“That doesn’t excuse her behavior,” Patti flared. “My folks expect me to behave well too, but I don’t go around pouring pee on other girls. That was the worst.”
Jane nodded. “I tried to talk her out of it. She wouldn’t listen.”
“We all did,” Beverly said. “Claire’s just got some problems.”
“She’s just mean,” Denise added. She was always the quiet one, hardly saying a thing. To have her speak so adamantly, was a surprise. “She calls me fat and she told me she was the most popular girl in school because she’s naturally blonde. She said I can’t ever be truly popular with brown hair.”
“We really shouldn’t talk about her,” Daniel said.
“Why? She’d talk about us!” Patti said.
“I know, but it’s bringing me down. I’d rather talk about music or books or—I dunno—How about them Yankees?”
They went up to bed around 10:00. Claire wasn’t anywhere. Worried, the teenagers asked the adults if they’d seen her.
“She ate lunch up here,” Polly said. “There’s her dishes. She couldn’t even bother to take them downstairs.”
“I haven’t spoken to her,” Leslie added. “I tried to get her to come help with dinner, but she wouldn’t have any of it. Just as well, she probably would have peed in the sauce.” He seemed completely unconcerned.
Jane sighed, closing her eyes. “I think I know what she’s doing. She talked to some of the guys last night—not Luis and Gabe—a couple of the older boys. She said she liked to party and wondered if they could hook her up with some—stuff.”
“Stuff?” Craig glared at her. “Drugs.”
Jane nodded. “I didn’t think she was serious, but after we went to bed, that’s all she talked about. She wanted to get some stuff to plant on Maddie to get her in trouble. I’m so sorry.” Jane turned to Maddie. “I wouldn’t have let her do it. I promise. She goes too far sometimes.”
“She was pissed because the guys told her no,” Denise piped up.
“You think she might have gone looking on her own?” Craig asked.
“Knowing Claire, yeah,” Beverly said. “She’s stupid.”
“And arrogant to think that bad things happen to everyone else,” Craig said. He ran downstairs to the nearest phone.
They heard his voice when the other party answered. “Jose, it’s Craig. I think we may have a really big problem.”
Less than 10 minutes later, Jose, Gabe, Luis and a dozen other men showed up at the church. Among them were the two older boys Jane had seen talking to Claire. They were upfront about the conversation. Blushing, they confessed that she had offered sex if they would do what she wanted.
“Man, it was tempting,” the older one said. “But she’s only seventeen.” He shook his head. “Not only that, I knew Reverend Joe would kill me if I even thought about it.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes