Janelle looked at her husband, her brown eyes filling with tears. “What are we going to do? The twins go into high school in two months.”

The hard lines on Duante’s face hardened. His brown eyes nearly looked black in the light. He looked over at his wife. Her eyes were filled with so much emotion.

“We have no choice Nel. We signed the papers saying our twins would join the Agency’s Academy. We can’t back out now, they will kill us.. The only reason we decided to live in Charlotte is because Douglas is in Mountain Island.”

“I do not want my children living our life. The danger, the lying, the looking over our shoulders. It was hard enough without having to hide my abilities.” Fat tears rolled from Janelle’s eyes, soaking her chest. 

Duante turned his head away from her. Janelle rolled her eyes and wiped her face. Heading over to her vanity, she poured hair cream into her hands and ran it though her natural curls. In a few practiced minutes, her hair was plaited into two French braids.

“We need to enroll them in the boarding school. When they graduate, let’s hope they decide to go to college and not follow our lifestyle.” Duante whispered tiredly.

Janelle wiped at her face furiously. Picking up a tissue and wiping she walked to the bedroom door. Pausing with her hand on the doorknob she muttered “fine” and then walked out of the room.

* * *


Downstairs, the twins were sitting at the kitchen island.

“Hey Ma,” Dion said stuffing his mouth with pizza rolls. He shook his head, moving his shoulder-length locs out of his eyes. 

“Hi Mother,” Lanelle said. “You remember we have that pool party at the Jones’ down the street tomorrow. We are spending the night tonight. We can still go right?”

Janelle made herself busy looking in the refrigerator so the kids wouldn’t see her tear-filled eyes.

“The Jones who? You mean Tom and Jamie?”

“Yes, Mother,” Lanelle whined. “You can’t say no. You already said we could go.”

“Ma, we asked you weeks ago!” Dion added.

Duante walked into the room, and the kids turned their attention towards their father.

“Yo Dad, I don’t know what’s wrong with Ma, but she told us we could go to the pool party weeks ago!” 

“You better watch who you’re talking to, Boy.” Duante growled. Janelle got herself together, grabbed the juice, and closed the refrigerator.

Dion lowered his head. “Sorry Sir,” he mumbled.

“I remember, you can go. Calm down, you two.” She huffed.

“Alright cool” Dion got up and put his dish in the sink. The twins raced for the front door. They skidded to a hault when they heard their father bellow, “Come sit.”

The twins groaned and went back to the table.

“We need to talk about high school.”

Lanelle’s face lit up “Oh, we want to go to Berkeley, please don’t send us to Lakeview with all the white people. Berkeley is a good school Mother, and it’s more mixed,” she rambled on quickly.

Duante looked at Janelle, who was already staring at him. He took a deep breath and turned towards his twins. “We are sending you two to a boarding school.”

“Boarding school,” they said together in disbelief. “Dad please,” Lanelle whined.

“Pops, we want to stay with our friends,” Dion joined in.

Duante put up a hand, stopping them. “You two go to the party. When you come back, there is a lot that your mother and I have to tell you.”

* * *


When the twins were walking back from the party Lanelle put her wet and kinky shoulder length hair, into a ponytail puff. She sucked her teeth when the hair wouldn’t cooperate. 

Dion rolled his eyes. “Well, why don’t you go oh-natural,” he mocked.

Lanelle elbowed him,  in the ribs. “Stop mocking me. I want it straight for a few weeks. Then I’m going to get braids put in.”

Dion was on his phone, ignoring his sister as she talked about her hair.

“Dion,” she said, her voice breaking. “They’re going to send us to boarding school.”

Dion put his arm around his sister’s neck. “Don’t go to the worst-case scenario yet. They said they have to talk to us. We still have time to convince them. I don’t want to leave our friends, but boarding school could be fun,” he said with a shrug. 

Lanelle nodded, taking a deep breath. “I don’t know how much fun I will have without my friends,” she mumbled.

The twins walked in the house, and their parents were in the living room watching TV. Lanelle collapsed in the chair. Dion sat on the arm of the chair, with his hand resting on his sister’s back.

Duante turned the TV off and turned towards his kids. He placed his hands over his wife’s; he saw she was trembling. “Your mother and I are spies.”