Her first Christmas back at home was a terrifying event. Someone named Aunt Martha kept hugging her, crying. She said the strangest things. She asked Shelly, "Do you remember me? You were just a baby the last time I saw you." Of course not, Shelly wanted to say. I couldn't possibly remember you if I was a baby, she thought. But this woman obviously loved her, like all the other people here.
Not like he loved her, but they did. They tried, bless their hearts, but it wasn't the same. They told her he was bad, that he took her from them when she was little. And why would they lie to her about something like that? But still, she wondered, why would he take her if she didn't belong with him, like he said she did?
She was happy with him, he treated her well. These people just kept hugging her and crying at random. The man who supposedly kidnapped her never acted weird like these people did.
She knew that she would never see him again, he was dead now. A fresh wave of grief washed over her. As if reading her mind, Aunt Martha let loose a fresh flood of tears, both of them smiled through their pain.