Jim stuffed his tie in his pocket. Ronnie’s mom could help him with it. He crept out of his room and into the dark kitchen. Just a few more steps, and he’d be out.
"James?" His mom flicked the light on. "What are you doing up this early? And why are you wearing a suit?"
Jim ran his hand through his hair. "I’ve got to go to a thing."
"A thing," his mom repeated. "What kind of thing?"
"A naming ceremony," Jim muttered. He hadn’t wanted to explain this to his parents.
"A naming ceremony? I don’t understand. The baby was born months ago."
"Not for the baby. For a crevasse. Ronnie and I found it."
"The geologists are arguing about whether it’s proof of running water on Mars, or proof of some weird volcanic activity."
"You and your friend made some sort of major discovery, and you didn’t tell me about it?"
Jim sighed. She sounded hurt. "I didn’t want to bother you."
His mom sat down in one of the kitchen chairs. Her lips were pressed together in a white line. "I see."
"You and Dad have been so busy, and I knew that he wouldn’t care."
"I’m not your father," she snapped. "I care."
Jim looked at his watch. "It starts in half an hour. I’m meeting Ronnie and her parents in five minutes."
His mom stood. "James, I’d like to come, if you don’t mind. I can get dressed and meet you at Ronnie’s."
"Of course I don’t mind, Mom. And I can wait. I’ll let Ronnie know." He pulled the tie out of his pocket. "Could you tie this for me?"
His mom’s face lit up. "Of course, honey."
"And Mom? It’s Jim, now."