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Suzie’s House 498 : Shelter from the Storm

Suzie's House

The girl gaped adorably as she stared across the den at them. Sonoma had always found that lost waif look appealing. Knowing what little she did about Emma, Sonoma felt compelled to do everything she could to help.

Trent smiled and gave her hand a squeeze – his signal that he totally understood her feelings, and would back her up. The two of them had encountered waifs any number of times over the fifty plus years of their union.

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Suzie’s House 497 : Decayed Fears

Suzie's House

“You’re Jim’s sister? You poor thing.” The old man shook his head.

Emma stood in Mrs. H’s den like a stupid deer. She couldn’t decide if she should stare at Drew or the old man and old woman so she tried to do both and probably looked like a total derp face.

“It’s alright,” Drew said. “They’re harmless.” He gestured at a chair next to her. He was already sitting in the one opposite of her. The old couple had the couch.

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Suzie’s House 496 : Shelter From the Thorn

Suzie's House

“Why? I’m not saying let’s go back to the park. I’m saying why did we have to leave when the sun is still up.” Lisa meant for the question to go to the entire band though she looked at Bruce as they hustled along to Ben’s house.

“Like I said already, we’ll talk about it when we get to the house.”

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Suzie’s House 495 : Scream

Suzie's House

“Not like that Emma. More like… “ Lisa let the camera fall to her side. Her brow twisted in consternation or maybe puzzlement. Or maybe both.

Emma kind of thought it was both. No matter what it meant that Emma wasn’t delivering whatever Lisa wanted for this video. Just that she was so sure she got it. What was wrong?

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Suzie’s House 494 : Family Reunion

Suzie's House

Emma had friends? Since when did Emma have friends? Jim sat in the van and stared.

He did vaguely recall meeting some guy who had been walking her home one night, but certainly not any girls and certainly not so many people over all. And the way they treated her – like she was the main thing. Like she was popular.

Like Jim would ever let something like that happen!

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Suzie’s House 493 : A Free Ride

Suzie's House

Sonoma lay flat on her back in a nest of blankets with her head wedged between the van’s driver’s seat and the front passenger seat so she could hear the conversation between Trent and “Big Jim”. She’d slept through an hour of the trip from Minneapolis and Madison, but didn’t feel very refreshed.

“How you doing, Darling? Back any better?” He reached down from the passenger seat and gave her hand a squeeze.

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Suzie’s House 492 : Blanking the Slate

Suzie's House

“Hey! Whatcha doing?” The old geezer shouted his question as he walked across the Walmart parking lot. He had crusty jeans, but a fresh plaid shirt over a faded but clean tie-dye T-shirt. His long, gray hair was pulled back in a frizzy, puny ponytail.

Great. Probably another refugee from the Hippie generation. Jim ignored him.

“You really wanna be doing that? Seams like a real waste.”

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Suzie’s House 491 : Goodbye Van Family

Suzie's House

Jim walked for four hours. He would have stopped and slept at the side of the road, but the one thin blanket he had with him didn’t do enough to keep him warm. He had to keep walking until he either found a place to stay, or someone took pity on his cold hitchhiker’s thumb.

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Suzie’s House 490 : Van Family Neophyte

Suzie's House

“He’s a misogynist!” The dork with fake glasses pointed at Big Jim Zempel and laughed. Laughed! As if he had any right to say anything, the wannabe.

“What are you talking about?” Jim tried to laugh it off, though he really wanted to punch the guy. Lately it seemed like lately Rick had been picking up more and more of those people. Always the ones who didn’t really need to be there. College kids killing the last few minutes before they went back to school.

“You, man. I’m talking about you.” The idiot college boy grinned dopily.

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Suzie’s House 489 : The First Day of School for Emma

Suzie's House

Emma paused in the front entrance of East High on the morning of the first day of school. She swallowed hard and tried to not think about barfing. This year, she was not going to run to the bathroom every few seconds. Not like all through middle school.

In middle school, up until she’d found the three Kates, she’d been a nervous wreck. Come to think of it, she’d been nearly as much of a nervous wreck afterwards too. When was it exactly that she’d gotten a grip?

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Suzie’s House 488 : School Supplies

Suzie's House

“So. School starts tomorrow. Are you ready?” Lisa sat in Ben’s bedroom, on his bed, and kicked her heels back and forth while he sat at his desk in front of his computer and read through her latest opus.

“Uh-huh. Yeah.” He answered so absently that she almost asked again. But then he pointed to a backpack leaning up against the wall. It was stuffed so full the zipper wouldn’t close. It was like a gaping reminder of the hateful responsibility foisted on incorrigible students at summer’s end.

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Suzie’s House 487 : Band Meeting

Suzie's House

Gene ran out to the bottom of the stairs to shout at Ben and Lisa. Since Lisa was working on the music video for them, she counted as an honorary sort of band member and you couldn’t expect Ben to sit out of it when all his friends were there in his house.

“Lisa! Ben! We’re starting.”

“Yeah, we got it.” Ben waved from down the hall.

The two of them had come in from the kitchen. They weren’t upstairs at all. What a clunker.

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Suzie’s House 486 : A Lion’s Pride

Suzie's House

“I’m proud of you.” Vin stood by their bedroom door with his arms crossed over his chest and a proud smile.

“Yeah? What’s that about?” Miranda refused to look at him any more than she had to. He didn’t need any encouragement if he was going to comment on her character. Instead, she focused on getting her image in the mirror of her vanity and getting the rest of the makeup off her face. This was purely practical. Nothing vain about it.

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Suzie’s House 485 : Up to Snuff

Suzie's House

Gene did not much care for Miranda. Not that he really disliked her. Certainly he hated his own father a lot more. Miranda never hit him, rarely said nasty things to him, and sometime even fed him. So she was mostly okay. But still, Miranda was the kind of woman he already knew he couldn’t handle.

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Suzie’s House 484: Jumping the Gun

Suzie's House

“It’s not my fault.” Lisa sounded even more prickly than Tracy expected.

“When did I say it’s your fault.” Tracy couldn’t help getting a little defensive as she leaned over to look at Lisa’s laptop. “I’m just saying…. I don’t know! It’s just… forty two? Seriously? Only forty two?”

“That’s forty two hits in two days, and it’s only on youtube. I mean, we haven’t put the music video anywhere else yet. Right? Once we get it on Facebook and everything….” Lisa sucked her lips in doubtfully. “I’ve seen a lot of videos that have been online for longer and got less hits than that. Besides, we don’t even have the album sales info yet. Right?”

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