(We continue our story from where we left it, with Shannon and Tyler in the backseat of the car while Nick drives them to their new house.)
"Normally, I wouldn't have been able to get Johnny within spitting distance of a house like this," she told Tyler. "He was against it at first. But I pointed out to him how he's uprooting us, dragging me away from everything I know. The least he can do is stay in a haunted house a few nights."
Shannon bit her lower lip and leaned closer to Tyler as he searched his empty eyes for fear. She hadn't meant to call it a haunted house. She didn't want to scare him. The poor kid had been through enough already, losing his sister in a car accident. It wasn't his fault he'd lost control and hit a tree. It wasn't his fault Lucy hadn't been wearing her seatbelt.
Her brows drew together as she remembered his talk of a monster in the mirror. She hoped she hadn't contributed to his delusions with her scary stories. Tyler was one of her biggest fans, listening to her talk about her plots in depth. He'd loved it. Her stories had made her Tyler's favorite babysitter while he was growing up.
She sat back in her seat, deflated, and stared at the passing scenery. She'd never forgive herself if she'd caused Tyler's break from reality. Perhaps she should have spent a few more minutes talking to his doctor. She should have at least asked what sort of behavior she should look out for after the meds wore off.
"Run out of things to say already?" Nick asked.
"I thought he might like some silence."
Nick sighed. "How long have we known each other? Since you were a bratty kid in pigtails, that's how long. I know you, and I know when something is eating on you. What is it?"
She looked at Tyler with his empty eyes and blank expression, and she wondered if any of them would feel normal again.
"You don't have to worry," Nick said. Johnny and I got this. No one will find us at this Woodlow place. I checked it out this morning and no one ever goes there. I also planted a false trail to lead Desperio away from us. We'll be safe."
She nodded, chewing on her lower lip. He had to remind her of their dangerous situation. Between calming the kids down, trying to make the move easier on them and reassuring Johnny she would stand by him no matter what, she felt like a juggler with too many balls in the air. On top of that, she now had Tyler to worry about.
Nothing seemed to be going right.