Chapter 17: Bringing Susan Justice ACT IV of We Love All
Minutes later Ilona and her friends are in the schoolyard, with backpacks and themselves all ready to go. Cynthia, Madison and Collette are eagerly awaiting a report of what, if anything, occurred with Mr. Micheals. A huddle immediately forms and Susan, very quickly and very quietly, replays the spelling lesson she was subjected to. No trace of emotion shows on Susan’s face, only a determined and set jaw with eyes of stone being their companion.
When she finishes, Cynthia comes forward and embraces Susan in a hug that continues on and on. They both close their eyes and Ilona, for the first time since this morning, feels relaxed, almost happy.
As the hug pulls apart, Cynthia cups Susan’s cheek and, with a melody to her voice, softly speaks “You are beautiful. We are all God’s creatures. Never believe anyone who says differently.” Susan raises her hand and touches Cynthia’s, then nods. “I know,” she replies.
Ilona notices the rest of the girls are watching Madison, who is typing furiously on her smartphone, with a face full of anger fueling her on.
“Cynthia, Susan” Madison states as she shows the smartphone to them. Both read and nod.
“Hitting send, now we wait,” Madison stares hard at her phone, willing the response to come. Now.
Cynthia turns and addresses Ilona, Collette and Clara.
“It is best not inform you all right now of the plans Madison has set in motion. They will not be pretty, but he has no right to treat Susan this way, so he has brought this upon himself. We will find out soon if justice shall happen.”
A minute of small talk prevails, with all activity stopping as Madison’s ringtone, a sound of a trombone doing the wa-wa affect, blares out. Examining the message, she turns to the group and exclaims. “We are a go. They are already on their way.”
Another minute or so whips by, taken up with Madison leading them to the road nearest the school library. Looking down the street, she lets out a holler when a minivan familiar to Ilona comes into view and pulls up beside them.
For the second time in a week, she is witness to Cynthia’s family van, driven by the often called an idiot brother. And for second time in a day, she is in the presence of Joshua, who even now she can still smell his hug from this morning. And for the first time ever, she meets a new teenage girl, who by looks and attitude seems very familiar. Are her and Joshua together? Ilona wants to ask, but realizes now is not the time.
Joshua rushes over and gives Susan a big hug, even before he greets his sister Clara. Ilona wonders even more, not only what is about to happen, but what happened to bring these two together like this. The teen girl then hugs Susan as well, pinches her cheek, and shouts “Avast ye mateys! It’s a pirates life for thee!”
“That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” Joshua shakes his head at her.
“To me, it does, and that’s all that matters. Nyah! Nyah!” The teen girl sticks out her tongue and makes a grimace. “But where are my bad manners? For you have one up on me Josh, for you have already met the world famous Ilona.” The teen girl grabs Ilona in a bear hug which squishes the breath out of her. She has little time to get the world famous reference, but when she does, it makes her realize Joshua has been talking about her.
“I’m Tracey, by the by, the dreadful older sister of Maddie, who formulated and devised this fiendish and devilish plot. All to help a friend in need.” Tracey slams a high five with Madison, producing a wince inducing sound effect that makes Ilona jump. The grins the sister share feel like their entire history is on display.
During this, Joshua shouts “Muskrat!” at Clara and dives into a hug with her. They mock dance around and Clara emits fake gargling sounds all the while.
All of this, taking only seconds of time, makes Ilona giggle and laugh. All this craziness, all this togetherness, seems so normal to the family members present, and to the other girls, it seems so natural, something they have witnessed over a million times during their friendships.
“Not to be a killjoy,” Cynthia cuts in “But we should get pass hello’s and into our mission.”
“Right,” Josh looks around at the girls, “Before we begin, I have to get Ilona up to speed, since she kinda sorta had no idea what a minefield I am with the jerkface.”
Josh walks up to Ilona and puts a hand on her arm, looks her in the eyes, and speaks in a serious tone.
“Mr. Micheals hates me. He hated me when I was in his class years ago. Treated me like garbage all the time.”
“But why?” Ilona asks, with hurt eyes evident.
“All because he figured something out, before I even figured it out.”
“What was that?” Ilona wonders, with pain in her voice for Joshua’s hurt.
“He realized that I am gay.”
Ilona hears the words. They move into her. She sees his eyes and they tell the truth. Her mind knows what this means, even if her heart does not want to believe it.
Joshua, the first true boy to hug her, likes other boys.
Joshua, the first pure boy to smell nice, does not like girls.
He will never be her boyfriend. He will never be Tracey’s boyfriend. Some boy will someday be his boyfriend. Ilona did not know what to do, what to say. Her feelings, only hours old, are not as important as Josh’s. She knew how so many people in the world treat gays, and how Mr. Micheals terrible behavior today was probably just a little taste of the awfulness he put Josh through years ago. She wishes she could have been his friend back then, help him survive grade five, given a hug to make the pain go away.
“Can I hug you?” Ilona quietly asks.
Josh’s eyes say yes before his mouth does.
Ilona and Josh hug in a deep embrace, arms wrapped around each other, their warmth being shared.
She still thinks he smells nice, but now she knows his wonderful smell is for someone else. A very lucky someone.
As they break apart, Ilona makes the last connection in her mind. She turns to Susan and starts to form her thought, interrupted right away.
“Yes,” Susan says with a warm glow on her face, displacing the earlier sternness, “I like girls.”
Cynthia pipes in. “We are very protective of Susan because we know of the dangers of Mr. Micheals. She is our friend. She is as God made her. And someday she will find the perfect girlfriend and be happy.”
Ilona walks over to Susan, a smart beautiful girl who was attacked by a vicious evil man today, and vows to stand by her.
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend,” Ilona and Susan hug, and for those few scant seconds, Ilona feels the pain of today being lessened. Like Ilona is sharing the burden. They slowly, regretfully, leave the hug.
“It was then that I carried you,” Cynthia quotes to the assembled, “A thought we all need reminding of once in a while.”
“So, on with the mission,” Tracey orders, with everyone switching into battle mode, even if not all knew what to do.
Instantly Tracey takes off along one side of the school, moving at a very impressive speed. Madison and Joshua take off as well, going around the other end of the school.
“Tracey is on the mission. The others are lookouts,” Cynthia explains with a calmness Ilona always admires.
A few minutes later, all three return. Tracey gives a thumbs up, salutes the girls, shouts “pull my finger” at Madison, and plunges into the van. Josh dives into the van, waves at Clara, and exclaims “Never loan money to a Ferengi!”
The van slams down the street and turns right out of their day.
Ilona looks at Cynthia.
“What happened?” she asks.
“The mission was a success. Justice has been served. And Mr. Micheals now has four flat tires,” Cynthia states.
Without missing a beat, Ilona replies
Song For This Chapter: Rise Up by Parachute Club
New Storyline Starts Next Week!
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.