Antares Late-ish Wednesday night, Antares finally comes home from band practice and talking with Maia. She doesn't sneak in, exactly, but she doesn't announce her return either.
Antares So far this week: detention today and more to come, a conference with the principal, and an argument with the neighbor lady about exactly how loud is too fucking loud for a guitar at 10:30.
Ms_Antares Antares's mother is asleep, but she rolls over as Antares comes into the trailer.
Ms_Antares "Antares? Is that you?"
Antares "Hey, Mom." Antares drops her bag with a thump, guitar case with much more care.
Antares "How was your day?" she asks, hoping to head off inquiries in her direction.
Ms_Antares "Oh, God. Apparently today was multiple stab wound day. We had nine of them in the first six hours alone."
Ms_Antares "What time is it?"
Antares "Uh, a bit after nine, I guess," Antares says, which is true for some definitions of 'a bit.' "Sorry about the stab wounds. No one I know, right?"
Antares She rummages in the fridge for food, grimacing and flexing her hand which she bruised and then abused at band practice.
Ms_Antares "How would I know?"
Antares looks over warily, not sure if that's the start of a nag.
Ms_Antares "You never introduce me to any of your friends."
Ms_Antares "You need to get home earlier, Antares. I heard from your father that you might be getting into some trouble at school."
Ms_Antares "You've got to be more responsible. From now on, I want you home by seven."
Ms_Antares "Someone has to take care of your sister while I'm at work."
Antares just barely checks herself from rolling her eyes and sighing. She bristles a bit at the mention of the conference. "It woulda been nice to have some warning before Dad showed up." Then her mouth drops open. "Seven at night?"
Ms_Antares "Yes, seven at night. What did you think I meant, seven in the morning?"
Ms_Antares "Your father didn't mention it to me until afterwards, believe me. I'm surprised he called at all. It must have been pretty bad."
Antares "I haven't even done anything. Johnstone's on some kind of bullshit power trip."
Antares "And seven is too early! I have lots of stuff going on in the evening, like the band."
Ms_Antares "Don't lie to me, Antares. If the principal's getting on your case, there must be some good reason. Whatever you're up to, I want you to stop it."
Ms_Antares "What band?"
Antares bristles again. "Maia's band, and before you ask, she hasn't done anything to get in trouble either." That Antares knows of, mostly. "I'm not lying. I just got detention for not having a hall pass, is all."
Ms_Antares "What were you doing in the hall without a pass?"
Ms_Antares "Oh, Antares."
Antares Antares' fists clench. "I was going to the bathroom." Mostly true, although not why she stormed out of science class.
Ms_Antares "Why didn't you get a pass from the teacher first? Honestly, Antares, you ought to be more reasonable than that."
Ms_Antares "Now, listen, I'm glad you're spending time with your friends again, but enough is enough. Can't you practice earlier in the day?"
Antares is turned away now, slathering peanut butter on some bread and laying pickles on it. She says without turning around, "A girl in science class remembered me from the bridge thing, and she got this other kid started. They wouldn't drop it, so I left before I got in trouble."
Ms_Antares Silence from the bed.
Antares Not-quite-slamming the peanut butter back onto the shelf, she says, "I wasn't trying to start anything. Honest."
Antares "And Johnstone really is an asshole."
Antares On reflection, that last part probably didn't help. Antares grimaces and takes a savage bite of her sandwich.
Ms_Antares 'Antares, you're going to have to learn to get along with authority. I still don't know exactly what happened at your last school, but your father certainly didn't seem happy about having to have you come back here."
Ms_Antares "The principal really has your best interests in mind. Someday you'll see that,"
Antares stares at the wall, counting breaths before answering. "I want to stay here. Maia's my best friend. Furud's still around. I like it better here."
Antares Antares isn't sure why she's covering for her father--there's a good chance she could derail the conversation by giving details of the principal's conference, but somehow she finds herself not doing it.
Ms_Antares "Good. I'm glad to have you back too, Antares. You know I love you."
Ms_Antares "I just need you to be responsible and dedicated and help me with your sister. We all need to work together to make this work."
Ms_Antares "I know it's hard on you, but you're a big girl now, and you can handle it."
Antares "I love you too, Mom." Antares sighs. "And I'll ask Maia about band practice."
Ms_Antares "Now I really need to get some sleep, okay? We'll talk more tomorrow."
Antares "K." Still out of line of sight in the kitchen, Antares manages a smile in her voice. "Sweet dreams." She always wonders what that's like.