Sam Green is 17; Melissa Green is 16; Cory Green is 48.
Sam gazed up at the patches of starless sky between the buildings. The rooftop tables didn't get a lot of use now that the weather was getting cooler, but Sam didn't mind the cold.
It was better than the over-hot, over-noisy nightclub below.
She knew that it had been a mistake to let Melissa drag her out here. Clubs had never been her thing, and Melissa had deserted her almost the minute she'd spotted her friend Julia. Sam was tired and headachy from the late night the day before, and she wished more than anything that she'd just stayed at the dorm with Matthew. Hell, even staying at home with her family would have been better than this. But she couldn't just leave without her sister, so she'd escaped to the roof, the only quiet spot she could find in the place.
Approaching footsteps told her that the peace wasn't going to last. Julia came running up to her, out of breath after running up the stairs.
"Sam - thank God!" she gasped. "Where's Melissa? We've got to get out of here!"
"What - why?"
"The police are checking IDs. If we get caught... "
"I thought you said these were real enough to - "
"Real enough to fool the stupid bouncers, not the police!" She looked around nervously. "There's a back door out by the toilets, but we need to hurry! Where is Melissa?"
"She was with you last I saw her," said Sam.
"Yeah, but I saw some guys from school, and I kind of lost track of her..."
"What, you just left her to - "
"I just left her?! You're her sister, what are you doing out here?!"
"Never mind that, let's just find her!"
"Oh, hey guys!" Melissa grinned vaguely up at them, then took another mouthful of her drink. "You came back!"
"Come on Melissa, we've got to go!" Sam grabbed her arm.
Melissa just groaned and tried to push her away. "Leave me alone, I haven't finished my drink."
"To hell with your drink!" Sam said, moving the glass away as Melissa made a grab for it. "You've had more than enough already."
"Hurry!" said Julia.
"I'm trying!" said Sam, grabbing Melissa's shoulder to steady her as she swung for the drink again and almost toppled off the barstool. "Come on, get up!"
"Leave. Me. Alone!"
"Leave her," Julia said suddenly, grabbing Sam's arm and pulling her towards the back of the club."
"Are you mad?" Sam asked, pulling away. "We can't just leave her here. Help me to get her up and - "
"Am I mad? If we try to drag her along with us, we'll all be caught, and you're saying I'm mad?! Come on!"
"No," Sam said. "No, I'm not going without Melissa."
"Suit yourself," Julia said. Sam watched in disbelief as she ran off.
"Damn... " She turned back to her sister. "Melissa, listen to me! The police are checking IDs, and ours are never going to pass. We need to get out of here. COME ON!"
Melissa just stared at her. "But... what... we... " Sam took advantage of her confusion to grab her arm again, this time managing to haul her off the stool and pull her in the direction Julia had gone. Melissa staggered a little, but managed to keep up.
They found the door and ran out into the alley behind the club. There was no sign of Julia, or of anyone else. Still clutching Melissa's hand, Sam headed through the maze of alleys and small streets, in what she thought was the direction of the road out front of the club.
"Hey, slow down," Melissa begged. "If I run any more, I'm gonna be sick. Where are we, anyway?" she asked, as Sam finally let go of her arm.
"I don't know, but I don't think I like it..." Sam didn't remember the street in front of the club being anything like this.
"And, where's Julia?"
"Your friend left us to get caught by the police, so she could save her own ass."
"No, she wouldn't do that!" Melissa said.
"Well, she did," said Sam, looking around nervously, trying to get her bearings. "Your friend..! "
Melissa sat down heavily on the curb. "Nooo," she groaned, starting to sob. "What did you do? Why did you make her go?"
"I didn't do anything," Sam said. "She didn't care, Melissa, get used to it."
"It's alright for you," Melissa wailed. "Everyone likes you. You can afford to lose a friend or two and - "
"For god's sake, Melissa, this isn't the time for this!"
Melissa just put her head down and sobbed loudly.
With a resigned sigh, Sam pulled out her phone.
Rose opened the front door as the car pulled into the driveway. Melissa came in first, hands clasped over her mouth, pushing wordlessly past Rose as she made a run for the bathroom. Cory followed, with Sam trailing slowly behind. They stood in the hall, looking uncomfortably in the direction Melissa had gone, then at each other.
"What the hell were you thinking?" Cory asked Sam.
"It was Melissa's idea! She does it all the time, she - "
"I'm not talking about Melissa! This isn't like you, Sam. I expected better from you!"
"Well, you'd know a lot about disappointing people, wouldn't you?"
Cory took a step backwards, his face falling as he stammered to make a response.
"Sam, that was way out of - " Rose started.
"Keep out of this!" Sam yelled at her. "You're not my mother, you can't tell me what to do!"
"You're right, I can't," Rose said calmly. "But I can remind you that your grandfather is still your legal guardian. How about we call him over and see what he thinks about the way you're behaving?"
"You wouldn't!" Sam was visibly shocked.
"Well, I'm glad to see you still have some respect for someone." Rose said. "Now, go to bed. We'll talk about this tomorrow - all of us, including your grandfather."
"But - "
For a long time after Sam left, the silence was broken only by the sound of Melissa retching in the bathroom.
"Sam didn't mean it," Rose started. "She just - "
Cory cut her off. "I should go check on Melissa," he said.
He left without looking Rose in the eye. Rose started to follow, then decided it was better just to let him go.
I thought I'd finish this in two parts, but as usual, it just grew... Cory still has to take Melissa home, which means seeing Sharla (and someone else he wasn't expecting), and there's enough drama there to warrant a part in itself. Which is almost finished, too, and should be up in a few days.