Unfortunately, June’s brother was going to be out of reach – at least for Sharon – for the next few days. It wasn’t so much the edict that she not work, but that he was on another trip, this time to the Pacific Northwest, for an environmental action conference and an Internet conference. In fact, he wasn’t going to be back in Washington until the following Thursday, right before the Fourth of July holiday that Saturday.
So Sharon spent the next few days watching movies and mostly reading. She got some time in on her treadmill on Monday morning, but that afternoon, Karen Tanaka came by, shaking and in tears. Sharon opened her front door and let her distraught friend inside.
Karen was an average-sized woman, with a slim build, and shoulder-length glossy black hair. She was known for what the Washington elite considered trendy, but was merely more fashionably cut and somewhat more colorful than the usual black or navy suits. Her suit that afternoon was black, but she’d managed a bright red silk pocket square in the breast pocket.
“June said she’d fly down tonight,” Karen said without saying hello.
“What happened?” Sharon asked, leading Karen into the living room.
“The judge decided to uphold enforcing the visitation after all.” Karen swallowed, trying to keep control. “I’m not sure what happened. My lawyer told me, but I can’t figure it out. Something about the girls needing time with their father.”
“Do Kira and Allie know?”
Karen nodded. “That’s the worst of it. I was just at home telling them. Kira kept saying it would be okay. She wouldn’t say why, but she’s got something going on.”
“Crap. I wonder if it would be worth grilling Jodi and Tiffany.”
Karen gasped, then shook her head. “No. There is probably something up. And it’s scaring me to death. But you know what? I don’t think I want to know. Especially after Kira whispered to Allie about plausible deniability.”
Sharon looked everywhere around the living room, trying not to laugh. “That sounds like our girl.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” Karen burst into tears. “I keep wondering how much worse can this get, and I keep trying to hold onto what you said when Matt ran away – about how the kids helped him get to caring adults safely. How are they going to do that this time?”
“Maybe Kira’s just resigned herself to spending time with her father.”
Karen gave Sharon The Look.
“Okay,” Sharon said. “Probably not. Do you want me to talk to her?”
“No. She’s got to pack tonight. The plane leaves really early tomorrow.”
“Tell you what. I’ll go to the airport with you.”
“Are you sure you’ll be well enough?”
“If I don’t get out from these four walls, I won’t be well enough for anything.”
Karen nodded. “Hideo’s going to drive us to the airport. We can pick you up. Five-thirty okay?”
“Should be. You gonna be okay?”
“No, but I’ll get through.” Karen got up quickly. “Thanks for letting me cry on your shoulder.”