"What else did April say?" Blair asked as they entered Yogurtopia at a quarter to two. Sterling had been bouncing around the house with nervous energy until Blair finally agreed to come here early. It had been the first time since her kidnapping that Sterling was actually eager to leave the house and Blair couldn't very well shut that glimpse of her old self down.
"Nothing, really." It was a lie, Blair could tell by the way Sterling's voice got unnaturally high.
"Okay, just that she missed me too after I wrote I missed her. And then she didn't write anything back, probably because her dad was around, I don't know."
"You two are so into each other."
"No, no, no. You can't say that, you're not supposed to say that. April and I are friends and, I swear if you as much as insinuate anything else while she's here--"
"Relax, Sterl, I can be as discreet as... something that is very discreet. I'm not sure what that could be but I can be discreet."
Sterling looked at her, obviously not believing a word she said.
"I'll be discreet for you, I promise."
"Hm, all right. If you can't be you can just join Bowser in his office. He's in his office, right? Hey, Miss Cathy," she greeted the older woman who was just coming around the corner from somewhere in the back.
"Oh, I didn't hear you girls. How's everything?"
"Oh, you know. Nothing's as much fun as working here," Blair said. "How's your family?"
"Everybody's getting on my nerves as usual. I'm lucky to have this place to escape."
Blair nodded in understanding.
"It's quiet for a Sunday. No customers? Like a very small girl around our age, really pretty like with kind of reddish brown-blonde hair?"
Miss Cathy looked from Sterling to Blair, seemingly unsure whether to even answer.
"Don't mind, Sterl. She's meeting her... a friend here."
"I haven't seen anyone that fits your description but then I don't pay any close attention to people."
Sterling took a deep breath. "That's okay, she'll probably be here--"
"Is that her car?" Blair asked after turning around.
"Where?" Sterling's head whipped around.
Blair couldn't hold her laughter, she'd totally got Sterling. "Relax, we're early," she told her with a pat on her arm.
"Is she driving anyway? I've only ever seen her getting in and out of Hannah B's car."
"She's driving. But they car-pool to school, it's better for the environment," Sterl argued.
"If you say so. Miss Cathy, can I have some peach swirl with extra gummy bears?"
"You can have anything you like, Blair, if you pay for it."
"Hm, okay. You're way more business-oriented than Bowser, Miss Cathy. I admire that."
"He just can't say no to y'all." Before she got busy with Blairs order, she knocked on the office door behind her.
A muffled "yes?" had her open the door.
"The girls are here," Miss Cathy told him.
Blair stood where Bowser could see her and she waved.
"Both of you?" he asked as he got up from behind his desk and came over. He smiled brightly when he saw Sterling. She smiled back at him.
"My, is it good to see you about, Sterling." He came over to her and enveloped her in a bear hug.
Blair had to blink away the onslaught of tears, they hadn't seen each other since that night. She caught Sterling rubbing at her eyes.
"That'll be 3,75," Miss Cathy said as she put Blair's order on the counter.
"You're charging them?" Bowser asked.
"You handed over the business dealings to me, capt'n. And I'm charging everyone, even my own grandkids. Except for Travis, he's my favorite."
"You have a favorite grandkid?" Blair asked as she pulled a fiver from her wallet.
"He's everybody's favorite, even all the other grandkids like him more than anyone else. He'll probably become President one day, or something even better." Her look darkened for a moment, probably thinking about that guy who was besmirching the greatest honor of this country as they stood there. She took Blair's five dollars and gave her a dollar change.
"Thank you, Miss Cathy."
Bowser had been talking to Sterling in low tones while Blair had talked to Miss Cathy. They both looked misty-eyed now. Bowser patted Sterling on the shoulder.
"Any new jobs, Bowsie?"
"Not for you, Blair. You know that your parents put me on notice about our work."
"I'm working on them. I've almost got them as far as to admit that they enjoyed all the times we were out of the house back when." Blair picked the gummy bears out of her yogurt and popped them one by one into her mouth.
"We're meeting a friend here, she's--"
"Late," Blair chimed up and gestured outside where a blue Toyota Camry just stopped next to their Volt.
Sterling looked outside, then a smile spread over her whole face as April exited her car. Blair quickly put some yogurt into her mouth before she could start teasing Sterl again.
They were all watching April as she walked through the door and she stopped upon noticing. "Hello," she said, nestling at her hair that was perfectly pulled back and tied into a ponytail.
"Hey, April," Blair said when it became clear to her that Sterling wasn't really able to speak. She seemed flustered. "You haven't met Bowser, have you?"
"Well, Sterling told me so much about you that I almost feel I have. Hello, April Stevens." She came over and held her hand out to Bowser.
"It's nice to meet you," Bowser said, shaking April's hand. "Stevens?" His eyes went round in recognition and he looked at Blair.
"Yep," Blair said.
"I think you arrested my dad that one time," April said knowingly.
"Uh, I guess I did. We did."
"I know about that, no hard feelings."
"Really?" Blair asked surprised.
"You did the right thing. I'm... I'm the one who's ashamed that it was necessary," April said, color rising in her cheeks.
Blair somehow doubted that it was shame, though. From the way April set her jaw and the hardness that came into her eyes, she seemed more angry. Surprisingly enough, not at any of them.
"Huh, that's a first," Blair said.
"Hi," Sterling gave back with a goofy look on her face. She checked herself when she noticed that she was staring and the whole operation became positively awkward. "Do you like some yogurt? It's really good."
"Ehm, I'm not really into... frozen yogurt," she said with an apologetic look at Bowser.
"That's okay, nobody seems to be these days. Look around," Bowser gave back. "Well, I still got work to do. Should get back to it."
Bowser went back into his office.
Blair finished her yogurt and got another one because why not? Miss Cathy went back to whatever she was doing in the back, trusting that either Blair or Sterling would take care of any potential customers. Blair didn't mind, she refilled her yogurt with gummy bears the moment Miss Cathy rounded the corner.
"I saw that!" Miss Cathy called back.
"I'll put a dollar into the till," Blair gave back. She searched her pockets for change but didn't find any. "Sterling, do you have a dollar?"
"Sorry, left my wallet at home."
April pulled out her wallet and handed Blair a dollar. "Here you go."
"I'll give it back on Monday," Blair promised.
"It's okay," April said.
"Monday," Blair insisted. The awkwardness of the following moment was almost painful. "Why don't I leave you two? I wanted to see what Bowser was up to these days, anyway."
"You don't have to leave," April said.
By the look on Sterling's face that wasn't true. Blair totally needed to leave.
"Bowser is just helpless without me," she said and then rushed over behind the condiments bar for a quick stop at the till and another for more gummy bears.