Jessie was awoken the next morning by waves of sunlight crashing through her window, dashing on the lids of her eyes and dazzling her. She momentarily thought she may have a hangover, but then remembered that she doesn't drink. Something had happened the night before, though. Something had...oh. Yeah. She felt a pang of concern for her brother. He hadn't been making it up; he couldn't even remember the route home. She felt bad, remembering how she'd shouted and refused to believe him. He'd walked normally, hadn't slurred his words; it wasn't until they got in the door, and she had to show him to his room, that she realised how serious the situation was. Drinking didn't do that to you. Someone must have put something in his drink...
She wracked her brain, trying to remember all the anecdotes she'd heard from girls in her class, about ecstasy and...What else? What messes with your memory?
"What time did you two get in last night?"
It was her mother's voice, emanating from beside the window, half-concealed in the gloom next to the curtain she'd recently drawn. Her mother was studying her; most likely looking for tell-tale signs of alcohol consumption. Her tone was level, but not without nuances of imperious disapproval.
"Sorry." Jessie replied, unable to articulate much else, and eager to avoid a confrontation. Suddenly, alarm-bells rang in her head and she sat up.
"Is Louie awake?" she asked urgently, and immediately regretted startling her mother.
She had sworn him to silence, fearful of a repeat of the episode six months ago, when their mother had instituted a draconian curfew in response to his arriving home drunk.
Her mother looked alarmed.
"What-happened?" She demanded, running the words together in her haste to discover what lay behind that outburst.
"N-nothing. I..." She trailed off, trying desperately to find the words to assuage her mother, but it was too late. She was already departing the room, and rushing to check on the wellbeing of her only, precious, son. She burst through the door, to find him...
...adjusting his tie, and looking surprised. Their mother breathed a sigh of relief, and turned on Jessie, who had jumped out of bed to follow her.
"Did something happen last night?"
Jessie exchanged a glance with Lewis before answering,
"No, I just...didn't want him to keep us any later than we already are."
She offered a faint smile to her mother, who was incredulous.
She looked suspiciously at her two children, but judging that she wasn't going to get any more out of them, exhaled resignedly.
"Breakfast's on the table. Hurry up or you won't get any."
When their mother had gone downstairs, Jessie approached Lewis; still standing in his room.
"So you're ok?" she asked, expectantly.
"No, i'm NOT ok!"
Jessie's face fell.
"You're still...you still don't..." She shook her head.
He sighed and kicked at a chrome-coloured pencil, lying on the floor.
"But you remember mum, right? RIGHT?!" she demanded, aghast.
"Yeah, yeah. I remember her. I just don't...I'm not sure...things aren't right."
He slumped onto his bed, and stared at the pencil he'd just kicked under his desk.
"I can't even tie my..." He stopped suddenly, interrupted by some thought.
His hand raised from his side, lifting off the quilt to point under the desk, following his line of sight.
"That pencil!" He shouted, and dived under the desk to retrieve the object in question. When he emerged, he found his sister staring at him querulously.
"You remember it?" She asked, hopeful, but confused.
"Yes, yes. Something important, but...Gah!" He grunted in frustration.
"It's a quarter past eight; you're going to be late!" Their mother shouted from downstairs.
Neither of them reacted for a few seconds, both focussing intently on the pencil, gripped firmly in Lewis's hand.
Reluctantly, Jessie pressed him in a mournful tone,
"We should go."