Leona gets out of her chair and sits next to her. Amelia jumps up when Leona grabs her arm and slams her back down.
“This is how things are going to go. You will be staying with us from now on, and don’t even think about contacting your grandparents or they’ll have to deal with me. So if you value your mother and her family, you won’t put up a fuss,” Leona demands.
“I’m not staying with you! You psycho! Besides, there is no way I’m putting up with you and your evil trolls for any extended period of time. I’d rather wrestle a bear,” Amelia barks.
Leona snatches Amelia’s chin with her cold hands and warns, “You are fifteen years old and are not legally able to stay on your own.”
Amelia grits her teeth and pushes Leona’s hands away from her face. “That’s right, and I have every right to go and stay with my grandparents.” She feels good about standing up to her aunt, but being this close to Leona’s demonic presence is making her body shiver. She rubs her arms to rid the goosebumps.
“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.