This chapter has some adult language.
And then, just to make Nancy even madder, Sarah would surprise her by suddenly revealing that she had been thinking of her. Sarah gave her a stupid necklace made of colored paper cranes for her birthday. She offered to braid her hair like her own, and said it would look just like hers, since they were both strawberry blondes. Nancy responded to that offer by having her hair cut very short, though she blew all the money she had been saving up for two months getting it done by a stylist.
Not surprisingly, Nancy didn't like riding with Jimmy in his car because he nearly always had Sue or Sarah or both with him. She hated how Jimmy acted around Sue, and she thought the two girls were stuck-up; they never seemed to want to talk to about anything when she was around, or if they did, they spoke mostly Japanese. She preferred to ride her bike, anyway.
Nancy's mother and stepfather didn't want her to ride her bike any more after the murdered girls were found, but Nancy could argue better than Jimmy. She went on riding her bike. But after two more girls disappeared, her stepfather hauled off her bike along with all the others and locked them up in his storage place. "You don't go anywhere on your own now." Her mother agreed, and wouldn't listen to any of Nancy's arguments, or anyone else's.
Nancy did know Kimberly, who lived in the same foster home as Sue and Sarah. Kimberly was in between Sarah and herself in age. Actually, Nancy had known her from a few years before. Nancy had wanted to get to know her again, to find out what had put her in the foster care system, but Kimberly wouldn't tell her what had happened. On her only visit, she had found that Kimberly was very close to Sarah--and she got the impression that Sarah knew Kimberly's secret. She left as soon as she saw how things were, and had not come back to the foster home Kimberly shared with Sarah and Sue until this morning.
They were picking up Sue and Sarah again, but this time Kimberly got into her brother's tiny car too. Sarah got into the middle, as usual, so she could lean forward and talk to Sue. They immediately began exchanging words in Japanese.
Nancy shook her head and looked across to Kimberly. She was staring at Sue, with a strange expression. That was not to be endured, so Nancy spoke up. "Kimberly. How are things?"
Kimberly seemed to jump a bit. Finally she replied, "All right, I suppose . . . I'm having some trouble in math."
"Why don't you come over to my place tonight? I'll see if I can help you."
"Uh, I'd have to get permission--"
"You'll get it. It's not like Sarah or Sue could help you out with math."
"Well . . . Okay."
The odd sisters didn't seem to have taken notice at all. They kept leaning up to Jimmy and whispering things.
"No, we haven't seen Dr. Goodman," whispered Usagi. "I keep calling the numbers she left me, but all I can do is leave message."
"Well, just keep trying, she's got to be in sometime."
"Jimmy-chan, she might be an enemy."
"You've said that before . . . if she wants to meet you somewhere, we'll all go together."
"Jimmy-chan, you are brave, but you have never seen enemies like I have fought. You have no powers."
"She won't know that . . . I hope. But promise me you won't go off alone. Promise on your ring?"
Usagi hesitated, but she made the gesture. She held up her left hand, and squeezed her ring between her right thumb and forefinger. "I promise on my ring," she said aloud. She turned back and said to Chibi-Usa, "You promise too, spore!" in Japanese.
"I promise, okasan." But she crossed her fingers behind her back, a trick her gaijin friends had taught her.
Nancy didn't usually pay much attention to what Sue and Sarah said or did, other than resentment at being left out. But she wondered what Sue had promised--and at what Sarah had said. Okasan? Wasn't that Japanese for "mother?" She'd had Japanese culture thrown at her ever since Jimmy had taken up with this crazy girl; some of it stuck. Had Sarah called Sue her mother? But she didn't understand what else Sarah had said, so she couldn't be sure. Maybe she was promising on their mother's grave, or something like that.
Then she looked back at Kimberly, and saw that she wasn't surprised at all . . .
Not only did the foster parents give Kimberly permission to visit; they suggested she spend the night--they didn't want her out late. This sounded decidedly odd--and then the other shoe dropped. Sue and Sarah were going to sleep over, too.
Once they were there, Sarah and Sue began playing with the baby--they had sat him several times by now, and he seemed to like them much better than he did Nancy, another reason to resent them, as if she didn't already have enough. But at least that left her alone to work with Kimberly, although it took awhile to get her away from the baby. She was all misty-eyed when she came with Nancy to the study, but wouldn't say more than, "I just like babies so much." to explain.
She was serious about improving her math, and Nancy found that the whole evening had passed by the time Kimberly said she'd had enough. Obviously she was going to need more help, but it was a good start. Since Nancy's last beau had dumped her for a girl with twice the bosom and half the intelligence, she would have plenty of time to help Kimberly.
It was after midnight. Walking through the living room on the way to the stairs with Kimberly, Nancy saw that Sue was asleep in a chair, under a blanket, snoring quite loudly. She shook her head, remembering the sight of her half-naked in the back yard. "Let's wake her up."
"No, don't do that."
"Why not? You know, the last time she did this, we caught her with Jimmy later on."
"No you didn't."
"What are you talking about? You weren't there. I saw her with Jimmy, bare tits and all. My stepsisters think it was all a big joke, but I don't think it was funny. What is it with you? You look at her like she's a little goddess all the time. She's just a dumb blond who pretends she doesn't fuck. And now my brother is going to marry her, unless someone brings him to his senses. And her sister--"
"She's not what you think."
"And how do you know? You want to tell me? I think I was just about your best friend before. Why won't you tell me anything now? You tell her, don't you? And that sister of hers--if they are really sisters. Maybe they're lezzies--"
"No, they aren't lezzies."
"How can you be sure of that?"
"Because I've seen them together . . . when they couldn't see me."
Kimberly looked around, and sobbed. "Nancy, you really were my bestest friend. I'll tell you everything. But you've got to promise not to tell anyone else."
Nancy said, "Let's go back into the study. I don't think anyone can hear us in there."
Kimberly went back to what had happened to destroy her family--it was incest, confirming Nancy's terrible suspicion: a stepbrother had raped her, and then his father. She'd had a baby and they'd taken it away, and now she wanted to see it, even if she couldn't have it back. She'd been terrified of boys ever since, until Sarah had beat up two boys who were tormenting her. Ever since, she had depended on Sarah or Sue to protect her.
"Well, I guess I'm not a karate kid," remarked Nancy.
"No, but you are still my friend . . . I shouldn't have stayed away from you. But after I found out . . ."
"Found out what?"
Kimberly was silent for a long moment. "I thought I heard someone." Then she went on. "Do you remember the Halloween party?"
"Yes." She shuddered. "I remember seeing Viviana leave with Amber after she fell into the punch."
"Do you remember how Sarah and Sue dressed up?"
"Yes. Funny costumes. Some Jap cartoon."
"Sailor Moon. They were supposed to be Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon."
"I don't know anything about--chibi?"
"It means 'little,' or 'small,' or sometimes 'Junior.' Chibi Moon is Sailor Moon's daughter. How do you know 'chibi?'"
"I noticed that Sue and even Jimmy sometimes call Sarah 'chibi-'something. Or sometimes 'chibi-usa'"
"That would be 'little Usagi.'" 'Small Lady' or 'Small Bunny'--same thing in Japanese."
"If you say so . . . so they are really into this cartoon. So what?"
Kimberly sighed. "Yes, that's what I thought at first. But a week later . . ."
It had been a long day. Kimberly just wanted to hide under the covers forever after the hours of ranting. But Michelle and Kara insisted she come out with them to the backyard, so they could smoke. The other girls always waited until they were sure the Gants were both asleep. The boys, right next to the Gants' bedroom, could never sneak out; the door on their room would always stick and make a big noise when it opened. Since Mr. Gant was a carpenter, Kimberly knew this must not be an accident.
Kimberly didn't like smoking much, but it was something to share. She would rather be with Sue and Sarah, but they had their own tiny room.
"Geez," said Michelle, "what was with that woman today? I thought the Jap girls were the weirdest people I would ever meet, but that Doctor was a real piece of work." She took a drag that burned down her smoke a good half-inch."
Kimberly took a tiny puff and began coughing. Michelle whacked her on the back and said, "Not loud, you'll wake them up!" Then she turned to Kara, and began talking about the last time she had had sex with a boy. Kimberly moved away until she couldn't hear them clearly.
She looked up to the dormer window which opened into the tiny attic-room Sarah and Sue shared. The lights were off, but the window was open to the warm night, and a streetlight shown in. She could see Sue step up to the window and do something with her hands. And then--
"She transformed. I saw it. No flashing lights or anything, but I saw it."
Kimberly sighed. "You don't get it? Your brother never told you anything?"
"Told me what?"
"Sue is Sailor Moon. She really is Sailor Moon! And Sarah isn't her sister. She's her daughter."
That explained a lot to Nancy. She hugged her friend, understanding at last.
Her friend was out of her mind.
Nancy at first wanted to ask Jimmy or her parents what to do, but then she thought better of it. That might cause trouble. Much as she resented Sue and Sarah, she didn't think this was their fault; they might be annoying, and Sue wasn't nearly good enough for Jimmy, but they didn't deserve to be dragged into this. Still, Kimberly needed help. So, she made an appointment with the school counselor, and she told her what Kimberly had told her. She was breaking a promise, technically, but promises made to crazy people didn't count.
Next: Dr. Watanabe's Lies
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