Elise finally caught up to her friend after rushing down a flight of stairs.  Valerie was standing by a lamp post waiting for a cab. Elise ran and stopped by her friend, taking a moment to catch her breath.

“Val, you are being more crazy than usual—is everything okay?” She demanded breathlessly.

“Yes, just it’s something I wanted to tell you in private.” Valerie murmured dolefully while staring down at her hands.

“I can ask Johnny to go you know.” Elise suggested.

“No no don’t.” She exclaimed “I have to go back to my salon I kinda abandoned it to find you and Julia must be plotting my death by now.” She rambled recklessly “Just come to my place tonight, we can talk then.”

Elise was suspicious of Valerie’s fidgety need to flee, but she didn’t press her.

“Alright, if you are sure.”

“I am.” She insisted firmly with a tight lipped smile “I’ll see you later Liz.”

Valerie didn’t wait for Eli’s reply and quickly clambered into the yellow taxi that had stopped for her. Eli stood hugging her coat to her chest and staring after the cab Valerie left in, with a bewildered frown on her face.


Elise made her way back into her apartment. She shut the door, removed her coat and hung it back on the hook on the wall next to her and trudged into the living room.

Johnny was sitting on the sofa with Charcoal lounging beside him. The dog’s head was resting on Johnny’s lap, loving the affectionate petting he was receiving.

 “Hey.” Elise greeted, alerting him of her presence. She sat down on the empty space of cushion beside Johnny.

“Hey, is everything okay?” He asked sensing her forlorn mood.

“Just Val acting weird as usual, I am going over to her place for dinner tonight.” She said while kicking off the blue flip-flops she had carelessly slipped into when she left the apartment in haste.  

“So you won’t be coming to HQ tonight?”  She smiled wearily at the dejected way he asked. She glanced at his blue eyes glimmering hopefully and wondered how she ever said no to him.

“I’ll be there, just might be late depending on Val.” She said, he grinned unabashedly, she laughed at his ways.

 “Do you mind taking Charcoal with you?”

“Why would I mind that?” He cooed, patting Char’s shiny coat fondly.

“Thank you.” Elise murmured gratefully, he turned to her and his stare was reeled in by her lips. 

“Anytime, Smiles.”


Elise stared out the windshield of Ben’s SUV. She had borrowed the vehicle to get to Val’s place hoping she would clear up the confusion in Elise’s mind. She left her friend’s premises even more befuddled than before.

After eating a large box of Hawaiian pizza, Elise and Valerie sat on her apartment couch eating ice cream.

“Val so what did you want to tell me?” Eli quickly demanded since Val had been avoiding the topic the entire evening.

“Hm, oh that, just forget about it.” The red-head said with a dismissive wave of her hand that instantly irked her friend.

“Forget about it?” Elise demanded, setting her bowl of ice cream on the coffee table and turning to her “Val you were hysterical—just tell me what has been bothering you.”

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