Only hours after Britney Spears called in "sick" Wednesday morning to her court-ordered deposition in the ongoing custody battle with ex-hubby Kevin Federline, the two people closest to the troubled star, her cousin Alli Sims and constant companion Sam Lutfi, got together — without Brit — for an apparent strategy meeting at Toast restaurant in West Hollywood.

"They seemed to be having a very deep, very serious conversation," an eyewitness tells OK! Of course, after Britney claimed she was too ill from "anxiety" to make it to the office of K-Fed’s lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan for her deposition, the singer couldn’t very well be seen out chowing down at a restaurant… or a tanning salon… or adding to her menagerie at a pet shop. But Alli and Sam, who were both at Brit’s home with her while her lawyers (and a few dozen photographers) expected her to make an appearance at Kaplan’s Century City office, seemed to need to get out for some air. Judging by their behavior, the anxiety in the Spears household must be a lot higher than usual.

Stay tuned to OK! for more meltdown news!

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