“What do you mean? You want me to stay dressed like this? Pretending to a teenaged girl?” I asked. “You told me that it’d be only a couple of months, but now you’re saying it is indefinite? This is not what you told me would happen! This is just unbelievable.”
“What did you imagine witness protection would be like? Did you think we would give you some cushy new life on the beach and a bank account full of cash? if you want to be safe from the mob, then you will have to make a few sacrifices, “Melinda told me. “You are safe now, and that is all that matters.”
“I’m a guy, don’t you remember? I am twenty-five years old, and you made me look eighteen! This is not ‘a few sacrifices, ‘this is completely insane! I only agreed because it was supposed to be temporary!” I cried. “Did you lie about the operations? Will I even be able to look like myself again?”
“We didn’t lie… exactly. But perhaps calling it semi-permanent instead of temporary would have been a better choice of words, ” Melinda said. “But, you should be able to live as a man again, one day, with the right kind of procedures done.”
I can’t go back to live with them! They treat me like I’m an infant. Some baby. They don’t let me stay up too late and they keep making me dress like this,”I said. “And the school, I have a fucking Bachelor’s degree and you are making me go to high school again”
They are your parents. At least they think that they are, because you look exactly like their daughter. We have no reason to tell them the truth. They’re so happy now and they don’t need to know that their actual child has been dead for four years,Melinda said. “Think about their happiness. To think that their missing daughter returned to them after so many years.
” OMG I don’t care! This is messed up. You are insane and evil and I can’t believe any of this,” I said as I turned around. “I can’t even think like myself anymore. All I want is to feel like an actual adult again, but I am surrounded by idiot teenagers and everyone keeps talking to me like I don’t understand a thing about anything! I’m not a child.
“Okay, calm down Hannah,” Melinda said using the name I’ve been forced to live with. “Whether you like it or not, you broke the law, and just because you promised to testify for us, doesn’t mean you have any actual rights here. We gave you a new life, because we are the good guys. We believe in second chances. You can either accept your situation, or we can make you disappear. We can make that happen.
” Oh God, I actually feel myself starting to cry. Don’t look at me! Don’t you dare look at me, “I said as I tried to hide my sobbing.
“Don’t cry, baby girl,” Melinda said as she hugged me from behind. She treats me like her little sister at times. “You are safer than you have ever been. You are a pretty blonde girl living in a nice neighborhood with upper-middle-class parents. You should consider yourself lucky. I can help you if you ever get lost. I know that it can be rough being your age, let me teach you. After all, it is my job to make you blend in. No-one will ever know the truth. It is our little secret, just between us girls.”