Valissa rushes in the house and drops her backpack by the door. Today was the best day of school that she’s had since they moved to this new school district. She’s made a new friend. Of course, no one could ever take Larque’s place. But this girl will do for now. She’s alright. And she’s invited her to a masquerade party for Halloween.
“Mom!” Usually she’s in the kitchen fixing a late lunch or in the living room. She didn’t mention having to go anywhere before Valissa left for school. Yet, she was nowhere to be found. “Mom!” Valissa peers out on the terrace. No one there.
“Dag, if I’d known she wasn’t gonna be here I’d have stopped and hung out longer.” After peeping in the bathrooms, Valissa returns to the kitchen to fix a snack. She removes some frozen appetizer from the freezer, unwraps it and pops it in the microwave. Her eyes focus on the near empty bottle of Hennessey on the counter. “Not again!” A few paces to the bedroom confirms what Valissa knew to be true. Maria was passed out again laying on the bedroom floor.
“Maria! MARIA!” She doesn’t move. Valissa stares for a moment. She’s still breathing. “This time I won’t put you to bed, Maria! You’re a mess! What is wrong with you?!?!” Valissa slams the door and runs to her backpack to get the prepaid cellular her friends gave her. This is why she doesn’t invite friends over. The last thing she wants to add to her list of parental embarrassments is to bring company home to witness Maria sloppy drunk or passed out. Larque answers almost immediately it seems after Valissa’s dialed her number.
“What’s up, chick?”
“Can you get Dennis and them to come through and swoop me up?” Her fury is barely detected.
“Whut? Maria lettin’ you out the house???”
“Let’s just say that the responsible parent pissy drunk and passed out is understood permission to leave.”
“Gotcha. I’ll be there soon as I can get hold of them.”
“Good. I’ll meet ya’ll at the pier.” Valissa disconnects the call and tucks the phone in her back pocket while making way for the door. A thought breaks her stride. She backtracks to Maria’s room where her purse is rested on the bed and uses her hand to fish down toward the bottom where Maria thinks she’s hiding her cash. When she brings her hand out, there are a couple hundreds, a few twenties, some tens, fives and ones. Valissa returns $220 to the “secret compartment” and strolls out of the house, slamming the door.