Chapter 4

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Out of habit, Rose once again found herself trailing in thought. This time, it had nothing to do with her current life, problems, or exes. It was her family.

***

Carl and Heather Amberline walked their youngest son and daughter to the entrance of the Seattle airport.

"I'm-I'm gonna miss you, mom. You too, dad. A lot," Rose spoke on the behalf of both herself and her brother.

"You too, kiddo," Carl responded, grasping the young adults. "I'm so proud of you two-more than you'll ever know."

"We know," they smiled in rhythm.

A dead silence seemed to enter the space around the family, even though loud planes and traffic were increasingly loud.

"Well...I think we'd better-" Rose started.

"Call me the moment you arrive. And if you run into any issues, call me right away. Don't talk to strangers-well, unless they're friends. Just make sure they aren't creepy. And-" Heather began before getting stopped by the 'you worry too much' look from her husband.

"Mom, we know," Byron tried calming her worries. "We need to go now. We'll phone you from the rental as soon as we get to Chicago."

A hand laid on both of their shoulders. "Wait," their mother began. "We'll be here if you ever need us. Just because there's going to be a distance doesn't mean we'll ever be apart."

Byron and Rosemary grinned from ear to ear, joining into a group hug with their crying mother and father.

"Of course! There's always the Internet!" Rose joked. "Just kidding. I'll remember that, mom," Rose started.

"We all will." Byron cut in.

***

Although Rosemary only daydreamed for seconds, to her it felt like hours. All of a sudden, she found herself in a frightening situation once again, with a fit grown man holding her ankles.

The tablecloth sheltered most of the light, causing her to make out a distorted image, other than the fact her offender was a large man. She kicked, screamed, and grabbed onto the legs of the heavy dining table. Her thin, weak arms were no match, but she wouldn't give up without a fight.

"Rose!" A familiar voice shot out. It almost sounded like Byron but...it wasn't. It was deeper. Stronger. Like every word spoken of that mouth pierced into your soul.

"Who-" Rose paused for a grunt. "Are you?!" She saw his muscles clench as he took a swift pull, yanking her out of the refuge from underneath the surface. At first, she only caught a glimpse of his cold blue eyes, but quickly shot back for a second look. Rose gasped. "Tony...?"

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