Twenty two. The age at which I’d finally move out of this godforsaken hosue. Maybe I’d get an apartment with Simon and Nova. Maybe I’d rent a house with…whoever I was dating. I didn’t want to get my hopes up by entertaining the thought that it might possibly be Ezra. It would be just too sweet for words to describe if that happened.
Eight. That’s when my mother moved in with Sam officially. They’d gotten married a month later. At the time, I’d thought it was weird that she seemed to show no remorse for moving on so quickly, but as I got older, it became a lot clearer. She’d been cheating on my dad and living with Sam for months behind his back.
Seven. I was seven when my mother called the school to tell me that my dad had died. She hadn’t even bothered to come home from her “business trip” to tell me herself. The counselors had pulled me out of classes for a week and I don’t think I ate for almost four days. It was hard.
Fifteen. The first time I realized that everything in my life was just temporary. It was a sucky situation that would go away one day. I wasn’t going to be stuck here forever; I just wouldn’t allow it. I could go on and do great things with my life if I tried…I just had to figure out what those great things were first.
Five. That was time I saw my dad. He’d been leaving for a two year deployment and he promised that he would come back to me. I guess he never made good on that promise.
That was my seven digit code for the house. That was how I remembered it. I punched it into the keypad by the door and listened for the rotation of the lock to click back slightly as it slid back and the door swung open to let me in. “I’m home,” I called to the empty house. I let Nova’s expensive clutch fall onto the table by the side of the door and frowned. It wasn’t like the others to be this quiet, even at night. “Hello?”
“In here, Wilhelmina.” I followed the sound of my mother’s voice into the kitchen, kicking off the painfully strappy high heels as I went. She was sitting at the kitchen table, with Sam and Molly on either side of her, as though they were just about to start eating dinner…but there was no food to be seen. “Come in. Have a seat.”
“What’s all this about?” I asked, leaning against a kitchen counter in opposition to her suggestion. The tone in her voice was dangerously welcoming; it was as though she’d forgotten about the little fact that we hated each other and the suspicion it rose was too much for words. Besides, if I wanted to make a grand exit, I didn’t want to be tied down with having to push a chair out from under a table.
My mother glanced over at Sam, who sat stonily faced across the table from her, before turning towards me. “We’re missing money. There’s about two thousand dollars missing from the emergency fund in the basement.” The emergency fund was a remnant from my mother’s days of preparing for disasters. She used to hoard money in case she needed to escape and the last time that she’d had to break into that stash was when she ran away with my dad after learning she was pregnant with me. “Do you know where any of that money could have disappeared to?”
“No clue,” I said. Of course I had my suspicions about who was the legitimate thief- it was obvious considering that she’d asked me for two thousand dollars earlier that night- but if I voiced my concerns, I knew that they’d immediately take my shift of blame as an admission of guilt.
Welcome to the Vincent household. Where the criminal is Mina and then proven guilty.