I didn’t hear a peep from Dad until I heard him struggling with my tweed suitcase and duffel bag against the downstairs banister. He set them down in the foyer. Puzzled, my eyes followed him into the kitchen. He picked up a chair and carried it into the living room and set it in front of me, then sat with his back straight and arms folded over his chest.
Dad glared at me with an all-too-familiar expression. It was his I-mean-business look.
After several long-drawn-out moments of our staring at each other, Dad broke the stillness of the room, “Sammy, honey… this can’t… go on any longer.” His lips moved slowly on his solemn face. Unshed tears clouded his blue eyes while he spoke. I hated this.
“You’re killing yourself—I don’t know what to do with you. You won’t talk to me; you ignore your friends.”
I looked hard and long at my father while I stiffened my body, noticing the specks of gray at his temples. When did he get so old? He stared with a flexed brow, not flinching. He knew me well. I could sit there as long as it took for him to leave me alone.
“SAMANTHA! Are you listening to me?” Startled, I gasped. “You have to tell me. Did Lucien hurt you?” My eyes wandered to the white walls. I can’t tell my dad what happened on the mountainside. I could try; if I did, Dad would lock me up forever. I have a hard time believing what I saw in the sky. How would he believe me? My hand reached for Lucien’s crystal around my neck. I squeezed it between my fingers. As I glided my fingers over the smooth stone, I felt my fingertips get warm. Lucien’s crystal generates heat; I’m not sure why yet. It’s all I have left of Lucien.
“SAMANTHA!” Dad shouted again. Startled, the hair on my neck stood on end and catapulted me back to the present. I jerked.
“Look at me, damnit…!” Dad said. I counted four deep-edged lines in his frown; god, his eyes…were so red. “Since you won’t talk to me, you leave me no choice. You’re going someplace where you will have to.” Dad stood, taking the chair with him into the kitchen, placing it back at the kitchen table. His words stung like alcohol poured into an open wound. Dazed, not fully able to comprehend what he had just said, I sat dumbfounded. Dad returned to stand in front of me.
“Get up.” I remained still a moment. His patience dwindled. He pulled me to my feet and opened the closet, pulling out my black winter parka. Stunned, I stood frozen. He held out his arm holding the coat, “Here, put it on, please.” He lifted my arm. “Come on, Samantha, put your arm in the sleeve.” Dad’s movement was harsh and unsettled. It scared me. At that moment, I didn’t know him. He lifted my coat up over my shoulders, helping me put my arms in the sleeves. That’s when it dawned on me; he wasn’t bluffing.
“If we go now, we will get there before dark.” His voice was raspy and slurred like he was exhausted or hung over. I was jolted back to reality. What did he say? I can’t go anywhere. What if Lucien comes back? He won’t be able to find me. Where’s he taking me?
“Huh? Go where?” I said as if awakened from a deep slumber.
“I’m taking you to Oakridge.”
“Have you heard a word I’ve been saying?”
“Huh? Dad, what are talking about? Nooo. Just let me be.”
“You left me no choice, Sam.”
“W-what’s Oakridge?” I moaned.
“A place where you will get help.” He is sending me to Oakridge Estates? That’s where they send the kids at school who get busted for drugs.
“Oakridge is a rehabilitation center for troubled teens, Dad!”
He can’t be serious, “Samantha, you won’t eat, sleep or go to school. This can’t go on longer like this. Dad paused taking in a breath, “I’ve HAD IT. I’ve asked you a dozen times if Lucien hurt you or touched you inappropriately. You won’t talk to me. How’d you think I should react? I should’ve insisted you keep seeing a therapist after we moved. I swear, Samantha—I won’t lose you too!”
“No! Dad, don’t send me there. Lucien didn’t rape me! That’s not what this is about. I promise. I won’t take anymore pills. Give me a rubber band. I’ll put it on. Like before! I promise. I’ll be better. I swear. Don’t send me away…please,” I sobbed.
“Sammy, there are other ways to rape someone without actually physically hurting them. And you’re not telling me. Just because the lab test didn’t find any DNA doesn’t mean he didn’t hurt you.”
“Dad––Dad––I’ll tell you. Wait… Stop and listen––I loved Lucien––he would never have forced himself on me. He’s…not like that.” I stopped. I can’t. Before I knew what was happening, Dad dragged me against my will into the Navigator, but not without fighting him. I fought every step of the way, hoping he would change his mind; but he didn’t.