All weekend I spent most of my time in my room. My father was out-of-town and I had been ignoring Skylar. I heeded Jessica, or whatever her true identity was, warning and started looking closer into the research I had stolen from her. The ones she had stolen off of a dozen different people’s computers that had been working for my dad a lot longer than I had been alive.
Only I wasn’t just looking at that research. I spent the days going through family photo albums and home videos. Everyhing was there. Except for pictures of my dad and I after my mother died. Since then we hardly celebrated anything and no one was there to get the camera out. The more I thought about my mom and looked at her pictures I started to realize something. When I didn’t look at the picture she didn’t seem like my mother. The voice I faintly remembered in my head didn’t match the voice in the videos.
Something inside my heart felt off. The ringing of the door bell caused me to press pause and step away from the slaughtering of photos spread out on the floor. Looking in the mirror at my appearance I smoothed down my dark brown hair and buttoned up my shirt. Opening the door was the perfect distraction. Skylar stood there with her blonde hair in a mass of ringlets with strands of red vibrantly placed. She didn’t wait for my greeting and instead waltzed into the hallway and headed for the kitchen.
“Sorry, I’ve been meaning to call you.” I stumbled on the words as I walked in behind her.
“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes as she got a glass of water and threw a stack of papers at me. “I’ve been doing a little digging.”
“Okay.” I stalled and grabbed the folder looking through the pages.
“How old were you when your mom died?”
“12,” I stated.
“So that means she died like four to five years ago.”
“Next month will be five years.”
“According to the obituary,” she pointed to the news article I was looking at, “she died twice, once ten years ago and then again five years ago.”
“I’ve been looking back at the old records from the bachelors pad. The guy who lived there kept EVERYTHING. So I looked back five years ago at your house and you weren’t even there.”
“What do you mean I wasn’t there? Maybe I was at summer camp. I went every summer.”
“I forwarded through a years worth. It stared at an empty house till just three years ago when I saw things being moved in and one day you were just there. All your stuff had been placed by a few people in blue jumpsuits and one day you just walked in and went to bed.”
“That’s not possible. I have lived my whole life here.” I looked through the pictures she had printed from the videos proving her point.
“Everything else is heavily documented that you are you,” she stated.
“Yea.” I walked into the living room with her following. “These photos do nothing but justify that I’ve been here the whole time.”
She picked up the photos and looked at them. “It looks real, and their all taken in this house.”
“What do you think?”
“If I had someone with your skills and I wanted to keep them to myself I think I would cover my bases too.”
“You think this is all fake?”
“Maybe not all of it. But for the most part, yes.”
I sat down trying to think this through. The more I thought about my past the more vague it was.
“Michael.” She sat next to me.
“That’s not even my real name?” I questioned. “I’m not even me.”
“At the end of the day I know exactly who you are. People may be able to change your identity but they don’t change your heart.”
“I left you that night because Jessica said it was best for me not to involve anyone.” I put my arm around her, bringing her in closer.
“Jessica, your dads secretary?”
“Yea. Her and I have a lot in common. I’ve been hoping she would reach out to me again but she hasn’t.”
“What do you guys have in common?” She shifted her weight.
Before I could answer I heard the ringing of the doorbell. As if Jessica knew we were talking about her there she was.
“Hey-” She put her finger up to my lips and moved past me to the living room. Taking out a small thin black device from her purse she pressed a button causing a red light to flash repeatedly before shutting off.
“You must be Skylar.” Jessica nodded to her.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“From the conversation you two were having I thought you wanted me to be here.”
“You have us bugged.”
“No, not me. Your father does. Hearing from far away comes in handy too, that’s why I rented out a room down the street, under the table. It’s a good thing too since you aren’t interested in keeping everything a secret. I told you not to involve her Michael.”
“Involve her? I dont’ even know what I am involved with. Besides she found out my secret by herself.”
“Very well. I just want to warn you that the road we travel is not safe for anyone. She is a liability and if you can’t come to terms with that then,” she turned to Skylar, “I must warn you Skylar that your life won’t ever be the same if you don’t just walk away right now. You won’t ever be able to live a life where you don’t have to watch your back.”
“Thanks but I already thought about the backlash from all of this and,” Skylar grabbed my hand, “this is where I want to be.”
“Alright then,” Jessica stated shaking her head. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. How about a proper introduction. I am Agent 98 of the federal governments special tactic force. I’ve been training there since I can remember. Since they tried to replace my memory when they separated Michael and I from our parents.”
My breathing stopped. It was confirmed. This life I had been living, these pictures on the ground, this was the lie. I didn’t even know the truth, not yet.