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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

            Cassie flipped her hair over her shoulder, a gesture Elizabeth had seen her do a thousand times.
"Oh, Lizzie!  You're always such a worry wart!  I don't understand why you make yourself sick over every little detail!  There's absolutely no connection between us and Rivera.  Sure, I knew him, but so did every person in town.  He worked at the church and the Country Club, and they owned the restaurant.  It's not like he'd been hiding under  rock, or anything."

           "It's just... this time...well, it was an awful lot of money, Cassie."

           "I've told you a million times.  The amount is inconsequential.  Just follow the plan... like we always do, and it'll be fine.  Did you do what I told you?"

            "Yes.  I went twice a week and withdrew the amount you told me, always on a different day, and always to a different teller.  It's empty now...I took the last of it Thursday."

            " Did you wear the disguise I gave you?"

            "Of course, but I felt stupid.  People were always holding doors open for me, and offering me a chair.  It was ridiculous."

             "And it's because of that so called 'ridiculous' disguise that we've got nothing to be afraid of, Lizzie!  Remember that the next time you doubt me.  Where's the money?"

             "It's right here in this blue case."  Elizabeth picked up the heavy bag, and passed it to her cousin.

              Cassie undid the locks, and opened the case.  Giving it a cursory shuffle, and counting the piles, she gave a satisfied grunt.   Lovingly patting the money before closing the top,  she shoved the bag under her bed.  "Looks like it's all here.  So what's the problem?  Why didn't you stay at the B and B like I told you. I would have come for you when I could, like I always do.  Dr. Patterson and I have been making some decent progress.  I can't help that I'm stuck inside, Lizzie.  It's real bad this time.  You could at least feel a little sorry for me, you know."  Cassie crossed her arms, and gave Elizabeth her best pout.

              " I do feel bad for you.  Honest, I do!  But it was so lonely there, Cas.  I stayed in my room, except for the bank visits, and meal times.  And when ever I went down to the dining room, the other people would try to chat me up.  I never knew what to say to them.  I had to keep making up stories, and was afraid I couldn't keep track of all the lies I was telling.  I started to write it all down.  Then, when that Rivera thing happened..."  Elizabeth paused, remembering that awful morning, and the lost rosary.  She started to open her mouth to tell Cassie about being at the church the morning of the murder, but quickly decided against it.  Now was not the time to set her cousin off. " I just couldn't stand it anymore.  I had to get out of there.  So, I checked out this morning, and went to the train station, like I was leaving town. I even bought a ticket, so it seemed like I had a destination. When it got dark, I took a taxi close to here, and then walked over."

               "And you didn't go anywhere else, or talk to anybody?"

               " No, Cassie, no one." she lied. "I pretended to read my book, and wait for my train."

               "Geez, Lizzie, why didn't you just go?  Why did you come back here?  It causes all kinds of problems for me."

              "I'm tired of all this sneaking around. It sucks being by myself all the time.  It's boring, and it makes me nervous being out of the loop. Why can't I just stay with you, Cassie? she whined.  "I promise I won't be a pain.  I just don't want to be alone anymore.  I could be a help.  You know...go to store, clean the house, and run errands and stuff."

              "Don't be ridiculous!  We can't be seen together.  No connections...remember?  You have to stay out of sight until we can wrap this whole thing up."

               "Can't I stay here?  It's a big house.  No one will see me."

               " You know, Elizabeth, you can be a real pain in the ass.  I guess you could use one of the bedrooms on the third floor.  No one goes up there.  You'd have to promise not to come down during the day.  I can't have Dr. Patterson, or anyone else, for that matter, seeing you.  Are we clear on that?"

               " Oh thank you, Cassie.  You're the best ever." Elizabeth rose to hug her cousin.

                Pushing her away, Cassie slid the off the bed.  "I'm exhausted.  Let's get you settled, so I can get some sleep.  I have tons to do tomorrow."

                 Elizabeth followed her up the stairs to the third floor, and to a room at the end of a long hallway.
Cassie opened the door, and leaving the lights off,  pulled the shade down on the only window in the room.  "You'll have to use only a night light for now, and keep the shade drawn at all times.  I can't have people seeing lights, or someone walking up here, all of a sudden.  At least until I can figure out what to do with you."

                  The room was cramped and tiny, and in the dark, looked rather unwelcoming.  "It's kind of..ahh.. small, Cassie, and so far from your room, and the kitchen"

                  "Beggars can't be choosers, Elizabeth.  If you want to stay with me, you're going to have to live with it, at least for a few weeks.  At least there's a bathroom right next door.  Pretend your Anne Frank." she giggled.  And with that, Cassie shut the door behind her, leaving Elizabeth alone in the dark.





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