Ann stretched her arms over her head, her body was sore from lying crumpled on the floor all night. After taking a quick survey of her surroundings, Ann realizes that she is in the den, where the inviting scents of cinnamon and polished leather pass pleasantly through her nose. She attempts to stand up by reaching over and grabbing the arm of the nearby couch so that she can prop herself back onto her feet, but she soon finds out that she doesn't have the strength in her legs to stay standing. Ann crumples back onto the floor in a discouraged heap. She sighs in frustration over how close she was to the promised comfort of the couch. Not only did she wake up on the cold, harsh floor of the den, but she can't remember how she had got to the den in the first place. The only thing she can remember from the night before is talking to her mother. She was trying to explain something about her lifestyle, but her mother turned the conversation around, and they ended up arguing about something. The details are still a bit fuzzy to Ann, but she does remember it all ending with her mother storming out the room. The only problem is that whole ordeal happened in Ann's bedroom, and now—who knows how many hours later—Ann is lying on the den's hardwoods floors, not her bedroom's plush carpeting.

After a few more minutes of helplessly lying on the floor, Ann decides to try and stand up one more time; she figures if she can just get to the couch than everything will be fine. Ann uses all the strength in her arms to scoot her body closer to the couch, so that she can hopefully lift herself onto the couch. After ensuring that she is in the right position, Ann places her hands on the cool, slippery leather, and tests how much strength she has in her legs. Once she figures that she has enough strength in her to push herself onto the couch, Ann tightens her grasp and pushes her legs under her, and a few heaves later Ann finds herself sinking into the relative comfort of the cool leather.

"See, Ann, your not completely useless, at least you can pick yourself off the floor, now all you have to do is try and remember what happened last night. You just need to figure out how you actually got into this whole situation."

Ann is quickly lost in conversation with herself. She massages her legs to try and gain some sensation back, and pores over every detail that she can remember from the previous night. The longer she sits there trying to remember everything, the more frustrated she gets, She can't seem to find any reasonable answer to explain what might have happened the previous night that would have resulted in her sleeping on any floor, let alone the floor in the den.

"Come on, Ann, there has to be something you remember after the fight with mom. Where did she go? Where did you go?" Ann's legs eventually regain sensation, but she continues to just sit there, sunken into the shiny brown fabric of the couch.

"Oh there you are Ann, my sweet; I've been looking for you all morning." Ann jumps up in response, startled from the sudden noise. She looks towards the den' main door, where she thinks speaker is standing. There, leaning against the door jamb is a mysterious man of about her age, his shoulder length dark brown hair, and the sharp features of his face are not at all familiar to her.

"Silly Ann, there is no need to stand up for me. Why don't you sit back down, you had a pretty busy night last night, I don't want you to wear yourself out this morning." Ann looks at the stranger as if he is insane, she isn't sure what he is going on about. And to be honest she isn't sure if she wants to know what he is going on about. From the way he is carrying himself and the strange hint of an accent she feels that he is not someone that she would encounter on an everyday basis, he is defiantly not someone that should be using any term of endearment towards her. She doesn't know him and she definitely is not the type of person that enjoys being called sweetie, or honey bun.

"Ann, what's wrong, honey, you looked confused? Is everything alright? And Ann I know that you are a free spirit and everything but do you think there is anyway that you could get some clothes on, I mean I would say that I like the view but that would just be kind of creepy, and probably illegal in most states." Ann looks down at her at her body for the first time all morning, and to her horror she was wearing nothing more than a pair of sheer white panties and matching bra.

"Oh shit, oh shit!" Ann ducks behind the couch before the stranger can say anything else, or see anything more. "Damn it, Ann how could you not notice that you barely had any clothing on. Shit, shit, shit!" After her mini tirade Ann peeked around the corner to see what the stranger was doing. He had moved away from the doorway and was now leaning against one of the armchairs, with a patient look on his face.

"Come on out Ann, it's nothing I haven't seen before, and I'm your brother for crying out loud, I'm not going to attack you. Hurry up Ann, I don't have all day. Mom is waiting for you in the kitchen, and unless you want to greet her in your underwear I suggest you go and change." I stayed frozen behind the couch, trying to digest everything that he had just said. Brother? She couldn't remember having a brother; it had always been just her and her mother. Her father died when she was only two years old killing with him all chances of her having any siblings, especially considering her mother never remarried. There was no way that man standing out there was her brother, they looked nothing alike, and he seemed to be older than her.

They would have told me if I had an older sibling, wouldn't they've. Mother would never have been able to hide something like that from me. Ann didn't want to move from the safety of behind the couch, but she knew that if she wanted any answers she was going to have to come out and face reality, or whatever it was that was waiting for her against the armchairs. A brother, Now that as truly impossible.

"Ann stop talking to yourself from behind the couch, I can hear you from over here." Ann stood up from behind the couch, she wasn't talking to herself, she was merely trying to analyze the entire situation.

"You know, I don't have a brother, I am an only child--always have been." Ann gave the stranger the best confident gleam she could muster, she wasn't sure how effective it was going to be but she had to give it a shot.

"Ann we've gone over this a million times, no matter how much you resent me, or hate me, I am your older brother, always have been and there is no way you can get rid of me, so give it a rest will you and just go get ready. Remember mom is waiting." Ann didn't know what to do, she didn't really feel comfortable stranding in front of her supposed brother in nothing more than her underwear, but she also didn't want him to think that she was giving up. She had always been a very headstrong individual and there was no way she was going to back down—no matter what the situation.

"Fine, I'll go change, but only because I am tired of you gawking at me. You're not my brother, I've never had one and there is no way you are going to change my mind on that one." Ann stormed out of the room before he could say anything in response.

Ann headed in the direction that she remembered her bedroom being in, third door down the east wing right next to the picture of her and her old dog, Muffin. Ann turned down what she was the correct hallway and straight over to the door that should have opened to her room, but to her surprise when she opened the door her room was not there. Instead of the cream and eggplant colored walls and her burnt orange bed sheets she was greeted by dark blue walls coated in posters of women in various states of undress and a extremely unkempt bed. Ann turned around to make sure she had gotten the right room, looking down the hall she counted the doors and checked again. She was standing in front of the third door, so why wasn't her room on the other side.

As if he heard he question, the stranger, her brother, came walking down the hall. He had an exasperated, yet amused look on his face.

"Ann, why are you standing outside my room, I told you that you need to go get dressed, I don't have time for your childish antics, so hurry up now." Ann tried hard to fight back tears, she had no idea what was going on, and everything had changed on her over night. She had someone how ended up sleeping on the den floor, acquired a brother, and misplaced her room all under twenty four hours.

Fighting back sniffles Ann finally responded,

"I don't know where my room is, I thought it was right here, but for some reason it is gone. Can you tell me where to find my room, I just need to rest. Yes, rest, that's all I need. After a quick nap I will be good as new."

"Ann you don't have time for a quick nap, I told mom you would meet her in the kitchen in twenty minutes and that was fifteen minutes ago you really need to hurry up." Ann threw her hands up in defeat,

"Fine, just show me where my room is and I will go get ready to have breakfast with 'our' mom."

Ann walked out of her room dressed in a short sleeved black dress that fell just above her knees. When she had walked into her closet to find something to wear all she could find were a collection of dresses lined against the walls and separated by color. The organization of the whole thing was creepy but what was worse was the fact that she couldn't find a pair of pants in the whole room, even after checking all of the drawers.

"Hey brother dearest, do I not own any pants?" Ann walked over to where her brother was standing and waited for him to tell her what to do next. Normally she didn't like to be bossed around, but under the circumstances she didn't seem to have much of a choice.

"Ann, don't be silly, you know that he doesn't like you wearing pants, and you would do anything to keep him happy. And stop calling me brother dearest, you know my name, you're more than welcome to use it." Ann looked at him in confusion, she didn't know his name, up until this morning she didn't even know she had a brother. But that wasn't what was the bothering her the most, her thoughts were currently preoccupied with who this him could be. I mean her brother made it sound like some kind of creepy cult following, where he was the master and Ann was just the poor peon who had to do everything that he said.

Ann combed through all the possibilities: what if she was sucked into the twilight zone, or another dimension where he was the leader, the all holy sanctioned one and she was his eye candy. Her main job in life was to sit around and look pretty and that's why all she had was dresses. Or maybe she was living out in the middle of nowhere and he was some sort of crazy polygamist with ten wives and hundreds of kids, but she was his most revered wife, so she was expected to be dresses beautifully for him always, and she would never get to wear a pair of pants again—of the horror. While all of these possibilities humored Ann she realized that she should work on first things first, and the most important thing to find out right away was who this guy claiming to her brother really was, and the only way she could think to do that was to go speak to her mother, or to make friends with this guy. But then again a combination of the two couldn't hurt.

"So brother dear, it seems that I have for some reason forgotten your name, maybe I hit my head last night or something, but everything seems fuzzy. So would you care to enlighten me?"

"Seriously Ann I have no idea what has gotten into you, but I don't like it one bit and I am sure that mother is going to feel the same way. But I'll play around with your charade for now, because I've nothing better to do. My fair sister, who is possibly brain-damaged I am your dearest older brother Edwin. And in case you want to know more, at 27 I am five years your senior, the eldest of four children…you being the youngest. I have a son named Hannon, who is currently staying with his mother, the insufferable twit. And finally my birthday is in three days and memory loss or not I am still expecting a gift from you."

Ann stood silently for a few minutes trying to absorb all the information; she only wanted to know his name not his whole life's history. What surprised her most was that this man—Edwin, seemed to be really close to her, he seemed to be comfortable bickering with her. He seemed like a real brother.

"Ann don't look so confused, you knew all that stuff already, I think you just need your morning coffee and maybe some blueberry pancakes. Come on, mom is probably growing impatient. She wants to plan everything out with you, Jolene and Beth are supposed to be arriving today and mom wants everything planned before they can get their claws into everything. I mean, I know they are your sisters and everything, but I just can't stand them sometimes."

"My sisters? What so you mean my sisters? Wouldn't they be your sisters too if they are my sisters?" Ann was getting more and more confused by the minute, not only does she have an older brother but apparently there are four older siblings, related to this brother and possibly two more sisters from who knows where.

"Of course they are my sisters too, what are you thinking Ann. It's just sometimes I like to pretend that I am not related to them. Really Ann you need to come back and join the real world, too much of this seclusion has made you forget about everyone. Come now let's go, I'm starting to get hungry myself." Edwin started to push Ann down the hallway towards what looked to be a narrow stairway. She paused briefly signaling that Edwin should go down first, she didn't want to tell him, but the stairs scared her, the worn wooden planks didn't look stable, or wide enough, and she always thought that one missed step would send her hurtling towards her demise.

"Just like when we were kids Annie, you would never go down these stairs first, always had to bribe one of us to go down with you. John and I never had a problem walking down with you, but Jolene and Beth always got so upset with you when you wouldn't just walk down them."

Just like when they were kids? He knew about her past, he knew that she was scared of the stairs and she didn't even mention it to him. How could he know that without her saying something? Maybe he was going off her emotions, maybe he sensed she was nervous and he just made up some story about their past so that she would feel comfortable with them. Or maybe, just maybe, he really was her brother.

Ann tried to clear her mind as she carefully eased herself down the dreaded staircase. By concentrating on her every step she was able to forget about Edwin, and everything that he had told her this morning. She was able to forget the state that she was in when she woke that morning, able to forget how all her clothes no longer suited her, she was even able to forget that she was about to walk into another room where she had no idea what was going on. For the two minutes that it took her to tread down the stairs she was able to forget her very existence; it was like the whole ordeal was nothing but a dream. A dream whose intricate web shattered into tiny shards of crystalline glass the instant her foot touched the first floor landing.

A tiny pair of arms encircled around her waist before she was able to pull her second leg from the stairs. As Ann's gaze fell towards the small body now attached to her midsection she was met by a small doll-like face. The small girl's fierce blue eyes shining shone against her overly pale complexion, locking with Ann's equally blue eyes, and clearly showcasing the child's innocence. Before Ann could ask any questions the girls arms fell away from her waist and latched onto her arm, dragging Ann in the generally direction of what Ann thought to be the kitchen

"Come on Annie, Gamma's waiting. You're late for breakfast again. I went to wake you this morning, but you were missing, again. I see that Edwin found you though." Ann was confused as to how this small child knew her name, and how she was calling everyone by first name. And who was Gamma? Edwin she knew, but Gamma, she wasn't sure about Gamma.

Ann tried to free herself from the child's grip but she could not bring herself to snatch her arm away for the enthusiastic child; the girl seemed so excited about bringing Ann into the kitchen. The girl's trek eventually ended with both her and Ann standing in the middle of the kitchen, right in front of the breakfast bar. Edwin was already there, sitting with the newspaper draped casually in front of him, sitting next to him was someone that Ann actually recognized—her mother.

Edwin set down his paper as if he sensed their entrance,

"Emma, darling, where is my kiss?" The small girl promptly let go of Ann's arm, and rushed towards Edwin, clamoring into his lap. He winced lightly as her knees pushed into his legs, but still managed to laugh at the girl's—Emma—actions.

"Eddie thank you for finding Annie this morning, I couldn't find her, and I didn't want Gamma to get angry with her again. I mean she had a bad night yesterday, I don't think she deserves to get into trouble." Emma looked back at Ann with a knowing look in her eyes, with a sense of sympathy. Ann wasn't sure what Emma knew, but it was obviously more than her.

"Ann, how nice of you to join us, I almost thought that you were going to spend another day sniveling in your room." It was Ann's mother who spoke next, she spoke in a cold, harsh tone, a tone that Ann had never heard her mother use before not even when she was terribly upset. Not knowing what to say, Ann merely stood at the end of the table waiting for someone else to take the initiative.

Edwin looked between both women before speaking,

"Emma, I think it may be best if you could go and fetch me the newspaper." I looked at Edwin in confusion the newspaper was right in front of him, Emma was looking right at the front page, but instead of arguing with him, she just scooted off his lap, grabbed the paper and left the room.

After Emma had left, Edwin turned towards Ann,

"Alright I think it's time for you to sit down and join us for a meal, I am sure mother has a lot to say to you, most of which will not be pleasant, hence why I asked the small one to leave." Ann sat down in the chair that sat opposite her mother, and next to Edwin, she felt that Edwin was more likely to be more patient than her supposed mother. As Ann cautiously gazed up at her mother, Edwin pushed an empty plate and a mug full of coffee in her direction. Ann was too nervous to think about eating, but she transferred one of the pancakes from the center of the table to her own plate just to keep herself busy. Ann cut into her pancake, and her mother drew in a deep breath.

"Ann, I understand that you are back home to stay. I know I told you four years ago that I didn't want you back, and I am reluctant to go back on my words. I told you not to leave with that man. I told you he was no good. But you left, without my approval. You left slamming the door in my face. And then four years later, to the exact date, you show back up at my door, a complete mess. I didn't ask you any questions then, but it's been two months now, two months, and your behavior has not changed. You are distant, and dazed. You won't tell any of us what happened, really you barely speak to anyone expect maybe Emma, but even then I am not too sure. Ann, I just want to know what happened, why can't you tell me?" Ann stared at her mother, in a complete daze, she would love to tell her what happened, but how could she when she didn't even know. To her knowledge she had never left home, there never was any man in her past life, especially a man that would whisk her away from her mother.

"Mom I don't know what to say. I don't know what to tell you that would make any sense." Ann's mother took yet another deep breath. Ann could see that she was losing her patience, but there wasn't anything that Ann could do to explain what had happened two months ago, she just didn't know.

"Alright, Ann, I'll let it go again, but I don't know how much longer I can wait. I don't want you staying in my house, living like a zombie. You are not the same child who left here four years ago, and I don't much like the change. And remember if you are going to stay here, you will follow my rules, and that means I expect you down for breakfast by eight, fully dressed, no excuses." And with that Ann's mother stood up and left the room.

Ann looked down at her hands, the crinkled creases that formed her knuckles, bending them slowly to help clear her mind.

"Wow, she let you off easy. I was almost certain that today would be the day she would crack," Edwin spoke up from his spot beside her, he was silent during her mother's speech, but she could now tell that it wasn't out of fear, but out of respect.

"Well Ann, I'm glad you were able to handle that without any fights, but I think you may have to come up with a good story to tell her soon, because I don't think she is going to be as accepting forever. Eventually she will crack." Without saying another word, Ann pushed her chair away from the table, and stood up to leave.

"Where are you going Annie?" Ann looked up at the ceiling; she wasn't sure where exactly she was going only that she didn't want to sit around the table any longer.

"Out, I think."

"Well then you should take Emma with you, she's been pretty bored without any other kid's to keep her company. Hannon should be back tomorrow, so I think you should spend some time alone with her, while you still get the chance."

Ann looked at her newly acquired brother scornfully,

"Why should I spend time alone with your daughter? I am not your nanny."

"Oh Annie, I didn't know you would sink that low; pawning your own child off on me."

"What do you mean my own child, I don't have a child." Ann could feel a headache forming between her eyes.

"No, Annie that's where you are wrong. You do have a child." Ann didn't respond. She merely stared at Edwin with her dark cobalt eyes. Sensing her confusion Edwin continued.

"Emma is all yours, darling. She's four, you were probably pregnant with her when you left—well I'm not sure about that, I mean you never said you were pregnant when you left. But the math works out right, and one should never question the math. She's your daughter, Ann. And no matter what horrible thing happened with Ryan, you can't forget that. She'll always be your daughter, not anyone else's. So like I said maybe you should spend some time with her, before Hannon, and everyone else, get here tomorrow.