Whoop whoop! It’s finally heeeeeere! Are you excited? Because I am! 😄

And we all know what Madi being excited means. 😏

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DRAMA AND CLIFFHANGERS. 😈

————-
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

From part four:

“Fine then,” Cécile shrugs unhappily. “Delaney, I’m really sorry, but there’s been a mistake. You’re not supposed to be here but in Tennessee.”

Chloe lets out a heart-breaking gasp, Ellie’s eyes widen, and the blood drains from my face in horror.

Busted.

Delaney’s POV

“What?” I finally say when I can force words out of my mouth. “What?” I repeat, more sharp and angry than I intend to to hurl at Cécile. “What do you mean, I’m not supposed to be here? My sister is here. I have waited months to be here. I belong here.”

Cécile shakes her head sadly. “Oh, Del, I’m so sorry — there’s just — been a mistake. Your actual adopters are wondering where you are and called that Uber driver who drove you here. He had the wrong address.”

My heart burns at her words. This is the right address. This is fate. No one can keep me from my sister. If they dare try, I’ll knock them so high their clothes are out of fashion when they come back down.

I clench my fists. “I’m not leaving Taryn.”

By now, everyone else is surrounding us in shock, much to Chloe’s I-was-supposed-to-be-guarding-this surprise.

“What?” Taryn asks, her voice so small and quivering it hurts my angry heart. “You’re leaving?”

“No!” I shout. “I’m never leaving you again. I promise.” I harden my gaze. “And it’s a promise I intend to keep.”

Cécile furrows her eyebrows in worry, exasperated. “Guys, please — don’t get your hopes up. There’s been a grave mistake.”

“You sound as if you want us to be separated!” Taryn cries angrily.

“No!” Cécile gasps in horror. “That’s not what I want at all!”

I march up to Cécile and stare her down. “Then fix it,” I hiss in a menacing threat.

Cécile backs up in more worry. “I — I’ll — see what I can do,” she relents. She scurries away and out the bedroom door, and I turn back to Taryn.

“I’m not letting this happen again,” I vow. “I don’t care who those adopters think they are. I’ve got this under control, okay? Don’t worry about it.”

When Taryn’s eyes fill with tears, my heart hurts even more. I wish I could say something to reassure her, but I can’t. I don’t have things under control. And if there’s anything I hate, it’s feeling helpless.

When Josefina puts a comforting hand on Taryn’s shoulder and she manages to blink her wet eyes and keep from crying, jealousy pulses through me. I’m supposed to be making Taryn feel better. I’m her sister.

I angrily shove past them both and make a beeline for the door. I stride determinedly out of the room with my mind on a mission and a pace to match it. Whoever Cécile is going to talk to is about to get a piece of my mind, too.

I find Cécile outside the door in the hallway, having a very desperate phone call with someone.

“But we don’t want her to leave!” Cécile cries. She closes her eyes in misery for several moments as the other line speaks.

“Give me that,” I order, snatching the phone out of Cécile’s hand before she has a chance to comprehend.

“Hello?” I shout into the phone.

“Hello?” Echoes the other voice in confusion. “Who is this?”

“This is Taryn’s sister, the one who is staying here no matter what you or anyone else says. Just who do you think you are?”

“I’m your temporary owner. You may call me Madison.”

May?” I repeat in scornful mocking. “How about I call you Heartless Cruel Jerk no matter what? You’re not taking me away from my sister!”

“Don’t be disrespectful,” Madison orders. “I received a call from your adopters this morning and they are worried sick about your arrival. A girl adopted you to give to her little sister, whose birthday is in less than two days and has her heart set on an American Girl doll and an American Girl doll only.”

“Well, they’re not getting this doll,” I decide. “Tell them I said they’re dumb. That’s right, you can quote me. ‘Delaney Danger Clark says you’re dumb.’ If they don’t believe me, give them this home address and I’ll say it to their face. But I’m not going to their home address.”

I think I hear muffled laughing from the other line, and I wonder why on earth Madison thinks she has the audacity to think this is funny. “This isn’t funny!” I scream into the phone. “You don’t understand!”

“I’m sorry,” Madison lowers her voice. “I’m really, really sorry. But I didn’t adopt you, and I don’t have the rights to keep you here. I could if I would. I’m so sorry.”

“That’s it?!” I cry. “You’re sorry?! That’s all you have to say? I’m just leaving? You’re tearing me away from my sister?”

“I’m sorry,” she mutters. “Hand the phone back to Cécile now.”

“No!” This conversation is not finished. “No, I’m not doing that. I’m not leaving Taryn. You can’t make me. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care who my adopters are. What part of I’m not leaving do you not understand?!”

“I want you to know,” Madison says slowly. “I’ve tried everything I could to get you to stay here.” She swallows. “Please go pack. You leave in half an hour.”

And then she hangs up.

My trembling hand shakily pulls the phone away from my ear in horrified shock. I slowly turn my head to face the crowd I’ve attracted now, and Taryn is staring at me in the most heartbreaking way I’ve ever seen. I can’t take it.

For the first time in a long time, I burst into tears, and this time it’s Taryn who pulls me into a hug. I cry into her shoulder as my own shake with the violence of my quaking sobs.

I realize what I’m doing and pull away quickly, hurriedly swiping the back of my hand over my eyes as my cheeks flame in embarrassment.

“I — I better pack,” I gasp, swiping my eyes again. I push through the others and through the door. It hurts too much to look at Taryn’s miserably desolate face any longer.

I don’t have much. The moment I stuff my PJ’s, toothbrush, and toothpaste into my black shoulder bag, I’m packed. When I turn around, Taryn is standing there.

“Del,” she whispers softly. She no longer looks so desolate. “Everything is going to be okay.”

I don’t know if she is trying to comfort me or herself, but she’s telling the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. “No, it’s not,” I snap. “Nothing is okay.”

Taryn looks down at what she is holding in her hands, and I see a book with a red ribbon bookmark.

She presses it into my hands and then looks up to meet my gaze. “Keep your head up, Del,” she mutters. “I’m doing the same.”

I force a wry smile and accept the book from her. “‘Keep your head up’ — that sounds like a prettier version of something I’d say.” Then I frown. “But this is the hardest thing in my entire life — like a mean tease, being able to see you only to be ripped away again. It’s only making it worse.”

Taryn listens quietly, having never heard me freely speak my feelings before. I lower my voice to a mumble. “I can’t think of any cool quote or epic mic drop to help me make it through this one.” Despite how unlike it is for me to let her, Taryn sees me cry as tears slip down my cheeks. “I can’t keep my head up,” I whisper.

Taryn smiles sweetly at me. “But Del — that’s just it. God will help you keep your head up if you just let Him.”

I pause, unsure of what to say to that. “You believe in God?”

“Yes? I think it would be obvious. We pray over the food, we have family Bible reading time — how could you not tell?”

“I could tell something was different about you than the last time I saw you. But… I didn’t know you were actually into all this…” I look down at the book she’s put into my hands which I now realize is a Bible. “… religious fanaticism.”

“This isn’t religious fanaticism,” Taryn tells me. “Jesus didn’t die for religious fanatics. It’s about God coming down from Heaven and touching our hearts.”

I don’t know what to say to that, so I don’t say anything. I just pull her into a hug again with my other arm, knowing it’s going to be one of the last times I’ll ever get to do it.

Just a few minutes later, I’m standing outside the door as the clouds roll in, waiting for another Uber driver to arrive. It’s taking everything in me to keep me from crying again. Everyone gives me hugs as they say goodbye, and I realize I’m going to miss them, too.

Even Jasmine hugs me like she doesn’t want to let me go.

“Um — thanks for letting me into your crazy family,” I tell them, feeling like I should make a goodbye speech or something. “You guys are nice. Thanks for taking care of Taryn. Please continue to do that.”

Cécile nods, swiping her eyes, too. “We’ll miss you, Del.”

I smile at her, then turn away quickly when I feel the tears coming on. At the sight of a car pulling up to the driveway, my stomach tightens. This is goodbye.

“Del!” Taryn cries as I begin walking down the sidewalk.

I turn toward her. Taryn cries again as she runs to me, and we both hug each other for a long, long time.

When I finally pull away, I blink back my tears and stumble back, not wanting to let her out of my sight but forcing myself to turn toward the car.

And all too soon, I’m running toward it, far, far away from her.

I realize I’m still holding the Bible under my arm, and my grip on it tightens. I’ve said nothing good about God my entire life, but I sure need Someone right now.

Would God really help me keep my head up, or would He help my sister instead? I blink my eyes, not sure if I’m trying to keep from crying or am going to close them and say my own prayer.

Please help Taryn. And I know You probably don’t like me because of what I’ve said about You, but if You have a little help left, please help me, too.

To be continued… in Heads Up – Part Six!

You knew a cliffhanger was coming, didn’t you? 😏

Part six coming up soon — as well as a ton of other exciting posts like ONE ABOUT MEETING THE EPIC CHLOE FROM MY HOBBIT HOLE AT THE AMERICAN GIRL STORE! AHH DELANEY LOVED IT AND IT WAS MY FIRST TIME MEETING AN ONLINE FRIEND OH MY WORD. *dies*

AND IT DOESN’T STOP THERE. THEN THERE’S ONE ABOUT MEETING THE PHENOMENAL LIGHT4THELORD FROM DOLLS N’ ALL AT THE AMERICAN GIRL STORE AND DOING A BIG COLOSSAL EPIC PHOTOSHOOT MASHUP WITH HER DOLLS AND MY DOLLS! *dies again* I even got to take a picture with her camera. 😱

Ahem.

If you’re looking forward to part six, let the dolls know! (Because they have to cooperate and you encouraging them helps.) Just hit “like” and leave a comment below!

Much love and I’m praying for you!