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It had been a month since that mysterious morning when she found Blake on the beach. It was also the day that she found that her family disappeared. In that time, she made little progress in tracking them down. In that time Blake had put her up in a hotel nearby. She was lonely at first but after a little while she occupied herself with a local bookstore. Blake showed up about the same time every day, at night fall to inquire as to her comforts. Then he was gone again, never telling her where fortune took him.
One day, he showed up looking especially downtrodden. She had told him that she would not stay here in this little hotel room forever without any knowledge of why or how she got there. He promised to tell her the truth once it was “safe.” Every night, he left without telling her when that time would be.
He showed up dressed completely black as usual. His red hair had started growing out and gave way to glimmers of blond. Although his clothes spoke of a common street thug, his air was still that of a gentleman.
He smiled momentarily, but then became serious again. “I found your family, they’re living in Remin, under the name of Amora. They had to change their name from Salome due to some complications with a certain Lady Maglania.” He waved his hand as though the details of that complication were unimportant. “I have made arrangements for you to rejoin them.”
On the day he left her in Remin, things were a blur. Vivienne knew it would come but it went by too soon, so much so that it felt like it never happened. She remembered getting ready; she had settled on a glaringly red dress. She remembered feeling confused when she chose it; she normally lived in a shade of black or grey.
But on that day, their goodbye was quick. He took her to the street where her parents had found their new house.
“The last house on the right,” he told her. He was wearing sunglasses even though the sky was completely overcast. She couldn’t read his face. “They are expecting you.”
What happened after Vivienne knocked on that door was a whirlwind. It was her father who answered the door. He was wearing his ragged old robe and his mismatched slippers. He sported an annoyed look on his face as though he was about to tell whoever was on the other side of that door that he didn’t want any of their junk mail.
When he saw her, his face contorted into a smiling cry. He had his arms around her in a second. Then, before she knew it, her mother had her arms around her too. Everyone was crying and laughing. Everyone except Janun who was still sitting at the dinner table. She had a terribly annoyed expression on her face.
After her parents ran off to call Aunt Sully and all their other relatives to spread the news that Vivienne was alive, she sat down at the dinner table.
“Hey, happy to see you again too,” Vivienne said. Janun shoved another chunk of bread in her mouth as though it was to stop herself from saying something. She chewed thoughtfully.
“How did you make it back?” Janun asked. “No one ever makes it back from Coral City.”
“I had help,” Vivienne said. She thought of Blake again and wondered how much the rest of them knew. “A lot of help.”
“Do you think they’ll leave us alone now that you’re here?” Janun asked, her eyes suddenly sharp and terrified all at once. “Lady Maglania is just going to forget you exist?”
“I didn’t think of that,” Vivienne said. Fragments of the past were still coming back to her. Lady Maglania. Allison. Vivienne wished she could forget again. She couldn’t recall the events but she remembered the emotion, the violence, and finally the betrayal. It was like Blake said, there was nothing to be gained from remembering.
“We have a life here now. We just got here recently; about the same time you disappeared. I don’t want to spend my entire life on the run.”
“I know!” Vivienne said and sighed. “I want to live a normal life too. That’s why I came back.”
“And so you will!” their father suddenly interrupted and he sat down at the dinner table too. “That is why you will start school tomorrow. Isn’t there some kind of a carnival in town, Janun? Why don’t you take your sister there tomorrow? As soon as we start acting like ourselves again, the sooner it can all go back to normal.”