The next morning Sophie wasn’t at the kitchen. Marcie and Trish ate in silence. Trish could read Marcie well and knew it wouldn’t do to speak. As they left Trish turned in the direction of their usual corner but Marcie turned the other way, down the street that Sophie had gone the evening before. Trish went after Marcie but she wasn’t happy about it.
“I’m sorry, girl, but I can’t stop thinking about this kid. I just want to talk to her, that’s all.”
They kept walking and soon they were opposite the park Sophie had gone to the night before. They spotted her there right away. She was writing in her journal again but she put it away as soon as she saw them coming.
“Hey there honey. Nice day for it, eh?”
Sophie smiled politely. She noted the look on Trish’s face and avoided her eyes.
“How did you find me?”
“Look, Sophie, I don’t mean you any harm. I guess I just see a lot of my old self in you and I…well, I guess I just want to get to know you, that’s all.”
Sophie felt cornered and she didn’t like it. She picked up her pack and stood.
“I’m alright. Really. I’m grateful to you for letting me stay with you the other night but I need to be alone. Please don’t take it personally.”
She headed out of the park and down the street, Marcie watching her as she went. Trish was starting to wonder about her friend.
“C’mon girl, game over. Let’s get on with the day.”
Marcie grimaced and turned to go. They hadn’t gotten ten feet when a commotion had her turning around.
“Get away from me!”
Two creeps were harassing Sophie at the end of the block. One of them was grabbing at her pack while the other leered at her and made a rude gesture. They scanned the street and saw no one they thought would interfere so they advanced on her. Sophie tried to run away but they jumped on her and dragged her to the ground.
Before she could think about it Marcie was moving at speed down the block. Trish swore and caught up to her. They reached the trio on the ground and Marcie let fly with her booted foot for all she was worth into the right kidney of one while Trish followed suit with the other one. The two let go of Sophie and rolled over to see their attackers, cursing and howling. Marcie’s boot connected with the left temple of the one she was handling. Trish had worked up true righteous indignation and brought her heel down on the other one’s crotch, eliciting a high-pitched scream.
They helped Sophie to her feet and the three of them ran for all they were worth, not bothering to look back. When they got a few blocks away and saw they weren’t being pursued they stopped for breath, sitting down on a concrete bench.
Sophie was in tears. Marcie put her arm around her while Trish sat by with folded arms.
“It’s over, honey. We got away. It’s all right now.”
Sophie pulled herself together and rubbed her eyes.
“Thank you. Look, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t like you both, really.”
Marcie looked at her expectantly. There was more to it, she was sure of it. Sophie read her look.
“Okay, look, I’m here for a reason. I don’t want to talk about it because it might…well, I’ll be all right. Really, I will. Can you just be okay with that?”
Marcie nodded and looked away. So there was something going on.
Part 6 Tomorrow