Christina Mayer: There's No Such Thing as an Empty House

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Katherine Lacey opened the front door of her house for the second time that night. This time it was to let Christina Mayer in; she was sweating and almost in tears.

'Oh honey, are you alright?' Katherine asked as she threw her arms around Christina. They hugged for what felt like an hour before Katherine pulled her inside. She locked and chained the front door; she seemed on edge herself.

'I am... I am alright. Just in shock, especially with what has been happening tonight.' Christina said. She was talking so quietly it was a little difficult for Katherine to hear. She led her to the living room to sit down in front of the fire. The living room was fairly small, making the heat fill every corner. The glow from the fire cast long shadows from the furniture. It was both comforting and unsettling.

'Don't worry about anything. Where is your dad, Christopher?'

'They're staying at a motel tonight,' Christina answered. 'I would have stayed there too, but the motel rooms are pretty small. I've already put them in danger and I don't want to do anything else to hurt them. I think someone might be targeting mine and my friends' families.'

'I understand,' Katherine said as she rubbed her shoulder for comfort. She decided to change the subject of her family danger. 'Carmen was here about an hour ago too. She was pretty upset by what happened at the café.'

'She was? I'm surprised she would show her emotions to anyone, do you know how hard it is for me to get a smile out of her sometimes? Believe me, I try!'

'We got pretty close when I worked at the café last year,' Katherine said, though Christina already knew this. 'She has a lot going on at the minute, and Stacey's death just piled so much more on top of her.'

'Poor Tiffany, I can't imagine what she's going through right now,' Christina said with sympathy. She felt herself sweating so she brushed her hair with her hands. 'It was awful, Katherine, truly awful. I've never seen a dead body that close before.'

'Neither have I.' Something in the way Katherine said that didn't altogether sound true.

'A customer spat on me also,' Christina said with a sarcastic chuckle. 'He was pretty drunk and he made this horrible comment to Tiffany about... her feet stinking.' She couldn't repeat the vulgar implications the man had made. 'Trust me to get spat at during work.'

'Are you okay? I'm glad I don't work there anymore; that sounds awful! I would have slapped him then kicked his ass out.'

Christina shivered. 'I'm not like that, I just take it.'

'Are you cold?' Katherine asked. 'I can put more wood on the fire.'

'I'm fine, really. I just felt like someone walked over my grave. 'Was Carmen alright when she left? I should probably go see her.'

'She was upset but I calmed her down. It would probably be best if you didn't go over to her house tonight. She wanted to get some sleep and be alone,' Katherine quickly said. She remembered what Carmen told her – she couldn't forget it, and she had to make sure Christina wouldn't go over and find out her friend's secret. It wasn't her secret to tell.

'You're right; she needs some rest. She was at work most of the day. She really wanted to do an almost full day's shift. Weird. It was like she was trying to avoid something at home. I wouldn't be surprised, her relationship with her mother is pretty strained these days.'

'I think Carmen just wanted to make more money, what with her brother's birthday coming up soon; she wanted to buy him something nice for a change.' The lies rolled pretty well from Katherine's tongue.

'That's nice of her,' Christina replied as she lost herself in thought. She snapped out of it quickly and returned her attention to Katherine. 'I'm sorry. I forgot to ask – how are you? I've just burdened you with my troubles but I haven't even asked about yours. I'm sorry for being rude.'

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