Wings walked up to where Jane was standing, her body slumped against the apartment door, hand loosely grasping the handle. More footfalls, voices coming closer. Wings twitched her head — “Is that your mother?” Jane nodded, her eyes closed. “I thought you said — ”
Jane opened the door swiftly, just as Brad and her mother approached the doorway. She caught her mother’s eyes with a look as intense as the tone of her voice. “Didn’t you just text me, say that you were still an hour away?”
Hilda Summers widened her eyes in surprise, as she tilted her head back as if hit with a sudden gust of wind. “I — was going to pick up Brad.” She motioned to the young man on her left, who nodded then turned to smile impatiently at Jane. “But he texted me that he was already in the neighborhood, so we decided to just meet here.”
Jane turned towards Brad, her stare nearly knocking him back. “What’s going on? Why are you here?” But before Brad could respond, Jane felt Wings’ hand on the back of her shoulder. Jane turned, and felt her face soften when she saw the calm in her young friend’s face.
Hilda stepped forward, her feet nearly touching Jane’s. “You are going to let us in, aren’t you?” Jane stepped back and to the side, looked down at the floor as her mother and Brad walked into the apartment. She turned to Wings, standing next to her.
“You should go.”
Wings suddenly looked hurt. “You sure about that?”
Jane smiled, nodded in the direction of the apartment’s living room. “Hey, I’ve got my mother, and my — ” yes, she had almost said fiance, for indeed Brad had proposed last week, but then again she hadn’t given an answer (ah screw it) — “and Brad. My Brad. I’ll be OK. And besides, I think this could be a difficult conversation.”
Wings put her hand back on Jane’s shoulder. “I can stay to help.”
“Just afraid you’d get hurt in the crossfire.”
Wings looked confused. “Girl, I grew up in a ‘hood where there was real crossfire. I know how to take care of myself.”
Jane looked at the hand on her shoulder, then reached up, grasped it firmly with both hands. She leaned forward, kissed Wings on the cheek, then stepped back. “Please. This is something I need to do on my own.”