Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Sixty-four:

Joey Grace (Early afternoon of September 13, 1983)

After buying a bottle of pills from Adriene, I was in such a rush to get home, I actually almost left Addie behind. Fortunately, Amy brought her back inside before I could even begin walking to the door. “There she is,” I called out as she ran into my arms. “Are you ready to go, Sweetheart?”

Addie nodded and the two of us were just about to leave when Amy yanked my arm back. “Joe, we need to talk,” she said, shortly before glancing down at Addie. “Privately.”

“Now? Can’t it wait?” I know I should’ve been less rude, but I was dying to see my wife again.

Amy shook her head at me. “It’s about Adeline,” she whispered, leaning in close.

I left Addie with Ma, then led Amy out into the empty hallway. “What is it?”

“Does Adeline have a history of being violent towards insects or small animals?”

“Not that I know of,” I lied. There was that incident with the rat, but that was over two years ago. Addie is much better now. “Why do you ask?”

“I’m just a little bit concerned for her mental health, that’s all.”

“Mental health? Amy, she’s five,” I laughed.

“I know, I know. It’s just that I saw squishing this butterfly in her hand earlier and—”

“It was probably just an accident. You know how kids are, how overly excited they get. It doesn’t mean that they’re crazy.”

“No, Joe, it was no accident. I saw her; she had no remorse in her eyes whatsoever,” she cried out as I turned to leave.

“What are you suggesting then?” I looked back at her. “That I should have my daughter locked up in some insane asylum?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying at all, but I would consider getting her tested.”

“Tested? Like by a shrink?” Amy nodded and I was officially at the end of my rope. I had to walk away before saying something I’d regret.

“Joey, wait!” I heard Amy holler behind me.

“I have to go,” I told her, getting closer to the front door of the funeral home. “We’ll talk about this another time.”

Heading out to the car, I could see that Addie and Ma were already in there, waiting for me. Opening the door to the passenger’s seat, I got in and buckled my seatbelt without saying a word.

“Is everything alright?” Ma asked.

Without answering, I peeked back at Addie through the rearview. She’d been playing with one of her dolls in the backseat, paying no attention to either of us. She seems fine to me, but what if Amy is right? What if she does need serious help? Fuck, I’m starting to sound like Liv. “Everything’s fine,” I said to Ma.

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