"The proctor told me that I don't have the same blood type as you" Karisma told her mother. She'd gotten back from Isle Casus two weeks ago and had not been able to stop thinking about what she had find out about her family. She'd finally mustered the courage to lay her cards down on the table.

Her mother, whose expression was always so distant and sleepy, suddenly became a lot more alert. "You must have the same blood type as Grant then" she said in an odd voice, fiddling with the hem of her blouse.

"I don't. He has the same blood type as you" Karisma said through gritted teeth, feeling a twinge of fury. Did she think that Karisma was stupid?

"I know that I'm not Grant's daughter" Karisma blurted out, before she could hesitate. She dropped down on the kitchen chair, opposite of her mother, looking her straight in the eye.

Karisma's mother closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened her pale grey eyes again, tears were welling out of them. "You're not my daughter either" she whispered.

Karisma sat still, as if a tidal wave had just swept over her.

"Grant and I adopted you from the fire nation"

This was even a hundred times worse than what she'd initially thought. She almost wished that Julie had cheated on Grant now.

"I don't believe you" Karisma said in cracked voice, on the brink of tears. "You're just saying that to hurt me"

"No" her mother, or the woman who had pretended to be her mother, said quietly.

Karisma knew that she wasn't lying, but it was too much to take in. She glanced at Julie, thinking that she should've realized that they weren't related a long time ago. They looked so different. Julie was thin to the extreme and at least four inches taller than Karisma. Her eyes were pale grey, as if the color had been sucked out of them, while Karisma's were dark brown. The both had dark brown hair, but Julie's hair lacked the reddish tint that Karisma's had.

"My mother strongly advised me not to get pregnant. She told me how scared she'd been that I would be born into another nation, during her entire pregnancy" Julie began speaking, staring down at the kitchen table.

Karisma rose to her feet and walked up to the window, looking out at the rain pouring down on the street. She couldn't look Julie in the eye anymore.

"But I wanted a baby so badly. And so did Grant" Julie said breathlessly. "We both loved each other deeply at the time, but we felt like something was missing. We planned her, the baby. She was going to be born on November 20, the doctor said. That didn't happen… she was born a couple of days too late, on the 28th of November. So since she was a Sagittarius, we had to give her away to the fire nation"

Karisma swallowed hard, struggling not to cry.

"I told Grant not to notify the hospital when I delivered her, here inside this house. We wanted to hide the baby and pretend that it had been born earlier. So we called my mother instead, to be my midwife. But when she came over, she made us see sense. The authorities would find out sooner or later that our child wasn't a water sign. And hiding that sort of thing from the government could earn you a death penalty"

Tears were streaming down Karisma's face. This explained everything; Julie's binge drinking, how she'd never acted like a mother to Karisma and why Grant seemed to despise her.

"That's…" Karisma was struggling to find words to justify her thoughts.

"I know" Julie said. "Anyway, we came to an agreement. They, your biological parents, wanted us to name you Karisma, and we wanted them to name our baby Coraline. You know, like the corals of the reef…"

Okay, so that explained why she had such an odd name. Karisma nodded automatically, still staring outside the window.

"Grant is very possesive and wanted to keep her here, where she belongs" Julie sobbed. "I know that it doesn't seem like it, but he's very emotional, he just has a hard time showing it. The only emotion he's willing to display is anger… but sometimes I think that the anger is just a mask for his sadness" Julie told her, sniffing loudly. "It has been hard to accept that we'll never see our daughter again. We've both tried to drown our sorrows"

"Is that why you always drink so much?" Karisma, struggling to keep her voice steady.

"Y-yes" Julie responded in a quivering voice. "So I started to daydream about her… Coraline. What it would've been like if she was here. And fell into a vicious cycle, I guess you could say. I'm sorry for saying this to you Karisma… you've probably already noticed it anyway, but I was never able to develop any maternal feelings towards you.

Karisma knocked down the vase of marigolds, that was standing near the kitchen sink. She started sobbing hysterically as soon as she shut the front door behind her, collapsing against it. She knew that Julie wouldn't run after her… she had never cared. But it didn't matter, because Karisma didn't love her either.

So she ran back to the academy, to be in the company of the only person she loved. The lunch break still wasn't over yet, so she knew that she'd find Karl sitting inside the library, as usual. She wiped away her tears and applied some coral pink lip gloss (a gift from Olivia who claimed that all girls needed to own this particular item), in order to look presentable before she entered the school building.

"Karl, I need to talk to you"

Thankfully, he was only in the company of Olivia. They seemed to be studying for some test.

"What's the matter?" Karl asked, as the walked out of the library. Karisma didn't speak until shut the door behind them. They had entered the small room where paper, pens and school books were stored. A velvet couch was standing against the wall, opposite of some kind of wardrobe. The only window inside the room was slightly open, but she didn't care.

"Can you lock it?" Karisma asked Karl and pointed at the door, her heart galloping in her chest.

"Yeah… why?"

"Because I need to be with you, Karl" Karisma said, starting to take off her skirt.


Author's note; So in the next chapter, I'll pick up where I left off in the third chapter, where Karisma and Karl hear a thud coming from inside the wardrobe.