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Suzie’s House 518 : In the Intersection of Hallways

Bruce caught sight of Emma in the halls of the high school. He just happened to glance to his left, down the T-intersection, to see her coming out of one classroom while he was heading straight toward another.

Though they went to the same school, they were on different tracks, so he hardly ever saw much of her. Or anyone else in the band. Her worst of all because she didn’t even have lunch with them.

It would probably be different if he at least took band or orchestra or something. But why bother? I didn’t want to mess around with Classical music. He wanted to be in a rock band. And he was! So now he took mostly classes like shop and jewelry making. It meant his schedule stuck him with the same guys he had to fight to get away from and kept him from his real friends – the guys in Malaprop.

That glance of her brought him to a full stop.

She was coming his way. Would she come all the way to the intersection where he stood, brush past him, stop short at a locker or classroom, or just what? Maybe talk with him?

Right after school started, when Lisa had the two of them working with her just about every day to re-make their music video, the two of them had gotten a little closer. Maybe.

She looked up. Their eyes met. He raised his hand to wave, but before he’d succeeded, Hayden slammed into him.

Bruce swore under his breath as he shoved Hayden away. But when he did, three other guys from he old gang rammed into him. He recognized that nasty laughter, though he’d never been on the receiving end of their bullying before.

Actually, it was kind of amazing they hadn’t done anything before. They had a lot of the same classes, so they traveled the same halls. But until right now, when it actually mattered, they hadn’t done anything.

Bruce batted them off, desperate to see what Emma had done. To his amazement, she was racing straight at him with a high pitched screech and her arms in the air. Her friend, some girl Bruce didn’t recognize, stood there all slack-jawed.

“Don’t you dare hurt him!” Emma slapped Leo’s back.

The man must have been twice her weight. He flinched and backed off fast. Maybe because he was still pretty fresh from the hospital cause some other gang jumped him. Or maybe surprise. Emma certainly surprised Bruce. All the guys laughed, but it was more like real laughter than just being nasty. Most of them looked thunderstruck.

“Emma. Emma. Stop. It’s ok.” Bruce waded in to save Leo or Emma or maybe both. He was pretty sure the guy wouldn’t hit her back. Still. He ended up with Emma in his arms and her arms trying to claw someone over his shoulders.

“Shh, shhh, shhh. It’s Okay. They aren’t going to hurt anyone. Right guys? These are…. friends.” He couldn’t quite help the hesitation. “Right guys?” He arched a look at Hayden.

“Is this what you were busy with all Summer? A girl?”

“G-g-girl?” Emma suddenly noticed how he was holding on to her and backed up. “N-no! Band! He’s in my band! So leave… leave him alone.”

“Band?” They guys circled Bruce and Emma, but they looked more curious than mad.

“What band?”

“You play, like, music?”

“No way! Get out.” Someone slapped him hard in the shoulder.

“Yeah. It’s called Malaprop.” Bruce squared his shoulders. “And we just put out a music video and an album. That’s what I did this summer.”

“No way.”

“Serious?”

“Wait. Malaprop? I think I heard of them. Wait, wait.” Sean pulled a smart phone out of his back pocket and started poking around. “Right! Here it is. The video.” He held the phone up for the others to see.

“Yep. That’s it.” Bruce leaned in just long enough to see what it was. Sure enough, it was the Brother’s Keeper video.

As the guys crowded around, the girl who had been with Emma sidled up real timid-like. The guys made room for her without really noticing she didn’t belong. This obviously timid girl just kind of was there like a mouse behind a cupboard eyeing the cheese.

“Huh.” When the video ended, Hayden leaned back. He gave Bruce a hard look. “So you were telling the truth.”

“Yeah. I’m not fighting anymore. I’m in a great band now. So that’s what all my time goes into. It’s not like you guys aren’t welcome to come watch us or anything. Just, I don’t have time for anything else now.”

“Is that right?” Hayden looked at Emma when he said that like he didn’t believe Bruce. “Not too busy snogging your girl?”

“I don’t have one.”

“Yet.” Hayden grinned. “It’s what you get for always playing the villain.” He winked as he pushed on a few shoulders, getting his gang moving again. “We may take you up on that watching thing. Sometime. Never hurts to be friends with a rock star.”

“R-r-r-rock star?!” Emma’s friend stared in open amazement. “H-h-how… how do you know him, Emma?”

The gang shuffled off, leaving Bruce standing in the intersection of halls with two girls that stuttered. Then it finally hit him.

Emma had come to rescue him. What’s more, she’d succeeded.

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