“I bet you feel sorry,” Shirley told her, “so sorry you wished he would ruin yours.”
“I do feel sorry, and not for those reasons!” she cried, but stole another quick glance at Del.
“Forget it,” I said, pretending to have no interest. “What are you girls doing for fun these days besides painting your toenails and dreaming so hard of lovers you might get yourselves pregnant?”
Selma blanched and Darcy laughed.
“It’s been very quiet since you left,” she said. “Same old, same old.”
“Why? What great things have you done at your precious private school where everyone is prim and proper?” Selma threw back at me.
“Actually, Teal was just suspended for being drunk in school,” Shirley announced. The two looked at me.
“Really?” Darcy asked. “Suspended already?”
“Big deal,” I said. “This place is so quiet,” I added, looking around. I kept stealing glances at Del, who looked like he was stealing glances at me. “I tell you what. Let’s play shoplifting.”
“Oh, come on,” Selma said.
“No, it’s just that we haven’t done that since we were twelve, have we, Darcy?”
I looked at my watch.
“Okay, here’s the deal. In a half hour we return here and compare. Like always, whoever has the most expensive thing gets her every wish and command and the rest of us are her slaves for the remainder of the day.”
“I hate this game,” Selma said. She looked at Shirley and Darcy, who weren’t agreeing with her, and then said, “Oh, all right.”
“Go,” I said, and they fanned out. I watched them for a moment, and then I went into the pizza parlor.
“Hey,” Del said. “I thought you moved away or something.”
“Something,” I said, happy he had started the conversation. He laughed. “My parents forced me to attend this private school where everyone thinks she’s better than anyone else.”
“You don’t have to go to a private school to meet people like that,” he said, and returned to the pizza he was preparing.
“I heard you left school,” I told him when he drew close again.
I didn’t think he was going to respond. I stood there, waiting. He served another customer and then he returned tome.
“I left it years ago,” he said, “only I was the only one who knew.”
“Where are your friends?” he asked.
“Oh, doing my bidding as usual,” I said. His smile widened.
“And what exactly is that?”
I told him our game, and he shook his head and walked off to serve some other customers.
He thinks I’m kidding, I thought. I decided to show him and hurried out. I went directly to Mazel’s jewelry store because I had a good plan. Mother had bought a number of pieces there, including the bracelet I now wore on my wrist, and Mr. Mazel knew my father well. Everyone here did. Daddy had built the mall.
Mrs. Mazel was catering to a customer, and Mr. Mazel was in the rear working on repairing a watch.