“Mom never made lasagna. We had it, like, once every couple years at most. It was my favorite. I was excited to eat it. But then I remember being disappointed because I only got to have a couple of bites before we had to leave.”
“God, what did I say?”
“You started talking about Sarah right away. It upset me because Mom told me I couldn’t talk about her, but apparently you could. I missed her, too, and I wanted to know what happened to her. You know, it wasn’t until later that I realized what had happened to her. That she went missing. Michael and I looked it up after you left the other day. They arrested someone for kidnapping one of the kids who’d gone missing. They found evidence he’d been in contact with other kids, including Sar
ah, but they couldn’t prove he was the one who took them. And they didn’t know what he’d done with them.”
“So he got away with it?”
“They gave him fifty years for the case they could prove, but their hands were tied for the rest without stronger evidence. I guess their line of thinking was that at least he was off the streets. They always thought he had a partner, but they never found out who. The guy refused to talk, and none of the other families got justice.”
“What happened at the dinner, Laura?” Dr. Greene asked. “Do you remember?”
“Mrs. Lennox must’ve said something about missing her or not seeing her for so long because Cassie kept saying she saw her the day before in our backyard.” Laura turned to Cassie. “You kept saying, ‘Tell them, Laura. Tell them she was in our backyard yesterday.’”
“But you never saw her.” Dr. Greene confirmed.
Laura shook her head. “Mrs. Lennox got so upset. She kept asking Mom if she knew where Sarah was, and Mom kept insisting that she didn’t. Mrs. Lennox kicked us out, and then I remember the cops coming by later that night to talk to you.”
“So, Mrs. Lennox sent them over,” Dr. Greene said.
“That’s my guess,” Laura replied.
“Do you remember anything else from that night?” Dr. Greene asked.
“Not really. I was only five years old. Some parts stick out more than others.”
“Do you plan on talking to your parents about this?” Dr. Greene asked. “About your missing memories?”
Cassie would rather bury the memories as deep as they could go, but that would be a disservice to Sarah. Not to mention the little boy who was somehow connected to the case. He’d waited so long to reach out to her. She couldn’t turn back now.
“Yeah.” Cassie’s voice wasn’t as confident as she would’ve liked. “Yeah, I think I will.”
After the sisters got back into Cassie’s car, Laura was the first to break a beat of silence.
“Well, that was kind of intense.”
“Yeah.” Cassie’s voice sounded muffled even to her own ears, and her head was still light from the appointment. She focused first on her toes, then her legs, then her arms, and finally her head. She felt clear again.
“You okay?” Laura stretched her seat belt across her chest.
“I’ll be better with some pizza in my stomach.”
“Sold.” Laura fist-pumped. “Want to go to Vinnie Van GoGo’s?”
“If you’re asking me if I want to eat several slices of pizza the size of my face, the answer is yes.”
Cassie drove to the restaurant. Laura grabbed a table on the patio while Cassie ordered at the counter. Her mouth was already watering. Seeing slices so big they hung off the serving platter did not help tame her hunger.
A petite teenager with her hair in pigtails picked up a notepad. “What can I get ya?”
“Half pepperoni and spicy Italian sausage. Half mushroom and olive. Two Cokes.”
“Got it. You out on the patio?”