Mitchell’s headlights faded into the distance, leaving a cold silence hovering around those who remained. The wind howled high above, making the leaves rustle quietly. It was Amanda who broke the silence first.
“Well, we’d best get inside, it’s a bit nippy out here,” she said. “How’d you kids like a tour?”
“Mind if we got some sleep first?” Garrett asked, with a yawn. “I’m still trying to adjust to this new time zone.”
Amanda’s smiled warmed. “Sure, honey. Come on, I’ll show you to your rooms.”
She took a child on each arm and led them up the front steps. Immediately inside the front door was a large and spacious living room. The room was filled with artifacts from the colonial days. New furniture was spread among the plush carpet and pictures adorned the walls.
“We have spare rooms upstairs and downstairs. Who wants what?”
“I’ll take one downstairs,” Garrett said. “I’m… kind of afraid of heights.”
“Even inside a house?” Eva hadn’t meant for the question to sound as judgmental as it did. Garrett’s face turned scarlet and he diverted his gaze to the floor. “Sorry,” Eva apologized quickly. “I just mean… I’m sorry.”
“That’s fine, Garrett,” Amanda said. “Evan, why don’t you take Garrett downstairs and show him his room.” Evan nodded and led Garrett into the kitchen and then took a right and disappeared down a flight of stairs.
“Come on, Brooke,” Amanda said. “We’ll give you a room upstairs. Are you okay with that?”
It took a moment for Eva to realize that Amanda was addressing her. Brooke,she thought. I’m Brooke now. She smiled at Amanda.
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
She followed Amanda back through the living room to a set of stairs that faced opposite the front door. At the top, Amanda gestured to a room on her right. “This’ll be yours.”
Once again, Eva was met with a room of white.
Amanda must have read the dissatisfaction on Eva’s face because she said, “Tomorrow, Evan and I will take you and Garrett shopping. We’ll get you some new clothes and stuff for your rooms. Sound like fun?”
Eva turned around and smiled. “Yeah.” As Amanda turned to leave, Eva asked, “Amanda?”
Eva paused. “Is that your real name? Or do you have to pretend like Garrett and I do?”
Amanda sighed and smiled sadly. “No, honey. Amanda’s not my real name. And… only Evan and I are pretending. This is yours and Garrett’s life now.”
With those words, she shut the door.