Prologue

It was morning, and she had found her feet. The mom smiled with pride. After all, this would be the last day she saw her precious daughter. It would be hard to hide her for much longer. The father was coming to pick her up tonight.

Knock, knock. Rushing to the door, and hiding the toddler, she opened the door, only to see the father. "Do we really have to do this? There must be another way."

"There isn't. I've checked. If you can't take her, give her to an orphanage. Her fake backstory is right here."

"Why can't you just tell your family?"

"I'm supposed to marry this guy I've never met, but I truly love you. I don't want to marry him, I only know his name."

"Can't you run away? I have a family too, and all of the girls I meet just want to date me for my money. But you don't care, you're in the basically in the same situation."

"I would, but I'm an only child. It would crush my parents."

"Okay, I get it. You have to marry a random guy."

"Yeah, that pretty much describes it."

"I'll take her."

"You will?"

"I'll just have to give her to the orphanage."

"Oh," the mom looked disappointed.

"Goo goo?" the father jumped as he saw the little girl. She was just so cute. Dressed in a little yellow sundress and tan sandals, she smiled, and gave the father baby doll eyes.

"She's so cute," he whispered. "This will be hard."

"I know, but I trust you to keep my secret."

"Of course. What's her backstory?"

"Her parents both died when she was eleven months old, and a witness said her name was M."

"Really? What does M stand for?"

"In the will it says that she can decide when she's old enough to choose a sensible name."

"When will that be?"

"When she is 16. By my calculations, that is when everything will unravel."

"You mean . . ."

"Yes, I mean it. She'll be old enough to change. Maybe even find a way back to us. You don't understand all this stress on me though. If—when they find out, they'll be mad, and nothing I can do will avoid their rage."

"If I could, I would do anything for you, my love."

"Ga?" the girl asked.

"Everything's fine, my little sweetums," turning away from her child, she said "I hear them. It's time to go. I love you. I will always be here for you. Find me someday, promise?"

"Goo ga," she said sternly, looking in her mother's eyes with pure determination.

"I love you too, daughter," the father said carrying the girl down the stairs, away from her mother.

"Ma! Mamma!" the girl cried, breaking into sobs at the lost of her mother, but the memory of promising to find her mom eventually burst through. She would see mom again . . . whatever it took.