Maphira had decided to walk the rest of the way to Rylee’s new home in the hills. She couldn’t risk her sister knowing someone was coming. Now she stood about a hundred metres away, surveying the garden with her binoculars to make sure that Rylee wasn’t outside.
No ute, Maphira thought. That’s good. Fake Cole must be out somewhere. Probably to get more stuff for his ute or something. Credit where it’s due, Conclave, but you nailed that part of his personality.
Alright, everything seemed clear, so it was time to close the distance before Rylee decided to start working in the yard again. Maphira put on her best face for selling commercial energy storage systems and walked the rest of the way.
The garden had been completely changed since Maphira first saw the drone footage weeks ago. That same drone had crashed into a nearby tree, offering a perfect view of the house, but unfortunately, the batteries had died fairly quickly. Perhaps it was for the best – had Maphira been able to have a complete view of everything that had happened here, she might have seen some… unpleasant things.
Maphira climbed the wooden steps up to the front door, took a deep breath, and knocked. Rylee pulled it open only a few seconds later, wearing her hair in a high ponytail.
“Hello, ma’am,” Maphira said, making sure not to look directly at her sister. “I’m with a business for energy storage near Melbourne, and I am here to—”
“Mai?” Rylee said.
Only then did Maphira take a proper look at her. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell agape. “Rylee?”
“What are you doing here?” Rylee lunged forward and wrapped Maphira in an embrace. “It’s so good to see you!”
“I was just in the area selling solar panels,” Maphira lied. “I can’t believe you live here!”
Rylee stepped back. “What a coincidence! Why don’t you come in?” She moved to allow Maphira inside. “This place belongs to Cole. We’re fixing it up together.”
Maphira took a single step toward the door, then froze. “Cole? But he’s…”
“I know. But he’s back now. I have so much to tell you! Come sit down. I’ll order us a big pizza for lunch!”