Average. That was what life was mostly like for Molly, in most ways. Her parents didn't get along most of the time outside of business hours -- it was clear her mother, Karen, had married beneath herself while her father, Daniel, wasn't getting what he thought he would out of the marriage. Her -- twins Mark and Matthew -- she tended to care for more often than most, and she was never more than average in school. An A was something that was celebrated when she got them, and most of the time, her dad came back after an argument, apologetic and sweet to everyone. He lavished attention and gifts, and her mother mended things in the safety of their office -- they may not love each other, but their business as lawyers needed to continue on.
Popularity wasn't of her concern, and most days, Molly spent the time dreaming. Not necessarily of being something more, but someone more appreciated. Someone who fit in a little more. For all her family's love and support (and if she were honest later in life, their need for her) couldn't keep the facts that would gnaw at her: that her hair was a fiery red against their dark hair; that where her siblings were nearly identical to her parents, she couldn't match most of her features to theirs, and how so little of her interests didn't line up with their own. Her parents kept making plans in her stead, insisting she'd go to the colleges they want and earn the degree they wanted.
The thing was, she should have known better than to push back too hard on her parents by the time she turned sixteen. Things had gotten heated as her parents circled around the idea of divorce more and more. They argued constantly about everything from the curtains to dinner, to their respective futures. Molly did her best to keep the peace, but more and more, she found them arguing in hushed tones about her.
Things got too much for her. Molly started ignoring her parents rules, started leaving out late at night and backtalking them at every moment she could. What made it worse was the fact that more and more, Molly found herself realizing that she felt attraction to both men and women. Her father was furious when he caught her experimenting with one of her childhood friends, and despite never telling her mother, the tension and displeasure in the house climbed and climbed. Molly swore to do better. Instead, weeks after her sixteenth birthday, she came home drunk. Her parents both exploded on her at once. The argument escalated hard and fast, until her father snapped that a real daughter of his wouldn't make the decisions she had, that his real daughter wouldn't be such a perpetual disappointment.
That was the moment that things started to spiral out of control for Molly. She doesn't remember much of the night beyond those words, beyond the sick confirmation of what her father had said, and the sharp sound of a slap. She does remember flunking out of her classes semester, she does remember moving out as her parents divorce turned nastier by day, and worst of all, she remembers her mother answering her demand for the truth and the unreality that came out of it: that she had been concieved with a sperm donor of someone who supposedly was smart, good looking, and was going to give them the golden child they desired. And who was not the person that Molly was, despite her mother's constant reassurances.
Her mother was the one who got her in the divorce, and her parents shared joint custody of her brothers. But from then on, Molly was painfully obvious as an outsider. She distanced herself from her family, hanging around town rather than going to class, stuck inside of her own head and her own loneliness and isolation. She fixated on what could of been, on what she could have had. At seventeen, she barely came home; and during one of her nights out on town, she ran into a boy: Wayne Norris. They mostly shared cigarettes and snuck into movies together, and over time, they talked and hung out more and more. He came from a poorer side of town, and was always happy to talk to her no matter the circumstance. His relentlessly positive, kind attitude helped to pull Molly partially out of her own head and to re-examine the situation around her. The fling was short, but the impact wasn't just emotional: Weeks later, Molly's period was late, and a pregnancy confirmed her worst fears.
While her mother had been lenient before, she put her foot down on the idea of Molly being stuck as a teenage mother. They argued relentlessly, Molly feeling cornered the longer she talked to her mother. The idea of giving up the child she had, the potential future with someone who actually was like her was painful. Calls to Wayne were fruitless; for all his positive demeanor, he'd already moved on and it was clear that if Molly told him, it would be another useless situation. As much as her heart hurt, Molly made the decision to move temporarily in with an aunt a state away, give birth, and come home. The experience almost broke her; she bonded with the child she carried, and in a stroke of bad luck, Molly ended up going into labor on her own in the middle of a snowstorm. It was a painful thing, to deliver alone and to have a son in her arms that she knew was going to be taken away.
Yet, she did it regardless. Molly knew her future would be lonelier without him, but easier to bear. Secretly, she named him Theodore, and hasn't forgotten in the years since. Once the delivery and adoption was over, she didn't bother going home. Her aunt allowed her to stay with her in Santa Fe and earn her GED, while also putting Molly into extensive therapy. Over the years, with great difficulty, Molly was able to slowly build her life back up and her attitude. While reconciliation with her parents was difficult, and at times near impossible, she wored hard through her late teens and early twenties at various ventures from helping to run a movie theater, to taking online courses to pursue a degree in IT. The papers with her sperm donor's name went untouched for years as she attempted to move on as best as she could, settling comfortably into a shared apartment and an easy tech job.
Unfortunately, work took her to Boston, and unwittingly, she ran into someone who mistook her for someone else with the last name of Fenwick. A name she hadn't even thought of in years. Her first instinct was to correct them. Her second instinct, the one that was still curious, had her reply that yes, she was indeed a Fenwick. The conversation went on, and then Molly saw the picture of the man who'd been her sperm donor: Steve Fenwick, and his gorgeous red haired family. Picture perfect.
Furious, flabbergasted and altogether jealous didn't completely describe how she felt then. But it ate her up the days and weeks after, scouring the internet, looking for clues of any cracks that her family had had and never finding them. The sitation ate her up so much that she applied for a transfer for the bank she worked for, to be placed in Boston. At the end of 2015, she got her wish and moved immediately to the city. It occured to Molly more than once that what she was doing was probably illegal, and definetely disconcerting. It would be safer and less unbalanced if she looked for her son.
And she didn't care. Molly wanted to know about this perfect family, wanted to know about herself and who she could have been. Relentless optimism only took one so far in life, and if anyone deserved answers, she did. Just answers, and nothing else.