As soon as everyone was in the van, I turned on my phone.
Stacey: I’m a bit surprised you didn’t call or text me.
Oh no! I’d completely forgotten to reply when she’d let me know she was home.
Mom: I’m sorry. I had my phone off. I’m glad you got home safely, but wish you’d talked to Chuck before just leaving.
Stacey: I’m never speaking to him again. I’ll call a lawyer once I get a job. Unfortunately, I’ve been throwing up since yesterday.
Mom: Oh no. Are you okay?
Stacey: I got lucky it didn’t happen on the plane. I felt neauseated the whole time, but I made it home without embarrassing myself to death. Of course, I’ve got some bug. I feel okay mostly, but it wouldn’t be good for me to go to an interview like this. I hoped it would be gone by now, but it’s not.
Mom: I hope you feel better soon. I’m just going to get the kids some lunch, and then I can call you.
Stacey: I’m going to browse the Internet and see if there are any online jobs. I want to stay home with the boys. There probably aren’t any, but I can at least apply online.
Mom: Okay, but please call me later.
I sent the message, but there was no reply.
After lunch, it was time to go and pick up our dogs and cats, and tell Louisa we had succeeded in preventing Lisa’s death.
As soon as we stepped into the time machine, I knew something was wrong.
Louisa was sitting in her chair, not crying, but looking like she had been.
“Lisa’s dead,” she whispered.
“But we prevented that guy from going to her party,” Freckles said.
“Yes, we did,” I said, “so he either came back and killed her, or somebody else did.”
“He came back,” Sammy said.
“I know he didn’t kill her,” Curly said. “He’s a nice guy.”
“It gets worse,” Louisa said.
“Pardon me?” I said.
“You’re the prime suspects.”
“Us?” I said.
“Well, I think so. The article I read said that sources close to the investigation said that there were five mysterious people at the party.”
“Thank goodness we didn’t use our real names,” I said.
“I’m afraid they’ll figure out who you are. What if somebody saw your plates and tracked you to the hotel you were at?”
Adelle could possibly identify us. She could be very mad at me and now that Lisa was dead, she might even try to get revenge on me by telling the police our names.
“Sammy, did you tell Adelle or her kids our full names or address?”
“Why are you blaming me?”
“I’m not. I’m just asking you what you told her. I need to know if she knows our address or last name.”
“I told her our room number.”
“Crap. That’s enough information for them to track us down. We used our real names at the hotel.”
“But we left,” Curly said. “We left before she got killed.”
“Yes,” I said, “but I don’t know if that will protect us. We didn’t sign out or anything, and I think we could have gotten back in unnoticed.”
“If they find us,” Louisa said, “there’ll be a lot of questions. Who is this Adelle?”
I told her.
“I wish you hadn’t called 911 on her, but I get it.” She sighed. “I hope she doesn’t remember your plates or room number.”
“She was drunk,” I said, “but she has two kids, and one of them probably does remember.”
“They know we didn’t do it,” Freckles said.
“Yes,” I said, “they know, but Adelle is mad at me.”
“Does she know you were the one who called the cops?” Curly said.
“I’m not sure, but if she suspects, or even if she doesn’t, she might still tell them about us when she sees the news. She might find that kind of thing exciting.”
Louisa said, “From what you’ve told me about her, I imagine she would.”
“Should we go back to LA and try again?” I said. “We’ll avoid Adelle this time.”
“Yes,” Louisa said.
“I don’t want to go back,” Lydia said.
“You can stay here with your mom,” I said.
“Any of you are welcome to stay with me,” Louisa said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I’d like to go with you, Grandma,” Curly said. “Do we have to go all the way back to Friday morning?”
“No,” I said. “I think Saturday morning is early enough. We’ll get a plane to LA and stay in our room until it’s time for the party. Sammy and Freckles, are you coming to LA with Curly and me or staying with Louisa and Lydia?”
“I’m coming,” Freckles said.
Sammy didn’t answer.
I looked at him. His eyes had a far away look. He must be thinking about Kristin.
“Are you coming back to LA with us?”
“Um, what? Okay, yeah, I’m coming.”
“Okay. I think we should leave right now. If they suspect us, we don’t have a lot of time.”
I heard footsteps outside, and then there was a knock at the door.