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.She opened a lower cabinet and removed a cast-iron skillet.Not that she expected to be able to overpower an intruder, but it gave her a small sense of security.She walked briskly out of the kitchen to the top of the basement stairs, paused and listened.Silence.She held the skillet out in both hands and took a few steps down.Then she paused and listened again.She heard nothing and took a few more steps.As soon as she reached the basement landing she heard a loud clash.She turned in the direction of the sound and saw Lee and Juliette circling each other like two angry cats.Suddenly Lee lunged and grabbed Juliette’s head.She held it in a lock and yanked at the hair weave.Juliette’s arms flung about wildly as she struggled to free herself, and together they crashed into the big-screen television set.Pearl lowered the skillet to the floor and ran to them.“Stop that!” she yelled.“Stop fighting before you break something.”The girls ignored Pearl.Juliette used the best weapon she had available—her long gel fingernails—to scratch and claw at her enemy.Lee let Juliette loose, then grabbed Juliette’s weave at the ends and jerked her around like a rag doll.Pearl caught Lee from behind as Juliette flung her arms about wildly.Pearl pulled Lee hard, trying to get her to release Juliette.“Let her go!” Pearl shouted.Suddenly Lee released Juliette, swung around and smacked Pearl in the eye.Pearl jumped back and held her face.Lee covered her mouth with her hands.“Oh shit!” she exclaimed.“I’m sorry.I didn’t mean to hit you, Pearl.”Pearl didn’t say a word.She was stunned.She couldn’t believe this child had just smacked her upside the head.“Are you OK?” Lee asked.She reached out to look at Pearl’s eye, but Pearl brushed her hand away.“What is going on down here?” Pearl asked.“She attacked me!” Juliette screamed.She was nearly in tears as she pointed an accusing finger at Lee with one hand and rubbed her head with the other.“I told you to quit messing with my man,” Lee said.Uh-oh, Pearl thought.“It’s not my fault you can’t hold on to your boyfriend,” Juliette retorted.Lee lunged after Juliette, and Pearl stepped in between them.Lord knew she didn’t want to get hit again, but this fighting over some boy had to end.“For God’s sake.Both of you stop this now.I can’t believe you’re down here carrying on like this about a guy.I thought there was a burglar in the house.” She stared at Lee.“You ought to be ashamed of yourself, beating on her like that.”“Tell her to stop messing with my boyfriend,” Lee said, pouting.“Ghetto bitch,” Juliette hissed as she tried to put her weave back into place.Pearl stuck a finger in Juliette’s face.“And you, Miss Smarty Pants, shut your mouth now.” She looked at both of them.“Wait until I tell your father about this.He’s going to be very upset to hear you two were carrying on like this about some boy.Is it Phillip?”“She’s been seeing him behind my back,” Lee said.Pearl looked at Juliette.“Is that true?”Juliette swallowed hard.“Don’t lie,” Lee snapped.“Two people done told me.”Juliette shrugged.“We went out a few times, but only ’cause he told me he broke up with you.”“That’s a damn lie,” Lee shrieked.“Well, he’s the one lying, not me.If you’re still seeing him I don’t want to have anything else to do with him.But he definitely told me he broke up with you, probably ’cause you’re so ghetto and.”Lee jumped toward her, and Pearl stepped between them again.“Stop it, Lee,” Pearl said.“Let me handle this.”Pearl took Juliette’s hand and pulled her aside while Lee stood with her arms folded angrily.“Don’t let me ever hear you call her ghetto again.Do you understand?”Juliette rolled her eyes and tapped her foot defiantly.“You’re lucky your parents could take good care of you, and raise you in good style.Some kids aren’t so fortunate.But that’s no excuse to make fun of them.That’s just plain mean.And if I ever hear you calling her ghetto again, I’ll smack that smirk right off your face.Do I make myself clear?”Juliette blinked, obviously startled that Pearl would threaten to hit her.“My mother would never approve of you talking to me like that.”“Well, your mama ain’t here right now, is she?”Juliette stuck out her bottom lip.“Now apologize to Lee,” Pearl said firmly.“For what?” Juliette protested.“It’s not my fault she can’t keep her man.I don’t want him anyway.”“I’m talking about for calling her a ghetto bitch.”Juliette sighed and walked slowly across the room [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]