TG Universes & Series:
The Center: Best Served Cold -
Author's Note: Here's 7...finally. I had a bit of an Internet problem yesterday so it would have been up then. I'd to thank djkauf for the editing and mittfh once again for his English knowledge.
I woke that morning feeling more tired than I’d ever felt in a really long time. I think it was a combination of jet lag and time zones. Regardless I was barely functioning when I dragged myself out of bed, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I stumbled out into the hall with the others, trudging to the communal shower room. I groaned when I got into the little locker room, stripped and stuffed my PJs into a cubby hole. Then I got into one of the shower stalls and did my best to clean myself off, hoping the cold shower might help work the sleep from me. It did. I don’t take hot showers in the morning because I like the shock to wake me up. When I got back into the room, Karen was already there, wrapped in a towel.
“Not a morning person, huh” she asked, I only mumbled in response.
I trudged over to my bed, there was clothes already there waiting. Well not clothes in the sense that I would consider them clothes. It was a uniform, a green blazer, white blouse and green skirt. There was also a pair of black shoes and white knee-highs. I turned to Karen and she nodded. I groaned some more. It was bad enough that I had to wear that horrible Catholic schoolgirl outfit but now I was going to have to wear a dreadful Chairmont one.
“They’re kidding, right?”
Karen, still in her towel, picked up a piece of paper from her desk. “According to this, it’s some kind of cultural exchange thing. Your chaperones thought it would be a neat idea, to help you girls feel more at home while you’re here.”
I could sense the joy in her voice. I felt the same way. So without batting an eyelash, I reluctantly finished toweling off and got dressed. I’m not one of those shy, blushing girls who get nervous about being naked around other people. So I had no problem with Karen seeing me in my birthday suit. But apparently, she had a problem with it. She turned around, making sure she was facing the wall while I dressed. I rolled my eyes. She lived in an All Girls school; surely, she’d seen a little flesh here and there. I didn’t tease her even though I wanted to. Instead, I dressed and turned into a Lemming like everyone else.
I turned around and Karen was in her uniform now, sitting on her bed putting on her shoes. She looked up at me and smiled weakly. She had that sad look again. There was definitely something eating away at this girl.
“So what’s on the agenda today?”
She picked up the piece of paper again. “First it’s Roll Call, we go into something called tutor groups for that. I think you’re supposed to stick with me; I’m your Official Buddy or something like that. After Call it’s an Assembly and then breakfast” She took a breath. “After that we board buses and go into town for a bit of sightseeing.”
I nodded. “When do you guys have classes?”
She smiled. “Thanks to you, today is a holiday. Classes will resume tomorrow. You’ll follow the same schedule as I do.”
She said “schedule” the British way, putting on a fake accent. Both of us smiled at that.
After our laugh, the two of us left the room. The other girls were already gathering in the hallway, standing in front of their room doors. I looked down the hall, spotting Stella in green getup standing next to Miss Stuck Up Britney. Further down the hall was Emma with her roommate, I’m not sure if I heard her name or not. There were other girls from the US too; apparently, all of us were shoved into Norwood. The Chairmont girls were standing at attention, like fresh faced soldiers waiting for the Drill Instructor. It didn’t take long for her to arrive. Janet showed up, walking slowly down the hall, a clipboard in hand. She walked slowly past us, commenting here and there. When she got to me, she frowned.
“The hoodie is not a part of the uniform here at Chairmont,” she said in a haughty tone.
“Medical condition” I said with a smirk. “I’m photosensitive.”
“She’s sensitive to the light” piped up Karen.
Score one for her. I didn’t think anyone knew what that meant. I turned to her and gave her a nod. Janet’s eyes narrowed at the both of us but I just glared right back. I didn’t have time for a stuck up British bitch giving me a hard time. Apparently, she didn’t have time for me either because she rolled her eyes and moved on. She took her annoyance with me out on a girl a few doors down; apparently, you weren’t allowed to decorate your blazer with anything, especially pins of your favorite boy band.
After Janet finished her walk, she blew a whistle. I kid you not. Then as a group, we followed her down the hall and the stairs. As we congealed together, I slipped next to Stella, our fingers brushing gently. She turned to me and flushed. Her pheromones filled the air, swirling about in an intoxicating cloud of goodness. I bit my lip. Even though they were working on a solution back at the Center, nothing seemed to work for me. The Science Team whipped up a perfume that was supposed to help mask the effects but it only worked on everyone else. For me it was like trying to cover one intoxicating smell with the other. Luckily, it worked on everyone here or else there would be a whole school of girls fondling her.
“How was your night?” she whispered. “Any more nightmares?”
I shook my head. “You turn invisible?”
She shrugged. “Britney didn’t wake up screaming so I think my breathing exercises are working.”
I nodded. Miss Orville was trying to help her overcome her “night invisibility” as we were calling it. She came up with a plain to blend breathing techniques with some yoga. It was supposedly suppose to help her center her mind and relax her body. Dr. Tipps concluded that the only reason Stella was turning invisible at night was that she was too tense during the day. Stella was gorgeous and a lot of the guys were after her. She got no less than five propositions a day, all of which she turned down. It appears that unlike a lot of us---who were bisexual in nature---Stella was one hundred percent homosexual. She only had eyes for the ladies. But no matter how much we tried, we weren’t able to get out of her which one she fancied. I had my theories, as did others but so far no such luck getting her to confirm them.
“Have you talked to her about her family yet?”
Stella shook her head and looked over at Britney who was talking to another girl. I think she was American too and I could cross her off the list as well, unless Dekker liked African American girls in his youth. But knowing the kind of person he was, I don’t think it was all that likely.
“I gave her name to Kit,” I said, turning back to face forward. “She fits the profile but we’ll know more once they can dig more up on her.”
Stella nodded. “She might look stuck up but she’s really nice.”
I nodded. “Karen’s off the list. She doesn’t fit the profile and I haven’t heard back from Emma.”
Stella shook her head. “I talked to her a few minutes ago before we lined up. Her roomie, Clarice, is an only child who lives with her aunt and uncle. Both her parents were killed in a car crash two years ago.”
I nodded. Three down, twelve more to go.
We stopped talking after that and the group headed down the stairs toward the Great Hall for an assembly. Before we got there, the Prefects took a head count. Apparently, this was the roll call Karen was talking about. It must have been kind of frustrating doing a head count on two hundred girls every morning. After that, we went into the Great Hall itself. Stella squealed at my side, making another Harry Potter reference. The Great Hall was a big room, sort like a cafeteria and auditorium rolled into one. We were led over to a table that was especially designated for us while the Chairmont girls sat at the other tables. The Head Mistress and the faculty of the school sat on the stage in chairs, the Head Mistress the only one standing, behind a podium. I’m not going to bore you with the speech.
Then she had Miss Beak Face talk then someone else talked. All in all, it was about an hour before we had breakfast. I don’t think you need to know about that either. There was an uproar of voices while we all ate, it was kind of deafening even more so for someone like me. Stella sat next to me, holding my hand. She knew my pain. In the cafeteria back at the Center, I tried to sit as far away from the noise as possible. It never used to bother me but now with more students there, the noise was starting to become a real problem. Apparently, some of them were on their way to Beta and Gamma sites soon and maybe things could get back to normal.
About ten minutes into the meal, Emma came over and sat in the empty seat on the other side of me. She made sure there was no one in earshot when she asked her question: “What’s next boss?”
I sighed. I hated being called boss just about as much as I hated Sarge. “Once we get into town we’re supposed to rendezvous with Connor. He’ll give us the whammy again and then we’ll be all set until tomorrow morning. Then the three of us are going to play James Bond and get as much information as we possibly can on the other twelve American girls here.”
Emma nodded. “I was wondering when the Stealth in Stealth Infiltration and Reconnaissance was going to come into play.”
Emma wasn’t really here for the stealth part of the team but seeing as she was a girl, she was elected as a stealth operative by default, at least for this mission. I originally envisioned her as the Muscle, someone to have our backs in case things went really bad. She is a powerhouse after all. It’s fair to say that anyone stupid enough to go up against her will end up in the hospital, possibly in a full body cast. I think some part of her knew her place, too. Besides her strength and her rock solid “hide”, she and her brother were skilled Martial artists. Nothing of Ray’s caliber but I sparred with Emma two days after she got at the Center and let me tell you, she’s quite the bad ass. She’s a bit on the unique side of things too, being one of the only people at the Center that I know of who doesn’t need weapons training. After all Emma is the weapon, in more ways than one.
We ate our breakfast in relative silence after that. After about an hour, the Head Mistress got back behind the podium and announced it was time to head to the buses for our ride into town.
Ok so England is messed up. I’m not trying to insult anyone who lives here but the place is completely backwards.
After leaving Chairmont---in several vans and mini-buses---the group of us flocked to a little town nearby. Did you know that they drive on the wrong side of the road here and that the drivers sit in the passenger seat? Ok it’s the driver side seat here and to them they’re not driving on the wrong side but it’s really messed up. Karen was sitting with me in our van, along with Emma and Clarice, the black girl whose name is Monique and another girl from France. Her name is Giselle and her English is surprisingly good with a cute accent---I like French ones. Karen seemed to think it was funny that I was complaining so much and told me she had the exact same problem.
When we arrived in the town, I got another shock. There were no blocks. I can’t even begin to describe how things look other than I’m not really sure how anyone could consider it organized. We filed out of our little van and waited on the pavement---that’s what they call it---for the other groups to file out of their vehicles too. The air is cold here too, colder than back at the Center and for some reason it likes to rain. I could smell it in the air, even if my fellow students couldn’t. After a few minutes of standing around, Stella came over and bumped against me. She looked kind of sad for some reason. She opened her mouth but I cut her off.
“If you make another comment about Harry Potter, I’m going to make sure Mrs. Fine leaves you here when we’re done.”
She closed her mouth and stuck out her tongue. “Where are we supposed to meet the others?”
The others she was referring to were of course the rest of my team. Well not all of them, but the ones that were needed at the moment. I scanned the street, looking for MCU. I found it parked down the block---hey, I’m still calling it that even if it doesn’t look like one. Lingering outside of it was a man in a gray coat and hat. At first, I didn’t recognize him because of the scruffy look but then he raised his head and I saw through Samson’s disguise. He looked about and then over at us. Our eyes locked and he gave a slight nod of his head before opening the door of the van and disappearing into it.
I nudged Stella. “The MCU is over there.”
She looked about and saw the van. “And they have Connor?”
“Let’s find out.”
I stepped away from the group, pretending to wander over to take a look in a storefront window. While Stella stayed behind to distract the others, I reached into the pocket of my hoodie and stuck the earpiece in. I tapped my throat mike---it was disguised as a choker---and cleared my throat: “Eagle calling Nest, are you there Sparrow?”
Last night when I called, I forgot her call sign. Hey, I’m new at this spy thing.
A few seconds later, Kit’s voice came on the line. “Eagle this is Nest, Sparrow speaking.” Then Kit cleared her throat. “You all look really cute in matching green, Sarge.”
I smiled. “If I get to keep it you can have it.”
“Really? That’s so cool.”
I rolled my eyes. Kit was a weird one. “How are things looking?”
Kit became all business.
“Barry’s tapped into the local security feeds and I’ve got communication. Stella bugged Miss Priss this morning and I’ve got Brad heading over to the school right now to get all the rooms.”
I nodded. I frowned a bit too. I was hoping I could get to see him in his school uniform. He was probably really cute looking. I bit my lip and inwardly cursed. I’m not supposed to think he’s cute; I’m with Barry.
“Do we have anything new on Britney?”
Kit sighed. “Her father is pretty clean as far as business goes. His name is Vernon Smith but that could easily be an alias. We don’t have any real good pics on him and we’re having trouble getting any info. on him. We have records going back as far as college but then they disappear. Get this, he and your Mr. Dekker actually went to the same college.”
I smiled. That had to be him; there were too many coincidences. But nothing could be that easy. “Keep looking. I’ll have Stella pump her for information and if need be she can easily snoop about the room whenever we need her too. Just because all the i’s are dotted here it doesn’t mean we’ve got anything definitive. Until she actually confesses to the fact that Dekker is her father then we’ve still got twelve other girls.”
“Six of the other American girls are clean. Two of them have no fathers, three of them have fathers who are too old to fit Dekker and one of them has a very famous father who I’m not at liberty to discuss without breaking National Security.”
Whoa really? I tried to rack my brain as to who it might be but was drawing a blank. Not that it mattered now that she was off the list.
“Who are the other six?”
Kit rattled off some names. Two of the girls were in Norwood with us and were easy enough to check out. The other four were in Potter House. When I heard that name earlier during the assembly, I actually elbowed Stella to keep her from making another reference to a famous British series. But that didn’t stop her from smiling real big.
“Can we get Brad to check their rooms?”
“I’ll see what we can do.”
“Good” I looked over at the vans, most of the girls were out of them now. Everyone was milling about, looking like a vegetable garden as far as the eye could see and I could see far. I sighed. “I have to go. Have Connor ready and as soon as we pass by, he can do his thing.”
“See you in a few, Sarge. Sparrow out.”
I took off the choker---I hated the damn things---and stuck it in my pocket. I did the same with the earpiece then slowly wandered back to the group. No one had noticed I was gone. I slipped up beside Stella, who was now standing with her temporary roomie Britney. The blonde girl gave me a look, it so oozed Dekker that I wanted to grab her and choke the information out of her but instead I smiled and held my hand out to her.
“Becca” I said but she made no move to shake it. What a bitch.
“Stella and I are BFF’s”
I groaned at the use of the term. It sounded like an idiot.
Britney’s eyes narrowed. Then she looked at Stella. “You’re friends with her?”
I bit my lip. God I wanted to punch this girl. I don’t care what Stella said, there was no way she was a nice person. There was no doubt in my mind now; she was definitely Dekker Junior.
Stella came to my defense. “She’s my best friend. We’re roommates in fact, if you’ve got a problem with that…”
Britney lowered her eyes. “I’m good,” she said softly. Then she looked at me and forced a smile.
Before I could respond, she turned and walked away, disappearing into the sea of green. I looked at Stella who just shrugged. I tried to find Britney again but she was gone. Well not gone exactly but everyone looked pretty much the same in their matching uniforms even too my super eyes. I scanned the crowd for her, watching as a lot of the girls turned and looked at me. They started talking amongst themselves. They didn’t whisper because most of them thought they were too far away for me to hear but I did. They were saying stuff about me and the others. Calling us things like “Yanks” and referring to me as a “hoodie” Then one of them called me a “pikey”. I’m not sure if it was bad but one of her fellows gasped and walked away.
I finally gave up looking for Britney. I found Emma though. She and Clarice were standing with a group of girls. I listened to their conversation and sure enough, they were jocks. They were talking about field hockey. Luckily for Emma, she did a bit of studying on the sport on top of the stuff that Connor temporarily put into her head. Most of it was over my head so I didn’t really know what they were talking about. Emma caught my eye and cocked her head. I shook mine then made a gesture toward the MCU. She followed my nod, saw the van, and returned a nod.
Then she turned her head and whispered. “Now?”
I shook my head and held up both my hands, fingers
spread. It was the universal “ten-minute” sign. She nodded. Then went back talking shop with her fellow jocks.
After that, a black car arrived. I think it was what passed for a taxi over here. The car pulled up the curb and a few minutes later, the Head Mistress got out. She looked at our gathered crowd, nodded to a couple of teacher chaperones then wandered over to the group of our chaperones. Apparently, it was the sign that said we were allowed to converge on the town shops. There was no set sightseeing schedule or anything. Karen found me and pointed to a little shop on the corner. I turned to Emma and nodded to her. She smiled then I did the same to Stella. Emma said goodbye to her friends and came wandering over.
“Guys” I said once Emma got there. “This is Karen, my temporary roomie. She’s agreed to show us around a bit.”
The others introduced themselves and the four of us started off. A lot of the other girls were doing the same, wandering off in groups of six or more. Clarice went off with the jocks and I finally caught sight of Britney. She was with Diana and her friends, the group of them chatting like old pals. When we passed, she gave me a look of daggers and I returned the same. There was no doubt in my mind that that girl was related to Dekker. She was so much like him and the resemblance was uncanny. Now I just needed the proof and then I could move on her. I’m not sure what my end game was but I was hoping it involved interrogating the bitch while she was tied to a chair. Ok that’s probably not going to happen but hey, a girl can dream can’t she.
Karen led us to the little shop on the corner she pointed out. It was a corner food market, a Tesco by the sign. She went in, neither of us followed. It was the perfect time for Connor. I looked across the street and gave Samson the signal. HE nodded to me and the back of the van opened. Due to all the girls wandering about still, no one noticed the boy in uniform get out of a florist van and walk slowly across the street. His uniform was blue and his hair was slicked back. He looked as smug as ever. He smiled broadly when he saw all of us.
“Good morning ladies” he said, “love the outfits.”
I glared at him. “Drop the crap.”
His smile faded. “Business first I guess” He said and then turned to Stella. “Pleasure later?”
She scoffed. “Not likely.”
He shrugged then pointed around the corner. I looked about and the three of us followed. We were still in view of the shop so that if Karen came out it was easy to see her. I went first. Connor’s hands were cold. He put them on my forehead and instantly the images started to flood my brain. When he was done, I was woozy. He grabbed my arm, steadying me but I shrugged his hand away. I definitely didn’t need his help. I still wasn’t happy that he was tagging along and was even more pissed at the fact that he was snooping around in my head. I didn’t like the idea of giving a perv like him an all inclusive look at my inner most thoughts. Even though I knew for a fact that he wasn’t a mind reader. It still creeped me out that he somehow went into my head.
After he did his thing with me, he moved onto Emma, probably saving Stella for last. I wandered back around the corner and saw a frantic Karen looking for us. I sighed, hating that I made her worry. I quickly wandered over. “Sorry” I said, huffing. “Stella saw something she thought looked like something from Harry Potter.”
Karen smiled. “There’s a lot of that around here. I mean tourists looking for stuff like that.”
I nodded. I turned and saw the two girls walking around the corner, both of them a little tipsy. It didn’t help that at that particular moment, Connor walked around the corner too. Karen looked from him at the two girls and then back again. He walked by us, sticking his hands in his blazer pockets, then he winked. The three of us ignored him but the color drained from Karen’s face. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that something irked her.
“You ok?” I asked.
She nodded absently but I could tell by her body language that she was anything but. She was fidgety and she kept looking over her shoulder, watching as Connor slowly disappeared down the street. She tried to do it without us noticing but she failed miserably. When Connor was finally gone, she finally relaxed.
Her body untensed and her color returned.
“I had a bad experience with one of those boys,” she said softly, more to herself than us.
I took her hand, squeezing it tightly. “He was some jerk. He made a couple of passes at us but didn’t get anywhere. I’ve got a boyfriend and those two” I smiled evilly at them, some pay back for them mocking me on the plane. “Those two are an item.”
I saw the look of dread on their faces. It was quick but they recovered quickly. Stella smiled and absently grabbed Emma’s hand. Emma looked like she was going to pound me but I think she remembered their earlier teasing. Her angry look faded and she smiled knowingly. I wagged my eyebrows and smiled. Karen looked at the two of them, as if something dawned on her and she smiled too. After that, everything seemed to be ok. I let go of Karen’s hand and the four of us continued down the street. Karen opened the plastic bag she holding, taking out some sandwiches. Though we’d just eaten breakfast, I was still kinda hungry. Emma was too. Unlike Stella, and me her metabolism was crazy. She could eat like a linebacker and not gain an ounce. It was sorta her penance for being who she was. There were a lot of kids like that at the Center, mainly the kinetics.
Except Stella of course. She ate normally and worked off her need for food with exercise. She was kind of a work out junky now. She said it helped her mind focus and kept her sharp. It also supposedly helped her regulate her heart rate and keep her stress free. Her invisibility seemed to be stress related. Though she could use it when she wanted it often came about without her wanting it when she was under too much stress. So that’s why she ran and did yoga and all that other crap.
After eating, Karen took us everywhere. We hit a lot of shops, going up one side of the street than the other. It didn’t take us long to realize that she was kind of loaded. In every shop we went too, Karen bought something. Soon she was loaded down with bags. I can’t say the same for us. Even though we had a nice line of credit for this mission, none of us were keen on shopping. Partially because we were all still partly guys inside our heads and partly because the Center provided all the clothes we’d ever need. But it didn’t stop us from browsing a bit---yes, even me. There were a few things I might have considered buying, especially a black bikini with skulls on it. Seeing it brought back a pang of memory. Back at the Syndicate, Trish bought me one just like it.
Tears swelled in my eyes and I bit my lip to force them back. I made sure none of the others saw me though.
After a few hours of shopping, Karen dragged us to McDonalds for lunch. Yeah they have those over here, who knew? We weren’t the only ones who had the idea though. As soon as we got our food and found a booth, we were surrounded by a sea of green. I didn’t know any of them but Karen did. She said hi to a few but mostly ignored the rest. I got the idea she was a bit of a loner, kind of like me.
When we sat, Karen looked at me and shook her head. “You should have let me buy you those earrings in TK MAXX.”
I shook my head. “They were too expensive.”
That was another thing. Karen kept trying to buy us clothes and accessories but we kept refusing. It wasn’t that we didn’t want her too but we didn’t want to take advantage of her. I think she was just happy to have some girlfriends to shop with. But we finally relented and let her pay for lunch at least. She wouldn’t take no for an answer.
It took us about a half an hour to eat lunch. After that, Karen wanted to hit the shops again. So we offloaded all her bags into the van that brought us then the four of us took another round of the shops. There weren’t a lot in the town but apparently, according to Karen anyway, you could hit them more than once. So that’s what we did. Back in TK MAXX, she was finally able to talk me into allowing her to buy me the earrings. They were cool little skulls. After that she dragged us all into the one store that none of us wanted to go into: a lingerie store she called Marks and Sparks. I don’t think that was the real name though.
Going in there made the three of us new girls really nervous. I wasn’t much for lingerie and neither was Emma or Stella. The two of them kept their heads low, veering away from all the silky femininity as much as possible. Karen seemed to think it was kind of funny though.
She laughed. “You three look like you’ve never been in a lingerie store before.”
Which I think was the truth. I know I’ve never been. I had one little journey while at the Syndicate and it was to a mall. I spent most of my time with Clara, the two of us spending most of that in the arcade. I don’t think I need to rehash what happened there. I went to another mall too with Stella and others, including Brad when we were looking for the missing Emma. Ok not missing, she was actually kidnaped by a nut associated with the Syndicate. I don’t think I need to rehash that adventure either. Suffice to say that most of our time was spent trying to retrace Emma’s steps. Thankfully, none of it led us into lingerie stores. There was a feminine boutique though and that was enough to send chills down my spine.
“Hey Becca over here” said Karen, who was standing near a display of black bras.
I groaned and came wandering over. They were lacy and girly, definitely not me. I was a plain white kind of girl and wore a sports bra if I could get away with it.
“I’m not letting you get me one of those,” I said and she frowned.
“At least try it on” she said, taking one off the rack in my size.
I groaned. It was like being with Mattie. “Fine” I said, snatching it from her.
I walked over to the changing rooms in the back of the store, Emma, Karen and Stella followed. Emma had a nice big grin on her face, enjoying my pain. I didn’t even give her a look as I went into the little booth. I got it over as quick as possible. I pulled my hoodie over my head and slowly unbuttoned my white blouse. It was kind of annoying that girls had the buttons on the wrong side. After that, I dropped the blouse on the floor and quickly undid my bra, allowing my puppies to bob loose and breathe. I looked down at them and smiled. I was proud of their size; I think it was the only thing I really enjoyed about them. Most girls probably would have complained about them being so small---34B---but I liked them. I couldn’t imagine having giant ones, like Stella’s. I don’t think they were D’s but they were pretty close. I’m not sure how she ran with those things jiggling like that. Emma had nice size ones too. Not as big as Stella’s but a bit bigger than mine. Hey I’ve seen her topless, the lot of us shower together on occasion.
“You done yet” whined Karen from the other side of the door.
I dropped my bra on the floor and put on the black one. It held me quite nicely and I have to admit it did work well for me. It didn’t feel strange at all on over the Second Skin either. Sometimes it bothered me and pinched but this one fit like a glove. I clasped it, turned to look in the mirror, and had to admit that maybe Karen was right. I turned this way and that, smiling a little more than I should have been. Today was a good day for me. There were no dreams last night and this was the first time in a long time that I hadn’t been so angry. Maybe this is what I needed, a little vacation. Ok so technically it was a mission but it felt good to get out of the Center again and stretch.
I took a deep breath and walked out of the booth. Karen smiled.
“See, I told you it would look perfect on you.”
I nodded. “Ok, I think I can let you buy it for me.”
We all had a laugh at that. I turned to walk back into the booth when something caught my eye. Well not, something, someone actually. It was a guy, tall and blonde. I thought it weird that there would be a guy in a lingerie shop but maybe he was buying something for his girlfriend. He was almost to the door when he turned and looked at me. I would have covered up except my heart skipped a beat. I stood there frozen as I stared at him. When my heart started beating again and I could breath, I gasped. It was him; it was the bane of my existence.
He looked right at me and then smirked. He raised his hand in a wave, showing me a smug smile and then walked briskly out the door.
“Son of a bitch” I said and quickly went after him. I didn’t run because I didn’t want him to know I was following but I walked at a brisk pace. I pushed my way through the store and didn’t even pause at the door when I pushed it open. I heard the woman behind the counter yell at me and an alarm went off but I didn’t care. When I got out into the street, it didn’t even occur to me I was only wearing a bra and an ugly green skirt. All I cared about was Dekker.
The bastard had a huge head start. How was that possible? He just walked out of the store.
I grit my teeth and took off after him in a run. There were a lot of people on the street, all of them wanting to get in my way. I pushed through them though, shoving some of them aside in fact. But no matter how hard I ran, Dekker seemed to be well ahead of me. How in the hell was he doing it? I put on the speed, not bothering to notice the gasps from people I passed. I heard someone blow a whistle behind me and there was the sound of rapid footfall but I ignored it. Dekker was all I cared about. The faster I ran though, the further he got from me. It wasn’t possible; I should have been on him by now.
Finally, he turned a corner and I smiled. There was no way I was going to let him get away. I put on the speed. I’ve got you now you son of a bitch. I could see that he walked right into a dead-end, it was so obvious. I was laughing like a mad woman as I ran, pissed that I didn’t have Reta. But it didn’t matter; I’d beat him to death. When I finally got to the corner and around it, I slid to a halt. My feet gave out underneath me and I fell, landing in the filth. I screamed at the top of my lungs. The dead end was vacant; there was no one there. How could that be? I looked here and there. There was only one door. I jumped to my feet and ran to it, tugging on it but it was locked.
I cursed. He was here. There was no way he could have gotten away.
Someone shouted, “Becca”.
The running caught up with me. First, it was Stella then Emma. I turned to them, tears in my eyes. Then I collapsed to my knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
Stella took me into her arms as Karen and a police officer arrived. “He was here,” I sobbed, burying my head in her chest. “I saw him.”
“Who was here, Miss?”
I didn’t answer him as Stella put her blazer around my shoulders and helped me to my feet.
Instead, I looked at Emma. “I’m not crazy, Em. He was here; it was Dekker. I’m sure of it and then he, then he got away.”
Emma nodded. “”Let’s get you back to the store and we’ll sort things out.”
I nodded. I wasn’t crazy. They were all looking at me like I was crazy. But I wasn’t. It was him, Trish. It was him and I let him get away.
Photo Credit: Model AJ Stewart
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