At the same time, Mara, Stuart, and Pearl (who remained at the clubhouse) quickly cleaned up the place and left; they were too upset to continue the after-the-promotion party. Not when Tanya was missing.
“I don’t think this is fair,” said Stuart as they climbed into a golf cart Mara’s uncle Jonas refurbished for her when she refused to ride a bike. “Tanya is missing and we ignored it until it was too late. What kind of friends are we?”
“Not unless Tanya was stolen by people who like bullies,” said Pearl.
“Well, there is that,” said Stuart.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Mara.
“What?” said Pearl.
“It doesn’t matter how long she’s been missing,” said Mara. Stuart glared at her. “All it matters is that Tanya is missing and we have to find her.”
“You’re right, Mara,” said Pearl. “Tanya is missing. People are setting aside their opinions about her and searching for her as we speak. The police have been notified and they are coming to assist in the search. But what worries me is that Trevor Shinnok and Grace Gifford might have had a hand in Tanya’s disappearance, if you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I hate those jerks,” said Mara. “Why do we even bother with them, anyway?”
“Why is Jackie friends with them?” said Stuart.
“Why indeed,” said Mara.
“We are Jackie’s friends as we are Tanya’s friends,” said Pearl. “Trevor and Grace are not nice to her because you expose her secret to the school…”
“OK, so I did something stupid to Jackie last year,” said Stuart. “What’s your excuse?”
“You have no excuses,” said Mara, “not where it counts. Plus, you still haven’t apologized to her for hurting her feelings.”
“I’ll get to it when I get to it,” said Stuart as Mara pulled the golf cart to his house. “But she needs to get rid of those jerks first.”
He stepped out of the cart and ran into his house, saying, “Don’t say anything if the reporters want to shove their microphones into your faces.”
“Well, the last thing I need is to be plastered all over Harrison Creek for being friends with the Bully Punisher,” said Mara.
“Exactly,” said Stuart as he went into his house.
“Funny,” said Pearl as Mara drove the cart away from Stuart’s house.
“What?” said Mara.
“Stuart says Jackie needs to dump Trevor and Grace,” said Pearl.
“And she will, as soon as we tell her the truth,” said Mara. She shuddered, knowing that while Jackie was friends with Trevor and Grace, Jackie also hung out with her, Stuart, Irene, Pearl, and Tanya. Jackie needed to know where her allegiances laid. There was no way she was staying with the Bullies, not where it counted.
– – – –
“Oh, so that’s how this is, isn’t it?” said Irene as she walked into the room. She found out that Trevor, Grace, and Jackie were holding a “We Got Rid of Tanya” party. That angered her more than anything they had done.