The air was dank, making my skin crawl and the hair on my arms rise. It wasn’t long before I felt nervous and I began turning more corners. Uncertain why my nerves were so tense I listened to them anyway. Detouring about a half a mile there was a convenient store I ducked into, which some friends of my father’s owned. Harper’s Corner Store. I’m not a chicken. I like to call it cautious.
It was eleven thirty in the evening and the shop was closing but I walked in anyway. Widow Barbara Harper owned the store and they usually never minded when I came in late.
Melody was working tonight. She was Amanda‘s oldest daughter and with age came beauty. She was a natural bombshell by the age of fifteen. Before that the most awkward looking kid imaginable. We’d been in school together. Well, I had graduated early during her freshmen year but we’d known each other before hand for years anyhow.
Her sisters were sweet. The youngest Tiffany, otherwise known as Tippy, was an actress. Or hell bent on becoming such. The middle child, Daphne always popular but not because of the fact she was pretty and had money but for how nice she was.
Melody was their opposite. She could be nice. But she was a strategist. How did being nice benefit her in each scenario? She practically ran the store now at seventeen and she hadn't even graduated. She reorganized the books when her father died and had actually done a better job than he'd ever dreamed. Her mother was astonished as she was proud. Melody was miserable knowing she'd never be able to leave because of it.
She knew Paul of course too. That was a strange relationship I have no intention trying to decipher let alone explain now.
“Hey Mel.” Calling as I walked in, it surprised me she didn’t even look up. In fact she looked absolutely irritated. Melody and I were not exactly friends so I had no wish to pry into her business. Although it would have been a good excuse to stay there for a bit longer as I had originally hoped. Oh wells. I settled with buying a Sobe and left quickly. Standing just outside the closed door I drank down half the bottle before closing it and holding it down in my hand in an awkward angle.
Taking a quick scan across the street. A man stood cast in shadow across the street. He stood beneath a burnt out lamp post. I hadn't noticed that the bulb was even blown until now. The knot in my stomach started twisting and flipping violently. The hair on the back of my neck rose and gooseflesh covered my arms. It hadn’t just been paranoia. The bottle was held at a good angle to swing and it was glass.
Half my brain argued that I should run back into the store. The other half mocked me. And do what? Call the cops? That would be real great. Hey Richard! Just little ol me scared of the boogie man. Rescue me and please be sure to let Paul know! Uhm, no thanks.
The other possibility of me turning back that resulted in the negatory? What if I was right? I wasn't leading him to Melody and locking us in a store with some nut bag right outside. So the other half won.
Twisting to make a sharp right, I bumped my shoulder into the brick corner leaving the stores shallow entry way. Humph. So graceful. My feet carried me at a curt walk despite the fact I wanted to bolt into a dead run.
In minutes I made it to the next block and around another corner. For the entire block I heard the sound of foot steps behind me.
My pounding heart came to a sudden stop hearing tires squeal behind me on the damp street. –Breathe. The streets wet. Just someone skidding is all. Keep walking. - Heart racing, my stomach started doing flips and my knees were shaking so hard I felt paralyzed. Forcing myself to look over my shoulder I turned to see the vehicle just as it rolled up beside me. And stopped.
It was a huge black Jeep, lifted and completely tricked out. Shiny chrome gleaming paint job and all. I had seen it every night I had worked for a few months now. The window rolled down automatically as I heard a familiar golden voice. Rougher now than it ever had been before though. “Lianna. How about I give you a ride. It’s starting to rain. Come on.”