Time in Willow Creek: 1 year, 1 month, 3 weeks
Come on, come on…please, Kevin thought as he waited in the car for Juliana and Hillary. His broad shoulders slumped and his head followed when he saw that Hillary exited the house alone again. It had been three weeks. Try as he might, he couldn’t get anyone to tell him what was going on. Hillary got annoyed when he asked too many questions, and Juliana only spoke to him when he called to give her his arrival time. She always sounded so despondent and depressed, but when he would ask her about how she was doing and what was going on, she always said everything was fine. He knew what “fine” meant. What he wanted to do was march to the house and demand to know what changed. However, he knew that would have been unacceptable and would make things worse. But, how long was this going to go on? He wasn’t sure how much more he could take.
When Hillary plopped in the front seat, she looked at him with a little nervousness in her eyes. Despite saying it was ok for her travel to Windenburg with him, when it was presumed that Juliana would be with them, he felt a bit weird about it after a while. Perhaps she felt it too. A heavy sigh filled the silent car, and he sped off a bit quicker than usual.
“D-did you two fight or something?” Hillary asked carefully.
He lifted his hands from the wheel and shook his head. “No! I don’t know what happened! I mean, all of a sudden she doesn’t want to hangout, she ignores my texts, and doesn’t take my calls!”
She was staring out the window. “Hmmm. Strange…”
He hated how casual she was about the whole thing. Why wasn’t she concerned enough to ask Juliana what was going on? If there was anyone who could get the truth from her–besides Harriett–it was Hillary. Wasn’t she curious enough? Did she not care? Was she that selfish?
“You sure you didn’t do anything?” she asked.
“Positive. I just…” He pounded the wheel with his fist. “I thought we were closer than that, you know? It’s kind of disappointing… If I’ve done something, she can tell me. Will you let her know that?”
After a few moments of silence, he turned on the radio, and that was that.
* * *
Art Club, 7:30 p.m.
Paul saw Kevin come off the stairs with a look on his face that he could only describe as befuddled. Man, he thought. She’s still missing. I hope she’s ok.
* * *
Dr. Still’s Office, 7:37 pm.
“So, I want to revisit what you told me last week about Jesse.”
Hillary sat up straight and listened.
“I want to understand how you go from having a lovely evening to ignoring him. So, let’s do an exercise. I want you to retrace your steps and see if we can figure this thing out, ok?”
“Ok.” She was excited about the exercise and hoped it worked.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll guide you, ok? Let’s start from when you arrive at home. You’re walking up the walkway, probably fishing for your keys…how are you feeling?”
“Still good,” Hillary said with confidence.
“Ok. You’re going up the stairs, stick your keys in the door…still good?”
“You let yourself in the house and you’re standing in the foyer. What is the first thing you see?”
Hillary looked up at the ceiling to visualize how she usually came in the door, what angle she stood and–she gasped. “I see my daddy watching TV!”
“Is this when you begin to not be good?”
“Excellent. Do you speak to him?”
She shrugged carelessly. “No.”
“What happens next?”
“I go upstairs to my room.”
“How do you feel going up the stairs?”
“Regular? Like, not as high as I was, but not bad either.”
“Ok. Then what happens?”
“I go to the dresser and take off my earrings.”
Dr. Still seemed to have some sort of internal ah ha. “Is there a mirror there?”
“What do you see?”
Hillary closed her eyes and dropped her head. “The thing my daddy hates.” She began to weep.
Dr. Still allowed her to cry it out for a few minutes before she handed her a box of tissues. She waited until Hillary was calm before she continued the exercise.
“So, you’re undressing, looking in the mirror and not feeling good… What are your thoughts as you are justifying why you shouldn’t see or speak to Jesse again?”
“I’m thinking… He’s such a great guy… Why would he want a monster like me? He deserves better.”
“So, you think you’re doing him a favor by letting him go.”
“What about what you deserve, Hillary?”
* * *
Umbrage Manor, 8:41 p.m