The vehicle came to a stop in front of an old thrift store. Carter turned the key, and the engine shut off. He turned around a little in the driver's seat. The street light's orange glow gave him an ominous silhouette. "Michael, please get this girl out of my car. I don't want any vomit on my upholstery. Besides that...I don't like her." "Believe me, I can't wait to get far away from you!" Betany retorted. She fumbled with the buckle in annoyance. Michael grinned, reached across the bench seat, and released her belt. He opened his door and stepped onto the sidewalk. Betany tried to unlock and open her door, but it would not open. Michael opened it from the outside, and Betany froze, mouth gaping. She glanced back at where he had just stood. A split second before. Where the door was already closed. She looked back at Michael, baffled. "What...? How did you...?" Her head was swimming as he led her out of the vehicle. "We didn't need you jumping out on the way here," he chortled. "No, I mean..." she stammered. "You were just...I saw..." Betany indicated the other side of the SUV as they passed. Michael nudged her to go inside the store. "I know," he replied. A little bell sang out their entrance. Betany stayed at the handsome stranger's heels. The musty shop was dark and eerie. The light from the street lamp only reached a few yards in through the large face windows, illuminating an odd variety of lost and found treasures. Dolls, lamps, quilts, and books lined the dusty shelves and adorned shapely chairs. Racks of clothes released an old attic odor as they brushed against them. Michael opened a door behind the register counter and beaconed her through. The room beyond was a juxtaposition of the thrift shop. It smelled clean and fresh and lightly of a sweet flower that she could not place. It was bright; cream drapes lined the walls and several people were seated in a semi-circular, pale blue couch, talking earnestly until Betany and her escort entered. Betany's eyes immediately fell on the only person that could have been her sister. The woman stood behind the couch, arms crossed. Pale skin gleamed a sharp contrast against vibrant red hair. Gunmetal eyes lit up as they fell on the girl at the door. An older, more beautiful sister, Betany observed. "Oh, my child!" the woman exclaimed, reaching her arms out and running around the couch to greet her. "I've waited so long to hold you!" The woman wrapped her arms so tightly around Betany that she thought she might faint. Betany felt awkward, but feebly returned the hug. After a long moment, the woman released her and stepped back. She clasped Betany's hand in hers and smiled gently. "My name is Charity. I'm your mother."
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