“Maybe I’m not making myself clear. If you try and leave, you will never see your grandparents again. Eventually, your mother will contact you and when she does, we will track her down and I’m sure I don’t need to inform you of what will happen next.”
Her low, deep voice rattles Amelia to her core. Tears run down her face as she realizes Leona isn’t bluffing. I’m really stuck with her. She runs to the bathroom, crying her eyes out, repulsed by what her life has become. She barely makes it to the stall before puking. She remembers overhearing her dad telling her mom about the disappearance of Eli and Navid’s father, Roland. Leona met and fell in love with Roland in his home state of Arizona. When her stepmother Grace passed away, they moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, so that she could help her father, Abraham, cope with the loss of his wife. She also wanted to be there for Cash, who was much younger than she was.
Shortly after Eli turned one and Navid was a newborn, she and Roland were fighting about moving back to Arizona. They ended up getting a divorce, and Roland moved back to Arizona with the babies. After four years went by, Leona decided she was not going to travel back and forth for the rest of her life and wanted the boys all to herself. Eventually, Roland noticed how irrational she had become and realized she was not mentally fit to raise them. He was going to get custody after numerous court battles, but on the final day of the hearing, he never showed up.
Cash concluded that maybe Roland chose to give up. He said that Leona can be pretty scary when things don’t go her way. Later, Amelia asked her mom about the conversation she overheard, and Alexandria told her she didn’t believe Roland left town without a fight because he loved his sons so much. The night before the hearing, Leona supposedly spoke with Roland and later told the police that he decided to let her have them. A neighbor claimed she heard arguing, but nothing could be proven. Another hearing was scheduled for the following month but in the end, she got sole custody.
Even to this day, no one has seen or heard from him. Leona told the boys that he never cared about them or wanted them. But Alexandria knew that something was fishy about it all and warned Amelia to stay away from Leona. For that reason, Amelia never had a chance to spend much time with her aunt. She knows her mom was only trying to protect her, but if she knew more about Leona, maybe things wouldn’t be so drastic now. However, she can’t deny the fact that she’s never gotten a good vibe where Leona is concerned.
She knows that Cash didn’t really trust his sister either because he never let her babysit. Something happened in the past, but no one ever told Amelia what it was. She can’t understand why Leona hates her mother and why she insists on breaking up her parents.
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