Chapter 51

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Ken takes her jacket off and balls it up in his hand. "Here, I'll keep ahold of this."

He then looks at me. "Try putting her down. Trust me, I have no more luck than you do."

I nod, gazing at Goldie's surprise through the corner of my eye. "Sure."

A small smile appears on Ken's face, his features shadowed blue. He looks as if he might cry, except there are no tears in his eyes. He doesn't look okay. "Thank you."




I swivel my head around to find that Goldie has already made her way past me down the hallway, after catching a glimpse of our fluffy king-sized bed. That unruly strand of hair bobs with every unsteady step she takes.


I follow Goldie, leaving Ken and Luna by themselves. "Be careful," I call after her.



She wiggles onto the side of the bed, struggling to pull herself over the height of the mattress. I chuckle more than I should and lift her butt over the edge so she lays flat on the covers.

"Goldie," I propose, "How about we get ready to go to bed?"

She tugs at her flowered shirt, her small brows furrowing. "In... shirt?"

"Yes, you'll survive." I give her a light push and she topples onto the bed, the sound of her giggles filling the room and warming my heart. I get off of the mattress and before she can go anywhere, I roll her up in the bedsheet. She looks like one of those tubby caterpillars as she squirms, trying to wiggle out of the burrito I made her into.

Goldie smiles wide, scrunching her nose. "Sunshine is weird!"

"You're right." I pick the roll up, her face shrouded by the covers. Her eyes begin to lower with the weight of comfort as I rock her gently back and forth. She grows silent, allowing me to hear the conversation between the other two outside in the living room.

    I slink up to the doorframe with the bundle in my arms, curious to know what they're talking about. Though I never thought about it before, they might understand each other on a deeper level. After all, they've both been imposed to be the wrong gender throughout their childhood.




Ken sighs. I can make out his tired stare from here. "Thanks for letting her stay the night, I have to scope out the place where..." He bites his lip. "...The scene of the crime for any evidence left I could use."

"Why aren't you getting the police involved?" Luna inquires.

"I'd get arrested for child kidnapping. I have no custody over Marigold whatsoever."

"And who..." Luna leans in towards him, aware that Marigold might be listening. Her voice grows lower, but her voice sharpens with anger. Silently fuming, she asks, "Who killed Alex?"


Ken puts his hands back into his lap, uncomfortable.



"You can tell me." She places her hands on his.




He gulps, his eyes fluttering closed as he takes a deep breath. "Alex's mother did."






  What? A floodgate of thoughts erupt at once. Alex's mother killed Alex... I hold the child closer to me and lean against the doorframe. She killed her own daughter. A murderer. I remember the cold apathy in her gaze while she gave her religious eulogy on the stage. She wasn't grieving, she was calculating.

I look at Goldie with growing concern. And this woman... is the one with custody over Marigold? Tears prick my eyes as I feel the rise and fall of her little chest against mine.  That can't happen... can it?



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