After we collected our thoughts about what happened, all the boys went home, Elara stayed with Oriana and Ruth for the night and we went to bed, feeling exhausted and scared. The next morning, I woke up to mom’s calling for dad really loud. “Hey Carolos,” she said and we all rushed to the living room because her voice sounded like she was in a shock and kind of terrified. It was still 5:30 but that didn’t matter to us. We cared for her safety. We cared for each other.
“What happened?” Dad asked her then he held her shoulders as we all sat down. Nolan and Andro waited for her to speak, and I sat next to her. “It all connected in my head! Carolos! It was her all along! The one who wrote the threats was her, not a he! We have been played by her,” Mom countered with fear but we didn’t quite understand what was she talking about. I was dying to know what happened yet afraid to find out the truth. As I keep thinking, I find more wounds in my parents’ hearts that we never knew existed.
I felt guilty for some reason. I was oblivious to a lot of things. “What?” Dad exclaimed then he froze for a minute. “Now that I think about it, you are right. It was Meg’s doing!” He agreed with mom and here, Nolan lost his patience. “Someone tell us what is going on!” He slammed his hand on the table to grab their attention and he succeeded. Mom took a deep breath and gave us a weak smile. “You are right, we’re sorry. But please, no questions asked until we finish talking,” she nodded then glanced at dad.
He grabbed her hand and then rubbed it with his hand. “Kids, have you ever wondered why we still wear our wedding rings if we’re divorced?” He asked this and I almost instantly nodded. “Yes!” The three of us responded and it was clearly been bugging us for a while. “Why we never dated?” Mom continued and we also nodded. Our parents laughed and I arched my eyebrows. “Well... that’s because we have never been divorced.” And here, everything was turned off in my head. I didn’t hear anything my brothers were saying.
My parents were never divorced. We had to live separately for years because of some threats? My family was split up because of a woman? Were the threats that serious to break our family apart? I was going insane and nothing would have helped calm me down, form the inside at least. “What were the threats?” I found myself asking. I knew I was crying, my tears were salty and hot, however, I didn’t wipe them away. I didn’t care.
Mom gave me a sad expression and she held me tightly. “Oh honey, We’re sorry, so sorry! We had to do that because if we didn’t, Elara would be killed.” She stated and I gasped. Nolan and Andro’s eyes went wide. “The threats always included Elara. We started getting them when she was born. At first, we didn’t really care about them because we thought they were lame jokes, but months, even years later, it got worse. We’d get them every single day attached to pictures of our family and especially Elara. They were legit. Even the police advised that we should split, even pretend in front of you. But now, I regret not telling you guys. I’m extremely sorry! Please forgive us.” She cried while explaining and it was my turn to embrace her.
Dad, Ando, Nolan came closer and gave us a group hug. “We understand. It was for Elara’s safety anyway, don’t apologize.” Nolan said and Ando agreed. “Yeah, it was not your fault but now we know why Meg is doing all this,” Andro hollered and we looked at him like he was absurd. “You know?” We all asked him and he nodded.
“Think about it, she said that if you don’t split up, she’d kill Elara. She even burned our house in Virginia. So far, she didn’t put dad in a dangerous position. It was always you, mom, and you said you never knew her but dad did. She was his neighbor, after all.” Andro explained and I connected the dots. He was right. I understood where he was going with this. “Dad... she’s in love with you. She stalked you and still is stalking you. She never hurt you and she never will. Her target was mom, she wanted to have you, dad,” I cleared.
Dad sighed and then he fell on the couch. “So, it is my fault that you are in this situation right now? It is all on me! I don-” He started whispering to himself but mom stopped him from going any deeper than this. Someone had to stop him from falling down the cliff and mom was that someone. “Shut up! It’s not your fault that she’s a psychopath who’s in love with you. You did nothing wrong. You didn’t know! So, shut the hell up before I beat you to the point where you can’t walk straight for a week,” mom made her own threats and dad became quiet. I loved that.
As they kept on chatting, I got a text message from Zeno. It was a photo so I opened it and saw a woman in her early forties or so. I arched my eyebrows in confused but then I read what he wrote below the picture. My eyes widened and I quickly showed it to my dad and mom. “Isn’t that woman used to be our neighbor for a few months then she moved away?” Mom said and dad looked at her with a perplexed expression. “This woman approached me a year ago because she wanted to date me, I refused her offer though.” He added and I sighed. “That is Meg Forman. Zeno just texted me her picture,” I countered and their heads snapped back at me. “She was near us all along without knowing who she really was. I always thought that she was creepy,” I said and crossed my arms.
After a moment of silence, my phone rang. “Yeah?” It was Zeno. “Can you put me on speaker?” He requested and I did what he wanted. “You’re on, what’s up?” I asked and we waited. “So, my dad and I, we were able to track down Meg’s credit card and it was last used in Ruth’s caramel shop, yesterday night. Elara and Oriana are there right now, correct?” He spoke those words and Andro grabbed his phone to call Ruth. I prayed to God that they would be okay. I hoped it was a coincidence. But again, nothing was a coincidence with Meg. It was all planned.
“Ruth, are the girls okay?” Andro asked her as she picked up but then I heard her yelling. Andro scratched the back of his head. “Sorry, good morning. But it is an emergency, are they with you?” He asked again and then sighed in relief. “Great thanks, I will come and get them in about half an hour for school.” He said and we all relaxed for a bit. “She knew that Elara was with Ruth. She knows everything we do. Our every move is being tracked down. Better be extra careful now, we don’t know why she’s doing this,” Zeno cleared but then I grabbed the phone and put it on my ear. I shared a looked with my family and they all nodded.
“Actually, we know why she’s doing this... ” I began talking and went to my room. He should know the truth and that was for the best.