Darryl Smith – Joyce’s husband & Kingsley’s father
New Orleans, September, 2008.
The hall was crowded. Pushing and shoving students rushed to their next class. Joyce wouldn’t have been worried about her stupid locker except Monroe Donavan’s homework was in it. She’d done Monroe’s homework for the last two weeks in exchange for sneaking her and her sisters in through a hidden side door of his father’s Cineplex to see the latest Harry Potter movie. She had to be discreet. She couldn’t buy tickets even if she’d had the money. Her mother wouldn’t let her read the books or see the movies because they were full of “sin and devil worship.” She would never ask her father. What he’d want in return was a lot worse than two weeks of homework. So she struck a deal with Monroe. She didn’t even like Monroe. He was whiney and spoiled, and one of the few “rich” kids at her high school. “Rich” in her circle was defined as anyone not living in the trailer park. She tried the combination again and the locker still wouldn’t open. Behind her the halls were clearing. She was already late. She pounded on the locker with her fist until she heard his voice.
“Need any help?”
Darryl Smith was two years older than her and much more attractive. Sun bleached hair, muscular, tan. Joyce was still a lump of pubescent chub. She looked around, searching for who he was talking to, “Huh?” she said.
“Can’t get your locker open?”
She shook her head. He placed his backpack down beside her, took out a master key, and opened her locker. She stared at the key, “Where’d you get that?”
He smiled and winked, “Magic,” he said. She eyed him with guarded admiration as she pulled out her notebooks. She slammed the locker shut and ran down the hall toward her classroom. “You’re supposed to say ‘you’re welcome’,” he called but Joyce was too focused on what was ahead to look back.