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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.

“Our first order of business is to decide how you can protect yourself right now.” Sonoma got down to it immediately.

Emma nodded enthusiastically. A whole pile of kids surrounded her. A few of them nodded along with her. Clearly, Emma’s brother was a well known problem.

“I seriously doubt you really need to do anything,” Trent said casually. He wasn’t trying to undermine Sonoma. It was his way of setting things up for her and addressing the other side of the coin. “When we left, he seemed inclined to get out of town quickly.”

“That said, I seriously doubt you would feel safe going home right now.”

“There was that time we thought it was safe for Marry Ann to go home.” That was an emotional scar that would probably never leave Trent.

“That was a little different. Marry Ann was married to the man.”

“Abuse is abuse.” He would not flinch from his role in the Marry Ann fiasco.

“The point is that Emma doesn’t have recourse to women’s shelters or cheep motels. Also, she had to let her parents know where she is. I’d offer you a room in my house, but that’s in Montana. I’m not even sure where I’ll be staying tonight.”

“She can stay at my house.” The girl with a camera in her hand said.

“Right! Our place! It’s perfect. Right?” Another girl spoke up. She nodded enthusiastically.

Emma smiled gratefully.

“Unless your mother says something to him about where you are.” The girl with the camera said with a worried look.

Emma flinched and bit her lip.

“We could set up a trap for him. Catch him red handed and turn him in to the police.” The girl with the camera again. She had the far away look intellectuals get when generating ideas.

“The laws can be messy,” Trent said heavily. He was probably thinking of the times they ended up in jail themselves though their intentions had been good.

“Humph.” Drew crossed his arms and looked away with chin raised.

Of course. He was once a devoted FBI agent.

“So we tell you mom you’re staying somewhere else.” The other talkative girl said.

“W-w-where? Sh-she knows… I don’t have anyone else.”

This made all the kids bend their heads in thought. Sonoma’s heart went out to the girl. No doubt the way her brother treated her had given her the stutter as well as problems coming up with friends. Sonoma just wished there was something more she could do.

A thin woman in mid-calf skirt ducked her head into the room. She didn’t ask anything, just looked.

“Suzie!” Drew brightened. “Would it be alright if Trent, Sonoma, and Emma stayed here tonight? They would be fine sleeping here in the den.”

“Oh. Oh, yeah. Then we’ll tell Emma’s mom she’s at our place. Right. Good idea.” The kids all burst out in enthusiasm.

Suzie hesitated a moment. She looked over the crowd of kids, then at Drew, Trent, and Sonoma. She shrugged.

“Sure. I’ll have dinner ready in an hour.” She left as quietly as she’d arrived.

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