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When she didn’t, I stopped thinking she was still alive and quit expecting her return. In my mind, Jane had joined my parents in the grave.

“Even if she’s still alive, I know she’s never coming back,” I say.

“I’m sorry,” Ingrid says, adding nothing after that. I’ve saddened her into silence.

We spend the next few minutes doing nothing but looking out at the lake and feeling the breeze on our skin. It rustles the branches of the trees around us, their golden leaves quivering. Quite a few let go and drift to the ground like confetti.

“Do you really like it at the Bartholomew?” Ingrid eventually says. “Or were you just saying that because you think I do?”

“I like it,” I say. “Don’t you?”

“I’m not sure.” Ingrid’s voice has grown quiet and slow. A surprise, considering everything else has been spoken at full volume and thoroughbred speed. “I mean, it’s nice there. Wonderful, really. But something about the place seems . . . off. You probably haven’t felt it yet. But you will.”

I think I already have. The wallpaper. Even though I know it’s a pattern of flowers and not faces, something about it unnerves me. More than I care to admit.

“It is an old building,” I say. “They always feel strange.”

“But it’s more than that.” Ingrid pulls her knees to her chest, a pose that makes her look even more childlike. “It . . . it scares me.”

“I don’t think there’s anything to be scared of,” I say, even as that disconcerting article Chloe sent me creeps into my thoughts.

The Curse of the Bartholomew.

“Have you heard about some of the things that have happened there?” Ingrid says.

“I know the owner jumped from the roof.”

“That’s, like, the least of it. There’s been worse. A lot worse.”

Rather than elaborate, Ingrid turns around and looks past the treetops, to the Bartholomew looming beyond them. On the northern corner is George, looking down over Central Park West. Seeing him makes my chest swell with affection.

“Do you think it’s possible for a place to be haunted, even if there aren’t any ghosts there?” she says. “Because that’s what it feels like to me. Like the Bartholomew is haunted by its history. Like all the bad stuff that’s ever happened there has accumulated like dust and now floats in the air. And we’re breathing it in, Jules.”

“You don’t have to stay there,” I say. “I mean, if it makes you so uncomfortable.”

Ingrid shrugs. “Where else am I going to go? Plus, I need the money.”

There’s no need for her to say anything else, a sign that she and I might have more in common than I first thought.

“I need the money, too,” I say, in what is surely the understatement of the year. “I couldn’t believe how much the job paid. When Leslie told me, I almost passed out.”

“You and me both, sister. And I’m sorry for getting all creepy on you just now. I’m fine. The Bartholomew is fine. I think I’m just lonely, you know? I’m on board with all the rules except for the one about not having visitors. Sometimes it feels like solitary confinement. Especially since Erica left.”

“Who’s Erica?”

“Oh, Erica Mitchell. She was in 12A before you.”

I give her a look. “You mean the owner? The woman who died?”

“Erica was one of us—an apartment sitter,” Ingrid says. “She was nice. We hung out a little bit. But then she left a few days after I got there. Which was strange, because she told me she had at least two months left.”

I’m surprised Leslie never mentioned there had been an apartment sitter in 12A before me. Not that she had any reason to. It’s none of my business who lived there. But Leslie had made it sound like the owner had just died, leaving the place suddenly vacant.

“Are you’re sure she was in 12A?”

“Positive,” Ingrid says. “She sent me a welcome note down the dumbwaiter. When you arrived, I thought it would be fun to do the same thing.”

“Did Erica tell you why she left early?”

“She didn’t tell me anything. I only heard about it from Mrs. Evelyn a day after she left. I guess she found a new place to live or something. I was bummed because it was nice to have an upstairs neighbor to hang out with.” Ingrid’s face brightens. “Hey, I have an idea. We should do this every day. Lunch in the park until our time is up.”

I hesitate, not because I don’t like Ingrid. I do. Quite a bit. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to handle her every day. This afternoon alone has left me exhausted.

“Please?” she says. “I’ve been so bored in that building and there’s a great big park to explore. Think about it, Juju. That’s what I’ve decided I’m going to call you, by the way.”

“Duly noted,” I say, unable to conceal a smile.

“I know it’s not perfect. But your name is already kind of a nickname, so that leaves me with limited options. And I know, there’s such a thing as bad juju. But there’s also good juju. You’re the good kind. Definitely.”

I highly doubt that. I’ve had bad juju swirling around me for years.

“But as I was saying, Juju, think of all the fun things we could do.” Ingrid begins to count the possibilities on her fingers. “Bird watching. Picnics. Boating. All the hot dogs we can eat. What do you say?”