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Two weeks passed as we tried to readjust to our semblance of normal life. That included school and chores, normal responsibilities. Trying to sleep in spite of the nightmares that woke Talon and I from our sleep. And the questions. From everyone. The children. The adults. Gentle questions and tough questions. Trying to work through the anger, guilt, and the pain.
I opened up to several people. I tried not to shut my family out like my instincts told me too, as the old Mera had done so often in the past. I even told Ayla and uncle Alden things. Things I knew would cause my uncle especially pain. But instead of pulling us apart, our bonds only deepened. I found they were not disgusted or fearful of my past life or actions, but loved me and thought more of me for what I had to overcome.
I also had a few conversations with Landon, who surprisingly turned out to be my most straight forth and valuable source of information on the happenings in Valle Del Lagarto. Unlike my uncle who tended to sugarcoat things. I was relieved to tears to discover Ivan was alive, but facing legal troubles for his role in Atticus operations which were starting to come to light. But he was cooperating with the police in return for some type of deal or leniency. His brother Declan was hurt and angry by finding out the truth about his beloved brother, refused to visit him in jail, and in turn Declan blamed me for some of what happened, was vowing never to speak to me again, because of my deceit and the role I played in getting his brother incarcerated.
My cousin Serena would not take Landon's texts, calls, or facebook messages and the town thought her whole family had fled or were dead, at least until her parents were seen running errands about two weeks after the night things went to hell. Serena hadn't been seen in public at all, and it must have been a hard blow to take, the more terrible things that came out about the grandfather she loved. I imagined she had to feel at odds with the memories of the grandfather she thought she knew, and the man he was now being portrayed to be. Not to mention the death of her uncle Garren, although she hated him. But I didn't have the nerve to try and call her or my aunt Serenity and I wasn't sure if they would take my call.
Of my friends in Valle Del Lagarto, Raven seemed to be angry the least amount of time. Or so her anger fizzled out by the time Landon put her on the phone about a week after I got home. Raven, a pretty blonde, more developed than her classmates, was the first friend I had made. And I knew I hurt her and left her feeling betrayed. She confided things to me thinking I was her thirteen- year-old friend, not some sixteen- year- old imposter. I cried when I spoke to her. So did she and she told me she forgave me and understood why I did it. I hadn't spoken to her boyfriend Oliver, who was Landon's best friend, but Landon assured me Oliver had taken it in stride and had no hard feelings.
On my eighth day home, my uncle asked me to talk to my grandmother Helena. That was also a devastating conversation, full of many tears, apologizes, and her confession she'd suspected I was actually the granddaughter she hadn't laid eyes in since I was a baby. She blamed herself for many things. I told it her it wasn't her fault and I loved her. My uncle was wise to delay my conversation with my grandfather Abraham, who was still furious and full of rage. The only conversations I had with him back in Valle Del Lagarto had ended badly with him trying to get answers about my father and me, whom he believed were both still missing at that time.
As for the non-social state of things back in Valle Del Lagarto, it'd been chaotic in the beginning. The citizen's waking to a gunfight and a fire burning, turned out to just be the beginning. The rumor mill started immediately. Police and forensic teams scouring the old jail on Diablo Street, and even bringing a coroners van. Most of the information was kept from the public because it was an open and active investigation. But the death of Garren Shayle was known that first morning because bystanders saw his body before it was taken away. Soon after the arrests began, or more correctly bringing in Atticus's men for questioning, or at least the ones who hadn't died in Diablo Street or fled.
Ivan turned himself into the police, before the sun had even come up that morning, before they even were officially looking for him. Just after he'd gone home, woke up his mother, and fourteen- year-old brother Declan to admit he was not just a maintenance man. His involvement in Atticus's underworld was just one of many revelations which would shake the foundation of the city to its core and bring so much darkness into the light.