Ben could tell by the way Gene was trying not to smile that something was up even before Lisa said anything to Tracy.
“Hey. You ready to go home?”
“Not yet.” Tracy marched past, shouldering her way through the kitchen. “We’re going to rescue Miranda.”
“Miranda needs rescuing? Pft!” Ben laughed. “You mean we should rescue Vin.”
“Vin, Miranda, whoever is getting thrown around up there, we should save them.” She led the way into the long hallway leading to the front door and staircase to the second floor.
“Tracy,” Lisa followed on her cousin’s heels like one of those yappy little dogs. “I don’t think we should do anything.”
“You never do,” Tracy said, twisting her neck just long enough to give Lisa an arched eyebrow.
“Well, maybe that’s because most of the time you shouldn’t do anything,” Ben said, defending Lisa. He hurried, trying to keep up. He looked back to see if Gene was going to help.
Nope. No help there. Gene walked along with his hands in his pockets and this grin on his face like he was watching a show that moved around; like they were all doing this just to entertain him.
“Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” Tracy said it with such confidence, that Ben couldn’t argue.
They all tromped up the stairs, making for Miranda and Vin’s bedroom.
It wasn’t until they all stood in front of their bedroom that Ben finally thought about what it was Vin and Miranda might really be doing. No wonder Gene was grinning.
“Um… Tracy? I don’t think either of them need rescuing. I’m pretty sure of it.”
She hesitated, looking at him like she was all ears.
“I mean, why do you think one of them is getting hurt?”
There was a loud thud, followed with a series if little thumps, like a sack of potatoes rolling across the floor, and a moan.
“I resist my case,” Tracy said with a see-I-was-right expression.
“Resist?” He knew she meant rest. Tracy did that word thing a lot. “Whatever. Come on. You must know what they are doing in there, right?” Ben glanced at the door, afraid it might pop open by accident. Then he kept looking because how was he supposed to know for sure?
He and Gene talked about it once, weeks ago. It wasn’t like Vin and Miranda had ever been quiet about it. Ben kind of thought he knew, but he wasn’t entirely clear on the mechanics, and there had been a bruise or two – on Vin at any rate. What if Ben was wrong?
“You think they’re….” Tracy gave him one of those looks like she didn’t believe him, kind of turning her head to the side and narrowing her eyes.
Then she pressed her ear to the door. She looked surprised.
“What? What do you hear?” Lisa pushed past him and put her ear to the door too.
Unable to resist curiosity, Ben did the same. A low murmur of voices came through the door all muffled and messed up. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he might have heard the word “love” a time or two. The soft coo of it sounded like love. He pulled his head back, trying not to blush, and Lisa did too, already blushing.
“What?” Gene pushed in on the other side of Tracy. He put his hand on her side the way Ben wished he could with Lisa, then put his ear to the door.
Tracy sucked in air like someone watching a bad fall in a basketball game or like when a horse trips in a race on TV and you know they’re going to have to kill it. Lisa and Ben glanced at each other, then put their ears to the door.
There was a sudden thump, the metallic screee of the bed springs bouncing followed by the kind of thump a bed makes when you’ve been jumping on it so much the legs leave the floor for a second then crash down.
Then, quite clearly, came Miranda’s voice saying, “ouch!”
Everyone pulled their head back from the door and looked at each other. Tracy stepped forward with her fist raised.
“What are you doing?” Mom said.
She was carrying a pile of sheets over her arm as she rounded the last step to the second floor. She looked interested, but not terribly concerned.
“I’m knocking them up to see if everyone is all right.” Tracy said it with a straight face.
“I beg your pardon?” Mom set the sheets down, draping them over the railing around the hole in the floor where the staircase goes down.
“I’m knocking them up. You know…. Oh! Oh, you think I meant…. No. I’m using that phrase like the English. I’m going to knock on their door to find out what’s going on and make sure they are both fine.”
“Pft!!!” Mom started laughing. She put her head in her hands, but Ben could still see her turning red. “No, no, no. Don’t do that.”
“Why not? What if one of them is getting hurt?”
“They aren’t hurting each other, if that’s what you think. At least, I don’t think so.” Then she got a surprised look on her face. She stared at the door with a wrinkled brow, like it was hiding a brand new video game, one she didn’t get at all. For a minute, Ben thought his mother would be the one to knock.
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