As surprised as everyone is to see Maddison back in school already. It's me who is greeted by a crowd of people at my locker; Nathan, Daniel, Scott, and Michael with their girlfriend's. They give me standing ovation clapping and whooping loudly in the halls.
“What's this for?” I smile.
“Taking on a whole gang by yourself.”Daniel says giving me a hard slap on the back.
I shake my head. “I didn't take on anyone I was confronted and someone was shot over it. Jesus Danny get your facts straight before running your mouth.”
“Baby.” Courtney is suddenly by my side purring in my ear. “ Tried calling you a million times. We're just all really glad your safe.”
I ignore her. Out of the corner of my eye I see Maddison walk by, she is alone as usual. I feel ridiculous. Here I am with a crowd of people trying to comfort me, for what exactly, almost dieing? When in fact she's the one who watched her mother get shot? And she doesn't have anyone hanging on her trying to comfort her. Maybe that was how she wanted it. But the more these people cling to me, the more I feel like an ass. “I want to be alone right now.” I say in a stern voice.
“Baby I don't think that's a wise idea.” Courtney says like she can't imagine why in the world anyone would want any personal space.
“Please!” I shout and feel bad for it because now she looks on the verge of tears.
“I haven't seen you all weekend.” she whimpers.
“We'll talk later.” I say before slamming my locker so hard my crowd of friends all jump back. I fall into a jog trying to catch up with Maddison. She's heading outside to the school parking lot.
“Maddison!” I call but she doesn't hear me. She's headed towards a blue Malibu.
I head to my own car to see what she's up to. I follow behind in a distance. How she doesn't notice my bright yellow car in her rear view mirror is beyond me. Sal is an attention grabber. I follow her unnoticed for about forty five nerve wrecking minutes. She drives like a women, that's for sure. Stomping on the brakes way to hard a couple times and almost rear ending people as she swerves in and out of the passing lane.
Were driving into the slums now, Chanler City. It dawns on me just exactly why were here. Maddison isn't the only one who looked up Marcus Degrigio's address in the phone book. I don't know what's up her sleeve but I've heard many stories of people doing reckless things after experiencing something traumatic. She pulls into the parking lot of a graffitied supermarket. I pull into a parking spot a few rows away from her. I see her get out of her car and reluctantly I get out of mine too. I grab a navy blue hoodie out out of the back seat. I throw that over my Hollister T- Shirt pulling the hood up over my head, better to blend in than stand out in a place like this. It's easier for Maddison to blend. Her clothing is non-descript and if I had to guess inexpensive. Her hair is thrown carelessly into a ponytail. I wonder if she even looks in a mirror before she goes out the door in the morning. We pass several buildings, most are neglected stores that are boarded up. A couple even have police tape across them. Awesome.
Maddy stops in front of a dirty white duplex. I stand off to the side concealed by a couple dead bushes. Does she know how easy it would be for someone to mug her? She pulls out a piece of paper, looks down at it and looks at the mailbox on the house, that's stamped with the address.
I look around. No cars are in the driveway. The lights are off on both sides of the house. She takes this as a que to try to get inside. I watch in amazement as she goes to the front door and tries to open it. She doesn't seem as smart as everyone says she is. She goes to the side of the house I can't see what she's doing. After a few minutes I check on her, to make sure she hasn't in fact been mugged.
Maddison is no longer standing outside. I look up and notice a window propped open. The screen is gone. I glance my surroundings. If I had to guess I'd say she climbed up the old willow tree, balanced herself on an extended branch, grabbed the ledge of the window and hoisted herself up inside. Like some damn trapeze artist. I sigh inwardly before checking my surroundings to make sure no one else is around.