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“So how was your day?” he asked when Lenore finally surfaced from her room around seven thirty. It had not rained, so instead of being on water duty, she had no doubt spent her day locked up in the bedroom doing God only knew what.

“Same as yesterday, same as the day before that, same as… well, I think you get the picture,” she replied as she pulled back a chair and sat down at the table next to him. She looked exhausted, and he wondered why she wouldn’t just sleep. Surely the body reached a point where it could no longer sustain itself and just entirely shut down. He had had a similar situation during the first month after her arrival.

“Nothing exciting happen today?” Sebastian asked. Pushing the half eaten can of cold tomato soup toward her, he handed her the extra spoon he’d pulled from the drawer, just in case she decided to join him.

“Well, the sky turned a little gray, and for a while there I spotted some hopeful looking clouds. But, alas. Dry as my skin again, I’m afraid.” She took the spoon and rested it against the lip of the can, but she didn’t take a slurp.

“Well, I had a rather odd experience today,” he said, trying to make conversation to fill the silence between them. He dipped his own spoon into the can and swallowed some soup before continuing.

“Miss Emotional Anna confess her undying love to you while you rooted through strangers’ apartments?” she joked.

He had to chuckle at that. Anna made Lenore look like a love sick puppy, and Lenore had shown absolutely no interest in focusing on boys since that Peter guy in high school had broken her heart. Lenore loved to mock Anna’s tough, bad ass attitude. “I wish,” he joked back. “Though it did have to do with love. I think.”

This comment earned him a raised eyebrow. Finally, he managed to say something to at least remotely draw her attention. A rather large success, since they spent most of their time bickering like they had when they were children. Her spoon finally dipped into the can, reappearing with a tablespoon of slightly lumpy red soup. He prayed to God she would eat it. “Well, come on dear brother. I am intrigued. You must tell me this story now. Don’t leave me hanging.” She raised the spoon to her lips while she waited for the details.

“Nathan came to see me today, and he was kind of bugged out. I think Hayley’s sick and they probably ran out of painkillers, so he was… what?” he noticed that her spoon had paused, her hand raised to her mouth, her lips slightly parted.

“Hayley’s sick?” she asked, and the blasted spoon went back to the can of soup still full. “Did he say how bad it is?”

“He didn’t say much of all. He wanted some advice, maybe on where I thought there might still be some meds. But then he backtracked and just took off down the hall. He probably didn’t want to leave her alone for too long. You know how protective of her he is.”

The look on Lenore’s face was one he hadn’t seen in a while, and it took a moment for him to recognize it. Then he placed it, and knew that she knew more than she was saying. Almost as if she had already known that Hayley was sick, but was playing along with him to humor him. “Wait, did Nathan already ask your opinion?”

“What? No. No, of course not. Why would you ask?”

“Because you definitely know something, Cakesniffer.”

She scrunched her nose at the old nickname he had given her when he was ten, after he had become obsessed with reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. “Nathan didn’t say a word to me.”

“But you do know something. Out with it!”

“I don’t. Now shut up and eat your dinner. Did you manage to get anything good on your shopping trip today?”

“Well, this glorious can of soup was provided by yours truly. So don’t say I never gave you anything. And I will be offended if you don’t eat any of it. I slaved away for most of the afternoon to put dinner on the table for you.”

He knew it was just to make him happy, but he didn’t care the motive behind her actions when she lifted the utensil back to her mouth and ate a spoonful. Each “meal” was a constant battle between them to try to get the other to eat. Neither of them wanted to take too much, and they both worried that if they ate, there wouldn’t be enough for the other.

“So how bad is it?” she asked as she twirled her spoon around in the can. Giving a pointed look at the can, he held back his response until she rolled her eyes and ate another bite.

“Honestly? She didn’t say anything, but I can tell Anna is getting worried. We have basically wiped the third floor clean, and no one enjoys the prospect of heading to the second floor. Once we sweep and clear it, I’m not sure what will come next.” He didn’t want to alarm her, but he couldn’t bring himself to lie to her either. He didn’t add that he was just as worried as Anna was.

“Well, William will think of something. We still have the entire second floor to go until then.” He could tell she didn’t take much stock in her words either. She placed the spoon down on the table, signifying the end of her dinner after just two spoonfuls. “I just hope you got me some of the Lucky Charms I specifically asked for.”

“And when did you ask for this?” He had looked for some, but they didn’t find a single box in any of the apartments they’d searched. It would all probably be stale by now anyway.

“Hmmm, let’s think.” She paused as if to think. She even went as far as to place her chin between her thumb and her index finger. “Last night, I believe, when you mentioned that you were on shopping duty today. And then there was the morning before that, when I had to eat that stale Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” She had barely touched a drop of food at either of those meals, but he didn’t interject. “Oh, and I wrote it on the grocery list that is still sitting on the front of the fridge! And you’re telling me that you still didn’t even get me a small individual box of that marshmallow goodness?”

“Well, you know the rules. You want something done right, you do it yourself.”

“Well, seeing as how I have now spiraled deep into depression, I am going to take this pity party into the bedroom and cry me a river to float along.” She smacked the back of his head for good measure as she stood up from the table.

Only after she had disappeared down the hallway did he realize she had successfully deferred the focus of attention from Nathan and Hayley.

She definitely knew something she wasn’t telling him.

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