“Oh my God! Are you alright?!” Stacie let out as we got out of the car. “I started to call the entire community to come hunt you all down! I told Alpha, he had to go back and find them!”
She was still dressed in her club attire when she walked up to the car to help us out. Princess began recalling what happened as they exchanged their parts of the night.
“I didn’t even get a chance to see all of that! I just remember one of the girls coming up to me and their male friends, trying to verbally attack me!”
“I can’t believe I didn’t see that!” Princess gagged as the two walked into the house first. Alpha looked back at me, noticing something was off before Stacie poked her head back out.
“Are you okay, Pandora?” She asked.
“No,” I muttered. “And I don’t want to cry because I’ve been crying long enough and I’m not even sure if it's the alcohol talking but what was that girl talking about?” I asked, stumbling on my words as Princess stepped back outside to face me. “What exactly was she talking about?”
“That girl is a lunatic and operates at a low frequency where self esteem can’t survive. Ignore her.” Princess assured me. “She’s not even worth your attention–––”
“We didn’t even… I didn’t even attempt to find Erin and we’re leaving tomorrow. I have nothing to show for it.”
“Erin…this is the missing sister?” Stacie asked as she looked towards her husband. “Have you heard of such a thing?”
He shook his head.
“Well come inside and change out of those clothes. Omega will have food ready shortly,” Stacie said, motioning for us to come inside.
“That cop is going to show up soon, if not now…probably will be trying to kick this door down for her,” Alpha said towards his wife with a chuckle.
“Khalin?” I asked.
“A cop?” Stacie let out, looking back at me.
“I could tell he’s a cop by the way he moves…just not a good one but yeah…he’s going to be tearing this city up trying to find out where you went…Mark my words. That man looked like he was ready to kill me the moment you got in the car.”
“They’re all crazy…” Princess let out. “Completely crazy.”
“Agreed,” Stacie nodded as she closed and locked the door behind her.
Stacie was ever so kind as to make little beds in the living room for us, stacking us with sheets and pillows. Her husbands were upstairs in their individual rooms fast asleep while the three of us laid quiet in the dark living room. There was no word on Danielle or Khalin… and I would be lying if I wasn’t keeping a watchful stare on the door, hoping he would come knocking soon. Not to see or be around him but for him to tell me whatever he had to say regarding Serai…regarding an apology that was clearly owed to me.
I sighed as I turned over in the sheets and stared at the ceiling in the dark.
“Are you sisters asleep?” Stacie whispered.
“No,” Princess replied softly.
“When I was younger, a few of my friends and I would have sleepovers and we would pretend to be from different factions,” Stacie whispered as I slowly turned over on the sofa to look at her. She was in the recliner where Alpha usually sat as she curled up as she gently rocked back and forth in the dark. “I was almost always Maragret Brentwood’s daughter…I would push my stroller with my baby doll…my mother would laugh of course…but we used to play it every time we would get together. Of course…you grow up…get your good grades…go to college and…you’re married off to your first husband. Time flies so fast…”
“Were you scared when you met him?” Princess whispered.
“No… The boys are brought up in the ways of our community. There is a whole brotherhood that is filled with men who are only allowed to date and marry sisters like us… They want to be husbands or join households… it's just a matter of finding the right one but that’s where Meet & Greets happen and oh… you all should come to the Meet & Greet next time… The sisters wear their best dresses. The men are looking their best in hopes of being considered for a home. Alpha and I met through our mothers. I was 16 and he was 24. His mother wanted him to run his own house with a young wife and I was coming of age soon. We met and it just made sense…My father approved of him right away. Oh…there’s another Meet & Greet happening soon. Next time you come out here to visit…”
“I don’t think we’re allowed outside of the walls,” Princess admitted. “We can’t just up and leave…”
“You mean like you’re not allowed out?” Stacie questioned, confused. “How did you get out then?”
“We snuck out. Everything was so secretive and hidden. Everyone seemed to be on edge and I don’t know… I’m sure my mother will probably be questioned along with my sisters… I’m sure I lost my position as her Sister Helper and my chance at having my own baby…”
I closed my eyes.
“Didn’t you say one of your sisters is missing? She was dropped off here in Atlanta and you all came out here to find her?” Stacie asked.
“Yes,” I let out, realizing not once did I even think about Erin tonight. I’m sure Raven hasn’t even bothered to look either.
“Once we get back home we can start to really question things,” Princess said with a determined tone, “right Pandora?”
Yeah, like what was the meaning of my mother supposedly not being my actual birth mom? I shook my head, trying to push away the pressing thought before my mind went back to Khalin and the front door.
“I don’t understand,” Stacie said as she sat up. She reached for the small lamp in the corner of the room to cut on as she stared at us with her satin green head wrap over her head.
“If no one is really allowed to leave the community which would make sense as to why you all have never met a man before in your life…let alone know that there are sister communities sprinkled throughout Atlanta that follow the same teachings… If you’re not supposed to go beyond the walls, why do you think your sister left? Doesn’t that mean she’s actually still there or maybe she’s missing inside of the community?”
I stared at her as Princess’s mouth fell open before looking at me to answer.
My mind briefly went back to what Cookie Freeman said.
“This place isn’t safe for any of us. Why do you think the factions are so far apart from each other, huh? It’s to limit the spread of information. Keep us with like-minded sisters so no one would question a thing. I doubt she actually left. They probably took her and replaced her.”
“But no,” Stacie cut in, interrupting my thoughts. “That would suggest foul play on their behalf which I doubt. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation as to what happened with your sister.”