It didn't take long to learn that the 'she' that Cassie was referring to was her mother. "We… got separated," Kira explained slowly as she sat down in the motel room's small chair. Half of the room was dark, since Cassie had flicked her light off and tucked herself into bed. Though all Nick could see was her hair spilling over her pillow, he knew she had to be awake still. Awake and, unfortunately, listening. "Her mother told me that we would meet up at this diner later. I waited until it closed but…"

"She never came." It was Cassie who spoke, her voice soft as she slowly turned to bore her eyes into Nick and Kira. If the light had been better on her side of the room, maybe Nick would have spotted the red rims around her eyes or her slightly red nose. "So you just left her there."

"What was I supposed to do, Cassie? Go and try to find her by myself? What if something happened to me? Who would tell you what had happened to your mom? I thought it'd be better to come back and get help and-"

"And let her rot wherever she's at!" Cassie accused, rolling over so that her back was once again to the other occupants of the room.

Kira paused, silently begging Nick for some kind of help. He drew in a breath, starting to try and find words that could both defend Kira and comfort Cassie. It was hard to not take sides. "Cass, look…"

"No," she said firmly. "I'm done. I'm done."

Nick couldn't help but feel guilty when he woke up to see Kira snuggled up against him. He didn't know how to tell her. What would he tell her? Hey, so, I kind of decided I like this girl who is ten years younger than I am. Sorry. I like you, too, but I'm not sure if I like you more or not…

When he tilted his neck to look at his clock, he saw that it was 6:44am. Wow. Why had he woken up this early? Usually he got out of bed at about nine and dragged Cassie out of her bed at eleven or twelve. Why… oh. He could see the door leading into the bathroom from his bed. Yellow, artificial light was leaking out from underneath it. If he strained, he could hear small clinks of someone moving around.

Cassie? She never woke up this early. A quick glance at her bed confirmed that she wasn't in bed anymore. Why on earth would she ever voluntarily get out of bed before noon?

Maybe she's sick, Nick thought suddenly, peeling his covers away from his body. He was careful not to stir Kira… the last thing he needed was to have her wake up. What he really wanted was to have some time to talk with Cassie alone, to try to explain and figure out what he should do.

"Hey, Cassie? Are you okay?" he questioned softly, knocking on the bathroom door gently. "Do you need anyth-"

The door opened abruptly and there was Cassie. She looked dressed and polished, all hints of redness around her eyes and face gone. Her mouth was set in a determined way, her forehead creased angrily. "Hey, watch out," she demanded, brushing past him to go dig around in her suitcase noisily.

Nick gazed down at his pajama bottoms, feeling lazy compared to her. "Usually I have to drag you out of bed," he said, attempting a light-hearted laugh to break the awkwardness that had developed around them.

It didn't work.

"Yeah, well," Cassie said briskly, zipping up her suitcase after fastening something around her neck. "Usually isn't today."

All of the rummaging and closing doors and lights flickering on had disturbed Kira. She woke up sleepily, stretching her arms into the headboard. "Ow," she remarked, rubbing her now scuffed knuckles. She looked at Nick, who was now standing halfway between Cassie and herself. "What's going on?"

"Just getting ready," Cassie said cheerfully, going over to the small side table that was placed between the two beds. She turned on the table lamp that rested on top of it, before pulling open one of the table's drawers.

In the glint of the new source of light, Kira noticed something hanging from Cassie's neck. "Hey," she said softly. "Nice necklace. 'Cor unum.' One heart, right? Did your boyfriend give you that?"

The blonde slowly straightened, closing the drawer as silently as possible. She casually glanced back towards Nick, inspecting his wrists quickly. They were bare. "Oh, no," she said, trying to keep her voice light. "I picked it up in some really cheap shop that we stopped at. It was a second hand store. I should probably, you know, get rid of it. It's probably full of lice and other cool little parasites." She stood, ripping the necklace from her neck in one single motion and depositing it into a trash can. Cassie started for the door, pulling her suitcase with her. "So, hey, I'm gonna go and get drunk and then I'm gonna find my mom. Don't wait up or anything."

She left the motel room. Or at least she would have, if Nick and Kira hadn't both lunged for her. Though he had been further away from the door, Nick reached her first. "Don't," he warned.

He was aware that both women were watching him carefully. "Don't do what, Nick?" Cassie questioned, her voice pumped full of ice and venom. He had never heard her voice sound like that before. "Don't lie about my age so I can drink? Or don't lie at all? Being a little hypocritical, aren't we?"

Kira frowned, her eyes darting from Nick to Cassie. "You can't go. You're just a kid, Cassie. You won't find her by yourself. Wait and we'll come with you. We'll find other people to help us. We will."

Cassie pressed her lips together, trying to shove Nick away from the door. "Did you ever think that I didn't want your help? And what are you talking about, 'you're just a kid'? That didn't stop me before, did it? God, you're smart."

"You're seventeen," Kira said, crossing her arms over her chest. She probably thought it made her look more formidable, but Cassie couldn't help but think that it made her look foolish.

Nick spoke at the same time as Cassie. "Eighteen," they corrected.


"Yeah. So. I think I'll go now. I mean, I'll see any danger coming, so I'll be fine. I'm good," Cassie assured them. "Have fun. See you… whenever."

Sorry this chapter is shorter than the last. I've actually had this much written for about two weeks but I planned on adding to it. I just found it again and decided I should upload it and then continue with a longer chapter four.