"Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Lawson. Please, keep me posted… Thank you. Yes. Of course. I understand. Thank you. Bye." Jackson hit his head on the kitchen table.
"Rough morning?" I asked as I opened the fridge, reaching for the milk.
"Is it morning already?" he asked, looking up to look out the window. "I was hoping to sleep today. Dang."
"Yep. Talking to your girlfriend's parents about her disappearance is a death sentence. I will never be allowed near their daughter again. You can hear it in their voices." He looked at me and shook his head. "Did you sleep at all?"
"Nah," I said, trying to smile. "Not a wink. But check this out." I set a pad of paper in front of him. "Three hours of self hypnosis, a pencil, and a pad of paper, I think I recreated the scene. Maybe we'll see something else the cops missed. At least before Lucy gets up. I want to keep her mind off of this sh—" Jackson pointed at the coin jar on the counter, "—shtuff if we can."
"She didn't stop crying until about two hours ago. I hope that means she got some sleep…" Jackson looked towards the stairs. "Should we check on her?"
"I don't know. Should we?"
Jackson shrugged. "You're the one with younger sibling experience."
I couldn't help but chuckle. "I have two little brothers, I don't think that counts."
Jackson looked down at the paper and sighed. "I'll take a look at this. You look like you've been staring at it forever. Could you…"
"I'll humor you and check on her." As he nodded and stared at the paper, I walked over to the stairs and started to climb.
"Lucy?" I whispered, looking at the door that was opened just a crack. She was leaning next to the window, her eyes closed, still in her jeans and tee shirt."Lucy, you should lay down if you're going to sleep."
"I can't, I'm not," she murmured. "Nightmares."
I sighed and walked over to her, picking her up out of the chair and carrying her down stairs, sitting her on the armchair. "Autumn would haunt me forever if you got sick. You are going to eat, and then close your eyes and think of bunnies."
"Autumn had a bunny," she mused aloud.
Jackson looked up, surprised. "…Really?" Lucy nodded.
"Named Misty. Mom said she ran away and had little bunnies. I think my boa ate her."
It was my turn to blink. "You had a boa?"
"Have. He's still alive and slithering last I saw." Lucy smiled slightly at the thought, closing her eyes. "What's for breakfast?"
It took me a few seconds to recover, before I walked over to the fridge. I had always assumed Lucy was a miniature version of my Autumn. I was learning quickly that wasn't the case.
"Um… We have cereal, but I think the milk is way past." I looked through the rest of the contents of the fridge. "No eggs, no bread, no cheese…. When is the last time we went grocery shopping? Oh well." I shrugged and closed the door. "I guess there is the cafe."
Lucy shook her head with a grin. "I only have one meal left on my plan. Good thing it resets tomorrow."
A few minutes later, tired and worn out, we were sitting in the cafeteria in our clothes from the day before. We didn't care what people would think, and to finally have food in front of us after a long night, nothing else seemed important. It wasn't long before our conversation turned back to what had happened.
Lucy brought it up first. "Why exactly are we pursuing this? It can't be healthy for us…"
I looked at the French toast on my plate and sighed. "Once I have proof that that was Autumn or Maryanne, I'll accept it and drop it. But, if they were actually dead, I'd think I'd feel something… or notice…" I stopped, noticing Tyler walk into the cafeteria with a backpack, loading up stacks of food onto his plate, then disappearing into the back room, only to reappear a few minutes later with empty plates and what looked like a heavier backpack.
"Isn't that the guy that had a crush on Autumn in high school?" Jackson asked.
Lucy, Jackson, Autumn, Tyler all attended the same high school in St. George, where I moved in the middle of my senior year. From the stories I heard from Jackson, Tyler wasn't the nicest guy in the world, and Autumn would never give him the time of day. He was kicked out of school for getting in too many fights, each time, his excuse was the boys were talking crudely about her, and he was just protecting her. I still never liked him, considering I got suspended for giving him a bloody nose once.
"You mean Tyler? Her 'stalker' boyfriend?"Lucy asked.
I glared after him as he left the cafeteria. "The guy that called you gay and thought I wouldn't deck him? Yeah… he was at the Centrium last night. But something just occurred to me." I watched him through the windows and glass doors. "He doesn't go to SUU now, does he?"
Lucy shook her head. "Last I heard, he hadn't finished high school, and he moved to California."
"Then how did he hear about Autumn only hours after her… death?" I choked on the word, but kept focusing on Tyler.
"Hey, just because you don't like the guy, doesn't mean he doesn't have a legit reason for being here," Jackson said wisely. "Why don't we just go ask?"
"Good idea," I said, standing up running to catch up to him. "And while we're at it, let's see where he's taking the food. There's enough to feed an army of starving piranha fish."
A/N: Thank you Corky and Julia, for keeping me writing. These two updates are for you. :)