“I don’t know, Skylar. I really don’t want Marti mad at me,” Sara said in response to her friend’s urging.
“Well, that’s what I’m saying,” Skylar replied, stopping her bike in the circle of Longstone Court. “It seems like Marti’s always mad at you, so whyn’t we just go? I mean, school’s like, just around the corner, right? And after that all we’s gotta do is ride down Interlachen, cross over Gunn and pretty much just twist through a neighborhood till we get to my house behind Mrs. McNutt’s. So, why not?”
Sara pulled up alongside her friend, her scrunched face revealing her inner conflict. “Interlachen does have sidewalks the whole way, and there’s a light for crossing Gunn. Are there sidewalks in the neighborhoods?” she asked.
“I’ont think so, but so what? We’ll be fine once we get over there; it’s just like riding in your neighborhood cept the houses aren’t as new or as big. They’re nice though. Come on! Live a little,” Skylar chided.
“But if Marti gets mad she might send you home,” Sara worried.
“Would she though?” Skylar asked conspiratorially. “Cuz I think Marti’s like MS Ewell. Mean down to the bone but more a nasty tongue than gonna do anything about it. No offense.”
“You really think Marti’s mean?” Sara asked, head tilted to the side and eyes not meeting Skylar’s.
“For real?! Yeah. I sure do,” Skylar responded forcefully before continuing in subdued tones. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be mean or nothing.”
“No. I don’t think you’re being mean,” Sara said, biting her lower lip. “I just always thought it was me. Like I was doing something wrong and how if I stopped being bad she’d be happy, and we’d be happy and, well, you know. You don’t think it’s me?”
“You? Heck no!” Skylar declared, grin encompassing her face. “You’re like the best friend I ever had. Plus, she was mean to Miss Shannon, she was mean to that man who was just trying to pull out on the street when we was heading over to the church and she’s surely been mean to me. I’m sorry but Marti’s mean. I mean, who’s mean to Miss Shannon, she’s like the nicest person. I don’t know how you stand it.”
“She didn’t actually tell us to stay in the neighborhood, did she?” Sara stipulated.
“Nope. She said to be careful and not to get in no trouble and how we gonna get in trouble just riding over to surprise my mama?”
“I guess we’re not; so long as we’re careful. Okay. But let me lead until we get across Gunn Highway. I’ve ridden down that far and back up that way with my dad, so I know where I’m going. And we need to take the sidewalk after we get on Robert Trent. Marti says people drive like idiots on Robert Trent.”
“Okay. You lead till we get over the other side of Gunn then I wills. Won’t it be great to surprise my mama!?”