We sat on opposite benches, our knees a foot apart. Emery watched me curiously while I considered how to start. I resorted to small talk.
“Uh, Emery, so where do you live?”
“We rent a condo near Wallingford,” he answered patiently, making no attempt to elaborate.
“Oh.” I touched my forehead. “Were you born in Seattle?”
“No, Washington, D.C.” Placing his forearms on his knees, he leaned forward. “How did you hurt your forehead?”
I dropped my hand. “Funny. That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
Intently looking at my face, he waited for me to continue.
I touched my nose. “Before yesterday, I had freckles. They were light, but they were there.”
Narrowing his eyes on my nose, he attempted to decipher.
Taking a deep breath, I continued, “Sorry, that didn’t make any sense. Let me put it this way—I had freckles when I went to your mom’s lab with my dad.”
His expression became so intense, frightening almost, that I hesitated. My feelings about him were conﬂicted. He made me uneasy. Everything about him was so foreign.
Emery’s voice took on a soothing tone. “I understand that you injured your head in my mom’s lab. Please, tell me how. You can trust me. I want to help you.”
I searched his eyes. It was difﬁcult to penetrate through the blackness, adding to my unease. “I don’t think you can.”