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2.34 The Missing One, Part I

January 13, 2012

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Allie had never felt so alive. That night as she ran through the streets of Strangetown with Bella’s dogs hot on her heels it was as if pure electricity raced through her veins. Blood and adrenaline pumped through her system, and she willed her legs to move faster than she believed possible. It was some kind of miracle that she made it home. She said a small prayer of thanks to Miss Emmy as she rolled onto the lawn, just escaping the teeth of the ferocious wolf hound. Without Miss Emmy’s protection spell surrounding the DiPotere property, Allie wasn’t sure she would have made it inside the house before becoming Wolf Chow.

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Once home, though, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She paced, back and forth, waiting…but for what she didn’t know. Something didn’t feel right, but Allie couldn’t place what was wrong. Maria called, and assured her all was well. That left Lazlo. Allie tried his cell, with no luck. She tried to see him, to see where he was in her mind’s eye, but she’d never been good at that, and all she came up with was a foggy image of Lazlo sitting on a bench, and the smell of bad whiskey. Well, maybe he got drunk, Allie thought. That would explain why I can’t see him.

“I’d probably get drunk if I’d just found, and lost, the love of my life, again,” she said aloud to the empty room.

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Allie tried distracting herself. She made a snack, she played pool. She worked on a new song on her violin. No matter what she tried, though, nothing worked to ebb the energy flowing through her, or the feeling that something had gone terribly wrong. She thought Bella might have harmed Isadora, but when she tried to get a reading on Isa and the baby, she could see them both, crystal clear in her mind, sleeping peacefully. Lazlo, she thought again. Allie tried his cell once more, with no luck.

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So, she waited. Finally, as the sun was coming up, Allie had enough, and dialed the Curious brothers home phone. Let it be Pascal, she thought, let it be Pascal, please let it be Pascal.

“Hello,” came a sharp voice on the other line.

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Vidcund.

“Vidcund, hi,” Allie said. “Look, I’m sorry to call so early.”

“Right,” interjected Vidcund. “Cause you couldn’t have waited until eight a.m. like a normal person.”

A small sigh escaped Allie’s lips. “I just wanted to know if Lazlo made it back last night.”

“What do you mean?” Vidcund asked, the sharp voice now tinged with worry. “I thought he was with you.”

“No,” Allie said. “We split up when Bella sent her dogs after us.”

“Dogs!” said Vidcund. “Are you kidding me, girlie? I knew it, I knew when Laz said he’d met another DiPotere there’d be nothing but trouble. You chicks are just…”

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“Hey,” said Allie. “This isn’t gonna help. We have to find him. I’ll come over.”

“No,” he replied. “Meet me at the cafe. I don’t want you at the house.” With a firm click, he was gone.

Nice, thought Allie. Nice.

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She hurried, back through the streets of Strangetown, always on guard for Bella and her hounds. The sun had broken over the horizon, though, and Allie figured she was safe. That is, until she saw Vidcund Curious waiting for her outside Lazlo’s restaurant, The Seeker Cafe. Up until a few weeks ago, she had worked there as a waitress. It seemed a whole lifetime had passed since then, and everything had changed. Back before she knew Lazlo had a child with her great-great cousin, before she knew of Bella’s time control devices, or that Lazlo was fifty-some years older than he appeared. But you can’t unknow a thing, Allie thought. Once it’s there, it’s there for good.

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“Come on, said Vidcund, with his usual edge. “You gonna daydream all day and waste some more of my time, girlie? Or you gonna come see what I found?” Allie had no option but to follow as he led her into the cafe.

Seriously, she thought, why couldn’t Pascal have answered the phone?  And then she saw it.

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“Oh, Lazlo,” she said, out loud this time, and for once, Vidcund said nothing at all.

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