Jemma yawned and rubbed her eyes, then groaned in frustration.
“Why can’t I wake up?”
“Come on, girl,” Shar said, slapping her back. “Let’s get to work.”
Shar sat beside Jemma as she did her geometry. Not that she could
help—she had never even memorized her times tables and was fortu-
nate that it hadn’t affected her ability to make a decent living, thanks to
her mechanical skills. But Jemma enjoyed school, even the subjects she
wasn’t great at, and she loved sitting and working out proofs for half the
night, if she could stay awake.
“Hey,” Shar said, nudging Jemma’s shoulder. “I brought you some-
thing.” She took the flyer from her purse and unfolded it. “What do you
Jemma studied the picture of a young woman in a black leotard doing
the splits in the air. “Looks cool, but I’m sure it’s too expensive.”
Shar shrugged. “Maybe we can swing it. If it’s something you really
She watched Jemma’s face. It used to glow when she merely talked
about getting to take a dance class. This time, it stayed pale, and no
excitement flickered behind her eyes. But also no rebellion or anger or
withdrawal, none of the typical responses one might expect from a kid
on drugs. Nothing flickered at all.
Jemma set the flyer on the coffee table. “I wish I had the energy for
something like this.”
“Maybe it would give you energy,” Shar said.
She knew she was supposed to suspect drugs in a situ-
ation like this and that she would investigate it, but it
just didn’t add up. The girl’s room was still splattered
with princess décor and horse posters, and the wild-
est music she listened to was her late stepfather’s old
Guess Who albums.