Dan and Ella offered to let the girls sleep in two rooms and have the boys sleep in the bunkhouse. All of a sudden, Selene and Andrea who had the hardest time getting along since kindergarten developed a friendship requiring them to be in close proximity to each other. The two of them insisting upon being close together without provocation from anyone else drew stares of shock that were followed by comments of not seeing that one coming.
Crammed into a room with three twin beds and two trundles, the girls in the absence of the boys found chatting about their situation a pleasant situation.
Leaning against the headboard of a bed with her knees tucked into her chest, Andrea said, “I’m glad Mrs. Authry made me change my shoes.”
“How did she know you weren’t supposed to wear them?” Caitlin wondered aloud.
“I’ve asked myself the same question,” Andrea answered. “They were red and bright, but I’ve worn them to school before. Mrs. Almstead said they looked cute.”
The furtive glances the triplets shared temporarily silenced the conversation. Andrea with one eyebrow raised, and Caitlin developing a keen interest in the quilt patterns waited for one of them to divulge the part of the story they obviously missed.
Angelica, who was usually the quieter of the triplets, spoke. “We were in the office when Mrs. Authry took the call about your shoes.”
The look of relief passing on Selene and Marjorie’s faces told there was more to the story and they were glad Angelica was the one telling it. She spoke so rarely that when she passed on advice or helped someone it was accepted without question or argument.
“And?” Caitlin prodded for the rest of the story.
Despite the pressure from Caitlin and Andrea’s stares, Angelica searched within herself for the right wording. Her eyes darting from right to left as though she were reading an invisible script Angelica seemed oblivious of anyone else being in the room.
“Because someone you don’t know, but knows you well called and said you wouldn’t be able to walk for as long as you needed to in those shoes. I don’t know who it was, but I know it was a relative.”
Unsettled by the information, Andrea’s voice wavered. “How do you know?”
“The same way we knew we weren’t dead when we saw Caitlin’s grandfather.” She moved her face to shift the attention from herself as an individual to the three sisters. “Sometimes we find out about things before they happen. I see them as words on a wall, Marjorie sees them as pictures, and Selene feels them.”
“Which is why I grow impatient with people,” Selene admitted. “I forget that we have an advantage.”
“Did you know we were going to miss the science fair?”
The three sisters looked at each other with blank faces and turned to Caitlin and Andrea. In unison, with their voices candid they said, “No.”
“Honestly, do you think we’d have worked so hard if we knew it was for nothing?” Selene sniped and then grinned at being caught falling into her typical response.
“Do you know why we’re here?”
The three sisters shook their heads affirming their lack of knowledge.
“I wonder—” Caitlin crawled over the field of blankets between herself and the backpack. Unzipping the front pouch, she pulled out a key and continued searching for something. Unable to find it she huffed, “I know I put it in here this morning.”
“What?” Andrea peered over Caitlin’s shoulders as though the object would magically appear.
“This morning I had an argument with my mother over what to wear. After wishing I didn’t live there I went to the trunk and put Dan’s watch in here.”
“The one he has chained on his belt loop?” Marjorie asked.
Caitlin nodded, and continued rifling through her backpack.
“It isn’t there. An object cannot be in two places at one time.”
“Why do I still have the key?”
Selene rolled her eyes. “It’s a copy.” She put her fingers over her lips before offering a smile of apology. “I need to work on my delivery.”
Accepting the information Caitlin said, “There’s something else I want to check.” She held the key and tiptoed to the door.
“What are you doing?” Selene whispered.
“There was a leather pouch with two cool stones I never saw before. I wonder if it’s still in the trunk.”
Tiptoeing through the hall, the girls gestured with their hand to communicate what they were doing. Whenever they made a noise, they covered their mouths with their hands to either stifle a giggle or, in the case of Selene, a rebuke. Slowly they worked together to move the leather trunk above the one Caitlin sought after. Sitting on top of one trunk, Caitlin opened the midnight blue travel trunk she used for treasures for as long as she could remember. The hinges creaked their complaints.
All the girls cast quick glances towards the door expecting someone to come in the room and catch them in the act. When no one appeared, Caitlin continued with her intention and completely opened the trunk. A loud burst of laughter from the boys’ room startled the girls. Andrea gasped and threw her hand over her mouth.
“It’s safe to say, they won’t be able to hear us if the boys follow their usual behavior pattern,” Angelica whispered.
“I give it ten minutes until a wrestling match breaks out,” Marjorie added.
Moving books she had seen all her life to the side, Caitlin said, “This morning when I was looking for the watch, there was a brown pouch with two stones. I didn’t remember placing it in here. The stones glowed and were warm. I wonder if they were in here.”
A piece of string snagged Caitlin’s pinky finger. When she pulled at it, the leather pouch came out from between two of the books. Pleased with her find, Caitlin held up the bag for everyone to see. She opened the pouch to reveal its contents. Nothing came out. “It’s empty.”
“So someone in this time has the stones, and you haven’t received them yet.”
“Do you think that’s why we’re here?” Caitlin asked.
The triplets shrugged their shoulders. Marjorie answered, “Your guess is as good as ours.”
“But. I thought. I mean what about?” Trying to ask the question without being offensive, Caitlin gave up.
“We aren’t oracles.” Selene hissed. “We’re just able to see things better than other people and put it together faster.”
They heard a loud thud come from down the hall. “And the wrestling match has begun.”
The girls closed the lid of the trunk. Without bothering to lock it, they replaced the other trunk on top of it. Using the noise from the boy’s room to cover their actions, they hustled out of the room and back to their bedroom. When the last girl entered the room, they heard Dan’s voice at the top of the stairwell.
United by their complicit mission they giggled. “This is the first time, I’m actually glad they’re so annoying.” Marjorie laughed. The immediate silence that followed the sound of the door to the boys’ room opening was enough for the girls to laugh louder.