“Would you two cut that out?!” Suzie tried to swat at Vin and Miranda, but the bulk of the front seats hampered her and then the light changed. Cars behind her honked, and Christina’s little red corvette disappeared in heavy traffic.
Miranda giggled. In the rear view mirror, Suzie could see her put a hand over her mouth and Vin smirk. It was like playing chauffeur to a couple of teenagers.
The thought brought a pang of regret. It could have been Ben in the back seat. Except Ben never horsed around as much as these two.
She wanted to bring him home. She didn’t trust Rob to take good care of him, but couldn’t keep him locked in the house all the time. If he’d seen Vin grilling out in the back yard a few hours ago he would have insisted on standing around in the back yard with him. Then if one of the red heads came along…. Suzie shuddered.
No one else in the family would take Ben. She had called Rob’s parents, who lived in town, and gotten nothing but the cold shoulder. She tried her own sister, who backpedaled fast once it was clear the move could be permanent. Round and round she went, even calling a second cousin once removed clear across the country. Nothing. No one but her wanted the kid.
Ben was such a sweet kid. Could he really be so different with everyone else, like Rob said?
“Hey! Careful! You almost hit that Volvo.” Vin pulled himself up against the back of the front seat on his side.
“Do you think Christina saw us?” Miranda stuck her head between the seats, her shoulder butted up against Vin’s off side. He winced, but didn’t draw away.
“Where? In Middleton or fifty miles later when we hit Sun Prairie from the other side? We went all the way around Lake Mendota.”
“We know,” Miranda said the same time Suzie said it.
Christina’s Corvette took the off ramp from East Washington to Aberg Ave, slicing neatly across lanes to do it. Suzie barely made it into the right lane in time to follow.
“The guy in the truck behind us is flipping you off,” Vin said dryly.
“Let him. I couldn’t get in any other way. I changed my mind. The two of you should go back to necking.”
“Uh-uh. I’d be afraid for my life.”
Vin grinned at Miranda, oozing sex appeal the same way Drew did when he was in the mood. “Not a bad way to go though,” he crooned.
For a minute, Suzie thought the two of them were going to fall backward into the seat behind her again. Instead, Miranda sounded exasperated as she turned away. They started up a whispered conversation. Suzie had to concentrate on the road, which had fewer cars for her to hide behind. They shot past Shopko. Christina made a feint toward Packer’s Avenue, then turned right on Ruskin instead. Suzie had to concentrate closely the whole time.
“I still think we should have gone up to the house she went in in Sun Prairie. They might have been there.” Miranda shoved up beside Suzie, wedged between the seats.
“Nah. She was trying to fake us out. You could tell from the way she looked around, like she was in a B movie.” Vin didn’t bother to rise up from his slouch.
Back on Aberg, Suzie let Christina get a longer lead. She hoped her gas would hold out if Christina caught North Stoughton Road, but instead she peeled off at Wright Street, then twisted around to Milwaukee Street, finally turning into the parking lot at Woodman’s.
“Why are we stopping?” Vin stopped trying to lure Miranda into some totally inappropriate behavior.
“This is pointless. She knows we’re following. There’s no way she’ll show us anything useful. She all but waved at me as she left the parking lot while I was going in.”
“She waved?” Vin and Miranda glanced at each other.
“No. She didn’t even get a good look at me, but why else would she have taken such an out of the way route to get here, then just turn around again? Like you both said, I wasn’t exactly being low-profile just now.”
“Maybe she was doing it to be sure no one was following, on general principle. It’s what I would do.” Vin rested his head on the back of the seat with his hand wedged between. “In fact, I have an idea.”
“You? Have an idea?” Miranda bumped him playfully.
“Pft!” He narrowed his eyes and returned her bump before turning his full attention to Suzie. “Go back out that way, and hang the first possible left.” He hooked his thumb toward East Washington.
“Ok.” Suzie put the car in gear.
“Then go up a block, take a right, and pull over anywhere you can find a spot.”
“Why…?” Suzie started to ask, but Vin had already scooped Miranda up, sending up gales of giggles, and dragged her to a horizontal on the back seat. “Argh!” He could at least have waited until Suzie was sure she was going the right way.
She did her best, and ended up parked under good-sized tree. She turned the ignition off, fully expecting to be an unwilling witness to one of Miranda’s heavy-petting sessions – just like when they were in college.
“We’re here,” she called sweetly.
“Mummph.” Vin answered between wet, smacking sounds. “Give me a minute. And we’ll. Go in.”
“Go in? Go in where?” Suzie looked over the row of modest houses, none anywhere near as nice as her house. There weren’t any big red signs pointing to a particular house with the words, “clue to where to find Joseph and Sean available here.”
“There’s someone I want to talk to.” Vin seemed in no hurry, as he still had Miranda horizontal.
Suzie was about to lay down the law when a little red Corvette came idling past.
“Hey! It’s her!”
“Shhhhhh!” Vin’s head popped up. His hair was mussed.
“It’s not like she can hear me,” Suzie muttered, but no one argued. They all watched as Christina parked, got out of her car, and crossed the street.
“I knew it! I knew she’d lead us to the place,” Miranda crowed.
“That isn’t where Sean and Joseph are,” Vin said firmly. His mouth formed a hard line.
“How do you know?”
“Because I know the guy who lives there. He’s not one of the redheads. He’s…. Let’s just say he’s on our side. Sort of.”