Carthage got dressed and went into the kitchen. He opened the fridge door and stared listlessly at the food inside.
“No.” He closed the door. “Just no. I’ll get something to eat out there. Somewhere. Maybe I can beg a jelly doughnut off a police officer while I’m at the station.”
He grabbed his car keys and left the house.
Barbara stood. “Well. Let’s get this over with. I’m going to the police station. Do you want to come with me?”
Sarah frowned. She drew a badge above her heart, pointed at herself, and put her wrists together in imaginary handcuffs.
Barbara smiled. “No, they won’t arrest you. You’ll be safe.”
The little girl quirked her mouth to the side.
“Do you want to come with me?”
“Okay. Let me go grab my keys.”
Carthage settled into his front seat and buckled up. He leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the steering wheel.
The car horn sounded, startling him. “Oh, right. I forgot how easily that thing goes off.”
His headache pounded, steady and relentless.
He sighed. “This is going to be a fail. An absolute fail.” He stuck his key into the ignition and started the car. “But I might as well get it over with.” He backed out of the driveway.
I just hope they don’t arrest me for some unknowable reason.
Sarah curled up on the floor behind Barbara’s seat.
“Are you okay?” Barbara asked.
Sarah nodded. She wanted to tell her that the pressure from the back seat and the front seat made her feel safe. But she had no idea how to put all of that into her special sign language. It seemed like it would take a lot of gestures, when a simple nod sufficed.
“Do you want to sit up here with me?”
She shook her head.
“Okay.” Barbara closed her door and buckled up.
Sarah pressed her head against the door and worried.
What if her parents were looking for her?
What if they came to claim her?
Would they let her see Ambrose again? What if they didn’t? Would they be able to understand her language as well as he did? What if they didn’t?
Barbara started the car and backed out of the driveway.
Would her parents read The Phantom of the Opera to her? Would they love her? Would they want her? Would they take care of her?
What would they do the first time they saw her turn into her XQ self? Would they throw pails of water at her? Would they get mad at her? Would they get scared of her? Would they not want her anymore?
Where would she go if they didn’t want her anymore? Would Ambrose and Barbara take her back? Would Raven take her in? What about Jeff? Or would they insist on her going back to her real parents?
Sarah raised her head and peeked out the window. She watched the scenery pass by.
What if her parents were dead?
What happened then?
Would Barbara let her stay?