“Any word from Susie?”
“No. I swung by the shop but the girl, you know the chubby blonde with the gap between her teeth?”
“She said Susannah didn’t show up for work today.”
“Is that so?”
My baby sister needs to get a work ethic. I’ve been trying to give her a break. Being seventeen and having your daddy die is all kinds of horrible for a girl, but it’s high time she got her act together.
“Maybe she’s sick.” Oh, Eddie, always the optimist.
“My baby sister ain’t sick. She’s running around with that Johnny No-Good. And I’m getting mighty fed up over it.”
“Ah, Etta, your sister’s not gonna get herself into too much trouble.”
He’s saying this as we come down my driveway. The house is lit up like a Christmas tree with every goddamn light on. It’s nearing midnight, but we’re both night owls, so it isn’t unheard of for her to be awake.
“Hasn’t she seen the power bill?” I ask, sounding so much like Daddy I almost break my pissed-off-big-sister mood and smile. “I can’t afford to be lighting up the whole block.”
“Don’t go in there madder than a hornet, Loretta Boyd, you’ll end up causing a fight.”
I give Eddie a glare, because he needs to learn his place, before jumping out of the truck. The gravel of our driveway bites into my feet, but the pain only motivates me to move quicker. Front door is unlocked, standing partway open, and as I pull back the screen door, I remember another night. Nine months ago I came home to find her crying in the bathroom, all beaten up. We set those boys straight and they wouldn’t dare come after her again, but I still cross the hall with anxious steps.
“Susannah?” I shout.
I run upstairs first, searching her room, mine, the bathroom and even Daddy’s tomb. When I don’t find her, I’m back downstairs in the kitchen. The search ends when I see the note under the dragonfly magnet on the fridge.
“That dumb little bitch,” I shout, crumpling the note up and throwing it halfway across the room. I contemplate putting my fist through the wall, but I’d only have to pay to patch it up again.
Eddie’s stooping down to pick up the note as I stomp from the kitchen yelling, “She’s gonna get herself murdered, or worse.”
“Gone to Vegas?” Eddie reads, his voice chalked full of confusion. “What’s this mean?”
“It means my stupid sister has decided to go to Vegas with that asshole she’s been shacking up with.” From upstairs, I yell, “I swear to sweet Jesus, I’m going to throttle her.”