The Watchers 12

Sometimes you can’t go home

“She needs to go,”

“No,” Zuri cried grabbing Liza tightly. “She can’t go.”

In the Davenport’s den Zuri curled up against Liza’s side on the loveseat. Her body warm and soft smelling of cocoa butter and popcorn.

Leena and Mrs. Davenport sat directly across from Liza in straight back chairs. Leena’s face heavy with disapproval. As much as Leena was spoiling for a fight, Mrs. Davenport wasn’t having it.

The grandfather clock chimed from the hallway.

“She needs to go,” Leena barked again this time her eyes so tight Liza doubted she could see anything.

“Hush,” Mrs. Davenport said. “What happened?” the older woman said, “and I want the truth this time.”

Liza never got rattled, but something about Mrs. Davenport shook her a little. All she wanted was to get as far away from the Davenport as she could, but she had not choice. She had to stick it out. The problem was being Trina.

She didn’t know Trina. She didn’t know how the woman talked, thought, or even moved. For the first time since she’d gotten there all eyes were on her and they wanted an answer. She give Liza’s answer, but they were expecting Trina’s.

All she knew about Trina was that the woman wasn’t well liked, and from the various reactions of the Davenports, she was beginning to believe it was deserved.  Also, the woman was in big trouble yet no one knew why.

Liza dropped her head into her hands as the throbbing that had never quite left grew worse suddenly. She’d stumbled into the life of a person who attracted drama like flies to shit.

“Don’t cry Mama,” Zuri said patting Liza’s back.

Liza never cried, but she didn’t correct the girl. Hell, she needed time to think.

“Please, they just crocodile tears,” Leena said. When she heard footsteps walking away, Liza breathed a sigh of relief. One down two to go, she thought biding for more time.  

“Zuri,” Mrs. Davenport said firmly, “go to your room.” The girl moved closer to Liza. She thought she was going to refuse for a second, but Zuri stood and did as she was told. When she was gone her warmth lingered, but when Mrs. Davenport spoke, a chill ran down Liza’s spine.  

“Look at me,” the older woman said. “I said look at me.” The woman’s sharp tone refused to be ignored.

Liza raised her head to look at the woman head-on. She was tired of hiding the truth. Liza just hoped she didn’t have to hurt Mrs. Davenport or the little girl. Leena on the other hand, she’d enjoy that, but still she’d rather not. 

“Both you and I know,” Mrs. Davenport began. Her dark eyes sparkling in her pecan colored face, but a shout from the den silenced the woman.

“Mama,” Leena ran in the room, “they about to break your windows in!”

“Lord, what now?” The older woman struggled to get up from the couch then made her way to the picture window in the living room.

Liza walked up behind the two women to see what Leena was yelling about.

A small crowd had gathered in the street in front of the Davenport’s house. Most of them were teenagers but some were older. One woman stood apart from the rest. She held an aluminum bat in her hands.

Liza peeked outside using the curtain to cover her face. The growing crowd had their camera phones pointed at the house. The leader of the group, the young woman with the bat, stepped away from the crowd to walk up the Davenport’s the driveway.

“I know you in there Trin-a,” the woman yelled swinging a bat in her hand.

“What in the world you done now,” Leena said as she stomped to the door and opened it.

“Leena,” Mrs. Davenport called after her, but Leena didn’t stop.

“Call Blackfoot, Mama,” Leena yelled as stepped outside.  Mrs. Davenport turned to the phone, but before she could dial, Liza stopped her.

“I’ll take care of it,” Liza said praying the old woman put the phone down willingly. The last thing she needed was to bring that cop back out to the house. The older woman looked doubtful but put the phone down.

Liza opened the door and stepped onto the porch. Leena was already yelling at the girl holding the bat to get away from the cars but the girl wasn’t looking at her, having spotted Liza.

Immediately the cold seeped through her jacket, but she kept walking down the steps straight into the eye of the storm.

Liza had spent her entire life avoiding being noticed or filmed, but the fact that everyone thought she was Trina gave her cover. Everything she’d learned about the woman was that she was no shrinking violet.

“So you finally showing your face, huh,” the loud young woman pushed past Leena. “You been hiding out huh? Well, your luck done run out now girl. I don’t care who you are, or who you think you are, but you ain’t coming back here with that crap you pulled with them basic bitches on TV. You hear me?”

Liza stared back at the enraged woman. She didn’t know what she was talking about, but the woman wasn’t done yet.

“You think you can just plop back in town and talk to anybody’s man, well let me tell you something. Jeremy don’t want you back, okay.” The crowd jeered. Liza felt irritated. A man, this was all about a man? A man she didn’t even know existed, wouldn’t even recognize if he was standing next to her.

Bat girl became even more animated as she moved closer. “Well, what you got to say now?” The girl said moving her head side to side. “Ms. High and Mighty can’t talk to nobody. What you got to say now?”

The last thing she wanted was to get into a shouting match with some crazy woman she had no beef with, but Liza knew she had to do something. Something told her Trina would never allow the girl to pop off like this without some push back.

She didn’t know Trina, but Liza was already tired of her. The woman was a magnet for drama. The crowd moved closer as bat girl advanced. .Liza had to end this before things got out of hand and the police came back.  

“Look,” she began, but the crowd drowned her spoiling for a fight. “I don’t want to fight you,” Liza said as loud as she could over the crowd. Her head was still hurting and yelling only made it worst. Confused faces stared back at her, and Liza realized too late her response was not what they expected or wanted. 

“Look, I don’t want to fight?” the young woman said in a mocking tone.  “Well, you ain’t got a choice,” she said pushing the end of her bat into Liza’s chest. Automatically, Liza swiped the bat to the side with one hand and the bat went flying to ground.  The girl’s shocked face whipped back to her.

The next second the woman was on her pushing her but Liza didn’t move. The woman swung wildly. but Liza deflected the hits easily, choosing to restrain the enraged woman rather than hurting her.

The woman kept coming. Even though none of her blows hit Liza, she was relentless. Liza easily deflected each swing, until the woman started clawing at her face. Liza’s body took over as her training kicked in. Within seconds the girl lay crumpled on the cold wet ground. An eerie quiet settled over the bloodthirsty crowd before there was an explosion of noise as everyone started yelling all at once.

“Did you see that,” a young man yelled, “she karate chopped that girl in the neck.”

“I ain’t never seen nothing like that before.”

“Did you get that?”

“Yeah girl, can you say World Star?”

Liza looked down at the young woman on the ground. She was still breathing, thankfully. Immediately, Liza regretted she’d engaged with the woman. There were other ways she could have handled this, especially as she watched the crowd many who were already bent over their mobile devices probably uploading their videos. There was no telling how many people would see her. Central would not be pleased, but there was nothing she could do about it now. What was done was done.

“Sometimes you have to leave home behind you,” Leena said in Liza’s ear. “You should have stayed gone.” 

A lone siren wailed through the chaos. For a brief moment Liza thought about making a run for it a much smaller hand gripped hers.

Zuri was pulled her back to the Davenport house her sturdy little body pulling with all her might. Reluctantly, Liza allowed her to lead her back into the house.

“How did you learn to do that?” Zuri asked once they were safely on the other side of the locked door, but Liza didn’t respond. There were so many cameras.

How had she let this happen?

It was one thing to have a confrontation, but for it to be on camera was a whole other matter. She didn’t know how Central was going to react. This just wasn’t done. They lived in the shadows, not out in the open for the entire world to see. 

Her training went against everything she’d just done, but she wasn’t scared. In fact she felt excited. For the first time in her life she wanted to be seen.

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