(from chapter 1)
Give me the keys; Ill drive, a voice said over a thick tongue as Al swayed tenuously in the passenger doorway.
With unprecedented defiance for a second time that night, Kate shifted gears. Get in, Im driving, she said in a tone tinged with anger. I start teaching in a new school tomorrow, and I intend to do it in one piece.
To her relief and surprise, Al threw himself like a lump into the front seat and slammed the door. Drive the damn car, then, was all he said. He was snoring loudly before Kate had reached the Expressway heading north.
(from chapter 9)
Someday Im going to kill you, Kate, Al mumbled.
Then he turned and left the room, slamming the door behind him and leaving her in the dark, where she crumpled back to the floor, wiping away blood-stained tears.
(from chapter 28)
In answer to Kates wrenching movement, and heedless of the fact that there was a witness, Al slammed her against the car again.
That increased Kates anger and determination. She kicked at Als legs and squirmed at the same time. That and Buckleys appearance put Al a bit off guard, and she was able to yank the handle and use the expected thrust of the doors opening to drive herself with some force against him.
It worked. Al was thrown back enough so that Kate could get herself into the front seat. She had done what she had set out to do; she had reached the safety of her car. When Al righted himself, he had just enough time to get out of the way of the slamming door.
As she slammed it, she locked it. When she started the engine, Als fist came down hard on the roof above her head. But she was out of there. Backing the Supra in a wild arc, she shifted the stick into gear, and the car sailed forward to the street.
ATTEMPT TO SEPARATE
(from Chapter 18)
Where have you been? Al demanded before she had even gotten completely through the door. He took a threatening step toward her so that he could block any attempt to flee.
Kate didnt lie. It was obvious from her daughters concerned expression and her husbands anger that she had been found out.
But how? . . .
Suddenly, Kate wondered why she should have thought she could get away with this attempt to leave. She saw the hurt in Jameys face and felt terrible that she had subjected her daughter to this worry . . .
She also felt angry.
All the days and nights that Al stayed out as he pleased, and shed tried it this once and was discovered.
It was a mans world.
(from chapter 21)
What am I, company all of a sudden? Al snapped. His face reddened and his index finger began stabbing exclamation marks at Kate. We may be living apart for a while, but were still husband and wife, Kate. Dont you forget that for a minute. Not if you know whats good for you!
And with that, he kicked the empty box with enough force to throw it into the air and across the room, where knickknacks, waiting to be placed on bookshelves, rested on top of the desk. Two ceramic bookends crashed to the parquet floor and shattered. Jamey and Kate froze as he strode to the door, crunching the shards under his feet with abandon. As he exited the apartment, he made sure to slam the door with a thunderous boom.
(from chapter 2)
At age forty, Mark was a veteran educator, highly respected for the exemplary job hed been doing for almost nineteen years. Hed hold on to that, thank you very much. He liked being the most admired elementary instructor in his school district. Other teachers joining him in his new school, though some had more seniority than he, had not gained the notoriety.
He pointed his car out onto Route 2 and sped into the passing lane. On this first day of school for the teachers, he had a lot to do before the general meeting. First, a stop at the bakery to pick up a couple of bags of goodies for his group. That always impressed…
(from chapter 19)
Mark had filled Laurice Jeffard in when he came looking for Kate on Thursday. Shes not in today, he told the director, sticking his head out of his classroom when he saw the guy ambling toward Kates door. Personal day.
Then, lowering his voice conspiratorially, hed whispered, Shes filing for divorce today. She doesnt talk about it, but I heard her on the phone with her lawyer on Tuesday.
(from chapter 18)
Why didnt you tell me you were planning to leave? Jamey asked.
I wasnt going to leave without you, Kate assured her daughter. I didnt want to put you in the middle, for your own protection. Let me do the planning and the arranging and worrying. You just get your drivers license and graduate from high school. My goal was to wait and do this after you graduated, but I cant wait, Jamey.
Jamey nodded and wiped tears from her eyes. Its okay, Mom. I know you cant stay with Al. I dont want you to.
(from chapter 23)
Once outside, Jamey physically pushed her mother on. Ive got your keys and purse! she shouted as they fled toward the Supra.
People arriving and alighting from their vehicles regarded them briefly and then kept going. They all heard Al when he burst through the restaurant door into the parking area, still screaming and cursing.
As soon as you can, get into the passenger side of the car, Jamey directed.
Its dark, Jamey. You cant drive now, Kate protested. They were almost to the car.
Do it! Ive got a plan! her daughter shouted. Follow my lead.
That was when Al reached them.
(from chapter 20)
Ralph Morgan is waiting in your office, Lloyd nodded toward the open door and put his hand up to stop Pete from going in. He came to me about fifteen minutes ago.
What happened? Did he get left by the Metco bus again? Pete grumbled, referring to the several times that a bus driver had refused to allow Ralph, a white boy, to board with the otherwise all-black group of Boston passengers.
Initially, I gather that is what happened. He says he couldnt find you. I guess youve interceded for him on this kind of thing before. Lloyd paused to let Pete confirm, with a nod of his head, that this was correct.
So he went to Gloria Boxs office, figuring she could help. He said her door was open, but she wasnt there. So he decided to leave a note for her, but couldnt find a pencil. He opened a drawer to hunt for something to write with, and there, he says, were two nips, as he calls them, small bottles of liquor.
I know what nips are, Pete snapped. What do you want to do? How do you want to handle this? Gloria isnt a drinker. Sometimes she drives me to drink, but shes not a drinker. I suppose she could have confiscated the bottles from a kid.
And not reported it? Lloyd was chewing on his thumbnail, a sign that he was already becoming overwhelmed.
Youre the principal. You call it, Pete said. How do you want to proceed?
I want you to handle it, but keep me apprised.
Did you take notes about your conversation with Ralph? Pete asked his superior, already knowing the answer as Lloyd shook his head no.
. . . AND LOVE
(from chapter 31)
Kate got to the parking lot without crying, but once inside the car, hidden behind sheets of rain that poured down her car windows, she sobbed. It wasnt the humiliation she had felt all afternoon as much as the emptiness she felt now that she was out of his office, out here where the rain slapped in rivers along her windshield. She cried because he had set her up today, and he couldnt make it up to her by giving her a hug and telling her he was sorry, which she knew he was. She cried because she had had to walk away from him, out of is office, just like he had had to go and sit behind that desk. She cried until there were no more tears left in her, and she watched the parking lot cry for her until she realized she looked pretty foolish sitting there in an almost empty parking lot, empty except for his car, the blue Buick Regal over there with the tears pouring off of it.
She started up the Supra and moved it through the rivers of rain and out onto the main boulevard.
It was then that it dawned on her that she might be falling in love with him. The sudden revelation frightened her. . .
Just as in The Summer of the Disco King, an extra added mystery to an already teeming plot line:
(from chapter 22)
Prescott Ames didnt bother to ask for the principal when he entered the school at two oclock. He inquired for Kate Ross at the main office counter, and Sarah directed him into the right wing. . . He passed two offices on his right and would have entered through the glass doors to his left, which the secretary had described, except that Amy looked up from her typing in time to see a lanky man she didnt know, wearing fringed epaulets on his shoulders, just entering the sixth-grade unit.
She knew classes were still in session and that whoever he was, he had no business interrupting them.
Excuse me! she yelled across her desk as she leaped to her feet to waylay him. You cant go in there. . .