Problems at school
“Sorry I didn’t call. I know it’s early.” Liv sounded very out of breath. It was easy to see she was struggling under the weight of Elle’s body. She swayed slightly causing Monica to spring into action. She reached out and took the sleeping child from Liv. It
surprised her when Liv offered no resistance.
“She fell asleep on the bus.” Liv said quietly.
Monica walked into the family room and carefully deposited Elle on the sofa. She covered her with a velvet throw.
“You should have called me. I would have come and picked you up.”
Liv was already backing out of the room. “No big deal. Is it alright if I leave her for a few hours?”
“Of course. I’m sure you’re tired from carrying her from the bus stop. Would you like to sit a minute? I could get you something to drink.”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll pick her up later this afternoon.” She practically bolted for the door.
Monica followed her, “Are you sure you’re all right?” Liv appeared to be shaky.
“I’m fine” Liv answered forcefully. She walked out the door before Monica could say any thing else.
Monica glanced into the family room to make sure Elle was still sleeping. Thinking that Elle might be frightened and confused when she woke she took a seat across the room and decided to finish reading the book she had started a few days ago. Every once in awhile Elle would mumble in her sleep. Monica closed the book and looked at the sleeping child. God, she was so adorable. She was sucking on her pinkie. Monica smiled thinking how her own Mom would have cringed saying that sucking on her fingers would ruin her teeth. Monica didn’t have the heart to remove her finger from her mouth. While she was watching Elle’s eyes slowly opened. As Monica had thought she blinked and sat up. “Where’s Mommy?”
Monica crossed the room and knelt by the sofa. “Your Mommy had some things to do so she left you here. Do you remember being on the bus?”
Elle nodded, “Stinky bus.”
“The stinky bus. You fell asleep and your Mommy carried you here.”
“There was a bad man on the bus.” Elle said sitting up. “Mommy was fraid.”
“A bad man? Did he say something to you?”
Elle rubbed her eyes. “He talked to Mommy and made her cwy.”
Monica was at a loss as to what to answer. “Well your Mommy was okay when you guys got here. Don’t worry little Bug.”
Elle didn’t look convinced. Monica realized she wasn’t at all convinced that Liv was all right either. Suddenly Elle threw her arms around Monica’s neck and hugged her tightly. “It’s okay.” She whispered in her ear. Elle just hugged her tighter.
Gerard woke with a start. He rolled over and tried to focus on the bedside clock. Shit, he thought, it’s not even 5:00 am. What the hell am I doing awake. Suddenly the nightmare that woke him flittered through his brain. He got up quietly and moved towards the desk. He need not have worried about waking Bob. His friend was fast asleep and snoring loudly.
He grabbed his pack of cigarettes, lit one and sat down in the early morning light. Inhaling deeply he tried to bring the nightmare back into focus. He couldn’t remember all of it but the part he could scared the shit out of him. He was standing in his house and it was empty. He remembered he had run from room to room and they had all been the same, empty. Why would he dream that? He shook his head and decided to try to erase the memory from his mind. He pictured Monica and the house the way it had looked when he left. The image caused him to smile. That is how the house looked and that was the way it would stay. He finished his cigarette then climbed back into bed. Unfortunately the deep feeling of despair the nightmare had caused would not allow him to fall back asleep.
Mike corned Kelly at her locker just after she entered the school.
“Kelly, I’ve been waiting for you. We need to talk.”
“Mike, I need to go to the library before class. I can’t talk to you right now.”
“Shit. Come on. This is important. Just skip first period. I’ve got J.D.’s car. Come on Hon. I missed not being able to talk to you all weekend.”
Kelly was surprised to hear that after some of the things he’d said Friday night. As much as she wanted to get things settled between them, she has an uneasy feeling about him.
“No, Mike. I’ve got to finish up my paper first.”
The hand that had lightly held her wrist suddenly squeezed it like a vice. “Why are you avoiding me? What did you tell the cops?” His tone became a dark accusation. He leaned closer.” Kelly we need to talk.” He squeezed her wrist again, “Now.”
“Mike, let go.” Kelly was frightened.
“Look, I wanna know what you told the cops. You better have told them the truth.” As she said the last word he again squeezed her wrist.
“Mike” Kelly tried to pry his fingers off her wrist. “You’re hurting me.”
“Hi Kelly. Problem?”
Mike turned to see Kara standing beside him. He dropped Kelly’s wrist and plastered a smile on his face.
“Kara. Your sister and I were just talking about the party. Shame you couldn’t go.”
Kara never took her eyes off his face, “Yeah, it’s a shame. Maybe things would have been different if I had.” Her face remained blank.
Mike scanned Kara up and down, chuckling. He turned back to Kelly. “You ‘bout ready to go?”
Kelly looked startled, turning back to her locker to grab her books.
“Kelly, Mrs. Moritz is waiting.” Mrs. Moritz was Kelly’s school counselor.
“Moritz? Why are you going to see her? I thought you were going to the library.” He turned back to Kara his anger barely controlled. “Look, Kara.” He grabbed her upper arm, “Your sister and I were in the middle of something. Why don’t you scoot along?”
Kara looked down at his hand on her arm then back up at Mike. “Get..your..hand..off…me.”
Mike clinched his jaw, but dropped his hand. He called over his shoulder, “Kell, lets get going.”
Kara could see Kelly looking undecided, biting her lip.
“Kelly, don’t go with him.”
“Kara, I have to.”
Mike, still facing Kara took delight in that answer. A self-satisfied smirk came over his face. It was rapidly replaced by disbelief as Kara’s fist connected with his nose.