There were many advantages to being best friends with Cammie Morgan. She could always sneak you extra desserts from the kitchen or find the really obscure books in the library. When the halls were crowded, she always knew a way around. And most of all, Cammie knew the best places for studying, Liz had always thought. Liz’s favorite had always been the old classroom on the fifth floor. No one really used it. And when the girls spent finals week dragging in extra chalkboards and maps, old computers and comfy chairs, no one really cared.Source: Gallagher Academy
“I thought I’d find you here.”
They all turned at the sound of the voice. Was the headmistress thinner? Is it possible to age a whole year in a week? Liz didn’t have any data to back it up, but it seemed that way. She wondered about the long-run health implications of a broken heart.
“Headmistress, is there any…” Liz wanted to say news, but she could tell by looking that there wasn’t, and she couldn’t bring herself to make her best friend’s mother say so.
“…benefit…” Liz said, carefully changing direction at the last minute, “…to setting up a listening post in Athens? We think that, given what Cam’s father wrote in his journal about going there, that might be where Cam will start.”
Liz wanted an answer. She expected an answer. But Headmistress Morgan just walked slowly around the room.
“You girls have been busy,” Cam’s mom said, motioning to the maps that covered one wall. There was a system to the multicolored pushpins and Post-it notes. Figuring out where Cam had gone was a just another assignment, Liz was convinced. A word problem. A challenge. A code. Liz was going to crack the secret of Cammie Morgan’s summer vacation if it was the last thing she ever did.
“You shouldn’t have let it distract you from your finals,” their headmistress told them.
“We had to do something!” Macey said. Mrs. Morgan smiled. “I know the feeling.” She turned again to the board, didn’t face them when she said, “My daughter has always had terrible timing.”
No one knew what to say, and Liz would have traded every useless fact and figure she knew just to have one crumb to give to that woman.
“We’ll find her,” Bex said with a decisive nod of her head. “Finals are over, and we can be on this twenty-four seven. We can—”
“The last of the limos are leaving, girls,” Cam’s mom said as if Bex hadn’t spoken at all.
“Uh…okay,” Macey said, looking at her three roommates as if she didn’t quite know what was going on. “I think we’ve already said goodbye to everyone.”
“Not to me,” Mrs. Morgan said with a smile. She held open her arms as if expecting the girls to run into them but Liz and her friends didn’t move.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Liz said.
“Yes.” Cam’s mom nodded. “You are.”
“But…” Macey started.
“But nothing,” the headmistress snapped. “There’s nothing for you to do here. If Cammie contacts any of you for any reason, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. But in the meantime, we have every resource we can allocate to this matter working on it.” She forced a smile. “We’ll find her, girls.”
“Yeah,” Bex said. “And we can help with that.”
“We think like Cammie,” Macey said. “We have the same training—the same instincts. We are your best chance at—”
“No, girls.” The headmistress shook her head. “Just, no. I will not take your summer away from you. I will not take the three of you…away from your parents. I won’t do that.”
She shook her head as if trying to cast aside the thought that was too painful.
“We’ll find her,” the headmistress said, then she forced a smile and stared for the door. No one said what Liz was eighty percent certain everyone in the room was thinking: I just hope we find her first.