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Suzie’s House 502 : Steps

Emma fell asleep in math class. She couldn’t remember having ever fallen asleep in school before. But then, she’d never stayed up until nearly dawn learning self defense moves either.

But that wasn’t really the thing. A year ago she would have been too uptight to fall asleep no matter how tired she got. Nor was it the self defense lessons, though they certainly didn’t hurt. It was the conversation she’d had with Trent, Sonoma, and Drew afterwards.

She had asked them what they knew about her brother, since he’d apparently told them nearly everything about what had happened from the time their father left him in an anonymous motel room hundreds of miles from where he’d first passed out drunk and when he gave them a ride back to Madison.

“Emma!” Tracy leaned into the classroom and waved at her. “Come on! We’ve got a band meeting.”

Emma scrubbed the sleep from her eyes before gathering her things. When she joined them in the hall, Tracy, Gene, and Justin were already together.

“Anyone seen Kate or Bruce?” Tracy asked them all in a vague way while looking around as if they might just suddenly be there – like the opposite of disappearing.

“Kate isn’t coming.” Justin’s jaw tightened around the words. “She has something going with some friends.”

“Seriously?” Tracy’s mouth twisted in disbelief.

Emma knew the feeling. There could be no better friends than the members of their band. But Kate could be kind of shallow that way.

“I saw Bruce hanging with some of his old friends, too,” Gene said in a heavy way. Like what he saw hadn’t been pretty. “Might take him a little while to get away from them.”

“We’ve got to settle the last two ads with Miranda, watch the video with Lisa, and do that thing on Amazon to get the album out there. We can’t wait for them.” Tracy looked like she could spit nails.

All of them nodded agreement, and headed down the hall.

“Are you alright, Emma?” Justin’s quiet voice sounded to one side.

Tracy echoed the concern with a look from the other side.

“Hmm? Uh. Ah…yeah. Just tired.”

Justin, Tracy, and Gene all gave each other surprised looks.

“What did you do? Party with the old folks.”

Emma started to laugh. It was a good sound, full of real humor and not too much hysteria. Emma was proud of it, so she let it go on a little too long. “Y-y-yah! It, it was fun! They taught me to do this.” She grabbed Tracy’s arm, and pulled it around her back, but let go so fast it couldn’t have hurt her. “And this.” She faked a kick at Gene. “And this!” She did a slow motion punch to Justin’s nose.

They all shouted and fell back in alarm.

“And they told me all about What James has been doing. And you know what? He’s messing up so bad right now that I don’t think he’ll have time to worry about me. Not for a loooong time.”

“What do you mean?” Tracy looked genuinely curious.

“Well, for one thing, they think that van he’s driving right now might be stolen….”

They walked to the meeting at Gene’s house, talking the whole way.

I’ve been busy digging in my archives in search of the little graphic I put in front of each Suzie’s House episode, and coming up with nothing. It’s very disheartening. So this week, no graphic. Maybe next week it will turn up.

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