“What did you —“
“Sit,” Jack’s mother said, pointing to the stool in the nook by the phone. She slid the door shut.
“Well?” she asked.
Jack’s mother arched an eyebrow.
“The lights on the bus went ‘poof.’ The engine died. We were at a red light. Nobody got hurt.”
“What happens when this happens while the bus is moving?”
“Jack, that bus was full of other students. What if you — or any of them — had been hurt?”
“Mom, don’t you think she knows that?”
“I don’t think you should—“
The phone rang. Jack let it ring again, picking it up when his mother didn’t reach for it.
“Jack! Thank goodness! Please tell me—“
“Beth is here, Professor. We’re fine. Everybody is fine. Let me hand her the phone.” Jack glanced up at his mother, who was already sliding open the kitchen door.
“Beth, dear, it’s your father on the phone.”
“Mom, can I go do my homework now?”
Despite her mood, Jack’s mother smiled. “There is something I never thought I’d hear you ask. Please let your father know I’d like to speak with him,” she told Beth as the girl took the phone from Jack.
Beth nodded, and Jack’s mother slid the kitchen door shut.
“So, grounded? Extra chores? No TV privileges?”
Jack glared at Charlotte, then bent his attention back to the problems in chapter 30.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. Why would Mom punish me?”
“Why else do Mom and Dad ever close the kitchen door?”
“To keep people from snooping into things they don’t need to know about?”
“It’s just… the last time Goldielocks blew out the lights, she’d been smooching on you.”
“It happens when she’s upset, too, you know.”
“She did say it was Patty’s fault,” Charlotte mused. “Jack! You weren’t kissing--’”
“No! There was no kissing — of anybody — on the bus this morning.”
Charlotte’s eyes narrowed. “‘This morning’?”
Jack put his notebook on the open math book, slapping the book shut. He picked them up, grabbed his backpack, and jogged up the stairs two at a time.
“It’s a good thing Jack doesn’t do things to lights when he’s upset,” Hannah said.