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Suzie’s House 503 : Kicking It With the Home Boys

Posers, the lot of them. Still, Bruce knew better than anyone that he shouldn’t have forgotten all about his crew.

The thing was, he put that gang together after his previous band blew up – back when he hated the world and everything in it. At the time he’d thought his life was already all over. Without music, what was he? A boy with a bad attitude.

Every last man in his gang knew how to fight. They couldn’t get in if they couldn’t both take and give a punch,. Some were pretty good with knives, too. And one claimed he could get his hands on a gun, though none of them ever really saw it.

They weren’t the kind of guys you just walked away from.

“Hey. Homeboy.” Hayden and Jerry pushed off from the wall at the same time. Hayden did the talking. Jerry never did. “Where you been all Summer? We missed you.”

“I was around.” Bruce kept walking. There was a band meeting that afternoon that he really didn’t want to miss.

“Around? Around where?” Hayden grabbed Bruce by the front of his shirt and slammed him into the back side of the school,.

Great. He couldn’t even get through the first two weeks of high school without getting suspended. It would bother him less, but he knew that Emma and the rest would all be attending regular. They already sometimes thought he was no good. He sure didn’t want to confirm it.

Especially not now. The album was coming out, and the gigs only got better and better and the video was going to be be fantastic.

So when his back hit the bricks, he winced, but he didn’t deck the guy like he might have before. Before, he had nothing to lose. Now he had the whole world by the tail.

“I been here all along. Just ask Jerry. He seen me enough this Summer.”

Jerry shrugged. The jerk. Like he hasn’t been to half their gigs, always clinging to the back wall and never coming up to talk. Right. Because he never talked.

“Then how come you didn’t answer my calls?”

“I was busy. ‘Sides, weren’t you in Kentucky or something?”

“That was only a couple of months. What I really wanna know ’bout is a few weeks ago, when the Skull Crew beat Leo to a pulp. You know he’s still in the hospital.”

“Is that where you were all last week? Instead of school….” Bruce let the thought hang itself. Like he’d ever said anything about anyone in the gang skipping school before. He wasn’t acting like himself. At least, not the himself they knew.

He raised his chin. They were all going to have to get used to it because he wasn’t going back now. Not now.

“Don’t Fk with me, man!” Hayden slammed a fist into the bricks, doing his own hand more harm than anything. “Where were you!”

“When? Three weeks ago?” I stopped and thought. When was it that Hayden was blowing up is text message in box? “Or do you mean four weeks ago? I was in Chicago!”

“Chicago? Yeah right! Admit it. You found yourself some new friends, and now you got no time for us!”

Bruce froze. His eyes went wide. He hadn’t really thought of it in those terms… but….

Hayden swore viciously. “We needed you, Bro! And you weren’t there.” He yanked the front of Bruce’s shirt to slam him against the wall again. “If it’s going to be like that, then count yourself out! You aren’t part of the gang anymore.”

“If that’s the way you want it,” Bruce said sardonically. He probably shouldn’t have smiled. Or if he had to smile, he should at least have ducked.

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For Tete-Tete: Bruce’s perceptions of his checkered past weren’t exactly inspirational.

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