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Jerry sneezed again, and Mara looked over at him, “Do you want me to put the top up?”
He shook his head no, wiping his face with a handkerchief, and she gave him a longer look. There were a few things she had learned about her traveling companion in the last 24 hours since she had found him wandering along the highway, like his unnerving tendency to stare at her when she was trying to sleep instead of watching the road, but she hadn’t thought he was the type for allergies. Then again, they had left the desert behind now, the convertible driving up into forested areas with ancient trees bearing witness to their journey.
Mara wasn’t sure how much farther Jerry would want to go with her. She considered stopping at a motel, imagining the scene as she grabbed a snack: Jerry wasn’t bad looking, if a little travel stained. His face was scruffy, his skin weathered from a life outside, though she wondered what he might actually look like under civilized light somewhere, a lamp to shine some UV lights and reveal his flaws. Other than the occasional cold feeling in the pit of her stomach, Mara was fairly sure this relationship was going to last another night.
He sneezed again, and she gave him another look.
Maybe she was wrong, after all. If he was going to sneeze his way through Tennessee, Mara decided, she might have to eat him sooner.
The cat suddenly felt really cold, the boy was so still one might mistake him for a statue. It was twilight and the street lamp flickered on. There was the sound of the neighbor’s convertible revving to life in the silence. Still the boy waited. Finally, there was a faint scuffing sound like boots on the pavement. The cat looked to the source of the sound which was coming from the other side of the wall. This was an odd little girl skipping down the road. This was out of place since the plague. So much so, it made the hair on the cat’s back stand on end.
Laura stood by the lamp post and watched the traffic wain. Devon should have arrived by now. She pulled her pink designer sweater closer. It was one of those convertible styles, she currently had the smooth silky side on the inside and wished it was the soft fuzzy side instead. The temperature was dropping quickly, getting to be downright cold.
She pulled the phone from her pocket and looked at it again. No incoming calls, no texts. She had already left two messages and sent four texts. She gave up and clicked on the uber app. Her driver would arrive in thirteen minutes.
When Marcus arrived to pick up his fair, the only thing waiting on the sidewalk was some fancy pink thing that he probably couldn’t even trade for a cold dinner.
Jasmine looked at her friend and gave her a wry smile. “That was cold my friend.”
Cynthia sniffed. She didn’t really care. She wasn’t on the market and had zero interest in dealing with another human in her life in that way. Besides tonight was her night off. She reached over and adjusted the lamp next to their table. Whoever had designed the lighting at this restaurant should be shot she thought.
Jasmine shook her head. “You know the guys we meet out here are potentially convertible to clients. It wouldn’t do you any harm to be a little nicer. He thought you were hot.”
“I am hot,” Cynthia said disparagingly. “That’s why I get paid the big bucks, but sometimes a girl just wants some time off, and I’d rather visit with you, enjoy several of these margaritas, and have to call an Uber.”
It was cold in the Convertible as it drove down the highway. The wind was stinging and the only light she had was the from the radio. The sky was dark with very few stars. She tried to remember how she got here. It was late when she finally had called it a night at the office. That was a familiar situation. She found herself being the last one to turn off her desk lamp. The overhead lights would shut off soon after most people left the office as they were triggered by the motion of someone moving. Typing into spreadsheets apparently didn’t cause much motion. She closed her eyes as her head throbbed again. She had to focus, or she would not have a chance to make it out of this. She assessed what she knew. Her hands and legs were bound and then bound together. There was a gag in her mouth to stop her from screaming. She was placed on her stomach and was able to move her head, but not enough to see who was driving. The song playing on the radio was a country song, it had changed a few times and they hadn’t passed a streetlight in the time she had been awake.