“Yeah, can you, uh, take me to a friend’s house, if it’s not out of your way?”
“Yeah sure. Where does this friend live?”
“Not that far from here. Her name is Rebbie and she lives along Twelfth Avenue.”
“Oh, one of the lollypops!”
They both laughed. They got dressed and left out the door. In the garage, Andrea studied the Volkswagen again.
“You must really love that car, huh?” Lee noticed her observing it intensely again.
“My parents told me earlier to be home before midnight. I overstepped my curfew the other night.”
“Really,” Lee replied absentmindedly.
They pulled up at Rebbie’s house. It was bathed in shadows. They saw Shannon and Maria already outside.
“You wanna come hang out with us?” Andrea asked Lee.
“Trying to figure out what to do. Do I wanna hang with a bunch of high school girls?”
“If your girl is among them, you shouldn’t mind, honey,” Andrea teased.
He grinned from ear to ear. They got out of the car. The other girls look surprised to see Lee.
“Andrea, you finally made it! I call you like fifty times! What were you doing? Oh, I think we know. So you’re Lee?” Rebbie looked concerned.
“Say where the dead animal is? I told Lee about it in the car. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, I just want to find out who did this!”
They sat on the porch.
“I told Michael about it but he told me that maybe it was a prank or something.”
“It might be. We know a lot of jokesters,” Maria comment.
“What’s this Michael's last name?”
“Robertson,” Rebbie replied.
Lee’s eyes widened. So did Andrea’s.
“How does he look?” Lee continued, questioning Rebbie.
Rebbie looked puzzled. “Dark brown hair and stubble. Dark eyes. Tall and athletic.”
Now Lee and Andrea looked even more surprised.
Rebbie seemed to catch on. “Do you know him?”
“Yeah, he’s my brother.”
“Oh, he mentioned that he had an older brother.”
Lee turned to look at Andrea, giving her a questionable look. Andrea saw a glint of fear streaked through his eyes, but only for a second.
“Why are y’all looking like that? Do y’all know something that you’re not telling? If so, let me in on it,” Rebbie urged.
“No, we don’t. I was just surprised, that’s all. My brother keeps his social life private.”
“I guess the reason why we’re so jumpy is that somebody out there been threatening us. You know, like I told you in the car. With my death threat, someone breaking in Maria’s house to pour blood on her bed, the drive-by shooting the other night, now this dead raccoon in Rebbie’s mailbox. There’s a pattern all right. A very scary pattern,” Andrea remarked.
“You don’t think Michael is doing this, do you?” Maria asked Lee.
“No, I don’t. This is not his style.”
“Look, my boyfriend is not capable of this sort of thing,” Rebbie said defensively.
“Well, someone is. Someone else is and that’s the truth,” Andrea replied.
“It’s just seemed so unbelievable to me, Trish,” Andrea said to Trish McCambridge.
They were sitting in the cafeteria during lunch hour.
“That is so disgusting! If I were Rebbie, I would never have put my hand in the mailbox when whatever inside felt so weird,” Trish comment.
Joyce balled up her paper sack. “So who did Rebbie make enemies with this time?” she joked.
“I don’t know. But whoever he is, he’s threatening all of us,” Andrea informed her friends. Her friendship with Trish and Joyce went way back. “The pep rally is this evening isn’t it?” Andrea changed the subject.
“Oh yeah, it sure is. I can’t wait to get down and have some fun!” Trish yelped.
Trish had long, fluffy dark, brown hair that came to the middle of her back. She wore lots of expensive jewelry and makeup. A new designer outfit every day.
Andrea never saw her sport the same hairstyle or the same outfit twice as long as she been knowing her which was over a decade.
Trish came from one of the most prominent and wealthiest families in the south, not as wealthy as Rebbie’s and far from the wealth and prominence that was Tony’s family.
She was always elegant, exotic, and radiantly beautiful. She was a unique mixture of Ananda Lewis and Tatyana Ali all rolled up in one package. Trish always made the hottest lists at school. She was on every guy’s ‘beauty list.’
“So did Lee know something about Michael? Do Lee think he did it?” Joyce stayed on the subject. She fashioned her hair in a French roll.
“She changed the subject, didn’t you get the memo, Joyce?” Trish teased.
Joyce rolled her eyes. “These threats are more important than some celebration.”
“It’s all right, guys. I mean we’ve been talking about this all afternoon,” Andrea said.
Andrea stretched her arms over her head. That day she wore tight blue jeans, a white sexy cashmere sweater, and Gianni Bini heels. Trish had on a pink doll-like dress with ruffles and dress shoes. Joyce wore a simple blouse and skirt set and Earth Sandals.
“Where the other byotches at?” Trish asked.
“They’re somewhere. Rebbie is making out with Michael outside in his truck,” Joyce told them.
“What, bad Reb, bad,” Andrea comment.
“Look here comes Maria and Shannon now?” Trish announced.
The three girls turned toward the doorway. Sure enough, Maria came bouncing through with her mini skirt, tights, multi-colored top, and pumps.
Shannon only wore a sweatshirt, jeans, and Sketchers. The two girls sat at the table with them. They each had a lunch bag in their hands.
“So you don’t mind if Rebbie is seeing Michael, Shannon?” Trish asked.
“Well, we all knew about the open relationship anyway, huh?” Shannon smiled.
But oddly, Andrea can see through the facade. Shannon seemed to be annoyed by the idea. Shannon didn’t say any more on the subject.
Joyce spoke up. “So after the pep rally today, let’s continue to celebrate over at Kip’s. Antonio and I are throwing a big bash over there. Ya know, everybody who’s somebody is gonna be there tonight!”
“We all know that it’s gonna be hot!” Trish commented, waving her arms wildly in the air.
“Are you coming with Dean, Trish?” Andrea asked her.
“Yep, yep. He wants to show me something important.”
“Ooh wee, wonder what that could be,” Joyce laughed.
The others’ laughter followed.
“I gotta head to the restroom,” Trish got up, gathering her things. “See you girls at Kip’s.” Then she stormed off.
“They need to renovate that warehouse. Man, I mean the thing is raggedy!” Joyce shuddered.
“Hell, I know. I hope no debris doesn’t fall on our asses tonight!” Maria joked.
After the pep rally at school, carloads full of kids turn up at Kip’s, an old warehouse rented for parties, garage sales, and whatever the renter wanted.
Andrea had finished dancing with Lee. They walked hand in hand over to a table where their friends sat.
Tony was there with his new girlfriend, some chick named Carly. Maria joked along with Josh, Rebbie, and Cody. Pete was horsing around with some girls not too far from them.
Kip’s was set in the heart of the Cove District, a spacious little community not far from both Summerville and Hollingsgrove.
A quiet peaceful town of college students, business owners, and spectators sightseeing from one spot to another, during the rush hour traffic midday. But now at around eleven o’clock at night, this side of the Cove was silent.
Lee kissed Andrea passionately. Andrea looked up in time to see Tony scoffed. She rolled her eyes.
“Party over here, party over there!” Rebbie and some other kids sing-song.
“I’m glad you decided to hang out with us,” Andrea comment to Lee.
“Yeah, I guess. Especially after I had nothing else to do tonight.”
“So you mean you wouldn’t have come if you had something else to do,” Andrea pouted.
“Don’t pout, Andie, it makes you look like a little girl,” Lee teased her.
“I am a little girl.”
“Not to me you not.”
They both laughed.
“You guys are definitely hitting it fast,” Trish said to Rebbie and Cody.
“Yep, that’s right.” Then she turned to whisper to Cody. “Baby, I’m glad you staying out late to hang with me.”
Rebbie smooched Cody across the lips. Andrea guessed he was getting used to the PDAs now because he rarely blushed anymore.
Several kids hooted at their embrace. Rebbie finished kissing Cody and stuck her tongue out at them.
“Okay guys, everybody ready for the games at South Hampton next week?” Josh announced.
There was a unison of whoops and yeahs. Some kids came over to where they sat. People were drinking beer and whiskey. Some were smoking cigarettes and pot.
Couples were making out and acting very wild. Others were dining on energy drinks, eating pizzas, chips, sweets, and various other snacks. Music was playing loud over the surround system.
Lee wasn’t the only college student at Kip’s. His brother Michael and one of his girlfriends were partying too.
Along with a bunch of friends that Rebbie and Josh knew. Lee had his leg crossed and it was almost in Andrea’s lap.
“Man, I got this creepy-ass phone call the other night. Y’all should have heard it,” Pete said.
“What phone call, man?” Josh wanted to know.
“This dude called me and threatened me. Telling me that my funeral will be soon. Now, how messed up is that?”
“Who did you upset, Pete,” Antonio joked.
Bunch of the other kids laughed.
“Come on, this ain’t no fucking joke,” Pete laughed.
“Who was it?” Andrea asked.
“I don’t even know.”
“What did he sound like?” Maria added.
“He only whispered. Like a voice of dead air. I mean I can’t really describe it,” Pete told her.
“Aw shucks man, it probably was a prankster or some shit like that,” Tony blew it off.
“Maybe, but I don’t know. After everything’s that’s happened so far. Ya know, with the drive-by shooting, the threats...”
“The person probably thought he was talking to somebody else,” Rebbie replied.
Andrea saw Lee give a questioning look to Michael. Michael just shook it off. That’s weird, she thought.
Wonder what that was about? Everybody was quiet for a minute until another rap song started up.
Several kids got up to dance in the middle of the floor. Joyce was nearly sitting in Antonio’s lap. Trish was beside Andrea, smoking a joint. Her boyfriend Dean was wrestling with members of the wrestling team.
“Hey, can I see you for a minute?” Lee asked Andrea.
She looked surprised for a moment. “Yeah, what’s up?”
He took her hand and they walked outside to his car.
“Going so soon, Andrea?” Trish called out, blowing out a stream of smoke.
“I’ll be back.”
Andrea and Lee got in the Volkswagen. It looked even darker under the midnight sky.
“Again I ask what’s going on?” Andrea urged him.
Lee locked their doors. That made Andrea jumped a little. She became uneasy.
“My brother jumped on his girlfriend last week,” Lee told her quietly.
“What, that’s horrible!”
“Yeah, I know. Now she’s missing and nobody has seen her since. The police are looking for her. Her parents are frantically trying to contact her. Michael told me earlier tonight that she told him that she was running away.”
“Goodness. Do the police and her parents know that?”
“He told them. But I don’t think they believe him. I don’t believe him. I think the God’s honest truth is that my brother had something to do with that girl’s disappearance.”
“What’s her name?” Andrea asked.
“Kylie Winters. She was a freshman.”
“Yes, over at UCA.”