chapter thirty eight

“Why’d we come here?”


Nick stared incredulously at AJ, wondering why he was taking up this attitude precisely now, when they were so close to Cassie, when everything was about to turn out perfectly.

“Did you see her?” AJ asked again, running his hands through his dark hair. “She’s perfect here; she has everything she wants and needs. Friends, her family’s here, her entire life. Nick, before us, she had these people. We can’t come here and alter the scenario. It wouldn’t be right, adn we’d just stand out. A fifth wheel in her life. Catch my drift?”

“McLean, knock it off,” Nick exclaimed. “Usually it’s me who rants irrelevantly, but now it’s apparent you’ve been hanging around me entirely too much. What’s happened to you? You used to be so sure of everything, of yourself, and now look at you! You’re acting like a scared little kid not sure if he wants to look in his closet and see the monsters! This is ridiculous. We’re--no, YOU are going through with this.”

There was a knock at the door then, followed by raven colored head peeking in.

“Mind if I come in?” the young woman, no older than Cassie, asked.

“Sure, go ahead,” AJ replied. The two men studied the woman, who had now seated herself on the couch across from Nick, forming a triangle between the three. Her black hair hung down to her waist, and was adorned with subtle purple streaks.

“I’m Robin,” she announced, offering a smile. “And you two must be Nick and AJ. A pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much.”

“You have?” Nick asked. “It can’t be good then.”

“Well, I’ve heard stories about you, Mr. Carter,” she grinned. “But aside from that, everything was good. About the both of you.”

“So you’re Robin,” AJ mused. “I heard a lot about you, too. It seems you were the one Cass missed the most when she was in Orlando.”

“She better have,” she laughed. “She’s my best friend. Which brings me to why I’m here.”

“Uh-oh,” Nick said. “Someone’s got a plan up her sleeve.”

“Not really. I just want to help that girl see what she’s about to lose if she continues being so stupid.”

Hearing Robin express herself that way about Cassie made AJ and Nick shift uncomfortably in their seats. Robin noticed this and, leaning back into her seat, continued.

“Look, she’s my best friend. She has been for almost ten years now, and I know her better than I do the back of my own hand. The girl is stubborn and stupid. She won’t listen to reason, won’t see the good in front of her until it slaps her in the face, and while I’m at it, she tends to gravitate to the bad. If she says she’s right, the Apocalypse wouldn’t make her change ehr mind. And right now she thinks the best thing to do is to let you guys leave here without so much as a farewell. I could go on, but you don’t have all day.”

“it’s obvious you know her better than we thought we knew her,” Nick said slowly, contemplating everything Robin had just said. “But what do we do?”

“Well, around here, when someone’s walking on thin ice, we have interventions. We all cram up in here and discuss what’s going on and how it can be fixed, no half truths, no fibs. She’s familiar with the process, which has always worked, mind you, but she’s never been in the hot seat.”

“So we’re doing that?” AJ asked, wondering how in the world they were going to get Cassie to sit still and listen to reason.

“No, she won’t have it,” Robin answered, reading his mind. “She won’t sit here and let us uncover all her truths infront of her. You, AJ, are going to do the honors.”


“It’s only fair,” Nick told his friend. “The situation revolves around you two, no one else. She still loves me, if you haven’t noticed.”

Another person entered the lounge then, briefly ending the trio’s conversation. Amidst coughs and sniffles, another young woman entered, her eyes as red as the hair on her head.

“Rob,” she addressed what Nick assumed was her co worker. “Cliff’s looking for you.”

“Thanks. Hil, these are Cass’ friends from Orlando.”

“Nick and AJ. Of course,” she said, shaking their hands. “Glad to meet you two, finally.”

“So what brings you here? We thought you were at home dying,” Robin teased.

“I was,” Hillary confessed. “But I had to pick up my check. Forgot to yesterday. I’m gonna stop by and see how Cassie’s handling my shift, if you people haven’t already driven her insane.”

“She refused to get my coffee, for one,” Robin laughed. “Cliff came in with Tom as his bodyguard, instead. And she wasn’t even here for two minutes this morning when Marc became her first victim. He collided into her with his skateboard.”

“Glad I wasn’t here to see that,” Hillary chuckled. “I bet she busted that thing over his head.”

“It didn’t break,” Robin laughed. “But she tried. Believe me.”

Nick listened, amused by the stories the women were telling. AJ was right on one account; she was doing amazingly well here, among her friends. These two seemed to be what made up Cassie’s being. They were all so alike in their own ways.

“OK, well, I’m gonna get going now before I collapse,” Hillary said, excusing herself. “Again, it was great meeting you two.”

“Likewise,” AJ answered as Nick nodded his agreement and smiled.

“Wait!” Robin spoke up then. “Hil, could you do me a huge favor right now?”

“Oh, no,” Hillary groaned. “I’m not in the mood, really.”

“Not my usual favors. I need you to help us out with Cassie.”

“Oh, okay. Sure,” Hillary nodded. “What do I do?”

“Here’s what we’re all going to do...” Robin began, her scheme taking shape within the next few minutes.

[chapter 37 | chapter index | chapter 39]