After the news broke that Ryder's twin, Gordon, had died in a murder-suicide pact with his wife, Cass, Ryder felt something snap inside of him. Ryder knew his brother would never kill himself, that he had too much going for him, and he had too much family to support him. Something simply didn't sit right with Ryder. The rest of the family was mourning, but Ryder was researching. He found that Cory and Josh couldn't be contacted, no matter who he called and how many colleges, foster homes, and shelters he located. They'd simply disappeared. With Cory and Lakshmi being best friends, and her not having heard from Cory in years, it all failed to add up. His nephews disappeared, his brother dead, his sister in law dead. None of it made sense.Ryder uncovered a diary among Gordon's belongings that he was given in several big boxes. He assumed it belonged to Cass. The entries kept making mention to Yingwe, the musician. Not that Ryder knew Cass' musical taste, but why would she keep mentioning how hard the musician was making her life?
Then there was a mention of a pregnancy. But it was not Cass' diary after all, but Gordon's! How could Gordon be pregnant? It simply wasn't possible. Ryder was in a state of disbelief, but there were details of pain and labor and a baby. The dates were somewhat vague, but Ryder knew how old the other kids in the house would have been at the time of this birth description and it mentioned the other kids. Did Cass give a child up for adoption? With as much as she loved kids, it wasn't likely they'd do that - not without offering the family to take a child first. What was this about?
Then there was a slip in the coding of the entries and Ryder went back and re-read every one. Gordon had been pregnant. He had alien babies. It was hard on Cass, yes, and also hard on Gordon. He had to keep them secret because if his government job found out, well, there was no telling what would happen. But now that they were all dead or missing (except the girls, Giselle and Miranda, who were in foster care and none of the family was able to adopt them), Ryder knew what would happen - because it had happened. The government had found out about Gordon's secret. Before that, he'd sent the kids away to keep them safe. He hadn't told the family in case something got out. And now that the government knew, they had to keep Gordon and Cass quiet - the only way they could, by killing them. Shocked, but moved to action to avenge his twin's death, Ryder sprung into action.
Ryder used his connections up high to call a press conference. It would take place in three days time, just enough time to rally all the officials needed to shut down that branch of government and find out what happened to the alien babies.
Not an hour after his phone call went out, Ryder received an incoming call. "Mr. Fanboy, we do not want you speaking to the public about this sensitive matter. Please cancel your speaking engagement or we may be forced to intervene."
"You will not threaten me, whomever you are! Don't call here again."
But Ryder was visibly shaken by the call. They - whoever they were - were monitoring his phone.
With a storm raging outside, and an emotional storm raging inside, Ryder took his frustrations out on his piano.
That morning, the papergirl left a suspicious package. Ryder scooped it up in a plastic bag, unopened, and dumped it in the garbage.
Over the next couple of days, Ryder became suspicious of everyone. His gardener, Jerome, who had worked for him for years, now fell under scrutiny. When he smiled and waved up at Ryder watching in the window, Ryder drew the blinds and retreated to his bedroom.
That day, his usual carpool buddy, Scott, wasn't there, but a different car came. Ryder was friendly enough stating he'd drive himself to work. He called in sick.
The only person Ryder dare speak to was his girlfriend, Tracy. He had complete trust in Tracy. He had brought her over from a war-torn island to live in luxury in the house he had built for his brother, Alessandro, and Alessandro's wife, Amy. Tracy worked as their nanny, and she and Ryder had a child together, Nico. One day Ryder would get around to marrying Tracy, but not in the midst of all this chaos. He asked her to come over the day before the press conference.
"Tracy, I don't know if my house is bugged, but I know my phone is. Listen, I'm in danger, and I will tell you only what I feel you need to know to keep you and Nico safe. Pay attention. Tomorrow, I am holding a press conference to expose the government agency responsible for murdering my brother and his wife, and possibly their two older children. Further, I want you to take the number I'll slip into your pocket when we kiss and if anything at all happens to me, call and speak to Lisa. The number is written backwards, so don't dial it like its written. Nod if you understand."
Tracy nodded. They kissed deeply. Ryder slipped a note into Tracy's back pocket. "Pretend like nothing is amiss, Tracy. Let's have lunch."
But things were tense. They had lunch and Ryder toasted to Tracy's beauty and caring nature. After lunch, and a game of pool, Ryder asked her to stay the night, and leave in the morning, if it wouldn't be too hard on Nico. Tracy called Alessandro and Amy and cleared herself for the night. Nico said goodnight and "I love you" to Ryder. Ryder nearly wept.
Around 11pm, the phone rang again.
"We have asked you to cancel the speaking engagement. Are you going to comply?"
"I asked you to stop calling here," Ryder said and hung up.
The phone rang again at 6pm. Ryder assumed it was "them" again. It was Lisa, confirming tonight's conference and asking if Ryder wanted a limo sent or would drive himself this evening. Ryder said he'd drive himself, not wanting to get into possibly the wrong limo and have "them" take him where ever they took the aliens - and possibly Cory and Josh.
Ryder went back to sleep for an hour and was awoken by a startled Tracy. "Ryder, there's helicopters circling your neighborhood. Do you suppose...?"
"You should go, Tracy." He kissed her hard and hugged her harder and made her leave right away.
Ryder readied himself for the press conference, ironing his tie and gelling his hair. But somehow, he never showed up, and even if he had, there would have been no one there to greet him.
That afternoon, during a nap, Tracy had a dream about the kids in her care being lined up in her yard and killed in a firing squad. Her family often got these kind of dreams when something bad was happening or had just happened. She immediately thought of Ryder. She phoned his cell but could not reach him.
Half an hour later, Tracy got a call stating Ryder had died in a traffic accident. The man on the other end of the phone made a comment about fast cars like he owned, as if it were Ryder's fault.
Now Nico would truly grow up without a father, even if Ryder didn't live with them, he was always there for Nico.Tracy was broken up about it, but remembered that Ryder had asked her to call Lisa on the number in her pocket if anything happened to him. Who was Lisa? Was she an ex-girlfriend? Tracy didn't know the name from the family, so it probably wasn't a relative. Surely he wouldn't have Tracy call and ex. No, that was madness. Must be a friend from work. He mind scrambled for answers in her grief.
As Tracy made her call, Amy got the notion to "leave" and did. One minute she was there, in her jammies, and the next, she was just gone. She said not a word to anyone.
[Note: this really just happened. It said "leave" under Amy's action and nothing I did stopped her.]
Tracy called Lisa, dialing the number backwards from how it was written. A female voice at the other end answered. "Hi, Lisa? You don't know me, but you knew Alessandro. He told me to call you if anything happened to him. Do you know what's going on?"
"I sure do. Tracy, right? We've been expecting your call. Meet me at the coffee shop, the one downtown. Be there in 15 minutes. We'll be waiting."
Tracy thought "we?" Shouldn't she say "I"? Something seemed off. Like a setup. But who else did Tracy have to turn to? She told Alessandro she was running to the store and would be back shortly. But she simply disappeared.
[Note: that one was intentional]
Alessandro waited the night and next day and neither Amy nor Tracy came back. What was going on with everyone lately? Bad enough his brother, Ryder had just died, now Tracy took off, leaving her son Nico behind?!? And Amy...how could she? How could she leave everything and just disappear. No note, no phone call, no I'm sorry. Nothing, just disappear? Alessandro missed several practices of street luge as he had five children to care for. Those missed practices included one where a scout was watching and a teammate of his was picked up for the pros. Alessandro was angry and hurt.
Gianna tried to comfort Nico. "If we get lots of gold stars at school, our moms are sure to come back."
Happy toddlers, Jorge and Jordan, started to mope about, refusing to play, crying more, missing their mommy, and their nanny. Alessandro did his best, but it never seemed good enough. His temper grew short with them and he found himself snapping at the twins, which made him feel even worse.
Years passed and Alessandro tried to live off what he could in savings, working only when he could find a short race. The kids were growing up so fast.
It seemed only yesterday they were playing together in the waves.
Alessandro missed their youth. But at least the older three could be happy.
I asked Sandro to change his hair. There was just too much mohawk in this family.The younger two seemed so sullen.
Even on their birthday, neither smiled or expressed any interest in opening presents or playing.
They rarely talked, and when they did, it was only to one another, and in that kind of twin language no one else understands. Based on their lack of verbal skills, they were deemed "special needs" and placed in slow classes. They weren't slow, just withdrawn. Being so young when Amy (and Tracy) left, Alessandro was surprised they hadn't bounced back yet.
But then, Alessandro hadn't bounced back either.
Since the twins wouldn't speak to anyone else, Alessandro thought it best to separate them. Jorge shared a room with Sandro.
Jordan shared a room with Gianna.
Nico kept the suite he and his mother had shared.
And Alessandro, of course, kept his bedroom suite, now missing Amy.
It all came rushing together for Alessandro one night. Everyone was in bed and tucked in. He made a late night snack after coming home from luge and showering. "She left and must have started over somewhere. Amy. She started over. Just like she did with me."
"No memory of her previous life. No memory of her husband and children. No memory of any failures or regrets, she just left and started over. She probably has a new husband and children now."
"Could it be true then? The rumors that Giana is my father's daughter from an affair Amy Aha had with dad? No! What did she say 'those Fanboy eyes'. It could be true. How could she do that to me? Make me raise my half sister like my own daughter? How could she cheat on my mom like that? And to just leave? To just leave me..."