Thursday, February 10, 2011
Fun & Games!!
Okay, on with the show!
Cold panic rolled over Harper in hard, fast, frigid waves as Truman drove them to the police station. How could he do this? After everything that’d happened last night? How could he outright lie to her? Shaking her head, she drew in a shallow breath, the air just barely whistling past the tight fist her chest had become in the few minutes since her phone had rung.
“Exactly what happened?” Grace demanded from the backseat. In a split-second, roles had been reversed. Just before the phone had rung, Harper’s arms had been out, everything within her moving with the single-minded purpose of soothing her friend’s sorrows. Damn Truman and his slutty ways. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what Grace had found on Tru’s cell, man-whore that he was. But now, the world shifted, and focus was right back to the last place Harper wanted it: on her.
“I told you everything Kimmy told me.” Harper rolled her shoulders, pushing with all her might on the tension that had taken up permanent residence in the spot just between the blades. It didn’t leave. If anything, Owen’s predicament was just tying the knots there even tighter.
“Kimmy Hendershott? That girl who’s always following you out of band practice like a little lost puppy? I can’t stand her.”
“Really?” Harper rounded her eyes in pretend shock, eliciting a soft snort from Truman as he slowed the car for a stoplight. “I couldn’t tell.” Her body rolled forward with Grace’s light slap to her already pained shoulder. She cut a glare back at her friend. “She’s a nice girl, Grace. Give her a break.”
“If she’s so nice, what’s she doing at the police station?”
This time a deep chuckle from the driver’s seat. “She’s got you there, Harps,” Truman guffawed. “I’d be interested in knowing the same thing. After we find out what’s going on with your boy, that is.”
“Well, if you stop driving like Grandma Simonson, we might get there before New Years.” Harper shot her brother one last menacing look, and then turned back to Grace. “Her mom works at the station. A receptionist or something. Anyway, Kimmy got in big trouble last week. Grounded till she’s twenty-five, at least.”
“What’d she do?” Not that Grace was even remotely interested in the private life of some clueless loser like Kimmy what’s-her-name, but talking about the girl was loosening Harper up, easing the worried creases around her eyes and relaxing the stiff lines of her back. So, Grace would not only listen but feign interest until they could get some answers.
“She lied to her mom about where she was going last Saturday,” Harper shrugged, facing forward once again. “Went to some rave instead.”
“Really? She went to rave?” In any other scenario, the flabbergasted look on Grace’s face would’ve had Harper laughing until she cried...or even longer than that.
“Don’t sound so surprised. Not all band kids are nerds with no social life.”
“Like you?” Truman couldn’t help but asking, which earned him another glacial glower from his sister in addition to a fist to the bicep. “Ow! Jesus, Harper. That hurt.” Face twisted into a pained grimace, he rubbed his arm. “So, how did this under-aged, band geek get into a rave, anyway?”
“Seriously, Tru.” Harper rolled her eyes as she fished her wallet out of her purse. She flashed an ID at him…a fake ID. “Even us band geeks know people.”
He snatched it out of her grasp, reading the name aloud with a raised brow. “Dana Scully?” He shook his head and handed it back to her. “Sometimes I can’t believe I’m related to you.”
“At least, she doesn’t make you watch X-Files marathons,” Grace grumbled from the back seat. “Those are almost as bad as Glee. And, what kind of lunatic is obsessed with both those shows?”
Harper’s face had gone from stone cold and pasty white to red-hot and full of embarrassed irritation during Grace’s teasing, but that all ended as Truman maneuvered the car into the police station’s parking lot. Even before the vehicle came to a complete stop, she threw her door open, her movements stiff and jerky with barely concealed panic. Grace didn’t have to look to know that all the color she’d worked so hard to get into her friend’s cheeks had vanished.
Upon seeing Harper charging across the lot, the front door of the station opened and a tiny thing bundled in a thick woolen coat the color of over-ripened limes emerged. Truman’s steps faltered, slowed, and then stopped altogether. Already ahead of him by several steps, neither Grace nor Harper noticed him or his face as recognition slammed into him. Not Michelle or Christie or even Chrissy. Kimmy. Shit. No, make that double shit. He was so screwed. Fuck.
“He was brought in around ten this morning,” Kimmy was saying while Harper clutched at her, hanging on her every word as if it were the only lifeline in sight. “I guess he was speeding or rolled through a stop sign or something, but then they ran his plates and it turns out that earlier in the morning, someone driving his truck had gone over to Mr. Haas’ house and beat the shit out of him. Mr. Haas is in the hospital right now.”
“Owen attacked Mr. Haas?” Harper’s voice was barely above a whisper, a slight sound that both Kimmy and Grace had to strain to hear.
“That’s the weird thing,” Kimmy said, shaking her head, bewildered. “Mr. Haas wasn’t the one who called the police. It was his neighbor across the street, and the neighbor swears the guy who attacked Mr. Haas was blonde.”
Grace stilled at the implication even as she realized that Harper hadn’t made that connection quite yet. Her friend was still too lost in Kimmy’s story about how Owen had been taken in. But, Grace was only half-listening now. Lucky. She’d seen him this morning, watched him out her window as he’d hopped up into the truck, sat for a moment just looking at her front door and then finally left. Not for the first time today, she wondered why she hadn’t gone downstairs and called out to him…invited him in.
If she had, Owen wouldn’t be in jail right now for a crime his brother had committed.