When will Emma be able to discover the secret?
When It’s Time...
CHAPTER
1
THE SECRET
“Emma Lou, you come back here right this minute or I’m telling Mom!”
“NO! I want to go up there!”
“MOMMMMM! Emma’s trying to get in my tree house again!”
“EMMA, STOP AGGRAVATING YOUR BROTHER! COME HERE!”
This is what always happened when I tried to find out what my brother Franklin was hiding in his tree house. I would be so close, almost to the rope ladder, and then he would go and be a big fat tattletale and yell for mom. And then I got in trouble, when it was really Franklin’s fault for not letting me up there and then telling on me! The thing that aggravates me most is that every time I ask Mom why I can’t go up there, she just says “You can when it’s time.” WHEN IT’S TIME? What is that supposed to mean?
I’m Emma Lou Taylor, age eight and three quarters. I have long brown hair that is stick straight, brown eyes, and slightly brownish skin from all the time I spend outside. I play soccer and do ballet and theater, and I’m learning sign language. I have two dogs, three cats, a hamster, a goldfish, and a parakeet. I love dark chocolate, bacon (but then again, who doesn’t), cherry Coke, and mac and cheese, and I absolutely HATE secrets. I also detest my older brother Franklin, who is twelve. But more than either of those, I hate not knowing what’s in the tree house. I have tried SO many times to get into it, but somehow I get caught EVERY time. (Oh, I forgot to mention. I also hate tattletales.) Anyway, just the other day, or maybe the other week, I tried to get into it and, as usual, just as I was on the first rung of the ladder, I heard Dad’s voice.
“EMMA, GET DOWN FROM THERE! YOU KNOW FRANKLIN DOESN’T WANT YOU UP THERE!”
And I promptly got in trouble. AGAIN.
“Daddy, why do I have to get in trouble every time I try to get in the tree house? And for that matter, why does no one ever let me into it? Are you guys hiding something from me?”
“Of course we’re not,” he responded (as usual). “You just need to wait. We’ll let you in when it’s time.”
With that, I ran to my room, slammed the door, flopped onto my bed, and grabbed my phone, choking back tears. I pulled up Messages and tapped on my friend Lilly’s name. There was one new message from 30 minutes ago.
LilliB: Hey Emmster! What’s up? Can’t wait for Tuesday! :)
I immediately texted her back, hoping she still had her phone on.
Emmy: O Lilly, why is my life so terrible!!!!!!
LilliB: Calm down and then tell me whats the matter.
LilliB: Wait, never mind, let me guess: the treehouse again?
Emmy: How did you ever guess? It’s so annoying! I know they’ve got to be hiding something from me because every time I ask they just say “O don’t worry you will learn when it’s time.”
LilliB: Well, why don’t you just try thinking about something else and accept the fact that you have evil villains for parents and a sibling and that you will never EVER be able to go in there? ;)
Emmy: lol.....not. I came on here for help... not sarcasm.
LilliB: seriously tho! You’ve been trying to get into that thing for how many years now?
Emmy: uhhhhhh..... ever since i knew it existed. Almost six.
LilliB: Exactly! Do you really think anythings gonna change?
Emmy: No... Not exactly what I wanted to hear, Lily. >:(
LilliB: sorry! Really though I think talking to your Mom is the only thing that is going to help at this point. Ask her why she won’t let you in, and actually LISTEN to her answer.
Emmy: What if she says “when it’s time?”
LilliB: Don’t blow up or run away, just ask her what she means by that.
Emmy: oookkkaayyyyyyy. I’ll try that. gtg, Mom’s coming up the stairs. ttyl
And that was the extent of our conversation. Not extremely helpful, but worth a shot. Anyway, fast forward to today and I am running at breakneck speed toward the treehouse ladder. “Maybe today’s the day?” I ask myself as i focus on not tripping on the roots that surround the giant tree the tree house was built in. Unfortunately, I trip like two feet from the ladder. Desperate, I lunge for the rope, but fall short and land on my face. I lay there for a minute, not sure what to do, then roll over on my back and look up - right into the face of my mom. “Umm, hey Mom?” I say uncertainly.
“Well, well, well. What would you be doing so desperately close to your brother’s tree house?” she asks me condescendingly.
“Umm, playing in the dirt?” (okay, so that was a terrible answer. I was sprawled in the dirt and had a bloody nose. Not a likely situation for playing in the dirt.)
“I don’t think so. Come inside and I’ll get you washed up, then it’s time for yet ANOTHER talk.”
With the word “another,” she rolled her eyes, turned her back on me, and walked away.
Now 30 minutes later, I’m seated across from her and Dad on the sofa and we’re midway into our conversation.
“So do you understand why we have to keep getting onto you?” asks Dad.
“Yes....but....” I reply, but my answer fades off because I’m not sure how to say what I want to.
“But what?” prompts my Mom.
I need to know. “Why can’t I go in the treehouse?”
Groaning, my parents roll their eyes at me. (They always tell me not to do that! Why do they think they can do it to me?!)
“We have gone over this a million times, Emma. You will be able to go in when it’s time.”
Taking a deep breath, I calmly replied “What do you mean by that?”
They glanced at each other, each took a deep breath, and began.
I could never have been ready for what they were about to tell me.

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