Spring Fire

Spring Fire by Vin Packer Read Free Book Online

Book: Spring Fire by Vin Packer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Vin Packer
were going to take a walk anyway, weren't we, Biff?"
    The boy got up from the swing and studied Mitch. "Yes," he said. "We'd be glad to walk you home." There was a bright jeweled pin on his sweater. "I live right across the street from you. Delta Pi. We're neighbors."
    "And," the girl said in sirupy tones, "you can tell us all about this fight of yours while we walk along."
    "There isn't much to tell," Mitch said as they started across the damp grass. "I guess I just lost my temper."
    * * *
    Bud Roberts reeled back against the pale blue wall, and felt the warm trickle of blood on his forehead. He touched it with his finger and stared at its vivid color and stood there, slumped unevenly, resting. The door was partially open and the sound of many feet came rushing to him, and he straightened himself and walked into their midst, not stopping the blood as it ran. A girl shrieked out at the sight of him, and two young men rushed to aid him as he walked up to them all.
    "You O.K., fellow?"
    "Yeah," Bud drawled, "I'm O. K."
    "Man, she really bruised you."
    They stood about him gaping up at his wound. Bud said, "Where'd she go?"
    "She took off," Dirk answered. "She took off like a bat out of hell, up the stairs and out. Robin here tried to call to her."
    "Are you a Tri Ep?" Bud asked Robin. "Are you one of that bunch?"
    "Yes." Robin was uneasy. The crowd thickened. She wondered where Mitch had gone. "Why did she hit you?" Robin said incredulously. "I didn't even know she knew you."
    "Because she's a poor damn sport,, that's why. Every night I plug old cardboard Adam up for one girl to bite on it, and she was the wrong girl. Then when I made the men stop singing, and quieted them down so she wouldn't feel bad about coming out, she slugged me. Well, by God, she's the last Tri Ep to come to this house."
    He took out his handkerchief and held it to the blood. Mother Carter had come downstairs and squeezed through the crowd and seen him. She caught her breath in a quick hissing sound and ran to take his arm. With exaggerated caution she led him from the room, saying she hoped it was not a concussion, saying the young lady should be reported. "And she scooted right past me, too," she said, "and the devil was in her eyes."
    Clive McKenzie turned to Robin. "Under the circumstances," he said, "I think I'd better drive you back to the Tri Epsilon house."
    His voice was stiff and brusk, and members of other sororities stood beside their dates watching as Robin picked up her coat and Mitch's coat and walked toward the stairway with Clive.
    "I guess you realize," Clive said as he opened the car door, "that this means trouble for your house. Probably a black-listing."
    Robin said, "I wonder where she went. It's so dark and everything."
    "Hits a guy with a flowerpot! God!" Clive cursed. "Goddamn!"
    * * *
    The meeting lasted until two o'clock that morning. When Leda came upstairs, Mitch was sitting cross-legged on the bed, her hands clenched and shaking. Leda said nothing. She put her shoes in the flowered shoe bag behind the closet door and wiggled out of her skirt. Mitch watched her and felt strange, as though she were in a play on a stage and the people in the audience were waiting and watching and she did not know her lines. "I'm sorry, Leda," she said finally. "I'm awfully sorry I got everyone in a jam."
    Leda took out her brush and the bobby pins from the small yellow box on the top of the bureau. "I guess I just don't belong," Mitch continued. "I guess I just don't know how to act right I don't know much about jokes like that, and Bud Roberts and the way he acted after. Look, Leda, I am sorry."
    "I'm afraid," Leda said into the mirror, "that it doesn't help anything being sorry. You really made a mess of it. You know, the Delta Rhos aren't our best friends. You would pick that house to run to."
    "I didn't tell them anything. Just that I had a fight. Honest."
    "And Biff Collins. He would be in on it. You couldn't have picked two worse people to

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