As the last guest leave, Amelia walks to the front door and peeks out to find Eli and Navid saying goodbye to their guests and Leona chatting with Brady. She turns back around, frustrated when she realizes she’s all alone in the house. “Maybe I should check my phone,” she whispers. She quickly grabs Leona’s keys and sprints to the hidden drawer, where she grabs her phone and turns it on to check for messages. A second later, Leona closes the front door. Amelia slams the drawer shut and shoves her phone into her bra. She swiftly opens the refrigerator door and hides behind it to fix her dress.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Leona asks.
Amelia casually peeks around the door. “Oh nothing, just getting a drink.” With a straight face, she takes a sip of her soda.
“So did you have fun?” Leona’s eerily happy smile is a little too much for one day, and it forces Amelia to stare at the floor.
“Yes, this was the best party ever, and thanks again for what you did. I’m going to go back outside and enjoy the rest of the evening under my favorite tree for a while.”
“Okay, yeah. Brady just left, so I’ll probably turn in soon. It’s been a long day.” She yawns.
“Okay, good night.” Amelia walks away cautiously. She makes it all the way to the French doors without another word from Leona, but she has to wonder if her aunt is curious about the drawer. She looks back and notices that Leona’s pondering something and hopes she doesn’t suspect anything. She has to figure out a way to put her phone back in the drawer. Leona marches into her bedroom and closes the door behind her. That was close.
The quiet yard is such a gift, as Amelia has spent hours around nothing but noise. The lights are still bright, but the candles have almost burned out. She can hear nothing except the wind in the trees as she stares off into space. The incandescent moon shines down on her like a spotlight and the warm breeze kisses her on the face. The intoxicating feeling of pure relaxation makes her contemplate staying out there all night. She closes her eyes and pictures her parents twirling around on the dance floor, laughing and embracing each other. Then Cash would give Alexandria a sweet kiss as they waltzed to the music.
She misses the way things used to be when life made sense, when her parents were madly in love with each other, and when Leona’s scheming tricks never worked. Then her mind reverts back to the dream she had that night in the hospital. The mysterious and strangely beautiful guy who stood there, reaching for her when she needed someone the most. When she cried and sat in the mud, only to look up and see him staring at her with comforting eyes. She remembers that feeling and how she’s never wanted a person as badly as she wanted him.