Her glance moved from the cards to my face. “Aw hey, there’s no need to get freaked out. This spread’s totally fine.”
I shook my head and tried to stop taking this stuff so seriously. It was all coincidence. “But that card is the hanged man,” I said, feeling silly even as I uttered the words.
She shrugged. “Yeah, but tarot wise that’s more like breaking free most of the time.”
“So is someone important in her life going to die?” Hunter asked.
“I mean it could be that too,” Trinity said, turning to Hunter. She bit her lip and eyed him suggestively. “But I think we all know which hung man is in her future, am I right?”
Blood rushed to my face.
“We should go,” I said, grabbing Hunter’s arm.
Trinity’s bare foot eased down my inner calf, causing me to scootch back my chair. “You guys sure you don’t wanna stay?” she asked, smiling at me. “ I do massages too. Even couples.”
I stood up, shaking my head. “We’re good.”
She cocked her head and pouted. “You sure? Why don’t you stay anyway? I’ve got a bottle of vodka in back, and I love company.”
I tried to physically pull Hunter out of his chair. This time he got the drift.
“Thanks Trinity,” he said, pulling out some cash quickly to pay for our half-hour.
“You guys sure you don’t even wanna smoke a bowl?”
The fresh air felt like a return to reality. “Let’s never go to a fortune teller again,” I said. “That was really weird.”
“I dunno,” he answered with a laugh. “I thought that was pretty entertaining. Maybe not what I was expecting, but pretty cool.”
I slapped him on the arm. “Hunter, she was hitting on us the whole time!”
“Really? I mean at the end yeah—”
“Good lord you’re thick.”
He pursed his lips, trying to avoid smiling. “That’s kinda what she said. . .”
I looked at him, wanting to stay mad, but laughed. It was good to see Hunter in a good mood after his test, even if he had dragged me to a bizarre tarot card reading.
“Why did you want to come here, anyway?”
He shrugged and started walking to the car. “I dunno. Partly trying to loosen up, I guess. I figured with all the worries about my test results, we gotta show ourselves that we’re not afraid of the future.”
Hunter was right, maybe this was the best way to deal with it. Worrying ourselves to death wasn’t helping anyone.
We arrived at the car and got in. “Okay,” I said, buckling my seatbelt. “I guess that makes sense.”
“Speaking of our futures, I thought our fortunes looked pretty good. I mean, I’m gonna find treasure.”
I scoffed. “You didn’t get the hanged man card!”
“But she said that was breaking free, right? Or something. Honestly the whole thing was kinda confusing. But treasure!”
“I don’t know,” I said, putting on my seat belt. “I think I had some brain cells die in there with all the candles and incense.”
He shrugged and started up the car. “Alright, so you don’t like fortune tellers. Shit’s not real anyway. Sorry you didn’t have a good time.”
I reached over and gave his arm a squeeze. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I appreciate the effort to do something fun.”
He nodded and, with a lurch from his seriously ancient car, we were off. I spent the rest of the day thinking about how I could keep Hunter’s spirits up for the next few days. He was trying hard to stay upbeat, but I was worried that the test was bothering him more than he let on. Still, even if his bravado failed, maybe it was better to face it head on rather than hide from it. Would I be able to face my own issues head on like he had?
Was sending Marco a letter enough of a step in the right direction? I still hadn’t told Hunter about it, but I made a note to myself to get his thoughts on it as soon as I had a chance.
We were in a wood-paneled room with one small window behind the desk. I sat at the front of the wooden desk covered with papers and looked at my interrogator. He was an unfriendly man with a rising hairline trying to act kind and understanding. It didn’t suit him.
He leaned forward on his desk. “Alright, just so we’re clear: you have no recollection of any events between your mother and Mr. Peralta that would suggest a possible rift growing between the two?”
“That’s correct,” I said, just as my attorney had taught me to respond. If I said “yes” or “no,” that could be taken the wrong way.
“No screaming matches, nothing like that?”
He put his glasses down and rubbed his eyes for the hundredth time. It was like he was trying to show me his frustration. “No drinking? Drugs?”
“Even your mom?” he asked, putting his glasses back on.
I shook my head. “She pretty much quit drinking after she left my dad.”
He nodded, then got out of his chair and came around his desk. I scooted my chair back as he took a seat on the desk’s edge, his pants uncomfortably close to my face.
“Listen honey, we need a motive, and you’re our best shot. You’ve got to give me something, okay? There had to be some reason this guy killed your mom.”
I turned my face away, partly to get away from the prosecutor's crotch in my face, partly to hide my tears. When I turned back, his face had changed.
It was Marco. He reached out for my neck to strangle me. To kill me. Just like he’d killed my mom.
I screamed even as his fingers dug into my neck, cutting off my air. Time passed, his fingers dug further in, and I kept on screaming.
I woke up with a jolt. I had fallen asleep with my laptop next to me, open to the website of an art school. My heart still pounding, I sat up on the couch. This obsession with Marco’s motives was getting worse. I hoped I would get a letter back from him soon.
Sitting up, I rubbed my eyes and looked around me. It was already Sunday afternoon and the midafternoon sunlight streamed in through the curtains. The details of the dream were starting to fade away but my heart still beat quickly in my chest. It didn’t help my nerves that we would be getting Hunter’s test results in only a few days
Aunt Caroline and Uncle Stewart had taken my cousins off to a baseball camp. I had stayed in the living room to browse some art schools while Hunter continued his work in the dining room. Some of the schools looked amazing, but the idea of moving and attending one was pretty daunting. There were a few that weren’t even in the United States. After looking at them for too long, I must’ve dozed off. There was no point in obsessing over that now anyway, we still didn’t even know what Hunter’s condition was going to be.