52 - Reunited: Day Seventy-One

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Melanie sat in the corner of her balcony with her knees hugged tightly to her chest. She had arranged the pillows on her bed to make it look like she was sleeping, so when the girls had come in to check on her they left her alone, not wanting to wake her. She'd spent the entire night on the balcony, unable to relax her mind enough to sleep. She had broken down a few times, but mostly spent the hours battling with a growing anxiety that she couldn't shake. Her body was trembling uncontrollably, more from the anxiety than the chill in the air.

She'd watched the sun rise over the ocean, illuminating the once darkened sky with shades of pinks and oranges before becoming bright blue with very little cloud coverage. She sighed, knowing her friends would soon be waking and wanting to talk to her about the previous night, but she didn't want to talk to them.

In an attempt to avoid everyone, she went down to the meeting room where the caterers had served various breakfast foods for the bands and their crews, helped herself to a few items, and took her plate up to the penthouse suite where she attempted to eat. Unable to stomach more than a few mouthfuls, she threw most of her breakfast in the bin, leaving a few bits on the plate to convince her friends she'd eaten. She left the plate on the table and went out onto the balcony to hide away.

Slowly, the other band members started trickling into the suite to relax before the chaos of the day. Geri hastily barged into the suite and immediately looked around at the occupants within before ducking into the hall toward the bedrooms.

"Geri, you all right?" Victoria asked curiously. She walked toward the hallway but stopped as Geri nearly collided with her.

"I can't find Melanie," Geri stated anxiously. "She made it look like she was in bed, but she wasn't there. That means when I went in to check on her last night, she wasn't actually in bed. That was nine hours ago. She could be anywhere."

"Geri, calm down," Victoria admonished calmly. "She's still too scared to go off on her own, especially after the last time she ran off. She's here somewhere."

"She was upset last night," Geri continued, completely ignoring Victoria and moving to leave the suite in search of Melanie. "Something was wrong. I should have sat her down and found out what had happened."

"Camilla said Melanie went and got breakfast this morning," Howie interrupted, nodding towards the mostly empty plate on the table. "She was here not that long ago."

Geri stopped and turned toward the table, relief suddenly washing over her. She sighed and let her body relax, the panic she had been feeling quickly dissipating.

"Where is she then?" Geri breathed. "She wasn't in her room."

Kevin nodded toward the balcony, silently giving away Melanie's hideaway. Geri looked at him irritably, realizing he'd let her freak out for nothing. He grinned sheepishly and shrugged as he peeled the orange he'd retrieved from the fridge.

"I figured she wanted to be left alone," he explained nonchalantly. "She always cleans up after herself, so she obviously left her stuff out to keep us from wanting to check on her." Howie looked at him, impressed with his perlustration.

Geri started walking toward the balcony, but was quickly halted as Victoria grabbed her arm and tried to convince her to let Melanie have the space she was trying so hard to acquire. They were interrupted suddenly as AJ, Brian, and Emma raced into the room.

"Melanie wasn't in bed last night!" Emma shrieked, the three of them looking at everyone with horror.

"She's here and she's fine," Victoria sighed, rolling her eyes. "She just wants to be alone for a bit."

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