They drove up the driveway to their new home in upstate Washington by daybreak. It was a modest one story house. It was older. Mid-century, Alden guessed. The Windows looked new.
Delia took Lilly out of the car. She looked huge sleeping in Delia's arms now, compared to how small she felt crying on Alden's chest the night her mother died. He couldn't believe she was already ten years old, almost eleven.
Alden got most of their bags from the car and walked beside Delia up to the front door. He unlocked it and let her in first before he piled their luggage in the entryway.
The house was already semi-furnished. Enough that they could sleep comfortably on a bed tonight.
Delia laid Lilly down on the sofa and picked up a note on the coffee table.
"Welcome Luhrmann family to your new home," she read out loud. "We hope it's the perfect place to raise your new family of three. Congratulations on your marriage. Sincerely, Uptown Realty Team."
"That's nice of them," he said.
They finished bringing the rest of their luggage into the house. Delia moved Lilly into her new room, then she and Alden found the master bedroom.
"I'm gonna take a shower," she said, pointing to the adjoining bathroom. "If Lilly wakes up..."
"I'll make sure she's alright," Alden said and she smiled sadly before sitting the bathroom door behind her.
This was terrible. They were all still reeling from the loss of Molly. Now they were forced to leave their home and be separated from their fathers. Live in a strange house. It was too close to the other houses. Alden felt cramped just looking out the window and seeing another house right their. He stood and drew the blinds.
He heard crying down the hall and opened the door. He spotted Lilly crying on the floor. He picked her up and carried her into the master bedroom and sat down with her on the bed.
"What's wrong, little girl?" He asked as her lower lip trembled.
"I woke up and couldn't find either of you," she cried. "Where are we? Where's Delia?"
"We're at our new house. Delia's cleaning up in the shower," he told her and patted her head. "This is all new, huh? It is for me, too. You want to know something cool, though?"
"What's that?" She asked.
"You get your own bedroom."
She rolled her eyes. When did she learn to roll her eyes?
"You hungry?" Alden asked and she nodded. "Well, I've got a granola bar if you want it. Once Delia's out of the shower, we can go get some real food."
She nodded again.
Alden found the granola bar in his backpack and handed it to her. She scarfed it down and curled back up on the bed.
"Still tired?" He asked.
"No, just bored," she answered.
Delia came out of the bathroom with wet hair and fresh clothes.
"We're hungry," Alden announced to her. "Let's go get some food."
They went to a fast food restaurant, which satisfied their hunger, but not their tastebuds. They decided to get groceries and utensils so that they could eat a good dinner that night.
When they came home, someone was waiting for them at their front door.
"Just act like normal," Delia said. "There's no reason to think it's anyone unfriendly."
As they pulled into the drive, the person turned and waved at them with a wide smile on their face.
"Hi neighbors!" She greeted them cheerfully. "I'm Cari. I live next door. I just wanted to welcome you guys to the neighborhood."
"Hi, I'm Alden," he introduced himself, then stumbled through the rest. "This is my w-wife, Delia. Her sister, Lilly."
"It's so nice to meet you all," Cari shook their hands, then commented. "Your both so young. Are you newlyweds?"
"Yes, very," Delia smiled. "In fact, we only just dropped our marriage license in the mail yesterday."
"Oh, wow! That's so exciting! Congratulations!" Cari exclaimed and pointed across the street. "Well, I'm in that house right there. If you need anything, don't hesitate to drop by."
"Thank you so much for your kindness," Alden smiled.
"Anytime," Cari smiled back and ran across the street to her home.
"It's weird having neighbors," Lilly observed as they headed into the house with their grocery bags.
They loaded the groceries into the refrigerator and pantry, then felt the west of the trip come over them and headed back into their respective bedrooms.
"We need blankets and sheets," Delia observed as they laid down on the bare mattress.
"Oh, but it's fine. You make for a r ally great blanket," he joked.
She poked him in the side.
"We'll go buy some after a nap. I'm too tired to drive anymore right now," he said.
"Is this our honeymoon?" She asked and he laughed.
"I guess so," he replied.
"I wanted to marry you eventually, but I would have liked to have planned the wedding," she sighed.
He kissed her forehead.
"Collin is anted to make sure someone was responsible for you two," he reminded her. "Once we're all reunited, we can have a real wedding and celebrate with the people we love."
She nodded against his chest. He felt a warm tear soak through his shirt. He held her tighter.
That afternoon, they went to a store that sold home goods and found the things they needed: sheets, blankets, towels, etc. they found toys for Lilly, games.
They went home and set everything up, determined to make this house feel like home.
Alden took out a note from Collin. It had their instructions for the bank account and what they were to do. It was simple. Lay low. Play house. Don't let anyone find out what he was capable of. Don't get Delia pregnant.
The last part seemed unnecessary. The last thing they needed was another child to care for. Alden and Delia both knew that. They were young and in love, but they were not stupid.
Alden cooked dinner for everyone. A recipe for chicken that he'd learned from Collin. It wasn't the same, but it was much better than fast food.
That night, they all three slept on the living room floor.