Sadie rushes back to the couch in the center of the living room.

Sitting down, she tries to pretend that she wasn’t watching for their car out the front window. Swallowing her feverish panic, Sadie picks up her book and flips it open. If anyone was paying attention they’d realize she couldn’t have read that far in the amount of time they were gone.

Car doors shut and a moment later, keys jostle and scrape in the locks. The front door opens, her Dad stepping in. His eyebrows jump upon seeing her sitting there. The man’s face, gentle but framed with nervous anger just a few hours prior, is now one of fatigue. He breaks eye contact with her and walks into the house.

Silence. It’s the silence that sends her anxiety into overdrive. No one is speaking. As her mother comes in she spares a similar glance for Sadie and then looks to her father. Aunt Amber and Uncle Burt file in behind after that. They stalk past the suitcases lined up next to the door and move to the couch in front of the living room window, just opposite her own. Uncle Burt sits down with a heavy sigh. Other than that, no one utters a sound.

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