“What are they doing up there anyway?” Tracy leaned back as if leaning would make it easier to look into a second floor window from the driveway.
“You don’t want to know,” Gene muttered from his seat on the back stoop.
All kinds of thumps and bumps went on. You could hear them right through the walls. Gene couldn’t be sure, but knowing Vin and Miranda, it probably had something to do with sex. He wasn’t about to say anything that uncomfortable to his girlfriend.
“Are they beating on each other?” Tracy shifted from foot to foot, still looking like she might actually see something.
“I don’t think so.”
“Maybe we should do something.”
“Uh-uh. No way. We’re talking about Miranda and Vin, right? I aint messing with either one.”
“We can’t just ignore it, right? What if he’s hurting her?”
“Then she’d just hurt him right back. You don’t know Miranda. She hits hard and fast. She can hold her own.”
“Like you did?”
Gene’s guts went cold. He didn’t want to talk about it at all. Not at all. Though if he ever did, Tracy would be the one.
“Oh, unclench your jaw. I’m not going to bug you about it. But you’re the kind of guy who could hold his own, too. It’s different when it’s someone who you’re supposed to love.”
“What do you know about it?” He wasn’t accusing her, not like he used to do with anyone who got too close. He really did want to know.
“Nothing.” She shook her head, and all the pretty colored streaks in her hair went flopping around.
“No one ever hit you?” He couldn’t believe she’d know so much, understand so well, if no one had ever beat on her the way his dad beat on him.
“No. No, neglect is my family’s forte. That’s only because step kids tend to fall through the cracks. But I’ve seen more than enough to know what it’s like. I’ve scraped up a few step brothers and sisters along the way. And I know I’m luckful.”
“Luckful?” He grinned at her, wondering if she even knew she meant ‘lucky.’
“Yep. Chock full of luck. But what I’m saying is maybe we should go rescue her. Don’t you wish someone had rescued you?”
He would never admit to it. Never ever. But when he was really young, there were times when he’d hoped…
“Come one.” She grabbed his hands and tried to pull him to his feet. “What’ll it hurt to try?”
He couldn’t even begin to describe all the ways it could go wrong, but considering it was Vin and Miranda, it would probably only be really, really embarrassing. And when you think of those other things, a little embarrassment didn’t seem quite so bad.
“All right.” He let her pull him up. “We’ll just go tap on their door.”
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