It was just like any other day in Morganville; Shane was still sleeping, Michael was out giving guitar lessons, and Eve had gone to work at the coffee shop. The only thing different was that Claire wasn't attending her first class, because the teacher was out on vacation.
Claire was sipping on some coffee she had just brewed, and it tasted pretty good, but wasn't nearly as comparable to Eve's delicious drinks. She was nearly half way done when the phone rang. She quickly picked it up before it could wake up Shane, even though she doubted a mere phone ring could disrupt his sleep. "Hello?"
"May I speak to Claire?" Claire didn't immediately recognize the voice, but it was a man on the other line.
"This is her." Claire was scanning through her memory to place the voice, but it didn't ring any bells. She suddenly found herself wishing the phone had caller id.
"How are you Claire? I'm sorry, let me introduce myself first. You probably haven't got a clue who I am. I'm Mr. Howard, Cara's father. You remember me, right?"
Claire remembered all too well. Cara was her best friend before they split up to go to different colleges. Cara to Caltech, which was Claire's dream school, and Claire got stuck with Texas Prairie University. "Hey Mr. Howard, I'm doing pretty good. How about you?"
Claire heard Mr. Howard give a half-hearted laugh an then a sigh. "It's funny you should ask that. I hope you don't mind me calling; I got the number from your parents." There was a slight pause. "I'm calling about Cara. She's, um, she's not doing so well." Mr. Howard's voice cracked at the end.
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. What's wrong?" Claire found herself thinking about how Cara's life must be. It had to be fantastic going to Caltech.
"Claire, she's got lung cancer and there's a ninety percent chance she's not going to make it." Claire could tell that Mr. Howard was crying and she wanted to reach out of the phone and hug him. "She regrets not keeping in touch with you, but you always were one of her good friends. Look, I know this is asking a lot, but do you think you could come and visit her? Don't even worry about the money, because we'll pay all of your expenses."
Claire didn't know what to say. Her previous best friend was dying, and she wanted to spend time with her, but she couldn't leave Morganville. Could she? "I, um, I'll be there." Claire blinked a few times and couldn't believe she just up and accepted the offer without even considering Eve, Michael, Amelie or Shane. God, how could she not consider Shane? She loved him!
"Claire, thank you so much. I know this will mean a lot to Cara and God bless you." Mr. Howard hung up the phone and so did Claire. She laid her head down on the table and shut her eyes, thinking about how stupid her decision was. There was no way Amelie would let her leave Morganville. But, Claire was definitely going to visit her friend even if it killed her.
Just then Claire heard foot steps padding down the stairs. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized it had to be Shane. How could she face him now? Claire shot to her feet and started walking to meet Shane. She just had to act like nothing was wrong. That couldn't be hard, right?