"Hi, Lucy," I said with a friendly smile. She narrowed one eye at me. "What's up?"
"Cassidy Elizabeth Findley, get in here." She stepped out of the way and I entered into a foyer with floors made of marble and a grand staircase with ornate moldings cascaded from the second story behind my diminutive friend.
Emma came bounding in from the adjoining living room, straightening her glasses. Her short brown hair was a little frizzy, and I thought about asking her if she remembered to use her conditioning spray this morning. Lucy and I have been trying to get her to understand different products we use, not because we care so much what she looks like but because we feel it is our duty as her friend to explain the purposes behind the things that we do that Emma doesn't get or doesn't care about. I pushed the thoughts aside and said, "Hi, Em."
Without looking at my face, she said, "Hi."
"How are you?" I took a few steps toward her, and away from Lucy who had shut the door behind me as if she was sealing the world out to give us some privacy.
Never in the ten or more years that I've been friends with Emma has she ever once asked me how I was doing, and that's okay. It's not that she didn't care, she just didn't think to ask.
"Well?" Lucy said, clearly put out by my insistence on being polite to my friend instead of disclosing to her everything I know about whatever happened with Drew.
I let out a sigh and said, "Can we at least sit down somewhere?"
An exhalation that loud shouldn't be able to come out of such a tiny person. "I suppose you want a pop, too? Maybe some popcorn?"
"Clearly, I am exhausting you with my civility," I said. "Would you rather just stand here in the entryway and talk?"
Lucy didn't answer; she just stormed past me into the living room and plopped down on the sofa, grabbing a throw pillow and holding it against her stomach.
I followed and sat down a cushion away from her while Emma sat in a nearby chair. The TV was on, but Lucy turned it off, once she got over her exhaustion with me enough to pick up the heavy remote. "Well?" she said again.
Before I could start to say anything at all, Emma said, "Guess what, Cassidy?" You don't get a chance to answer that when Emma says it. "I defeated the third level of my game last night."
"Yes. It was really hard, too, because." This is the point where she lost me. Emma continued to talk about how she beat the level for about ten minutes, and I nodded along. I never have any idea what she's talking about and really didn't care, but she loves to talk about her video games, so I played along. Usually, Lucy does, too. But not that day.
"Emma Jane! Shut it! We need to talk about Cadence and Drew."
Emma's eyes widened, and I felt a little sorry for her, but I knew it didn't bother her as much as it would most people, even if she doesn't know how to tell when Lucy is really mad or when she's just frustrated like she was at that moment.
"Emma, can you tell me the rest later?" I asked in a calm voice. "I think Lucy wants to talk about something else."
"Fine." Emma shrugged and fixed her glasses again. Then, as if rehearsed, she looked at Lucy and said, "What would you like to talk about, Lucy Burk?"
I think Emma's tone must've made Lucy realize she was being unreasonable because she closed her eyes for a second and settled back into the couch. After she'd composed herself, she said, "Cassidy, when we spoke on the phone Thursday, you mentioned some weird things were going on, and you wanted to wait until we could talk about it in person, remember?"
She was talking to me like I was either a three-year-old or clinically insane, but then, the way my memory was working at that point, I wasn't sure that she was wrong to do so. "I vaguely remember that conversation."
I could tell she wanted to let out another whopper of a sigh, but she held it back. "Cassidy, I'm a little concerned about you. Maybe the stress of this situation with your sister is starting to get to you." Lucy folded her arms across her chest, the pillow now in her lap.
"Or maybe you're just bonkers."
We both turned and looked at Emma, who had a sly smile on her face. "Ha, ha! Emma O'Sullivan makes the funny jokes!" I said, proud of her for the effort. She just grinned. "Okay, I'll admit, something weird is going on."
"I know. And that's what you're supposed to be telling me about," Lucy replied, matter-of-factly.
"No, not just with my sister. With me." It wasn't easy to say out loud, but it was true. Ever since I found that notebook, I hadn't stopped wondering when I'd penned what was written there. It was my turn to sigh. "Let me show you something, and then maybe we can figure it out together." Lucy nodded and Emma leaned forward in her chair.
I reached into my backpack and pulled out the notebook. I'd dog-eared the page when I found it, halfway thinking I might not be able to find it again later and think that I'd imagined the whole thing. "Here." Relieved to still see the message I'd left for myself, and nervous about what Lucy and Emma might think, I handed it over to Lucy, and Emma came to sit on the arm of the couch. I was glad she seemed interested in helping. We would likely need her brain power. Lucy and I are smart, too, but not genius level smart like Em.
They read it over, and then Lucy stopped and stared at me for a moment, her pretty little face puckered. She opened her mouth, closed it, and dipped her head once more, and I assumed she was reading it again. After she finished this time, she set the notebook down on the couch between us and simply asked, "What the crap?"
"I know," I said, with a shrug. "But here's the thing, you guys. I don't remember writing that."