Tonight at dusk, Tucker and I crept over to Luna’s house and called her cell phone. We circled around the backyard and through the grass, which was cold with dew although the night air was only cool.
She popped open a window and hopped out, barefoot, hair unkempt and nail polish chipped.
“What the hell?” was Tucker’s charming opener.
“I’m grounded,” Luna said brusquely. While we gaped—Luna’s parents didn’t do grounded, the did negligence—she flipped her hair over her shoulder. “What the hell do you want?”
Tucker blinked, scowled. “We are trying to ascertain whether you are in good health, physically and mentally and maybe even emotionally. We are trying to be there for you.”
“Then maybe,” she retorted, “you should have watched my back at afterprom instead of going off to neck under the moonlight.”
There was an ugly silence during which my cheeks slowly flushed. Luna looked from face to face.
“You’re kidding,” she said flatly. “This is too precious for words. Feckin’ Tucker and little Jenny sittin’ in a tree, making love and peace and happiness. Wow, Jenny, you really committed to the cliché, hunh? Cashin’ in the ole vcard on Prom Night. I may puke with the sickly sweetness of it all.”
Tucker was enraged. “How dare you talk to Jenny like that! She hasn’t done a thing. She’s been nice to you, defended you when I haven’t. How dare you throw slander at her like that after all the times I’ve driven you to clinics and held your hair back and cut you off and drove you home.”
“So??” she screamed. "I’ve done the same for you. And you know what? Whatever. Jenny plays the good little girl, but no one stays that innocent. One day she’ll be just as twisted as you and me. And you—that little good girl vibe, that wholesomeness you wouldn’t stop talking about when we first hung out with her—it doesn’t rub off, dipshit. You’re trying to be good when you’re just as messed up as me! At least I’m self aware! I don’t delude myself!”
There was a little silence. Tucker spoke, calmer now: “Luna, this time you’ve gone too far with your hypocrisy. I know you think you’re untouchable, but you can’t talk your way out of this mess this time with that silvered tongue of yours. You have to appear in court, for crissakes. That’s not something to brush off.”
“Whatever,” Luna replied, looking away, the fight gone out of her.
“I’m through, Luna. I’m done holding your hair back and listening to you spew this crap. I’m out. Jenny, let’s go.” Tucker left, not looking back. Stomping through the grass. I lingered.
“Luna…please. It doesn’t have to be this way. Turn it around. Repent. Tell the judge you’re sorry, turn over a new leaf. Talk to your parents. See someone. Apologize to Tucker.”
She snorted. “You’re that kind of girl, Jenny. If the world were your oyster, you’d send it back to the farm to grow old and make pearls and tiny, adorable little baby oyster. The farm would be green and the oyster would live and die happily, free from pollutants and French chefs and tacky nouveau riche who think oysters and pink champagne are status. But really, it’s Maybachs and sleeping pill addictions that tell you money’s been bottled, chilled, and properly aged. But I bet you didn’t know that.”
She met my eyes dead-on, and I shivered. They had the dead look you see in inner-city cops and barracuda lawyers.
“Now, honey, I have predatory instincts. I would lever that sucker out and suck it down like fossil fuels at a Nascar convention. And squeeze a few fucking pearls out of it, too.”
She crawled back through the window and glided out of sight, and I was left staring into the empty frame.