Daughtry flirts with Ursa and Vix gets into a closet with Galen.
Erik watched Cassandra drive off and waited for Ursa to come in. He'd spent far too much time thinking about her today.
"Hi," she said pleasantly.
"Hey," he replied. He stuck his head out the door to the garage. "Chris, can you pull that wagon around?"
"Yeah, hold on," the other mechanic snapped. The little asshole had been all bitchy since he'd returned to the shop after being gone for almost two hours. Plus, the computer history showed a bunch of crazy stuff: dead people, old men... The kid was disturbed. Erik sighed. Oh well. He was a good mechanic.
Chris jumped into the wagon and pulled it out of the garage. He parked in front of the shop and walked in with Ursa's keys attached to a clipboard. He handed them to Erik. "I'm out," he said.
"Okay. See you tomorrow."
The kid didn't reply, he just stalked out the door.
Erik shook his head. He sat down at his desk. He added up the total and frowned at it. Four hundred bucks. He looked up at Ursa who was glancing around at the various parts posters and humming.
"It's gonna be a hundred bucks."
"Oh. Okay," she said, reaching for her wallet. He sighed to himself. She had no idea how much the job should cost. He had to admit that he would have liked just a little bit of praise. He had worked on it himself and topped off her fluids. Not to mention rotating her tires and hooking her up with a new inspection sticker. He felt like a bit of a chump.
She handed over the money and smiled. He'd been waiting for that smile. He shook his head again. He printed her receipt. "So, what are you doing now?" he asked casually.
She shrugged. "Guess I'll have to go home and do the dishes. Unless Vix was a little angel and did them herself. She does that sometimes."
He grinned. "What about Layla?"
He didn't miss a small amount of annoyance in her expression. "Layla never does anything she doesn't have to."
"Oh. Well, she must not have inherited the Daughtry work ethic." Hint, hint. We're related.
Ursa realized. "That's right. I'd forgotten. You're her cousin, right? So weird. I've known you forever and now we just learn that we're—" she caught herself, "I mean Layla's related to you."
"Right," he said grinning more. She was blushing. "I'm not too closely related to her anyway."
Ursa nodded. "Still. I'm surprised Layla hasn't been banging down your door to find out about her dad. I would."
"You'd bang down my door?" he teased.
Ursa's eyes widened and she got that new uncomfortable look. "If you knew anything about my dad."
"Yeah, sorry. Don't know anything about him. But I would if we were related, so..."
She laughed, shaking her head. "I get it, Erik, we're not related."
"Oh. You called me Erik." He liked it.
"Hmm? Oh." She glanced down at her hands, her full blush returning.
"Don't get upset, okay? But... I want to know why you don't seem to remember exactly what happened last night."
"Dude!" she said, exasperated. Her brown eyes were wide. "I do remember exactly what happened last night."
"We talked, Ursa."
She clenched her jaw. Then she said, "You're starting to piss me off, Erik."
She was adorable when angry. "Hmm. So I'm mistaken."
"You didn't flirt with me last night."
She looked shocked and didn't seem to be acting. "Absolutely not!"
He stood up and bent over his desk to look her in the eye. "You're not attracted to me in the slightest."
She hesitated and her cheeks went completely red. "Well, I mean, it's not like you're ugly..."
He found that to be so cute that he wanted to walk around the desk and hug her. "I see," he said. "Okay, I won't bug you any more about it."
"Okay. Thanks, I guess." She shook her head. "So, can I get my keys?"
"Sure." He handed them to her. "If you have any more trouble, just come in. Or call. Any time."
"Okay. Thank you." With a furrowed brow, she turned to leave.
"I'll let you know about your story."
She turned back, looking startled. He guessed she'd forgotten all about it. "Alright." She hurried out.
He'd definitely be reading it. Not only did it interest him, it would also give him another reason to talk to her.
Layla was making her mom's bed when she heard a car in the driveway. She hurriedly fixed the blanket and ran down the stairs. Thankfully, it was Ursa. She knew she had that "hand in the cookie jar" kind of look about her.
While the sheets were being washed, Vix had come out of her room looking sleepy, and hummed while washing the dishes. Layla, feeling anxious and guilty, picked up the living room and vacuumed the floor. She'd noticed Vix giving her a strange look for that.
She wanted to talk to Vix about what had happened, but she didn't want to scare her, or traumatize her about sex, or (more likely) set her expectations too high for the activity. She'd have to talk to her tonight after everyone else was asleep.
Ursa looked tired when she came in, and Layla was happy that her older sister didn't have to clean for once.
"Looks good in here," Ursa said, sighing happily. "Thanks guys."
Layla felt so sorry for her sister. Ursa's love had been taken away, yet Layla had been given a triple dose. What was their mother thinking?
"How's the car?" Vix asked, drying her hands.
"What did he charge you?"
"A hundred bucks. Pretty expensive."
Vix turned to face Ursa fully. "A hundred dollars for a new alternator? That's a really great deal, Ursa!"
"Yeah. Daughtry must have given you a huge discount. Didn't charge you for labor or something."
Layla watched Ursa's face wrinkle in confusion. "Why would he do that?" the eldest sister asked. "Maybe because he's related to you?" She looked at Layla.
Layla shrugged. "Maybe." She doubted it. It seemed like Ursa and Daughtry were closer than any of them thought.
Ursa appeared satisfied. "So, how was your day?"
Layla tried her best not to blush. "Okay."
She noticed Vix raise an eyebrow. Was it possible that she heard...? Oh no.
"What about you, Vix?"
Vix definitely blushed. Oh no. "Pretty good, actually. I got invited to a party tonight."
Ursa and Layla exchanged surprised but pleased looks. "That's awesome, Vix!" Ursa said. "Are you gonna go?"
Vix smiled in a way that Layla could only describe as coy. "I'm thinking about it... Would one of you give me a ride?"
"Sure!" Ursa said. "What time?"
"Well," Vix said, looking at the clock. "He said around eight, so maybe eight-thirty?"
Layla and Ursa shared another look of surprise.
"He?" Layla asked. "He, who?"
Vix smiled in a dreamy sort of way. "His name is Galen. He's in my English class. I totally think I'm in love with him."
Layla smiled, but then she felt a bit suspicious. Vix had never mentioned any guy before and she was pretty open about her social life, or lack thereof. Plus, Vix looked somewhat dazed. "Maybe I can crash," Layla said.
Vix shrugged happily. "Sure."
Ursa stared at Layla. "Why would you want to do that? It's kinda weird. You might get roped into a game of spin the bottle with a bunch of fifteen-year-olds."
"Spin the bottle?" Vix asked with interest. "That sounds fun."
Layla stared. This was definitely not good. Even Ursa looked confused. "Aren't you nervous about kissing random boys?" Ursa asked.
Vix thought about that. "Yeah. I guess so."
Ursa was satisfied. Layla was not. "So you like this boy, Galen?"
Vix nodded. "He's really nice. He got his brother to give me a ride home today."
"Oh!" Ursa said. "I'm so sorry I didn't come get you! I totally forgot. I was at mom's shop today."
Vix waved her away. "No big deal. It worked out."
Their mother came home and started cooking. Vix kept glancing at the clock throughout dinner. It was nearing eight.
Vix told her mother about the party, and for once, Cassandra didn't seem so slack. She outright refused to allow Vix to go.
Ursa was irritated by that. The one time the girl gets invited to a party and Cassandra wasn't letting her go? "Mom, I'd take her."
Cassandra stared at Ursa.
"And I'll stay with her," Layla added.
Cassandra stared at Layla.
"Mom, please?" Vix begged.
Cassandra stared at Vix. Her expression softened. "Oh, all right. Keep an eye on her, Layla," she said.
Vix allowed Ursa and Layla to pick out her outfit. She expected them to try and get her into something girly, but was happy to see that they'd only gotten out her tight jeans and a green, pocket t-shirt.
"Don't want him to think you're trying too hard," Ursa explained.
Layla, however, insisted Vix borrow her dark blue jacket. It was in good shape and it wasn't too glamorous or feminine. Layla dressed down in holey jeans and a grey and black striped tee. Vix knew that her sister would die before being mistaken for caring too much about this party.
Cassandra hovered by the door and fussed over Vix's hair before they left. "No kissing," the dark haired woman said with a serious nod.
In the station wagon, Ursa asked, "What was with mom? She was never like that with me or Layla."
Vix shrugged. She didn't really care. Her mom was letting her go and that was all that mattered. She wanted to see him. Galen. He hadn't been out of her head for more than five minutes at a time. His cute, messy hair; his sweet, soft lips; his long-fingered hands that had grasped her back. She grinned. She didn't even care that it was weird. It felt right. Layla kept on staring at Vix's happy expression in a worried way, but again, Vix didn't care.
Ursa drove happily, chatting the whole way. It seemed like she really was fine, as their mother had said. She dropped them off at a huge house and told them to call when they were ready to leave.
Vix strode toward the noisy house with purpose and rang the doorbell calmly. But when Galen answered the door and they looked at each other, she brimmed with excitement.
"Vix, you came!" Galen said, smiling.
Layla narrowed her eyes at the stoner kid. He was cute, sure, but she wasn't ready to trust him with Vix. She was in a bit of an emotional state.
Vix and the guy were grinning at each other like they had mouthfuls of ice cream. "This is my sister, Layla," Vix said.
Galen tore his eyes away from Vix to glance at Layla. "Hi," he said, smiling. "I'm Galen," and he looked back to Vix. Layla had a mental shrug. Seemed like a pretty nice kid. She felt weird following Vix into the freshman party.
A few other kids were sitting around a table and they made a big deal of hiding their drinks when they saw Layla. Layla grinned. "It's okay, I'm only eighteen."
They gave her looks of awe. She sighed. It was tough being so cool.
A guy came into the dining room and Layla waved, feeling embarrassed. She must look like such a nerd to him. He was attractive, but luckily she wasn't feeling that dangerous pull she'd felt with Chris. She stared at the sharp-looking guy feeling a bit relieved. So whatever was happening was only between her and Chris. She was kind of thrilled actually. She'd have to go by and see him.
The guy noticed her. He tilted his head, like he'd never seen a girl before and he walked over. "Who're you?" he asked. It was merely (or strongly) curiosity.
His voice was very deep and Layla could feel the vibrations of it, yet she still didn't feel that pull. "Vix's sister, Layla."
He raised his eyebrows and glanced over. "Oh, hey, Vix. You made it." He smirked.
Vix nodded, "Hi."
The guy looked back to Layla. "I'm Owen, Galen's brother."
Layla smiled. "Nice to meet you."
"And here I thought I'd be the only adult." The conversation was still only friendly. He seemed vaguely familiar. Maybe he'd been an upper-classman.
"I might be eighteen, but I'm not an adult," she said grinning. "Not really."
"Tsk. Shame," he said, grinning back. "Guess I'm still alone."
She shrugged and glanced at Vix, who was receiving a cup from Galen. Luckily, in that area, Vix probably had more experience than any of the other kids. She knew how to pace herself.
"So," Owen said. "Not that I'm disappointed, but what made you want to come along?"
"My mom was giving Vix hell about coming, so, I martyred myself."
"That was nice of you."
She shrugged again.
Owen shook his head a little. "Well, I was about to leave these kids alone for a while... watch a movie in the living room."
Layla raised her eyebrows, watching Vix nervously.
"We'll still be able to hear them..." Owen said, noticing. "It's right there." He pointed down a short hallway where a recliner was visible.
Vix watched Layla follow Owen out of the room, unconcerned. Galen had made a guy move down so they could sit next to each other at the table. It felt nice. She felt protected.
"Everybody, this is Vix," Galen announced.
"She's the one you've been talking about?" a girl across from Vix asked with a sour expression. Vix had seen her in school. She had long, blonde hair and was pretty popular.
"Yes," Galen said firmly. "Be nice, or go home, Katie."
Vix felt a huge bubble of euphoria inside her. He'd been talking about her and he defended her. She wanted to kiss him. He grinned at her and she smiled back shyly.
She heard Katie grumble something but she didn't care.
The boy on Vix's right said, "I'm Rob." He smiled gently at her. She recognized him from gym class. He'd never been mean to her, so she smiled back.
She was shocked when Galen gently placed his hand on her leg, but it made her exceptionally happy. She sipped her rum and coke (heavy on the rum) to hide her even wider smile.
"So," Katie said with a sickly sweet smile. "How come you're here?"
Vix smiled back, only hers was genuine. "I was invited."
Galen said, "Begged, really."
Katie's smile only intensified. "How come I've never heard of you before today?"
"Maybe she didn't feel like being on your freaky popularity rating," a girl to Katie's left with a cute brown bob and bangs said, sending Vix an apologetic look. She glanced at Katie and sipped her drink. "What was I again? A six?"
Katie's smile turned a little wicked. "Can't get over a six if you've never had a boyfriend, Jenna."
"Not like you're very experienced, either," Jenna said, not trying to be kind.
Rob sprayed brown liquid from his mouth, but quickly recovered, mopping up the mess with a napkin.
Katie looked lazily in Jenna's direction. "I've tried on a few."
Jenna looked disgusted. "So what do you rate yourself?"
Katie shrugged. "Ten."
"Does anyone object?"
There were a few mumbles but no one spoke. Until...
"Putting out would make any chick popular," Rob said.
"You would know," Katie said viciously.
"I should have gotten to know you better," Rob said. "I doubt I would have fallen for your little innocent act. Luckily, all my tests have come back negative."
A few kids laughed.
Katie sneered. "You were like a little dog in heat. I did you a favor."
"Hey," Galen said. "That's enough. You guys are being gross."
Vix agreed with his statement. She didn't like this conversation. However, she saw something that she might be able to fix, and she was good at fixing things.
"You shouldn't be ashamed of wanting a physical connection with the opposite sex," Vix said. Of course, she normally kept to herself, but with Galen beside her, she felt emboldened. "Some people... mature sooner than others."
Rob nodded. "Yeah, sorry, Katie. I was being an ass."
Katie kept her gaze on Vix. "You have experience, do you?"
Vix's focus on Katie's face went deeper. She saw a scar on her, deeper than skin. "I'm completely inexperienced. But I know what it's like to want someone."
Katie leaned back in her chair, frowning. Then with a wave of her hand that made her resemble royalty, she said, "Should we play a game?"
"That's a great idea," Galen said. "What game?"
"Hide and seek."
A freckled boy across from Rob said, "Hide and seek? Aren't we a little old for that?"
"When did you get so mature, Shawn? Last year you were still playing Yu-gi-oh."
"Whatever Rob," Shawn said. "You played, too."
Galen laughed. "We all played. Big deal. I'm okay with hide and seek. But the house isn't that big. Won't it be lame?"
Katie smirked. "Not if we modify the rules."
There was silence while the rest of the kids waited.
Ursa drove home slowly, feeling pretty good. Layla was being responsible; Vix was being sociable. What else could go right tonight?
When she got home, her mother was finishing up the dishes from dinner. "Hi, honey."
"Mom, I'm pretty proud of Vix and Layla."
Cassandra smiled over her shoulder. "Oh? And why is that?"
"They seem to have grown up a little. They cleaned up before I got home and Layla gave up her night to chaperone Vix. They're just really loving tonight. Makes me want to snuggle them like I did when they were little."
Cassandra stopped washing for a moment. "Loving?"
"Yeah, maybe that's not the best word. Thoughtful is better, I guess. Vix didn't even go off on me for forgetting to pick her up from school."
"Hmm," Cassandra murmured, rinsing the last cup. "That was as much my fault as yours. You know, if you want to come help me at the shop on a regular basis, I could get more dresses made; pay you for your time, too."
"Yeah? Okay, that sounds great." Ursa's mind went to the cream-colored dress behind the counter at the shop.
"If you take me to the shop before your classes, we could let Layla drive my car to school."
"I'm sure Layla would appreciate that. Well, I guess I'll go read. Let me know if they call for a ride."
Erik dragged himself into the kitchen to make some dinner and actually noticed that he was doing it. Everything had been so routine before today. Ursa had brought some mystery and excitement to his day. It was so odd. He felt like he'd snapped out of something. Like he'd been asleep for years and now he was awake and able to see everything more clearly.
He sat down and ate his sandwich, and with a mouthful of food, he started laughing. Ursa! That girl was so funny. So serious. How much younger than him was she, exactly?
His poodle, Sparky, was watching him and gave a little yip.
He stopped himself, shaking his head. What was he doing? The fact was, he'd spent too many years letting that woman, Cassandra, take over his thoughts. And today, he hadn't felt it. It was a relief. In fact, today at her shop, for a moment he'd found himself feeling repulsed by her. He laughed again. How many relationships had failed because of that obsession? Now he realized that was what it was.
He felt a little cheated and angry, but mostly he felt relieved.
He finished his dinner and took Ursa's binder to bed with him, with Sparky at his heels.
Katie's version of hide and seek was simply to hide and seek in pairs. Galen had insisted that Vix be his partner and, though Katie had frowned, no one had objected. Now Galen was helping Vix into the laundry room closet. He stepped in behind her and quietly closed the door.
The two of them laughed excitedly through their noses. They could barely see each other. Vix stumbled against the mop and broom and Galen grabbed her to help. His breath hissed out as he felt the softness of the skin on her arms. He couldn't help trailing his fingers down them a little. He heard a little gasp from her and the next moment he was pulling her to him, finding her mouth with his. His hands went to her waist and hers went behind his neck.
She made a little sound that pierced through him and he pulled her closer, frantically. She felt so good. The feel of her waist; the feel of her skin under the bottom of her shirt; the goose bumps he felt as he moved his hands up her back.
She made a louder sound and, though she didn't use words, he completely understood. His hands reached down to lift her against him.
Layla pulled her attention away from the TV and glanced at Owen. "Um, isn't it a little quiet in there?"
Owen craned his head to look down the hall. "You're right. Let's check it out."
Layla's skin was crawling. She had a bad feeling and she suddenly wanted to grab Vix and escape. When they stepped into the dining room and found it empty, Layla's ears started ringing. "Where are they?"
Owen shrugged, obviously not sharing her concern. "You're worried?"
She stared at him, wanting to shake him and demand that he find Vix immediately. "Where?" She repeated firmly.
Owen raised an amused eyebrow at her. "Maybe Galen's room?"
Any other time, she might have found him cute; now she only found him irritating. "Where is it?"
He caught on to her urgency. "This way." Layla followed him down the hall and up the stairs. The room was dark and Owen flipped on the light. There were two kids making out on the bed and Layla almost screamed before she realized that the girl wasn't Vix.
The kids looked up, embarrassed.
"You guys seen Vix or Galen?" Owen asked.
The girl laughed innocently. "We're supposed to be finding them. We're playing hide and seek."
Layla felt a chill. They were alone together, probably in a dark, confined space. She didn't bother being polite to the two kids. "Help me find them," she demanded coldly.
Vix couldn't stop herself from kissing Galen. She had to be this close; had to get more of his skin against hers. Her legs held tightly to his waist and his hands were cradling her small breasts through her bra. She had never felt anything so good in her life. It was like that awesome feeling she'd had careening downward on a roller coaster but it went on and on.
Vix couldn't stop and didn't want to.
"It's crazy, Vix," Galen uttered. "I think I love you. I didn't know that this was what it was like."
Vix ground against him. "Crazy," she agreed. Then they both started laughing like they really were crazy.
Suddenly the door flew open and the light that poured in shocked them.
"Vix, what the hell?" Layla growled. She grabbed her sister's arm and yanked her off the horny stoner kid.
"Layla?" Vix looked dazed. "Why did you do that?"
"Are you serious? You were going at it with that kid. And you're acting weird; snap out of it."
Galen stumbled out of the closet, looking worried. "Vix?"
Layla was creeped out by the way they were looking at each other. It was a spell, damnit! It was definitely a spell. "Listen, Vix. It's time to go home."
Vix frowned. "What? Why? We just got here."
"Mom gave you a curfew, remember?" When she didn't get an answer and Vix was staring at Galen again, Layla grabbed her sister's arm and repeated, "Do you remember?"
Vix jerked her head back to Layla. "Yes," she hissed. "I remember!"
"Well, come on then."
"Give me a second, will you?" Vix snapped. She turned back to Galen and her expression immediately turned gentle. "I'm sorry; I guess I have to go."
Layla hated being the bad guy and going against the grain (that was never her style), but at least Vix seemed to listen to reason.
Galen smiled softly. "I'll see you at school."
Vix smiled back and kept smiling as Layla dragged her out of the room.
Ursa was thinking about Daughtry again. She couldn't stop herself. She didn't have any real feelings for him or anything; he just kept popping into her head. He was good looking, though. She liked his brown hair, his smiling, blue eyes. And she'd spent a good deal of time with him today. It was only natural that he was on her mind.
She closed her English Lit book and tapped her chin. She couldn't believe that she'd let him take her story. A blush crept over her face as she thought about what she'd written in it.
She heard the phone ring.
Layla didn't care that Owen seemed to think of her as the overprotective, older sister. She'd used the kitchen phone to call Ursa and told her that they'd be walking. She was glad she'd made Vix wear her jacket; the night was chilly. Too bad she didn't bring one for herself.
Vix looked less and less pissed at Layla the further they walked from the party. Her ire was replaced by a look of embarrassment.
"Look, Vix, I know you're upset, but we have to talk."
Vix looked over suspiciously. "Are you planning on talking to me about sex?"
"Pfft. Absolutely not."
"No, Vix. Well, not really." Layla ran a hand through her hair. "Have you been feeling kinda... out of control? Like you've got all these urges and you'll die if you can't... follow through?"
For a moment it was silent, save for the sound of their feet on the pavement. "Why are you asking me this?"
Layla sighed. "I want to tell you something and I don't want you to get freaked out."
"I think mom put a spell on me."
"Layla, are you trying to scare me?"
"No. Listen, you know I don't really date."
"Well, today I met this guy..."
"Oh, you don't have to tell me, I... overheard." Vix turned her head to hide a fierce blush.
"What's with you? What were you thinking about, bringing some guy home and going into mom's bed?"
"That's just it, Vix! I couldn't help myself. I just couldn't stop. It was... Well, it was incredible, but it was so strange. I met him and then it's like I got sucked in. Next thing I knew, I was on him and it hardly even crossed my mind that it was strange. But looking back, I know that it wasn't natural. The first thing Chris said after we'd done it was that it seemed like we were under a spell. He just up and said that! And as soon as he said it, I knew it was true."
Vix's eyes had widened during Layla's story. It did seem a little unnatural the way that she was so drawn to Galen. She'd never even talked to him before today and now she felt like she couldn't be without him and that she loved him. It was odd.
"But why would mom ever do that to us? It doesn't make any sense!" Vix argued.
"I know that. But isn't it a little too coincidental that she does that weird thing to Ursa last night and now today, we're both throwing ourselves onto guys we hardly know?"
"And she was weirdly against me going out. She's never been like that."
"What do we do? Do we ask her about it? Honestly, she kinda scares me now."
Vix frowned. She disliked thinking of her mother as scary. "You think she'd do something to hurt us?"
Layla thought for a second. "No. But she got really crazy-looking when she was making that shape on Layla's forehead. Maybe she can't control herself."
Suddenly, Layla froze and Vix looked up to see what was making her look so spooked. "What...?" she began, but then she saw the edge of that forest.
It was dark out, yet somehow Vix could see a good ways into the trees. The forest seemed to have its own light. She shook her head to dispel the nonsense.
But Layla was still staring. "There's something glowing in there."
Vix looked again. It wasn't her imagination. "Blue light?"
Layla nodded excitedly. "Thank God! I thought I was seeing things." She peered back toward the light. They were only about 200 feet from the dark edge of forest that surrounded it.
Vix felt cause for worry. "You're not thinking of going in there..."
Layla turned to Vix with a peculiar look on her face. Then the look disappeared. She crossed her arms against the cold. "No. No way."
Vix sighed, reassured, but the closer they got to the trees, the more curious they both became. It was as though there was a giant live wire that was shooting off electricity nearly a mile into the woods. "What is that?" Vix wondered aloud.
Layla was shivering now. Vix couldn't tell if it was from excitement, nervousness or just because she was cold.
When they finally neared the edge of the forest, they both stopped and tried to get a closer view.
Layla leaned against a tree, trying to angle her head for better viewing, but immediately stepped back. "What the hell?" The tree bark had crumbled under her fingers and felt moist. "Nasty." She wiped the residue off on her jeans.
She felt increasingly frustrated that she couldn't get a better look at whatever was in the woods. "Let's go in." She said it gravely, knowing full well the terror they would experience, considering all that was foreboding about the place. Their nightmares. Their mother's warnings.
She watched Vix. If her little sister refused, or argued, or even seemed too scared, she'd drop it. She doubted Vix would. Layla had a feeling that her sister was feeling the same relentless curiosity.
Vix looked directly into Layla's eyes, proving that she was the responsible one. Usually. "If anything gets too freaky, we bail."
Layla nodded soberly. She carefully wound her way through the trees, trying not to get any more mossy bark on her.
Vix was right behind her.