One of the reasons, Beth admitted. An important one.
He wouldnt let us leave, wouldnt let Mother take Sarah to the hospital. For three days he kept us in one of the upstairs rooms. Penelope shudders as she breathes and cries softly. Sarah was in so much pain. And then, Joseph, the driver—he had only been with us a few months—he helped us escape when our father fell asleep. I remember he swept in and scooped Sarah up in his arms and told us, Down the back steps, the car is waiting—hurry now. And the most terrifying moment was when the three of us were loaded into the back and Joseph had to run around to get to the drivers seat. We were so close . . . I kept watching the door, waiting for my father to burst through and kill us.Penelopes face has lost all color now. She rubs at her eyes and cheeks with weary hands. But he didnt. Joseph drove us to the hospital and they set Sarahs leg, but it never healed the way it should have. Auntie Gertrude took us in, had her lawyers arrange the divorce, and they managed to convince our father that if he ever came near us again, details of his actions and photos of Sarahs bruises would be made public. He was in Switzerland the last I heard, and I hope every day that an avalanche falls on him.
My chest feels like its filled with concrete. And I want to cry. I havent wept since I was ten years old, but I could now. For her. For the fucking injustice of it. I want to fall to my knees and shout at the sky. I want to curse God to his face.I want to slash and burn and maim and kill.And its that last thought that finally gives me the focus I so desperately need. I take a few deep breaths then stand up and put my hand on Penelopes shoulder, squeezing. Thank you for telling me.
She gifts me with a shadow of a smile. But as I step toward the door, she clasps my hand in her chilly grip. Henry. You cant . . . you need to leave my sister alone. You cant toy with her. I know she seems strong and in some ways she is, but inside . . . shes so fragile. Sarah is genuine and good and . . . not like us.Penelope Von Titebottum and I are cut from the same selfish cloth. Wild. Needy. We know how the game is played, how to turn all heads our way. We thrive on it—the attention, the adoration of others. I mean—look at this fucking show Ive jumped into.
Without a care in the world.
Without a thought for my country or my responsibilities or even a second of concern for the feelings of the women whove signed up for it. The whole point is to get them to fall in love with me—to think they have a chance at living royally fucking ever after, while the whole world watches.The best part? His sincerity was a winner across the board. He seemed honestly interested in Granhmens stubbed toe, then her uncles bad tooth, the cold weather, the disappointment that the Patriots had lost in the playoffs, more on the weather, the human government, the Syracuse mens basketball teams losing defensive strategy against Louisville, again with the weather, how to crochet a throw rug, why birds flew south late this year (Global Warming, were all going to die), and finally, how best to prepare Swedish meatballs in grape jelly in a Crock-Pot.
Im not familiar with that manner of cooking? he said to her aunt. Is it earthenware? But how do you then plug it in?Ivies aunt gripped his forearm as if she were about to faint. Youve never seen a Crock-Pot before.
Indeed, I have not. However, I believe this is knowledge I am suffering for a lack of—I knew you liked her! I knew it! I knew it!