Karen walks home. It's an unreasonably long walk, almost an hour. Her parents and sister are sitting up waiting for her.
"Where have you been?" her mom wants to know.
"At school," she says, lamely. "There was a - I got detention and the teacher left and by the time I realized he wasn't coming back the whole school was locked, and I tried coming home alone but I got, like, super lost until I finally found a Wendy's with someone in it who happened to know where this street was?"
"Where were you really," asks her mom, deadpan.
She flounders for words. Concepts. Anything. " - I dunno, selling drugs, probably?"
"Karen, this isn't OK, we were so worried - "
There's more in that vein. More attempts to get her to say where she really was. More hammering home the idea that this isn't OK. She is grounded for three weeks and is not to be alone for any reason unless she's at school or at youth group. She is given reheated stir fry for dinner.
She curls up in a ball on her bed and surprises herself by not crying. Her sister knocks on her door. She's wearing one of her Sharing T-shirts, to remind everyone that she is cool, responsible Azalea now, that she has her life turned around and is going to be a great role model for everyone from now on. But she's still her sister, and she still remembers what it was like to do dumb things and not be able to say why you did them, and she wants to let Karen know that she still thinks she's a good kid, and if she ever needs to talk about anything, she's here.
Karen wants more than anything to tell her sister exactly what happened. To tell her about the dead alien prince and the spaceships and the possible invasion of Earth and the fact that she has no idea what her first step in dealing with any of this should be. To admit that she kind of wants to be a bird and fly away and never have to deal with being grounded or disappointing people ever again.