Cassandra froze when she saw her mother on the screen. Oh no, she thought. This can't be happening!
She figured there would be some attention about her disappearance, but she didn't think it's make it on the Detroit news.
It's probably because they think I'm crazy. But I'm not. Why couldn't they see that? They're the crazy ones, she consoled herself.
As her mother talked, Cassandra prayed they wouldn't show a picture of her. Then, by some stroke of luck, Rob said something to Rebecca right as an old picture of her was shown. Neither of them saw, so for now neither of them knew.
And let's keep it that way.
She had to figure out a way to distract them from seeing the report on her. The commercials danced across the screen for a few minutes while the three sat in silence.
When the news came back, Cassandra felt her heart skip a beat. She looked around the room for something, anything, for distraction. Then she saw it.
Of course, because Cassandra's disappearance was the biggest thing in Detroit at that moment, the news was put towards the end of the telecast. That meant sitting through the weather report first.
This just might work, she thought excitedly.
Just then, someone knocked on the door.
"Room service," came a male voice from outside the room.
"Oh great, the food!" Rob exclaimed, jumping up and heading for the door. He opened it and let the man in, who wheeled in a small cart.
This is my chance, Cassandra thought as she stood up and went around the bed towards the food. As she walked past the TV, she paused at the cord that was plugged into the wall. She kicked the cord out of the outlet and behind the dresser the TV was sitting on. The screen flashed to black, and Cassandra quickly moved out of the way to avoid suspicion.
"Whoa, what happened to the TV?" Rebecca asked from next to the cart of food.
"I don't know," Rob mused. "Let's get all this settled first, and then we'll worry about that."
The glasses of milk were handed out, and Cassandra was given her plate of spaghetti. She was also given the salad and the chocolate cake.
"This is all for me?" she asked Rob when he handed her the cake.
"Yep. Don't eat too fast. Don't wanna get a stomachache," he grinned. He turned back to the man who delivered the room service. "Here you go," he said, slipping him a bill of an unknown amount.
The man looked down at the money and then back up at Rob. "Thank you," he said softly.
"Hey, thanks for the food," Rob said, leading him towards the door. He saw the man out, then returned to the room.
Cassandra, though she wasn't that hungry, knew she had to make it seem like she was. So she concentrated fully on her food and began wolfing it down, knowing that Rob would be watching her.
"I'll be right back," Rebecca excused herself, heading towards the bathroom.
"Okay honey," Rob said absently. "Now let me fix this TV." Rob stepped over to the TV. He hit it once on the top and twice on the side. "Hmm.."
Yeah, just keep pondering, she told Rob mentally. She reached over to her backpack, which she had been keeping protectively close to her, and found the bottle of pills at the bottom. Her hands still in the bag, she opened the bottle and took out a handful of pills. Keeping an eye on Rob the whole time, she leaned over and deposited the pills into Rebecca's glass of milk.
She straightened up after she was finished and continued to watch Rob beat the TV senseless. Then she saw him catch sight of the cord.
"Ahhh..it got unplugged!" he said, reaching behind the dresser and pulling out the cord.
"Ohh...I must have tripped over it or something. I didn't even notice. I'm sorry, I'm such a klutz sometimes," Cassandra said apologetically.
Rob replugged the TV and it came on to show the credits of the news. "There! I fixed it!"
Cassandra laughed. "Good job."
Rob beamed. Right then Rebecca came out of the bathroom and sat on the bed, clad in her pajamas, a matching shirt and short set coverd with doves. Rob noticed that but didn't say anything. He loved teasing her about her unexplainable love for doves, but he decided to save the teasing tonight for later. "Becca, I fixed the TV!" he repeated instead as he sat next to her.
Rebecca patted his head affectionately. "That's my good boy." Cassandra watched as Rebecca grabbed her glass of milk and took a big gulp.
"You know what I realized?" Rebecca asked the two as she continued to sip. "We're not going to have enough towels if we all want to take showers. Since everyone is awake already, I thought I'd call down and ask for some more."
"Oh yeah, good point Becca," Rob said, sipping his soda.
Rebecca proceeded to call down and request for more towels. As she hung up, she said, "They said it'd take about twenty minutes because they're washing all their towels or something."
Oh, by that time you won't be conscious, Cassandra thought smugly.
By this time, the other band members were either asleep or engaging in activities that didn't involve the TV. In fact, the only other person watching the TV was Mike. And coincidentally, he had been watching the news as well. He had taken off his glasses though. Just in case he fell asleep.
He felt bad about the missing girl, and didn't actually know about it until he saw the brief clip. He had fumbled for his glasses when they showed a picture, thinking that maybe she could be a matchbox twenty fan and therefore might pop up around the band. But, with his vision so bad, he couldn't see his glasses and only succeeded in knocking them off of the nightstand. By the time he had retrieved them and put them on, the picture was gone. He sighed and took them off again.
The TV was on in his room as the report of the missing girl came on. The clip of the girl's mother was shown again, but it was a longer clip this time.
"My baby...she's a good girl, but she just needs some psychiatric help. That's why it's so important to find her," Sharon Killyack said.
Then the reporter asked, "Do you think she's dangerous?"
Sharon paused, obviously unsure of how to answer. "Not for most people..." she trailed off.
A voice over of a man interrupted Sharon.
"Cassandra Killyack, fifteen, was last seen three days ago at her the home of her parents. Police say she ran away two nights ago, the day before she was to be readmitted to Northville Psychiatric Hospital in nearby Northville.
While the voice spoke, pictures of Cassandra's home and of Cassandra herself.
"Police are also saying that Cassandra had stayed for eight months in the psychiatric hospital, but was released when it seemed as if her condition had improved. She was admitted the first time after the tragic death of her teacher, Mr. Monroe. Students in Cassandra's class said that she had an unhealthy obsession with the popular young teacher. And although it still can't be proven, police suspect Cassandra played a role in his death. Her whereabouts the day of his death are still unknown. Mr. Monroe died in his home of an apparent overdose of sleeping pills that were slipped in his drink. Coincidentally, Cassandra's mother is a local pharmacist and it is believed Cassandra gained info on the effects of sleeping pills through her. Her father is on the Detroit police force and is highly decorated."
The screen showed pictures of Mr. Monroe, Cassandra's old school, Mr. Monroe's house, and then of a reporter standing outside the arena the band played in earlier that night.
"Now, at this late hour, we have just found out that Cassandra is a very large fan of the band matchbox twenty, who played at this arena tonight. Police plan on informing the band and its management tomorrow morning, and extra security will be provided. Cassandra's room, it has been discovered, is a veritable shrine to the group, especially for its lead singer, Rob Thomas, the singer of the hit song 'Smooth,' and the winner of three Grammies."
"If you have any information on Cassandra Killyack, please call the Detroit police. She has extensive knowledge on the effects of certain pills, and is considered dangerous..."
The reporter continued talking for a few more seconds. Unfortunately, Mike didn't catch what he said. In fact, he didn't catch the whole report on Cassandra.
He had fallen asleep during the weather report.
Rob was now watching Conan O'Brien. He laughed as Conan cracked a joke about Britney Spears, and looked over at Rebecca. He was surprised to find out she had fallen asleep.
"Aw, baby's tired," he said softly, stroking her arm. She didn't move. She was in a solid sleep.
Suddenly Cassandra stood up and went into the bathroom. Rob didn't say anything. He thought about it, but decided against it. He continued to watch Conan for a few more minutes. Then the show cut to a commercial break. Then the show was back. At this point, Rob realized that Cassandra was still in the bathroom.
He became instantly concerned. He carefully got off of the bed, careful not to disturb Rebecca, and knocked on the bathroom door.
"Cassie?" he said softly. "You okay in there?"
He heard some definite sniffs, but no actual answer.
"Cassie?" he said again. "Can you open the door?"
The door slowly opened and Cassandra poked her head through. She had been crying.
"Oh Cassie, what's wrong?" Rob asked in a whisper. Then, as a afterthought, "Can I come in?"
Cassandra nodded and opened the door further, allowing Rob in the bathroom. He didn't know what was wrong, but figured a hug would help. So he hugged her.
"Sweetie, what's wrong?" he asked again. "Please tell me."
Cassandra pulled away and regarded him with a sad face. "You've been so nice to me, and I just...I just can't thank you enough."
Rob gave a little smile. "Anything for a fan. Is that why you're crying?"
"No...well sort of. I just realized that I can't stay here anymore. I don't want to get in your way."
"What the hell makes you think you're in the way?" Rob asked, reaching for her again. But this time she pulled away, and closed the bathroom door.
"I just feel out of place here. I've decided that I'm going back to where I've been staying the past few weeks. I can't be here anymore."
"Why not?" Rob demanded.
"Because I just don't feel right. You're giving me so much and I can't give you anything in return," Cassandra said.
"I'm not doing this to get something back," Rob said, furrowing his brows. Why is she acting like this? he thought.
"I know, I know. But I still don't feel right. I'm sorry, I have to go," she said, reaching for the doorknob.
Rob blocked the door. "And where exactly do you plan to go?"
Cassandra sighed. "There's this building near the arena that's abandoned. No one ever goes there. I've been hiding there for a few weeks."
Rob shook his head. "No way. You're not going there. At least not now. I'm not letting you leave here and go out there by yourself at this time of night."
"Rob, please. I've been on the streets here for months. I think I can handle myself. Now let me go," Cassandra said in a low voice.
"No," Rob said again. "You can't go."
Cassandra drooped a little, and Rob felt that he had won.
So naturally, he was taken completely off guard when Cassandra suddenly pulled back her fist and punched Rob hard in the face. The force was so great that Rob's head flew back and slammed against the door.
"Oh fuck! What the hell did you do that for?" he asked, cupping his hand over his left eye. "Dammit, I thought you broke that wrist!" he exclaimed angrily.
Cassandra didn't say anything, but instead pushed the incapacitated Rob out of the way of the door and ran out of the room, grabbing her backpack along the way.
"Fuck," Rob muttered, beginning to follow her. Then he realized he should wake Rebecca.
"Becca, baby, wake up," he said, giving her a little push. No response.
"Becca," he said again, louder this time. Still no response.
"Becca!" he said louder, giving her another small push. This push sent her rolling ever so slightly, but it was enough to send her off of the bed and onto the floor. And she was still asleep.
"Becca?" he asked, stooping down over her. She moaned in her sleep.
"Shit, why does she have to be such a heavy sleeper?" he said aloud. He found a pen and paper and quickly scrawled a note out for Rebecca to read if she happened to wake up.
Then he bolted out of the room, nearly tripping on a pile of towels. He shot down the stairs and was in the hotel lobby within seconds. He quickly looked around and saw Cassandra hurrying through the main doors. He ran outside and saw her walking down the street.
"Cassandra!" he called out. She turned and, upon seeing Rob, began to run.
"Wait!" he cried. He picked up his pace and started chasing her.
"Cassie, stop!" he pleaded. She didn't stop. She did, however, make a sharp turn and start running down an alleyway. Rob followed and saw her far ahead, turning into another alley.
"Dammit Cassie!" he exclaimed.
Rob ran for a few more minutes, always just catching Cassie before she disappeared from sight. And he was surprised when he emerged from an alley and find himself at the arena. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cassie run into a nearby building.
"Shit, she knows this city well," he said under his breath. A car passed by and Rob shielded his eyes from the bright headlights. After the car passed he jogged across the street and up to the building. It looked like an old warehouse. Rob found the door that Cassie had gone through, and carefully opened it. He was greeted with blackness.
"Cassie?" he breathlessly called into the building. The echo of his voice was the only response.
Rob sighed and stepped into the building. He never did like the dark.
"Cassie, are you in here?" he called again. He waited to hear any sort of movement.
Finally he heard her. "Rob, why did you follow me?" she asked from further inside the building.
Rob took a tentative step forward. "Because I couldn't just let you leave."
"Oh Rob," he heard Cassie say. He was getting closer. He boldly made a few more steps inside. He came to a large open room with windows on one side.
"Cassie, I couldn't let you go like that. It just wasn't right," he explained, searching for the young girl. "Even if you did give me a black eye," he joked.
He heard some scurrying behind him and was about to turn around when he felt a heavy object hit the back of his head. His vision went red, then black, and he crumpled to the floor.
Cassie stood over him, holding a two-by-four in her hands. "Oh well, your loss," she whispered in his ear.
"And my gain," she added, gently stroking his hair.