Recap: Corey’s parents had an argument about her and were found dead the next morning. Corey then meets Detective Skylar Adams. She is later adopted by Helen and Andy. Two years later, Corey is in school and meets a friend, Terese, and the class bully, Sandra. One day, two students are found dead and Corey meets Detective Adams again. Corey starts 2nd grade, which brings her face to face with a terrifying new teacher. As you can expect, her teacher does not last long. And then neither do her adopted parents, but things look up as Corey may have found a forever family. Corey moves in with Detective Adams and his wife and learns Terese lives across the street.
Dimitra knew her daughter was home when she heard Corey shout, “Thanks, Mrs. Flynn!” Smiling to herself, she headed for the front door to welcome her daughter home from school. After five months as their daughter, Corey had been nothing other than a perfectly happy little girl. Skyler hadn’t tried to get her to talk about the murders since her first day with them and the two were often thick as thieves at night while they played games.
Dimitra opened the door just as her daughter was sprinting up the steps. Across the street, Mrs. Flynn was pulling into her own driveway. Corey dashed into the house and dropped her backpack by the door before wandering over to the kitchen for a snack.
“How was your day?” Dimitra asked as she followed her daughter to the kitchen.
Corey had her nose buried in the pantry. Smiling, Dimitra gently put her hands on the girl’s shoulders and pulled her back. She gave Corey a pointed look and then looked over to where Corey’s backpack sat forlornly by the door. Corey gave her mother a pleadingly look, but Dimitra shook her head. Corey sighed and reluctantly walked over to where the backpack sat.
Dimitra smiled and shook her head. She grabbed an apple from her fruit bowl and sliced it up before pouring out a glass of milk while Corey picked up her backpack and trudge down the hallway towards her room. A minute later, Dimitra heard a door slam and then heard Corey came running out from the hallway. She ran into the kitchen and reached for the pantry door.
Dimitra quickly intervened. “Your snack is at the counter.”
Corey gave her a pout, but went anyways. She walked around to the other side of the island and climbed up onto a stool. Realizing the plate and glass were in front of the stool next to hers, she reached over and slid them over to her.
“Thanks, Mom,” Corey said brightly before taking a bite out of one of the apple slices, the sound of a loud crunch filling the kitchen.
Dimitra smiled and put a white napkin in front of Corey. The girl picked it up and quickly wiped the juice from her mouth. Dimitra leaned against the counter on the other side, smiling as Corey at her apple.
“Don’t forget your milk,” Dimitra reminded.
Obediently, Corey took a sip before gobbling down another apple slice.
“How was your day?” Dimitra asked again.
“Great!” Corey said, swallowing a bite. “I have some homework in math, science, and English, but I have all weekend to do that! Stacy’s going to go over to Terese’s house tomorrow so they can work on math. She’s not too good at math. Can I go over and work, too? Please?”
Dimitra smiled. “We’ll see what your dad says when he gets home. You know he likes to spend Saturdays with you since he works so late during the week.”
“When is he coming home?”
Her mother shrugged. “I don’t know. He called a little while ago and said he wasn’t sure when he was getting off duty. He said his new case is starting to heat up.”
Corey toyed with her last apple slice and stared hard at the half full glass of milk. Resolutely, she picked up the glass and drank the rest of it. She made a face as she put it back down. “Do you think he’ll be home for dinner?”
“He said he might stop by for a quick dinner, but he’s really busy tonight, honey.”
“Is he working on my biological parents’ case?”
“I couldn’t tell you that. He doesn’t always tell me exactly what he’s working on. He doesn’t like to burden me with that.”
Dimitra shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess that’s just the way he deals with things. I’ve always told him I’m happy to listen, but he would rather his time at home be pleasant. He especially loves playing with you at night.”
Corey smiled. “I like it when he plays games with me. My biological parents didn’t and neither did Helen and Andy.”
“Are you happy here?” Dimitra asked.
Corey nodded enthusiastically. “I love living with you and Dad. I feel like I’m really at home.”
Dimitra reached out and took the empty glass and plate. “I’m glad, honey. We love having you with us and only want you to be happy. After everything you’ve been through, we just want you to be happy.”
“I am,” Corey said earnestly. “I really am.”
Dimitra smiled. “I’m glad. Why don’t you work for an hour on your homework and then you can watch some TV before dinner?”
Corey climbed down from the stool. “Did you know I’m the only one in school who has to do homework on Fridays? Everyone thinks it weird. Even Terese. She doesn’t have to start anything until Saturday.”
Dimitra turned to where Corey stood staring at her, eyes wide. She smiled and turned off the sink water to lean one hip against the counter. “Very logical, Corey, but it’s not going to work. You know you get to spend more time with your dad when you get some of your work down on Fridays.”
Corey sighed. “I know. It just doesn’t seem fair.”
“Life isn’t fair, sweetie. Now go get your things and have a seat at the dining table.”
Corey muttered under her breath, but turned and headed down the hall. Dimitra smiled and laughed to herself. Despite what Skyler had said about her when he had met her, Corey seemed like a perfectly normal, happy little girl. Skyler had warned her that she might be a little odd, maybe a little too serious and old for her age, but Dimitra didn’t see any of that in her daughter. And Skyler had to admit he didn’t see it, either. Maybe Corey had just finally found the perfect home with them and her soul felt at peace.
“Do I have to do an hour today?” Corey asked as she came back out, dragging her backpack behind her.
“Yes, you have to do an hour today,” Dimitra said, as she did every Friday. “Then you can show your dad all your hard work when he gets home. You know he likes that.”
Corey sighed and grunted as she pushed her backpack up onto the table. She pulled out a chair and sat down before digging in her bag for a textbook and folder of paper.
While Corey worked diligently for an hour, Dimitra hummed and cooked dinner.
“Smells good,” Corey said, closing her English textbook.
Dimitra glanced up from the stove and smiled at her daughter. “It’s your favorite. Lemon chicken with herb pasta, hold the mint. Sound good?”
Corey nodded enthusiastically.
“Are you done for the day?”
Corey glanced over her shoulder at the clock hanging over the TV. “Yup! I worked for an hour and ten minutes. Can I go watch TV now?”
“Sure, honey. Just don’t turn it up too much, okay?”
Corey hopped down from the chair and hurried over to the TV. Dimitra watched as she snatched up the remote control and immediately turned it to some young teen show Corey had started watching over the past couple of months. Apparently, it was popular at school and Terese was always raving about it. But she was just afraid it would make the girls grow up too fast.
The door opened just then and Corey’s head popped up from over the back of the couch. Her face brightened as she spotted Skyler walking across the threshold. Her smile slipped, though, when she saw how haggard he looked. She ran over to him anyways and grabbed his hand. Skyler bent down for her to kiss his cheek and she released his hand before he went to greet his wife.
“What’s wrong?” Dimitra asked, concerned, as she cupped his cheek. “You look terrible.”
Skyler sighed and ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “Long day. I still have to work tonight. I don’t know when I’ll be home.”
“Can you at least stay for dinner?” Corey asked as she approached them. She looked pleadingly up at her father. “I want to show you all the English homework I did today.”
Skyler knelt down and pulled her over to sit her on his knee. “I wish I could, honey, but I just stopped by to pick up something to eat. I have a really long night in front of me. I’ll look at your homework first thing tomorrow morning, okay?”
Corey bit her lip and nodded.
“Do you have plans for tomorrow, pumpkin?”
Corey hesitated. Then she shook her head, sending her shoulder length hair flying around her face. “No. I’m just going to finish my homework and play with Mom.”
Dimitra looked down at her daughter in surprise. “I thought you wanted to go over to Terese’s house since Stacy will be there.”
“That sounds like fun,” Skyler said.
Corey shook her head. “It’s okay. I’d rather spend some time with Mom and you, whenever you come home. Is that okay?”
Skyler hugged her tightly. “Of course, honey. Okay, I have to go soon. Why don’t you go back to your show?”
Corey nodded and he let her go. She went back to the living room and flopped back down onto the couch. Skyler rose up with a sigh and turned to face his wife.
“Is she okay?”
Dimitra shrugged. “I don’t know. But I don’t think she likes it when you come home looking the way you do. She seems very in tune with you.”
Skyler glanced over to the couch. “She’s a special girl. I’m glad we adopted her.” He gave her a small smile. “I’m sorry I can’t stay. I’ll be home late, so don’t wait up for me.”
Dimitra nodded understandingly. After six years, she was used to this. “Of course. I’ll pack up something for you to eat. Have a seat.”
“Thanks,” he said tiredly, collapsing onto a stool. He propped his elbows on the counter and his chin in his palms. “I’ll be home as soon as possible.”
“Give Corey a kiss for me tonight.”
Dimitra finished packing up his dinner and set it before him. She leaned across the island and looked him in the eye. He stared back at her unblinkingly.
“Is it her parents’ case?” she whispered. “Don’t worry. She’s not looking.”
Skyler nodded. “I keep thinking I’m missing something. It’s driving me nuts now that she’s our daughter. I can’t help but remember she wouldn’t be our daughter if it weren’t for both sets of parents dying.”
Dimitra bit her lip. “I know. It’s kind of weird, isn’t it?”
Skyler nodded and took hold of his dinner sack. “Yeah. I have another case to work on, too. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Dimitra walked around the island and hugged him tightly. She gave him a kiss and then he went over to tickle Corey and kiss her forehead. Then he was out the door, leaving Dimitra to stare at the closed door and rub her arms. For her husband’s sake, she hoped the murder cases would be solved soon.
“Mom?” came Corey’s voice. “Is dinner ready?”
“Just about. Are you hungry?”
“A little.” Corey’s head popped up over the back of the couch. “Can we watch TV during dinner? Please? It’s Friday.”
Dimitra laughed a little. “Okay, honey. Just for tonight.”
Corey grinned and ducked back down.