Mom, I love you, and thanks for trying, but no. And what is that?

We stepped out of the car, gravel crunching under our feet. The door was open, and loud, raucous music was pouring out into the night. I could hear the stomping of feet on the wooden floors, and the smell of stale beer and fried food hung like a fog over the building.

It was an argument Blythe and I had been having since this morning, an argument that had carried us through two highways and four counties, and I wasn’t quite done having it yet.Nor was Blythe done being irritated by it.

She was wearing sunglasses, but I could feel her rolling her eyes at me as she sat in the backseat, her arms folded over her chest like a sulky toddler.What would she have told you that you didn’t already know? Blythe asked, shifting in her seat. David made her. David sent her. David wants to kill you because he’s gone super mega nutbar. None of that is new information, Harper. It’s exactly what we got from Annie, and this time, has to be said, it didn’t look like David was in any rush to call her off.From the passenger seat, Bee made a frustrated noise, tipping her head back. She was probably getting sick of this argument, too, I thought, but then she said, We actually don’t know any of that. We’re guessing based on what Annie, and now this Shelley person, said. Why would David think Harper wants to kill him?

Bee had missed out on everything last night, and I got the sense she felt a little guilty about it. Or maybe she was just being a good best friend, automatically taking my side.Blythe sat up in the backseat, looking at us over the rims of her sunglasses in a move that reminded me uncomfortably of David. He’d looked at me like that more times than I could count.

Did you miss the ‘super mega nutbar’ part? she asked Bee. He thinks she wants to kill him because of that. The nutbar—

Yeah, I heard, Bee said, drawing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. But there’s no confirmation, since we didn’t get to ask Shelley what she knew.He smiled. He was older than the interloping vagabonds on my island but kindness radiated in his eyes. A stethoscope hung around his neck and his nametag gave him an address of Stefan.

Yes, of course. You’re the woman rescued from the island.Placing the tray on the sideboard with clownfish frolicking, he held out his hand. Pleasure to meet you. You were awake last night, but I did wonder if you would remember. After all, such trauma can sometimes render a mind forgetful for a time.

I couldn’t look away from his hand. It’d been so long since I’d touched anyone but Galloway and the children.His memory took me by surprise at the worst moments.

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