Marti had slipped out of the tight, white minidress that she knew accented her best assets and into a midriff, low-plunge top and one-inch-inseam, skintight yoga shorts that did likewise. Arching her back, she shifted her gaze from the center of her computer screen to the bottom right corner. “Geeze. Getting late,” she observed. “Now where are the girls?” she sighed, saving her work, closing the web browser and walking to the kitchen for a bottled water. “I swear, those two aren’t bright enough to know when it’s time to come home,” she declared, walking outside and looking first left and then right up Crestwood Loop.
“Jesus,” she profaned, shaking her head and heading back into the house. “Guess I’d better go looking for them.”
Returning to the house, she closed the front door and, grabbing a pair of sports shoes that accented her top, opened the garage door and wheeled her Townie to the top edge of the driveway’s pavers. “I swear,” she muttered under her breath as she buckled her helmet’s clamp, “this is the last time that Kisor child is setting foot in my house. I’ll be so glad when school is over and I won’t have to deal with her.” Closing the garage door and gliding down the driveway’s minute slope she added, “With friends like that, who needs trash?”
Crestwood Loop was a one mile, roughly rectangular block intersected by Victarra, Eagle Chase and Lawn View Terrace. Marti turned right out of her driveway and meandered up Crestwood to the far southwest corner where she slowed from a sedate to pedestrian pace. Three of the families who lived along this section of road were notorious for allowing their unsupervised brats to play in the street and, much as Marti would have liked to teach them a lesson by skimming closely enough to them to scare the little brats, she resisted the temptation and instead merely raised her eyebrows slightly and nodded to the parents who sat in lawn chairs drinking cocktails as their children impeded traffic. “Hey,” she declared as one of the young, yet overweight moms wiggled her fingers at her. “Gotta find my wayward child,” Marti announced as she cycled by.
So long as it was daylight and the sky wasn’t crackling with Tampa Bay’s notorious lightning strikes, Sara had permission to roam Crestwood’s one mile circle at will. Marti looped around, swinging left and right in an organized and military campaign style reconnoiter of the four streets that made up the immediate neighborhood. Finding no sign of the children she muttered, “Damn it. Really? You couldn’t just stay close by? I told your father we should get you a cellphone. Now instead of calling you I have to go searching. Jesus,” she added, shaking her head and continuing up Imperial Key to Mountain Spring Place until she stopped at Robert Trent Jones and debated which way to go.
Striding down the sidewalk a woman saw Marti and waved broadly. “Oh. Hey, Barb,” Marti responded. “How are things over in Heritage Springs?”
The middle-aged woman paused, saying, “Much quieter and less chaotic than over here. I don’t know why Clark and I didn’t move into a fifty-five-and-older right away. It’s the best! No unattended children playing in the streets! How are you and Mark? I saw Sara out riding with a friend.”
“Mark’s fine. Traveling a bit too much for my tastes, but he’s doing great. He comes home tonight. Uh, where did you see Sara?”
“Down around the school. They were tooling along on the sidewalk. I don’t think she saw me.”
“Down. Around. The. School. She’s not allowed to go past the gate without either me or Mark. Some friend, huh? Listen, Barb, thanks! I gotta go get my kid. Say hi to Clark for me, okay?”
“Will do. Say hi to Mark. And don’t kill her, it’s not worth going to prison for!” Barb declared with a laugh and a wave.
“Oh, I won’t kill her,” Marti said to herself as she turned right onto the sidewalk along Robert Trent and passed through the pedestrian gate. “But she might wish I had.”