It took twenty-five minutes longer than usual before we sloshed up in front of my house. Our sidewalk was clean and heavily salted, thank God. The policemen let me out and saw me to the front door before pulling away and melting into the traffic.
Mom and Dad both met me at the front door just as I rang the bell. I had the feeling they were waiting on me. Mom opened her mouth to speak, but Daddy was quicker.
"Honey," he said, pushing me away from Mom, "would you please go upstairs to your room? Lock the door. Mommy and I need to talk alone. I'll be up presently to talk to you."
Mom's mouth opened like a beached fish. Daddy didn't give her any chance to talk. He nudged me to the stairs, repeating, "I'll be up to see you presently. Just stay in your room right now."
I looked at him, stunned. Was he trying to punish me for being out all night? For not coming home where I belonged?
"Honey, please," Daddy said for the third time. He seemed to be trying to keep a stern rein on his temper.
I was suddenly, unexplainably unhappy, and angry, too. I shrugged out of my coat, leaving it and my schoolbag on the couch, and stamped upstairs like I used to do as a little girl. I had barely closed my door when I heard doors slam downstairs and Mom and Daddy launch into one hell of a fight.
I wondered if I should listen. No, the floors were too heavy for that, but their furious tones carried all the meaning.
I didn't lock my door. I stamped across my floor and sat down on my bed, folding my arms and pouting. What was going on belowstairs? And why was Daddy so insistent on "talking to" me?