“She was where you thought,” the first patrolman told her. “Do you want to do anything more about that?”
I looked at her, terrified.
“No,” she said. “Thanks so much.”
“All right. You’d better behave yourself, young lady. You’re on thin ice,” he warned, and left.
“You’re just determined to sink my ship, ain’t you, Robin? You’re just not goin‘ to be happy until we’re both in so desperate a place, we got to call my father for help, huh?”
“No,” I said. “You don’t understand what happened.”
“No, I don’t understand. I guess I never will. Just go in and go to sleep. I’m exhausted, and so is Cory. We’ve been hired to play at a much more respected place. It’s taken a big effort and a lot of concentration, but that’s what responsible people do. They try their best. I’m warnin‘ you for the last time, Robin Lyn, you’re not goin’ to ruin my chances. Now go to bed.”
“Don’t you even want to hear anything?”
“No,” she snapped. “But I will tell you this. The next time you disobey me, I’ll call the police and I won’t come to the courthouse with you.”
She went into their bedroom and closed the door.
I was too tired to cry or to care. I went to bed and slept longer than they did. When I opened my eyes, I could hear them having their breakfast. The radio was on. I lay there, hoping they would get up and go out before I rose. Finally, she opened my door and stepped into the room. She was dressed.
“Well,” she began, “I suppose you’re proud of yourself.”
“Are you going to listen to me?” I asked.
“You can’t tell me anything that will justify your behavior since we arrived here, Robin. I told you when we left that I was goin‘ to need you to be a responsible person because I would be too busy to watch after you as if you was a child. I thought I was doin’ you a favor takin‘ you away with me. I thought you’d want to be part of my life, not a burden.”
“I’m not trying to be a burden, but I have this friend, Keefer Dawson, and…”
“I know all about him,” she said.
“You don’t know anything about him, Momma.”
“Oh, I’m Momma now, not Mother darlin‘?” she said, smiling.
“Will you just listen. He’s a very nice person. It’s not what you think or whatever that jealous Kathy Ann told you.”
She sighed and looked at the ceiling.
“Okay, you listen,” she said. “Cory went back to his friend at the supermarket, and he had a nice talk with him about you. His friend is willing to give you a chance, despite what you’ve done. This would help you a lot, too, Robin. The court will be pleased you’re doin‘ somethin’ worthwhile and respectable. You’ll be able to have some expense money and you won’t be idle and gettin‘ yourself in trouble.
“You go back there today and ask to see Mr. Ritter. We said you’d be there before two and you could start today. You better not screw this up, Robin. This is absolutely the last time anyone’s gonna do somethin‘ to help you.
“We’re goin‘ off to Del’s garage to work on our music for tonight. I want you to come right home after work. If I hear you went back to that boy, I’ll do what the policeman told me to do. I’ll have him arrested. You understand me? Well? Don’t just lay there glarin’ up at me, Robin. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I said coldly. “I understand you real well, Mother darling.”
She flared her eyes, spun on her heels, and walked out, closing the door sharply behind her. I remained in bed until I heard them leave the apartment. I was certainly in no mood to see Cory and hear his sarcasm.
As soon as I could, I called Keefer.
“I’ve been afraid to call you,” he said. “What happened?”
I told him everything.
“We’d better be careful.”
“Did you call your sister and tell her about your mother?” I asked.