Sarah doesn't go inside. She shakes her head when Ellison asks her, and stays in the truck with her hands at two and ten on the wheel. She'd given him ten days going east on country roads, further east than she'd ever gone before; this was as far as she'd go. For a moment, he looks as if he's going to try to persuade her, but he knows her better than that. He gets out of the truck and walks up the garden path to his brother's front door. In this Atlanta suburb, during a summer's dusk, the air is thick with cricket song and the scent of magnolia; the lawns are neatly tended and the paint on the wooden Victorian houses is gently faded with time and sun. Sarah feels her skin itch, but there's nothing to run from; she wishes, futilely, for a cigarette.
She knows that there are eyes on her, watching her from behind curtains just as she's watching Ellison ring the doorbell. Sarah pays them no heed; these kinds of whispers aren't a threat to her. Ellison is self-conscious, though; she can tell from the set of his shoulders and the way he tugs his t-shirt straight while he's waiting for someone to answer the door. Sarah settles back in her seat—letting herself take her hands off the wheel long enough to stretch and crack her spine—and watches him. In many ways, he's not the man he was when she first saw him. Ellison wears dusty jeans and a faded t-shirt now, just like she does; camouflage and practicality both mean that his neatly trimmed goatee has turned into a full-fledged beard. Yet in other ways, he's much the same—he carries himself as upright as a soldier, and nods politely when his brother's wife opens the door.
His sister-in-law exclaims in delight, hugging him before vanishing into the house in search of her husband. Michael Ellison looks a lot like his brother around the eyes; they share the same broad shoulders, and when they hug briefly, Sarah can see that they're pretty much of a height. From this distance, and with his back turned to her, Sarah can't make out what Ellison is saying. In fact, she doesn't even know why he wanted them to come here; he'd just asked her and she'd said yes, and she knows that's not a good sign. If she had a bit more sense, she'd turn the truck around right now—leave him here with his family and head back to LA, where she can concentrate on trying to piece her own back together again.
Yet she can't quite bring herself to put her foot on the gas. Sarah shifts in her seat and watches Michael Ellison watching her. He looks every bit as capable as his brother—a chartered accountant instead of a cop—his shirtsleeves rolled up and his hands dusted in flour. This is probably the time when most people are making dinner; Sarah had forgotten. He meets her gaze steadily, and Sarah wonders what he sees—a too-thin white woman with unbrushed hair, sitting in a beat-up truck, poised somewhere between flight and staying. She wonders if Ellison has said anything about her, about how they both know the desperate way they fuck is a bad idea but can't seem to stop themselves, about LA, about Catherine Weaver and Derek and Savannah, about the end of the world in metal and flames, about her son.
Ellison must have said something; Michael's eyes narrow all of a sudden, and he's looking at her with outright suspicion now. Sarah nods with approval. She appreciates a healthy level of mistrust; she is glad when people hold her at arm's length. Probably she would like Michael, if she ever met him properly; she knows she never will. Instead, Sarah sits and breathes in the rich magnolia air, and waits. It will be time to go back soon.