Kassandra stood, breaking the spell of attention the group of Pine Street friends had been woven into. “I know, this is a long story, and I’m sorry. You’re probably all sick of it by now, just some teenage drama.”
Allison stood too, her small frame silhouetted against the lamplight in the living room where they gathered. “Kass,” she said, touching her friend’s arm. “We’re with you, and listening. Your story is important to us, because you are important to us. But it’s up to you whether to go on.”
Franny imagined the spirit of Marilyn had animated young Allison, bringing this gentle wisdom forward. “It’s totally up to you, Kassandra,” Franny added. “But I, for one, am dying to know what happened next.” She smiled to lighten the moment.
“Me, too!” Leo chimed in, as the others nodded.
Kassandra laughed. “Okay, then. Where was I? Oh, right. Well, I think D.J recognized that Sasha was, you know, vulnerable. Maybe he looked for that. Or tuned into it. Anyway, I saw Sasha one more time after she disappeared with him that night, for about five minutes the next morning. Her parents had picked her up from the local police station.
“She wasn’t hurt,” she added hastily. “She’d gotten lost. D.J had taken her out to this wooded area, and kissed her, and she said she realized he was a jerk. She was too embarrassed to come to back to where I was, so she told D.J to piss off and she didn’t need his help to find her way back to the hotel. She was also a bit worried he’d try to follow her anyway, so she ran off in the wrong direction and got lost. Finally she found the main road and followed it to the police station.”
Kassandra paused, swallowing. “Sasha told me all this in that five minutes in her room, as she packed up her stuff. Then she said, ‘I love you, K,’ kissed me again, and left my life for good.”
The friends in the room held a reverent silence, each reflecting on an experience of being left for good.
“But why were you so afraid of David?” Franny blurted. “And why did he make that comment about summers long ago?”