Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  about us not being sisters.” She paused. “You really lost your sister?”

  “One of them,” Quinn said quietly and gave a very small smile. And then, as if she knew Tilly was hungry for more information but didn’t want to ask for it, she went on. “Her name was Beth. She was eleven months younger than me, and my mom—” She stopped, gave another small smile. “—the mom who raised me, always said we were like twins. But it’s not true. Beth was better than me at just about everything. She died unexpectedly in a car accident because she loved music and had to fiddle with the radio while she was driving and wrapped herself around a damn tree.”

  “You miss her,” Tilly said softly.

  “Very much.” Quinn drew in a deep breath, her expression telling Tilly that it hurt to breathe while thinking of her loss, and for the first time, Tilly looked at her as a real person. With problems not all that different from what she was facing.

  “Listen,” Quinn said slowly. “I’m more than willing to give this a try, and I get that you have no reason to believe me or even trust me, but I want you to know I’m not quick to judge or get rid of people or things lightly.”

  Tilly wasn’t ready to believe her, but she didn’t really see an option other than to nod. Her phone buzzed with an incoming text and she looked at the screen.


  She hadn’t heard a single word from him since last night and it hurt deep in her chest to see his name. Unable to ignore him, she swiped her phone and read his text.

  I’m sorry.

  “So can we do this?” Quinn asked. “Can we go inside and . . .” She shrugged. “Do whatever normal families do?”

  “What do normal families do?” Tilly asked as she texted Dylan back with: Are you okay?

  Quinn let out a low laugh. “Honestly? I have no idea.”

  Tilly lifted her head from her phone. “What do you mean? You came from a normal family.”

  “You think so?” Quinn asked. “My adopted parents lied to me for thirty years. How is that normal?”

  “You’re thirty?” Tilly asked, shocked.

  Quinn laughed a little. “You don’t have to sound so horrified.”

  “I didn’t realize you had one foot in the old people’s home is all.” Tilly looked down at her phone when it buzzed.


  I need another job to help my mom pay for the two windows my dad broke, but other than that I’m great.

  Tilly looked up at Quinn. “Hey, do you think there’re any job openings at the café?”

  “Yeah, we’re looking for a short-order cook. And Greta says we need a part-time table clearer for some evening and weekend shifts. Why?”

  “Like a busboy?” she asked hopefully.

  Quinn looked at her. “Or a busgirl.”

  Okay, so Quinn thought she was asking for herself and she maybe felt a twinge of guilt at that, but this was Dylan, and he needed her. “So can we tell Greta the position is filled?”

  “How about a trial run?”

  “What is it with you and trial runs?”

  Quinn just looked at her and Tilly sighed. “Okay, fine. A trial run. On everything. Duly noted.”

  A few minutes later she and Quinn stood in the kitchen staring at the threadbare fridge that held some condiments, a container of expired lemonade, and a half-empty bottle of vodka in the freezer.

  “My mom liked a little lemonade with her vodka at night,” Tilly said. “It’s a Lemon Drop, but she always called it a Lemon Ball. No idea why . . .” She saw the way Quinn looked a little horrified and felt the need to defend her mom. “She wasn’t an alcoholic or anything.”

  “I didn’t say she was.”

  “Good. ’Cause she wasn’t. She just worked really hard . . .” Tilly felt her throat burn. Out of all the things she wished, one of them was that she could talk about her mom without wanting to cry. “She always said she wanted to give me the moon, but I didn’t need the moon. She was everything I needed.”

  Quinn nodded, her own eyes looking suspiciously bright. “I know.”

  “She didn’t even tell me she was terminal.” Tilly turned away from the fridge. “If she had, then maybe I could have helped, or—”

  “No, Tilly,” Quinn said with such gentleness in her voice that Tilly had to close her eyes. “Nothing you could’ve done or said would have changed what happened.” She paused, spoke carefully, like she knew the truth of the words deep in her gut. “Some people aren’t meant to stay in your life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t carry a piece of them in your heart.”

  Tilly refused to be moved. Or at least to admit it. “Whatever, it’s over now.” She opened the cupboards. “People helped clean out everything in here when I had to move to Chuck’s so that nothing would go bad. Which leaves us with saltines.”

  “I could go to the store, stock up, and make us something,” Quinn said, still way too gently for Tilly’s comfort.

  “I don’t need charity.”

  “I didn’t say you did. It’s merely an alternative to saltines.”

  “I like saltines,” Tilly said. Actually, she hated saltines. But hell if she was going to admit it. “There’s also peanut butter and jelly.”

  “And you’d rather eat PB and J and saltines than have me cook us something?” Quinn asked.


  “Fine. Works for me.”

  Tilly craned her neck and eyeballed Quinn for sarcasm but didn’t see any. She’d only been kidding, and maybe testing Quinn just a little bit because she knew Quinn came from a different world. Where jeans didn’t come from Walmart and food came cooked all fancy. Normally Tilly would just walk over to the café and Greta or Trinee would load her up with enough food to take home for Chuck too. “You want peanut butter and jelly on crackers,” she said, heavy on the doubt.

  “Why not?” Quinn asked. “You do.”

  “Have you ever actually had peanut butter and jelly on crackers for a meal before?”

  Quinn laughed ruefully. “No. But to be fair, that’s because I do a lot of cooking.”

  “You cook,” Tilly repeated, also doubtfully.

  “It’s my job. I’m a sous-chef at a restaurant in L.A. called Amuse-Bouche.”

  “Sounds hoity-toity.”

  “It is. And my co-sous-chef is a complete asshole. But I still love it.”

  “When I say asshole at school, I get detention.”

  Quinn winced. “Who did you call an asshole?”

  “Evan. He’s a dickwad, cheater asswipe in my math class who copies off me because he’s stupid.”

  Quinn raised a brow. “Maybe we should start a swear jar.”

  “For you?”

  “For both of us. It’d keep you out of detention, even if the dickwad asswipe is an asshole.”

  Tilly didn’t want to admit it out loud but she was pretty impressed with Quinn’s potty mouth.

  They had peanut butter and jelly on stale saltines in front of a TV marathon of Friends.

  “I used to have a thing for Joey,” Quinn said after a few episodes.

  “Ew. He’s old,” Tilly said, even though she’d always had a thing for Joey too.

  Quinn sighed.

  Three episodes in, Dylan texted Tilly to meet him at the park so they could do homework. Her heart started pounding because he wasn’t sounding like a guy who’d told her they were no longer friends. It was further proof that he’d only told her that to get her to leave last night before she got hurt, and she quickly stood up. “I’m going out.”

  “Where to?” Quinn asked.

  “A party.”

  “You’re fifteen,” Quinn said.

  “It’s not like it’s going to be at a strip club or anything like that.”

  “So where will it be?” Quinn asked.

  “I don’t know yet.”

  “How long will you be gone?”

  “I don’t know that either.”

  “Uh-huh.” Quinn was looking unimpressed. “Who are you going with?”