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The Hospital

On Monday morning both the Jones family and the McSilvers family woke up early and drove to the hospital. They checked in at the front desk and were shown to their rooms. Mrs. Jones Mrs. McSivers and Ella shared one room. Carolyn, Chloe, Jenette and Lily shared another. Lastly Mr. Jones, Mr. McSilvers, Nicholas and John bunked across the hall from the girls. By 9:00 AM everyone was dressed in hospital garb and meeting in the boys room to discuss recent events.

"I object to all this nonsense!" said Mr. McSilvers, Banging his hand on a tray left over from breakfast.

It was so loud that Ella burst into tears. Mrs. Jones shushed her. Mrs. McSilvers shot her husband an angry look. He returned it.

"I am NOT related to that." said Jenette, gesturing to Chloe.


"Jenette, shut-up." said Carolyn. She was very defensive of all her younger siblings.

"That's enough." said Mr. Jones. Jenette frowned sulkily.

"I don't see how it all adds up. Why do they keep making the same mistake?" questioned Nicholas. He was very mature and smart for his 13 years. He was going into 11th grade in the fall. He had skipped two grades already, but had declined an offer to skip another two. He didn't want to get too far ahead of his friends.

"it's like they were switched at birth." said Mrs. McSilvers. She wasn't very btight and was always the last one to catch on.

"Like I said, I am -," Jenette was cut off by a look from Carolyn. She resumed sulking.

"Just let the doctors do their tests." said Chloe. "Whatever makes them happy."

"What is making them happy is the fortune their getting to poke us with needles, not the tests." complained Mr.McSilvers.

"Honey-," Mrs.McSilvers was cut off when a very friendly-looking doctor entered the ward. She was tall, slim and neat looking. Her long brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Her pale blue eyes sparkled. Chloe noticed she had an accent, but couldn't quite place it.

"Hello, my name is Dr. Zrychatina. But you can call me Dr. Zee." she said. "During the next weeks you'll be having a series of strictly controlled tests. Most of it will be bloodwork. You will be tested from 9AM-12PM every day and have the afternoon off. We will also be checking lots of records. Mrs. Jones, Mrs. McSilvers, do you have the I.D. bracelets and pictures from your daughters birth I asked you to bring?"

"Yes, here you go." said Mrs. Jones, who was always very organized. Dr.Zee took the items and placed tham in a plastic bag labelled "A".

"Hold on, I Know I have it." said Mrs. McSilvers, rumaging through her purse. She was very, very disorganized. "Ah, here it is." she said, handing the small bracelet and the faded pictures to Dr.Zee, who put them in another bag labelled "B".

"Thank you, ladies. I'm going to have to ask all of you to return to your rooms. Today you will be testing in the afternoon instead of the morning. Dr. Zee left.

The group dispersed back to their various rooms. Nurses came and took one person at a time into a small room. Their blood was drawn, questions were asked and records were compared. To prevent mix-up, data was analyzed and filed on the spot. Then the person would be released and a new person would be admitted. This went on all afternoon. It was tedious work and incredibly boring. Finally, 3 hours after it began, it ended. The two families were set free to roam the hospital.

Mrs.Jones tucked Ella, Lily, and John all into her bed and read them stories untill they dozed off. Then she and Carolyn carried them to their own beds. Chloe settled down with a book. Nichlolas worked on an essay he was doing for extra credit. Carolyn filled out her college application forms. The adults went to the hospital's restaraunt where they talked over cups of coffee. Jenette was the only one left with nothing to do. She sat down next to Chloe.

"All right, since I'm bored I'll let you have one Jenette grade-A makeover. But only because I'm bored. I don't like you or anything." she said bossily.

"Um...I...I..." Chloe stuttered. Before she could get out a reasonable protest Jenette got to work. She pulled bottles, jars, combs, brushes, tubes, and sprays out of her duffel bag. She powdered, she sprayed, she curled, she colored, and ahe washed. About 45 minutes later she was done. She handed Chloe a mirror.

" that really me?" breathed Chloe. The figure in the mirror looked at least 20, and could have easily been a model.

"You bet." said Jenette proudly. And for the first time in years, she smiled. A real smile. Not a sneering, mocking, smile, but a smile. A sincere smile that lit up her whole face, and seemed to glow. Chloe couldn't help but smile back. And in that instant, a friendship was born. It was small and unstable, but it was strong. And little did anyone know, it was going to grow alot stronger in the months to come.

* * *

The week was up. It was friday. Everyone was gathered in a hospital meeting room. Dr.Zee entered. There was silence. She conferred her clipboard one more time. Then she opened her mouth.

"My fellow doctors and I have gone over our data,looked at charts and records, analyzed results, and finally we have come to a conclusion." she paused."Chloe and Jenette were switched at birth."


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