Racing for Time-Chapter 8

Janefer stepped into her bedroom after driving home from the hospital. She looked around and drank all of it in. The sense of home, her pale blue walls with awards, pictures, and calendars, her neatly made queen sized bed with a blue and white striped cover, the various knick-knacks and books and stuffed animals neatly littered the floor. It was all as she had left it–just the way she left it. It was unusually quiet in the house, for her mother was resting in her room. She sat on her semi-bouncy bed and dropped her backpack on the floor beside her. Janefer was weary from the days at the hospital and from the emotional stress.

I’m.. so.. tired.. I’ll just rest my.. eyes for a minute.. Janefer let her eyes drift close as she fell fast asleep.

Crash! Janefer awoke with a start. “What on earth?!” She jerked herself upright and swung her legs over her bed. She suddenly became lightheaded and lay down until the wave of nausea passed. Whew!  Once she was certain she wouldn’t pass out, Janefer strode slowly out of her bedroom and into her mother’s bedroom. “Mom?” When there was no answer, Janefer started to worry. Where is she? Calm down, she might just be in the kitchen. Janefer breathed in and out slowly in order to calm herself and went into the kitchen. She breathed out a huge sigh of relief when she saw her mother in the kitchen, preparing dinner. “Mom! There you are! What happened? I heard a crash.” Mrs. Davis looked up from mixing the batter for biscuits. “Oh! Janefer, honey, you’re awake. Sorry to startle you. I just dropped a plate on the floor. Did you sleep well?” She returned to mixing the batter. “Yeah.” Janefer answered slowly. “What are we having for dinner?” Her mother scooped some of the batter into small balls and placed them on a baking tray. “Tuna under biscuits with green beans on the side, and, your favorite, blueberry cheesecake for dessert.” At Janefer’s astonished look Mrs. Davis smiled. “I didn’t sleep very well, so I figured doing some work while you slept would help me to think and sort myself out.” She washed her hands of the gooey dough and slid the pan in the oven.

“Wow. But Mom, you should be resting. You’ve had a emotional and stressful week. You didn’t need to do all this.” Janefer stated gently.

Her mother put her hands on her hips. “Janefer. Listen. I may have had a stressful week, but I’m feeling better now. I had a small rest, your father is doing better–you are much better, and Melanie will recover. To ease your conscience, though, while we wait for dinner, why don’t we pick a video to watch?” Janefer grinned. “Okay, fine. That actually sounds great.”

They picked the movie Home Alone and sat down on the couch to watch. The duo laughed at the funny parts of the movie, and paused it halfway to eat dinner.

Janefer plopped down on one of the kitchen chairs while her mother brought the food to the table. The sizzling aroma of biscuits, tuna, veggies, and the baking cheesecake in the oven made Janefer’s mouth water.  “This looks great.” After blessing the food, Mrs. Davis encouraged Janefer to dig in. “Go ahead, Janefer. I’m not very hungry. I was snacking while eating.” After a moment of pleasant eating, Janefer was suddenly not very hungry anymore. She pushed her plate aside. “Thanks for dinner, but I’m not very hungry anymore. I guess I just lost my appetite.” She paused. “Mom, I would like to talk to Terrence. Could I visit him tonight? I need to talk to him. I’m feeling great, just a bit tired, and this can’t wait much longer.” “What do you want to talk to him about?” Mrs. Davis inquired.

“Mostly about the crash; you know, get some info.” Janefer crossed her fingers.
“Uh, I don’t know, honey. You need to rest, for heaven’s sake. You should just let the police do their job.”

“Mom, I might be able to get more information because I know him better. Please.” She smiled charmingly. Mrs. Davis sighed. She picked up Janefer’s plate and brought it to the sink before answering. “I suppose we can walk over there in a few minutes. ” She wrung her hands over the sink. “Just don’t be too hard on the boy. He’s probably had a rough week.”

“Right.” Janefer slowly let out the breath she had been holding. “I’ll be ready in a minute.” Janefer waltzed out of the dining room and into her bedroom. She sank onto the bed. Whew! I was afraid she wouldn’t let me go. I guess I was lucky. Her mind drifted back to her conversation with Mel after she had won the running race. ““Janefer, you know very well luck has nothing to do with it. How can you win an unbelievable race against a college major and not believe it was something other than luck?”  Janefer had been dead set against the idea, but now she just wished Mel was here with her. Mel, get better soon. I need your friendship. I’m all alone, except for my Mom. Ugh. I need you to hurry up and get better. You are the more bubbly and funny one. Without that,  I’m- I’m-something. She snorted. She got up and walked to the bathroom.  Janefer quickly brushed her teeth and parked herself by the doorway to put her sandals on. “Mom! I’m ready! Where are you?” Janefer waited. Finally her mother trotted downstairs, apologized for taking a while, and slipped into her shoes. They walked the short distance to Terrence’s house and knocked on the door.

Janefer held her breath, her heart beat quickening. Calm yourself. You just want to talk to him. Stop being nervous.

Mrs. Li, Lorraine, was a tall woman with jet black hair and a stiff countenance. Most people thought she was mean and crabby, but she was one of the kindest people Janefer knew. Mr. Li, Michael, was the more stern one. Although today, Lorraine looked pale and angry.

“Um, hello, Mrs. Li. I was wondering if I could talk to Terrence. Is he here?” Lorraine’s expression changed from angry to sad. She spoke. “No, Janefer. He is not here.”

Janefer was confused. “Well, do you know where he might be so that I can talk to him?”
Lorraine’s eyes filled with tears. “Oh, Janefer. What do I do?”  She leaned against the porch rail for support.
Mrs. Davis embraced Lorraine in a hug and whispered something that seemed to be comforting.

“What do you mean, Mrs. Li? Has something happened to Terrence? Where is he?”
“Yes! The police came by! They accuse him of hitting you and your friend and they- they- arrested him!” She broke down in sobs.

“They– arrested Terrence? But he didn’t do it!” Janefer couldn’t believe her eyes–or ears for that matter. “I know that, and you know that, Janefer, but they don’t! My son is not a criminal! He has a car that is red, and due to your description, they arrested him.” Lorraine pulled away from Mrs. Davis and paced. Janefer couldn’t speak. Was this my fault? No, it couldn’t have been. I told the truth, but it’s definitely not Terrence.

Mrs. Li continued on, getting angrier. “They think he did it because he had- motive. Opportunity. I don’t believe it.”

“Lorraine. ” Mrs. Davis spoke for the first time. “Look at me.” Lorraine lifted her tear stained face to Mrs. Davis’s. “Don’t be getting angry. Everything will work out. We know Terrence didn’t do it, correct?” Lorraine nodded. Mrs. Davis continued. “We will find out who really did it. You have our support and our help.”

Lorraine sighed and slowly turned away. After a moment of silence, Lorraine faced them again. “I suppose you are right, Celeste. I appreciate your help. Right now, though, I need to go visit Terrence. Would you both like to come along?”

Janefer was eager to go, but Mrs. Davis, Celeste, was a bit hesitant. “We don’t want to intrude. We should get home anyway.” Lorraine nodded went back inside the house to get her car keys. Janefer let out a complaint. “Mom! Please, can’t we go? I’m feeling fine!”

“No, Janefer. It wouldn’t be right to intrude on their family privacy.” Janefer started to protest, but Mrs. Davis stopped her. “Janefer. I said no. Listen to me please.” Janefer sighed and started walking toward home. Mrs. Davis joined her. “Mom, I must say, I was surprised when you decided to help investigate.” Her mother smiled slightly. “We aren’t investigating, Janefer. We are helping.” Janefer snickered and grinned. Helping? I have a feeling this isn’t just going to be helping. 

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