I rolled onto my side and found one of his Hot Wheels cars, then flicked the back of it so that it journeyed across the tile and bumped into his leg. “I thought I’d have a sleepover. What do you think about that?”
He rolled down on his stomach so that he was eye line with me. “I’ve never had a sleepover before. Is it allowed?”
I frowned. “I’m guessing it is not allowed, so I’ll leave before you wake up, and we’ll have to keep me a secret.”
“Like a pirate castaway?” He said hopefully.
“Exactly.” I grinned at him. “Think we could do that?”
He nodded, and for the next five hours, I stayed hidden. First under the bed, then sitting in the corner hidden behind the recliner. We played Mario Cart, then a game of Uno, then he left to participate in group time and exercise.
I curled into a ball on his bed, hidden by the covers, and thought through this. I knew the rounds and staff schedules. I could easily avoid seeing someone and had my volunteer uniform on if someone did spot me on my way out. Inside the gates, the staff was focused on where the residents were, not looking for anyone else.
Night fell, and I made a pallet on the floor of Wesley’s closet while he ate a group meal. Once he came back, I moved there, my knees pointed to the ceiling and listened to Wesley talk to his brother. I held my breath when Cash asked him about his day, but Wesley lied with a surprising amount of talent, though he was a little overdramatic in his steadfast assertion that NOTHING exciting to him happened, all day. NOTHING.
“You sound sad,” Wesley said. “I’m sad too because nothing happened today. I didn’t play Wii, or Uno, or Hot Wheels cars.”
“I’m not sad,” Cash said. “I’m just tired.”
“Is the show going to be good?”
Cash chuckled. “I don’t know, bud. It’s kind of up in the air right now. We lost one of our actresses.”
I stayed very still, tilting my ear toward the door as I tried to hear.
“Look under the bed,” Wesley said promptly. “Most things roll under the bed.”
Cash laughed. “I don’t think she rolled under the bed, Wes. I think she ran away.”
“Like Peter Pan?”
“Yeah. Like Wendy from Peter Pan. But she doesn’t have a group of other kids with her.”
“Remember when I ran away?”
This was a story I didn’t know, and I curled onto my side and tucked my hands under my ear, listening for more.
“I do. I was very scared.”
“Are you scared for the actress?”
“No. She’s a big girl. She can take care of herself.”
Wesley was silent for a long moment. “When are you coming to see me?”
“Not for a month, bud. Unless we get a break, but the schedule is every day right now, which is during visitors hours.”
“Sneak in,” Wesley insisted.
“I can’t sneak in, buddy. That’s not allowed.”
I eased open the partition door and looked at Wesley, who was starting to get worked up. I could see it in the stubborn set of his lip and the clench of his fist. I met his eyes and tapped my finger against my lips in a reminder to him to stay quiet about me.
“I got to go, Wesley. Sleep tight. I love you.”
“Love you too,” he mumbled, sullen. He ended the call and swung his legs off the bed, then pushed onto his feet. Getting onto his knees, he crawled over to my opening in the door. “Hey,” he whispered.
“Hey. Good job keeping our secret.” I held out my fist, and he gently bumped it with his own.
“Can you sneak my brother in here too?”
I scrunched up my nose. “I don’t think so. He doesn’t have my super special pass.”
“Maybe he can buy one. He has a lot of money.”
“Hmmm…” I nodded. “That’s one idea. I’ll think about it.”
“Okay.” He put his palms on the floor and lurched to his feet. “Good night, Miss E.”
I smiled at his nickname for me. “Night night.”
He fell asleep quickly, the sound of his snores comforting in their regularity. It took me a lot longer. This situation was fucked up. I was hiding in the closet of a care facility, with who knew how many people looking for me. I’d punched Cash Mitchell, who was probably pressing charges against me. And, paired with the Vidal assault case, I was turning into a danger to society. I had gone my entire life without violence and was suddenly swinging fists as if I was a prizefighter. What the hell was I thinking?
I should have just kissed him. Kissing him wouldn’t have gotten me into legal trouble. Kissing him wouldn’t have gotten me kicked off the show, and that was probably the next step. When Nina hit Johnny on Real World Portland, she had her bags packed and was off the set before the episode was even over. Michelle would probably fire me as a client, and Vidal would crow success over this until he was blue in the face.