Mrs.McSilvers wrung her hands anxiously and paced back and forth across the cabin's living room, as she had been doing for the past half hour.
"Oh, this is all my fault!" she moaned for what seemed like the millionth time that day, "I encouraged them to go on that boat, and I practically forced my precious Jenette to go!" She began sobbing hysterically, and continued pacing. She was convinced losing Jenette was her punishment for liking Chloe better. But after the storm, when the girls hadn't returned,(which had been over three days ago), though she had worried about both girls, Jenette had been her first and primary concern. She realized now that good behavior didn't make up for raising someone from birth, but she was afraid she had figured that out too late. She started to cry even harder.
"Now Honey, calm down. It's not your fault, it's not anyone's fault. And besides, I'm sure they're fine, wherever they are." Mr. McSilvers sat his wife down and stroked her head soothingly. Her wails were gradually reduced to whimpers, then to sniffles. But she still felt guilty.
Mrs.Jones entered the room. Now all the adults, plus Carolyn and Nicholas, were gathered in the room. Ella, John, and Lily were tucked into bed upstairs, asleep.
"I think there's nothing more we can do. The coastgard is out searching for them. We can't do anything else, just wait for their call." Mrs.Jones sounded a lot more confident than she felt. She too missed the daughter she had raised, not her biological one.
"How could you say that Mom? We could do lots more stuff!!" Carolyn jumped up as she shouted, and glared angrily at her mother.
"Like what?" Nicholas challenged from behing her.
She turned angrily to face him. "Like...like...like...I don't know but there's got to be something!" She sat down again, on the verge of tears.
The phone rang. For a second they just looked at it, sitting docilely in the center of the coffee table, their link to news that could make or break their hearts. Then, thay all punced on it at once.
Mr.Jones was the quickest. "Hello?!?!" He shouted frantically into the phone. He was silent for a moment, then he hung up, looking disgusted.
"Who was it?" They all demanded, fearing the worst.
"The press, would you believe it! They wanted to do a story called 'Switched Girls Family Vacation Turns Into Trajedy'! The nerve!" He harrumphed, bright red from the indignity of it all.
They all murmered in agreement to the rudeness of the press, but they were all too worried to actually get worked up about it.
They continued waiting by the phone for the rest of the evening, but it didn't ring once.
The next morning, none of them had gotten more than an hour or so's sleep, save the three youngest, who were still asleep at the moment. Everyone was gathered in the living room again, sipping coffee and staring at the phone.
"Oh, I wish we never donated blood, I wish we never did the tests, I wish we never found out the truth, and most of all I wish we never switched them again!" Carolyn burst out, breaking the tense silence. She began to sob, and everyone looked close to the breaking point.
"Honey, we-" Mrs.Jones was interrupted mid-sentance. "Don't 'Honey' me! It's your fault, anyway! Just because they were switched once doesn't mean we have to switch them again! I want my sister back, and I don't mean Jenette!"
"And what's wrong with Jenette?" hollered Mrs.McSilvers.
"She's not my sister,that's what!" Carolyn hollered right back.
"That's enough, all of you! This isn't working and it has to stop!" Mr.Jones jumped up, and continued shouting, "I don't care about genetics anymore! If raising Chloe since birth doesn't make her my daughter back, then what does?" His question hung unanswered in the air, the words slowly sinking into everyone's brains.
"I want my Jenette back." whispered Mrs.McSilvers, so quiet she was barely audible. "I want her back." She repeatd, then burst into tears. This time, though, Mr.McSilvers was unable to silence her.
"Me too. I want my baby back." Mrs.Jones put in, before she started crying.
One by one, they agreed that they wanted their daughters and sister back, and not the biological ones.
"So it's agreed then?" Mr.Jones asked, just to make sure, "Once we get them back, we'll switch them for the last time?"
"If we get them back." Said Carolyn, before she resumed crying.
Just then the phone rang. Mr.McSilvers answered it, as he was the only one who could compose himself in time to do so.
"Hello?" He answered hoarsely. He was silent for several moments, nodding as if the person on the other end of the line could see him. "Really, where?" Silence again. "We'll be right there, thank you!" He hung up.
Everyone looked questioningly at him. He broke out in an ear-to-ear grin, something that was highly unusual for him, and hollered, "Get into the van everyone! They found them!"
Chapter seven in Chloe in Jenette is copyright 1999 (Wow! First chapter of the New Year!) by me, Carry. Son't copy, it isn't nice. This music is "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" Kind of fitting, isn't it?