Chapter 17

Chapter 17: Sadina

Maddie is still in bed, but at least her eyes are open. I sit beside her, on the edge of the mattress, and brush her nose with one of her brown curls.

“You need to get up, princess,” I say, trying to keep my voice calm. “Something happened last night and Mom and Dad have to deal with it. I don’t have time to explain. I’ll put some cereal out for you, okay? But I need to run over to Rio’s for a minute. Tell Mom I’ll be back in time for the bus.”

Without a word Maddie pushes the covers back. That’s all I need to see. In my own room I pull on my black jeans and the first sweater I touch in the closet—no time for fashion decisions now. As for my hair, it’s clearly going to be a ponytail kind of day.

I check Maddie’s room on the way downstairs. She’s standing at the window, her back to me, looking out at a morning that’s a grey wet streak.

“It’s raining cats and dogs,” I say lightly. Still no answer. I don’t know what’s up with her, but I can’t stop to find out. In the kitchen I pull everything out at top speed: bowl, spoon, cup, cereal, milk, OJ. Then I grab an umbrella and I’m out the door.