Emma could feel the excitement in the air right from the first notes of Bitter Harvest. It was like a balloon hanging all flaccid one minute and ready to pop the nest.
She stood at the back of the gym, watching her band mates play and feeling pretty full of herself, thanks to the lacy black mask Bruce had given her, like she was the phantom of the opera or something.
She waited patiently through the intro, and was totally ready for it when it was time to sing. Her voice rang out right on time, perfect pitch and volume. Everything was great. Except for what happened next.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 316 : The Highlight of Emma’s Life
While the guys in the band scrambled to get Kate’s kit drum set up, Emma had to do everything she could to keep the audience entertained. Didn’t she? So it was OK if she got a little silly. Right.
“Soooooo… Miss Cheerleader, I’ve heard about you.” Emma strutted up to the first row of folding chairs. She smiled, imagined her own teeth as serrated as a shark, and chuckled.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 315 : Emma as Talk Show Hostess
Something happened to Emma as soon as she put on the mask. It was as if the lacy black thing had a spirit of it’s own. It flooded into Emma and took control. Suddenly she wasn’t nervous anymore. She felt daring, masterful, and… mean?
Continue reading Suzie’s House 314 : The Ego of a Dominatrix
There was no backstage, and the principal refused to let them darken the gym where folding chairs had been set up for the audience because of some liability thing, and they had to wear some stupid badge that just said they were registered for the talent show, but that wasn’t Emma’s worst problem.
She had two masks.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 313 : Two Masks
“Here you go.” Bruce pulled his latest creation out of his backpack and put it on the lunch table in front of Emma. “For tomorrow, when we play in the school talent show.”
Emma sucked air in through her teeth and her eyes bugged out like he’d put a snake on her lunch tray. It was great.
“Want me to help you put it on?” He reach out like he was going to take the mask back, but she quick grabbed it and stuck it in her lap under the table.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 312 : Where to Get a Mask
“Argh! It happened again.” Ben grabbed either side of his head and grimaced.
“Yeah?” Lisa looked up from her legal pad. She was sitting on the other side of the dining room table so she could keep a vigilant eye on the kitchen. Ben didn’t care about when their writing sessions got interrupted, but it drove Lisa batty. With that much thumping around, and the good smells coming out, they’d have to make room for the plates soon.
“Now I have to type it all over again, and I can’t remember what I wrote.”
Continue reading Suzie’s House 311 : Word War
Tracy smiled at her. She even waved. Emma felt so grateful, but kind of stunned, too. So she stayed sitting there at the exta-long lunch table instead of clearing her tray and going to the library. Maybe she could eat after all.
Except Tracy didn’t come over right away. She sat talking to Gene for a minute. He looked up at her and waved, but didn’t stop unpacking his lunch. Kate still hadn’t looked at the long table, Justin and his friends were about done eating and starting to leave, and there was no sign of Bruce.
So there Emma sat by herself at the end of the extra long table while every other member of the band hung out with someone else.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 310 : Because We’re Bandmates
The big table where Tracy and Gene sometimes had their band meetings at lunch time didn’t have anyone sitting at it. It made Emma nervous and exposed, but she set her tray there right at the very end and sat down.
It felt like everyone was looking at her. And not in the grand, movie-star way she liked to imagine.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 309 : Eating Alone
“Why is the cafeteria food always so putrid?” Alisha dropped her fork to the tray, making Emma flinch.
“I know. Right? I crave real food. Like Chinese or something.” Katy picked at her food with a disgusted look on her face.
“They had that Chow Mein stuff last week.” Kate shoveled in whatever the lunch ladies wanted to call the glop they were supposed to eat today like it was no problem.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 308 : Food, Fibs, and Friends
That band the kids had formed was practicing in Suzie’s parlor when Miranda dragged herself home. It was pretty late, but there was no sign of Vin yet, and the only sign of Suzie was a cake and a pile of cookies on a cooling rack. Miranda settled at the kitchen table with a glass of milk and plate of cookies. It made her feel young.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 307 : Totally Different
“It’s good.” Vin held his fork at a dubious angle. His New York strip gleamed red and juicy, just the way he liked it, but he didn’t look all that happy about it.
“Yeah.” Miranda cut into her seared duck breast with about the same enthusiasm. They’d been to a dozen restaurants in as many days. Before moving in with Suzie she’d done this routinely. “But…”
“…It isn’t as good as what Suzie makes.” Vin said at the same time she did.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 306 : Dinner and a Movie
“What do you want.” Bruce made it sound more like an accusation than a question.
Tracy shrugged. “I was just curious.” Which was the truth.
She’d sat in the theater after the guys all marched out and thought about it, then thought some more. They all went out with a signal from Bruce, all at the same time. They acted shifty as they left and even as they went in to see the Passion Pit concert. No matter how she looked at it, Bruce was up to something.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 305 : Fitting in Backstage
“Come on. It’s time.” Bruce got up as soon as the band took their first bows. He wanted to get the entire crew into the alley behind the theater before the encores started.
Not counting Tracy – who they left sitting there – there were eight of them at the show today. That should be more than enough to make his uncle happy. All of them stood up and followed Bruce. Word must have gotten around what he did to any slackers.
Continue reading Suzie’s House 304 : The Real Reason They Went to the Show
“This is so iconic,” Tracy grumbled.
“Iconic?” Bruce looked puzzled for a minute. “Oh! You mean ironic!”
“That’s what I said,” Tracy glared at him. “Like I was saying, my boyfriend is off practicing with the Masked Wonder for the sake of my own band while I’m stuck here with you. Is that ironic or what?”
Continue reading Suzie’s House 303 : The Passion Pit Show
“Would you cut it out? I don’t want them.” Lisa shoved Tracy’s hand out of her way so she could get into her room.
She took out her cell phone, but before she could press the button to make it light up so she could read the time, Tracy got in her face again.
“If you had any idea what I went through to get these…”
Continue reading Suzie’s House 302: Tracy’s Passion Pit Mistake