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As she moved from his car, she felt him looking at her.
“See you tomorrow,” he said and got out.
She didn’t look back, but damn it if a part of her didn’t feel as if she was walking away from something important. A part of her wanted to turn around and fall against him, to ask him to reassure her that they would find Natasha and Liam.
“I’ll miss you,” he called out just as she passed through the gate.
Me, too. The thought ran through her mind, but she refused to say it. Then she remembered something and turned around. Before she spoke, she turned her head slightly to hear if anyone was around. No one.
“Make sure you look into me meeting the council.”
She watched him wave and get into his car. She stayed there and watched his taillights disappear down the street. Funny how her request sent him driving off, when before he’d seemed happy to linger. Was there something to that?
Chapter Twenty-eight
It was almost two in the morning when she walked into her bedroom. The cabin was silent. Only the soft sounds of Miranda and Kylie sleeping in their beds filled the space. Della stripped off her clothes, donned PJs, crawled into bed, and hugged her pillow. Her mind spun, too hyped up to sleep.
Now, in bed, feeling a slight unnatural chill, thoughts of Chase faded and became replaced with thoughts of …
She looked around the room for any sign of a ghost. She didn’t see shit, but it didn’t mean shit wasn’t there. “Are you my aunt?” Her words seemed to rise up and hang above her in a small cloud of mist.
Della pulled the covers up to her neck, then spotted the diary beside her and picked it up to read. She found the spot she’d stopped reading earlier. Some of the dates didn’t have the year, but Della could tell the inscriptions were written several years back when Natasha was still in high school.
Wanting to know if there was anything about being turned, she flipped to the back of the book to see the date. Written on the last page were the words: Good-bye, diary. But the date on top was October thirteenth of last year.
Which would mean that reading her diary wasn’t going to offer any help, it was just an invasion of privacy. Boring privacy, but an invasion all the same. She closed the book and went to put it away, but it suddenly flipped open.
Looking around, still feeling the chill, she closed the book again. This time, when it popped open, Della got the feeling she was supposed to read. Just like she’d been supposed to find the picture in Chan’s casket.
“Fine. But how is this going to help find her? It’s normal everyday stuff.” Which Della had just referred to as boring, but truthfully, normal sounded nice. What would it feel like if your biggest problem was that the guy you liked didn’t know you existed? She used to have that life, Della thought. And so did Natasha, she realized. Her life had gone to hell, too.
Della looked down at the page dated January 10. She started to read.
Mom called me into her room today. I knew what she was going to tell me. I felt it coming. She’s going to marry Tom.
Della let go of a sigh. So Natasha’s life wasn’t so perfect. Della recalled the picture of the part-Asian man on Natasha’s bedside table. That must have been her real dad. Had he died, or had her parents divorced? Then she recalled the man standing outside looking up at the window. That must have been Tom.
She went back to reading.
I did the right thing. I told her I was happy for her. But it was hard. It’s also hard to realize how selfish I am. I want her to myself. I don’t want to share her. But I don’t plan to live at home forever. I’ll graduate in less than a year. And then she’ll be alone. She doesn’t deserve that.
It’s not as if I don’t like Tom. Well, maybe I don’t like him, but I don’t dislike him. And I don’t think he’s bad. I can tell he loves my mom. And he’s nice to me. But he’s not my dad. And I feel as if he’s trying to fill his shoes. I don’t want Tom as a dad.
And having him around reminds me that I lost the one I did have. It’s insane how you can miss someone after all these years. Miss them like crazy, but time also makes you forget. Like his voice. I used to think I would always remember it. The way he would call me honeybun—but it’s faded away. But it has been seven years since he died. I still look at his picture almost every night and try to see me in him. And I do a little, but not enough. I wish I had his nose.
Della stared at the page and realized how much she had in common with Natasha. How many times had she looked in the mirror and wondered why she didn’t look more like her dad, more like his family and the culture he was so proud of? Maybe being of mixed race just sent you down that path—a path where you felt as if you didn’t belong to one group or the other.
Della read on, but the diary went back to mundane stuff. An argument she had with Tom, picking out her prom dress. She read them all, and was a few pages from the end. This entry was longer than the others.
One week until I turn eighteen. Today, Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I knew she’d ask, she always does. She’s good like that, wants to get you what you want and not just something she likes. But this year, I looked her right in the eye and decided not to lie. I want the truth, I told her. Her expression almost made me cry. It reminded me of how she looked when the police showed up at our door and told her that my father had died in the plant explosion. I think she’s afraid she’ll lose me. She won’t lose me, but I am going to be angry if what I believe is true. She should have told me years ago.