Appearing in the story:
Krystal never did this. Obeying the rules was number one in her book but today was just such a nice day and she wanted for once to go out and have lunch in a nice place, all dressed up. Of course if she did in during lunch hour the place would be crowded and she couldn’t eat alone, somebody she knew or who knew her would come to her table and she would be forced to have a conversation, that is why she ditched her afternoon classes and went to eat alone. The kids were happy anyway, they could go home earlier, so no harm done.
Except she had the damnedest luck and before she could leave another teacher from the school, Tomas Prentiss, appeared at the door of the bistro. Krystal hastily pulled some bills from her purse, threw them on the table and turned around hoping he wouldn’t see her.
He seamed like a decent guy but he was also constantly sucking up to the principal, he volunteered to run the chess club, he wanted to start a science club… Maybe ratting out a coworker would also score him points, who knows. The two of them were technically speaking related, they had the same mother but they didn’t act that way. They weren’t raised together and Krystal thought that counted more than being bound by blood.
Right now family was a touchy subject for Krystal, ever since Jill moved out with her children things weren’t the same. Gone were the days when she could come home and find Lucky, Vanessa and Zeke in the yard doing homework together, gone were the days when she could play mother to all of them. Now it was just Lucky and Irene and they had a mother, and a father, things were not dysfunctional anymore and Krystal secretly hated it.
Right now Laquita was learning to drive, from her actual mother, she asked her first. Years ago she would ask Krystal. And Krystal didn’t know why it hurt to have one obligation less but it did. It hurt.
Krystal felt it was probably time for her to move on, to marry, to start her own family but there was one problem… Krystal biggest, best kept secret was that she probably never liked men. The only person that knew this was Krystal’s lifelong best friend Kari, and her cousin Dougie probably suspected but the two never did talk about it and Kari was dead. It took Krystal a long time to come to terms with Kari being gone forever, she had been the only person she had really loved and now that she had started hanging out with Melodie Bohannon she found herself thinking about Kari more and more.
Everything was always so simple to Kari. She could tell everyone she was bisexual, she could say to Krystal all those things like: “Love is love, it overpasses all boundaries set upon us by society.” or “Don’t let yourself get trapped in a cage which is your set of mind Krys, let yourself fly, don’t be afraid of who you are.” And then she died. And all Krystal had left were those stupid advises.
She was home right about the same time she would have been if she stayed in school for all her classes. The walk home, plus all this thoughts about Kari exhausted her. She thought about how nice a hot bath would be, but as always there was so much work around house, she needed to get started on dinner… But when she got there there was nobody there, or so it seamed.
Laquita and Nadine were probably still driving around, dad must have been at work… She looked around for Irene calling her and finally found her in her father’s bedroom but she wasn’t alone.
Laquita’s boyfriend Ahmed was sitting cross legged on the floor with a notebook in his hand and Irene was standing next to him giving him the evil eye. “I told him he can’t be here.” She said the moment she saw Krystal enter the room. The boy lifted his gaze and smiled at her. “Hello Krystal.” He said. “Hello Ahmed, what are you doing here? Waiting for Laquita?” “Exactly.” The boy said, a smile never leaving his face. “Why not wait in the living room?” She asked. “This is my father’s bedroom.” “I know, I know.” He said. “It just has an amazing view. I forgot my camera so I thought I would write a poem about it.” She frowned. Even Irene was looking at him skeptically. “Just wait downstairs.” She said and he got up picking up his discarded bag.
She sighed. The neighborhood kids could be such a nuisance. A few months ago she caught a girl from the house across the street throwing eggs at their home. She had to actually fight with her father to convince him to call the police. He just shrugged it in a kids-will-be-kids-way, he wouldn’t be that way if he had to scrape egg from the front door.
Well Ahmed would never be this way if her father was home, he was terrified of old Jesse Hoves, and for good reason. Little Lucky was always dad’s favorite and he wasn’t going easy on her boyfriend. But unfortunately her father had to work late. He had being doing long hours since he got back to the police force after his retirement. He had been given a position of lieutenant but the real reason he was working late, he confined this only to Krystal over one of their chess matches, was the fact he was working on his own case and it was a tricky one.
He was investigating his own family, his niece’s daughter, Yvette-know to everyone as Eevee. And since Sunset Valley was a small town the complications did not end there, Eevee was Laquita’s best friend, and her mother Mya worked at the police station, in fact she was the lieutenant until her uncle Jesse, a man with over thirty years of experience got back to work and she got demoted.
“I don’t think she is a bad kid.” Krystal’s father told her over the chess table. “I think she just got into some bad stuff, she’s probably too deep over her head and doesn’t even know it.” It all started, her father told her, when they found out about a drug deal going down in the abandoned warehouse in town, but their raid wasn’t successful, somebody had tipped the bad guys off. All the officers involved were cleared and the investigation ended there, but her father wasn’t content so he spread the investigation to their families and one person stood out-Eevee Gradle. “But I can’t afford to be wrong.” Her father told her. “Mya would never forgive me if I’m wrong, and I suppose neither would your sister…” That is why he had to investigate after hours and use any opportunity to question the unsuspecting girl, like when she would come to their house to see Laquita.
Krystal was eager to find out if her father had uncovered anything so after she got rid of Ahmed and Irene she took that bath and waited for her father playing foosball in his room.
Her father got back late, she didn’t stay up. The next morning she made breakfast but everyone was in bed, it was a Saturday after all, it was just her and Irene at the table. She watched as Irene ate racking havoc around her plate, pieces of food were everywhere. She frowned slightly but decided not to say anything, she and her youngest sister didn’t have the best relationship as it is, she didn’t want to make it worse… Soon Irene would be a teenager too and when puberty hits all bonding between them would probably be impossible. “How’s school?” She asked politely, although she knew everything already, she was one of Irene’s teachers. Irene looked at her in surprise. “Great.” She said, her mouth full. “How’s Frederica?” She asked about Irene’s best friend hoping this answer would amount to more than two words, it didn’t. “Fine.” Said Irene. “Any boys?” She asked with a smile. Irene just shrugged and Krystal sighed as she picked up the dishes.
The rest of the morning she spent in the garden, her alone time was the best time she concluded as she picked the apples, thinking how they would make a great pie. She was never as good with people as was Laquita, Irene probably told her full sister more than she did Krystal but it wasn’t just Irene, everyone was always so drawn to Laquita, in that area she was much like their father. Not everyone was the same, Krystal concluded and got to housework. That, now that Jill was gone, was the thing she almost always did all alone.
The rest of the day went pretty uneventful for Krystal, most weekends were like this for her. Her father used to bother her about it, saying she is still young, she must go out and stuff like that but he accepted that wasn’t what Krystal was like and she could spend Saturday evening doing laundry.
She fell a sleep pretty fast that evening, but was awaken sometimes in the middle of the night by a strange noise coming from downstairs. Getting up slowly from the big bed she was now sleeping in, Jill’s bed, she thought about it still, she walked slowly downstairs.
There, dangerously close to the china cabinet, was her father fighting someone. She couldn’t see what was happening, and terror paralyzed her in place, her first reaction was to scream but she remembered her sisters sleeping upstairs. It seamed her father was winning but she couldn’t be sure, he was a policeman, but he wasn’t as young… So she ran upstairs got her phone and called the police.
When she got downstairs again her father had the person pinned to the wall, holding the person’s hands behind her back. “Krys!” He yelled as he saw her. “Call the police.” I caught someone braking in. “Already did.” She said, her voice still shaky from the shock and excitement. Just then she heard the sirens approaching and she was relieved. She ran ouside to greet the policewoman explaining what happened. The woman just nodded and came inside. She knew her father and politely said hello to him as Krystal led her into the kitchen. “Thanks a lot Lieutenant.” She told her father as she cuffed the burglar. Shocked Krystal noticed it was a woman. “This one had been involved in a series of burglaries around town, just last month she stole a TV from a lady’s house.” The burglar said nothing. Her face had been bruised, from a fight with her father Krystal supposed. “She is a tough one.” Her father said, his lip was bleeding too Krystal noticed, as he smiled. “You should probably come by tomorrow and give a statement.” The officer said. Krystal wondered would she read the woman her rights, or is that just something out of the movies, right now both the young officer and her father were acting as the woman wasn’t even there. “Tomorrow is a bad day for me…” Her father continued. “It’s a Sunday and if I get there you’ll only keep me in with some paperwork…” The officer laughed but her father continued. “Jokes aside, my daughter’s graduation is tomorrow. Maybe we could leave it until Monday?” “I suppose….” The officer said looking at the woman. “I’ll take this one and you have a pleasant evening.” They walked her in and the moment she was gone Krystal ran to her father to examine his face. “It’s nothing pumpkin.” Her father said dismissively. “I’ll get you some ice…” Krystal said and ran to the fridge. Her father picked up a glass of water and waited for her to go back with an ice pack.
“I’ll be fine…” He assured Krystal. “This is my job Krys, you know that, I had been catching bad guys since before you were born…” “I know…” She said. She did know but it was one thing knowing about it and one thing seeing it happen. “Do you think it’s because of the case you are working on?” She asked her father in a whisper. “No, no.” He replied. “It’s a random burglary, you heard the officer, those happen… Don’t be afraid.” He smiled at her but Krystal wasn’t convinced…