Turtle in Paradise Chapter 18
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- In the hotel, Turtle has her own room with crisp sheets and plump pillows. It's fancy, but Turtle has a hard time adjusting to life there.
- She doesn't sleep and doesn't feel at home; she wonders if Orphan Annie ever felt the same way.
- Archie asks if they're ready to go, and they hatch a plan: He'll go to the bank and get Turtle's share of the fortune while Turtle and her mom say goodbye to the relatives, then they'll all meet up at Aunt Minnie's at noon and then hop on the boat.
- Turtle asks her mom about how well she knows Slow Poke. Her mom doesn't say much, and Turtle figures out that Slow Poke must be her dad.
- Her mom changes the subject a little too quickly, but Turtle plays along with it.
- She asks if they can go say goodbye to Smokey at Nana Philly's pad. Her mom isn't so sure—apparently Nana Philly told her that she's not her daughter anymore because she's a disgrace.
- Turtle replies that this probably isn't the meanest thing she's ever said.
- When they get to Nana Philly's, Turtle explains that they're going to Georgia, and then she tells her mom to come inside; both of them start crying.
- There's hugging and kissing and Turtle's never seen a sappier scene—not even in the movies.
- Over at Aunt Minnie's place, Turtle sits on the porch with the gang while her mom talks to Minnie inside.
- Pork Chop rides up and asks Turtle what she's still doing there—he saw Archie leave on a boat a couple hours ago.
- Suddenly it all makes sense: Archie was playing them the whole time. He didn't care about marrying her mom or being her dad, all he wanted was the money she got from the treasure hunt.
- Just like he said, he sold them a dream. Turtle's always wanted a happy family, and that's exactly what he offered them. Too bad it wasn't real.
- She pulls out her emergency five dollars and asks Beans to find out where Archie went.
- Inside, Turtle explains what happened to her mom. At first, her mom doesn't believe her, but then she starts crying when they report Archie ditched them, took the money, and ran off to Cuba.
- With that, Turtle finally gets it: She understands why people jumped off buildings when they lost their money. It wasn't about the money—it was because they had to tell someone they loved that everything was gone, all their hopes and dreams just washed away.
- Turtle hates having to do this for her mom. Everyone can see how upset Turtle is.
- Pork Chop asks Turtle if she wants to be in the Diaper Gang (maybe not all kids are rotten after all) and Aunt Minnie offers Turtle her paper dolls.
- It occurs to Turtle that maybe treasure isn't found with a map and centuries-old clues. Maybe her treasure has been right in front of her this whole time: these people who love her and give her a home.
- She doesn't get a happy ending like in Hollywood, but she's not Shirley Temple either.
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