“An inmate from Stillwater County Jail is trying to contact you. Do you wish to accept?” the operator asks.
“Yes I do!” Amelia quickly replies. She paces back and forth as her heart races.
“Bonjour, Amelia, Joyeux anniversaire ma chérie.”
Tears rush down so fast she can’t stop them and her heart is hammering against her chest. One of the hardest days of her life just got better with a single phone call. She’s elated to hear her mother’s voice, even though she insists on speaking in French. But her grandmother does the same thing.
“Merci, mama. I miss you so much. I thought I’d never hear from you again. I saw what happened on the news, and it was hard to see you like that.”
“I know, baby. I miss you too and I love you so much. Always believe that, no matter what.”
“Leona was so mean and the boys were too. But they’re actually trying to make an effort. They even threw me a birthday party,” Amelia admits.
“C’est Super! I wish your father and I could’ve done that for you, sweetie.”
“Me too, Mom. You and Dad were the only people I wanted to spend it with. I don’t know if you heard, but Dad’s not doing too well. He’s still in a coma.”
“I know. Listen, honey, I can’t talk long. It was a favor that I was able to call you this late, but I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday and to tell you to stay strong. Try not to let them bring you down. Where are you, by the way?”
“Leona practically kidnapped me and moved us to Columbia, Missouri. I’d never been so scared in my life.” She can’t bring herself to tell her mother that she was suicidal, or that she thinks Leona killed Roland. All she wants is for her to focus on getting out of jail.
“What! I know you must have been frightened out of your mind. I hate that woman! Amelia, listen to me, be very careful around her.”
“I know. I’ll be careful. I just hope that somehow you can get out of there. If Dad would just wake up, he could clear your name because the police didn’t believe me. By the way, I found out that Leona was really behind the whole thing, Mom. She even had Eli and Navid in on it.” The very thought makes Amelia furious all over again.
“I knew it! Especially when Eli came strolling in the house. Cash told me he was away at school. I think she’d been planning this for quite a while. Amelia, I don’t want you to worry about me. I need you to take care of yourself. My court dates have been getting pushed back, so hopefully it will bide us some time to figure out what’s next, but whatever happens, you need to be cautious.”
“I will. Mom, can’t you get Grandma and Papa to post bail? I know they’re worried sick about you?”
“Yes, they are very worried. They tried to get me out on bail, but because I ran, I’m considered a flight risk. I’ve seen them a few times and they’re doing everything they can. Honey, I think you need to stay with them. I would feel much better knowing you’re safe. I’ll send them to get you.” So Leona can kill them!