Don’t Look Back

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Twelve

Why can’t I stay asleep? Am I not tired or do I need a glass of milk?

Staring at the ceiling is starting to get a bit old now.

“Ugh.” I voice my annoyance with the universe as I get out of bed and roam the halls.

The kitchen was my first stop. Looking around for snacks and small meals. Coming across microwave Mac and cheese, pop tarts and granola bars. This has to be an entire pantry dedicated to Sophia.

I chose the Mac and cheese. Cheese this late at night just sounds more delicious. I fill the small cup with water and pop it in the microwave. I lean back on the counter as I wait for the beeping to sound. I see the 1 second marker and press stop before it could go off and let the entire house know I was up to no good in the kitchen. I mix in my cheese and continue my journey through the halls of the family sized home.

I pass Sophia’s room with her small Nemo night light. You couldn’t miss Mel’s room. It’s right next to Sophia’s. I walk pass Amos’ office and stop. The light was shining from under the door. Was he still awake?

I knock first and listen, but got no response. I twist the doorknob expecting it to be locked, but the full twist caught me off guard. I freeze before I finally decide to pop my head in.

He was asleep. At his desk papers sprawled out around him as he was cheek down in the desk. He looked so silly. I fully walk in and look around. Well I guess I should get him into bed. I walk over to him and gently tap him. I get no movement.

“Amos.” I say as I gently shake him. “You have to get into bed. You can’t sleep on the desk you’ll hurt your neck.”

“Mel I’m fine.” He says shooing me away.

“It’s Tia. And you are not fine get up.” He finally blinks his eyes open and looks at me.

“Oh. I’m sorry. What are you doing up?” He asked sitting up and yawning. He looks so tired.

“I couldn’t sleep so I was eating a snack and walking around to make myself tired. Come on. Let’s get you to bed.”

He stands and starts gathering himself to go to his bedroom. I catch glimpse of the papers on his desk with photos of my dad and my husband. I noticed about five other people in a line up that I don’t recognize. I’m gonna try to mind my business on this one. I’m not trying to get anymore involved than I’ve already been.

I follow him out the office, shutting off the lights and closing the door behind me. As we begin going our separate ways I hear Amos call out to me.

“Tia. I- I want to apologize for earlier. What I said was out of line and it shouldn’t have been said. I was angry and you being stubborn wasn’t making anything easier although I can’t make excuses. I’m rambling.”

I look at him and see he’s actually trying to be sincere, but is being really bad at it.

“I get it. It’s fine. Apology accepted. Now go to bed.” I say turning and walking away from him and going back to my bedroom. We both need to get some rest and my Mac and cheese was cold now. I stop by the kitchen to throw the small cup away before going to bed.

I get into bed more tired than I’ve ever been. Falling into a different kind of sleep.

I didn’t wake up until noon and panicked when I realized. Who let me sleep in? Why didn’t anyone wake me to help with breakfast? I get up and leave my room and make my way to the living room. No one is here. I check the kitchen and also no one is here.

I make my way to the office and knock before entering to see that Amos was still home and working on whatever he was working on last night.

“Why didn’t you wake me up? I didn’t help with breakfast or anything.” He looks up from his papers and back down as if my question meant nothing.

“You were tired. You were up last night long enough to come wake me up. You needed some rest.” I nod and stay silent.

“Why don’t you go shower and get ready for the day? I’ll still be in here when you get back.” He states without looking up from the papers.

I leave the office and go back to my room to grab some things for my shower. Hot water and a nice hair wash sounded delightful if I’m being quite honest.

I feel like I washed every last bit of bad blood from my body. Everything that happened yesterday and the days before that. This shower just felt so different and relieving. I felt so good I just cried. I couldn’t do anything, but cry. I felt like the chains around my ankles fell off and the fifty pound vest was lifted off my chest and shoulders.

I got dressed for the day and made my way to the office. Although there was still so much happening right now with trying to figure out who leaked our location. There is no longer a demonic husband to creep from the shadows and grab me by the neck and drag me back.

I get into the office and walk to his desk. “We’ve got some things to talk about. And I need you to have an open and clear mind.”

I sit in front of him and turns papers with different men to face me with descriptions and names above them. I look them over and come up with nothing what am I looking for? I read descriptions and names over and over. Was I missing something?

“What am I looking for? Who are these men?” I ask with with clear confusion in my voice.

“Tia, which of these men is your older brother?” I blink at him confused and shocked. I must have heard that wrong.

“My what?”
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