The next morning Leona informs them that they have to meet with a realtor regarding a house she wants to rent. On their way to the house, Leona turns around and faces Amelia.
“Amelia, if anyone asks you anything, just tell them you’re my daughter.”
Amelia laughs, thinking it’s a sick joke, but to her disappointment, Leona’s not kidding.
“I’m not amused by your childish behavior. Like I told you before, if you don’t stick with the plan, you know what will happen,” Leona states.
Amelia rolls her eyes. “Yes, Aunt Leona, I’m very aware of what will happen. You’ve reminded me every second since the moment we left Stillwater. You must be thrilled that Dad hasn’t woken up.” Amelia tearfully shakes her head with disappointment. Leona turns back around and gazes out the window. “Leona, this isn’t right. You need to take me back home. Dad needs me. They say sometimes if you read to comatose patients and talk to them, they can somehow feel your presence. He probably feels alone with no family there.”
Leona ignores her, as if she were a ghost. So Amelia scoots forward to look at her face and can see tears in Leona’s eyes, suggesting that she misses him too and might be starting to feel guilty.
“Please, I will never tell anyone anything if you just take me back home,” Amelia pleads.
Leona reaches back and grabs Amelia’s wrist. Her long, sharp nails dig into Amelia’s skin like a knife in butter. “You’re damn right you’re not telling anyone anything because you’re not going back! That’s final, so just let it go!”
When she finally lets go of her wrist, blood oozes out of Amelia’s skin and welts begin to form. She rubs it vigorously to remove the blood and soothe the pain. Eli and Navid offer no help in reasoning with their mother, which only heightens Amelia’s disappointment. They haven’t said a thing since they left the hotel. She’s certain they must be as afraid of their mother as she is because they have yet to cross her. The longer they drive in silence the more Amelia feels like she’s going to lose what’s left of her mind. She needs to get away from the tension, so she takes out her iPod and blasts Imagine Dragons through her earbuds. She looks out the window and pretends she’s taking a drive with her parents.
They pull up to a two-story house hidden behind large oaks on a few acres of land. Amelia immediately becomes relaxed. Are we in the country? There aren’t many houses around and it looks like a private estate. The winding driveway leads up to the front door, where a young blonde wearing a gray pantsuit walks out. When they get out of the car, she reaches out her slender hand with perfectly manicured nails and introduces herself as Rebecca Bore from Slater Realty. They all stare at the house in awe. Amelia closes her eyes and breathes in the fresh air.