Chapter Thirty-Eight - House Arrest

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Chapter Thirty-Eight - House Arrest

See the flames inside my eyes it burns so bright I wanna feel your love. Easy baby maybe I'm a liar but for tonight I wanna fall in love.

-Ed Sheeran

Florida. Mark was flying me out to Jacksonville on Tuesday night. At least it would be warm there. Donna had been aggravated by the news. She couldn't believe that Mark was sending me away when I had just had a concussion. But she was well aware that my presence was a danger to her and her family and it was best for me to leave. So I was packing a small suitcase with nothing but essentials.

"Here you go, honey." Donna handed me two boxes of hair dye. "Pick whichever one you like better."

I eyed the containers desolately. I didn't want to dye my hair but I knew it was necessary. My choices were between natural blonde and red penny. I pointed at the blonde one half-heartedly. "It's probably more inconspicuous." I reasoned knowing the blonde population exceeded the redhead one.

Donna stroked my light brown hair tenderly, "It breaks my heart just as much as it breaks yours." She said, gently escorting me to my bathroom. I was wearing a white tank top and sweat shorts ready to have her bleach my hair. She had me sit on the closed toilet seat as she carefully coated each strand. We couldn't get it done professionally because there was a chance The Jade Hound would follow us. If they saw me leaving a hair salon with my new do, the whole idea would be thrown out the window. "The minute you come back, we'll dye it back to its lovely colour."

I nodded sadly, making a face from the wet hair dye touching my scalp. "I'm sorry I dragged your family into this."

"Don't you dare say that." She warned me. "You had nothing to do with this. As if you had a choice. Mark and I knew what we were signing up for when we agreed to take custody of you. I'm just upset because I have to let you go. It's for your own good, Samantha. Please know that."

"I do." I insisted. I couldn't help but feel weak and useless, though. There was nothing I could do to protect the family that had been so generous to me. There was nothing I could do to save my father's greenhouse. There was nothing I could do to avenge his death. I was such a useless waste of space. "Thank you for everything, Donna."

"Don't speak like it's the last time we'll see each other." She spoke in a watery voice. I couldn't see her since my back was facing her but I had a feeling she was tearing up. "I won't hear it."

I wanted to say more to her but I knew it would only make her cry and that was the last thing I wanted to do. "Hey, maybe I'll look like a blonde bombshell after this." I teased hoping to lift the morbid mood.

"I have no doubt." She laughed.

***

The atmosphere in the Charlens' home was sombre. Nobody was allowed to leave while I was still in the city. It wasn't safe. Mark had ensured that the security alarm was on and he'd even had security cameras installed around the house. I felt guilty that my presence was the cause for their house arrest.

Donna came around with a tray of hot chocolate. She handed me my mug and I took it graciously. The six of us were seated in the family room watching the film American Beauty. I wasn't sure why we'd chosen this one but Terry had control of the remote and he'd settled on it. I didn't mind entirely, it was a profound film and kept all of our minds occupied for the time being.

I was sitting in between Ashton and Roman. Terry was on the loveseat with Donna while Mark occupied the recliner. Other than dinner, the family didn't get together like this and it was kind of nice if you overlooked the current conditions.

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