“Maddie, where are you?”
My voice is louder than I meant it to be. I’m not really mad—with Maddie, that’s not the way to get what you want—just tired of being on the edge. I take the stairs two at a time. Maddie’s door is open and she’s back in bed with the covers up to her nose. Her eyes are open but she’s staring straight ahead, at something she obviously doesn’t even see.
“Madeline Rose, what’s the deal? You’re making me late.” I’m careful to keep my voice light.
She doesn’t answer or glance my way. I touch the back of my hand to her forehead, like I’ve seen Mom do. She feels warm, but maybe that’s just because my hand is still icy and damp from being outside. She could be sick. But the way she’s acting makes me think of something else. Maddie gets like this—blank, withdrawn—when she’s too stressed out. And what stressed her out? Me, of course.
I take the blame for that right away, like a quick kick in the stomach. I shouldn’t have rushed off and left her here. What did I tell her before I left? “Something happened last night...” That was just dumb. Maddie can take a statement like that and blow it up like a balloon. Who knows what she’s imagining.