Chantilly Lace: What have I done, Merlot? I made a horrible mistake.
Merlot: Don’t say that.
Chantilly Lace: I’m putting you and your family in danger. I shouldn’t be here. It’s not right. If something were to happen to you, I –
Merlot: Hey. Don’t talk like that. Nothing is going to happen to me. You’re safe here. She can’t hurt you any more.
Chantilly Lace: That’s just the thing. She never really hurt me. She treated me like a mother should, except I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere. She loves me. I know she does and I am all she has left, but living without you. I just can’t do it. I don’t want to.
Merlot: And you don’t have to….I love you, Lace. It’s me and you now, together.
It took a while for things to settle down. Merlot was under pretty heavy surveillance. He sent messages when he could, but it took nearly six months before the police decided I didn’t want to be found. I had imagined it taking longer, but I guess a teenage run away was not high on their priority list. It almost seemed like my mother had called off the search herself. Unfortunately there was no way to know sure. All I knew was my nightmare was over.
And everything had lead up to this moment.
Merlot: Am I glad to see that face.
Chantilly Lace: I thought I’d never see it again.
Merlot: How are you?
Chantilly Lace: I’m good… I need to talk to you about something though.
Merlot: Of course. Nothing I want more than to hear your voice right now.
Chantilly Lace: So you ready for a weird story?
Merlot: Oh, berry yes. Please.
Chantilly Lace: Okay… but first. How much do you know about Victoria’s father?
Merlot: Not that much really. I know he got himself in trouble back when Vic was just a kid. She hasn’t seen him since.
Chantilly Lace: Well, I think I know why he was arrested.
Chantilly Lace: So the other day, Victoria disappeared for hours! I called for her all over the house, but couldn’t find any trace. It seemed rather odd, since anytime she went into town, she’d let me know. So anyways, I found myself near the downstairs closet. Seemed ordinary enough, but for some reason the door was slightly ajar and I could hear a strange humming.
Chantilly Lace: Yeah! I opened the closet and… did you know there was a staircase in there?
Merlot: Stairs? Below the house?
Chantilly Lace: Oh it gets better.
Chantilly Lace: There is an entire lab down there!
Chantilly Lace: Test tubes and all kinds of equipment! Merlot, I think her father was some sort of evil scientist.
Merlot: I’ve spent half my childhood in that house, how have I never seen anything like that?
Chantilly Lace: I have the answer to that too. When I couldn’t get inside, I went back upstairs, hoping Victoria wouldn’t find me. I closed the closet door. As soon as it closed, I could hear a faint clicking sound and suddenly the humming faded away.
Chantilly Lace: I told you! So to ease my curiosity, I opened the closet again and the stairs were gone. It was just a closet! What do you suppose she does down there?
Merlot: I honestly have no idea.
Chantilly Lace: Fascinating right?!
Merlot: That’s one word for it.
Chantilly Lace: Your sister is like the coolest person ever! All her little secrets hidden in this house.
Merlot: Do you think we should ask her about it?
Chantilly Lace: No, probably not a good idea.
Merlot: Wanna take a dip in the pool?
Chantilly Lace: I think you know the answer to that.
Merlot: Oh, glob, Lace, I’m sorry. That was… dumb.
Chantilly Lace: It’s okay. It does sound nice, but I just can’t. Water, you know?
Merlot: Yeah, stupid me.
Chantilly Lace: I have a better idea.
Chantilly Lace: I used to stare up at the stars, dreaming of it would be like to be free. It used to be my favorite time of day… or night rather. I thought nothing could surpass the feeling of freedom I felt watching the midnight clouds floating over the moon, but sharing the stars with you is everything and so much more.
Merlot: That may be the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.
Chantilly Lace: Did I charm the charmer?
Merlot: You most definitely did.