Become a Book Nerd
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.
The day was not the same with Izzie missing. We all felt it, but we continued with our scheduled activities. I made the most of each of them, engaging with the tour guides as they showed us pieces of history.
“This piece was created in –“
The song She Moves Her Own Way interrupted the curator. Everyone within range glared at me.
“Sorry.” I speed-walked out of the gallery, trying to answer before Izzie hanged up.
“How did it go?” I put my free hand into my pocket as I slowly walked the porch of the museum.
Gaston was mere steps away, looking elsewhere to give the illusion of privacy.
“I don’t – I don’t know who I am now.” Her congestion signified crying.
“What are you talking about? Do you not recall your name?”
“Isabella and Mia are right. I don’t know if the Hales fits – not like a glove.”
“I am having difficulties understanding you.”
“Don’t matter. Hear voice.”
“Have you been drinking?” I lowered my voice to a whisper.
“You know it does.” I ground my teeth.
“Don’t mad. No understand.”
“Don’t know daddy. Lots of drama. It hurts.” Her voice cracked.
“Where are you, Beautiful?”
“I need to go home. I’m going home.” She murmured.
“Where is that, specifically?”
“Have you spoken to her?”
“I need to feel safe.”
“I know. I’m happy you called me. Stay on the phone with me until you get there.”
“I want to make sure you get to where you want to go.”
She sighed heavily. “I’m tired.”
“How much did you drink?”
“Glasses, bottles, cases — what?”
“Bottle, duh.” She snorted. “Case.”
“This is not funny.”
“Laugh if wanna. Sick if I mix. Rhyme? Sick. Mix. Sick and mix.”
“When is your birthday?” I quizzed her to see how far gone she was.
“Hate it. Don’t say it.”
“Fine, what is your ballerina bunny’s name?”
“What is your favorite color?”
“Which languages do I speak?”
“English, Greek, and Italian-” She snorted. “Spanish sad.”
“Do you want space?” I braced myself for the worst.
“No leave me. Love. Love. No yell at you. I didn’t mean it.”
“I am staying here. Don’t worry.”
“Hand. I feel bad. I like it. No. need it. Like to hold it.”
“Decent. The splint is a bother, though. I am undoubtedly clumsier.” I examined it with a smile.
“Like you. Cute. Really cute. The cutest. ”
“You are not bad yourself.”
“Hey, I made you laugh.”
“Please change it.”
“Nu uh. I’m here.”
“I will be checking on you later.”
“Hi — I mean bye.”
I called Audrey.
“Milo?” She answered after several rings.
“Hi, um, Izzie just called me. She said she is at your house. Is she there with you?” My worry increased when I realized she could’ve easily been mistaken of her whereabouts.
“I’m not home. Uh, what — what did she say?”
“Something about your father. It was difficult to piece together. She’s very intoxicated.” I paced.
“Are you sure she is at my house?”
“No. That’s what she said. I just — I can’t — nothing can happen to her.” My anxiety grew.
“I will call Everett and get back to you. I am on my way home right now. I will find her and take care of this. Don’t worry.”
“Easier said than done.”
“It’s all I have. Thanks for telling me. Bye.” She hurried off the phone for obvious reasons.
I transitioned my phone to the vibration setting. Gaston followed me back inside to the museum. I rendered myself invisible to reconcile for my rude exit by standing in the back of the crowd.
Aud called me and told me Izzie was safe. I was able to breathe again.
As my friends and I ate in the dining room of my suite, I proposed a plan I had been mulling over the entire afternoon.
“We are not going to do anything on April 14th for Izzie’s birthday.”
“Like **** we’re not! It’s her special day! I refuse –“ Elle geared up for a passionate argument.
“I am not saying that we are not celebrating her birth, I am merely stating that we are doing so the day after. She said she does not like her birthday because of negative past experiences. We are going to give her a new day, one only tainted by us being ourselves.”
“Ugh, that’s a great idea. It should’ve been mine.” She fell back into her seat, crossing her arms.
“While she is away, this is our opportunity to plan. Let us collect what we know about her and incorporate it into a surprise party that she will love.”
“I think we should take it one step further, not even acknowledging that the 14th is technically her birthday. The way Bex explained it, the day is bordering on traumatic.” Sami suggested thoughtfully.
“Sort of surprised to hear that from you, Sams. Romance has made you go soft.” Ry teased.
“Yeah, I like Watson. Another shocker – I have a heart. It’s on my sleeve at the moment because I feel bad for not leaving the club when you guys did. I didn’t know it was a moment until punches were thrown.”
“One punch. It was not a fight.” I corrected when Verna’s eyes shot to me.
“It could’ve been, Dude, it could’ve been a straight-up riot. I was in the nosebleeds, instead of my rightful place on the front lines.” She slammed her fist on the table.
“I love the enthusiasm, but it is a surprise party, not a liberation movement.”
“Either way, I’m gonna be an all-star team player.”
“Is it terrible that I am unnerved by that prospect?” Morgan admitted sheepishly.
“Nope, fringe is what we do. It’ll be interesting to see us do something entirely constructive.” Finn weighed in.
“’Nice’ has never been their key word, either.” Nick agreed.
We bounced ideas off of each other and went to bed with a comprehensive list of what we would be putting together the moment we reached Sella Moora.