Chapter 4: Phoebe

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"Where has that boy gone off to?" Dad asks. He scowls at the dispersing crowd.

Mom looks at me like I'm keeping Bo's location a secret, but I just shrug. He stormed off before the memorial service was over. How am I supposed to know where he went?

A tall black man with a thin mustache and old-fashioned waves in his hair approaches us. He holds out his hand for my dad to shake, and Mom greets him with a smile.

"I'm Dr. Franklin," he tells me. "I'm your brother's psychiatrist."

A muscle twitches in my dad's jaw at that last word, but he doesn't say anything.

"Do you know where Bo went?" Mom asks the doctor.

Dr. Franklin frowns. "He's been greatly affected by Sofía's death," he says. He glances up; the paper lanterns are still visible, tiny specks of light in the fading sky. "They were close," he adds, looking back down at my mom.

"She was so young," my mother says. "It's tragic." Her voice drops a notch. "Depression?"

Dr. Franklin's lips press together as if he's holding back a frown. "She was very sick. We're still reeling from what happened. Sofía had seemed to adjust well to our program . . ." His voice trails off, and his eyes lose focus.

When Dr. Franklin called the house to tell us that one of Bo's fellow students passed away, he hadn't mentioned that she'd committed suicide. A Google search and some newspaper articles covering the incident revealed that. But the details were limited: "Troubled Teen, 17, Found Dead on Campus in Presumed Suicide; Autopsy Reveals Intentional Overdose of Prescription Drugs."

Bo had never mentioned Sofía before, but we all still nod knowingly when Dr. Franklin tells us they were close. After all, Bo was one of the four kids who lit lanterns. We figured he knew her well. Still, he never talked about her. Not at home.

Not that I'm surprised. It's not like any of us really talk about anything when Bo's home.

There's an awkward silence, and Mom shifts nervously.

"I'm sure Bo's just inside, getting a plate with his friends," Dr. Franklin says.

Dad grunts like he no longer cares where Bo is. "So, how 'bout them Patriots?"

"I'm more of a basketball fan," Dr. Franklin replies.

Dad scowls.

Dr. Franklin turns his attention to me. "And you're Bo's little sister?"

"Phoebe," I say, holding out my hand. His grip is firm, almost too strong.

"Your brother's a great kid," Dr. Franklin says.

I raise my eyebrows but don't say anything. Before Bo came to The Berkshire Academy for Children with Exceptional Needs, he and I attended the same high school, and I can guarantee that none of our teachers would have called him a "great kid." Usually late and always inattentive, he barely passed any class other than history. Most of the teachers didn't even know we were related, but the ones who did were always shocked.

"Why don't we go inside?" Dr. Franklin says. He leads us all toward the big glass doors. Mom and Dad walk up to the main hall as if they're as comfortable here as they are at home. I trail behind, and the doctor slows his pace to walk beside me.

"This is your first time on campus." The doctor says it like a statement, but I guess it's a question.

I nod.

When my parents moved Bo to the academy, they didn't let me join them. I wanted to go, but Dad was insistent. I don't know if he was shielding me from the image of Bo at the school or if he didn't want me interacting with the other kids there, but either way, I stayed home. Now, when Dad drives to Berkshire to pick Bo up on the weekends, he always goes alone.

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