, right? He’s still family to you,” Emmett said, turning to Lisa. “He’s still your dad. He still raised you.”

“No. He didn’t,” Lisa said softly into her palms. “I raised myself. I got a job when he wouldn’t. I maintained things while he was out partying. The one real chance he had to be a father, he disowns me instead. If I find out there was some truth to him saying I wasn’t his daughter…” Lisa stops.

“Okay. I get that. But like. Would him not being your father really change anything? Whether he’s your biological father or adopted father, what difference would that make?”

“Emmett. The difference would be the lies he fed everyone,” Sandrine said. “If he is her father, nothing really changes. But if he’s not, then he lied to you. He lied to me. And he lied to Lisa. Then the question would be why? Why hide it? There’s something important being kept from us. Besides, it’s peace of mind. The question’s already out there. We need to know.”

Lisa slowly leaned forward and took one of the packages and motioned to rip it open. She paused knowing that once she opened it, she’d have to follow through. Emmett placed his hand on Lisa’s shoulder. “Please? Don’t do this? It doesn’t matter what the results are. Just let it die and move on. Please.” Lisa stopped moving and slowly turned to Emmett.

“Are… you afraid of the results?” she asked. Emmett sat back and sighed. Sandrine then, too, stopped what she was doing to focus on her son. He ran his hand through his hair and stared off blankly.

“I remember when it all happened. I remember the fights. I remember leaving. I was four and all I could think was that I didn’t want our family to split. Dad used to talk to me about Lisa, asking ‘how I’d like to be a big brother.’ I was excited. And when we left… I wanted desperately for everything to go back to normal. I wanted Dad. I wanted my sister. And, I mean, eventually I understood why it was best for you to leave him, mom, but my sister was still out there. And then I finally found her. I got to talk to her. I got to be there for her. I was finally her big brother. And if we take this test… And it says we’re not related…”

“Emmett,” Lisa spoke softly.

“You see?” Sandrine said with her fingers clasped together. “Your father has hurt all of us with his lies. If the results come back negative, it’s going to hurt all of us.”

“Then why go through with it?!” Emmett shouted. “Why not just say this is our life and be happy with it?!”

“Because we deserve the truth,” Lisa said quietly. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt. But I’m also tired of living on the lies Dad cooks up from me. It might suck but pretending that these lies are true will suck worse for me. If you want, Sandrine and I can get the results and keep them from you… But I doubt you wouldn’t figure it out eventually.”

The three of them sat in silence. Which would really be better? Eric once told Lisa that if she was happy with the way things were, then leave well enough alone. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. But what has ignorance really brought anyone thus far? No one was happy. Things never added up. And really, they all knew enough that ignorance was impossible now. Emmett rubbed his eyes, took a deep breath, and took a packet, immediately opening it.

“Let’s just do this…” he sighed out. Lisa took a packet, followed by Sandrine. Each of them would swab the inside of their cheek for a full ten seconds. This was what made things difficult for Lisa to do this on her own. There was no way she could convince her father to swab his cheek without him being suspicious. She had to go the roundabout way by comparing her DNA with Emmett’s. Emmett was for sure David’s son. There would be no reason for Sandrine to lie about this after what she and David went through. And on top of that, Lisa was shown Emmett’s birth certificate. So, that was that. If they had the same father, they should share DNA. Sandrine’s DNA would also be sent in to help identify any superfluous information. Basically, the more info they had, the easier it would be to reach an accurate result.

Ten seconds passed and the three placed their swabs into a sterile tube, covered them, and placed them all into a box to be shipped out. Sandrine would mail it in the morning, and the results wouldn’t come for at least another few days after that. But the hard part was over, right?

Featured Characters

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