"Thank you so much for understanding."

"Of course. Let me know if I can do anything to help."

"I will."

I hung up the phone with Andrew and ran back into the family room, where Vera was recounting her story to one of the police officers who was friends with my father.

"That should do it." Sergeant Hanes stood, "We'll take this back to the station and let you know if any further action can be taken."

"Thank you." My father nodded, "We really appreciate it."

"Anytime, Lincoln."

The officers left the house as we watched them go. Vera remained on the sofa, tear tracks staining her face.

"Are you alright, honey?" My mother asked as the three of us walked back into the living room. "Was that too hard for you to talk about?"

Vera shook her head.

"I'm glad that it's out in the open." She took a deep breath, "But I don't want Aidan to get into trouble."

My parents exchanged a glance.

"Honey, it's hard right now." My mother began, "And it's going to be hard for a while. But in the long run, being away from him and being with your family is going to be so much better for you. And he might get into trouble. Your father and I are actually hoping he gets into trouble. Because no one deserves to go through what you went through."

Vera was silent.

I stood up and walked out of the room, unable to see my older sister like that. All my life, she had been my rock, the person I figured I would grow up to be like.

I didn't want to grow up into the shell of a person sitting on the living room couch.

<><><>

"So she's at home now? Officially?"

A week had passed since the ordeal with Vera, and it was the first time I had been able to see Andrew since then. We had spent the better part of the last week moving Vera's things back home, and my father had spent the better part of the week down at the police station working out just how much they could charge Aidan for.

This morning Vera had completed the moving process, and I had been allowed to go out with friends. My parents had kept me away from the outside except for school since everything had happened, since the media had caught wind of it and were prowling around our house in a mad rush to be the first to cover the tragic story.

Aidan was being charged with domestic violence and Vera was filing a restraining order against him. The trial was to be held in just a few weeks, and my entire family was set to show as witnesses; we were all there when Vera came home bruised and beaten.

But for the time being, I was trying my hardest to focus on the good relationship I had with Andrew, and not think about just how good Aidan had been to Vera at the beginning. If I dwelled on that for too long, I started to distrust Andrew, which wasn't fair to him--he hadn't done anything to me.

"She's home now. She wants to find a job, but my father isn't too keen on her going out just yet. She's still worn out and the trial is in a few weeks." I shook my head, "But it's nice to have her around again. I think Jared is coming to visit soon as well."

"Well that's good." Andrew nodded, leaning back in his chair. We were having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. "I'm glad that she's safe."

"Me too." I nodded. "It's so scary, everything that happened."

"I can't even imagine." Andrew shook his head, leaning forward and taking my hand in his. "Please let her know that I'm praying for her."

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