4 Chapter 4

My parent's bedroom door was closed, but thankfully it wasn't locked. I expected them both to be sound asleep, but as I threw the door open, I was surprised to see them both sitting up in bed talking, worried expressions on their faces.

"Mom! Dad!" I said, closing the door behind me and trying to hold back the terror in my voice. "Something weird is going on!"

"Oh, Cassidy, honey, you should be asleep." Leave it to Liz Findley to try and soothe the terror out of me when she clearly knew something odd was happening. Otherwise, she wouldn't be up this time of day either, not unless she was in the kitchen with the turkey, which she obviously wasn't.

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I flung myself onto the foot of their bed. "Mom, something's going on with Cadence! There was a man in her room. And I saw her leave with some weird woman in a sports car!"

My parents exchanged glances, and then both of their phones chimed at the exact same moment with a text message. My mother held up a finger and reached for her phone. A small sigh escaped her lips as she showed the screen to my father despite the fact that he was holding his own phone in his hand and likely had just received the same messagefrom my sister, I presumed. I waited in agony for them to tell me what was going on.

I didn't miss the look that passed between them. They were aware that something bizarre was going on, but they didn't look panicked or terrified the way that I was. I continued to stare at my mother for what seemed like an eternity until she set her phone aside.

"I'll go call Mom," my dad said, letting out a deep breath. He took his phone and climbed out of bed, his blue pajama pants tangled around one calf. "Everything is okay, Cassidy," he said almost as an afterthought as he headed into the bathroom so he could call his mom in private. I had no idea what Grandma Janette had to do with any of this, and I returned my attention to my mother.

"Get as much information as you can, Eli!" my mother called out to my father as he shut the bathroom door. Then, she returned her gaze to me. I knew that look. It was the same one she gave me when I came in fourth place in a gymnastics competition when I was six, just missing the podium. I got it often when I'd tried to play coaches pitch and found out I am not so good at hitting balls with large sticks. She reached up and smoothed my long brown hair away from my face. "Everything will be okay, Cassidy. Something unexpected has happened. But I'm sure your sister is just fine."

Her words seemed measured, and I wondered exactly what that text, which I was certain now had to have been from Cadence, said. "Mom, I heard footsteps on the roof."

"It was probably just the wind."

"There was a man in Cadence's room."

"It must've been Jack."

I couldn't tell my mom that I'd heard Jack's voice through Cadence's wall plenty of times and knew it was not him. Also, Jack had never come and gone via the bedroom window before. "What about the sports car?"

"Honey, your sister just sent me a text. She's made a new friend. I'm sure we'll know more soon. She's just going out of town for a bit."

I raised both eyebrows at her. None of this made any sense. "What does Grandma have to do with anything?"

This one seemed to throw more of a wrench in her deceitful plan. "I think your dad just wanted Grandma to know that Cadence is going out of town for a little while."

I raised an eyebrow at her. Why would my father call his elderly mother atI glanced at the clock4:57 to tell her that my sister had made a friend and was going out of town?

Before I could inquire further, my dad was on his way back to bed, his pant leg righted. "Everything is okay, Cassidy," he repeated, a solemn smile on his face. Dad sat down on the opposite side of the bed from where I was sitting, and I could tell by his expression that everything wasn't really okay. He looked at my mom and then at me, as if he was asking her whether or not they should toss me out. My mom only shrugged, and I could tell by her eyes that she was dying for my dad to tell her something.

"Cassidy, why don't you go back to bed, and we'll talk about all of this in a few hours?" My dad's tone was the kind that says he's asking a question, but he doesn't really mean to see if you agree or not.

For once in my life, I played dumb. "No, thank you," I said, as if I thought his question gave me a choice. "I'd like to know what's going on now. Where's Cadence? Is she okay?"

My father's breath could've blown out all the candles on his cake if he was a hundred years old. "Cadence is fine, honey. There was some sort of an accident tonight. I'm not sure of the details yet, but Drew Peterson was hurt. They've taken her to the hospital. Your sister is going to stay with your grandma for a few days to try to calm down. She's very upset."

I listened to my father's words and felt the blood drain out of my face. I had known all along this Eidolon Festival wasn't a good idea, and now it was confirmed. Part of me thought I should tell them what I knew, that Cadence hadn't just gone to Drew's house that night, but I also didn't want to get Cadence in trouble, especially if she was involved with whatever had happened to Drew. It seemed very bizarre to me that my sister would head out of town because her friend was in the hospital unless Cadence had something to do with whatever had landed Drew there.

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