Sarah sat on the couch in the library and watched the sun come up through the floor to ceiling windows. One whole wall of the library was windows. She liked sitting in here in the mornings. It was peaceful and helped her collect her thoughts. She looked down at Sharon asleep, with her head on Sarah's lap. She gently touched her cousin's hair. Red hair. That was so different. Sharon had always been a blonde. She said she never planned to dye her hair because she wanted to prove that blondes could be smart too. Sarah smiled at the memory. Last night, after she had gotten Sharon inside it had taken a while to calm her down. Then when she had mentioned getting her checked out by a doctor, Sharon burst back in to tears and had begged her not to call anyone. She was afraid. It had taken her hours to get her to stop crying and fall asleep. Even now Sharon could feel Sarah's body twitching as she dreamed. What was she dreaming about? Sarah gently stroked her cousin's hair, remembering that was how her aunt use to calm Sharon down when she was little. She had also sung her a lullaby but Sarah couldn't remember how it went. Just then Sharon's whole body jerked and for a second her head came up but then went back down. Sarah continued to stroke her hair, wondering what she was dreaming about. She had a feeling Sharon had enough experiences over the past five years to give her nightmares for the rest of her life. But the few questions Sarah had tried to ask last night had only made Sharon cry harder so she had stopped. She desperately wanted Sharon to talk to Emily but was afraid to push. She felt Sharon's head move and she looked down to see her looking up at her. She smiled down at her.
"Good morning." she said. Sarah looked at her for a moment and Sarah fought back the urge to cry. The look in Sharon's eyes was a haunted one. One of her eyes was blackened and swollen halfway shut. Sarah gently touched the side of Sharon's face and was glad that this time she didn't flinch away.
"Morning." she replied.
"Are you hungry? I can make you some eggs." Sharon nodded and Sarah helped her sit up. Sharon sat there for a moment, her head in hands. Then she took a lock of hair in her hands and looked at it frightened.
"Sarah! My hair! What happened to my hair?" she cried. She stood up holding her hair and looking back and forth from it to Sarah in confusion. Sarah put her arm around Sharon's shoulder and loosened Sharon's grip on the hair.
"I don't know. I was hoping you would be able to tell me why you had dyed it." At Sharon's look of panic Sarah took both her hands in her's and looked her directly in they eyes. "Don't worry. We'll figure this out. I have a friend who can help us. When you're ready, we'll talk to her."
"A friend?" Sharon whispered, sounding scared. "Like a shrink? Sarah, am I crazy?"
"You aren't crazy. You've been through something no one should ever have to go through. My friend isn't exactly a psychiatrist but she is good at helping untangle mysteries. She can help you untangle where you have been. But only when you're ready. Come on, lets get something to eat."
Sarah walked them back to the kitchen and started getting out the pan and eggs. Sharon sat on a stool and looked around at the walnut cabinets and marble counter tops. She watched Sarah put coffee grounds in the pot and wrinkled her nose.
"You still drink coffee?" she asked. Sarah looked over her shoulder and smiled.
"I live on the stuff. I'm guessing you still don't like it." Sharon made a face and shook her head. Sarah poured her a glass of orange juice and set it in front of her. Sharon sipped at it, watching Sarah make eggs.
The two ate in quiet. Sarah didn't want to push Sharon to talk and Sharon kept her eyes on her plate. When they were done, Sarah cleared the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Sharon put a hand up to stifle a yawn and Sarah automatically took a sip of coffee. She was working to stifle her own yawns.
"You're still tired. Why don't you try to get some sleep. Your room hasn't been touched…and probably it should have been cleaned. But you can rest for a while." Sharon only nodded, her eyes fighting to stay open.
The two cousins walked quietly up the grand stair case and down the hall to Sharon's room. Opening the door Sharon paused in the entrance way and looked around. The blues and yellows mixed pleasantly and gave it a calm, restful feeling. Sharon walked in and looked at the bed. The cover was smooth but there was a fine layer of dust on it.
"Come to think of it, why don't you sleep in my room for now. It's not dusty. I can work on cleaning this one for you." Sarah said. Sharon turned around and smiled.
"No, thats ok. I can pull the cover off. The pillows and sheets under it should be fine." As if to punctuate her words, Sharon went over and tugged at the cover, sending up a small puff of dust that made her sneeze. The two girls laughed and Sarah helped her pull the cover all the way off. "Thanks." she said. Sarah nodded and went to the door.
"Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I'll be in the library." Sharon nodded and watched as Sarah closed the door.
Walking quietly over, Sharon put an ear to the door and listened for Sarah's steps walking away. After a moment she cracked the door and the hallway was empty. Closing it, she locked it and went to the closet. Moving the clothes aside, she pulled up the corner of the carpeting in the back of the closet and pulled out the earwig Brian had given her. Fitting it into her ear she then clipped the microphone to her shirt. She picked up the ring and smiled, slipping it on her finger and felt relief wash over her. She had about a half an hour before she could make contact with Brian. Holding her hand with the ring in her other hand, she walked to the bed and lay down. Absently turning the ring in a circle she thought about what she had to do. Somehow she had to get Sarah to bring her in to The Company. She had mentioned a friend who could "help" her. Was it too much to hope for that this person also worked for the company? Her understanding from the background material she had studied, Sarah King had very little life outside of The Company. Over the next half an hour she thought out different ways to find out. When she heard a soft crackle in her ear she brought the mic to her mouth and whispered, "I'm in."