Priya came into the room. I could tell it was Priya even without opening my eyes because no one else could walk in heels in that soft and yet firm way—the even tap, tap, tap across the floor. I heard her footsteps cross the room towards where I knew Ryleigh had been sitting.
“She’s a tough cookie,” Ryleigh whispered. I wasn’t. I was feigning unconsciousness so that I didn’t have to deal with anything that they had told me.
“Is she still asleep?” Priya asked in an equally low whisper.
“Yeah. It hit her pretty hard, and I gave her something to help with the headache. I think between that and the stress—I can’t blame her for a little extra sleep.” Ryleigh replied.
“But she’s switching? He actually got his hands on her for long enough,” Priya pushed, her voice raising just a little in her anxiety.
There was a pause, just long enough that I almost opened my eyes to see what was happening between them.
But then Ryleigh spoke again. Her voice the flattest I’d ever heard. It almost scared me more than anything else I’d come into contact with in the last twenty-four hours. “Yeah. He got her. She’s switching. She’s going to change.”
“Oh.” Priya responded.
This time, the silence did stretch long enough that I couldn’t just lay there in the darkness. I peeked my eyes open to see Priya and Ryleigh both turned mostly away from me, focused intently on some charts and graphs that were on the monitors surrounding Ryleigh’s work station. I just watched them for a moment—not liking the look on either of their faces as they watched the lines bounce up and down. I didn’t know what to make of that. I was so wrapped up in what that all meant that I almost didn’t notice Priya turning around to look at me again. I was pretty positive that I didn’t get my eyes closed fast enough—as well as squeezed them shut too tightly—to convincingly look still asleep.
But if Priya knew I was still awake, she didn’t say anything about it. She just gave a little sigh. “Okay, Ry. If she’s going to change I suppose there is nothing for it. We just must make sure that she stays on our side. Okay?”