"Code green! In my room!" I quickly yell into the bathroom where Liesl was helping Marta reach the sink to wash up. Liesl looked at me with confusion, and I quickly added, "It's Maria. I think we have a situation."

Liesl looked at me and nodded, putting down Marta. I speed walk to the boys room, told them to come with me, as Liesl got the other girls. They all came into my room, and look at me, confused.

"What's going on Brigitta?" asks Louisa, "There needs to be a good reason we're calling the meeting. Code green is only for governess plans, and I don't want to scare off Maria now."

"I didn't call code green because I thought we need a governess removal plan! I think we have a problem with Maria. I overheard a private conversation, and I think we have a few clues about what happened." I reply, annoyed with Louisa for suggesting kicking out Maria. She just came back, and I'm going to make sure she stays, as long as we can get. That silences the quiet whispers among my siblings. I sigh, and then begin the explanation.

I sigh, finishing the story. By this point, aside from Friedrich, looking out the door to make sure no adults here, everyone was sitting on the floor, deep in thought.

"You said that Maria is really uncomfortable with Father and the Baroness together, and that she was trying to avoid answering questions from Father?" summarizes Kurt.

"Yep, and that the Baroness was cold all of a sudden with her!" I add, nodding, sitting down. Liesl's face is overcast with a concerned look, as she brushes her fingers through Gretl's messed up hair.

"I think we should cheer up Maria." offers Marta.

"I don't think cheering up will help her right now." says Louisa.

"What do you mean? It always helps us when we can't fix a problem, to cope with it?" says Kurt.

"But I think this is more than her feeling sad. I think something happened between Father, Maria and the Baroness, and that's the reason Maria went away to the abbey." Liesl answers. A moment passes, as we consider what that means. Either Father or the Baroness must've talked or done something to Maria that must've made her feel so bad she had to leave. There's no way she would've wanted to go back to the abbey, unless she didn't love us.

"What if she really just wanted to go home? Her home, I mean." says Friedrich, "She hasn't been at the abbey for a few months now. She might've missed her family there."

"She wouldn't have left without saying goodbye, even if she missed home. It was sudden, like she was trying to get away from something." I reply. I know Maria, she'd never do that for anything in the world. Liesl's eyes brighten with an idea.

"Marta, Gretl. Can you guys go talk to the adults and tell them we'll be down in a minute, we're thinking of a good bedtime story to ask Maria to tell us tonight?" Liesl asks. Gretl's face brightens and she nods, and they run downstairs.

As soon as the two girls are out the door, Liesl says, "This is how I see it. One of them might've gotten into a disagreement with Maria. She didn't like it and left for some reason. We don't know much right now. But Maria is back. Maybe her being back is a sign that she is going to have a good long talk with the person she has the disagreement with, and fix it herself?"

"We can't know that. Maybe it was something really scary, really bad, that Maria is just going to do whatever she can to finish her time with us and run off as fast as she can out of here?" I ask, desperate. I can't lose her. Not when her face grows more visible in my mind than even my own mother's. Not when her spell-songs ring in my ears any time my heart feels like it might shatter. Not when the world felt on the brink of ruin the past week she has been in seclusion, whatever that is.

"But we can't make that decision for them. They know more than we do. And we can't make their decisions for them. Let's give them 3 days to figure it out on their own. If they're still being weird, we'll step in and figure out what to do." offers Friedrich. Oh look at that, boys can have good ideas once in a while. Or at least decent compromises.

"Alright. But only three days. I can't stand seeing Maria like this." I agree. My siblings all nod, and we stand up to leave. I am not happy with this agreement. If it was up to me, I'd be starting my brainstorm now, but I can't force them to fix problems. I smile to myself. But that doesn't stop me from making my conclusions and doing research on my own. At least, for now. We walk out the door and down the stairs to dinner.